Freedom From Guilt | Psalms 51 | Finally Free
Do you ever fear you’re not good enough? Maybe you feel the shame of your mistakes or question God’s love because of your sins. Maybe you feel religious shame, because you haven’t followed all the ‘rules’.
What are we to do with guilt and shame?
Let’s learn from the pages of Scripture about the Holy Spirit’s work in our conscience – leading us not to more guilt, but to repentance, freedom and a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.
Open your Bible to Psalm 51 and get ready to find Freedom from Guilt…
Racism & the Church • Foundations are being destroyed. Dark ominous clouds of unchangeable consequences are gathering over a nation that once heeded the words of God. The voices have cried, “if we don’t turn, we will reap what we have sown.” The warnings have gone unheeded and calamity has begun to fall.
Watch as Pastor James delivers a warning to the Iowa Caucus for Dr. Ben Carson, and then preaches a follow-up sermon on The Foundation of Righteous Governance.
God is forever. I am a moment. Just like music has a time signature, the God who loves you has a time signature. He exists outside of time, and you exist inside time…but only for a brief time. God wants us to embrace the reality that we are temporal, life is measured, but He is everlasting. Open your Bible to Psalm 90 as Pastor James MacDonald instructs you in how to maximize your life.
Have you considered the contrasting realities of God’s eternality and our mortality? God embraces the entirety of eternity all at once, and yet He is with us in the moment, giving to us each day an opportunity to grow in wisdom. Join Pastor James in Psalm 90 where we discover what God wants us to do with all of that.
Death is Coming…Eternity will one day reveal that sometimes the best news is the bad news that opens up the way for the good news. If the bottom hadn’t fallen out of what you thought was rock bottom, would you ever have looked to the Lord the way you had? Death Is Certainly Coming Faster Than It Seems When Hiding Sin From The Wrathful God We Will Soon Answer To.
God is Eternal, but why is that so significant? In this verse by verse study through Psalm 90, we are reminded that we all have regret. Situations we wish we had handled better, words we wish we hadn’t said—things we can’t go back and fix. And when regret is coupled with facing our own mortality, we begin to desperately need the reality of God’s eternality. Pastor James shares from the Scriptures how accepting the truth about God and His eternal nature can become your greatest comfort.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him (Psalm 8:3–4, esv)?
Creation reminds us how little we are. When we stand on the shore of the ocean, we realize there are worlds underneath the waves. When we look up from the base of a mountain, we are reminded, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Psalm 90:2).
Those seemingly ageless mountains had a clear beginning, created by God who has no beginning or end. It is the infinite that reminds us we are finite. We hear the awe in the psalmist’s voice when he marvels at the expanse of the heavens, the majestic work of God’s hands, and His personal care despite our smallness.
“A true encounter with the God of the universe makes us feel gladly small.”
When God’s handiwork reminds us how little we are, we experience His transcendence. A true encounter with the God of the universe is not at all belittling. Rather, His transcendence makes us feel gladly small, perfectly puny, and happily assigned to our insignificance and place.
We need to be brought down to our proper proportion before an awesome God. To a race whose root sin is pride, transcendence offers a healthy dose of insignificance. It is a wonderful, freeing discovery.
The sum of human knowledge is fractional and miniscule; what we do know should remind us of how little we know. God not only established but also “upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3). There are great mysteries surrounding how He holds all things together. Some things are unknowable, and only a fraction of what is knowable has been discovered. Even the most learned people must acknowledge the vastness of what we do not understand.
What’s true of the cosmos God spoke into being is also true of the Bible, which He wrote. The Scriptures are vast and deep, and how little we know of the layers of revelation. Moses reminds us, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29).
The more we study God’s Word, the more the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to new and powerful truths overlooked the first, fifth, and fiftieth times we read a passage. In those moments, we experience transcendence. The humble awareness of our own limitations invites awe in the Creator who knows the end from the beginning and everything in between.
Experiencing transcendence helps you accept that there is One who exists outside the boundaries of human knowing. “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways” (Romans 11:33)! You can never figure God out, but you can hear His call to bow before Him and serve Him as the true center of the universe.
