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

Uprooted

Have you driven by a wooded area and noticed large trees, roots and all, just lying down? That would be an amazing thing to watch happen. It is interesting that something so tall and so old can just tip over. Ground saturation usually plays a role and I am sure there is a lot to it but it is such an interesting visual.

Have you ever felt like your life was uprooted? Maybe you were in a terrible situation and, even though the change was good, it was change all the same and was distressing.

Or maybe you made the decision to make the change. I always think that when the ball is in my court that it feels better. Or at least it was a bit within my control. But it still is a process and requires a lot of steps.

It seems harder to be completely uprooted these days – even if your “new” life is across the ocean there is an ability to maintain a connection. Sometimes that is good and sometimes it is not so good. You can be tugged back into the “old” when you need to venture forth into the “new”.

Ever try to break free of a particular sin and find it, seemingly, dragging you back into “service”? You try to cut it down, root it out, and then it sprouts up again. You try to leave it behind but it finds ways to catch up with you.

I know we all have sin in our lives – some of them we have just co-existed with over the years because we have numbed ourselves to the reality that it is sin. Today, focus on one area that seems to trouble you and ask God to show you where the root is. Put some time and intentional focus and prayer into this sin that seems to follow you to every job or friendship or place you live and see what you can do to root it out.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. [Colossians 2:6-8, NIV]

God’s blessings to you as you consider what needs to be uprooted in your life.

Liz

PrayerPrompt: THE LAW

Vision

Have you ever read the book of Daniel? That was a man who had many visions and was known for his wisdom and intelligence. His specialty? Dream interpretation.

I don’t think there is anyone alive today who has Daniel’s reputation. We have the concept of “vision” although it takes on a different meaning outside of Scripture. Daniel’s visions seem unlike those of any other.

We can think about our future with wisdom and discernment – even if all we see is difficulties around us. Sometimes what we see can give us an opportunity to envision something better, something that helps us not focus so much on our circumstances but to contribute to a greater good. Many people have been encouraged to fight some level of devastation or need by creating a platform for others in a similar situation to feel support and connection and learn how to cope with or prevent something. These types of visions can help us transcend our immediate circumstance and infuse us with hope.

Check out the sweet family behind Fritz & Friends. What a beautiful example of a family taking their own experience with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and creating a space for others to learn about it and create a support network for others. During difficult times, holding on to faith in God and His bigger picture and the hope we have in Him is so important. This world is full of difficult circumstances. Each of us has had challenging life situations at one time or another but clinging to God’s mercy and grace is what makes any situation bearable.

I am thankful God can knit together our past and present experiences, our strengths and inclinations and move us into action. It helps us sort things out and make some sense of it. And it can help us share God’s hope with others!

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. [Psalm 62:5-6, NIV]

My your soul find rest in Him!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: CONTEMPLATION

Boundaries and Perfection

There are things we have control over and things we don’t.

Learning about my own boundaries (or lack of them, in some cases) is a very good thing. Sometimes it takes an intense situation to recognize where a problem is and, oftentimes, the problem is with me. I want things to go a certain way and they aren’t going that way and then what? I have to decide my next move.

I am not in charge of everything, but I am in charge of my behavior.

First I need to figure out if I really should be calling the shots on a particular thing. Then I need to determine if “my way” is truly the best way. There is usually more than one way to get somewhere.

It’s a lot to sort out and it’s a lifetime of learning for me!

We each have unique gifts and I trust God is refining all of us in His time. I know He is refining me. He is working out those details in my character and in my life. I still have a lot to learn and I do have to do my part, but I also need to trust that God is working out the details, weaving together the different aspects of my life to create something beautiful. It might not be my idea of perfection, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful.

Jesus is the pioneer and perfecter of my faith!

Unfortunately, it is so easy to get caught up in what we want and are looking for. It is way too easy. Boundaries are healthy and important and we all have a lot to learn about being healthy in relationships, but if the focus is always on us and our ideas, the results will not be eternal.

Instead, let us fix…  “our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” [Hebrews 12:2-3 NIV]

May He grant you His perfect peace!

On the way,

Liz

You might be able to find all of these books on boundaries through ILL (Inter Library Loan) if you want to brush up on the concept. I plan to!

 

What’s in YOUR bag?

packed bagRecently I was asked what was essential to have along for a two week trip to Hungary so I have been mulling that over a bit.

Of course, everyone has their different idea of what is absolutely necessary for a trip. So I can offer what I think is important but we all come from such different needs and experiences that it is hard to come up with that comprehensive packing list.

Overseas trips and trips within the United States are two similar scenarios yet different enough to require a bit of thinking.

 

What do you consider absolute essentials?

Some of the things that impact what we pack involve:

  • weather forecast
  • anticipated activities
  • the length of time of the trip
  • our accommodations
  • our mode of transportation
  • our dietary preferences or restrictions
  • our medical needs

I am a pretty flexible traveler but here are a few of my non-negotiables:

  • Q tips
  • emery board
  • fingernail clipper
  • extra emollient night cream
  • deodorant
  • toothbrush/toothpaste

But even more important than what we pack to take along, I think of a few other things that important to have on any trip as well as in life:

  • a sense of adventure
  • flexibility
  • grace
  • good attitude
  • effort
  • love
  • faith

I honestly don’t know where I would be if I didn’t have those essentials along with me. Above all, traveling throughout life without faith would really impact my journey. I just can’t imagine where I would be without knowing Jesus and God’s promises!

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. [1 John 1:9 NIV]

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” [Jeremiah 29:11 NIV]

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. [Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV]

 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 8:28 NIV]

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. [Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV]

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 through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. [Romans 8:26-17 NIV]

On the way,

Liz

Photo credits to my sweet friend, Annette, who would be a blast to travel with!

Old Doors and New Views

 

olddoorwsSometimes we don’t notice the things around us until we see them in a different context or from a new vantage point. How we see things and what we see are very dependent on where we are at the moment and where we are looking. Knowing that about ourselves is important.

When it comes to matters of life and faith, it is important to have a few solid Christians to talk with and get their perspective on tricky matters. We might not be able to see our options. We might not be able to understand how someone we care about could make such terrible choices. We might be unwilling to consider a different perspective on a matter without the help of someone we trust to show us another way of looking at things. We can benefit from one another’s life experiences and perspective, particularly if we are navigating through a difficult time.

It is even more important to consider God’s perspective through His Word and through a healthy, trained pastor. 

Sometimes the very things that have been around us for many years have been overlooked because they have always just been a part of the picture. As you travel through life, look around. Look up. Look down. Take time to absorb where you are. Be open to seeing situations from a different point of view.

Ask God to give you fresh eyes for your circumstances.

And if you chose a verse to ponder, I would love to see it!

On the Road,

Liz

People Watching…People Praying…

I love people!

I have always been fascinated by the variety in people–hair and skin color, sizes and shapes but I also love (and sometimes hate) the dynamics in relationships and what makes people tick and personalities and where they have been and where they are going! It seems to be easier to observe the sheer variety of people here in New York because I feel pretty anonymous and pretty average. Grand Central Station is a great place to people watch but so is the train, the subway, the doctor’s office, the coffee shop. And, to be honest, when someone looks or behaves in an interesting way, most people have a tendency to take note. I think that is the point behind out-standing looks or behavior ~ the desire to be seen.

Do you ever find yourself wondering about everyone’s story? Or is it just me?

I am one of those people that tries to give people the benefit of the doubt and that is much easier to do when I am in a good space. I really have no clue what most people have been through and why certain things affect people in so many different ways. I only truly know me and what goes on in my brain when I am making a decision.

And sometimes I clearly was not thinking when I made some wild decisions but that is a post for another day.

When I have a moment to observe and ponder, I often pray. I pray that God blesses, comforts, and provides for that person and meets them at their need. I pray God brings people into their lives that are encouraging and uplifting and supportive. I pray for the people in their lives. I pray that God reveals Himself to them through the gift of Faith.

Next time you are out and about, there might be someone like me near you. And if they are anything like me, they will wonder about your life and what brought you here to this moment and how this journey is going for you…

They might wonder about the hard places you have been and wondered what brings refreshment to your soul and if you have someone you can call when life is hard…

If everyone picked out a “stranger” to pray for just think how it might change their perspective towards them. That really frustrating person in line might have a back story no one could even possibly imagine, let alone live through. Sometimes it is easier to pray for someone we know less about because their questionable behavior doesn’t affect us quite so personally and the disconnect provides us with a perspective and a patience. And might I offer that there are plenty of people in the world that no one is praying for…of course, we don’t know who those people are but it stands to reason that not everyone has someone praying for them.

If all the People Watching were People Praying what a kind of place would the world be?