365 Days of Praise

Unwrap It!

04/04/2024

Gifts! Who doesn’t like to receive a gift?

Presents wrapped with brightly colored paper and bows.

A gift tag with your name on it.

Someone holding a gift and offering, “Take it. I bought it for you.”

As difficult as it may be for us to understand, this is what God the Father and Christ offer us – the gift of salvation. It can only be received, not earned or bought.

Romans 6:23 explains, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Yes, in spite of our sin, the Lord offers us the “free gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Did it cost Him? Yes. It cost our Heavenly Father His only begotten Son’s life. It cost Jesus pain, humiliation, suffering, and death.

When we open God’s gift of eternal life the first thing we see is forgiveness, which gives us such joy and freedom. Then we see the gift of His Holy Spirit and are overwhelmed.

Included in the gift of eternal life is heaven, eternity, glory, peace, joy, and so much more!

Each day we realize there’s more of God’s gift to unwrap. The Gift Giver smiles as our eyes light up in joyful praise.

Lord God, thank You for being GIVING and for the incredible GIFT of eternal life. We love and praise You.

Our mission at Hill Country Ministries is to spread the Word and love of Jesus. We want others to know Christ and receive the gift of eternal life. Help us by sharing 365 Days of Praise using the social media icons, below, or by forwarding to a friend through email. You can also help by subscribing to Debbie’s YouTube channel. Having more subscribers allows us to reach more viewers.

 

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Could You Use Some Gentleness to Pass to Others?

04/03/2024

When you think of Jesus, do you think of Him as being gentle?

In Matthew 11:29, it’s one of the ways He describes Himself. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

What does Christ mean when He says He is gentle? The Greek word for gentle is defined as mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, meekness. I once heard it defined as “power under control.”

Although I don’t fully understand this great combination of attributes, I see them in my husband. Keith has great strength of character, yet he stoops down to pick a tiny flower amidst a field of grass in order to gently hand it to me on our walks.

Christ, while holding infinite power, has a gentle heart toward us.

Jesus tells us to walk closely with Him and learn from Him.

Who in your circle of friends or family needs to see Christ’s gentleness in you? To the degree we walk closely to Christ we’ll be able to walk in gentleness with others.

Lord Jesus, You are strong yet GENTLE. Help us walk by Your Spirit and show gentleness to others as You do with us.

God has so many wonderful attributes that we can praise Him for! The Prayers of My Heart prayer journal is a great way to record your praises and prayers. Grab a copy HERE while it’s on sale!

 

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Passing Person or Proven Jesus?

04/02/2024

Who are you counting on to guarantee you go to heaven when you die? Are you depending on yourself? Are you depending on another person? Or, are you relying on Jesus as your Savior?

I hope you said Jesus. Why? Because we’re all going to die one day and Jesus warns us that He alone is the way to eternal life in heaven. John 14:6

In spite of the fact some people claim that there are many ways to heaven, Jesus says not so; describing Himself as the gate into heaven.

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it,” Matthew 7:13-14.

We are responsible for who we believe, a person or the eternal resurrected Lord Jesus.

I choose to believe and follow the One who demonstrated His heavenly love and power rather than believe and follow a person who teaches things contrary to the Word of God. What about you?

LORD Jesus, we praise You, the GATE by whom we can enter into heaven and be saved.

To learn more about Jesus as the gate to eternal life in heaven, watch Debbie’s teaching on John 14 HERE or listen to it HERE.

 

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Friends, If….

04/01/2024

What makes a friend? How would you define “friend“?

Urban Dictionary defines “friend” as “someone you love and who loves you, someone you respect and who respects you, someone you trust and who trusts you. A friend is honest and makes you want to be honest. A friend is loyal.”

Merriam-Webster defines “friend” as “one attached to another by affection or esteem.”

How did Jesus define “friend”?

We find the answer in John 15:14 when He said, “You are My friends if you do what I command you.”

