365 Days of Praise - Beyond Ourselves

Tornado Alley

03/28/2021

In a tornado, a storm shelter is the “go-to” place. It must be near. It must be stocked. Knowing we have a storm shelter gives us hope when we’re surrounded by deadly tornadoes. God is mindful that we live in stormy times on enemy ground. The apostle Peter writes that the devil prowls the earth looking for someone to devour. New Testament writers address the evil in the world. The question is, are we mindful that God is our FORTRESS? He’s our “go-to” person in the midst of life’s storms and temptations?  Perhaps you, like me, haven’t always thought of God as your fortress. If that’s the case, we can increase our mindfulness that He is and join the psalmist David’s resolve, “I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust.'” (Psalm 91:2) We can live the coming days with confidence in God, our FORTRESS. Are you in?

Lord God, You are our FORTRESS. Thank You that we can turn to You any time, day or night. 

BORN from the DEAD

03/24/2021

Some time ago I went to a funeral. We celebrated the life of a dear woman who went to be with the Lord. She follows Christ, who  Colossians 1:18 describes as “the beginning, the firstborn from the dead so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.”

“Born from the dead.” Have you ever thought about what that means? Christians have a “new birth.” Before our salvation, we are “dead in our trespasses and sins.” However, after we repent of our sins and confess Jesus as Lord, we receive the Holy Spirit and are “born” and made alive in Christ. What we experience internally at salvation will be fully realized eternally at our bodily resurrection. Witnesses saw the resurrected Christ lead the way as the firstborn from the dead. As He rose, we will rise to be with Him forever in heaven. Share the good news!

Lord Jesus, we praise You, the FIRSTBORN FROM THE DEAD

Is Your View of God Accurate

03/23/2021

Some people have a wrong view of God.  They may accuse Him of not being tolerant. However, our faith is based on the tolerance* or forbearance of God. Romans 3:25b-26 says, “…in the FORBEARANCE of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” To clarify, God is not tolerant of sin.  Rather, sin is so “intolerable” to God that He sent Jesus to die for our sins so we could be made new. God “passed over” or “paid for” sins that had been committed and would be committed. Our forbearing Lord is just. Our forbearing Lord is the justifier (just as if I’d never sinned) of the one who places their faith in Jesus. There is no better time than now for us to share this message with others. People are dying. Many may never have heard the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. Please pray God will stir the hearts of believers to share the good news with others and that the unsaved will hear, be convicted, repent, and be saved.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your forbearance,  for bearing with us and justifying us so we can stand before You as if we’d never sinned. Amazing! 

*”Forbearance,” http://www.blueletterbible.org  

Clear. Perfectly Clear.

03/22/2021

Sometimes spiritual concepts are difficult. Not so with God’s announcement about Himself. God’s words are simple, direct, and clear. We don’t have to analyze or ponder God’s statement in  Isaiah 44:6 in order to understand it. We simply need to respond in faith. “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me.”

Heavenly Father, You make it clear that although there are false gods, there is no God besides You. You are the beginning and the end, the FIRST and the LAST! We worship You.

You Look A Lot Like Our Heavenly Father

03/21/2021

Have you ever needed someone to extend mercy to you? You did something wrong, thoughtless, or perhaps careless. You felt badly and desired forgiveness. You asked to be forgiven. What if their heart was hardened and they said no?  And how horrible it would be if that described our Heavenly Father. But it doesn’t.  Second Corinthians 1:3 tells us that God is the Father of Mercies.  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the FATHER OF MERCIES and God of all comfort.”  Mercy flows from our Father. It’s His nature. He is the original transmitter of mercy.  So when you go to a Christian sister or brother and ask forgiveness and they extend mercy, they are a reflection of their Father – the Father of Mercies. The good news doesn’t stop with God being a transmitter of mercy and our Christian brothers and sisters being transmitters of mercy. The good news is we can be transmitters of mercy, reflections of our Father. In today’s society it’s easy to be offended, to hold grudges, to perhaps not want to forgive or extend mercy. But what a precious opportunity for us to reflect our Heavenly Father. Are we?

FATHER of MERCIES, thank You for extending mercy to us. Help us be extenders of mercy to others who point people to You. 

Amazing!

03/20/2021

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 their children for their good. Isn’t that amazing? But that’s not all. Not only did the Father of spirits birth our existence, but 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 in to it. If we do sin, no doubt, the Father of spirits will be there to convicting call our attention to it, and draw us to Himself to repent.  Father of spirits, Father of our spirit – amazing!

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

The Source of Illumination

03/19/2021

Our nation and the world are going through what some would call a physically, intellectually, morally, and spiritually difficult time.  What should we do in times like this? Shed God’s light, whom James 1:17 describes as the FATHER OF LIGHTS. The prince of darkness, Satan, would love nothing more than for us to stumble in darkness. But James points to our hope.  “Every good thing is given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the FATHER OF LIGHTS, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” Charles Ryrie comments on this verse, saying, “God is the source of all light – physical, intellectual, moral, and spiritual – and He does not change.”* Rather than stumble physically, intellectually, morally, and spiritually, we can pray with all our hearts, minds, souls, and spirits and walk day by day shedding the illumination of the FATHER OF LIGHTS.

Father of Lights, illumine our hearts, minds, souls, and spirit with Your Light so we walk as children of Light and spread Your Light to others. 

Pray with Purpose, Live with Passion Bible study coming soon. 

Where to “Hang Out”

03/18/2021

Where is home to you, the place you hang out to find comfort, love, and security?  If it’s not God, you’re missing out on the ultimate DWELLING PLAC. Deuteronomy 33:27 says, “The eternal God is a dwelling place, and underneath is the everlasting arms.” When you’re tired and want to rest, when you’re excited and want to share good news, when you’ve messed up and need someone to confess to, when you’re stumped and need advice, go to God.  He is a dwelling place where you can go, be yourself, and know you’re loved.  

Heavenly Father, what a gift that You offer Yourself as our DWELLING PLACE.  Prompt us to often come and “hang out” with You as we would our dearest friend. 

Where Can I Go from God

03/17/2021

I was in high school when Psalm 139:7-10 first caught my attention. The words were so beautiful that I picked up my guitar and wrote music to accompany them.  “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there. If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me.” What comfort it is to know that wherever we go, God’s Spirit will be there and His hand will lead us. Which of the verses in Psalm 139:7-10 comfort you? What does it mean to you that God is everywhere and His hand will lead you?

Lord, we praise You that You are EVERYWHERE. Thank You that we are never apart from Your presence. 

You’re Exactly Like Your Father

03/16/2021

If someone says, “You’re exactly like your father” are those fighting words or complimentary words? In other words, did you admire your father so it’s a compliment to be likened to him? Or were there things you didn’t admire and so don’t want to be likened to him?  We would all certainly like for it to be a compliment and in Hebrews 1:3 it is in regard to Jesus being the “spitting image” of His Daddy.  The writer to the Hebrews says this about Jesus and God the Father.  “He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature,” Look at Jesus and you’re looking at our Heavenly Father. Listen to Jesus and you’re hearing the voice of God. Observe Jesus with people and you are observing the Father. Isn’t it exciting that we have a glimpse of what it will be like to be in our Father’s presence? I can’t wait! What about you?

Christ Jesus, we look at and listen to You and know that You are the exact representation of Your Father. We are seeing and hearing Him. We love You both so much!