Posts Tagged ‘ Repentance ’

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee!

I struck you with blight and mildew; I laid waste your gardens and your vineyards; the locust devoured your fig trees and your olive trees; yet you did not return to me, says the LORD. Amos 4:9 NRSV

The ancient Israelites prided themselves on being the chosen people of God. But it didn’t take long before that wasn’t really enough for them. Many decided to go their own way, to do their own thing, and to worship their own gods.

MP900399041[1] In response, God sent a series of judgments to turn the people back to repentance. That didn’t work. For the most part, God’s people turned a deaf ear to God’s judgments.

When things start going bad, I think it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. Continuing to rebel against God’s law, and turning our backs on God’s call for obedience, are bound to lead to tragic ends.

Despite repeated warnings, that’s exactly what happened to God’s people. They continued to go their own way, until they were overrun by foreign invaders and carried off to exile.

MP900446637[1] Even though I’m not a coffee drinker, I know that waking up and smelling the coffee can get things moving in the right direction. God still wants us to turn from sin and walk with Jesus. God still wants us to go God’s way instead of our own. God is still calling for obedience from God’s people.

This might be a good time for us to learn from the mistakes of the past. Turning away from the self-indulgent distractions, embracing a lifestyle governed by the principles of God’s love and grace, and rededicating our time, talents and resources to God’s work is always the right thing to do.

Wise people learn from the past. Wise people pay attention to what God is saying and doing.

Let’s let God’s call turn us around, and draw us ever closer to the rich and rewarding life of discipleship God has prepared for each of us!

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A Blessed People

Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out… Acts 3:19 NRSV

Peter is making an impassioned plea. MC900156543He speaks while standing in the temple, the epicenter of the Jewish faith. Peter is calling out to Jews who have come there to perform their prescribed duties, and fulfill their religious obligations.

In the midst of all this religious activity, a miracle had happened. Peter spoke to a man sitting at one of the gates. He was collecting alms, because he had been lame from birth. Peter didn’t have any money to give the man, but he called on Jesus’ healing power, and the man was healed.

A crowd quickly gathered around Peter. This dramatic miracle let the people know that not only were they standing in the epicenter of their religion, they were standing at the epicenter of history! Peter told them that the prophets from Moses onward had spoken about this moment in time.

The life of Jesus Christ is the epicenter around which human history revolves!

In fact, Peter let them know that they were the ones the prophets were talking about. The prophet’s words were fulfilled by their response to Jesus’ teaching and ministry among them. The Messiah came to fulfill God’s promises. But the actions of God’s chosen people led to his death.

Despite how they treated Jesus, Peter tells the crowd that Jesus wants to bless them, by calling them to repentance! That’s a different thought!

j0160570 Normally we think of God blessing us by opening the riches of heaven, and showering us with gifts of grace. We think of ourselves as being blessed when God renews our hope, answers our prayers, restores our brokenness and increases our strength. But Peter spoke of the blessing of repentance.

The message is that the blessing of God is not a heavenly handout. The blessing God promises us is God’s Spirit working in our lives to turn us around.

So one of the most important blessings we receive is when God changes our direction. When we walk away from wickedness and turn toward God, we are being blessed. In that moment we are rejecting sin, and accepting grace. We are giving God the opportunity to release us from guilt, and wash us in the waters of forgiveness. We are literally moving from the darkness of death into the glorious light of eternal life!

Blessed people turn from darkness to light!

This is the blessing of Jesus Christ. It is the blessing that restores us to a right relationship with God. It is the blessing that calls us to acknowledge Copy of j0396136that the Lord God is our God, and to affirm that we are God’s people.

The blessing of Jesus leaves us dead to sin, and alive to God! With his blessing God’s truth fills our minds, God’s love is shed abroad in our hearts, and God’s power is at work in our lives! God lives in us, and we live in him!

Jesus Christ has turned us from sin, and set us on the road to becoming the people God created us to be! What greater blessing could there ever be!

Turn toward God today, and be blessed!

Prayer:

Wonderful Savior,

You call me to leave behind sin, and to come and follow you. Help me to respond to your call each and every day. Help me to always turn to you and walk in the light of your love. Bless me with a repentant heart!

Amen

Blessing2

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