Genuine Repentance

 

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I once had a dear friend who asked me this question many times..Have I committed the unpardonable sin? How can I know if my repentance is genuine?

This is a question that has haunted many sensitive people in every Christian century, and maybe it has haunted you, like my friend. I want to be clear in saying that if you’re bothered in your spirit that you may have committed a sin God will not forgive, the very fact that you have anxiety over that is evidence you’ve not committed the sin. If He is still working in your heart, it’s not possible to have committed the unpardonable sin.

My reassurance is based on repentance. It is equally basic to, and almost synonymous with, the command, “You must be born again” (John 3:7).

Repentance is a biblical word. The Old Testament thunders, “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin” (Ezekiel 18:30, NKJV). The New Testament also vigorously exhorts men and women to repent. “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish,” said Jesus (Luke 13:3, NKJV). “Repent … and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out,” said the Apostle Peter (Acts 3:19, NKJV). The Apostle Paul said, “Now [God] commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30, NKJV).

The Bible commands it, our wickedness demands it, justice requires it, Christ preached it and God expects it. The divine, unalterable edict is still valid: “God commands all men everywhere to repent.”

The Bible says, “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:7, NKJV).

True repentance is contrition. The Bible says, “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:18, NKJV). Contrition, or “godly sorrow,” as it is called in 2 Corinthians 7:10, is not a shallow sentiment nor empty emotion. It is a sincere regret over past sins and an earnest desire to walk in a new path of righteousness.

Repentance carries with it the idea of changing–changing your mind, changing your attitude, changing your ways. The Bible says, “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10, NKJV). If we are truly repentant, our will is brought into action and we will make a reversal of direction.

Repentance when you have hurt someone?

There are times in everyone’s life that it’s helpful to know if an offender is truly repentant. To know the true state of another’s heart. Is there godly sorrow and true repentance or worldly sorrow and temporary change?

When there is true, lasting repentance, restoration can occur as in Galatians 6:1.  Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be                   tempted. 

Here are a few signs of genuine repentance:

We name our sin as sin and do not spin it or excuse it or call it an “issue”, and further, we demonstrate “godly sorrow,” which is to say, a grief chiefly about the sin itself, not just a grief about being caught or having to deal with the consequences of sin.

We have a willingness and eagerness to make amends. We will do whatever it takes to make things right and to demonstrate we have changed.

We are patient with those we’ve hurt or victimized, spending as much time as is required listening to them without jumping to defend ourselves.

We are patient with those we’ve hurt or victimized as they process their hurt, and we don’t pressure them or “guilt” them into forgiving us.

We are willing to confess our sin even in the face of serious consequences (including undergoing church discipline, having to go to jail, or having a spouse leave us).

We may grieve the consequences of our sin but we do not bristle under them or resent them. We understand that sometimes our sin causes great damage to others that is not healed in the short term (or perhaps ever).

We don’t resent accountability, pastoral rebuke, or church discipline.

We are humble and teachable.

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” ~1 Corinthians 7:10

Is there someone you have hurt by your attitude, actions, or words that you have never apologized to?  Have you been trying to justify your pride and stubbornness, even though, deep down, you know that God wants you to humble yourself and get things right?

Search your heart (Ps. 139:23-24).  Is there a person with whom you need to make amends?  Don’t delay.  A close, satisfying walk with God depends upon you and me getting things right with people we have wronged.  Trust God.  Push through the fear and pride.  Open your mouth in apology… and watch God do a great work in and through you.

 

 

The Lord Will Give You Strength

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He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:29

We all find ourselves broken and weary at some point in our life. It is easy to believe and follow Jesus when things are going well, but often the toughest time to keep our faith strong is when we are trying to keep putting one foot in front of the other while not fainting. In those moments of absolute powerlessness, weakness, and brokenness the Lord is often most real, most powerful, and most present.

