Monday, December 08, 2008

Repentance

The candle flickers, the second of the advent season. I think of John the Baptist who went about in the wilderness of Judea urging people, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matthew 3:3 NASV


People in Jerusalem, all Judea, and the district around the Jordon went to John, confessed their sins and were baptized by him in the Jordon River.


John was to tell of the Messiah. John's call for repentance helps us prepare, too. What sin lurks in the wilderness of our hearts? How are we stunted in our growth in Him by sin within us?


What unconfessed sins linger? Careless words, unforgiving heart, a gift we will not give, offense harboured, critical spirit, a judgmental attitude?


Will you repent with me? Will you prepare your heart with me for the presence of God-with-us?


According to Webster's, to repent means to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life.


Right now I am in this place of sorrow and regret. I know a contrite heart He will not despise.
The place is difficult. Yet these branches do not bear fruit. They need to be pruned and cast into the fire.


So with the second advent candle lit, I answer the call of John the Baptist. I repent.


We wait expectantly this advent season. So come, come, Emmanuel, God with us.


"And the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
And His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
Matthew 3: 10-12 NASV

7 comments:

Belinda said...

Dear Joyful,
In yesterday's Daily Light, I read that beautiful verse from Isaiah (42:3), "A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out..."

We do need to turn with sorrow from unfruitful and idolatrous ways, with sincerely repentant hearts, but then, rest in him. The work in us is his. All of it. And he loves us so much.

Night Owl said...

I read that Daily Light too. So why doesn't He just break the bruised reed, or snuff out the smoldering wick? He enjoys tormenting us? He enjoys our pain? It hurts so much I wish He would just let me go. Let me come to Him. Why won't He? :(
On a happier note, John the Baptist is one of my favourite heroes ever.
But I still wish God would let me go to Him. That's what I want for Christmas. I've decided. This decision to want this almost hurts as much as I hurt now, but definitely it's not as painful as staying. :(
Whether or not I receive this "gift" is not my decision though... :( (I don't think I want it to be... At least not yet...)

Joyful Fox said...

Dearest Night Owl,

When I was between the ages of 21-23, I wanted that so much too. Life seemed unbearable. I knew the line that Terry Fox quoted so well, "Somewhere the hurting must stop."

I have lived a lifetime since than. There have been many challenges and hurts. There have also been unspeakable joys. I am glad God had me stay. That time in my life is so removed from now.

There are still challenges, Night Owl but to never have had the joys of marrying Jason, having each of my 5 children, rich friendships, and overcoming obstacles.

I know God has good things in store for you, too. Never stop seeking Him, trusting, and believing. Trust me when I say, "The best is yet to come."

night owl said...

Dear Joyful Fox,
I'm sorry,
but my smoldering wick is so close to being snuffed out,
if God doesn't snuff it out (which I hope He does - that would be the best way to be snuffed out),
I'm afraid someone else is going to.
And I'd rather have God do it.
Please.
Somewhere the hurting must stop... I really like that quote. (This is the first time I've heard it.) I wonder, can the somewhere be closer to where I am now? It's really been too long already, I think.
I'm sorry that I don't want to get through this day. But that's the truth.
I don't understand what I'm supposed to get from never stopping seeking Him, trusting, and believing. It hasn't gotten me anywhere yet. It actually might be more painful, because I'm trying to believe in something better. And it never comes.
I don't understand why people expect me to keep going, keep hanging in there. Maybe I just can't. Maybe there's something wrong with me, okay? I'm sorry, but maybe I just can't. :(
And there's too many times when I just want to say good bye.

Joyful Fox said...

Dearest Night Owl,

I am so sorry. You are in such a hard place. Sometimes all we can do is take the next step or move to the next minute.

I didn't mean to put expectations upon you when you feel stretched to breaking. I wanted to encourage you and bless you, not minimize where you are.

I'm thinking of you and praying for you. I know God will meet you where you are and He understands your needs and heart intimately.

The seeking, longing, believing works perseverance in us...

"...knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us,..." Romans 5:3-5 NASV

Believe what you know and trust it. Our feelings are powerful but we must trust the truth.

Praying for you now.

Love to you my friend,
Ellen

OH MOM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marilyn said...

Oooops! Sorry! I originally posted this comment under a screen name that links to a private blog.

I came to read this late today, after 8:30 pm, and was amazed to see it dealt with a topic on my heart this whole day, the need for repentance, for turning. My thoughts and attitude have been going down bad paths lately and I long to change that. The connection this post made to Advent was really helpful and reminded me that repentance isn't a call to flog oneself, but prepping....making a space for God to enter in and work. Very encouraging to me!
* * *
As for the comments that followed, I wish to chime in with a verse that's meant a lot to me lately, "When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God..." - Psalm 73:16,17. So much I don't understand swirls around me at times - just one continuous swirl - and struggling to understand, figure it out, work it out, get it right, etc., is fruitless. But boxing it up and taking it into the sanctuary and presenting it, inviting God to speak into it as He wishes and in His timing......there's a peace that follows. Sometimes I have to make a LOT of return trips there, though, depending on what's going on. The path to the sanctuary is well-worn.