Tuesday, May 30, 2017

True Grit

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

He lay there in a pool of his own blood. They thought he was dead. But he got up and went back to the city from which he had been stoned, dragged to the side of a road, and left for dead. Yes, I’m referring to the Apostle Paul, and it happened in Lystra.

Be honest: If you had been pelted repeatedly with rocks and left for dead, would you go back to that city and spend the night? You’re probably laughing at the thought, right? Not so with Paul. He was a man on a mission from God. He was determined to stick it out. We say of someone like that, “He has true grit.”

That’s because Paul didn’t operate solely from a horizontal viewpoint. If that were the case, he would have been miles away when the sun peaked over the horizon the next day. But Paul had a vertical perspective on things. With that mindset, you stick it out. You don’t quit. And, for heaven’s sake, you don’t throw a pity-party. You do what you’ve done night after night — you keep trusting the God who called you, convinced that he will keep you in His sovereign care. Welcome to authentic Christian ministry — true grit!

True grit is not fickle. True grit rejects being enshrined as a god (that’s what the city folk wanted to do with Paul and Barnabas just before Jews from Antioch and Iconium came and talked them into stoning Paul - see Acts 14.11-13). True grit is relentless through periods of intense persecution. True grit hangs in there, no matter how perilous the threat. Paul and Barnabas dripped with it. 

I think of the many Christ followers outside of the U.S. who demonstrate this same tenacity of ministry. I pray for them. And I pray that if God should call me to that kind of ministry, that I would have the same grit they are made of!

True grit delivers the truth of God, no matter how perilous things become.

Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe. Acts 14.19-20

Monday, May 29, 2017


Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

OK, I’ll confess… I am not a fisherman. There, I’ve said it. I’ve only been deep sea fishing one time and got so seasick, I never dropped a line in the water! But I learned something from that trip that has helped me navigate through the difficulties of life — the best plan for surviving a trip in open water is preparation. 

Before we left the dock, I watched a seasoned crew checking the ship’s equipment to make sure it was in proper working order. They opened containers marked with a red cross on them to make sure everything on a list was there. 

I walked around the Captain’s pilot room (whatever that is called), and watched as he looked at navigational charts and called somewhere for weather patterns. 

And finally, I watched as they tested the anchor by raising it up and down to make sure it was ready to secure the boat if necessary. For some reason, that gave me a sense of security. I’m glad they didn’t leave the port without an anchor. No one wants to be shipwrecked, but in reality, it happens sometimes… in life as on the sea. 

The key, then, is what you do ahead of time while you are in calm waters. Let’s say that your life is “storm-free” at the moment. Take advantage of it. Spend time in the Word studying the divine navigational charts designed for life’s journeys. Check all your survival gear through prayer. Make sure your anchor is strong through personal worship. 

You will face adversity in life, storms, if you will. But if you are prepared, you will be ready to face it with faith and not fear. Don’t wait until the storm comes. Do the hard work of preparation now. You will be glad you did when an inevitable storm comes your way. Your best chance of survival is what you do in calm water.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6.10-13

Friday, May 26, 2017


Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

Yesterday, as I prepared for a new sermon series I’ll start in a couple of weeks at the church I pastor, a Scripture prompted a High School memory. I know it sounds crazy, but I was back in the gym, peering over the shoulders of everyone who wanted to see if they had made the team or not. For me, it was baseball. We had tryouts, a few cuts, and then the final couple of weeks to show the coaches what we could do. Then, he announced, “Final cuts will be posted in the gym. If your name isn’t on the list, you’ve been cut from the team.”

Fortunately for me, I made the varsity team. Others, however, left in disappointment. Have you ever lost a competition or been cut from a list of something you really wanted to do or be? Remember what it felt like?

OK, take that feeling and multiply it times eternity.

We Christ followers believe that Jesus will come again. We also believe that those who are in Christ have “made the team,” meaning, we will be with Him for eternity. 

What about those who aren’t in Christ, you ask. His coming will be as a “thief in the night” to take only those who are prepared for His coming. That’s a sobering assessment, and why we need to sound the alarm about His coming. It’s a wake up call of sorts, so they can come to Christ now.  

In school we called it “making the cut.” Well, here’s a cut you don’t want to miss:

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from His presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life... Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire” [Revelation 20:11, 12, 15].

