By Prayer and Petition

With Thanksgiving…..

While God actually knows what is on my heart, it is so good for me to think about it and verbally express it. Putting words to my thoughts, emotions, needs, and concerns is so good for me. And even more beneficial is handing them over to God with thanksgiving…

I know He is working out the details. Can I trust Him with the details?

Quite honestly, I have be faltering in this area lately. Of course, when I take my eyes off of Jesus, it is so much easier to stumble or get off course. Presenting my prayers and petitions to God keeps my focus on Him. The thanksgiving part is an indicator that I am trusting Him for the outcome and that it will serve His purposes.

I have so much to be thankful for!

Philippians 4:6-7

I have always loved this verse!

During May, I plan to explore different sections of these two verses and I encourage you to mull them over and make a deeper connection with them too! For now, commit it to memory if it isn’t already tucked away. If you have been reading PrayerPoints for any length of time, you know that music is very important to me. So, of course, I have to point out a song for this Psalm.

From the Start…

He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 
John 1:1-5

What a comfort for me to know I don’t have to figure it all out. God’s knowledge of me and my circumstances as well as how my life entwines with the lives of those around me and His greater purpose and plan is incomprehensible.

My faith is an amazing gift that supersedes all others. I don’t have to be able to explain it all or understand it all. I can simply trust.

For as long as I can remember, satan has been actively attempting to destroy my faith. Many times he stooped so low. And his favorite tactic has always involved the ugliness within a church body or ugly behavior by a church “representatives”.

Satan loves to niggle at our faith. His goal is to cause us to doubt God’s goodness and to get us to say, “God, did you really say______________?” The devil wants nothing more than to interrupt our relationship with God and cause us to set it aside and ignore it or outright reject it. Have you noticed satan creating “faith blockers” in your life through the years? In my life, it is so common it is almost comical — except that it isn’t funny at all. I am so thankful God shielded my faith even in the midst of ugly situations.

God’s gift of faith has sustained me through many difficulties and will continue to do so until I meet him face-to-face. I may not be able to explain it all, but it is absolutely real.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

The Shadows

He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 
John 1:1-5

Have you ever been afraid in the dark? Have shadows played “tricks” on you? Did you ever think you saw something and then realized it was just a shadow of something small that looked scary or intimidating?

Oh, the complications that come from the darkness! Whether it is due to fear, shame, or embarrassment, when a portion of your life is in the dark, the results seem to be similar. The darkness distorts how we see our situation and it also complicates how our situation can be viewed by others. Those who are in a position to help can’t exactly see where they can help.

Darkness can shut people out and that isolation only complicates our situation.

Allowing God’s love, light, forgiveness, and redemption into our dark space can bring healing.

Let the Son shine in!

Darkness

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 
John 1:1-5

Those things that are hidden in the darkness can cause a lot of problems. They might be tucked away in a corner and it might feel as though it has been forgotten but satan loves to use it as a piece of “I told you so,” or “You’ll never change,” or “That was unforgivable.”

Those lies … they fester in the dark …. they linger and take root like a weed. And, worst of all, they seem to multiply and become more and more oppressive. When we insist there is no right or wrong — no Light or dark — then we find that we have to defend our position.

Even when we are dead wrong…

The way to fix any of it is to allow the Light of the world to flood in and bring His Love and Life — the forgiveness, the perspective, the peace that can only come from Jesus. It takes humility as well as knowing our place in the Universe. This allowing comes when we recognize that God is God and we are not.

May God’s love and light flood every corner of our lives and bring forth forgiveness and restoration.

Received from God

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV

Anything good you have received from me is a gift from God through me. I am an imperfect person, fraught with issues, but sometimes, there is this moment when something passes from God to you and God allowed me to be the message bringer.

Since the beginning, God has used a lot of ways to communicate with us. This list is not exhaustive. It is only meant to jog your memory. God can use all things — even regular people — to share His message:

  • Jesus
  • The Holy Spirit
  • His Holy Word
  • donkeys
  • dreams
  • servants
  • kings
  • whispers
  • a pillar of cloud
  • a pillar of fire
  • prophets
  • a burning bush

God is in the business of sharing His message from our messes so sharing what you have received from God is so important! Remember, as the messenger, we are not the focus. God’s life-saving message is!

Father of Compassion

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV

My dad died when I was quite young and I didn’t have any “father figures” in my life. My mom was the one who modeled compassion. I spent a bit of time wondering what my dad would have been like had he lived longer. Would I like him as a person? Was he a “father of compassion”?

In the end, while it would have been nice to know my father better — and for longer — if I am looking for compassion, it is better to go to the Source. Regular humans do all this stuff so imperfectly. Basing any notion of God on how people behave is a wee bit dangerous, especially if you are basing it on a person who is in the midst of sorting out their own junk. Or, even worse, those wolves in sheep’s clothing. Sadly, there are a few of those around.

Have you noticed? Sometimes our earthly relationships can interrupt or throw roadblocks in our relationship with God. If you have someone harsh in your life it can be a big roadblock until you settle in on this phrase:

… The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort

That is what I am looking for when I need to be fathered. I may have had a number of “adults” in my early years who clearly were not living out life in a healthy way, I am so blessed to have understood, from an early age, that God is the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. Only He is the standard.

In all our troubles

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV

Sometimes I like to edit the things in my life that I bring before God. I mistakenly assume He doesn’t care about this or that. I assume He is thinking something like,

“Well Liz, (tsk, tsk) I did tell you to stay away from ________________! Look at the mess you have created!”

As a parent, I have certainly watched my children run straight into difficulties. I have also watched them be surprised when they walked so close to the line that they got swallowed up in a challenge. And I was always careful to not say something along the lines of “I told you so!” Because I have been in similar situations and I know that kind of attitude helps no one.

So, it is no surprise to me that I am still the one who finds herself caught in situations where I don’t want to be — and feeling those same thoughts of guilt and shame and “Don’t tell me what to do” but also “Rescue me from my trouble” to “Did he really say don’t _________________ [fill in the blank]?”

He wants all our troubles:

  • those we created for ourselves
  • those created for us
  • those we sought to avoid
  • those that ensnared us

Big or little or complicated or simple — He wants it all. I invite you to lay it at His feet and let Him comfort you!

Passing it On

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV

We all walk through difficulties. What are they good for?

  • Growing our faith, for sure.
  • Deepening our relationship with our Creator.
  • Strengthening us with what we need to get through the difficulties.

Remembering what we have learned helps us better understand someone else who might be beginning their journey or smack dab in the middle a similar situation. We were in their shoes not so long ago. Can we relate to the fear? The pain? The confusion?

While it is important to look forward and not get stuck in the muck of our past, it is also incredibly important to share with others in their pain.

When have you had the opportunity to comfort others with the comfort you have received?

God of all Comfort

Below is the verse I am committed to reading every day this month. I am sure, by the end, I will know it in my heart. I invite you to join me as I do this and really let it sink in.

Mull it over.

Let it settle deep into your bones.

Watch as the principles come alive — that is God at work.

Where has this been true in your life?

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV