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“Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22 (NLT)

The little girl let out a piercing scream that brought both parents running to her rescue. She had been playing on her grandparent’s farm and building a ‘fort’ in the wooded area behind the barn. Unfortunately, she’d chosen to build her fort in the midst of a nest of wood ticks! Her parents spent nearly an hour picking ticks off the scared and crying little girl.

After a thorough inspection, a warm bath and a bowl of ice cream on Grandpa’s lap she felt much better. She got down to play but decided to stay near the house and play with her dolls.

“A little scared to go play in the woods?” Grandma asked her gently.

“A little maybe,” was her reply, “But mostly I still feel itchy, like the bugs are still crawling all over me.”

We can all, no doubt, identify with the little girl in the story. We walk through a spider web or discover some insect on us and for some time later still feel it’s ‘presence’ on us.

The same can often be true of sin. We fail to do what we should, or do something we know we shouldn’t. We may even wander far from God and live a lifestyle we know is wrong or become addicted to drugs, alcohol or lust.

Like the Prodigal Son, we come crawling back to God. We confess our sin. We work hard at cleaning up our act. But deep in the corners of our mind is this sense of guilt and shame that we can’t shake. We pray about it. Read Scriptures. We talk to counselors, pastors or trusted friends. Still we are haunted, sometimes day and night by the feeling of guilt on our lives. Much like the little girl continued to feel the wood ticks on her body.

So, why is that? Is God so angry with us that he won’t let us forget? Are the reminders of our past signposts to make us be sure we were sincere? Does God’s forgiveness fall short of our expectations because our ‘sin was so bad’ that he’s going to haunt us for the rest of our lives?

The simple answer to that is a resounding NO! The Bible is very clear in several places that once we confess our sins to Jesus and ask his forgiveness those sins are forgiven. The moment you asked, the blood of Jesus cleansed you from the penalty of that sin. We can still feel guilty though for a variety of reasons.

If you have asked sincerely for your sin to be forgiven and still feel guilty it could be a matter of healing and healing takes time. Sometimes that healing is made longer because people keep bringing up your faults. Sometimes it can be due to constant ridicule. Religion is a great source of guilt as well with constant reminders that we are bad.

The biggest culprit in our struggle with a guilty conscience though is Satan. That great enemy of Christ-followers wants nothing more than to keep you in the prison of guilt and remorse. He’ll lie to you. He’ll use other people to lie about you. He can even use religion to keep you captive. Don’t listen to him. Listen to the words of Jesus. “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more”. No matter how many times you come sincerely to Jesus he has promised to forgive you. Tell Satan to take a hike. Tell him to get lost. In Jesus Christ you are NOT GUILTY because of the blood he shed on the cross for you.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I’ve been carrying this load of guilt long enough. I now realize that the guilt I feel is a false belief that I’m not forgiven. I renounce the efforts of Satan to keep me in the prison of my soul. From this day forward I’m going to live in the freedom of your forgiveness. Amen.


He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds Titus 2:14 (NLT)

Freedom. It’s something that every one of us wants to have. It means so many things to so many people. To the child freedom means ice cream for every meal and the absence of fruits and vegetables for every meal.

To the political activist freedom means rules and government involvement to a minimum. Religion defines freedom by a list of rules and dogmas that must be followed in order to, someday, attain freedom. Every war, every political party, every religion has freedom as a basic tenant.

As a human race we’ve never done well with freedom. From the first day, when Adam and Eve set foot in the garden God gave them freedom. “Do anything you want. Anything at all. Just don’t eat from that one single tree.” We failed to handle the complete freedom God gave us in the garden and have been struggling to regain it ever since.

The real tragedy in our quest for freedom is that in Jesus we already have it. God saw that man would never, in his own power, be able to be completely free. That’s why he sent Jesus. Jesus death and resurrection gives us the freedom to be everything we were created to be.

