January 12, 2021 · 7:00 am
Lord help us to turn, from callousness to sensitivity, from hostility to love, from pettiness to purpose, from envy to contentment, from carelessness to discipline, from fear to faith. Turn us around, O Lord, and bring us back toward you. Revive our lives as at the beginning and turn us toward each other, Lord, for in isolation there is no life.
From “Gates of Repentance.” Chaim Stern
September 9, 2015 · 10:57 am
In the happy night, in secret, when none saw me, nor I beheld anyone, without light or guide, except that which burned in my heart. This light guided me more surely than the light of noonday to the place where He was awaiting me.
— John of the Cross
I think that we all yearn for a “heart light” that will lead us directly to God. Life is far too hard and confusing for us to figure our own path to God, so he gives us a special light that only we can see. This light can be passed on to none or borrowed by no one. God gives it to the ones who have chosen to follow Him.
John of the Cross says that it is brighter than the light of the brightest day. The light that our Creator places in us when we acknowledge His grace exceeds anything we can imagine. This light takes us to the place that He has prepared for us before we were born.
The problem is that we travel this road in the dark night of this world. In that night we are surrounded by “light eaters”, that is, forces and powers that want us to turn away from our inner light. These forces manifest themselves in a great variety of ways. Such forces can be a friendly voice that steers us in the wrong direction or a tragic circumstance that leads us to doubt God. We are assured of this by the writer of Hebrews …“We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain.” We travel in the night but not in darkness.
Lord help me this day to discover that heart light that dwells dormant within me. With that discovery, I will surely touch the hem of your garment and receive healing of the soul. Amen
April 15, 2014 · 1:09 pm
Lent is a time for repentance. Repentance is far more that simple regret. Sorrow for sin is united with an unwavering decision to change. As the Holy Spirit makes us aware of our failures, repentance is our spiritual response.
Repentance for personal lack of obedience to God was addressed by Jesus. This repentance involves a regretful acceptance of your unrighteousness before God. This acceptance necessitates a transformation of your personal priorities, your attitude, and your behavior.
Paul wrote to the church at Corinth to affirm their repentance as a congregation. In his letter, Paul refers to repentance as “Godly sorrow,” and admitted that while the process was painful for the church, the result would leave no room for regrets for the pain endured. Repentance for the Corinthian church led to a renewed devotion to serve God.
The Old Testament prophets realized that as a nation, Israel had deviated far from the course set out for them by God. Repentance for the nation necessitated a “re-vision” of sight as a country with a new hope of God-centered living and priorities. Repentance for the nation gives us forgiveness for national selfishness and arrogance before God.
When repentance has occurred, a time of refreshing comes. Our lives have meaning, a clearer understanding of God, and hope for the future. God’s promise is that honest repentance brings its reward – the presence and blessing of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Use this season of Lent to experience the cleansing joy of repentance.
PRAYER: Father – I acknowledge my guilt and regret for my lack of obedience to you. Help me change those things in my life that do not honor you.
- Lent Day #20 | Repentance (thereformedwesleyan.com)
March 26, 2014 · 10:12 am
It was said of Abba Theodore of Pherme that three things he held to be fundamental were: poverty, asceticism, flight
He also said, ‘The man who remains standing when he repents, has not kept the commandment.’
—–Sayings of the Desert
The advice from the monk is to have your life characterized by some fundamental attitudes that lead us closer to God. He goes on to tell us that true repentance is manifested in outward humility. The words poverty and asceticism can be summed up by just saying that we are called to a life of simplicity. This type of simplicity allows us to put God first in our lives. Such a simplicity keeps us away from many temptations. Those that live the simple life are generous, compassionate and without greed or envy. The expression “flight from men “can be summed up by saying, put aside the things of the world and spend time with God. This life is designed to keep us constantly distracted and occupied with the things of the world. Such a state of affairs gives us little time for the things of God. We all want to get to a place where we find peace and harmony with ourselves and the rest of the world. That was the Abba’s goal and ours, too.
Striving towards that simplicity demands repentance, not just a casual confession, but true repentance. That repentance is one of depth and conviction, and it brings about conversion. Such a conversion will affect us greatly. There are too many professing Christians who can simply “remain standing” surrounded by their sin. All of us are called to a repentance and conversion of heart that brings us to our knees, helpless without the grace of God.