365 Days of Praise - Beyond Ourselves

Will God Judge Christians?


Isn’t it great that as Christians we can continually learn and grow? For instance, when a person turns to Christ for salvation, they may think that the word “judgment” will in no way ever again be used in reference to them. However, the Bible describes different kinds of judgments.  First Peter 1:17 speaks of God judging believers’ works. “If (since) you address as Father the one who IMPARTIALLY JUDGES according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth…” Interesting, huh? Although we’re not saved by works, God judges how we conduct ourselves after we’re saved.  Peter reminds us that God is an impartial judge and that we should live in a way that shows reverence for Christ. Peter gives examples of what this looks like.

  • We fervently love one another from the heart, 1:22
  • We put aside all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander, 2:1
  • We grow in respect to salvation, 2:2
  • We proclaim the excellencies of Christ, 2:9
  • We keep our behavior excellent, 2:12
  • We follow in Christ’s steps, 2:21
  • We are harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead, 3:8-9
  • We keep our tongue from evil and lies, 3:10
  • We turn away from evil and do good; seeking peace, 3:11
  • We keep a good conscience, 3:16
  • We live for the will of God, 4:2
  • We live in the Spirit according to the will of God, 4:6
  • We’re hospitable to one another without complaint, 4:9
  • We use the gift God’s given us to serve one another, 4:10
  • We cast all our anxiety on God, knowing He cares for us, 5:7
  • We resist the devil, firm in our faith, 5:9

In other words, believers are to represent the excellencies of Christ. How are we doing? If you’re like me and are convicted about one or more in the above listing, realize that God loves you and patiently calls you to repent, learn from the past, and rise to serve Him. What a loving Father!

Heavenly Father, thank You that You are impartial and that You call us to new life through Christ’s empowerment. May we represent You well.  


Help People See Jesus


Have you been battling something and you’re tired?  If so, we do well to remember that as believers we don’t stand alone. We have each other as we battle our flesh, the world, and Satan. Exodus 17:8-15 records a great visual of how we can come alongside each other, and under the banner of the Lord, defeat the enemy.

Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand. 

So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed.

But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sunset.

So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. 

Moses built an altar and named it The Lord Is My Banner; and he said, ‘The Lord has sworn; the Lord will have war against Amalek from generation to generation.’

In this passage, we learn that the Israelites won the battle as long as they could see Moses’s staff which represented God’s power.

What can we learn from this account?

  • We must station ourselves with the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.
  • We must lift one another in prayer.
  • We must keep our eyes on Christ, the Victor.  

God is our Banner. Lift Him high before the eyes of others. How? Share “365 Days of Praise” with family and friends each day. Each devotional focuses on a different aspect of God’s divinity, power, and sufficiency.  Or, take 30 seconds and click the FB or Twitter share link at the end of each post.

Will you join me in daily holding up God’s name and power?  Who in your family and which of your friends could use the daily reminder that God is in the battle with them?

Heavenly Father, we often feel there is little we can do to make a difference in our world. But there is something we can do. We can lift high Your name so others are reminded of Your presence and power. Thank You, Jehovah-Nissi, our banner.


A Moment Isn’t A Destiny


Things aren’t always what they seem.  And just because things appear one way in a moment of time, it doesn’t mean they’ll stay that way.  Case in point: Jesus. If we’d been in Jerusalem when Jesus was hanging on the cross we might have concluded, “Jesus failed.”  However, what appeared to be Jesus’s lowest moment was in fact God’s highest plan being accomplished. Three days after Jesus’s death on the cross, God raised Him. So the moment was really, “God’s plan succeeded. Jesus accomplished His mission.”  Isaiah 52:13 prophesied, “Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be HIGH and LIFTED UP and greatly exalted.” Jesus is seated at the right hand of God – HIGH AND LIFTED UP – greatly exalted. The next time you feel like a failure and that God’s plan isn’t working, remember Christ on the cross. A moment doesn’t define you. It may be a step forward. Look up and pray in faith. Ask your Heavenly Father, who can move mountains and bring success out of defeat, to work positive changes in your circumstances. Walk by the promptings of His Spirit.

