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

James 3-17-18w

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.

Where Am I?

PrayerPoint 2.18.13

 
Have you ever visited someplace and awakened in the middle of the night, when it was very dark, and wondered “Where am I?”  I have slept many places and I usually do ok but if I am overtired or stressed I have been known to get disoriented. I usually lie there a long time blinking my eyes with my mind racing to put together the place and the circumstances that led to where I am. And then I remember how it is I got there. 
 
Have you ever lived a period of your life making some crazy selfish choices and then, one day, you “wake up” to the consequences of your actions and wonder “Where am I and how did I get here?”
 
Sometimes it is plain ugly to come face to face with the destruction of our situation and even uglier to remember it was done by our own hand! How can this possibly be redeemed? 
 
There are several ways to respond. Here are a few options with varying degrees of success:
 
  • Abruptly change course and run as fast as you can. Occasionally there are still some things that might hang onto you but breaking free and high-tailing it out of there are actually pretty good moves depending on the situation.
  • Accept your penalties and wallow in self-pity and self-deprecation. This is an easy way to drive people away from you. If you want to be lonely, chart this course. 
  • Try to hide your past so that no one knows how stupid or misled you were. Spend a lifetime hiding your embarrassing actions. Pretend you have never done them. Criticize others who have made the same mistake so others wouldn’t ever suspect you yourself have done such a thing. Not recommended.
  • Study your past ad nauseum (to a ridiculous degree) so you cannot see anything past yesterday. In theory, this plan has some merit. It is a wise move to avoid making the same mistake twice. But if you keep looking in the rearview mirror you can’t see where you are going if you are trying to move forward!
  • Take an honest assessment. Admit your failures. Ask God for forgiveness. Ask God for His help in putting the pieces back together. There may be a difficult lifetime of consequences for a single selfish act but it is an important and God-sized work that something begun in selfishness be transformed and redeemed into a blessing. Only God can do that. He has done it for me and He can do it for you!
 
As we all grow toward maturity in Christ we are hopefully less impulsive and much more attuned to following God’s lead the first time. Then when we wake up and wonder “Where am I?” We can remember “Oh yes, I am right where He wants me to be!”