PrayerPoints ~Wednesday, March 16th

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 49

“Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him.” Psalm 49:16-17

People often pursue success relentlessly.  There are many different perspectives on what is considered successful and many of them have to do with money, position, and power. It is very easy to get caught up in the world’s definition of success because we are bombarded with so many messages about what the world considers successful.

Think for a bit about what you consider successful. Then take a few minutes to evaluate the path your are on and how it aligns with what you value. Then take some time to be in prayer and God’s Word to see if there are some adjustments you need to make. For me, it is easy to be swayed to believe what the world says about success because there are so many images and messages that are out there, trying to influence me.

Riches are not the problem….but riches at the expense of others definitely can be.

It is easy to look at others and think about how I would live my life differently if I was in their shoes. It is much more difficult to consider where I am and what I have and how to align my path to the things God considers of value.

I will be praying for God’s wisdom and discernment as I think about how I define success.

 

 

 

 

 

PrayerPoints ~ Wednesday, March 2nd

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 46

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear; even 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.”    Psalm 46: 1-3

The imagery in the verses above…wow! it sounds like utter devastation! And, unfortunately, we have some days, weeks, months, and years like that. When you are in trouble, lean into His strength!

There is no telling what you are in the middle of at this very moment in your life but I have a great imagination. You probably do, too. I think it is both a blessing and a curse. If you are anything like me, when you hear some “bad news” you can imagine the worst case scenario in about 3 seconds flat.  But, the potential positive to that “quick thinking” is being able to empathize with others and pray for them as they walk through a challenging time even if I haven’t experienced the same situation myself. When I hear about people who are struggling with something, I immediately think about the needs, the emotions, the fears, or the “what is next?” kinds of things and I cover them in prayer. And the times I have absolutely no idea about their situation but I know there is a need? I honestly leave it up to God to fill in the blanks. At one time or another, everyone struggles with:

  • faith
  • finances
  • fears
  • relationships
  • jobs
  • education/training
  • health

So it is a safe bet that I can pray over each of those categories for anyone and God, who knows it all anyway, hears my pleas.

It’s hard to watch someone struggle through a difficult season. There are times we can only pray and wait. We can’t jump in to fix or solve the problem, but we must hand it over to God, trusting in His work. Sharing God’s Word can bring refreshment to weary bones. God’s Word is always in season, but certainly a source of strength during an anxious and fearful time in life.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.”   Psalm 46:10

A special thank you to my friend, Kristin, who has taken these great verses and put them in such a nice setting!

PrayerPoints ~ Monday, February 29th

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 34

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

There is so much comfort in Psalm 34. I just highlighted one verse above out of many I draw comfort from. As you read through this Psalm, do you find one particular verse that is encouraging? Write it out and commit it to memory!

What I love about God’s Word is it is always relevant to my life. Sometimes a certain passage in Scripture will remind me of an earlier time in my life because there is a song connected to it or a particular situation that it brings to mind. I can’t imagine traveling through life without God’s Word to sharpen my focus, widen my perspective of His work, provide me with His peace, reminding me of His love, or helping me face my sin.

As you walk through this week, write down a verse that has been important to you in your Christian walk. You might also consider writing down why it is meaningful to you and sharing it with someone. You can post it in the comments section below.

Blessings on your week!

Liz

PrayerPoints ~ Friday, February 26th

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 31

“Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.”  Psalm 31:16

David sure knows how to write with passion! As I read through Psalm 31, sometimes it is a huge stretch for me to think about where he has been and what he is writing about because I haven’t experienced his life. But others times, it seems like I have been where he has been–at least that is how  it feels when I read his words. David gives so many examples of the incredible highs and desperate lows that come with life and yet he consistently encourages us to take refuge in and trust the Lord.

Whether you are in that incredible high or desperate low, God is there! May your intentional time in His Word give you His instruction and grant you His peace!

 

Formulas

3 steps to a new _________!

10 ways to teach your ______ how to ______!

12 foods you should eat every day!

7 ways to a new __________!

9 foods to throw out of your diet!

I know most of the things I should be doing but I am so overwhelmed with everything I have to do that I would love a sure fire formula for a few battle areas. Do you ever feel the same way? I know when I am desperate I am not as discerning as I need to be and it is then that I fall prey to deception.

