About Grace Hunter

Grace is married, has 4 children one of whom is now in heaven. She enjoys reading, crocheting, puzzles, baking and spending time with her granddaughter. She and her husband have attended South Fellowship Church since 2014. She and her husband Jeff enjoy singing in the choir, working in the nursery and helping with the South Food Bank.

Believe God – Believe Also In Me

For the next three weeks we will be using the Gospel of John to focus on the Holy Spirit. The Gospel of John is unique because it has several miracles and events recorded in it that are not included in Matthew, Mark or Luke. John uses the words “love, light, life, word, world, witness, testify, and believe” many more times than any other New Testament writer and often repeats these words in order to emphasize the point he is making. John stated his purpose in writing his gospel as being:

Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:30-31 NIV

The section we are focusing on is found in chapters 13 and 14 of John. They are within a larger section that is called the “Upper Room Discourse” that includes chapters 13-17 of John. This conversation Jesus had with his disciples during the last supper they shared together is only found in John.

“My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”

Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”
Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”
Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” John 13:33-14:1 NIV

Jesus was still with the disciples, but soon wouldn’t be. He was teaching them about how He wants them to treat each other when he is no longer there, but Peter focused on the wrong thing – that Jesus was leaving. Then Jesus told Peter he will deny him very soon. There is quite a contrast between the Peter shown in the Gospels and the Peter we see in Acts 2:14-41 and in the rest of the New Testament. The difference is the empowering of the Holy Spirit. In John 13 Peter did not have the power of the Holy Spirit in his life yet. Jesus did tell him and the others how the Holy Spirit would change things for them.

Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:10-14 NIV

This is really quite amazing! Jesus told his disciples they will do even greater things than He has done! That is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus also told them to trust in God, to not be troubled. This is something we all need to remember each and every day. Since we have the power of the Holy Spirit, if we believe in Jesus as our Savior, then we should not let our hearts be troubled, but instead trust in God and in the power of the Holy Spirit to be at work in our lives. Read Psalm 56. Listen to why the Psalmist says we should trust in God. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to your troubled heart and to enable you to trust in God today.

Believe God – Believe Also In Me2023-05-28T14:04:51-06:00

Being Sure of What We Hope For

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead–since he was about a hundred years old–and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” Romans 4:18-22 NIV

Hope – such an important concept in our Christian walk. Abraham was given an incredible promise to be made into a nation, while he and Sarah were both childless and way beyond the normal age for conceiving and carrying a child. I am sure this first promise given by God in Genesis 12:2-3 gave this childless couple hope, but it also had to be quite a shock because Abraham was 75 and Sarah was 65 at that time.

It is important to keep in mind that within the culture Abraham and Sarah lived, a woman who was unable to have children was scorned, ridiculed, and mistreated. She would have endured this sort of treatment her entire adult life.

My husband and I were not able to conceive when we wanted to either; it took us four years to have our first child, so I know a little of the hopelessness that Sarah and Abraham must have felt. But I was not childless for very long. Sarah was 90 when she became pregnant with Isaac. It can be extremely overwhelming to think about wishing for a child, being promised a child, then waiting another 25 years for that child to be born.

God reaffirmed His promise to Abraham several times: in Genesis 12:7; He made a covenant with him in Genesis 15:5-21, God confirmed the covenant in Genesis 17:4-8 and changed their names to foreshadow it. He made the promise again in Genesis 18:18-19, and in Genesis 22:17-18. God confirmed the promise of becoming a great nation to Isaac in Genesis 26:2-4, to Jacob in Genesis 28:13-15, 35:11-12, 46:3, and to Moses in Exodus 3:6-8.

Hope – what it is: Hebrews 11:1-2 says,

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

In Romans 4:18 Paul says that Abraham had this kind of hope. He believed God would do what He said He would do. He had hope in the promise of God. Hope means to trust, believe, have faith in what God said that He would do, He will do. What about you? Do you have hope in God’s promises? Has God made a promise to you that has not yet been fulfilled? Do you need God to remind you of a promise He already made to you? If you want to do a deeper study on hope I found this article on hope to be helpful:  https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/hope/ I find this hymn a good reminder of where our hope lies: https://youtu.be/QvBlrooUszQ

Being Sure of What We Hope For2023-05-20T11:31:37-06:00

God is the First Priority in Christian Marriage

The ideal marriage would be between a Christian husband and wife, both striving to serve and love God first and one another second. However, not everyone who is a believer in God now nor in the past has had this ideal situation in their marriage. In fact, most women in the Bible, and even many women in other parts of the world today, have very little choice in the matter of who they marry. Paul addresses the situation of a Christian married to a non-believer in I Corinthians 7:12-17, but he also gives strong advice to those who are currently single to choose wisely if they seek to marry. He uses strong language advising both men and women to marry a fellow believer. He gave some very good reasons for this advice.

