Psalm 32:5 NLT
When you deliberately sin, you’re rebelling against God’s rule in your life – and you’ll feel bad about it. And feeling bad is evidence that you truly are a redeemed child of God; otherwise your sin wouldn’t bother you. Picture a teenager saying to his dad, “I’m truly sorry, but I took your credit card and bought beer for my buddies with it.” Now, the chances are his father may never have discovered it, especially if he wasn’t a good bookkeeper. But his son’s troubled conscience brought it to the surface and he said, “Dad, I shouldn’t have bought the beer; I shouldn’t have lied about my age; I shouldn’t have used your credit card to do it. You trusted me and I let you down. I’m sorry, and I won’t do it again.” That’s confession. That’s what we must do in our prayers. The Greek word translated as confession means “to agree with God.” When we confess our sins, we are agreeing with God concerning the sin in our lives as revealed through His Word and by the Holy Spirit. When we confess, we verbalize our sin and receive cleansing and forgiveness. Yes, confession is often painful, but it keeps our fellowship with our Heavenly Father clear, open, and close. It’s not that God stops loving us, but that we no longer feel we can approach Him with confidence. Do you have a sin to confess? “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 NKJV).
Soul food: Isa 1-3; John 4:39-54; Ps 5; Prov 27:13-16
Psalm 32:5 NLT
When we deliberately sin, we’re rebelling against God’s rule in our lives – and we feel bad about it. Feeling bad is evidence that we truly are redeemed children of God; otherwise our sins wouldn’t bother us. Have you ever had a moment where you’ve ended up feeling really bad about something you’ve done? Maybe you decide you want to go to a party that your parents don’t want you to go to. So you tell them you’re going to a friend’s house when actually you’re heading to the party, planning to never tell your parents what you’ve done. You’re not caught, but you start feeling bad about it. The guilt increases until it reaches a level where you’ve just got to tell your parents about what you did. That’s confession. And that’s what we must do in our prayers. The Greek word translated as confession means ‘to agree with God.’ When we confess our sins, we’re agreeing with God about the sin in our lives which is revealed through His Word and by the Holy Spirit. When we confess, we verbalise our sin and receive cleansing and forgiveness. Confession is often painful, but it keeps our relationship with our Heavenly Father clear, open, and close. The Bible says: ‘Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy’ (Proverbs 28:13 NIV). When we try and hide our sin from God, we no longer feel we can approach Him with confidence. Do you have a sin to confess? ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1:9 NKJV).
Isa 1-3; John 4:39-54; Ps 5; Prov 27:13-16
Mark 11:25 NKJV
No matter how much two people love each other, conflicts are sure to arise that call for extending grace and showing forgiveness. Do you know that couples who are happy and stay married have the same number of disagreements and conflicts as couples who are unhappy and get divorced? Statistically, that is true! It’s not the absence of conflict that preserves marriage, but the ability to manage conflict when it happens. So how do you “manage” conflict? By practicing the kind of self-control that keeps conflicts from mushrooming into hurtful and divisive standoffs. It also means knowing what to do with hurt feelings like anger, disappointment, and dashed expectations. In other words, it means knowing how to forgive it and forget it. But emotional hurt and tension are almost impossible to forget; the harder we try, the more we remember. So what’s the answer? Remember to forget! Try to act like God, who chooses not to hold against us what He knows about us. He says in His Word: “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25 NKJV). That means if you are holding something against your spouse, there’s only one solution: Forgive it and forget it. You may never forget how you’ve been hurt, but you can choose to forgive it and move on. No, it’s not easy, but you can do it. How? By remembering the things, known or unknown to others, that God has forgiven you for and extending that same grace to your spouse.
Soul food: 2 Tim 1-4; Mark 13:24-37; Ps 3; Prov 24:23-25
Mark 11:25 NKJV
No matter how good our relationships with other people are, conflicts can still happen. And when they do, we need to be extending grace and showing forgiveness. We need to be managing conflict well. So how can we do that? Well, we need to be practicing self-control which keeps conflicts from escalating into hurtful standoffs. We also need to learn what to do with hurt feelings like anger and disappointment. Basically, we need to learn how to forgive and forget. The Bible says: ‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbour as yourself’ (Leviticus 19:18 NIVUK). But that’s much easier said than done, especially when we’re battling our emotions. Emotional hurt and tension are almost impossible to forget; the harder we try, the more we remember. We can end up holding grudges, becoming resentful and bringing it up in future conflicts. We may never forget how we’ve been hurt, but we can choose to forgive it and move on. God doesn’t remember our mistakes or hold them against us. The Bible says: ‘I am the One who erases all your sins, for my sake; I will not remember your sins’ (Isaiah 43:25 NCV). So if we’re trying to grow in our character, we need to be aiming to be people who don’t hold things against others, people who forgive and move on. In Ephesians, we’re called to ‘Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ’ (4:32 NCV).
2 Tim 1-4; Mark 13:24-37; Ps 3; Prov 24:23-25
Psalm 103:2 NLT
He sat on the park bench so depressed-looking that a policeman tried to console him. “Something the matter?” “Yeah,” he replied. “A few months ago my grandfather left me $500,000 and some oil wells.” The policeman responded, “That doesn’t sound like something to be upset over.” “Yeah, but you haven’t heard the whole story. Last month my uncle left me $1,000,000.” The policeman shook his head. “I don’t get it. Why are you so unhappy?” He replied, “So far this month, nobody’s left me anything.” Seriously, he’s part of a group of people who are unhappy no matter what they have. The Psalmist shows us how to overcome an ungrateful attitude by cultivating a spirit of thanksgiving. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” Thinking and thanking go hand-in-hand. Memory is a catalyst for worship. An old hymn declares, “Count your blessings, name them one by one…see what God has done.” The Psalmist encourages us to do three things: First, think about what God has given us – His forgiveness, healing, protection, redemption, love, and compassion (See vv. 1-5). Second, think about what God has not given us – the punishment our sins deserve (See vv. 8-12). Third, think about what God is yet going to give us. “From everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him” (v. 17 NIV). God accepts you when you trust in Christ’s performance, not your own. So each morning look in the mirror and say, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.”
Soul food: 2 Sam 22:31-24:25; Mat 26:47-56; Ps 146 Prov 18:23-24