NOTE to Moms: (Or anyone who has a mom or loves a mom.) Hey Mom, we can sometimes (or often) feel like a failure. God knows how many times we fail and cry out to Him for forgiveness, strength, “overs,” wisdom, protection for our children, and that they will come to know Him as Savior and Lord. If you can relate, I encourage you to get my book, “The Plan A Mom in a Plan B World.” (A different book from The Plan A WOMAN in a Plan B World) I had mom friends of all ages/stages share personal stories that will encourage you and provide practical/spiritual tips. The discussion questions at the end of each chapter make it a great resource for mom groups, also. $7.49 Mother’s Day special.

We praise You, Lord Jesus, HIGH, and LIFTED UP, greatly exalted. We can’t wait to see You face to face! 

PS: If you aren’t getting my monthly Kidz Time devotional activity for your kids to watch, get it here and spread the word. It’s free. It’s fun! Subscribe & it’ll be delivered to your inbox monthly. A great Saturday morning or rest time activity. 


With Us


Can you imagine someone telling you what to name your unborn child? How about being told that your fiancé was going to have a son who would be born BEFORE the two of you came together sexually? While your head is spinning, add another piece of information: your fiancé is going to be pregnant not by a man, but by the Holy Spirit. At this point, it’s too much for you to absorb, but before you can ask a question, you’re told, “you will name Him Jesus.”  Before you can protest that you had planned to name your firstborn son after you, you’re told “Jesus” was selected because he would “save His people.” Your heart is racing. “Save our people?” That thought is a good one! But before you can finish the thought, the messenger continues, “…from their sins.” You want to blurt out, “What? Save people from their sins? But only God can do that.” And that is exactly what Jesus did. Mary bore God’s Son, as Matthew 1:23 records, “‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call his name Immanuel,’ which translated means, ‘God with us.'” You can’t get more “with us” than to be born through Mary’s body to live among us and die for us.

Lord Jesus, Immanuel, we praise You! You’re not a God who is far removed. Nor are You one who has left us to die in our sins. Rather, You came  from heaven to earth, IMMANUEL…GOD WITH US. Thank You, Lord Jesus.


If You Want to Be Immortal


People long to be immortal.

“If I can drink from the Fountain of Youth….”

“If I can exercise and eat right….”

It’s in the human heart to want to live, not die. However, we will physically die. Jesus alone possesses immortality.  The good news is… the Immortal One offers immortality to us. Yes, it’s possible for us to live forever in heaven. But we have to drink from Christ, the Fountain of Life, in order to do so. (John 7:37)  We have to enter heaven through Jesus, as 1 Timothy 6:16 explains referring to Him, “who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.”

Who do you know who needs a drink from the Fountain of Life? Will you offer them Christ, the living water?

Immortal Lord Jesus, we praise you and thank You for inviting us to immortality in heaven!  Stir our hearts and open our eyes to those with whom we can share You.


What God with Skin & Kingdom Children Have to Do with Each Other


“I wish I could see God.” Have you ever said those words or wished you could ask God for His opinion on a particular subject? If so, look to Jesus. Study His walk on earth. Pay attention to His teachings. Why? Because Colossians 1:15 says Jesus is the image of the invisible God which means “an exact replica, representation, or ‘picture’ of an original.”* In other words, God with skin, hair, nails, eyes, teeth…a beating heart, a warm touch, wisdom beyond our imagination. When we look at Jesus, we’re looking at God. When we listen to Jesus, we’re listening to God. If it has been a while since you read Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, go back and read it very slowly and carefully. Listen as if you were sitting in Jesus’s presence.  Listen for why Jesus might be speaking those words to you. Then think carefully about if you are heeding them. In other words, take them into your heart. Have you made His words your way of thinking? This might be a good place for us to start if we want to live like kingdom children.

Okay, so I’m not going to suggest that you do something that I’m not doing.  I just re-read The Sermon on the Mount, and yes, Jesus convicted me of sin and reminded me of many truths.  Now, it’s your turn. I’m pausing typing to pray for you that you will read and take to heart the words of Jesus – God with skin. The Sermon on the Mount.

LORD Jesus Christ, IMAGE OF THE INVISIBLE GOD, as we gaze on You in the Bible and as we listen to Your words and teachings, quicken our minds to take in your words not just give them a nod of approval. Lord, magnify your words in our brains. Create new pathways of kingdom thinking so we live and walk as kingdom children in our world. We love You. 


National Day of Prayer


Kathy Branzell

President, National Day of Prayer Task Force

We come with fervent hearts to praise You Lord.

You are The Word, the Way, Truth and Life.

