Moving Beyond “I’m Sorry”

Embracing Repentance that Leads to Spiritual Growth

By Debbie Young — Study Content Specialist 

As a young Christian, I constantly strived for perfection. My Sunday school perfect attendance pins and avoiding “the big sins” shaped my definition of success. 

Somewhere along the way, however, I discovered the ugly truth. My perfectionism and performance-based evaluation of myself was rooted in pride. In fact, underneath my selfish ambition lurked a host of sins I could not deny.  

Maybe you can relate. Take a moment to identify your own struggle. What sin just will not go away? Today, 40 years later, that same need to be perfect still surfaces in many ways. I continue to discover new inroads of the sin lodged in my heart. 

This ongoing struggle with sin can be so exhausting that we either ignore it or feel paralyzed by its grip. But in His mercy, God persistently offers a path to freedom from sin. 

The path to spiritual growth 

The People of the Promise: Kingdom Divided study echoes with the consistent sin of God’s people. However, just as perpetually, God offers His path to freedom in a single word — “repent.” 

What comes to mind when you hear that word? We may picture an angry street preacher or an endless string of apologies. But what if I told you repentance is more? 

Repentance is a Holy Spirit-driven response to sin that restores and transforms a whole person – our minds, our emotions, and our wills. Repentance is God’s invitation to return to Him. 

Repentance is God’s invitation to return to Him.

For years, I viewed repentance as a duty. With a few quick words I could cross “repentance” off my spiritual to-do list. The confession and repentance God desires is much more – the heart-wrenching practice of turning away from sin and back toward God. Joel 2:13 gives us a vivid picture:  

“Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.” 

Through the Holy Spirit, God uses repentance to uncover the root of our sin, not just the fruit of our sin. To “rend our hearts” means allowing the Lord to expose the underlying motives that drive our behavior.  

God uses repentance to uncover the root of our sin, not just the fruit of our sin.

Like a surgeon wielding a scalpel, the Holy Spirit’s conviction cuts deep. He slices through our excuses. True repentance involves a God-inflicted wound designed to bring spiritual health and healing. He exposes and extracts our pride, our greed, our selfishness, and our doubt. He lovingly binds our wounds and heals our hearts. 

Repentance represents so much more than a painful duty; repentance paves the pathway to spiritual growth. As we regularly respond to the Holy Spirit’s conviction and turn from our specific sin, we experience fresh doses of God’s redeeming grace. 

The comfort of a guiding hand

This comforting truth helps when we feel discouraged by the magnitude of our sin: God relentlessly pursues our wayward hearts. Instead of running from conviction, we can run into it knowing we will always land in Jesus’s outstretched arms. 

God never exposes all our sin at once. We could not bear that. With intentional grace, He opens our eyes to recognize specific sin, at specific times, and in specific ways. When God does this, how do we respond? Do we rend our hearts, giving Him access to the hidden darkness within us?  

God wounds us to heal us. When His conviction cuts deep, we can lean into the growth He intends through the pain. We confidently lay our sin before the One who bears the scars that purchased our freedom. 

God wounds us to heal us. 

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). 

My battle with sin continues. I long for the day pride and performance no longer dominate my motives and sin’s discouraging remnants are abolished. But until then I will trust my tender Savior to expose and extract my sin as He deems right. The conviction proves His relentless love for me. Repentance is an act of worship.

Debbie Young

Study Content Specialist

Debbie Young currently serves as Study Content Specialist at BSF. As a young mom, Debbie realized that her heart had found a home in studying God’s Word through BSF. Through the years, she has served in various roles in the organization, from leading in a local class to celebrating God’s work in His people around the world. Debbie and her husband Larry have three grown children and six grandchildren. 

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168 Comments

  1. Thank you Debbie for your blog. Tonight God brought me to a place of repentance. Being blocked by Unbelief and doubt as to who Jesus is. This is a pattern that has been continuous since my baptism in 1986. I know I am whole and complete when the love is open and flowing between Jesus and myself. And many times unbelief and doubt come back in. The other day the Father whispered to me “ except my Jesus. “. So tonight as I am led to that place of repentance I have experienced a deep joy because I know I’m being called back to the truth. The message started to come through James Robison and his guest Rodrigos. Tomorrow I will share this with one of my Christian friends who is such a lover of and follower of Jesus . I believe I was led to this site tonight also and I just wanted you to know that you were part of God restoring my soul. Thank you.

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  2. Great sharing … it has helped me to draw closer to God….. my perfectionist ways are lent on …. thinking this will please God and I will be favored ……
    which is prideful ……

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  3. This spoke deep into my weary soul. Thank you for opening your heart to share your personal journey because I am in relation with it. Oh God we mean well but we fail. I accept my failures forgive myself while He is working His will in me. And I just keep on asking, knocking and seeking the help towards holiness. He is so merciful.

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    • Keep pressing into the Lord and trust Him to give you strength, perseverance, and hope. The struggle shows God is at work within you!

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  4. Thank you Debbie Young for this heart penetrating article. It truly echoes the struggle I have been feeling about “checklist-rote” repentance and clearly reminds us of the answer: To rend our hearts! Thank you for exalting the love, grace and blessing that becomes ours when we give our hearts to the masterful Surgeon!!!

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  5. Thank you so much for the truth brought to light in this blog. So thankful God reveals sin to us one at a time. There was so much in this article that will help me move forward. I feel so overwhelmed with guilt because of succumbing to temptation over and over. Here I come again Lord, over and over. I believe Lesson 16 and the accompanying lecture were meant for me to do and then read this blog. What a gift the Holy Spirit is to believers!

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  6. The blog written by Debbie Young has meant so much to me. She has helped me understand how Jesus has exposed my sins to me, and how I need to receive God’s forgiveness. I need the spiritual growth that repentance gives me and God’s redeeming grace. Thank you, Debbie

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  7. Thankyou Debbie for such a comforting and encouraging post. Your post inspires me to fear not to return to the Savior’s feet in repentance Daily.
    “ Lord, here I am again…. And again… and again … and again.”
    In Christ there is hope and forgiveness. I can trust Him to reveal the root of my repeat offenses.

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    • Again, and again, and again. So true—and our God is unceasingly gracious. I am so glad!

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  8. So true! My daughter just had a surgery that will reap great benefits in the future, but currently causes her much pain. I see myself in a similar situation as I allow my Savior to probe deeply into my soul. I pray that he cuts away, that would not glorify him for eternity.

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  9. Excellent article that leads us to an obedient relationship with God. Sin and disobedience enslaves and robs us from God’s gifts snd freedom He extends to all believers.

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  10. This is entirely in keeping with the current BSF study on ‘A Kingdom Divided’. Joel is the source of much of what is stated here. Repentance is a gift from God. Simply saying ‘sorry’ is not enough. We need to seek the presence of God in line with Psalm 51, and so confront the basic ulginess of our sin before a Holy and loving God. That takes time and requires a depth of prayer that is often not reached by many of us.

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  11. How can someone be a Study Content Specialist?

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    • Hi Angie! Debbie Young is the person behind the BSF studies you use! Along with our content team, she writes, organizes, and edits BSF lessons & notes. She is certainly a specialist. Please pray for all of our content team as they prepare BSF studies for members to use to unpack God’s Word together.

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  12. Such timely encouragement. Thank you for your testimony and transparency. I too can relate..
    I’ve never considered myself a perfectionist but when it comes to our God and Lord Jesus Christ, I too struggle to be perfect for Him because He deserves my best. I fail and am hard on myself as if it’s up to me when I know full well, there is nothing good about me except My Jesus and His Spirit that lives inside me. Pride is the culprit, I long to rid myself of, and desire humility, because God hangs out with humble. It is His presence I always long to be with.. thank you again for your testimony.

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  13. I thank you for the message. I thought I was going through GOD’s dealing with. my personal sin alone, only to realise we are many. It has taken quite a long time to realise what GOD was doing in dealing with my sin for HE didn’t confront it directly but used another situation to get to me. THANK YOU GOD for saving me. Reading Books like Hosea has proven to me that GOD really loves us and wants us all to be saved from our sins, at individual and national level.

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    • Ronald,

      You are not alone in the battle with sin. Lean in to those who can pray for you and walk with you. We fight this battle together and in God’s strength alone!

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      • What a wonderful recap and reminder of how God pursues His loved ones. Repentance is key in our walk of sanctification encouraging believers to grow spiritually and in the likeness of our Savior.
        Thank you for sending these beautiful truths!!

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  14. Thank you this helped me as I needed to know God loves me even though I sin I don’t want to but my mind is always going when I pray

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  15. Today i learnt repentance is an of worship. Amen!

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    • Jessica – so encouraging!

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  16. This really spoke to me and I am so thankful for the timely arrival.

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  17. I have been longing to get back to BSF studying as I had been a student for many years. Seen our three grow child come through and then I had to stop due to work and things just not working out for my schedule to allow me to continue in person.
    I found the online and my heart leered for joy.
    Today I needed a read to help beep me focus and remind me of Gods love. This blog was right were I was. It came right as His perfect time. Thank you for this and I look forward to getting back into his word and studying, working my my relationship with Jesus. Allowing the Holy Spirit to lead and shine thought my life.
    Thank you for this word

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  18. Great blog. I relate to my heart finding a home in my Bible study through BSF. BSF has changed how I look at everything. What a blessing.

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  19. This really hit home for me in every area that Debbie mentioned. At the present I can identify with how God is exposing my life long sins a little at a time.
    Thank you, Debbie, for your testimony and your explanation of how God continues to work in our lives drawing us to Himself.

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  20. Enjoyed the thoughtful words in this post…thank you for sharing your heart…it spoke to my heart in many ways…1.perfectionism 2. Performance based evaluation…. But God Mercy!!! Love that…soaking in Gods Goodness!!!

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  21. Debbie Young gave a detailed & excellent explanation of what true repentance is. How God uses repentance to uncover the root of our sin not just the fruit caught my attention as I read further. Each of her teaching points captured how God wants to restore & transform a person to wholeness as we lean into His redeeming grace & respond to the Holy Spirit’s convicting us of sin in order to pave the pathway for spiritual growth! Thank goodness He doesn’t reveal all our sins at once!! God Bless your keen insight into this deep & important pathway for experiencing God’s Redeeming Grace!!