Thank you, God, for sustaining me and keeping my faith alive when I have been under attack from the Evil One and have grown weary with the challenges and hardships of life. Please give those I love, and mention now by name, the strength to press on even though they are weary and weak. Please be real in their lives and let them know that you are coming with grace to help and redeem as their Great Deliverer. In Jesus’ name I ask it. Amen.

Wisdom

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The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.  Proverbs 9:10

” Fearing ” the Lord in the biblical sense of the word is not being afraid of Him, nor is it being afraid that the Lord is going to destroy you because of your sinful nature.

Believers are not to be scared of the Lord. We have no reason to be scared of Him. We have His promise that nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39). We have His promise that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Fearing the Lord means having such a reverence for Him that it has a great impact on the way we live our lives. The fear of the Lord is respecting Him, obeying Him, submitting to His discipline, and worshiping Him in awe.

PROVERBS 8:13 ” The Fear of the Lord is to hate evil. Pride and arrogance and the evil way. And the perverted mouth, I hate.

As we fear the Lord and honor Him desiring to do His will, the Lord will then give us His wisdom, and insight so that we can discern right from wrong, and have good success in all that we do.

A biblical fear of the Lord, for the believer, includes understanding how much God hates sin and fearing His judgment.  Even in the life of a believer.Hebrews 12:5-11 describes the Lord’s discipline/chastisement of the believer. While it is done in love (Hebrews 12:6), it is still a fearful thing. As children, the fear of discipline from our parents no doubt prevented some wrong choices. The same should be true in our relationship with the Lord. We should fear His discipline, and therefore seek to live our lives in such a way that pleases Him.

Dear Lord, may we know your wisdom, the true wisdom, the spiritual wisdom that you give to those who come into a right relationship to you through Jesus Christ who reverentially fear you. Who worship you as an awesome God and who are committed to obey.

 

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5 15-16

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5

The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, And his tongue speaks justice.  Psalm 37:30

Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.  Proverbs 3:7

 

 

The Cross Made The Difference

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Without the cross I would have no good news to share with others. I would have no message of salvation. Missionaries would have nothing to say that could help lost people. The cross is at the very heart of the gospel (see 1 Cor. 15:3–“Christ died for our sins”).

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.1 Cor. 2:2)

The cross teaches us a lesson on humility in another way. When we look at the cross, we see how the Lord humbled Himself, was willing to become a man, and was even willing to die a criminal’s death on the cross (Phil. 2:7-8). His example teaches us to walk humbly before God and men? If our Savior was meek and lowly, do we dare be proud?

Teaching Your Children To Love God

 

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Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. 

Let’s face it Parenting is hard. It’s really hard, it is a full time job. We live in a day and age that is extremely busy and hectic and full of distractions. But, there is in my opinion no greater joy than being a parent.  Our children are, first and foremost, an incredible blessing from the Lord. Psalm 127:3 refers to them as a heritage and reward. God instructs us to be good stewards of the blessing and heritage He has given us. He shows us in the above scripture just how we are called to raise our children.

The family is under attack in this country.  I don’t believe there has been a time in my lifetime when there has been such an attack on the home as there is today.  From broken homes, the TV shows and movies of the entertainment industry, there is a concerted effort to destroy the home as God has ordained it. 

There should be no question in our minds that Satan wants to destroy the family.  It has been the core of our society all these many years.  There should also be no doubt that he has been successful in many areas of our country and the world. 

I believe that the key to life and how to preserve our families is: to love God.  This is the key to Christianity, the whole story of God’s redemptive love.  The cross, the resurrection, the coming of the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s will, the preaching of the gospel throughout the whole world, believing and obeying the gospel.  All of this is summed up in the love of God.  All of this is simply a way by which God has made it possible for us to love Him. 

This is why it is vitally important for parents to teach our children thru instruction and by our example to Love God. Since it is true that the most important thing in life is to love God, and that everything else flows from that, if you had one wish above any other, would that wish not be that your children would learn to love God?  Of course, it would be.  In the verses that follow, beginning with verse six, we have four steps clearly outlined that must occur in a home if children are to learn this greatest of all secrets: How to love God.

