Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Day 21: What I Learned from 21 Days of Praise

Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord. Psalm 150:6

1. Sometimes you have to praise him by yourself. Corporate praise is wonderful, but not always available. You have to get in your spirit even if nobody else gives God praise that I am going to praise him, even if it's by myself. As a matter of fact, some of the best praise services may be in your house by yourself as you listen to gospel music and clean or in the shower as you start to sing and reflect on the goodness of God.

2. You are never really by yourself. Just like Elijah thought he was the only one who had not bowed to Baal, God had some other prophets out there who were faithful to him too. You may think that you are by yourself but others are on the same page. Sometimes you just might not see or hear them, but at the right time they make their presence known.

3. Praise and Prayer go hand in hand. Praise should be a part of our prayers. It's easy for our praise to become prayers. When we start to say who God is and think about what He's done, we can't help but start to thank Him and talk to him.

4. Consistency is key. Developing the discipline of praise takes consistently doing it. Making a conscious decision to make prayer and praise a part of your daily life is a decision and investment that has heavenly dividends.

5.  "Anyhow" Praise. God is worthy, whatever our circumstances. He is worthy of praise just because He is. Praise him "anyhow." Even when things are not going your way, God deserves your praise.

6. Praise is the passport to God's presence and power. "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name." Psalm 100:4

7. Praise sets us free and releases others too. When Paul and Silas were in prison, they gave God an "anyhow" praise (see #5). Although they were in chains, beaten and facing persecution and possibly death, they were praying and singing praises to God (see #3). They knew that whatever happened they were going to be alright and that God is good and worthy to be praised.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. Acts 16:25-26

Someone may be watching you going through and they still see you praising God, being consistent not only with the praise of your mouth but with the living sacrifice of your daily walk with Christ (see #4) and because of your praise, not only will you be set free but others will be unchained.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Day 20: O Magnify the Lord with Me

Psalm 34

King James Version (KJV)

34 I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

2 My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad

3 O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.

4 I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

5 They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.

6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

7 The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

8 O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

9 O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.

10 The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.

11 Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

Day 19: The Passport of Praise

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name." Psalm 100: 4

Praise is our passport into God's presence.

My passport has stamps of the various countries that I have traveled. Spain, Mexico, Great Britain. Argentina. In order to enter a country legally you have to have a passport or some type of documentation saying that you can go there.

How do we get into God's presence?

Praise and thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is the ticket that gets us to the gate. When you fly to a foreign country, you have to have a ticket that allows you to get on the plane and fly to your destination.

When we start thanking God, we take off. When we start recounting all of the things he has done for us our prayers sprout wings. Our altitude and attitude get higher and higher when we think of all of the things that we have to thank God for. Thanksgiving gets us through the gate. But praise takes us to our destination.

Praise gets us to the place where we are not just thanking God for what he has done, but we extol, admire and worship him for who he is.

We say, "Thank you." We give him thanks. And we praise his name. Jehovah Jireh. My provider. Jehovah Shalom. My peace. My Deliverer. Abba. Father. The Lord God Almighty. The great "I am."

Need to get away? Take your passport and enter into his presence.

Reflection and Response:

How has giving thanks to God ushered you into praise and his presence?

How do you praise God? Singing? Observing nature? Writing?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Day 18: Sing Praises

Church mothers at the Regina Mundi Church
 in Soweto, South Africa sing praises to God.
. Photo by John W. Fountain
I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. Psalm 146:2

Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds--his name is the LORD--and rejoice before him. Psalm 68:4

Praise the LORD. Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the saints. Psalm 149:1

Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength; we will sing and praise your might. Psalm 21:13

Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them. Isaiah 42:10

Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! Psalm 147:1

Sing to the LORD! Give praise to the LORD! He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked. Jeremiah 20:13

Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant. Psalm 135:3

I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High. Psalm 7:17

For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise. Psalm 47:7

Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds--his name is the LORD--and rejoice before him. Psalm 68:4

I will sing a new song to you, O God; on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you, Psalm 144:9

Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. 1 Chronicles 16:9

I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. Psalm 108:3

My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you--I, whom you have redeemed. Psalm 71:23

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. Acts 16:25-26

Reflection and Response:

What are some of your favorite praise songs?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Day 17: Praise Perspective

"O Lord, Our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens." Psalm 8:1

When we praise we get the proper perspective of who God is.

Praise is recognizing, appreciating and expressing God’s greatness. Perspective is defined as a view or vista; a mental view or outlook. It comes from the Latin word perspicere which means to look through or see clearly.

When we praise God, we see more clearly. We see who God is and we see ourselves and our situations in the proper perspective. The things that seemed so large in our human perception seem microscopically small when compared to the greatness of God.

When we praise God we start to really see who He is. Although our finite human minds cannot conceive or perceive all of his greatness, when we start to enumerate who He is, we start to see different aspects of his holiness, omnipotence, awesomeness, love and grace.

When we start seeing how big and great God is, everything else is small in comparison and we have a proper perspective on our problems, our position and our purpose.

Praising God jogs our memory and increases our ability to trust in the one who has brought us through before. We remember how God has kept us, comforted us and provided for us. The more we say what He has done the more we appreciate who He is and have confidence in what He can do.

We recognize that He is the Creator, the Maker of heaven and earth. The God we serve and praise is the almighty One who spoke and brought the universe into existence. This great God is our God. He is a personal God. Our father, Abba, Daddy God who loves me and knows me so well that he has counted the number of hairs on my head and sees my thoughts afar off. He knew me before I was me and He knit me together in my mother’s womb.

The same God who determined the number of the stars heals the brokenhearted. The same God who created the vastness of the cosmos and galaxies also created the subatomic particle of the atom. The same God who made the intricacies of my DNA is the same God who makes the rain fall, the grass grow and the seasons change. The same God made the sun and made it so that plants on earth take that light and turn into food through the miracle of photosynthesis.

And that same God who made the sun, gave His only begotten Son who was there with Him when the foundations of the earth were established. And that Son set aside His divinity, wrapped himself in humanity and shed his blood for our iniquity. What a mighty God we serve and He is worthy to be praised.

Praising God puts things in perspective.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Day 16: Anyhow Praise

"I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth." Psalm 34:1

Have you ever had to give God an "anyhow" praise? You may ask, "What's an anyhow praise?"

There is a gospel song that was popular when I was growing up called, "Hallelujah Anyhow" by Thomas Whitfield. It was a simple song with just a few words. "Hallelujah anyhow. Anyhow. Just keep on praising him. Anyhow. Anyhow."

Sometimes you just have to give God an "anyhow" praise. Why? Because He's just worthy-- anyhow.

Anyhow. Nevertheless. At any rate. Regardless.

Anyhow praise means things may not be the way I want. I might not feel good, but I will praise God for who He is no matter what circumstance I find myself in.

Anyhow praise means we don't praise him just because of what he does. We praise him for who he is. We praise him anyhow. The doctor's report was not favorable. We didn't get the job. We got fired. Our husband left. Our wife won't act right. That child that we have prayed and prayed for just can't seem to get it together. That degree seems so far away and out of reach. Your dreams have dried up like a raisin in the sun. The one we loved so much has died and the hole in our heart seems as if it will never heal.

Hallelujah. Anyhow.

You survived when you thought you were going to lose your mind. And just when you made it through that storm here comes another on the horizon threatening to blow you away.

Hallelujah. Anyhow.

The computer has crashed. Your deadline has passed. Your life is falling apart. You feel like you're behind and others seem so far ahead that you think you'll never catch up. You think you've wasted your time. Maybe wasted your life.

Hallelujah. Anyhow.

