Monday, August 8, 2011

Commands of Christ: Repent

 For the next little while I'll be posting a "command" every week.  Please keep in mind that just because I'm reading these every day doesn't mean I agree with everything...If I find something to be questionable or if I have some insight to share I will share in the comments, if YOU read it and find something questionable, I would love to hear from you as well!! Feel free to comment! I'd love to hear if something blesses you or you have further insight into something as well.

Welcome to Your First Day of the Daily Success Plan!

We are thrilled that this plan has the best guarantee in the world—it is guaranteed by God Himself. However, we must never forget that the guarantee is based on one requirement—to meditate on God’s Law day and night. The purpose of this entire plan is to encourage and motivate us to be faithful in doing this.
The Law of Moses is a shadow of the brilliant light of Christ’s commands. Thus, for our first week of meditation, we will concentrate on the following verse:

Command One:

“Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).
Our plan is to memorize this verse and quote it back to God at least ten times throughout the day. On our Web site, you will receive a wealth of practical information on this plan to help you meditate day and night.
For each command, we have a study question. If you can answer this question, you will understand the essence of the command. Why not read the study question to your whole family in the morning and see what their answers are by the evening?

Study Question One:

“Why did Esau find no place of repentance for simply selling his birthright while David found repentance for adultery and murder?” (See Hebrews 12:16–17 and Psalms 51.)
We want to explain how each command is directly related to success, so how does repentance relate? Repentance puts us into fellowship with the Lord and allows Him to bless everything we do. Our greatest asset is the blessing of the Lord, because “the blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich and he addeth no sorrow with it” (Proverbs 10:22). Without God’s blessing, Satan is given opportunity to devour our strength, family, health, and resources, so that there is no possible way to be successful.
Another major key to success is to understand why God designed our day to begin in the evening and not the morning. This key will be explained in tomorrow’s e-mail.

Start Your Day in the Evening!

First let’s answer the question of why Esau failed to find repentance for simply selling his birthright even though he sought it desperately with tears. Esau’s repentance was faulty because he did not understand true repentance. He was a profane fornicator (see Hebrews 12:16–17), and he simply wanted to regain the blessings that he had lost (see Genesis 25:33–34).
However, when David was confronted with his sin, he repented for the right reason. He wanted to restore fellowship with God. If we repent for any other reason than this we are not experiencing true repentance. (See Psalm 51.)1
Now let’s discuss the question of why God designed the day to begin in the evening rather than in the morning. “The evening and the morning were the first day” (Genesis 1:5).
  • The evening is the most important part of our day because it affects the quality of our sleep and sets our mental attitude for the rest of the day. Therefore, people do not “get up on the wrong side of the bed”; they go to bed on the “wrong side.”
  • The evening is the best time to evaluate the achievements of the previous day and to set new goals for the next day.
  • As we go to sleep meditating on Scripture and setting our goals before the Lord, our minds will be cleansed (this may produce unusual dreams). Then we will experience an exciting phenomenon: our “reins will instruct us in the night seasons” (see Psalm 16:7). This means that God will give us practical insights from His Word and clear direction, which will have a profound impact on the success of our lives.
This has been one of the most exciting experiences of my life. It is how the questions for this study came into being, including the question on true repentance. If we meditate on the wisdom of God’s Word, we can claim this promise: “I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions” (Proverbs 8:12).
Remember! Our responsibility is to meditate day and night. God’s responsibility is to give us creative insights and direction. “The entrance of thy words giveth light” (Psalm 119:130).

Be Cleansed by the Word

How would you evaluate your success in meditating day and night? Whatever your answer is, don’t be discouraged!
You cannot imagine the delight and admiration of family that you are producing because of your commitment to daily success!
They have reason to be grateful and joyful, because as you cleanse your heart and mind with the Word of God, a supernatural work also takes place in them.
Paul speaks of this when he tells husbands to cleanse their wives with the washing of the Word (see Ephesians 5:25–33). This does not mean to get your wife to read the Bible or even to read it to her. It means to cleanse your own heart and soul by engrafting the pure Word of God into it. Jesus affirmed this meaning when He prayed in John 17:19: “And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” If Jesus sanctified Himself through the truth for our sakes, how much more should we do it for those who are under our spiritual care?
The fact is that children reap the benefits of their father’s successes, but they also experience the consequences of their defeats.

Family Question:

Abraham lied to Pharaoh by saying that his beautiful wife was his sister and Pharaoh heaped riches on Abraham. There is no record of Abraham’s repentance. Instead he justified his deception by saying Sarah was indeed his half-sister. Did any consequences result from Abraham’s lie?
The surprising answer will come tomorrow. As you meditate on the command to repent, are there things that God is wanting to cleanse out of your life?

Repent With Sincerity!