The big question is, how do you make the team? Jesus made that very clear. 

Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son... Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life…” [John 3.18, 36]. 

Scriptures like these are not at all popular in our culture, but they are there — the very words of God. Let’s not avoid them because they make us uncomfortable. Let’s not be silenced for the sake of the “tolerance” required by our culture. 

Jesus is coming. We want as many "teammates" as possible.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Titus 2.11-14

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Fig Leaves

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

How do you try to cover yourself when hiding your sins from God? Maybe your reaction is like that of Adam and Eve after they sinned, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves” [Genesis 3.7]. There you have the natural response — to piece together some fig leaves to cover the shame of sin. 

I’ll use fig leaves as a metaphor for some ways people use them to cover their sins.

Fig leaf 1: To immerse yourself in good works - God helps those who help themselves.

Fig leaf 2: I’ll get really, really religious - If I do my part, God will be pleased with me.

Fig leaf 3: I’ll get rid of the classic sins - drugs, sex, and rock and roll. Anyone?

Fig leaf 4: I’ll judge others - As long as I’m not as bad as him/her, I’ll be OK.

There are more, but I think you get the picture.

Fig leaves may work with humans, but you’ll pay a high price when you to use them to hide your sins from God. Why not confess your sins since He’s the only one who really accepts us as we are, and the only one who can deliver us from them anyway!

Listen to this powerful truth from the Bible: “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” [Romans 3.21-24]. 

If you’re covered with fig leaves instead of righteousness through grace, you’re being robbed of intimacy with God. Jesus, the cross, and the grace of God make intimacy possible — no matter how exposed and vulnerable your sins make you feel.  

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Romans 5.1-2

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Divine Providence

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

I’m teaching from the book of Esther on Sunday mornings at the church I pastor. The theme of the series is the providence of God. Divine providence is how God works behind the scenes to orchestrate His purposes in the world. I’m not referring to miracles here, as divine providence has to do with how God uses natural means to coordinate the infinite variety of factors necessary to accomplish what He wants. But I want to suggest that divine providence is a miracle too.

Think about the vast scope and endless outworking of providence, if you will. God draws together billions of circumstances, which some call coincidence, to achieve His will each day. As a Christ follower, trust in God’s providence is one of the greatest exercises of faith we can have. 

Paul wholeheartedly trusted in the providence of God regardless of the challenges he experienced [Philippians 4.11]. And here’s what Joseph said about the providence of God, “You [his brothers] meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive” [Genesis 50.20]. 

We, too, will be better prepared for life, and what God teaches us through circumstances both good and bad, if we have a basic understanding of divine providence. Only then can we fully realize and apply the truth that God is daily working everything out for our good and His glory.

That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. Romans 8.28 (The MESSAGE Paraphrase)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Righteous in Christ

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

In the course of my studies, righteousness is a subject that surfaces often, very often. I’m a pastor and I study the Bible daily (every Christ follower should be doing that by the way. It is not solely a pastor’s role, right?). I’ve been to Bible College and Seminary and, for some, that makes me a “professional” Christian. I was speaking with a guy one day and this came out of his mouth, “You’re a pastor. Of course you have a higher degree of righteousness!” 

OK, back to reality. The subject of righteousness fascinates me. It’s mind boggling because, rightly understood, a Christ follower’s righteousness goes back to Jesus every time. Here’s what the Apostle Paul wrote about it, “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. Furthermore, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith” [Philippians 3.7-9].

God will not declare you righteous if you are still wicked. And, you cannot make yourself righteous no matter how hard you try. First, God makes us righteous, then He declares us righteous. How does that work? Again, the Apostle Paul, “God made Him [Christ] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” [2 Corinthians 5.21]. 

That’s our Jesus. He took our sins to the cross. There, we were crucified with Him. He saved us, and now lives in us. We are righteous before God because of our Savior. From the day of our salvation until now, we are learning to rest in His righteousness, and to trust the Holy Spirit to live through us. 

After all these years of study, it still blows me away!

