Posts Tagged 'repentance'

Conviction

JESUS SPEAKING

“But if I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness because I go to My Father and you see me no more; of judgement, because the ruler of this world is judged.” (John 16: 5 – 11)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

In this scripture Jesus contemplates the future arrival of the Holy Spirit (the indwelling of God that exists within the heart of every believer; sent to mankind after Christ’s ascension into heaven.) According to the Lord, this powerful spiritual entity convicts the world of sin. What then is conviction? Conviction is the recognition of guilt and subsequent expression of remorse that accompanies any evil act or ungodly behavior. Although conviction is emotionally taxing, when experienced by a believer, this shameful imposition is far more helpful than harmful. God uses conviction to shape and mold our behavior. Guilt then leads us to abandon sin and embrace repentance; thus making us more like our Creator.

Sociology professor Anthony Campolo recalls a deeply moving incident that happened in a Christian junior high camp where he served. One of the campers, a boy with spastic paralysis, was the object of heartless ridicule. When he would ask a question, the boys would deliberately answer in a halting, mimicking way. One night his cabin group chose him to lead the devotions before the entire camp. It was one more effort to have some “fun” at his expense. Unashamedly the spastic boy stood up, and in his strained, slurred manner—each word coming with enormous effort—he expressed a simple phrase, “Jesus loves me—and I love Jesus!” That was all. Conviction immediately fell upon those junior high students. Many of them began to cry. Revival had gripped the camp. Years afterward, Campolo still meets men in the ministry who came to Christ because of that testimony.

Like those young campers, God is still using conviction to create conversions and to strengthen and edify those who already believe. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the lines between right and wrong are no longer blurry; they have been redrawn; making God’s will easier to understand and obey. When we do something sinful or unjust, we are chastised by the Lord; corrected and driven to repentance and purification. Like any good Father, He is training us; molding and shaping us into a more ideal image; the image of His perfect Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. May we always seek after the Lord and never ignore our convictions.

“Lord Heavenly Father, fill us with Your Holy Spirit, that we might recognize and experience the convictions that You have placed upon our hearts. Give us a willingness to change and the ability to understand Your will and to be transformed by it. If we have grown dull or become stubborn, may we rediscover a passion for accomplishing Your will. You truly are an awesome and amazing God. To You belongs all the glory and honor. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.” God bless all of you!

Being Set Free

JESUS SPEAKING

     Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed.  And you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”  They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been in bondage to anyone.  How can you say you will be made free?”  Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.  And a slave does not abide in the house forever.  Therefore, if the son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8: 31 – 36)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

     Although slavery was quite common in the ancient world, the men Jesus spoke with were not slaves.  Rather, being free men, they had failed to understand that they were slaves to their own sinful appetites.  Sin is often a far crueler taskmaster than any man holding a whip.  Even today, many weary souls are hopelessly ruled over by their addictions; some are in bondage to drugs and alcohol; some to pornography and sexual deviancy; while others are shackled to wealth, deception, lewdness, fornication, and idolatry; etc.  And yet, no matter how vast the number of sins might be, Jesus Christ has been setting people free for nearly 2000 years.

     One day I decided to visit Venice Beach; as I walked amidst the shops and street performers, I happened across a young couple.  They were homeless; their dirty hair was tangled and matted; their clothes were riddled with holes and despite being raised in the United States, they spoke with a heavy Jamaican accent.  They were apparently practicing the Rastafarian religion; a religion that promotes the spiritual use of marijuana.  Their bondage to the drug was so ferocious that they had adopted an entirely foreign lifestyle, simply to continue smoking marijuana without conviction.  Although they believed themselves to be free, they were in fact slaves; slaves whose master had caused them to lose nearly everything.  Thankfully I was able to share with them about how God had transformed my life; how He had relieved me of my addictions.  I would like to tell you that they immediately received the message and were reborn, but I cannot.  I can only pray that they might someday accept Jesus Christ and been set free.

     If you are in bondage to some kind of sin, turn your life over to Jesus Christ and He will relieve your burdens.  He will set you free from your addictions; He will heal your mind and cleanse your soul.  Invite Him into your heart, and He will become your master; He will protect you; He will guide you; He will mold you and shape you into His own image.  Surrender completely and you will know true freedom.  As the love of God fills your heart, you will experience genuine gratitude and everlasting peace.  [Note:  If you have never received Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior and would like to be set free, contact me and we can discuss how you might make that decision today.]

     “Lord Heavenly Father, we desire to be set free from the bondage of sin and death.  Heal our hearts and minds; and give us hope.  May our addictions be relieved, and may our fleshly desires be destroyed.  May we serve You in sincerity of heart; may we never stray from the path of righteousness; and may we dwell in Your presence forever.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name, amen.”  God bless all of you!

Cutting Away Sin

JESUS SPEAKING

    “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” (Matthew 5: 30)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

  Sin is defined as any act of willful disobedience toward God. Sin is very serious because it separates us from our Heavenly Father. Because God loves his children, He desires for us to let go of our sinful practices, that we may be reunited with, and grow closer to Him. Any grievous sins, such as fornication, adultery, lying, stealing, lewdness, etc, must be abandoned. In order that we may live, we must cut away the sinful portions of our dead flesh.
   In April of 2003, an experienced mountain climber named Aaron Ralston was hiking alone in a remote mountain pass in Utah. While maneuvering through one of the crevices, a giant boulder dislodged and pinned his arm against the canyon wall; for days he attempted to free himself. He had not told anyone where he was going, so he knew that no one would be looking for him. When he had finally run out of water, Aaron was faced with a terrible choice […] He could severe his arm with an ill-equipped pocket knife; or he could keep his arm and simply lay down and die. The only thing standing between Aaron and the rest of his life were two bones, several muscles, and some tendons in his forearm. Aaron chose to break both bones in his arm; he then proceeded to saw through his own flesh with his dull knife. After nearly 127 hours of confinement, he left his severed arm behind and climbed out of the canyon. Until that day, Aaron had lived selfishly. He had been a ‘loner’ who continually pushed others away. Shortly after his experience he came to believe that the boulder had been waiting for him his entire life (that it was destined to transform him.) He said, “I left my hand behind in that canyon, but I gained my life back.” His experience allowed him to see what was truly important. He began to put the emphasis on personal relationships; he eventually married and started a family. He now travels the world telling other people about his inspiring story.
   Like Aaron, there are boulders in our lives; giant rocks that pin us down and keep us from knowing complete freedom. If we have entered again into serious sin, and we have been separated from God then we have some cutting to do. Cut away the dead flesh, so that you may live. Ask God to reveal to you any sinful practices that have crept back into your life and He will. How you respond to what you find, will determine your eternal destination. May God help us all to make the right choices.
  “Lord Heavenly Father we recognize that sin can cause us to become separated from You. We know that we have received forgiveness through Your Son, but we also have a responsibility to refrain from willful acts of disobedience. If we have become defiant, then please give us the strength to put these sins to death, that we may eternally continue to live for You. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.” God bless all of you!


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