A Repentant Heart

Open Your Bible

Joel 2:12-13, Mark 1:14-15, Luke 15:11-32, 1 John 1:5-10

Text: Joel 2:12-13, Mark 1:14-15, Luke 15:11-32, 1 John 1:5-10

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand;
repent and believe in the gospel.”
– Mark 1:15

In the Gospel of Mark, we see Christ begin His earthly ministry with one clear instruction: repent and believe. Isn’t if funny how quick we can be to skate past that first part? I mean, think of all the advertising slogans and ornaments and crafty pillow covers and gold-leafed art prints that shout a sparkly “BELIEVE!” to us at Christmastime. The believing part seems to be much easier—much more attractive—than the repentance part. I have zero ornaments on my tree that declare “REPENT!” in glitter glue or Swarovski crystals. (If you have one, I’d love to see a photo!)

Right out of the gate, Jesus’ message was a call for us to repent of our sin and believe He is our Savior. If we skip repentance, what do we believe He saves us from?

I spent thirty years hearing the story of the Prodigal Son one way: a young fool of a son taking and squandering his inheritance, only crawling back home when he had nowhere else to turn. To me, the story was always more about the father. I assumed the lesson here was that I should be as forgiving of foolish people as he was.

But as years passed and I heard the story over and over again, my eyes opened to the truth—I’m not the father; I’m the young fool. The story isn’t only about forgiveness; it’s about repentance, too.

Look at verse 17 in the story. It says the son “came to himself,” or came to his senses. He found clear eyes to look around and see the mess he’d made, then prepared and delivered a simple yet profound confession and repentance to his father:

“Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.
I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”

His repentance wasn’t easy. The son wasn’t even sure if his father would take him back (he was prepared to be taken back as a hired servant, not a son). But the father received him with open arms as a long, lost child! There may have even been a moment at the party when the son was tempted to cross stitch “believe” on a nearby feedsack to celebrate his new, deeper understanding of his father’s love for him. (Okay, probably not. But still—this big forgiveness was a big deal!)

The prodigal son’s repentance—and that of any of us who gets honest before the Lord and humbly confesses from the place of our deepest need—can be summed up in these words my pastor said to me a few years back:

Our joy is only as satisfying as our repentance is deep.

If Christ calls us to repent and believe, let’s not skip around. To do so is to miss the fullness of the Gospel! Let’s listen closely and really hear the call to repentance spoken by the prophet Joel on behalf of God Himself:

“‘Yet even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart…
and rend your hearts and not your garments.’
Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster.”

Let’s take time today, friends—real time— to sit before the Lord to bring our sin and shame to Him. Let’s repent because He has told us to do it. Let’s rend our hearts, like Joel says. But let’s do so with the confidence that we are returning to a Father who will receive us with open arms and forgive us. He will rejoice over us with singing!

When our repentance is deep, our joy is like no other. And we can believe as sons and daughters who have seen with our own eyes that the Gospel is true!


For an added layer of worship during this sweet season of adoration and expectation, we’ve created a Spotify playlist for Advent 2014! You can find the complete SheReadsTruth | O Come Let Us Adore Him playlist at this link, or listen to today’s track on the player below. Enjoy!


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103 thoughts on "A Repentant Heart"

  1. Tina Mullins says:

    The book, The Prodigal God, takes another perspective on the story. The elder brother has followed all if the laws and been obedient to his father yet he only does it because he wants the Father’s inheritance. He will not repent and refuses to enter into the celebration for his brother. It’s a short read with a profound message.

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  3. Jen says:

    Love this take on repentance, “if we skip repentance, what do we believe He saves us from? “

  4. Hannah says:

    I had come on this website to continue the day that I was on in a plan and couldn't remember what last one I had done. I picked a day and God totally showed me something amazing that I needed to hear although the day might have messed up. So thankful.

  5. Megan says:

    I am neither the prodigal, though I’ve squandered all His lot time after time. I am indeed the older son. A heart of self righteous pride that I need the Father to rescue me from. Through Christ I have the ability to even see that about myself. I sit this morning grateful that the LORD of all has given Himself for me. Wow. Merry Christmas indeed.

    1. Jen says:

      I admire your vulnerability, the older brother in the story I think is often overlooked. so many lessons to learn from this story! thanks for sharing!

  6. Amy says:

    Thank you for this post. I really needed it.

