While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites–men, women and children–gathered around him. They too wept bitterly. Ezra 10:1
Every day people are being caught for doing something wrong. Some things are small things, such as speeding, while others are major things, such as murder. Often there is some type of sorrow being showed when the person is caught.
There are two different types of sorrow that get shown. The most common is the sorrow at being caught. People do not always see what they did as being really that bad or something wrong. It is common for people to go down the highway speeding, even though they know the speed limit. When caught, they are sorry they got caught, and then go speeding again.
Others have a true sorrow being shown. They are sorry from the heart at what they had done wrong.
Ezra was showing the second sorrow, sorrow for what they had done wrong as a nation. The people followed him in this sorrow with bitter weeping. They were not just saying that they were sorry, they acted upon their being sorry and made the needed changes.
There are people today who have been confronted by God directly or through others about a sin in their lives. Some are sorry that they got caught, while others are truly sorry for the sin.
Just saying ‘I’m sorry’ does not mean that one is truly sorry for what was done. It may or may not be true. A breaking of the heart shows true sorry. It is realizing that one has broken God’s heart by sinning and how bad that really is. It tears the person up and causes them to weep bitterly and strive to change their ways. It causes them to seek God’s mercy and forgiveness, because they know what they deserve.
As with everyone, you have made some mistakes and sinned against God. You may be confronted with that sin through reading His word, God speaking to you, or someone saying something that reveals it to you.
In that sin being exposed, you have a choice to make. You can regret getting caught, or you can weep and confess the sin. Allow God to break your heart and cause a change in your life. It will bring about true relief and a removal of the sin. Don’t keep hiding the sin, but allow God to forgive you.
I pray today that you will hear God’s voice in your life; that you will truly repent of all sins against God; that you will weep when you have sinned against God; and that you will know God’s mercy and forgiveness of your sins.
and prayed: “I am too ashamed and disgraced, my God, to life up my face to you, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens.” Ezra 9:6
Seeing things that are wrong in other people is an easy thing to do. No matter who a person looks at, he can usually find something wrong. People are very quick to point out wrongs in another person.
Yet, they often forget that they, also, have faults in their own lives. Often the faults of others are a result in how they were trained or not trained on how to do something. Leaders have to take responsibility on how their followers act or react.
Ezra was noticing how the people were starting to live in sin again. They were breaking some of God’s commands. When he found out about it, he immediately began to humble himself and pray to God. He confessed the sins of all the people, including himself in the confession.
While it is easy to judge another person for sin, it is another thing to include oneself in that guilt of sin. Every believer is to be a leader in this world. They are to lead and guide others to Christ Jesus and to live for God, following His commands.
Jesus led and guided the disciples, then told them they must also do the same and make more disciples. Believers today must do the same. When one sees others messing up and living in sin, he can include himself in the confession, instead of just pointing fingers. Every person has sinned.
It could be that a person is living in a sin, because a believer did not tell him about Jesus and God’s commands. This includes the believer in the sin.
Just as Jesus took on the sins of the world, Ezra had taken on the sins of the people. You can also take on the sins of others and repent of the sins to God. Strive to lead people back to God and seek God’s mercy on every one around you.
Instead of judging and destroying people, seek to build them up in Christ Jesus. No one is without sin, so all need to confess their sins to God. Include yourself in that process and the world will see your love for them, rather than just judgement.
Then believe that Jesus can and has forgiven you and others. Rest in His grace and don’t stay condemned.
I pray today that you will know the forgiveness of Jesus; that you will guide others towards God’s mercy; that you will confess any sins to God; and that God will change you and those around you.
Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:25-26
The majority of the world is against Christians. They do not believe in God and do not want anything to do with Jesus. There are some who are violently against believers and will get physical in their opposition. The rest just oppose believers in words. Either way they act, they are opponents to those who follow Jesus.
All of these people have been taken captive by the traps of the devil. They are living as the devil desires, doing his will to oppose Jesus.
Many believers are willing to take a stand against those who oppose Christ. The problem is that there have been many who have done so in a way that is not the way Jesus would respond to opponents. They have harshly condemned the opponents, struck them, physically destroyed their property and more.
Jesus rarely used violence. The only time He used a little violence was in the temple against those who were religious, and then it was not against them physically, but against their stuff. Jesus had spoken with kind words almost every time. He worked to draw people to Him, not push them away.
