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Conviction or Condemnation: How to Decipher the Voices

Are You Being Convicted or Condemned?

Everyone seems to have an opinion on how we should be living our lives.  Relatives, friends, neighbors, and coworkers often think they know best.  The Holy Spirit and the devil often toss their ideas into the hat too.  Not to mention, we have our own desires and we have to live with the choices we make.  With all these opinions floating around in our heads, it’s easy to feel like a leaf being tossed in the wind.  When you don’t know which voices to listen to, a great place to start is to figure out whether you’re hearing conviction or condemnation.  It is important to know how they are different and then to realize that only one of them is really worth your time.

convictionAshish_Choudhary/ Pixabay.com

The Purpose of Conviction

One of the easiest ways to understand the word conviction is to think about when someone is declared guilty in a court of law.  The judge and jury have examined the evidence, and agreed that an individual has indeed broken the law.  That type of conviction usually lands a person in jail.  But in a general sense, all of us have the potential to be convicted that something we are doing is wrong and needs to change.

Healthy conviction can come from a number of places.  The legal system is certainly one place it can originate.  For Christians, the Holy Spirit is the primary source of conviction related to sinful behavior.  Parents, bosses, coaches, or anyone given the authority to lead us can also help bring a sense of conviction our way.  Regardless of where conviction comes from, it generally serves one of three purposes.

  1. Teach You.

    It has been said that the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.  As someone who has completed both masters and doctoral level education, I completely agree with this statement.  After I completed my first college degree, I thought I knew everything.  Today, I realize there is more that I don’t know than I do know.  So, believe me, there are plenty of things that we don’t even realize we need to learn.  Sometimes when we are convicted of something we are doing wrong, we are actually in the process of learning a different, newer, or better way.

  2. Save You.

    In a spiritual sense, conviction is needed so that we may be saved from the enemy and draw closer to God.  But even if you’re not a deeply spiritual individual, we all need to be saved from something.  Perhaps you think the laws of gravity don’t apply to you.  Try to defy that law and your family may start making new friends at the local funeral home.  Scraped up knees, parent-inflicted consequences, and trips to the local emergency room may provide the conviction needed to save you from harm.

  3. Motivate You.

    Everyone has times when our motivation is lower than needed in order to make a much-needed change.  Perhaps you’re a very social, outspoken person who believes in sharing the truth.  While that may be a good thing, there also may be times when silence would have been a better option.  If you publicly share truths that hurt your friends, you may find yourself a few friends short in the days ahead.  The loss of friends may be just what you need to motivate you to be more cautious with the words you choose to share.

The Distraction of Condemnation

Even though conviction is generally a good thing, it can still hurt us.  It causes us to realize the harmful things we have done to others through our actions or lack of response.  But condemnation brings nothing but pain and usually does not teach, save or motivate us to improve in the future.

When we think of the word condemnation, we often think of condemned buildings that have been deemed unsafe for humans.  What do we do with condemned buildings?  We stay out of them, give up hope on them, and eventually forget about them.

Imagine what it would be like to condemn a human.  Would we stay away from them?  Give up hope on them?  Forget about them?  Well, unfortunately that does happen in our world today.  And one thing you can be sure of is that it won’t bring about the positive change that conviction does.

Disregard Condemnation & Cling to Conviction

You can recognize condemnation and conviction by the words being said.  If you are hearing words from spiritual forces, someone in your life, or your own mind, listen carefully to what is being communicated.  Someone who has your best interest at heart will offer words that prompt you to take action.  They will inspire and motivate you to be a better version of yourself.  Cling to what these voices are saying.  These are voices that will help you reach a better place in life.  They will help you find a place that is more stable, more knowledgeable, safer, and filled with peace.

On the other hand, voices of condemnation bring depression, guilt, feelings of being ashamed or unworthy.  The only places these voices are going to take you are having your doors shut with 4x4s nailed across it.  Words of condemnation distance us from others and often lead others to give up hope on us and to forget about us altogether.  When you hear these voices, declare them pure nonsense, and disregard them.  They are distracting voices that will not lead you to the places you want to go and are therefore not worth your time!

Reflection Questions:

  1. What voices are the strongest in your life?  Those of empowering conviction or debilitating condemnation?
  2. In what ways will you begin disregarding condemnation and clinging to true healthy conviction?

Suggestions for Additional Reading

Condemnation versus Conviction

Convicted but not Condemned

Conviction or Condemnation…Knowing the Difference

Discerning the Difference Between Holy Spirit Conviction and Demonic Condemnation

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Healthy Living on a Budget, Movember Movement & Coffee Creamer

Episode 4:  Show Notes

This episode examines ways we can make healthy living choices even when we have limited income and are on a tight budget. It also presents the flavored coffee creamer challenge.  Lastly, the Movement Movement, which focuses on Men’s Health is explored.

Part 1: Healthy Living on a Budget.


Is is even possible to eat healthy on a budget? High carbohydrate, prepackaged items seem to be much cheaper and there are times in life when that may be all we can afford. Take a look at the grocery store sales flyer and what’s on sale? Soda, chips, mac & cheese, heavily processed items that are high in sugar, fat, salt & all type of preservatives.

Inexpensive healthy options include:

  • Protein- canned beans, eggs, nuts, chicken, pumpkin seeds, oatmeal, canned fish like salmon & tuna.
  • Dairy – yogurt, cottage cheese, milk.
  • Whole Grains – brown rice, whole wheat pasta.
  • Fruit & Vegetables – consider both fresh & frozen versions.
  • Drinks- coffee, tea, & water.

