May I…

May I wash your feet?

It’s a little personal. And yet, Jesus set out to do just that when He met with His disciples for the Last Supper.

Foot washing is a little risky for both of parties. It’s making ourselves a little vulnerable— both for the one doing the task and for the one receiving it.

I try to get a pedicure once or twice a year, but it’s been a few years. And so, I am not sure if the person doing the job will judge me for not “taking care of business in a timely manner.” I have so many reasons for not being there and they are all reasonable.

I don’t believe a pedicure and a foot washing with an intention to serve are the same thing at all, but they can invoke similar thoughts and emotions.

I appreciate my feet and all they do for me. Sometimes my feet are filthy—and they would have been especially dirty during Jesus’ time with all the sand and sandals and dusty roads. Even so, Jesus washed the feet of the disciples. He didn’t expect them to get them in shape before He did the task. He took each foot — dirt, callouses, bunions, and all.

And He takes each of us — sin, selfishness, despair, grief, anger, and all.

Lord Jesus, wash away all the ugliness of my sin. Help me to accept the work You are doing on my behalf. Renew that right spirit within me. Grant me your perfect peace. Amen.

Point of view.

We all have a way we see things. It’s based on our history and experiences and the way we see the world. One important thing to consider is how much of how we see the world has a Godly influence? Are we getting closer to seeing things from God’s point of view?

I definitely ebb and flow a bit here. I can get sucked into the ruts of past ways of thinking— negative first impressions or hard core disappointments on how I (or worse yet, someone I love) was treated. But, remembering that God sees the big picture and He is working things out makes a big difference for me and my point of view.

God is working all things out — the good, the bad, and the ugly. The longer I walk with Him, the easier it is for me to grow my patience and perspective. Slowly, ever so slowly, it is getting closer to His. And that bring me peace.

Let your requests be made known to God.

Philippians 4:5-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to GodAnd the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Let your requests be made known to God.

I sure have trouble with this! I feel like I have spent a lifetime practicing the present your requests to God part. I still don’t get that right. And with thanksgiving — in every situation? Well, that isn’t always so easy either. I have a long history with God — and still, I get distracted and overwhelmed.

Some things take a while to come to fruition. Some things are never meant to be. But that peace of God is such an amazing gift. The work God does in our hearts as we wait, in prayer, is His work. The guarding of our hearts and minds is His work, but the presenting everything to Him in prayer and supplication is what we need to do.

I am so thankful that God’s peace is in short supply. He wants to give us this beautiful gift! I just need to remember to turn it over to Him before I have any time to be anxious about it.

Let your requests be made known to God.

God loves to hear from His children! What are you laying at His feet today?

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness.

Psalm 51: 13 – 19

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
build up the walls of Jerusalem;
19 then will you delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness.

Sin is sin. The earthly consequences often differ, but in the end, we are all guilty.

I believe satan loves to poke and needle the guilty. He wants us to never forget our sins. And his goal seems to be to interrupt or delay the recognition of our sin as sin and distract us from going to our Deliverer.

Have you ever been stuck in the cycle of sin-guilt-shame-hiding-isolation- discouragement-frustration-anger-distance-sin? It might look a little different in your life, but this type of cycle does not produce healing. Somewhere in the cycle needs to be the confession-forgiveness-deliverance!

Don’t let yourself be fooled by satan and his tactics. The world certainly gives us every reason to justify our behavior. We have been through a lot recently and it looks like things aren’t easing up just yet. But God — He longs to restore and renew us. Daily confession brings daily deliverance. What a beautiful way to start a new day!

Take not your Holy Spirit from me

Psalm 51: 7-12

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Take not your Holy Spirit from me.

Another gut wrenching plea. The weight of our sin in unbearable except for Jesus’ work.

But, if I am honest, sometimes the weight of my sin doesn’t impact me to the core as much as someone else’s. How could that be? I think it is my sinful nature coming through along with the whispering lies of satan.

I am confident in God’s love, care, and provision for me. I am very confident. And yet I vacillate between the gravity of my sin and the work done for me. It’s difficult to hold both of those at the same time.

Do you struggle with this, too?

Restore to me the joy of your salvation.

Psalm 51: 7-12

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation.

It’s been a long few years. And things are getting a little more unsettled with what is happening in Europe. Whether or not we are experiencing the same challenges as our neighbors, it is disheartening to watch things around us.

Internal joy is not dependent on external circumstances. And, of course, the joy of salvation is such a different thing altogether. It’s above and beyond and yet I don’t think I consider it on a daily basis.

The joy of your salvation.

The word restore indicates that the joy has been there. Being separated from God should break us. And that brokenness makes us miserable. And that is evident to those around us.

Joy is contagious! And the joy of salvation? It’s certainly a cause for celebration. And once you know that particular joy, knowing that you have separated yourself from it can rock you to your core.

Lord, let me comprehend the weight of my sin but, in confession to You, bring it all. And allow You to wash it clean, renew my spirit, and restore my joy! Amen.

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

Guard Your Hearts and Your Minds

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

We certainly must do what we can to guard our hearts and our minds. And going to God in prayer in every situation looks like the first line of defense. There are times that seeking God has fallen off my “to do” list. I get overwhelmed with the tasks ahead of me and I “save time” by plowing ahead — ungirded, disconnected, and underprepared.

We are in the world and we can fall prey to worldly things so easily. As we present every situation to God, He uses that time to send us His peace and protection. That peace of God can flood our conversations, our schedule, our tasks … our day.

Let’s do a five day challenge this week. 5 days of intentional prayer time. If you are in, let me know and send me one of your top verses via email to vospower6@hotmail.com. For the next 4 days we will start each day with a PrayerPoint.

For today, take time to present your day to God. What is on the calendar? How do you feel about what is on the calendar? Think of the mundane tasks as well as the overwhelming ones. Walk through your commitments, but don’t forget to pray for those gaps. Is there some space for God’s agenda? Are we booking each day so solidly that there is no room to move and be flexible?

I’ll see you tomorrow!

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.

Fearless

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever. [Psalm 23, NIV]

Most days I am fearless. But there are some days, I am a puddle. Feelings drive me crazy. Sometimes my thoughts drive me crazy. Focusing on The Truth of God’s Word is such an important process for me. Sometimes I am in a place where I forget some really important Scriptural truths that would calm my heart and mind and spirit. No matter how much I know Scripture, as a visual person, I love to see it! I love words and it is important for me to see the words — even just a few — that bring me back to Truth.

The Lord is my Shepherd…

[I shall not want….]

I can’t see that without thinking about the rest of the Psalm.

Create in me…

[a clean heart o God….]

I can fill in the rest but the first part reorients and reminds me, especially when I am floundering.

If you are visual, like me, find a few of God’s truths and write them out. You can doodle or color them. You can make or buy a wall hanging that reminds you of God’s perspective. With all that is going on in the world today and the general exhaustion that we all seem to be under, finding and creating places of peace is important work. It is easy enough to get caught up into the negative because we are swimming in it. If you are seeking peace, it might be that surrounding yourself with some visual cues taken from God’s word can create that place of peace.

Blessings on your week ahead!
Liz