Repentance Begins With Words

Today is Friday, March 8, 2013. I wish you a blessed day today.

Today is International Women’s Day. This was begun in 1911, and is sponsored by the United Nations. The focus is on working women and advancing women’s rights in the workforce, politics, and society at large. I’m all for that. Have been for as long as I can remember. In fact, I once took a quiz that told me at the end that I was, in fact, a feminist. 😀

Yesterday was a good day. After struggling with allergies all day on Wednesday, I felt pretty good all day yesterday. The work day went smoothly, and I got pretty much everything accomplished that I needed. And I felt really good, both physically, and emotionally. I can’t really explain this, but I was joking with Stephanie all the way to the gym last night, and had a really good workout on the elliptical, compared with Wednesday night’s workout, where I could barely pedal the thing. Is that what you do with an elliptical? Pedal? I don’t know…it’s not exactly running, but it sort of is, because you’re standing up, but there are these large “pedal” like things…oh, well…doesn’t really matter, does it? Anyway, it was a good day. Christi and I started watching the Tuesday night episode of American Idol, but didn’t get it finished. So, at this point, we still don’t know who the top 10 are. We will find out who America voted through either tonight or tomorrow.

Weight wise, I am .2 pound away from my lightest weight in over three years (which I hit in late September of last year, before I slacked off and gained about 20 pounds back through the holidays). Unfortunately, I have a weekend coming up. Then I have my birthday coming up next week, with a loooooong weekend (three days of vacation). This is going to take some extra discipline, along with the determination to enjoy myself as well. I’m not sure how that’s going to work out, but, as they say, “It is what it is.” 😀

(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)
On this date in 1265, Simon de Montfort “gathered together in Westminster Hall some peers of the land, a sprinkling of bishops, two knights from each shire and two to four ‘good and loyal men’ from each city and borough.” For the first time ever, ordinary citizens met together to “discuss the government and to give opinions regarding the laws they were to live under.” (This all happened after Montfort led a rebellion against Henry III.) This event is considered by historians to be the first parliament, and the beginning of what is, today, the House of Commons.

Today’s birthday is…I can’t pick just one today, sorry. The reason being, we have Mickey Dolenz in 1945, Randy Meisner in 1946, and Michael Allsup in 1947. Plus there is Alan Hale, Jr. back in 1921. Dolenz, for you youngsters out there, was one of The Monkees…the drummer. With the hair. Here’s a clip of him getting all emotional at Davy Jones’s memorial (I confess…I got a little emotional, too).

Meisner is a bass player and was a founding member of Poco and Eagles. (It is not “The” Eagles…never has been. It is simply “Eagles.”) Here is a clip of him singing “Take It To the Limit.

Finally, Michael Allsup is a guitarist and best known for his work with Three Dog Night. As far as I know, he is still touring with two of the three “dogs.” Here is a live clip of “Easy To Be Hard,” from 1969. The video, of course, focuses on Chuck (who was both Christi’s and my favorite), but Michael is over there playing the guitar.

And Alan Hale, Jr., of course, was the “Skipper” on Gilligan’s Island. He passed away back in 1990.

Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. Psalm 98:1
Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant. Let your mercy come to me, that I may live; for your law is my delight. Psalm 119:76-77
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great above the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Psalm 108:3-4

I will sing to you, this day, my Father, and let my mouth declare a new song to you. You have, indeed, done marvelous things, and I will praise you with all of my being. By your mercy and grace, show me your face today, that I may live. I will take delight in whatever you will teach me today.

Today’s reading from In Touch magazine (Hah! You thought I was going to say A Year With God, didn’t you?) focuses on Matthew 7:9-11, which says, Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! The point is, God is worthy of our trust. He loves us unconditionally, because his very nature is love. In fact, it could be said (and is said) that he IS love. “God knows everything about you, including the unseemly details, and loves you just the same. That alone is good reason to feel perfectly safe with Him.”

Today, I’m reading Isaiah 30:27-28.

27 Behold, the name of the LORD comes from afar, burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke; his lips are full of fury, and his tongue is like a devouring fire;
28 his breath is like an overflowing stream that reaches up to the neck; to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction, and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads astray.

It is believed that this passage is describing the anger of the Lord as he comes against the Assyrian army.

Today’s reading from A Year With God is called “Sincere Repentance.” The scripture reading is Hosea 14:1-2.

1 Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity.
2 Take with you words and return to the LORD; say to him, “Take away all iniquity; accept what is good, and we will pay with bulls the vows of our lips.

(The phrase, “pay with bulls the vows of our lips” may also be translated, “offer the fruit of our lips.”)

Repentance is, of course, an action, it is doing something. However, it often begins with words. Yet, it seems that sometimes that for which we need repentance sometimes keeps us from finding the right words. Notice that, in this passage, the command to bring words is immediately followed by the provision of those words. “The divine grace that responds to our confession of sin is already at work in eliciting it.” These words, the “fruit of our lips,” are all that we need to confess and receive our forgiveness. We have nothing more to offer than our repentance; animal sacrifice is no longer required. And God’s grace provides us with the words that we need. “Take time today to respond to God’s grace with a sincere confession of your heart.”

Father, I praise you that you provide words for confession and repentance when our hearts cannot find them. Sometimes the sin that so easily besets us is also that which prevents us from coming up with the right words to begin the process of confession and repentance. Your grace, by the power of the Holy Spirit, helps us along in that. Where would I be today, were it not for this grace? I would still be lost and entrenched in my sin. I would be alone, so very alone. But, thanks be to God, I am not alone! And I am growing in you, on a daily basis, thanks to your grace and mercy! I love the way you gently bring me along, a little bit further each day, sometimes showing me the most marvelous things, and other times gently reminding me of things that you have already taught me. I keep praying back to you the verse that you brought to my heart so many years ago, Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth. Unite my heart to fear your name. And you are honoring that prayer! Show me, each day, where I sin and fall short of your glory, that I may confess and exercise true repentance. Even that repentance is granted me by you!

I lift up this Friday, this last work day of this week. May it be a pleasant day today, full of you. I pray for Christi, that she might keep feeling better each day, and that her work day would be stress-free today. Grant that she would find favor among those who have authority over her. I pray for my work day, and hope for good news today. I lift up Stephanie to you, asking that you would draw her closer to you during this day. Give us a pleasant, restful weekend, and prepare our hearts to serve you this Sunday morning.

True repentance begins with words of confession. We can trust God to give us those words.

Grace and peace, friends.