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  22. What a great reflection on repentance. I have misunderstood the meaning of repentance much of my life and it is such a fundamental truth. Pastor Tim Keller has a great sermon titled Disciplines of Repentance. So appreciate the role that repentance plays in our growth in God. Thank you!

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  23. Greetings! Thank you for the beautiful content of this blog, very influential.

    I appreciate your transparency; “My battle with sin continues.”

    “God offers His path to freedom in a single word — “repent.” That will stay with me forever, the simplicity of the message.

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  24. Great teaching Debbie. I too identify with you. With Joel 2:13 challenge, mine is to daily surrender to God that through the Holy Spirit I will be enabled to become what my father ordained. My comfort is that God does not give up on me. I’m work in progress

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  25. Thank you for this convicting and enlightening article. I too struggle wth perfectionism and performance-based evaluation.

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  26. I thank God for the entire BSF Headquarters team, Debbie this enriches my soul, so profound. I have read this more than once and still want to go again.
    I am particularly encouraged by “God wound us to heal us”
    The battle with sin continues, I long for the day Pride and Performance no longer dominate my motives and sin’s discouraging remnants are abolished.
    Until then, I continue to trust my tender savior to extract and expose my sin as He deems right. I pray that in His relentless love, He will convict me to enough to repent.

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    • Anne,
      God so faithfully leads us. He loves us enough to take us forward, not allowing us to be content with our sin. I am grateful. Thank you for your kind words.

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  27. I could truly relate to every word you said, Debbie. Especially “the battle seems endless” . Thank you for reminding me the Lord is “digging up my sinful roots” out of his love for me in order to bring forth healing and renewal so He will be glorified.

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  28. I believe Jesus died for us, taking our sin’s punishment onto himself…paying our price. By doing so, it bridged a huge gap between us and Our Heavenly Father allowing us to approach Him in prayer and to ask for forgiveness from Him.
    As I have gotten older, I have found myself continually reliving my past sins to God, myself and to others. I go to our Heavenly Father and ask for forgiveness daily for all my sins…including the past sins…it’s like I still feel I need to ask forgiveness for those past sins. I have recently come to this thought…If I don’t accept God’s forgiveness for my past sin, then, I am nailing Christ on that cross over and over again…because I haven’t accepted God’s forgiveness…
    It is exhausting to keep running over and over in my mind the past…I want to focus on today and the future living with Jesus as my guide and the Holy Spirit to teach me His ways…Focusing forward would be so refreshing and uplifting.

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    • Oh that just hit me in the heart wow I do this too! Lord thank You for perfecting everything that concerns us including teaching us to forgive ourselves You say I remember your sins no more. It is the accuser who condemns us. Robert that expressed so well my current frustration thank you for sharing. Where sin increased grace increased all the more Romans 5:20

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  29. I just had outpatient surgery yesterday. My surgeon extracted something that was diseased. How this word parallels this experience! He was so skillfull, the scar is covered up now, but promises to be healed. Like Jesus, he took away that which didn’t belong. Repentance leads to this necessary but beautiful surgery. More than ever, I see His grace as he removes sin so I can be all His.

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  30. Thank you for your sincere vulnerability in sharing. It causes me to examine my motivations and ask God to reveal my sin as well, gently and lovingly so true repentance and growth will be the outcome.

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  31. Thank you for your message that gives me hope and encouragement

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  32. Through the Holy Spirit, God uses repentance to uncover the root of our sin, not just the fruit of our sin. To “rend our hearts” means allowing the Lord to expose the underlying motives that drive our behavior.
    I appreciate the explanation to “rend our hearts” Thank You.

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  33. Thank you for your timely message and much needed encouragement.

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  34. Thank you for sharing your battle.
    It is a universal frailty, I think.

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    • Carol – it truly is a battle. It helps to realize that the Holy Spirit wages that battle for us and in us.

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  35. This is so helpful. Realizing that my desire to please God and my performance/works mindset is challenging for many. Acknowledging it as sin. Understanding that the Holy Spirit is working in me so I might “rend my heart.” Thank you!

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    • Gayle,

      This battle emerges and re-emerges. We must constantly remember who we are in Christ and what He has declared “done” and true. By His grace alone!

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  36. Thanks Debbie, your blog relates to me.

    I have understood in a new way what Obadiah 1:12 means; that I should not gloat over my brother in the day of his misfortune, nor rejoice over the people of Judah in their day of destruction, nor boast so much in the day of their trouble.

    It has opened by a new way to be my sister’s/brother’s keeper.

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    • Mercy – may God use you as an instrument of His grace.

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  37. Hi Debbie thanks so much for being A mouth piece for our LORD I realized that I dont want to decieve myself and Im praying the HOLy SPIRIT to get to the bottom of my sin and that ilearn true repentance !

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    • A battle worth fighting – on our knees and in dependence upon the Lord!

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    • God bless you, Roxana!

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  38. That repentance is a gift from God and act of worship – this is so so amazing.
    Thank you Debbie.

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  39. I have found that daily confession and repentance is ongoing! The minute you know the sin it’s best to confess and ask for forgiveness! Thank you for your article! It just reaffirms what I know to be true!

