Saturday, May 28, 2022

The Self-focus of Self-condemnation


Self-condemnation is the unrepentant sinner's equivalent of repentance. We wallow in self-condemnation over a sin we have no real intention of releasing to the Lord. 

From 100 days, day 62:  "Dying to sin can be an agonizingly slow process, and may happen in increments too small for us to discern...every small act of obedience removes another obstacle to the transformation we long to experience. Meanwhile, God's mercy and grace cover us as we undergo the metamorphosis set in motion when we accepted His payment for our sin."  

Dear Lord, bring us to genuine repentance for the sins we have been unwilling to release. Thank You for Your mercy and grace, and most of all, for Your love.  Amen.  


Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

Hebrews 7:25 NIV

Thursday, May 26, 2022

The Source of Happiness

 "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us" (Romans 5:1-5 NIV).  

Our happiness lies in peace with God, purchased for us by Jesus Christ. 

When troubling or fear-inducing circumstances first appear, we may suffer through a season of struggle. It is as though we have trouble surfacing from waters of fear that close over our heads.  As we kick and flail and cry out to Jesus--often saying things to our Lord that we later wish we had not (usually along the lines of "How could You have allowed this?")--He helps us to the surface. We break free of the suffocating first-effects of shock, and find that fresh, clean air of hope is still ours to breath because God is with us. Like Peter, who sank beneath the stormy waters until Jesus grasped his outstretched hand, our Lord answers our frantic cries for help.  

When we are uncomfortable with grief or fear, is important to remember that the Lord has hold of us and will pull us to the surface. The miserable state of panic is temporary, and God will bring us through in ways we could not imagine possible. 

I pray to remember that grief, fear, and pain are temporary states, and not to dishonor the Lord by throwing an emotional tantrum toward Him the next time something happens that causes me to suffer in ways I very much do not want to suffer. I think we increase our own discomfort and perhaps prolong our own suffering when we waste time in panic. But whether we cry out in anguish of fear and pain or suffer in a more noble-appearing fashion, the Lord does not let go of us.  He will bring us through.  

Blessed be His Name.  

Our Strength and Our Salvation


The Lord is my light and my salvation—

    whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life—

    of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

The Opposite of Compliance

 Oh my goodness I do this, Lord forgive I do this: "...snatching pleasures He has not provided, as though to administer our own balm to wounds of disappointment." 

Here is the prayer that ends Day 58 in 100 Days, and I pray it once again now: 

Father God, I entrust my future into Your hands. Forgive me for seeking comfort in sources not of You, and show me how to find all my needs met in You. Show me how to remain steadfast in honoring You in my behavior even when I am lonely, hungry, or tired; teach me not to let my physical state dim the expression of Your Holy Spirit through me.  Amen.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Prayer, Praise, and Scripture

 "If we are hesitating at the entrance to the freedom path, a lack of commitment to the Lord may be to blame. The cure is more time spent at Jesus' feet, because our commitment to Him is renewed through knowledge of him.  We find Him through prayer, we meet Him in praise, we learn of Him through Scripture, and our grateful hearts respond in humbled adoration" (100 Days to Freedom, day 56).  

Monday, May 23, 2022

Pray, Praise, Absorb Scripture


"Time and again we forget that our relationship with our Savior is based on love: His great love for us, and the passion of humbled devotion that fires in our own hearts in response. We are made of frail flesh, we live in the world, and we forget that our relationship with God is spiritual and must be nurtured; we neglect the realignment with truth that occurs when we pray, praise; and absorb Scripture.  It is when we live only by what our five senses can perceive that we lose focus on Christ; we may keep lip service to love for a Savior but we don't live as though we believe it. We begin to treat our relationship with God more as a business partnership than a love relationship" (One Hundred Days to Freedom, day 56).  

Sunday, May 22, 2022

When Discouragement Threatens


When we are discouraged, when life circumstances have not unfolded as we thought we heard the Lord promise they would, when depression threatens and hopelessness sends its creeping tendrils around our hearts, God does not ask us to try harder or demand that we do better.  He reminds us of His love, and then, as Jesus inquired of the Apostle Peter, our God inquires: "Lovest thou me?"  (John 21:15). 

Our hope lies not in the fact of our love for God, but in His love for us. If, when we focus on the sure fact of His love, there is a responding glimmer of reciprocal love in our own hearts, then we have what we need to move forward in faith.  

Yes, Lord, I love You.  


Thursday, May 12, 2022

When Times Are Sad


I am praying this evening for a family who is in mourning, trusting the Lord for them, and glad with them that their loved one is safely at home in Heaven. We don't understand sad times now, but we trust that we will, and meantime we know we are, as our pastor said recently, in God's hands. Since we serve a God who is perfect in love, this is a safe place to rest.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022