365 Days of Praise - Beyond Ourselves

Near or Far? Here’s the Answer

07/21/2020

Jesus told His disciples He was going to die and ascend to His Father in heaven; but that He would not leave them as orphans. (John 14:16-18) Jesus explained that He would send a Helper to them and the Helper would not only be with them, but He would also be IN them. You can’t get more NEAR to someone than to be IN them. And, that is God’s gift to believers.  Christ’s Holy Spirit is IN you. NEAR. Not far away. NEAR. Not inaccessible. Still not convinced? Listen to what Psalm 145:18 says, “The LORD is NEAR to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” Call on God in sincerity and truth. He’s NEAR.

LORD, You are NEAR, not far removed. Thank You that we can call on You in sincerity and truth. 

Not a Zapper

07/20/2020

Friends, I’ve been out of pocket caring for my husband who has had a few setbacks since his 7/7 spinal surgery. Thank you for your patience and mostly for your prayers for Keith’s recovery.

Are you struggling? Are you always worried that Christ is looking from heaven waiting to catch you mess up so He can zap you for something you do wrong? If so, today is a good day to rethink your view of Jesus.  That’s not who He is. Paul, a candidate for being “zapped” before he became a Christ follower, fills us in on what Jesus is like.  “I, Paul, myself urge you by the MEEKNESS and gentleness of Christ—” 2 Corinthians 10:1. When Paul refers to Christ as meek, he uses a word that means “mildness of disposition and gentleness of spirit.” In other words, Christ isn’t a cloud sitting Savior watching for someone He can zap if they take a wrong turn in life. Paul realizes Jesus could have zapped him dead on the Damascus Road but rather, Christ commissioned him to a new purposeful life. Our Savior is all-powerful, but He has a mild disposition toward us, not a “zap you if you mess us” disposition. He understands what it’s like to be human and struggle, to deal with daily life, problems, and stress. Relish your Savior’s meekness. Talk to Him. Read His wisdom truths in the Sermon on the Mount and keep reading through Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Meditate on the precious words He brought us from heaven. They’re food for a sound mind and a steady course until we reach our ultimate destiny – heaven.

Lord Jesus, thank You for being on our side. Thank You for looking on us with eyes of gentle meekness. We love You and are grateful for You. XO 

When You Are Down or Discouraged

07/10/2020
I want to pause today. We’re more than halfway through our 365 days of praising God. Thank you for joining me on this pilgrimage to better know our Heavenly Father and Jesus. The reason it thrills me to admire a different facet of God each day is that He wants us to know Him. The Bible is God’s love letter in which He reveals Himself. Think of it this way. Online dating has become quite popular. People share online about themselves, their favorite books, sports, music, movies, places to visit, and restaurants. They share their religious and political views. In the Bible, God puts Himself out there and says, “I want you to know Me.” He provides a progressive revelation of Himself from Genesis through Revelation. Today, we’re meditating on how the Bible describes God as MARVELOUS. What’s marvelous about our Lord?
  • His WORKS are MARVELOUS. Revelation 15:3 states, And they *sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, ‘Great and MARVELOUS are Your WORKS, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations!’”  Think. In what way do you see God marvelously working in your life or in the life of someone close to you? Praise Him for it.
  • His LOVINGKINDNESS is MARVELOUS.   The psalmist writes, “Blessed be the LORD, for He has made marvelous His lovingkindness to me in a besieged city.” Psalm 31:21.  In this verse, marvelous means “wonderful, surpassing, extraordinary, separate by distinguishing action.” Think. In what way can you personally testify to the fact that God’s lovingkindness is “wonderful, surpassing, extraordinary, separate by distinguishing action”?
  • His SALVATION is MARVELOUS.  In Matthew 21:42, Jesus asks, “‘Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone; THIS CAME ABOUT FROM THE LORD, AND IT IS MARVELOUS in our eyes?”  Jesus said God’s plan for saving you and me is marvelous, which means “worthy of pious admiration, admirable, excellent, passing human comprehension, causing amazement joined with terror, extraordinary, striking, surprising.” Praise Him now.
  • His LIGHT is MARVELOUS.  First Peter 2:9, a favorite verse of mine because it defines believers and our purpose states, “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His MARVELOUS LIGHT.”  We are to tell others of the excellencies of Christ and that they can live in His excellent, extraordinary, striking, surprising light. What a privilege!

Are you in awe of your Marvelous Lord? Spend time praising Him for the above ways in which He is marvelously displayed. Write out one of the verses in Prayers of My Heart journal and focus on that verse when you are down or discouraged.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, You are marvelous in Your work, love, kindness, salvation, and light. We celebrate and worship You!