Whatever the circumstance, praise God in it. Keep doing right. Don't give up. You feel defeated but whatever happens, you still have the victory. You have a home in glory. You have a Father who loves you. And you have a God who is able to deliver. He's able. And whether he changes the circumstances or changes you in them, He is good and you're blessed just because you're His.  (Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8)

Hallelujah. Anyhow.

Seek the Lord. He will answer and he will deliver. (I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4)

Don't tell a  lie. God is good. Start speaking the truth--the truth of the Word of God in your circumstance. You do right, even when others are doing wrong. (Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:13-14).

God has not forgotten you. He sees you and hears you. When your heart is broken, he is the closest. When your spirit is crushed, he is there to save you. In this life you're going to have some troubles. But God is able to deliver you from them all.

"The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. a righteous many may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all." Psalm 34:17-19

Wherever you are, bless him. Whatever is going on, let his praise be on your lips.Don't be afraid to give God an "anyhow" praise.

Reflection and Response:

I praise God for ...

I thank Him for...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Day 15: The Holy Spirit

John 14:15-27

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Reflection and Response:

I praise God for the Holy Spirit being my...
I thank Him for...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Day 14: Jesus, The Resurrection and the Life

Jesus said to her, "I am the one who brings people back to life, and I am life itself. Those who believe in me will live even if they die. John 11:25 (God’s Word Translation, 1995)

Do you have some dead situations in your life? Some people, things or dreams that you let go of long ago. They aren’t alive anymore. Has the thing that made you smile, that gave you hope, a sense of purpose, brought you joy and made you feel fulfilled slipped away? Jesus what happened? Where were you? What were you doing when my marriage fell apart? When my child died? When I lost my job? Why didn’t you stop me before my decisions led to a catastrophe?  Why didn’t I see?  Why didn’t you get here sooner? You restored sight to the blind. Couldn’t you have kept my dream alive?
It’s dead. Lazarus. The one you loved. He’s dead. It’s been dead so long that it stinks.

Well, I’ve got some good news.

Jesus brings dead things back to life. He has that power because He is life. And if you believe in him, one day, even when your body dies, you will live again. God resurrected Jesus from the dead. And He is the resurrection because he revives, restores and redeems.

He’ll resurrect your old dream or give you a new and better one. He can do it in unexpected ways or in the fullness of time. In his perfect time. At the right time that we can’t see.  Maybe you’re in the wilderness so that he can purge some things, perfect you and let you see Him and depend on Him instead of yourself. Maybe he’s waiting so that God get sthe glory and there’s no doubt that it is only by his power that you are alive.

Jesus brings people back to life. He just asks, “Do you believe?”

Reflection and Response:

How has Jesus "resurrected" you? Is there something dead in your life that needs revival?

I praise Jesus for being the Resurrection and the Life who...
I thank him for...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Day 13: Jesus, Our Brother

Day 13: Jesus, Our Brother

Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. Hebrews 2:11

I have two brothers. One I have known all of my life. The other I met for the first time almost a year ago. What makes us brothers and sister is our father. We have the same father and share his DNA.
Jesus is our brother because we have been adopted into God’s family when we accept Christ as our Savior. Jesus is the only begotten Son and by his sacrifice on the cross he became the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. Through Christ we are God’s children. We’re kin folk.We have the same father. We are brothers and sisters. We are members of God’s family. We are joint heirs with Christ.

Big brothers protect. Big brothers are someone to look up to, follow and emulate. Big brothers can tell you about the father because he knew him before you did. Sometimes a big brother will take the heat for you when you’ve messed up.
Jesus is the best big brother. He is a brother and a friend. He is someone who will protect you. You can look up to him and follow him. He knows the father because he is one with him. He intercedes on our behalf when we mess up. He gave his life and shed his blood so we can be part of the family.

Reflection and Response

I praise Jesus for being a brother who…

I thank him for…

While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”  Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers.  For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 12:46-50

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. Romans 8:29

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs —heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:14-17

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Day 12: Jesus, The True Vine

John 15:1-8

15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Reflection and Response

How have you been "pruned" in your spiritual life? How do you remain in the vine?