  7. Nikki H says:

    I love how the passage from Joel starts with “yet even now”. Such a great reminder that we are never too far gone to receive God’s mercy and grace!

  8. Bekah says:

    One of my favorite things that my pastor is always telling us is that God doesn’t make good people better; He makes dead people live.

  9. Athena says:

    Yes. Repentance runs low in my day. Wonderful reminder.

  10. Arlyne VanHook says:

    I’ve read the story so many times but today it was not the same…a whole new perspective! Brought me to tears!

    1. Michelle says:

      v Did you know that Bethlehem means “House of Bread”? In Hebrew, “Beth-lehem” is actually two words: “house” (Beth) and “bread” (lehem). And since the Hebrew language is read from right to left, Bethlehem is written like this:

      בֵּית לֶחֶם
bread house

      When you think of Bethlehem that way—as a “bread house”—do you just sit back and smile at the truth of God’s goodness? To think that Jesus, our Great Provision, was born in this very house of provision!

      1. Michelle says:

        Sorry that was a slip of the finger!

  11. Rachael says:

    “Joy is only as satisfying as repentance is deep.” – Its no wonder, then, when we choose to make decisions that are not in line with what God would have us do or think, that it is so difficult to feel good – to feel happy – to feel true, deep, genuine love. Joy will only spout from a submissive and repentant heart. That’s a truth I’m going to have to work on constantly.

  12. Kasey Tuggle says:

    Love the below quote from today! If we don’t know what we’re saved from there is no way to have joy for our salvation. “Right out of the gate, Jesus’ message was a call for us to repent of our sin and believe He is our Savior. If we skip repentance, what do we believe He saves us from?”

  13. lcblack says:

    The devotional in my team meeting yesterday (I work with Cru :] ) was on repentance, from one of the chapters in the book 'The Gospel-Centered LIfe' (highly recommended!) and we dug DEEP. So when I clicked on this today, I was like, Okay God.
    Thank you for your humbling and challenging words, Raechel!

  14. Chelsea C. says:

    I don't have the right words to say other than thank you Lord for wooing me back to you and breaking through those layers of depression and sin so that I can finally walk in joy and freedom with You! This place has become such a beautiful tool to open my eyes and I am so thankful for it. What a wonderful community of passionate Christ seeking women!

  15. Thank you for this! It hit me hard….and made me do some serious, long-overdue repenting. It was hard, but I'm already starting to feel the joy from it.

  16. Beth says:

    I love that – I have been fighting “shallow joy”. I need to repent.

  17. Becca Huff says:

    Just something to add to this wonderful lesson. For a long time, I have identified with the older son in this story. I always knew that he didn’t have the right attitude, but I couldn’t figure out why. I believe from this lesson it’s because he didn’t repent. We all sin and if we don’t confess it and repent, our joy is so shallow. Thanks for a wonderful lesson!!!

  18. Brooke Heidi says:

    Such a beautiful reminder to clear away the clutter of worry and fear in my heart to confess that I am not trusting Him that might heart might be open and able to receive the gift of His Savior.

  19. Julia Walker says:

    This was beautiful. Love it!

  20. Brandie Lane says:

    I love when the Father explains that he HAD to rejoice for his returned son- it clearly explains that he understands that it was Gods will to forgive and love again- just as Christ does for us.

  21. Amanda H says:

    For so long I have had idols. My husband, my children all gifts from him, but not to be loved more. I repent that You haven’t been first, and that I haven’t given you my entire heart. I repent that I have lived most of my life as a very lukewarm believer. I am thankful that the grace of Christ can free me from the shame of my past, and that I can finally let go of the guilt. Thank you Jesus that our joy is satisfied by deep repentance .

    1. Debbie Schulte says:


  22. Ashly says:

    This was the best day yet. The different selections really put things in perspective! Thanks so much!

    1. Ashley says:

      I agree!!! The prodigal son brings me to tears every time.

  23. Patti says:

    Receiving His forgiveness is amazing. I feel I am undeserving. But that questions the gift of His only son. In my place. I must accept this gift just as I accept His daily grace and love. I am the prodigal daughter. And daily I must ask for his forgiveness. Not for the old sins which I tend to remember and let hang around like an albatross. But for the new ones because my heart is truly wicked. I know it is. Thank you Father. For your forgiveness, your steadfast love, you unending grace and mercy. Thank you for your son who died on the cross in my place. For my sins. Thank you for this advent season in which I can prepare my heart for the birth of the babe who came to save my soul. Amen.

