365 Days of Praise - Beyond Ourselves

Hitch Your Wagon to the Right Star

01/30/2023

Are you familiar with the saying, “Hitch your wagon to a star”? It’s an idiom that means “to commit to an aspirational goal or course of action that will lead to fulfillment.”* But many today are hitching to the opposite. Instead of hitching to what Romans 1:25 describes as God who is BLESSED FOREVER, they’re hitching to the world. The Bible warns us that there are serious repercussions when people don’t honor God, don’t give Him thanks, and exchange the truth of God for a lie. God eventually gives those people over. Over to what? Romans 1:18-25 tells us – over to impurity, over to dishonor, over to degrading passions, and over to depraved minds. What are we hitching our lives to? The ways of the world or to God?

Heavenly Father and Lord Jesus, who are BLESSED FOREVER, help us examine the courses of action to which we are hitched and rightly hitch to You. 

 

*Wiktionary

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Disheartened or Confident?

01/29/2023

Have you been thinking lately that there are few people you can trust? When we’re told one thing and then find out the person never intended to follow through on their promises, it’s disheartening.  That’s why we appreciate words like we find in Psalm 18:30 that says,

As for God, His way is BLAMELESS;…

Once again the Bible reiterates what we need and long to hear – that we can look to and fully trust our Lord. He is BLAMELESS which in Hebrew means “whole, entire, sound, complete, wholesome, unimpaired, having integrity, entirely in accord with truth and fact.” Wow! Reread the definition then celebrate and praise the Lord for who He is.  Confidently voice your faith in Jesus Christ. Let the light of the Blameless Lord shine through you.

Lord, we celebrate YOU, the BLAMELESS One!

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If You’re Alone, Broken, Sick

01/28/2023

Are you alone?  Are you emotionally all over the place?  Are you broken? Are you sick? Ezekiel 34:16 tells us that God is in the business of tending to the lost, the scattered, the broken, and the sick. Listen to God’s promise:

I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken, and strengthen the sick.

Yes, there are times in our lives when we feel like we can’t take one more step, that we can’t get through the day or night. How do we manage? We remember that our Heavenly Father sees us, He cares, and He is with us. We turn to Him. We let go of our stress by praying to Him. We read the Bible and are reminded of His love for us.  He didn’t create the world scattered, lost, and sick, but rather as beautiful, peaceful, and perfect. All that our heart longs for, we will one day experience in His presence.

(Keep a gratitude journal of the ways God is working in your life and helping you. It will encourage you that you are not alone. It will gladden your heart. It will strengthen you.)

Thank You, Heavenly Father, for being with us and BINDING UP the many ways we are BROKEN. Thank You for emotionally, physically, and spiritually strengthening us. 

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Jaw Dropping Love

01/27/2023

Have you noticed that hate between people seems to be in the news more than love? That’s what makes God the Father and Jesus’s love for us so jaw dropping. Think about it for a minute. Jesus, at age 12, described the temple as the house of His Heavenly Father and in doing so claimed familial intimacy with God. At Jesus’s baptism, His Heavenly Father claimed intimacy with Him, saying,

This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased,” Matthew 3:17.  

Beloved Son” is a term that means esteemed, dear, favorite Son. Yes, we are sons and daughters of God. Yet when we ponder the magnitude of our Heavenly Father’s sacrifice when He sent His favorite Son to die for our sins (John 3:16), and when we think of the magnitude of Jesus’s sacrifice when He left His Heavenly Father to come to earth to die for us, we can’t help but have profound gratitude and wonder at their love for us.

Heavenly Father and Beloved Son, we praise You for Your magnanimous love, grace, and sacrifice so we can live with You in eternal glory. Thank You! Thank You! We love You.

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Remember, “So That”

01/26/2023

Does sin weigh you down? It does me when I sin. As long as we’re in our earthly bodies, we’re going to sin. But, and this is big – because Jesus died for our sins, we’re declared righteous and we’re also called to be righteous.  We are to die to sin as 1 Peter 2:24 explains. “…He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” Jesus bore our sin in His body “so that…“.  Jesus suffered so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.

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In Need of Something BEAUTIFUL?

01/26/2023

Do you have enemies?  Are you fearful? Do you have any problems? David, the psalmist, can relate. What did he do? What can we learn from him? He kept his eye on the ball. That is, he kept his eye on God. Specifically, he kept his eye on God’s past and present faithfulness. He knew God to be the beauty in the ashes, the righteousness that overcomes evil. David chose – like we can – to gaze and meditate on God’s beauty and His eternal temple to which we’re headed. In the midst of the agony, defeat, discouragement, and doubt, we can join David and say,

One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord And to meditate in His temple. Psalm 27:4 

Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth, Colossians 3:2 tells us. Will we?

