Mighty power to save

Oh, come O Rod of Jesse’s stem,
From ev’ry foe deliver them
That trust your mighty pow’r to save;
Bring them in vict’ry through the grave.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, Come, Oh, Come Emmanuel
Translated: John Neal, 1818-66

Heavenly Father,

My heart is heavy knowing so many who do not trust in Your mighty power to save. I cling to the knowledge that You do care for the unbelievers — that you seek those lost sheep. I pray for hearts to be open to hearing Your call. May the barriers to faith be removed. May there be a growing self-awareness of the need for Your Son, the Savior. Thank You for providing The Way, The Truth, and The Life in Jesus!

… he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. [Luke 15:3-7, ESV]

Come, Lord Jesus!
Liz

The Essentials

I have been traveling quite a bit the last few years and I love exploring and learning about the world around me. But that also means I have to pack and unpack a lot. Unfortunately, sometimes I forget the “essentials”.

My essentials change from time to time. That seems weird to say but, depending on my hair situation, I either need mousse or gel. And, recently, I have taken to wearing a hat when I plan to shower a little later in the day. I guess you can say that some of my essentials are seasonal, at least for traveling.

But my core essentials — the things that make me me — continue to make their presence known. These are the elements of me that are difficult for me to suppress. Try as I might, they sort of erupt and are undeniable. It’s almost as if God said, “These are the foundational elements to Liz and watch me as I grow them and use them through the course of her life!”

Writing has always been, and continues to be, an important part of my life. While I still like the physical act of putting pen to paper, these days I do most of my writing on the computer. How I write as well as how consistently I write has changed and adapted with the tools available to me. I even utilize old envelopes and scribble all kinds of ideas on them! That will never change.

Listening to others is a part of my core. I even considered being a counselor at one point. Most often, people just need to know they have been heard. I have a lot to learn from others — and they don’t always share it verbally!

Encouraging others is also important me. I think providing consolation, comfort, and inspiration is sorely lacking in today’s world. The way people can talk to one another, especially when they are not face-to-face, astounds me. I make every effort to love people where the are, give them encouragement for forward progress if that is what they are looking for, and I pray for them. I can’t be the one to do what they need to do but I can pray for them as they take the next step.

Sharing my faith is one of those things that I cannot, nor do I want, to squelch. I certainly consider the receptivity of those around me and am open to where and how the conversation goes. I am called to share my faith. But this faith stuff is entirely God’s business. God’s work in my life is amazing. The details He has covered before I even knew they needed to be addressed, the opportunities He has created out of ugly situations, the gift of Jesus, the comfort and conviction of the Holy Spirit, and the forgiveness of my sins — my ugly and selfish sins. Sharing my faith is about what God has done for me but also what He has done for the sea of humanity. The sharing of my faith isn’t always through words.

What are your essentials — those core elements God has been developing in you over the course of your life?

Come, Lord Jesus!
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

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!