What Does Repentance Mean?

When a person gives their life to Christ, they do it so that their sins can be forgiven. But in addition to having ours sins forgiven, the gospels tell us we should repent of our sins and stop living the way we once lived.

In the gospel of Matthew, John the Baptist was baptizing people at the Jordan River. One day some religious leaders came and John asked them why they came? Then he said “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God” (Matt 3:9).

What does “repent” mean? It means to turn our back on our old way of living. It means to change and begin living for Christ.

None of us are perfect….we all have flaws…we all slip….but it is my conviction that Christians have slipped here. We will say that we believe in Christ…we love Jesus but gave our lives changed?

Now, you may ask, “What kind of change are you referring to?” Our talk should change. Yes, we may slip at times but it should bother us when we do. The bottom line is our words, our conversation…grows out of our heart. If our heart has changed our speech will change.

Our lives should be marked by love…tenderness…compassion….like Jesus. We should be honest….The bottom line is our lives should be different. But are we?

It is my conviction that one of the greatest needs in our country is for Christians….you and me….for our lives to change and reflect Christ. The Christian message has been watered down some. The bar has been lowered some. I encourage you to join me in living for Christ this year. To watch our mouths…to be filled with mercy and grace.

God Can Use Us Regardless Of Our Past

Do you ever feel God can’t use you because of your background? Are you embarrassed because there are some bad apples in your family tree? Someone said when they looked up their family tree, they wanted to cut it down. Well, there were some bad apples in Jesus family tree as well.

In Matthew 1, Matthew opens his gospel by providing a genealogy of Jesus. Rahab the prostitute was listed in the genealogy. The Bible says “Salmon begat Boaz of Rahab.” So, there was a prostitute in the lineage of our Lord.

If you have ever felt God can’t use you, you are wrong. God can use anyone regardless of our past.

Moses had killed an Egyptian but God used him.

David committed adultery but God used him.

Matthew was a crooked politician but God used him.

I could go on but you get the picture. God can use us if we are willing.

John Newton, author of the hymn, “Amazing Grace” said, I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.”

The Lord Loves His People

My mother-in-law, Emma Zell Knighton, lives in Centreville, Ms. She is 95 and doesn’t get out much but, she can talk to people on the phone. My three kids are eight hours away from her but, they will call her at times. When they do, “Muh,” as she is known by everyone, will tell my wife, “Robert or Will or Sarah called me today.” Now, she has other grand-kids, and I’m sure she says the same about the others but all I know about is my three.

So Muh loves to hear from family. She delights in hearing from her family just like any of us do.

What if I told you there is someone who would love to see us today? Someone who would love for us to sit down and talk with them? That should warm our hearts that someone loves us and wants to hear from us. Well, that person is Jehovah God!

Psalm 149:4 says, “God delights in His people.” God loves and enjoys His people. Think about that verse…it should warm our hearts… God delights in His people…

God delights when His people praise Him. This Psalm opens with the Lord saying, “Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song! Sing His praises in the assembly of the faithful.” So God delights when we praise Him.

God delights when we spend time in prayer. When we pray, we are talking to God. Our God delights….rejoices…when we spend time in prayer.

God delights when we spend time in Bible study. When we read God’s word, we are listening to God. God delights..God loves for us to read His word.

So today, spend some time with our Heavenly Father! Open His word and listen to Him. Spend time in prayer with Him.

He delights in His people.

Speaking Up For The Poor

Our Heavenly Father cares for the poor. There is an expression that grows out of that truth; it is that God helps those who cannot help themselves.

Proverbs 19:17 affirms this; He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again”
‭‭(Proverbs‬ ‭19:17‬ ‭KJV‬‬).

James said, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world”
‭‭(James‬ ‭1:27‬ ‭KJV‬‬).

God cares for the poor and wants His children to do the same.

Proverbs 31:8-9 reminds us to speak up for the poor; “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.”

How do we speak up for the poor? By helping them…by ministering to them. Much of this is done at Christmas but it needs to be done throughout the year.

Several years ago the church I was Pastor of at the time did a Thanksgiving ministry that was a blessing. We put together boxes of Thanksgiving food. We worked through a local school to provide us with names of needy people. It was a blessing to be able to give people a box of food who needed it.

Every day, let’s ask the Lord to help us be sensitive to the needy. Not just at Christmas but year round.

The Lord Formed The Human Spirit

When our kids were small they watched Barney quite a bit. Barney was a big purple dinosaur who had his own club members. Barney would say, “Your very special!” Barney was right; we are very special. God made us that way.

But, the one thing we have in common is the Lord made each of us. In Zechariah the prophet says of the Lord; “The Lord…formed the human spirit.” Think about that. The Lord made us.

