Pastor Joynt's Devotionals

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Real, Day 12

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LUKE 3:7-9, 18 | John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people.

Read John’s vivid and convicting warning in verses 7-9. Now contrast this with Luke’s summary in verse 18: “So with many other exhortations, John preached the good news to the people.” Good news? More like terrifying news! Our unreadiness in the face of coming judgement is unsettling not reassuring.

But the underlying “good news” upon which John’s message is predicated in this: God is ready to forgive. If God were not, our unreadiness would be the worst news ever. But repentance is not futile—God is merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases—his mercies never come to an end—they are new every morning.

Is repentance good news for you?

 

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Real, Day 11

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LUKE 3:10-14 | And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.”

Repentance involves emotion—sorrow for our brokenness. It also involves courage—taking a fearless moral inventory. The crowds asked John for advice about how to “do repentance.” He gives them three very useful examples of areas of our lives we can examine. How generous are we? What are we doing with our surplus (i.e., the second coat)?  Do we see and respond to the needs of others?

Are we meeting the demands of honesty, transparency, and justice in our personal and professional lives (i.e., if we are tax collectors, do we cheat?) And finally, how do we use our power over others? Do we serve or do we manipulate? Do we respect and enhance others’ freedom or do we diminish it (i.e., the soldier example)? Power, integrity, generosity—three good tests.

How do you score yourself in these three areas?

What other areas are important in our process of repentance?

 

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