365 Days of Praise - Beyond Ourselves

What Does it Mean God is a Consuming Fire


Heavenly Father. Lord. Savior. You’re familiar with those descriptions of God. Shepherd. Love. Peace. The list goes on. Consuming Fire. Wait! What? God is a Consuming Fire? Yes. That is one of the ways the Bible describes the Lord. You see, our Heavenly Father is majestic beyond our imagination, full of glory. That is why people fall at His feet. It is why God’s anger burned toward Moses when He called Moses to lead the people out of Egyptian bondage and Moses asked God to send someone else. (Exodus 4:14)  God’s fiery anger burns against evil and sin as Deuteronomy 4:24 warns.  “For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.” It is why the Lord “rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire out of heaven.” Genesis 19:24. The New Testament reinforces the holy, consuming fire of God. Hebrews 12:29 states, “our God is a CONSUMING FIRE.”  Should we fear Him? Yes, in holy reverence. Should we be afraid of Him? Not if we’re covered in the blood of Jesus. What should we expect of our God who is a consuming fire? Revelation 20:9 tells us. Fire will once again come down from heaven and devour those who fight against Him and His saints. “And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them.” Nothing. No one can stand against our Lord who is a consuming fire.

Lord God, CONSUMING FIRE, burning in righteousness and purity, thank You for saving us on the basis of Christ’s sacrifice. Thank You for the day when You will make all things right. 

Add “Consuming Fire” to your list of God’s attributes in Prayers of My Heart. Order the journal for Christmas gifts!


Remember “So That”


Does sin weigh you down? It often does me. As long as we’re in our earthly bodies, we’re going to sin. But, and this is big – because Jesus took our sins, we’re declared righteous and we’re also called to be righteous.  In other words, sin is to be “dying off” in us as we purposefully draw close to Jesus, learn His ways, practice His teachings, and look at our sins through His eyes. The bottom line, we recognize we have an upward calling and we don’t want sin to be a part of our life. Here’s how  1 Peter 2:24 explains it. “…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 on the cross “so that…”  Jesus suffered so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.


The Most Important Word


If you were asked what the most important word in the world is, how would you reply?  Would it be love, hope, or peace?  Do a search on the topic and you’ll find a variety of answers such as the most important word is a person’s name.  Another answer you might find is “thank you,” which is only one word in French. The Bible has an eternal perspective on this topic, however. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Bible passages such as  Revelation 19:13 explain the most important Word is Jesus. “His name is called THE WORD of GOD.Acts 4:10-12 warns us there is salvation in no other name except Jesus.  Now that you know the most important Word, why not start up a conversation with someone on the topic? It might lead to an opportunity for you to share Christ and tell them how they can be saved. If the person is already a Christian but not closely following Christ, it gives you an opportunity to share with them how life and light are found in Jesus. Let’s not keep this Word to ourselves!

Lord Jesus, Word of God, we love and praise You. Stir the embers in our hearts to be a roaring fire so we can’t help but share You with others. 


A Time for Zeal


When we and our nation sin, are we mindful that God sees us? The Bible clearly says that God sees us and that there are consequences to sin. Joel 2:11 says, “The day of the Lord is indeed great and very awesome. And who can endure it?”  Joel 2:12-14a continues, “Yet, even now, declares the LORD, ‘Return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning. And rend your heart and not your garments.’ Now return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil. Who knows whether He will not turn and relent and leave a blessing behind Him…”  What is God’s response when we repent? Joel 2:18 says, “Then the Lord will be zealous for His land and will have pity on His people.” God is ZEALOUS for us. Why? He wants us to take hold of the joy, beauty, and glory of the abundant life He gives us in Christ Jesus. What better time than now for our nation to repent? What better time than now for us to be zealous for Christ and live purposefully for Him? Return God’s zeal by praying more purposefully and living more passionately for Christ. Watch Starting Strong for a refresher.

Lord, thank You for being ZEALOUS for us. Kindle in us a zeal for You that produces in us a zeal for holiness and a zeal for our brothers and sisters, a zeal for our neighbors, and a zeal for our nation.  



The King Who Reigns Forever


Elizabeth II of Great Britain, who died on September 8, 2022, reigned 70 years.  The length of her reign is second only to Louis XIV of France who reigned 72 years.  Their reigns can be counted to the day. There is One, however, whose reign cannot be counted by days, months, or years. Jesus, Zion’s King, is eternal. John 12:15 describes Jesus, Zion’s Kings’ first coming as lowly.  “FEAR NOTDAUGHTER OF ZION; BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING, SEATED ON A DONKEY’S COLT.” However, Zion’s King will have a glorious second coming described in Revelation 19:16. “And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

Are you ready for the eternal King of glory, Zion’s King, the King of Kings, and Lord of LORDS’ arrival?

Zion’s King, Your reign is eternal and glorious. Thank You for saving and sealing us for eternity with You in Your heavenly Kingdom.


