Friday, March 18, 2011

Two Kinds of Sorrow

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation

and leaves no regret but worldly sorrow brings death.

2 Corinthians 7:10 (NIV)

Sorrow that brings repentance and restoration has to be genuine. True regret calls for a change in behavior. We have seen deep shame cause a person to redirect his or her life to become respected by their family, community, and those close to them.

The world’s brand of sorrow isn’t honest about the issue. Those who buy into secular remorse only are ashamed for the outcome of their bad behavior-for getting caught.

People who observe others doctors, psychologists, preachers, psychiatrists all know those who continually speak of regret, only to repeat same action, have not dealt with the root cause of their problem, that of their spirit and their heart.

When we turn our issues over to God, we place Him in control of our lives and let Him guide us through each day. He does restore us when we allow His guidance and direction to mould our lives.
A friend wondered why we sometimes have to go through circumstances again and again. We decided that, if we didn’t learn what God intended us to the first time, we would take a remedial course until we got the lesson right. Yes, sometimes we all have to go through trials a second and a third time until something clicks and we can say, “I get the message.”

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Healing Our Land

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves

and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways,

then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

I find great comfort in this passage. God told Solomon these words a while after the dedication of the Temple. Earlier, Solomon had asked for God to make provision for the people when they sinned.

Every time I read these words, I pause at the four conditions God lays out for the people (us) to follow. 1.) Humble ourselves-admit when we have sinned. Face up to it; call it by name. 2.) Pray to God-come clean that we are sinners. Ask His forgiveness. 3.) Seek to get close to God-the closer we get to Him the more He knows we mean business. 4.) Change our behavior. Turn our backs to bad behavior.

As I study this for this topic, I find myself caught by God’s response to our acting on the conditions He set forth. 1.) He will hear our confessions. 2.) He will forgive our sin. He will erase it from His memory, 3.) He will heal our land. He will fix all He sees wrong in our land.

Being a writer, I enjoy words. The verb ‘will’ has a definite feel of certainty about it. God doesn’t say “Oh, I might.” Or “Hey, I can.” He doesn’t say, “Gee, I wish I could.” He says, “I will.”

We still have to meet the conditions set forth by God but we have God’s word, that when we do, He will revive our land

Monday, March 14, 2011

God Revives

“I live in a high and holy place,

But also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit,

To revive the spirit of the lowly

And to revive the heart of the contrite.”

Isaiah 57:15b NIV

God lives with us in our hearts. He comforts us when we are down. He energizes our spirits when the world has brought us low. He restores our souls when we realize our transgressions. He brings us back into His fold when we ask forgiveness.

Several of my friends have faced heart-wrenching times in recent months: Illnesses, family incidents, joblessness, or the breaking of traditions.God is there for each of them. God works through the events we deem difficult. He allows these things to happen so that His children might be drawn closer to Him.

One of the men in our prayer group realized we do God a disservice when we pray that a person be freed from a hard time. Rather, we should pray for God to lead them through the circumstance, guiding and teaching them as the individual progresses through the trial.

God will revive us as we look to Him in every situation we face.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...