Tag Archives: repentance

How to Handle Snakes

A small child found a snake in some tall grass. It was lying still, quiet in the sun. The child didn’t know anything about snakes, and he was very interested in seeing one so very close up. He decided to pick it up and look it over. Now, this particular snake was not poisonous, but when the child picked it up, it immediately bit him and then slithered out of his grasp and away across the grassy field. The child screamed. His daddy was close by and came to him. The child kept screaming and screaming and his daddy could not even hold him. “It bit me! It bit ME!” the child screamed, as he writhed and kicked and turned red from anger and hurt. “I HATE it!” His daddy could do nothing for him in that rebellious state. Finally, after several minutes, the child wore out from screaming and then his daddy took him in his arms and examined the bite mark, which had not even broken the skin, and then he quietly carried the child to their house. They sat down in a rocking chair on the porch, and the daddy rocked and rocked the child until he was calm. Then they just sat there together, the father holding the son, resting together.

The next day, the daddy took the child to a book store and they bought a book about all the creatures who live in grass and pond and ground. Each day they studied the book until the little boy understood the ways of small creatures, and how they protect themselves. He learned about being safe around wild things. He learned that it is always safest to ask his daddy first before picking up something he does not know about yet. And he learned many other things as well, for after they read together, the daddy would speak to him about many other things, teaching him his own wisdom.

No matter where we go in this world, we will find snakes in the grass. Some will be poisonous, and some harmless. Before we pick one up, we should know how to handle it so that it is not afraid and does not bite.

Have you listened to your Heavenly Father today, learning his wisdom? Are you able to discern the manner of creature you see in the grass upon which you walk?

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

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Above All Powers

God is above all creation, visible and invisible.

He created us for Himself, and what He is willing to share with us is more than we can think, describe, or even imagine. 

Because we cannot obey or do what God wants by our own volition, which is the perfect way to live, God the Father sent God the Son to pay the penalty for our sin. The result is to be restored to knowing what God wants and receive His blessing and eternal life with Him. To receive this, we need only to confess our desire turn away from the sin we know controls us and accept what Christ, the Son of God, has done to save us.

We cannot know know all the ways and thoughts of God, but He has given us this one Way which opens up the gate to new life.  Everyone wants to know God. So He opened up the Way in Jesus Christ, His Son. Our new life in Him is spiritual, for we receive it by faith, not by sight. However, all of this new life is made known in us by the mighty power of God in us that manifests in our physical life and brings glory to Him.

While we live life in the physical, we may still sin against God, even though we know Him and love Him in our hearts. Our desire may be to obey Him, but until we accept that every minute detail of life must be placed on the altar before God, we will still be confused and do what is against Him. Very often, we accept the wickedness of man ahead of the righteousness of God and go with people instead of the Everlasting One who save us.

How do we do this wrong? Any time we defend what we know is a lie, or not God’s will, we participate in that lie.  An example is something we know that we know from reading God’s Word that God hates, such as pride. Yet there may be someone in this world, or even passed away from this world whom we defend as righteous when that person is not speaking truth and we know it. Then we are cut off from God. Isaiah 59 says He hears us, but there is nothing He can do for us until we repent and put Him above all. First. 

We can never assume that someone’s so-called right motives make it right to defend a certain position. Only God knows what is right and what is wrong. Therefore, He must judge, and not we ourselves. We must seek Him in every thought: what is your justice in this matter, Lord?

In the end, God will prevail. Let us seek Him first and obey Him and never look at another point of view. Let us embrace Him in peace.

In Jesus’ Name.

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The Easiest Rule

“Pay all your debts, except the debt of love for others. You can never finish paying that! If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill all the requirements of God’s law. For the commandments against adultery and murder and stealing and coveting – and any other commandment – are all summed up in this one commandment: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no worng to anyone, so love satisfies all of God’s requirements.” Romans 13:8-10

Whether or not we love others is tested by this statement: “Many waters cannot quench love; neither can rivers drown it.” Song of Solomon 8:7

Present day culture is as overwhelming as many waters. It flows over us even when we want nothing to do with it. Followers of Jesus Christ receive greater enmity from the world than people who do not know Him. Yet it is our unquenchable spirit in our circumstances that draws those same persecuting unbelievers to want the Savior for themselves. God, then, has made living here on oppressed earth and in His Kingdom of eternal life at the same time a win-win situation for us. We can obey the command to love others no matter what, and God will use this to bring them to Himself., which means we have also obeyed His command to give the Good News of Jesus Christ to everyone. Our faith makes us whole.

When we receive Christ as Savior and Lord, God gives us His Name. We are adopted into His family and have all the same rights and privileges as His Firstborn, Jesus. We can read the Bible to find out how Jesus does things, and we can do likewise. Not less than; everything he has done, we can do. He says so in John 14:12 – ” I am telling you the truth: those who believe in me will do what I do—yes, they will do even greater things, because I am going to the Father.”