I praise Jesus for being my true vine who...

I thank him for...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Day 11: Jesus, Servant

"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:45

Nobody wants to be a servant these days it seems sometimes. A lot of folks want to be served, but they don't want to serve. It's like being a servant is demeaning. Most don't aspire to be the help. They want to be the master.

But The Master was a servant. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, called himself a servant.  As a matter if fact he said he came here to serve and to save. Maybe, just maybe, serving others is one of the greatest expressions of God's love. If the God of the universe, the Lord God Almighty,  creator and our Maker can stoop down and wash the dusty dirty feet of his disciples, then maybe I can feed a child who is hungry. I can read to a child. Visit or run errand for an elderly person. Visit someone who is sick. Bag the groceries for a frustrated mother at the grocery store. 

Being "the help" is a privilege. The bible says God is a very present help in the time of trouble. If it's good enough for God and Jesus , it's good enough for me.

How has Jesus been your help?

I praise Jesus for being my helper who...

I thank him for...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Day 10: Jesus, The Good Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." John 10:11

Jesus is a good shepherd. He is not a hired hand. It's not just a job. He loves his sheep. He laid down his life for the sheep.

Who are the sheep? We are the sheep. And we definitely need a shepherd.

My father preaches about the need for sheep to have a shepherd. He said sheep aren't the smartest animals in the world. You'll never see a sheep on David Letterman doing stupid pet tricks. You won't see a sheep in the circus entertaining the crowds. Sheep are rather dumb. The one thing that sheep do well is wander.

We are the sheep of his pasture. We tend to wander and we need protection and guidance. That's what Jesus gives us as our shepherd. He is a protector and a provider. The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He cares about me and leads me to what I need. He gives me rest and restoration. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He gives me guidance. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Jesus is a shepherd who cares for his flock and knows each one of us.

How has Jesus been a shepherd in your life?

I praise Jesus for being a shepherd who...
I thank him for...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Day 9: Jesus, Our Friend

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

Friendship is a gift. Friendship is a choice. We can't choose our relatives. But we can choose our friends.

A friend will be there to share your joy and your sorrow. A shoulder to cry on. Someone who rejoices in your victories as if they were the one who had one. True friends tell you the truth, even if it hurts, because they love you and want the best for you. Real friends will sacrifice their time and their money for a friend. A true friend is someone you can trust with your secrets. Someone who you can just be you with--let down your hair, let down your guard, take off the mask that you put on for others.

A real friend is someone whose company you relish--a place where you don't have to talk. You can just be in each other's presence in silence and be satisfied.

Jesus is our friend. He is our BFF. Best friend forever.

He is God. He is our Savior. He is holy. He is great and greatly to be praised. But he is our friend. We can be intimate with him. Share our deepest thoughts and feelings. He knows all of our secrets. He's seen us at our worse and he still loves us. He is the truth and the life. He is there to share our joy and sorrow. He loves us and wants the very best for us.

As Fred Hammond sang, I'm overwhelmed that Jesus would call me his friend. What a beautiful gift. Friendship with God. As Israel Houghton sang, "I am a friend of God." I am God's friends because I am Jesus' friend and Jesus is God and he brings us into a relationship with God the father.

Friendship is a gift and friendship is a choice. I'm so glad that Jesus chose me and I chose to be his friend.

"You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Fahter I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other." John 15: 14-17

Think of your friends. Why are you friends? What makes a good friend? Why is friendship important?

I praise Jesus for being a friend who...
I thank him for...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Day 8: Jesus Savior

"And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world." 1 John 4:14

The world needs a savior. You need a savior. I need a savior. We are all in need of saving--rescuing. Whether the world realizes it or not, it needs a savior.

Jesus is that savior. Jesus is the savior of the world. He is our hero, our rescuer, our salvation. He offers salvation to everyone and anyone who believes in him.

