Blessed…be…

Window flowers w
Window flowers in Hungary

The Beatitudes 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. [Matthew 5:3-12 NIV]


We are blessed in countless ways but the blessings listed above are not what the world considers to be blessings.

It is always a challenge for me to remember God’s definitions when I am in the middle of living in this world. Even if I am not contemplating my own situation I still see others and consider material wealth as a blessings.

Of course, it can be used for good and to bless and all that. It can also be a curse. Those things that the world values that are not of God can easily become the things we seek and strive for and we can lose so much in the process.

Have you ever been caught up in chasing something meaningless? Something that, if you caught it would actually catch you and try to put a stranglehold on your faith? God’s blessings are so different from what the world considers a blessing.

Lord, help me to receive your blessings without always looking for the next one. Let me savor the gifts You have placed in my life — the blessings the world doesn’t value but You use to grow me into the person you need me to be.

On the way,

Liz

PrayerPoints ~ Thursday, March 17th

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 88

“O Lord, the God who saves me, day and night I cry out before you. May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry.” Psalm 88:1-2

Wow. If you read through Psalm 88 you will see it is full of  a lot of loss. It is good to read through it and know that I am not the only one who has felt devastation.

Even though the circumstances are not identical, we each travel through seasons of loss and discouragement. If you are in a good place now, I am sure you can recall the emotions and grief of a difficult time. If you know someone going through a time of loss, please pray for them. Let them know you are praying for them. And, if you can, take time to walk alongside them.

I know my faith has grown in times of struggle but those times always seems to come with a “breaking point” where things are so difficult that I am not sure I can handle one more problem. Standing “in the gap” with someone (through prayer and encouragement and reminders of God’s provision) can be hard and yet so beneficial to the person struggling.

May you be a blessing today to someone in need!

Where Am I?

PrayerPoint 2.18.13

 
Have you ever visited someplace and awakened in the middle of the night, when it was very dark, and wondered “Where am I?”  I have slept many places and I usually do ok but if I am overtired or stressed I have been known to get disoriented. I usually lie there a long time blinking my eyes with my mind racing to put together the place and the circumstances that led to where I am. And then I remember how it is I got there. 
 
Have you ever lived a period of your life making some crazy selfish choices and then, one day, you “wake up” to the consequences of your actions and wonder “Where am I and how did I get here?”
 
Sometimes it is plain ugly to come face to face with the destruction of our situation and even uglier to remember it was done by our own hand! How can this possibly be redeemed? 
 
There are several ways to respond. Here are a few options with varying degrees of success:
 
  • Abruptly change course and run as fast as you can. Occasionally there are still some things that might hang onto you but breaking free and high-tailing it out of there are actually pretty good moves depending on the situation.
  • Accept your penalties and wallow in self-pity and self-deprecation. This is an easy way to drive people away from you. If you want to be lonely, chart this course. 
  • Try to hide your past so that no one knows how stupid or misled you were. Spend a lifetime hiding your embarrassing actions. Pretend you have never done them. Criticize others who have made the same mistake so others wouldn’t ever suspect you yourself have done such a thing. Not recommended.
  • Study your past ad nauseum (to a ridiculous degree) so you cannot see anything past yesterday. In theory, this plan has some merit. It is a wise move to avoid making the same mistake twice. But if you keep looking in the rearview mirror you can’t see where you are going if you are trying to move forward!
  • Take an honest assessment. Admit your failures. Ask God for forgiveness. Ask God for His help in putting the pieces back together. There may be a difficult lifetime of consequences for a single selfish act but it is an important and God-sized work that something begun in selfishness be transformed and redeemed into a blessing. Only God can do that. He has done it for me and He can do it for you!
 
As we all grow toward maturity in Christ we are hopefully less impulsive and much more attuned to following God’s lead the first time. Then when we wake up and wonder “Where am I?” We can remember “Oh yes, I am right where He wants me to be!”
 

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

Ga$ price$ are high, but I cannot complain…

I won’t lie. I did let out a groan as I drove by all the gas stations yesterday and saw $4.19 at the pump. But if I consider, for just a moment, all of the things that have happened to others that I am not experiencing, it helps me keep my perspective.

There has been nationwide flooding;  many people losing their lives and homes to tornadoes; homes lost to wildfires; earthquakes, tsunamis, and nuclear issues in Japan; and many lives lost in war. You surely know of other incidents of devastation that I haven’t mentioned here.

In comparison? I live in a home that has heat and air and we have an income that allows us to use these ‘extras’. We typically don’t go hungry (and we could stand to once in a while). Our family is in good health and our kids love to learn. I feel incredibly blessed.

With everything else going on in the world, I do feel like the gas prices are relatively minor–they have been this high in 2008. I certainly hope they will go down but this might be the new normal. Who knows?

You are free to complain, but when I honestly take a look around at what is happening to families I know and love, around my community and state, in the US, and across the ocean, I am compelled to do three things:

1) pray for those who are impacted by all of those devastations;

2) figure out how I can pitch in and help someone navigate through a tough time;

3) be thankful for what I have been blessed with.

What are you going to do?

Would you be willing to add someone to your prayer list? Her name is Karolina. She is from Hungary. She is 20 years old. Her dad is very ill. Her mom died several years ago. She is an only child. She has some big things to tackle in order to be able to come back to the US for school in August. Please pray the way gets paved, if that is what God wants. And pray for her dad’s health.

God’s blessings on your week!!

Liz