Are You Bearing The Fruit of Repentance?

I love this example of Paul living a life that loved people well: “. . . I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable . . . I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God” (Acts 20:20,27). 

Will we follow Paul’s example?

Likewise, we are given the instructions in the Great Commission to go and teach all that Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:19, 20).

Will we obey?

We must not pick and choose truths that are convenient. 

Paul also testified, “… I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance” (Acts 26:19-20).

True repentance will bear fruit. May we all bear fruit through a continually changed life, going deeper and deeper in relationship with Christ, looking more and more like Him each day. This change will come from daily time with the Father – seeking His Presence and His truth – and in keeping short accounts with Him, asking Him to search our hearts (click here for more) .

“Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance” Matthew 3:8.

Examine yourself.

“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9

“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” Romans 2:4

“‘Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations’” Luke 24:46-47

Such good news!

Thank You, Lord, for Your beautiful kindness to us – to not ever leave us as we are. Keep growing us more and more into Your image, we pray. In the name of the Lord Jesus. Amen.

Friend, part of loving people well is speaking the truth.
-Are you biblically loving people well?
-Who in your life needs to hear the life-giving, life-saving truth today?
-Will you depend upon the leading of the Holy Spirit and His timing and ask for opportunities to speak up in boldness?

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The Kindness of God

“God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.” Romans 2:4 The Message (MSG)

Paul said to the Corinthians, “For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it – for I see that that letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while – I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful, according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.” 2 Corinthians 7:7-9

It is God’s will that we, as needed, are rebuked and made sorrowful and are led to repentance (a change of mind) that therefore produces a change in our mindset, actions, and thus in our whole lives.

It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). And it is so KIND of God to lead us to repentance, even if that leading doesn’t feel kind in the moment.

Just like Paul, we may be the sender of “the kindness of God” that brings sorrow (or we may be the receiver), and though the results may not look good and we may even regret for a time some action taken, we must walk by faith (not by the negative results that we initially see) and pray that there is a sorrow to the point of repentance, for life change. The eternal stakes are too high to withhold the call to repentance. May we always find that we are more concerned for people’s eternal well-being than in keeping them comfortable.

“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to His deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.” Romans 2:4

The call to repentance is serious business.

Is there anyone that you are currently trying to protect from sorrow? Could you also be hindering that person from an encounter with the truth of God that would bring repentance and change their life?

Furthermore, are you protecting yourself? Is there an area in your own life that you need to allow God (and even others) to shine Light upon, for your good and His glory?

I know that it’s a strong question when put this way, but “who are you protecting from repentance and therefore, a change of life that effects the here-and-now and all of eternity?”

Would you talk to the Lord about this this week?

The kindness of God leads (calls us) to repentance.
In love (because you truly love), speak truth to others AND to yourself.


Search Me, O God

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior” 1 Peter 1:14-15

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! 
Try me and know my thoughts! 
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23 ESV

I believe that if we consistently pray this prayer and listen for what He would reveal to us, many of the grievous ways (or in other translations “any hurtful way” or “way of pain”) would be dealt with much more quickly and not be given the space and power to fester into more painful circumstances. 

If we were more serious about sin, if we were more serious about allowing God to search our hearts, confessing our sin, repenting, being cleansed and changed, we would live in so much more confidence and purity and victory. 

And, friend, the world needs us to live in that pure, loving, bold confidence.

May this be a reminder to keep short accounts with God, to confess our sins, to repent, to turn to Him, and in dependence upon the power of the Holy Spirit “bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8).

Repentance will change our conduct, our behavior, our way of daily living. It’s a change of mind that impacts our behavior. A repentant life will produce evidence consistent with that change of heart.

“...repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.” Acts 26:20

You cannot be too serious in dealing with a Holy God or too serious in dealing with sin. 

May we allow the Lord God to search us daily and, in His great kindness, to do whatever it takes to lead us to a repentance that changes our direction, where we change our mind about any sin that we have allowed in our lives and we follow the Lord Jesus Christ fully. 

“For this the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said,
‘In repentance and rest you will be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength.’

But you were not willing” Isaiah 30:15

Repentance, rest, quietness, trust: may we be a people willing!

“Therefore, repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” Acts 3:19

Spend some time with the Lord today asking Him to search you and to convict you of any and all sin. Repent. And ask that He make you holy in all your behavior. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you and do His work in and through you. 

Here’s a phrase that the Lord first spoke to my heart in 2012: “Holiness and radical obedience will be your covering.” It was spoken in the context of the spiritual battle that the church is in, and it has been a phrase that He has spoken over and over in my journals since. Our holiness and our obedience are so important and serious.

Some Good Questions to Ask Ourselves

Is this our aim:
to be holy in all our behavior (1 Peter 1:14-16), 
pleasing Him “in all respects”, 
walking “in a manner worthy of the Lord”, 
“bearing fruit in every good work 
and increasing in the knowledge of God
strengthened with all power, 
according to His glorious might” (Colossians 1:10)?

