Freedom From False Guilt

This can be one of the hardest things to do, but when God forgives us, we must forgive ourselves. Satan will keep throwing your past sins up in your face to bog you down with a false sense of guilt. He wants to steal our joy in Christ. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins, but once we ask forgiveness, we’re forgiven, so we don’t have to carry those burdens anymore. Accept God’s grace, and ask Him to remove any false sense of guilt you’re harboring over forgiven sins.

18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.

22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

John 3:18-24

MARCH 24, 2021

Is there something from your past that continues to stir up feelings of guilt? Unless you rest in God’s complete forgiveness, you won’t experience the fullness of His divine grace.

If you feel ashamed but don’t know why, the problem could be a false sense of guilt. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin so we can repent and be free. But guilt that persists with no specific cause comes from the devil. Ask the Lord to cleanse of you of any false guilt today.

Another source is legalistic teaching. Many people have been taught a distorted version of the gospel and think, I’ll never measure up. For example, the religious leaders of Jesus’ time followed a code of man-made rules, and they communicated the idea that “unless you do this, God won’t accept you.” Righteous deed by righteous deed, they tried to earn the Lord’s acceptance—and sometimes so do we. But this legalistic view always becomes an enslaving vicious cycle.

Remember, Jesus came to liberate us. The Bible says that when you are set free by Christ, your freedom is complete (John 8:36). It’s time to let His grace cleanse you from any shame. Ask the Lord to help you walk in this truth—and enjoy unhindered fellowship with your Savior.

Daily Devotions

How to Conquer Your Fears

Sometimes feelings of fear wash over us. Sometimes it’s confusing and doesn’t make sense. We know that God tells us not to have a spirit a fear, that we can trust in Him. But still it grips us anyway. I especially struggle with this when I have panic attacks. As Dr. Charles Stanley says in his devotional below, even seasoned Christians like him who have been walking alongside God all their lives are subject to fear from time to time. When we’re overwhelmed with fear for whatever reason, we need only turn to God. Seek Him more, and He will help you. I know when I have panic attacks, the ONLY thing that eventually calms me down is focusing on God. I read his Word, listen to Holy Spirit-annointed music and pray. He always reaffirms His promises to me, and I eventually calm down and end up feeling even closer to Him than before.

27 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

Psalm 27:1-3 KJV

MARCH 19, 2021

I’ve walked with the Lord for more than seven decades now. I have read the Bible from cover to cover, preached thousands of sermons, and written pages and pages of study material. But let me tell you: In spite of all that, sometimes I still get scared.

When fear begins to sink in, I pray harder, study longer, and read my Bible more closely. I decided long ago that I would not let apprehension stop me from doing what God calls me to do. However, before I can take a stand against fear, I have to admit it is there. That’s the key to conquering feelings of anxiety.

I imagine you, on occasion, may feel frightened too­—whether of failure, ridicule, loneliness, or something else entirely. There is no shame in admitting you’re afraid. In the Psalms, in fact, King David makes this confession several times! (See Psalm 34:4; Psalm 55:4-5.) His confessions are often wrapped in prayer, acknowledging the Lord’s power over his fears and his enemies. And these are examples we can follow.

That same power is available to you today. God wants to cast out the fear and doubt in your life. Are you willing to go before Him today and say, “Lord, I’m afraid of … ”?

Daily Devotions

Put on the Lord Jesus

Sanctification is a lifelong process throughout which the Holy Spirit molds us more into the image of Christ. In order for the Holy Spirit to do this, we must keep Jesus Christ and what He did for us at the Cross of Calvary as the object of our faith. Only then can the Holy Spirit work within our lives and hearts to sanctify us.

11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Romans 13:11-14 KJV

Put on the Lord Jesus MARCH 11, 2021 THURSDAY

Modern culture encourages doing whatever comes naturally, but that approach leads only to self-centered, sinful living. In contrast, we as believers are told to make no provision for our natural or fleshly desires. This means we don’t place ourselves in the path of temptation or consider going back to the old sinful longings, attitudes, and habits that were ours before we knew the Lord.

