Advent 2012: Day

The Lord desires a repentant heart


Today's Text: Joel 2:12-13

Text: Joel 2:12-13

The Gospel is full of joy, promise and hope.

But sisters, it is just as much, if not more, filled with sorrow and heartache and bitter weeping.

Christ felt supreme anguish over our sins as he bled on the cross, a sinless God-man.

What anguish do we feel for our own sins? Does it wreck us the way it wrecked Him? When we see where we have fallen short, are we half as broken by our sins as He is?

Yes, there is love. And yes, sisters, there is grace. But that truth should cause us all the more to hate and forsake our sins.

God desires this – this true repentance.

And that may be an unfamiliar thing for some of us. Let’s look together at three instances of repentance in the Bible and how it “looked” to repent:

Fasting: When Ezra made confession on behalf of the people of Israel because of their disobedience, he “withdrew from before the house of God and went to the chamber… where he spent the night, neither eating bread nor drinking water, for he was mourning over the faithlessness of the exiles.” (Ezra 10:6)

Weeping: When Mordecai learned that Haman’s lies could doom the Jewish people, he “tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city and he cried out with a loud and bitter cry.” (Esther 4:1)

Mourning: And, the people of Nineveh. They heard Jonah’s message and repented. In fact, the king of Nineveh was so broken and so desparate for the Lord’s forgiveness, he decreed, “Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands.” (Jonah 3:7,8)

In each story, the repenters thought they were too far gone. Unforgiveable. They hated their sin and it grieved them deeply.

“‘Yet even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.’ Return to the Lord your God.”

Lord, make our hearts tender to you. Wreck us over our sin, then lift us up with your grace. Give us repentant spirits, knowing that you and only you can make untrue all the sins that are in us.

  • Yeas back life was very different from what we are seeing today.With the passage of time student develop own career it is very help full for student

  • This is with the fact that many more tasks have been taken online including accessing your money. This has made many more people want to access education so as to remain relevant.

  • Becky, as I reflected on the steps of repentance you provided as guidance I was reminded of how PROCESS-Oriented God is. He is God of CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT, which is far more extensive than a simple “I’m sorry” but inclusive of a confession. I’ve never seen those steps you outlined but I’m certain that personally I will have opportunity to test them… thanks for the practical tool. Here’s to the Holy Spirit teaching us how to LIVE the Truth not just Read it!

  • Even before I read this devotional this morning, the Lord convicted me of my sin. I have been unforgiving toward my husband. We are struggling greatly with our finances even though we are tithing. I am trying to remain faithful, but at times I fail. I also struggle with being OCD and when strife hits I am awful. I desire to control my environment to feel better. When my husband makes even minor messes, I am disrespectful and unloving. We talked about it just yesterday and how I know I am wrong and am working on changing.

    How great is our God and His perfect timing in revealing important truths to us about ourselves in the light of His Word!!

  • Jessica I

    Oh Jasmine! I pray that the Spirit fills you with God’s love. With His love, you are free. Again, it is the evil one who wants you to feel guilt and regret. Let it go and let God’s love release you from your burdens.

  • I totally relate to this feeling, my heart literally SHATTERS when I fall into sin. I hate it. I feel disgusting. I feel such a deep regret its ridiculous. But its weird that I continue to fall into that same sin. I hate it so much but someway, somehow my flesh gets weak and continues to give into it even though i hate it. help? what does true repentance look like? i always make up in my mind ill never do it again but i continue to do it. i know i cant do it in my own strength, i must rely on God to change my desires but does that just take a lot of time? im trying to find a balance between putting in the work to fight this sin and relying on God to change me from the inside out. Its hard and its confusing.

  • Repentance is a deep and personal process. I am so grateful for the atonement of my Savior Jesus Christ. I know that through Him all my sins, shortcomings and mistakes are forgiven.

    These steps in repentance come to mind, I learned them as a young girl and they have stayed within my heart:

    1 – Recognize wrong
    2 – Promise not to repeat
    3 – Recommit oneself
    4 – Restitution
    5 – Feel true sorrow
    6 – Allow time
    7 – Forgive self and others
    8 – Receive forgiveness from the Lord

    These steps helps me understand that repentance is truly a process and it takes much effort, prayer and thought.

    I know God is patient and wants us to draw near unto Him. He wants us to correct our sins, look inward and progress. He doesn't request a quick fix, or just outward displays of repentance and religion. It must be a change in our souls, we must feel mercy and the knowledge of God. (Hosea 6)

    When I allow myself to go through these steps I feel more determined to be obedient to God's teachings, and turn away from my sins and turn towards God.

    At times I feel overwhelmed that such a price was paid for my salvation, and that I contributed to Christ's suffering because of my selfish sins. But then I remember God's plan for His children to be with Him again, and I remember how much Christ loves us. Christ's love, his pure charity was made whole through his willingness to save mankind. For that I am eternally grateful.

    I know Christ knows me by name and cares for me. I believe in repentance and know it is real. I pray I can remember this continually. What a lovely devotional today, so uplifting.

  • I feel the need for tears, and fasting for thoes the Lord has put on my heart.

