PrayerPoint ~ Letting Go and Living

I don’t know about you, but there are times in my life I have held on to things for far too long…

A pair of pants I wore many moons (and sizes ago).

A momento from an old flame.

A wound from a friend.

Disappointment in myself.

Last year, I had the opportunity to help a family member do some purging. If you know me well, you might be laughing because you know I have some purging of my own to do. And I actually am getting around to doing just that! But the stuff seems to multiply quickly if I am not proactive and intentional.  I often set things aside to deal with later and then, when later finally comes around, the opportunity or need has passed. Well, at least, when I make my next pass, it might be easier to toss!

Sometimes I hold onto things because they are interesting, I need to know more about it so I can make a decision, or it is something that needs to be saved. Sometimes I hold onto an item that is simply too difficult to release for any number of reasons. Trust me, the person who has to sort through all your treasures after you die will be thankful if you don’t have lots of piles to sort through. Start purging!

But those old wounds?

Release them!

I don’t know that this can be done on your own.

I know I can’t do it on my own. 

But these things — they need to go! I am pretty sure they can suck the life right out of a person. You’ve seen people that are drained and depressed by old wounds. Their pain is evident.

Do I want to look like that? 

Do I want to LIVE like that?

I don’t.

I can’t.

I can’t because that isn’t living.

I need to place it all “At the Cross” and work through the process of forgiveness!

Below are the lyrics to a song that I have loved for quite some time. The melody is just as sweet.

I know a place, a wonderful place
Where accused and condemned
Find mercy and grace
Where the wrongs we have done
And the wrongs done to us
Were nailed there with Him
There on the cross

At the cross
He died for our sin
At the cross
You gave us life again

Are you holding onto something that you need to let go?

 

PrayerPoints ~ Saturday, March 5th

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 8

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”  Psalm 8:1

After being grateful yesterday, it seems fitting to look at the majesty of God. When I read Psalm 8, I am overwhelmed by who God is and who I am and that He is mindful of me and shows me His grace, love, and forgiveness. It also reminds me how much more mindful of Him I should be!

And if God, the Creator of the Universe, considers me worthy of His investment, it puts such a different perspective on my life than if I was just here by “accident” or with no purpose. And if He feels this way about me then He feels that way about you and every person on this planet! When I ponder this, I am reminded of not only my value but every person’s value:

  • From those in my zip code to those across the time zones
  • From the weakest to the healthiest
  • From the lovable to the unlovable
  • From the delightful to the frustrating
  • From the sweetest to the angriest
  • From the innocent to the guilty
  • From the very young (pre-born) to the very old
  • From the cleanest to the dirtiest
  • From the kindest to the meanest

“What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” Psalm 8:4

Since God is our Creator, there must be value in each of us…each and every one of us! Sometimes it might take some digging because we are broken people–our limited perspective doesn’t let us see the value in others and, sometimes, we aren’t able to see the value in ourselves.

Psalm 8 is a great place to get a glimpse of the majesty of God and His love for His people!

 

 

 

 

PrayerPoints ~ Saturday, February 27th

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 32

“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’ — and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”    Psalm 32:5

It is so easy to be so shocked and appalled and caught up in everyone else’s sin yet neglect our own important self-reflection and confession. Confession is so important because it is an acknowledgement of sin in our own lives.

Consider those things in your life you would like to confess because they weigh on you. You can certainly just confess those things to God — I find it helpful if I talk out loud since I am a verbal processor. But if you want some feedback in the way of spoken forgiveness, seek out a healthy pastor or priest for absolution.

Confession so often becomes one of those things we look for in others but, maybe, are not so keen on surrendering ourselves. Sometimes our busy and distracted lifestyle interrupts the time we need to contemplate our sin and confess it as such.

And the peace and healing that comes from confession? Unparalleled. That’s why it is said, “Confession is good for the soul!”

PrayerPoints ~ Wednesday, February 24

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 27

“The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear?” Psalm 27:1

Psalm 27 has so much good stuff in it!

And still, even with knowing the truths that are there, at times I am still fearful. I think I dwell on too many “what ifs”. I cannot control the future. Even though there are times I wish I could, it is for the best that I can’t. The best I can do is control my responses to situations. Knowing that the Lord is my shelter, my fortress, my salvation, my light, and the stronghold of my life helps me  put the “what ifs” into a proper perspective.

Recently, to every “what if” I have been trying to say “even if” instead and I recount the promises of God’s presence, perspective, and peace.

Psalm 27:5 says “For in the day of trouble…” and it reminds me that we all have days of trouble. Sometimes there are many days of “trouble” in a row. But “he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.

