May I…

May I wash your feet?

It’s a little personal. And yet, Jesus set out to do just that when He met with His disciples for the Last Supper.

Foot washing is a little risky for both of parties. It’s making ourselves a little vulnerable— both for the one doing the task and for the one receiving it.

I try to get a pedicure once or twice a year, but it’s been a few years. And so, I am not sure if the person doing the job will judge me for not “taking care of business in a timely manner.” I have so many reasons for not being there and they are all reasonable.

I don’t believe a pedicure and a foot washing with an intention to serve are the same thing at all, but they can invoke similar thoughts and emotions.

I appreciate my feet and all they do for me. Sometimes my feet are filthy—and they would have been especially dirty during Jesus’ time with all the sand and sandals and dusty roads. Even so, Jesus washed the feet of the disciples. He didn’t expect them to get them in shape before He did the task. He took each foot — dirt, callouses, bunions, and all.

And He takes each of us — sin, selfishness, despair, grief, anger, and all.

Lord Jesus, wash away all the ugliness of my sin. Help me to accept the work You are doing on my behalf. Renew that right spirit within me. Grant me your perfect peace. Amen.

Keep your eyes open.

God’s work is all around us. Are we too distracted or bogged down to see it? There are two things I do to increase my awareness of what God is doing. One thing I do is ask God:

“Show me what you are doing here!”

Sometimes I say it as a prayer of desperation. Other times it is more like an inquiry. When we are looking for God’s work or His hand in a matter, we will see it.

Other times I simply

Dig in.

Scripture has so many stories and examples of God’s patient and merciful work. And there are other stories — from family and friends and even strangers who have written books. With so much going on in our world, I find I need to be refreshed with encouragement and hope.

God is working.

He never stops. He wants you to see what He is doing. He wants to transform your vision so you can see people the way He does. There is only one way to do that, keep your eyes open and ask Him to grant you His perspective.

My apologies for missing a couple of days in PrayerPoints this season. We have been moving to a new house and things have been crazy: exciting and exhausting. And now we have to unpack and find happy homes for all the things!

Give thanks to the Lord.

Psalm 136:1

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord.

I don’t know your circumstance. You might be experiencing health, financial, or relational challenges. In spite of these potential scenarios, I encourage you to give thanks. God is good. Your situation might be devastating, but circumstances can’t change God’s nature.

I have been guilty of equating God being good with things going “my way”. Have you? When I am weak, discouraged, or worn down I am susceptible to this mode of thinking. When I am angry or if I have been violated or if someone I love has been injured, I might be tempted to forget God’s goodness. But I cannot.

I encourage you to remember God’s goodness.

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.

Be constant in prayer.

Romans 12:12

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Be constant in prayer.

While I can’t possibly say that I am thinking in prayer every single minute of the day, I do have a lot of conversations with God during a day. I ask God for His perspective, His strength, His grace, His patience, His wisdom, His blessing, and more. I thank Him for the opportunities, for my relationships, for my challenges, for my salvation, for my peace, and more. I pray for my family members, friends, and customers. There is so much going on in a day that it is hard not to find things to pray for and about.

Prayers do not have to be long and fancy. God just wants to hear from our hearts. He wants to know that we seek Him first, that we acknowledge His place in our life.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Be merciful to me.

Psalm 57:1-3

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
    for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
    till the storms of destruction pass by.
I cry out to God Most High,
    to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
He will send from heaven and save me;
    he will put to shame him who tramples on me. 
God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!

Be merciful to me.

His mercies are new every morning. Do we start each day remembering God’s mercies?

I know there are times when my day simply starts and I don’t always pause to pray or dedicate my day to God and leave space for His work. But, I know my days always start better when I do. Recognizing my position in this world is important, especially in comparison to God. That isn’t to say that the things I am doing are unimportant, it’s just that knowing who I am in relationship to God helps me keep things in perspective. God…fulfills his purpose for me.

The Lord is my light and salvation.

Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?

The Lord is my light and salvation
whom shall I fear?

There is a lot of fear going around these days. We are not quite through a pandemic which has altered many of our lives and livelihoods. And now there is a war in Ukraine. I can’t really stop any of these things that are going on in the world. But I can run to God with my fears and confusion.

Lord, be my salvation. Be the stronghold of my life. Be my confidence and truth. Be my defender. Be my healer. Be the one that knows the bigger picture and sees how it works together. Be the one I trust in all things. Hear me when I am afraid. Help me trust in You.

