365 Days of Praise - Beyond Ourselves

Beware the Pit of Nothingness


I need a keeper. Someone to watch out for me and over me. Why? Because sometimes I don’t know the right path to take. Sometimes I start to let my emotions crash like the waves into a pit of nothingness. I need a keeper with a capital K. And, you know what? I have One and so do you if you’re a Christian. Psalm 121:5-7 states, “The Lord is your keeper… The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul.” Isn’t it nice, no…more like wonderful, to think on the fact that our Heavenly Father is our Keeper? And, He isn’t snoozing on the clouds. Psalm 121:3-4 says, “He who keeps you will not slumber. He who keeps Israel will neither slumber or sleep.” In other words, our Soul Keeper is alert and watching out for us. So, of all the people in the world to whom you could entrust your soul, who more wonderful than our Heavenly Father? Here’s something else that’s wonderful to think about.  Isaiah wrote, “It is You who have kept my soul from the pit of nothingness, for You have cast all my sins behind Your back.” (Isaiah 38:17)  Isn’t that a marvelous visual? God casts all our sins behind Him and keeps our souls from the pit of nothingness.  I’m jumping up and down in my spirit over that one. The more time we spend with Christ and learning His ways, the more filled we are and the more we experience the opposite of the pit of nothingness.  We experience heavenly joy and fulfillment that only comes from intimacy with Christ.  Will bad things ever happen? Yes, because we live in a sinful world. But we aren’t destined for a pit of nothingness.  We’re destined for the throne.

Heavenly Father, Soul Keeper, we praise You for protecting us from evil and the pit of nothingness. Thank You, Lord. 

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If You’re looking for Someone Kind


I see it in his eyes. They are kind. His eyes say it all. His eyes tell me what’s in his heart. My husband, Keith, looks at me with kind eyes. My response? I feel the most tender of love for him.

The eyes tell us what fills the heart. And, so we wonder. What fills Jesus’s eyes?  What if you were in His presence and He looked deeply into your eyes. What if you couldn’t take your eyes away from His. What would you see in His eyes for you? You’d see kindness; kindness beyond anything you’d experienced. Kindness that causes you to love Him with every fiber of your being.

So, the apostle asks in Romans 2:4, “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His KINDNESS and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the KINDNESS of God leads you to repentance?”  What a question! Do we?  Do we think lightly of God’s KINDNESS and tolerance and patience toward us? In other words, are we going about our day hardly looking Christ’s way? When He convicts us of sin, do we look in Jesus’s eyes and sincerely apologize to Him? Or, are we like a child who is caught doing something wrong and maybe at best, mutters, “sorry.” Or do we simply ignore our Lord?

Look in Jesus’s eyes. Think deeply of the riches of His kindness.

Dear Savior, You are so kind and loving and patient. Forgive us for sinning against You and one another.  May we look deeply in Your eyes and and reflect Your kindness to others. 

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Record Christ’s attribute, KIND, in Prayers of My Heart. Click to ORDER. 

Getting Away with Sin


Do you ever feel like you’re getting a bad rap, that things aren’t fair? Have you wondered why some people get away with things with no apparent consequences? Often, those questions are warranted. As thinking people, we can’t help but wonder at the justice system. But then we must quickly remember that in the end, no one gets away with anything before God. He sees our sin and knows our thoughts. Most importantly, God is JUST. As Psalm 89:14 states,“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne…” God weighs hearts and motives. He forgives repentant sinners. He deals with unrepentant ones. Lay any vengeance you have toward another person at God’s feet. He will rule justly with the person because that is His nature – JUST.

Lord, we praise you. You are JUST!

TIP:  Write God’s attribute that I highlight in each devotional in Prayers of My Heart. Writing it on paper writes it on your brain. When you’re troubled, flip through the pages of your journal and thank God for who He is as you reflect on His nature. It will build your confidence, decrease your stress, and help you live a more joy-filled life. Click HERE  to order.

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Pray for Yes


June 14, my husband, Keith, and I celebrated our anniversary. I’ve known him for almost 46 years. We’ve been married 44 years. I knew him when he didn’t have money to buy french fries with my hamburger. I know him as the guy who likes to put on an old teeshirt and mow the grass. But, I’ll never forget the first time I sat at the back of the room when he was holding court. After sentencing a criminal, he motioned to me to approach the bench. All eyes turned on me, and I suddenly felt nervous and intimidated. Why in the world did I feel that way? Was it the courtroom? Was it his position behind the bench in a long black robe? If I felt that way approaching the judgement seat of my husband, I CAN’T IMAGINE what it will be like to sit in God’s courtroom and hear Him call my name to approach His bench. Are you ready to hear God call your name? Because He will. Regardless of whether you like it or not, it’s not your choice. Second Timothy 4:1 “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to Judge the living and the dead…” Every soul will appear before God, our Judge.  Those who accepted Jesus’s death on the cross as judgement for their sins will receive rewards at the Judgement. Those who rejected God’s gift of forgiveness in Christ will be judged for their thoughts, words, and actions based on God’s holiness. If you know someone who hasn’t professed their faith in Jesus, diligently pray for them. If you’re not sure what or how to pray for the unsaved, click here.

