Monday, April 25, 2011


Abraham Lincoln wrote: “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. It behooves us, then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”

Lincoln proclaimed a “National Day of Fasting and Prayer” on March 30, 1863.

Spiritual renewal is always accompanied by repentance. To understand what repentance is we need to first know what it’s not.

What repentance is not:

• Remorse is not repentance.
Being sorry for our sin is only the beginning of repentance. You feel remorse. It leads us to really repent. The rich young ruler who came to Jesus went away sorrowful but he did not repent.

• Regret is not repentance.
Regret is wishing that our sin had never happened. We can regret it but never repent of it. Pontius Pilate regretted his decision concerning Jesus. But did he ever repent?

• Resolve is not repentance.
We can decide that we’re going to do better in the future, and that may lead to reform but it’s not repentance.

What repentance is:

• Repentance is a change of mind which leads to a change of heart which leads to a change of action.

This is what happened with the people of Nineveh. In Jonah 3:8 the king plainly stated…
“Let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence”. 

Verse 10 gives the results: When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.

Dr. A W. Tozer suggested the following for personal spiritual renewal:

1. Get thoroughly dissatisfied with yourself.
Complacency is the deadly enemy of spiritual progress. The contented soul is a stagnant soul.

2. Decide on transformation of all areas of your life.
Timid experiments are tagged for failure before they start. We must throw our whole soul into our desire for God.

3. Put yourself in the way of blessing.
It’s a mistake to expect God’s help to come as a windfall apart from conditions known and met. To desire spiritual transformation, and at the same time to neglect prayer and devotion, is to wish one way and walk another.

4. Have faith in God.  Begin to expect.
Look towards God. All heaven is on your side. God will not disappoint you. Spiritual renewal and a changed life are possible if the conditions are met.

In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets—some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing. 2 Timothy 2:20-21 (Mes)

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