Repent 5

Psalm 57:1-2

We are having trouble with our photo-copier at church. It appears that some dirt has built up on the roller where the paper comes out of the machine causing the copies to jam up. Although the problem may be more than that I thought about how much trouble a small amount of dirt can cause with copiers.

If even the smallest bit of dirt or ink or paper bits gets into the workings of the copier it will not function properly. If any dirt is on the glass plate then all the copies will have that smudge on them. A little dirt keeps the machine from functioning the way it is supposed to.

Psalm 57 is credited to David, the father of Solomon and one of the greatest of the kings in Jewish history. What does he ask for? What does he plan to do? Why does he cry out to God?

If you think about people who were really powerful in their faith and committed to God, David would have to be up there at the top of the list. He was very devoted to serving God and God blessed him richly.

However, just like everyone else, David made some mistakes along the way. He knew that he was in need of forgiveness and that he needed to repent of his sins. This psalm is one of those expressions of repentance.

David cried out to God and sought mercy. He needed God to be present with him to give him assurance. He wanted the Lord’s mercy, and in describing God he says that God fulfills his purpose.

With God’s forgiveness and grace, with the renewal of spirit that mercy brings, David was able to fulfill his purpose. He was able to live out his faith. He was able to behave as one who is truly devoted to God.

Once the sins were removed and David was cleansed he was able to move forward and be obedient to God.

Like David we must turn to God in repentance. We must turn to our Lord and seek His mercy so that we might be cleansed of all our failings. Thus cleansed, we will then be able to live out the purpose God has for us. We will be able to be obedient to God with a pure heart and soul.

Like the copier, the smallest amount of dirt – sin, selfishness, laziness, disinterest – can prevent us from fulfilling our purpose and functioning as we have been called to do.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What must you do to fulfill God’s purpose for you?

Repent 4

Malachi 3:1

In the fall and winter months we host a Bible study every Sunday evening at the parsonage. We enjoy having others come to the house for a small meal and fellowship time and, of course, the Bible study is always uplifting. Another benefit we get from hosting the Bible study is that every weekend we must clean our house so that it is presentable to our guests.

Although the act of cleaning isn’t always enjoyable it is good to know that the place is cleaned. It is good to know we have prepared the place to welcome the visitors we know are coming.

I think we sometimes must take that same approach with our souls. Malachi addresses many wrong behaviors in a society that has strayed from God. According to this passage, who is God sending? What will he do? Who is he preparing for?

This reading from Malachi might make us think of the ministry of John the Baptist. It might also make us think of Jesus. Both men preached a message of repentance, and that repentance was supposed to be a spiritual preparation for our place in the kingdom of heaven. Both preached a message that we must ready our hearts to make room for the Holy Spirit.

This message of preparation is not just intended to the Israelites of long ago, but is a message we should heed at all times. We must prepare our souls for the arrival of God. We should be cleansed of all our sins and mistakes. We should analyze our souls and our motivation to see if we are truly leading the type of life that is pleasing to God.

And, if we clean house spiritually, we can remove all the clutter that can detract from a holy life or distract us from obeying God. If we repent we can set aside the wrong and make room for the Lord.

Just as with cleaning a house, the act itself may not be pleasant, but it is very good to know that the cleaning has been done. It may be difficult for us to be honest in our evaluation of our spiritual health. It may be difficult for us to admit that some of the things we do are wrong.

But if we can confront ourselves and our own errant ways we can prepare our own hearts for the presence of Christ. If we can repent of our sins first, we can prepare our souls to be the temple where God might reside.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you prepare your heart for the presence of God?

Repent 3

2 Chronicles 7:17-18

Many years ago we led a group of families from our church on a weekend get-away to Louisville, Kentucky. Although we explained that we had never been there before and we weren’t sure where we were going, still everyone followed our car wherever we went. At one point we got lost and had to turn around in a gas station. Sure enough, ten other cars – lined up like a parade – turned around in the gas station.

Because they followed us everyone made the same mistake we had. But because we made a mistake we all made the same correction to turn things around.

Today’s passage is a continuation of God’s commands for Solomon. What three things are Solomon commanded to do? What will be the result?

Most people are familiar with the Old Testament figure of David. David was that ruddy child of Jesse who was anointed to be king. He was the young shepherd boy who confronted the giant Goliath and killed him. As an adult he was a mighty warrior who eventually became one of Israel’s greatest kings.

