CONDEMNATION VS. CONVICTION: How do You Tell the Difference?

Condemnation Vs. Conviction

It amazes me how I manage to go from praising the Lord while singing along with Christian music in my car, to yelling at the person who cut me off—almost simultaneously. But sometimes I react and then regret.

Then the second half of the scenario plays out like this: the driver who angered me speeds on by oblivious to my plight as the music begins to fade into the background and finally disappear. Now I’m left with an onslaught of negative, harassing thoughts like, What kind of Christian are you? You’re such a phony!  A loser. “Real” Christians don’t have short fuses like you! When are going to get better with this issue?

A lot of believers hear condemning thoughts, and some even think it’s God. My friends, that is a LIE!

God will NEVER tell you what a sorry loser you are.

I can prove it to you, too. Take a look at what Jesus had to say:

“ For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. ” (John 3:17)

As Christ followers, we must be able to discern what we are hearing in our minds: conviction from the Holy Spirit or condemnation.

Listen, this is super important because many of us waste valuable time wallowing in condemning thoughts that center around self. This is a major tactic of the enemy to keep us focused inward rather than upward, on God and outward, on our mission to a lost world in need of hope. We cannot offer hope to anyone if we have lost hope ourselves.

Condemnation renders us out of commission to accomplish the Great Commission.


1: CENSURE, BLAME  2:  the act of judicially condemning.

Condemnation comes from Satan. It is an attack designed to accuse and tear you down. Revelation 12:10 refers to Satan as the accuser of the brothers and sisters.

Condemnation continually points out what a failure you are, and how badly you’ve messed up. But the biggy is this:

Condemnation shows you the problem without offering a solution. 

The Bible tells us “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1


The Bible refers to conviction as godly sorrow. We will feel grieved in our spirit, but that grief leads us to the Father.

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10

Condemnation says, “You’re such a failure!” Conviction says, “Come to me and I will forgive you.”

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;   therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” Isaiah 30:18

The Holy Spirt will convict us when we sin. And that is a good thing because sin is a problem. Sin separates us from our holy God. Conviction feels a bit like an uncomfortable separation. A godly sense of sorrow. Along with godly sorrow comes the hope of forgiveness an opportunity for teaching and correction.

Satan will condemn and guilt, showing us the problem. God lovingly convicts, showing us the solution that leads to repentance. I don’t know about you, but I need to be reminded of this…a lot. My prayer is this article served as a reminder of God’s wonderful nature to convict, forgive, and correct.

Shows only the problem

Godly sorrow
Points to the Father
Shows the answer

 When we mess up (and we will) and the thoughts begin (and they will too), we must train ourselves to STOP and ask, Is this teaching me and pointing toward forgiveness? Or, is this accusing and showing me only the problem?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below.



Sometimes even Christians need help reading the Bible.

Did you make a New Year’s resolution to start reading the Bible more regularly?

It’s mid-January and now is about the time many of us start to lose steam.

I want to encourage you to hang in there! Even if you missed a few days.

Many times, all that’s needed (besides commitment), are a fresh look and some practical tools. Well, you’re in luck! Below is an article that I hope helps you stay the course with your Bible reading goals. But first, let’s discuss the elephant in the room.

Why is it so hard to read the Bible?

I mean, most of us really want to —yet we don’t keep a consistent reading plan. And when we do open it, we’re sort of lost. Allowing the pages of the big book to fall open randomly, we search for a morsel of something useful, reducing God’s Word to something like a fortune from a Chinese cookie.

Or perhaps we may know some familiar scriptures extracted from memory in times of need that we sprinkle like fairy dust in hopes of a changed situation. Psalms and Proverbs are great for that. But deep inside, we yearn. Surely it’s supposed to be different than this.

Wherever you are at in your journey with the Lord, a fresh look at what the scriptures truly are can help.

If we’re going to get anything out of Bible study, we must throw away our misconceptions and preconceived notions. Be open to learning what the Bible is really about. Are you ready?