We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Isaiah 64.6  But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). Ephesians 2.4-5

Monday, May 22, 2017


Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

OK, I’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for a really good cop show. I got sucked into one the other day when one of the police officers got separated from his buddies. He was in an alley and it was night time. The street was wet - they’re always wet (it must enhance the drama). Trash cans were tipped over and garbage littered the street. With gun drawn, he walked slowly, carefully hunting down the bad guys. The music built so you knew someone was about to bite the bullet. And sure enough, BAM BAM BAM! It was the cop. He dropped his gun, rocked backwards, and fell into a twisted heap on the cold, wet pavement, while the bad guys got away.

End of story, right? Well, not yet. The camera moved in on the cop’s hand and a finger twitched. Then, slowly, he began to move and, painfully, he got to his feet. He unbuttoned his uniform to reveal a bulletproof vest. He took three slugs to the chest, but was saved by his vest.

That piece of modern day protection reminds me of the eternal protection God has provided every Christ follower in the breastplate of righteousness. When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesian Christ followers, he said, “Stand firm then… with the breastplate of righteousness in place” [Ephesians 6.14].

Let me remind you, as a Christ follower, you are going to take some shots too. I’m not talking about bullets from bad guys. I’m referring to your archenemy, Satan. He will do everything he can to pierce your heart with doubt, guilt, and shame from your sins. Those “fiery darts” are aimed at your heart with the intent killing your spirit. 

You may get knocked down from time to time like the policeman in the movie. But please remember, you have a breastplate of righteousness. It’s purpose is not to perfect you, but to protect you. It will. It does. Today, tomorrow, and every day until you meet God face to face. 

That’s really good news to start your week. Rejoice in it.

I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of His righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 
Isaiah 61.10

Friday, May 19, 2017

Those Pesky, Fiery Trials

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

Encouraging words are vital as we strive for godliness during times of trials, temptations and suffering. The Apostle Peter wrote to early Christ followers about such trials and he called those saints “beloved.” The term beloved is encouraging in that it conveys tenderness and concern for those struggling with their difficulties. It captures the idea of what Peter would later say, “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins” [1 Peter 4.8]

Most likely, the Christ followers of Peter’s day were a lot like us — tempted to be discouraged and doubt God’s love in their trials. Remember, Peter wrote his letters during a time of severe persecution under Nero. So, his letters were sent out to reassure his beloved of God’s love for them.  

Peter used the term fiery ordeal, which may refer trials that come for a purpose. When translating the Old Testament into Greek, fiery referred to a furnace used to refine metal from unwanted elements. The Psalmist painted the picture for us, “For You have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined” [Psalm 66.10]. In other words, fiery trials represents those sufferings that God allows us to experience for the purpose of purification. 

Fiery ordeals should not be considered as out of the ordinary or a strange thing to Christ followers. So, don’t be surprised when they come your way. They will come your way! And it won’t simply be by chance that they arrive. Sure, they may catch us off guard at times, but we can deal with them because we know we are the beloved of God. 

There’s confidence in knowing that God’s loving care for us never fails. We are certain of His love for us, no matter how unexpected or difficult any trial might be.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you. 1 Peter 4.12

Thursday, May 18, 2017

God Said It, That Settles It

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

You’ve probably seen the bumper sticker that says, “God said it; I believe it; and that settles it!” I like it for it’s bold statement, but with all due respect, it isn’t correct. It should simply say, “God said it and that settles it!”

The truth of God’s Word doesn’t depend on anything but itself for truthfulness. Can I get a witness? It doesn’t matter how we think or feel about it, God’s Word is God’s Word. It just is!

So, what does that mean for you and me? I can answer that with a little song I learned in Sunday School many years ago:

Every promise in the Book is mine
Every chapter, every verse, every line
All the blessings of His love divine
Every promise in the Book is mine

In adult language, it means every chapter, every verse, every line, every word is inspired by God and deserving of our attention. Sure, there are verses more inspiring than others, but they are all equally inspired.

The entire Word of God is fixed in heaven and is as meaningful to your life as it was to those who read it thousands of years ago. That’s why, as a Christ follower, we do not neglect the Word. Dig in. Enjoy its truth as a breath of fresh air. Relish its instructions. It is God’s gift —His very words — to you! 

The Bible is as relevant today as the day it was written. Open it daily and let the Word of God guide your life.

Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119.89

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

God Will Make a Way

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

He was awakened in the middle of the night by a phone call. “Your sister-in-law, her husband, and the four boys were seriously injured in a car accident. The eight year old boy is in very critical condition.” 