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  40. Debbie, thank you. I sincerely appreciate your insight to this passage and study. I never really thought about repentance as an act of worship! Thank you for opening my heart and spiritual eyes to see the truth! Blessings love 🙂

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  41. I just clicked on this blog to see what it was about. I appreciate your willingness to share. I enjoy the BSF format.

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  42. Blessed, helped, encouraged by these reflections. Thank you Debbie for being God’s mouthpiece.

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  43. I also have been on a 40 year journey with Jesus as my Savior. At first I rebelled when the Holy Spirit revealed one of my sins. I thought, well that’s not as bad as…….
    It took years to understand the freedom of conviction that comes with true repentance and surrender to the Holy Spirit’s leading. I am thankful for the last 12 years of attending BSF for a deeper understanding of my sanctification. Now I welcome conviction, even when it hurts.

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    • JoAnne – it is so easy to justify our sin as an inherent weakness or personality flaw. There is so much more under what I do habitually and intentionally. God is faithful to move us forward!

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  44. Thank you for sharing. Our Jesus and The Word matters greatly. The ministry of Bible Study Fellowship truly changed my life by teaching me how to truly open my eyes, my heart, and my mind to surrender my all to our Jesus through the love and reverence of His wondrous Word.

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  45. Thank you for your testimony sister in Christ!
    I’m grateful for BSF!

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  46. Thank you Debbie, loved loved your insight to repentance.
    It is so simple, yet like you said it seems like a duty instead
    of the expection of freedom & transformation. I am going to
    share this with our class. Thank you for your honesty that
    will help me & others.

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    • Simple in concept, though living it takes commitment. Thanks for your encouragement!

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  47. Thank you Debbie for your BLOG, hit the mark with me. This study of Joel and Obadiah showed me the root of my sins, those sins that keep coming back. I also wondered why, if I know what I am doing wrong does it keep happening over and over again. Through this study, I realized God does reveal my sins little by little, and the Holy Spirit takes my hand and we take baby steps to receive release from the holds of those sins and root of those sins. And I can lean into the growth our Father intends for me. Thank you and God’s blessings on you and other BSF staff for your hearts and love for others to know our Lord and Savior.

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    • I join you in gratitude for God’s persistent kindness to work on me. He doesn’t let go!

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  48. Thank you for reminding us that no matter how long we have been Christians, no matter how dedicated our walk, we still need to acknowledge our sin patterns, confess them, and repent of them to receive times of refreshing as well as growth in both character and relationship with our Lord.

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  49. What I am experiencing this very moment. Thanks for a way to freedom .

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  50. I can relate to your revelation of pride and the need to “try” to be perfect. It’s mind boggling to believe that God loves me as I am, I feel so unworthy of his love. I pray he helps me to let go of the doubt and trust him implicitly. Thank you!

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  51. Thanks for the encouragement. I am also guilty of self perfectionism evaluation of myself. Your sharing richly blessed me to rend my heart, not my garment to the Lord.

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  52. I love that thought, that repentace is an act of worship! It is so much easier to “rend your garments”, than to expose my heart motives to God’s cleansing and healing touch.

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  53. Very relevant to the study and new year.

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  54. Thank you for all the insight in which I have gain since I have been studying with BSF. My knowledge of the bible is not in any way where I wish to be, but my continuous study will get me there. I love the study and all the help that I get. I wish I had found BSF sooner…

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  55. Thank you for this helpful blog post. I also struggle with perfectionism and pride. I am on a lifelong learning curve to trust in God’s transforming grace instead of my own self effort to overcome sin, Satan, the world and my own old sin nature. How I rejoice in my New Nature and my Justification in Christ’s finished work on the cross alone!!

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  56. Beautiful writing. “Return to me” was exactly the call from God for me in 2019. After spending 30+ yrs in the Electronics Industry with all my heart, mind and soul, all of a sudden, my career was over in a certain circumstance at the peak of my career as a VP of a company. Though it was really unpleasant experience, I experienced His gentle healing and calling. Now I view all the accomplishments including 40+ patents globally hanging on the wall of my office, as rubbish. I realized there is a true LIFE outside the workforce. Nothing can satisfy me but my dear Lord, Christ Jesus. This triune God is AWEsome. His thought and His Way are beyond I can fathom.

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  57. I have moved from Calgary to a smaller town. I would like to re- connect with BSF.How can I do this?
    Norma Larsen

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    • Hi Norma! We would love to have you back in BSF. You can find a group near you at https://join.bsfinternational.org/. If there is no group near you, you may also search for a BSF online group! Thank you for reaching out.

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  58. Thank you for sharing your story Debbie. I appreciate your honesty. I too suffer from perfectionism and pride. It’s refreshing to know there are others out there who can share my pain. I do take comfort in knowing that God is stripping me of all the ugly character defects which I have allowed to govern my life for far too long, so He can build me up to be the servant He needs me to be for His kingdom. Praise Jesus!

