Release from Self-condemnation

Devotions for those who are weary of feeling not good enough, regardless of the source of those feelings.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018


At this writing, my daughter and I are on our third journey through 100 Days to Freedom.  We both feel that God has graciously provided us Scripture-based truths custom tailored for our respective journeys, with His Word as the firm foundation.  To read and reread is appropriate as we seek to take hold of that for which Christ has taken hold of us (see Philippians 3:12).

I can't worry about whether it seems odd that I am the one who recorded the devotions in this book and yet I don't seem to have fully implemented the insights therein. I view my freedom journey as something like that Eustace experienced in Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis;  Eustace removed successive layers of dragon skin on his own but finally released himself to Aslan's claws.  Each journey through 100 Days has removed successive layers of my "dragon skin," and my daughter says the same.  We are learning more of Christ--struggling, failing, succeeding, and struggling again--but each time we are moving further into His perfect will for our lives.

I often have an illuminating or encouraging insight in response to our day's reading, and will begin recording those here as an outward sign of my own journey forward into becoming more like my Savior.  "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:12-14).


Thoughts from day 64:  I deny myself for the sake of Christ’s life in me, I discipline the flesh to strengthen the spirit.  This casts my vote on the side of what is true, more real than the temporal, more true than my own physical perceptions; scales fall from my eyes and I can see.  To indulge the flesh is to indulge a chosen blindness to truth, it sedates me so that I don’t respond appropriately to the truth of God’s presence with me. 

Friday, January 26, 2018

Have Thine Own Way

As I move away from what some call food addiction but what is, in my own life, just a sinful, unrelenting desire to have things my own way, I am aware of how tiring it is to carry the sin of refusal to submit to God in everything. 

In reference to those who carried their idols with them from camp to camp, Isaiah 46:1b tells us that the things we carry with us become burdensome to us.  Matthew Henry's concise commentary on this verse says "What we were sick for, God can make us sick of."*

This is hopeful.  I don't have to be bound by my own desires.  I can pray, "Have thine own way, Lord..." 

And I do. 

*Matthew Henry references Isaiah 46:1 in his commentary on Judges 4:17-24, where this quote can be found.  

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Balance Between Discipline and Rest

Yesterday afternoon I was tired.  I found myself sitting in a comfortable chair, staring into space, feeling guilty about the two upstairs bedrooms that are in need of a thorough cleaning.  I prayed aloud, "Lord, what would you like me to do right now?"

The reply I received was so much the opposite of my self-inflicted ought-to's that I dismissed it.  I had the distinct impression that the Lord would like me to prop my feet up, lean back, wrap up in an afghan, and watch a Hallmark movie.

A Hallmark movie??

"Reverse psychology," I muttered as I heaved myself to my feet and plodded upstairs, where I puttered from room to room for the next two hours.  I finally cleaned the bathroom, and with a sense of having gotten something positive done at last, I went to bed.

This morning I was praying and once again thought about how the Lord had applied reverse psychology to get me up and moving, but I was mistaken. When I inquired of Him this was the reply I received:
Whenever you are tempted to receive your self-value from how much you have accomplished, you will most likely be invited to partake of My rest.  There are no pleasures or temptations in your path that I’ve not allowed: the pleasures as a release and a respite, the temptations as an opportunity to be strengthened.  You are very inclined to confuse the two.  This is because it is easier to say no to an allowed pleasure than it is to refuse a forbidden fruit.
How often I wear myself out because I want the sense of self-worth "getting something done" brings.  I want to list all of the things I've accomplished as proof that I have done a good job with my day.  I exhaust myself, and then have a terrible, often failing struggle to obey the Lord when he does call me to some action or act of self-denial.

Lord, help me to obey when You call me to rest, and obey when You call me to action, and grant me the wisdom to discern the difference between these two calls.  I lay down my need to prove my own self-worth and to find my worth in Christ alone.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

God Makes Us a Way Through

In the wake of the incomprehensible sorrows of those who have suffered grief of loss due to wildfires, hurricanes, and shootings in this past year, we are reminded that in every tragedy that God will make us a way through. If we know this, we are enabled to look for His way and walk in it even when we are overwhelmed by grief.

There has been a lot of mockery of late about the offering of prayer for those who are hurting. It seems that many people do not believe prayer does anything at all; they think it is merely a platitude. They are mistaken. Intercessory prayer creates channels through which Holy Spirit-fueled power comforts and helps those in need.  Today's post comes with loving empathy and prayer for our brothers and sisters in Christ in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

You have kept count of my tossings;
 put my tears in your bottle…
Psalm 56:8

For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
Revelation 7:17 KJV

From day 72

Friday, September 22, 2017

Make Love Your Aim

 Don’t settle

Don't say, "Well, 

I can't do anything about this situation, 

I've just got it to live with it." 

Love others with God’s love. 

Stand with drawn sword 

to protect the tender hearts of the ones you love, 

the inward being that has not been tainted by avarice, 

stubbornness, and hard-heartedness. 

Respond to the good within those around you 

as if it were the whole person, 

and pray diligently for cleansing 

of that which is not of the Lord.

 Help your loved ones to redirect the survival strategy 

of attempting to please you 

toward the eternal strategy of pleasing God.

--from day 66