So, the promise God gives to Solomon is a good one. If Solomon can do what God commands and observe God’s laws then he will be as great a leader as David was.

It is interesting that God commands Solomon to walk before the Lord as David did. Although David was a great king, he was also guilty of a terrible sin when he seduced Bathsheba and had her husband murdered. Was God urging Solomon to make terrible mistakes as well?

No. But I do believe God knew, as Solomon knew, that Solomon would make his own mistakes. How, then, should Solomon walk before the Lord as David did?

Solomon is not being commanded to commit sins and make mistakes. But he is being commanded to seek forgiveness when he does make mistakes. Although David committed sins, he also repented of his sins and found mercy and forgiveness from God. David did wrong, but it did not diminish his fame because David repented of his ways and turned back to God.

Like Solomon we should walk before the Lord as David did. We should do what God commands and obey God’s laws. We should not deliberately sin, but we should be willing to repent, and we should be quick to repent when we do make our mistakes along the way.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How is that you can walk before the Lord as David did?

Repent 2

2 Chronicles 7:13-14

Like almost anyone else, from time to time my wife and I get on each other’s nerves, or our children do those things that spark my anger, or other people get me frustrated and I get mad. When tempers flare up and voices are raised that usually means that there is not a lot of communication going on.

When I am angry I don’t like to say much, and I don’t want to hear very much either. What needs to happen is that an apology must be made. Once that happens then communication can be restored and the relationship goes back to normal.

In the same way we can be separated from God because of our own mistakes and errors. Today’s passage is part of God’s response to Solomon when Solomon dedicates the temple to the Lord. What type of situation is God referring to in verse 13? What must God’s people do? How will God respond?

It is a very common concept in much of the Old Testament writings that when people suffered it was because they had done wrong and offended God, and God was punishing them. Personally, I don’t strictly cling to the belief that every bad thing is a punishment for wrong.

That being said, I do believe that when we stray from God and do those things we should not be doing, or don’t do the things we should, we are removed from the blessings of God. That seems to be the situation addressed in verse 13.

If we find ourselves out of God’s good will, if we feel that we should or could be more dedicated to serving God, then there are things we need to do to restore that relationship. There are things we need to do to start that conversation going again.

We – the people of God, called by His name – need to humble ourselves. Part of that humility is the acknowledgement that we must obey God. We must submit ourselves to the Lord. And part of that submission is to repent and seek forgiveness.

We must seek the face of God, that connection and relationship with the Almighty. We can seek God in prayer, and we can turn from our sinful ways and seek redemption from the Lord.

When we do these things God has promised that He will be part of that conversation which is our relationship with God, a connection of peace and love.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you humble yourself for God?


Acts 3:19

The challenge of being strong in our faith can often make us fear for what is expected of us, and those fears can sometimes cripple us. In Acts 3:1-10 we have the story of a lame man who is healed by the disciple Peter. This man has been bound up by his physical infirmities, unable to do those things he would like to do since birth. But Peter commanded that the man be freed from this bondage and be healed.

After the celebration of the miracle Peter takes the opportunity to explain the importance of faith in Jesus. He concludes with today’s verse. What does Peter urge his listeners to do?

Although Peter was speaking to the crowd in Solomon’s Colonnade, what he has to say applies to us today. The healing the beggar received is like the healing we can receive in our souls to put us on the right spiritual path in our walk before the Lord.

In a single Bible verse we have the summation of our faith and what we are to do as Christians. The first step for our spiritual strength and renewal is repentance. We are to realize that we have strayed from the path of righteousness and we are sinful. We have erred and done wrong things. But God desires that we ask forgiveness and renounce the ways of the world.

Then we turn to God. We change the focus of our lives and our souls, moving away from the lures and desires of the earthly things around us, and focus our hearts and souls on the everlasting Father that we might be given strength, ability and right direction.

When we have extracted ourselves from the temptations and errors of worldly things, when we have been forgiven and we make Christ the center of our attitudes and intentions, then we will be refreshed. We will have a new soul, a new heart, a new attitude and a new way of approaching what lies ahead.

With our sins gone and our hearts focused on the Lord we are given a new perspective and a new energy to do those things that are right and holy, those things that are directed by God.

We are each urged to give up the bondage of those things in life which distract us from holy living. We are urged to turn to God and welcome that refreshment of the spirit the Lord offers.

DAILY CHALLENGE: Repent of your sins. Turn to God and welcome the refreshing newness God can give you.