365 Days of Praise - Beyond Ourselves

Why AWESOME is an Important Word

01/27/2021

LISTEN

A few years ago, the word “awesome” became a catchphrase for any and every thing. “Can you go Monday night? Awesome!” “This meal is awesome!” “I read an awesome book!” If you’re like many, we began to tire of hearing the over used word. However, rather than throw out the word, “awesome,” the Bible points us in the right direction for when to use it. In Genesis 28:17, awesome is used in relation to heaven, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” Exodus 15:11 uses it in relation to God and His works, “Who is like You among the gods, O LORD? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, Awesome in praises, working wonders?” Yes, we might want to scale down on our use of “awesome” in relation to mundane earthly things, but let’s use it often in relation to God.

We praise You, great and AWESOME GOD and thank You for Your AWESOME works

 

Hey Buddy, Do We Have Enough Holy Reverence

01/26/2021

“Hey Buddy.” We’re often quite chummy with people, even if while social distancing or on the phone. Some parents even call their children, “buddy.” We love to quote Matthew 11:19 that Jesus was a “friend of sinners.” But, let’s not forget that the “friend of sinners” is now gloriously exalted and seated at the right hand of God. Prayerfully visualize Daniel 7:9-10.

“I kept looking
Until thrones were set up,
And the Ancient of Days took His seat;
His vesture was like white snow
And the hair of His head like pure wool.
His throne was ablaze with flames,
Its wheels were a burning fire.
A river of fire was flowing
And coming out from before Him;
Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,
And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;
The court sat,
And the books were opened.
And were presented before Him.”

The Son of Man may be our friend and God our Abba Father, but based on Scripture, “buddy” isn’t how God is portrayed. Do we have enough holy reverence for the Ancient of Days? Are we mindfully sharing the path into His presence with others?  If you would like to learn how to share Jesus with gentle boldness, get a copy of Discovering His PassionBe more than concerned for other’s salvation. Be ready to lead them to salvation through faith in Christ. Luke 19:10

ANCIENT of DAYS, glorious One, holy Heavenly Father, forgive us when we act like You’re an earthly buddy. Quicken our hearts to tell others about You. 

Someone is Mindful of You

01/25/2021

Have you ever been startled to see someone you didn’t expect? There have been a number of times that my husband has startled me and I assure you, I jumped. Considering how we may have been startled by someone we didn’t expect, can you imagine what it was like for the disciple John to unexpectedly see the ascended Lord Jesus in heaven? John was on the island of Patmos when he was suddenly taken into Christ’s presence. What was his response? He fell at Jesus’s feet like a dead man. Revelation 1:18 records what Jesus said to John, “I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore,…” John had seen Jesus whipped, crucified, and buried. You don’t get “deader” than that. But now, John testifies that he saw Jesus “ALIVE!” If your today looks unbearable and you dread tomorrow, don’t. A glorious day of eternal LIFE awaits you in the presence of Jesus, who is alive forever. In the meantime and while we are still on earth, Jesus is alive and His eye is on you. He knows your name and where you are just like He did with John. He also has purpose for your life, just like He did with John. Believe. 

LORD JESUS CHRIST, we praise You, who died for us, are alive forevermore, and are mindful of where we are. 

When Waves of Hopelessness Pound Your Heart

01/23/2021

You need hope. I need hope. Our loved ones need hope. Where do we find it? Do we practice “self-talk” and tell ourselves we are “happy and fine” when we aren’t? Or, do we kneel, look up in praise, and cry out to the One who has gone before us to heaven and intercedes for us?  Hebrews 6:19 describes our relationship with Jesus in this way, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered…” Our hope in Jesus is an anchor for our soul. Personalize that reality. My hope in Jesus is an anchor for my soul. Think about that. It’s amazing!  We don’t have to emotionally drift  into the wide ocean of despair. Waves of hopelessness are not going to carry us beyond His eye. Yes, waves of hopelessness may at times pound at our heart and seem like they will overwhelm us. But when you feel that way, sweet friend, place your hope in your loving Savior. You are not going to drift beyond His sight or hold. He’s got you. Our hope in Christ is an anchor for our soul. Remember, He’s praying for you.

