Beyond Ourselves

If You Want to Hear God’s Voice

09/18/2019

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“Lord, are You there? Speak to me.” Have you ever wanted to hear from God? The fact is, the Bible tells us in Zephaniah 3:17 that God is in our midst and He’s a victorious warrior, but He’s also quiet in His love. What does that mean? I like to think of when I’ve held our little ones. My heart feels like it could jump out of my skin because I’m so full of love for them. However, I’m not going to be loud with them. Instead, I hold them close to my heart. I wonder if they feel my heartbeat as they lie comfortably in my embrace. God is magnificient and the Bible is filled with His words to us. If we wish He would speak to us, He has and is. Open the Bible. Hold it close to your heart. Feel His heartbeat and listen to what He quietly says to you in love.

“The LORD your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”  Zephaniah 3:17

Lord, thank You for Your QUIET LOVE and for the Words you speak to us. May we hold You, them, close to our hearts and feel Your heartbeat. 

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Feeling Spiritually Sluggish?

09/17/2019

LISTEN: 60 sec podcast

Do you ever feel sluggish? You know – blah? Can’t quite find your “get up and go” even though there are things you could be, should be doing? Nobody likes that feeling. So what do we do when we don’t feel motivated to pray, work, or get moving? We lift up our soul to God.  (Psalm 143:8)  We read God’s Word regardless of how we feel, and while reading, discover that we’re encouraged and inspired. God’s thoughts become our thoughts. His passions our passions. We ask our Heavenly Father to give us the mind and energy of Christ. The King James Version of 1 Corinthians 15:45 contrasts the first man, Adam, with the “last Adam,” Jesus, in this way: “The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a QUICKENING SPIIRT.” As a Quickening Spirit, Jesus arouses and invigorates us. Christ followers are not spiritually dead. We’re alive! Pray and ask God to fill you with His Holy Quickening Spirit; then pay attention to His promptings in your heart and mind.

TIP:  I daily open my Prayers of My Heart journal so I can record what God quickens me to pray and prompts me to do. Having our Bible, pen, and journal in hand signals to God that we are ready and willing to listen to and follow His promptings.  Currently 1/2 price HERE

Heavenly Father, thank You for Jesus who is a Quickening Spirit! Arouse and invigorate us to do Your will. 

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How to Prepare to Meet Jesus

09/16/2019

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Do you “clean up” before something important? Maybe we have a job interview or are going to a wedding or out with friends. Do we shower and put on clean clothes? Of course we do.  We prepare for the one we’re meeting. One of Jesus’s beloved followers tells believers in 1 John 3:3 that we should prepare for when we meet Jesus in heaven. “Everyone who has this hope fixed on Him (Jesus) purifies himself, just as He is PURE.” But hasn’t Jesus already made us pure? Yes. Jesus washes us and cleanses of our sins when we repent and confess Him as Lord.  But John makes the point that as God’s children, we should anticipate meeting Christ and therefore guard against daily sin. If we knew we would meet Jesus in the next few moments what might we do in preparation? Right a relationship? Apologize to someone? Say “no” to a sinful habit?  The fact is, we will soon meet Jesus.  How might we “purify ourselves” in readiness to see our risen Lord?

Lord Jesus, You are PURE and we desire to be pure. Forgive our sin. Fill us with Your pure, Holy Spirit.  

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When You’re At the End of You

09/15/2019

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“I can’t be the Christian I’m supposed to be. I can’t overcome this sin.” Have you ever said those words?  If we sometimes feel incapable of being the Christian we want to be, we’re not alone. The Apostle Paul, who was instrumental in helping spread Christianity, once referred to himself as the chief of sinners. Here’s the good news. God knows that we can’t live the Christian life by self effort. That’s why He reminds us in Galatians 3:5 that He’s provided us with His Holy Spirit. We don’t please God by trying to improve our old self. We please God by learning to walk by faith in Him. We’re not short on godly provisions. Instead of saying we can’t live the Christian life or we can’t accomplish what God’s entrusted to us to do, we can ask Christ to fill us and accomplish His work through us. Then, we can practice walking by the Spirit. Will we walk by the Spirit perfectly 100% of the time? No, because as long as we’re in our human bodies, our fleshly nature will oppose the Spirit. (Galatians 5:17) and we’ll continue to struggle against spiritual forces of darkness/wickedness (Ephesians 6:12) because Satan is the ruler of this world. (John 14:30) Practice walking by Christ’s Spirit knowing that God is at work perfecting us. 

Lord, thank You for PROVIDING us with Your Spirit by whom we can walk and fulfill the work You entrust us to do. 

“…does He who PROVIDES you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?”

