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March Madness with CrossReads: Repent! by Staci Stallings

Posted by Julie on March 28, 2013 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

Repent!

If you’ve been in church any length of time, you’ve no doubt heard the word “repent.”  I’ll bet you even know what it means.  To feel  sorry or contrite for something you have done.  When we confess our sins, we repent or say we’re sorry and will not do that thing again.

 

Good. That’s a start.

 

But there’s another way to look at the word “repent.”

 

The prefix “re” means to do again.  Some words that use re include:  redo, rework, rewire, reread.  It means to do whatever it is again.  For example, I could rewrite this message if when I’m finished it makes no sense (which is always a possibility!).

 

So the word “repent” begins with re.  To do over.  But then the question becomes, “To do WHAT over?”  This is where the story gets interesting.

 

I remember from way back in my English teaching days, my kids had to learn long lists of Latin and Greek root words.  The idea was that if they learned the root words, they could put them together and decode words that used those root words.  It was a very effective way to learn a lot of vocabulary words very quickly.

 

One of those root words was “pent.”  I went to dictionary.com and had to go the long way to find this.  The Latin root pent comes from the Latin word pensar, which means “to think.”

 

Ah-ha.  That was my first thought when I was listening to someone talk about this word.  Wait, pen/pent means “to think.”  So RE-pent would mean “to think again.”

 

For one moment let’s put aside what we normally think the word repent means, and let’s consider the possibility that it means to re-think.

 

When Jesus says, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”  Consider what that means.  Yes, it means to be sorry for the junk you’ve done and are doing, but it ALSO means, “Rethink your life!  Rethink what you are doing, how you are living!  Rethink this moment for you are no longer under the world’s dominion.  The KINGDOM of GOD is here!”

 

Let me ask you.  Are you saying you’re part of the Kingdom but living according to the world?  Rethink that position.  Do you get up and go to a job you hate because it pays the bills?  Rethink that attitude.  Maybe you need a different job, or maybe you need to start bringing the Kingdom with you to where you work.

 

Is your household peaceful?  If not, maybe it’s time to “rethink” some things about how you’ve set up your world.  Is your marriage in harmony?  If not, maybe it’s time to “rethink” how you are treating your spouse and what you’re allowing to be in your lives that is not conducive to harmony.

 

To be honest, I love this concept because the truth is I am sorry for my sins, but sometimes it’s not the outright sin that’s holding me back.  Sometimes it’s my way of thinking that is stopping God’s Life from flowing in mine.  I need on many occasions to “Repent!”  to “Rethink!”  what I’m doing and why.

 

I invite you today to look at your life.  What areas could use some “repenting”?  Where might it be a good idea to rethink what you’re doing and why?

 

What are you waiting for?

 

 

 

Copyright Staci Stallings, 2008

 

Staci Stallings

Staci Stallings, the author of this article, is a stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side. She is a #1 Best Selling Christian author and the founder of both Grace & Faith Author Connection and CrossReads–a site where Christian readers and authors can connect.

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5

Thankful: Tiffany Amber Stockton’s Gratitude Born From Selfishness

GRATITUDE BORN FROM SELFISHNESS

 

I sat for a bit, pondering what I would say in this post on being thankful. Sure, I could start a long list of reasons for giving thanks, but so can anyone else. Then, it hit me. Although I have a lot of reasons to give thanks today, I didn’t always do that in the past. Instead, I spent a lot of time lamenting over what I did NOT have than praising God for what I DID have.

 

After growing up in a Christian household, graduating with honors from high school and a private college, finding consistent work, and having parents who graciously accepted me back home after I made some critical mistakes and had no place to live, I still wasn’t happy. On the contrary, I drifted more toward asking God why I had never had a boyfriend, or why I wasn’t married yet, or when I would land that “dream” job, or why I was living at home again, or where were those close friends I’d always wanted. Looking back now, it was quite selfish of me to demand all those things in light of all God had given me in other areas. And in hindsight, I see how God protected me in so many ways. Had He given me what I wanted when I wanted it, the end result would have been certain disaster.

 

But we are all human, aren’t we? And selfishness reigns supreme when we don’t allow God to guide our thoughts and hearts. As hard as it is to admit this, being selfish seemed to be a way of life for me. Sure, I *thought* I was looking out for others or putting others before me, but in reality, I was only doing that because it would give me something in return. It was *my* interests at the core of everything I did or said.

 

It’s amazing God stuck with me and continued to bless me in spite of my ungrateful behavior.

 

Yet bless me He did. And after a hard lesson where I lost several jobs in a row and had to humbly approach my parents for financial assistance, I finally “saw the light” so to speak. Immediately, I hit my knees and prayed for forgiveness, admitting my selfishness, my mistakes, and thanking God for not turning His back on me. I certainly turned my back on more than one person who didn’t seem to bring me benefit. And now, I cringe when I think of how callous I used to be.

 

Today, though, I’ve had a landfall of blessings hit me in a relatively short amount of time. It’s almost as if God said, “All right. You finally admitted you need me, and you’ve admitted your shortcomings. Now, I’m going to give you the desires of your heart. So, in the span of 4 years, I sold my first novel (which has led to 10 more), met and married the love of my life, moved to Colorado and the mountains I’ve always loved, and added a daughter and son to our family. Talk about everything hitting at once. I’m still reeling from the after-effects of it all, and it’s a daily process adjusting to it all.

 

One of these days, I’ll get a handle on things…perhaps when my kids are grown and out of the house. *grins* Until then, I daily remember to give thanks to God for His abundant blessings and protection. After all He’s done for me and the many bad situations from which He’s protected me, how can I do anything less?

 

Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood. Today, she is an award-winning author, speaker, online marketing specialist, and a freelance web site designer who lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have a  daughter, a son, and a vivacious Flat-Coat Retriever/Australian shepherd named Roxie.

 

Her writing career officially began in high school with the publication of her first children’s book, but she didn’t pursue adult fiction until college where she dabbled in fan fiction and received continuous requests for more stories. Amber wrote her first novel in 1999, but it wasn’t until joining ACFW in 2002 and attending their annual conferences that she received a request for a full manuscript in September 2004. Two years later, in December 2006, the request resulted in her first sale. And in January 2008, her debut novel released.

 

She has since sold eleven books and one novella to Barbour Publishing with more on the horizon. Three of her novels have won annual reader’s choice awards and in 2009, she was voted #1 favorite new author for the Heartsong Presents book club. Other writing credits include writing articles for various publications, five short stories with Romancing the Christian Heart, and nine contributions to the book, 101 Ways to Romance Your Marriage.

 

A born-again Christian since the age of seven, her faith in Christ has often sustained her through difficult experiences. She seeks to share that with others through her writing. Read more about her at her web site: www.amberstockton.com.

 

Web site: www.amberstockton.com

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/AmberStocktonAuthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/amberstockton

 



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