REPENTANCE AND HOLINESS

Scripture is clear: “As He who called you is holy, you also must be holy in all your conduct” 1 Peter 1:15

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17

Look what A.W.Tozer said:

I look back and remember a day when it was common for men and women to come to an altar of prayer and kneel there, shake, tremble, and weep in agony of conviction over their iniquity. We do not see it now because the God we preach is not the everlasting, awful Holy One who cannot look upon iniquity. When we get a vision of the Holy One as he desires to reveal himself, this will come back as a mighty power to change us into his likeness.

Tozer then quotes this hymn by Charles Wesley:

Lord, incline me to repent; Let me now my fall lament, Deeply my revolt deplore, Weep, believe, and sin no more. 

Repentance is the lost word in the Christian dictionary. You may want to consider adding the sentiment of Charles Wesley’s words to your next prayer. I am sure you won’t use Wesley’s words exactly.

It is not as if we have to repent and be holy in our own strength. Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to enable us to be holy. He will produce the fruit of the Spirit in your life and enable you to do the ministry that God has called you to do. We just need to submit to His leading day by day and not grieve Him or quench His work in our lives.


CHRIS PRATT, LIKE ALL OF US, NEEDS TO BE CONCERNED HE DOES NOT GRIEVE THE HOLY SPIRIT

Actor Chris Pratt is turning heads with recent comments he made about religion and public perception, proclaiming in a new Men’s Health interview, “I’m not a religious person.”

He speculated that some of the anti-religious animosity he has struggled with emerged after a 2018 speech at the MTV Movie & TV Awards during which he openly discussed God and encouraged young people to cling to Him.

Chris Pratt arrives at the premiere of “Thor: Love and Thunder,” Thursday, June 23, 2022, at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles

God is real. God loves you, God wants the best for you,” Pratt said during his speech while accepting the Generation Award. “Believe that; I do.”

The actor reflected on that moment in his interview with Men’s Health, wondering if he actually touched anyone. He also reportedly now understands why people responded so negatively.

“Maybe it was hubris for me to stand up on the stage and say the things that I said. I’m not sure I touched anybody,” he said. “Religion has been oppressive as [expletive] for a long time.”

Pratt continued, “I didn’t know that I would kind of become the face of religion when really I’m not a religious person.” “I think there’s a distinction between being religious — adhering to the customs created by man, oftentimes appropriating the awe reserved for who I believe is a very real God — and using it to control people, to take money from people, to abuse children, to steal land, to justify hatred. Whatever it is,” Pratt told Men’s Health. “The evil that’s in the heart of every single man has glommed (grabbed) onto the back of religion and come along for the ride.

It should be noted Pratt has often discussed his faith, telling Esquire in 2014 about how he first encountered Jesus. Here’s what he said at the time:

“In Maui, about four weeks before I was discovered to go to California, I was hanging with my buddy. I wasn’t quite old enough to drink, so we got somebody to go in and buy us some alcohol. This guy came by and was like, ‘What are you doing tonight?’ I was like, ‘Oh, I dunno. I was just gonna wait out here, my friends are gonna buy me a bottle of Carlo Rossi and a sixer of Milwaukee’s Best Ice. So he’s like, ‘Will you fornicate tonight?’ I was like, ‘I hope so.’ ‘And drugs and drinking?’ It’s like, ‘Most likely, yeah. Probably all three of those things. I mean, at least two of them, possibly all three.’ He was like, ‘I stopped because Jesus told me to stop and talk to you. He said to tell you you’re destined for great things.’ My friends came out, and I was like, ‘Hey, I’m gonna go with this guy.’ I gave my soul to Jesus within, like, two days. I was stuffing envelopes for his organization, Jews for Jesus. I’m not even sure, at that age—I was nineteen years old—I knew what Jewish was.”

One of the more personal issues Pratt spoke on was claims from some critics he was somehow insulting his first wife, Anna Faris, last fall when he took to Instagram to compliment his new wife, Katherine Schwarzenegger.

For context, in November 2021, Pratt shared an Instagram photo of Schwarzenegger lovingly gazing at him and showered praise upon her in the text.

What most reasonable people would view as a comical, loving ode to his wife was dubbed by a Salon writer as a “bizarre early birthday post.” The writer went on to explain how “many viewed this as an ableist (fostering discrimination against disabled people) slight toward his first wife, actor Anna Faris, and the son they share, who was born premature and is disabled.”

These claims, which were bizarre at the time, have hurt Pratt. “I’m like, that is [expletive] up. My son’s gonna read that one day. He’s nine. And it’s etched in digital stone,” he told Men’s Health. “It really [expletive] bothered me, dude. I cried about it. I was like, I hate that these blessings in my life are — to the people close to me — a real burden.”

