Focus

  • Eyeglasses
  • Binoculars
  • Microscopes
  • Magnifiers

My glasses help bring things into focus. Since I don’t have to wear them all the time I don’t always have them with me when I need them. For some people, they can hardly see and glasses or contacts are necessary to start the day.

Binoculars allow us to see things in the distance. While using binoculars you are somewhat ignoring the current surroundings to bring something else into view. For a time. You can’t live with binoculars on your face, though some avid birders might want to!

Microscopes really bring an up-close and detailed look at things that are really not in our regular field of vision and require extra assistance to see. The microscopic world is fascinating but that is another area where too much time there means it is difficult to be in the here and now.

Magnifier pages are awesome for looking at maps with teeny, tiny towns. It takes a minute to figure out how to hold it so it does the greatest amount of good and it works great. It just takes some getting used to!

Our lives can benefit from all of these tools that bring our world into focus. There is a time and place for each of them but also a need for balance.  Do you prefer to deal in the nitty, gritty details? Are you going for the overview? Do you like the long range planning? Are you caught up in the here and now that you are just in survival mode? I have found myself in all of those situations at different times in my life.

I love that God is here and now. He is in my present, my every day. And I appreciate that He is the God of details. His intricate creation is absolutely amazing.  If that isn’t enough, He is also the God of generations – He sees the long range. He’s got everything from the big picture to the tiniest detail in His hand!

It is a challenge to juggle all of these ways to focus on my life. It isn’t easy changing my perspective all the time. I can do my part, but His part is so much bigger and comprehensive. Resting on God’s work, instead of my own, is important. I need to ask Him where I should be focused.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing 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 12:1-3, NIV]

May your focus be on the work God is doing!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: FOCUS II

Perspective II

Grand Canyon w.jpeg

Wow. The Grand Canyon. Have you ever been there? It is incredibly huge. So huge that you need to spend a little time looking just so you can see. My brother went 30 years ago and he told me there isn’t a picture that can do it justice. So far, I agree. But there were plenty of us trying to capture a bit of the beauty of this place.

We went at the end of the day so there was some amazing light and incredible shadows. The sun was shining and there weren’t very many clouds. The light from the sun flooded all the cracks and crevices. But as the sun was setting, there were these shadows that really played with what I was seeing. They made some of the rock formations appear paper-thin. I knew it wasn’t true, yet I could see it with my own eyes. I knew what was true but my eyes told me what I knew was wrong.

Seeing isn’t everything. How many times are we right in front of something but we don’t see it? Or we thought we saw something but didn’t? If we witness an accident and the police officer questions us, we might give a version of the story that is different then the next person who has another perspective.

I was so surprised by what the shadows did in the canyon. And, digging a little deeper, what shadows can do in my life. Those shadows can be dark places; dark enough to mess with what I see. And my perspective gets messed up.

When I view my circumstances under the Light of God’s Word, it changes how I see things and gives me a full view of what I am facing.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb. [Psalm 139: 11-13, NIV]

May the light of God’s Word flood your circumstance and bring you to a greater understanding and perspective.

Liz

PrayerPrompt: VISION

Grand Canyon Blues w.jpeg

Perspective

Where I have been can inform me about where I am going. Of course, it isn’t always a sure thing. And that is a good thing.

If I come from a place of pain and I don’t process it properly, I might look for and anticipate pain in all parts of my life. If I come from a place of safety and security, my discernment might not be developed enough to perceive danger. Of course, personality tendencies play a role here, too. We all know a Tigger-type personality. And, we all know those who view the world like Eeyore does.

Oh bother!

Focusing on the negatives typically produces more negative. Experiences, both good and bad, leave their marks on us. How we process them is important. Those negative situations in my life can trip me up so keeping my mind and heart focused on God’s Word helps me be oriented!

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. [Philippians 4:8-9, NIV]

This will be a two-part PrayerPoint because we will be at the Grand Canyon later on today and I am sure it will provide some further insight.

PrayerPrompt: PERSPECTIVE

PrayerPoints ~ Monday, February 29th

James 3-17-18w

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

Filters…

A refreshing stream in Colorado
A refreshing stream in Colorado

Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Filters

What do they do for us?

