MONDAY: YOU ARE FORGIVEN
The Black Plague which struck Europe in the 14th Century was one of the worse disasters in human history. Over i.5 million people died during this terrible period. People, desperate to find hope and relief, would try anything. One of the most extreme groups of people was the Flagellants. This fanatical sect sought God’s forgiveness and deliverance from the Plague by traveling in groups throughout towns and torturing their naked bodies by whipping each other with iron whips. Today we hear about the Flagellants and think, “how senseless. Didn’t they know that Jesus died for our sins so that we do not have to bear its punishment?” Yet many Christians are 21st Century Flagellants today. We may not physical beat ourselves over our sins but emotionally and mentally many of us continue to carry the guilt of son that was confessed, repented of and Christ died for. This week we want to look at how we can find relief from guilt of forgiven sin. I would like to recommend a You Tube presentation for you to watch. It is skit that shows God’s love for you. If you have the capability please watch it. It is found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvxWVHzEZ1w&mode=related&search=
What did the video above show you about God’s love for you? Write down your feelings about God in a short note to God.
FAITH STEP: Who can you share this video clip with? Make arrangements to do so this week.
TUESDAY: GOOD GUILT/BAD GUILT
Scripture clearly states that Jesus died to get rid of our guilt, yet many Christians are still haunted daily by guilt. We need to realize that not all guilt is bad. That there are two types of guilt. “Good guilt” is from the Holy Spirit. This guilt is short term and is used by God to lead us to repentance and to a relationship with Him. “Bad guilt” is from Satan. It is long term guilt. It comes when Satan beats us down with accusations, remorse and regrets from repented of sin that God has forgiven and forgotten along time ago. Let’s look at examples of both.
1. Read John 16:5-11. What does the Holy Spirit world of? What is the goal of the Holy Spirit’s conviction?
2. Read Revelation 12:10. Who is the “accuser of our brothers”? How has Satan used “false guilt” to discourage you in the past? What sins that God has already forgiven you for are still haunting you?
FAITH STEP: Take a piece of paper and write down the sins that you have already confessed but that Satan continues to accuse you of. Take that piece of paper and safely take a match and burn up the list. Now spend a few minutes thanking God for the forgiveness he has given you.
WEDNESDAY: GUILT FROM OTHERS
There is one other type of “bad or false guilt” we must deal with. Sometimes judgmental and unforgiving people will continue to load us down with guilt. In some cases they may be accurate, in that they are pointing their finger at a sin that we did commit but repented of. In other case they may be making false accusations. But we will always deal with people who will try to make us feel guilty. How are we to deal with these types of people?
1. What are some things that people accused Jesus of (Matthew 11:19)? Did he let these accusations stop Him from doing God’s will?
2. Read Galatians 1:10. Whose opinion should I be worried about?
FAITH STEP: If Jesus, the perfect Son of God could not please everybody, than I know I can’t please everyone either. My goal should be to please God and God alone. Who in your life is loading you down with false guilt? Pray for them by name asking God to help you love them and refuse to let their guilt rob you of God’s peace.
THURSDAY: LETTING GO OF THE PAST
1. Read 2 Samuel 11:1-27. List the sins that David committed in this chapter. How did God feel about David’s sins (11:27)?
2. Read 2 Samuel 12:1-13. How did David respond when confronted with the fact he sinned against God? What did God do with David’s sin (12:13)? What did David do to receive God’s forgiveness (12:13)?
3. Read 1 Kings 14:8. How did God later describe David? What does that show you about God’s forgiveness?
FAITH STEP: Please notice that even though David was completely forgiven, their was still consequences for his actions that had to be paid. For example, in today’s world a man who commits murder can be forgiven immediately but he will still have to serve his sentence. A person who misused his body with drugs for years cam be quickly forgiven but still suffer the physical consequences. The good news for a Christian is that God can use those consequences for His glory if we trust him and give them over to Him. The old adage “God never wastes a hurt” is true, even if the hurt is caused by our earlier sins. Ask God to help you use your consequences in ministry for his glory.
FRIDAY: FORGIVEN FOREVER
1. How did Paul describe his life before he met Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:9, Galatians 1:13, 1 Timothy 1:13)?
2. Read 1 Timothy 1:15-16. Paul seems to be telling his readers that I am the worse of all sinners. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done - I was worse and God forgave me. He will forgive you.
FAITH STEP: Read the following Scriptures and write down what God says he has done with your sins. Isaiah 1:18 Psalm 103:12, Micah 7:18-19.
SATURDAY: 1:8-2:2 THE POWER OF CONFESSION
1. How does one who believes he has never sinned nor does sin deceive himself?
2. John, writing to Christians, says we should confess (admit) our sins to God. What does God promise to do when we confess our sins?
3. What does purified mean to you? How does the fact that God purifies us from ALL unrighteousness make you feel?
4. When we do sin, who speaks to the Father on our behalf?
5. What type of sacrifice was Jesus for our sins? Look up a definition for the word “atone”.
FAITH STEP: The key to receiving God’s forgiveness is confessing our sins. Sometimes Christians deny their sins or rationalize them or blame others for them. Such game playing keeps us from enjoying God’s forgiveness. Read aloud I John 2:1 and claim the truth found there. As a child of God you are not guilty you are forgiven! Confess any unconfessed sins and realize that after confession if you are still carrying a burden of guilt – that that guilt is not from God but Satan. Write “I am forgiven” on a card and place it somewhere where you can be reminded everyday that you are free from the guilt of your sin.