Most people, even unbelievers, agree that Jesus went about doing good. He came to show us the Father’s love, and He did that by doing good. He loved everyone, equally. Jesus said that He did nothing by HImself, but only what He heard the Father saying. We know that God’s love is perfect and poured equally on everyone, so we know we can do the same when we follow Jesus and do everything we hear the Father saying. Believers have a special ability towards each other. Because we are all family, we have the ability to love our neighbor as Christ loves us; He is our Brother!!

Jealousy and preference are outlawed in the Kingdom of God. You cannot love someone as the Father loves you and be jealous of what that person has or can do that you can’t. God says He gives each of us special gifts with which to serve Him, and when we focus on Him and use the gifts the way Jesus used them, we will not fall into covetousness.

The gifts we receive are spiritual in nature. They work out in the practice of everyday life, but they are driven by faith and the power of the Holy Spirit. To demonstrate sincere love for one another, we must love by faith. I Thessalonians 5:19 says do not quench, or restrain, the Holy Spirit. If we do not have His power, we cannot love by faith. As many waters cannot quench love, so many waters cannot restrain us from living in the love of God and pouring it out to everyone alike. To step away from this awesome way of life, ignoring the Spirit of God living in us cannot quench the love of God toward us. He remains the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

So, my friends, if you have forgotten how to live as one with Christ, I urge you to stand before God now and repent of your sin and receive the love He has never stopped lavishing on you. Then, you can once again love others freely and the true law will be fulfilled in you.

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Poetry and Worship – Communion

My home is at your table, Lord,

     Where I shall surrender with joy

         in remembrance of your love for me.

I turn away, yes, I turn away

     From all sin and destruction to my soul

        To be your worshiper in spirit and in truth.

 

Renew my mind, Lord.

     I surrender every thought to you

        in obedience to your living Word.

Come, Holy Spirit; come and fill me now.

     I will open my mouth to sing praise to God,

        To be your worshiper in spirit and in truth.

 

     Worthy is the Lamb of God, 

     For my sickness beaten; for my sin crucified;

     His body broken; His blood poured out:

                                     Remember . . . . Remember.

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Oathmakers and Oathbreakers

The book of Hebrews at its inception was written to Jews who had received Christ as Lord and Savior. The Jews were big on oaths and vows in their culture. Hebrews 6:16 in its context leads into describing God’s oath to Abraham that He, God, would make Abraham the father of a nation, a people that is so vast we cannot count them all. However, the verse gives us valuable information af what God defines as an oath, or a vow. Heb 6:16 ” When we make a vow, we use the name of someone greater than ourselves, and the vow settles all arguments. ” So, for, example, if you swear to do something “by God,” then you are giving God specific authority to hold you to it.

In the Gospel of Matthew, we see what Christ says about making vows in the first place. He is speaking to his disciples about divorce, which is breaking a promise, and goes on to say this: Matt 5:33  “You have also heard that people were told in the past, ‘Do not break your promise, but do what you have vowed to the Lord to do.’ But now I tell you: do not use any vow when you make a promise. Do not swear by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by earth, for it is the resting place for his feet; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Do not even swear by your head, because you cannot make a single hair white or black.  Just say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’—anything else you say comes from the Evil One.” (from the Good News Bible)

Let’s repeat one phrase and look at it more carefully. “Do not use any vow when you make a promise.” or, in old King James English – don’t forswear yourself.

Is it right, then, to make any kind of oath or vow? I don’t think we need to! God has promised everything to us and for us. It is by faith that we walk through this world, and everything we have and can do is by God’s grace.  We can cheerfully say, if it is the Lord’s will, then we will do such-and-such. If we already know it is the Lord’s will, then we can joyfully simply say yes to Him and begin to do it by His grace working through us. Take a step of faith and go ahead and do what you know to do from the Lord. 

God’s Word makes it clear there are no “greater” or “lesser” people in the Kingdom of God. If you need to verify this, read the book of James, which has salient remarks about prejudice. We do have a chain of authority, and persons to obey who represent God’s authority. If you allow someone to have authority over you unrighteously, however,  it is absolutely certain that person will take advantage of the position and extract all kinds of additional (and wrong) behavior from you. How do you know when this is happening? Well, because it does happen, and too often, I would like to give you an examination to see if it is happening to you.

1. Have you promised someone to do something a.) in the heat or weakness of some emotion, like anger or or fear? b.) when you are tired or hungry? c.) during some great trial where that person offers great help in exchange for a “little” promise? d.) when you are lonely? e.) to get something you wouldn’t be able to get otherwise.  These are a few examples of times when we can be easily deceived, and it is too easy to slip another person wrong authority over us.

