Dwelling Places

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Another incredible view in Transylvania

Why am I here? …And why are you there?

Yea, yea, yea….some of it may have to do with the choices we made and all that, but sometimes we have done some of the exact same things and yet one of us is living out some challenging consequences and the other is not.

Sometimes where we are has nothing to do with our own choices. In fact, many times it has nothing to do with what we have done. We might experience the benefit or the consequence of someone else’s doing.

We didn’t choose the family or circumstances we were born into nor did we choose our ethnicity or our race. We had no choice about whether we were born into poverty or crazy wealth or a barely functioning family. We didn’t even choose the country we were born in.

And yet all these factors play into our early years, which, in turn, can create a path for our lives.

Life is hard and it definitely isn’t fair.

Some “advantages” aren’t actually advantages but it takes some time to sort that out. And sometimes what we think we see isn’t accurate at all… our own perspectives are often skewed.

Good deeds go unrecognized. Bad behavior appears to be rewarded. Illness doesn’t care if you have the sweetest heart or the most meager of bank accounts or even if you live in a remote village, away from any modern medical services.

I can’t dwell there.

Loss and death and disease are universal and trusting in God’s provision and comfort is the only way I survive. Sharing God’s love and compassion in practical ways is one of the ways I cope and move forward in a positive direction. If I think too much about the injustices of life on Earth without a plan to give and serve, I dwell. If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by your situation, I have included some Bible verses that are good to memorize. If you are going to dwell anywhere, God’s Word is the place to do it:

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” 2 Corinthians 1:3

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4

On the way,

Liz

A Time to be Silent

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Looking up in Arizona!

A Time for Everything 
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 NIV

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.


Sometimes there is no fixing a situation.

Have you ever been in a situation where no words could possibly do any good. There are times to be silent and pray like crazy.

For some reason, silence troubles me. I think some of it is because I am a verbal processor. Or maybe silence is uncomfortable when something is wrong or uncomfortable and I feel pressure to fill up that “space” in a conversation that has a pause.

Silence can be a sign that everything is fine or that nothing is or something in between. But it is okay and sometimes it is even preferable over a barrage of words that are tossed haphazardly, littering a conversation. When I do not know what to say it is fine to say, “I am so sorry, I don’t know what to say.” and then get on with the business of just being present.

Sitting in silence is sometimes a very valuable gift.

In order to listen best, one must be silent. Is there someone who can benefit from your presence this week, with or without words? Even if there isn’t a conversation that takes place between the two of you, you can always silently pray, “Lord, be in this moment and fill the needs of this person I am with.” Look for His strength in every situation!

On the way,

Liz

Take the Time!

burnoutwGod is always working in my life but sometimes I just have to slow down and pay attention. That is a part of why I like cycling, especially on a path. The freedom to ponder situations is so important for me. But it is also important to view things in light of Scripture and that means I have to be in God’s Word to get His perspective. I know that if I am unchecked by Scripture, I can muddle all sorts of things rather quickly.

The very moment I think my life is too complicated for contemplation I know I am desperately in need for some. Reflection always leads me to prayer and God adjusting my attitude towards a person or circumstance.

Feeling bogged down and out of time? Stop and pray for your perspective and the day. Don’t budge out the very thing that will give you precisely what you need to accomplish the task!

On the Road,

Liz

We are waiting…

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There is so much activity while waiting.

  • We fidget.
  • We tap.
  • We wonder.
  • We pace.
  • We pray.
  • We plead.
  • We beg.
  • We stress out.
  • We cry.
  • We implore.
  • We stomp.
  • We question.
  • We contemplate.
  • We plan.
  • We are hope full.
  • We are dread full.
  • We are pessimistic.
  • We are cautiously optimistic.
  • We are waiting….

VioletsseSometimes our waiting is a looming dread and sometimes it is a joyful anticipation of what lies ahead. But God is always working, sometimes behind the scenes where we don’t see the entire layout of the plan. We might just see little bits and pieces of His work poke through like flowers peek through winter debris in early spring.

His work is not fully revealed until the appointed time.

