PrayerPoint ~ God’s Classroom ~ April 7

Have you ever felt unnecessarily squeezed into a painful circumstance only to realize later that God used that time to deepen and shape your character in profound ways?

A friend recently reminded me about a very difficult time in her life she looks back on and knows she was in God’s Classroom. Sure, there were things she needed to work on–she won’t deny that. But she found herself in the midst of a Frank Peretti type novel in the small town God placed her in. Significant spiritual warfare. Generational ugliness. Betrayed families. And yet, some of the most depth to relationships she has ever felt occurred there. It seemed that the whole community was undergoing significant shifts regarding what was True and Right and Godly. It’s amazing how God can teach His Truths to all but the lessons are so individualized, while being inexplicably connected to one another.

Ever been a pupil in God’s Classroom? Sometimes it is just a word or verse that seems to be popping up everywhere. Sometimes it happens as a consequence when your incredible selfishness and arrogance makes a grand debut into the lives of others. Other times, through no fault of yours, you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time and in the middle of a spiritual mess.

Step back and take a look at who is ‘in class’ with you. Sometimes you have already learned what they are learning now. Maybe they have walked a path you will soon be walking. There is no coincidence that the people around you are in your life. Some you need to learn from. Others you need to model to.

What is God teaching you today?

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5

Learning to Listen,

Liz

PrayerPoint ~ Vulnerabilities ~ April 6

Do you have an Achilles’ Heel? (Side note: I broke down and used Wikipedia for this definition because it was as accurate as I knew it to be.)

“An Achilles’ heel is a deadly weakness in spite of overall strength, that can actually or potentially lead to downfall. While the mythological origin refers to a physical vulnerability, metaphorical references to other attributes or qualities that can lead to downfall are common.”

I have been thinking about times when I have been down a sinful path. Was I being rebellious? Was I scoffing in God’s face? Or was I hurting and going to the wrong place for comfort and restoration? Sometimes being vulnerable leads to rebellion. Being rebellious opens one up to being vulnerable. They are very closely related though not the same.

Do you find yourself in circumstances that trigger an ungodly reaction from you? Have you noticed vulnerable people in your life?

  • The single mom who is exhausted and starts dating a guy who isn’t healthy for her–
  • A fatherless daughter who dresses immodestly and throws herself into the arms of older, dangerous men–
  • A stressed out teen who tries to escape the ugliness of this world through drugs and alcohol?
Do others come to mind for you? Do you cross your own mind?

Those people who come to mind as being vulnerable–Ask God to hedge them in and protect them. Intercede for them. Connect with them if that is possible. Think of the times in your life when you were vulnerable and thank God for His love and provision–it was there, even if you didn’t see it or take advantage of it. If you are feeling vulnerable, ask God to protect your heart and stop your feet from going where you should not go or doing what you should not do. Pray that God will grant you a willing heart to do His will. Is there someone who can be your accountability partner? Step out and ask for assistance.

Even if you traveled a difficult path, He can use that experience of yours to minister to others. Maybe God would like you to offer assistance to someone struggling in an area of sin you can relate to.

Check out Proverbs 4.

PrayerPoint ~ Traveling ~ April 5

With this being Spring Break for many schools around the country as well as Easter Weekend, it would be great for us to remember those we know and love who may be traveling. I have been taking my ability to travel for granted–between the $$ it costs as well as the risks of driving sleepy or weather concerns or vehicle concerns, well, I just think I don’t take under consideration all that typically goes well when we venture out on the road.

And if you know of people “traveling” through difficult times, be sure to pray for them. Maybe there are tangible ways you can refresh them on their journey. Some of us have more difficult journeys than others but we can all offer refreshment and God’s love.

Lord, may Your hand be on those who are traveling in the upcoming weeks. Protect, guide, and provide for them. May their journey be refreshing–wherever they are headed! In Jesus’ Name!

Blessings to you as you journey through this life!

