In recent days, I’ve been growing more and more dissatisfied with my own passion for God’s Word. I’ve found myself moving from one empty thing to the next. This is the end result when we stray from the Lord, by failing to remain close to Him, through the reading of His Word.
After our move, I rejoiced when we found a wonderful new community to worship with, at Calvary Chapel of Santa Maria. Quickly, Deanna and I became satisfied with the leadership, the teaching, and the structure of the children’s ministry. Shortly after, we were able to attend church as a family again, on Wednesday nights. Then, when my work schedule changed, we were able to attend as a family on Sunday’s as well.
Getting back into regular corporate worship, with others in God’s family, is so vital. I believe that submitting to the Lord’s teaching, through Pastor Paul, has opened the door to my heart once again.
This past political season captured my heart and mind, and I spent untold quantities of time, wasted on “keeping up with the election”. I ran my mouth, and traipsed all over the internet, making disparaging comments and posts.
When Jesus entered the Temple in Jerusalem, in Mark 11, Matthew 21, and Luke 19, he did so to clear God’s home from the unrighteous, who dishonored God. However, it’s important for me to learn that our Lord didn’t kill anyone. He didn’t actually attack anyone, and cause them harm. His anger was righteous, and he didn’t sin, in his anger.
Good lessons for me to learn. My passion for righteousness is good. How I go about communicating it is also important. If I do so, at the cost of relationships or respect, I have failed. And I have done this. I have acted with a heart not of the Lord’s.
My actions were brought to my attention by the Lord Himself, as I prayed for guidance regarding a deteriorating relationship. This friendship has dissolved over the past month, and it has brought me concern and sadness. As I went to the Lord, asking for patience and grace, in dealing with this friend’s constant barrage of sarcasm and disparaging words, He revealed to me that I indeed am guilty of the same sin.
For this, I repent. Before the Lord and you, I humbly ask for forgiveness and commit to depend on the Spirit to guide me to a more God-centered heart.
As I set out to alter my daily habits, to include a more regular and deliberate time to spend with the Lord, in His Word, I’d like to share that experience with you. Just recently, I joined our local YMCA in order to swim on a regular basis. I’ve needed to get back into better physical condition, and swimming is what works for me. So, in the spirit of healthy exercise, I’ll be adding a daily reading in the Word. In order to help me digest and critically apply the Word, I’m going to try and write a short devotional thought after each day’s reading. I’m not sure if it will work on days I go to work, since I get up at 3:15 in the morning. We’ll see.
As I read through some of the Word this morning, I focused on a quick look at what the Lord says about repentance. Several verses were convicting, but one stuck out. It was a new experience, as I considered what it meant.
“Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” [Matthew 3:8]
Not only is this a traditional call to repentance, but it has the added promise that I will bear fruit. Yes, these are John the Baptist’s words to a group of Pharisees. However, am I not one who knows God, but struggles to remain close to Him? Are we not all caught, at times, with an out-of-control zealousy that leads us to sin?
If I repent, and keep at it, won’t that bear fruit in my life? I think it will.
And it will for you too.
****Additional Scripture on repentance****