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  59. 💜✝️💜✝️💜✝️

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  60. Thanks Debbie! Repentance is definitely a gift from the Lord. Acts 3:19-20 says it well, “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”

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  61. Recently, I was given this verse by a friend that resonated with me and brought conviction.
    “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
    ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139‬:‭23‬-‭24‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    It revealed anxious thoughts are an offense to God. Anxious thought are doubts, misplaced trusts. I have been battling with this much of life. This year’s study opened my eyes that God never gives up on His people. He will not relent from pursuing and revealing those hidden sins that hides itself in the crevices of our heart. He is a loving, compassionate God slow to anger but will not leave us where we are. He has given us the Holy Spirit to will and obey. And so, I will pursue His Holiness as He pursues me. To God be the Glory!

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  62. Thank you so much for opening your struggles with us.
    Thank you for pointing out that Jesus grace and love is there for me.

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  63. “Repentance” is the word the Lord laid on my heart for the Advent season for myself, my local church and His global Church! Yes, God loves us so much He wounds in order to heal.

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    • I needed to read this. God’s perfect timing and the Holy Spirit working through your words. Than you.

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    • .My battle with sin continues. I long for the day pride and performance no longer motivates …..
      Classifying sin has always been a problem. Big sins e.g Sexual immorality, murder stealing etc.
      But the realization that sin is sin drives me to repent what is considered “not too bad”

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  64. God’s timing is so perfect and his guidance so loving. I was praying earlier today. An outward sin I have confessed and turned and repented from keeps haunting my thoughts. I have laid the action down before God, and it’s not guilt that is bringing this sin forward. It’s not the enemy either, it’s the Holy Spirit. I asked God can you show me? And minutes later I see this article! and he has, the specific sin needs confession to a person and as I “render” the Spirit showed me my sin root was lack of trust in God. Fear and need for control caused me to do what I did. What a wonderful conversation to have with God! He is intricate and has intimate knowledge of me, he can and does lead me specifically. The specifics in this circumstance may have more to unravel. When I confessed my unbelief, the Spirit of God finished my prayer in my mind “help me with my unbelief” I believe the LORD delights to help his children with their unbelief. His Spirit and His word confirm this to me. Thank you for the nudge to rend and let the LORD lead me to full repentance! I want my faith in God to grow and He does too!

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    • Debbie’s insightful words and your experience Emily was mine too! Proving my worthiness of forgiveness when they are not actually holding any debts against me. A lie I have believed and a root of sin of unbelief that Jesus could/ did forgive. This is a revelation. The truth is now sinking from my head into my heart. I have His approval the same as the one we give to the ‘little ones’ we love no matter what they’ve done – as a child whose face is cupped in His hands, an image shared in BSF LM yesterday.

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      • Praise God!

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  65. Thankyou for this wonderful reminder of renting instead of just being sorry. I find myself stuck in the “I’m sorry”, instead of moving forward, to renting my heart and chande me to conform to His will, not mine.🤓🙏

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  66. Thank you , Debbie. You hit the nail on the head! I can identify with the sin of pride and the trail it leaves with control issues, worry, etc.
    I’m also amazed and comforted that God loves me/us so much that he uses the Holy Spirit to convict and and nudge or push me to identify this sin and to repent, again!
    Evidence that the Holy Spirit is alive and active, God’s grace abounds!

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    • Lori,

      I love that you said God “nudges” us. Sometimes He has to push, but He is persistent in His pursuit of our spiritual health. I am so glad!

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  67. I too am a perfectionist. This article was very helpful!

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  68. Thank You Debbie . I am so thankful God showed me in very gentle , but unmistakable ways how my life ling perfectionism, that I Christianized , ” for the sake of Gods Kingdom” when I became a Christian at age 29 was a sin and I was able to understand that lie of the evil one and repent.after many years sadly not knowing I was sinning against God in my efforts to reflect Him. Like you , it has periodically crept back into my life with its condemnation of self and others and
    misguided motivations with the need
    to repent in new ways . I am thankful for Gods perseverance in not leaving me to myself and giving me opportunities to repent & the wisdom & strength to do so when needed.

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    • The battle is real. Come Lord Jesus!

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  69. This is amazing! About to lead my BSF group this morning, and puzzled about the truth for me, for us, in Joel. And here it is, tied with a bow!

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  70. I’m so grateful for repentance. Thank you for this reminder and sharing your blog. Looking forward to reading more from the BSF blog.

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    • Amen, Amen, Amen… Joel 2:13 is a standout verse in this year’s study (so far). What an awesome privilege to read your exposition on it — and to be reminded that God actively works in our circumstances to draw us closer to His holiness! Thank you, Debbie!

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  71. Dear Debbie,
    Thank you so much for your blog on conviction. I have known the Lord for many years but still struggle with perfectionism and fear of failure. It is comforting to hear someone else who struggles with the sin of pride disguised as many things.
    Pray that I may be convicted of this sin and accept God’s provision for healing through the wounded Christ.
    Lillian,
    Kenya

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  72. This blog is amazing!! Wow so much wisdom. We talk about repentance being a turning away – “a changing of mind and direction” but there’s an empowering by the Holy Spirit that can lead to lasting repentance. I’ve seen people repent but it seems the “change” doesn’t last even when convicted by the Holy Spirit or in the word. What’s causes the spirit to be quenched so quickly? I think a great follow up is how to stay in a state of humble repentance as the Lord changes peoples heart, minds and ultimately behaviors to be more aligned to Him.