Is this standard of life our main objective? This is the abundant life that He has provided for us. 

Do we aim to live lives that can say, like Paul, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1) with an “earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:20-21)?


Or have we settled for “less than” what has been provided, promised, and asked of us? Have we settled for the status quo and a “quenched” Holy Spirit? It’s important that we take the time to ask the Lord to show us the answers to these questions.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.” 
Psalm 139:23-24


From the Heart of God:

Go forth in boldness and proclaim My excellencies, the excellencies of My Name, My way, My plan. 

And take action. Do not neglect “the straight ways of the Lord” (Acts 13:10).

Do not neglect My Word – not just the reading, but the DOING, the believing, the pressing in, the praying without ceasing, the living of My Word. Do not neglect it.

Take action. Act like My Word is true, because it is! Live it. Step out in faith and see Me move. “Action” (also known as obedience) will take care of so many of the other issues you are trying to work through within yourself. 

So often you wait to put the truth into action until you think yourself ready, when acting in faith in obedience will break those bonds and set you into complete freedom and clarity and make you ready.

Take Me at My Word. This really is the answer to all problems.


Let’s know His Word, believe Him, and obey. 
Take action.

Pray, listen, and write*:
– Ask Him to search your heart today: are you settling for “less than” He has for you and has called you to?
– Lord, show me where I am not walking in holiness in my behavior or my thoughts.
– What does it mean for me today to live in a manner worthy of you, Lord?
– What fruit do You want me to bear so that others can be blessed? What are those good works that you prepared beforehand that I would walk in them (Ephesians 2:10)?
– Lord, I pray that you will always be exalted in and through my life. Show me what needs to change for that to be so. Search My heart and lead me in the everlasting way.
*Put pen to paper and ask these questions before the Lord. Write until He shows you the answers.

Are You Living with a Quenched Holy Spirit?

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.’ If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” 1 Peter 1:14-19 NASB

Lord, I LONG to know more of Your Word and for it to more and more show me where I truly, truly stand AND where to walk – that I may be HOLY in all my behavior! 

I do not want to just say “grace, grace, peace, peace” to myself and allow the Holy Spirit to be grieved (Ephesians 4:30) and quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19). 

I think we too often settle for a quenched Holy Spirit and think that it’s normal. May we rise up and say to ourselves and others, “It is NOT! This is not normal.”

“They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, 
    saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ but there is no peace.” Jeremiah 6:14

Peace is only found in Jesus Christ and in living according to how He says to live

Oh Lord, raise up a generation that knows You, Your Word, Your truth, and the whole counsel of God. Currently, they are being bombarded, led astray, and confused by “persuasive” (Colossians 2:4) and even non-persuasive “arguments”. Confusion is not of You (1 Corinthians 14:33). May we, as believers in Christ (the way, the truth, and the LIFE – John 14:6), step in with the REAL truth that people are looking for. (And they are looking!) The enemy has no qualms about stepping in with deceit. So, as we “shrink back” from stepping in with truth, we are leaving a void that the enemy is filling with his lies. 

Let’s fill that gap with the power of the truth. 

Let us live out truth in integrity as we cling to (and fully depend upon) the power of the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to fully have His way in us. 

Let’s fill our minds with His truth and remember that we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16)! May we use it and not be confused. 

Let’s pray for protection from being influenced by the enemy’s lies! 

Let us “cling to what is good” and “abhor what is evil” (Romans 12:9)! 

Let’s live holy lives that others long for. 

And may this be our testimony, like Paul’s: “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” Acts 20:26-27

Let’s step into the void with God’s life-saving, life-giving truth and declare the whole counsel of God, teaching them to observe all that He has commanded us (Matthew 28:20, the Great Commission).

Oh, Lord, let us not settle for quenched, mediocre lives!

May we not remain silent. 




-What in your life is currently quenching and grieving the Holy Spirit?
-Are you taking seriously the instruction “like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior”?
-Where have you settled for less than God has for you?
-Where have you allowed yourself to shrink back in fear from declaring the whole counsel of God?
-How will you take action?

“. . . we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Colossians 1:9-10 ESV

Obedience is Your “Yes” in Action

Obedience is not in the word “yes”, but in the action of “yes” (even if we initially say “no”).

While this truth is so obvious, it’s worth pointing out because we so often only go as far as saying “yes” in our hearts without following through on it in action.

“‘But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go work today in the vineyard.’ And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he regretted it and went. The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, ‘I will, sir’; but he did not go. ‘Which of the two did the will of his father?’” Matthew 21:28-31

I wonder how often we say our “yes” but then allow the enemy to intimidate us or our own flesh to simply procrastinate and avoid an assignment. How often do we ‘bench’ ourselves and simply watch the game from the sidelines when we have a position to play on the field?

“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” James 4:17 ESV

May we call this what it is: sin. May we confess and repent and “bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:8). 

