Hope in the Midst of Ruin

In this introduction to the book of Ezra we encounter a story of returning home after a time of ruin. The people of God have been captives in Babylon for seventy years. Now the seventy years has ended, and God is restoring His people. Ezra is one of the many examples in scripture where there is Hope in the midst of ruin. In every trend line of history, there are always two things happening: God is bringing many sons to glory, destroying the works of the devil and summing up all things in Christ. He is causing all things to work together for good. He is bringing you home. He is engaging you in a story of hope in the midst of ruin. All of history is the theater of redemption. You are always somewhere on God’s stage of redemption.

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Mourning for Sin Without Repentance of Sin

“Many mourn for their sins that do not truly repent of them, weep bitterly for them, and yet continue in love and league with them.” 

 

Matthew Henry The Concise Bible Commentary. N.p.: Thomas Nelson Inc, 2014. Print. 1 Samuel 24:16-22

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Fear of God Devotional: What is the Difference Between Worldly and Godly Sorrow?



What is the difference between worldly and godly sorrow?

Dennis Gunderson explains in this video that worldly sorrow involves sadness of being caught in sin or being known as sinful by others. It involves perhaps a regret of the effects of sin. A worldly sorrow dislikes the consequences of sin but not the sin itself.

But godly sorrow hates sin for what it is. It recognizes that sin is a defiance towards God and an uncalled-for rebellion against God. A person who demonstrates godly sorrow is grieved that he has rebelled against God despite His graciousness towards him. Godly sorrow involves a forsaking of sins out of a desire to obey God. 

2 Corinthians 7:10 (NKJV) – “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” 

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Fear of God Devotional: What Is the Source of Repentance?



What is the source of repentance?

John Snyder explains in this video that we arrive at repentance by the Lord first showing us the distance between Himself, the Creator, and us, the created, which humbles us. God also shows us His purity. We realize the moral distance that separates us from God. We see our impurity and God’s purity. Even on our best days, we fall short.

When we realize the distance between God and us, we’re often tempted to try to fix ourselves, to be better people. This will always fail. It is not repentance. Repentance is not the mere turning away from ourselves. We must see the cross. When we look at the cross, see the beauty of Christ bearing our shame, and God placing His righteousness on us, it crushes our pride and destroys all hope of trying to “fix” ourselves. At that point, we are glad to turn from all things to Him. 

Romans 2:4 (NKJV) – “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” 

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Fear of God Devotional: Our Dependence on the Holy Spirit



Have we lost our ability to depend upon the Holy Spirit?

Carlton McLeod explains in this video that problem that we can be guilty of is that sometimes, we can lose our ability to depend upon the Holy Spirit and to realize that He directs His Church and that He is still powerful among us.

In healthy churches, you see a recovery of the fact that the Holy is still leading, moving, and guiding the Church of the living God.  

John 16:13-14 (NKJV) – ” However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.”

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Fear of God Devotional: The Winds of Philosophy and Methodology



Will Scripture dictate how we live our lives or will we rely on the methodologies of men?

Paul Thompson explains in this video that we either will be governed by Scripture alone or we will live and rely upon the methodologies of men. Scripture is sufficient no matter your situation. We ought to be hungering and thirsting to understand what God desires for our life. 

It is sufficient to assist fathers to teach their children, it is sufficient for pastors to teach their congregation, it is sufficient to teach married couples about marriage. There is no need to look elsewhere for answers and guidance. If there is an issue in the church or family, Scripture speaks on that. What and who will we adopt as our ultimate source of authority?

Psalms 19:7-10 (NKJV) – “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” 

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Fear of God Devotional: They Searched the Scriptures



What was one of the primary benefits to come out of the Reformation?

Mike Davenport explains in this video that because the people during the time of the Reformation didn’t have the Bible in their own, common language, they couldn’t lean upon Scripture alone. They were dependent on the often-faulty interpretations of others. But, with the Scripture now translated, they could search the Word of God for themselves.

Why is the Reformation important for the Church and why should we be looking back to something that happened 500 years ago? The Reformation helped to communicate principles such as Scripture alone is sufficient and that we ought to do all for the glory of God alone. Today is no different. We also need to be a people that are directed by the glory of God alone and understand what God wants us to do and follow it with all of our hearts.  

Romans 10:17 (NKJV) – “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” 

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Fear of God Devotional: What Is Repentance?



What is repentance?

Don Hart explains in this video that one of the classic definitions of repentance is the act of turning from the direction of which you are going and doing an about-face and going in another direction.

Yet, what we think of as repentance often focuses too much on the act of “turning” and not enough on what we do after we “turn.” If we are saved, we will not only turn away from sin, but we will turn towards Christ. We will follow Him. It is the fruit of being saved. It is the evidence. 

