Beyond Ourselves Podcast

If You’re Struggling with Darkness


Have you ever been without electricity and light for a significant period time? The Texas 2021 winter storm caused our home to be without electricity for six days, a short amount of time compared to what many suffered. Those six days were long enough, however, for me to think about the devastation unbelievers will experience when separated from the light of Christ for eternity. Can you imagine…dare we imagine eternal darkness?  Who in your sphere of influence needs to hear  that Christ broke through the darkness of sin and not in a small flicker of a way, but rather with a burst of eternal light?  Zacharias prophesied that Jesus would bring light to the world, calling Him the “dayspring from on high.” Luke 1:78  “Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us.”  Jesus, the Dayspring of heaven brought heaven’s glorious light to our dark world. If your soul is dark… If your thoughts are dark… If your perspective is dark…turn to the Light. Jesus can penetrate whatever darkness is in your life.  Open your heart to Him.  Ask Him to purge you of your sins. Say yes to Jesus, Heaven’s Light and Dayspring from on high.

Glorious Light, Dayspring from on High, shine the light of Your presence in us. Show us sins we need to confess. Cleanse us. Forgive us. Fill us with the Light of Your presence.


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.


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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International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church


What would you do if a man holding a machete threatened you, “Say Jesus isn’t the Son of God! Denounce him or die.” What would you do if you received an alarming call such as the Voice of the Martyrs reported Amir did? The caller, a member of an Islamic extremist group, warned Amir that they were watching his family and had seen his son attending church. The Islamist told Amir that if his son continued to attend church, Amir would “reap what he sows with his only son.” Do you stop going to church?

Monday, November 7 is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. It is a day set aside for us to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted for believing Jesus’s words,

I am the way, and the TRUTH, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me, John 14:6.

I invite you to join me and others throughout the world who are praying for our brothers and sisters who follow Christ in spite of being persecuted for their faith. I invite you to pray and to keep praying. Why? Our prayers make a difference as demonstrated in Acts 12:5-11.

So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God. On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me. And he went out and continued to follow, and he did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they had passed the first and second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened for them by itself; and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”

Yes, our prayers make a difference. They reach heaven. God hears them. Your prayers make a difference in the lives of those who are imprisoned, tortured, and suffering for Christ. Pray and keep on praying. I have the last column in Prayers of My Heart designated for prayers for our nation, world, and persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. I encourage you to sign up to receive Voice of the Martyrs which will keep you up to date with weekly ways you can pray for specific people.

Watch Sabina to better grasp the radical truth to which we hold – that Jesus and He alone is the way, the truth, and the life.

Lord Jesus, we praise You, the TRUTH and way to forgiveness of sins and eternity with You and our Heavenly Father. We pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted and tortured for You. Thank You for standing by them. Thank You for strengthening them. Thank You for Your angelic messengers who are helping them escape the hand of their torturers. Thank You that in their persecution You are present to usher them into heaven as You did Stephen. Prepare us to stand boldly for You in our society in our generation and to not take lightly the opportunity and privilege to gather with other believers to worship You and study Your word. We love You, Lord Jesus Christ, and ask forgiveness for our smallness of faith and littleness of prayer for our brothers and sisters in prison. 


Jesus is Coming!


I love to gaze at the glory of the moon. The moon – IS – something that exists. The moon – WAS – created by God in eternity past. The moon WILL BE in our tomorrow. It appears in different phases but it is still the same moon. So why would we doubt that Jesus is the LORD WHO WAS the creator, WHO IS self-existent in heaven and in our hearts, and WHO IS TO COME? On December 25, we celebrate the LORD who came in the past in the appearance of a baby. But Revelation 1:4 says CHRIST is not only “HE is WHO IS and WHO WAS,” He is the LORD “WHO IS TO COME…” Think about it. Jesus is coming again!

Lord Jesus, WHO IS, WHO WAS, AND WHO IS TO COME, help us mindfully serve Your purposes until You return again!


Making Tracks, But Are They the Right Ones


Have you ever wished you had a mentor, someone to follow, to teach you how to do your job better, be a better spouse, or how to walk in a way that pleases our Heavenly Father? Many lack a good “example” as seen by the normalization of arguing, lying, materialism, and trusting in “self” rather than God. Yet our Heavenly Father gives us a good example – His Son. Jesus shows us how to stand against temptation, how to live for God’s will, how to treat others, and even how to suffer when following God’s Word rather than the world. Jesus is the ultimate eXample of how to entrust ourselves to our Heavenly Father’s care. First Peter 2:21 reminds us of the importance of following Jesus’s example. “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,” In a world filled with bad examples, our Father provides a mentor in Jesus and tells us to follow His example.  Will we this year?

Heavenly Father, thank You for providing Jesus as not only our Savior but also as an example to us. Jesus, help us follow Your example increasingly every day. We love You!


Born a Warrior King


As the celebration of the birth of Christ nears each year, we focus on the babe in the manger. But, that babe was born a Prince with a kingdom to defend.  That babe was born with an angelic army at His beacon call. That babe was born a “WARRIOR” King as Isaiah 42:13 foretold, “The Lord will go forth like a WARRIOR, He will arouse His zeal like a man of war. He will utter a shout, yes, He will raise a war cry. He will prevail against His enemies.” The babe stormed hell and overcame death. The babe is the victor over the devil and his demonic army. Christ will one day return to earth but not as a babe. He’ll return as the Warrior King that He is. With whom will we share the good news?

Lord, we praise You, WARRIOR King from on high.


Do You Hear Him


Have you ever done a study on the voice of God? It’s fascinating! In Isaiah 30:30, we’re told the following about God’s voice.

And the Lord will cause His VOICE OF AUTHORITY to be heard.

The literal translation is “VOICE OF MAJESTY.” How does God speak to us?  He speaks through His majestic creation that He is glorious and that He is a God of order with an unlimited imagination. God’s voice speaks to us through the Bible, the wisest, most beautifully written work of all time. God speaks to us through Christ letting us know that He is sacrificial, loving, and forgiving. God’s voice speaks to us in our innermost being warning us of the dangers of sin and calling us to walk in His ways. Yes, God’s voice goes forth. He calls to us but sometimes the busyness of the day drowns out His voice. How can we make sure we don’t miss hearing God calling to us? We purposefully choose to slip out of our beds in the mornings and quietly meet with Him – just the two of us – so we can hear Him without interruptions. We return throughout the day to think about Him and listen for His promptings. His voice encourages us in our weariness. His voice comforts us when we repent of sin. His voice instructs us, “Take this course of action…”  If we take God seriously,  write down His instructions, and follow through on what He tells us, we discover He calls to us and instructs us even more. Are we listening? Are we obeying? Are we experiencing the blessed life of intimacy with the Almighty?

Voice of Authority, Voice of Majesty, thank You for speaking to us. Tune our hearts and minds to recognize Your voice and obey You. 

Start 2023 journaling your prayers, praises, and God’s instructions in Prayers of My Heart.