PrayerPoint ~ Wisdom vs. Smart ~ March 18

I don’t have a PhD (I think I am too lazy and it costs a lot of money) but I know quite a few people who do. I wouldn’t ever say a PhD is a bad thing, but it certainly isn’t the only thing worth striving for. I know quite a few people who are very smart but do not have a list of official initials after their name. And what about those times we hear wisdom out of the mouth of babes? How does that happen? What is the difference between being smart and being wise and does having an advanced degree have anything to do with it?

James 1:2-6 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

I am all for formal education. And I think everyone should be a life-long learner. Some people end up in the school of hard knocks — and one can learn quite a bit there. But wisdom is much more than simply education. One earthly definition of wisdom is the ability or result of an ability to think and act utilizing knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight. Regardless of your age or level of education, it is most important to seek God’s wisdom and insight through prayer and Scripture. You can count on God to take your learnings and your experiences and give you fresh understanding and insight into the course of action you should take.

And a final thought:

Why isn’t common sense very common anymore?

Seeking His Wisdom,

Liz

PrayerPoint ~ Secrets ~ March 17

Shhh. I’ve got a secret.

Here’s one definition: Something kept hidden from others or known only to oneself or to a few.

Do you have some secrets? I think we probably all have one or two. Sometimes we hide what we have done or what was done to us. Sometimes we try to forget something we heard or something we saw or something we said. I have a number of these gems tucked away in my memory. I hold them in but not because I am holding out. Sometimes I hold them in because of fear. Sometimes I hold them in because it doesn’t really matter at this point or it is truly something that doesn’t need to be shared. Sometimes the timing of the sharing is extremely important.

Have you read the book of Esther?

She had a secret. And God works in incredible ways through her life and in this book of the Bible. Read through Esther slowly. Participate in a Bible Study on it if you can. I highly recommend the Beth Moore study on Esther.

I think there might be a difference between private and secret but I haven’t teased them both apart enough to know. In my mind, secret might imply something naughty is going on whereas private means I am choosing to keep this close to my heart.

I pray that whatever secrets are on your heart are ones you have shared with God in a heart-to-heart where He can cleanse, renew, forgive, restore, and transform your history.  Sometimes it helps to visit with a Biblical counselor or a healthy friend. Privacy is a good thing but when it is motivated by the fear of being found out, then it seems like it might be time to re-evaluate the situation. Let God breathe His Truth into your history because your history is really His-story.

May His light shine in all corners of your life!

Liz

PrayerPoint ~ Prodigals ~ March 16

So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Luke 15:20 NIV

Have you ever been “a long way off”?  I certainly have. You can even decide to make a change and head the right direction and still have a long way to go. And when you love a prodigal? Wow! It is a heart-wrenching, all-consuming, and very difficult time. If you know of anyone going through a “prodigal experience”, please pray for them. If it is appropriate, let them know you are praying for them and ask how you can pray for them more specifically. It isn’t easy nor even wise to be sharing a lot of personal information with a lot of people during this time so don’t expect it. However, a friend who cares and an offer to pray will most always be welcomed, even if there is very little talk about the circumstances. Tread tenderly.

Here is a touching prayer I received from a husband about his wife who recently left him and the kids to pursue her dreams:

My prayer is that God will go out and rescue His wayward daughter ~ He is the King. The foolish princess has left the castle and is running head long down a dangerous path with wolves closing in she does not see.

Wow. What a touching word picture. I am sure he is going through a range of emotions with his situation but if he can hold onto this perspective–it is filled with so much compassion. There are prodigal children, spouses, parents, friends–somehow we are all touched by a prodigal. And somehow, we are all ones ourselves as well.

Read Luke 15:11-31 The Parable of the Lost Son.

Lifting up prodigals and those who love them,

Liz

PrayerPoint ~ Dirty Dishes ~ March 15

We have been experimenting in the kitchen quite a bit lately. And this always seems to generate lots of dishes. No one is  our house is thrilled to see dirty dishes in the sink because they know they will be asked to do them, but those dishes do signify a basic need being met in our home. As I look around at the other domestic tasks waiting to be done today, I can be thankful for the shelter, the clothing, and the other provisions of God.