There is no end to hardship in personal relationships, work situations, physical health, or the circumstances found in the world today because we live in a world full of sinners who make selfish choices. I have made quite a few sinful choices myself to the pain and detriment of myself and others. But God works in and through us and, often in spite of us to share His grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love to our hurting world!

 

 

Compromise is Not a Dirty Word!

Compromise happens at work, at home, in friendships, at church, and driving during rush hour…you have a place you are trying to get to and someone barrels in with their plan. Do you cause an accident or let them merge?

Everyone must be willing to compromise in some areas but determining when it is appropriate is so tricky! There are also times when compromise shouldn’t happen and that is equally as important. Some personalities love to be in charge and being willing to concede is extraordinarily painful for them but all the more necessary. Other personalities so desire peace (or acceptance, etc.) that they are open to compromising too much and that can cause problems. Who you are and who you are dealing with are very important things to consider in this business of compromise in addition to “the compromise” itself.

Does your compromise actually stand in the way of what you hope to achieve? Are there fears and regrets in the middle of the compromise? Are you surrendering your better judgement or core values? Some things are really not that important and other things can change the course of your life…forever.

So what if you find yourself in a situation where you have compromised a little too much, are experiencing regret, and are having a difficult time getting back to “the line in the sand” you had previously established? Maybe establishing “the line” wasn’t important previously but as you grow and mature you see the benefit from having a boundary. Ponder the situation. Pray about the situation. If your heart is restless, I would guess that the compromise you struggle with is probably more than should have been surrendered. Sometimes you can ask yourself “How do I wish this situation looked right now?” and that might give you a clue to what you should be working towards. Have you talked it over with a trusted and wise friend? Have you visited with a trained counselor?

Boundaries can change over time and there are times they definitely should. Consider a parent who is in charge of their child’s every day. Typically, the day will come when that child moves away. Has the parent given them wings to fly when the time comes by allowing the child (young adult, adult) increasing opportunity to make decisions and grow in being responsible for themselves? This is tricky business for parents but it can also be difficult at work, as you volunteer, and in many other relationships. Too much compromise can lead to regret and anger and an unsettling feeling. Too little compromise can lead to relationship challenges.

Pray for those you see compromising too much. Pray for those who are too often unyielding to ideas that don’t come from their own mind. Both extremes have their challenges. Spend some time thinking about your life and your compromises. If you are struggling with regret, seek God’s forgiveness. If you are struggling with anger, seek God’s peace.

Betrayal

There are a couple of lines in this song that keep running through my mind:

Why by Michael Card

Why did it have to be a friend who chose to betray the Lord?
and why did he use a kiss to show them, that’s not what a kiss is for?
Only a friend can betray a friend, a stranger has nothing to gain.
And only a friend comes close enough to ever cause so much pain.

Why did it have to be a thorny crown place upon his head?
It should have been a royal one, made of jewels and gold instead.
It had to be a crown of thorns, because in this world that we live,
all that would seek to love a thorn is all the world has to give.
Why did it have to be a heavy cross he was made to bear?
and why did they nail His feet and hands; His love would have held him there.
It was a cross for on a cross, a thief was supposed to pay.
and Jesus had come into the world to steal every heart away.
Yes, Jesus had come into the world to steal every heart away.

Betrayal is one of those experiences we have all gone through at one point or another in our lives. Sometimes it is a secret shared, a boundary violated, a promise broken, an intentional wound. Have you forgiven your betrayer?

Have you considered your actions that have betrayed your true feelings and beliefs? Those times you knew what was the right course of action and chose the other path? If we nurse the wounds and the pain we have experienced in a betrayal, we continue to allow ourselves to be victimized. Christ came for our victory over victimization by demonstrating God’s forgiveness in His action on the Cross. Allow His forgiveness of your betrayal of Him lead the way and surrender any perceived justification your have against your betrayers.

God’s blessings to you as you release the burden of betrayal into His arms of redemption and restoration!

Borrowing Lenses

Throughout my life, I have had many people hand me their “lenses” and I tried to make sense of the world by using their view. Occasionally I spent a great deal of time trying to adapt to the philosophies presented to me and trying to view the world their way. It just doesn’t seem to work for me.

The older I get, the more time I try to view the world from God’s perspective.

What does He say about the world?
What does He say about forgiveness?
Grudges?
Relationships?
The poor?
Love?
His people?
The church?

It might seem easier to adopt the mindset of someone else you trust because it is hard work to think, pray, and study. But I have run into enough untrustworthy people in my life that I don’t often take someone’s word for it. Dig in! Don’t borrow someone else’s viewpoint. It is important to consider what is behind someone’s beliefs and it is often necessary to be compassionate as you listen, but don’t buy into everything you hear or read. God will grant you discernment if you ask.