Glimpses of Majesty

Praise the Lord, my soul. Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. (Psalm 104:1, NIV)

Lord, this week I have been awed by the splendor and majesty of the earth You created. I know You are much greater than the wonders of this world reveal, but my limited mind has a hard time imagining the fullness of Your splendor and majesty. Will it be as colorful as a sunset sky? Will it smell as wonderful as a field of wildflowers? Will it be a booming voice or a peaceful whisper? Will it blow as a gentle breeze or a powerful wind? Will it taste better than the richest delicacy? Will it be an expansion of what is familiar to us or something completely different? Will we notice the details or be immersed in the grandeur? I look forward to the day I will see Your glory fully. For now, I am content to praise You for the glimpse of your splendor and majesty I catch around me.

He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved. You covered it with the watery depths as with a garment … But at your rebuke the waters fled … You set a boundary they cannot cross; never again will they cover the earth. (Psalm 104:5-9, NIV)

I have glimpsed the results of the watery garment You used to cover the earth and erase the wickedness of our ancestors. The lasting impact is sobering and beautiful. The results are easy to see but the enormity of the devastation is difficult to comprehend. So much life and death are represented in the colorful layers of sediment left behind. What we see today is so different from Your original creation, yet vital components remain the same. And even the post-disaster landscape brings You glory. Almighty God, You created the waters and rule over them. They serve Your dual purposes of giving life and carving out reminders of the damage caused by our sin. I praise You for the boundaries that only You can place and enforce on nature. Thank You for protecting us from its full power.

He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate — bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread that sustains their hearts. (Psalm 104:14-15, NIV)

Although You are majestic and we are made from dust, You choose to provide all we need. You generously give more than food for our physical needs; You also supply beauty for our emotional needs. You made our bodies to be perfectly suited for the conditions on earth. Even though all of this will pass away and be remembered no more, You have made it a pleasant place for us to live temporarily. We catch a glimpse of what You will provide in heaven and praise You for the splendor and majesty of both our current and future homes!

How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all. (Psalm 104:24, NIV)

We are so proud of our inventions and accomplishments, but they do not compare to Your works, Lord! Anything we make is built with components You spoke into being from nothing. Our groundbreaking discoveries have been obvious to You for centuries. All that is beyond our scope of understanding is simple for You to understand. You are supremely wise. We praise You for giving us a glimpse of Your numerous and diverse works. May we praise You more with each new revelation of Your glory that enables us to your majesty and splendor!

May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works — he who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke. (Psalm 104:31-32, NIV)

Your glory will endure forever, Lord, even after this world passes away. May Your works continue to bring You glory for all eternity. Thank You for allowing us to enjoy and experience parts of Your creation. We glimpse only a small portion of it in this life and look forward to seeing a fuller picture of Your majesty and splendor in heaven. Open our eyes to the aspects of Your character on display around us. May we always worship You rather than what You have created!

I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord. (Psalm 104:33-34, NIV)

Father God, the least I can do is give You glory with my mind and my mouth. I want to be quick to give You credit for what You have created. I want to proclaim Your glory, Your creativity, and Your power at every opportunity. But I want to look deeper and get a glimpse of Your character through my experiences. Help me see Your love in action, Your patience on display, Your joy, Your faithfulness, Your goodness, and more! I want my thoughts to be joyful praises that are pleasing to You. Make me aware of situations where I can glimpse Your majesty and splendor so I can offer You the praise You deserve. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sisters,
What aspects of God’s splendor and majesty have you glimpsed?
What boundaries has God set to protect you? How do you respond to them?
What is your favorite way to praise God?
How can you make praise part of your daily life?
Celebrate far more life by turning glimpses of His splendor and majesty into praise!
-Shari

Copyright 2021, Shari Damaso

Psalm 92

It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp. (Psalm 92:1-3, NIV)

Lord, thank You for this reminder that it is good to praise You. Music is not the only way to praise You, but it is definitely a helpful tool. The melody touches our emotions. The lyrics touch our minds. Combined they help our souls to connect with You at a deeper level. As we start the day, we praise You for loving us with a new beginning and refreshment. At the end of the day we praise You for carrying us through the challenges and blessing us with the joys we experienced. Whether the music of our praise is complex or simple, audible or internal, we are thankful to find far more life as we praise You.