Even though Jesus said “You will always have the poor among you…” (John 12:8), I don’t think that meant we were just supposed to ignore their needs.

There are many in the world who do not have the resources we have. Today, let’s pray for those in the world who do not have basic needs being met. Pray about your involvement in alleviating world hunger. Have you considered regularly praying for countries by name or sponsoring a child through World Vision or Compassion International? Maybe contributing to or volunteering at the local food bank? Last year our church started an alms garden. The volunteers plant, water, weed, and harvest an entire backyard garden and take the fresh produce to a local food program. It’s an alternative to mowing that part of the property and it blesses so many with fresh, healthy vegetables! The possibilities are endless but it all starts with prayer.

Life just gets crazy sometimes and I lose focus on some important things. I will have to start by asking for forgiveness because I have been too busy to even have this issue on my mind recently.

Refocusing,

Liz

PrayerPoint ~ GPS ~ March 14

A quick note on PrayerPoints and blogging:  PrayerPoints have been around for at least 4 years (I have lost track) and have been a great way for me to capture the messages God is impressing upon me. Blogging had always looked fun but I only delved into the personal blogging world so I could learn how it worked for our business website and WordPress makes it all incredibly easy to do.  I challenge you to take some time to write down what God is teaching you. Whether or not you ever choose to share it with anyone else is your decision, but sometimes the act of flushing it out on paper helps solidify it in your mind and heart.      Enjoy today!   Liz
Today is “guest post” day! Maybe it will get your creative juices flowing. If I take the time to contemplate I find it isn’t hard to connect a Biblical Truth to something that is regularly present in my life. Angie is from a farm in southeast Nebraska. She is a wife to one guy and a mom to three sweet girls. As she contemplated a recent trip with her girls and her GPS she jotted down a few ideas. Thank you, Angie, for letting me share these thoughts!
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Last weekend I took the girls to a horse show in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Curt stayed home to do his farm jobs, so it was a girls weekend. Because I am unfamiliar with Tulsa, I took our new Garmin, ‘whom’ the girls have named, Margo.
(After Margo in Christmas Vacation, so they can say to her, “I don’t know, Margo!”)  🙂
The trip was going great until we reached Tulsa. The exit which Margo wanted us to take was closed due to construction. So I decided to continue on the path, allowing her time to recalculate and find us new directions.
The exit she instructed us to take, which I did, took us through a sketchy part of the city, on narrow streets….no detour signs.
I wanted to stop and turn around, but the girls said to just trust Margo, so I did.
We continued a few more blocks to where she instructed us to turn so we could get back on the interstate system and back on our orignal track.
In no time, we were arriving at our desired destination.
I began to contemplate these events. I realized that:
  • following the GPS was much like following the Lord. I put my faith in the GPS to guide me where I needed to go, much like putting our faith in the Lord.
  • I began to question the path it was taking me on, as I fail to always follow what the Lord wants me to do.
  • I thought I knew where we were going, then I came upon construction and had to change plans, much like road blocks of life change our courses.
  • I needed to place my complete trust in the GPS so I could get back to the interstate because I was lost, just as I need to place my complete trust in the Lord so He keeps me on the right path. With Him, He has taken us from Lost to Found.
  • Just as we have a choice to follow the instructions of the GPS, we also have the choice to follow and obey the directions of the Lord and His Word. Our decisions will influence whether we will need to ‘recalculate’ or not.
  • The relief that came from getting through the detour and back on the right path was calming, much as when we feel peace when resting in the Lord.
These are a few of my thoughts….I wanted to share them with you. I love how events in our life encourage pondering moments of our faith and our walk with the Lord.
Enjoy your day!
Angie

PrayerPoint ~ Simple Pleasures ~ March 13

Do you take the opportunity to enjoy simple pleasures? So many have come my way recently and I have enjoyed them all!

