[ecko_quote source="Philippians 4:6"] Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God[/ecko_quote]
The importance and spiritual benefits of thanksgiving in our prayer life cannot be overemphasized. The Bible tells us that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). But the question is, how do you become humble? It is done by being thankful! A good rule is to be careful (worried) for nothing, be prayerful in all things and be thankful for everything. In the Old Testament, a special group of priests was appointed to do nothing but praise and thank the Lord (2 Chronicle 31:2).
There are four types of people. There are those who are constantly complaining and grumbling. Have you met any of these folks? I mean, they can brighten up a room just by leaving. That’s the lowest level. Then, there are others who live lives of ingratitude. They don’t complain, but they never thank God for His obvious blessings. That’s a little better, but not good enough. Then, there are people who thank God for obvious blessings. When something good happens, they’re grateful. That’s little better. But the highest level is to be grateful for all things at all times. That is the secret of a joyful and a productive life.
In Habakkuk’s day, there was an economic recession. There were no cows in the barn. “Yet…” he writes. Oh, how I love that word “yet” in verse 18. “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Where was his joy and thankfulness? In the Lord, not in the circumstances.
If you depend on your circumstances, you can’t say “rejoice always,” because circumstances change. You lose your job. You lose your health. You lose your friends. You lose your prestige. If that’s where you’re getting your joy, and it changes, you can’t say, “Yet will I rejoice.” But Habakkuk said, “Yet will I joy in the God of my salvation.”
Where are you getting your joy? Is it from the Lord? I hope you are. There’s a sure way to find out. If you’re getting your joy from your job, we can take your job and see if you still have that joy. Maybe you’re getting your joy from your health. You say, “No, it’s from the Lord.” If your health fails, see if you still have your joy.
The only joy anyone can have is in the Lord, because He never changes. Your joy can be threatened if you get it from elsewhere. It’s not wrong to take joy in your health or your job. But that kind of joy that can change as situations change. You need a joy which supersedes that. Psalm 16:11: says, “Thou will show me the path of life; in Thy presence is fullness of joy.” Rejoice in the Lord always.
- Pastor Jonah - UEC Ministries and LMF Ministries
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[ecko_quote source="Matthew 4:17 "]From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” [/ecko_quote]
Both John the Baptist and our Lord Jesus began their public ministry and centered their preaching on Repentance (Matthew 3:2; 4:17). Jesus commanded His disciples to do likewise (Mark 1:14-15). Repentance is one of the most positive of all words. Repentance is fundamental for our Christian life and wellbeing. In these last days, we hardly hear the preaching of repentance which is a vital area of Christian life for which Jesus and John the Baptist including Jesus disciples considered critical. I believe every Christian should have an in-depth understanding of this matter which would help them not to repeat/practice sins on which they repented previously. The requirement for the salvation and filling of the Holy Spirit would be repentance (Acts 2:38). To repent means to stop going one direction, to turn around completely, and to go the opposite way. Repentance is the difficult thing to do; it requires our 100% turnaround. Repentance involves a dramatic and decisive change of course. God urges us to repent when the path we are taking leads to destruction. How comforting that the Creator loves us enough to warn us of impending danger!
Repentance does not bring a sense of sin, but a sense of unutterable unworthiness. When I repent, I realise that I am utterly helpless. I know all through me that I am not worthy even to bear His shoes. Have I repented like that? Or is there a lingering suggestion of standing up for myself? The reason God cannot come into our life is because we are not through into repentance. The entrance into Kingdom is through the panging pains of repentance crashing into a man’s respectable goodness. Then the Holy Spirit, Who produces these agonies, begins the formation of the Son of God in the life. The new life will manifest itself in conscious repentance. The bedrock of Christianity is repentance. Strictly speaking, a man cannot repent when he chooses; repentance is a gift of God. (Acts 11:18; 5:31) If ever you cease to know the virtue of repentance, you are in darkness. Examine yourself and see if you have forgotten how to be sorry.
Repentance is not just regret. So Repentance is more than feeling sorry. It means following through on that conviction and turning around—changing your mind and your heart so that you are no longer at odds with God but in sync with God. Jesus spoke to Paul in Acts 26:18 about this "turning" that leads to forgiveness and gave Paul his commission with these words, "I send you to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins." There it is. That is repentance: turning from darkness to light and from Satan to God. It is a reversal of the direction of your life—toward God.
Our problem is that we think of repentance as something negative. When we recognise our sin, we prefer to “rededicate” our lives to God. We may even tell others we have resolved to more faithful to God than we were before. Yet the Bible does not speak of rededicating oneself. It speaks of repentance! Repentance indicates a decisive change, not merely a wishful resolution. We have not repented if we continue in our sin!
Repentance involves a radical change of heart and mind in which we agree with God’s evaluation of our sin and then take specific action to align ourselves with His will. A desire to change is not repentance. Repentance is always an active response to God’s Word. The evidence of repentance is not words of resolve, but a changed life.
Don’t allow mere unhappiness over what you have done to rob you of genuine repentance. You can blame yourself and be angry with yourself for the sins you have committed, but that is not repentance. Allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the gravity of your sins. Ask the Spirit to clearly show you how God views your character. When you see your sin from God’s perspective, you will experience godly sorrow. “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (2 Corinthians 7:10)