Release from Self-condemnation

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

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

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Repair for What Has Been Broken

Peace with God and our fellow human beings 

is about finding our respite in Him 

rather than taking it for ourselves. 

It is about finding our acceptance in Him

 rather than trying to win it from others. 

And it is about receiving love from God first 

so that we have love to give to others, 

and so are not needy before them.  

When we sin in our responses 

to precious people who know us best 

and thus have ammunition to hurt us most, 

we can rest in the peace of the knowledge 

that we are perfectly loved by the Lord 

whose power can repair what we have broken 

and what has been broken in us. 


…for not by their own sword did they win the land,
nor did their own arm save them,
but your right hand and your arm,
and the light of your face,
 for you delighted in them.
Psalm 44:3
--from day 65