PrayerPoints 2020

Hello! Hello!

Happy New Year! I love the freshness a new year brings, don’t you?

Each time there is a new season in the calendar year it signals new sounds, smells, tastes, and experiences. I enjoy the refreshment of the “new” when I am expecting them, but there are other seasons that catch me by surprise! Sometimes I am in a “new season” for a while before I even realize it! You may have felt similarly as you have traveled through the various seasons of:

  • Life
  • Employment
  • Parenting
  • Education
  • Marriage
  • Health
  • Family Life

We are all traveling through seasons, though not necessarily the same ones or in the same order, and certainly not in the same way. Sometimes I think I would love to have 2020 vision in what God is doing in my life or when I am in a difficult season but, really, I don’t. He asks me to trust in Him, no matter the season. He never promised that I will see, know, or understand it all!

The seasons of the church year are relatively consistent, if you pay attention to them. They can be a way of being united together in the course of a year with people all over the world, particularly if you are from the same church body. Of course, the church year “seasons” are a manmade sort of thing, but they are based on significant happenings in Scripture, organized in a way that helps us remember better while also providing a little structure.

Instead of just taking a deep dive during the Lenten season, I plan to post a new PrayerPoint each Monday. If you have been following PrayerPoints for a while now, you may have noticed that I shared a lot more this year than I have in previous years. This year I am aiming for a steady rhythm. While I seem to learn better with more intentional focus, I need to grow in my consistency. For 2020, each weekly PrayerPoint will include a psalm, hymn, or spiritual song that will correspond to the church season and highlight something that caught my heart. The rhythm of the church year will help me be a little more grounded and give me a little focus. I encourage you to contemplate the posted words each week and see what stands out for you and write it down. I love that God’s Word is so relevant to our lives and that God uses the Holy Spirit to personalize what we hear! We can each “bump into” the same piece of Scripture and take away a different application, depending on what God is working on in our hearts.

Feel free to join me on this journey. If you sign up to receive my posts in your inbox you won’t miss a week. Otherwise, Facebook algorithms (and whether I remember to post the link) will determine whether or not you see the weekly PrayerPoint.

I am looking forward to the growth God has in store for me this year. I hope you are looking forward to your growth too! If you have a favorite hymn you would like me to see in a post, send me a message at vospower6@hotmail.com and I will consider it.

Blessings and Peace!
Liz

The Lord Almighty is with us…

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress. [Psalm 46, NIV]

The Lord Almighty is with us. And yet, we are preparing for Him too! We welcome, watch, and wait for God to work even as He is already working. We can see what He has done and still we wait as He is always doing more, more than we can imagine.

I am so thankful He is with me. Day in and day out, He doesn’t change although how I see Him and His work is always enlarging. It won’t be until Heaven that I maybe see the entirety of God’s work and, even then, I don’t believe it is all for me to know.

It is for me to trust…to be still… and to know that He is God.

Blessings on your week!
Liz

All the Ways

Sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
    he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
    strength and glory are in his sanctuary.

Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    bring an offering and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness;
    tremble before him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
    The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
    he will judge the peoples with equity.

11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
    let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
    let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
13 Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes,
    he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples in his faithfulness. [Psalm 96:1-13, NIV]

There are so many ways to worship and praise our loving God! What are some of your favorite ways?

I must admit, sometimes I get distracted from this important work. There are times I let fearing and fretting and stressing take my energy and my perspective. Sometimes my ‘declarations” have been inaudible whispers. And other times they are loud and confident.

I am thankful that God knows and loves me in the midst of me. I need to think more about all the ways I can praise and get busy ascribing, singing, declaring, proclaiming, worshipping, and rejoicing!

God’s blessings on your week ahead!
Liz

Fearless

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.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever. [Psalm 23, NIV]

Most days I am fearless. But there are some days, I am a puddle. Feelings drive me crazy. Sometimes my thoughts drive me crazy. Focusing on The Truth of God’s Word is such an important process for me. Sometimes I am in a place where I forget some really important Scriptural truths that would calm my heart and mind and spirit. No matter how much I know Scripture, as a visual person, I love to see it! I love words and it is important for me to see the words — even just a few — that bring me back to Truth.

The Lord is my Shepherd…

[I shall not want….]

I can’t see that without thinking about the rest of the Psalm.

Create in me…

[a clean heart o God….]

I can fill in the rest but the first part reorients and reminds me, especially when I am floundering.

If you are visual, like me, find a few of God’s truths and write them out. You can doodle or color them. You can make or buy a wall hanging that reminds you of God’s perspective. With all that is going on in the world today and the general exhaustion that we all seem to be under, finding and creating places of peace is important work. It is easy enough to get caught up into the negative because we are swimming in it. If you are seeking peace, it might be that surrounding yourself with some visual cues taken from God’s word can create that place of peace.

Blessings on your week ahead!
Liz

Restoration

Restore us, God Almighty;
    make your face shine on us,
    that we may be saved.

You transplanted a vine from Egypt;
    you drove out the nations and planted it.
You cleared the ground for it,
    and it took root and filled the land.
10 The mountains were covered with its shade,
    the mighty cedars with its branches.
11 Its branches reached as far as the Sea,
    its shoots as far as the River.

12 Why have you broken down its walls
    so that all who pass by pick its grapes?
13 Boars from the forest ravage it,
    and insects from the fields feed on it.
14 Return to us, God Almighty!
    Look down from heaven and see!
Watch over this vine,
15  the root your right hand has planted,
    the son you have raised up for yourself.

16 Your vine is cut down, it is burned with fire;
    at your rebuke your people perish.
17 Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand,
    the son of man you have raised up for yourself.
18 Then we will not turn away from you;
    revive us, and we will call on your name.

19 Restore us, Lord God Almighty;
    make your face shine on us,
    that we may be saved. [Psalm 80:7-19 NIV]

Restoration has a lot of phases. Sometimes our lives and circumstances are messy but that doesn’t mean important work isn’t happening!

There is much to pray about regarding our world, our nation, our states, and our cities. I am praying that I see what God is doing and that I work with Him and not against His purposes. God, open my eyes and gives me a clear vision of the needs of those around me. Restoration might mean me doing some work but it might also mean that some work is being done on me: a perspective shift, a growing awareness, an opportunity, etc.

Restoration has to start from within first. I cannot easily share what I have not experienced!

Blessings on your week!
Liz

The depths of my heart

He made the hearts of them all. And He understands whatever they do.
Psalm 33:15 NLT

I have been reckless and destructive. I have lashed out and my words and actions have taken a toll on others.

And yet …

… He loves me.

And just as importantly, He loves YOU!

The amazing list of emotions that come from the depths of my heart: anguish, deep love, anger, compassion, justification, passion … the list goes on and on. And, once again, the knowing that He knows me just blows me away.

I am so thankful for His love and grace and provision.

What are you thankful for today?

Being Known

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain. Psalm 139:1-6

I love being known on such a personal level. No matter what else is happening in my many relationships, this one is the most comprehensive. Who has traveled with me through it all? Who has been there, whether I have noticed, known, or cared — through every moment of my being?

It is incomprehensible to me. And yet sometimes I still contemplate it, even though He says it is too lofty for me to attain.

On most days I rest in God’s promise that He loves me, just as I am. 

Brain Storming

I am an idea person. But I know that when I get excited about something, I blurt out all the possibilities: the good, the bad, and the not-great.

And while I see “brainstorming” as a steady rainfall of ideas another personality might consider them a stormy onslaught of just too much, too soon, and too fast. If you have been a victim of my brainstorming, I apologize. My idea generator just automatically engages whenever there is something that is problem.

Don’t worry, I don’t think all of my ideas are amazing. I do, however, think that talking about potential solutions can help you get to your solution, which, may have nothing to do with any of the ideas I mentioned. By all means, let my suggestions move, push, or pull you into the direction you should go!

