365 Days of Praise - Beyond Ourselves

When You’re Down & Out


When you think about Jesus, what do you envision? A body hanging on a cross? I hope not. Although we begin our relationship with Jesus by acknowledging His death on the cross on our behalf, there’s more to our relationship with Him. We also need to see Him resurrected, ascended, sitting at the right hand of the Father. And, by the way, we need to see Him anointed with the oil of gladness. “What?” you may ask. Hebrews 1:8-9 explains. “But of the SON He says, …Your God has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your companions.’” What does it mean that Jesus is anointed with the oil of gladness? It means joy is poured out all over Him. He’s rendered the devil and death powerless. He’s freed we who were held captive in sin. (Hebrews 2:14-15) Jesus accomplished what He intended to do – save us. He is full of joy. If you’re ever dragging through your day, discouraged or down, look toward heaven and remember that Christ, who is anointed with the oil of gladness, has you safe and secure in His hand. You will one day share in the glad salvation He has prepared for you. In the meantime, ask Him to fill you with gladness. Share His gladness with others who are down and out.

Lord Jesus, anointed with the oil of gladness, pour your anointing in and through us so others see and believe in You.


Check Your “Ask/Worship” Ratio

During the Thanksgiving season we often emphasize the need to be thankful, grateful people. But how is our ask/worship ratio most days of the week? In other words, do we recognize God’s hand in our everyday life and thank and worship Him?  Or, are we guilty of barely acknowledging God’s many blessings and only saying an occasional, “Thank you” over a meal?  In other words, from God’s perspective, are we grateful or ungrateful? Second Samuel 22:14 records how David cried out to God. God’s response?  “The Lord thundered from heaven, and the MOST HIGH uttered His voice.” David’s response? He worshipped God. His words of praise are found in 2 Samuel 22. Among the many ways David acknowledged God, one was as “the Most High” God. David’s example of worship should prompt us to examine our prayer life. Are we full of asks but short on worship? If so, consider journaling. Recording your prayer requests and then words of praise to God as He answers them will increase your “ask/worship” ratio.  Follow David’s example, a man after God’s own heart.

Lord, Most High God, forgive us for asking but not worshipping You with thanksgiving. Holy Spirit, prompt us to be grateful, thankful believers who worship more than we ask. 




The Lord God Almighty named His Son – Jesus. Why?  Jesus means “Jehovah is salvation.” In other words, we need look no further for how to be saved from our carnal nature and hell.  The answer to how we can be saved is Jesus. Only through the forgiveness of our sins by His death on the cross are we saved. Acts 2:22-24 clearly states that our hope is in Jesus of Nazareth. “Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, …this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to they agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.” If you want to live in the realm of what is impossible for you and possible only by Jesus, turn to Jesus, repent of sin, and call on Him as LORD.

Jesus, Savior, we praise You with hallelujahs for saving our souls from hell and saving us for heaven and eternity with You. 


Mosey Up to Your Life Coach


Have you ever wished you’d gone in a different direction than the path you took? Have you reflected on words you said and thought, “I wish I’d said that differently.”  If so, Psalm 32:8 is an encouraging reminder that we can handle things and communicate differently in the future. How it that possible? We have a personal life coach. Yep, someone who will give us personal instruction on how to live, relate to others, and even speak. Psalm 32:8 assures us, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go…”  Think about those words. In addition to the Lord being our Savior and friend, He wants to instruct us so we live in the best way possible.  Don’t you agree that’s an incredible gift and blessing? We might wish for the top stock broker to advise us financially but not have access to the person. We might wish the most successful business people would coach us, but there’s no chance of getting a personal audience with them. But, our LORD GOD says, mosey on up. I’ll teach you. I’ll instruct us. I’ll be your life coach, your business coach, your marriage coach. Amazing! The Lord, who has infinite understanding and an eternity of knowledge, says He will teach us.  Why not pray now about a situation or relationship where the Lord’s instruction would help you?

Lord, You are infinite in understanding. Open our eyes to how Your Word is leading us. Open our ears to the voice of the Holy Spirit. 


When You Wish You’d Handled Something Differently


Have you ever wished you’d gone in a different direction than the one you took? Have you reflected on words you said and thought, “I wish I’d said that differently.”  If so, Psalm 32:8 is an encouraging reminder that we can handle things better in future days. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go…” Psalm 32:8 assures us. Yes, in addition to the Lord being our Savior and friend, He comes to us and says He’s willing to instruct us in the best way to go. That’s amazing, don’t you agree? We might wish for the top stock broker to advise us financially but not have access to him/her. We might wish for the most successful business person to be available to us, but not have a chance of getting an audience with them. But, here the LORD GOD is saying He’ll teach us. He’ll instruct us. Again, it’s amazing! He who has infinite understanding and an eternity of knowledge says He will show us the way to go forward.  Why not pray now about a situation or relationship where you could use the Lord’s instruction to move you forward successfully?

Lord, You are infinite in understanding. Please instruct us today and quicken our ears to be quick to listen and obey. Thank you for the incredibly valuable gift of having access to You.  