When I was a young Christian, I heard talk about sanctification and “doing away with sin.” I mistakenly thought that when I was older, I’d have some kind of spiritual experience that would rid my life of wrong desires and thoughts. But that’s not how sanctification works. Instead, it’s a lifelong process in which God’s Spirit progressively transforms us into Christ’s image.

Even after three years in Jesus’ company, the disciples couldn’t live the Christian life on their own. They had to wait for the indwelling Holy Spirit, who gave them strength, guidance, and wisdom. That has not changed—it remains true that apart from Christ’s Spirit, we cannot overcome fleshly desires and live in obedience to God’s will.  But when we rely on Him instead of ourselves, He produces godly desires within us, empowers obedience, and transforms our character into Christ’s likeness.

Daily Devotions

Always in His Presence

God is always with us—even when we don’t feel His presence. That is comforting to Christians who long for God to watch over them. We can take great comfort in knowing that God works everything—even the bad things that happen in our lives—for the good of those who love Him.

139 O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.

Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.

Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.

Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.

12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

Psalm 139:1-12 KJV

MARCH 08, 2021MONDAY

In today’s reading, David asked, “Where can I go from Your Spirit?” (Psalm 139:7). The more he pondered the possibilities, the more he realized the answer is “nowhere.” God is present everywhere and at all times. This reality causes people to react in one of two ways—some find it a great comfort while others are filled with dread.

People who don’t know the Lord may think that He’s always judging their every move. But for those of us who belong to God through faith in His Son, His continual presence is a great comfort. We never have to walk through trials and heartaches alone, and we have complete confidence that He’s always providing, protecting, and guiding us through life.

This truth should change how we live. Knowing that God is ever-present motivates us to think, speak, and behave in ways that glorify Him. It’s a reminder to stand firm against temptations and pursue holiness.

There’s never a single moment in which the Lord is not looking out for your best interests. Nothing slips past Him into your life by accident, nor does the enemy have even a nanosecond’s opportunity to destroy you. This is the security we receive as believers, so let’s rejoice in knowing God is always with us.

Daily Devotions

The Words of Our Faith

Sanctification is a life-long process. Once we’re saved, if we keep our trust exclusively in Jesus Christ and what He did at the Cross, then we give the Holy Spirit latitude to work within our lives and transform us into the likeness of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.

For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

Hebrews 2:1-4 KJV

MARCH 06, 2021 SATURDAY

Some churches today avoid using biblical language to describe what it means to be saved, because the terms can be confusing. However, since God chose these words to convey the greatness of our salvation, we should not overlook them. In order to understand grace, it is essential that we grasp the following concepts:

• Redemption refers to Christ’s payment for sin—in other words, His death purchased us for God.

• Regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, in which He gives us divine life and makes us into new creatures.

• Justification is God’s declaration that through our faith in Christ, we are righteous and acquitted of guilt for sin.

• Forgiveness is the removal of our guilt; to accomplish this, Jesus went to the cross in our place and bore our sins (1 Peter 2:24).

• Reconciliation is the restoration of a right relationship with God. No longer His enemies, we’re now His beloved children. 

• Sanctification means to be set apart for God. It’s the process by which we grow in holiness and obedience. 

The more you understand the depths of your salvation, the greater your awe, gratitude, and love for Jesus will be. So meditate on these truths and the fullness of your salvation, and let them fill your mind and heart today.

Daily Devotions

The Struggle With Jealousy

I was recently debating with someone about what constitutes sin. The person in question argued that as long as we kept the Ten Commandments, we were righteous and holy. He contended that if he hadn’t broken one of the Ten Commandments in a given day, then he was righteous, holy and sinless before God.

However, if that is the case, then there would have been no need for Jesus Christ to come and die for us on the Cross. If we could do it all on our own, why would we need His sacrifice? Of course, this person also contended that the breaking of the Ten Commandments were the only sins, but that is simply not true.

The Bible makes it very clear that there are many sins outside the Ten Commandments. Unrighteous anger is a sin. Pride is a sin. Jealousy is a sin.

Sins are not simply actions that we commit. They begin in the thoughts and heart of man. Negative, unholy thoughts and emotions are what lead to sinful actions.