Jesus’ definition cuts through any pretense. It’s not what we say or sing. It’s what we do that demonstrates if we love, respect, and trust Jesus.

Has Jesus earned our love, trust, and respect? Most certainly.

Does Jesus deserve our love, trust, and respect? Without question.

If we are or are not Jesus’ friend is found out by our actions – whether we obey or disobey Him.

What better time than now for us to show Jesus how much we love Him by obeying Him?

Jesus Christ, wonderful Savior, and FRIEND, we pray to show You that we are Your friend by our obedience to You.

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What’s Your Fragrance these Days

03/31/2024

Do you enjoy pleasant fragrances? Did you know that God does, too? Did you know you can be a pleasant fragrance to God?

Ephesians 5:2 explains how we can be a sweet aroma. Paul writes, “…walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” Christ’s sacrificial love and life were a fragrant aroma to God. In like manner, we can walk in love, sacrificially, and be a sweet aroma to God.

What if we haven’t been walking in sacrificial love, but rather been selfish or unloving? We can acknowledge our sin, repent, and be filled with the sweet Spirit of Christ.

When writing my book, Pray with Purpose, Live with Passion, I used my daughter’s puppy as an example of how we carry the fragrance of whatever we hold close to our hearts.

Bailey, her puppy, had a distinct puppy odor. After holding her one day, I noticed her odor remained on me. It wasn’t pleasant so I showered and changed clothes. Just like a dog has an odor, sin has an odor. If we’re clinging to a “pet” sin or living for ourselves rather than sacrificially for God, He gets a whiff of our selfishness.

What can we do to rid ourselves of the unpleasant odor of sin? Change, as I changed my clothes. Put the sin aside. Bathe in God’s forgiveness and grace. Serve the Lord and you will be a sweet aroma to Him and others.

Christ Jesus, we praise You for walking in love and giving Yourself as an offering and sacrifice to God; a FRAGRANT AROMA. Help us be a fragrance of You to God and others.

Be a fragrance of Christ to God and others. Share 365 Days of Praise to others by forwarding it as an email or using the social media buttons below to share them on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest.

 

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A Sippy Cup Won’t Do

03/30/2024

If and when you had toddlers at home or perhaps worked with them in a preschool, did you ever give them a sippy cup of water? No doubt, it was the right size for them. But what about when you are thirsty? Do you reach for a sippy cup? While we might think the question ridiculous and the answer obvious, perhaps we should consider it in light of the reference to God as the fountain of life (not a sippy cup).

“For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light, Psalm 36:9. Or in light of Jesus’ words, “’Let anyone who is thirsty come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive.’”

When we come to God for new life in Christ, He gives us more than a sippy cup of His Spirit. He gives us a Fountain who flows in our innermost being. Yet, could it be said of us as it was the Israelites, “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water,” Jeremiah 2:13.

The Lord is a fountain of life. Are we drinking richly of Him when we rise, throughout the day, and until we fall asleep? Rather than be drained because we’re drinking from a sippy cup of His Spirit or because we’re doing things in our own flesh as the Israelites who “hewed for themselves broken cisterns,” we can live by the refreshing fountain of life. From what, from whom will you drink today?

Lord, You are the FOUNTAIN of LIFE. Thank You for Your Spirit from Whom we can drink richly.

In John 7, Jesus spoke of living water again. To learn more, watch Debbie’s teaching on John 7 HERE or listen to it HERE

 

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A Good Place to Be

03/29/2024
Woman reading the Bible.

When you think of fortresses in the Bible, what comes to mind? In the past, I often had images of David scaling a hill and finding protection in the clefts as Saul pursued him. In addition, however, fortresses were thick-walled cities such as Jerusalem, referred to in 2 Samuel 5:9 as the stronghold in which David lived.

Fortresses infer the need for protection from enemies. Is there such a need today? Yes. Whether the enemy we face is a person, nation, or the devil and spiritual forces of wickedness, we have a fortress in God as David did. What can we learn from him regarding the Lord being a fortress?