Liz

PrayerPoint ~ Money ~ April 4

People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 1 Timothy 6:9-11 NIV

Ugh–money. It can be such a blessing and yet such a burden. Think about it. We spend a crazy amount of time with money as our focus or goal:

  • spending
  • losing
  • seeking
  • saving
  • budgeting
  • sharing
  • investing
  • earning
  • grieving
As you consider the role money plays in your life it is hard not to love (or hate) it. Anything that takes so much energy can easily become a god.  During this economy, sometimes just the task of securing the most basic amount of money is an incredible chore. It can be so disheartening!
Pray, pray, pray for those who are unemployed and underemployed. Pray for those who are in the midst of losing their homes. Pray for those who are trying to feed their family or deal with crazy medical bills. You surely know a few families who would appreciate you lifting them up in prayer.
And as you pray, ask God to help you protect yourself from falling into the “money trap”. As you delve into His Word, He will be faithful to transform your heart and mind in the area of money!

PrayerPoint ~ Excellent or Praiseworthy ~ April 3

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. Philippians 4:8 NIV

God’s breath and creative work is evident and excellent–even if you just consider nature! The intricacies, the incredible detail, the range of color, the sizes and shapes and all of the inter-dependent relationships. I am just talking about people. Now think about things on the land and now consider things in the ocean. And what about things in the Heavens? Talk about a license for creativity. God is simply amazing.

 The heavens declare the glory of God;  the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 

Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. 

There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.

Their voice goes out into all the earth,  their words to the ends of the world. Psalm 19:1-4 NIV

Creation–though it has been tainted by sin, there are still glimpses of breath-taking beauty that reflect His excellent and praiseworthy work.

Seek the excellent. Ponder the praiseworthy. Let’s not get ensnared in the sin that so easily entangles us. It starts with God’s gift of faith–tucked away in our  heart, soul, and mind and plays out in the way we allow Him to live through our lives.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV

Thanking Him for the Cross!

Liz

PrayerPoint ~ Commendable ~ April 2

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. Philippians 4:8 NIV

I simply do not do enough commending. I need to spend more time training my eye to notice when the kids quietly do something without being asked or volunteer to take care of something when I ask for help.  My list of commends should be way longer than my list of complaints and it isn’t always so. It is easy to focus on what isn’t exactly right and how this task might have been improved instead of saying “thank you” or “I noticed you [insert job done here]”. Even though it might be a teachable moment, what am I really teaching when I have to always make a suggestion for improvement? And what are they catching every time that I do that?

It is important to focus on and look for the commendable. And when I notice it I need to speak up about it. This certainly applies to family life but other places as well–restaurants, dr. offices, business dealings, church, etc.

On a mission to focus on the commendable!

Liz

PrayerPoint ~ Lovely ~ April 1

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. Philippians 4:8 NIV

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I would imagine we all have a little different idea about what constitutes lovely. But while we live in this world we will see some ugliness. Some of it will come from us. Some of it will happen to us. Some of it will happen to those we love. It is easy to dwell in what is truly ugly in this world because we bump into it all day long. Sin is all around us and it brings out some un-lovely things.

It is incredible that God can look at us and see beauty because Christ has covered our sin. Amazing. There is so much that is lovely in God’s Word and God’s promises. And in the difficult days of Holy Week–in the pain and suffering and sacrifice and surrendering of Jesus there is the beauty of God’s love that is displayed. So while God has created nature — much of it simply beautiful and breath-taking, it would seem His most amazing work is when He takes the thing we can’t possibly imagine as a good, right, or lovely thing and makes it so.

God’s idea of beauty is so unlike ours. He can bring beauty from ashes. He proclaims beautiful the feet that bring Good News.

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:14-15 NIV

May your sweet feet travel far as you share what He has done in your life! God Loves You! No Foolin’!
Liz

PrayerPoints ~ Pure ~ March 31

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. Philippians 4:8 NIV

Boy is is tricky to have your mind only set on pure things these days. Goodness.