I do love how we are all uniquely created. Your gifts are important to this world! Share them!

14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.
Psalm 139:14-16 NLT

“You’ll Find Me at the Ocean”

I have always loved the ocean. I love that it is full of so much I can see and still so much that I can’t see. At the ocean, the world above the world is pretty amazing but there is so much more happening than I can even know beneath the waves. And, it is just such a refreshing place to be. The sounds, the smells, the sand beneath my feet. I love it all!

God’s promises are often tied to the water — from baptism to the charge to make “fishers of men” to many things inbetween.

And when I am feeling the need to rest and recharge, the ocean is a special place for me. Unfortunately, I don’t get there very often. I haven’t been oceanside in about a year and I am definitely overdue, especially after a year like this crazy year!

I was intrigued when I heard about the book, You’ll Find me at the Ocean by Martha Boggs-Black and couldn’t wait to read it. While it is a beautiful picture book written for children, it was a actually a gift for me to be able to read it! I love to see God at work in nature and in the smallest, often unnoticed situations around me. This book gives simple yet powerful reminders of God’s provisions and Martha recounts the promises of God so beautifully.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. – Psalm 32:8

We are all moving through the stages of grief about something and God’s promises are the only things that are worthy to cling to!

This book is a great resource for the classroom as well as home. This is perfect for a child who is grieving the loss of a loved one but also a wonderful opportunity to explore the emotions surrounding death and God’s promises. God’s promises in light of this story are sweet reminders for each of us!

Here’s a link to the book: You’ll Find me at the Ocean : A Journey of Grief Through the Eyes of a Child

You can learn a little more about Martha, the author, HERE!

Adjusting the Sails

I have only been on a small sailboat once. It was fun but, man, was it a lot of work. I am glad I had an experienced person with me because I definitely didn’t know what I was doing.

I had to trust the person I was with.

I had to allow for the changing wind direction.

I needed to work with the sails and the wind.

I needed to think ahead and anticipate the changes.

Have you been thrown off by the daily changes? I don’t have kids in school but I would go crazy having classes change from being online …

…. to being in person …

… to only two days a week …

… to all the screen time …

… to all the ups and downs of the kids trying to adjust and readjust …

… to all the daily change ups in decisions (like lunch and who is home and who needs to be home and who has the computer and do we need more computers in our home?)

All of that.

Who can adjust all their sails so many times in a day? Week? Month? Year?

Thinking about all of it makes me tired.

And when I am tired, I know I need to find rest!

We often laugh about our grandbabies who are just over a year and definitely both still need 1-2 naps a day. Sometimes they fight those naps like crazy. I am sure I did it too when I was little. Maybe it was FOMO (fear of missing out) and maybe it was just not accepting I had done what I could do and now I needed to rest.

What do you think of when you think of resting?

28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-29 NLT

A Million Disappointments…

I can handle a few changes and reschedules. Situations come up, I get that. But this year has been a situation that has led to so many disappointments.

I am generally a flexible person. I can adjust and adapt. I go with the flow and roll with the punches so changes in my schedule do not throw me off. And it’s ok, really, that I am home more. I have lots to do here.

Lots of sorting — both in my mind and in our home.

Lots of purging — both in my mind and in our home.

Lots of re-organizing — both in my mind and in our home.

And I am happy to be getting these things done, but it feels awfully strange to now not have the freedom to do what I am used to doing. I think that loss of the freedom to travel without all the stress of the coronavirus is the main disappointment because it does impact my schedule.

I don’t like…

…all the time and energy it takes for extra precautions!

….not seeing my people!

…the ugliness of people’s attitudes!

…the pressure and stress that so many are under!

…the anxiety and stress and exhaustion my family and friends are experiencing!

I continue to hold onto my hope and faith in God. He is on His throne. I know He loves me and is working all of this out. Things are uncomfortable at the moment but this is earth. And while I do love my life here, this is not all there is!

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Romans 5:1-5 NLT

I will be publishing some extra material on PrayerPoints over the next several days leading up to something I think you should know more about!