Lord, we who have received salvation through Christ humbly, gratefully praise You, JUDGE of the LIVING and the DEAD. Open our eyes to see the unsaved. Open our mouths to speak loving truth to them. Quicken the hearts of our unsaved friends and family to acknowledge their sin and turn to You; to say “yes” to Your gift of salvation. 

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A Spiritual Happy Dance


“What’s a spiritual happy dance?” someone asked me after I mentioned in an email to my prayer team that I was doing one. I couldn’t help but smile, then realized no one except my husband had probably seen me do a spiritual happy dance. Why? Because it’s before God and it comes from a heart flowing with joy. Does our Heavenly Father care if we are joyful? Yes. Jesus said in John 16:24, “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.” This doesn’t mean giving Jesus our worldly wish list. Rather, it means our aligning ourselves as servants to our Lord’s will. We also read verses like John 15:11 where Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” Jesus referred to Himself as having joy and in being the giver of joy.  These verses may be a clue to why believers often don’t have joy. We may be able to quote Jesus, but are we living Him? In other words, if Jesus was on earth, would His emotions be tied to the things to which our emotions are often tied: if we’re being treated like we want, if others are doing what we want, if we have the home, success, job, living standard we want. You see, Jesus held loosely to this world because He had seen the KINGDOM and the best and finest in this world is passing away.

Yes, we often get sucked into the rush and whirlwind of this world because we’re living in it. But Jesus said don’t store up on earth where moth and rust ruin. Many of us may not be experiencing joy because we have one foot in heaven and the other on earth and we’re wretchedly pulled and stretched. We struggle to make it through the day. Jesus explains in John 15:1-10 that the deep joy for which our soul yearns isn’t in money, the right job, or another person. Christ had no home, no spouse, and a job that was anything but glamorous. He was constantly talked bad about by religious people. Those closest to Him argued. He was in constant demand day and night. His family didn’t understand Him. So what joy is He talking about? It’s the joy we experience leading someone to the Lord. It’s the joy of leading a Bible study and seeing someone grow. It’s the joy of seeing God accomplish something through us that only He could do. It has nothing to do with money, clothes, homes, and other trappings that Satan has deceived us into thinking that when we get them, all will be right with the world and we’ll be happy. It’s a big fat lie. Joy comes when our head, heart, and motivation are Spirit driven. When was the last time you did a spiritual happy dance? “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy.Psalm 16:11

Lord, we praise You, in whose presence there is fullness of  JOY!

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A Verse that Wows Me


Do you ever read a verse and something about it “wows” you? That’s how I feel about Jeremiah 23:6. “In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The Lord our righteousness.’” Why am I wowed by this verse? It’s not that Judah will be saved, or even that the Israelites will one day live in peace. It’s not that the Lord is righteous. The word “our” wows me. It sends me to my knees – literally. It’s the reason I’m on my knees every morning, bowing before the Lord. I’m “wowed” because I’m included in the “our.” I’m not on the outside looking in, longing to be in right standing before God. I’m on the inside looking at His face…praising Him. I’m on my knees because I know I’m a sinner. But, that no longer defines my relationship with my Creator. Christ Jesus defines my relationship with the Heavenly Father. Because I am in Christ and Jehovah-Tsidkenu is in me, I am saved. Christ is in us…in all who call on Jesus for salvation. The LORD is OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS – JEHOVAH-TSIDKENU.

Lord Jesus Christ, our Righteousness, all honor and praise and glory belong to You! Thank You for imparting Your righteousness to us when we repent and call on You for salvation!  Please comment below with a verse that wows you.

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Are You Like Tommy or David?