For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done. How great are your works, Lord, how profound your thoughts! (Psalm 92:4-5, NIV)

Seeing You in action makes us happy, Lord. When we witness Your work, our hearts fill with praise. We are eager to give You credit because it is clear that You alone deserve it. And when we need a reminder of You, Lord, all we have to do is look at nature. Your power is obvious in the power of nature. Your glory is revealed by the splendor of the heavens and the intricacies of each cell. Your creativity is evident in the diversity of animals, plants, and ecosystems on earth. Knowing that You brought each of them into being with a word causes us to marvel at Your intellect and knowledge. Your thoughts are so far beyond ours that there is no comparison. The most complicated discovery or invention of humanity is simple to You, yet You love us. Far more life is eager to see more of Your works, absorb more of Your thoughts, and grow in awe of You!

Senseless people do not know, fools do not understand, that though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever. (Psalm 92:6-7, NIV)

Lord, we are so short-sighted! We see those who hate You prospering and we despair. We are tempted to believe the wisdom mankind offers instead of your timeless wisdom. Help us remember that this life, this earth, is just a blip in eternity. While others are puffed up by their own observations and interpretations about life, remind us to hold fast to Your eternal truth. Give us faith and grace to cling to Your Word, even when we do not fully understand it. Help us trust Your faithfulness more than human achievement. Open our eyes to the eternal perspective that accompanies far more life.

But you, Lord, are forever exalted. (Psalm 92:8, NIV)

All we know and experience here will pass away, Lord. We look forward to praising you forever, when Your Word and Your actions alone remain. When all eyes are open to the truth, we will joyfully praise You in gratitude and love.

For surely your enemies, Lord, surely your enemies will perish; all evildoers will be scattered. You have exalted my horn like that of a wild ox; fine oils have been poured on me. My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries; my ears have heard the rout of my wicked foes. (Psalm 92:9-11, NIV)

We are thankful that all Your enemies — all our enemies — will be overcome one day, Lord. You will stand victorious while they fall. We look forward to the time when Your supremacy is evident to everyone and You bring unfailing righteousness and justice to earth. Those who have doubted You — and scorned Your children — will understand their error. Temptation and sin will perish. Doubt and fear will perish. Pride will perish. Death will perish. Only You and Your followers will remain. Give us grace to wait expectantly for that glorious day!

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.” (Psalm 92:12-15, NIV)

Thank you for enabling us to flourish, even on this wicked earth. Regardless of our circumstances, we can grow and thrive spiritually as we draw nourishment from You, Lord. Your Spirit fills us and empowers us to bear Your fruit for the rest of our lives. Rather than growing weaker, we can grow stronger in You. Your light can shine brighter, even as our health fades. Age does not have to stiffen us, rather it can make us more flexible, more humble, more eager to become like You. Thank you for never turning away Your children, but always welcoming us. Thank you for being our righteous Rock. We praise You now and will continue to praise You forever. In the power of Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sisters,
What is your favorite way to praise God?
How have you seen God’s love and faithfulness in the past day?
Which of God’s works remind you to praise Him?
If you have fallen into a short-sighted perspective, confess it to God and ask for help to recognize His perspective.
Which of God’s enemies do you most look forward to Him defeating?
How is God helping you flourish today?
Walk in far more life today as you praise and glorify God with your life!
-Shari

Copyright 2021, Shari Damaso

Choose Praise

During the midst of a challenging situation this week, my husband asked me to read Psalm 103 to him. It reminded me that no matter what circumstances we face, God is worthy of our praise. As I put this into practice, I found far more life by offering Him praise.

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. (Psalm 103:1, NIV)

It is good to praise the Lord without hesitation or reservation. To release doubts and fears we are tempted to hold on to. To examine the parts of our heart and mind that are reluctant. Then we can fully and freely praise Him.

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits — who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:2-5, NIV)

Too often we take the Lord’s benefits for granted. Take a minute to ponder this awe-inspiring list; I think you will agree each item is enough to inspire praise.

He alone has the power to forgive all our sins.

One day He will eradicate all our diseases and bless us with perfect bodies and health.

He gives our lives purpose and meaning.

His love and compassion mark us as His beloved children.

He goes beyond meeting our needs to satisfying our desires.

He refreshes us daily, allowing our spiritual strength to grow as we age.

We have so many reasons to offer Him praise!

The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. (Psalm 103:6, NIV)

The Lord sees all that happens and will bring perfect justice in His perfect timing. He knows who is guilty or innocent in every situation. He will end all oppression. He, our ultimate judge, is trustworthy, wise, and just. He deserves our praise as we await justice!