It appears from this and other interviews that Chris Pratt is struggling with giving up his life totally to God. “I’ve been broke-broke, dude,” he says. “And I think early on in my career it was so important to me. It’s like, Don’t forget where you came from. Don’t forget who you are. And part of me is struggling with who I am maybe not being who I was.”

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.Romans 8:13-17

All of us struggle with the flesh but in this Scripture, Paul makes it clear that we need to be led by the Holy Spirit. Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to indwell a believer’s Spirit to be his counsellor, comforter, and teacher. Chris Pratt, like all of us, needs to be concerned that he does not grieve the Holy Spirit or quench His work in his life.

CREATE IN ME A CLEAN HEART, O GOD

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
Psalm 51:1-2

A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet challenged him about his sin with Bathsheba.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.Psalm 51:10-12

“that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” Philippian 3:10

NOTE: God had given David an understanding of the role of the Holy Spirit in living Christ-like and this is one thousand years before Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to indwell believers as a result of His atoning sacrifice.

But also note what Paul says about living Christ-like, we are to forget those things that are behind us and focus on those things ahead.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.Philippians 3:12-16

John 10:10 says that Jesus came to give us life, freedom, and a relationship with Him. He is our only hope—the only source of true peace. Are you experiencing this peace? If not, that can change if you trust in Him as Lord and Savior, repent, and turn to Him (Romans 10:9).

Gordon Cove once challenged his audience: “You have not sought the Lord with ‘your whole heart’ until you have tried a protracted season of prayer and fasting.” Could a lack of prayer, fasting, and repentance be one of the hindrances to a spiritual awakening? Absolutely! Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Fasting doesn’t twist God’s arm, but it does bend our knee. There is simply too much on the line—a massive spiritual awakening is our only hope.

As G. Campbell Morgan said, “We cannot organize revival, but we can set our sails to catch the wind from Heaven when God chooses to blow upon His people once again.”

It’s time to break up our fallow ground and seek the Lord while He still may be found (Hosea 10:12).

“We prepare the sacrifice with a humble and contrite heart and God will bring the fire of revival.” shaneiIdelman.com

REPENTANCE THAT LEADS TO SALVATION

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you …” 2 Corinthians 7:10-11

To get into Christ’s Kingdom, you have to truly repent, truly dying to self so that you cannot go back to your old life. Paul talks about godly grief, being convicted by the Holy Spirit about your sin. Knowing how abhorrent sin is to God you will have “godly grief that leads to repentance“. You will also realise how good, how gracious and merciful God was to send His Son, Jesus, to pay the price for your sin of rebellion against Him and His values.

Once we have truly repented and accepted Jesus as our Saviour and Lord, God the Father sends the Holy Spirit to indwell our spirit. God’s Word tells us that our spirit is the lamp of the Lord and a lamp requires oil (Holy Spirit) to function as God intended. When Adam and Eve sinned the Holy Spirit departed their spirit, so they died spiritually immediately and their bodies died some 900 years later.

The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts.” Proverbs 20:27

Without the Holy Spirit we cannot live the Christian life. He is the one that brings about the sanctification process, making you Christ like. He is the one that produces the fruit of the Spirit in your life; love, joy, peace patience, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, kindness and self control. He is also one that provides the gifts of the Spirit for ministry; words of knowledge, words of wisdom, prophecy, faith, healings, miracles, discerning of spirits, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues. You are not saved unless the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit are evident in your life.

Sadly, there are many people sitting in the pews of churches that have not experienced “godly grief that produces a repentance that leads to salvation“. The “end times” parable of the Ten Virgins tells us that half of them that are waiting for the bridegroom (Jesus) to return do not have oil for their lamps and Jesus tells them to depart from me I do not know you. This parable reveals that half the people in the “end times” church that think they are Christians and are waiting for Him to return are not saved and will be on earth when the wrath of God is poured out with the Trumpet and Bowl judgements.

For Christians this should be a wake up call, we have a mission field in our churches people who need to experience “godly grief that produces a repentance that leads to salvation.”

WHICH DO YOU WALK IN AND WHAT IS YOUR DESTINATION?

Only new life in Christ equips believers to walk in the Spirit. Which do you walk in, the flesh or the Spirit? The difference on this earth is stark and even greater for eternity.

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other,Galatians 5:17

And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:24

WORKS OF THE FLESH

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.Galatians 5:19-21

WORKS OF THE SPIRIT

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23

The fruit of the Spirit leads to true happiness in this life and of course it leads to eternal life in the Kingdom of God, first during the transitional Millennial Kingdom and then on the new earth and heaven after the White Throne judgement for eternity.

“They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.” Rev.20:4-5

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away… Rev. 21:1-

HAPPINESS AND HOLINESS

“Holiness is the royal road to happiness. The death of sin is the life of joy.” Charles Spurgeon. Indeed, holiness is exactly what secures our happiness.

