Posts Tagged ‘conviction’

 

“So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.” (Acts‬ ‭24‬:‭16‬ NIV)

In 1991, a New Hampshire school administrator, Pamela Smart, had an affair with a 16 year old student, then convinced him to kill her husband. She was sentenced to life without parole. In an interview 23 years later, she admits not listening to her conscience:

“I was in a situation where I knew better. And I shouldn’t have made the decision that I did to be involved with him. It took me many years to see my own responsibility.” 

Our conscience is that ability within us that attaches itself to the highest standard we know, and then continually reminds us of what that standard demands that we do. If God’s standards are what I seek in my daily life, then those will be what I am, and should be, reminded of. So I must live in such a way that my conscience is clear towards both God and those around me by living to that higher standard, not intentionally sabotaging myself in a fit of selfish action.

When you begin to debate, stop immediately. When we argue with the Holy Spirit, we lose every time! If a stricken conscience is a cruel taskmaster, then find freedom that only comes from doing what is right! You are loved today!

  

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians‬ ‭6‬:‭13‬ NIV)

In his book, The Blue and the Gray, James Robertson shares a story about a cowardly Confederate Chaplain:

“We got into a little row with the Yankees a few days ago and our parson, deeming, no doubt, that discretion was the better part of valor, took to his heels when the shells commenced flying and I have not seen him since. A New England officer who had witnessed the same misbehavior insisted that ‘undue susceptibility to cannon fever were ample grounds for the disqualification of a chaplain.'”

Standing our ground can be tough to do. While we may not face a barrage of Civil War cannons, we do face public pressure, peer sentiment, and relational confrontations. The last thing God needs is cowards on the front line, caving in to popular opinion or flat-out false beliefs in order to save face or keep a church pew filled! The right thing will always be the right thing, regardless of pop culture’s windblown preferences!

Being brave isn’t always easy, so let God help you. He gives you the strength to do it, the backing to stand with you, and the healing of the heart afterwards. But caving in to cowardice will always lead to heartache! Stand your ground! You are loved today! 

  

[It is] the little foxes that ruin the vineyards…” (Song of Solomon‬ ‭2‬:‭15‬ NIV)

During the Civil War, General Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate army, handed down a plan of attack to his next in command, General A. P. Hill.  The latter wrapped the plan around a couple of cigars, and then mislaid them. They were found shortly afterwards in an abandoned Confederate Camp by a sergeant from the opposing Union Army, and passed on to his commander, General McClellan. As a result, the Union won a surprise victory at Antietam, which began to turn the tide in the war. Otherwise, the Confederate states would probably have won early and easily.

It is simple to blame our mistakes and sins upon the actions of others, the power of Satan, or the fallen state of this world. But every personal failure falls back to a small decision on our part, a careless setting aside of God and His words. Isn’t it amazing how devastating a small decision or action in the right place can be?! And yet in both wars and lives, the effect can be crushing. 

Be careful in the little areas of your life. A careless word, action, or thought can lead to devastation. Ask God today to lead your steps, to protect you from the failures of others and yourself, and to keep His Light burning bright in you. The world is watching! You are loved! 

  

But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” (Mark‬ ‭11‬:‭25‬ NLT)

When Thérèse Bartholomew’s brother, Stephen Leone, was murdered on the night of February 12, 2003, her life fell apart. As she left the courtroom after seeing the accused for the first time and feeling a compassion for her brother’s murderer, she broke down, confessing her confusion to her husband, “If I forgive this person, does it mean I don’t love my brother?”

The grace and forgiveness of God is our greatest gift that God gives us. Our sense of justice is strong when we are wronged, but we plead for mercy when Justice comes knocking on our own door. So it is an affront to God’s loving nature if we stay angry while asking for forgiveness. Why should He give it when we’ve done worse towards Him?!

As you spend time praying today, start with forgiveness. You and I need it, but we also need to give it to those that have hurt us. Forgiveness isn’t easy, so ask God to help you. Don’t stifle God’s work in you! Move on! You are loved today!

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But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth.” (John‬ ‭16‬:‭6-7‬ NKJV)

In times of crisis, the Bible has given me hope. When I have grieved a loss, it’s words have brought me comfort. As a pastor, I also have the privilege of dispensing these same words of life to others that are going through similar circumstances. But could God also bring tough words into our lives? You bet!

When the Lord speaks words of conviction into guilty ears, our heart breaks because we know we’ve done wrong. When the Holy Spirit wisely reveals to us that tough times are a’coming, we cringe at the unseen. To understand these tough words of God, you must understand the context from which He speaks to us: Out of the great love of His heart. He doesn’t aim to hurt us but to draw us to Himself, so that nothing, including sin, can separate us from intimacy with Him.

True love will speak the tough truths to you. I love, but I’m not great at it. That’s why I’m grateful for a loving Savior who can correct all of us the right way. Don’t be discouraged, just correctable. It always leads to blessed places! You are loved today!

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For only when you come to judge the earth will people learn what is right.” (Isaiah‬ ‭26‬:‭9‬ NLT)

In 1998, Oscar was a “drug mule”, carrying heroin in his stomach from Columbia to Miami. He was arrested at the airport and sentenced to 100 years for his crime. But while in jail, Oscar’s life was changed by God’s grace and a little Gideon’s Bible. Today, Oscar and his wife minister to others, delivering the same hope of forgiveness.

We are accustomed as Christians to hate judgment, simply to fail in the realization that mercy only comes through judgment. The sins in our life, even our hidden ones, must be exposed to God’s face before they can be taken away. Only through conviction and repentance does mercy come. Otherwise, we could commit whatever sins we wanted and still expect a place at the Lord’s table, leaving Jesus’ death as a vain and meaningless act.

Never shy away from God’s judgment; if He loves us, then He must correct us. Instead, learn to thank Him for correction, for then does true mercy and love come! Then go live a more free and uncompromising life! You are loved today!

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Who brought you here, and what are you doing in this place? Why are you here?” (Judges‬ ‭18‬:‭3‬ NLT)

On June 5, 1989, a single man impacted a world. As a column of tanks drove down Chang’an Avenue to put down a protest at Tiananmen Square in China, an unknown man came out from a crowd and blocked their path, positioning himself to prevent the tanks from maneuvering around him. Eventually he was pulled back into the crowd, but not before his stand was immortalized for the world to see, even being listed by Time Magazine as one of the Top 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

The “Why” questions of our text are questions we ask ourselves all through our life. To find the answer, we must live it out before God. Our life may be to spend years helping others, like Mother Teresa. It may be to empower people, like Martin Luther King, Jr. Or it might be that for one brief but influential moment, we take our stand for what is right.

We are that Unknown Rebel, standing our ground for what is right in God’s eyes before a world bent on not seeing Him. Let God help you answer the “Whys” of your life by letting Him use you to impact others. A life spent helping is a life spent living! You are loved today!