PrayerPoint ~ Let’s Be Real ~ March 24

Do you find it hard to be real? Is it hard to admit you sometimes respond in a less than ideal way when confronted with a conflict in your home? Are there days when it is just plain ugly at your house? You know, the kind of day when nothing is said the right way or heard the right way and the tension makes you want to puke? Or am I the only one that has those?

  • The kids are out of control and you dread the moment you are ‘found out’.
  • You and your spouse been at odds for years but all you see are the seemingly happy-go-lucky couples skipping through life together.
  • You are barely squeaking by, paycheck-to-paycheck , and you have thousands of dollars in credit card debt as well as a mortgage and a car loan.
  • There are weeks or months when you don’t even glance towards your Bible.
  • You have forgotten how to pray.

Satan does his best work in the dark. He likes to isolate us and convince us that everything is incredible in everyone else’s home but ours. Don’t believe him for a minute. He has always been a liar.

There is always a risk when we reveal something personal in our lives. It is true not everyone will understand or relate to our struggle, but if we would be real and honest with ourselves (and others) we might find we aren’t the only ones who are tired of the facade of perfection. We each are in desperate need of God’s forgiveness, cleansing, and grace.

If you find you are groping around in the dark, allow God’s Light and God’s Word to illuminate your situation.

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. 1 John 1:5-8 NIV

Regular church attendance, personal and small group Bible study, and strong Christian friends who will pray for  you as well as encourage and challenge you are all  great ways to hear God’s Word and His Truth. Take a risk, be real, and get connected. No one has a perfect life here on Earth although I think there are definitely “seasons” in life.

May your Spring come soon!

Liz

PrayerPoint ~ Forgiven ~ March 23

So often Satan whispers lies like:

“God couldn’t possibly forgive you for doing that!” or

“God couldn’t possibly have use for you now that you have done [insert your sin here]!” or

“How many times do you think He is willing to forgive [insert repeated offense here]?”

Maybe you have heard those same lies or maybe you’ve heard others. There are days when I get in a rut and I forget that I’m forgiven. That might sound crazy but it can happen after a tough day or a restless night.

How do you recall the promises of God’s forgiveness and restoration?

  • Scripture
  • Attending church where forgiveness is proclaimed following the confession of sins
  • Witnessing a Baptism
  • Rainstorms
  • Washing dishes
  • Washing clothes
  • Showers/Baths
  • Washing hands

Within the daily routine of our lives, we are always washing something. Take a moment to connect the wordly cleanliness you have set out to achieve and remember your Baptism! Let Him refresh and restore you with a reminder of His Grace! God wants you to remember His forgiveness and Satan would love for you to forget it. Don’t give Satan the edge!

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.  2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin. Psalm 51:1-2 (read the whole Psalm!)

Thankful for His cleaning (though I don’t always like the scrubbing!!)

Liz

PrayerPoints ~ Messages & Messengers ~ March 22

If God can use a donkey to deliver a message might He be able to use anyone or anything to get His message to you?

Balaam’s Donkey

Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab.  But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road.

Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. 25 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat her again.

Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left.  When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff.  Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”

Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”

The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”

“No,” he said.

Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.

The angel of the LORD asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared her.”

Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, “I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now if you are displeased, I will go back.” Numbers 22:21-34 NIV

[Disclaimer: The correlation you are about to read might be a little stretch and my intent is not to offend anyone.]

I confess I have been in churches where I have not been particularly fond of the methods of the ‘message’ deliverer.  Quite often those are the days that God reminds me that His Word stands alone, even if I am not crazy about the style it is presented in or even the person who presents it. I don’t think  anyone in Scripture had the opportunity to choose their message or their messenger. Living in the USA, we are accustomed to many choices and so it is natural we expect to choose our message and our messenger along with everything else we choose.

If it is God’s Word you are hearing, don’t shoot the messenger and don’t shoot the message because of the messenger! Consider where your heart is first. If it is God’s Word, then it can stand alone regardless of who speaks it.