Let’s Get This Right


Have you ever considered that because Christ paid for your sins you are worthy of heaven? Say that a few times to yourself and let it sink in. “I am worthy of heaven.” Believers are found worthy of heaven ONLY because Christ is worthy and exchanged His righteousness for our sins. He gave us His righteousness. Colossians 1:10 reminds us of the implication – so that YOU will walk in a manner WORTHY of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;” In other words, we’re to walk in a manner worthy of or “suitably” for our Lord. We may have a hazy understanding of what it means to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, but we know what it means to be suitable. A child who puts on dirty clothes for school is told to put on something suitable, something clean for school. In the same manner, we are to walk worthily (suitably) of the Lord. Let’s get this right this year.

JOURNALING TIP:  I wrote in the Meditations section of my journal, “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,” Colossians 1:10. It’s a verse I want to put to memory. Writing and reviewing it helps keep me focused on this important calling.

Lord, thank You for making us worthy of Your presence and of heaven. Help us walk worthily of You!

Excerpt from If God is In Control, Why Am I a Basket Case? 



Is Lip Service a Big Deal to God


A person who is not a Christian once challenged me and asked why believers talk about God’s love but never His wrath. I thought about his question and realized that I’m guilty of that very thing. Think about all the wonderful ways we look at God’s love, gentleness, and favor. Today, however, the context in which God’s actions are described as WONDROUSLY MARVELOUS is a reference to His judgment on people who claim His name, but simply give lip service to Him. God uses the prophet Isaiah to call them out in  Isaiah 29:13-14. “Then the Lord said, ‘Because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote, therefore, I will once again deal marvelously with this people, WONDROUSLY MARVELOUS.'”  He goes on to warn them of the consequences of their lip service and rote worship. We might want to relegate our Creator’s wrath to the Old Testament, but Revelation 16 speaks of God’s judgment being poured out in a future day. We may wonder, “Is mankind’s behavior and sincerity of worship a big deal to God?” The answer is, yes.

Lord, You alone are worthy of our praise. You extend mercy to those who call on Your name but are WONDROUSLY MARVELOUS in Your discipline toward those who give You lip service and rote worship. Forgive us and prompt us daily to live by Your Spirit.

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If You’re Wondering What to Do About Something


Are you at your wit’s end? Do you need someone to talk to who can help you sort out your concerns, problems, and worries?  God understands. Our Heavenly Father is the original COUNSELOR. And, Isaiah 9:6 says this about Jesus. Not only is He our Counselor, but He is also a “Wonderful Counselor.”  Our Heavenly Father and Jesus are wonderful counselors because they are excellent listeners and know us inside and out. We can talk to them and know they hear us, and when we quiet ourselves in their presence, we can hear them.  Talk to your Wonderful Counselor, then follow His counsel. I record what God prompts me to do in my journal, Prayers of My HeartIt helps me follow through because I can reread what I’ve recorded that He put on my heart. What do God’s prompts sound like? His prompt might be, “Open your Bible and read a Psalm.” It might be, “Stop procrastinating and tackle what is before you.” His prompt might be, “Instead of wondering about someone, call them.” Or, “Do _____ today.” A wise Christian will both talk things out with their Wonderful Counselor and follow how the Wonderful Counselor prompts them. Are we wise? 

LORD, You are the WONDERFUL COUNSELOR. Increase our sensitivity to Your Voice. Help us take seriously Your counsel and follow through on what You lead us to do.  


Who Can You Believe?


Do you ever wonder who you can believe? One person says one thing and another claims the opposite. Yes, it can sometimes be difficult to know who to believe, but not in the case of Jesus’s words.  Revelation 1:5 describes Jesus Christ as “the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood-” Jesus is a faithful witness. A witness of what? He witnessed to us about heaven, His Father, angels, crowns of righteousness awaiting believers, resurrection bodies, thrones, powers, kingdoms, the judgment seat, forgiveness, redemption, His Father’s house, and about Satan. Jesus testified about the fact that Abraham, Noah, Moses, and Jonah were real people and that the Old Testament is true. Our confidence in the Bible and its teachings solidly rests on Christ because He is a faithful witness to us that they are true.

Lord Jesus, we praise You, the faithful WITNESS! Thank You for the confidence we have in the Bible and You because of Your word.

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Follow the Lord’s Wise Ways


Are you in the midst of making a decision?  Do you wonder what the best course of action is regarding work, parenting, a relationship, or finances? If ever there was a time to follow God’s wise ways in these dark days,  it’s now. We need wisdom for daily decisions. Wisdom for how to proceed when the unexpected pops up. Proverbs 2:6 reminds us that the Lord is the source and provider of wisdom.  “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” It is a blessing that we can go to our Heavenly Father, study His ways, pray, and walk in the light of His wisdom. Are we?

Wise Heavenly Father, we praise You for allowing us to come to You. Thank You for providing us with wisdom for daily life.  Continually stir our hearts and minds to walk in the light of Your teachings. We love You.