ACTS 17:30 NKJ 30 “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,
To repent means to change. Repentance is a change of thinking which results in a change of life.
Repentance involves a change of mind — waking up to reality, seeing things as they really are, and recognizing the error of your ways — resulting in a change of action.
Repentance includes forsaking old patterns, habits, priorities, and all things that have controlled you (gods). Repentance means accepting Jesus as Lord!
To repent is to forsake all other gods — and embrace Jesus Christ as your Lord and God.
The word translated “repent” in English New Testaments is the Greek word metanoeo. It means to change one’s mind, or to convert. Not merely to forsake sin, but to change one’s mind regarding it. Metanoeo means to reform, to have a genuine change of heart and life from worse to better.
The noun form of the Greek word we translate as “repentance” is metanoya. It is a change of mind that involves both a turning from sin and a turning to God.
The parable of the prodigal son is an outstanding illustration of repentance. (Luke 15:10-21)
2 CORINTHIANS 7:10 NKJ 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.
Many mistake sorrow for repentance. As this verse shows, godly sorrow leads to repentance, but they are not the same thing.
There is another Greek word, metamelomai, which means to have remorse or regret. It is pain of mind, rather than change of mind. “You’re sorry you got caught”.
Metanoya implies that one has later arrived at a different view of something, metamelomai that one has a different feeling about it. In remorse (metamelomai) a man sees the bitter end of sin, in repentance (metanoya) he breaks free from it.
So, repentance has to do mostly with your thinking and therefore your actions — not your feelings.
Repentance is associated with renewing the mind (Romans 12:2). When you know the truth — truth makes you free as you act on it (John 8:32).
MATTHEW 22:37-38 NKJ 37 Jesus said to him, “`You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 “This is the first and great commandment.
The most important command is to love God with all your being. As with all His commands, God does not give this for His benefit, but for your benefit. Putting God first will bless you, improving your life and well-being.
Loving people, while important, is only secondary according to Jesus. In practice — because God loves people — loving Him will result in you loving people also.
When you get your priority backward — putting people and their needs first — you miss God’s plan, and will be relatively ineffective in helping people — compared to what you could have been if you put God first.
MATTHEW 6:33 CEV 33 But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.
Determine to follow Jesus and obey Him. Don’t allow anything other than Jesus Christ to be your highest priority.
ROMANS 12:19 NLT 19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD.
When people do us wrong, not taking revenge is difficult. It seems natural to fight back when someone attacks us.
But the Bible tells us to let God judge them.
This is not saying you should never defend yourself, or what belongs to you. But do not seek revenge after you have been wronged. Instead, let God handle it.
People who try to take revenge, usually end up committing more injustice. Often a deadly cycle develops. Instead of taking revenge, God’s Word tells us to bless our enemies.
PROVERBS 25:21 NKJ 21 If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
MATTHEW 5:44 NKJ 44 “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
God is aware of every injustice. And God promises to right every wrong, eventually. God is a righteous judge, but all judgment is not instant, or even in this life.
1 PETER 2:21,23 NLT 21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. 23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.
LUKE 18:1 NKJ 1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,
Many people give up too easily in prayer. When they don’t see the answer almost immediately, they quit.
God is not pleased with this approach.
You may say, “God knows my need. Why doesn’t He just give it to me, instead of playing games?”
Whether you agree with God’s ways, or not: God is still in charge and makes the rules — not you. So, it does you no good to argue or complain. Better to just line up with God instead of fighting against His plan. Besides, in reality God’s ways are perfect, it is just that we are often too immature and ignorant to understand all God is doing.
Scripture has many examples of people pressing in and receiving answers to prayer. We should never be quitters when it comes to prayer.
It is God’s will to answer your prayers. He is the One who told you to pray. God actually delights in answering your prayers.
(Never forget that God loves you more than you can imagine. God loves you more than He loves Himself, and proved it by dying in your place, so you could go free.)
“Then why are there so many delays?”
There is an enemy, the devil, who hates you and is against you receiving your answer from God.
Second, some prayers involve other people, and God does not force people to do His will, but works with them patiently so they can see and do the right thing willingly. This takes time.
Third, there are things that God is working in you while you are persevering in prayer. God’s plan is for you to grow up spiritually. God wants to enlarge your faith and encourage you to develop a closer relationship with Him. If every answer always came immediately, would you really press in and spend time drawing closer to God and studying His Word?
Don’t despair in prayer. Keep on praying in faith as long as you are praying according to God’s Word. A delay, even a very long one, does not mean that God is saying no to your request.
ISAIAH 40:31 NKJ 31 But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength…
Too many people think of prayer only as asking God for what they want. But prayer is much more than that. Prayer is communication and communion with Almighty God. Somehow, in the act of prayer we receive a transfusion of God’s strength.
LUKE 22:46 NKJ 46 …”pray, lest you enter into temptation.”
Being strong enables you to not enter into temptation. Time spent in prayer strengthens you spiritually. (Temptation strikes us all. But we decide whether to yield to the temptation, or not.)
JUDE 1:20 NKJ 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,
According to Jude, praying builds you up, or edifies you. Prayer is a spiritual exercise; the more you do it the stronger you get spiritually.
