Tag Archives: repentance

I Samuel 18; Expect To Feel Miserable

Wow. I just had a wrestling match with Scripture. Have you ever questioned something you read in God’s Word that you could not get past? I had that experience in verse 10 of this chapter:

The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully upon Saul.

I don’t know about you, but major questions come to mind when the Bible tells me anything evil came from God. Verses like I John 1:5, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all,” and James 1:13, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone,” come to mind. But here it is in black and white. An evil, or distressing spirit FROM GOD was thrown at Saul.

I went to commentaries on my shelf and on the internet to try to makes sense of this. And  I’m glad I did.

Why would the Spirit of God come upon Saul in a distressing way? I was reminded that Saul had chosen sin over disobedience. He chose his own desires over repentance. And in doing so, the Spirit of God had left Him. (16:14)

Here is what I think God would have us consider today: When we disobey, when we choose sin over purity, and then when God removes Himself and His blessings from us, we should expect to feel crummy about it. We should never imagine that God is going to watch us walk away from Him and not convict us.

Saul was under major conviction. His soul was at war within him. Of course Saul was distressed.

Friend, God does not cause anyone to sin. He is Holy. But He is not going to sit back and watch you throw your life away. Expect conviction. Expect distress. Expect to feel uncomfortable, depressed, anxious, if you are harboring sin in your life.

Saul’s response to this great conviction from God was to pick up a spear and throw it at David. Saul held on to his jealousy and anger instead of repenting. As we read on, we’re going to find out this is not the last time God will send His convicting Spirit to Saul. God is never one and done. (I praise Him for being the God of second and third… chances)

God is working in the hearts of every person on this planet. Don’t think that doesn’t mean you. God loves you enough to make you feel miserable when you sin.

Expect it. Then repent and experience the joy that will follow, the sweet fellowship with the God of the Universe who loves you to death.

Deuteronomy 30-34; The Law and Grace

What is your definition of grace? When you think of God’s grace, what comes to mind? Jesus? The cross? Forgiveness? Eternal life? What about, the Law?

I’ve heard religion criticized for being a list of rules, of “don’ts.” And actually, Moses reminds us it is. The Law is a very big part of this thing we call Christianity. Even though we know the Law is powerless to forgive sin.

The Law reveals sin, though. And in doing so, it points us to our Savior.

I guess God could have left us to our own devices, not defined sin for us, then sat back and watched us unknowingly crash and burn. Like a cop who knows the speed limit sign is missing, then pulls over unsuspecting drivers and tickets them for driving too fast.  Sorry, boys, not knowing the speed limit doesn’t change the speed limit.

Not knowing what sin is doesn’t change what sin is.

But God is full of grace. In Romans 7:7, Paul tells us he would not have known what sin even was if it had not been for the Law. I wouldn’t know what light was except for the darkness, what health was if it weren’t for sickness, what joy was but for sorrow. I wouldn’t know what forgiveness was if I didn’t know I needed to be forgiven.

Deuteronomy 33:3 tells us God loved the people, He held them in His hand, they worshiped Him, and God gave them the Law as a possession, an inheritance. God gave them the Law as something precious, not because they deserved it, but because He graciously wanted them to know their boundaries so they wouldn’t cross over them. Then He could bless them, like He longed to do.

The Law is still in effect today. Those boundaries are still in place. Idol worship is still a sin. Adultery, lying, dishonoring parents are still sins. And because the wages of every sin is death, God wanted to spell it all out so we would not be caught unawares.

He wanted to give us life instead of death. A life, as sinners, we don’t deserve. That’s grace. And in a very real way, the Law plays a big role in God’s grace.

Grace greater than all our sin.

God, thank you for letting me see your Law as an act of grace. You want us to know what sin is so that we are quick to repent of it, to accept what Jesus did on our behalf, and to enjoy unbroken fellowship with you. That’s grace. Thank you for grace that is even greater than my sin.

Genesis 35-36 Revival

One commentary I read called 35:1-7 the first recorded revival. I remember going to many revival meetings in the church where I grew up. In fact, I went forward during one of those services and cemented my faith in God, repented of sins, and determined to live for Him from that day on.

Jacob sinned. His family worshiped idols. But in chapter 35 they all chose to leave those idols behind and follow the Lord. They buried the idols, and the people moved on. Their worship of God was revived.

I will admit that since that Thursday evening in 1967 when I knelt at the altar during that revival meeting, there have been other times of revival in my life, other sins I had to confess, other idols I had to bury in order to obey God. My walk with the Lord hasn’t been one and done, but rather a series of times of fellowship with my Savior, followed by a drift, then sin, then conviction, repentance, and revival.

I kind of sound like the nation of Israel in the Old Testament.

I don’t know where your walk with the Lord is right now. But I would encourage us all to consider a time of revival. Can we ever walk too close to the Savior, be too free of sin, or too cleansed?

We are the Church. I wonder if it’s time for the Church to allow God to revive us one soul at a time, until the Church is exactly where God would like us to be.

 

Genesis 9:18-23 – Restoration

Proverbs 10:12 says, “Love covers all sin,” and that is what we see when Shem and Japheth covered Noah’s naked body. It was the right thing to do. And the way they did it expressed their love for their father.

But covering their dad’s nakedness didn’t erase Noah’s sin of drunkeness.

