08 January 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: Matthew 4:12-17 (Click the link for the scripture in Bible Gateway)
After Jesus heard that John the Baptist had been arrested, he realized that the torch had passed to him. He returned to Galilee and moved his main office from Nazareth to Capernaum. Then he began preaching his message in earnest.
Jesus’ message was the same message John preached. Change your mind. Turn from your sins and turn to God, because the Kingdom of Heaven is near. The Kingdom of Heaven begins in every mind that changes from world-thinking to heaven-thinking, in every heart that turns from self-interest and self-will to God. Jesus preached a Gospel of repentance, of daily turning, of transformation from the inside out!
We don’t have the privilege of tackling transformation one area at a time and staying with that until we are perfect. Life isn’t like that. Life comes at us one day at a time and we deal with that day and its issues. We make incremental steps forward (or maybe even slide a little step backward). Then we get up the next morning, facing forward in faith, and take what life and the will of God places before us.
I want to help you get away from the idea that “Repentance” is a thing that really bad people have to do because they’re scared they’ll go to hell! Repentance is simply a change of mind and heart. Repentance is simply turning from doing things your way and learning to do things God’s way. And day by day, little by little, our lives change for the better, change from the inside out, change from having the Kingdom of Self in our hearts to having the Kingdom of God in our hearts.
Friends, don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it perfectly this time through this situation and these circumstances. There will be another opportunity to face yourself honestly and to turn once again from your way to Jesus’ way. The Christian life is not so much a daily series of tests that you pass or fail. It’s a daily series of opportunities to face the same issues and allow God’s grace, the work of the Holy Spirit, and our heart of repentance to move us forward in life’s journey of faith!
Father, Thank you for the Gospel of Repentance! Thanks that your Good News to us is and has always been that it’s not too late to change our minds, to turn to you and start a journey in a new direction, a direction that leads to life and not death. Please help us to keep turning to you, to keep getting up when we fall down, and to keep taking steps that lead us from death to life. We love you and we want to be as near you as we can!