PrayerPoint ~ Goodness ~ March 8

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

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. 2 Peter 1:5-9

This passage leads us to another list–one that has a sense of increasing order. It almost reads like a cooking recipe:

Get out your faith.

Add some goodness.

Combine. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle in some knowledge, self-control, and perseverance. Stir vigorously.

Pour on the godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.

Gently combine, mixing thoroughly.

Bake.

I am an experimental cook and I love to tweak recipes. I am thankful to have been given the free will to make some choices in how things mix together even though His recipe for our lives is right there in Scripture. I tweak with His plan and it clearly affects the outcome–bad news for me. And the Good News? His forgiveness and restoration for my mishaps. I don’t know how He does it, but He can take a recipe for disaster and transform it into a beautiful thing.

What’s cooking for you today?

Liz

PrayerPoint ~ Kindness ~ March 7

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

Have you ever been overwhelmed with someone’s kindness towards you? I have been on numerous occasions. Sometimes it is just the simplest of thoughtful words or actions but placed in a certain time and space and it becomes a significant moment. Maybe it was the element of surprise–like a bunch of Spring flowers poking through on a dreary mid-February day. Or maybe it was a glimpse of the love behind the action.

You did this for me?

Showing kindness doesn’t have to take an entire day to plan. It might be making a batch of cookies and taking a plate of them to your neighbor. It might be helping an elderly neighbor get their medicine or a trip to the doctor. A quick note that lets someone know you are praying for them as they travel through a difficult time.

I am an idea person so I can easily come up with many clever ideas to share kindness but lose the list or run out of time before I actually act on them. Don’t fall into inaction by over-analyzing and plotting out your acts of kindness. It may take a little intentionality at first, but soon you will find yourself extending kindness in a very natural way. Let kindness be one of those things you wear every day!

 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:12-13 NIV

Blessings on your week!

Liz

PrayerPoint ~ Patience ~ March 6

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

Patience:
1. the quality of being patient  as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
2. an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay.
I read these definitions of patience and I think, Wow! I sure have a long way to go! 
God has used many circumstances in my life to grow my patience. There never seems to be a lack of training ground in this area! And whether I am waiting on someone else to “figure it out” or I am waiting for something in my own life, allowing this Fruit of the Spirit to be evident is important. In many ways our culture encourages us to get agitated and impatient. Life takes time. Relationships take time. Complicated circumstances take time to be sorted out. It takes a very conscious effort on my part coupled with an incredible infusion of the Holy Spirit’s guidance for me to demonstrate patience. But it can be such a powerful witness to others.

A man’s wisdom gives him patience;
it is to his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11 NIV

Heavenly Father, You demonstrate such patience with humanity and you show so much patience with me. Help me to be long-suffering with the troubles in this life and patiently enduring the time the circumstances I am surrounded by. Use all of these situations for my growth in You and for an opportunity for me to share with others. In Jesus’ Name…Amen!

PrayerPoint ~ Peace ~ March 5

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 are some times when I am unsettled on a matter. And yet if I always wait to be at complete peace before I move forward on something, there is a likelihood that I won’t move forward. Ever. I always have too may “what ifs” running around in my mind.

But the peace of I think of when it comes to the idea in Galatians is something more like “it is well with my soul”. Having peace about a matter. A Mirriam-Webster definition says this about peace: freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions. Sometimes those disquieting emotions are cautions from the Holy Spirit. But when I think of oppressive, I immediately think about Satan and how he uses things from our past to disrupt our present and future.

Have you made peace with your past?

If there are unresolved things in your history, you can be sure they are impacting your now. It is important to let God work in and through whatever is causing your unrest. Let Him bring you His perfect peace. Remember, Jesus is the Prince of Peace.

Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 2 Timothy 2:22-23 NIV

PrayerPoint ~ Joy ~ March 4

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

If you have taken the opportunity to encourage someone recently, you might have noticed the side benefit: it was good for you too. So many times I get caught up in all I have to do in a day or week that I am only conquering a list. And even though there is a feeling of accomplishment as the list dwindles, there is something about joy that involves others. I think it has to do with my personality. I enjoy doing things for others–particularly when they are not expecting it.

There are times of struggle, there is no doubt about that. I don’t think we have been living life (or being honest) if we say we have embraced every painful moment and every struggle with great joy. I think true joy is rooted in Christ–abiding with Him, recalling His provisions, counting on His promises, and sharing His love by encouraging others.

As you think about joy today, remember that God’s thoughts on the subject are counter cultural. We might lose our joy because we have been inconvenienced and we can’t have it “our way” but He says we should consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds. Check out James 1.

And what about joy stealers–unconfessed sin, shame, grudges, unresolved anger, misunderstandings, etc.? How often do these things separate us from joy?  The longer we avoid dealing with these joy stealers, the longer we (and everyone around us) are miserable. If we are continually downcast, without joy, why would someone be drawn to learning more about our faith in God?

I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you…have refreshed the hearts of the saints. Philemon 1:6-7 NIV

May you know the Joy of the Savior!

Liz

PrayerPoint ~ Love ~ March 3

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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

It is unfortunate that we use the word love so casually in the English language. In the context of Scripture love takes on a much different intensity. When encountering the inevitable challenges of life, it is only in the strength of the Holy Spirit that we can truly love to the depth and lengths that might be required of us. And when we ponder His love for us we can get a glimpse of the true meaning of love.
Fruit of the Spirit implies a long standing connection. Before there is any fruit, there must be a root. As you are contemplating the upcoming garden season, let’s let the Holy Spirit awaken us to the seeds, roots, and fruits that will reflect our Heavenly Father.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.  Ephesians 3:14-21 NIV


Letting His seeds take root so we can share His fruit!