What do we need saving from? Our sin. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The wages of sin are death--separation from God. But the gift of God--paid with Jesus' blood-- is eternal life. He paid the price for our sins with his life--his blood shed on the cross for our sins.

Jesus has saved us from the penalty of sin. He has reconciled us to the Father and we have a future in heaven with the Father. But Jesus also saved us in the present. His salvation makes us whole. In him we have abundant life right now.

He made a decision to save us. He didn't have to do it. But I am so glad he did.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Unto you is born this day a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

There is no other name beside Christ's whereby man may be saved. Acts 4:10

Reflection and Response

I praise Jesus for being a savior who...

I thank Jesus for...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Day 7: Love

1 John 4:7-21

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
Reflection and Response:
How has God demonstrated his love for you?
I praise God for his love and I thank him for...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Day 6: Deliverer

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2

When I was about five years old or so, I thought I could swim. I had been practicing the bathtub. When I arrived at the swimming pool for my first swimming lesson, I thought I could swim so when I saw the other kids jummping in the pool, I jumped right in.

Soon the waters were swirling over my head. I was drowning. I remember looking up and a large hand reached down and pulled me out of the water. I was saved. Delivered.

Deliver: to give birth to; to produce, to set free as from misery, peril or evil.

That's what god does for us. He is our deliverer. He saves us from death and disaster. When we are drowning in the swirling waters of life and our circumstances, he reaches down and lifts us up with his mighty hand. With his great power he sets us in a place of safety and security.

Not only is God a deliverer who saves us, he is a deliverer who sets us free.He frees us from fear, our past, disappointments, addictions and other situations or curcumstances that keep us in bondage. He is a deliverer who brings to fruition the purpose and plans that he has for our lives and the destiny that he has placed within us. He helps us to give birth to his purpose for our lives.

But you can't fight against the deliverer when he's trying to save you. You'll drown. Rest in his strong hands and know that he has the power to deliver.

Sovereign LORD, my strong deliverer, you shield my head in the day of battle. Psalm 140:7

He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me. Psalm 144:2

Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death. Psalm 68:20

Reflection and Response:
How has God delivered you? Has he set you free from something or given birth to something within you?

I praise God for being a deliverer who...
I thank him for...

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Day 5: Healer

…for I am the Lord, your healer. Exodus 15:26

 Of course, God can heal us. He made us. Sometimes life breaks us. Scars us. We live in a fallen world where there is disease and death. We live in a world where people hurt others physically and emotionally. Sometimes intentionally. Sometimes unintentionally. Sometimes life just happens.

We all need healing at some time. God is a healer who not only heals us physically but heals us emotionally and spiritually. Sometimes he heals instantly. Sometimes it is a process. Sometimes he heals miraculously. Sometimes he heals through medicine and technology. Most of the time he uses humanity, others who care and are willing to share, to be his agents of healing in the world.

 However he does it, it comes from him. Sometimes the healing is in knowing that we have his presence. Paul ‘s thorn in the flesh was never removed but God reassured him that his grace was sufficient because God’s power is perfected in our weakness.

Through Jesus Christ we have the ultimate healing and the promise of eternal life where there will be no more sickness. We won’t have these frail physical bodies that break down and get old. There will be no more tears, sadness, sorrow or death. Total healing.

Whatever your ailment, illness, problem or predicament. Trust God as your healer.

Psalm 103:1-3
 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases, Psalm 103:1-3

Exodus 15:26
26 saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer.”

Deuteronomy 7:15
15 And the Lord will take away from you all sickness, and none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which you knew, will he inflict on you, but he will lay them on all who hate you.

Exodus 23:25-26
25 You shall serve the Lord your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you. 26 None shall miscarry or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.

How has God healed you?

I praise God for being a healer who…

I thank him for…

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Day 4: Protector

The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. Psalm 18:2 (New Living Translation)

It just takes a second. Less than a second for your life to change.