    Im doing a YA BSF group and wish so many more of my peers would join BSF. The teaching is so deep + resources like this. I am sharing this with friends.

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  73. Repentance is an act of worship. Thank you for sharing this insight. In praying I would become so sad with myself for not living up to his standards. It’s a daily struggle.

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  74. When we are ready to open our hearts to God, His radiating, refreshing, restoring and empowering riches of His grace will sustain us to move forward into a relationship with the Loving God, our Heavenly Father. He is not wanting to condemn us, but to give us a hope and a future within His Presence. He is worthy of our worship

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  75. Thanks for the timely reminder the PPL2-KD has been so refreshing in every lesson.

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  76. i can’t tell how deep this message cut into my heart. With tears and pierced heart I am reading this. God’s words are so timely and merciful. It is hurting so much to remove deep-rooted sin but I know God mean to mould a better me.

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  77. Thank you for the encouragement that Instead of running from conviction which I have done a couple of times out of fear of God’s wrath that I can run into it knowing that I will always land in Jesus’s outstretched arms. And the truth that I am far from perfect.Dear LORD expose my sins and heal my heart.

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  78. This is an awakening expose , I do struggle with sin and even when I repent I don’t experience the breakthrough. Am encouraged to know that repentance is much more. its an invitation by God to return back to him. Thanks for this. God bless you.

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  79. Thanks Debbie! Our Father bless me extremely when you express what He taught and show me but could not put in words.

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  80. Your words were an encouragement to me when you wrote that “40 years later”. I have struggled with sin that long as well, and I am encouraged to not give up and continue to go to God in repentance.

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  81. Greetings Debbie,
    This was a wonderful article and oh how true that the Holy Spirit convicts and identifies the core issues of our hearts. I struggle with so many of the sins you mentioned. I pray that God would remove my stubborn pride and selfishness. It is a constant battle

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  82. Though I’m a perfectionist, the Holy Spirit has taught me not to be proud. Even though I’ve learnt the lesson, I believe satan has his way of taunting me of pride.

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  83. We just talked about this blog as part of our discussion group. Thank you for sharing.

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  84. I can identify with this blog post. Thank you for sharing – there is comfort in knowing we all sin and repentance is a gift given to us.

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  85. Thank you for your insight.. This was encouraging.. I especially loved that Hod cuts us to heal us and and when convicted for us to run into His outstretched arms.

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  86. Thank you Debbie. Your words ring very true to my heart and I am encouraged to consider the great relevancy to my own life. It is a bit frightening to delve into the deep, centered sin in my life, but the needed reminder of His presence, guiding hand and anticipated peace are reason enough to give this deep consideration. Thank you for your depth of thought and its relevancy to me.
    I appreciate your pointedness and brevity- just enough to make you want to go to work on it for all of the right reasons! Please pray as you may for others that I will not shirk my responsibility in this matter.
    May He bless you for your openness and forthrightness in putting these thoughts before us.

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  87. Amen !
    Can totally relate and praise Jesus for His endless mercy and grace !

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  88. thank you for these words. the Lord has spoken to me… and i pray He’ll help me as i rend my heart continuously until that day.

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  89. Every time I read the BSF blog I could find God ‘s teaching and Holy Spirit reminding, I was exactly experiencing the same the writer said and so much echoes I have had, praise to the Lord and I could never thank HIM enough for His faithfulness, thanks my Lord for bringing me to BSF and thanks to the BSF for your faithful serving.

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  90. So insightful & convicting! Thank you!

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  91. Wow, such answered prayer this blog is for me. This is the stage of forgiveness I’m experiencing. I have never read someone else’s blog before. I kept blinking and thinking this was written just for my situation. Thank you for sharing.

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  92. Thank you for pointing out that an apology and true repentance are very different things.

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  93. I loved this! So rarely heard these days- teaching on repentence, on the fact that true growth hurts and costs…that is why the path is narrow, not many want to undergo transformation. Thank you Debbie for your honesty and for addressing the elephant in the room

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  94. What a beautiful portrayal of repentance as God’s grace to us! Him wounding us to heal us! God-inflicted wounds that bring health and healing! The blessing of an eternal perspective!

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  95. God’s grace, in its many facets, has been brought to my attention over the last few weeks.
    Thank you for highlighting it again.
    I need to be more conscious of God’s redeeming grace in my mistakes and daily life

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  96. Very true in my life and God knows our weakness; that’s why we read in Roman Paul reminded us, where sin increase God’s Grace abounds . But we need to try everyday to ran from it as Joseph did . Only by the help of the Holly spirit.

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  97. Thank you for this Debbie. I too so often feel paralyzed by my sin of pride. I was encouraged by this, and also by Robert Murray McCheyne’s quote that says: “Learn much of the Lord Jesus. For every look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ.” And in looking often to Him, He is fully capable of working the change that we are incapable of working. So thankful for His conviction and the growth He intends to accomplish through it!

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  98. BSF is not just Bible study alone, it’s how to live our lives in God. It’s a day-to-day walk with God.

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  99. I shared this in our LM. I shared that as I immersed myself into the Word of God the more I see myself in God’s perspective. It’s like exposing who truly I am, in the beam of microscope not to be rejected but reform.The process is like removing the layers of onion until He reach the core and exposed my inside out.

