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

PrayerPoint ~ The Ears ~ February 27

PrayerPoint ~ The Ears

I don’t know why but I am always amazed at the lyrics I remember, word for word, of songs from the 70’s even if I haven’t heard them for 20 years. It’s a little scary that they are tucked away so deep within me that a song can bring them out and the recollection as well as a renewed understanding of the meaning comes rolling off my tongue.
What I am listening to is extremely important–whether it be music or even those thoughts that run around in my head and masquerade as God’s truth. It is so easy to engage the ear without also being discerning about what I am listening to. In some circumstances I am stuck hearing what I hear, but I don’t have to listen to it. I can tune out that noise and not give it any place in my brain. But there are other days when I just take it all in and wonder why I am feeling overwhelmed and insecure and unappreciated.
Maybe you have some of the very same problems. It isn’t so hard to listen to a lie. After all, Adam and Eve were living in a perfect world and in fellowship with their Creator and they listened to the serpent. You don’t have to believe everything you hear and you don’t have to listen to it either. Discerning God’s truth takes practice as well as a lot of time in His Word. If you are not in a regular Bible study, I recommend meeting with a small group or even just making sure you are in His Word each day. Find encouraging verses to memorize. It will be music to your ears!
Blessings on your week!
Liz

PrayerPoint ~ February 26 ~ The Nose

PrayerPoint ~ The Nose


When I was mulling over the PrayerPoint for today, so many thoughts came to mind regarding the nose. A welcome aroma for me in the morning is coffee brewing. But there are many other equally wonderful smells–bread baking, fresh flowers, lilacs blooming, the sage and citrus fragrance from Yankee Candle.

But what smells great to me doesn’t always smell great to others. I have a friend whose husband is a pastor but she can hardly go to church because she has such severe allergic reactions to all the perfumes that are so prevalent these days. I find her whole situation fascinating and I try to do what I need to do when I am in her presence so as not to trigger a reaction because I love her dearly.


This might be my song for her because her situation is literally life threatening:
Ooh, ooh that smell
Can’t you smell that smell?
Ooh, ooh that smell
The smell of death surrounds you. [That Smell   —  Lynyrd Skynyrd chorus]

As you consider your nose today, thank God for the blessing of your sense of smell (as well as a place to rest your glasses!). Recognize that you might have an extra sensitive sniffer while others might be oblivious to certain things (like a sour dishrag). And consider that the fragrance of God’s love is probably received differently by different people. As you share God’s grace today, may it be a welcomed aroma!
But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God. 
2 Corinthians 2: 14-17 NIV

PrayerPoint ~ February 25

PrayerPoint ~ The Feet

Have you ever read the comic strip Family Circus by Bil Keane? When I think of feet I chuckle when I think of some of the panels of Billy and his dotted line footprints as they travel through the neighborhood when he was only supposed to take something from Point A to Point B.
Or I think about the Israelites on their feet wandering through the desert for 40 years. How can one never quite get anywhere in 40 years?
Or Jonah getting swept of his feet and into the belly of a big fish.
And then I think about me…and some of the places I went. The places my feet took me that I had no business going to. Phew! I am thankful God provided me a way to get out of some of it. But I certainly remember being there and I think it is important to remember. It helps me to have more compassion when I see other people going places that are dangerous. And I can pray for their protection and for them to come to the important realization that getting away from bad things is not nearly as easy as getting into them–
Where is God leading you and are your feet following or resisting?
Be careful little feet where you walk.
Sometimes the path you trod will take you into a completely different direction than you intended ~ for good or for bad ~ and, thankfully, no experience is wasted with God. He can use it all for His purposes.
Heavenly Father,
I am so thankful for your promises! As a parent, I know it troubles me when my children feel like they need to make choices (small or large) contrary to what I would prefer. And as Your child, it must break Your heart when I chose to go places where You know harm might come to me. Help me to hear the Holy Spirit and take heed when I am heading in a dangerous direction. I know You have forgiven me, help me to forgive myself for those detours I took. Help me to have compassion for those who may be wandering. Help my feet to bring the Good News of the Gospel to the places I walk. And help me be willing to go to the places You send me.    In Your Son’s Name….Amen
Blessings on your day!
Liz

PrayerPoint ~ February 24

PrayerPoints ~ The Hands

Heavenly Father,
You have created my hands to do good works that will glorify Your name. Help me to discern those things You have prepared in advance for me to do. You have seen my hands participate in tasks that are hurtful. Forgive me for those times I have used my hands to harm others or myself. You were there when I dirtied my hands with sin. Thank you for the cleansing and forgiveness that is found in You alone. Help my hands to do many things for You. Let my hands show love in the daily tasks of  cleaning, cooking, driving, digging, sorting, serving, touching, typing, washing, and writing. You know where my hands need Your intervention. Please continue to nudge me with Your Holy Spirit to consider what my hands should be doing each day and soften my heart to heed Your conviction. Thank You for the gift of my hands!   In Jesus’ Name, Amen

PrayerPoints are “in season” during Lent and are written every day leading up to Easter. I have found that if I just pause long enough to listen, usually in the quiet of the early morning hours, God has things He would like me to consider. PrayerPoints are the outcome of my willingness to listen. It is always important and beneficial to be in God’s Word. My prayer is that PrayerPoints are simply a springboard to your deeper walk with God.  Liz Vos

PrayerPoint ~ February 23

PrayerPoint ~ The Eyes

Eyes are so intriguing. They are incredibly designed – by an incredible Designer. With so much available to look at, I invite you to consider what you see, where you look, and what you are looking for.
I know if I am looking for ways to be annoyed, many come within my vision in very short order. If I am looking for ways to be distracted, my eyes will surely pick up on something to distract me. If I have been hurt by something I saw, it is often quickly recalled in my mind.
Here are some of the things I want to see and appreciate and care about:
* God’s creation ~ it is truly stunning
* God’s people ~ particularly the hurting among us. Sometimes it is difficult to look at but so very important to be aware of at least in order to pray
* God’s plan ~ sometimes it seems so clear and other times we only move on faith and clinging desperately to His promises
* God’s provision ~ often in ways I cannot see or detect but always there
* God’s love ~ available in many, many forms
Gracious Father,
You have given me the gift of my eyes. Even though they may be aging and needing assistance via prescription lenses, I thank you for my eyes. Please help me to see others the way You do. There are many things available for me to see, but not all those options are beneficial. In fact, many are dangerous and damaging. Please, Lord, let help me to guard my eyes from things that I shouldn’t be looking at or looking for.    In Jesus’ Name…
Blessings on your day! May you see with His loving eyes!
Liz