* time for coffee with friends
* the beauty of a tulip tree in full bloom
* daffodils and hyacinths blooming
* date night with Don
* sleeping with the windows open last night
* learning how to make homemade yogurt
* the thoughtfulness of a friend
* digging into the book of Esther
* regular bread baking
* birds singing at 3 am
* a sunny day in the upper 70s
What is on your list?
Keep your eyes open so you can notice your simple pleasures, be spontaneous and take the opportunities presented, savor the moments, and give thanks for them! I think God places them in our lives so we can get encouragement from them but we have to be somewhat aware of our surroundings to discover them. It is too easy to be focused on the list of the day or a monumental task that precious moments quickly pass by unnoticed.
Savoring the Simple Pleasures,
Liz

PrayerPoints ~ Weakness ~ March 12

Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Weakness

Have you a weakness, hardship, persecution, difficulty? Join the club. Even though you might be inclined to look around and presume everyone but you has it all together, it just isn’t so. When it comes right down to it, everyone seems so busy working to look as if they don’t have any “issues”. And while I think I have insight into my issues, I kind of wonder what others think my issues are. Scratch that. That insight from a number of people might be enough to break my heart. Although, if you were my friend, it would be comforting to know you knew my “issues” and loved me anyway.

In 2 Corinthians, Paul tells us this:
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

When I have strength in a certain area it is easy for me to fall into the trap of thinking I am doing something. Where I am weak and dependent on God then there is no question Who is doing the work. In areas of strength, it is easy to forget where the strength came from.
Being honest and transparent about your weaknesses is risky business. When you are able to lay it all out there for someone to see and they have the grace and mercy to love you in spite of that weakness then you know you have a friend. You might even find they love you even more because of that weakness and the fact you were willing to be honest and transparent.
When we are transparent about our lives, others can see God working in and through us. In our weakness, God gives us His strength and Christ’s power rests on us.
I’ll never get by living on my own ability–Amen!
Liz

PrayerPoint ~ Self-control ~ March 11

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

Oh my. Self-control. Why is it is so difficult at times? But here is some amazing motivation:

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.    1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV

The word picture in the above verse is powerful and motivating yet I still find myself willingly consenting to certain areas of sin.

Be self-controlled and alert. I do think that being alert is as important as being self-controlled. If I am not paying attention or “on alert” then it is so much easier for me to just get sucked into whatever is happening around me. If I am aware of my surroundings and remembering the goal or immersed in the Word, it is much easier to exercise self-control.

And in the end, self-control is something I need to be doing. But as a fruit of the Spirit, it is also a result of what the Holy Spirit is doing in my life. I have enough trouble in the area of self-control that I think I should not be refusing God’s help via the Spirit!

May your week be “Fruit Full”,

Liz

PrayerPoint ~ Gentleness ~ March 10

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

There is something to be said for gentleness. Might doesn’t make right when it comes to sharing your faith. Beating someone over the head with the Gospel isn’t good form. Period. Sharing the Truth of Jesus as Savior can and should be done lovingly and sometimes you might even use words. If you plan on “battling” with someone on issues of faith, then I would suspect that you aren’t being gentle. And while you might think you have won a “battle of words” you very likely witnessed a casualty or severe wounding on the field of Faith.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 1 Peter 3:15a-16 NIV

Let me not be the “bull in the china shop”,

Liz

 

PrayerPoint ~ Faithfulness ~ March 9

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.    Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV

Wow! Isn’t this one of the most amazing verses in Scripture? Today I saw it with completely new eyes! I have been familiar with this verse for many years but this morning it stunned me with God’s wonderful gift of faithfulness.

He loves me so incredibly I cannot get consumed by all that is around me. His compassions are always there. Always. Each and every morning His compassion for me is waiting for me and begins my day. He is so faithful, even when I am not.

Of course, God says it so much better than I do but I think it is helpful to restate some things in your own words so it really sinks into the heart and mind….

A rock solid promise.

For you and for me!

Celebrating His faithfulness!

Liz