365 Days of Praise - Beyond Ourselves

What We Learn from a Wheat Beater

05/28/2020

Peace. Everyone’s looking for it. Where? Drugs. Vacation. Pills.  A hookup. 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 winepress…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, but 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 overcome evil. Fill us, as You did Gideon, with Your peace and empowerment. 

Hellooooooo! Are We Listening

05/26/2020
When Moses first asked God what His name was, He replied, “I AM.” Then, after the golden calf episode, “I AM” makes clear that because He is our all in all, Exodus 34:11-12, 14  we are to live accordingly.  “Be sure to observe what I am commanding you this day…. Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst. v 14—for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God—”  It’s as if God is saying, “Hellooooo! Is anyone listening? I’m jealous when you put things and people above Me.” Ouch! That hits close to home. How do we know if we’re worshipping things and people above God? We look at where we spend our time. We consider what’s most on our minds. We look at our bank account to see where we spend our money. Our thoughts, time, and money tell us and God whom/what is our priority and object of worship. Has something or someone other than the Almighty Jealous I AM slipped into our life as god? If so, we must correct, not ignore it.

Heavenly Father, You are a JEALOUS God. May we not ignore, but rather rectify any way we have put another thing or person above You.

Show and Do

05/24/2020

Are you in a desperate spot? Sick of spirit, soul, or body? Are you frustrated because you’re not caring for yourself in the way you should? If so, I can relate. Our bodies, minds, and emotions are wonderfully made. But, if we don’t take care of them, and even when we do, they can break or get sick. Disease can strike…physically, spiritually, emotionally. But, let’s zoom in on a way our Heavenly Father chose to reveal Himself. Israel had just celebrated their crossing of the Red Sea and escape from the Egyptians. After three days in the wilderness and no water, they arrive at the waters of Marah, but the water was bitter. They couldn’t drink it. Picture the scene. You’re dying of thirst looking at water you can’t drink. And you can’t do a thing about it. You can’t fix it. Are you there now in your life? You have a problem you can’t fix?

Moses is desperate. He “cried out” to the Lord. And Jehovah-Rapha “showed him” what to do. Rapha means healer; to mend, cure, make whole. Jehovah-Rapha told Moses to throw a certain tree into the bitter water. Moses obeyed and the most miraculous thing occurred. The water became sweet. Exodus 15:25b-26 says, “There He made a statute and regulation, and there He tested them. And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer.”

Which brings us to a question. What have we cried out to Jehovah-Rapha about? What has He shown us to do? Are we doing it?  Jehovah-Rapha’s message is clear.

  • “If”… that means there’s a choice we make with a correlating consequence.
  • “we give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord our God” …. that means we pay attention when He shows us what to do.
  • “and do what is right”…Moses had to do the work of cutting down the tree and throwing it in the water. We have to act on what Jehovah-Rapha shows us.
  • “in His sight”…God watches to see if we’re doing what He shows us.
  • “and give ear to His commandments”… God knows what works. Are we paying attention to how He tells us to live?

God is our spiritual, emotional, relational, mental, physical doctor. Have we cried out to Him? Are we doing what He shows us?

Jehovah-Rapha, Lord our Healer, we praise You for the complete healing we’ll experience in heaven. In the meantime, may we look to You for direction and then do what You show us.

The Only One

05/23/2020

Have you ever felt desperate and cried out to God for help to fulfill what He’s asked of you? Such was the case for Abraham. God asked him to sacrifice his son, Isaac. It seems crazy and incomprehensible to us, but God never intended for Abraham to kill his son. Abraham knew that. He told his servants, “We will return,” not “I will return.”  But Abraham also knew that God told him to sacrifice Isaac, so he took the steps not knowing what would happen. One step of faith at a time. In the final moment, as he raised the killing knife, God stopped him. He then provided a ram for Abraham to substitute in the place of his son. Genesis 22:14 records, “Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-Jireh, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.” This dramatic moment was a foreshadow, a “seeing” of the day God would provide Jesus as our sacrifice. He would be laid on the wood, stretched out, and killed. In the demand of a human father being asked to sacrifice his son, we glimpse the pain and incomprehensible suffering of God sacrificing Jesus for us. God provided for Abraham and God has provided for us. How are we living in response to the great sacrifice our Heavenly Father made? Who might we share His love with who is killing themselves on the altar of self goodness all to no avail because Jesus is the only perfect and acceptable One?

JEHOVAH-JIREH, You saw our need and provided Yourself as the fulfillment for it. We’re overwhelmed with gratitude. Point us to someone with whom we can share the good news of salvation through Christ. 