Air filters capture the junk we might end up breathing in.

What about other types of filters? You can filter what you might say by taking out the junk you might want to instinctively say — similar to an air filter. Or if you are talking about pictures and altering the way something looks you can use a variety of filters on Instagram to convey a mood. You can simplify or distort with little effort. What about the filters we use when we watch an interaction (and maybe read more into it than is there) or when we are listening to someone speak and we hear words of condemnation when they really weren’t intended in such a manner.

Have you noticed when you have a certain sensitivity that it makes its appearance in many situations? Maybe that is your filter? Sometimes filters add and sometimes they take away. I think we all have a history of interactions and many of them do come up from the depths at the least expected times.

FILTERS:

* Need to be changed or cleaned regularly

* Protect the air we breathe

* Can slant how we hear or view things

* Alter reality in subtle and not-so-subtle ways

If we would use a filter before we speak what could it do for us? What could it do for others?

Filters help a very verbal person like me have less regret for what I say.

What about using a filter when we LISTEN?

Do we hear what exactly is said? Do we add or subtract based on our history? Do we filter out any positives because we are determined to hear the negatives?

Filters can help my relationships not be exasperated but they can also skew the truth. There is always a level of filtering we do when we hear and when we speak.

As you go about your business today, think about how your perspective and experiences might filter the way you see and hear things. If you are the type of person who finds yourself with many verbal regrets consider pausing before you speak and put a filter in place. Not everything we think needs to be spoken!

Ga$ price$ are high, but I cannot complain…

I won’t lie. I did let out a groan as I drove by all the gas stations yesterday and saw $4.19 at the pump. But if I consider, for just a moment, all of the things that have happened to others that I am not experiencing, it helps me keep my perspective.

There has been nationwide flooding;  many people losing their lives and homes to tornadoes; homes lost to wildfires; earthquakes, tsunamis, and nuclear issues in Japan; and many lives lost in war. You surely know of other incidents of devastation that I haven’t mentioned here.

In comparison? I live in a home that has heat and air and we have an income that allows us to use these ‘extras’. We typically don’t go hungry (and we could stand to once in a while). Our family is in good health and our kids love to learn. I feel incredibly blessed.

With everything else going on in the world, I do feel like the gas prices are relatively minor–they have been this high in 2008. I certainly hope they will go down but this might be the new normal. Who knows?

You are free to complain, but when I honestly take a look around at what is happening to families I know and love, around my community and state, in the US, and across the ocean, I am compelled to do three things:

1) pray for those who are impacted by all of those devastations;

2) figure out how I can pitch in and help someone navigate through a tough time;

3) be thankful for what I have been blessed with.

What are you going to do?

Would you be willing to add someone to your prayer list? Her name is Karolina. She is from Hungary. She is 20 years old. Her dad is very ill. Her mom died several years ago. She is an only child. She has some big things to tackle in order to be able to come back to the US for school in August. Please pray the way gets paved, if that is what God wants. And pray for her dad’s health.

God’s blessings on your week!!

Liz

What is Your Prayer Perspective?

God has provided you with a unique prayer perspective based on your station in life and all of your experiences. God can use all of your adventures (both good and bad) to nurture your heart for prayer. For example, if there is divorce in your family, you have thoughts regarding how it impacts and family, relationships, etc. If you were abused as a child, you likely have a heart for victims of abuse and, due to your circumstances, you have a unique perspective.

There are people God has placed in my life that either need or have requested prayers for a variety of situations, some I relate to well, others I can only imagine the difficulties. I have found that when I just ponder a circumstance, as little as I may know about it, God will bring to mind different angles of the situation that could use prayer.

My mom died after a long battle with cancer. At the moment, I have a prayer perspective for people supporting their parents as they age, navigating all the medical issues, dealing with an estate, being long distance in all of this, trying to keep the siblings connected, being supportive to stressed siblings, etc…..

Think about the things that you have experienced in your life and how God can turn those into a ‘prayer perspective’ for someone in a similar situation. A general prayer is great–I see it as a sketch. But when I think of covering someone in prayer, I think of covering the angles that I see (from my perspective) and it is like coloring in the prayer.