Paul told Timothy to speak gently with his opponents. He is to show love and care to them. Jesus had stated that believers are to love their enemies.
Speaking gently is to speak kind words as one points out where a person may be wrong. It is pointing a person to Jesus and His words. It is showing love, compassion, mercy and grace to a person. The goal is to get them to become a follower of Jesus, not beat them down.
You will have people who will be an opponent to you. Some may be just verbally violent, while others may be physically violent. Jesus had both types against Him. How you speak and react to them will show how much of a follower of Jesus you are.
Give them a chance to change and choose to follow Jesus. Do not just condemn them and give up on them. Jesus did not speak harshly with you and did not give up on you.
I pray today that you will know the gentleness of Jesus; that you will show God’s love to all people; that God will give you the words to speak to your opponents; and that many will come to Jesus through your message.
Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 1 Corinthians 11:28
The night before Jesu was crucified, He and the disciples had a meal that became known as the last supper. Later the church did the very same thing Jesus did and it became known as communion. Paul reminded the people of that communion, but also had a warning for them. They were to examine themselves prior to taking it.
In order for a good examination to be done, one must be willing to look closely at something. When a person goes to a doctor for an examination, he expects the doctor to look closely at everything to determine if there is a problem or what the problem is. Change cannot occur, unless there is an examination.
When something is looked at closely, one can see things more clearly. One can see the dirty spots when looked up close. One can see the fault lines in examining closely.
The world does not like to look closely at themselves, because they do not want to see any faults. Many will examine another person closely to find fault in the other person, but never in themselves.
Yet, Paul says the believer is supposed to examine himself closely prior to taking the communion bread and cup. For the believer, it is to look and ensure that he has repented of all sins, that he is now standing clean before God.
Jesus cannot forgive, unless a person repents. He is willing to forgive each and every time a person repents.
Taking the communion is a reminder of what Jesus did for the person. He died on the cross and shed His blood to remove all sins. If a person does not repent of his sins, there is no purpose in taking the communion, it is done in an unworthy manner.
Prior to ever taking the communion bread and cup, you need to examine your life. Are you standing clean before God? Have you repented of any and all sins that you have committed?
Along with doing this during an actual communion time, it should also be done any time you sit down and eat a meal. Remember what Jesus has done for you. Remember the breaking of His body and the shedding of His blood as you eat any food or drink something.
Have you examined your life today?
I pray today that you will know what Jesus has done for you; that you will repent of all sins; that you will examine your life on a daily basis; and that you will stand clean before God.
I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Luke 13:3
Some people had come to Jesus and told them how some Galileans were killed by Pilate. Jesus asked them if they thought that the Galileans were worse sinners than they were because they had suffered. He then warned the people that if they do not repent, they would also perish.
People inside the church will often look at people outside the church as worse people. This often occurs when the person outside of the church suffers in a bad way. Believers will very quickly condemn the person for his actions and say he is a worse sinner than they are.
Someone who has committed several murders is considered a worse person than the person who has just told a few lies. The condemnation runs high.
This will even occur with inside the church. One believer will condemn another believer as being a worse sinner. Often certain types of people are looked down upon as worse sinners, adulterers, drug addicts, alcoholics, divorced, alternate sexual preferences, and more. The are considered worse sinners.
In God’s eyes, sin is sin. It does not matter if it is a ‘big’ sin, such as murder, rape, or some other ‘great’ sin. Or if it is just a ‘small’ sin, such as telling a lie or gossip. Every sin, regardless of its “size” is sin and separates a person from God. All Adam and Eve did was eat some fruit that was forbidden to be touched, and they were separated from God.
Was that a ‘big’ or ‘small’ sin? In the eyes of the world it was a very small thing to do with a very large consequence. In God’ eyes it was a very large problem.
Regardless of what ‘size’ the sin is, a person needs to repent of it. As a believer, you must also repent of, turn away from, all sin. Do not allow any sin in your life.
Treat every sin as though it is the worst thing that could ever possibly be done. God hates all sin and that is why He sent Jesus to die on the cross for you. He wanted to remove all of that sin. Only Jesus can remove sin.
Take time today to repent of any sin in your life. Be careful not to judge someone else as being more of a sinner than you.
I pray today that you will repent of all sin; that God will help you turn from all sin; that you will not judge others as worse than you; and that you will live your life in obedience to God.