The Lord is my light and salvation
whom shall I fear?

I give thanks to you.

 Psalm 86:8-13

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
    nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
    and worship before you, O Lord,
    and shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do wondrous things;
    you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
    that I may walk in your truth;
    unite my heart to fear your name.
12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
    and I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your steadfast love toward me;
    you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart.

My whole heart. My undivided heart. That heart that cannot curse and bless at the same time. That’s the heart David is talking about.

I can imagine David. His whole heart ready to burst — overflowing with the thankfulness for God’s gifts of forgiveness, grace, and mercy. When we are burden with sin, it’s a heavy load to carry. When we recognize all that God sees and knows about us and and that He still loves us, it is an amazing thing. We are His creation. And He provides for us in ways that are beyond our comprehension.

It’s true we don’t get everything we want. Even those honorable things that seem like they would be good things aren’t always meant for us. Getting to the point of being thankful in all circumstances is a journey of surrender.

But it can begin today.

What difficult things can you look back on in your life and see where God has done some beautiful work? If you have some history with God, you have seen His provision in action. You know what He can do — even if it takes years for it to come to fruition.

What is today’s circumstance that has you wondering is He sees or knows or even cares? Let me encourage you to give thanks to Him for what He has done and what He is going to do. Even if you can’t start with your whole heart, start with part of your heart. As you look back on what He has done, it gets easier to trust Him with your heart. It may start off as bits and pieces, but, between remembering His work in the past and giving thanks for today, you will find that more and more of your heart will participate.

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart.

Teach me your way.

Psalm 86:8-13

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
    nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
    and worship before you, O Lord,
    and shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do wondrous things;
    you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
    that I may walk in your truth
;
    unite my heart to fear your name.
12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
    and I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your steadfast love toward me;
    you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth.

I never have to worry about whether or not God will teach me. But, as I am learning in my Hungarian lessons, sometimes it takes me a long time to learn something. The teaching is there — no doubt about that. But, am I a willing and interested student? And, as I am learning to walk in God’s truth, will I stumble and fall, just like a toddler does when they are starting out?

Absolutely.

I am pretty sure I am harder on myself about this than God is on me. I just need to remain teachable. I am in my 50s but I know there is still a lifetime of learning ahead of me!

P.S. Yesterday was a busy day and I wrote out the PrayerPoint but completely forgot to hit the publish button…so you ended up with two PrayerPoints today!

There is none like you.

 Psalm 86:8-13

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
    nor are there any works like yours
.
All the nations you have made shall come
    and worship before you, O Lord,
    and shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do wondrous things;
    you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
    that I may walk in your truth;
    unite my heart to fear your name.
12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
    and I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your steadfast love toward me;
    you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
nor are there any works like yours
.

I have always been fascinated by creation. All the amazing creatures designed by our Creator. The symbiotic relationships. The development. How the Universe works together with the sun, moon, and planets and how man ever saw the patterns — which are very different depending on your vantage point. It’s all so vast. And yet, God is so personal. He knows the hairs on our heads. He can telescope and microscope at the same time and not be confused by it at all. On the other hand, I took chemistry and astronomy in the same semester and that was a big mistake. I couldn’t wrap my head around either concept because objects were either a million miles away or thousands of them could fit on the head of a pin.

Today just seemed like one of those days to stop in awe of God’s creative handiwork — from creating to healing to restoring to renewing — He never stops. Take a moment to consider His handiwork. What have you seen in your own life that causes you to be in amazement of what God has done?

Psalm 51

Psalm 51:1-19

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
    and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
    and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
build up the walls of Jerusalem;
19 then will you delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.

There are many beautiful things in this Psalm. On David’s part, his humility, broken spirit, and contrite heart. It’s a place where we have all been. It’s so relatable.

But the most beautiful is all that God is doing. The list is long:

He shows mercy and blots out transgressions. He washes us thoroughly and cleanses us from our sin. He teaches us wisdom and purges us with hyssop. He washes us some more. He hides His face from our sin and He blots out some more. And then, He creates in us clean hearts! He renews a right spirit within us! He refuses to cast us away from His presence and He will not take His Holy Spirit from us! He restores to us the joy of our salvation! He delivers us and opens our lips!

Receive God’s good gifts!