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial [Hebrew word for Satan]? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” II Corinthians 6:14-16 NIV

Here Paul used strong language to get his point across to the Corinthians that Christians and non-believers in Jesus have completely opposite world views. Their priorities will be completely different and as such will make marriage much more difficult than it will be if both the husband and wife have their relationship with God as their first priority. In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians he stated,

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. I Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV.

God dwells in our bodies as Christians, so we in turn ought to value our bodies as a sacred place – a place where we worship God. Someone who does not believe in God doesn’t do this, and should not be yoked with one who does honor God. Instead, all that we say, do, and believe as Christians is influenced and shaped by our belief in God the Father and in Jesus the son who died for our sins – so that we can be in a right relationship with God. So, Paul gives this advice:

I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
I Corinthians 7:35 NIV

A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. I Corinthians 7:39 NIV

Paul’s desire for the Corinthians is for them to have an undivided devotion to the Lord. If we desire a healthy marriage, this should be the priority for both the husband and the wife. Sometimes a spouse will need to choose to obey God and not heed and follow a spouse’s lead if that spouse is not advocating a wise or correct course.

For further study look at Abigail’s story in I Samuel 25:2-42, Esther’s story in Esther 4:1-5:4, and Job’s conversation with his wife in Job 2:9-10. Note the choices each spouse makes, the words spoken, and the implication of prayer and desiring to put God first. Listen to what God is saying to you about your situation through His word.

God is the First Priority in Christian Marriage2023-05-13T10:32:05-06:00

Putting Others’ Needs First

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21 NIV

My husband and I had a beautiful wedding ceremony in which we promised almost 34 years ago to honor God in our marriage relationship. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church, he writes of the mystery and beauty of Christian marriage. The section of Paul’s letter addressing marriage is found in a larger section that describes various relationships and practical ways we can live the Christian life when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. In fact, Ephesians 5:18 is a command, “be filled with the Spirit”; then Paul gives us ways to demonstrate that filling,

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:19-21 NIV

We can only submit to one another – yield our own rights to another – if we believe in Christ and are filled with his Holy Spirit. Mutual submission – putting another person’s needs, wants and desires before our own — does not come natural to us as humans. But as we learn to submit ourselves to Christ, we can learn to submit to others as well.

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,… Ephesians 5:22-25 NIV

In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church–for we are members of his body. Ephesians 5:28-30 NIV

In a Christian marriage, wives are to submit to their husbands – to choose to yield their rights to their husbands as they would yield to Christ. Submission is not the same as blind obedience. In Christian marriage, husbands are to love their wives as he loves his own body and as Christ loved the church. Jesus gave up His rights as deity to come to earth as a baby, to live on earth as a human, and then to die a horrific, painful death of a criminal. Jesus did this because of His great love for us, His church. Husbands are asked to sacrifice in love for their wives in the same way Christ did for us. So, the devotion husbands are asked to display in a marriage relationship is a “higher calling” than even a wife’s call to submit.

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross! Philippians 2:1-8 NIV

The mystery of Christian marriage is that it is both a picture of how much Christ loves the church as well as describing the union of a man and a woman as a new family. Paul writes similar instructions in his letter to the Colossians. Read Colossians 3:1-4:6 and notice the similarities to Ephesians 5:18-6:4. Pray and ask God to show you what you need to know and understand about putting another person’s needs before your own desires.

Putting Others’ Needs First2023-05-06T23:36:13-06:00

The Only One Who Completes Us

One statement Pastor Alex gave us in his sermon on marriage was that often when we are single and wish to be married, we look for “someone who will complete [us]”. When I look at the marriage relationship between Jacob and Rachel, this statement applied. Jacob loved Rachel, wanted her as his wife, and seemed to view her as the “the one who will complete me.”