He and his wife grieved, pouring their hearts out to God. After a little while, Don Moen scribbled some words and composed the music for a song that, to this day, offers a deep sense of hope in the midst of difficult times.

God will make a way, 
Where there seems to be no way; 
He works in ways we cannot see, 
He will make a way for me. 
He will be my guide, 
Hold me closely to His side; 
With love and strength for each new day, 
He will make a way. He will make a way!
© Copyright 1990 Integrity's Hosanna! Music

From the perspective of a Christ follower, to have hope, is to have God. To have peace, is to have God — by placing your trust/faith/confidence in Him.  

In times when our vision is blurred by sorrow, the eyes of faith are more important than ever. George McDonald, mentor to C.S. Lewis, once said, "I think faith can never have a greater victory than when it will trust even in the midst of darkness and doubt and temptation." 

Victorious faith is not about our faith, it’s about our confidence in a victorious God, whose will is not nullified by our suffering. Do you believe it? That God will make a way where there seems to be no way. He works in ways we cannot see . . . He will make a way of me!

That kind of faith will lead to a hopeful expectation of the fulfillment of God’s promises; a faith that is not crushed by sorrow, but strengthened through it.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15.13

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Mercy: Pass It On

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

God is merciful. In fact, He delights in mercy as the prophet Micah recorded, “Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy” [Micah7.18].

As a Christ follower, we have the privilege to show mercy too. In the physical realm, we can give money to the poor, feed the hungry, or shelter the homeless. God wants His people to do that. Moses wrote, “If there is a poor man with you . . . you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from [him]; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks” [Deuteronomy 15.7-8]. Helping the poor is a merciful thing to do.

In the spiritual realm, we show mercy when we rebuke sin. Paul said, "The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all . . . with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth” [2 Timothy 2.34-25]. That is showing mercy because it gives unbelievers an opportunity to repent and find forgiveness. 

Praying for someone is merciful. So is preaching. In fact, sharing Christ with someone is the most merciful thing you can do. 

The list of ways to show mercy is long. My goal this morning is to encourage you to find as many ways as possible to pass on the abundant mercy God has shown to you. There are many, many ways to show mercy.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Matthew 5.7

Monday, May 15, 2017

Zeal and Ambition

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

One day, Jesus was walking on the north shore of Galilee near Capernaum when He saw James and John with their Father Zebedee along with other hired servants. Like Andrew and Peter, James and John were fishermen. Jesus called them to follow Him. “I’ll make you fishers of men,” He said [Mark 1.19-20]. The call must have been compelling because they immediately left their Father and hired servants in the boat, and began following Christ.

When you read the Gospels, it’s easy to see that James and John were zealous and ambitious men. Jesus saw that in them too and gave them a nickname, Boanerges, which means, “Sons of Thunder [Mark 3.17]. Their zeal got the better of them on occasions. Like the time a Samaritan village rejected some disciples and they asked permission to burn it down with heavenly fire [Mark 3.17]. That’s pretty zealous, don’t you think? Or the time when they persuaded their Mother to ask Jesus to give them a prominent place when He came into His kingdom [Matthew 20.20-28]. That’s quite ambitious, right? They wanted power and position, but Jesus only promised them suffering. For James, it would mean a martyr’s grave.

We think James was the older of the two brothers since his name is always listed first when they appear together in Scripture. I wonder if he was the most zealous and ambitious of the two. I also wonder if it was his zealousness for Christ that caught the attention of King Herod. When he decided to persecute the Church, Herod first chose James to be put to death [Acts 12.2]. After James, Herod chose Peter as his next victim. While we don’t have a record of this in Scripture, it makes me wonder if James was the bigger threat to Herod at the time. If so, it reveals what a powerful ministry he must have had in those days. 

Zeal and ambition are not, in themselves, a bad thing. However, they can become bad when they run ahead of the Holy Spirit. If you are a zealous person, be thankful for it. And please know that we need you to let it rip! Just be careful to to allow the Holy Spirit to temper what you do, what you say, and how you say it. 

One more thing, if you have lost your zeal, slipping into spiritual complacency, you are no longer a threat to Satan’s kingdom. Please repent, and renew your zealousness for the Lord. God can use zealous and ambitious people for His glory.

