It’s a word we either don’t like to hear, don’t understand, or simply ignore. Repentance requires acknowledge of something being amiss, and we don’t necessarily like to admit we’re wrong. It seems to indicates weakness, and weakness is…well, a weakness!

But it’s not.

When we repent, we admit where we are, not to get stuck, settle into a place of defeat, or give up. We repent, because we’re willing to move beyond where we are. We acknowledgement where we are isn’t where we should be. It doesn’t mean everything in our lives is bad. In fact, as we grow in faith and let God consume our lives more completely, we realize he challenges us to repent of even the slightest details of our attitudes and intentions, pruning the tiny weeds before they grow into trees.

There are no limits on repentance. It includes the big and tiny, the ongoing and momentary, the obvious and well-disguised.

We often respond in faith forgetting the importance of repentance. We ask for blessings, we praise God, we expect God’s promises…but we haven’t done a heart-check first. We need to ask ourselves if there’s anything between us and God as we approach him, and since we work toward developing an ongoing connection with him, we need to be adamant about consistently asking him to identify anything that’s creating any amount of distance between us. That also means we have to be willing to listen as he reveals the distance. We need to be willing to respond.

A lack of repentance impacts personal faith, and it also impacts community. Each person is responsible for his/her own repentance. Each person is also able to ask for repentance for the community. It must be done with a pure heart. We don’t ask for repentance because “that person” did something wrong. We ask for repentance because we did something wrong whether we personally offended or not. Going to God in repentance for our community assumes our association among that community. (See Nehemiah’s prayer in Nehemiah 1:1.)

Repentance isn’t a pit of guilt. It makes a way out of the pit of guilt. Get familiar with repentance. It’s a grace-filled gift from God.

God, be merciful to me because you are loving.
Because you are always ready to be merciful, wipe out all my wrongs.
Wash away all my guilt and make me clean again.

I know about my wrongs, and I can’t forget my sin.
You are the only one I have sinned against; I have done what you say is wrong.
You are right when you speak and fair when you judge.
I was brought into this world in sin. In sin my mother gave birth to me.

You want me to be completely truthful, so teach me wisdom.
Take away my sin, and I will be clean. Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Make me hear sounds of joy and gladness;let the bones you crushed be happy again.
Turn your face from my sins and wipe out all my guilt.

Create in me a pure heart, God, and make my spirit right again.
Do not send me away from you or take your Holy Spirit away from me.
Give me back the joy of your salvation. Keep me strong by giving me a willing spirit. (Psalm 51:1-12)


Is God As Vague As We Think He Is?

We often want to know more than we know. We need the why and how of what’s going on around us. But although we may not get exactly what we want when we want it, it’s hard to argue that God is a general God. He is very specific in who He is, His desire for a relationship with us, and in many cases, what He is doing to maintain or foster that relationship.

Then God said to Noah, “I have decided to put an end to every creature, for the earth is filled with wickedness because of them; therefore I am going to destroy them along with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopher wood…Understand that I am bringing a flood—floodwaters on the earth to destroy every creature under heaven with the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will die.  But I will establish My covenant with you, and you will enter the ark with your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives. You are also to bring into the ark two of all the living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you” (Genesis 6:13-14, 17-19, emphases mine).

Specific instructions, reasons, promises, and expectations.

It’s not always what we receive from God, but I wonder if it’s because we expect God to behave and communicate to us in preconceived ways and timing. If we don’t receive something the way we expect it, we likely miss or dismiss it. I doubt Noah expected what God had to say to him. Yet he was willing to listen and respond.

We won’t all be expected to build an ark, trek up a mountain with one of our children, go to a king to save an entire ethnic group, or step out of a boat into a storm. We don’t have to wait for that out-of-the-blue-unbelievable moment. We simply need to be prepared and positioned to listen and respond. God may reveal something big or something we see as small. It’s all important to Him.

Open your eyes and heart today. Listen well. Respond well. What God has to say is important.