He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. (Psalm 103:10, NIV)

While some of our sins are against other people, all of them are against the Lord. We can never do enough good to make up for them and become righteous. Yet He has chosen to suffer the punishment we deserve and offer us forgiveness, holiness, and far more life. Understanding His mercy and grace compels us to praise Him.

He knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children — with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. (Psalm 103: 14-18, NIV)

It is easy to focus on human accomplishments and minimize reality: God made us and all the materials that we use in our creations. His creations are infinitely greater than ours because He is infinitely greater than us. Although we have done amazing things, we are made of dust. He existed long before we were born and will continue long after we die. Our legacy will fade, but His character, provision, and praiseworthiness are unwavering. When we recognize His greatness, it is a natural response to offer Him praise. Not just for what He has done, but for who He is.

The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. (Psalm 103:19, NIV)

Human kingdoms will come and go, following the cycle of growth and decay that has repeated over the centuries. But the eternal kingdom of the Lord is immune to decay. It will never fall to greed, disaster, warfare, or conquest. He will always deserve our praise and always offer far more life.

Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.
Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.
Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, my soul. (Psalm 103:20-22, NIV)

I appreciate how the psalmist broke this down. It reminds me of His greatness and how truly deserving of praise He is…from everyone and everything.

Angels, though mighty, answer to God and owe Him obedience and praise.

Heavenly hosts may include other spiritual beings as well as celestial bodies such as the sun, moon, and stars. Heavenly armies praise Him through battling spiritual forces, unseen by the human eye, at God’s command. The sun and moon praise Him by keeping the orbits He established for them. Each praises Him by playing their assigned role in God’s master plan.

“All his works everywhere in his dominion” includes everything else God has created. It may be odd to think of mountains, trees, and oceans praising God, but they do! Animals and plants praise God, too, through their diversity, habits, and place in His order. He holds everything together yet each component offers praise in its own way.

Humans are given the choice of offering praise. What a humbling and motivating realization! Once we have a taste of far more life, we can see Him and His works more clearly and are eager to offer Him the praise He deserves. Even when we lose sight of this — like I did in the midst of this week’s hard circumstances — God is faithful to draw us back. Today I choose to praise Him for Psalm 103 and its pull to far more life!

Sisters,
What reluctance or hesitance to praising the Lord do you face? Talk to Him about it; He understands and wants you to be free to praise Him!
What “benefits” have you experienced as God’s daughter? Do you praise Him for them?
Are you creating a legacy of praise during your limited time on earth?
Choose to praise Him today — whatever you face — and find the peace and perspective of far more life!
-Shari

Copyright 2021, Shari Damaso




Not To Us

Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. (Psalm 115:1, NIV)

God, who deserves to receive praise and honor? Not us, but You. You alone are loving and faithful. The only reason we can love is because You have shown us what love is. You alone keep Your promises. Always. You alone carry out what You have said will happen. Perfectly. We may have good intentions, but we fail. Our plans get pushed aside by circumstances beyond our control. Only You can always follow through on what You have agreed to do. People may see bits of Your image in us, but we do not deserve their praise. We glorify You, the One who deserves all praise.

Why do the nations say, “Where is their God?” Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him. (Psalm 115:2, NIV)

Father in Heaven, people question what they cannot see and understand. Although we cannot see You, we know where You are. Although we do not understand Your ways, we know You are trustworthy and good. We know You are not under our control; You will do what You decide is best. And You know that better than we do! In their ignorance of You, people may try to hold us responsible for Your action or inaction. But You are not at our beck and call; You show yourself when You are ready. We eagerly anticipate You. We rest in You. We wait for You.

But their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell. They have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but cannot walk, nor can they utter a sound with their throats. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them. (Psalm 115:4-8, NIV)

God, You are so different from the man-made gods throughout history. You are alive and powerful. We are thankful to be made in Your image. We are grateful to have access to Your power through The Holy Spirit. You have given us life! You have given us so much more! You deserve our trust, our allegiance, our reverence.

You who fear him, trust in the Lord—he is their help and shield. The Lord remembers us and will bless us…he will bless those who fear the Lord—small and great alike. (Psalm 115:11-13, NIV)

We stand in awe of you, Lord, our helper and protector. We are thankful to receive Your blessing and to be remembered by You. You do not favor the great and disregard the small. Rather You care for and bless all who are Yours. Not because we deserve it, but because You are the Lord! We trust You; You have proven Yourself faithful over and over. You are good to us. We have no reason to doubt or fear because of You.

