Tag Archives: forgiveness

Confession-Good for the Soul

God loves us when we are weak, but He delights in making us strong. His power shines most powerfully through our weakness. This is Day 14 of our 21 Days of Strength.  We’ve been exploring the various ways God strengthens us. We’ve seen that structure and order help us free ourselves from the things that rob our strength.  This enables us to follow hard after Christ.

Friends, God wants us to travel lean and light through this life. Light-hearted, that is.  He knows that getting rid of the internal baggage that weighs us down helps run our race of faith.  That’s why He provided a way to cleanse us of the overwhelming penalty of sin through Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection.

Even after we have received God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus, we sometimes find ourselves entangled in sin.  Let’s remember the challenge from Hebrews 12:1 to “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…”

Confession is one way we can declutter our soul and “throw off sin.”  We rid our soul of toxins that drain and weaken us by taking them to the cross. “If you confess your sins,” we’re reminded in 1 John 1:9,  He is faithful and just to not only “forgive our sins,” but also to “purify us from all unrighteousness.” We do the confessing, He does the forgiving. The purifying. If that seems too easy, just remember.  It cost God everything.

One area of my life that is mentally draining and sure to weaken my faith is worry.  Over the years, I’ve made a lot of progress in dealing with this unwelcome intruder into my mind.  But I have to be ruthless.  Worry is a robber and a thief.  It steals God’s peace.  Let’s face it.  Worry is exhausting.  A friend of mine developed this little acronym for W.O.R.R.Y:  Worry Only Robs Rest from You.  How true!

So I have to be alert, and when worry springs up, I confess it as sin.  I take my thoughts captive. Remind myself of God’s power.  Reflect on how He has worked in the past.  Fill myself with the promises in His Word.  When I do this, my hope soars in proportion to my lighter mental load. And I gain new strength.

What areas of your life cause to to grow weak and weary?  Rob your strength? How about confessing those to God and trusting Him to give you the strength to overcome.

Day Eighteen: Don’t Say It, Pray It

 How often has your mouth gotten you in trouble? Words can do damage. Maybe you’ve heard this saying: It’s easier to get into trouble than to get out of it. The same is true with our words.  Once we’ve spoken them, we can’t take them back.  During our 21 Day Watch, we’ve been watching God.  But did you know that He’s also watching us?  The Bible teaches us to pray that He would especially help us watch our words:

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;  Keep watch over the door of my lips (NKJV Psalm 141:3).

This verse is my watchword for today.   I’ll be spending time with an extended family member who is wrestling with lots of personal issues.  I’ve asked  Lord to help me watch what I say.  I mean well, but over the years, my words have caused little change.  My loved one continues to make poor choices which have impacted her life and her family. For whatever reason,  I’m not the right person or it’s not the right time to say the hard things that need to be said.  This happens sometimes with the people we love most.  Do you have someone like that in you life?

I’m learning that sometimes it’s better to “pray it before I say it.”  If the person is not ready to hear what we have to say, or we can’t find the right words, we can pray first and trust God.  We can pray for Him to soften their heart.  Pray for them to listen to the Holy Spirit.  Pray for others to speak into their life. Pray for the wisdom to know what to say and when to say it.

“Don’t say it, pray it” is a good approach difficult conversations.  Here’s how I pray before I speak:

Lord, increase my love for this person.

-Help me to get the “log” out of my own eye, so I may see the situation more clearly.

-Help me to see this person through Your eyes.

-Give me pure motives and remove any bitterness or unforgiveness.

-Fill me with courage to speak the truth in love, but only in Your timing.

-Show me the right words, Your words, that will bring healing and hope.

Does the Lord need to help you put a watch over your lips? Then you’re in good company.  Let’s believe together that He can do a miracle. That God will give you the strength to “pray it before you say it.”  That the story for your loved one is not over.  Until then, let’s keep watching with hope.

Day Three: Fasting Tip

Day three of fasting and prayer.  I’ve been reminded throughout the day to pray for Pastor Saeed as we continue our 21 Day Fast.   I think fasting does that.  It seems to sharpen my inner hearing and makes me more alert.

Let’s keep standing strong with Naghmeh Abedini.  Press on with whatever version of prayer and fasting you have chosen.  Naghmeh’s schedule is incredibly grinding as she travels to speak to world leaders and media outlets on Saeed’s behalf.  A self-described “homebody,”  she admits the travel can be exhausting.  So today, let’s pray specifically for God to renew Naghmeh’s strength.

A few more thoughts on fasting:

“Give me some tips on how you fast.”  My friend’s question the other day got me thinking.  How do I fast?  What have I learned that’s made fasting a valuable part of my prayer life? First, I should point out that fasting does not make us super saints.  In fact, Jesus cautions his disciples not to be prideful when we fast.  Or when we pray.  Or give, or serve.

When you fast, Jesus tells us, don’t parade around your spirituality for others to see.  Dress nicely, wear your makeup, go about business as usual.  Then your father in heaven, “who sees is done in secret”  will reward you (see Matthew 6:16-18).

To some very religious people who were proud of their fasting, Jesus told this parable:

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evil doers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted”  (Luke 9-14 NIV).

Instead of making me proud, fasting should gently squeeze me into the place of humility.  My awareness of sin starts to bubble to the surface when I fast.  That humbles me.  So confession has become an important part of fasting.  It’s like spring cleaning for my soul.

Today’s simple tip?  Use this season of fasting and prayer to humble yourself.   It’s a good time for personal reflection and confession.  Click here to read some of Naghmeh’s thoughts and insights during her fast.

And remember, God is pleased just because you are setting your mind to seek Him.  Don’t forget how much He loves you.  Go boldly to that throne of grace and ask the Lord’s help in areas you feel stuck.  Repent and receive His forgiveness and power.

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up (James 4:10).”


Confess your sins to each other and prayer for each other so that you may be healed  (James 5:16)

Confession! It’s good for the soul.  And according to James, it’s good for the body, too. He shows a link between the confessing of our sins and the healing of our sickness.  A form of prayer, confession is the disclosure of our sins both to God and to our fellow believers.

I’ve heard it said that our secrets make us sick.  James uses an interesting word for sickness.  In addition to illness, this particular word can mean “weary, fatigued, mentally drained, exhausted.”  We see that sin not only separates us from God,  it’s also exhausting.  Confession of our sins is a first step toward healing. Continue reading