Repentance is a duty that we have as Christians and one that we cannot fulfill unless He has changed our heart and made it into a heart of flesh instead of a heart of stone.  Only God can allow us to turn away from our sin and follow Him. 

Joel 2:12-13 (NKJV) – “‘Now, therefore,’ says the Lord, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’ So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Repentance: A Change Of Mind and a Change of Life



What does repentance look like?

Paul Carrington explains in this video that repentance brings about a change of mind leading to a change of life. You can’t have a changed mind and not change the way you live. Repentance involves the wholesale exchange of one lord for another. It is an exchange of your earthly citizenship for a heavenly citizenship.

Repentance is a gift that God has given to us. We, over a period of time, begin to be more conformed to the image of Christ as we behold Him more and more. Christ becomes more to us. We increasingly love Him and His ways.

Mark 1:15 (NKJV) – “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Comparisons Between the Pre-Reformation Period and Many Modern Churches



What are the comparisons between the pre-Reformation period and many modern churches?

Kevin Swanson explains in this video that there are many comparisons between the pre-Reformation period and many modern churches. Just as the Roman Catholic church was plagued by scandals involving homosexuality, child molestation, divorce, and fornication, many churches and their pastors are no different. These things contaminate the Church.

Simply put, we are seeing a decline in culture. Another similarity is that there is very little difference between the Roman Catholic doctrine of “we are saved by our own works” versus a modern doctrine that says “we are saved by our own choices.” Modern churches have largely placed man in the driver’s seat when it comes to his own redemption. It is very harmful to the true Gospel. We are in a crying need for reformation in our day.

Acts 4:12 – “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” 

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A Song to Help Navigate the Deep Waters of Pain



Here is a song to help the soul navigate deep waters of pain. The lyrics of this song were written by John Newton, “I Asked the Lord that I might Grow”

I love the last line, “And break thy schemes of earthly joy that thou mayst' find thy all in me.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Components of Biblical Repentance



What are the components of biblical repentance? How does it differ from mere sorrow?

Curt Daniels explains in this video that repentance first involves a change of mind. We see it the seriousness of our sin from God’s view. Second, we mourn over our sin. Our heart is changed. Third, there is a turning around, an about-face.

Each aspect is important and based upon Scripture. Repentance is not simply a mere showing of guilt or sorrow for sin and then immediately returning to it. Rather, it is a change of mind, a change of action, a desire to follow the commands of God. 

Romans 6:1-2 (NKJV) – “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” 

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Fear of God Devotional: The Impact of Biblical Repentance



What is the impact of biblical repentance?

Anthony Mathenia explains in this video that if people and churches in our culture would repent and turn from their sins, there would be a distinct change. If Christians live lives that are marked by repentance and godliness, then our churches would be healthy – they would be pillars in the communities in which they stand. 

Ultimately, repentance would affect our nation at large. We need churches that will take repentance seriously and be bold in teaching that Scripture commands repentance. 

Joel 2:12-13 (NKJV) – “’Now, therefore,’ says the Lord, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’ So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.” 

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Fear of God Devotional: One of the Most Helpful Aspects of the Protestant Reformation



What was one of the most helpful aspects of the Protestant Reformation?

Michel Beasley explains in this video that one of the most helpful aspects of the Protestant Reformation was it led to Scripture being seen as the only true and sufficient authority for all of life. During the time of the Reformation, Roman Catholicism had created a religious system that was man-centered. It wasn’t about preaching the Gospel, it was wielding control over people.

One of the greatest benefits of the Reformation was that it reclaimed the authority of Scripture and placed the Word of God as the true authority of the Church. The great danger that we experience today is that many churches tend to try to please men and seek out innovative, interest doctrines that are a departure from what God has given to the Church. It would be a great danger for us to look at the Reformation merely as a historical event. We too are in need of a return to Scripture as our only source of authority. 

1 Thessalonians 2:4 (NKJV) – “But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.”

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Fear of God Devotional: When The Word Of God Is Attacked You Get A Generational Loss



What is the effect of only trusting Scripture partially, accepting certain sections as true and ignoring or disregarding other sections?

Ken Ham explains in this video that generations of young people have grown up attending public schools where they are taught ideas of evolution. Sadly, many of these children attend churches that avoid confronting the subject of evolution and simply tell them to “trust in Jesus.” Churches need to exhort children and their families to boldly stand on Scripture and explain that they can trust the entire Word of God as being wholly true.

The Words of Christ and the book of Genesis are both found in the same place – Scripture. When you undermine the Word in one area, you unlock a door that creates doubt and leads to a slippery slope of unbelief. Today, we have had a generational loss from the church because there has been an undermining of the authority of Scripture. We need a new reformation within the Church and that begins by pointing people back to the Word of God.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV) – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

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