May the Lord cause you to flourish, both you and your children. May you be blessed by the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 115:14-15, NIV)

All good things come from You, Lord. Everything we have is a gift from you. Because of You, we are prosperous. Regardless of our circumstances, You fill us with joy, peace, love, purpose, and satisfaction. And You let our children experience it, too. When we are blessed by our Creator, we are blessed indeed! Having made us, You know exactly what we need. We cannot turn anywhere else and expect to receive what You offer. How wonderful it is to be under the care and protection of the all-knowing, all-powerful, eternal God!

The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to mankind. (Psalm 115:16, NIV)

You have created a home for Yourself and given us a home, too. The heavens are full of Your glory and we marvel at them. The earth is also full of Your glory and we marvel at it, too. Although we are imperfect, You have made us stewards of this amazing earth. You have instructed us to care for it, subdue it, and fill it with people made in Your image. What an honor it is to care for Your creation! We can see so much of Your character on the earth: creativity, humor, nobility, power, beauty, complexity, order, whimsy, gentleness, and more. We can discover You anew as we gain understanding of each aspect of earth. Thank you for proclaiming Yourself to us through our temporary home. Thank you that one day You will invite us to live in Your home for eternity.

It is not the dead who praise the Lord, those who go down to the place of silence; it is we who extol the Lord, both now and forevermore. Praise the Lord. (Psalm 115:17-18, NIV)

We are among the few who will praise you, Father. We know You and recognize Your worthiness. We believe You and see Your hand clearly through all of creation. We recognize You in our souls. While we have breath and life on this earth, Father, we will praise You. We know others will not, but we will! You have given us life. You have given us a voice. We will use them to honor and praise you. We will not be silenced, now or at any time throughout eternity. Today and forever we will praise You! So be it. Amen.

Sisters,
What aspect of God’s character do others see in you? Do you give Him credit?
Are you comforted or concerned that God does as He pleases? Do you trust Him to always know and do what is best? Why or why not?
How have you experienced God’s help and protection?
Are you flourishing? Do you focus more on your spiritual or material blessings?
If you are alive in Christ, praise the Lord! He has given you far more life!
-Shari

Copyright 2021, Shari Damaso
Photo credit: Jenjoe Marsh

Psalm of Thanks

Thank the Lord because he is good.  His love continues forever. (Psalm 118:1, NCV)

We thank You for Your goodness, Lord. We admit we do not understand it because we are not good on our own. We try to be good, but we fail. Thank You for never failing in Your goodness. Thank You for never responding sinfully to us. We are so thankful that Your love continues forever without pause or disruption. We can rest in peace and approach You with confidence and security because of Your goodness and love. Thank You for giving us far more life.

I was in trouble, so I called to the Lord.  The Lord answered me and set me free. I will not be afraid, because the Lord is with me. People can’t do anything to me. The Lord is with me to help me, so I will see my enemies defeated. It is better to trust the Lord than to trust people. It is better to trust the Lord than to trust princes. (Psalm 118:5-9, NCV)

Thank You, Lord, for answering our prayers for help. We are thankful that Your presence protects us from fear, because nothing is unknown to You. Knowing that Your infallible power is at work allows us to be brave. Thank You that what is most important — our souls — are always safe with You. Whatever happens to our bodies, no person or force can harm our souls. Thank You that even if our enemies appear to win in this lifetime, ultimately You will defeat our true enemy. Thank You for repeatedly proving Yourself trustworthy and showing us far more life.

All the nations surrounded me, but I defeated them in the name of the Lord. They surrounded me on every side, but with the Lord’s power I defeated them. The Lord gives me strength and a song. He has saved me. (Psalm 118:10-11, 14, NCV)

We may not have enemy nations surrounding us, Lord, but we thank You for Your protection. Whatever enemy we face — whether physical, spiritual, emotional, or mental — it cannot overcome our souls. Thank You for giving us strength. Thank You for giving us peace and joy that leads to a song-filled heart. Thank You for saving us from danger and destruction and giving us far more life.

Shouts of joy and victory come from the tents of those who do right: “The Lord has done powerful things.” The power of the Lord has won the victory; with his power the Lord has done mighty things. (Psalm 118:15-16, NCV)

Thank You for giving us opportunities to praise You. Thank You for giving us voices to proclaim the powerful things You have done. Thank You for giving us poems, songs, stories, and voices to share Your work and make Your name famous. It is You who has won the victory over sin, despair, evil, and more. Thank You for doing mighty things in us, through us, and for us so we can experience far more life.

