Showing posts with label Repentance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Repentance. Show all posts

Friday, September 27, 2013

How Great We Are

When you have a huge win or achieve something great do you take all the credit?  Do you share it with co-workers and friends involved in the project?

What about God?  Do you share the credit with Him?  Do you thank Him for making the achievement happen?

It’s great to celebrate accomplishments.  But let’s keep things in perspective.

There’s a story in the book of Daniel about King Nebuchadnezzar.  He’s a great king but he lets the power and glory of running the kingdom of Babylon go to his head.

God, seeing this happen, sends a warning to the king in the form of a dream.  Daniel, a man of God, interprets the dream for the king.  The message to the king is to humble himself, or have it done for him.

In Daniel 4:28-30 we see that King Nebuchadnezzar chooses to ignore this warning. 

“…Just twelve months later, he was walking on the balcony of the royal palace in Babylon and boasted, “Look at this, Babylon the great!  And I built it all by myself, a royal palace adequate to display my honor and glory!”  Daniel 4:28-30 (The Message)

Wrong thing to say!

King Nebuchadnezzar loses his grip on reality, is driven out of human company, and forced to eat grass in the wilderness like a wild animal.  Quite a come down for a great and mighty king!

God doesn’t forget Nebuchadnezzar, though.  Seven years later the king’s mind is restored.  Now Nebuchadnezzar has a choice…will he be angry with God and curse Him for ripping his kingdom away…or…will he learn from this experience and humble himself?

Nebuchadnezzar may be proud, but he’s not stupid!  He chooses to use this as a lesson to grow as a person and grow in faith.

“…I was given my mind back and I blessed the High God, thanking and glorifying God, who lives forever.  His sovereign rule lasts and lasts, his kingdom never declines and falls.  Life on this earth doesn’t add up to much, but God’s heavenly army keeps everything going.  No one can interrupt his work, no one can call his rule into question.” 
Daniel 4:34-35  (The Message)
 
At the end of the chapter Nebuchadnezzar is restored as king over Babylon.  He becomes more powerful than ever before, but instead of being filled with pride and conceit he assumes a spirit of humility, praising God, rather than himself.

Have you had to overcome pride in your life?  Share your thoughts by clicking on “comments” below.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:
Are you riding a wave of success?  Maybe it’s time for an attitude check to ensure pride doesn’t sneak up on you.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Isaiah 53:6 - Who's Your Saviour?

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – every one – to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”  Isaiah 53:6

In last week’s post, “No Ordinary Super Hero” we focused on verse 5 in chapter 53 of Isaiah.  This reminds us Jesus died so we can live in the presence of God as a forgiven people.  Verse 6 reinforces this thought.

We’ve all messed up.  I’ve done things I’m not proud of, things I regret, things that hurt others along the way, but because Jesus voluntarily died on the cross, and was resurrected, the events I’m ashamed of are now in my past.  I’ve confessed them and am humbled by, and grateful for, the forgiveness I’ve been granted. 

Unlike human relationships God doesn’t keep throwing your past in your face.  You confess, repent (stop doing what you’re doing and change your way of living), and you’re forgiven.  It’s done.  It’s over.  It’s gone. 

Not convinced?  In Psalm 103:12 David says, “as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”  Think about it…how far is the east from the west? 

Do east and west ever meet?  No, at any given point, east and west always exist in opposing directions, so God forgives our mistakes, never bringing them back to haunt us. 

If Jesus is the mechanism through which our sins are forgiven, and God doesn’t keep regurgitating them, why do feelings of guilt continually plague us like the incessant throbbing of an abscessed tooth?

In his books, “The Prodigal God” and “The Reason for God…Believing in an Age of Skepticism” Timothy Keller points to the concept of “being your own Saviour”.   He states if you’re trying to earn God’s love by living the perfect life you are, in essence, trying to be your own Saviour.  You try to justify yourself in the eyes of God by your goodness and ignore the concept of grace.

Do you try to live up to an impossible standard of perfection in an attempt to earn God’s love?  Are you falling short of that standard and feeling you’re not worthy of forgiveness?  Are you trying to be your own Saviour?

Today’s scripture tells us we’re all like sheep that wander away from the flock.  Not one of us is perfect.  We all have flaws and at some point in time we’ve all made a mess of our lives or someone else’s.

The scripture reassures us though that Jesus died for each one of us.  He took the burden of your personal mistakes on Himself.  Don’t buy into the belief that you’re not good enough for forgiveness.  You don’t need to be your own Saviour.  Through His death and resurrection Jesus is your Saviour.

Are you tired of living as a slave to guilt and shame?  Maybe it’s time to get to know Jesus?  If so pray this prayer today.