So what keeps you from living in that freedom? Is it addiction? Is it lust for the things you want in your old self, the flesh? Is it the daily reminders sent from the enemy that you are a failure and always will be? It is the exhaustion from trying to please a bunch of outdated religious rules? Is it the fatigue encountered by trying to please others or the futility of placing your value on the size of your bank account or the depth of a human relationship? Is it anger, hate or bitterness from being hurt?

Jesus tells each of us, “You don’t need to struggle anymore. Rest in me. I can take the guilt away. My only rule is to love me and get to know me more. Church won’t do that. Rules, relationship and resources won’t do that. Only faith in me will give you true freedom. His freedom gives you permission to be you.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I want to be free. I want to be free of worry, hate, guilt, anger, my desire for things and a whole list of other things that have held me captive. Religion hasn’t done it for me. People have failed me. I’ve failed myself. Empower me by your Spirit to live in the freedom you came to give me. Give me wisdom to grow in relationship to you so that I know how that freedom looks in my life. In your name I pray, Amen.


In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

What is God like? Is he an old man who’s completely lost touch with the new things of the world? Is he some irrelevant being or concept that has no real bearing on life in the twenty-first century? Perhaps he’s an angry, vindictive being set on making our lives fearful, miserable and guilt-ridden? Or a God of feeble love, making demands and then changing his mind because he wants everyone to be happy. Maybe, as some think, he’s dead!

There have been many scholars, smart men and women, who have devoted the better part of their lives to proving God’s existence, or his demise; who’ve tried to prove he’s involved in everything, or in nothing at all. But when Jesus walked on earth, he never spent any of his time trying to prove his Father’s existence. Instead his whole life on earth was filled with proving what God is like.

How did Jesus do that? By giving the blind man sight; telling the woman guilty of adultery she was forgiven and not condemned; by pleading with those who were set in their sinful ways or depending on religion to get them through, to come to a relationship of love with God. The list goes on. Healing of the little girl; the raising of his best friend from the dead; reaching out to the homeless; showing kindness to the leper and the widow. Jesus didn’t prove the existence of God, he lived it.

As Christ-followers we shouldn’t waste our time in silly arguments over the existence of God or what he is like. Stop telling the people around you what God likes or dislikes; hates or loves or accepts or rejects. Instead show them what God is like.

Show kindness and acceptance of the person who is of a different sexual orientation. Spend some time in jail (your choice, not the judicial departments!) sharing the love of Christ with those who are there; be kind and polite to the server at the restraint who still hasn’t brought your coffee; be faithful to your spouse; speak without criticism or cussing and swearing; act in love when others react in hate; accept those who reject you; pray for the person you hate more than anyone in the world; stay away from ‘questionable jokes’ and the porn sites.

We weren’t sent here to prove that God exists. He doesn’t need our help in that regard. We were sent here to make such a difference in our world that even the atheist will praise God for our existence!

PRAYER: Father God, Thank you for the example Jesus left us of your love, acceptance and character. As I walk my way today, I ask that the actions I take and the interactions I have with people would leave them in an attitude that says “He/she is what God is like!” And when I get opportunity, empower me to speak your words of love and acceptance when I’d rather spew judgment and criticism. Amen.


For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fool.  Romans 1:21-22

Relationship is an interesting thing. The more one puts into it, the more they get out of it. First of all, we need to define ‘relationship.’ In a relationship, both parties benefit from being together. If only one person’s needs are being met it’s not a relationship. It’s an arrangement.

It’s sad to say, but many marriages never get to the ‘relationship’ stage. As a result one person feels like they give and give and give with nothing in return. Eventually the stress is too much and divorce (either emotional or physical) happens.

The same is true in our spiritual lives with God. Many people believe in God or a god of some sort. But knowing God or about God and being in relationship with God are completely different. Compare it to a physical love relationship.