I will not die, but live, and I will tell what the Lord has done. The Lord has taught me a hard lesson, but he did not let me die. (Psalm 118:17-18, NCV)

Thank You for the times You have rescued us from physical death, even if we were unaware. When we face difficulties, thank You for faithfully and patiently teaching us about Yourself and Your work in our lives. Thank You for rescuing us from spiritual death and blessing us with far more life. We will thank You for all eternity, as You deserve!

Open for me the Temple gates. Then I will come in and thank the Lord. This is the Lord’s gate; only those who are good may enter through it. Lord, I thank you for answering me. You have saved me. (Psalm 119:19-21, NCV)

Thank You that we can talk directly to You, Lord. We are privileged to thank You personally. Thank You, Jesus, for opening the gate and inviting us into a relationship. Thank You for filling us with Your goodness, so we can come before Your throne. Thank You for listening to our prayers and answering them. Thank You for drawing us to salvation from the consequences of our sin so we can walk in far more life.

The stone that the builders rejected became the cornerstone. The Lord did this, and it is wonderful to us. This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad today! (Psalm 118: 22-24, NCV)

Thank You for allowing us to benefit from Your suffering, Lord Jesus. We can rejoice every day because of Your sacrifice for us. We can be glad every day because of Your wonderful gift. Thank You for giving us life — and far more life, too.

You are my God, and I will thank you; you are my God, and I will praise your greatness. Thank the Lord because he is good. His love continues forever. (Psalm 118:28-29, NCV)

Thank You for being our God, Creator, and King. Thank You for demonstrating Your love and goodness so clearly to us. Thank You for today and every day that we can spend in fellowship with You. Thank You for every moment of far more life on earth and in heaven.

Sisters,
What aspect of God’s character are you thankful for? Give him your praise for that!
Thank God for something He has rescued you from. Or helped you through.
Thank God for a lesson He has allowed you to learn.
If you have a personal relationship with Jesus, thank Him for that. If you do not, please send me a message or ask a friend how you can accept His gift of salvation.
Tell God what far more life means to you — and thank Him for offering it to you.
-Shari

Copyright 2020, Shari Damaso

Praying Praise

I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt his name together. (Psalm 34:1-3, NLT)

You deserve our constant praise, Lord. Even if we spent our whole lives praising You, we would never run out of reasons to glorify You. As we praise You, we see how much more praise you deserve! With You as our Father, we never need to feel helpless; we can remember the great things You have already done and trust You to do more. Your work in others’ lives prompts us to praise You, too. Far more life is filled with Your praise!

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him. (Psalm 34:4-7, NLT)

Thank you for hearing and answering us, Father. Thank You for helping us see our fears are baseless against your wisdom and power; You hold us and our future securely in Your hands. Your provision makes us glow with confidence, love, and joy; we have nothing to fear or worry. Our weakness is offset by Your strength; help us to recognize our need for You sooner so we do not waste time floundering. Thank You for saving, protecting, and defending us — often without our awareness. Without Your help and intervention, we would not be able to survive! Far more life expectantly looks to You as the source of truth and grace.

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing. (Psalm 34:8-10, NLT)

Your goodness is evident to those who place their trust in You. Your abundant love and provision lead us to praise You. When we humble ourselves before You and place ourselves in Your keeping, we know You will provide. You are sovereign over all creatures, yet You promise to always meet our deepest needs; thank You! Far more life celebrates Your goodness and proclaims your abundance.

Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord. Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous? Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. (Psalm 34:11-14, NLT)

Teach us from your wisdom, Lord, and soften our hearts to accept what we read in Your Word. We want to listen to You and follow your wise counsel. Help us to recognize evil so we can stay far away from it. Give us a desire for peace so we can enjoy Your blessing in our relationships. Your ways are simple, even a child can understand them. We are like children before You, Lord; thank you for patiently reminding us what is best. Far more life listens and obeys.

The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth. The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. (Psalm 34:15-18, NLT)

We are relieved to know Your eyes and ears are always on us. We depend on You for help in the troubles we encounter. We need Your comfort to overcome the grief and fear we face. Thank you for always being there. Always. Far more life stays connected to You, through both good and challenging times.

