I “drop the ball”

You can count on me to let you down. In fact, I sometimes even let myself down.

For example, technology has not been my friend the last few days and that has led me to not have PrayerPoints for the last couple of days. I thought things were working and they weren’t. Of course, it wasn’t my intention. And I don’t see it as an excuse, but it is an explanation. It has taken me until today to figure out that there was a problem. And it will take me some time to figure out the solution.

So, I dropped the ball on my goal. I am probably more disappointed in myself than you are. When things don’t go the way we think they ought to go, there are a lot of reasons. But one thing is for sure —

God never drops the ball!

When we rely on humans and man-made systems, we might end up delightfully surprised (in a good way) at the outcome or we might be devastatingly discouraged. It’s the nature of living on Earth. Nothing is perfect here — even if it looks that way on the outside.

But God sees and knows our struggles and He covers the gaps we leave. I take great comfort in that. God has brought people in my life for me to love, support, and encourage, and I am so thankful. But I do this imperfectly because I am me. I will forget the date that is important to you. I will be so deep in the middle of my stuff that I might not see you and your needs. It is not only possible, it is probable, and it has happened more than once.

Humans will always let you down. You can count on that.

But God. Well, that’s another story. He is always on time.

God sees us. He knows us. He is dependable.

I am so thankful for this Truth!

I have idols

No, I don’t have a golden calf in my back yard, but I definitely let other things step in front of my relationships with God.

In fact, I am probably my own worst idol. There are things I want to have and do and while that in and of itself is not really a problem, when I put my attaining those things above God, it is.

Idols distract me from seeing important things. Chasing after them takes center stage and, considering I have already lived at least half my life, I look back and I see I have wasted a lot of time pursuing things that do not bring joy or whatever I thought it was that they gave.

Do you have any idols? Maybe yours are similar to mine: comfort, control, approval, money. I am sure I have more hidden under my tent, scattered here and there. Becoming aware of them is the first step. Confessing them and asking for forgiveness is the next.

Create in me a clean heart, O God.
    Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10 NLT

Dismantling them is the next part of action. But how does one go about removing, eliminating, destroying the idols in their lives? Each person might answer that differently.

May you have eyes to see your idols and God’s strength to discard them and live your life in His freedom and grace!

Glorious in holiness

But you blew with your breath,
    and the sea covered them.
They sank like lead
    in the mighty waters.

 “Who is like you among the gods, O Lord—
    glorious in holiness,
awesome in splendor,
    performing great wonders?
 You raised your right hand,
    and the earth swallowed our enemies.
Exodus 15:10-12 NLT

I am sure my mind does not adequately understand the concept of holiness. I try to approach the word, and other words can assist, but I know my human mind falls short. But, one day, I will understand. For now, I am content in trusting and getting some glimpses here and there.

On a good day, when I wonder what it was like to live in the time of Moses or Jesus I am sure I would have clearly seen and understood God. I would have been thankful for the obvious signs of provision through manna. I wouldn’t have denied knowing Jesus. But really? In all honesty, I think I would have been like the others.

Close your eyes for a few moments and imagine being in the presence of our Holy God. Breathe in His life-giving breath. What might have it been to be at Creation?

Open your eyes.

We are so blessed to be in His presence every day. God is with us. It may not feel that way sometimes, but that doesn’t make it any less true. He is Immanuel. Let’s carve time out in our day to rest in His holiness and acknowledge His presence.

He knows and sees us. And He loves us!

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.