Beyond Ourselves

Feeling Alone?

It’s easy to feel alone due to self quarantining, because we don’t have a close friend, or we’ve lost a loved one. How incredible that Jesus wants us to know we’re not alone and that we have an ever present, loving, heavenly FATHER who:
  • SEES us.
  • REWARDS sacrificial effort that no one sees.
  • KNOWS what we need before we ask.
  • FORGIVES US as we forgive others.

Regardless of what kind of earthly father we may have or may have had, we have a HEAVENLY FATHER who is holy and listening to us as we pray.

Would you join me in praying the Lord’s Prayer in worship and praise to OUR FATHER.

“‘Pray, then, in this way: OUR FATHER who is in heaven…’”  Matthew 6:9

Why You Can Stop Fretting


“I don’t know where this is going.” Have you ever said or thought those words in regard to the unrest in our world, nation, or perhaps your family or a personal situation? The past may be a blur and the future uncertain. It’s no wonder that we may feel uneasy at times. Yet, in the midst of our ever-changing world, believers have this hope and promise: Jesus isn’t going anywhere. He’s right here with us, just like He was with us yesterday and just like He will be with us tomorrow. Revelation 1:8 records Jesus’s words of assurance to us, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’” Our Lord was with us in our past. He’s with us this moment. He’ll be with us tomorrow. We have an ever-present Lord to see us through our days. Breathe a sigh of relief, thank Him, and confidently move forward in your day.

Christ Jesus, ALPHA and OMEGA, we praise YOU, who is and who was and who is to come. 

Interesting, Huh?


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 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 your head is hanging a little after reading the above list, know that God loves us and patiently calls us to repent, learn from our 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.  

When You Face Something Beyond DIFFICULT


Do you ever find something to be beyond difficult? If so, I can relate. I’ve often found myself in “over my head.” I wanted to quit. Many of the things we find difficult are not those we can or should give up on. Our marriage, parenting, families, job, health, church, and friendships all require commitment. When we find them to be difficult, we can remember what Jeremiah 32:17 says, that with God NOTHING IS TOO DIFFICULT. “Ah LORD GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! NOTHING IS TOO DIFFICULT FOR YOU.” This is an incredible reminder. Rather than crater under pressure, we can call on God who “made the heavens and earth by His great power and outstretched arm.” He can help us with whatever we’re facing. We can be assured that with God, NOTHING IS TOO DIFFICULT. Call on Him. Prayerfully record in Prayers of My Heart the things weighing you down that you feel you can’t do. Ask God how to handle them, then record how He guides you in the “Meditations, Notes, and Prayer” section. Date and record your thanks to Him as He walks you through each day.

LORD, NOTHING IS TOO DIFFICULT FOR YOU! Thank You for Your presence and Your power. 

Important Upside Down Thinking


Are you a unique upside-down thinker or a common thinker? I ask because Christians are called to some pretty upside-down thinking. For instance, Isaiah prophesied what seems an upside-down thought; that God the Father would allow His Son to become a servant. Yet, it’s right here in Isaiah 53:11, “MY SERVANT, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities.” What an upside-down thought – that the Son would be a SERVANT who would take the punishment for our sins. We don’t think that way. We more commonly think that more success, more wealth, more prestige are indicators of God’s favor and will.  But that’s not what Jesus modeled or said. Jesus became God’s SERVANT and died on the cross for our sins. What should be our response? What IS our response? Do we take our Heavenly Father and Jesus for granted? Or, do we daily purpose to SERVE them…wherever however they call us? It’s some pretty upside thinking to get our minds around.

Lord Jesus Christ, God’s SERVANT, we bow in reverence and worship YOU! Thank You! Praise You! May we never forget how You gave Your life to redeem us. May we show our gratitude by serving You in whatever way You call us. 

Do You Need a Miracle


Do you need a miracle? Something extraordinary in your life? What do we mean when we use the word miracle? Webster defines miracle first and foremost as “a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency; just as rising from the grave.” Another definition is “a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences;” such as “it was a miracle that more people hadn’t been killed or injured.” Perhaps it’s that last definition we use most often. “It’ll be a miracle if I can manage everything going on in my life.” Or, “It’ll be a miracle if my child can get off drugs.” Or, “It’ll be a miracle if our marriage makes it.” Let me ask again, “Are you in need of a miracle?” If so, our best hope for experiencing one is to bring Jesus into the equation. Galatians 3:5 describes Jesus as the MIRACLE WORKER. “So then, 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?” As we consider Jesus, the Miracle Worker, it’s important to consider the combination of the two words: miracle and work; along with the word “faith.”  Our miracle isn’t going to happen with the twitch of our nose as in the 1970’s show “I Dream of Jeannie.” If we study Jesus’s miracles, we see they involved energy and power (Luke 8:46), most often required a person taking part in faith (John 5:8-9), and often took place as the person acted in obedience (John 9:6-7). Maybe Jesus is showing us that rather than demanding, “God, do it now,” we should thank Him for how He has already worked in our lives, thank Him that He hears us, and then take the steps He shows us.