First, we must have confidence in the Lord and place our trust in Him when standing against the enemy. We must say as David did, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust!” Psalm 91:1

We must call upon the Lord. “I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies,” 2 Samuel 22:4.

We must go to the Lord, our fortress, confident He will lead and guide us. “For You are my rock and my fortress; for Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me,” Psalm 31:3. God is mindful that we live in dangerous times on enemy ground. The question is, are we mindful that God is our fortress? Are we staying “in” Him?

Lord God, You are our FORTRESS. Thank You that we can run to You, we can live in You, and be saved from our enemies.

We’d love to have you join us for our April Bible study on the End Times! Click HERE for more information and to register.

If you’re not able to make the April study and would like to purchase the Bible study to do on your own, you can purchase it HERE. The study includes free accompanying videos and podcasts, which you can access HERE.

 

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A Perfect Storm

03/28/2024
Woman crying, dealing with the storms of life.

During the Covid pandemic in 2020, many schools closed. People lost their jobs or worked from home. Close quarters, high emotions, and worries about the future created the perfect storm for cross words, blame, and anger.

Trying times like a pandemic are not the only times storms can brew. How wisely do we relate to one another during those times? Do we withhold or give forgiveness? Do we confess when we have been wrong and attempt to make things right? First John 1:9 provides important spiritual guidance about what we are to do when we have sinned. John writes, “If we confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

God is faithful and righteous. He calls us to be faithful and righteous, also. We are to confess our sins. When we do, He extends mercy and forgives us. We are then to extend mercy and forgive others.

How can we do this? We ask Jesus to fill us and live His life through us. When we do, the storm that might have destroyed relationships becomes an opportunity for those closest to us to see Jesus – maybe for the first time or in a new way.

Lord Jesus, thank You that You are with us in the storms of life. Thank You that You are a FORGIVING GOD. Thank You for showing us how to forgive others. Fill us. Live Your life through us so others see and believe in You.

Are you a wife and mom looking to strengthen your relationships with your husband and children? Check out Dear Wife and The Plan A Mom in a Plan B World in our shop

 

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Is Your View of God Accurate?

03/27/2024

Do you have an accurate view of God? Why do I ask? Because some people have a wrong view of Him. For instance, some people accuse God of not being tolerant. However, the apostle Paul points out in his letter to the Romans that God has demonstrated His tolerance (or forbearance) toward sinful man.

He asks in Romans 2:4, “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”

Did you catch that? Not only has holy God been kind and patient with we who are sinful, He has been tolerant, or forbearing as Romans 3:25b states. “…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. Pray God will stir believers hearts to share the good news of Christ with others and the unsaved will 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. We love and praise You!

Do you have a friend or family member you would like to introduce to Jesus? Share this link with them: “Meet Jesus…Experience His Grace.”

 

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Who Is for You?

03/26/2024

Which team are you for?” “Which candidate are you for?” We often talk about who we’re for. But have you ever thought about who is for you? Perhaps you’re blessed with a friend or family member who is for you. But what if you aren’t? What if you fight your daily battles alone? What if there is no one who stands with you and encourages you?

God has an important message for us in Romans 8:31. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is For Us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over For Us all…”

GOD is FOR YOU. Not only is He not against you, the fact that He’s for us is amazing. Say it out loud with emphasis. “God is for me. God is for me.”

God is for us saving our souls. God is for us rescuing us from the domain of darkness. Jesus is for us preparing a place in heaven. Jesus is for us, sitting at the right hand of God interceding for us. God the Father and Son are so for us that Jesus took our place on the cross.

The next time you’re tempted to feel sorry for yourself or Satan whispers, “you’re doing life all alone,” answer back loud and clear. “God is with me and FOR ME.” Then, tell someone who does not have a relationship with Jesus what it means to you to have God for you.

Heavenly Father, precious Savior, thank You for being FOR US. We praise You, thank You, and pray our lives reflect our gratitude.

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