None of us are sinless. We can’t do it on our own. That’s why we must accept Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and keep our faith anchored in Him and what He did for us at the Cross if we wish to have victory over sin.

Does this mean we will never sin again? No, but it does mean if we allow the Holy Spirit to work within our lives, He will help us to not sin, and when we do stumble, we have an advocate with the Father.

Granted, this isn’t a license a sin just thinking we can get forgiveness for it later. We should try our best (with the help of the Holy Spirit, for we can’t do it on our own.).

That’s why we need to ask God to search our hearts and reveal any bitterness and sinful emotions or thoughts we have. Then, we must ask Him to remove them and purify us.

1 Samuel 18:5-16

And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.

And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick.

And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.

And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom?

And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.

10 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand.

11 And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice.

12 And Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, and was departed from Saul.

13 Therefore Saul removed him from him, and made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people.

14 And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the Lord was with him.

15 Wherefore when Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he was afraid of him.

16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them.

MARCH 03, 2021 WEDNESDAY

Jealousy is an emotion of displeasure over someone else’s good fortune. Constantly comparing ourselves to others leads to discontent, resentment, and bitterness. If these negative emotions remain unchecked, they can poison our relationships. What’s more, they can eventually flare into suspicion, anger, and hostility.

This is what happened to King Saul. His jealousy caused him to distrust David, who had served him faithfully. Saul’s suspicious attitude led to hostility and irrational behavior—so much so that he hurled a spear at David while the young man was playing music (1 Samuel 18:10-12). Instead of being grateful for David’s loyalty and steadfast service, the king repaid him with animosity and death threats. As a result, David was eventually forced to flee and hide in the wilderness (1 Samuel 23:15-26).

Jealousy is not something to be excused or rationalized. Ask the Lord to examine your heart and show you if any of these symptoms of jealousy are present in your life.  If they are, confess them as sin and ask Him to uproot them from your heart. Then focus on God’s faithfulness instead of comparing yourself with others.

Daily Devotions

God’s Shaping Tools

It’s important to spend time with God every day. Just like any other relationship, your relationship won’t grow without communication. Reading the Bible for yourself, praying and earnestly seeking God will keep Him forefront in your mind. Sometimes just meditating on God and His Word more makes all our problems seem less daunting. When we keep our eyes on Jesus and what He did for us at the Cross, we’ll be more heavenly minded, and the obstacles in this life won’t seem quite as monumental.

12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Romans 12:1–5 KJV

MARCH 01, 2021 MONDAY

God’s kindness is demonstrated by the fact that He doesn’t leave us in the condition we were in before salvation. Throughout our life, the Lord uses certain tools to shape us into the image of His Son.

God’s Word. We grow in Christ when we spend time reading the Bible, because Scripture is like food that nourishes our soul (Matt. 4:4). Yet sadly, some Christians rely only on the Sunday dinner of the Word served up by a pastor. 

Prayer. We learn to depend on the Lord by coming to Him with our needs and concerns as well as our praise and gratitude. As we regularly draw near, our intimacy and love for Him grows. Instead of seeing prayer as a duty, we’ll realize our time with the Lord has become a delight. 

The Church. The body of believers is another important factor in our transformation because that’s where we learn to love one another.  It’s also where we find encouragement, receive biblical instruction, and experience accountability.

Our culture has no shortage of worldly voices and pressures that fill minds and influence behavior. But when we intentionally schedule time for God, His Word, and His people, He does His transforming work in our life.

Daily Devotions

A Passion to Obey

Do you have a passion to obey God? If we truly love God, we should try our best to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. However, part of spiritual maturity comes when we start wanting to follow Him in a loving response to His love and grace rather than simply because we know we should or because of fear of the repercussions of not doing so. At the beginning of our salvation, we might be more prompted to obey God for fear of consequences, but as we learn more about God, we’ll begin to want to obey Him out of love for Him and because we’ll begin to see that He truly knows best and that He will never fail us. The most important thing is to put all our trust and faith in Him so that we’ll be willing to follow wherever He may lead.