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  100. So thankful that God loves us with an everlasting love and that He never gives up on us!

    Great to hear how God continues to work with each of us.

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  101. So awesome! Thank you Debbie!

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  102. What a wonderful encouragement, Debbie. Thank you for writing this. I had never thought before that God exposes our sin in His time and not all at once. I can certainly see this in my life, and I think this makes me love God even more. It’s a blessing to see how He cares for me and grows me in such a personal and customized way.

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    • God deal with us with gentle grace.

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  103. I loved this! The truth is what I need to read and hear. Thank you!

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  104. BSF has literally changed my life and the way I study the Bible.

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  105. I struggle with this. It’s difficult for me to get beyond the easy words of “I’m sorry “ to the actual expression of what I am sorry for and asking for forgiveness for each action.

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    • Thank you so much for putting words in our unspoken battles. Thank You Jesus for relentlessly pursuing our wayward heart.

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  106. Debbie,
    Very well written. It was like the Holy Spirit was speaking to me directly about what He has been showing me… Love it when He does that! 😉

    Keep up the good work for the Kingdom. -John 15:4

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  107. Thanks for sharing Debbie. Bless You!

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  108. We should all repent.
    And the promise of God is when we turn away from our sin and the world, we will be saved.
    Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

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  109. “God wounds us to heal us. When His conviction cuts deep, we can lean into the growth He intends through the pain. We confidently lay our sin before the One who bears the scars that purchased our freedom. ”

    Thank you for the reminder.

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  110. The definition of repentance being a Holy Spirit driven response to sin that restores and transforms is spot on. Convicting message but so helpful and true.

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  111. Our men’s group marveled that God was so patient with His people in Joel’s time, and now in ours. One of the member’s encouraged us with the reminder that Peter gives us in his letter,

    ” The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, but is longsuffering towards us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

    Repentance. There is is again. We never outgrow our need of it. As Bill, our group leader said, Joel gives us hope in judgment. It’s a call to know His Fatherly embrace. As children who have partaken of the Holy Spirit, we have great hope, for He has us in His everlasting arms

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  112. Yes indeed it is a great reminder of the eagerness of the Lord to be quick to relent NOT punish. Thanks for the heartfelt words as we continue this daily journey we call life. You are not alone in studying his word feels like home.

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  113. Thank you for these special emails. I enjoy hearing about other people’s struggles and how God continues to show us His steadfast love.

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  114. What a lovely view of the wounds of sin: “God wounds us to heal us.”

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  115. Well said! “Repentance is a Holy Spirit-driven response to sin that restores and transforms a whole person”

    From my encounters with God, I learnt that Repentance is a blessing. It is “mourn over sin”. It is heartbroken but miraculously wonderful. Because it generates a new heart. It heals deep trauma. It frees burden. It is the only way to be closer to God. It can be planned by God for years for that miraculous moment to happen.

    When we burst into tears over our sin. We are blessed. God is pleased.

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  116. Beautifully presented elevating repentance from painful duty to a springboard to spiritual growth, to an invitation to run into Jesus’ outstretched arms.

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  117. Thank you for your Spirit given insights and for answering His call

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  118. This article was very helpful to me. Thank you!

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  119. Debbie,
    A thought provoking message which has awaken my heart so that I may grow deeper in God’s Grace!!!!

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  120. A thought provoking message which has awaken my heart so that I may grow deeper in God’s Grace!!!!

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  121. Thanks for thr Enlightenment of Repentance. We need not feel so guilty of our sins and run from GOD, but run into HIS open, waiting arms.

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  122. The very sins you spoke of are what I struggle with.
    But because I believe Christ died for my sins, yesterday,today, and tomorrow I don’t quite understand. Sometimes when I think a bad thought I will repent but I don’t understand the other sins. I do believe I’m a sinner.

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  123. Thank you Debbie! That made it clear what I need to do right now! Sin is always crouching at my door!!!

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  124. 1. Isaiah is one of my favourite Biblical books. A big part of the repentance asked by God , in this plus in the NT, ( eg Matt 3 about the Axe being put to the root, unless, …), and in the Gospels, where Jesus says that “Unless you carry your cross for today, you cannot be my follower”) in effect, is to me , that God requires a personal facing an internal truth of one’s own weakness or “sin” that has caused the “golmaal” a Hindi term of a problem/sin, that one blames outside (nonself) forces for. It’s hard to do. And Isaiah tells us God just asks us to wait on Him, to overcome and fly (40:29-31). THEN His Spirit reveals all the above. It is taking responsibility, as Christ did, for all us humans, on the Cross. without a word of complaint ( Is 53). Tough to do, very rewarding. So well put by Isaiah.

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  125. “God wounds us to heal us. When His conviction cuts deep, we can lean into the growth He intends through the pain.”

    Thank you for that insight.

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  126. Debbie, thank you for being so open! Several of your comments reminded me so much of myself. This is indeed an ongoing struggle. So appreciated your blog that made me even more thankful for the Holy Spirit’s work in me!

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  127. Thank you Debbie! Uncovering the root of our sins is powerful work that only The Holy Spirit of our Lord can provide. He certainly has and continues to work in my heart (daily). I am eternally grateful for His relentless pursuit of my heart. He is my heart. This study is an unveiling of the love, patience, justice, righteousness of El Shaddai. The same from the beginning of creation, today and forever….never changing. His desire for our hearts to turn to Him. A beautiful gift available for all.

