Tools

Do you have projects in mind and the tools to accomplish them but never get around to the project? My guess is that project never really moved up high enough on the priority list because even if we don’t have the right tools, we can figure out how to get a job done.

Of course, life happens and things we hadn’t even imagined can propel up the priority list in the blink of an eye. Life and circumstances are always changing and something that actually may be a priority gets pushed aside until “later” but sometimes later doesn’t come. We don’t always get to do the things we want to do.

I have come to believe that having the tools isn’t the key. Using the tools is the key. We all know of the guy who has all the big, cool tools. At first glance, you might even be envious. But if he has no time to use them, then it just seems sad. What is the point of having “all the stuff” if you can’t enjoy it?

I will admit, in certain areas of my life

(A): I have the tools;

(B): I have the knowledge of how to use them;

(C): But, I don’t have the gumption/time/energy/ability/___________ to use them, therefore

(D): I don’t have the results I want!

Owning the tools is not enough. Having the knowledge is not enough. Making the effort, etc. is not enough. It seems like there is a need for all three to even work towards the goal and even then there is no guarantee the project will be successful!

  • Feeling like you can’t move forward because you don’t have the tools?
  • Stuck in some phase of a project?
  • Suspect you don’t know enough to move forward?
  • Lack the time or motivation to tackle the situation?

Let’s not blame it on the tools.

If you are feeling stuck in a place where you don’t have “progress”, think about why that is. Pray about what might be holding you back — it may be that this area you think is “progress” isn’t a good idea.

Sometimes our priorities have changed.

Sometimes our life direction has changed.

Sometimes it is fear of failure.

Sometimes the goal is outside our ability and so it hurts our brain to even think about tackling the job.

By taking an honest look at our priorities and our abilities we can re-evaluate them. Still stuck? Have a conversation with a trusted friend, counselor, or pastor.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. [Romans 12:3-8, NIV]

God’s peace as you prioritize!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: COMPLAINING

Bones

Have you ever broken a bone? If so, does it ache when the weather is changing? Do you have any lasting effects of your broken bone?

On a good day, our bones are tucked inside our bodies. They are protected but give strength and form to our bodies. If you have all your bones and they all work fine, be thankful. While we might think nothing of it, there are those who are adjusting to life because on ongoing issues with their bones.

On a difficult day our bones might ache;

they might be exposed;

they might be weakening;

they might need healing;

they may have been removed.

Working through chronic pain, injury, disability, the healing process, and the loss of bone or limbs takes a lot of energy and focus. Our bones are such an integral part of us and it is easy to see why God used it to help us make connections. Bones are a common experience even though ailments related to bones may not be.

Have you felt negative things “in your bones”? Have you felt things so deeply it felt like it was in the marrow of your bones? I love how God talks about bones in His Word!

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. [Proverbs 14:30, NIV]

Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones. [Proverbs 15:30, NIV]

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. [Proverbs 16:24, NIV]

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. [Proverbs 17:22, NIV]

As your ears and eyes soak up Scripture, it will permeate your thought life and be visible in how you interact with others. It will deepen your understanding of His love for you and all the people on this planet! God’s Word changes hearts and lives. It digs deep and roots out the yuck that we have buried in our bones.

12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. [Hebrews 4:12-14, NIV]

God’s blessings as you surround your eyes and heart with His Word!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: TOOLS

The Law

I have been flirting with The Law a bit lately. It always happens on our trips, especially a really long one. I am tired of being in the car and I am ready to get where I am going and, once in a while, I tend to be a little heavy-footed and my speed creeps up.

Are there areas in your life that have you flirting with disaster?

Knowing the law is certainly one thing. Striving to obey it is another. I knew the law and willfully disobeyed it. This is definitely one area in my life where I try to see how far I can get away with breaking the law. I push my “luck” on the open road.

Even though I haven’t been ticketed for speeding in a really long time I know I would completely deserve whatever comes my way. There is a boundary line and if I knowingly cross it and I am mature enough to accept the consequences. That ticket would mean a fine and maybe points on my license. I am sure I would be sorry I was “caught” but that is definitely not the same as being sorry for my sin.

And there is a difference.

When my heart is contrite, I experience guilt, regret, remorse, rue, and/or shame. It isn’t about being caught, it is about the sin in my life.  Coming to the knowledge of my sin is overwhelming. But knowing my Savior delivers me from my sin and cleanses me from all unrighteousness is also overwhelming.

 Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
    you who are God my Savior,
    and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.

18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
    to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
    in burnt offerings offered whole;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar. [Psalm 51, NIV]

May God’s law work on our hearts and root out the sin that wants to rest there!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: BONES

Uprooted

Have you driven by a wooded area and noticed large trees, roots and all, just lying down? That would be an amazing thing to watch happen. It is interesting that something so tall and so old can just tip over. Ground saturation usually plays a role and I am sure there is a lot to it but it is such an interesting visual.