  24. Caitlin says:

    I often make the mistake of ignoring my present sins because my past sins seemed so great, when in reality every day I need God’s mercy and grace. Every day I go astray. Every day I need to run back into His open arms in repentance. Thank you Lord for welcoming me back with open arms each and every day.

  25. Susan Shell says:

    This is one of my most favorite stories in the Bible. I have a son who lost his way for a while. When he "returned" I didn't care about what happened during that time; I only cared that we was in my arms safe and oh so loved. The love God has for us is so much greater than we can know, yet my love for my son, and the love the father had for the prodigal son is so intense they both bring tears to me now. We serve a mighty, loving God!!!

  26. Antimony says:

    I have been both “brothers” at different points in my life. Most recently, the rebellious one who wanted nothing to do with God … and believed the lie that God wanted nothing to do with me. In the past week I, like the prodigal son, have come home. Starting to rebuild the relationship with my Father. It is a painful and humbling process. I have been such a fool. But I do believe that He has forgiven me (I Jn 1:9) and that He has welcomed this prodigal daughter back.

    1. Caitlin says:

      I’ve been there.. He loves you!

  27. Mandy Hice says:

    I am in a situation right now where I am the “good” brother and watching the “bad” brother be celebrated. This brought to my attention that I need to repent of that and show more love and compassion! Thank you!

  28. Melody says:

    Here's my thing with the prodigal son: I too, used to think I was supposed to identify with the father and forgive others even when they seriously messed up. I was never what people would call a "rebellious" kid (good grades, nice friends, etc.), so I never really identified with the prodigal son either. It wasn't that I never screwed up; it was just that I never felt like I screwed up badly. No, I identified with the brother. The brother who stayed and did what he was supposed to do and who probably felt super bitter about the fact that his dad through a party when his messed up brother return. I mean, where is the party for the "good" people.

    Oh, how wrong I was. Because even in my older brother mentality I needed repentance. I needed to repent of thinking I was better than others. I needed to repent of my holier-than-thou attitude. Even if I didn't run off and squander my inheritance, there was still a lot for which I needed to repent. And God celebrates and rejoices with us when we repent– whether it's repenting of a lousy attitude or disobedience or any of other of the millions of mistakes we make because we are human.

    And once I realized that it didn't matter which brother I was in the story, that I needed repentance either way, well that opened me up to feeling a lot more freedom and joy in my life.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. Jess says:

      This was so encouraging Melody! I’m sitting here just imagining my sweet Lord rejoicing over my repentance! What a wonderful thought!

    2. Jeanluree says:

      Love this! I’ve felt the same way. Have you read the Prodigal God by Tim Keller? Changed my life!

  29. bringbackhisgirls says:

    Christ, forgive me for letting legalism be my God. Work in my heart; change it as I repent to You.
    I've avoided SRT out of it becoming an obligation. Jesus, change me. Show me the dark, dirty parts of myself– so that I can bring them to You, knowing You are faithful to forgive those places and to shine Your light in those places forever.

    Repentance scares me, because so often I turn it into condemnation. Jesus, You are king; You are Lord. Change my heart towards repentance, that I may repent to You in Spirit and in Truth.

  30. Amanda says:

    Loved reading this today and God showed me a whole new level of understanding through reading these verses. I love how He does that.

  31. So many thoughts this afternoon!

    I know I have sin to repent of, even currently, in my deepening my walk with God recently I’ve struggled with judgement – which means self-righteousness at its core. Ouch!! It seems strange to me that this is what I wrestle with, and yet, I find myself repenting yet again.

    Repent AND believe, wow! Yes! How often I have glossed over this as well! I feel a homeschool Bible lesson coming on to make sparkly REPENT ornaments! LOL!

    Lastly, a few months ago my pastor pointed out in Luke 15:20 that “He arose and came to his father” is ACTION. Repenting requires us to DO something, not just think something. Be it asking for forgiveness from a person even when it is awkward and scary, asking God for a way out of a current situation and then taking what He provides, or taking steps to set accountability in place – repentance comes with knowing and doing both.

    What a blessing all of you are to me. I thank God for this community!

  32. Roko says:

    This was SOOOO SOOOO PERFECT!!!! I love this!!!! ❤️❤️❤️ thank you so soooo much!!!!