The Alpha and Omega, Lion of Judah, Almighty God

who was, and is, and is to come. You clothed

Yourself in flesh and dwelt among us, to remove

our sin and clothe us in Your righteousness that

we might dwell with You forever and ever.

With broken, humbled hearts we repent of our

sins. Confessing to You our faithlessness,

prayerlessness, and disobedience. Forgive us for

our doubt, our prideful and quarrelsome words

that reveal our unclean hearts. Cleanse us and

renew a right and steadfast spirit within us we


With grateful hearts we thank You fervently for

the blessings in our life and throughout

America; they are more than we are able to

count. We will remember Your grace and testify

to Your goodness in all generations. Help us to

refrain from complaining, but instead be

prompted to pray faithfully in every

circumstance. Teach us to have a content heart

knowing You are always enough for our every


As the Church we commit to pray and love our

neighbor and nation as You loved us, that our

reputation in this world would be rooted in Your

love. Holy Spirit work and overflow through us

in every prayer, thought, word, and deed. May

our character, conversations, and conduct

reflect the righteousness in which You clothed

us and command us to live.

With an obedient heart we put on the full armor

of God; Your breastplate of righteousness

guards our heart from which flows the springs of

life. We pray fervently for our communities and

country; the people who are in the Church,

Family, Education, Business and Workplace,

Military, Government, Arts, Entertainment and

Media. Every person is Your workmanship,

fearfully and wonderfully created and loved.

With hopeful hearts we pray that all would

choose to receive Your love and follow You. We

pray that America would confess, “Jesus is

Lord” and reflect Your righteousness in every

sphere of influence, and every aspect of our

lives. We ask that heavenly hope would flood

our hearts, silence hate, and that You will heal

our land.

Believing You; all You are, all You said, and all

You have promised, we pray fervently in

righteousness and avail much. In Jesus Name

we pray, Amen!


Groaning. Drained. Hiding.


King David was deceived….thinking he could hide his sin of adultery and murder and merrily continue with his life. But sin isn’t a kind bedfellow. Psalm 32:3-4 records how it affected David. “When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night, Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.” But what happened when David acknowledged his sin and confessed it to the Lord? We find the answer in Psalm 32:5. “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’; and You forgave the guilt of my sin.'”  What advice does David give us in Psalm 32:6?   “Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found.” David discovered that instead of hiding from God, it was better to make God His hiding place. “You are my HIDING PLACE; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance,” Psalm 32:7.  On occasion we might be like David and think we can hide our sins from God. But the truth is, we can’t. He sees us and even knows our thoughts. Yet even while we are in our sin, He invites us to a place of forgiveness – Himself. Today we can choose to stop trying to hide our sins. We can turn to God and humbly confess, “You are my HIDING PLACE; You preserve me from trouble.” We can experience “songs of deliverance.”

Lord, how sweet to know You as our HIDING PLACE who preserves us from trouble and surrounds us with songs of deliverance. Thank You. We praise You.


Help is On the Way


“Help is on the way.” It’s all I could think to say as I grabbed my purse and headed to my car. She needed to hear those words. She needed to know that help was on the way…the kind of tangible help we need when we’re at our wit’s end and when we don’t know how much more we can take. And so, God wants us to know, “He is our HELP.” We may not see Him, but we have the full assurance that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present HELP in trouble,” Psalm 46:1. Are you in trouble and need HELP? Are you in despair and need HELP? Are you disturbed about something and need HELP? Unlike the friend who had to wait for me, the Lord is our present HELP.  We need only call on Him as Psalm 43:5 reminds us. “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, the HELP of my countenance and my God,”

Heavenly Father, we praise You, our HELP, and the HELP of our countenance.  


When Nations Are Rocking Over Control


Power. Control. Who has it? Who wants it? To what extent will people go to gain control? Daily, we see people driven to have control over others whether at the local, national, or world level. I wonder how we would live if we kept Hebrews 1:2  in our thoughts. It says that Jesus is the HEIR OF ALL THINGS.  At the time those words were written to the Hebrew people, it appeared the government had control over everything. However, God wanted the Hebrews to know that Jesus is the possessor of everything. He created the world and it is ultimately His. It was important for the first century Christians to be assured of this fact. It’s important for us to be assured of it. How does it make you feel when you reflect on this great reality and truth?

LORD, we praise You for appointing Jesus as the HEIR OF ALL THINGS. Thank You for the assurance this brings us.