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.

In the beginning…

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. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5

Let’s back it up to the beginning and take a look at what was. How it all began.

The Word. The Light. The Life.

And let’s focus on the Light. To be honest, I am feeling the darkness, and it is a bit overwhelming. So, I need to make sure The Light is around me.

The Light helps my perspective…. it helps my vision….. it helps my processing. It helps me see what is true and good. And it is so amazing what a little bit of light can do in a dark place!

I am holding onto this promise:

“And the darkness has not overcome it.”

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!

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

Stinkin’ Thinkin’

Have you ever needed an attitude adjustment? Do you have a crazy situation from your past that was a unfair and created a huge life change?

  • Job loss
  • Natural disaster
  • Unexpected pregnancy
  • Cross country move
  • Friendship loss
  • Illness
  • __________________________ (go ahead, fill in that blank!)

I know not everything has a happy ending. This life on Earth is filled with struggles and disappointments. And yet, God can bring about good from difficulties. It doesn’t erase the pain from the situations. Some people are living through some extremely difficult circumstances. Ones that I cannot even imagine walking through. I don’t have any easy or pat answers. But I know time can help. Time and distance can give us a perspective that we cannot possibly have in the moment.

God can take the manure dumps of life and use them to fertilize some other things that need to grow. That tilling and hoeing of our lives can produce new and different fruit. How many ministries have come out of despair? How many incredible hymns and books have been written that show God’s transformative work?

You have surely had an ugly thing or two happen to you. If it happened 5-10 years ago and you realized a truth of God at a deeper level, consider sharing that with someone.

May you see God at work in your past as well as in your today!
Liz