Heavenly Father, I know I’ve messed up my life.  I know I’ve made mistakes and I’m carrying guilt and shame because of it.  I believe Jesus, your son, died on the cross and rose again so that I can be set free from this burden.  Please forgive me for my past mistakes and remove this heaviness as far as the east is from the west.  Help me begin to live a new life conscious of your guiding presence.  I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen

If you’ve prayed this prayer you’ve taken the first step to living a forgiven life.  If you’re looking for more resources, Insight for Living has a helpful web page to assist you in taking the next step in your journey with God.  Follow this link http://www.insight.org/library/articles/how-to-know-god/relationship-with-god.html?t=How_to_Know_God

Do you have stories of finding forgiveness in your life?  Share your thoughts by clicking on “comments” below.

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – every one – to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”  Isaiah 53:6

Monday, June 18, 2012

Psalm 32:1-2 - Guilt Free Living

MEMORY VERSE:
“Oh what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!  Yes what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!  Psalm 32:1-2 (NLT)

This past weekend I had the privilege of speaking at a women’s retreat for Southwood United Church.  We were in a beautiful setting, nestled away in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains overlooking the Ghost River – a perfect setting for drawing close to God.

The theme for the weekend was, “Freedom Through Forgiveness” and we explored the parable of the prodigal son in detail, looking at each son’s failure to have a close, personal relationship with their father. 

Both sons distanced themselves from the father figure – one by physically running away, the other by separating himself through his own pride and resentment.  But the father never gives up – he reaches out to both sons, extending his arms in a welcoming embrace that promises mercy, grace, and forgiveness.

I remember living a life filled with guilt because of past mistakes.  I remember what it feels like to keep secrets from friends and family, to hide parts of my life, to lie to protect my secrets.  It's exhausting and demeaning.  I was filled with guilt and shame.  I believed I was a terrible person, undeserving of love and I felt God could never forgive me.

We read Psalm 32 as part of our worship service on Sunday morning at the retreat.  It’s a beautiful psalm, so full of hope.  David knows what it feels like to have the burden of sin and guilt lifted from his shoulders.  He speaks of experiencing wonderful joy and freedom in confessing his sins to God and receiving forgiveness.

Three years ago I felt God calling me to a life in His presence.  I made a decision to share my secrets and risk it all...risk losing my friends and the family members I held so dear.  I shared my secrets and confessed my sin to God and I experienced the same amazing joy described in this psalm.

When we seek forgiveness in God’s loving arms we move into a life free from guilt and shame.  We’re freed from the heavy burdens we carry with us. 

Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt.  I said to myself, ‘I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.’  And you forgave me!  All my guilt is gone.  Psalm 32:8

I’m living proof of these verses.  It’s such a relief to live a life free from the unbearable burdens of guilt and shame.  Return to God and find your own freedom in His forgiving arms.

“Oh what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!  Yes what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! 
Psalm 32:1-2 (NLT)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Jonah 3 - Nineveh A City On The Edge

Repent is a word commonly used in Christian vernacular. Typically you won't hear it applied in life outside of the church. Even within the Christian community it can be a word that isn't very popular. Perhaps that's because many people aren't really sure of what it means or perhaps they do know what it means but don't like the implications.

The dictionary identifies the word "repent" as a verb that means, "to feel sorry, self-reproachful, or contrite for past conduct". But it doesn't end there. It goes on to include the following statement in the definition, "to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one's life for the better". To repent isn't just to feel sorry about something you've done and then continue doing it. True repentance involves coming to a place in your life where you simply cannot live with your actions any longer. It generally involves humbling ourselves to the point of being able to see our wrong doing and identify it for what it is. It may include confession and it probably involves apology. It can be a painful and messy act. So why would you want to repent?

When we begin to live with lies or wrong doing in our lives something inside of us changes. A part of our hearts become hardened. It's a slow, gradual process, but if it continues in one area of our lives soon it will permeate into other areas. One little lie here, one there - all seems harmless. Helping ourselves to extra pens, or sticky notes, or tape from the office for our own personal use seems harmless, afterall the company can afford it. Slipping the odd personal expense onto the company's expense account seems harmless.  All of these things desensitize us to being truthful in the larger areas of our lives. When we start to live with bigger lies in our lives we find we can't be completely honest with our friends and family. Our world shrinks because we have to be careful what we say around people. We become isolated within our lies and a part of our hearts shrivel up as we live with the guilt that begins to consume our minds. Coming to a place of repentance frees us from the prison walls that we erect inside our minds. It lifts a burden from our shoulders and we are free to enter into relational fellowship once again with the people around us. We are freed from guilt and are able to step out with confidence, secure in the knowledge that we are forgiven!

We've examined Jonah's repentant heart in chapter two of the book of Jonah in the Old Testament. Now let's watch and listen to see what it looks like when an entire city comes to repentance.  Click here to view the third in the video devotion series on the book of Jonah.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Jonah Part 2 - A God of Second Chances

Welcome back to Jonah Part 2. Click here to continue with the devotion series on the Old Testament book of Jonah. Find out what we can learn through Jonah's experience of being swallowed by a whale - an experience the rest of us would definitely like to avoid!