The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken. Calamity will surely destroy the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished. But the Lord will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned. (Psalm 34:19-22, NLT)

Thank you that we can depend on You to rescue us. Even when it looks different from what we expect or prefer, we can trust You to do what is best for us. Thank you for protecting us from dangers that we cannot even perceive; Your love for us is humbling and inspiring. We are thankful that final justice lies in Your hands. Our enemies are Your enemies and You will take care of them in Your perfect timing. We can release them to You and move on. Thank you for being a safe refuge for those You have redeemed. Far more life rests in You today and for all eternity.

We praise You for who You are and what You do. We pray to You through Jesus and are humbled that You hear us, Amen.

Sisters,
What praise is on your heart, mind, and lips today? How can you share His greatness with others?
How have you experienced God’s protection and provision? Did you thank Him for that?
What challenge or trouble are you facing today? Have you talked to God about it? Asked for His help? Searched His Word for wisdom?
Are you looking to Him for wisdom? Peace? Comfort? If not, confess your distance and any barriers that keep you away.
Thank Him for giving you far more life, an eternal connection to Him!
-Shari

Praise from the Darkness

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord, my soul! I want to praise the Lord throughout my life. I want to make music to praise my God as long as I live. (Psalm 146:1-2, GW)

The darker my surroundings, Lord, the greater my need to praise You. As the voices around me rise in anger and despair, I will raise my voice in praise to You. I am not unaware of the trouble around me or hiding from challenges. Rather my need for perspective and wisdom drives me to you, the One who sees and knows all.

Do not trust influential people, mortals who cannot help you. When they breathe their last breath, they return to the ground. On that day their plans come to an end. (Psalm 146:3-4, GW)

Father, it is tempting to trust humans to right the wrongs around me. Their claims and solutions sound right and reasonable. But they, like me, are mortals with limited power and resources. They cannot see the hearts of people to know what solution is truly best. They do not know the future and know only fragments of the past. You alone, Father, transcend all generations and fully understand human hearts and actions. You alone have provided the ultimate solution and will one day overcome all evil. It is better that I trust You, my only certain source of help and hope. Open my eyes to see what You see, discerning the real problem and revealing my role in overcoming evil.

Blessed are those who receive help from the God of Jacob. Their hope rests on the Lord their God, who made heaven, earth, the sea, and everything in them. The Lord remains faithful forever. (Psalm 146:5-6, GW)

I am blessed…happy…joyful…when I place my hope in You, Lord, and accept Your help. Even if my circumstances do not change, You give me joy. You keep all Your promises; You never lie, make mistakes, or change your mind. You never misjudge the situation or underestimate the consequences; You know exactly what to do and when to do it. I can trust Your timing and rest in Your arms until You provide a way out. Grow my desire to help others find joy and blessing in You, too!

He brings about justice for those who are oppressed. He gives food to those who are hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free. (Psalm 146:7, GW)

I confess, Father, that I sometimes grow impatient waiting for Your justice, provision, and freedom. My vision is limited to temporary timeframes and solutions because those are all I know. But when I look at eternity, You clearly rescue the oppressed and bring justice in Your perfect timing and way. You feed “soul” hunger, not just the physical hunger that is so often my focus. You offer freedom from more than physical prison; you set my heart and soul free to experience far more life as You intended! My attempts to bring justice, provision, and freedom are insignificant compared to yours. I desire these because I am made in Your image, but help me, Lord, to not see myself as more capable than I truly am. Help me recognize my responsibility and limits so I can join You in battling evil rather than fight against Your plan. Help me see the role You have assigned me; empower me to carry it out while giving me wisdom and strength to walk away from the roles You have not assigned me.

The Lord gives sight to blind people. The Lord straightens the backs of those who are bent over. The Lord loves righteous people. (Psalm 146:8, GW)

Thank you, God, that you can and will overcome the chaos of this world. Although I am governed by forces that tend toward disorder and destruction, You are not. Help me rest securely in Your love so I know, whatever my circumstances, that You are with me and for me. Remind me that whether or not I experience relief in this life, I will be fully restored — for all eternity — when Christ returns. All my suffering and struggles will become insignificant as I bask in Your glory. Help me walk in righteousness every moment, whether You call me to wait or to act.

The Lord protects foreigners. The Lord gives relief to orphans and widows. But he keeps wicked people from reaching their goal. (Psalm 146:9, GW)

In Your kingdom, I am a foreigner, but You welcome and protect me. I come to You alone, but You embrace me and meet my needs. Help me to treat others as you have treated me. I am thankful for Your guarantee that the wicked — who seem to prosper now — will one day be defeated. I am thankful that only Your goals have the power to last for eternity. I want to join you in pursuing Your goals!