If every formula depended on only me, maybe, just maybe they would work, but considering my level of distraction, I don’t guess so. While I am not against suggestions, I think it is important to remember that many of the “formulas” for weight loss, obedient children, a better marriage, success in school, etc do not take into account that people and their wills are also a part of the equation. Some of these ultimate formulas are ultimately frustrating and keep us chasing our tails!

If you find yourself in a desperate spot, hoping that someone else’s perfect formula will help you out of a crazy situation, think again because if you pursue a plan without any discernment on your part, you might make things worse. There isn’t a perfect, sure fire plan for most things because we are dealing with unique people and complicated lives and culture. You cannot control every variable and you should not try.

There may be some things you can control and there are many, many more things you cannot. Amazingly, God allowed us to have our wills and He continues to work in, with, and through our mistakes and struggles to bring His message of love and grace to a hurting world. If we do a little more releasing of things we want to control, God can move in and have some wiggle room to transform a situation. It might not follow a formula someone recommended to you but are you comfortable enough with God to let Him lead you in a way unique to your situation? Following someone else’s formula isn’t always the best plan–but following God is!

Dig into His Word and seek His face. You might consider what those around you have to say but listen with discernment. When you adopt a formula, you are taking the lead. It is hard for God to lead when we are in the way!

Seasons….of Perceived Powerlessness

We often think that because we can’t do anything about a situation that we are powerless. It is true, there are some things we cannot fix, predict, or control. And so we are powerless in a sense. We can’t change others. We can’t bring the dead back to life. We can’t heal illness by the power of our minds. We can’t take back our angry words. There is so much we can’t do when it comes to the troubles of this life.

And yet, by surrendering all of these things to God, we acknowledge where the power truly lies. Praying for and with someone or some situation or circumstance is often only what we can do. And yet there is great power in that process of praying.

Recognize Who is in control
Surrender your preconceived notions for the best course of action
Depend on God’s promises
Allow God to change YOU – the only thing that you can truly change
Show mercy and grace
Offer forgiveness
Listen to the needs of others
Dig deep into God’s Word
Renew your mind with His Word

Don’t let your circumstances psych you out! You aren’t ever truly powerless with God. There are things you can do. Depend on God and not on your own understanding

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. [Romans 12:1-3]

Fishing: Intention & The Big Picture

(part 5 of 5)

Don generally fishes with a “catch & release” mentality. He enjoys being outdoors and kayaking around in the summer sun with birds chirping and wildlife soaring and scurrying around. On a regular day his time is spent in meetings and meeting deadlines and so this slow pace, with no official expectation, other than to get away from regular duties and enjoy nature, is a great way to relax.

On the contrary, when satan uses his lures and bait, he is fishing for keeps. If he can get us hooked on any number of things that can wreak havoc on our lives he is accomplishing what he has set out to do. And we, sinners that we are, willingly succumb to the temptations that the world has to offer. Even if we get snagged in a serious way, caught and transported across the world in foreign waters and a long way from “home”, God longs to negotiate our release. It requires a recognition of our sinful nature and a heart surrendered to Him.

Why did Jesus ask for fisherman to be fishers of men?

Let’s take another look at God’s Word:

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. [Matthew 4:18-22 NIV]

Living beside the Sea of Galilee meant their daily sustenance involved a lot of fish so it was essential to know how to fish successfully! Jesus called four people who had similar experiences and two sets of brothers. Interesting. Living and working side by side requires an awful lot of patience and respect and negotiation — even if we aren’t fishing. These four had some common experiences and likely had learned to relate well to one another and were a source of encouragement and support while fishing on the water. All those are important for discipling “on land”.

An awareness of the climate, weather, access points, and location are all things fisherman learn. Fisherman also know their equipment and keep it in good repair. They are always open to learning and have a lot of patience. A good fisherman knows there isn’t any point trying to fish in a hurry. It usually takes a lot of time.

I am so thankful for what God is teaching me. He is so relevant even in areas where I can hardly relate. I am really not a big fan of fishing but I am a big fan of spending time with Don. Who knew I would “catch” all this about fishing just by tagging along?

And where are you? What principles are you “catching” from your environment? And what ideas are others catching from you? I pray we are all sharing Biblical principles in our uniquely gifted ways!