    1. SheReadsTruth says:

      Thanks for joining us, Roko! We love having you!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  33. Joanna S. says:

    As I read these chapters, I realized there is a difference between asking for forgiveness and repenting. I realized I had only been asking for forgiveness. It is time to really be on my knees to repent.

    1. SheReadsTruth says:

      Joanna, thank you so much for sharing this with us today. Praising God for what He's teaching you!!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  34. Katie Novikoff says:

    And oh how so many of us (like me!) need to repent of acting like the OLDER brother as well.. prideful, judgmental, selfish, critical..

  35. Jenny says:

    I think the harder sins to acknowledge can be those of the older brother. Jealousy & pride keep our hearts from repentance & gratitude. Lord, please help me face all the sin in my life – both the obvious & the hidden.

    1. bringbackhisgirls says:

      Good point, Jenny. Jesus, humble us– humble me– so that our repentance can be sure and our joy in You true.

    2. Melody says:

      I was just thinking this same thought. I've always identified more with the older brother. But his pride and holier-than-thou self-righteousness are just as much a sin as running away and squandering his inheritance on worthless things of this world, as his brother did.

  36. Elaine Allen says:

    I’ve been convicted over the past few days about my attitude towards a family member. She goes out of her way to make me crazy and I let her under my skin and think unkind thoughts. And say unkind things. This doesn’t honor my Father and is hindering my joy and others around me. I REPENT!

  37. Celeste L. says:

    Loved today’s study. It really opened my eyes about how we should repent. I think we should all take time to repent like that son to his father.

  38. Love today's word. I LOVED the quote from the pastor, "joy is only as satisfying as repentance is deep." How profound and how this sings to my soul! I have found that in my walk that the better I come to understand the nature of my sins and how my flesh is, the more joy I have from receiving Jesus as my Lord! He rescued me from a dreadful death, and I find such joy in that. No matter what else happens today, I know that Jesus is with me, and he came running to me, and he still comes every time because He loves me. Praise God! Thank you Jesus! I am so joyful to have this season of focus and gratitude and remembering that You are the reason I celebrate EVERY DAY that I'm alive.

    1. SheReadsTruth says:

      I love that quote too, Emily! How wonderful it is that your joy is full because of repentance! Thanks for sharing this encouragement!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  39. Missa says:

    What a beautiful idea. It makes sense because true repentance brings humility.
    When you are humble, you are able tinder the world from a more simple view that’s not jaded and I’ve realized the simplest things bring the most joy. Also, repentance keeps us aware of other peoples struggles and helps us to understand and have empathy when they don’t meet whatever “standards” we tend to put on people.

  40. Anna Logan says:

    “Let eartg receive her King. Let every heart prepare him room…” Today God showed my that I have no room in my heart for Jesus without repentance. In this season of Advent, I must repent of my sins in order to make room for my savior. Repentance is about preparing a home for JESUS, when we repent of our sins, we make a little more room for Emmanuel. This can be hard at times, holding on to our junk is so easy because we have become so comfortable with it. It’s like that spare bedroom that you hide all your stuff in! But God calls us to prepare room for His son.

    “Even now” declares the lord. Even in the midst of mourning, chaos, hurt, prepare a room for Jesus and he will bring healing.

    Thank you for today’s word! It’s pulling on my heart strings.

  41. christinahuntz says:

    This was so important for me to hear! God can only work in us as much as we admit we need Him, like it says in 1 John 1:8-10. Great post!

  42. Chloe says:

    When we ask God to search our hearts and He reveals the impurity dwelling there it is an opportunity for us to repent. This is how He "creates in us a clean heart and a steadfast spirit within." Psalm 51:10. Repentance removes the scales from our eyes and allows us to take the focus off ourselves look to the Savior! It's amazing that He willingly welcomes us back with open arms!!!

  43. Carmen says:

    I needed to hear this! It affirms steps I took yesterday! What does it mean to rend your garments?

    1. Samantha says:

      To rend is to tear. A sign of grief in their culture was to tear their clothing. The prophet is instructing them not to tear their clothing, but rather to tear the hearts, break their hard hearts for the Lord.

    2. Leenda324 says:

      Part of ancient Hebrew mourning rituals included tearing their clothes, putting on sackcloth (burlap) and pouring dust and ashes on their heads to demonstrate their misery and sorrow.