Their marriage story is found in Genesis 28-35. Isaac and Rebekah had hoped to provide a good wife for Jacob, sending Jacob to his uncle, Rebekah’s brother, to find a wife. But her brother had deceived Jacob by giving him Leah instead of Rachel on their wedding night (Genesis 29:23).

Jacob was certainly aware of his parents’ faith and trust in God. But, for 20 years Jacob relied on himself, his own schemes and his own abilities to gain advantage, wealth, and wives.

Deception, trickery, lying and maneuvering to gain advantage were typical of Jacob’s relationships with his father, brother and father-in-law. Jacob had deceived Esau to get his blessing from their father (Genesis 27:18-29). Even Rachel deceived her father, by stealing the supposed blessing of his household gods and lying to her father about stealing them (Genesis 31:19, 35).

Rachel and Leah also operated this way with each other, especially in determining who would spend the night with their mutual husband Jacob (Genesis 30:13-16). Leah desired to be loved by Jacob (Genesis 29:32). Rachel desired to give Jacob children (Genesis 30:1). Rachel and Leah themselves acted out of jealousy of each other over Jacob. There is not much in these marriage relationships which reflects that “they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

Note that Jacob does not address God as his own God in this narrative until after he spent a night wrestling with God (Genesis 28:20-22 and Genesis 31:5-7). And because Jacob was quite fearful of encountering Esau – whom he had deceived — Jacob prayed to God. He asked for protection as he wrestled with God all night (when God changed his name to Israel). God used Jacob (the deceiver) to build his nation of Israel through Leah, Rachel, Bilhah, and Zilpah, who gave Jacob 12 sons who became the 12 tribes of Israel. However it was Leah (the unloved one) the mother of Judah from whom came King David, Solomon and the Messiah, Jesus.

We don’t need to look for another human being to complete us. Instead we need to pray, read God’s word, and ask Him to complete us. God is the only one who sees the whole picture, who can form us into the complete person He already sees.

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:3-6 NIV’

The Only One Who Completes Us2023-04-29T23:23:01-06:00

Trust in the LORD and Do Good

Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:1-4 NIV

Psalm 37 was written by David and has been a favorite of mine since I was a teenager. It instructs us in Godly wisdom similarly to Psalm 1, 34, 73, 91, and 119. I see two dominant themes in this Psalm. The first one is the contrast between the righteous and the wicked. Another theme is — commands given to us by God describing Godly living and the promises of how God will respond if we obey His commands.

One way to see these themes clearly would be to make some charts. Put “the wicked” on one side and “the righteous” on the other. Then go through each verse and add words or phrases on each side of the chart to compare and contrast them. Did you notice that the wicked plot and scheme, default on debts, use raw power to gain advantage, and seem to flourish? But did you notice the ultimate end of the wicked?

Label another chart with “God’s commands” on one side and “God’s promises” on the other. Go through each verse and put words or phrases on each side that are commands or promises. Do you notice what kinds of commands are given to us in order for us to act righteously, to display righteousness? Some are positive commands – things for us to do, or to think. Others are actions we are not to take, things for us to not focus on with our thinking.

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret–it leads only to evil. Psalm 37:5-8 NIV

Perhaps you see other themes in this Psalm. Are there words or phrases in this Psalm that stick out to you as you read it and study it? Make note of those words and phrases, listen to them, to their intent, to what God is calling you to do or not do, to say or not to say. One that gives me strength, comfort and hope is this,

The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him. Psalm 37:39-40 NIV

Trust in the LORD and Do Good2023-04-22T13:31:37-06:00

An Awkward Question

Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” NIV I Corinthians 7:1

At first glance, this can be a confusing verse. We need to understand several issues to understand this “awkward” text. First, we must look at this verse within the context of the book of I Corinthians and the city and culture of Corinth around the year of 55 AD. Secondly, we must look at the context of Chapter 7 within the letter of I Corinthians.

The city of Corinth was a wealthy, relatively new Roman city full of many former slaves. Many Corinthians worshiped at the temple of Aphrodite located on the hill above the city. Prostitution and sexual immorality was a common practice at the temple and within Roman society.

