Category Archives: repentance

You’ve lost that loving feeling

first love

I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for My name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.  But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.  Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.  If not, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place, unless you repent.  Revelation 2:3-6

Jesus gave John messages for seven churches in Revelation 2-3 when He appeared to John in a vision.  This message was for the church in Ephesus.  Paul helped to establish that church thirty or forty years before this, and he wrote the book of Ephesians as a letter to them.  Jesus was telling them things that they had that were commendable, and also some things they needed to repent of.  

Let’s take a look at the commendable things first.  They were enduring trials patiently for the sake of Jesus.  Secondly, they did not grow weary of standing firm, nor did they give up.  This tells me that God sees us when we labor on, doing the right thing, and  taking heat from others.  We might think that no one else notices, or wonder if it is worth it.  The resounding answer is that God sees and He will reward us for our endurance.  He sees both individuals and churches.

Lately I’ve been struck with the idea of doing things that are a secret between God and myself.  In Matthew 6:1-2 it says, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in Heaven.  Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others.  Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.”

 There are many awesome things that God has done in my life.  If I never get to tell anyone about them, it’s okay.  That can be our little secret.  I know God sees me and He knows what I am doing and enduring for the sake of His name.  My reward will come in the end from the One who sees me.

Now for the negative:  They had lost the love and zeal that they once had for God.  He didn’t say, “That’s okay, you did a lot of good things when you were younger.”  No, He called them to repent.  To repent means to admit that losing that intensity of devotion is sin, and then to return to the devotion that you had earlier on.  It means a change of heart and a change of actions.  

It could be tempting to live your Christian life in fits and starts.  That means you have good stretches and you have bad ones.  According to this, you need to repent of the bad ones and return to the first love that gave you the drive to follow the Lord wholeheartedly, serve others and be involved in things for the sake of His kingdom. Jesus told the Ephesians that if they did not repent, He would remove their lamp stand from its place.  That means that there were consequences for their dwindling love for Jesus, or just going through the motions.  It is the same for us today.

A friend was referring to someone else who was in a “spiritual funk.”  She said, “Maybe he’s just tired of trying to save the world.”  That could sound like a good excuse for allowing someone to continue in their funk, but according to this, it’s not okay.  We can’t have good sounding excuses before God.

It’s time for a gut check: Have you abandoned your love and passion for Jesus?  If so, repent and return.  Make choices to go in the opposite direction and do it today!


Sin and the Blood of Jesus

Jesus blood.jpgIf we walk in the light in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.  But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  1 John 1:7,9; 2:1-2

If you asked 100 people what they think our biggest problem is, you might get quite a broad range of answers.  Some might say something about politics, others about countries who want to attack, others may talk about the environment.  God tells us in the Bible that our biggest problem is sin.  When Adam fell in the Garden of Eden, we fell, separating us from God and alienating us from Him, ourselves, others and nature.

God sent Jesus as a perfect sin offering to save us from the His wrath and the penalty of sin.  This is the heart of the Gospel, the good news of salvation because of Jesus.  When we repent of our sins, asking God to forgive us and to give us a new heart, we receive the righteousness of Christ.  When God looks at us, He sees Jesus.

But after this glorious transformation, we still sin.  We still need the blood of Jesus to cleanse us of the guilty stain that sin leaves so that we can stand clean before God.  The good news of our verses for today is that God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness–if we confess our sins.  It doesn’t just happen automatically.  We can’t just do things that are offensive to God and everything to be okay because “it’s all under the blood.”  It is all under Jesus’ blood once you confess that sin and turn from it.

The other error that we might be prone to is to fall apart because of our sin.  It’s like falling down and not getting up again.  The good news is that “as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us,” as Psalm 103:12 declares.  He wants us to come and repair our broken relationship with Him, the sooner the better.  There is no sin too dark or too big that God can’t or won’t forgive.

When we sin, we have a defense attorney–Jesus Christ the righteous one.  Picture a courtroom scene.  When the judge asks “How do you plead?”  We say, “Guilty.”  The Judge delivers his sentence and then offers for his Son to pay it for us.  Though that would be preposterous in real life, that is exactly what happens when we confess our sin.  Jesus, our advocate, stands in our place.

