Beyond Ourselves Podcast
A Sippy Cup Won’t Do
When we come to God for a new life in Christ, we don’t come to a sippy cup of refreshing life. We come to an overflowing fountain of life. “Come to Me and drink!” Jesus invites us. (John 7:37) And don’t stop drinking. God’s fountain flows in the “innermost being” of the one who believes in Jesus. From where does the living water originate? Psalm 36:9 tells us. “For with You is the FOUNTAIN of LIFE…” God is a FOUNTAIN of LIFE. During trying days, we can use our time to dive into the deep waters of Bible study. Why? We’ll refresh our soul that has been drained by the day’s trials and worries. There’s no better time than now to read or re-read “The Plan A Woman in a Plan B World.” Or if you prefer, listen to the FREE audio. Rather than let life drain you, drink in all God is and has for you.
Lord, You are the FOUNTAIN of LIFE! Thank You for Your Word, Spirit, and presence that fills us and flows in and through us when we drink richly of You.
The Plan A Woman in a Plan B World: Introduction
In a tornado, a storm shelter is the “go-to” place. It must be near. It must be stocked. Knowing we have a storm shelter gives us hope when we’re surrounded by deadly tornadoes. God is mindful that we live in stormy times on enemy ground. The apostle Peter writes that the devil prowls the earth looking for someone to devour. New Testament writers address the evil in the world. The question is, are we mindful that God is our FORTRESS? He’s our “go-to” person in the midst of life’s storms and temptations? Perhaps you, like me, haven’t always thought of God as your fortress. If that’s the case, we can increase our mindfulness that He is and join the psalmist David’s resolve, “I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust.'” (Psalm 91:2) We can live the coming days with confidence in God, our FORTRESS. Are you in?
Lord God, You are our FORTRESS. Thank You that we can turn to You any time, day or night.
A Perfect Storm
Schools are closing. College students are returning home to study online. Moms, dads, and grandparents are working from home. Or, not working and worried about how they’ll make ends meet. Close quarters. High emotions. Worries about tomorrow. Some not feeling well or downright sick. The perfect storm for crosswords, eruptions, blame, and emotional distancing. How can we wisely relate to one another? With forgiveness. We can pattern ourselves after Jesus who comes to us in the storm. We can pattern ourselves after our Heavenly Father who forgives us even though we miss the mark with Him. First John 1:9 states, “If we confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” That is wonderful news. It’s also an example for us to follow. He tells us, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another just as God in Christ has forgiven you,” Ephesians 4:32. Just as. In other words, we repent and tell God we’re sorry when we mess up. We extend mercy and forgive others. We show grace even when it’s not returned. We choose love. How can we do this? We can’t. It is only possible when we receive Christ into our life, our storm, and asked Him to fill us, take control of us, and live His life through us. A storm is a perfect 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 come to us in the storms of life. Thank You that You forgive us when we miss the mark. Thank You for showing us how to forgive others. Fill us. Live Your life through us so others see and believe in You.
Is Your View of God Accurate
Some people have a wrong view of God. They may accuse Him of not being tolerant. However, our faith is based on the tolerance* or forbearance of God. Romans 3:25b-26 says, “…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. Please pray God will stir the hearts of believers to share the good news with others and that the unsaved will hear, be convicted, 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. Amazing!
Who is For You in the Game of Life
“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? It’s a good question. Who is for you? Are you blessed to have a friend or family member who is there for you? But, what if you don’t, and you daily fight the loneliness and sadness of getting through each day on your own? 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 us, but the fact that He’s FOR US is also amazing! Say it out loud. “God is for me. He is for me.” God is in the game of our life…saving our souls. Rescuing us. Making a place for us in heaven. Righting our wrongs. Extending grace. Wiping away our tears. Interceding for us. Guarding us. How much is He for us? A tiny bit? A big amount? The Father and Son are so for us they rescued our souls from Satan’s dominion by Jesus switching places with us on the cross. The next time we’re tempted to feel sorry for ourselves or Satan whispers, “you’re doing life all alone,” answer back loud and clear, “Wrong! God is with me and FOR ME.” Then, in genuine gratitude, thank the Heavenly Father and Son.
Heavenly Father, Precious Savior, thank You for being FOR US. We praise You, thank You, and pray for our lives to reflect our gratitude.
BORN from the DEAD
Some time ago I went to a funeral. We celebrated the life of a dear woman who went to be with the Lord. She follows Christ, who Colossians 1:18 describes as “the beginning, the firstborn from the dead so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.”
