Discernment

I often consider (rather over consider) what others think about what I am doing. This is a challenge in multiple areas of my life but definitely within the realm of PrayerPoints. You would think that after writing PrayerPoints for 12 or so years (I have totally lost count) that I would know my voice in this space. And if you have been following me for any length of time, you know that things ebb and flow — I come up with a plan to simplify things, but then I lose the spontaneity and, all the while, I am trying to be responsive to the most important voice in the matter — God’s.

But, I am this creature who responds to the rules of man, too. And the discernment of which is which is baffling me at present. PrayerPoints started out as a daily Lenten devotional and it was something I did every morning when I woke up. I would write what was on my heart — where God was working on me. And then, later, it became that thing that I was nervous about and I was thinking ,”Who am I to say anything?” and “Who am I, daring to speak something other than Scripture?” to “What if I am leading someone astray?” to knowing full well that God isn’t like that. He knows I am on this journey with Him. He knows I am growing and struggling and He loves me in and through all of it!

But then I struggled with the idea that I should be more organized and have a plan. And I have been trying spontaneously-planned Mondays — focusing on a verse for the month — being topical — writing more often — and all of the things you have noticed. But, I really think that PrayerPoints felt like the most natural communication was coming when it was a Lenten Devotional that each morning made its appearance in my heart. No planning ahead.

For now, I am going to take an intentional break from PrayerPoints outside of Lent. I am entering a crazy busy season and while I will still try to write down my thoughts on a regular basis, I won’t push the publish button unless something really feels like it should be shared.

I would totally love your feedback about all of this. And, please pray for my discernment!

I assume I will see you March 2nd, 2022 for the next PrayerPoints Lenten devotional series. That seems to be the rhythm that works. But, I am certainly open to what God has to say about that.

God’s peace to you as you navigate these days! I am thankful for God’s grace and care for me and my family. And I encourage you to look for where He is working in your life and heart!

In Him,
Liz

And the Peace of God…

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding...

Have you ever visited with someone who, by any standard, has gone through some incredible suffering?

It often goes one of two ways — they are completely stuck in a cycle of despair and anger and overwhelm for years or they are in a place of peace. They know they cannot control others and the things they do, they know they can only control their response. And they trust God will work out the ugly details for His good.

I am always refreshed and amazed at the peace of God…it is unexplainable. To interact with someone who has God’s true peace is such an encouragement.

Present Your Requests

Present your requests to God….

Sometimes it is easy to get so caught up in a situation or the need that I simply forget to present my requests to God. Those prayers and petitions are such a vital part of our relationship.

Yes, He knows our needs before we ask. He knows our movements, our stressors, our joys, and our pains and He delights when we bring them all to Him.

God wants us to bring it all to Him — the seemingly trivial as well as those larger situations. I think the the act of presenting our requests to God reminds us where we are in this Universe — who He is — and who we are not. It’s a good reminder of our positioning. Believe it or not, we are not in control of everything. Our lives are not our own and we are here for a larger purpose. And yet, in our day-to-day God can accomplish those purposes with and through us — even when we are unaware of it all.

That brings me peace. I don’t have to know how it all works. In fact, I don’t have to know how any of it works. I am trusting God to work out the details.

Philippians 4:6-7

I have always loved this verse!

During May, I plan to explore different sections of these two verses and I encourage you to mull them over and make a deeper connection with them too! For now, commit it to memory if it isn’t already tucked away. If you have been reading PrayerPoints for any length of time, you know that music is very important to me. So, of course, I have to point out a song for this Psalm.

Received from God

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV

Anything good you have received from me is a gift from God through me. I am an imperfect person, fraught with issues, but sometimes, there is this moment when something passes from God to you and God allowed me to be the message bringer.

Since the beginning, God has used a lot of ways to communicate with us. This list is not exhaustive. It is only meant to jog your memory. God can use all things — even regular people — to share His message:

  • Jesus
  • The Holy Spirit
  • His Holy Word
  • donkeys
  • dreams
  • servants
  • kings
  • whispers
  • a pillar of cloud
  • a pillar of fire
  • prophets
  • a burning bush

God is in the business of sharing His message from our messes so sharing what you have received from God is so important! Remember, as the messenger, we are not the focus. God’s life-saving message is!

The Lord Almighty is with us…

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress. [Psalm 46, NIV]

The Lord Almighty is with us. And yet, we are preparing for Him too! We welcome, watch, and wait for God to work even as He is already working. We can see what He has done and still we wait as He is always doing more, more than we can imagine.

I am so thankful He is with me. Day in and day out, He doesn’t change although how I see Him and His work is always enlarging. It won’t be until Heaven that I maybe see the entirety of God’s work and, even then, I don’t believe it is all for me to know.