2. Have you seen that your vow causes trial or hurt to others? Is something missing or unavailable to them because of what you have done? Is their full potential hindered because your vow is a hindrance to what you know that you know is God’s best for them?

3. Have you seen that by keeping your vow, you are unfairly aligned, directly or indirectly with the person responsible for keeping you to it? Does what falls on your authority person fall on you?  Psalms has a LOT to say about that, by the way.

4. Are you unable to move ahead in your walk with God? Are most of your prayers and even your acts of faith fruitless?

5. Is your vow of any use to the Kingdom of God? Did it have eternal value, or was is temporal, for this world only? 

If any of these things apply to you, please examine your promises.  When you made a promise, did you make it to be kept by God’s grace, or did you make it to some other person; “Well, I swear I’ll show you . . .” or, ” I swear will do what you said,” or even, “I swear that isn’t true.” Here is one more possibility to examine – did you vow something TO YOURSELF?

Are you freaking out right now because you are just realizing how you have given someone power you never intended? Even your natural self over your godly, spiritual, saved self?

THERE IS HOPE. What does Philippians chapter 4 say: Don’t be anxious! Take it to the Lord!

The word you need to remember right now is “repent.” If you have realized you made a bad vow or promise, you have already repented. To repent is to turn away from something, and the root word for our Engilsh is to “change you mind”. You have already changed your mind. You agree with God that you made a mistake. 

The next step is to confess what you have done to God. Ask His forgiveness, and receive it. Tell Him you respect His authority, and you will do whatever He says to get you out of this mess. He wil give you a godly solution. Always. He will help you, and it will be like a stone thrown into a pool. Your right response to God will ripple out to make things right for every person who has been unjustly affected. You are setting the wheels in motion for much good change. If some other person used you to gain authority, that one will be affected for righteousness. To repent and mover forward in righteousness yourself is to make the opportunity for another sinner to come to repentance. Trust God to enable and protect you. He has promised this, and God’s promises are always right. God’s promises never fail. In I John 1:9, He says when we sin, and we come to hHim about it, He is faithful and just to forgive our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

I don’t know where you stand, but this writer would rather deal with just and holy God any day instead of being falsely acocuntable to some other person, place  or thing.

Lord, I pray for every person who reads this blog post to think of all the things they have said to people or to themselves to get something. Help them make a list and pray to you about each and every item on the list. I ask You to show them right from wrong and lead them to repentance and cleansing for every wrong promise. I pray in Jesus’ Name. Thank You, Lord.

 

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Repentance and God’s Goodness

Have you ever read all the way through Psalm 119? Throughout this Psalm, we are exhorted to love God’s Word and obey His commands. When we do this, we experience God’s intense goodness. 

Since God is good all the time, why is obedience required to experience it? Well, for many facets of God’s goodness, obeying him is not a requirement. He causes the rain to fall on the just and unjust alike, does He not? Crops grow in season for everyone, do they not? A person who has zero knowledge of God may enjoy the beauty of the Grand Canyon or a summer sky filled with clouds. However, when you know God and obey His decress, the rain is more filled with goodness, the crops are tastier, the Grand Canyon has great meaning of what the flood in Noah’s time portended, and summer clouds can give you a deep thrill of Christ ascending into the heavens after His resurrection. 

When you know God and obey His commands, everything in this segment of living is so much MORE than you could expect without God.

The doorway to experiencing the fulness of God’s goodness is repentance. Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God died to pay the penalty for our sin. When we trust Christ for His rescue and commit to Him the He is Lord, the door has swung open and we enter new life and the Kingdom of God. To repent means to turn away from the old life embroiled in sin and then we joyfully walk through the doorway to Christ’s Kingdom. Sin and evil and fear and a treacherous road are on one side of the door. On the Kingdom side, there is peace. Obeying God’s commands keeps us from trying to revisit the old road, outside the Kingdom. Once a child of the King, always a child of the King – but you know you are capable of sneaking off to see where you’ve been before you knew Him. 

God’s goodness is so wonderful, it is hard to understand why some people keep trekking back over the roads they traveled before they were saved. Here is understanding: staying in God’s Word and learning His commands and sticking to them is the key to staying on the right road. Make even a small effort to stick to God’s plan and He makes the big effort to keep you safely in it. His is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever. He is so good! He is available ALL THE TIME to keep us safe.

Not sure? A word for you – ask the Lord. He will help you read and understand His Word and make His goodness clear to you. It will be immediate, so start reading.

This is an open door. There is no portcullis, no moat, no crossbar, and no guards. Christ is the Door. Walk into His arms and feel His goodness enfolding you.

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