What the Bible is NOT

A rule book
Mythical fairy tales
Complex book of cryptic prophesies
Two separate stories: the Israelites in the Old Testament. Jesus and the church in the New Testament

What the Bible IS
A story about God, life, and His people

We must approach the Bible as a story—a true story in which we are a part of, and hasn’t ended yet. However, if we attempt to read the Bible as a typical story, we may likely become confused and frustrated.

“The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne–everything–to rescues the ones he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!

There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.

It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story. And at the center of the Story, there is a baby. Every story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece of the puzzle–the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.

You see, the best thing about this Story is–it’s true.”  Sally Lloyd-Jones, The Jesus Storybook Bible

Something to remember before reading the Bible is to ask God to help. He wants for us to draw close and gain understanding.

Beckie’s Bible Study Tool Box

Here’s a convenient PDF of The Tool Box. Just click and print! Beckie’s Bible Study Tool Box.

A Good place to begin is by getting familiar with the Bible. Here’s how:

Once we embrace that fact that the Bible is God’s story, it helps to get our bearings. What I mean is the “setting” —WHERE the many stories from the Bible take place. Before diving into reading, it may help to take a look a map to see just where these events take place.

Another helpful tool is a timeline. You know, like back in school when studying ancient history and the prehistoric eras? I’ve included some websites I find highly useful below.

  1. Maps And Timelines

From Google Maps:


Overview of the Bible Reading Plan

2.Chronological Reading Plan

I know many people who have read through the Bible in one year. Perhaps you’ve started this program. My husband and I have done this together. It was great to finally read the entire Bible. But you know what? There were still things that confused me. Once major hurdle for me was that if one sets out to read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, it is not in order. I finally found a one year plan that put the Bible in order of events how they occurred.

Although the Bible is not in chronological order, this plan is an outline of how to read that way.

3. Bible Studies.

Nothing takes the place of reading the Bible on its own. However, you may find a study useful to help bring more understanding.Here are a few studies I recommend for beginners or even the seasoned Christian.

Seamless: Understanding the Bible as one Complete Story by Angie Smith

seamless Bible study

Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God by Henry T. Blackaby
Experiencing God studyy

4.Online Resources and Commentaries

I recommend reading through passages and meditating on what the Holy Spirit reveals before anything else. Once you’ve done this, looking to those who have dedicated their education to theology is quite helpful. There are many great resources out there, especially with the convenience of the internet. Below are a few of my favorite.

(@BibleGateway & @BibleGatewayApp) is your rich social and personal connection to freely read, research, and reference Scripture on your desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone . . . anywhere; in more than 200 versions and more than 70 languages! Its simple yet advanced searching capabilities allow you to quickly find and compare particular passages in multiple Bible translations based on the keywords, phrases, topics, or Scripture references you have in mind. You’ll be inspired and encouraged – whether reading with your eyes or your ears (audio Bibles) – as you rely on Bible Gateway for all your Bible reading needs.

Blue Letter Bible

Our mission is to facilitate in-depth study of God’s Word through an on-line interactive reference library continuously updated from the teachings and commentaries of selected pastors and teacher who hold to the conservative, historical Christian faith.

Bible Hub
Search, read, and study the Bible in many languages.

5. Bible Study Apps

Uversion App picolivetree_app_Icon-retina

Here’s a link to The Top Ten Apps

What did you find helpful?  Do you have any questions? Please comment below.

When God Says to Wait

When God Says to Wait


Such a dreaded word. No one likes to wait. But we wait in traffic, in grocery stores, for the microwave (that’s so funny to me!), for the doctor, for a spouse, for a baby, for vacation, for retirement, or for Jesus to return.

Waiting has a negative connotation, especially in our fast-paced, instant gratification culture. It means zero productivity. Wasting time. Being idle.

My mom used to say to me, “Good things come to those who wait.”

Despite the words of motherly wisdom, the concept of waiting never bode well with me. And yet…

Wait is the word the Lord gave to me for 2017.

Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
    for my hope is in him.” Psalm 62:5 

My response: You must be kidding me, Lord. You know I hate to wait. I’m not good at it.

Let me back up a moment here and tell you how I knew the Lord had specifically given me this scripture and the word wait.

Back in December during my prayer time, an old song came to mind. I often sing to the Lord, but I cannot remember the last time I sang this song before then.

Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.
Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.

For several days I literally woke up with this song in my head. The more I sang it, the more touched I became by the lyrics. Until one morning I found myself in tears barely able to finish the song. It was the morning after I had visited the local Rescue Mission. On my way home from the mission I had asked the Lord to give me a heart like His for those who are in need and homeless.

The reality is, I know I don’t even come close to having a heart like Jesus. Especially for those who are dirty, on drugs, or mentally ill, like my perception of many homeless people. The Lord impressed upon me that this is where the song comes into play (no pun intended).

What I needed was a softened heart. A heart that melted for others. A heart that was pliable and moldable. Only then could I be filled with the love of Christ in order for Him to use me, like the lyrics of the song stated.

“Yes, Lord! That’s what I want. Have your way. You’re the potter. I’m the clay. Mold me, Lord,” I exclaimed, then got up to end my prayer time.

But I didn’t have peace, so I sat back down.


I sat still,  waiting for the Lord. But that was it—wait.

Over the next several days and throughout the holidays, the word wait was everywhere. It was in the message from my Pastor, it was in songs, it came up in scriptures, in conversation. I could not avoid the word. I’ve learned that when God wants to get a point across to me, He will many times bring confirmation that often (but not always) includes circumstances, people, music, dreams, and teaching. But God will always include the truth of His word. Finally, while doing a Bible study, I came upon Psalm 62:5 Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.” NLT

I wrote the scripture in my journal and meditated upon each word, writing what the Lord was teaching me.

Let all that I am:
To allow every part of my being
To remain stationary in readiness or expectation

When I looked up the verse in the NIV translation, this is what I found:

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; for my hope comes from him.”


And who couldn’t use some REST? Hmm, maybe this isn’t so bad after all.

I also found in scripture where the following words: wait, rest and hope were all interchangeable. Take a look at one example from  Isaiah 40:31 in three different translations.
New Living Translation (NLT)
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles.They will run and not grow weary.They will walk and not faint.”
“But those who hope in the Lord…”
Lastly, KJV
“But they that wait upon the Lord…”

All the same scripture, but with deeper meanings for the word wait.

Waiting means finding hope in God—the only true source of hope.

Waiting means resting in who God is and what He will do.

Waiting means trusting that God is in charge and His timing is best.

Hope, Rest, and Trust are active words. They are not wasting time with zero productivity— the way I’ve looked at waiting in the past. Waiting produces patience. And patience is a much-needed commodity, especially nowadays.

Another thing I discovered was a reoccurring theme of waiting on the Lord throughout scripture. Abraham waited 25 years for the son God promised him. After leaving Egypt, the Israelites wander the desert for 40 years before entering the Promised Land. David waited close to 20 years from the time he was anointed by Samuel to the time he became king over Judah. Simeon, the priest, waited his whole life for the promised Messiah.

How long did Jesus pray in the Garden of  Gethsemane? Probably several hours. Then after the horror of His death, how long did Mary and the disciples wait in anguish? Three long days that must of have seemed like an eternity. Christ followers waited 50 days for the promised Holy Spirit.

Growth and holiness are not achieved through

hurriedness, busy-ness, or instant gratification.

 The way of God is the way of waiting.

If I want to have a heart that melts for what melts God’s, I must wait, hope, trust, and rest in Him.

In this way, I can be molded, filled and used by God. Waiting on the Lord in 2017 is beginning to sound pretty good to me.

YOUR TURN: Has God ever told you to wait? Do you have a hard time with waiting, like most of us?

I encourage you to read some of the insightful comments from readers below.

I’m honored to link up this post to LMMLinkup: