PrayerPoints 2020

Hello! Hello!

Happy New Year! I love the freshness a new year brings, don’t you?

Each time there is a new season in the calendar year it signals new sounds, smells, tastes, and experiences. I enjoy the refreshment of the “new” when I am expecting them, but there are other seasons that catch me by surprise! Sometimes I am in a “new season” for a while before I even realize it! You may have felt similarly as you have traveled through the various seasons of:

  • Life
  • Employment
  • Parenting
  • Education
  • Marriage
  • Health
  • Family Life

We are all traveling through seasons, though not necessarily the same ones or in the same order, and certainly not in the same way. Sometimes I think I would love to have 2020 vision in what God is doing in my life or when I am in a difficult season but, really, I don’t. He asks me to trust in Him, no matter the season. He never promised that I will see, know, or understand it all!

The seasons of the church year are relatively consistent, if you pay attention to them. They can be a way of being united together in the course of a year with people all over the world, particularly if you are from the same church body. Of course, the church year “seasons” are a manmade sort of thing, but they are based on significant happenings in Scripture, organized in a way that helps us remember better while also providing a little structure.

Instead of just taking a deep dive during the Lenten season, I plan to post a new PrayerPoint each Monday. If you have been following PrayerPoints for a while now, you may have noticed that I shared a lot more this year than I have in previous years. This year I am aiming for a steady rhythm. While I seem to learn better with more intentional focus, I need to grow in my consistency. For 2020, each weekly PrayerPoint will include a psalm, hymn, or spiritual song that will correspond to the church season and highlight something that caught my heart. The rhythm of the church year will help me be a little more grounded and give me a little focus. I encourage you to contemplate the posted words each week and see what stands out for you and write it down. I love that God’s Word is so relevant to our lives and that God uses the Holy Spirit to personalize what we hear! We can each “bump into” the same piece of Scripture and take away a different application, depending on what God is working on in our hearts.

Feel free to join me on this journey. If you sign up to receive my posts in your inbox you won’t miss a week. Otherwise, Facebook algorithms (and whether I remember to post the link) will determine whether or not you see the weekly PrayerPoint.

I am looking forward to the growth God has in store for me this year. I hope you are looking forward to your growth too! If you have a favorite hymn you would like me to see in a post, send me a message at vospower6@hotmail.com and I will consider it.

Blessings and Peace!
Liz

Hello Friend! Day Twenty-four

A church in Hollókő, Hungary.

One thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
    he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
    and set me high upon a rock.
Psalm 27:4-5 NIV

Hello Friend!

Are you coming from a broken place? There may be many things that are demanding your time, but time for healing is so important. Our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs require focus. And when there is a need for healing, other things may need to take a back seat for a while.

That’s okay.

When people are able to admit they have come from a broken place it seems they can share God’s love from the heart. I would prefer to hear about God’s provision in a messy life than hear about the perfect life any day! So don’t be fooled by Pinterest Perfection or Facebook Flawlessness or trying to present your life as the Instagram Ideal. God saves real people and meets them in the midst of their sins and brokenness. We don’t have to have to “pretty it up” for Him. God’s love can carry us through the healing process and it covers our multitude of sins. Let’s stop pretending that we aren’t wounded by the world but let’s not dwell in our wounds either.

If you find yourself dwelling in your situation then more healing may need to happen.

There is no timetable for grieving the losses we have endured in this life. But getting stuck for a long time in the grieving process is not a fun place to be either. God’s Word never fails to give me a fresh perspective on my circumstances. Finding time to be in His Word is essential for my healing and attitude. Being a part of a healthy congregation is important too! Identify those places that need healing and seek help through a trusted counselor or pastor. Let God’s love and forgiveness wash over you and rest in His grace.

If you take time to focus on healing, it may mean it is not your time for something else at the moment because we can’t do everything at once. Set the unimportant things aside and do the next right thing.

Love,
Liz

Hello Friend! Day Sixteen

Hello Friend!

Have you read through Hebrew 11? Here is a snippet:

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous…

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know about God or believe in Him and His love and provision for me even though we didn’t always go to church when I was growing up. Part of that was because my mom was very discouraged and frustrated by the political games that happened within the church.

Hmmm. That sounds familiar!

But I haven’t really had an issue with God. Life hasn’t always been easy but and yet He has always been there for me. And yet, I haven’t always behaved like a child of God! I have had times I deliberately did the wrong thing, the ugly thing. And still I never questioned God’s love for me.

By the same token, when ugly things happened TO me, I never wondered where God was in the situation. I never thought He was behind evil nor did I blame Him for allowing evil to cross my path. It just feels like I have always known that He will right every wrong — and that He will transform me, if not my circumstance, and that it will all work together for good — eventually.

I am so thankful for this faith. I don’t know how I would have survived so far without it. But even more important is God’s faithfulness! Clearly, I have not always been faithful. But He always is. I can rest in His faithfulness!

Love,
Liz

Pray Without Ceasing!

Pray without ceasingwMy pastor posted a disturbing article the other day and I cannot seem to get it out of my mind. It’s about young women who worked with radium to help the war effort but the chemical they worked with was toxic.They were nicknamed “Ghost Girls”.  Here is a link to the article…

The whole thing makes me sick. As these gals were sacrificing their health there were people who knew better, benefitted from it, and let them continue on. I am sure there are many other toxic things in our lives that we just don’t know about yet. Sadly, there are some people who know about it but they just keep quiet.

They see the toxicity but don’t say a word.

That behavior is common in organizations. And, while I wish it wasn’t true, it also makes frequent appearances in the church and in families. Toxic people work their way into the lives of unsuspecting people and can make life hell. The church is very vulnerable to this sort of thing. They are frequently desperate for volunteers and have limited resources so they grab anyone and put them into service without vetting them. Doing some level of background check might not prevent every unhealthy person from worming their way in but it can definitely catch some.

Sometimes we are aware of toxicity in an organization and see backstabbing, public “floggings”, and other unhealthy behavior, and we stay. Why?

Here are a few reasons why I have remained in unhealthy organizations for far too long:

  • I hate conflict.
  • I can’t walk away from the others in the trenches.
  • I want to be a part of the solution.
  • There are wonderful, healthy people in the organization.
  • I am passionate about the mission.
  • The organization has so much potential.
  • I care for the people I work with or for.

But in the process I have sacrificed:

  • Sleep
  • Healthy interactions
  • Other relationships
  • Time with our family
  • Energy
  • Perspective
  • Spiritual health
  • Money
  • Physical health
  • And more…..

Good heavens! The workplace is not supposed to be that way! More importantly, the church is not supposed to be that way!

God can change a dysfunctional system and bring it to a healthier place. He can and He does. But I need to know my own limits.

When you are aware of or involved in an unhealthy organization, pray for God to bring to light whatever is hidden in the dark. Be careful that your “helpfulness” doesn’t mask the unhealthy behaviors that need to be exposed. Pray for those who are being taken advantage of. Pray for discernment about your involvement. If you know of people who are weary trying to remain in a toxic environment, find ways to encourage them. Pray for God to either heal the situation or give them the courage to leave the situation until it is healthier. There is so much to cover in prayer so pray without ceasing!

On the Road,

Liz