Jesus, sweet Savior, thank You for being the anchor of my soul. Thank You that I will never drift beyond your hold. Thank You for praying for me. 

A Tip for Everyday Living

01/22/2021

Do you like to get tips? Tips on gardening, saving money, home organizing, and every other topic exist. We do well to pay attention to proven tips. They help us do things smarter and in a more meaningful way.  Hebrews 3:1 gives us a tip. “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.” What kind of a tip is that? The word “consider” means to “fix your thoughts.” In other words, as partakers of a heavenly calling, we’re to fix our thoughts on Jesus when we wake in the morning. We’re to fix our thoughts on Jesus when we get bad news. We’re to fix our thoughts on Jesus when we face a difficult decision. We’re to fix our thoughts on Jesus… all the time. Why? When we look at Jesus and consider Him, we’re more likely to act like partakers of a heavenly calling than if we look at our situation from solely an earthly perspective. Not sure this is a good tip? Try it! You’ll discover that considering Jesus, fixing your thoughts on Him, brings increased hope, assurance, and being perfected into His image.   

Jesus, Apostle and High Priest of our confession, help us remember that our confession of You as Lord and Savior makes us partakers of a heavenly calling. Help us walk out our calling well by considering (fixing our thoughts on) You.

Just the Beginning of What Is to Come

01/21/2021

One of the exciting aspects of the day in which we live is that the Bible is being recognized as a reliable historical and scientific source. Things earlier civilizations scoffed at, we nod in agreement, “The Bible was right about that and that.” An example? Well, for one, that the earth is round, not flat, as Isaiah 40:22 states, “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to live in.”   The psalmist in Psalm 145:3 nails it on the head in reference to God, “Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised, and His greatness is UNSEARCHABLE.”  As much as we study about God, the fact is, we’ll never know or understand everything about our Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit. Our trust in and praise of Him today is only the beginning of an eternity of learning about Him and giving Him praise.

Lord, You are UNSEARCHABLE. We praise and worship You. 

Another Cloud is Watching Us

01/20/2021

Is there something you despise? If so, our sweet Lord Jesus Christ can relate. Have you ever considered how much Jesus despised everything that happened surrounding His crucifixion? The injustice. The lies said about Him? The upside down statements said so that truth was made out to be a lie and lies were made out to be truth. The mob mentality that switched from singing His praises to shouting, “Crucify Him!”  Oh, yes, friends, if you’re going through something and you despise it, you have a friend in Jesus. He can relate. Yet, our sweet Savior suffered through the despising ordeal in order to not only give us a start in our Christian walk but to also make sure that our faith is perfected, complete, and finished. Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us now to follow Christ’s example. “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author, and PERFECTER of FAITH, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” We have a race to run in this life even as Jesus did. We may not like it. We may, in fact, despise it. Yet God has set before us the joy of heaven, of being reunited with loved ones, of living in eternity where there is no sin and no shame. We may feel like we’re all alone. But let’s not be fooled. There is a “great cloud of witnesses surrounding us.” What do they see as they observe us? Are we pouting or worshipping? Is our face fixed on Jesus and so our countenance reflecting Him? Or, are we succumbing to ideas of worst-case scenarios and walking around like we don’t have a Savior? This is our time to shine forth for Jesus, to live for the joy set before us, to pray like never before. What is the great cloud of witnesses observing about us today?

Lord Jesus, we praise You, the FINISHER of OUR FAITH!

Let’s Be Amazed

01/19/2021

Throughout the Bible, the word “amazed” is used to describe people’s reactions to God.  Mark 1:22 records that people “were amazed at His (Jesus) teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”  The New Testament word “amazed” means astonished, thrown into wonderment.  Jesus’ teachings astonished people. Matthew  12:23 records that when Jesus healed a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute so that he could see and talk, “All the crowds were amazed and were saying, ‘This man cannot be the Son of David, can He?'”  When Jesus rose from the dead, they were “thrown into wonderment.”  Oh, that we be amazed, astonished, and thrown into wonderment at our Lord. Keep your eyes open, friend, for how Jesus is working in your life and in the lives of others. You may find that you’re amazed.

