[reprinted from June 12, 2009]
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, â€œBrothers, what shall we do?â€
Peter said to them, â€œRepent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are far off, even as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.â€ With many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, â€œSave yourselves from this crooked generation!â€
Then those who gladly received his word were baptized. There were added that day about three thousand souls. Â Â Â Acts 2:37-41 (WEB)
REPENT is a word I heard every night when I went to a revival in 1995. The evangelist had a different metaphorical example and was very good at bringing his point home about the need to make a change. The phrase that reached my self-assured, I-don’t-need-anyone heart was: â€œIf you are ashamed of me (Jesus), I will be ashamed of youâ€! I ducked my head down because I knew I was ashamed of Jesus. When the minister gave the invitation to â€œCome! Make a change! Repent!â€ I could not have stayed in my seat if I had been shackled and buckled down! I would have busted loose! I wanted to turn in a different direction. The path I had been walking was not working!
It says that Peter testified. Do you think he told about how he was a fisherman and when Jesus said, â€œCome, I will make you a fisher of menâ€? Do you think he told how he denied Jesus not once but three times? And then told how Jesus reinstated him with forgiveness and love? â€œSAVE YOURSELVES!â€ 3,000 people decided to do just that!
Repentance is just the beginning. When I make the choice to acknowledge that I need a Savior, God empties me of all the disgusting, self-destructive junk and fills me with all that is Him. I choose to let go of pride, pain, condemnation, half-truths, deceit, and all the other disgusting stuff. When God cleans my house, He does not miss a dust mite or any sinful cobwebs. He can then fill me with all that is in Him. Read Galatians 5:22-26 and Philippians 4:8. That’s the good stuff that Jesus wants His Spirit to plant inside of me.
There are so many ‘extras’ that come. The one that will bring me to tears even to this day is the gift of healing that Jesus brought to me. Jesus took my beat up, bruised, slashed heart and made it brand new. And since I still need to repent most every day because I sin most every day â€“ God has gifts ready to fill up those empty spaces that happen when I ask His forgiveness and turn from my wickedness.
Rejoice in the Lord always! Again I will say, â€œRejoice!â€ Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Philippians 4:4-7 (WEB)
Mercy Seat written by Nick Cave (1988) and sung by Vicki Yohe