Receiving forgiveness – cleansing (Prayer day 17)

Guilt and shame cause feelings of depression, even physical sickness.  But experiencing the gift of forgiveness brings freedom, a fresh lease on life.

I believe this song by Elevation Worship will greatly enhance your reading and prayer today.


Psalm 32:1-5 –  An Instruction of David

1  Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

2  Blessed is the man against whom the LORD imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

3  For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.

4  For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.

5  I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.

Observations and reflections

Explanatory Notes“imputes no iniquity” is a legal term by which the judge declares you just, meaning the judge finds no wrong in you. “transgression” means the act of breaking a law. “sin” usually refers to “missing the mark / aiming for wrong” in general. “iniquity” means the inherent tendency to doing wrong, such as in alcoholism. “deceit” means pretense or falsehood.  “Redemption” means purchasing freedom, like paying a fine or releasing a slave.  

  1. Note the parallelism (two ways of saying the same thing) in verses 1 and 2. What words are used for (a) sin and for (b) forgiveness. What do you learn from this?
  2. Describe in your own words effect guilt had on for David. (v3-4)
  3. How did David receive freedom from his guilt? (verse 5)
  4. What does this Psalm teach about (a) God and (b) our relation to Him?

Personal reflection and Prayer

Guilt is a gift from God – the deep knowing that I have done what is wrong is needed to make right with God.  The feelings of guilt (doing wrong) and shame (being wrong) should not lead us into hiding, because “silence makes our bones waste away (and) strength dry up” (v3-4).  But blurting out all our wrongs before God brings freedom, receive forgiveness and a fresh lease on life. That’s why Jesus taught us to pray “forgive us our sins…”

Let’s pray this prayer of David slowly, by talking to God through the outline of this Psalm.

  1. Can you recall a time when you felt heavy under guilt for doing something wrong that you had done? Describe your feelings and behavior. Why did you feel that way? When and how did you receive freedom from that guilt?
  2. Can you recall a time when you felt worthless or ashamed because of your tendency to do the wrong thing, even though you wanted to do right? Describe your feelings and behavior. When and how did you receive freedom from that guilt?
  3. In the presence of God, do you feel guilty for doing wrong, or shame for being wrong?
  4. When and how did you receive freedom from that guilt? Then blurt out your wrongs to God one by one and say these words to him: “In Jesus I have redemption (freedom) through His blood, the forgiveness of my sins, according to the riches of Your grace, which You lavished upon me” (Ephesians 1:7-8)

Note: Speak to God about your wrongs until you have assurance of forgiveness. Sometimes it helps praying with a friend or councilor.

The Character of a leader: how to grow in being candid, authentic

Its takes courage living an authentic life.  But it gives confidence and allows for real character growth.  Without it one cannot lead from the heart.

In this short introductory video Dale Cilliers shares his wisdom on how to grow in being candid and leading authentically (


1 John 1:5-9

5  This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  6  If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Observation and refection questions

Context: The congregation to which John wrote (approximately AD 94) apparently went through some traumatic split when a group following some Gnostic deception departed from them.  Among other things, these heretics propagated the belief that sins you do in your body has no effect on your spirit, and therefore it is not possible for a believer to sin at all.

  1. Considering the context how do you understand verses 6 and 8?
  2. From this text, how do we “walk in the light”? (verse 7)
  3. Knowing we are fallible, how do we still “walk in the light” from this text?

Application and Prayer

Secrecy of personal flaws to pretense and shame; it diminishes our confidence and damages our reputation as leaders.  However, having the boldness to be absolutely transparent with close friends about our personal struggles removes our shame, increases our confidence as leaders and allows for God’s grace to overcome personal weaknesses.

Last week we encouraged transparency with a close friend regarding our personal weaknesses and habitual flaws we struggles with.

  1. Consider your habitual thoughts: your daydreams (hopes), regrets, temptations (desires), anxieties (fears) and anger? List the following thoughts and talk about it to your close Christian friends.
    1. What do you daydreaming about?
    2. What regrets do you ponder on?
    3. Which temptations are dangerous to you, and when?
    4. What are you anxious about?
    5. What are you angry about?
  2. Pray with your friend and ask God to cleanse your heart and conscience.
  3. Ask your friend to help you choose one scripture to memorize and mediate on in the week.
  4. Make a date for when you will talk so openly again.

Repentance 2 – Coming Clean

The aim of this devotional bible study is to reflect on the importance and need for conviction and the confession of sin.


Psalms 51:1-19

A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had sinned sexually with Bathsheba and orchestrated the death of her husband Uriah.

1  Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.  2  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!

3  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.  4  Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. 5  Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6  Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

7  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. 9  Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 10  Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 11  Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 12  Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. 13  Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. 14  Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.

15  O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16  For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. 17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. 18  Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; 19  then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.


  1. Read this Psalm of David’s penitence (confession of sin) again, summarizing what he prays in your own words in these sections:
    1. V1-2
    2. V3-6
    3. V7-14
    4. V15-19
  2. Describe David’s emotional state in writing this Psalm. (v3-6)
  3. What does David want from God?
  4. Who was involved in this sin of David? (see the heading of the Psalm before verse 1).
    1. But against whom does David say he sinned? (v4) Why does he write that?
  5. David starts two sentence with “BEHOLD”
    1. He writes “BEHOLD, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (v5) What does he mean to say?
    2. He writes “BEHOLD, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.” (v6) What does he mean to say?
    3. With these two lines next to each other and starting both with “BEHOLD”, what do you read from it?
  6. Personal reflection and Prayer

David was moved with the conviction of his personal sin after the prophet Nathan (relaying God’s message) revealed his secret sin. He suffered from guilt and sorrow of heart when he wrote this.

  1. David ran to God and confessed his sin openly, knowing he would find mercy. Do you have that conviction, that God is merciful?
  2. Can you identify with David’s feeling of a weight of sin – either some “transgression” (v3) or a more general “inborn sin” (v5)? Pray your own words to God in the way David did, knowing you will find God “and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 86:15). (look at your summery in Observation 1 above).