365 Days of Praise - Beyond Ourselves
Dark Spots, Tunnels, and Light Switches
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, remember this important fact: God is a lamp who illumines darkness. Yes. God is light. You know that. I know that. But we sometimes forget. So today, right now resolve to carry the Light of Christ with you into every thought and situation. How? Well, my friend, you’ve already begun. You’ve opened your heart to the psalmist’s words in 2 Samuel 22:29, “You ILLUMINE MY DARKNESS.” So say the words loud and strong to Jesus. Yes, right now. Say them with me, “Jesus, You illumine my darkness.” Now think of ways He does illumine your darkness. Grab a pen and write whatever comes to your mind. I’ll start us out, then you add to it.
Jesus, You illumine my darkness with the truth. When I read the Bible, you encourage my heart.
(Your turn.) ______________________________________________________________________
Dark spots and times in our lives aren’t the end of the tunnel. Rather, dark spots and times are signals to turn on the light just like when we walk into a dark room. We don’t bemoan the dark room. We don’t stand in one place in the dark room and say, “I can’t see how to move forward.” Instead, we put our hand on the light switch. So we put our hand on the Bible. We turn on the light switch. We turn the pages of the Bible. Dark spots are invitations to invite Jesus into your situation.
Jesus, You illumine the darkness. You illumine my darkness. Darkness cannot exist when You are present. So fill us. Prompt us to quickly turn to You and Your Word when the darkness begins to move into our heart or mind. We love You, sweet Savior.
A Holy Jolt
I struggled with today’s devotional because first I went in one direction and then another. There are so many important points! The key verse is 1 Timothy 6:15 and the Lord’s attribute is King of Kings. It’s a rich verse. “He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the KING OF KINGS and Lord of lords, 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.” The verse is straightforward. It’s beautiful to read. The context, though, goes contrary to our human bent. Would you share your thoughts as to why the glorious description of Jesus as King of Kings who dwells in unapproachable light is in the context of 1 Timothy 6: 7-19? Warning: if you read it closely, you may get a holy jolt.
For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 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.
Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.
Which of the King of King’s instructions did you need to hear? Was it that you keep His commandment without stain? Was it to repent of the love of money? Or, was it to fix your hope on God rather than the uncertainty of riches? What about His word to be rich in good works? Or, flee from temptation? What a blessing that our King sets before us eternal life and tells us to take hold of it. Will we?
KING OF KINGS, give us a holy jolt to obey You.
When You Feel Dreary, Think About This
“Lift up your heads, O gates,
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
That the KING of GLORY may come in!
Who is the KING of GLORY?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O gates,
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
That the KING of GLORY may come in!
Who is this KING of GLORY?
The Lord of hosts,
He is the KING of GLORY.”
This psalm points to Christ, the King of Glory, taking His throne. “Glory” in this song means “majesty, splendor.” What’s amazing and will redirect us if we’re having a blah day is to remember Jesus’s words that after He ascended to heaven He would send another just like Him to live in us. (John 14:16-17) In other words, the Spirit of the King of Glory is in us, believers! Instead of letting Him “in” as referenced in Psalm 24:7-10, we acknowledge that He is already in us so we ask Him to “fill” us. (Ephesians 5:18)
Say these truths out loud with me.
When I am weak, the King of Glory is strong. When I am tempted, the King of Glory is victor over Satan. When I feel blah, the King of Glory’s Spirit is in me to fill me. I am part of the glorious, splendid, majestic kingdom of the King of Glory.
One Day Everyone Will Bow Before Jesus
The wise men worshipped Jesus. The Jews and Romans whipped Jesus.
The wise men gave Jesus gifts. The Jews and Romans gave Jesus the cross.
The wise men celebrated Jesus’s birth. The Jews and Romans celebrated Jesus’s death.
Not all kings are recognized as kings. Such was the case with Jesus when He walked on earth. Such is still the case with those who refuse to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior. But one day all people will bow before the KING OF THE JEWS.
Where is He who has been born KING of the JEWS? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him. Matthew 2:2
Lord Jesus, KING OF THE JEWS and our King, we bow before You in praise and worship You. Reign in our lives in such a way that others see Your influence in us.
Beware the Pit of Nothingness
I need a keeper. I need someone to watch out for me and over me. Why? Because it is easy to fall into a pit of nothingness. The good news is, as believers, we do have a Keeper. Psalm 121:5-7 assures us,
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 about our Heavenly Father being our Keeper? In other words, He isn’t snoozing on the clouds. Psalm 121:3-4 tells us,
He who keeps you will not slumber. He who keeps Israel will neither slumber or sleep.
Our Soul Keeper is alert and watching out for us. There is no one better than our Heavenly Father to whom we can entrust our soul. Here is something else that is wonderful to think about. Isaiah 38:17 tells us,
It is You who have kept my soul from the pit of nothingness, for You have cast all my sins behind Your back.
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 the gloriousness of this. Are you? The more time we spend with Christ and learning His ways, the more filled we are with Him. The more we experience the opposite of the pit of nothingness. We experience heavenly joy and fulfillment that 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 God’s presence.
Heavenly Father, Soul Keeper, we praise You for keeping us from evil and keeping us from the pit of nothingness. We love You!
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 I 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 aligning ourselves to our Lord’s will. 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” refer to Jesus as having joy and being the giver of joy. These verses may be a clue as to why believers sometimes 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 sometimes tied; such as how people treat us, how successful we are, our standard of living? You see, Jesus held loosely to our world. His joy wasn’t tied to things of this earth because He lived in God’s kingdom and knew this earth’s best and finest would pass away. Our eternal inheritance is more than we can imagine. 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!
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 only that Judah will be saved and the Israelites will one day live in peace. Although thinking about Israel living in peace is definitely a “wow.” It’s not just that the Lord is righteous. What wows me is the word “our.” 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!
Today we remember with deep gratitude those who gave their lives in service to our country as we also remember their families.
What We Learn from a Wheat Beater
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 that 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.
Are You a Tommy or David?
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack for nothing.
Jehovah-Ra-ah, thank You for being our Shepherd. In You, we lack for nothing.
Prayers of My Heart HERE.
Show and Do
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, and 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? Do you have a problem you can’t fix?
Moses is desperate. He “cried out” to the Lord. As a result, 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.’
This 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. In other words, we have to do the work Jehovah-Rapha shows us to do.
- “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, and physical healer. 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.