                                                             

It’s Not Always Happy

07/09/2020

In Christian circles, we often speak of the joy of the Lord, and rightly so. Jesus tells us to pray in His name to our Heavenly Father so that our joy will be made full.  We share Christ’s joy when we use the gifts He’s given us. Joy is a “fruit” of the Holy Spirit in our lives. That doesn’t mean, however, that life is free of sorrow or that we’ll be on a joy ride to heaven. Far from it. I remember when Philippians 3:7-10 became my life verses. I prayed, “Lord, I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection!” I was changed after that prayer. The Holy Spirit filled me and I read the Bible with new eyes. I had an intimacy and passion for Christ that I’d not before experienced. But I need to let you in on a little secret. I stopped my prayer before the end of verse 10. I did my own edit of applying the Bible to my life. Philippians 3:10 continues, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” I did NOT pray “and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” I saw the end of the verse. I read it, but I didn’t want the part about suffering with Christ. Years later, after the Lord let me know Him more fully by studying His divine attributes and experiencing His power in new ways beyond my power, it was time for me to experience the “fellowship of His sufferings.” It hurt. It was not fun. I cried. I journaled Scriptures. And, my intimacy deepened with the Lord in a way it could not have had I not gone through that time and others since then.  Isaiah 53:3 states about Jesus, “He was despised and forsaken of men, a MAN OF SORROWS and acquainted with grief…” If you are going through a time of sorrow or grief, that doesn’t mean something is necessarily wrong with you/in you. Of course, if it’s due to sin, that is another subject which the Bible addresses and has guidance concerning. But if you are staying the course with Jesus and are suffering in some way, this is when you can get up close to Him, curl up in His arms, read your Bible with opened eyes, and discover that He’ll see you through it.

Jesus, MAN OF SORROWS, thank You for being here for us when we are going through hard, sorrowful times. Help us fellowship well with You. 

                                                                             

Is This Cool or What?

07/08/2020

Friends, thank you so much for your prayers for Keith’s back surgery. The doctor said it went well and was much needed.  You are in my prayers as many of you face struggles and Covid within your family. 

In case we ever wonder who made the heavens, earth, and us, the LORD tells us: HE DID. “Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, ‘I, the LORD, am the MAKER of all things, Stretching out the heavens by Myself and spreading out the earth all alone…'” (Isaiah 44:24)  Is that cool or what?  So look around in awe of the sky, earth, and sea. Take a deep breath of air. Thank God for making you and all of creation. Yes, look around. Give Him praise.

LORD, You are our awesome Maker! Thank You for the glory of heaven, earth, and the wonder of the human body that shouts Your praise. We love You and give You glory.

We Can’t Wait!

07/07/2020

Friends, My husband, Keith, is having a 3 level spinal lumbar fusion at 7:30 am tomorrow (Tuesday 7/7). He has been in tons of pain. Would you please pray for the doctor’s wisdom and precision, and for caring, attentive nurses and aids to attend to him? I’m sad that I have to drop him off at the door and can’t be with him, but unbelievable grateful to the Lord that Keith can go ahead and have the surgery tomorrow and it not be postponed. Please pray for full and complete healing and quick recovery. Thank you so much!

Is there anything you look forward to and can’t wait to happen?  Have you ever looked forward to something and then it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be?  If so, here’s something to look forward to that will not disappoint. The day you see what Peter describes as not just “majestic,” but MAJESTIC GLORY.  It’s the best Peter could do to describe his experience of being with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration “when He (Jesus) received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the MAJESTIC GLORY, ‘This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased’—” (2 Peter 1:17) What Peter saw and heard, we will one day see and hear – God, the MAJESTIC GLORY.  Are you ready? Are you excited?

Heavenly Father, MAJESTIC GLORY, we can’t wait to be in Your presence. Thank You for this eternal opportunity!

How Not to be a Sourpuss

07/06/2020

Are you a sourpuss? You know, grumpy, negative, never satisfied? If so, take your thoughts CAPTIVE to Christ. Pay attention to what you’re thinking. Why? Your thoughts make us who we are. An example: After God opened a way for the Israelites to cross the Red Sea on dry land to escape the Egyptian army, Moses could have said, “Boy, that was close! I don’t know why God let that happen! He about got us killed.” Yes, he could have complained but He chose to instead sing praises to God. “Your right hand, O LORD, is MAJESTIC in power, Your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy,” Exodus 15:6“Who is like You among the gods, O LordWho is like You, MAJESTIC in holiness, Awesome in praises, working wonders?”  Exodus 15:11

If we’re a sourpuss and tend to focus on the negative, we’re not doing ourselves or anyone else a favor, including God. As a matter of fact, we’re being a bad showcase of our Majestic Lord. Isn’t it time we change?  If you’d like to take your thoughts captive to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), go right up to the throne room and examine them. Moses isn’t the only one who has a God MAJESTIC in power and holiness. We do, too! Isn’t it time we change our thinking (Philippians 4:8) and talk/act like it?

