Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Importance of Repentance in Receiving God's Blessings

God in His ultimate wisdom never ceases to amaze me. He knows the future... He knows all.. Every day is planned. Every day He is in preparation for the next. Today He is preparing you for what you will need for tomorrow... or a year from now... or even 50 years from now. How awesome is our God?

When I was about 18 years of age, I told a lie to my mother. It wasn't just some slip of the tongue kind of lie. I actually looked her straight in the eye and lied through my teeth. For a few years, I often thought about it and felt bad, but NEVER said anything. Then after awhile, the conviction lessened, I began thinking about it less and less. For several years I hardly ever thought about it at all. Then when I was expecting Serenity... about 6 or 7 months along, God suddenly reminded me about my little lie. I soon became consumed with conviction. Every time I would speak to her, I became tongue tied. I would feel sick to my stomach. Each time became harder and harder to look her in the eye. The the dark hours of the night I began crying out to God... begging for His forgiveness. But I couldn't receive a peace! Before long, I knew what I had to do... I had to confess to my mother.

The thought of telling my parents scared me. It was always SO important to me that both of my parents were proud of me. I didn't want to disappoint them. I didn't want them to know that I had let them down. A few more days passed, and the conviction grew stronger and stronger. Finally, I made a trip to their house to confess. I stayed for a couple of hours... trying to come up with the courage to speak, but failed. As I walked to my car that night, the burden overwhelmed me. Never in my life, had I ever felt conviction so strong. I turned around to see my mother walking back toward the house and I called out to her. Immediately I broke down and confessed with tears streaming down my face. "I lied to you." I spent the next few moments bawling my eyes out as I confessed every little detail. Once everything was out in the open, you know what she said? She said... "I've known that all along" It wasn't a big deal to her. What WAS a big deal, was the fact that I felt bad enough to confess after all those years. That night she developed a deeper respect for me. A few months later, Serenity entered into this world.

In hindsight, I can see God's reasoning for my confession. He was preparing me for the long road that laid ahead of me. He was preparing me to be a mighty prayer warrior. Few people truly understand the importance of repentance. Few people truly understand the importance of praying with a pure heart.

"For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight." 1 John 3:20-22

In order for us to have the confidence of God answering our prayers we MUST have a guilt free conscious. Now of course, we all make mistakes every day. But there is a HUGE difference in making honest human mistakes and outward blatant sin. There is a difference in slipping up and harboring a hidden sin within your heart. So many people use the excuse... "I'm only human." as a scapegoat to do as they please... not realizing they are hindering God from moving within their lives. We must STRIVE toward Christ-like perfection. We MUST make EVERY effort to become perfect. We will never reach that goal, but we MUST strive toward that goal. A pure heart takes a DAILY effort. "Lord, reveal my faults on this day, so that I can correct them. Then forgive me Lord" With the obvious sins there MUST be a true heart felt repentance. Repentance is more than just asking for forgiveness

Repentance: Turning away from sin by changing one's actions to obey the teachings of Jesus Christ. The repentance process consists of feeling sincere regret or sorrow for doing wrong, confessing the sin(s), asking for forgiveness, making restitution for any damage done, and promising not to repeat the sin.

Throughout the bible God gives us examples of the importance of repentance, but one in particular has always hit me like a ton of bricks.

"If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will NOT hear. But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. " Psalm 66:18-19

God requires a prayer of repentance before He will even HEAR our other petitions! Therefore, a powerful prayer warrior requires a pure heart.

Before Serenity's birth God was already preparing me to become a worthy prayer warrior. After her birth, we made every effort to remain within God's good standing. I NEVER even DARED to ask God for her healing without first asking for forgiveness. "Lord, if I have knowingly or unknowingly stepped out of your will on this day, Forgive me, that I may come to you with a pure heart." Every time I prayed, I first searched my heart. Once my conscious was clear... then I proceeded with my petitions of healing.

Yes.. God's wisdom never ceases to amaze me. He goes before us preparing our way.... as long as we are obedient to listen, we can NOT fail. God knew how Serenity's story would end. He planned her healing before MY existence. He knew every detail that would need to fall into place. All the way from placing the Charles Capps book into my hands months before her birth (that helped me understand faith in depth)... to purifying my heart. God planned everything! He KNEW that I had to reveal EVERY hidden sin. If I had not been obedient to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, I am most certain our story would have turned out differently. I Praise a loving, mighty and Patient God... who never gave up on me!