A Slow Leak

30days Today’s guest post is from Allison Cain, speaker and author of several books, including 30 Days in Zechariah

Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. Psalm 90:2 NIV

I was thinking…

It’s interesting how we believe what the newspapers and internet say but question what the Bible says. It’s sad how quickly we will dismiss what the Bible says because the world has changed since it was written. I think the landscape has changed, but I don’t think they human heart has changed one bit. I don’t think Satan’s desire to deceive us and lead us astray and into sin has changed. I don’t think our God has changed – nor His mighty promises.

Think about it.

This week will you join me in pondering what it is we don’t buy into about God’s word? What is it that you question? What would you ask an angel of the Lord right now if given the opportunity? What don’t you trust? Where is your faith lacking?

It isn’t easy, but these are important questions for each of us to answer. If we don’t face the weak, leaky spots, they will continue to grow bigger and bigger until they overtake all of our faith. It’s like a slow rot. It takes courage and strength to look inside our hearts and see what is there, but when we do – when we face the question, fear, or uncertainty and ask God to change it into a stronger faith and trust in Him, He honors that.

It may not happen over night, but He will honor your desire to trust and follow Him. If asked, He will gladly help us overcome idols and the things of this world.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34 NIV

When you discover the hole in your faith: 1) take it to God in prayer 2) look in your Bible or ask a pastor or friend for some verses that reaffirm God’s promise you are questioning 3) write out those verses on cards and place them around your home, office, car or school 4) read them over and over and continue to pray throughout the month 5) keep a journal on your phone or on paper about how God is showing you His glory, victory and truth.

How is He opening your eyes and heart and growing you closer to Him? We would love to hear about what the hole in your faith is, the verses you discover bring you strength and your journey to a stronger faith and trust in God. Consider sharing them here if you feel led to do so.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever.Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1-3 NIV

Father, we ask you to search our hearts for anything that is getting in the way of knowing you, believing you, loving you and serving you. To some it may be obvious, but others are struggling to pin point what the obstacle is. Please reveal it today and give us the strength and courage to place it on the alter before you so that we can move forward in our relationship with You. In Christ’s Name, Amen.

allisonConnect with Allison on her blog and Twitter.

Dancing in the Minefields

10 things I love about this song.

  • It reminds me that marriage isn’t easy.
  • It reminds me the hard work and commitment is worth the effort.
  • It brings me joy and hope as I watch joyful older couples dancing, knowing they’ve lived – and continue to live – through rough times.
  • It whispers what my heart repeatedly whispers. Listen to the chorus and you’ll hear it: “Don’t give up on me. Don’t give up on me. Don’t give up on me.”
  • It reminds me of the simplicity and complexity of marriage.
  • It reminds me of what’s at stake with my marriage.
  • It reminds of the essential daily sacrifice of marriage.
  • It challenges me to live my marriage fully.
  • It puts my marriage in the context of who God is and how faithful he is in his promises.
  • It reminds me…I love my husband and am grateful for his continued commitment to me…even in my unlovable moments.

Well I was 19 you were 21
The year we got engaged
Everyone said we were much to young
But we did it anyway
We got the rings for 40 each from a pawnshop down the road
We said our vows and took the leap now 15 years ago

We went dancing in the minefields
We went sailing in the storm
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for

Well ‘I do’ are the two most famous last words
The beginning of the end
But to lose your life for another I’ve heard is a good place to begin
Cause the only way to find your life is to lay your own life down
And I believe it’s an easy price for the life that we have found

And we’re dancing in the minefields
We’re sailing in the storm
This is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for
That’s what the promise is for

So when I lose my way, find me
When I lose loves chains, bind me
At the end of all my faith
to the end of all my days
when I forget my name, remind me

Cause we bear the light of the son of man
So there’s nothing left to fear
So I’ll walk with you in the shadow lands
Till the shadows disappear
Cause he promised not to leave us
And his promises are true
So in the face of all this chaos baby
I can dance with you

So lets go dancing in the minefields
Lets go sailing in the storms
Oh lets go dancing in the minefields
And kicking down the doors
Oh lets go dancing in the minefields
And sailing in the storms
Oh this is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for
That’s what the promise is for