“You shall teach them diligently to your children….”  Here is personal instruction — imparting knowledge about God to your children.  This means teaching them scripture, because it is the Bible that teaches us and informs us about God.  Here it is declared the responsibility of parents to instruct their children in the revelation that God has given to us about Himself.  No one can truly love God without knowing Him.  Thus, the first step in teaching our children how to love God is to teach them to know Him. That means teaching them what the Bible says about God.

Notice the pronouns that are used in this passage. You shall teach them diligently to your children.”  Not they, but you!  This is not the job of the Bible class teacher or the church.  It is your job!  The church cannot substitute for the parents in this responsibility.  At best the church and it’s Bible classes can only supplement what the parents teach.  We hear a lot today about the church losing it’s young people.  As a result, there are all kinds of youth programs started and “youth ministers” hired to conduct these programs.  Could it be that the loss of young people to the church is not to be blamed on the church, but on the parents who are ignoring their responsibilities to teach their children to love God? I believe, there are way too many parents who are trying to give the responsibility of teaching and raising their children to the public school system and/or to the church. We know they will not learn about God thru our public schools, in fact the opposite will probably be true. Parents (praise the Lord not all) today can be so busy “making a living” and working to provide material things for their children and themselves, caught up in the busyness of life, that they find themselves failing in the most important aspect of life — to love God themselves and to teach their children to love Him. In this scripture God places the responsibility of teaching your children to love God directly upon your shoulders.

But let me encourage you, no matter where this great truth finds you, start just where you are.  I know it’s hard not to look back and regret the past mistakes we  may have made, but we need to begin right now to apply these great principles. Even if our children are grown, we must begin right now to perhaps influence our grandchildren.  Such is the grace and mercy of God, such is the glory of His nature and character, that He will forgive us of past failures and help us to begin again (1 John 1:8-9).  So begin right now to put these great principles into practice in your home.

Tomorrow Could Be Too Late

Such a much-needed word. Don’t let today pass without settling this once and for all!

Tomorrow Could Be Too Late

March 22, 2017 by

You think it won’t happen to you, at least not yet. Death.

But it happened to a friend of mine just last night; a fellow blogger and most of her family passed from this life to the next as their home burned around them.

You think you have plenty of time.

As I prepared my children for bed this evening, we read a chapter from one of our Trailblazer books about the Salvation Army. This particular story happens to be about two orphans who sought refuge from the faith-based group.

And I thought of my friend Mandy’s surviving children, how they would be going to bed this evening for the first time without any parents. My heart broke for them all over again.

Without thinking about whether it was a good time or not, I told my kiddos about my friend’s tragic death right then and there. We talked about and prayed for the surviving children who I am sure feel left behind. My daughter even asked if we could adopt them, which brought a small smile to my face.

We talked about Jesus and how happy I was to know my friend and her family were now in Heaven even though I’m shocked and saddened to realize she will no longer live in this world.

Her death is the most recent in a string of deaths that have occurred in our lives this year.

And I keep thinking, all day long, we just don’t know how much time we have left.

I’m thinking of a man who sat in front of my church-planting husband and I last week, a man who heard the gospel clearly explained, a man who told us he knew he was headed for Hell. But when we asked if he was ready to accept Christ as his Savior, he responded with an honest, “No.”

He’s not ready. He thinks he has more time.

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I’m thinking of another man who recently passed away, a man who was laying in a hospital bed, a man who would never return to his earthly home. This man, this father, he too heard the gospel message, but this man said “yes” to God. And I’m confident that he now resides in Heaven.

I’m remembering a woman we spoke with a over a year ago now who has attended church her entire life, but when asked if she knew she was going to Heaven, her best answer was, “I hope so.”

I’m thinking that lost people are all around us here and wondering what are we really doing, I mean really doing, to make sure they have that same opportunity to know Jesus Christ?

What have I done here in this space to make sure you have that opportunity, too?

You think you have plenty of time…. until you don’t.

Life is fragile and temporary, but a vapor in the wind (James 4:14).

