Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Repent And Turn To God

Acts 3:19

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,

112015 Ray McDonaldWorship yesterday was amazing at FUMCL. We spoke about prayer in the message and drawing closer to Christ through our prayer life. It is through our prayer life – our conversations with God – that we confess and repent of our sins. We must present to God where we have fallen short and repent from those sins.

Repentance is a combination of grieving our sins – turning away from our sins – and turning toward God. We’re conditioned as children – some of us – to say we are sorry when we do something wrong. Unfortunately for some – we’re not taught anything more than to say the words – I’m sorry. We can become conditioned to say I’m sorry – yet not actually feel sorrow (anyone with me on this?). I remember as a child being told to say I’m sorry – even when I wasn’t. Tell your brother you’re sorry or I’ll turn off the TV sounds like something I remember. It wasn’t that I was sorry when I said I’m sorry – it was so I could continue to watch TV.

True repentance is more than saying I’m sorry. True repentance is more than mere words. True repentance includes a change in our mindset – a change in our behavior – a change in our heart. Too many times people are only sorry when they get caught – sorry that they got caught – rather than sorry for what they did or said.

Jesus’ brother talked about repentance in his epistle (letter) – and wrote about some of the elements of repentance. James 4:1–10 – 1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”  Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

We’re told to grieve – mourn – and wail – when we sin. It should impact us – we should wrestle with our sin and strive to not sin again. If we are in Christ – we should have a heart to NOT sin. 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! Although we realize that the old hasn’t gone very far – we are to be transformed by the presence of God in us. We’re to be different than those without Christ. We’re to stand out and be a light in the darkness – a transformed life.

If we claim to be children of God we are called to produce fruit – Matthew 3:8 – Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. If we do not produce fruit – it might be a sign that we aren’t children of God. Jesus told this parable – Luke 13:6–9 – Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ 8 “ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ ” Let us repent and be changed!

Today’s passage reminds us to repent – Acts 3:19 – Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.  I pray that many will come to know Jesus and many will be revived in their faith during the days to come. I read the following passage in the sermon Sunday about prayer – 2 Chronicles 7:14 – if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. As we face a word that desires to please self rather than God – as our denomination faces the same – as our country is deciding who will lead us forward – do not shortchange the power of prayer to change the world where we live.

If we truly seek after Christ and strive to be like Him – with our whole being – minds – souls – and bodies – we will be welcomed by Christ and forgiven when we fail – when we sin – confess – and repent. We are called to love God with our all – Luke 10:27 – He answered, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

April 25, 2016 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. If we can speak this (example Act of Contrition) to God sincerely, then we are repenting sincerely; if not, perhaps we are just saying we’re sorry so we can continue doing what we were doing:

    O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace,
    to confess my sins, to do good, avoid evil,
    and to amend my life. Amen


    Comment by Michael Woodruff | April 25, 2016 | Reply

    • Michael, I’ve always said – we sin in specifics and should confess in specifics. I try to stay away from generalized confession – “Lord forgive me of all my sins” – and would rather lead people to confess their sins individually – as they come to their heart. Afterward – they can confess in general for those they do not remember.

      Good prayer by the way – thanks for sharing it. I would add this to it – “O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all good and deserving of all my love.” (Let me name them one by one)


      Comment by raymcdonald | April 25, 2016 | Reply

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