BEAUTIFUL LORD, we praise You. Thank You for being the beauty in our day and the One on whom we can gaze. 

Prayers of My Heart character trait of God to journal: Beautiful.

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Empowered

01/24/2023

Are you a Christian? In other words, have you repented of your sins and asked the Heavenly Father to forgive you? Have you confessed Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?  If so, you’ve been cleansed of your sin. You have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit. But are you living an empowered life?  You see, John the Baptist baptized people in water for the forgiveness of their sins, but in John 1:33 he explained that Jesus baptizes us in the Holy Spirit, who empowers us for daily living.  “He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.”

In Acts 1:8 Jesus said we receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon us. God’s provision for believers is Holy Spirit anointed power! If we’re trudging through life and living by our own strength, it’s time to check the pulse of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Learn more about the Holy Spirit in the Listen UP DVD or How to Live by the Divine Nature Bible study…two valuable resources to help you live an empowered life.

Thank You, Jesus, that when we come to You in repentance, confessing You as Lord and Savior, You baptize us with the Holy Spirit. Help us be mindful of the gift of Your Spirit and live by Your empowerment. 

This is 1 of the 365 facets of our wonderful Lord. To get this free devotional in your inbox, click HERE

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Why AWESOME is an Important Word

01/23/2023

LISTEN

A few years ago, the word “awesome” became a catchphrase for any and everything. “Can you go Monday night? Awesome!” “This meal is awesome!” “I read an awesome book!” If you’re like many, we began to tire of hearing the overused word. However, rather than throw out the word, the Bible points us in the right direction for when to use it. In Genesis 28:17, awesome is used in relation to heaven, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

Exodus 15:11 uses it in relation to God and His works, “Who is like You among the gods, O LORD? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, Awesome in praises, working wonders?”

Yes, we might want to scale down on our use of “awesome” in relation to mundane earthly things, but let’s use it often in relation to God.

We praise You, great and AWESOME GOD, and thank You for Your AWESOME works

Prayers of My Heart character of God to journal: Awesome
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Since We Know, Are We Telling Others to Prepare

01/22/2023

In February 2021 a winter freeze took this Texas girl by surprise. Yes, I’d seen the warnings of a winter storm. In my mind that tabulated to cold weather and snow.  I did think twice about the ice warning but then went on with my life.  Then it got cold. And colder. And colder. I wasn’t prepared and by the time the snow, cold, iced over roads, power outage, no water, and firewood had run out, it was too late to do anything. The days for preparing had passed. I lived with the consequences of my lackadaisical unpreparedness. As the water we had collected in bowls froze inside our home, I thought of what I would do to be better prepared should we have another winter storm. I also thought of how terrifying it is going to be for people who have a lackadaisical attitude toward Biblical warnings of judgment and hell. Yes, many people are going on with their lives and not doing anything to prepare for the salvation of their souls. Thinking of the unsaved sitting in hell with no way to get out is a horrifying thought. Equally horrifying is to neglect Christ’s call to believers to go and tell the unsaved how to be saved. If I felt stuck in the cold of my house, how will they feel stuck in the flames of hell?  Friends, Jesus tells us with “all authority” in Matthew 28:18-20 that we are to be sounding the warning that a day is coming when everyone will stand before Jesus to give an account for their lives. Jesus commands us with all authority to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…

Are we obeying Jesus’s command to warn others to prepare to meet Jesus? Are we telling them how to prepare for their eternity while they still have time? 

Jesus, Son of God, You have all AUTHORITY in heaven and on earth. Open our eyes to the unsaved. Open our mouths to tell them the good news of salvation in You. 

Help Others Prepare. Learn how to share your faith HERE.

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Another Cloud is Watching Us

01/21/2023

Have you ever considered how much Jesus despised the shame of the cross?  Yet, He suffered through it in order to not only give us a start in our Christian walk but to also make sure that our faith is perfected, complete, and finished. Hebrews 12:1-2 calls us now to follow Christ’s example “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author, and PERFECTER of FAITH, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” We have a race to run even as Jesus did. We may not like it. We may, in fact, despise it. Yet God has set before us the joy of heaven, of being reunited with loved ones, of living in eternity where there is no sin and no shame. We may feel like we’re all alone as we go through our day, but we’re not. There is a “great cloud of witnesses surrounding us.” What are they observing? Are we pouting or worshipping? Is our face fixed on Jesus and our countenance lifted up? Or, are we succumbing to ideas of worst case scenarios and walking around with a downcast spirit? This is our time to shine forth for Jesus – for the joy set before us. What is the great cloud of witnesses observing about us today?

Lord Jesus, we praise You, the FINISHER of OUR FAITH!

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