365 Days of Praise - Beyond Ourselves

Unstinkable

05/10/2022
Have you ever let something spoil in the refrigerator? You meant to eat it but didn’t. Later, you discovered the leftovers, opened the lid, and whew – it stunk!  It had perished. It was ruined. Not so with God and His Word.  First Peter 1:23 says “for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.” God and His Word are IMPERISHABLE. They’re always good, always fresh. And, the great news is that Christ is in believers. Christ lives in us. He won’t die. We won’t die. We’re indwelt by the IMPERISHABLE Jesus through the living and enduring word of God. Hallelujah! Celebrate!

Lord, we celebrate YOU! You are IMPERISHABLE. Your word is alive, fresh, and enduring. We’ve been born of Your imperishable seed. Thank You! We praise You!

Interesting, Huh?

05/09/2022

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 “judgment” 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 a 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 are convicted about one or more in the above listing, realize that God loves you and patiently calls you to repent, learn from the 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.  

A Moment Isn’t A Destiny

05/08/2022

Things aren’t always what they seem.  And just because things appear one way in a moment of time, it doesn’t mean they’ll stay that way.  Case in point: Jesus. If we’d been in Jerusalem when Jesus was hanging on the cross we might have concluded, “Jesus failed.”  However, what appeared to be Jesus’s lowest moment was in fact God’s highest plan being accomplished. Three days after Jesus’s death on the cross, God raised Him. So the moment was really, “God’s plan succeeded. Jesus accomplished His mission.”  Isaiah 52:13 prophesied, “Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be HIGH and LIFTED UP and greatly exalted.” Jesus is seated at the right hand of God – HIGH AND LIFTED UP – greatly exalted. The next time you feel like a failure and that God’s plan isn’t working, remember Christ on the cross. A moment doesn’t define you. It may be a step forward. Look up and pray in faith. Ask your Heavenly Father, who can move mountains and bring success out of defeat, to work positive changes in your circumstances. Walk by the promptings of His Spirit.

NOTE to Moms: (Or anyone who has a mom or loves a mom.) Hey Mom, we can sometimes (or often) feel like a failure. God knows how many times we fail and cry out to Him for forgiveness, strength, “overs,” wisdom, protection for our children, and that they will come to know Him as Savior and Lord. If you can relate, I encourage you to get my book, “The Plan A Mom in a Plan B World.” (A different book from The Plan A WOMAN in a Plan B World) I had mom friends of all ages/stages share personal stories that will encourage you and provide practical/spiritual tips. The discussion questions at the end of each chapter make it a great resource for mom groups, also. $7.49 Mother’s Day special.

We praise You, Lord Jesus, HIGH, and LIFTED UP, greatly exalted. We can’t wait to see You face to face! 

PS: If you aren’t getting my monthly Kidz Time devotional activity for your kids to watch, get it here and spread the word. It’s free. It’s fun! Subscribe & it’ll be delivered to your inbox monthly. A great Saturday morning or rest time activity. 

Unchanging God

05/07/2022

Have you ever been with a person whose convictions changed as often as the seasons? Perhaps they read a book and decided to follow that person’s opinion and philosophy of life.  Then they read another book and decided to follow a different view. Thank goodness believers don’t have to worry about God flipping His opinion every other year.  Thank goodness and thank God that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8In other words, we can depend on Him. Christ and His teaching are  IMMUTABLE. They are unchanging. What He called holy yesterday is holy today and will be holy tomorrow. What He called sin yesterday is sin today and is sin tomorrow. And, the grace God extended yesterday is the grace He extends today and extends tomorrow. We follow and serve an unchanging, IMMUTABLE God.

Lord Jesus, we praise You, IMMUTABLE, unchanging Lord God!

If You Want to Be Immortal

05/06/2022

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. However, we will physically die. Jesus alone possesses immortality.  The good news is… the IMMORTAL ONE offers immortality to us. Yes, it’s possible for us to live forever in heaven. 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)  

Who do you know who needs a drink from the Fountain of Life? Will you offer them Christ, the living water?

IMMORTAL LORD, we praise you and thank You for inviting us to immortality in heaven!  Stir our hearts and open our eyes to those with whom we can share You.

With Us

05/05/2022

Can you imagine someone telling you what to name your unborn child? How about being told that your fiancé was going to have a son who would be born BEFORE the two of you came together sexually? While your head is spinning, add another piece of information: your fiancé is going to be pregnant not by a man, but by the Holy Spirit. At this point, it’s too much to absorb, but before you can ask a question, you’re told, “you will name Him Jesus.”  Before you can protest that you had planned to name your firstborn son after you, you’re told “Jesus” was selected because he would “save His people.” Your heart is racing. “Save our people?” That thought is a good one! But before you can finish the thought, the messenger continues, “…from their sins.” You want to blurt out, “What? Save people from their sins? But only God can do that.” And, that is exactly what Jesus did. “‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call his name Immanuel,’ which translated means, ‘God with us.'” Matthew 1:23

Lord Jesus, IMMANUEL, we praise You! You’re not a God who is far removed. Nor are You one who has left us to die in the guilt of our sins. Rather, You’ve come from heaven to earth, IMMANUEL…GOD WITH US. Thank You, Lord Jesus.

God with Skin

05/04/2022

“I wish I could see God.” Have you ever said those words or wished you could ask God for His opinion on a particular subject? If so, look to Jesus. Study His walk on earth. Pay attention to His teachings. Why? Because Colossians 1:15 says Jesus is the image of the invisible God which means “an exact replica, representation, or ‘picture’ of an original.”* In other words, God with skin, hair, nails, eyes, teeth…a beating heart, a warm touch, wisdom beyond our imagination. When we look at Jesus, we’re looking at God. When we listen to Jesus, we’re listening to God. If it has been a while since you read Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, go back and read it very slowly and carefully. Listen as if you were sitting in Jesus’s presence.  Listen for why Jesus might be speaking those words to you. Then think carefully about if you are heeding them. In other words, take them into your heart. Have you made His words your way of thinking? This might be a good place for us to start if we want to be kingdom children.

Okay, so I’m not going to suggest that you do something that I’m not doing so I just re-read The Sermon on the Mount, and yes, Jesus convicted me of sin and reminded me of many truths. It was big. It was huge. I knew there was someone in the back of my mind I needed to forgive and didn’t think I was holding onto any resentment, but I was. I forgave. Jesus took my resentment. It’s lifted. Okay, friends. It’s your turn. I’m pausing typing to pray for you that you will read and take to heart the words of Jesus – God with skin. The Sermon on the Mount

LORD Jesus Christ, IMAGE OF THE INVISIBLE GOD, as we gaze on You in the Bible and as we listen to Your words and teachings, quicken our minds to take in your words not just give them a nod of approval. Lord, magnify your words in our brains. Create new pathways of kingdom thinking so we live and walk as kingdom children in our world. We love You. 

Dark Spots, Tunnels, and Light Switches

05/03/2022

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=invitations to invite Jesus in.

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 any time darkness begins to move into our hearts or mind. We love You, sweet Savior. 

God’s Name

05/02/2022

A person’s name represents the person. If you say “Billy Graham,” not only is it 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 your life?

Lord, we praise you, the great I AM!

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

Something to Smile About

05/01/2022
“What does your husband do?” Many women are asked that question when first getting to know someone. For a single woman who longs to be married, a question like that can be disheartening. For a woman whose husband works in a position she doesn’t respect, the question can make her uncomfortable. But what if someone asked about your husband and you replied, “He’s CEO of the universe.”  Why might you legitimately say that?  Isaiah 54:5 says, “For your HUSBAND is your Maker, whose name is the Lord of hosts; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, who is called the God of all the earth.” Yep. God describes Himself as HUSBAND to believers. Whoo Hoo! And He’s committed to us for eternity. That’s something to smile about.   

Lord, HUSBAND, Maker, Lord of hosts, Redeemer, Holy One of Israel, God of all the earth, we love You and thank You for Your abundant love and commitment to us. You give us a reason to smile.