The Lord rules as king forever. Zion, your God rules throughout every generation. Hallelujah! (Psalm 146:10, GW)

Earthly rulers will come and go, but You remain on Your throne through them all. You ruled at the creation of the world. You have ruled throughout all of human history. And You will continue to rule forever. I look to You for wisdom; help me recognize and support human wisdom that matches Yours. I look to You for guidance; help me follow Your path regardless of its popularity. I praise You for what You have done! I praise You for what You are doing! I praise You for what You will do! I follow You by faith and submit to Your leadership all the days of my life. In Jesus name, Amen.

Sisters,
Are current pressures and circumstances making it hard for you to praise God?
How are you tempted to trust people to solve the problems around you?
How has God helped you? How can you help others find His joy?
Are you pursuing God’s goals or someone else’s? How can you join God?
Praise God today for being who He is and giving you far more life!
-Shari

Copyright 2020, Shari Damaso
Photo credit: JenjoeMarsh


Far More Praise

Our mindset is an important factor in whether or not we experience far more life. When our minds are filled with negative thoughts and emotions, we cannot embrace all that God has for us. In previous posts we have talked about the important of thankfulness (if you missed them, the search bar can help you find them). This post will focus on praise.

Sometimes it seems like thankfulness and praise are interchangeable, especially in regard to God. But there is an important distinction. At Dictionary.com, “thankful” is defined as “feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative” while “praise” is “to express approval or admiration of; commend; extol.” Our thankfulness is often focused on what God does that benefits us; praise also acknowledges who He is, His character.

There is so much about God that we can admire! The Bible, especially the book of Psalms, is full of instructions to praise God and examples of how to do it. God knows we are forgetful and need regular reminders of His character and involvement; praise provides that!

Praise the Eternal. I will thank Him with all my heart in the presence of the right-standing and with the assembly. The works of the Eternal are many and wondrous! They are examined by all who delight in them. His work is marked with beauty and majesty; His justice has no end. His wonders are reminders that the Eternal is gracious and compassionate to all. (Psalm 111:1-4, VOICE)

Eternal Father, You are worthy of all my praise. There is no one like You in all of creation. I thank You with all of my heart, holding nothing back. I praise you because Your works are many and wondrous! I delight in the beauty of the stars, the power of the ocean, the majesty of the mountains — and You created them all with a word! I praise Your knowledge and power, which are beyond my comprehension. I praise You for allowing all people, even those who deny Your existence, to enjoy Your works because of Your graciousness and compassion. I praise you for providing these clear testimonies of Your power and creativity.

He provides food to those who revere Him. He will always remember His covenant. He has shown the mighty strength of His works to His people by giving the land of foreign nations to them. (Psalm 111:5-6, VOICE)

I praise You for knowing my needs and willingly meeting them. I praise You for always keeping Your promises; You alone are completely honest and trustworthy. I praise Your strength. No people are too strong for You, no matter how large their population or how strong their military. I praise You for showing Your character to the whole world by caring for Your people.

All His accomplishments are truth and justice; all His instructions are certain. His precepts will continue year in and year out, performed by His people with honesty and truth. (Psalm 111:7-8, VOICE)

I praise You for your truth and justice. Unlike me, You are perfect in these because You know all and have control over all. Nothing surprises or threatens You. You make no mistakes; all you do is right and just. I praise You for giving clear instructions in your Word; You do not make me guess what is pleasing to You and what You expect of me. I praise You for being constant rather than wavering in Your opinion (like me!) and for enabling me to reflect your honesty and truth.

He has redeemed His people, guaranteeing His covenant forever. His name is holy and awe-inspiring. (Psalm 111:9, VOICE)

I praise You for buying me back from the sin that separated us. I praise You for sending Jesus to pay the price for my sin so I could become Your daughter. I praise You for promising that our relationship will continue forever and nothing can take it away. You are far more holy and awe-inspiring than my feeble mind can comprehend.

Reverence for the Eternal is the first step toward wisdom.
All those who worship Him have a good understanding.
His praise will echo through eternity! (Psalm 111:10, VOICE)

I praise You for showing me the path to Your wisdom and allowing me to walk it. I praise You for offering me far more life. I look forward to praising you for all eternity, especially when I see you face-to-face and realize how blind I have been to Your character and praiseworthiness! Until then, I praise you the best I can through Jesus’ name. Amen.