  44. Mariah VanCleave says:

    As I was reading this, I was just curious on how one forgets to repent? I’m new to this. Not to believing in the Lord. I have believed in the Lord for all my life but I never followed him. I never devoted myself to him. When I was younger I did but as I got older I stopped and wish I never had. So I am learning more and more about God everyday! My life is better having him in my life. My boyfriend is also starting to follow him.
    I live in sin. And I know I do. I tell God everyday that I know I am living in it. And I wonder, how can one ask for forgiveness if one commits that same sin?
    I’m 19 and I am not a virgin. I know in the bible it says to wait, but I didn’t and I am still with that same man. But how can I be forgiven if I commit that same sin? Is it still considered a sin?
    Sorry if this is TMI I’m just curious.

    1. Rach says:

      Hi Mariah, that isn’t TMI, and I hope this helps: when Jesus says repent, He means to turn away from our sin and believe that He has saved us and that He is better than whatever comfort or pleasure we get from sin. It’s a daily struggle to choose to walk with him instead of our selfish desires, yet the Bible clearly shows that our new lives in Christ should show a pattern of holiness and faith rather than a pattern of habitual sin. You should read Romans 6–Paul explains this new life pretty well. Starting with “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can he who died to sin still live in it? … We know that our old self was crucified with (jesus) in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” I hope this helps, Mariah. But most importantly Mariah, I encourage you to find someone in a bible-believing church who can lead you through this. It’s so hard to repent and God has given us a community of believers so we won’t be alone. My friends keep me accountable and point me to Christ, to keep me on the path and to remind me of His love and grace when I fall off the path (which is daily). Repent and believe, repent and believe, it’s a daily thing. Praise God for his grace! And praise God for your new faithfulness in following Him! So exciting!

      1. Mariah VanCleave says:

        Thank you so much for the reply! :) I am enjoying my journey!
        I am so glad someone answered :) I do praise him everyday and thank him as much as possible. :)

    2. Diane A. says:

      I just wanted to tell you that if you read the story of the Prodigal son, you will notice that when he "came to himself", he repented and left his sinful way of living. This the definition of repent: 1.
      to feel sorry, self-reproachful, or contrite for past conduct; regret or be conscience-stricken about a past action, attitude, etc. (often followed by of):
      He repented after his thoughtless act.
      to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one's life for the better; be penitent.
      Perhaps, God is gently nudging you to leave your life of "living in sin" as you put it. Seek God and diligently ask Him to show you what way He would have you to go. Be open to His leading and follow Him. He will bless you greatly if follow him with your whole heart. Hope this helps and I will be praying for you

    3. Samantha says:

      Mariah, You're so brave to publicly admit your sin…don't let any of us fool you, we all have our own sins that we commit over and over daily and we constant have to ask forgiveness as well. Jesus once met another woman who was living in her sin daily, just like you and just like me. His instruction to her was "Go and sin no more". He actually saved her life physically (from a mob that wanted to kill her for her sin), but then because He knew the payment for sin is death, He saved her life again. He forgave her quickly, but wanted her to know that to live in that forgiveness, she needed to stop her sin. (You can read her story in John 8:1-11)
      You say your boyfriend is also starting to know the Lord, you might consider having this conversation with him, letting him know that you'd like to live in the forgiveness of Jesus and stop sinning. I'm not saying it'll be easy…in fact, it'll be hard. But if you want the freedom of knowing that you're doing your very best to accept the forgiveness of the Lord, the best way is to step out of that "life of sin". Commit to each other to respect the Lord with your relationship and pray for Him to really bless the two of you and to help you stick to your new goal. Be support for one another and grow in your new-found walk with the Lord together. :) Best wishes to both of you.

      1. Mariah VanCleave says:

        Thank you! I am not going to lie it is awkward to comment about my personal life on here but I felt comfortable enough knowing we are all women.
        And I know we all live in sin but I have never heard anyone ask why. Why do we ask for forgiveness of a sin we commit, such as the ones stated in Proverbs 6: 16-19.
        I just didn’t wait until marriage to be intimate with my boyfriend. He was my first and will be my last lol. But it isn’t the number one thing we need in our life to love one another. We have been together for 3 years I know it’s not long, and we are planning to spend our lives together loving God and one another.
        :) thank you for the reply

    4. Emily says:

      Thanks for being brave and sharing that, Mariah! I don't have much to add to what others have already said, but I wanted to let you know that I've been in an extremely similar situation before, when I first started to follow Jesus. Like, pretty much the same (down to being 19! :D) If you ever want to talk about it with someone, I'd be happy to give you my email address.

