Something Josh and I have committed to do as a couple is memorize scripture. So, we each have a spiral of index cards we write our verses in and are committed to memorizing. Yesterday, I had my spiral on the counter top and I was memorizing out loud while putting away some dishes. The girls just thought it was the most hillarious thing. Kylee called me a "crazy mama." It really was a precious moment. They are already developing such a love for Jesus. We took a car ride to the post office and I had some praise and worship turned up. I looked in the rear view mirror to see Kylee dancing in her seat while Aubrey was on the verge of sleep. Kylee looked over at her sister and said, "Wake up, Aubi! We're singing songs to Jesus!" Then she went on singing, "You are beautiful my sweet, sweet song!" Thank you, God for my precious children, and thank you that they feel your love at such a young age!
I added a verse to my spiral that's not on our "couple" list to memorize, but it has especially captured my attention this week. I've pondered over this one a lot in between church services, play dates at the park, trips to the grocery store, & the many other responsiblities of life. It's found in Acts 3:19-20:
"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you - even Jesus."
I think about times we know a sermon is about to be all about repentance. How many times do we automatically begin to tune out because repentance is such an uncomfortable subject at times. We know it may hurt, and we'd rather avoid the pain. What if we began to repentance for the gift that it is?
This passage of scripture was written to the Jews on a national level. God's promise to them was if they would turn to God as a nation, He would send the second coming of Christ, and His Kingdom would come to earth. They did not repent then, so now the promise is carried over to us as well.
Notice how when we truly repent in that we turn away from our sin and turn to God, our sins are wiped out. I looked this up in the Barnes' Notes Commentary, and to wipe out means "to wholly remove the record, the charge, and every trace of the account against us. In this way, God forgives sin." He doesn't just take away the punishment, He makes it as if it never even happened! When we fail to go to God in repentance for the sin that imprisons us, we dwell in a place of guilt, shame, and condemnation. God promises us in Romans 8:1 "That there is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Satan tries his best to convince us that repentance will bring bondage, shame, and punishment, and he does a pretty good job of it. Just the opposite is true... repentance brings freedom. According to Acts 3:19 - 20 it will bring the times of refreshing that will come with the millenial reign of Christ. I don't want to overload you with too much scripture, but I just have to share promises I read in Isaiah the other day about the time when we will reign with Christ for a thousand years. So, please stick with me and ask God to speak to you through His word.
"Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.
Be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy.
I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard no more.
Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not live out his years;
he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth;
he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.
They will build new houses and dwell in them;
they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands.
They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune;
for they will be a people blessed by the Lord,
they and their descendants with them.
Before they call I will answer;
while they are still speaking I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
but dust will be the serpent's food.
They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain," says the Lord.
Times of refreshing... aren't you ready for that day? When I read promises like that, I feel like I have a heavenly Father looking at our earthly condition through His eyes of love promising, "I'm going to make this right one day." He sees your present condition, and His heart is moved with compassion. Pain and suffering were never His plan. Death was never His plan. Be encouraged, dear one, that while the trials we have now were not in His plan, He has a plan to overcome them. In the end, victory over death, hell, and the grave are His. If we are in Him, that same victory is ours. So, what are we waiting for? Let's ask God to search our hearts today, and show us the hidden areas that we need to find repentance in. I believe in the same way He will bring times of refreshing with the second coming, He will also bring times of refreshing to our lives in this present age when we turn to God.