“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” —Matthew 3:2
To repent is to change your mind, to change the way you think. Anything that we do or say, anything that we allow to set itself up against God, we are called to repent of. We are called to repent of anything that refuses to give God dominion.
I was reading the Psalms today and the writer was pleading with God to bring retribution to the wicked. The wicked in this passage were doing all of these things to unjustly hurt the writer and he was asking God to bring the wicked down to lower than the dust. As I was reading this, I kept thinking to myself how much I would hate to be the wicked. How would it feel to be the ill-favored fatherless of Psalm 109:10-13? I thought about how I would feel utterly dejected and filled with anger to be in their position.
Then it hit me. The wicked need to repent because they have thought patterns that refuse to bow to Christ. The wicked and their children entertain thoughts of hatred and self-pity, and to repent would mean that they must give up those patterns of thought. Ah, Sovereign LORD, I am the wicked!
How many times have I entertained self-pity? How many times have I been angry at myself (depressed) because of my circumstances? How many times have I despairingly surrendered to loneliness? I am the wicked. I have not clung to God’s promises. I have not thanked Him for all things. I have not given Him dominion over my thoughts. Abba, change the way I think. These patterns are so deeply ingrained in me that I don’t know how to repent on my own. As far as I understand it, I give you dominion over my thoughts.
I was reading through some of my journal entries from a year ago, and I swear I don’t believe I actually wrote them. The maturity I expressed in my writings a year ago far outshines the musings of my heart now (or so I feel). Literally, I am in awe of who I’ve been. I remember every situation, I remember all the pain. Yet somehow through it all, the yearning of my heart remains the same: the abundant life.
I am a citizen of heaven. I was made to walk on streets of gold. In the meantime, I will treat this asphalt as though it were gold. Let the eyes of my heart awake to wonder. I may not live in heaven right now, but I will very soon—why not act like I already do since that’s who I am?
Ah, yes, here is the tension I’ve been feeling. It masquerades as boredom. It veils the face of my Beloved. It traps my mind so that I cannot remember how a citizen of the kingdom thinks. Is it any surprise then that I’ve been asking myself who I am today? Looking back through pictures of myself from the last two years, I could not find any that reflected who I am now. I kept questioning and looking and nothing seemed to fit. So, I took some new pictures. Slowly now I remember who I am. I’ve been fighting for two years to not lose myself, and I almost lost. Abba, sustain me!
Oh boy. This week has been the best week of summer so far. Encouraging text messages, singing the Scriptures, convicting sermons… it’s like God’s trying to tell me that He loves me or something. =D
Allow for me to share with you one of the convicting ideas floating through my mind this week: Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. In his message series entitled “The Supernatural Power of a Renewed Mind,” Bill Johnson explains that when Jesus told his disciples to pray this phrase, He was basically saying that God has dominion over all things because He made them, and whatever goes on in heaven should go on in earth because He has the dominion, and whatever is not allowed in heaven should not be allowed in earth because He has the dominion. You see, this prayer is really an invitation for God to break into our reality with the power of His kingdom. Can I get an amen?
Okay, so another thing: do you want to understand any trying circumstances in your life? Whatever situations may be in your life, try to see them from God’s perspective. Literally ask God to give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation and ask Him to show you how He sees your life! He gives graciously and abundantly to those who hunger for it. Let the deep in your spirit cry out to the deep in God’s spirit. He is moved by our cries.
God has been showing me that He cares for me this week, and He wants me to continue to seek Him in and honor Him through music. He is pleased that I am using the knowledge He has given me to bring Him praise and He will be faithful to reveal to me the full extent of all that He has for me to know in order to love Him more and more. He wants to do that for you too. He wants to reveal to you the full extent of all that He has for you to know in order for you to love Him more and more. Are you hungry? Can I get an amen? Oh Jesus, thank You!
I was out walking earlier and came upon this view:
When I saw this I started thinking about how much this is like life. Sometimes, for whatever reason, a part of who we are is missing or destroyed. God then, when the time is right, sows the seeds of renewal in our lives so that we can live abundantly. However, just like these trees will take many years to grow and mature, so God’s work in us is very gradual. He has created us to operate in space and time and He knows that much of our growth and maturing comes through waiting.
If nothing else then, take this away: don’t be in a hurry to grow. Take time to gaze on the beauty of the Son, Whose light is our catalyst for proper growth. Store up in your heart the good things God has provided for you: thanksgiving is our nutrition. Lastly, look at other people around you and be gracious to them: everyone is growing in some way or another. 🙂
You’re driving down the road and in the distance, you see a signal that has just turned green. As you get closer to the signal, you realize that it has been green for quite a while now and you think to yourself that it will probably change soon. Much to your surprise, the signal stays green and you pass through without even taking your foot off the gas! Ever had a moment like that? I just did recently and I was pleasantly surprised. I even felt a little honored. I might have said “thank you” to the signal. Then this thought hit me: “It’s like Jesus and I are going the same place, and He held the door open for me! Thanks, Jesus!”
You know, He’s held a lot of doors open for me. He’s given me a wonderful, safe home to stay in over the summer after I move out (thank you so much Darren and Darlene!), and He’s given me a car to use when my mom leaves town. He’s given me a journal to record all of my thankful thoughts in, and He’s given me His friendship such that I can come utterly undone when I’m overwhelmed and He listens to and encourages me. Thanks, Jesus!
I’m struggling with what to say right now. I want to feel like I did when I took this picture.
I felt free and safe. I felt hope. I felt fear. Now I just feel very tired. I’ve applied for five different jobs this week, now I’m in the process of following up. Who knows: maybe God will open doors somewhere. I’ll just keep trying, and in the meantime, I’ll keep drawing as close to Abba as I possibly can. I won’t let go until You bless me. I will fight for the kingdom of heaven on earth.
I’ve also been working on touching up some songs I’ve been recording and working on sporadically over the past two years. I don’t have a studio microphone, but I do the best I can to make my vocals sound good. I feel like the theme that is emerging from my songs is God’s presence (I’m pretty interested in that topic in case you couldn’t tell) so I’ve titled my soon-to-be album, “Break the Seal,” to signify my desire for God to stir Himself to action, to open the seals on the scroll in heaven and show His power in new and mighty ways. You can take a listen to a few of the songs I’ve finished (for now) here.
So here I am, sitting outside, enjoying the sunlight and the breeze and realizing that I don’t feel guilty at all for doing so. I may have nothing to do today, but I’m not wasting time. In fact, I filled out another job application today, and now, with the time remaining to me in my day, I am meditating on Scripture and relinquishing my worry to God’s care. It’s rather wonderful actually.
Here’s an odd observation: it’s during times of stillness and relaxation that I most wish I could be spending time with a friend and it’s during times of stress and busyness that I wish people would just leave me alone. But there are times when I absorb the moment and attempt to appreciate where I am and who I am with for the sake of appreciating what I can not control. Somehow, regardless of what I want, my circumstances are a blessing and tailor-made for my personal growth. In the stillness and in the busyness, Abba, be near to me.