So in light of my friend’s unexpected passing, I’m appreciating my spouse more, and I’m holding my children tighter and telling them how much I love them.

But, friend, there are things in this world that matter even more than love for family and friends, things that matter beyond this life and for eternity.

So all day long I’ve had this burden to tell you what you need to hear most in the world.

God loves you and it’s His greatest desire to have a relationship with you. He created you for a purpose.

But sin creates a gap that we cannot overcome on our own.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom. 3:23

We like to think of sin as the really bad things – like murder and rape and theft, etc. But sin is anytime we choose our way over God’s way. It’s missing the mark of perfection, and I don’t know about you, but I know for certain I am not perfect.

According to the first part of Romans 6:23, the consequence of our sin is death, separation from God both here on earth and for all of eternity.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 6:23

The Good News, also called the gospel, is that God desires relationship with us so much that He made a plan for our redemption. He provided a substitute who would pay the price of death for our sin – His one and only son, Jesus Christ, who bled red on the old rugged cross so that we might live!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom. 5:8

Not only that, but Jesus didn’t stay dead. No! He rose again, proving his power over death and His ability to keep the promise of new life (1 Cor. 15:1-8).

Here’s the part some of us fail to understand – we cannot earn salvation on our own. We cannot make ourselves acceptable to God. As a pastor’s wife, I’ve seen many who falsely believe that they need to clean their acts up first and then come to Christ.

That’s putting the cart before the horse, friend, for two reasons.

First, we can never be “good” enough or righteous enough to please God on our own.

Second, we need Jesus to help us make changes in our lives. It’s only by allowing Christ to work in and through us that we can be the people we need to be, the people we were created to be from the beginning of time.

Are there broken areas in your life?

Do you struggle to overcome addiction?

Do you seek help to forgive others and heal from old wounds?

Do you wish for whole and healthy relationships?

Do you feel like a failure who can’t seem to do anything right?

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Christ alone is the answer to those struggles. He alone has the power to transform us from the inside out!

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Eph. 2:8-9
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Cor. 5:17

But that power is only for those who accept Him. Accepting Christ means acknowledging your own sin problem, and recognizing and believing in Jesus as the only solution.

“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Rom. 10:9-10

The Bible is clear that salvation is as simple as a choice to believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to reconcile yourself with God and to ask for forgiveness. There are no magic prayers to pray, no special words – just a confession that you are a sinner in need of saving, and that you believe Jesus alone can save you.

Let me offer another word of caution. Many people falsely believe that they have faith in God when what they really have is just a belief that there is a God. The two are not one and the same.

According to God’s Word, even the demons believe that God exists, and they recognize that Jesus is the Son of God. Yet we know they will not receive eternal life in Heaven. Instead, they will remain separated from God and destined for Hell.

“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” James 2:19
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Mt. 7:21

Real faith in God is characterized by a belief that you are a helpless sinner, and a personal trust in Jesus’s work on the cross as a payment for your sin. Real faith humbly submits to Jesus, the son of God.

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” John 14:6

If you are a visual learner, then please watch this video for a clear explanation!

The truth is that none of us are guaranteed even another hour, and this is one decision you cannot afford to put off.

I’m asking you, friend, do you know Christ?

If you’ve never put your faith in Christ as your Savior, would you do so today? I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have – email me at jstults@beingconfidentofthis.com .

If you’ve already taken that step to trust Christ, are you living out His plan for your life? Are you telling others of the Good News?

Because the truth is that it could happen to you; in fact, someday it will happen to you.

Use your time wisely, friends.

Live a life that matters.

Jen

For more on this subject, please visit these trusted sources:

How to Begin a Relationship With God

How Do I Become a Christian?

Who Is God and What Does He Have to Do with Me?

Divine Appointments

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Divine Appointments

Have you ever had a coincidence, which was so special that it seemed like God was in it? A divine appointment is ‘a meeting’ which was inspired and God led. God is sovereign; He is all-knowing and all-powerful.