Standing in the grocery store check out line, I noticed the child from the corner of my eye. You couldn’t help but notice. He was throwing a temper tantrum. “I want it!” he wailed at the top of his lungs.  The bedraggled mother tried her best to wrestle the package of M & Ms from his hands, while struggling at the same time to apologize to the cashier. She didn’t dare look at the customers in line behind her. Tommy “wanted” the M & M’s. That was clear. But, his mother knew full well that her child wasn’t “lacking” for food. His temper tantrum wasn’t unfamiliar to me. Although I don’t like to admit it, I’m a lot like Tommy. I may not lay on the floor and kick and scream. But when I get my mind around what I want and I don’t get it, I’m rather like him. I may complain. I may whine in my spirit.  What makes me different from Tommy? Height and weight. There’s something else, though, that can and should make believers different from Tommy.  The renown shepherd, David, points us to the key to being calm and trusting rather than demanding and complaining.  “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”  Psalm 23:1 David had a grasp on something I sometimes forget. There’s a difference between what I “want” and what I “lack.” Psalm 23:1 is best interpreted, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack for nothing.” In other words, David was keenly award that the Lord was watching over him, leading him, and protecting him. He was mindful of his Shepherd’s provision.  If there are more times you focus on what you want rather than on God’s provision and you want to develop more of an attitude of gratitude, join me in daily journaling your gratitudes in  Prayers of My Heart prayer journal.  Discover the  7 Benefits of Journaling.  Our Heavenly Father wants us to grow closer to the image of Christ and less like Tommy. Will you begin today?

Jehovah-Ra-ah, we praise You, our Shepherd. In You we lack for nothing. May we set our minds on the things above according to Your Word.  Order Prayers of My Heart HERE.

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Say His Name with Tender Love


He has a name – Jesus. How would you decide what to name God’s manifestation of Himself when He came to earth?  God the Father chose God the Son’s name to be Jesus. Why?  It means “Jehovah is salvation.” In other words, look no further, seeker. If you want to be saved from your worst self, Jesus is your Savior. And, when you turn to Him for salvation, you’ll discover your best self: God performing through you – doing in and through you – what you can’t do apart from His divine nature in you.  Why would I use the word “performing” in conjunction with God’s work through Jesus? That’s the way Acts 2:22 NAS expresses what the Father did through Jesus during His time on earth. “Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst.” Jesus is SAVIOR of our past, present, and future. He has saved us from the penalty of sins, is saving us from the present power of temptation to sin, and will save us from the presence of sin in heaven. Anyone want to shout a hallelujah with me? Say His name with me with the tender affection you would of someone you love. Jesus. Savior.

JESUS, saying Your name causes the most tender of affections and love to swell in our hearts. You are our everything and we love You. 

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Are We Placing God Where People Can See Him


Have you been battling something and you’re tired? You have a heavy heart? Heavy hands?  If so, we do well to remember that as believers, we don’t stand alone. We have each other as we battle our flesh, the world, and Satan. Exodus 17:8-15 records a great visual of how we can come alongside each other, and under the banner of the Lord, defeat the enemy.  “Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand. So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. Moses built an altar and named it The Lord is My Banner; and he said, ‘The Lord has sworn; the Lord will have war against Amalek from generation to generation.” In this passage we see that the Israelites won the battle as long as they could see Moses’s staff, the banner that represented God and His power. What can we learn from this account? We must station ourselves with the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. We must lift one another in prayer. We must keep our eyes on Christ, the Victor.  God is our Banner. Lift Him high before the eyes of others. How? Share “365 Days of Praise” with family and friends each day. Each devotional focuses on a different aspect of God’s divinity, power, and sufficiency.  Or, take 30 seconds and click the FB or Twitter share link at the end of each post.  Will you join me in daily holding up God’s name and power?  Who in your family and which of your friends could use the daily reminder that God is in the battle with them?

Heavenly Father, we often feel there’s little we can do to make a difference in our crazy mixed up world. But there is something we can do. We can lift high Your name so others are reminded of Your presence and power. Thank You, Jehovah-Nissi, our banner.

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What We Learn from a Wheat Beater


Peace. Everyone’s looking for it. Where? Drugs. Vacation. Pills.  A hook up. Success. In the meantime and while seeking peace, life goes on. Worriers worry. Whiners whine. Complainers complain. Wheat beaters beat wheat.  And, that’s where we find Gideon. Beating wheat in a wine press…to hide it, to save the wheat from enemy terrorists. It is here that Judges 6:24 records  Jehovah-Shalom, LORD of Peace, brings peace. “Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and named it The LORD is Peace.”  Jehovah-Shalom, LORD of Peace, came to a nation threatened by enemies and people who worshipped Baal. Jehovah-Shalom not only came to Gideon, His Spirit of peace and power came upon Gideon. Isn’t that what we need?  What can we learn from Jehovah-Shalom and Gideon about personal and national peace?  1. Worship the Lord of Peace, Jehovah-Shalom.  2.  Be filled with the Lord’s Spirit of peace and power.  3. Fight valiantly for righteousness.

Jehovah-Shalom, LORD of PEACE, when we look and listen to You, we experience Your peace. By Your Spirit we can we overcome evil. Fill us, as You did Gideon, with Your peace and empowerment. 

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