      1. Mariah VanCleave says:

        Sure! Here is mine! [email protected]

  45. Ko says:

    Today’s reading poked around in some areas of my heart that need a deep cleaning! The realization that if joy is lacking in parts of my life it’s not because something materialistic is missing, or because I need someone to do more for me, but that a deep repentance is pulling at me. And that when I give way to that, pure pure heavenly joy awaits! How wonderful is that!

    1. Kendall_S says:

      love this Ko!!! :)

    2. Missy says:

      Thanks for your words Ko. They are hitting me hard. Lack of joy = need for repentance.

      1. Ko says:

        I’m walking around this morning pondering this! It’s so simple yet for some reason I’ve totally overlooked it! :)

    3. Katie says:


      Thank you for posting your thought here. There is an area of my life where joy is not abounding and I know the Lord is really working in that area – rooting out past hurts, past lack of repentance that turned into wounds. Your words, "or because I need someone to do more for me, but that a deep repentance is pulling at me" got right to the heart of how I am really feeling. Thanks for giving words to all my processing. Giving this to a loving Jesus this morning with a repentant heart, asking for His heavenly joy.

  46. ErinTX says:

    REPENT and believe! My fiancé and I notice the word “believe” being misused and overused in secular culture (not just at Christmas time) and it makes us bonkers.

  47. KatSmith1026 says:

    When I was in college, I was part of a ministry & we spent a significant amount if time one semester on the prodigal son. Out leader took much of his teaching from Tim Keller’s book “The Prodigal God,” which I would recommend highly if you want to dig even deeper into this parable. It’s a quick read, but so so rich in truth. I pulled it out this morning & will probably take time to read it again over my winter break.
    Blessings as you start your weeks, dear sisters!

    1. SheReadsTruth says:

      Thank you so much for the recommendation, Kat! It's such a joy to have you here!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

      1. KatSmith1026 says:

        I just realized that you ladies already have this book on your reading list :) You're one step ahead of me!

  48. Catherine_K_L says:

    I confess, I'm a Pinterest Junkie. It's a great way to lollipop some time away. But, I did happen to see a pin that I didn't save to a board or like, so I will have to describe what I saw because I feel it goes with today's lesson. Imagine two images side by side. On the left, a Christmas wreath, on the right a crown of thorns. Two circles, side by side. In the wreath, it says "Season We Celebrate" and inside the crown of thorns "Reason We Celebrate". I liked the clever twist on the old "Jesus is the reason for the season" saying because it visualizes the other side of Believe. For me, it's the unattractive part like Rachel's description of a glittery "Repent" ornament. Yet, a part that cannot be omitted in God's redemption story of perfect and never ending love. My joy is deep because of how much I am loved. Praising God for my redemption and not giving up on me.

    I am loving this Advent devotional so much. This is a particularly difficult season this year without my father and some other life circumstances and I was not looking forward to thanksgiving or Christmas this year. SRT, you have changed my outlook with the Give thanks and this Advent study. You've brought me to a place I can see Jesus in place of my difficulties and can fully worship Him and enjoy His presence …..and that is a wonderful present! And were only on day 9 ! Weeeee! Giddy with excitement and anticipation instead of dread and fear for the season. Thank you SRT…..Praising God for you ladies and asking that He continue to Bless you richly.

    1. SheReadsTruth says:

      Catherine, it's such a joy to have you in our community! Your story draws me closer to God and teaches me more about His character. I'm so thankful!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  49. joanne says:

    Repenting with a sincere heart. Such a powerful reminder. Thank you! I know I fall short, but He is there for me anyway.

  50. stinav96 says:

    Thank you for this post, Raechel! As I prepare my heart to seek the Lord about my own repentance this morning, I need to express a few thoughts, so they don't distract me. Since sharing with you all is quicker than actually writing this in my journal, here goes.

