Inside/Outside

As we look to the empty tomb we are confident of God’s work in and through our lives. We are on the inside — receiving and thankful for His gifts.

But are hearts are heavy for those who insist on remaining on the outside. They are skeptical, hurt, angry, confused. They have had some difficult things to live through and they don’t trust or believe in Jesus. We may not understand their perspective but we pray for them. We all know and love those who have rejected God’s gift of grace.

And there are others who don’t know at all. They have not heard about the Jesus we know. Even though the heavens do declare, it is important for us to also proclaim our faith in a way that opens doors for conversation. Jesus died for all.

May we be loving to all — those on the inside the walls of faith as well as those who have stepped away or truly have never known Jesus. We don’t know the whole story. Our love and compassion can make an amazing difference in how they view God.

May we love generously with the love that has been given to us!

He is Risen!

He is Risen, Indeed!

Alleluia!

Fluctuations

A lovely beach in Florida!

Things change. You’ve noticed too, haven’t you?

Schedules. Jobs. Bank Accounts. Relationships. Health. People.

Some of these improve, some decline. Some of them have a cyclical feel about them while others are abrupt.

Have you had some changes in your life recently that have thrown you for a loop? I certainly have! I admit, I often welcome a change in routine.

Six years ago today, I wrote this on Facebook:

Always use a pencil when writing things in your planner!!!! You never know when God has a change of plans coming!

And it is just as true for me today! In fact, those of you who have known me for a while, know to keep our address in pencil! My physical location has changed and, hopefully, I have also changed (and grown) as a result of living this life.

Each move, each change, has been an opportunity to adjust the way I view the world. Have I been hardened? Grown in my compassion and service for my fellow travelers? Have I become more discerning? More intentional? More loving? Of course, there is always loss along the way, but there always is loss when engaging in the world.

Here is my confession: I get a little panicky when there seems to be relentless undulation. When I come up for air, I want air — not water. Rapid changes can make me feel like I am gulping air and desperately trying to get oriented!

Here is a link to a song that has a phrase I love to remember:

“Sometimes He calms the storm, but other times He calms His child.”

Do you have a favorite passage of Scripture, hymn, or Christian song that speaks to you about life changes?

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. [Hebrews 13:8, NIV]

May you be comforted by the unchanging love, grace, and mercy of Jesus!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: MINDFULNESS

Inheritance

What we receive through inheritance is more than just the physical. Our biological parents have contributed to our genetic makeup – for good and for bad, even our tendency towards certain illness as well as other physical or mental challenges. Our parents had no control over what we “received” – they just created a person.

And we inherited it all.

Some of what we “inherit” may not be the best but we learn to live with it and work through it.

When we inherit the “stuff” of someone when they die, it might be a favorite object, a sum of money, or a plot of land. It might be useful and usable. It might be something that takes a lot of work to “discover”. Sometimes the items of an inheritance are overwhelming. Unwanted. Misunderstood.

The concept of inheritance is mentioned quite a bit in Scripture. What God has provided for us can also can be overwhelming. Unwanted. Misunderstood.

Growing in my understanding of my spiritual inheritance helps keep me more centered in my daily life. I am here on this earth for such a short time and eternal considerations should have more of my focus!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. [1 Peter 1:3-5 NIV]

PrayerPrompt: FEAR

Blessings as you explore your inheritance!

Liz

Disclaimer: I am not a biblical scholar or a pastor. For more detailed understanding of the ways of God, please visit with your pastor or priest if you are a part of a church body. If you don’t have a church home, ask someone you know and trust if they have a Christian church they recommend and get connected.

 

2019 PrayerPoints for Lent

 

Florida Beach wHello! Hello! and Welcome!

It’s time for PrayerPoints again!

One thing I have discovered about myself is that I like to employ a variety of perspectives when I am in a learning mode. It helps me round out my view and see things from different angles. I also need to focus intently if I am going to move forward. Otherwise, I get distracted.

In 2019, PrayerPoints will take a little different approach compared to other years. It might not be your thing, and that’s ok. I won’t be offended if you choose to find another way to prepare during this Lenten season.

This year, my encouragement to you will be to reflect and journal your thoughts as you contemplate the verse and writing prompt provided each day. If you don’t like to write, you can choose to video or audio record your thoughts. You can also simply pray all around the topics with no “record” of your thoughts. Feel free to adapt it to your needs. But don’t be afraid to try something new. It is important to not get so caught up in perfecting the process that you miss the chance to step away from your regular routine, create some space,  and do some honest reflection during this Lenten season. Writing things down helps me gather my thoughts and it might be a useful tool for you as well.