It’s a Head Thing


I recently heard a television anchor report on a well-known religious leader whose viewpoint on a moral issue was contrary to the Bible. She then invited viewers to weigh in. “Let us know what you think. You can Twitter if you agree or disagree.” As she continued with the next story, my mind lingered on her words. Does she not know that our opinion or even religious leaders’s opinions are not what matter, but rather Jesus’s stance? In  Ephesians 1:22, Paul clearly states, “And He (our Heavenly Father) put all things in subjection under His (Jesus’s) feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church.” It concerns me when churches and denominations vote their opinion rather than stand with Biblical teachings. Does it concern you, too?  

LORD JESUS, head over all things, we confess our nation is drifting far from Your headship. Our churches are turning to the culture rather than You. Raise up strong, committed disciples who will speak up and boldly define truth as recorded in Your Word. Begin with us.  


Broken Promises? Not This Time


Has anyone ever broken a promise to you? If so, you know the devastation. The heartbreak. The despair. Can you imagine the horribleness of dying and it not be what you expected – soul rest, nothingness; as some unbelievers anticipate.  There is nothing more important than making the choice today for the care of our soul for eternity. We know that at any moment we could die from a heart attack or accident. Is your soul secure if that were to happen? It is only secure if you have entrusted it to Jesus, the Covenant Maker. A familiar passage often read during Communion is Matthew 26:27-28. It is the most important promise Jesus made for the security of our soul for eternity.  “And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.'” Only God can forgive the sins that stain our soul and made us unfit for heaven.  We can do nothing to secure our eternity in heaven. Only Jesus. Say those words with me. Only Jesus…can forgive my soul, wash me clean, and open the door to heaven and eternal life with Him. Jesus is the Covenant, the Promise Maker. Others may have broken promises to you. Jesus keeps His promise. Be joyful. Your soul is secure in Christ.

Lord Jesus, COVENANT MAKER, thank You for the Covenant of peace and eternal life through Your blood. We rest in You. We wait for You and the day we will see You and fall at Your feet and worship. 


When You’re In A Battle, Remember This


Are you familiar with the story of David and Goliath?  It’s an account of a lad using a slingshot to overpower a giant. Unlike a Disney movie, it isn’t fiction. I encourage you to open your Bible and read 1 Samuel 17 as if it were your first time. Among a number of things that jumped out at me as I reread the passage was David’s confidence that he could prevail over the giant. He wasn’t hoping or wishing that “luck” would be on his side. Rather, his confidence was rooted in past experiences when God had been there for him. The giant before him was different from prior “giants” he’d faced, but God was the same present help.

“Then David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted.’” 1 Samuel 17:45

Are you facing a giant in your life? Are you afraid you won’t prevail? Although people may offer you what’s worked for them, their “armor,” the fact is, your reliance on the God of the Armies of Israel is what is necessary for God to empower you and ensure victory. Look to Him.

Heavenly Father, God of the armies of Israel, God of angelic hosts, we praise You and yield to Your power to win the battles around us and in us. 


Praise God, Non Jews are “In,” Too!


Have you ever appreciated a Biblical truth but gained a deeper appreciation while reading the Bible? That happened to me while teaching Acts 10, the chapter where the Lord gave Peter a vision and told him to go to Cornelius’s house, a non-Jew, and share the message of salvation with his household.  Peter, who once thought that God was the God the Jews only, was illumined and led by the Spirit to say, “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.” (Acts 10:34-35) Paul reinforced this miraculous good news in Romans 3:29, stating, Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also?” If the God of the Jews had not extended the gift of salvation through Jesus to we who are not Jewish by birth, we would have been excluded from heaven for eternity. We would have suffered loss eternally. The good news is, the God of the Jews opened His arms and the pathway for non-Jews to be saved. Could I hear a hallelujah?

God of the Jews, we praise You for extending the glorious gift of salvation to we who are not Jews. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!


If You’re Struggling with Darkness


Have you ever been without electricity and light for a significant period time? The Texas 2021 winter storm caused our home to be without electricity for six days, a short amount of time compared to what many suffered. Those six days were long enough, however, for me to think about the devastation unbelievers will experience when separated from the light of Christ for eternity. Can you imagine…dare we imagine eternal darkness?  Who in your sphere of influence needs to hear  that Christ broke through the darkness of sin and not in a small flicker of a way, but rather with a burst of eternal light?  Zacharias prophesied that Jesus would bring light to the world, calling Him the “dayspring from on high.” Luke 1:78  “Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us.”  Jesus, the Dayspring of heaven brought heaven’s glorious light to our dark world. If your soul is dark… If your thoughts are dark… If your perspective is dark…turn to the Light. Jesus can penetrate whatever darkness is in your life.  Open your heart to Him.  Ask Him to purge you of your sins. Say yes to Jesus, Heaven’s Light and Dayspring from on high.

Glorious Light, Dayspring from on High, shine the light of Your presence in us. Show us sins we need to confess. Cleanse us. Forgive us. Fill us with the Light of Your presence.