Bless His Heart

Jesus commands us to love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us, and do good to those who hate us. (Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:27).

We are to bless and not curse. (Luke 6:28Romans 12:14)

But HOW?

I know the motto: “Just do it.”

But HOW?

At one point in my career I was furious at what I thought was unreasonable behavior that hurt others and hurt the company, and I let others know about my anger. God showed me “the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20)

I wanted to obey. I didn’t want to displease my Lord with my anger. I wanted to love, pray for, and do good to those I thought were enemies. I wanted to bless and not curse.

But HOW?

I was stuck.

One day I read a story about how to tell a true southerner: “A true Southerner knows you don’t scream obscenities at little old ladies who drive 30 mph on the freeway. You just say, ‘Bless her heart’ and go your own way.” I laughed, but immediately saw how to apply this to my situation. So, when I saw or heard something that made me angry, I deliberately said: “Bless his/her heart.” The thought made me laugh and provoked me to bless and not curse. (And more and more often, I really meant it.)

You may not need a crutch like I did. But that quip helped me get unstuck and obey God’s commands.


From When Storms Come: Will You Be Ready? page 214


After the Storm

You came through the storm! Praise God!


Look back. Look around.

Did the storm:

  • Hurt your relationship with God?
  • Did others hurt you?
  • Did you hurt others?

You need to clean up the mess.

You and the Lord

A storm often provokes responses that the Lord will show us as sinful.

We often don’t trust God during the storm.

Both require confession and humility.

You and others

Your storm may have been caused by others.


Forgiveness is commanded by God. What was done to you may seem unforgiveable, but God still commands it. You can forgive.

Reconciliation is not always possible or desirable, so pray about that.

You and Yourself

You may have caused the storm yourself or hurt others in the process.

You may be newly aware of sinful patterns in your life.


Make things right with others, if possible.


God promises to use the storm in your life for good. Thank Him.

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.(1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Press on

God promises to forgive when we confess. He promises.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.(1 John 1:9)

Believe that He has forgiven you.

And press on.

One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.(Philippians 3:13–14)


See Before the Storm and During the Storm.



Praise the Zeal of God

Are you unconcerned when you see your young child in the street? Of course not! You get your child out of harm’s way and make sure your child knows not to do that again.

Do you think God is indifferent to your plight? He’s not. He is zealous for you.

God’s name is Jealous

The Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God(Exodus 34:14)

[In both Hebrew and Greek the translation might be “jealous” or “zealous.”]

God is Jealous/Zealous about His Name, His Holiness (and you)

I will be jealous for My holy name.(Ezekiel 39:25)

For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.(Deuteronomy 4:24)

God’s Zeal

The Bible demonstrates God’s zeal over the Jews, Israel, His church and His enemies. His zeal to fulfill His eternal plan is evident.

I am watching over My word to perform it.(Jeremiah 1:12)

There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lordof hosts will accomplish this.(Isaiah 9:7)

God’s Zeal Prompts Him to Act in Love or in Wrath.

He put on righteousness like a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; and He put on garments of vengeance for clothing and wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle.(Isaiah 59:17)

Praise the zeal of God.

God, I am so grateful You are zealous. It would be awful if You watched the mess we are in and… did nothing. It would be awful if You were indifferent to my circumstances or my future. But You care, passionately, about us, about Your creation, about Your name, Your holiness, and, with zeal, You are bringing Your righteous plan to fruition.

I praise You that we can rely on Your righteous acts, knowing Your zeal prompts You to action.

Thank You, Zealous One!


What are you zealous about?


This completes Volume 1 of Praise A to Z. For a complete list, see Praise A to Z Volume 1



During the Storm


During the Storm

The storm hit.

During Hurricane Harvey and its 40 inches of rain, friends in Houston had to build a system to channel water from their overwhelmed gutters away from their house. Family in New England had to shovel snow from their roof.

What should we do during a storm?

Remind Yourself

During a storm, remind yourself of how you prepared for the storm:


Get Centered


Repeat the steps you took to get ready. (See Before the Storm.)


Do whatever the Lord is telling you: channel water away from your house; shovel snow from your roof to protect the structure; do what He leads you to do during your particular storm.


And, then, determine to:

Trust your sovereign, loving God.

Run to Him—He is your refuge.

Give thanks, for this is God’s will for you.

Be a light in your world, showing God’s truth and mercy.

Press On!

And—Press On!


Christ Lives!