Have you ever felt like your life was uprooted? Maybe you were in a terrible situation and, even though the change was good, it was change all the same and was distressing.

Or maybe you made the decision to make the change. I always think that when the ball is in my court that it feels better. Or at least it was a bit within my control. But it still is a process and requires a lot of steps.

It seems harder to be completely uprooted these days – even if your “new” life is across the ocean there is an ability to maintain a connection. Sometimes that is good and sometimes it is not so good. You can be tugged back into the “old” when you need to venture forth into the “new”.

Ever try to break free of a particular sin and find it, seemingly, dragging you back into “service”? You try to cut it down, root it out, and then it sprouts up again. You try to leave it behind but it finds ways to catch up with you.

I know we all have sin in our lives – some of them we have just co-existed with over the years because we have numbed ourselves to the reality that it is sin. Today, focus on one area that seems to trouble you and ask God to show you where the root is. Put some time and intentional focus and prayer into this sin that seems to follow you to every job or friendship or place you live and see what you can do to root it out.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. [Colossians 2:6-8, NIV]

God’s blessings to you as you consider what needs to be uprooted in your life.

Liz

PrayerPrompt: THE LAW

Meditation

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. [Psalm 19:14, NIV]

We do a lot of traveling for our business. I love the people we meet but I also love the time my mind can wander around and explore different ideas. Of course, one thought leads to another and pretty soon I am way down a path and I couldn’t even tell you how I got there. If I don’t have a “plan” for my thinking time I usually wander, and that isn’t always a bad thing.

But, when I pray and meditate, I like to have a focal point. For prayer, I usually use a word or phrase and talk it over with God. Sometimes that word or phrase conjures up some interesting reflections and reactions from me but, more importantly, I want to learn what His thoughts are on it. When I meditate, I like to mull over Scripture – particularly an area where I need God’s counsel. Sometimes it is just a couple of verses of the Bible but other times it is a chapter in a particular book of the Bible. It’s also a good time for me to use music, particularly soothing music without words. But but hymns and other spiritual songs that fill my mind with God’s Word and Truth are a great way for me to step away from myself and explore the deeper things.

Spending time in prayer and meditation gives me the opportunity to pause and be refreshed with healthy thoughts and concepts. It helps me to uncover those things I might wish to keep covered. By letting God into my thought life I am allowing His truth to correct me and guide me and encourage me.

How do you like to ponder God’s Word?

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers. [Psalm 1:1-3, NIV]

May God bless you as you meditate on His Word!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: UPROOTED

Air

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We are dependent on the air we breathe. Amazingly enough, the regular air we generally have access to has the exact chemical components needed to sustain life. Most of us don’t have to give a thought to breathing because it is so automatic and our bodies process it the way it needs to be processed. But for those who are on oxygen or need their air more purified, or who have other lung challenges, breathing isn’t so easy.

Our bodies are designed so that some of the bad things in air are filtered a bit. But if we are surrounded with a high concentration of bad air (ie, air with very little oxygen) we can’t survive for very long. The quality of our “intake” is important.

What are you breathing in?

I try to pay attention to what I watch, read, and listen to because I know how those things affect my heart and mind. It is always amazing to me how a song can lift my spirit or put me in a funk.

I can always use more time in God’s Word. Breathing in the life-giving oxygen inspires and encourages me but also convicts me in my areas of weakness. If I am surrounded by compromised air it makes it easy to look around and decide it doesn’t really matter. In an area where there is a lot of litter? What does my piece of trash matter?

It does matter!

What are those things you are surrounded by that you are numb to and it doesn’t even seem to matter if you join in? It can be a slippery slope!

Who would even notice if I ___________ ?

Pay attention to what you are breathing in. You can only filter out so much on your own. But, by all means, don’t insist you can only work in the purest of places. However, it is important for you health that you are able to breathe healthy air and help others to do the same. This live isn’t all about self-preservation; it is about community, grace, and sharing God’s love in a variety of ways.

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. [2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV]

May you find God’s conviction a blessing as He breathes His life-giving Word into your life!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: MEDITATION

Light

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day. [Genesis 1:1-19, NIV]

From the very beginning there was light but we quickly outgrew what the sun, moon, and stars provided for us and we now have an industry of incredible light variety:

Spotlights. Headlights. Floodlights.

Florescent lights. LED lights. Incandescent lights.

Candle light. Glow lights. Grow lights.

Black lights. Flashing lights. Neon lights. Stop lights.

Flashlights. Nightlights. Firelight.

Solar lights. Reading lights. Happy Lights.

We have so many different ways to illuminate and most are designed to help us see better. When we are able to see better, we are able to share light with others. As you think about the concept of light and darkness and love and hate where are you feeling convicted?

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. [1 John 2:9-10, NIV]

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 1:4-5, NIV]

May God enlighten you in the areas of your life He is calling out of the darkness!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: AIR