365 Days of Praise - Beyond Ourselves

Choose the Right One to Please

12/14/2019

Do you ever feel like you can’t please anyone? Or, can’t please everyone? It’s normal to want to please those we love. However, we’re wise to realize we can’t please everyone just like Jesus didn’t please everyone. So how do we prioritize who we please? We follow Jesus’s example. In John 8:29 He explained for whom He was living and making it His priority to please: His Heavenly Father. “He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”

If you’re in a quandary about how to live so that you at least please your Heavenly Father, follow Jesus’s lead.

Jesus used Scripture to stand against temptation. We can do that.

Jesus reached out to others in love. We can do that.

Jesus prayed before making decisions. We can do that.

Jesus followed His Father’s leading rather than His own impulses and initiative. We can do that.

There is no one more worthy for us to please than our Heavenly Father, and we can do that. 

Heavenly Father, as Jesus was well-pleasing to You, help us please You. 

Amazing!

12/13/2019

God. FATHER OF SPIRITS. Are you familiar with this title of God? It’s used in Hebrews 12:9-10“We had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the FATHER OF SPIRITS, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.”  The Father of spirits disciplines us for our good just like earthly parents discipline children for their good. Isn’t that amazing? But that’s not all. Not only did the Father of spirits birth our existence, He also assumes responsibility for our discipline so that we share in His holiness. The next time we’re about to sin, let’s pay attention to any promptings to not give into it. If we do sin, no doubt, the Father of spirits will be there to convicting call our attention to it and call us to say we’re sorry.  Father of spirits, Father of our spirit – amazing!

FATHER OF SPIRITS, thank You for loving us and calling us to holiness. We praise You! 

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What Love is This

12/11/2019
Heavenly Father, John 3:16, Beloved Son, Matthew 3:17

Jesus, at age 12, described the Jerusalem temple as the house of His Heavenly Father. He laid claim to intimacy with God. At Jesus’s baptism, our Heavenly Father laid claim to intimacy with Jesus when He said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” Matthew 3:17.   “Beloved Son” is a term that means esteemed, dear, favorite Son. Yes, we are the sons and daughters of God. Yet, when we ponder the magnitude of the sacrifice of our Heavenly Father giving up His favorite Son for our sins (John 3:16) and Jesus leaving His Heavenly Father to come to earth to die for our sins, we can’t help but have profound gratitude and wonder at their love for us.

Heavenly Father and Beloved Son, we praise You for Your magnamious love, grace, and sacrifice so we can live with You in eternal glory. We love You.

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If You’re Wondering What to Do About Something

12/10/2019
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Are you at your wit’s end? Do you need someone to talk to who can help you sort out your problems and worries?  God understands. Our Heavenly Father is the original COUNSELOR. And, Isaiah 9:6 says this about Jesus. “For a child will be born to u … and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor,….”  In other words, our Heavenly Father and Jesus are Wonderful Counselors who are available to counsel and guide us. They’re excellent listeners, and we can hear their answers when we quiet ourselves in their presence. Talk to God, then follow His counsel. I record what God prompts me to do in my journal, Prayers of My Heart. It helps me follow through because I can review what I’ve recorded. What might God’s prompts sound like? “Call a person who is going through health problems.” Or, “Spend your time working on _____ today.” Make 2020 your best year by recording and following through with how the Wonderful Counsel prompts you. ORDER TODAY so it will arrive before Christmas! HERE.

LORD, You are the WONDERFUL COUNSELOR. Increase our sensitivity to Your Voice. Help us take seriously Your counsel and follow through on what You lead us to do.  

Check Out this Privilege

12/09/2019

Isn’t it amazing that it is often human nature to reject what is good and gravitate toward that which is bad? Although it’s sad, it’s true. Peter calls believers to realize that the One people reject when they turn away from Christ “is choice and precious in the sight of God.” (1 Peter 2:4)  The Greek words, “choice and precious,” mean that God appointed Jesus to the most exalted office conceivable.* He is held in honor and prized by His Father.** Continue reading in 1 Peter 2:5 and your heart can’t help but be warmed. Jesus is a choice and precious living stone and we are also living stones, being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood. For what purpose? “To offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Oh my. So often we sacrifice for things on earth that are here today and gone tomorrow. But to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God…. That is our privileged calling, my friend.

CHOICE AND PRECIOUS Savior, we love You and praise You! Center our eyes and sacrifices on You.  

*Choice, **Precious

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Interesting, Huh?

12/08/2019

Isn’t it great that as Christians we can continually learn and grow? For instance, when a person turns to Christ for salvation, they may think the word “judgement” will in no way ever again be used in reference to them. However, the Bible describes different kinds of judgments.  First Peter 1:17 speaks of God judging believers’ works. “If (since) you address as Father the one who IMPARTIALLY JUDGES according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth…” Interesting, huh? Although we’re not saved by works, God judges how we conduct ourselves after we’re saved.  Peter reminds us that God is an impartial judge and that we should live in way that shows reverence for Christ. Peter gives examples of what this looks like.

