Monday, September 7, 2009

A Fresh Encounter to Wake Up the Soul, By Kelli Zaniel

“We state it distinctly and emphatically, that whatever the departure of a backsliding child of God, it is recoverable: not a step he has lost but may be retraced; not a grace decayed but may be restored; not a joy has fled but may be won back,” Octavius Winslow

My children love to drink juice. Apple juice seems to be their sweet drink of choice. As I was pouring one half apple juice and one half water into the sippy cups, I realized an important spiritual truth. Our relationship with God is as sweet and refreshing as the apple juice left untouched by the water. Close your eyes and imagine the water as our sin. When the water is added to our cup, the sweetness of the juice or our relationship with God, becomes diluted. Sometimes, sin can attach itself to the outer edges of our hearts poisening the sweet intimacy found only in a relatioship with our heavenly father. The symptoms, such as a diluted relationship with God and diminshed presence of joy, are obvious but we ask ourselves why? The diagnosis from heaven reads, “unrepented sin.” The prescription, a tablespoon of humilty, absolute surrender and repentance. A daily dose is recommended and refills are always available.

Unrepented sin is like checking an elegant coat in as you gracefully walk through the doors of a five star restaurant. The attendant politely hangs the coat, you leave it behind and forget it ever belonged to you. That sin remains on the hanger of your heart, unclaimed and left unattended. It remains in the shadows of regret until the Holy Spirit lovingly reveals where you misplaced the infamous claim ticket. Once the sin has bullied its way out of the darkness, it can be pulled from cobwebs, dusted off and claimed leaving you forgiven and set free.

“But your iniquities have separated you from your God” (Isaiah 59:1). Satan pulls his weapons of persecution, ridicule and despair from his fiendish arsenal. Sin stealthily creeps in and launches a frontal assault on our hearts. Unfortuately, we are not immune to its powerful grip. As sin begins to permeate through our lives, our witness begins to weaken and our commitment begins to crumble. When sin deploys its destructive attack against us and begins taking the upper hand, our accessibility to our heavenly Father is limited. We become less effective to Him. Our sin cost Christ the cross and it will carry out its orders to continuously launch seek and destroy missions against us if we do not repent and seek forgiveness from the one who intervened on our behalf.

In my fresh encounter with God, he has enabled me to discect my soul and extract anything that might be offensive to Him (see Psalm 139:24). Once the stain of sin has been carefully removed, He can then repair and fill in the cracks that once brought stress to the relationship. Then our foundation will once again be restored. “He who covers sin will not prosper but whoever confesses sin and forsakes it, will have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

Do we deserve forgiveness? No, but we are released from the bondage of our sin because of Christ’s righteous sacrifice at the cross. Not because we are deserving of grace but because we are His children and we belong to Him. He treasures those who are His and opposes anything that prohibits us from enjoying a personal relationship with Him. When you become a Christian the Holy Spirit permanently takes up residence in your life (see Romans 8:14-17) and purifies your heart by faith (see Acts 15:9). We, as Christians, have been stamped “SAVED” by grace. The ink may fade over time as sin tries to separate us from God’s love, but once you are His child, you can NEVER lose your salvation or squander your inheritance. I love that truth, don't you?

Repentance requires intentional living. “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). Are you intentionally living for Him? How can we do this? First, yield your daily schedule to God. Second, make any necessary adjustments that will allow you to become more sensitive to God’s activity. Third, flush out all the filthy, unrepented sin so you can stand firm and confident before your God ready to receive his marching orders. We are God’s instrument of choice (see Acts 9:15). He desires to use us in His redemptive mission to change lives and draw unbelievers to himself.

Repentance is referred to as one of the most positive and most misunderstood words in the English language. “The word repentance implies hope for sinners who recognize their sin and want to return to God. It describes turning away from sin and turning toward God. It is the ability to repent that gives all Christians hope.” (
Fresh Encounter, by Henry Blackaby).

Recently, God personally revived me. My personal revival is Jesus in front of me, over me, behind me, beside me and all around me. He renewed my heart causing it to beat only for Him. I praise God for His gentle convictions in my soul, which lead me to the foot of the cross where my complete repentance for unclaimed sin took place. Are you ready to meet Him there so He can refresh your soul?

Lets take a stand against a watered down relationship with Christ. I only want pure apple juice in my cup from now on. No thanks water, we can do without you! It may be more costly to serve undiluted juice everyday, but when it comes to our relationship with God it is worth the expense. Next time you reach for something to quench your thirst, how will you fill your cup? Will you pursue a relationship with Him that is concentrated and vibrant or dull and diluted?

1 comment:

  1. The gift of repentance is a beautiful thing and there is nothing better then waking up from sins coma to find Him there waiting for us to return to a "full-strength" relationship with him once again. God is so good. Love the juice analogy. He inspires and encourages me everyday through you my sweet friend :)