Encouragement for Today - Mar. 27, 2009

March 27, 2009


Under My Skin

Lynn Cowell


“…and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of depair...”

Isaiah 61:3a (NIV)



It wouldn’t stop burning. Like a sunburn after hours at the beach, the heat on my hands stayed for hours. As a blessing to my family, I had made Aunt Carol’s jalapeno peppers. With the sharp knife and chopping block, I transformed eighteen forest-green peppers into little boats of tasty fun. What I hadn’t counted on was that ten minutes of exposure to the pepper’s oil to my dry, cracked winter skin produced a burning that lasted for hours.


As I looked at my red, cracked hands, I was reminded of another part of me that looked dry and under-nourished not so long ago. In the heat of the summer months, my heart was in bad shape. It felt like a stone. When I would go to church, I sang the songs, but my heart was not truly singing praise to my Love, Jesus. I assumed it was the church. Surely, something had changed. We needed new music; something fresh.


Soon after something did change, and it was me. I re-discovered the oil of gladness and oil of joy by personally coming into the Lord’s presence daily. Although I had never stopped reading my Bible and praying, I hadn’t been taking the extra time and effort to come into His presence.


With the help of a prayer journal, I started beginning my time with the Lord each day by exposing myself to Him in praise. In her journal, Intimacy with God; Your Daily Guide to Prayer, Tara Furman suggests several ways to come before Him: repeating His attributes, calling out His names, and singing hymns or worship songs. My favorite is reading out loud the Psalms. Just yesterday the repairman heard Psalm 103 coming loudly from my lips as he banged away on my wood floor.


Opening the day with praises to my King has transformed my heart. Now, when I go to church, I no longer wait to enter into His presence; my heart is already there. I have found that my outlook through the day is different. Like the oil from the peppers, the burning effect of His presence is felt in my heart many hours after the exposure.


Dear Lord, as it says in Psalm 100:4, help me to enter into Your gates with thanksgiving and into Your courts with praise. Help me to give thanks to You and praise Your name. You are good and You deserve my heartfelt worship each day. I love you! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Related Resources:

Do You Know Him?


Intimacy with God: Your Daily Guide to Prayer by Tara Furman


His Princess: Prayers to My King by Sherri Rose Shepherd


Visit Lynn’s blog


Application Steps: 

Put your favorite worship music on and find a place where no one can see you. Spend some time worshipping Jesus as you feel He would enjoy: singing, arms raised, clapping, dancing, whatever you feel would bring glory just to Him!


Choose some new worship music to breathe fresh air into your time with Him. Check out our Shop P31 page for new CDs.


Ask a friend what her favorite Christian worship music is and swap for a week.



What holds you back from worship?


Does your heart feel dry and cracked, like it needs some ointment? Ask the Holy Spirit to soften your heart.


Power Verses:

Ezekiel 11:19, “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” (NIV) 


Psalm 103:1-2, “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” (NIV)


Psalm 9:1-2, “I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.” (NIV)



© 2009 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.


Proverbs 31 Ministries

616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road

Matthews, NC 28105


Originally published Friday, 27 March 2009.