    What does it mean to be repentant? I feel like I've grown into a besetting sin that I repent and repent and repent of but still continue to be stuck in. I hate it. I do believe, though, that I am coming to a much greater understanding of just what Christ has saved me from, why I needed Him in the first place. You see, I grew up in a Christian family. My parents grew up in Christian families. I don't believe it was ever explicitly taught–maybe subtly caught–but "good" was keeping the rules… oh, but you need Jesus in order to not go to hell. Repentance was for breaking a rule, not for offending a mighty God. Grant it, my dear mother has always taught me that I need Jesus, because without Him, my sin will separate me from God. I am a sinner, after all. But I generally kept the rules. My parents didn't want me to have a bad attitude, but I was justified for my attitude in this or that situation because ….. Or, I was to love others, but that didn't include being kind to my brother or sacrificing to meet the needs of those who didn't have as much. But I kept the important rules, so there was really very little to repent of, I thought. My bad mood would pass, and I would "repent" of my attitude. I didn't feel frustrated anymore. I would "repent" of unkindness to my brother because we were having a good day that day, but sacrifice? What's that? Obviously, not that important, something I could brush off.

    I really don't think I'm alone in this mentality (although, praise the Lord, He has opened my eyes to begin to recognize truth over the past dozen years!) That thought process and lack of understanding left me striving and depressed, and left Jesus small and insignificant in my daily life. Life was pretty compartmentalized, although had you asked me if my belief in Jesus pervaded every area of my life, I would have told you yes. It took a trip to the pit of depression and inadequacy for me to begin to discover what my precious mom was already discovering through her own personal, deeper study of the Bible: "Our joy is only as satisfying as our repentance is deep." (Thanks, Raechel!) Jesus saved me from so much more than just hell. He saved me from the wrath of God against my attitudes, my selfishness, my lack of integrity, my anger, my disrespect, my subtle disobediences. There is truly a reason to believe! I continue to sin. That anger issue that won't go away is proof of my daily need for Jesus! Do I trust Him perfectly? No way! But He is working in me. I feel it. And even though my heart is torn between apathy and need, busy-ness and hunger, I am so very thankful for this season of pointing to Jesus, our Immanuel, who saw our plight and entered into it, as one of our Christmas cantata songs says. I need Him, how I need Him! Merry Christmas, ladies!

    1. Joyjoy says:

      I HOPE EVERYONE!!! will read and take in your wise wise words. This is so insightful and is where so MaNY (most?!!) of us especially long-time Jesus followers may be trapped. We can’t fit him into our “pretty good enough”life when we see fit or when we think we need him. Oh the “subtle disobedience” leading to apathy and depression. Yes. Thanks for giving words to this. For your honesty. Thank you Jesus for pervading and freeing all areas of my selfishness and my life! I need you EVERY hour. I rend my heart.

    2. Chelsea C. says:

      You started PERFECTLY how I was feeling after reading this! This was the missing link for me! I am so excited to embrace full repentance!

  51. Kendall_S says:

    rend my heart.

    repent and believe.

    experience joy.

    seems like a formula doesn't it? can rending my heart – opening it up to internal anguish and really – really – feeling the weight of my sin and turning away from it – then believing in Jesus' death for me to cover my sin problem and welcome me with open arms, compassion and forgiveness – and then because of all this feel joy?

    does this really happen?

    yes it does! praise be to our God and Father who in His great mercy and love never tires of my issues or failures and doesn't hold my past sins against me.

    Father, thank you for the simple reminder to repent and believe. while it is a simple command it is weighty. like the prodigal son, please help me to "come to myself" and see my sin quickly and repent. help me to not skip over the hard work of repentance so that the joy can be even sweeter. amen.

  52. Lindsey says:

    Oh how I needed this today. I’m struggling with knowing that it is inevitable that I will sin in so many ways every.single.day. I do have a heart of repentance and pray for help that I will turn away or that I would even recognize my actions or non actions as sin to be able to repent. “To skip repentance is to miss the fullness of the Gospel.” Thank you for that truth today. When it seems easier or more appealing for me to continue towards my sin instead of turning away, I need to place that truth in my heart.

    1. SheReadsTruth says:

      Hi Lindsey,
      Praying with you today, friend. Thank you for your vulnerability and for sharing your heart with us. So thankful we are in this together!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  53. Onfaith says:

    Celebrating the birth of Christ is synonymous with accepting His death. Having joy is one in the same. You can't learn to swim without stepping into the water, you can't truly connect with joy, if you've not suffered in some way, even if at your own choices. And part of that connection and understanding has to come from repentance. Being humble enough to recognize the depth of our sin and ask for forgiveness. The beautiful piece of this is that God doesn't dangle our sin like a carrot to remind us after forgiveness, He literally exchanges it for joy; more each time. Below is a favorite portion from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. I think to Christ in this description and repentance as a sorrow. Prayerful that in this season of Advent, we are all feeling a greater connection to the cross and the wee babe that grew to endure it. ~ B

    "The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
    Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
    And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
    When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy."