Lord Jesus, we praise You, our AMAZING Lord.  

*Amazing” is 1 of 365 ways God is described. Learn the other ways He is described by signing up to get this daily devotional. HERE

Two Tips When Fear Strikes

01/17/2021

The unexpected. The bad unexpected.  You name it. You didn’t expect it. But now it’s here. A common reaction is fear.  A second is for our imagination to run wild.  So how do we combat fear and a run away imagination?

Two Tips When Fear Strikes:

  1. Lean Up. Lean up to God immediately. As fast as the incidence happens, make it our practice to turn to our Heavenly Father and lean in on Him. Why? Psalm 46:1-3 tells us, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” The psalmist has listed things that would naturally cause fear yet he maintains, “we will not fear.” How can he say that? The answer is in his words, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help.” I don’t think the psalmist means there might not be a first reaction of fear, but rather that he has made the choice to not continue in fear, but rather to look to God. We can make the same choice. We can begin praying. We can focus on His presence. We can look to Him for help.
  2. Wisen Up.  In Luke 16:8 Jesus told a parable in which He said, “for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light.” In Matthew 10:16,  Jesus told His disciples, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. The word “shrewd” in these verses means intelligent, wise, prudent, mindful of one’s interests. So, when the unexpected, the bad happens, yes, begin praying. But then, perhaps we need to step back and think. What is God teaching me? How should I prepare for the future in light of this?

Yes, the unexpected is around the corner, but what a blessing that so is our Heavenly Father and so is wisdom, all we need to do is ask for it. James 1:5

Heavenly Father and Lord Jesus Christ, thank You that You are an ever present help. Thank You, also, for the reminder and instruction that we need to be wise and prudent, mindful of what we are doing. Help us be increasing mindful and ever grateful for You and the wisdom You provide. We love You. 

Find more in my chapter, “Illusive Imagination or Refreshing Reality” in The Plan A Woman in a Plan B World.”

(1) https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/Lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?strongs=G5429&t=NASB

It’s Not Too Late

01/16/2021

Do you wish you could do something positive to help? Help what?  Anything! Help mend a relationship. Help tone done the anger among people. Help people turn their eyes to the Lord. All of those are big Christian actions and all of them are needed. How might you do them? Follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit. How, where does He prompt? In our hearts. In our minds. But best as I can tell, we have to have alone time with Him to develop our relationship, to learn His voice, to know His ways. I think our heart has to be in the right place. We have to want Him. Or, as He says, “If you seek me..” (Deuteronomy 4:29; Proverbs 8:17; Jeremiah 29:13; Matthew 7:7; Luke 11:9; Acts 17:24-28)  If we haven’t been too close to God in the past, is it too late to get close to Him, to learn His voice and be used by Him. Again, as far as I can tell from studying the Bible, no, it’s not too late. He called Paul even in the midst of his trip to round up Jews who had started following Christ. He spoke to Abraham when he was 99 years old. Genesis 17:1-2 says, “Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am God ALMIGHTY; Walk before Me, and be blameless. I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly.’” Ninety-nine and God ALMIGHTY says, I’m the “most powerful God who holds sway over all things. Walk blameless.” It’s never too late to open our ears, minds, and hearts to God ALMIGHTY. It’s never too late to say, “Hold sway over my heart.” It’s never too late to be used by God for His purposes. Will we seek Him? Will we ask Him to hold sway over our hearts? Will we learn His voice and obey His prompts? How about we all say, “Yes,” and open our Bibles and study the above passages. Make the move today toward a closer relationship, more intimacy with God.

ALMIGHTY God, forgive us for busying ourselves with things of the world that are meaningless in view of eternity and people’s souls. Forgive us for closing our hearts rather than opening them to Your powerful sway. We ask now, “Hold sway over my heart so I walk blamelessly before You.”

*Excerpt from Pray with Purpose, Live with Passion- a timely read for 2021.