Confession and Repentance: Out of Darkness

by Mary Beth on March 31, 2021

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 “In our human nature, we’re masters of self-deceit.” R. C. Sproul

It is not natural for us as human beings to be open with our struggles and sufferings.
We have an innate propensity to hide.

A healthy and mature gospel community,

walks in open, godly confession and repentance.

Such attitudes and acts continue throughout our lives as Christians.

We have the charge and honor to bear each other’s burdens in the darkest of times.

~Confession and repentance are never out of season.

In struggling with sin,

an invisible veil of confusion can cover our hearts and minds.

But through faith and persistence,

our hearts can break through barriers of shame to the beginning stages

of confession and repentance, towards healing and restoration.

We are all in need of the Spirit’s provision to renounce individual sin.

~Confession is a grace aided by guidance.

Genuine repentance involves a godly sorrow for specific and general sins.

In Rosaria Butterfield’s successful book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert,

she communicates a powerful and bold witness to the Spirit’s fruit from her unbelieving heart and lifestyle of sexual sin.

From a prominent professor teaching a secular worldview-

to a believer growing in Christ, Butterfield articulates the process of the

“hard edges and dark valleys” in her painful confessions and changed lifestyle.

The process of freedom she “experienced in coming face-to-face with the living God”

led her to say, “How our lives bear the fruit of Christ’s spilled blood is important.” 

Wow, I absolutely love this statement!

Rosaria’s honesty and vulnerability in this area will challenge all Christ followers to such ruthless trust in God.

In a self-centered society of worldly priorities and shallow success,

it is refreshing to see a sincere confession accompanied by godly sorrow and genuine repentance.

~Repentance, like faith, is beyond an intellectual understanding.

We need the holy Scriptures to show us sin is wrong,

as well our need to God’s direction and guidance.

 
“For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword,
piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow,
and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. ~Hebrews 4

We turn to Christ for salvation from our sin, yet we also turn from our sin.

The gospel of grace helps us do this.

In our repenting, we must ask ourselves if we are making a genuine commitment to forsake sin.

To be open with our struggles and suffering, is a call to come out of the darkness.
Out of hiding and into the light.
“…God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with ne another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”   1 John 1:5-9 & John 1:9-11 

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What Would Become of Us?

by Mary Beth on December 24, 2020

All alone, Mary believed the angel Gabriel. She responded, “May it happen to me according to your word.” Such courage to believe. To act in faith, trust, and surrender. Understanding came later as a reward.

Do we fear or do we trust? Patty Callahan Henry, the New York Times best-selling author, probes this question in reflection of Mary’s courage and choice to surrender in faith, or to take on fear after her encounter with the angel. Mary’s spiritual posture and reply was simple, humble, and yet profound in a trusting statement of surrender. How encouraging for our walk of faith. To simply exercise trust during our unexpected and challenging times, especially extended delays experienced in our lives.

Truly open hearts move against fear, with a willingness to speak into the here and now. Daily we have opportunities that arise in our ordinary lives to respond in faith against fear, When appropriate to speak into the eternal now.

Joy Davidman Lewis’ quote, “If we should ever grow brave, what on earth would become of us?” I’m drawn to the passion, challenge, and adventure in this question to “grow brave” and its implications of what would become of us. It implies God has more for us!

Mary’s example of imperfect but pure-hearted faith, her steps of trust, surrender, and humble action welcomed God’s powerful purposes. It also welcomed His faithful promises and guiding presence. What mercy from our gracious heavenly Father to give so profoundly! Are we giving too little to God?

Do we fear or do we trust? What does this look like? Obviously a devotion to God and His ways, which are costly and weighty in practice for each follower of Christ. Scripture reveals from the life of Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, and even the Shepherds in the field, there is a quiet adventure and passion for all of us. We’re invited into His goodness through trust and often quiet action over fear.

Many times our actions play out in quieter environments, not necessarily in front of a lot of people or on a stage. Maybe the question is, Will our faith and trust be significant enough for us to be brave? Lord, help our unbelief. Help us to allow for space to grow. Walking with God is a daily practice of enjoying His presence, goodness and rich blessings. It’s so worth it. “Mary has the presence of God with her and she has the blessing of God upon her,” states Matthew Henry. This is the case for every believer.

Our God is on the move. Adventures in faith and great inspiration often surprise our timeline and press on fears of inadequacies, doubt, opposition and long seasons of waiting. How long? This is also our challenging cry along with Jeremiah, David, and Hannah. Let us recall, goodness greets us every morning, great is His faithfulness. Let us continue to surrender in faith and grow to be brave. God’s grace surrounds us, therefore, we have hope and joy as He changes us to be brave from glory to glory.

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Present Rest

by Mary Beth on August 4, 2020

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“You and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found
to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness.” ~C. S. Lewis

Plowmen Dug

Since my youth oppression

Followed after to confine me.

Yet,

Not prevailing; nor victory gained

Yahweh is faithful to cut me free.

*

Over my back plowmen dug

Making their furrows long.

In its place, the Lord will train

That each endeavor is a song.

*

Those who hate will turn back.

From first to last their efforts defaced

To constrain my life and its effectiveness.

Now I’m in a spacious place.

*

Jehovah will contend, and in shame

 Turn them back!

On those who contend with me,

With death in all their attacks.

*

To this day I proclaim your name

And declare your power.

Do not forsake me when I am old and grey

To the next generation, aflame.

Psalms 129, Psalms 71:17,18, Psalms 18:19, Isaiah 49:25

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