  54. Claire says:

    really needed to read this today- so important to remember how the prodigal son started by remembering to repent. I need to remember to bring all my problems and concerns to God and not compare myself and my son to others

    1. Debbie says:

      Your conviction has been mine as well. I literally confessed this morning that I was comparing my son to other children instead of trusting God with his life and rejoicing over the fact that God's eye is on him. Repenting and believing God's plan is forever better than mine.

  55. Cari Jo says:

    “Repent and Believe” is something my church family has really dug into the last couple of years. We have some friends from England that come over time to time to speak at church, meet with our leaders, and teach at our Bible school we have had for the last two summers. One thing they’ve encouraged us to do is to take time out of our busy lives and really meditate on this.
    We live in a society that screams go, go, go.
    If we don’t take the time out of our lives to see the big things God is doing in and around us, we are really missing out on a deeper relationship with him. We need to take time out of our crazy schedules and analyze what God is saying to us, and make a plan of what we are going to do about it.
    I spent some time tonight praying about what all I need repentance for, and though there’s a lot, I really felt the need to repent of my need to stay in my comfort zone. I’ve realized this inhibits all sorts of my abilities- from having a hard time with changing relationships to speaking truth into other’s lives to being bold for Christ’s sake. I’ve realized that my comfort zone = feeling safe = me being content = selfishness = my priorities being greater than God’s. Tonight I am praying that God gives me a boldness to step out. To trust without borders. To know that his desires are greater than mine.

    1. Kelly S says:

      I am with you, Cari Jo! When I take a quick look at my soul, I usually pass the test with the big 10 (commandments). Except that one about having no other gods. My comfort zone can be a little-g-god.

      Lord, forgive me for putting my own comfort above you. How can I be so self-centered when You have done so much for me? You ran to me when I was at my lowest. You embraced me when I was nothing worth loving. You continue to prepare a feast for me, even when I don't serve you to the capacity that I should. Thanks be to the God of mercy and grace!

    2. Gema Muniz says:


  56. Thank you for this beautiful reminder! It almost seems unfitting at first to talk about repentance around Christmastime. But as you so wonderfully reminded…what are we truly celebrating if it were not for repentance? Indeed, repentant hearts are joyful hearts. And they are the kind of hearts that will know most fully the meaning and fullness of Christmas!

    1. SheReadsTruth says:

      Theresa, you're so right! Repentance gives us a deeper reason to celebrate! Love that. Thankful for you!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

      1. Thanks Kaitlin! I appreciate it…and you! :)

    2. Ashley says:

      Love this!!

      1. jenni_marie says:

        I’ve never really thought of the connection between joy and repentance. Repentance has always seemed such a sad thing– recounting my failures. But I see now, to realize the greatness of my sin and the “greater-ness” of Christ is joyous indeed. What a celebration!

  57. Candacejo says:

    John the Baptist called for the people to repent long before the Messiah came on the scene….he was trying to prepare the hearts of the people, to make them ready to meet the King of Kings. Jesus repeatedly called for people to repent everywhere He went. Repentance isn't just saying we are sorry but actually means to turn around and go the other way! Lord help me today to have a heart of repentance, sincere repentance where I no longer am heading in the direction of my sin but have turned completely around to follow YOU. In Jesus' name.

    As per your requests, here is today's Christmas carol. http://www.hopeinthehealing.com/2014/12/07/hark-d… Blessings for a beautiful Monday, Sisters! ♥

  58. Amanda says:

    I think it is important to remember that we can fully repent with and be will love us. I often say I am sorry for the ways that I have sinned against you lord but it is important to know that deeply and truly repenting as Sarah said brings us closer to him

  59. Sarah M says:

    I’ve never really thought that much about the first part of what Jesus asks of us. I repent for my sins daily, but it never really went through my mind that it needs to be deep and meaningful EVERY time. We sin everyday, and thanks be to God that we have Christ to repent to and to believe in.

    1. ClaireB says:

      This is what hit me as well…I think I have glossed over the repent part, sort of here it is let’s move on. I need to note how often I am repenting the same thing over and over.

    2. SheReadsTruth says:

      What a great reminder, Sarah. I love that, while we may turn it into a mindless obligation, it is actually intended for our sanctification and deeper joy! He's such a good father, isn't He?! Thanks for joining us today, friend.

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth