PrayerPoints ~ Tuesday, March 22nd

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 107

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1

Give thanks…

Let them give thanks…

Let them give thanks….

Let them give thanks…

Let them give thanks…

There seems to be a bit of a theme here in Psalm 107. Do you see it? There is quite a listing of the things that God had done for His people throughout this Psalm but I think it is most important to remember the very first verse — we give thanks to the Lord because He is good…

…even if our circumstances seem to stink at the moment.

Blessings on your day as you ponder the goodness of God!

 

 

 

Getting what you deserve

Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Getting what you deserve

Have you ever heard Dave Ramsey speak? One of his classic lines is “Deserve is a dirty word”. Have you ever thought about it in that way?

Typically the world encourages us to “Have it Your Way” or reminds you that “You Deserve a Break Today”. Do most people really need to reminder to put themselves first? Isn’t that the typical sinful nature?

Here are some titles for magazines for women:

  • Self
  • Me
  • All You
  • Allure
  • First
  • More
  • She

Notice a trend here? Buying into this mentality really wreaks havoc on our spiritual life. When we start thinking about what we deserve in the worldly sense, we start a journey on a difficult path that generally leads to dissatisfaction, depression, envy, regret, uneasiness, unhappiness, discontentment, displeasure, fretfulness, restlessness. How quickly we can become dissatisfied with our house, job, spouse, children, vehicle, friends, etc.

If we think about what we deserve in the spiritual sense, it really can put a positive spin on the way we look at others. God graciously extends His forgiveness to us and there is nothing we have done or can do to deserve it. Isn’t that Good News? Contemplating God’s graciousness to us really calls us to consider whether we are sharing that same grace with others and learn how to be content with God’s provisions.

The next time someone causes you a little grief, consider giving them something they don’t ‘deserve’ ~ give them a break, cut them some slack. Maybe they are in a circumstance where they would benefit from God’s compassionate grace and you are the person called to extend it!

8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.  9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities
.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Expectations

It is so easy to be moved from being satisfied to dissatisfaction when we allow our own or someone else’s expectations run the show.

Not all expectations are bad. I am referring to the expectation that you will be able to pull off the unrealistic perfect family gathering this weekend! We see those photos in ads where there aren’t any dirty dishes or dust bunnies and every outfit blends or coordinates with every outfit in the photo and all of that is accented by the perfect food, makeup, and….well, the list goes on. Media and advertising have painted unrealistic and unattainable “picture perfect” moments for us to try to reproduce in our own homes.

Can you imagine how long it takes to set up those photo shoots?

And when we aren’t able to pull it off we become dissatisfied with what we have.

Don’t do it. Don’t go there.

Folks, it isn’t happening at our house. We won’t be serving perfection but we are serving love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace. We have been busy with life so we might be a wee bit tired and the house isn’t perfectly clean. We didn’t buy new dresses. We probably won’t be color coordinated but we will be enjoying one another’s company. When it is time to share the big meal, my goal is for all the food to be ready at the same time but even that isn’t always easy.

Expectations. Sometimes they kill the joy of the moment!

God sent Jesus in an unexpected way to save ordinary people like you and me. Jesus died an unimaginable death to set things right with God on our behalf. This isn’t the picture perfect situation by the world’s standards but God’s love for us is perfect, so this evidence of God’s love is perfection.

God has given you His all. Ask Him to open your eyes and heart to be satisfied with all He is and all He is doing.

Thank You, Father, for Your perfect love!

Seasons

I do love the routine of the seasons although there are some seasons I like better than others. I like the general predictability of the seasons within a year but even the “unseasonal” events make life interesting.

I have always enjoyed the seasons of parenting and rarely wished the days away. I enjoyed each moment as it came. And if I was in an ugly moment, I knew that it would change shortly. When it was a sweet moment, I savored it knowing it would also move quickly to the next.

I also enjoy the seasons of the Church Year. Today, Palm Sunday, marks the start of Holy Week. It is a very busy week at our church for the entire staff. It probably is at yours as well. There are many people putting in many hours of preparation. Pray for your pastors, musicians, janitorial staff, secretaries, bulletin designers, printers and collators. Pray for the many who will attend church only because it is expected in their family. Pray for God’s Word to be preached effectively and for many ears to hear the Gospel, pure and true.

And as you travel through this Holy Week, consider the walk Jesus took for you. Pray for a greater integration of His gifts of love, mercy, and forgiveness into your life. As His gifts pour out into your life let them flow unrestricted to those around you!

God’s Promptings

I wish I could tell you I always responded to the nudges I get from God, but I don’t. Sometimes I am too dense, too tired, too vulnerable, too distracted, too impatient, too independent, too wrapped up in my life and my crazy situations to pay attention to what God is showing me or asking me to do.

I can get as crabby as I want with my kids or my husband for not responding to me ~ aren’t I queen of their world? But I act so similarly when it is God requesting me to incline my ear to Him or use my hands to serve one of His beloved in my midst.

Have you had a situation when you responded to a prompt from God, not having any clue what the impact would be only to hear from someone that it was exactly what they needed at that exact moment to encourage them? Isn’t that just like God? He weaves together two lives, even if only for a moment, to bring encouragement, cheer, confirmation, and the reminder of “I see you, my sweet child, I know you are struggling. Please trust Me as I work out all the details. In time, My love. In My time, My love.

As you still yourself before the Lord with your plans for the day, invite Him to interrupt your schedule and when He asks something of you, be sure to respond! I know He knows we are only human, but if we are regularly too dense, too tired, too vulnerable, too distracted, too impatient, too independent, too wrapped up in our “own” lives and crazy situations to pay attention to what God is showing us or asking us to do then we are clearly missing the point!

If you have a story to share about God prompting you, you responding, and how someone else was encouraged in the faith, please share it! It is such a testimony to God knowing even the tiniest details of our concerns and responding to them!

PrayerPoint ~ Love ~ March 3

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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

It is unfortunate that we use the word love so casually in the English language. In the context of Scripture love takes on a much different intensity. When encountering the inevitable challenges of life, it is only in the strength of the Holy Spirit that we can truly love to the depth and lengths that might be required of us. And when we ponder His love for us we can get a glimpse of the true meaning of love.
Fruit of the Spirit implies a long standing connection. Before there is any fruit, there must be a root. As you are contemplating the upcoming garden season, let’s let the Holy Spirit awaken us to the seeds, roots, and fruits that will reflect our Heavenly Father.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.  Ephesians 3:14-21 NIV


Letting His seeds take root so we can share His fruit!

Liz

The Grave is not the End!

Is it just me? Lately there seems to be so much tragedy. There is the big stuff with the weather but then there are the things that happen on a smaller scale: fatal car accidents,  suicides, a deadly cancer returning, a fall down the steps that leaves someone in a coma.

How do we cope with these kinds of things?

My fear of facing the death of the ones I love ebbs and flows. My dad died when I was six so death has been a part of my earliest memories. Sometimes I fear the earthly separation that death brings. I find it challenging to balance the intense love I have for people with the knowledge that one day, I will probably  be living without them.

As I considered the pain and failing body my mom was dealing with as well as knowing her faith, I felt selfish wanting to keep her here when she could be whole and with Jesus. It was important for me to release her from this earth and keep Heaven on my mind at the same time.

What early experiences have you had with death that have shaped your approach today? Is there fear? Is there pain? Is there hurt? Is there anticipation? I always have to remind myself of God’s perspective on death. We will all meet our Maker one day. Pray for those you know who are struggling with disease and decay. Offer to assist them in some way. Pray for their peaceful release. And pray for their families too.