Each day, starting today, I will provide you with a prompt that will serve as your PrayerPoint for the day. I will write my responsive prayer/thoughts and you will write (or otherwise consider) yours. On the following day, I will share what I have pondered/prayed for that prompt and I will also assign the next prompt. If you want to email me your response, I would be privileged to read it. But if you want to keep it between you and God, that is completely fine. There is no requirement to share, but the option is available. Some people, like me, benefit from outside accountability.

Where you have been in life will absolutely inform and impact how you see and hear Scripture and each experience you go through. If you have been an underdog, you will likely have a huge heart for a fellow underdog. If you have watched addictive behaviors in your home, you may (or may not) have compassion for others who struggle with addiction. Allowing God’s Word to cast light on how and what we process as we go through life is a way to grow in our understanding of our experiences, particularly in the light of God’s Word. We each come with our own prayer perspective. I encourage you to allow God to shape and mold your prayer perspective because it will help you make sense of your trials and tribulations. Remember, your words can comfort, love, and support others as they journey alongside you through this life.

So much of what we walk through in this physical life has a spiritual correlation. You might be able to make that connection with these PrayerPoint prompts. If you are in the midst of processing the physical realm of these things, the spiritual connection may not be apparent and that is okay. The connection may come later.

This time during Lent is for contemplation and reflection and might include things like:

  • Where am I in my relationship with God?
  • Am I stuck somewhere on the road toward healing?
  • Am I in a place of repentance?
  • Am I struggling with pride?
  • What has God done for me through Jesus?
  • How does Jesus’ death and resurrection impact my daily life?

PrayerPrompt: INHERITANCE

May God bless you as you discover more about His love and provision for you in the weeks to come.

Liz

 

What is left to do?

Flowers w

Jesus, the spotless lamb, is the author and perfecter of our faith.

He took our guilt and shame.

He suffered on our behalf.

He endured death on a cross.

And on the third day He rose again.

He gave His life for ours.

And our response?

We can live, love, forgive, serve, and proclaim His name to all the nations.

We can defend those who have no defenses.

We can stand up for those who cannot speak for themselves.

We can love the unloveable.

We can touch the untouchable.

So much of this can happen right in our own community, right where we live.

He is risen!

For you and me!

Let’s respond to His grace!

On the way,

Liz

Boundaries and Perfection

There are things we have control over and things we don’t.

Learning about my own boundaries (or lack of them, in some cases) is a very good thing. Sometimes it takes an intense situation to recognize where a problem is and, oftentimes, the problem is with me. I want things to go a certain way and they aren’t going that way and then what? I have to decide my next move.

I am not in charge of everything, but I am in charge of my behavior.

First I need to figure out if I really should be calling the shots on a particular thing. Then I need to determine if “my way” is truly the best way. There is usually more than one way to get somewhere.

It’s a lot to sort out and it’s a lifetime of learning for me!

We each have unique gifts and I trust God is refining all of us in His time. I know He is refining me. He is working out those details in my character and in my life. I still have a lot to learn and I do have to do my part, but I also need to trust that God is working out the details, weaving together the different aspects of my life to create something beautiful. It might not be my idea of perfection, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful.

Jesus is the pioneer and perfecter of my faith!

Unfortunately, it is so easy to get caught up in what we want and are looking for. It is way too easy. Boundaries are healthy and important and we all have a lot to learn about being healthy in relationships, but if the focus is always on us and our ideas, the results will not be eternal.

Instead, let us fix…  “our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” [Hebrews 12:2-3 NIV]

May He grant you His perfect peace!

On the way,

Liz

You might be able to find all of these books on boundaries through ILL (Inter Library Loan) if you want to brush up on the concept. I plan to!

 

Settled

It’s nice to feel situated. It is a relief to know things are settled – an old bill, the future (at least in theory), and our hearts.

When I am unsettled and stressed about something, I can get anxious.

  • How will this play out?
  • Have I covered all the bases?
  • What have I forgotten?
  • What if all my efforts are in vain?
  • Am I doing enough?
  • Am I enough?

Have you ever had your mind entertain those types of questions? It can be in human relationships or jobs or even in my relationship with God. Sometimes things “feel” unsettled even though God assures me that they are.

It is important for me to know and remember that God, through Jesus, worked out my salvation. The “bill” there is settled.

Jesus is

“‘the stone you builders rejected,
    which has become the cornerstone.’

 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” [Acts 4:11-12 NIV]

Check out Psalm 118.

On the way,

Liz

It is finishedw