If you have Prayers of My Heart, turn to the Meditations, Notes, and Prayers section and write words of praise to our Heavenly Father. Do you need prompts? He’s saved you. He forgives your bad behavior. His Word straightens out your wayward thoughts. His Spirit is your downpayment and security of heaven. His grace is new every morning. Do you have a family or friends, a roof over your head, clean water, food, a bed to sleep in at night? Write words of thanks to Him now.

You, O LORD, are MAJESTIC in HOLINESS and POWER! We sing Your praises for all the things You’ve done, are doing, and will do. Help us showcase You by examining our thoughts and praising You for all we have in You. 

Behind the Backdrop of the Fireworks Display

07/05/2020

With the night sky as a backdrop, many July 4th watchers “ooh” and “awed” at the firework display. I can’t help but grin at how easily amused we are. Certainly our Heavenly Father who created the night backdrop must smile. I wonder if Jesus ever leans over and says, “Aren’t they going to be blown away when they see the Light display of Us?” Who will see the glorious display of LIGHTS and GLORY emanating from heaven’s throne room? Those who have placed their faith in the KING of the NATIONS.  Yes, all people throughout the world who have responded “yes” to Jesus’s gift of salvation will be at the Heavenly display of LIGHTS. How can we be certain that Jesus is the Savior of not only the Jews but of all the nations? Jesus himself said He is as recorded in Matthew 28:16-20,  “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

As you think about the fireworks display you watched on July 4, think beyond it to the One who made the night sky. Say a prayer of thanks to the King of the Nations, the light of the world.

Heavenly Father, we smile in anticipation of the display of GLORY emanating from YOU, KING of the NATIONS. Stir our hearts to live for Your pleasure and the salvation of souls throughout the world. 

Fireworks?

07/04/2020

What do you do on the Fourth of July?  Do you like watching fireworks light up the night sky? There’s something about the brilliance of light bursting across the darkness.  As we celebrate our nation’s declaration of independence from the British Empire, what a good time to also celebrate the believer’s declaration of independence from Satan’s empire.  What a wonderful reminder that Jesus is the Light of the World.  The fireworks we watch are a flash in the darkness. Jesus is constantly brilliant and will one day be the source of Light by which we live for eternity. No doubt, when Jesus announced He was the Light of the World, He must have sounded braggadocios to His listeners. How could a carpenter from Nazareth claim to be the LIGHT of the WORLD? Yet, Jesus made the claim, and He is who He says He is. Jesus came from heaven bringing truth that enlightens every person who will hear and believe. Fireworks come and go. Invite Jesus into your heart and live with His brilliance for eternity.

Lord Jesus, You are the LIGHT OF THE WORLD and our LIGHT. We give You honor and praise!

“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the LIGHT of the WORLD; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.’” John 8:12

Wishing Things Were Different?

07/03/2020

Are you tired of life as it is? Do you long for things to be different? God understands. He never intended our life to be filled with angst, anxiety, and the consequences of sin. He created Adam and Eve in His image and placed them in a perfect world. He created mankind to share life in and with Him; to live by His divine nature and experience His MAGNIFICENCE. Although we live in a sin sick world that is experiencing the consequences of shutting Him out, our hope is not lost. Rather, our hope is firm in Christ Jesus. After turning from sin and confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior, we must daily meditate on God’s Word. Why is this so important? To keep us emotionally, mentally, and spiritually grounded in truth.  Second Peter 1:4  reminds us that God “has granted to us His precious and MAGNIFICIENT promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” We need look no further than the latest news to see the corruption in the world. But that is not our destiny. It is not to be our experience. We, as believers, escape the world’s corruption through the means of Christ’s divine nature operating in accordance with God’s promises. In other words, believers have the joy and privilege of learning Kingdom ways and promises and experiencing them through Christ’s Spirit. At this time in our nation and world, we have a weapon against despair, anxiety, and hopelessness that unbelievers do not have. Begin the morning welcoming your Heavenly Father and praying, “Heavenly Father, thank You for this day. Please fill my spirit with Your Holy divine nature. Help me discern Your ways and walk through my day sensitive to Your voice. Christ, flow Your joy, peace, and love through me to others.”  Yes, the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and Bible are MAGNIFICENT. Immerse your mind with your Heavenly Father’s ways. Bath your heart in His promises. Walk by His MAGNIFICENT divine nature and you’ll discover hope in your heart and a smile to share with others.

LORD, You are MAGNIFICENT and Your promises are MAGNIFICENT. Thank You for salvation by which we become partakers of Your divine nature. Thank You for the Bible and Your Spirit by which we walk out Your magnificent, divine promises.

Record your praise to God that He is “Magnificent” in Prayers of My Heart.  Pray for yourself and intercede for your family and others that they live by God’s magnificent promises.