Paul wrote the letter of I Corinthians to the church he had started in that city as a reply to several questions they had written to him. Chapter seven begins a new topic of marriage within his letter. The NIV puts quotations around the statement “It is good for a man to not have sexual relations with a woman.”
(I Corinthians 7:1) This indicates that Paul is quoting the Corinthians in this statement. It is possible some people in the church of Corinth believed that sexual relations within marriage was wrong for Christians, because they had the Holy Spirit and didn’t want to corrupt their bodies with sex. Some may have believed that the second coming of Christ was imminent, and since people would not live as married people in heaven, they should begin to live that way now on earth. Others may have been influenced by the popular world view at the time that since their bodies would die, it did not matter what they did with them, they could do anything, even behave sexually immoral – and it didn’t matter.

Paul corrects the Corinthians’ thinking in the next several verses. He is clear that sexual relations within the context of marriage is proper, right and creates a mutuality between husband and wife that would have been somewhat radical for 55 AD. Look at how the Message version translates the next few verses in
I Corinthians 7.

Now, getting down to the questions you asked in your letter to me. First, Is it a good thing to have sexual relations? Certainly—but only within a certain context. It’s good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality—the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out. I Corinthians 7:1-4 MSG

Both Paul and Jesus often answered complex and “awkward” questions. There definitely are difficult, confusing and awkward scriptures in the Bible. Asking questions of those who have studied it is one way to find answers. Another is to study the question for yourself. Look at various translations, consult commentaries or other study books on the topic or passage. Pray about your questions;i f you seek God sincerely, He promises He can be found.

I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. Proverbs 8:17 NIV

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5 NIV

An Awkward Question2023-04-15T22:25:48-06:00

The Music of Easter

He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: `He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”  Matthew 28:6-7 NIV

Easter! What do you think of when you hear the word, Easter? I have been celebrating the Lord’s resurrection most of my life, and I think of Easter music.
There are so many glorious hymns that have been written about Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection! I grew up in a Baptist church, and these Hymns of the faith were regularly sung, but especially at Easter time, hymns like “The Old Rugged Cross”, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”, “Because He Lives”, “Christ Arose”, “He Lives”, “In the Garden”, “Crown Him with Many Crowns” and many others. What are your favorites? Which ones evoke thoughts of Easters gone by? Charles Wesley gave us two fabulous ones, “And Can it Be That I Should Gain?” and “Christ the Lord is Risen Today”. For me, the words that were inspired by scripture as well as the very familiar notes in these songs stir my heart to worship my Lord, to thank Him for His sacrifice, to sit at His feet and be in awe of the love that motivated Him to give up everything, to come to earth to die for me, for my sin, so that I can have a relationship with the God of the universe. How about you?

I was a college student in the early 1980’s. Contemporary Christian music was just getting started at that time. As a college student and then as a single young lady in the 1980s, there were several songs which captured the heart and soul of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection Sunday as well, but they sound different from the traditional hymns. Sandi Patty performed “Via Dolorosahttps://youtu.be/7asEdmZsSPo and it still tells the story of Jesus’ crucifixion in an unbelievable way to me. Then Don Francisco, a gifted musical storyteller, wrote a song called “He is Alivehttps://youtu.be/70qk6tLHht4 which tells the story of Easter morning from Peter’s point of view. Anne Herring of 2nd Chapter of Acts wrote the “Easter Songhttps://youtu.be/GYMZc0DdMac, and Keith Green also sang his version of “Easter Song” https://youtu.be/p0-5f22swrY. Sandi Patty came out with “Was it a Morning Like This?https://youtu.be/GnBRrIa25NY, a few years after “Via Dolorosa”. It is a glorious celebration of Easter morning. More recently Casting Crowns performed a song called “Glorious Dayhttps://youtu.be/VXp6xcY5IqU that summarizes all that Jesus did for us and the hope we have in his return someday.

Take time to look at the lyrics of your favorite Easter hymns, or these songs I listed above, and listen, feel, and pray though the message of Easter expressed in music.


The Music of Easter2023-04-09T12:14:28-06:00

Course Correction and Hope

Have you known someone who repeatedly makes poor, harmful, or irresponsible choices? Those choices often have consequences for themselves and for their family and friends. Jeremiah and many of the other Old Testament prophets were prophesying to a nation that were making these types of choices daily. Not everyone worshiped and made sacrifices to idols, but the majority of the people in Judah in the year 587 BC were guilty of that or even worse – sacrificing their children to foreign gods.