Liz

PrayerPoint ~ The Warning ~ March 2

Since the tornado of 2005, the Evansville area has had a lot of weather warnings. It isn’t always easy to distinguish between the thunderstorm siren and the tornado warning siren but since we are generally home, I don’t stress about it. I can check the tv, radio, or weather tweets on my Twitter account. 


I don’t mind these warnings because they are important. They cause me to stop whatever I think is so important to do and pay attention. The community warning is general and it is up to me to heed it and respond appropriately.

Why is it so much harder to take a behavior warning from a friend? Would you really want to hear it from a stranger? 

Have you ever been in a position when your course of action was not in line with what you professed to believe and someone noticed and actually risked your relationship to mention it? Oh boy–not very fun at all. I have been on the receiving end of that type of conversation. It is so tempting to excuse and explain and justify the behavior. I think the best course of action is to listen to why your friend is concerned and possibly just receive the info and consider it without defending it immediately. Mull it over. Is the concern justified from their point of view? Just listen.

And what about when you are noticing someone sliding down a slippery slope? Oh what a difficult and risky conversation to have. Prayer, pray, pray about the conversation you think you might want to have. When someone is bound and determined to sin, they are often not willing to listen to a concern. Remember to examine yourself first. How have you been behaving lately? What are your motives? Do you have the type of close relationship with this person that you each are agreeable to being help accountable? 

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:13-15 NIV

Where are you likely to be enticed? Take stock of your friendships today and consider inviting someone to be your accountability partner in an area that might be an easy temptation for sin. Be vulnerable but use discernment.  Invite someone you trust to pray for you in your areas of concern. It is much easier to set up these types of close relationships now when things are going well. And think ahead about how you might receive a warning. Sometimes they are the difference between life and death.

PrayerPoint ~ The Mind ~ March 1

Today’s PrayerPoint ~ The Mind

Just before Christmas, Hannah, Elizabeth, and I had an opportunity to sing Hungarian Christmas carols to an elderly woman living in Evansville who only speaks Hungarian. Imagine that! She lives right here near us and the person who checks in on her is our Hungarian instructor. This sweet woman has Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia that gradually gets worse over time. Her short term memory isn’t very good, but let me tell you, her ability to sing multiple verses of a number of Christmas carols in Hungarian from memory had not diminished one bit. Those verses were tucked way deep in her mind and she joined along as we sang and she didn’t even need a song sheet! So, so sweet. She remembered. She knew. She sang with her whole heart.

The mind is pretty amazing. We “make up our minds” and “change our minds” and we say “never mind” when we want someone to forget something. But have you ever allowed God to transform your mind about something?

There are times that I am determined to believe something or behave a certain way even though I know it is counter to what God has to say on the matter. I can be so easily persuaded by worldly thinking — especially when I feel justified in doing so. Immersing myself in Scripture is certainly a key ingredient to “changing my mind” about a person or a circumstance. I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit’s influence on my thought life. There is no substitute for God’s nudge of awareness for both helpful and dangerous thought patterns. Now, if only I will choose to heed those nudges!

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 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 measure of faith God has given you. Romans 12:1-3 NIV

Are you willing to let God change your mind on a matter? Or are you determined to stand your ground?

Blessings on your day!
Liz

PrayerPoint ~ The Mouth ~ February 29

PrayerPoint ~ The Mouth

I speak up when I shouldn’t and don’t when I should. When really frustrated or angry I have used words like weapons. I am guilty of saying things that are true, but not helpful or necessary. And if I have really blown it, I relive my verbal sin in the dark of the night and feel sick in the pit of my stomach.

Just because I think it doesn’t mean I should say it.

We have all been hurt by someone else’s words. And intentionally or not, we have all wounded others. I try to give a lot of grace to others in this department because I know just how often I make mistakes myself. I find if I just take some extra time before I respond in an unkind way, the moment often passes, I say nothing and I have retained my integrity. I sleep better on those nights.

Heavenly Father, My words can tear down and they can also build-up. Help me to think more soberly before I speak and measure my words carefully. Let the words that come out of my mouth be encouraging and edifying. May my words be praise for You and the works You have done in my life! In Jesus’ Name…

Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8 NIV

Contemplating the words I say,
Liz

PrayerPoint ~ The Heart ~ February 28

PrayerPoint ~ The Heart

Chronic unemployment, job loss, unplanned pregnancy, prodigal child, prodigal spouse, teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, divorce, cancer diagnosis, autism, fatal accident, school shooting…..
My heart is brimming with empathy and intercession for others these days. Of course, there are always difficult things in life, but there are some times I look around and all I see is heartbreak after heartbreak. It is so difficult to watch another person as they writhe in pain over their situation. Powerless to change any of it, sometimes all I can do is groan and be a compassionate friend. I am so glad the spirit intercedes for me during these times.
But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:25-28 NIV

Are there families and circumstances that God has laid on your heart for intercession? Stand in the gap for these precious people. Whether or not they are believers at this moment intercession on their behalf is so very important.

Lord, please wrap your arms around those who are undergoing tremendous grief. I am sure they feel as though their heart is broken beyond repair. Please bring them to a place of healing–in Your time and in Your way. Remind them that you can bring blessing from unimaginable heartbreak and pain. Only You can heal a broken heart and broken dreams. In Jesus’ name…
Lifting up the broken hearts,
Liz