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    • Thank you Debbie, that is such an insightful sharing. May the Lord continue to use you mightily for His kingdom’s work. May His Word & the Holy Spirit continue to reveal, expose & convict us of our sin. To God be the glory!

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  128. I absolutely love the last sentence, “Repentance is an act of worship.”
    Thank you for this encouraging and openly humble self reflection written to us.
    Praise God for His Faithfulness and for His faithful servants.

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  129. This is beautiful. I to have pride that I need to deal with. I have been examining my self over the past two years, after my husband suddenly passed. I am trying to better my self with the help of the Holy Spirit. I try to stay in the World d and talk to God all day long. I want to be better. I repent every chance I get. I want my relationship with the Lord to be stronger, to know him better and better. I am not perfect. I have lost a lot of friends. I feel like I am alone but I know God is with me. It’s hard when you lose your best friend if 42 years and realize you don’t have anyone in your corner. I have two sons and grandchildren but they have their own life to live. I’m hey don’t understand how lonely I get but I keep God with me all the times and try not to complain. Life isn’t what I thought it would be but I know God left me here for a purpose. So I get up every morning and try to be a better person than I was yesterday. And if I make a mistake then I repent and ask for forgiveness. Yes I am involved in a local church, attend bible study and different group class and exercise. But I still don’t fit in but I am trying

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  130. Debbie, thank you for a new perspective on repentance in that it is a loving gift from God. I took to heart your statements “Repentance is a Holy Spirit-driven response to sin that restores and transforms a whole person – our minds, our emotions, and our wills.” “As we regularly respond to the Holy Spirit’s conviction and turn from our specific sin, we experience fresh doses of God’s redeeming grace.” “Like a surgeon wielding a scalpel… repentance involves a God-inflicted wound designed to bring spiritual health and healing. He exposes and extracts our pride, our greed, our selfishness, and our doubt. Then, He lovingly binds our wounds and heals our hearts.” What a different view than the way I perceived repentance! Again, thank you for changing my thinking in approaching God in repentance. I shall no longer dread His response but be grateful to Him since whatever He does will be for my benefit out of His gracious lovingkindness.

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  131. I liked everything from The Comfort of a Guiding Hand. The fact that God pursues me everyday even though I am a sinful follower of HIS. I tend to give up on people too soon… And the fact that God doesn’t reveal all of my sins at once definitely shows HIS mercy! God reveals Himself to me more everyday through studying my BSF & diving into His Word. A quote from Philip Yancey’s book, What’s So Amazing About Grace? says, “Guilt was not my problem as I felt it. What I felt most was a glob of unworthiness that God accepted me, owned me, held me, affirmed me, and would never let go of me even if he was not too much impressed with what he had on his hands.”

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  132. Great share here !

    Blessings

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  133. Very encouraging insights on sin. Sin destroys my relationship with
    God and separates me from him. My resolve for 2023 ask for God’s grace to confess my sins, do my penance, avoid near occasions of sin and finally amend my life. Speak out to others family, friends and relatives how devastating sin is and encourage them to examine their own lives. God is good and merciful all the time.
    Will forward this messages to others to read for themselves and see what sin does to humanity,

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  134. Well done, Debbie…well done o good and faithful servant of our GOD most high! Thank you for this encouraging, spirit-driven message that leads me to recognize how much I need Jesus – each and every day! In dealing with sin, I have learned the value of taking to my knees and praying a three word prayer: Jesus, help me!
    May the Light of the world continue to shine through you for those who seek Him.

    Your eternal friend in our Lord Jesus Christ,

    george

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  135. Powerful!!
    Wonderfully said!!
    Thank you for your contributions for His kingdom.

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  136. Thank you Debbie! I love the statement God wounds us to heal us. Not that I like the wounded part but the healing is what we all long for. Please keep me in your prayers. I have 5 children that are grown and as a praying Mom 3 have come back and are drawing closer but the two younger ones still are going the wrong way. Please pray that they repent and get healed and their spouses also. Hugs! Heidi

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  137. Debbie, today is our Fellowship in my discussion group and we have been asked to offer something true about ourselves that helps others know our background story. I read the first paragraph of your Blog and said, “That’s me!” always striving for perfection since I was a child, actually leaving my faith at one time because I could never measure up! And then BSF…it was through the study of Godʻs Word that I actually realized God was real, He was Holy, He was my Savior, offering Himself that I may live. The Bible saved me, because it led me to know Jesus. Thank you Debbie for your role today in BSF and for allowing me to see myself through your writing this morning. May I be ever grateful for the doctrine of repentance.

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  138. Thank you! So powerful and true. This resonates deeply with my spirit. Thank you!

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  139. I appreciated her study. As I read it, I was lying in the doctor’s office waiting for him to come back in and tell me if he had gotten all the cancer or if he would have to cut out more. Debbie talked about God cutting out the sins in our lives, or if He needed to get more. I really understood what she said.

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    • Thank you for pointing me to seek God for the root of my son, not just the fruit.

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  140. So true

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