The people of Israel and Judah have provoked me by all the evil they have done–they, their kings and officials, their priests and prophets, the men of Judah and the people of Jerusalem. They turned their backs to me and not their faces; though I taught them again and again, they would not listen or respond to discipline. They set up their abominable idols in the house that bears my Name and defiled it. They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech, though I never commanded, nor did it enter my mind, that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin. Jeremiah 32:32-35 NIV

For hundreds of years prophets like Isaiah, Elijah, Amos, and Hosea had been telling both Israel and Judah to stop worshiping idols, to repent, and to return to worshiping the Lord Almighty with their whole heart and soul. There were periods of time when both the king and the people would return to God, but for the most part, the people refused to listen to God’s prophets and continued to “turn their backs to me [God] and not their faces” (Jeremiah 32:33a). The time is now imminent – God will judge Judah, God will discipline them for their disobedience.

“You are saying about this city, `By the sword, famine and plague it will be handed over to the king of Babylon’;…” Jeremiah 32:36a NIV

This is what would happen within the year. But God does not judge us, discipline us, and correct us simply to be mean, or it to Lord over us – no he has something else in mind. Let’s look at chapters 31 and 32 of Jeremiah – to see God’s end game vision.

“The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. Jeremiah 31:31 NIV

“This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Jeremiah 31:33

…but this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. They will be my people, and I will be their God. Jeremiah 32:36b-38 NIV

The Babylonian captivity was how God disciplined Judah for their repeated sinfulness, unrepentant hearts and disobedience to His laws. But God also knew the captivity would come to an end, Jewish people would return to the land of Israel, and fields would be bought and sold again. God’s goal was to bring about their restoration, to bring them into a new covenant, to provide a way for the Jewish people and, in fact, to bring all people into relationship with God.

Have you ever gone through discipline or correction from God? Each of us is responsible to confess our sin and repent and return to God anew. Just as a father and mother discipline their children to correct their faulty thinking or behavior, our God does the same. Take a look at Hebrews 12:1-12 this week. Look for God’s heart and desire for us in His correction and discipline. Pray, confess, and thank God that He is faithful to both correct us and to fulfill his promises, in His timing.

Course Correction and Hope2023-04-01T22:22:21-06:00

Repentance – the Key to Unlocking the Heart of the Potter

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

Then the word of the LORD came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it. Jeremiah 18:1-10 NIV

The Merriam Webster Dictionary definition of repent is: to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life, or to change one’s mind. The Greek word used in the New Testament for repent means to turn around 180 degrees and go in the opposite direction. The Biblical understanding of repentance is: to change our thinking that leads to a change in our attitude and our feelings that changes our values which results in a change in our actions and how we live. With that understanding in mind, let’s look at Jeremiah 18:11-12.

“Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, `This is what the LORD says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’ But they will reply, `It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; each of us will follow the stubbornness of his evil heart.'” Jeremiah 18:11-12 NIV

God wanted the people of Judah, the leaders and the ordinary people alike, to recognize that they had sinned against God and were continuing to sin. He desired that they confess their sin and turn 180 degrees around to walk in the opposite direction. There are many promises in both the Old and New Testaments that if an individual person or a group of people will repent, confess, and turn from their sinful ways, then God will forgive.

…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 will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. II Chronicles 7:14 NIV

Because he considers all the offenses he has committed and turns away from them, he will surely live; he will not die. Yet the house of Israel says, `The way of the Lord is not just.’ Are my ways unjust, O house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are unjust? Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live! Ezekiel 18:28-32 NIV

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, Acts 3:19 NIV

Repentance is something we all need to do. It requires us to examine our lives, our thoughts, our actions, our words. If the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, then we need to confess it to God, agree with God that it is sin, turn 180 degrees around and change our attitude, our thoughts and our actions so that they are in line with what God wants us to do, to say or to think. Listen to this song by Keith Green, listen to the Holy Spirit, pray through it as God leads you. https://youtu.be/mD2PJ0xbAdY

Repentance – the Key to Unlocking the Heart of the Potter2023-03-25T09:26:59-06:00
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