PrayerPoints 2021

Welcome to a new year! Look for PrayerPoints each week on Mondays!

I want to share a resource with you that you might find helpful as you consider 2020 and plan for 2021. This is not specifically a spiritual resource, but it does ask some interesting questions and may serve to assist you in your perspective as well as your planning. You can find it here. And the best part is, it is completely free! If you utilize it, I would love to know your thoughts about it!

I am thankful for God’s presence in 2020 and His promise of the very same in 2021. I look forward to what He is doing in and around me. While many things are still uncertain, He stays the same!

22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
    his mercies begin afresh each morning.
Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT

In Everything

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Today I am thanking God for His perfect peace!

Rest

It’s so very interesting to start a year and need rest. After some of the unknowns of 2020, we are a week into 2021 with more of the same. And it feels like more “rest” is in my future.

My hope is to embrace it more thoroughly this year. I resisted it in 2020. I was a bit frustrated, and in some respects, I welcomed the slower pace.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3

It feels like much of the world has been made to lie down. Although, I am aware that for others, the demands have been incredible.

Whether or not you are resting in green pastures, stealing moments to be refreshed near still waters, or having your soul refreshed through God’s Word and Sacrament, it is my prayer that you are able to have your soul restored by the Healer!

May you embrace the moments of rest!

Praising the Creator

I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever;
    with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known
    through all generations.
I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
    that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.
You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
    I have sworn to David my servant,
‘I will establish your line forever
    and make your throne firm through all generations.’”

The heavens praise your wonders, Lord,
    your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies above can compare with the Lord?
    Who is like the Lord among the heavenly beings?
In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared;
    he is more awesome than all who surround him.
Who is like you, Lord God Almighty?
    You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you. [Psalm 89: 1-8, NIV]

It is not difficult for me to look around at creation and know there is a Creator. From the seasons to the incredible variety of flora, fauna, animals, and the vastness of the animal kingdom. And then the solar system and the amazing sunrises and sunsets and, well, you get the picture. The beauty and intricacies we get to see and understand while we are here on Earth are simply amazing.

As we close the books on another year, I am so very thankful for the beauty I saw, for the people in my life, and for the grace extended to me, each and every day, by the God of the Universe. He know my name. He knows your name!

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
Thomas Ken (1637-1711)

Zion

Zion refers to both a hill in the city of Jerusalem and to the city itself — but it’s also used in a general way to mean “holy place” or “kingdom of heaven.”  

I have been thinking about holy places and holy spaces. Where are they? When are they? Can we see the holy in the ordinary? In the regular ritual? In the place where we can steal a moment away?

God made a stable in Bethlehem a holy place. Only God can take the dark, smelly, and dirty and turn it into a holy space. God is in the business of transforming hearts and lives from messes to messages of love and grace.

Yielding

I have a tendency to yield in many areas because while I might have preferences, they aren’t worth a kerfuffle. I don’t love a good fight. And while I care about a lot of things, I am not passionate enough to fight about any of them. When does a “fight” every change a mind anyway? When I have a conflict of ideas with another person, my yielding isn’t as much about yielding to another’s point of view as it is about yielding to the Holy Spirit and letting the work of changing a heart or mind rest where the change can truly happen, and that clearly isn’t with me.  It is important that I step out of the way and let the Holy Spirit do their work – and there are definitely times where that work is done on me!

Xenial

Xenial means hospitable, especially to visiting strangers or foreigners. Of the relation between a host and guest; friendly. I will confess that I have to very intentionally remember where I am and who is around me when I am out and have a mask on. I have to be intentional about making eye contact and smiling. It is hard to be hospitable when I am tired – and I am tired on many fronts. Bone tired. And it is ok to be that way, but also important to find the ways to be xenial. Others are surely also very tired and being hospitable during these uncertain times is important. What does hospitality look like to in your day? Are there new ways you can extend hospitality?

Righteousness and Justice

You rule over the surging sea;
    when its waves mount up, you still them.
10 You crushed Rahab like one of the slain;
    with your strong arm you scattered your enemies.
11 The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth;
    you founded the world and all that is in it.
12 You created the north and the south;
    Tabor and Hermon sing for joy at your name.
13 Your arm is endowed with power;
    your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.

14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
    love and faithfulness go before you.
15 Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,
    who walk in the light of your presence, Lord.
16 They rejoice in your name all day long;
    they celebrate your righteousness.
17 For you are their glory and strength,
    and by your favor you exalt our horn.[d]
18 Indeed, our shield[e] belongs to the Lord,
    our king to the Holy One of Israel.

19 Once you spoke in a vision,
    to your faithful people you said:
“I have bestowed strength on a warrior;
    I have raised up a young man from among the people.
20 I have found David my servant;
    with my sacred oil I have anointed him.
21 My hand will sustain him;
    surely my arm will strengthen him.
22 The enemy will not get the better of him;
    the wicked will not oppress him.
23 I will crush his foes before him
    and strike down his adversaries.
24 My faithful love will be with him,
    and through my name his horn[f] will be exalted.
25 I will set his hand over the sea,
    his right hand over the rivers.
26 He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father,
    my God, the Rock my Savior.’
27 And I will appoint him to be my firstborn,
    the most exalted of the kings of the earth.
28 I will maintain my love to him forever,
    and my covenant with him will never fail.
29 I will establish his line forever,
    his throne as long as the heavens endure. [Psalm 89:9-29, NIV]

We don’t see what God sees. And we surely don’t define things the same way God does. Unless we are rooted in Scripture ourselves and are regularly connected to a healthy, Biblical perspective, we only see what we see or what others tell us they see. And all of those things we know come from a flawed perspective. Ever listen to two or more people describe an incident and everyone is compelling but each story is so different? It would do us all good to start out with, “From my point of view…” or “The way I see it at this moment…” because a slightly different angle almost always gives us new information to consider.

But when we go back to the source, or the author of the concepts, and seriously consider the words, that is where we really see the intentions.

Are you hearing some words and phrases these days that don’t seem to add up to God’s definition or perspective? I would like to encourage you to not take the world’s word on what is what. Even when, and especially when, the world is loud and disruptive, consider the source of the definitions.

We are in the midst of difficult days for a number of reasons. But God is with us in every step.

 “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”
2 Chronicles 20:12

May we fix our eyes on our Creator and follow His lead!

God’s Peace!
Liz

Victory

How do you define victory? Recently, I have been thinking about this word that represents a few things. It seems to indicate there is a winner and a loser. And that there is a struggle. And while it is often used to describe physical things, I am currently caught up in the spiritual perspective. These days, I view most struggles and victories in the spiritual realm. And knowing the ultimate victory has been won for me by the blood of Jesus is a blessed assurance.

Come Lord Jesus!