Let every experience of His transcendence diminish any false sense of personal sovereignty, and lead you to resign as the chairman of the board of your own life.
Lord God, how good it is for me to consider Your vast size, knowledge, and power. It is the only way to gain the right perspective on my relative ignorance and powerlessness. As I experience Your transcendence, let it lead me to accepting my proper place under Your sovereignty. In awe I praise You, humble myself before You as Lord, and surrender my life. You are unsearchable, God, and the secret things belong to You. Thank You for letting me find my place in relation to You. In the powerful name of Your only Son, Jesus, amen.
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God (Psalm 42:1, esv).
What does a new decade hold for you? Are you longing for something new, better, different? Are you tired of flipping pages on the calendar and going through the motions of your life? Want to make a choice that will transform your days from dead to lively, from flat to full, from the start of just another year to your best decade yet?
Spend time with God in His Word.
“God will speak to you personally if you open His Word and listen.”
This isn’t just another task or meeting. This is an invitation to spend time with the King of the universe, listening to His voice in the pages of the only Book on the planet that will transform your soul. This isn’t a book club. It’s not an appointment with a personal trainer who might help you marginally reshape your body. This is God, who spoke the universe into existence, and who will speak to you personally if you open the Word and listen.
How’s that work? Simply and methodically. Open your Bible, and follow these three steps.
Step 1: Discipline
Here’s the spiritual workout plan: I challenge you in Jesus’ name to discipline yourself to spend thirty minutes in God’s Word every day for a month. During those thirty days, set aside the first half hour of every day—before you shower, before you dress for work, before you drink a cup of coffee (or while you drink it). Commit to this: “I will not do anything else until I get thirty minutes with the Lord in His Word.”
At first, it’s going to feel like hard work, but it won’t stay that way for long. It’s like when you start working out on a treadmill with no fitness base—grueling at first, but over time it grows easier and eventually becomes addictive. Get up in the morning, and make yourself do it. Get a friend to hold you accountable. Check in with each other. Go after this choice that will change your life forever: thirty minutes for thirty days. It starts with discipline.
Step 2: Desire
Over time, God’s Word will become your desire. This step involves another thirty days. No longer will reading the Bible just feel like a discipline. You will find that you look forward to it, that you can’t wait to spend time with the Lord. Like David, you’ll say, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God” (Psalm 42:1). You’ll wonder how you lived without it. You’ll recognize how famished and impoverished your soul was and how difficult the Christian life felt on empty. No longer will it feel like a burden or obligation.
After thirty days of discipline and thirty days of growing desire, you’ll conclude, “I want it. I desire it. I hunger for it.” After these sixty days, you’ll say, “I chose God’s Word as my authority, and my life has been changed forever.” And then you get to move on to step 3, which will blow your mind.
Step 3: Delight
In the third, thirty-day step, you will begin to experience what David observed about the blessed person, whose “delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2). David didn’t tolerate God’s Word, the way we do brussels sprouts. He didn’t gut it out, the way we do dental cleanings. He loved God’s Word. “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97). And we can get to that place too.
When you begin to delight in God’s Word, time spent in His Book will become your favorite time of your day, the best part of your week, the most treasured moments of your life—alone with God, digging into His Word, being fed by His Spirit. And the effects will seep into every part of your day so that you will find God’s Word running in the background of your thoughts constantly.
King David experienced this delight. So did the prophet Jeremiah, who wrote, “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16). So did the disciples, who “said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures’” (Luke 24:32)?
So can you. Choose God’s Word. Start with discipline, and watch as discipline gives way to desire and grows into full-blown delight. This can be the defining choice of your next decade.
I dare you.
Lord God, what do You see for me as You look ahead to this new year? I don’t long to do more; I long to be more, by Your grace. And I know that the key catalyst for my soul change is time alone with You in You Word. You don’t force me, but You do invite me, and I choose today, this year, to accept Your invitation. May I learn to delight in Your Word. Would You teach me, speak to me, and make me more like Your Son, Jesus, in whose name I pray, amen.