Release from Self-condemnation

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

Saturday, December 31, 2016


I'm grateful to remember that the Lord's blessings don't depend on anything I can do, but upon what He has done. And I'm relieved that because of His grace, He does not withhold blessings from me even if I fail in some good resolution or plan I've placed before myself.  But tomorrow morning, I'm going to turn off my wireless access and open my heart to the Lord ahead of the responsibilities of my day, not because I love Him (and I do) but because He has loved me; blessed be His Name.


Week 1  Abide and Rest
Day 1

Rest. Rest. Rest in God’s love. The only work you are required now to do is give your most intense attention to His still, small voice within.
 –Madam Guyon[i]

First—ahead of it all—rest in the Lord. Only as you find your rest in Him will you have energy and strength for the tasks in your path. Shut out the world’s influences and listen to Him. Listening is an act of your will, and is more active than doing nothing. And yet, as you rest in His Presence, physical rest will come as well.


et’s begin our 100-day journey with seven days of rest.  Mark 6:31 says, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while...” Synonyms for the word "desolate" are deserted, isolated, and bleak; and yet we sense God's waiting presence in the silence; He waits for us to come unto Him. 

Make yourself a place apart. Most of us can't randomly decide to rest for seven days, but understand that spiritual rest does not require physical rest; if you are traveling this path with me please recognize that getting up an hour early to spend time with the Lord prior to a busy day is a viable way of finding rest in Him. However, if you are able, clear as many responsibilities as possible for this seven-day period so that physical and spiritual rest may coincide. 

In prayer, inquire of the Lord. What duties and responsibilities would He have you set aside for this one week of time? Your list will differ from mine. Don’t dismiss that first thought that comes when you begin to pray; allow the Lord to grant you respite in ways you may think are not possible. These are not rules to follow:

You are not under the law, with its inexorable Do,
but under grace, with its blessed
 Believe what Christ will do for you.
–Andrew Murray[ii]

Here are possible elements of these seven days of rest:

1) Increase your intake of God's Word (see appendix 1 for suggested weekly memory verses, and appendix 2 for a year through the Bible reading plan).  
2)  Seek Him first--before email, work projects, to-do lists, etc.; give your daily time with the Lord priority above all else.
3) Limit screen time. Consider a one-week fast from all unnecessary online activity, TV, movies, etc. Discipline yourself to check social media sites only one time a day, and for a limited amount of time. 
4) Purpose to spend a regular early morning time with the Lord in your own "desolate" place where "...the only work you are required now to do is to give your most intense attention to His still, small voice within.”
5) Rest this week from intense physical exercise. If this is nearly impossible for you, faith in health habits may have insidiously moved ahead of faith in the Lord's power to protect and preserve; and you will need to repent. If you usually run/bike/swim each day, this week cut your exercise to a daily fifteen minute stroll during which you observe and are nurtured by the beauty of God's creation. For many people this abstinence from working out amounts to a fast. Don't let anything—not even your morning sit-ups—come before prayer, praise, Scripture, and meditation on how you are to apply God's direction to your life. This is one week of discipline that will provide physical and spiritual rest.

During this seven days we will begin to exercise the discipline of putting the Lord first, before all else in our lives. We will rest physically as much as possible, and spiritually by committing the first segment of each day to His presence. 

Pray:  Dear Lord, teach me the discipline of rest. Help me to run straight to Your arms when I am upset. Melt my resistance to Your rule in my life as I abide in Your great love. Amen. 


…for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
1 Timothy 4:8

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:33

[i] Madam Jeanne Guyon’s public domain works can be accessed online at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library:
[ii] Andrew Murray, Abide in Christ, public domain

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