This is made possible by the blood of Jesus.  Throughout the Bible, from the very beginning, blood had to be shed.  In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve covered themselves with fig  leaves after they sinned.  God stepped in and covered them with animal skins.  In doing so, blood had to be shed.  All of the way through the Old Testament, the people brought animal sacrifices and their blood spilled out on the altar to show that their sin was covered by blood.  It was a down payment until Jesus came and shed His blood once and for all on the cross.  

There is power in the blood of Jesus.  In Revelation 12:10-11 it says that the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.  And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…  Satan accuses us day and night, trying to get us to wallow in guilt and shame.   But if we stand in the blood of the Lamb, bringing those sins that Satan is accusing us of to God and confessing them, then Satan has no dirt to dig up on us.

If Satan is badgering you about certain events and sins of the past, confess them to God out loud, announcing to yourself, to God and to Satan that the debt is paid.  If there is something you need to do to make something right, do it.  Then you can stand free before God and before everyone else.  

Finally, Satan wants to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).  He will use any open door to torment and to taunt us.  If you have been abused or wounded in spirit, that puts a hole in your heart that Satan can use to mess with you.  Perhaps you have held bitterness against the offender, against yourself or against God.  Bring that incident, or string of incidents, to God in prayer, asking Him to cover those holes by the blood of Jesus.  He will set you free from that bondage and from the torments of Satan.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our tresspasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us.  Ephesians 1:7-8

*Image from speakthewordonly63.wordpress.com


Here’s My Heart Lord

Know this, my beloved brothers; let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.  James 1:19-20

Both Ephesians 4:31 and Colossians 3:8 command us to put away anger, wrath, malice, slander and obscene talk, as well as clamor (chaos or drama).  I suppose all of those cousins of anger keep us from being good listeners.  Go back to James 1:4.  In the ESV it reads, “Let steadfastness (perseverance, endurance, patience)  have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete…”  

That means we have to let, or to allow, God to do His work in our lives.  We also have to let go of resentments, bitterness, our tendency to get revenge and to back stab.  We’ll look first at how to let God do the work in us that leads to righteousness, and enables us to be quick to hear and slow to speak, as well as slow to anger.

  • James 1:21 gives us our first clue: “Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls.”  The ‘implanted Word’ is the Bible at work in our lives.  It is able to save our souls, according to this verse.  We are to receive it with meekness, which is another word for humility.  We get the implanted Word from preaching, sound teaching and from our own reading and studying.  All of this needs to be aimed at applying its truth to our hearts and lives.  That’s where humility comes in.  Instead of hearing a sermon and thinking, “My sister should hear this,” we must listen for ourselves and ask God what it is that He wants us to implement.
  • 2 Timothy 2:22 commands us to, “Flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”  If you try to get rid of a bad habit without putting a good habit in its place, you are bound to fail.  We are to chase after righteousness and hang with people who do the same.  Don’t be a companion of fools.  Pursuing righteousness involves monitoring all of the music, tv shows, movies, books and things in your environment.  Instead, spend your time reading Godly books, worship music that lifts up Jesus, and fellowshipping with like minded people.  Pray and ask to help you to find them.

Now for how to ‘let go of’ the things that we are to put away.

  • Do a fierce moral inventory and see who and what you are holding on to bitterness and resentment about.  Give them to God, asking Him to forgive you for holding onto the bitterness and then forgiving the person who wronged you.  Ask God to show you if you have “anything against anyone.”  Bitterness fuels drama and forgiveness fuels a peaceful heart.  Forgiveness enables you to walk away from drama and backstabbing.
  • Do a clean sweep in your house and life.  Get rid of things that keep you from pursuing righteousness, burn them if necessary.  End bad relationships as gracefully as you can.  Do the hard work of finding new friends and  hobbies.
  • Embrace God’s forgiveness.  Psalm 103:12 promises, “As far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.”  Corrie Ten Boom has said that God throws our sins into the deepest part of the ocean and puts a ‘No Fishing Allowed’ sign on it.  Don’t get bound up in anger against yourself because of things in the past.  Do what Paul urged in Philippians 3:13, “One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.”  If Satan reminds you of your past, you remind him of his future!

This song is a cry for God to do a work in our lives.  It’s so good.  Click on the link:

Here’s My Heart, Lord by David Crowder