The visual and the auditory stuff we are bombarded with every day is astonishing. Ashamedly, I wasn’t always offended by it. I was pretty desensitized for a few years due to some unfortunate early experiences. In my younger years, my mind was dragged into the gutter and felt somewhat at home there. That is just one example of why I am so thankful for God’s work in my life! If I happen to be around someone who says something crude, sometimes I don’t even “get” their “joke”. Now that is amazing!

It feels like we are under attack every single day with so many sexualized images, crude conversations, violence, and ugly attitudes. It’s exhausting to try to shield these things from our children and simultaneously teach them discernment and how to trust that when God says “stay away” that they should pay attention and heed His words. God’s desire is to purify our minds.

And then there is the Truth of God’s desire and ability to redeem and restore and transform:

“Come now, let us reason together,”
says the LORD.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool. Isaiah 1:18 NIV

It seems unreasonable that the guilty should be set free–but I am so thankful the price has been paid by the Son of God!

Celebrating freedom in Christ!

Liz

PrayerPoints ~ Just ~ March 30

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. Philippians 4:8  NIV

There are a variety of definitions for the word just but this one by thefreedictionary.com is enough without being too much: honorable and fair in one’s dealings and actions. And the definition for fair (from the same spot) is this: consistent with rules, logic, or ethics.

Alleluia for a God who is just and provides the way for us through Jesus! Nothing even comes close to comparing to the goodness and justice of God. He is always dependable to be just!

And while we might not always be consistent, my prayer is that each of us are being moved by the Holy Spirit in that direction. Let’s consider our actions as we are going about our day. Are we honorable and fair in our dealings? Are we consistent with rules, logic, or ethics? Of course we cannot compare to God in this department as we are laden with sin. But as the Holy Spirit continues to sanctify us, there should be evidence of improvement in these areas. Of course, it does depend on what part of the day one catches me! Maybe the same is true for you.

Growing up with some shady authority figures in my life (not my parents) I didn’t (and still don’t) just trust authority. Seeing a lack of integrity so blatant with several adults in the church spoke volumes to me. And it afforded me the excuse (ha!ha!) to be  fairly rebellious. Truly, someone else’s bad behavior should not be a license for me to behave badly. However, we should consider that our behavior does impact others. God has been busy buffing some of that rebelliousness out of me during the last 40+ years. And He still has a long way to go. I am a work in progress–a work of His heart. And you are too!

As you consider where you have been, can you look back 5, 10, 20, 40 years and see God’s work in your life? I pray so!

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. 1 John 1:8-10 NIV

So so thankful for God’s love and provisions!

Liz

PrayerPoints ~ Worthy of Respect ~ March 29

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. Philippians 4:8  NIV

What things are worthy of respect? What things are worthy of my mind time? With the internet and other media outlets so readily available, it is easy to be pondering or engaging in discussions or “viewings” that are not worthy of respect. Ever feel yourself get sucked in and think “How did I get here?” Or “How do I get out of this pattern?”

It is easy to fall into bad habits and not so easy to crawl out of them but running towards those things that are worthy of respect will definitely help break the cycle. A quick Google glance brought me this definition:

Worthy ~ Having…excellence; possessing merit; valuable; deserving; estimable; excellent; virtuous.

So considering the verse above I have to ask myself this question: Am I spending my mental, physical, and spiritual energy on things worthy of my mind? You know, respectable things. Things worthy of respect….

Let’s just say there is always room for improvement. It is important to be deliberate when we choose where our mind is hanging out. To not make a choice is to let a choice be made for you. Less mind-numbing activity (as in “entertainment”) is probably something we can all benefit from. If we are too busy thinking about less-than-worthy things are we bypassing something God would have us initiate or participate in? Are our minds cluttered with things that are distracting from opportunities to serve in our church, community or beyond? If we discipline our time now what opportunities will we be available for in the future?

Considering what is worthy of respect,

Liz

The following link is an automatic attachment to the definition of the word worthy. I am not indicating the link is worthy by leaving it on this post. Read more:http://www.brainyquote.com/words/wo/worthy240557.html#ixzz1qUzS1vh4