My daughter was chattering away, excited about passing her favorite mall and Joe’s Crab Shack. My son was in another world, playing his Nintendo 3DS in the back seat. I was driving, looking forward to making it home and seeing my husband, thinking about calling him because I was now in very familiar territory on a highway not far from his mother’s house

A minivan passed in front of me and before my eyes a large piece of metal came from under the minivan and was headed right for my car—my husband’s practically brand new car that I drove to Rockford to spend the night for my brother’s birthday celebration. The car that even as I was backing out of the driveway, my husband gave a final shine to make the black exterior glisten in the sun.

It seemed like it was happening in slow motion but it only took a second. The large, rusty piece of metal about the size of bread box seemed like it was headed for the hood of the car or the windshield.  I swerved. I thought for an instant maybe I had avoided it, but then I heard a clunk to the side and then I heard the thud of the tire.

But as I pulled over to the side of the road, the aroma of burned rubber getting stronger, I was thankful to God that the metal had not gone through the windshield, injured my daughter or son or caused a major accident on the expressway. I was grateful for life and God’s protection.

God is my protector. Have you ever looked back over your life and shudder at the things that could have happened. I know I have. The time I walked out of the house when I was about three years old and a stranger found me (maybe he was an angel) and brought me home. The time I got off the wrong train in Harlem on my way to my aunt’s house and walked through the unfamiliar streets of Harlem at night until I found a familiar one. The times when I was studying abroad in Spain when I would walk home alone in the wee hours of the morning. The times my family was driving on the highway during tornado weather and we made it to our destination safely. The stupid and even dangerous situations that I put myself in.

Then there are those dangers unseen. Those times that the Enemy had an attack set for my life. But it did not come near me because the angels of the Lord were surrounding me and I didn’t even know it. Those traps others set for you and they fell in them or they didn’t harm you. Or those times when you don’t have time to think, only react and God guides you. His still, small voice keeps you calm, even in the midst of a crisis.

God is our protector. And even if my car accident had ended differently, he still would be. But I thank Him that he spared me and my family. The tire was fixed and we made it home safely.

 If it had ended differently, I would be with the Lord. He would still be good and He would still be a protector. But since I’m still here, He still has purpose for me to fulfill in this life. And I thank Him for His protection.

The greatest protection is salvation. God’s gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3

Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. Psalm 91:3-7

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right ahnd; the sun will nat harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121:5-8

Reflection and Response
How has God protected you?

I thank God for being my protector who…

I thank Him for…

Friday, August 3, 2012

Day 3: Provider

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Have you ever needed something and God stepped in right on time and provided it? Maybe it was unexpected money. Or maybe it was something intangible, like peace in the midst of a frustrating or confusing situation.

God is our provider. Provision. Seeing what we need before we need it. Supplying what we need. God can be our provider because he has everything that we need.
But as our father, God doesn’t give his children everything we want. In this age of prosperity gospel, some would have you believe that if you just name it and claim it and have enough faith, God will give it to you. Some say that God wants you to be rich. But everyone will not be rich, even those who are rich in faith. Some things that we want might kill us or not be the best for us. We don’t have the Father’s wisdom or knowledge. But we have to know and believe that He cares.

 Our greatest need is to know Him and He has already provided for that through his son Jesus Christ. Everything else that we can see is passing away. What lasts and is eternal is what we can’t see.
He provides us with the tools and resources that we need to do His will and work. God will make sure you have what you need to do what He desires you to do. He has it. The cattle on a thousand hills belong to him.

Jesus said if we know how to give good gifts, how much more so does God. He knows what we need. If he clothes the lilies of the field that are here today and gone tomorrow., how much more will he take care of you? The key is to pursue his kingdom and his righteousness and then all of these other things, what you need to fulfill your purpose and even some of your wants, will be added unto you.

I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. Psalm 37:25

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. Matthew 6:31-32

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Matthew 7:11

But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. Luke 12:7

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 2 Corinthians 9:8

 Reflection and Response

How has God provided for you?