16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:16-23

FEBRUARY 22, 2021 MONDAY

A passion to obey God doesn’t come naturally. Salvation may spark love and a desire to please Him, but a passionate fire is built slowly from the timbers of spiritual knowledge, faith, and devotion.

Obedience usually begins with a fear of the consequences of disobeying. That is, newer believers can at least enjoy the safety of avoiding repercussions until they develop better reasons to follow God. Thankfully, as we mature and build a scriptural foundation, fear is replaced by both recognition of God’s sovereignty and submission to His wisdom.

Over time, following the Lord becomes less about consequences for disobeying and more about blessings for obeying. Once we taste His goodness, we learn that obedience and God’s best are natural partners—good derives from following divine commands, while suffering results when we demand our own way. This irrevocable principle plays out in the Bible as well as in day-to-day life, and the more we observe it, the more we realize the Lord’s will is the wisest choice.

All the promised blessings in the world cannot make a believer follow God into some frightening places. But that’s where love for our Father comes in, as it compels us toward obedience no matter what is at stake.

Daily Devotions

Sunday Reflection: Trust in the Lord

Today’s devotion really hit home for me. It’s true (at least for me anyway) that times of trouble often lead to the most spiritual growth. When my grandma died and then more recently when I’ve been dealing with unknown health issues is when I drew closer to God. It’s sad that sometimes that’s what it takes to draw us closer, but when we’re perfectly happy and content, it can be easy to forget God or not talk to him as much. In our troubles, we find ourselves reaching out to Him more for comfort, and then when His promises are proved faithful by Him pulling us through our trials, we learn to trust Him more.

FEBRUARY 21, 2021 SUNDAY

In looking back at your Christian journey so far, when did you experience the most spiritual growth? For many of us, it was during seasons of great discomfort. Jesus tells us we will encounter difficulties in the world (John 16:33), but that doesn’t mean we should just go about our life with resignation, waiting for something awful to happen.

Instead, we should try to think of waiting as an act of endurance—something that makes us more like Christ. And yet endurance looks different for each of us. Some people may become more active in serving their community, while others need to shift their focus inward—increasing in prayer, seeking wise counsel, and more consciously creating practices of giving thanks. Whatever it is, let us be encouraged to “run … the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus” (Heb. 12:1-2).

THINK ABOUT IT

• Think about your seasons of greatest spiritual growth— or even the experience of coming to faith in Jesus. Was there a specific change or important occurrence in your life? Reflecting like this might help you identify the way God works—and perhaps see your circumstances differently, too.

Daily Devotions

When We Don’t Understand

This is a hard one for me because I always want to understand everything, but instead of asking why and always demanding answers, sometimes it’s best to just trust that God knows what’s best. Asking why is like doubting God. He’s God. He knows what He’s doing, and it’s always for the good of those who love Him. When our hearts and minds are troubled with questions of why, we should just reaffirm God’s goodness and character through the promises of His Word. Pick up the Bible and let God speak to you when you’re wondering why.

23 Then Job answered and said,

Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning.

Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat!

I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments.

I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me.

Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me.

There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge.

Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:

On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:

10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

11 My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.

12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

13 But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.

14 For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.

15 Therefore am I troubled at his presence: when I consider, I am afraid of him.

16 For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me:

17 Because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath he covered the darkness from my face.

Job 23 KJV

FEBRUARY 19, 2021 FRIDAY

Starting at a very early age, children will repeatedly ask their parents the question Why? And this desire for reasons isn’t something we outgrow. As adults, especially during dark times when we cannot figure out what the Lord is doing, we tend to think, If I could just know why, then it would be easier to bear.

In his extreme suffering, Job experienced pain and frustration at God’s silence. He longed to present his case and hear what the Lord had to say. But when God did not immediately respond, Job nevertheless clung to Him and relied upon what he knew to be true: “He knows the way I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).

Like Job, we should channel our emotions and responses through the truth of God’s Word. Otherwise, we might be tempted to doubt our Father’s goodness and love, since they aren’t readily visible in times of hardship. But if we trust in what the Scriptures reveal about God’s character and ways, we can endure affliction faithfully, whether or not He ever explains why. After all, God never guaranteed us answers during our time on earth, but He did promise to be with us.

Daily Devotions