forgiveness and repentance
Open Your Bible
BY Guest Writer
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After owning up to the fact that he was running from God and getting tossed into the sea, Jonah finds himself in the belly of a big fish. Things are looking pretty bleak. Jonah knows his disobedience has probably sent him to his death.
Through the fog of his desolation, Jonah remembers God. He claims God’s faithfulness – and then, he takes it to another level. He thanks God and worships Him. Jonah’s ownership of his wrongdoing and God’s great mercy send Jonah flying out of the belly of the fish and into God’s Holy Presence.
I was as far down as a body can go,
and the gates were slamming shut behind me forever–
Yet you pulled me up from the grave alive
O God, my God!
(Jonah 2:6, The Message)
I see myself in Jonah. Can’t we all? Many times when I sense God’s call in the little or the big, my first impulse is to run. Many times I do run, my fear greater than my faith. But in God’s grace, as I repent, remember, give thanks and worship, my eyes are lifted to a Holy God worthy of our praise and gratitude.
As I worship Him, I too am lifted from darkness into God’s light. As you worship Him, you too are lifted from darkness into God’s light.
In The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning says, “The saved sinner is prostrate in adoration, lost in wonder and praise. He knows repentance is not what we need to do in order to earn forgiveness; it is what we do because we have been forgiven.”
“Repent and believe in the gospel,” Jesus says in Mark 1:15; and Peter echoes Him in Acts 2:38, saying, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Repentance is both our path to forgiveness and the response that blooms from it.
I waited patiently for the Lord;
He turned and heard my cry.
He lifted me up out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord.
(Psalm 40:1-3, NIV)
As we sing the new song of true repentance, may we repent as people shaped by forgiveness.
Guest writer Marcie Porterfield lives in Raleigh, NC with her husband, three mostly-sweet daughters, and super-sweet old yellow Lab named Austin. She traded in the wonderful chaos of working in the inner-city for learning and leading other women in the practice of contemplative prayer and fellowship.
We are loving this #SheSharesTruth experiment and we hope you are, too! (Here is the list of community shares from last week)
Let’s do it again this week, shall we?
So, for Friday, we encourage you to study and share Jonah 3&4. It’s two full chapters again, but just like last week, we think that because the book of Jonah can be divided into two very parallel sections, studying these two chapters this week will allow you all the opportunity to possibly approach the same scriptures we’re studying together from a broader perspective. (And if you prefer to study and share a smaller section, we think that’s great, too!)
We can’t wait to see what the Lord teaches you!
However you work (we know everyone has their own methods!), we are looking forward to Friday where you can share in your own words what the Holy Spirit is teaching you in Jonah 3&4. We’d love to have you join us!
Grace and Peace,