  • To be honest, I loved the passage of Scripture today! Especially the part that says “Rend your heart and not your garment.” Rend literally means to tear. Our hearts should tear (or another phrase that is more common to us, our hearts should break) when we sin. But it shouldn’t stay that way! I read further into verse 14 and love what happens here. That instead of the curse of sin, there comes a blessing when we repent. And that blessing goes back to God when we honor and praise Him for His unending compassion! Isn’t that awesome?!

  • I remember I done something, I knew right away it was wrong. I prayed to the lord, but I continue to feel bad, then I read that the devil always tries to tell you “how bad we done messed up “it we go into prayer and asks for forgiveness, he will forgive us, we just have to forgive our self and don’t listen to the devil.

  • I got distracted from the message here by the reference to Mordecai. I can’t find anything that says he lied to Haman. Haman lied to the king and Mordecai grieved for the Jews. Thanks.

  • This devotional is truly a blessing! It reminds me that sin hurts Jesus, and figuratively it’s like every time I sin Jesus is crucified again. He is crucified that I may have forgiveness of my sin! But then He was also risen from the dead, that I may have VICTORY over sin! I think it’s important to not tHink that this devotion is saying to be feel guilty because of sin. But it is saying that sin should break your heart so that you will less likely commit sin. When we sin it separates us from God; therefore it is heart breaking! I know that I have to start reflecting on the consequences of sin during repentance regardless of how “big” or “small” !

  • truthinweakness

    so timely. the Lord has been challenging my heart in the area of repentance lately, convicting me that i'm not fully seeing my sin as the utter tragedy it is before God. and when i do that, i minimize the power of the gospel and the wonder of His grace.

    thanks so much for sharing.

  • Bethany’s confession is also my own! I love the line “wreck me over my sin.” This passage in Joel is as crucial today as yesterday. In an age of “do whatever makes you feel good” I’m grateful that Jesus didn’t. Luke 22:41-42 says it did NOT make Him feel good to think about what He would do for ME, nor did it feel GOOD. So like Bethany, I don’t ever want to reflect on my sin lightly, nor do I want to stay wrecked because Salvation and Forgiveness is part of God’s package too. Oh My Goodness, I AM IN LOVE WITH GOD.

  • Lord, make my heart tender to you. Wreck me over my sins, then lift me with your grace. Give me a repentant spirit, knowing that you and ONLY YOU can make untrue the sins that are in me. Amen.

    Such a beautiful prayer, felt with every fiber of my being. This one is going to be written in my journal for regulsr reflection.

  • What a prayer! Lord, make our hearts tender to you! True, tender love of that kind will surely make me hate my sin! So thankful for your forgiveness & grace, dear Lord!

  • We do need to be truly remorseful for our sins by confessing them but we also need to remember that God remembers them NO MORE! Walk in the forgiveness that Jesus provided on the cross. We are not supposed to feel guilty and beat ourselves up. Lean into and rely on your Spirit to guide you. When you mess up, and we all will, talk to God and don’t keep doing the same thing over and over. He is gracious, compassionate and loves us more than we can comprehend.

  • rocknitat55

    Lord I learned not to long ago that there r no big sin or little sins. All sin is against you
    I thank u for that revelation. Lord show me my sin, the eror of my ways.
    I repent. All day long will I praise your being, Thank u as u reveal them to me that I learn from them and I humbly can walk in your grace. Amen

  • Oh, I am so distracted by a misplaced pronoun! Mordecai was not the liar, Haman was. (Esther 3) Mordecai fasted and wept over the evil plot against the Lords people. He refused to bow to evil and he took his stand humbly and openly against it.

    May I be so humble and open when evil wants to destroy gods people.

    • Raechel

      Hi Connie! Thanks for the heads up, you're absolutely right! Fixing! :)

  • What a wake up call! I tend to forget just how much Christ suffered on the cross for ME to have forgiveness! I look at my sins and ask for forgiveness, but does it BREAK MY HEART? Sadly no. In the busyness of life I tend to push my guilt aside and carry on.
    Lord I am sorry for allowing myself to be so blasè about the wondrous and difficult sacrifice that Christ gave on the cross. Help my heart to break every time I sin, and never allow me to overlook the hurt I have caused you ever again.

    • Valerie

      perfectly said…

    • Apryll

      Wonderfully said.

    • provs31gal

      Ditto! I love the honesty in this group! I have to concur Bethany, I feel the same way. I really do not think of it when it's happening until later and that is so sad. Lord I ask for your forgiveness for my lack of care for the sins I have done. I am so not worthy!

  • I pray, constantly, in my heart to have a more broken and contrite spirit before God. It takes humility everyday to be able to accept the grace God gives each of us, lest we get on a moral high ground. And I love/long for the times when I lay before God and am so empty of myself, ready to be filled by His goodness and mercy.
    It’s only by living a life of submission and sorrow (for my sins) that I can be free in Him to have Life, forgiveness, love for my brother, and a burden for lost and hurting people. But just as we read in these two scriptures in Joel today, it takes a tremendous amount of selflessness and obedience to God to make us TRULY unbroken for Him.

    I LOVE this group of ladies. I pray the very best for you today!!
    God bless everyone :)

  • I love knowing that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38). It is true and something that we should hold strong to but not forgetting that Gods heart breaks every time we sin. Even when we don’t mean to, even when we don’t realise we are! our hearts also need to break. My prayer for today is to become more like God- slow to anger and quick to forgive and give thanks that he is!

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