Sometimes God wants to bless us and other people. The possibilities of divine appointments are endless! If we are willing to be led by the Holy Spirit, great things are possible.

The possibilities of divine appointments are endless! If we are willing to be led by the Holy Spirit, great things are possible.

The Scriptures say, “The steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord.” After decades of walking (off and on, but mostly on) with God, I can tell you that seeing God set up these “appointments” is a thrill that is beyond comparison.

Throughout the Bible, there are many examples of divine appointments. Time after time God leads the faithful to cross another person’s path and great things happen!

Several years ago, I was running in the park one morning and felt God was giving me a prophecy for my friend JD. I began to pray on how the Lord wanted me to proceed.  I felt the Lord calling me to minister to him, so the next day I walked up to him and said “I don’t know what is wrong, but I know you are struggling if you ever need anything I am here” he looked at me with a look of shock, but said nothing.  The next day, I received a call from him saying “how did you know, I have not told anyone? I told him the Lord spoke to me.  He told me he had been struggling with the feeling that he had gone too far away from God and his sin was far too great for forgiveness.  He explained how he was being tormented night and day, but was too ashamed to tell anyone.  I was able to get him the help he needed and later realized he had not been eating in weeks and had signed everything he owned over to me.  If I had not intervened the doctor said he may have ended his life.

He was totally amazed that God would speak to me about him. It turned out to be a great encouragement to us both.  We were later married.  I know without a doubt this WAS a divine appointment.  I was thankful that the Lord used me and I heard His call.

Be open to God!  We just have to be open to what God is doing today and every day.
Pray and ask God to lead you into divine appointments. Many say a prayer like this, “Holy Spirit whatever you are doing today, let me be a part of it, I want to glorify Jesus and advance the kingdom”.

After praying be prepared if God has anything for you; He can do the impossible and the unexpected.

Throughout the Bible, there are many examples of divine appointments. Time after time God leads the faithful to cross another person’s path and great things happen!

My Divine appointment – Divine Intervention

Several years ago, One morning as I was running in the park I felt God was giving me a prophecy for my friend JD. I was resistant at first, but the Lord continued to nudge me. So, I began to pray on how the Lord wanted me to proceed.  I felt the Lord calling me to minister to him, so the next day I ran into him and said “I don’t know what is wrong, but I know you are struggling if you ever need anything I am here” he looked at me with a look of shock, but said nothing.  The next day, I received a call from him saying “how did you know, I have not told anyone? I told him the Lord spoke to me with a word of knowledge.  He told me he had been struggling with the feeling that he had gone too far away from God and his sin was far too great for forgiveness.  He explained how he was being tormented night and day, but was too ashamed to tell anyone.  I was able to get him the help he needed and assure him that God was able to forgive every sin he had committed.  He was able to rededicate his life to the Lord and attend bible college. I later realized he had not been eating in weeks and had signed everything he owned over to me.  The reality was If I had not intervened the doctor said he may have ended his life.

He was totally amazed that God would speak to me about him. It turned out to be a great encouragement to us both.  We were later married.  I know without a doubt this WAS a divine appointment.  I was thankful that the Lord used me and I heard His call.

Maybe you’re anything like me—I’ve been nudged by the Holy Spirit, but I rationalize away my responsibility to say anything. I wonder if the reason we see so little of the supernatural occurring in our lives is because we are unwilling to take the risks that come with walking and living by faith. We fear the rejection of man more than displeasing God.

Be open to God!  We just have to be open to what God is doing today and every day.
Pray and ask God to lead you into divine appointments. Many say a prayer like this, “Holy Spirit whatever you are doing today, let me be a part of it, I want to glorify Jesus and advance the kingdom”.

After praying be prepared if God has anything for you; He can do the impossible and the unexpected.

Dear Heavenly Father, open my eyes to see the people whom I pass today who need a word of encouragement, a word of acknowledgment, or a word of thanks. Help me to slow down enough to see the needs standing right in front of me. Thank You for giving Jesus as our example of how to care for a hurting world.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.