Expressing praise brings far more life because it sets our focus on our Dad. When the clouds of sin and struggle cause us to lose sight of Him, praise lets the sun shine through. Praise brings light and truth to areas of our heart and mind that were struggling in darkness, doubt, and false beliefs about God and our position before Him. Praise resets our view to an eternal perspective. It reminds us of how we have encountered God in the past and how He has promised we will encounter Him in the future. Praise keeps us connected to God, which is where we find far more life!

Sisters,
How do you see thankfulness and praise as being similar? Different?
What do you admire about God? (If you need ideas, read a few Psalms.)
How have you seen Him at work in your life?
Do you praise God daily? If not, embrace far more life by making that a habit. See how it changes your perspective to recognize and admire Him each day.
-Shari

Copyright 2019-20, Shari Damaso

Future Focus

We face numerous problems in life. Many situations cause pain and suffering. Difficulties pound us like the surf pounds the shore; sometimes there is barely time to recover from one wave of trouble before the next one hits. We are tempted to focus on surviving today — it feels like all we can do. But these truths give us perspective and far more life:

But I am always with you. You hold me by my right hand. You give me wise advice to guide me. And when I die, you will take me away into the glory of heaven. (Psalm 73:23-24, NIRV)

Your kindness and love will always be with me each day of my life, and I will live forever in your house, Lord. (Psalm 23:6, CEV)

We don’t have to wait until heaven to be with God; He is already with His children! Eternal life doesn’t start when we get to heaven. It starts as soon as we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord. We face the challenges of this life with God’s Spirit living inside us. He showers us with kindness and love every day — including our hardest days. His presence gives us far more life in every situation we face. If we are willing to ask, He will guide us through every difficulty; recognizing His response deepens our understanding and love for Him. And one wonderful day we will leave this earth and move into His house forever!

Choosing to be future-focused allows us to rise above our circumstances and embrace far more life. We suffer because our world is filled with sin, illness, heartbreak, and injustice. It is easy to think we will always face those challenges. But God wants us to see the big picture: our relationship with Him will continue for eternity, and after a short time on earth we will live with Him in His perfect home forever. A future focus enables us to view our present, temporary difficulties from His perspective.

These troubles and sufferings of ours are, after all, quite small and won’t last very long. Yet this short time of distress will result in God’s richest blessing upon us forever and ever! So we do not look at what we can see right now, the troubles all around us, but we look forward to the joys in heaven which we have not yet seen. The troubles will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18, TLB)

What joys in heaven can we look forward to?

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. (Revelation 21:4, NIV)

Can you imagine living without death, mourning, crying, or any kind of pain? We have to endure them for a few years on this earth but not in heaven. Focusing on our future brings joy because our pain will end.

Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:27, NIV)

In heaven, there will be no sin. We will never have to say we are sorry or ask forgiveness. We will be free from evil thoughts, words, and actions. And no one will ever sin against us or hurt us. Focusing on our future brings joy because heaven will be safe, pure, and holy.

No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. (Revelation 22:3-4, NIV)

The curse that separated us from God will be lifted. God and Jesus will be among us in all their glory. We will look Them in the eye without shame or fear; They will know us fully and we will know Them. We will live with Them forever as daughters of the King! Focusing on our future brings joy as we anticipate being reunited with our true Father.

And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5b, NIV)

We will be secure under God’s loving leadership forever. Perfect love and justice will guide all of God’s decisions. Focusing on our future brings joy because the perfect King will lead us forever.

You should greatly rejoice in what is waiting for you, even if now for a little while you have to suffer various trials. (I Peter 1:6, VOICE)

Our future in heaven is so wonderful, so satisfying, so glorious that it far outweighs the suffering and hurt of this life. Jesus has already paid the price to rescue us from this broken earth. And one day He will return and take us home to heaven. Until then, focusing on our future allows us to praise God for all He has done and will do. We are not alone in this life as we wait for deliverance. God’s Spirit already lives inside of us, giving us all we need to overcome the challenges each day presents. While we focus on the future amidst our struggles, we can praise Him for meeting our needs in the past and present. The best is yet to come, but thankfully we can embrace far more life with Him today.

Sisters,
When facing struggles, is your focus on surviving or far more life?

If you have accepted Christ, how does it help you to know your eternal relationship with God has already started?
What aspect of heaven is most exciting and appealing to you?

Thank God for specific needs He has already met in your life.
This week, memorize a future-focused truth from His Word you want to remember and offer as praise when difficulties arises.
-Shari 

Copyright 2019-20, Shari Damaso