Lord Jesus, thank You for being involved in our lives. You are the MIRACLE WORKER who can help us. Open our ears to Your instructions so we can faithfully follow Your promptings. 

Not Just Any Man


Jesus came to earth as a baby so He might grow into a man, but not just any man. He came from heaven as our MESSIAH. Andrew heard John the Baptist announce that Jesus was the Lamb of God who had come to take away the sins of the world. Andrew followed Jesus and after spending time with Him, went and told his brother, Simon Peter, “We have found the MESSIAH,” John 1:41.  Andrew was intentional about his search for the Messiah and after finding Him, was intentional about telling others. What ways can we be more intentional about sharing Christ with others? We can begin by praying for the unsaved to turn to Christ. I label the last column in the Week at a Glance section of Prayers of My Heart: “Unsaved.” What can we pray for those who do not know Christ as Messiah? Here are 8 suggestions.

Jesus Christ, MESSIAH, You are love, forgiveness, hope, peace, and joy! Help us be as Andrew – intentional about following You and telling others about You.

From the Cave to Light


Have you ever explored a black cave with only a dim flashlight? Some time ago, I had the opportunity to walk two miles in a black cave. Did I say “opportunity?” It was only because I knew my time in the cave was temporary. Had I thought I couldn’t get out, I would have gone mad. Is that what hell is? Trapped in what Colossians 1:13 describes as a “domain of darkness?” Jesus Christ is light. The beauty of the heavens reflect His nature. Close your eyes and picture an eternity of despairing people screaming for release from Satan’s dark domain. Now open them and praise Jesus, whom Malachi refers to as “the MESSENGER OF THE COVENANT,” Malachi 4:1. “’And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the MESSENGER OF THE COVENANT, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,’ says the Lord of hosts.”  Having been in the cave makes me mindful of how important it is to live a celebratory life. Why? There are people who don’t know Jesus, the Messenger of the Covenant, and that He can save them from the black torment of eternal damnation. We have the opportunity to be Christ’s Light in our world. Are we a bright or dim flashlight pointing others to Him?

Lord Jesus Christ, MESSENGER OF THE COVENANT, thank You for releasing us from the domain of darkness! Help us be mindfully joyful over our freedom and take every opportunity to shine brightly and point others to You.

Choose Well


In 1953 Baskin Robbins wowed ice cream lovers by offering customers a choice of 31 flavors.  That’s a great offer for ice cream, but unfortunately, our world has adopted a “31” viewpoint concerning salvation. In other words, we’ve decided we can be reconciled to God through the plan of our choice, be it self-improvement, doing good things, or a world religion of our choosing. But not so warns God throughout Scripture such as in 1 Timothy 2:5, “There is one God, and ONE MEDIATOR also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” If we think we can make a Baskin Robbin choice of how we’re reconciled to God, we’re wrong. God has chosen how we can be reconciled to Him, and it is through His Son.  Christ Jesus is the ONE MEDIATOR who can reconcile us to God for eternity. 

Christ Jesus, We praise You, our MEDIATOR, for making peace between Your Father and our Father.

While He’s Away


Jesus told a parable in Luke 19:11-22 portraying Himself as a nobleman who went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for Himself and then return. Before He departed, the nobleman gave talents to His servants so they could carry on His business while He was away. Two of the servants took seriously what He entrusted them to do. When the nobleman returned, he honored them and entrusted more to them. But he called the servant who didn’t do anything with the talent he had given him, “worthless.” (Luke 19:11-22) Let’s break this down. Jesus is the nobleman. At salvation, He entrusts a spiritual gift to every believer so we can do His work on earth while He is in heaven. We are either faithfully doing the good works He’s prepared for us to do (Ephesians 2:10) or we’re unfaithful to His calling. What has He called you to do today?

Jesus Christ, heaven’s nobleman, stir our hearts to serve You well.