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AWAKEN 2019: A Repentant Heart

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“If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” - 2 Chronicles 7:14 

Today’s verse from the Old Testament is the continuation of a thought from a previous verse that is conditional. God says, “I can decide to destroy this land, but if,” … “my people will humble themselves, pray, seek My face and repent, then I will forgive them and heal their land.” Some people see God as a cosmic dictator or killjoy who is only out to deprive humanity of fun to control us. But this idea is not the least bit true. God is a loving Father who wants what’s best for His children. Good parenting requires timely and healthy discipline. This discipline gives its return mostly in the form of a successful and fruitful servant-filled life. God will discipline His children, but He will also restore health and vibrancy to a life decimated by sin; but only when we repent. Repentance involves admitting sin and turning from sin in an opposite direction. Being sorry is not necessarily repentance. Sorrow that leads to godly decisions and seeking God and His direction is a sign of true sorrow over sin.

While it may seem overly extreme, true repentance will take extreme new choices. Foregoing sin and having godly self-control will result in a person seeking the face of God and turning from sinful practices. This is why Paul told the believers at Corinth:

“I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation…” - 2 Corinthians 7:9-10

Paul understood that, though conviction is painful, it leads to freedom in turning from our sin and experiencing forgiveness. Later in the chapter he would celebrate the zeal and passion the believers at Corinth had come to know. This is the natural result from a genuine repentance. Ask the Lord to forgive you for specific sins. Do not be too general. Aim at the bullseye of the target of a specific sin. Tell God what you have done, agree with Him that it is sin, and turn from that sin. He will heal what you need healed.

In conclusion, take some time to read and reflect on the following questions:

  • What’s keeping you back from seeking forgiveness from the Lord?  See Isaiah 55:6-7 
  • Is there unrepentant sin in your life?  See Psalm 66:18
  • In your life personally, what obedience is needed in response to this passage?  See Psalm 143:10

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AWAKEN 2019: A Clean Heart

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“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” - Psalm 51:10

When we think of God, we often think of Him as Creator. Everything we see, feel, taste, smell, and touch was created both by and for Him. There are things He has created, though, that are not as easy to know through the human senses. When the Bible speaks of “heart,” it is not referring to the human heart that produces and pumps blood throughout the human body. “Heart” here refers to the will, emotions, and desires of a person. This “heart” can be described as what makes you, well, you. Every human ever born was born with a natural and sinful “heart.” Humans didn’t become sinners; all were born sinners. Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life, and died so that any human would be capable of real and lasting change. This change would supply a new and perfect “heart.” This heart though could never become dark again, but it could be tainted and clouded by the sin one commits.

What David the Psalmist was asking God to do in this verse was not to save his soul, but to renew his “heart” to the “heart” he had when he became a child of God. He was asking for God to both forgive him of his sin and supply a desire for obedience - “Clean me up O Lord and give me endurance to obey You!” When sin creeps into our lives and we recognize it, we too as children of God need to ask Him to give us a clean “heart.” To be forgiven and to have the ability to start over is a blessing from God. And He gives us that blessing each and every day. His mercies “are new every morning”(Lamentations 3:22,23). We can ask Him to do it…and He will forgive us every single time!

Have you ever given your life to Jesus? If not, you can. Ask Jesus to give you a brand new and perfect heart for the very first time. But if you are already a Jesus Follower, know that asking for God to clean you up will be needed until Jesus returns.

In conclusion, take some time to read and reflect on the following questions:

  • Do you need to ask for God to give you a clean heart?  See Matthew 5:8
  • Do you have a desire for obedience? See Philippians 2:12-13 
  • Is what’s on God’s heart on yours?  See Psalm 86:11

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