Some may protest that they don’t know how to pray. Just begin to talk to God. And listen for His response, not through a voice, but through His Word, or thoughts in line with His Word. God is not so particular about how His children visit with Him. Just do it!
1 TIMOTHY 6:12 NKJ 12 Fight the good fight of faith . . . .
Christians are supposed to fight — just not with each other.
Our struggle is about our faith. The devil wants our faith in God to wither and die. God wants our faith to grow stronger.
The battlefield is your mind. The devil tries to keep his evidence foremost in your thoughts: negative circumstances and what your senses tell you. God’s evidence is contained in His unchanging Word: the Bible.
We must choose to feed the truths of the Bible into our thinking to keep our faith strong.
The devil still tells mankind his old lie, “Has God said?” which we could modernize as, “Did God really mean that?”
Yes, God meant what He said and said what He meant.
“Then why doesn’t it seem that way when I look around at my circumstances?”
Because you are supposed to fight the good fight of faith and actively receive the promised blessings. God will bring His Word to pass in your life when you actively believe it. God’s program is set up to reward those who trust Him.
You should resist and even rebuke thoughts of doubt, knowing they originate with the evil one. You can say, “Doubt, I resist you. Leave me alone. God is faithful and His Word is true.”
You have authority over what you think. The Bible tells you what to think about in Philippians 4:8. But you must exercise your authority through words spoken. Otherwise, authority doesn’t benefit you.
HEBREWS 11:1 NKJ 1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Faith involves things not seen, or not discerned by your physical senses. If you can see it or feel it you don’t need to have faith for it. Faith is your evidence until it manifests to your physical senses.
God does not lie. His written Word is your faith evidence until the blessing is evident even to your physical senses. Resist the devil by continuing to believe God’s Word.
A good fight is a fight you can win.
God doesn’t want us to live our lives in fear. Over and over the Bible tells us to fear not.
Yet with all the terrible things happening in the world, how can we not be afraid? How can we overcome the temptation to fear?
We must know and remember that God loves us and has a good plan for us: including a home in Heaven and going to be with Jesus when we die. So we should not fear death as it is a promotion and a gain for a Christian believer (Philippians 1:21).
Also, we must know and remember the promises of God given in the Bible concerning protection from evil, accident, and harm in this life. For example:
PSALM 91:9-11 NKJ 9 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, 10 No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; 11 For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.
This is not to say that victims of tragic events are sinners, or are not loved by God. Only that if we walk with God and heed His direction, God promises to protect us.
LUKE 10:19 NKJ 19 “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
We know many good people have died unexpectedly. Yet the promises of God stand true and should not be doubted. We don’t know what they knew or what they were believing. But we know that God is faithful and keeps His promises.
There is a place of protection as you live close to God and walk in faith. So do not be afraid!
1 TIMOTHY 2:1-2 NASB 1 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
Praying for our leaders is not a useless ritual. God would not tell us to do something in His Word, unless it would make a difference.
Sometimes, when bad things happen, people ask why God allowed them to happen. But we should be asking ourselves why we allowed them to happen: by not obeying God and praying.
If believers are praying as we ought, we can expect many bad things and difficult times to be avoided.
Since God told us to pray for our leaders, it is our responsibility.
Of course, we shouldn’t limit ourselves to praying only for our leaders. We should pray for all people. But we must not forget to pray for our leaders. And not just when we face difficult times, either.
Luke 6:35-36 NKJ 35 “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
Unfortunately, not many people understand that God is truly good — but He is. The world has been deceived into accepting an image of God that’s mean and vindictive, harsh and strict.
But the Bible, especially the fuller revelation given in the New Testament, paints a different picture of God. He is a Father — a good Father.
It would be good news if we had a God who was kind to the average person. But God doesn’t stop there. According to Jesus, who knows, God is kind to unthankful and evil people, too!
That may not be what you often hear preached, but that’s what Jesus said. The Most High God is kind to evil people.
Jesus also said that not only is God kind to evil people, but He is merciful. In fact, one passage even says that God delights in mercy! (Micah 7:18)
Too often people think God is mad at them, so there is little chance He would help them. The opposite is true. Jesus told us that God so loved the world . . . .
And He hasn’t changed His mind.
MATTHEW 1:21 NIV 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
The name “Jesus” actually means “the Lord saves” or “the Lord is a Savior.”
So, when we say “Jesus” we are actually saying “Savior.” The two words are synonyms.
The angel told Joseph what to name the son born to his wife Mary — and the reason for that particular name. Jesus: because He will save. We could say, “Savior — because He will save.”
Being a savior is integral to Jesus’ nature. That’s what He is. Not just something that He does. He IS, by His very nature, a Savior.
But we are so used to hearing the word “Savior” in relation to Jesus that it has lost its meaning for us. It no longer affects our thinking the way it should. So we need to hear another word — Deliverer.
The word savior means deliverer. To save something means to deliver it. To deliver something means to set it free from what held it down and kept it from being whole.
You don’t have to convince Jesus to deliver you — He IS a deliverer! That’s what He does. It’s as natural for Him to set you free and make you whole as it is for you to breathe.
All you have to do is allow Jesus jurisdiction in your life. Invite Him in. He will bring deliverance.
Too many people have been deceived into thinking that allowing Jesus into their life would put them in bondage and hold them back. No! Jesus brings freedom. He delivers you from bondage.