About PrayerPoints by liz

PrayerPoints is a chronicle of God working on my heart and mind. It is always a process. Sometimes fun but sometimes hard. I am married to Don and together we have four precious kids: Lauren, Landon, Elizabeth, and Hannah. We are thrilled to have two fabulous additions to our family: Grace (wife of Landon) and Josh (husband of Lauren)! I am American born with Hungarian blood. I make plenty of mistakes but I am forgiven! I love to connect with people in a variety of ways.

Charm is Deceptive

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I have been mulling over the word “charming” lately.

Often Prince Charming is seen as a good guy — he sweeps a gal off her feet and takes care of her for the rest of her life. But being charming isn’t always a good thing. When someone wants something they  might manipulate by “turning on the charm”, batting their eyes, or somehow communicate that they want something from you.

Have you ever been charmed by someone? While I don’t always recognize it immediately, I often am able to sniff out that person who is working the crowd (or a vulnerable person) for their own gain. I can’t stand to watch it but it seems to be one of those things people need to learn how to recognize for themselves. Unfortunately, being burned once or twice by this type of person is the best way to learn. In fact, the sooner one learns the tricks a sycophant plays the better because when someone knows what you long for be it recognition, prestige, devotion, etc. they will be sure to create the opportunity to deliver it to you. And that makes one very vulnerable and compromises discernment.

Some things to think about:

Where are you vulnerable? Have you ever sensed someone trying to take advantage of you?

Have you ever been guilty of exploiting someone else’s vulnerabilities for your own gain?

As you ponder these questions, ask God to open your eyes to where you might be susceptible to be snared as well as when you may have manipulated someone else for your own benefit. And be cautious around those who are exceedingly charming. I suspect they are not up to much good.

On the Road,

Liz

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Take the Time!

burnoutwGod is always working in my life but sometimes I just have to slow down and pay attention. That is a part of why I like cycling, especially on a path. The freedom to ponder situations is so important for me. But it is also important to view things in light of Scripture and that means I have to be in God’s Word to get His perspective. I know that if I am unchecked by Scripture, I can muddle all sorts of things rather quickly.

The very moment I think my life is too complicated for contemplation I know I am desperately in need for some. Reflection always leads me to prayer and God adjusting my attitude towards a person or circumstance.

Feeling bogged down and out of time? Stop and pray for your perspective and the day. Don’t budge out the very thing that will give you precisely what you need to accomplish the task!

On the Road,

Liz

Taking Him at His Word

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He is Risen!

He is Risen, indeed!

Alleluia!

When I struggle to accept someone’s word it is because I have been tricked before. When my trust has been violated it makes it very difficult for the next person to get a fair shake. Even though I have trust issues for good reason, I have always been able to take God at His Word. I am thankful for that faith He planted in me through baptism and nurtured through the years.   I love His work in my life even if it is difficult during the process. Looking at the betrayal of Jesus and all the other painful events of Good Friday, I can see what God has done (and is doing) for me. Right now.

Today.

And He has done it for you, too!

On the Road,

Liz

Here are a few promises to hang onto:

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We are waiting…

He is workingw

There is so much activity while waiting.

  • We fidget.
  • We tap.
  • We wonder.
  • We pace.
  • We pray.
  • We plead.
  • We beg.
  • We stress out.
  • We cry.
  • We implore.
  • We stomp.
  • We question.
  • We contemplate.
  • We plan.
  • We are hope full.
  • We are dread full.
  • We are pessimistic.
  • We are cautiously optimistic.
  • We are waiting….

VioletsseSometimes our waiting is a looming dread and sometimes it is a joyful anticipation of what lies ahead. But God is always working, sometimes behind the scenes where we don’t see the entire layout of the plan. We might just see little bits and pieces of His work poke through like flowers peek through winter debris in early spring.

His work is not fully revealed until the appointed time.

On the Road,

Liz

The Sacrifice that Cancels Guilt

forgivethemwHeavenly Father,

It is only through your mercy that the dark days of this particular Friday can be called good. When I consider myself justified, entitled, and excused from forgiving others, bring Jesus to my mind and His willingness to be stricken, smitten, and afflicted in my stead.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

“Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted”
by Thomas Kelly, 1769-1854

Stricken, smitten, and afflicted,
See Him dying on the tree!
‘Tis the Christ by man rejected;
Yes, my soul, ’tis He! ’tis He!
‘Tis the long-expected Prophet,
David’s Son, yet David’s Lord;
Proofs I see sufficient of it:
‘Tis the true and faithful Word.

Tell me, ye who hear Him groaning,
Was there ever grief like His?
Friends through fear His cause disowning,
Foes insulting His distress;
Many hands were raised to wound Him,
None would interpose to save;
But the deepest stroke that pierced Him
Was the stroke that Justice gave.

Ye who think of sin but lightly
Nor suppose the evil great
Here may view its nature rightly,
Here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the Sacrifice appointed,
See who bears the awful load;
‘Tis the WORD, the LORD’S ANOINTED,
Son of Man and Son of God.

Here we have a firm foundation;
Here the refuge of the lost;
Christ’s the Rock of our salvation,
His the name of which we boast.
Lamb of God, for sinners wounded,
Sacrifice to cancel guilt!
None shall ever be confounded
Who on Him their hope have built.

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #153
Text: Is. 53:3-5
Author: Thomas Kelly, 1804
Tune: “O mein Jesu, ich muss sterben”
1st Published in:_Geistliche VolksliederTown: Paderborn, 1850

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True North

When navigating a ship to a destination, it is critically important to pay attention to the integrity of the vessel, the charts, the weather, and making sure the crew is capable and able to do their job. It’s a huge responsibility. Going off course due to external forces or internal issues is a serious matter. It happens to

  • Businesses
  • Churches
  • Educational institutions
  • Marriages
  • Families
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • You
  • Me

Have you ever woken up on a particular day and wondered how you got where you were? Sometimes it is by not-so-careful planning. Being off course, even just a little, over a long period of time can really put you in a place you were not intending. How does one stay oriented to True North?

There are so many distractions in life that try to sway me off course. Of course, there are the things of this world that are shiny and fun. Then there are the ugly things of this world that cause me to really wonder about humanity. And then there are the things inside of me that I fight to get out of my life. Or the good things I fight to have in my life like:

  • Prayer
  • Bible Study
  • Gathering with other believers
  • Membership in a healthy congregation
  • Service
  • Confession
  • Forgiveness
  • Accountability
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Holy Communion

God has good gifts for us that draw us closer to Him, strengthen us for the journey, and keep us oriented. The tools are there to help us stay the course but we need to use them.

Heavenly Father ~ Grant us the courage and strength to use the tools You have given us! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

On the Road,

Liz

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A Hope

mansmindwI am not a big planner but I can appreciate one. I have learned how to plan over time but it won’t ever be a natural part of my constitution. I am sure one can analyze my early years to come up with a theory but I naturally just try to go with the flow. It is possible I learned along the way not to hold tight to plans or expectations. Yet I still vacillate between being disappointed things aren’t how I imagined they would be or wildly blessed that an experience has far exceeded my expectations. While I have much less control over things that happen to me than I might like I can ALWAYS control my response.

There are times we might carefully plan things and there are times we wing it. Both approaches have their place. The person who loves to plan and follow it gains great fulfillment when it comes together perfectly. The person who can pull it together at the last minute or go with the flow and enjoy the ride can also find great satisfaction. Knowing which approach to have in the variety of life’s circumstances takes practice but being able to develop a plan and then be content when it doesn’t work out is an act of faith. How we respond is so very important.

I rest my heart on Jeremiah 29:11:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declare the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Throughout the course of my life there have been things that have not made sense at the moment but became clear as time moved along. I do completely trust God and the things He has allowed in my life because I have watched Him work things out.

He always works it out!

Even as we look to these heavy days prior to Resurrection Sunday, we see God working out His plan for humanity.

He gives us hope for the future!

On the Road,

Liz

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