“Born from the dead.” Have you ever thought about what that means? Christians have a “new birth.” Before our salvation, we are “dead in our trespasses and sins.” However, after we repent of our sins and confess Jesus as Lord, we receive the Holy Spirit and are “born” and made alive in Christ. What we experience internally at salvation will be fully realized eternally at our bodily resurrection. Witnesses saw the resurrected Christ lead the way as the firstborn from the dead. As He rose, we will rise to be with Him forever in heaven. Share the good news!
Lord Jesus, we praise You, the FIRSTBORN FROM THE DEAD!
You Look A Lot Like Our Heavenly Father
Have you ever needed someone to extend mercy to you? You did something wrong, thoughtless, or perhaps careless. You felt bad and desired forgiveness. You asked to be forgiven. What if their heart was hardened and they said no? And how horrible it would be if that described our Heavenly Father. But it doesn’t. Second Corinthians 1:3 tells us that God is the Father of Mercies. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the FATHER OF MERCIES and God of all comfort.” Mercy flows from our Father. It’s His nature. He is the original transmitter of mercy. So when you go to a Christian sister or brother and ask forgiveness and they extend mercy, they are a reflection of their Father – the Father of Mercies. The good news doesn’t stop with God being a transmitter of mercy and our Christian brothers and sisters being transmitters of mercy. The good news is we can be transmitters of mercy, reflections of our Father. In today’s society, it’s easy to be offended, to hold grudges, to perhaps not want to forgive or extend mercy. But what a precious opportunity for us to reflect on our Heavenly Father. Are we?
FATHER of MERCIES, thank You for extending mercy to us. Help us be extenders of mercy to others who point people to You.
The Source of Illumination
Our nation and world are going through what some are calling a dark time. What can believers do? We can shine brightly with the love, hope, and truth of our Lord, whom James 1:17 describes as the Father of Lights. The prince of darkness, Satan, wants us to stumble in the darkness. But James points to our hope. “Every good thing is given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the FATHER OF LIGHTS, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” Commentary Charles Ryrie speaks of this reference to God by explaining, “God is the source of all light – physical, intellectual, moral, and spiritual – and He does not change.”* Rather than stumble physically, intellectually, morally, and spiritually, we can pray with our heart, mind, soul, and spirit. We can walk through our day shedding the light of the Father of Lights.
Father of Lights, illumine our heart, mind, soul, and spirit with Your Light so we walk as children of Light and spread Your Light to others.
Hold the God of Eternity
“I wonder what God is like.” Have you ever had that thought? If so, you have your answer in Jesus. Look at the Son and you’ll know what the Father is like. Read Jesus’s words and you’ll hear God’s voice. Study Christ’s teachings and you’ll know what God wants of and for you. Jesus is the “spitting image” of His Daddy” as Hebrews 1:3 explains. “He (Jesus) is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature,” Grasp onto Christ and you’ll be holding onto the God of eternity.”
Christ Jesus, we look at You and see and hear our Heavenly Father… His love, grace, wisdom, and glory. We praise You, Lord.
Comfort in Dire Moments
During the height of Covid, someone messaged me the following expressing the dire health and hospital conditions many tragically faced.
Make no mistake. When loved ones are removed from your home by ambulance because the virus has hit them hard, you are not going to be able to follow them there, sit by their hospital bed and hold their hand. You are not going to be able to pop in at 7.00 pm for visiting hours. They are going to have no one other than exhausted and brave hospital staff to see them through days or weeks of barely breathing through a ventilator until they either die or recover. They are not going to be well enough to text you. You are not going to be able to phone the ward to check in on them regularly (staff will be too busy for that). During that time, they will be completely alone, while you sit at home waiting to hear whether they have made it. Imagine that person is someone you love dearly. Because it’s a reality for many. And if that person in the hospital is you, going through it would be indescribable.”
Disconcerting? Absolutely. Dire? Yes! Tragic. What is our hope in dire, tragic times? Is there any hope? Yes, we who have placed our faith in Jesus have the assurance that in even the direst of times, our eternal Father and Jesus, the Prince of Peace” are with us. Isaiah 9:6 Bible scholar and commentator Charles Ryrie explains that Eternal Father means “Messiah is eternally a Father to His people, guarding, supplying, and caring for their needs.” There could be no greater comfort in dire situations. We have a Father of Eternity who is with us and our loved ones. He is present – guarding, supplying, and caring for those who have placed their trust in Him. Who do we need to share Him with today?
Eternal Father, in the direst of times, when our hearts are breaking, thank You for being with us. Stir us to speak the truth and hope we have in You with those in our lives who do not know You.