May we daily, in the Word and prayer, “fan into flame the gift of God” which is in us and remind ourselves that “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:6, 7). The bold confidence we need comes from time in His Word and time in His Presence, in prayer and worship, and listening to His voice (as His sheep hear and know His voice – John 10), resulting in an increase in FAITH and thus in obedient action.

“On the day I called, You answered me;
You made me bold with strength in my soul.” Psalm 138:3

God will meet us with His power as we DO ‘yes’ in answer to His request.


Listening section:

– Search your heart and allow God to remind you of a place where you feel like you are walking in obedience because your heart said yes, but you have failed to take any action on that “yes”.

– Where have you said “I will not” when the Lord has asked you to act? Delay no longer. Today may be His perfect timing. 

– Where have you said “yes” but have not taken action? 

Do “yes”
.

“…but the people who know their God will display strength and take action.” Daniel 11:32b

Friends,

I hope that you are having a great summer. We are about to take our boys to Chattanooga to Precept Ministries for their Transform Student Boot Camp (you can click those two links for more information). This summer they will be studying the book of Judges. What a timely study as the times were described as “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25)! Precept Ministries offers three one-week camps every summer for students to study and fall in love with the Word of God! May we all do the same with our time this summer!

Let me know if there is any way I can help you or pray for you. If you would like to receive these devotionals directly into your inbox you can let me know by clicking here.

With love,

Traci

Are You Falling Into “the sky is falling” Mentality?

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” 2 Peter 1:2-42

We have been told that we will have troubling times (2 Timothy 3:1, Philippians 1:29). We need not be surprised as if something strange were happening to us (1 Peter 4:12-19). Instead we need to be ready, to be equipped.

And God has given us His Word TO equip us, that we “may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) and for all that comes our way. Not only do we have His direction, but we also have His divine power and enablement and the indwelling Holy Spirit. We ARE well equipped. Do not turn back in this day of battle (Psalm 78:9).

I urge you to tap in. We, as the body of Christ, need to take advantage of all that God Himself has been made available to us so that when all around us ‘looks’ chaotic or we find ourselves in an impossible situation, we are not caught up in the contagious “The sky is falling, the sky is falling!” mentality.

Know who you are and how you are well equipped and take courage. You and I can live with this as our motto: “In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (from Psalm 56:11). 

Look up. Fix your eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), PRAY, and trust Him.

Seeing the big picture from His vantage point and the strategy from heaven, view life and the circumstances all around us (the continuous narrative) from God’s perspective, the One who knows all, and holds it all. 

“.. all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:16, 17.

What is happening in the heavenlies? What is God up to? And Who is more powerful? Ask to see what He is doing, His purpose, His ways, rather than what it looks like. For we live and walk by faith and not by sight and how things appear (2 Corinthians 5:7).

We have all we need. Let’s be ready and equip others also, encouraging them to be in His Word and to draw near. 

“On the day I called, You answered me;
You made me bold with strength in my soul.” Psalm 138:3

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.” 1 Peter 4:12-16

Hi friends, take some time this week to sit in the presence of the Lord and ask Him to show you things from His perspective? And listen. Allow Him to build up your faith and trust and to comfort your heart in His peace. With pen in hand say, “Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:9).

God’s Power Lived Out in Our Lives

“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?.. God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17 ESV

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 ESV

 

He lives (dwells) in this temple. What would it look like for that power to be truly lived out, for Him to live His Presence and Power through us (for Him to be manifested) without the restraints of our fears, our reservations, our sin, or our limited expectations

What if our lives were not centered around ourselves (our desires, comforts, preferences, and fears) but instead fully on Jesus and “walking in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10) to the glory of God, as it should be? 

Our thoughts of ourselves and our limitations and what we think we can and cannot do or what we are comfortable with or not, are all hindrances. They are hindrances to His power. Let’s choose to come in belief, with our eyes on Him (Hebrews 12:2), not fearing how out of place or foolish we may look or what man may think (Proverbs 29:25). Let’s obey and fulfill our ministry (2 Timothy 4:5).

Walking in obedience to God’s truth alone, may we manifest Jesus and the powerful Presence of the Holy Spirit.

 “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15, 16 This includes everything, doesn’t it? Let’s spend some time with the Lord contemplating how wewill obey that instruction, as His holy temple (1 Corinthians 3:17).

“…let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1 ESV

 “The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.” Proverbs 29:25  

“Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 2:11, 12

Lord, we acknowledge that we are not our own. We are new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17), and we choose to follow You, glorify You, and allow You to live Your presence and Power out through us in this temple, today. Have your way and manifest Your Presence (click here to see where we recently talked about this).

 Let’s do today well. And I can’t wait to see and hear what God is going to do as a result. Let’s let Him LIVE through us. Use us, Lord.

“Here I am! Send me.” Isaiah 6:8b

If you find these helpful, please share. And remember, you can hover over any of these scripture references and see the whole verse in a pop-up window. Such a great tool! 

Have a great week! Praying for you. With love, Traci

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