It is for me to trust…to be still… and to know that He is God.

Blessings on your week!
Liz

Eyes on Him

Keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus helps keep me steady. Knowing that He goes before me and hems me in gives me peace on the path.

If I focus on the ugly and let it suck me in and under, I will soon be gasping under the weight of oppression and the discouragement of defeat. Lord knows, there is ugliness. We have all been in it. But to focus on it is where the mistake is. God’s beauty and light can turn ugliness and darkness upside down and inside out.

Not focusing on the ugly is not the same as ignoring it. We can be in the thick of something ugly and also see God’s pure and beautiful, redeeming grace. Eyes on Jesus is not about pretending the darkness isn’t around us. It is about looking for where God is and where He is working. When I see Him at work then I know that is the place to be. Things might not be pretty at that point but there will certainly be glimpses of beauty, hope, and restoration.

May we fix our eyes on Jesus!

I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Psalm 16:8 (New International Version)

Lazy Days

Back in January I was thinking that things had become a little too busy. Of course, November – Mid January is an incredibly busy time for our business. And we had a short reprieve in February and then we started to move into the busy Hungarian festival season. And then add two tours to Hungary in the mix. I was wondering how I was going to pull it off and still stay sane. Don’t get me wrong — I love what we do. I love the opportunity to be innovative and responsive to the needs of the people who care about their Hungarian heritage. I love creating. I love to help people connect to their Hungarian roots in a variety of ways.

I also like time to think and process and plan. I am fairly introverted, too. And, we also have the blessing of living near our two grandchildren — we want to see them as much as we can.

There has been some stress as well as financial readjustments and reorganization of plans due to the current Coronavirus situation. But, I am welcoming these “lazy days”. Of course, I don’t really feel like we are being lazy, we are processing at a much slower pace than we typically do and it has been refreshing. This crazy pause in life and business has given me a greater freedom to think and dream and plan without constant interruptions.

My salvation gives me peace in the midst of the turmoil. I have also found rest.

I don’t know what the future holds but I know who holds the future. God is steady. He is my Rock.

Have you found a new perspective in the last six months? Have you been able to find joy in something new? Have you been able to find new pathways to rest?

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.
Psalm 62:1 New International Version

Crushing Blows

You know those situations that are so devastating they take your breath away?

When you wonder “Where are You, God?”

And you are in a space for a long while before you can move even the tiniest step forward.

God is with you there. And He will be with you in each step as you gain your footing and get re-oriented. It all takes time and tears. I hate that this life, which was perfectly perfect by design, is has heartache. But we are not in Heaven. There are beautiful things here and they look even more beautiful against the pain and sin that we also experience.

God knows your pain. God loves you. Sometimes we are in a place where it is just God and us.

Lord, when I am in the place when everything and everyone is stripped away, let me have the faith and trust in you that you are enough. Amen.

Aligning

I am one of those people who can hear different perspectives on situations. I can be empathetic and see the why behind the what — and those whys only serve as explanations, not excuses.

Being empathetic can be exhausting, particularly when I am being asked to choose a side and take a stand. If I am asked to align myself with someone or a position, you can bet that I will be taking a close look at it and praying about it. And, sometimes, that takes time.

I can love people. My heart can be broken for people. But to align with them means we need to be on the same page. Unfortunately, a lot of times we aren’t even in the same book, let alone on the same page. I will not try to prove I care about a situation by surrendering my beliefs. I do care, but if I need to take action, it needs to be in line with what I believe.

Aligning my heart and behavior with God is a lifetime pursuit. Sometimes I am simply terrible at it. I mainly need to not rely on my own strength for change but on the Holy Spirit to guide and direct. And I need to pray for the willing spirit to follow God’s lead to those places where I would not have wanted to go on my own. Whatever He has for me to do comes out of His work in my heart. His work has been going on for 50+ years and He clearly is not done yet. I will be a work in progress until I die, and then I will be at peace!

The closer I am aligned to God, the easier it is to see His work around me. Of course, I can choose to not participate but then that tells me that I am not terribly closely aligned with Him. Walking with God changes my heart to be more like His.

If you are in the midst of a relationship challenge, don’t underestimate the power of God to change the hearts of all parties involved. Pray for the one you are at odds with for 30 days. Start out slow and ask God to bless that person. Then, as the days go by, deepen what you pray for and ask God to bless that person in a variety of ways. Find Scriptural prayers to pray for that person, but you don’t have to mention it to them. Let it be a time between you and God.

This is a great way for God to align your heart with His!

Blessed is the man
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:1-3 ESV