The Lord made us just like we are. God loves us. We are all different. We don’t think alike. We don’t look alike. But God made us.

I don’t particularly care for some forms of music. But others do. There are certain things I like in church but others may not care for. We see things different politically.

The Lord made us and loves us. He formed the human spirit. And because He did, the Lord is the only one that can bring us happiness. The only way anyone will find happiness is through knowing Christ. We each have a void in our hearts that can be filled by God.

So, if you are searching for meaning and happiness – look to the Lord…He created the human spirit.

Let A Sleeping Dog Lie

Have you ever heard someone say, “Well, I don’t want to bring up a sore subject….but….” and then they proceed to bring up a sore subject? That’s called “stirring the pot”…meaning you are bringing up a sore subject. Some people seem to love this. They live to stir the pot.

Proverbs 30:33 says “As the beating of cream yields butter and striking the nose causes bleeding, so stirring up anger causes quarrels.”

Notice the last few words….”stirring up anger causes quarrels.” Whenever we bring up an issue that needs to be left alone, we cause quarrels. I have known people that seem to thrive on this.

In a former church, I walked in one morning and one person told me about some problems. It sounded pretty serious. Then I went and spoke to the man whom the information came from and he just shook his head and said, “they love to stir the pot.” If you love to stir the pot…stop stirring, please. What good are you doing?

If there is a problem…try to resolve it…if you aren’t going to try to resolve it, don’t bring it up.

This also applies to social media. Social media is a great tool. Many people use it to share the gospel. But can also be a place to post things that don’t need to be posted. Before you copy & paste something, find out if it’s true. If you can’t find out if it’s true, don’t post it. abs even if it is true, does it need to be posted?

So, if we are guilty of it, we all need to stop stirring anger.

You may be familiar with the expression, “Let a sleeping dog lie…” That means don’t stir anger. Don’t bring up stuff that should be left alone. Those are good goals for the coming year for us.

Christmas Throughout The Year

Christmas is over, right? Well Christmas Day is over but the spirit of Christmas doesn’t have to be limited to one day.

The decorations will come down…in a few days we will begin a new year…but the spirit of Christmas doesn’t have to stop. We may not be able to purchase gifts like we did at Christmas but, we can help others. We can give that little extra.

I encourage you to carry a giving, helping spirit every day.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox once wrote;

“There are two kinds of people on earth to-day;

Just two kinds of people, no more, I say.

Not the sinner and saint, for it’s well understood,

The good are half bad and the bad are half good.

Not the rich and the poor, for to rate a man’s wealth,

You must first know the state of his conscience and health.

No; the two kinds of people on earth I mean,

Are the people who lift and the people who lean.

So, in 2020, will you be a lifter or a leaner?

The apostle Paul wrote;

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”

Christmas Is God With Us

What is Christmas?

If you ask a random person that question you will hear things like, “Christmas is about Santa Claus…it’s Rudolph…it’s Frosty…”

Someone else may say, “Christmas is about family and friends.”

Both of these explanations are ok…there is nothing wrong with Santa & Rudolph & Frosty…But is that all there is to Christmas?

No it’s not. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus.

Someone expressed it like this; “Christmas is when God came down the stairs of heaven with a baby.”

Matthew 1:23 says, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23 KJV).

Christmas is Emmanuel, God with us. When Jesus was born, God took on human skin and walked among us. God came to this earth in the form of Jesus. Jesus would ultimately go to the cross to die for our sins. Jesus loves us and Christmas is proof of that.

Today, God is with us. You may ask, “How?”

God is present today through the presence of the Holy Spirit. God is with us.

God is with us to help us with our anxiety.

God is with us to help us with addiction

God is with us to help us with our heart-break.

Sometimes God is with us in the form of a person who ministers to us. Sometimes it’s through His word. Sometimes it’s through song. But God is with us.

Happy birthday Jesus!

Why Is It Wise To Follow Christ?

Tomorrow we celebrate the birth of Christ. Throughout this week, my posts have been on different characters in the Christmas story. Today, let’s look at the wise men.

The wise men were astrologers. And the Scripture says they followed the star to the stable where the Christ child was born.

Due to the wise men following the star, an expression has been around for years which is “Wise men still seek Him.”

Why do wise men seek Jesus? Because Jesus Christ is the greatest person in history. Jesus Christ was filled with love and mercy. Jesus healed people…He cared for people…He forgave people….Jesus died on the cross for the sin of mankind. Jesus died, was buried and rose again in bodily form.

The world is filled with religious groups but only Jesus rose from the grave. This is why wise men STILL seek Jesus.