Jesus Christ the Lord is risen today! Alleluia!


Jesus Christ came to us as a baby, came in the flesh that He might, as a man, seek and save that which was lost.

Good Friday

Jesus Christ died, sacrificially, that He might atone for the sins of those who believe and put their trust in Him, making us new creatures.


Jesus Christ is not on the cross.

He is not in the tomb.

Jesus Christ was resurrected, proof His sacrifice was accepted.

Christ lives!

Death was conquered.

Satan was defeated.


Jesus Christ ascended, taking back the glory He had before the world was.

Christ sent the Holy Spirit

Christ now sits at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us.

Christ is preparing a place for us so that where He is we may be also.

Because He lives, we live

Because He lives: we (believers)

  • Have been redeemed
  • Have been adopted by the Father
  • Are in Christ
  • Have everlasting life
  • Have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us
  • Have been blessed with every spiritual blessing
  • Have everything pertaining to life and godliness
  • Are co-heirs with Christ. (and more)

Contemplate the wonder of what God has done.

All glory to God.



God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—thank You. Thank You we rejoice today for Christ’s resurrection. Please help us feel the wonder of what You have done. Help us praise You with our lips and our lives.


He is risen!

He is risen indeed!

Before the Storm


We have family in New England, who have lived through several bomb cyclones! And family in Hawaii, which has had flooding. And friends in Houston who endured Hurricane Harvey and its 40 inches of rain.

We usually have warning of impending bad weather and can take some steps to weather the storm.

We can take steps before any storm to prepare for it and help us reach safe harbor. And the steps we should take when we know a storm is coming are also the steps we should routinely take to sail through life.

What to do?


Remember God is sovereign over everybody and everything all the time.

Remember God loves you—believer in Christ—with an everlasting love.

Remember God uses the trials of life for good.

Remember God is with you.

Remember God will guide you.

Remember the great things He has done for you.

Get Centered

Remembering the truth about God enables you to face any storm with trust.

Remembering God will be with you and guide you, empowers you to be grateful.


Pray in thanksgiving for all He has done for you, and all His promises.

Pray, trusting Him, for His love for you, and He loving control over the storms in your life.

Pray, asking Him for His direction, and His power enabling you to honor Him through troubled times.


See When Storms Come: Will You Be Ready? for a helpful study so you can be ready for anything.






Praise Yahweh


God declared His name to be Yahweh, I AM.

I AM WHO I AM. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations. (Exodus 3:14-15)

Personal Name

God chose to tell us His personal name!

There is so much more about His name, but I am thrilled that God shared His personal name with us. If we work in a large company or study in a big school, we don’t know all the names of our co-workers or faculty or students. In larger churches, we don’t know the names of all the congregation or, probably, the names of all the staff. We’re friendly when we meet those folks, but we don’t learn their names unless we start building a relationship.

God giving us His personal name means relationship!


“I AM WHO I AM,” reveals foundational truths about God. “I AM” signifies eternal existence. God is God from eternity past to eternity future, from everlasting to everlasting.

When He revealed His name, He also declared that He is with us, and that He will deliver us. (See Exodus 3:13-17)

I AM eternal, and near My people to deliver them.

In the Old Testament there are many compound names of God, which reveal more of His character. A good study is to identify these names and their meanings, for example: YHWH-jireh, The LORD  Will Provide (Genesis 22:14).


Yahweh, I praise You for revealing your personal name to us, and for manifesting Your character and Your attributes through Your Word. I am so grateful You want a personal relationship with me, with us. I praise You for Your infinite…infinite everything…infinite power, infinite love, infinite justice, infinite mercy. You are incomprehensible, and yet You chose to reveal Yourself to us that we might have a loving relationship with You. All glory and honor and praise to You.

Praise Yahweh!

Who is Waiting at Your Finish Line?


Gold medal! The first-ever USA gold medal in cross country, with the ladies winning the team sprint.  During the last 100 meters, the USA skier sprinted into first.

“In the final stretch I was just thinking, Go, go, go, I’m giving it everything I had… and when there is someone you care about at the finish, you’ll never give up, never.” Jessie Diggins

Our race

 The Christian life is a race, a wrestling match, a boxing bout, a battle. The Bible has many references to our need to strive against sin and to walk according to the Spirit.

Who is waiting at your finish line?

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…  (Hebrews 12:1–2)

Jesus Christ is at our finish line, and with us through our race.

Our race goes better when we are conscious of His presence now and at the finish line.