About that time Herod [Agrippa] the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword. Acts 12.1-2

Friday, May 12, 2017

Faith Tested

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

Bible stories aren’t just stories to be told, they are lessons to be learned. So, the next time you read a story in your Bible, an important question to ask is, “Why?” Why did God allow that man, woman, family, nation to experience what I just read? 

That is particularly important when testing is involved, like when God tested Abraham by telling him to sacrifice his son. Why would God put a man through something like that? A partial answer is found in the word itself, to test. It comes from a Hebrew word that has the idea of proving the quality of something, in this case, Abraham’s faith.

The purpose of the test was not to satisfy God’s curiosity at all. The binding of Isaac was Abraham’s proving ground. And if faith were ever to be put on display, this had to be that day. The test was to prove that Abraham loved God more than his promised son — that he worshiped God above all else.

Let’s set Abraham aside and consider our own faith for a moment. Do I worship what God has given me more than God the Giver? Take a breath and think before you answer that question.

We worship by action and by heart. Worship is affirming what is valuable to us. That is the Anglo-Saxon meaning of worship — “worthship.” If you truly want to know what you worship, follow the trail of your sacrifices and add them up. Or, you can answer this question: For whom or what do I sacrifice more, or more often? That’s what you worship.

Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham… Genesis 22.1

Thursday, May 11, 2017

How to be an Effective Witness

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

In a short biography of Billy Graham, the author told about a time when he spoke at a meeting with a hundred of America’s wealthiest and most influential people. When he spoke to them, the author said, it was like he spoke to children; tenderly and simply. He went on to tell how many in the group sat with tears running down their cheeks, and that several came to faith in Christ that night. 

Graham’s message was a simple presentation of the Gospel. He didn’t craft clever words to challenge their keen intellect. It was the truth and power of God in the Gospel that provoked the response.

I often hear Christ followers give the excuse for not sharing the Gospel that they just don’t know what to say. Maybe they think they need perfectly crafted words to convince people, I don’t know. But the truth is, your clever speech won’t go far in leading people to Christ. The Gospel will. 

Here’s the deal: tell others that Christ died for their sins and offers them the free gift of salvation. Keep the Gospel simple when you share it. Then, let God attract people through the truth, not cleverly crafted words. 

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom…but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 
1 Corinthians 2.1,5

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Lift the Cross High

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

The Apostle Paul said something interesting to the Corinthians Christ followers. He told them that he was sent to preach the gospel so that people would get the meaning of the cross of Christ. 

Evidently, the cross is not a self-explanatory event. It takes inspired commentary — including the words of Jesus Himself — to make sense of its majesty.

Why is that? What made the cross of Christ special? Tens of thousands of people were crucified during Roman rule, and the message was the same (in the eyes of Rome), JUSTICE SERVED. Why is it that Christ followers see the cross as our highest consolation? The consummation of all hope?

It’s because Jesus, and preachers since Him, have taught us that by His death, sinners are reconciled with God and given eternal life. Paul determined that the message of the cross was at the forefront of his ministry. Ministry wasn’t about him, his experiences, his talents, his shortcomings, it was about the cross and what it accomplishes in the lives of those who believe.

Today, we are witnesses, preachers if you will. Here’s our sermon subject: Hold up the cross of Christ, point people to the cross, with as little of ourselves showing as possible.

Christ [sent] me…to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 1 Corinthians 1.17

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Good Conscience

Encouragement for your daily walk with God

Maybe you’ve heard this maxim: Let your conscience be your guide. It’s not a bad motto to follow as long as your conscience has been informed by biblical wisdom.

I once read an analogy that makes this crystal clear. The commentator likened a conscience to a sundial. You can only benefit from a sundial if light shines on it. You won’t get “the time of day” at 2:00 AM when it’s pitch black outside. And another thing, if there are other sources of light near the sundial, it can give you a false reading.

A sundial is only as useful as its light source. That is true of your conscience. You can rely on it if it has been enlightened by the Word of God. Remember, God’s Word is the light source to guide your life [Psalm 119.105]. If you spend time in the Word and take it to heart, then you can let your conscience be your guide. Here’s the formula: Time in the Word = confidence in the reliability of your conscience. 

Stay in the light of God’s Word. Let the truth of Scripture guide your life. Be fully convinced that what you are doing is right. Do that and you’ll enjoy the blessing of a good conscience.

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. Romans 14.5