Indescribable

05/21/2020

Have you ever been called a “gift” because of who you are and what you give to others? Second Corinthians 9:15   describes Jesus in this way. “Thanks be to God for His INDESCRIBABLE GIFT.” What is the indescribable gift? Jesus Christ laying down His life so that we would receive the free gift of eternal life. The INDESCRIBABLE GIFT of grace, righteousness, and so much more that we receive in salvation! Who is the recipient of God’s INDESCRIBABLE GIFT? Every one who repents and confesses Jesus as Lord. YOU!

Thank You, Heavenly Father and Jesus, God’s INDESCRIBABLE GIFT! 

If You Want to Be Immortal

05/20/2020

People long to be IMMORTAL. “If I can drink from the Fountain of Youth….” “If I can exercise and eat right….” It’s in the human heart to want to live, not die. Yet, we are mortal and will physically die. Jesus alone possesses immortality and He dwells in unapproachable light, as 1 Timothy 6:16 states.  The good news is… the IMMORTAL ONE extends immortality to us. Yes, it’s possible for us to live forever in heavenly light. But we have to drink from Christ, the Fountain of Life. (John 7:37)  We have to enter heaven through Jesus, “who alone possesses IMMORTALITY and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.”(1 Timothy 6:16)

IMMORTAL LORD, we praise you and thank You for making us immortal through You.

God’s Name

05/19/2020

A person’s name represents the person. If you say “Billy Graham,” not only is a visual of the man formed in your mind but also what Billy Graham represents. If you say the name, “Hitler,” another visual pops into our mind, along with his character.  When Moses asked God what His name is, God replied in Exodus 3:14-15b “‘I AM WHO I AM;’ and He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ … This is My name forever, and this is MY memorial-name to all generations.'” His name, “I AM” means “I am the One who is.” His name, “I AM,” emphasizes “God’s dynamic and active self-existence.”*  He is not only the God who was. He is not only the God who will be in our future. He is the God who IS presently active, dynamic, and self-existent today.  How aware are you of His active, dynamic presence in our life?

Lord, we praise you, the great I AM!

*Charles Ryrie, Expanded Ryrie Study Bible Expanded Edition, New American Standard Bible, pg 94.

God Isn’t a Cavity

05/18/2020
Have you ever had a cavity, a tooth that decayed? If so, you know it isn’t a good thing. Can you imagine what a bad thing it would have been if after Jesus was buried in the tomb, His body decayed? It’s what the Jewish leaders hoped would happen. It’s what the Roman government hoped would happen. It’s what many in our day hope happened. Why? Because they don’t want God in their lives. They want to do their own thing without consequences for violating God’s eternal laws. Romans 1:18-25  points out the seriousness of this mentality, of those who ignore the glory of the incorruptible Christ who will never undergo decay. “21For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image…24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie…” Some people ignore their teeth. Some people ignore God. Nature dictates the consequences for both.
Lord, You are incorruptible. May we who are saved represent You to others so they turn to You and are saved.

Dark Spots and Tunnels

05/16/2020

Are you in a dark spot? Maybe not literally, but it feels like it. You’re down. You don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps it’s the sin that surrounds you that oppresses your spirit. Maybe you’ve lost your vision for future projects or the vision for the family for which you long. Perhaps the thought of growing older and entering the sunset years seems bleak. Whatever you’re going through, there’s good news. God is an eternal lamp that illumines darkness. Wherever you go, whatever your future, He will be there. Day by day, moment by moment, look to the Light of His presence in the midst of your darkness.  Say with the psalmist, “You ILLUMINE MY DARKNESS.2 Samuel 22:29

Jesus, thank You that even in the worst of times, You are present. You ILLUMINE MY DARKNESS.

When the Nations Are Rocking Over Control

05/15/2020

Power. Control. Who has it? Who wants it? To what extent will people go to gain control? Daily, we see people driven to have control over others whether at the local, national, or world level. I wonder how we would live if we kept Hebrews 1:2  in our thoughts, that Jesus is the HEIR OF ALL THINGS.  At the time those words were written to the Hebrew people, it appeared the government had control over everything. However, God wanted the Hebrews to know that Jesus is the possessor of everything. He created the world and it is ultimately His. It was important for the first century Christians to be assured of this fact. It’s important for us to be assured of it. How does it make you feel when you reflect on this great reality and truth?

LORD, we praise You for appointing Jesus as the HEIR OF ALL THINGS. Thank You for the assurance this brings us.