I’m convinced that many of our modern churches have neglected that fact. God’s love doesn’t cancel out the penalty of sin. His love covers us like a blanket because He IS LOVE. God so loved the world…

But He is also holy and demands holiness of us, His children. He is quite clear that every sin comes with a serious consequence. Every single sin.

We can learn a lesson from Noah’s sons. And it has to do with our reaction when we see a believer sinning.

First, they didn’t ignore it, rationalize it, or judge him for it. They went to him in love and restored his modesty.

Second, they didn’t go around talking about it. Their actions were private and respectful. And they kept it that way.

When we see a brother or sister living with a sin, we need to approach them like Noah’s boys approached their dad. We shouldn’t ignore it, or gossip about it. We need to take that blanket of God’s love, and see if there is some way to restore them, to encourage them to get right with the Lord. Then, we need to walk away and certainly not talk about it to others.

May God find us faithful as we hold one another accountable out of love. And let’s be in the restoration business for Jesus’ sake.

December 30 – Doomed

Revelation 12-18

The Book of Revelation is a book of hope for Christians. In His revelation to John, God tells us to hold on to Him. Life will be hard. But if we remain on God’s side – we win.

But reading these chapters also makes me sad for those who reject Him. Oh, they might appear to have some victories here and there during this lifetime. But they are doomed.

It makes me sad that, as I read the imagery of the seven bowls of wrath, people continue to reject God, even when His power and authority are demonstrated in undeniable ways. Read chapter 16 and see them scorched with fierce heat, and blaspheming God. Or gnawing their tongues because of pain, and refusing to repent. Or blaspheming God even when hundred pound hailstones are falling on their heads.

Over and over God reveals Himself: nature declares His glory, Jesus reveals God in the flesh, changed lives, strength in weakness, joy in sorrow.

God nudges, and woos lost people. He also disciplines and pours out His wrath to get their attention. I see a God who is not willing that anyone die without Him, and who will go to any lengths to win each and every one while they still draw breath.

But, hear me. Those who take that last breath without accepting what God offers through His Son are doomed. There are no do-overs, no second chances in eternity. What you choose in this lifetime makes all the difference.

Christian, as you read the book of Revelation with me, let’s rejoice in the truth that God is the ultimate authority. That Satan’s defeat is inevitable. And that God is preparing a place for us to spend eternity with Him in more glory and splendor than we can imagine.

But if you don’t know Jesus as your Savior, I pray that you will begin the new year on the winning side. God is going to be true to His Word. One day, at the name of Jesus EVERY knee will bow.. That means you, dear one. EVERY tongue will confess that Jesus is who He says He is. Like it or not, you will recognize that you are doomed without Him. Please don’t let that happen.

Holy God, thank You for giving this revelation to John. We can see that the war between You and Satan is played out here on planet Earth. And we can see that You are the victor! God, I am so glad I am counted as Yours, that You are fighting my battles right this minute, and that one day I am going to heaven to be with You. Father, I pray for those who don’t yet call You Lord. May they humble themselves, repent of sin, and accept your gift of Grace through Your Son, Jesus. I pray that no one reading this blog will meet you in eternity doomed.

November 13 – Mission Accomplished

Luke 23; John 18-19

“It is finished.” (John 19:30) Jesus had completed the mission He had set His mind to before creation. If He was going to create man with the ability to choose, God was going to provide a way back to Him when those very choices tore us away.

Everything that occurred in the ancient world happened to point men and women to Jesus. The Law was given to show us what holiness would look like. The consequences spelled out there, and carried out in the lives of the Jewish people, show us how serious God is about unholiness. And it proves we are unable to claim holiness on our own. Fallen man – that’s you and me – have no place in God’s Holy Presence.

But Jesus.

We only get a glimpse of what it cost Jesus to fulfill the Law’s requirements on our behalf. The Man took on God’s hatred of my sin, of billions and billions of people who have walked this earth. He suffered everything that we had coming to us. He fulfilled the prophesies from hundreds of years before to reinforce that Jesus is The Great I AM.

At exactly the right moment, Jesus said “It is finished.” And then He died. Account paid. Sins forgiven. Mission accomplished.

I pray you have accepted what Jesus did on your behalf that day He hung on a cross. Your sins – YOUR’S – are forgiven. All you have to do is ask Him to forgive you. “It is finished.”

November 2 – Not The Same

Luke 18:15-19:48

Isn’t it amazing how much Zaccheus changed after his encounter with the Savior? Tax collectors weren’t really known for their honesty. And Zaccheus was the chief tax collector. After meeting Jesus, Zaccheus realized his sin and told Jesus he was going straight. He was going to reimburse with interest, the people he had cheated.

Zaccheus was saved that day. Here’s what I love about this account. 19:10 says, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost.”

Do you know God is actively seeking for you, to save you? If you have yet to accept his salvation, don’t think He’s not paying attention, or that He’s not interested in you. He’s very interested. He’s paying close attention to every thought, every word, every action. He loves you, He calls out to you, He sends signs, performs miracles, nudges you, and pursues you with the intense purpose of breaking you down until you come to Him. He wants to forgive you and lavish you with love, joy, peace… Himself, forever!

To those of you who have gone to Him and received His grace, has that encounter changed you? It ought to. Once you’ve answered His call, like Zaccheus, nothing is the same as before.