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June | June 18, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
When accused of rubbing the fur the wrong way because of the way he preached,
Billy Sunday responded, “I do not. Let the cat turn around!” That’s
what repentance is all about, turning around.
It’s a matter of the heart, where the real issues of life are determined.
Listen to what the prophet Joel says beginning in chapter 2, verse 12: “Even now
declares the Lord, ‘Return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping
and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the
Lord your God for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding
in love. And He relents from sending calamity.’”
When reading the book of Joel in the Old Testament, you will discover that He
approaches the heart through the head. He gives the heart reasons for
repenting. When God is forgotten the beautiful is made barren, the
delightful is destroyed and the garden becomes a wilderness. These outward
manifestations of being abandoned by God are sure signs that we need to repent.
Joel then spells out the remedy for this condition. Our hearts must be
made available for God to work on them, in them and through them. He
changes the outside by changing the inside. When the repentant heart is
renewed it will inspire the hands. Once healed ourselves we are instructed
to help others. Repentance is not the result of works but it does result
in good works. Keep that in mind. Let’s really repent as we read
Joel, the next book in our project of reading it through in two, that is,
reading through the Bible by the end of this year.