What does God do when we repent?

Notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!

I loved that Jesus began to teach several stories including this one to show the religious leaders their arrogance…

Parable of the Lost Son (Part 1)
from Luke 15 (NLT)

11 …Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. 12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.

13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.

17 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you,19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’

20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.[b]

22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

 

What do you notice about the father?

Once the son came to his senses, the father welcomed him with mercy, love and compassion. There wasn’t any shaming or lecturing. He didn’t require him to work as a slave to pay back the money. He gave his son the best and threw him a party!

What does this tell you about the true nature of God?

Once we repent, and turn to God, He immediately welcomes us with open arms and throws a party – giving us only the best!

Is there something in your life that holds you back from going to God?

Do you feel guilt or shame? Take it all to Him. He will only welcome you with open arms.

God is that good! It is religious arrogance that would shame you and guilt you. Run far from that. Run to God instead.

If you need help for inner healing, I’m happy to help…

Persuasive Words of Men?

jesus heals

If your faith is based on the persuasive words of men, your faith will not go deep. 
When life difficulty comes, your faith will fall.
 But, if your faith is based on the power of Holy Spirit, 
the kingdom of God in your life will be unshakable.

Jesus didn’t merely share information, nor motivational speaking. Jesus always brought the power of His kingdom. He is relational, not informational. Jesus does not rely on the persuasive words of men to reveal Himself to the world. Instead, He invites us to declare and show the world who He is. Yes, there is power in Jesus’ words. But, He calls us to live out His words and demonstrate His power.

“When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith would not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” – 1 Corinthians 2

First, be with Jesus.
Hear His voice.
What He invites you to do, go and do.
Not by your own strength, but in His.
AND, do it according to His timing.
Show the world, Jesus is very real and alive. 🙂 Like this…

Just over a month ago, I led 3 neighbour kids to pray for their sister with juvenile arthritis… well, this past weekend I ran into the mom and kids. Mom said that the next day, her 6 year old daughter had no pain!! They went for an MRI and it’s completely gone!! Jesus is our healer!

We had her siblings all put their hand on her ankle and we prayed for Jesus to heal. Beautiful. Absolutely precious.

She said she saw Jesus as we were praying – and everything was filled with a flood of light.

Again, she is 6, and now enjoying being a 6 year old including being in gymnastics!
Her siblings are 8, 4, and 2! 😄💗🎉

Another amazing thing happened this past weekend in my city… 2 pastors from 2 different churches confessed to their congregations that the way they have been doing church is all off. That followers of Jesus are ALL called to be pastors and should be going out as Jesus taught, not bringing people to church programs and relying on a human to feed them, but rather Holy Spirit to teach and lead them out. Wow! Sounds like a great shift is going to happen in institutional churches in our city!

Countdown to the Cross and Open Grave! (Lent 2019)

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I love the Lenten season! 🙂

Passover (some call it ‘Easter’) is the most important event in our world history, and yet it can sneak up on us. We often spend so much time focusing on Christmas, that we forget Part 2, …the dying to self-part and receiving new life in Christ! Christmas is receiving God’s gift under the tree and Passover / Easter is opening it!

It is a season, not just a week or a day, and it all starts on a Wednesday. The countdown to Easter Sunday is called “Lent” referring to a lengthening of days as the days get longer with Springtime! Lent is a time that we remember to die to our selfishness, and to choose to live free in Christ!

This year I look forward to using the daily verses (see Year C below) and the Divine Reading template. Come and allow Jesus to bring you new life through these daily readings…

1. List of Scriptures – Year C – Lent : Revised Common Lectionary

2. Your Guide – Reflective Reading Template (Lectio Divina) 

Do Leaders Need to Repent?

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Do leaders need to repent …or can they sweep things under the carpet?

When leaders fail to repent for idolatry and do not make heart change, not only do they cut off blessing in their own lives, but also in the lives of the people that they lead.

When a person walks in idolatry (bowing down to money, to other people out of fear, intimidation, lust, etc), they can expect the opposite of a blessing – a curse onto their children to the third and fourth generations. Idolatry in the lives of parents, grandparents, great, and great-great grandparents opens the door for this.

Sweeping sin under the carpet only makes your kids and grandkids pay more for it later. Is that really the inheritance you want to leave behind? The reason why your children, your flock are suffering, or walking away from you, cutting off all ties with you, etc…could be …you. And you could be a parent, a church leader, a business leader, a city leader…

And if you are calling your people to repent first, this is not love. This is control and manipulation. Leaders must repent first. (Otherwise, they are not leading. Leadership requires example, not hiding.)

Thankfully, repentance breaks this.

Jesus’ shed blood covers our sin when we repent.

God is a faithful God, who keeps his promise and is merciful to thousands of generations of those who love him and obey his commands.

Ask the Lord:

What is blocking me from receiving blessing for me and my children, my church, my business, my city etc? Whatever He brings to mind, repent of, and be set free! 🙂 This in turn will set your family line, your church, your city …free! 🙂 

Read: Exodus 20:5,6; Deuteronomy 7:9,10; Romans 8
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What’s next Papa?!

daddyholdinghand“This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!

That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.

All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:15-25‬ ‭paraphrase by Eugene Peterson

http://bible.com/97/rom.8.15-25.msg

Has God’s Glory Left?

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Where has His Glory gone…?

My adventures in 1 Samuel continue…

I read Chapter 4 today…

19 Now his daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant, about to give birth. And when she heard the news that the ark of God was captured, and that her father-in-law and her husband (priests) were dead, she bowed and gave birth, for her pains came upon her. 20 And about the time of her death the women attending her said to her, “Do not be afraid, for you have borne a son.” But she did not answer or pay attention. 21 And she named the child Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel!” because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 And she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”
(1 Samuel 4:19-22 ESV)

Why did God’s glory depart?

I went back and read Chapter 3 again…

10 The Lord came and stood there. He called as he did before, saying, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Samuel said, “Speak. I am your servant, and I am listening.”
11 The Lord said to Samuel, “I will soon do things in Israel that will shock anyone who hears about them. 12 I will do everything I said I would do against Eli and his family (priests), everything from the beginning to the end. 13 I told Eli I would punish his family forever. I will do this because Eli knew his sons were saying and doing bad things against God. But he failed to control them. 14 That is why I swore an oath that sacrifices and offerings will never take away the sins of the people in Eli’s family.”
(1 Samuel 3:10-14 ERV)

Questions to reflect on:

What grabbed you?

Why did God refuse sacrifices and offerings?

Why did God’s glory leave the people?

Who did God speak through in Chapter 3 because the priest and his sons were not listening and obeying God?

Have you been seeking God’s voice in your situation?

Has God been silent?

Would you recognize His voice if you heard it?

What could be blocking His voice and favour?

Prayer:

Dear Father,
What is in the way of me hearing your voice and receiving your glory?!
(Listen… Name it.)

Father, forgive me of  _______.

God, the power to completely overcome the sin of _________________is in You, the One Who lives in me. It is all about You, Lord, and Your power at work in me. I turn away from my self-effort to overcome this sin, and embrace the power of the Holy Spirit Who flows within me.

Jesus, I release the flow of the power of the Holy Spirit out through me, to overcome completely the sin of ______________. I receive Your forgiveness and cleansing now, on the basis of Your promise to me in I John 1:9. Thank you, Jesus, that Your blood covers this sin. Jesus, open my heart, my ears to hear your voice! Amen.

My Vision on Women

One morning I woke up with a vision of a family who is well known and loved within their community caring for orphans and widows and the homeless, but behind closed doors the daughters are mistreated. Several older daughters left the family to find freedom. The next daughter in line spoke up against the mistreatment, but the mistreatment simply shifted to the next youngest daughter, a leader in the making. The remaining oldest daughter’s heart broke at the betrayal and the expectation to remain and endure watching the mistreatment of another sister. She left for the sake of her own health.

But her heart breaks for those remaining sisters, some of whom know the mistreatment deeply and some who have yet to experience it for themselves. They have not yet come of age, or they quietly serve ‘in the kitchen, out of sight’, and some sisters feel the heaviness deeply and are praying like warriors trying to hold on.

My heart breaks when families become places of hurt and slavery for children, any gender.

What breaks my heart further is although some families finally recognize what they’ve lost in the mistreatment of their own, their apologies come not because of the hurt they have caused, but because of what they’ve lost themselves. Their wounds come not from what they have done wrong, but from what they have lost. They are only concerned that they are without wine because the women working the vineyard have fled.

True apology is found in behaviour, not mere words… 

Have you mistreated someone within your own family?

Weep and wail for you have put grief and burden deeply in their hearts. Beyond this, your betrayal brings generational bondage. Your family suffers like a person with an auto-immune disease, their body attacking itself.

Choose repentance.

Choose freedom.

You Let Me Rest

lover of your soul

I’ve been meditating on this old familiar Psalm quite a bit lately… May you too turn it into a prayer for yourself…

“You let me rest in fields of green grass. You lead me to streams of peaceful water, and you refresh my life. You are true to your name, and you lead me along the right paths. I may walk through valleys as dark as death, but I won’t be afraid. You are with me, and your shepherd’s rod makes me feel safe. You treat me to a feast, while my enemies watch. You honor me as your guest, and you fill my cup until it overflows. Your kindness and love will always be with me each day of my life, and I will live forever in your house, Lord.”‭ – Psalms‬ ‭23:2-6‬ ‭CEV

Let this musical rendition warm your soul…

Lenten Reading for the Third Sunday in Lent:

Light five candles before reading.

Usually God holds back his anger over sin. But one time he let it loose, so we would know how serious it is to turn our backs away from God and toward the darkness, and so we would know how great his wrath is against sin.

BUT he did not totally destroy his creation. He showed us his mercy, through Noah.

Genesis 6-9

1. Read the passage above slowly. (Click on the passages for the link.)
2. Linger with it quietly.
3. Ask God what He is saying to you and how He invites you to respond.
4. Write out or say a prayer back to Him.
5. Thank Him for His message to you today.

Snuff out one candle. Do not light again until Easter Sunday.

Hold on, it gets better… His rescue plan would change history forever. He would bring justice for you and me…

More reflections to come…

Sources: Some of my own and some adapted from Noel Piper, http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/lenten-lights

Lenten Reading for the Second Sunday in Lent:

Light six candles before reading.

God created people for relationship, for His glory. He gave them everything they could need or want. But they listened to the enemy’s lies instead. They no longer believed God’s gifts were enough. They turned their backs on God and lost their place in perfect friendship with Him. Now they saw pain and death in their future.

Genesis 2:8-3:19

Romans 5:12

1. Read the passages above slowly. (Click on the passages for the link.)
2. Linger with them quietly.
3. Ask God what He is saying to you and how He invites you to respond.
4. Write out or say a prayer back to Him.
5. Thank Him for His message to you today.

Snuff out one candle. Do not light again until Easter Sunday.

Hold on, it gets better… His rescue plan would change history forever. He would bring justice for you and me. Need a sneak peek?

He is the God who pays back those who harm me;
and rescues me…
You hold me safe…”

(Reflect more on Psalm 18…)

More reflections to come…

Sources: Some of my own and some adapted from Noel Piper, http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/lenten-lights