What does a perfect love relationship look like to you? Don’t you think constantly about the other person? You go to work. You go about the mundane tasks of life. You hang with friends, deliver the kids to soccer practice and fold the laundry. But in the back of your mind there is always that thought of the person you love.

The same is true in our spiritual lives. The God of the universe earnestly desires a passionate love relationship with you. But relationship with God, like any relationship is a two-way street. Our Father God has given everything for us, even his only Son, Jesus. What does he want in return? Our love. Love shown through obedience to the things we know we should do. Love that is shown through avoiding the things we know are wrong.

When love is given and not returned we call it being ungrateful. When we are ungrateful to God for his blessings it makes our hearts insensitive to his desire to draw us to himself. We show ingratitude by compartmentalizing our lives. God is good on Sundays. God is looked to in the face of adversity or severe trial. As one pundit remarked, “When a jetliner is going down, there are no atheists on board!”

The longer we live lives that are ungrateful to God, the more our hearts grow insensitive to God and his leading. Will God still bless us? Sometimes, but those blessings may not satisfy. We can receive outward blessing and still harbor inner turmoil. Turmoil that we seek to fill with other gods like financial security, new ‘relationships’, social action, or religion.

Your Father God in heaven is real. He earnestly desires to have a relationship, not an arrangement with you. Part of that process is showing him living gratitude in your thoughts, words and actions.

PRAYER: Father God. I don’t want to be one of those who never shows my gratitude for all you’ve done for me. Forgive me for following my own way and expecting your blessing when I’m really being ungrateful.  Empower me with your Spirit to enter into a passionate love relationship with you. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.


For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Hebrews 8:12

Grace is what keeps us going when the enemy slams us to the ground. What’s even harder to deal with is the fact that often times we get slammed to the ground as a result of our own stumbling. The bruises we inflict on ourselves are often the most painful and hardest to recover from. This can be especially true when we fall as a result of the same sins, the same mistakes, the same bad choices on what seems to be a regular basis.

The enemy wants us to forget about grace. He wants to hold us down and keep us from getting back into the battle. What motivates us to pick ourselves up and try again when we know we have a good chance of failing once again? What keeps us from listening to the voices of guilt, shame and embarrassment?

For the football player it’s just plain determination. Ever seen a player get slammed to the ground by a person from the other team and bounce back up and make the play? His tenacity refuses to let the pain of being ‘taken out’ by his aggressor stop him from succeeding. He shrugs off the possibility of further attack and moves on.

For the football player it’s tenacity, but for us as Christ-followers it’s grace that keeps us going when the enemy slams us to the ground. It’s grace that soothes the painful bruises of every fall, heals the wounds of wayward desires and reminds us that we can succeed because of Jesus love and forgiveness. Grace is the source of courage for everyone who chooses to follow Christ. Grace is the lens through which our Father watches us.

The writer to the Hebrews reminds his readers that God continued to try to work with his stubborn people, but they continued to rebel, continued to ignore his pleas for relationship and continued to go their own way.

Then Jesus came and everything changed. Because of Jesus sacrificial death on the cross and his triumphant victory over sin and death, God can have the relationship he has always wanted with us. Grace seals us so that when we fall we can get up and continue on.

If you have stumbled in your walk with God. If you are afraid to get up and try again because you are sure you will just get slammed to the ground again, remember that God’s forgiveness not only takes away the guilt of poor, rebellious choices, it gives us the confidence and courage we need to have the spiritual tenacity to get up and get back in the ballgame. 

Don’t let the enemies of guilt, shame, embarrassment and religion hold you down. Don’t listen to the constant reminders of your failures. The forgiveness you have in Jesus Christ empowers you to live victoriously. Remember that God looks at you through the perfect lens of Jesus’ forgiveness.

PRAYER: Father God, I thank you for grace. I praise you for the fact that because of Jesus I can be completely forgiven. Help me to live in the confidence and courage grace gives me to live life the way you want me to live it. Let grace empower me with courage in the midst of my stumbling. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

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