As we meditate on the command to repent and call upon God for understanding, He will reveal to us the true essence of repentance and also give us the grace to do it. One of the best ways to understand repentance is by reading the prayers of those who did repent in Scripture. One such prayer is Psalm 51.
“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:1–2).
James describes sincere repentance by calling for our laughter to be turned to mourning and our joy to be turned to heaviness. He exhorts us to cleanse our hands of past sins and purify our hearts of double-mindedness. (See James 4.)
The rewards of true repentance are not only a clear conscience and restored fellowship with God, but also a Godly heritage for our children and grandchildren. The failures of parents can affect children for generations to come, as in the case of Abraham.
After Abraham returned from Egypt, where he got riches by deception, God blessed him; however, the blessing began with the horror of darkness. (See Genesis 15:5–17.) This was a strange setting for a blessing until we realize what God was doing. He informed Abraham that his descendants would be in Egypt as slaves for 400 years, but that God would judge Egypt and in the end Abraham’s family would be freed from bondage and taken to the land God promised to Abraham. (See Genesis 15:12–13.)
Could it be that God was sending Abraham’s descendants down to Egypt for 400 years to pay back the riches that Abraham got by deception? If so, it was a high price to pay for failure to repent and make restitution!
“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).
David broke through to genuine repentance when he realized that even though his sins hurt other people, they were primarily against God. Therefore, he prayed, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight” (Psalm 51:4). Let’s begin our repentance now by praying the words of Psalm 51 back to God.

Conquer the Greatest Sin!

One day the president of a successful real estate company stood before his sales staff of about one hundred. After presenting several new properties, he stated, “My success story has been written up in a national business magazine. If you would like a copy, just see my secretary.”
A lightning bolt of dismay and tension struck the staff. Angry looks were exchanged, and murmuring began: “Who does he think he is?! We are the ones that made this company successful! It is our success story, not his.”
That very afternoon, several of his top salesmen quit and formed their own company. Soon there was not enough money to close contracts, so the president used money from other escrow accounts, which is a federal offense. Within six months, the once-successful company was dissolved, and the president began serving a prison sentence, all because of the lack of one character quality—humility.
“By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life” (Proverbs 22:4).
Pride is the sin that God hates the most and punishes the swiftest. Pride caused Satan and a third of the angels to be cast out of heaven. Pride was the cause of Adam and Eve’s dismissal from the Garden of Eden. It is also the cause of our unrepentance over sin, which keeps God from blessing us with riches, honor, and life. “Pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way … do I hate” (Proverbs 8:13). God resists the proud and so do people. That is why conflicts are stirred up, because “only by pride cometh contention” (Proverbs 13:10).
Pride is putting ourselves on an equal level with God. It is reserving for ourselves the right to decide what is right or wrong. Our pride is what put Jesus on the cross. We are just like those who said, “We will not have this man reign over us.”
Pride is projecting on the outside what is not true on the inside. Today, let’s conquer this primary hindrance to daily success by humbling ourselves before a holy God and making things right with all those whom we have offended.

Put Spirit Over Mind

The secret of effective meditation is quoting Scripture back to God with the spirit rather than the mind. This means that rather than trying to intellectually understand God’s truth, we discern it by His Spirit speaking to our spirit because “the things of the Spirit of God … are spiritually discerned” (I Corinthians 2:14).
If we evaluate Scripture with the mind we tend to become proud, because “knowledge puffeth up,” but if Scripture “evaluates” the heart, we become humble because it exposes our secret sins.
By coming to Scripture with our spirit, we cry out, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23–24).
Your spirit has direct access to God’s Spirit, because “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). The Spirit of God has direct access to the conscience and is able to activate it with the spiritual understanding of what is right and what is wrong as we meditate upon His truth. It is this intimate fellowship of Spirit-to-spirit communication that constitutes true meditation and results in daily success.
Scripture is “the wisdom of God” and is given to us “in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world.” God determined that this wisdom would be “unto our glory.” However, it is revealed to us only “by his Spirit for the Spirit searcheth all things: yea, the deep things of God” (I Corinthians 2:7–10).
“The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him” (John 4:23).
Our natural inclination is to simply quote Scripture back to God as a mental or intellectual exercise. This will rob us of the riches of God’s wisdom and the joy of His fellowship. Therefore, we must bring the mind under the control of God’s Spirit with a definite act of the will.
Thus, it would be wise to pray, “Heavenly Father, right now I do place my mind under the control of Your Holy Spirit and the authority of Your Word.” With this prayer, you have just taken a giant step toward daily success.

Write It Down!

How often have we heard these words “Write it down or you’ll forget it”? If that is true for our daily efficiency, how much truer is it for the treasures of our experiences with God’s Word?
One of the greatest heritages that you could pass on to your descendants is a written account of your walk with God. The struggles and trials that you experienced and the steps that you took to overcome them will be a tremendous resource to those who follow you.
You do not know what you are thinking until you write it down.
When you begin keeping a written record of your experiences, you will become much more alert to the people and events that affect your life. You will learn how to be precise with words and ideas. The result will be a greater ability to communicate truth with others, and this is an important foundation for daily success.
So, what should you include in your “daily success journal”? Here are some ideas:
  • How consistent were you able to be during this first week of meditation?
  • What hindered you from keeping Scripture before your mind?
  • What was your experience in meditating before going to sleep?
  • Did you have any unusual dreams?
  • How were you able to personalize the Scripture?
  • What practical applications have you applied from this command?
  • How has God blessed you or your family this week?
You might be encouraged to know that God is also writing a journal about you:
“Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name” (Malachi 3:16).
Congratulations for completing your first week!

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I hope this blesses you as it has me!  Be sure to go to the link above for more info on the various daily lessons.

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