To be holy is to see God as He is and to become like Him, covered in Christ’s righteousness. And since God’s nature is to be happy, the more like Him we become in our sanctification, the happier we will be. Forcing a choice between happiness and holiness is utterly foreign to Scripture. If it were true that God wants us to be only holy, wouldn’t we expect Philippians 4:4 to say, “Be holy in the Lord always” instead of “Rejoice in the Lord always”?

The Puritans, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, and many others used the words happy and happiness frequently in biblical, theological, and Christ-centered contexts. When they called on believers to be happy, they weren’t speaking of happenstance or chance, but of enduring delight and pleasure and good cheer in Jesus.

Sadly, Bible teachers such as Oswald Chambers saw people trying to find happiness in sin so they came to think that pursuing happiness is sinful. Chambers said, “Joy is not happiness,” and continued, “There is no mention in the Bible of happiness for a Christian, but there is plenty said about joy” (God’s Workmanship, and He Shall Glorify Me, 346). I respect and have been blessed by Oswald Chambers publications such as My Utmost for His Highest, but statements like this are misleading. It simply is not true. In the King James Version, which Chambers used, Jesus tells his disciples, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them” (John 13:17 KJV). Speaking of faithful Christians, James said, “We count them happy which endure” (James 5:11 KJV). Peter said to fellow believers, “If ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye” (1 Peter 3:14 KJV) and “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye” (1 Peter 4:14 KJV). I am not sure what Oswald Chambers thought of these verses but it seems clear God wants us to be happy but we can only be happy when we are in close relationship with Him and obedient to His Word and call.

ONLY RADICAL HOLY LIVING WILL DO

For you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light— for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth—proving what is pleasing to the Lord. And do not have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness; instead, expose them.  For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things are exposed when they are revealed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.  Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light” (Ephesians 5:8-14).

Spirit-filled Christians are not immune to overwhelming assaults of the enemy, but we should be victorious at the end of the battle. Sadly, in today’s dark world, even some of the most passionate Believers are experiencing defeat after defeat. Many would admit that they have been unable to break free from strategic, continual, tormenting and demonic oppression. They force a smile on their face for Sunday morning and let it fade away as they walk out the doors at the end of the service. For some depression and despair digs into their soul and refuses to let go. They pray in tongues and stand in faith with no effect at all. It seems that God has abandoned them. The truth about their situation, however, is quite different.

Do not be deceived. None of us is strong enough to resist the onslaught of a very evil, demented and deadly spirit if we entertain that spirit. Not only must it be cast out, but it must be rejected in every form, in every area of our lives.

As I stated above, innumerable Spirit-filled Christians find themselves bound up, oppressed and without strength for a permanent deliverance in their lives. Yes, they are spiritually minded. They understand the power of prayer. They believe in the authority granted to them by Christ. They do their best to function as spiritual warriors, but at the end of the battle, they are beaten, desperate and hopeless. The enemy wins time and time again.

We cannot allow ourselves to be deceived into thinking that evil is less threatening just because it takes the form of something familiar.

Many are in a cycle of warfare with the enemy, attempting to function spiritually, appearing to be bold and fearless as they engage him. However, they can never win unless they completely cancel their agreement with evil.

Both the enemy and whatever vehicle it uses to entice us must be eradicated from our lives. Now.

You have heard that it was said by the ancients, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away. For it is profitable that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body be thrown into hell” (Matthew. 5:27-30).

I have heard pastors, leaders and seemingly solid Christians tell me that cursing and violence in movies doesn’t bother them. Occasional nudity doesn’t either. However, they refuse to watch sexual situations, that’s where they draw the line.

They wonder why they can’t live free from lust. They can’t imagine living a life with no unrighteous sexual images (which would be anybody real or imagined other than their spouse) dancing through their minds.

The enemy is manifesting through all unrighteous forms of media, something that seems so common, so familiar, so innocent, playful, something that’s now a part of Western culture.

Others continually wrestle with anger and hatred while playing violent video games. The spirit of hatred is nicely packaged: the video game, a familiar part of most people’s lives.

The truth is clear. We can’t watch nudity in media and stay free from lust. We can’t watch violence and expect it to have no effect on us. It’s more than cause and effect. The enemy chooses certain vehicles and methods to anoint as he works to facilitate his plan of destruction in our lives.

We need to cast the spirit completely out of our lives and never allow ourselves to be deceived into enjoying what they have to offer again.

“For freedom Christ freed us. Stand fast therefore and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil its lusts” (Romans 13:14).

Keep an eternal focus, Jesus is coming back soon, be prepared, be the temple of the Holy Spirit, then discernment will increase, holiness will increase, only then will you find true freedom.

Extract from Hounds of Hell Aren’t Family Pets: A Prophetic Dream About Radical Freedom by John Burton