Vision

Have you ever read the book of Daniel? That was a man who had many visions and was known for his wisdom and intelligence. His specialty? Dream interpretation.

I don’t think there is anyone alive today who has Daniel’s reputation. We have the concept of “vision” although it takes on a different meaning outside of Scripture. Daniel’s visions seem unlike those of any other.

We can think about our future with wisdom and discernment – even if all we see is difficulties around us. Sometimes what we see can give us an opportunity to envision something better, something that helps us not focus so much on our circumstances but to contribute to a greater good. Many people have been encouraged to fight some level of devastation or need by creating a platform for others in a similar situation to feel support and connection and learn how to cope with or prevent something. These types of visions can help us transcend our immediate circumstance and infuse us with hope.

Check out the sweet family behind Fritz & Friends. What a beautiful example of a family taking their own experience with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and creating a space for others to learn about it and create a support network for others. During difficult times, holding on to faith in God and His bigger picture and the hope we have in Him is so important. This world is full of difficult circumstances. Each of us has had challenging life situations at one time or another but clinging to God’s mercy and grace is what makes any situation bearable.

I am thankful God can knit together our past and present experiences, our strengths and inclinations and move us into action. It helps us sort things out and make some sense of it. And it can help us share God’s hope with others!

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. [Psalm 62:5-6, NIV]

My your soul find rest in Him!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: CONTEMPLATION

Perspective II

Grand Canyon w.jpeg

Wow. The Grand Canyon. Have you ever been there? It is incredibly huge. So huge that you need to spend a little time looking just so you can see. My brother went 30 years ago and he told me there isn’t a picture that can do it justice. So far, I agree. But there were plenty of us trying to capture a bit of the beauty of this place.

We went at the end of the day so there was some amazing light and incredible shadows. The sun was shining and there weren’t very many clouds. The light from the sun flooded all the cracks and crevices. But as the sun was setting, there were these shadows that really played with what I was seeing. They made some of the rock formations appear paper-thin. I knew it wasn’t true, yet I could see it with my own eyes. I knew what was true but my eyes told me what I knew was wrong.

Seeing isn’t everything. How many times are we right in front of something but we don’t see it? Or we thought we saw something but didn’t? If we witness an accident and the police officer questions us, we might give a version of the story that is different then the next person who has another perspective.

I was so surprised by what the shadows did in the canyon. And, digging a little deeper, what shadows can do in my life. Those shadows can be dark places; dark enough to mess with what I see. And my perspective gets messed up.

When I view my circumstances under the Light of God’s Word, it changes how I see things and gives me a full view of what I am facing.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb. [Psalm 139: 11-13, NIV]

May the light of God’s Word flood your circumstance and bring you to a greater understanding and perspective.

Liz

PrayerPrompt: VISION

Grand Canyon Blues w.jpeg

Perspective

Where I have been can inform me about where I am going. Of course, it isn’t always a sure thing. And that is a good thing.

If I come from a place of pain and I don’t process it properly, I might look for and anticipate pain in all parts of my life. If I come from a place of safety and security, my discernment might not be developed enough to perceive danger. Of course, personality tendencies play a role here, too. We all know a Tigger-type personality. And, we all know those who view the world like Eeyore does.

Oh bother!

Focusing on the negatives typically produces more negative. Experiences, both good and bad, leave their marks on us. How we process them is important. Those negative situations in my life can trip me up so keeping my mind and heart focused on God’s Word helps me be oriented!

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. [Philippians 4:8-9, NIV]

This will be a two-part PrayerPoint because we will be at the Grand Canyon later on today and I am sure it will provide some further insight.

PrayerPrompt: PERSPECTIVE

Identity

I am a friend, neighbor, daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, cousin, wife, mom, mother-in-law, and a grandmother to two sweet babies who are very busy growing in the womb.

I have been a student, patient, roommate, supervisor, teammate, teacher, helper, volunteer, employee, assistant, co-worker, and a boss.

I have been viewed as many different things, all based on different perspectives and situations and things I have done. Each of these roles contribute to how I see myself as well as how others see me.

Most importantly, I am a child of God.

This position impacts how I view the world and others, and it significantly influences how I see myself.

Who are you? Whose are you?

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine. [Isaiah 43:1b, NIV]

May you see yourself as God sees you!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: PERSPECTIVE

Desolate

Desolate w
Some “barren land” in Picacho, New Mexico.

We have been on the road for the last five days (Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, and Phoenix) and we have driven through quite a variety of terrain and weather conditions. Some of the places were quite sparse. As we drove quickly by, it didn’t look like there was too much life out there but a good naturalist will let you know that indeed there is, even if there doesn’t appear that way.

And I got to thinking, sometimes we look at someone’s life (maybe our own) and we think there isn’t anything of value there. From the outset there seems to be not too much life, but we never really know what is going on in the heart.

I am one that has a tendency towards “hope”. If I lose something, I am hopeful to find it and if I am surrounded by situations that aren’t great, I am looking for hope to hold onto. So even as I look at this picture and it’s lack of color and seeming lack of life, I know better. I know there are things going on “behind the scenes”.

I am thankful for all the times that God has worked on my heart even when I didn’t know or understand it. How He has given me life and purpose even if it appears there is little life on the surface.

There are seasons that look desolate, but God is always working, shaping, encouraging, and tending to my soul.

We may look at someone and decide they are flourishing the way God wants them to by all outward appearances, but we may be completely wrong. So let’s not make a judgement either way — truly, only God knows the heart.

The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” [1 Samuel 16:7b, NIV]

So don’t let appearing “all together” be your goal. Let God work on your heart and things will flow from there.

Heart work is hard work!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: IDENTITY

Time

I pass it, mark it, don’t take it, mind it, waste it, honor it, keep it, tell it, push it, ignore it, stretch it, squander it, and I savor it. Sometimes it passes slower than molasses and sometimes it flies!

But whatever I do, time is always on the move, whether or not I keep up with it.

It is a constant.

How we deal with it is up to us. Do we ever have enough? Do we use what time we have wisely?

I have been guilty of using my time to complain, argue, sulk, seethe, and criticize. But the older I get, I am more interested in using my time to encourage, explore, connect, listen, uplift, laugh, learn, and love until it is my time to die.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace. [Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, NIV]

God’s blessings as you consider your time!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: DESOLATE

Forgiveness

I opened my mouth the other day and something really ungracious came out. I realized it immediately and reminded myself, also out loud, that God’s grace for me has been unending. I, too, have behaved in ugly, hurtful ways and yet, He loves me. I need to extend that grace.

Sometimes my memory isn’t the greatest, but when I have been wronged, my memory is amazing. I can remember the circumstances, the emotions, the damage. It can put me on a sad path. Surely others I have known over my lifetime can remember my hurtful and selfish behavior that has impacted them. Maybe I am even someone they need to re-forgive on a regular basis.

In my ungracious moments, I need to remember that I took this situation to God and I gave it to Him. I asked him to help me see that person as broken, in need of forgiveness, and to help me not get stuck in a cycle of anger and resentment over the circumstances. I may have already walked through the process of forgiveness but some vestiges have hung on. I need to loosen the grip of my justification for my anger and forgive again.

The trouble is, these are some of the things I don’t seem to forget.  Remembering and walking through the steps of forgiveness and God’s provision in the process help me remember that I, too, have hurt others deeply and it keeps me honest about my own need for forgiveness. Every day I need to be reminded that I need of a Savior washed clean by Baptismal grace.

I am not proud of my ugly moments, but they serve a greater purpose. My mouth speaks what my heart is holding onto. And it is important for God’s Word to shine in my heart and change me, and my responses.

For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. [Matthew 12:34b-35, NIV]

An interesting thought from author Seth Godin today:

You made my day

When your day gets made, how long does it last? A made day–is that different from a normal day?

Perhaps it would be more accurate to call it a made hour or, if we’re going to be quite truthful, a made minute.

When something bad happens, we can revisit the humiliation and anxiety for months. But the good stuff, if we don’t work at it, can pass right by.

We get what we remember, and we remember what we focus on.

May God bless you as you come to terms with your own sin and forgiveness as you process unforgiveness you may harbor against others!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: TIME