Galatians 3:5

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When You Fear for Your Loved Ones

09/14/2019

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Does the prevalence of evil in our society cause you to be fearful for loved ones? Recently, after speaking at a church, a mom confided in me that she feared for her child. Part of her fear was because she had been molested as a child. Part was due to the moral decline in our nation. What hope was I able to give her?

PRAYER:  Jesus teaches us to pray, “Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” We can pray that daily for our loved ones.

THE BIBLE. The Bible is a safeguard that teaches us what to do and not do. We can teach our children to respect and obey God and His Word.

ETERNAL SALVATION.  We can’t escape all evil influences, but, 2 Thessalonians 3:3 comforts us that the Lord is faithful, and will strengthen and PROTECT us from the evil one.

Thank You, Heavenly Father, for Your Word that shows us how to live, for being able to pray to You, and for Christ’s faithfulness to strengthen and protect us. 

“But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and PROTECT you from the evil one.”

2 Thessalonians 3:3

Record prayers for loved ones here  as a reminder of God’s faithfulness.

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When You’ve Failed and Are Low

09/13/2019

Things aren’t always what they seem.  And, simply 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 labeled the moment, “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. As 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, look heavenward and pray. God can change things; even us and our situations.

We praise You, Lord Jesus, HIGH and LIFTED UP; greatly exalted. 

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How to Satisfy God

09/12/2019

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Are you familiar with the Rolling Stones’ 1965 song “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”?  Songwriters Keith Richards and Mick Jagger poured forth how they couldn’t “get no satisfaction.” The words resonated with people in the sixties and also with people today. But do you know who has found satisfaction? God. First John 2:2 says, “He (Jesus) Himself is the PROPITIATION FOR OUR SINS; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”  The word propitiation means satisfaction. This verse tells us that Jesus satisfied God on our behalf. He offered His perfect life as a substitute for ours and that satisfied God. How incredible! If we haven’t thanked Jesus lately, now would be a good time to do that. 

Jesus, thank You for sacrificing Your life as the propitiation for our sins.

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When You’re Tired of Failed Promises

09/10/2019

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Have you ever promised something and then didn’t fulfill your promise? If you have, you know what a horrible feeling it is. Maybe we promised, “I’ll never say that again.” Then we did. Or, maybe we said to God, “I promise if you get me out of this mess, I’ll do better next time.” Then we failed to do as we said. Or, maybe we don’t trust people because they’ve made promises to us they didn’t keep. When it comes to God, however, Romans 4:21 assures us “that what God PROMISED, He was able also to perform.” In other words, other people, or we, may be well intentioned, but fail. Not God, though. What He promises, He will do. What a blessing to know that God keeps His promises.  In the midst of failed promises and lies, it’s a great time for us to read God’s promises in the Bible.  We can smile as we read them because we know they are true. Which of God’s promises are your favorites? Please let me know in the “Comment” section below. I’d love to hear from you.

Heavenly Father, in a world that is filled with lies failed promises, we praise You for being a faithful promise keeper.  

Why Jesus?

09/02/2019

“Why?” That was the question millennials asked me at a recent conference. Why this… Why that… “I guess that’s why we’re called the Y Generation,” a 29 year old explained. “We want to know why.”

Millennials, also known as the “Y Generation,” are those who were born during the 1980’s and early 1990’s. They’re the children of baby boomers. Those in Generation Y aren’t prone to accept pat answers. Rather, they want to know why. In other words, just because a preacher, teacher, or parent says something, in their opinion, that doesn’t necessarily make it true.  So, “Why believe in and follow Jesus?”  For this reason: Jesus demonstrated that He was more than man. People witnessed His resurrection from the dead three days after He had been crucified by soldiers skilled in executions. Jesus said He is the way, truth, and life. Peter spells it out, “there is no other name under heaven that has been given by which we must be saved,” Acts 4:12That’s why. There is no other name by which we are saved.

Jesus, name above all names, name by which we are saved, we praise You. Your name is sweet to our souls. 

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Near or Far? Here’s the Answer

09/01/2019

Jesus told His disciples He was going to die and ascend to His Father in heaven; but that He would not leave them as orphans. (John 14:16-18) Jesus explained that He would send a Helper to them; and the Helper would not only be with them, He would be IN them. You can’t get more NEAR to someone than to be IN them. And, that is God’s gift to believers.  Christ’s Holy Spirit is IN Christians. NEAR. Not far away. NEAR. Not inaccessible. Still not convinced? Listen to what Psalm 145:18 says, “The LORD is NEAR to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” Call on God in sincerity and truth. He’s NEAR.

LORD, You are NEAR, not far removed. Thank You that we can call on You in sincerity and truth. 

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