Thankful for the many Messengers of Jesus I have been blessed to know,

Liz

PrayerPoint ~ Weddings & Marriages ~ March 21

It is fascinating how much money people are willing to spend on weddings. Amazing, really. And some of these tv shows like “Say Yes to the Dress”–wow! If you have the money and feel the burning desire to spend it, by all means, go ahead. I don’t believe parents should be taking out loans for a wedding, and I have been training our kids to understand that you can have a sweet and simple and affordable wedding day. It is far more important to spend more on being married and staying married than on the wedding. Be sure you are investing in something of substance–like a lifetime–instead of just a showy day.

It is always a good time to pray for marriages but do you know of a couple tying the knot this year? Start praying for them now. Tell them you are lifting them up in prayer. Hopefully they will have some sense of their need for God and prayer in their life already and being married will surely strengthen their understanding of that need. With finances, children, in-laws, illness, disabilities, job loss, etc…there are many challenges that can occur within marriage.
Think of the newly married or the “almost married” people in your life. Would you pray for them? Whether or not you have been married, you surely can imagine the challenges of two sinners united in marriage who go on to possibly birth a few sinners and life in a sin-filled world. Prayers aren’t just appreciated, they are required! Intercessory prayer is probably the most important gift they will receive! Personally, I can’t imagine living life without God forgiving me, sanctifying me, and loving me–because there are some days when I am not very lovable. Just ask Don. But the way God weaves us together–amazing! It’s truly only something He can do!
For fun and encouragement, find a few couples who have been married 30, 50, 60 years and ask them for a few tips. You might be surprised at what they say!
God’s blessing on your day!
Liz

PrayerPoint ~ Slavery ~ March 20

As a part of our school studies, our family explored the topic of slavery because it is such a part of our nation’s history. We started by watching the movie “Amazing Grace”. If you haven’t watched it, you should check it out. Once you start looking into this topic of slavery it is easy to be overwhelmed because not only has it been happening for a many, many years but it continues to happen today in many countries. And it has implications for us today, here in the US. Are our consumer demands contributing to slavery today? I suspect so.

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. Proverbs 22:7

Of course, it is easy to be thankful that we are not slaves. But if we are under a mountain of debt, we are enslaved. If we are under addiction, we are enslaved. If we are following the same bad habits our parents had (either in dealing with kids or marriage or relationships or money) then we are enslaved.

Pray for those who are slaves today and learn more about the topic if you are so inclined. Pray and take steps to reduce your own enslavement.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. Titus 3:3-8 NIV

Seeking complete freedom,

Liz

PrayerPoint ~ Baggage ~ March 19

Got a load? Carrying around extra baggage?

Extra baggage can compound (and exhaust) so quickly. Try carrying a toddler on your shoulders for a couple of blocks. When they finally dismount, the relief is amazing.

The same principle exists when one travels around carrying guilt, shame, unforgiveness, and regret. Confession is such an important practice for a growing faith. Recognizing and admitting sin is a great first step but going to our Heavenly Father in confession and asking for His forgiveness is truly where we receive His peace and restoration.

In the words of Jesus: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

Unpack the baggage! Leave it behind….and don’t go back and pick it up. Walk in His freedom and grace and extend it to others!

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Traveling Light,

Liz

PrayerPoint ~ Wisdom vs. Smart ~ March 18

I don’t have a PhD (I think I am too lazy and it costs a lot of money) but I know quite a few people who do. I wouldn’t ever say a PhD is a bad thing, but it certainly isn’t the only thing worth striving for. I know quite a few people who are very smart but do not have a list of official initials after their name. And what about those times we hear wisdom out of the mouth of babes? How does that happen? What is the difference between being smart and being wise and does having an advanced degree have anything to do with it?

James 1:2-6 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

I am all for formal education. And I think everyone should be a life-long learner. Some people end up in the school of hard knocks — and one can learn quite a bit there. But wisdom is much more than simply education. One earthly definition of wisdom is the ability or result of an ability to think and act utilizing knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight. Regardless of your age or level of education, it is most important to seek God’s wisdom and insight through prayer and Scripture. You can count on God to take your learnings and your experiences and give you fresh understanding and insight into the course of action you should take.

And a final thought:

Why isn’t common sense very common anymore?

Seeking His Wisdom,

Liz