The finish line for the Christian has enormous rewards.

We will be glorified (Romans 8:30; see God’s Loving Promises).

We will receive the crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:6)

We will receive rewards for what we did in the body (Revelation 22:12).

Never give up

Strive to be able to say with Paul:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7–8)

Let run our race with endurance. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus at the finish line.

Press on.


Who Do You Think You Are?

Who Do You Think You Are?

What is your immediate response to this question: “Who do you think you are?”

Is your response about your job or role? “I’m a business owner, I’m a doctor, I’m a teacher, I’m a professional athlete, I’m a parent.” Those are temporary answers; your business might fail or be sold; you retire; you get cut; your kids leave home (yeah, you’re still a parent, but you have an empty nest).

“Who do you think you are?” is an identity attack and most likely accompanied with a sneer and an implied accusation.

As a Christian, your core identity is a chosen child of God, redeemed, reconciled, gifted, sealed, and destined for eternal life.

How should we react to identity attacks?


“If you are the Son of God…” (Matthew 4:3, etc.)

“You have a demon.” (John 7:20, John 8:52)

Jesus, of course, knew exactly who He was, where He came from, and where He was going. He answered Satan with scripture (Matthew 4:1-11). He answered the Jews with the declaration that He was I AM. (John 8:54-58)

The Apostles

Paul was called crazy (Acts 26:24).

In general, the apostles were reviled, persecuted, called and treated like dregs, the scum of the world (1 Corinthians 4:12-13).

What did they do? They kept going. They rejoiced they were worthy to suffer for His name (Acts 5:41).


When the Jews were rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, their identity was attacked. They were mocked and call feeble. (Nehemiah 4:1-2).

What did they do? They finished the wall in 52 days. They kept going.


Job suffered a prolonged attack on his identity. His “comforters” declared him guilty and wicked, and told him he’d gotten what he deserved.

Job thought, as did his attackers, that suffering was caused by sin. He didn’t understand because he couldn’t think of anything he’d done that caused his loss and distress. While he answered his attackers, he mainly talked to, and questioned, God.

But then God showed up and asked Job “Who do you think you are?” UH OH!

If God asks you that question, it is not a good thing!

God asked Job where he was when God laid the foundation of the earth, whether Job ever commanded the morning, and on and on. And on.

What did Job do? Job repented. Job declared God sovereign. And Job obeyed when God told Job to pray for his friends.*

Who Do You Think You Are?

How should we react to this question in its many forms?

  1. Be settled in who you are, and whose you are. (See Who Are You?)
  2. Consider the source. React differently if someone (or yourself) is asking, or if God is asking.
  3. Determine if you have gone awry, or overstepped your bounds, and if so, correct that.
  4. If you are working in the will of God, rejoice and keep going!
  5. Rejoice that you are worthy to suffer for Him.

If God asks, it is a reprimand.

  1. Confess.
  2. Repent.
  3. Submit and trust.
  4. Obey.

Remember your identity

You are a chosen child of God, redeemed, reconciled, gifted, sealed, and destined for eternal life.





  • Initially, they were three friends who came to comfort Job. Then, for many chapters, they were Job’s accusers and attackers. Now God called them Job’s friends. I’d like to know more about this transition back to friends.



Who Are You?

Your Identity

We are sometimes attacked at the core of who we are. Jesus was, the apostles were. We’re not exempt.

Next week, I plan to talk about attacks, but as I was working on that, I realized to withstand core attacks, we must be settled in who we are.

Who are you?

Developing a strong sense of self is a key developmental task. The stronger our identity, the less we are blown off-track with the changes and challenges of life. This is true for both believers and those who don’t believe in Christ.

When we believed in Jesus Christ and trusted Him for our salvation, our core identity changed. We became new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17).

This transformation is sometimes startling in its magnitude. Think about Paul. He was zealous for God according to the strictest Jewish beliefs, and persecuted Christians (Acts 22:3-4). After Jesus appeared to him,

immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” (Acts 9:20)

Your identity

One year I listed (some of) what the New Testament said about my identity as a believer. My list included:

Child of the Father (John 1:12)

Sister of Christ (Matthew 12:50)

Bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2, Revelation 19:7-10)

 Indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14)

 Redeemed (Ephesians 1:7)

 Saint (See Good Morning, Saint!)


As you read through the Bible this year, make your own list of who the Bible says you are.

And determine to believe what God says about you.