  • We fervently love one another from the heart, 1:22
  • We put aside all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander, 2:1
  • We grow in respect to salvation, 2:2
  • We proclaim the excellencies of Christ, 2:9
  • We keep our behavior excellent, 2:12
  • We follow in Christ’s steps, 2:21
  • We are harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead, 3:8-9
  • We keep our tongue from evil and lies, 3:10
  • We turn away from evil and do good; seeking peace, 3:11
  • We keep a good conscience, 3:16
  • We live for the will of God, 4:2
  • We live in the spirit according to the will of God, 4:6
  • We’re hospitable to one another without complaint, 4:9
  • We use the gift God’s given us to serve one another, 4:10
  • We cast all our anxiety on God, knowing He cares for us, 5:7
  • We resist the devil, firm in our faith, 5:9

In other words, believers are to represent the excellencies of Christ. How are we doing? If you’re like me and your head is hanging a little after reading the above list, know that God loves us and patiently calls us to repent, learn from our past, and rise to serve Him. What a loving Father!

Heavenly Father, thank You that You are impartial, and that You call us to new life through Christ’s empowerment. May we represent You well.  

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Fun to Think About

12/07/2019

Have you ever needed an architect; someone to help you design your home, office, or some other building? In Hebrews 11:10, we’re told that Abraham needed an architect and guess who he sought? He “was looking for the city which has foundations, whose ARCHITECT and builder is God.”  Isn’t that fun to think about?!  Abraham. Looking. For a city built by God. It is just so cool!  And, that’s what Jesus is doing. He said He was going to prepare a place for us! We can learn from ole Abe. What can we learn? To not set our hope on what we can build on earth; be it a house, career, whatever. That’s not where we’ll find our true life and joy. It’s all temporal. Fluff. Jesus tells us not to store up treasures here, but rather to store up treasure in heaven. (Matthew 6:19-21) How do we do that? If we don’t know, it’s about time we figure it out!

Lord God, we praise You, our Savior and Architect of the eternal Jerusalem, perfect and filled with Your glory. We’ll be amazed seeing Your glory when we arrive. Can’t wait! 

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The Key to Not Living in Darkness

12/06/2019

Are you excited about all the ways Jesus is described? Every day when I select a description to share with you, I have a renewed sense of awe. Often the way our Lord is described is in contrast to that which is in the world. Such is the case today. Many in our world are living in spiritual darkness. They are seeking to be enlightened by powers apart from Jesus Christ. But in John 1:9 we find the word “true” in reference to Jesus. Although there are many sources of “enlightenment,” there is only one TRUE LIGHT:  JESUS CHRIST. He enlightens our soul, mind, and heart when we turn to Him.  The world apart from Christ is dark. Take seriously His charge to let His light shine through you. His Light in you is a beacon to those living in darkness.

Lord Jesus, You are the TRUE LIGHT who enlightens every man. May we be light houses through whom You shine.

“There was the TRUE LIGHT which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.” John 1:9

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When We Question God’s Power

12/05/2019
Whether we’re shopping for a car or a computer, we typically ask, “How powerful is it?”  Why do we ask? We want to know if what we’re considering buying can do what we need it to do. We may not say or even realize it, but sometimes we may question God’s power. For example, we pray about something and then we worry. If we really believed that nothing is impossible with God, then worry wouldn’t have a place in our lives.  Today is a good day to be reminded that God is all powerful, and we can confidently place our trust in Him.

Lord, You are the ALL POWERFUL, omnipotent God! We praise You that nothing is impossible with You. 

“Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the POWER and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all.”   1 Chronicles 29:11

Is Lip Service a Big Deal to God

12/04/2019

A person who is not a Christian once asked why believers talk about God’s love but never His wrath. I thought about his question and realized I’m guilty of that very thing. Think about all the wonderful ways we look at God’s love, gentleness, and grace. Today, however, the context in which God’s actions are described as WONDROUSLY MARVELOUS is in reference to His judgment on people who claim His name, but simply give lip service to Him. God uses the prophet Isaiah to call them out in  Isaiah 29:13-14. “Then the Lord said, ‘Because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote, therefore, I will once again deal marvelously with this people, WONDROUSLY MARVELOUS.'”  He goes on to warn them about the consequences of lip service and rote worship. We might want to relegate God’s wrath to the Old Testament, but Revelation 16 speaks of God’s judgement being poured out on the earth in a future day. No doubt, God isn’t impressed with our lip service. Rather, our loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Lord, You alone are worthy of our praise. You extend mercy to those who call on Your name, but also discipline in WONDROUSLY MARVELOUS ways those who give You lip service and rote worship. Forgive us and prompt us daily to live by Your Spirit.

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