I praise God for being a provider who ….

I thank Him for…

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Day 2: Creator

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

The first thing we see God doing is creating. If you never heard of God, you would know him by looking at his work. Nature speaks volumes about who God is. His creation.

The pinnacle of His creation is man who was made in the image of God. God did not just speak man into existence. He made him. “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…”( Genesis 1:26).  He lovingly molded him, formed him, sculpted him, fashioned him, created him in his own image. Then God himself breathed into man. “The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2: 7).

We are reflections of God and he has breathed his life into us. Unlike animals, we can be creative like our creator and because he breathed his spirit into us and we can be inspired and create something beyond ourselves.

God’s creation reflects God’s power and love. His creation has order and beauty. God pays attention to the details. The color of a flower. The shape of a leaf. There is diversity. From the tiny ant that crawls on the ground to the giant whale that frolics in the sea. From the power of the invisible to the naked eye atom to the power of the sun millions of miles from earth.

God speaks through his creation. As the scripture says, the heavens declare his glory. If you really want to see God, just look around you. As a matter of fact, just look in the mirror because you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Isaiah 40:26

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. Isaiah 40:28

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.  Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. Psalm 19:1-4

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. Psalm 8:1-5

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14

Reflection and Response

Take a walk outside or study the human body. How do you see God reflected in his creation?

I praise God as the Creator who …
I thank Him for…

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day 1: Father

And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:6

I have been doubly blessed. I have always known the love of my earthly father. One of my earliest memories is being thrown in the air and caught by my father. It was a thrill to feel the knot in my stomach as he released me and then caught me securely in his strong hands. When I had a bad dream, I could run to my parent’s room and curl up in the bed. In my father’s presence and house there was security and safety. Many a day, my father would pray at the kitchen table, “The Lord will provide.” And God did provide and so did my father. I had the privilege of bearing his last name and folks recognizing and identifying me as “Rev. Copeland’s daughter.” I remember at one point as a child wanting to be just like him, even imitating the way he ate. I proudly told people, “I’m a block off the old chip.”

Then I have been blessed for my children to have a wonderful father. Even before I gave birth to children, I saw the love that my husband had for his three older children. One of the things I knew right away about my husband and admired and respected so much about him was his deep love for his children. I learned so much about the love of a father through witnessing my husband’s sacrifice for his children.

The best human fathers are providers and protectors. They give their children security and identity. They sacrifice and love. Fathers carry that seed that bring life.

God is our heavenly father. He is the ultimate father. The Giver of life. God spoke creation into being, but he lovingly molded man and breathed into man his own breath and he became a living soul. God desires to have a relationship with his children. Our father wants to be our daddy.

Jesus called God “Abba.” The title “Abba” wasn’t formal. It was intimate. It was Abba—Daddy. Jesus was close to the father. As a matter of fact, he said he was one with the father. He spent time with God. He was from God. Jesus is God. In Jesus’ relationship with God we see intimacy. And we also see identity. When Jesus was baptized and came out of the water, God said, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.”

  God is not a distant curmudgeon waiting to strike at the smallest infraction. He is a loving father. Abba. Daddy. Even if you don’t know your earthly father, you can find identity, security and intimacy with your Heavenly Father.  

We are God’s children. We can call Him Abba.  We don’t always understand what He’s doing or what He’s asking of us. Sometimes we don’t like it. Sometimes it doesn’t feel good. But it is for our good and because He has a plan for us and always wants the very best for us. We hurt ourselves when we disobey the father.  He is a provider and protector. And we cannot fathom even imagine the love the father has for us.

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3 (New Living Translation)

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, "Abba, Father." Romans 8:15

And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, "Abba, Father." Galatians 4:6 (New Living Translation)

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1 (NIV)

I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18 (NIV)

Reflection and Response

Think of the best fathers you know. How are they like God, the ultimate father?

I praise God for being a father who…

I thank Him for…
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