3. Open your heart to praise the Lord
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.
“Dear Holy Spirit, shine your light into the places of darkness in my life. Show me my sins, everything that blocks me from encountering God. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
"Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for our sins and being victorious over death and sin. I confess my sin to you(pause, to tell Jesus what the Holy Spirit has shown you). Forgive my sins by your blood and help me follow you. Holy Spirit, fill me that I may be able to receive your gift to love God and His people. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen."
From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Matthew 4: 17
Why did they say the same thing as their first message ever as recorded in the gospel of Matthew? Because Matthew wants us to know that this is why God sent John and Jesus to this world. God sent them to lead us to repent so that we can enter into God's kingdom, coming home!
It is to direct people to take a U-turn from going in the wrong direction to going back home. Both John and Jesus died for us to deliver this new message.
God's Kingdom, His home, is at present, not just talking about after we die. And, His Kingdom, His Home is in our every day living. Are you in His Kingdom, His Home today?
A few years ago, I nearly became a burnt-out pastor. I kept on working for better results: I thought that having a bigger church made me a better pastor, having more ministries made me a better leader, having a larger home made me a better husband and father. I was wrong!
Trying to do all those things, however, pulled me off track and away from the daily presence of God in my life. I was a pastor without a daily intimate relationship with Jesus. Everyday was just doing, doing and doing. That nearly killed me!
In July 2009, I regained my daily devotions, a true daily intimate relationship with Jesus, two months before I became a bishop, and everything changed. My act of repentance was to ask Jesus to forgive me for turning away from Him, heading in the wrong direction while thinking that I was on the right track.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Help me to be able to win over all those distractions that are going to come pulling me away from you. Lead me to stay on course with you non-stop for 40 days. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
Reflect on this question:
Is there anything wrong in your life related to today's message that you need to turn away from?
(Be specific: relationship with God, family conflicts, at school, with friends, or workplace?)