Reading, Listening & Viewing Material

  • Library- There’s more there than you think and it can help you stick to your budget. Physical books, audio-books, electronic books such as Kindle editions.
    • You can use inter library loan & gets many more options.
    • Videos & more
    • From a Health Perspective
      • Diet & exercise/ healthy living books
      • Cookbooks
      • Humor books that help you De-stress
      • Great fiction stories
      • Wherever your interests lie – there’s something for you
  • Inexpensive Options – discounted books that fit your budget found on email listservs
  • Amazon & other booksellers – often have electronic books for under $5 – less expensive to produce. New authors eager to share their work may even offer free items from time to time.


  • Workout Videos – YouTube free channels
  • Walking – at your house, at a local mall.  Have kids? Strollers have wheels.
  • Free Community Opportunities – YMCA’s often have free swim time for non-members. Make a date & do it!

Part 2:  Dr. Terri’s Health Tip & Challenge of the Week

Tis the season for pumpkin spice coffee creamer, frosted sugar cookie, peppermint mocha, sweet Italian cream, girl scout thin mints, or my personal favorite french vanilla.  The flavor list goes on and on and new additions are always on the way. Did you know that there are 35 Calories & 5 gms of sugar for each 1 TBSP

I wrote a blog post this week called “Sugar Addiction: When your sweet tooth takes control of you!”   One of the main points I make in that post is that sugar causes our dopamine levels to rise (just like highly addictive drugs like cocaine & meth do).  Sugar can be just as addictive.

My husband used to tease me about how much creamer I would use by saying, “Would you like a little coffee with that creamer?”  After several years of loving my vanilla creamer, much like a drug addict loves to get his/her next fix, I did become convicted that it had to stop. I switched to 1% milk.  Only 6 calories & .8 gm of sugar per TBSP.  So, do I ever drink flavored creamers today? Yes!  But I don’t buy it and I don’t keep in my house.  And I especially don’t buy the gallon containers, even though they are a good price.

What I do is allow myself 2 cups worth when I am out! We have a local restaurant that we go to for breakfast or brunch occasionally.  If they have it (not a guarantee), I will have some.  At certain work events where coffee is served, 2 cup limit here too.  Visiting friends who have it – yes the 2 cup limit applies here as well.  When you’re out, they often have single serve portions – meaning you can’t overdo it. Be careful on the amount if you’re pouring out of a bottle.

Flavored Coffee Creamer Challenge

Evaluate your creamer situation. Are you feeding your sugar addiction or having too many calories in your coffee cup?  If so, consider switching to low-fat milk or even choosing plain black coffee.  For me, the coffee was more important than the creamer. And your taste buds will adapt – but you have to make a decision and stick with it.

Part 3:  The Movember Movement

This topic is being presented today in response to a male listener’s recommendation. And it is very timely as November is an important month for this movement. If you have topics that you would like me to dig into – please use the contact form on my website to let me know.  I’d be glad to explore any health topic that you are interested in.

This movement started in Australia in 2003 with 30 men.  Now in its 14th year the Movember movement has grown to be a truly global one, inspiring support from over 5 million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas around the world.  Movember’s success can largely be attributed to the strength of the global community.

They focus on raising awareness, prevention, treatment and cures for 4 basic areas.

  1. Prostate Cancer
  2. Testicular Cancer
  3. Mental Health
  4. Suicide Prevention

During the month of November, the Movember movement challenges men to grow out & groom their mustaches to raise awareness.  You can sign up on their website.  A second way you can participate is to Take the Move challenge and get physically active during Movember. The Move challenge is whatever you make it. Run a race. Learn to rock climb. Work out in costume. Try something new, beat your own personal best, and raise funds for men’s health.  The third way to participate is to raise funds and encouraging others to participate.  You can do this anywhere you like, at work, in your community, or even at college.

No-Shave November

I also want to take a minute to clear up something that may be a bit confusing.

I’ve heard and seen men participate in No-Shave November.  This involves growing much more facial hair then just a mustache.  This is a separate non-profit organization that has similar goals. No-Shave November is a web-based, non-profit organization devoted to growing cancer awareness and raising funds to support cancer prevention, research, and education.

With this organization men skip shaving & grooming for 30 days.  In essence increasing their facial hair.  The goal of No-Shave November is to grow awareness by embracing our hair, which many cancer patients lose, and letting it grow wild and free. Donate the money you typically spend on shaving and grooming to educate about cancer prevention, save lives, and aid those fighting the battle.

So, I encourage you to check out more about both of these organizations, working on similar goals of improving health for our men!  Consider participating and making a donation to their cause.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

44 Healthy Foods Under $1

The Nutition Diva- Monica Reinagel


Ereader News Today

18 YouTube Channels To Help You Get in Shape

Movember Movement:  United States Branch

No-Shave November

Interactive Questions: (Please Respond in the Comment Section Below)

  1. Have you been using too much coffee creamer, increasing your calorie & sugar intake in way that negatively impacts your health?
  2. Ever participated in the Movember Movement or No-Shave November? Are you planning to participate this year?

Ways to Connect with Me:

Subscribe, rate, and review “Breaking Thru Health Barriers with Dr. Terri Wenner” in iTunes so you never miss an episode.

Always feel free to drop use the contact form on my website to send me your comments and questions.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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