On the Road,

Liz

True North

When navigating a ship to a destination, it is critically important to pay attention to the integrity of the vessel, the charts, the weather, and making sure the crew is capable and able to do their job. It’s a huge responsibility. Going off course due to external forces or internal issues is a serious matter. It happens to

  • Businesses
  • Churches
  • Educational institutions
  • Marriages
  • Families
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • You
  • Me

Have you ever woken up on a particular day and wondered how you got where you were? Sometimes it is by not-so-careful planning. Being off course, even just a little, over a long period of time can really put you in a place you were not intending. How does one stay oriented to True North?

There are so many distractions in life that try to sway me off course. Of course, there are the things of this world that are shiny and fun. Then there are the ugly things of this world that cause me to really wonder about humanity. And then there are the things inside of me that I fight to get out of my life. Or the good things I fight to have in my life like:

  • Prayer
  • Bible Study
  • Gathering with other believers
  • Membership in a healthy congregation
  • Service
  • Confession
  • Forgiveness
  • Accountability
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Holy Communion

God has good gifts for us that draw us closer to Him, strengthen us for the journey, and keep us oriented. The tools are there to help us stay the course but we need to use them.

Heavenly Father ~ Grant us the courage and strength to use the tools You have given us! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

On the Road,

Liz

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A work in progress…

encouragewThe other day I made a very public mistake. You may not have noticed it. I certainly didn’t notice it because if I had, I would not have done it. I am not a perfectionist by any means but when I share information I want it to be accurate, properly spelled, and all that.

Almost the entire day had gone by and finally someone pointed out that I had made a mistake. Actually, I had made several. (Oh how I hate when that happens!) Immediately, I got to work to correct it! And, sadly, it took several tries. For whatever reason, the initial person to point out the error was not able to assist in the correction. However, another person stepped in to stick with me through the process with a lot of patience, she was very pleasant and helpful.

I want to be that kind of person!

A complete stranger stepped in to work with me. How thoughtful and kind! And I wondered, “Am I the one who just points out mistakes or am I the person who will patiently stick with someone as they get it together?” Good question! Sometimes I am both!

I have noticed in myself that there are times I have a lot of compassion for others and there are other times I am so incredibly impatient. Sometimes it has to do with the kind of day I had or the amount of free time I have to help another person. And, sadly, sometimes it has to do with the person I am in conversation with or, at the very least, my perception of the person.

Sometimes I am so stingy with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and gentleness!

But when I am on the receiving end of correction, am I approachable and teachable? Am I willing to listen to what someone has to say and consider it? Naturally, I am more willing to hear from someone I know and love and I know knows and loves me. But there are times a complete stranger, or even someone I don’t particularly like, has valuable insight for me. Can I hear it?

I have to practice receiving correction with grace and humility because it is not my inclination.  My first response is usually to be a little defensive but I have been working on that. There are numerous opportunities for me to improve on my response. What can I say? I am a work in progress!

Heavenly Father, give me your discernment when someone shares advice or correction with me. Lord, grant me discernment when I am inclined to share advice or correction with others! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

On the Road,

Liz

p.s. Can you tell I am having too much fun with Canva?

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I’ll Pray For You

Have you ever been asked by someone to pray for them? I find it a very humbling experience. I often wonder, “Who am I?” to receive such a request that represents such vulnerability and trust of me. It comes from a place of deep need and usually the situation is hard. Sometimes, no details are given. Just a “Please pray.”

Of course, we can all use prayer. But most of the time when someone directly asks you to pray for them they have something quite specific in mind. And sometimes they can’t even talk about it. When I don’t know what is going on – and sometimes even when I do – I pray all around the person and the situation, whatever it is. Some of the areas I pray about include:

  • Physical health
  • Emotional health
  • Spiritual health
  • Employment
  • Family relationships
  • Training/Education
  • Financial concerns

I am always thankful for the opportunity to pray over a prayer request. The situation is often on my mind at various points in a day/week. And while a friend may ask for prayer on a specific thing, my mind always wanders and broadens the prayer. Sometimes knowing more about a situation is helpful as I pray but it isn’t necessary. Sometimes people like to explain their requests, which is fine. Others may be at a loss for words (or the needs are very private) so to make things easier for them I might say “just give me one word and I will cover it”. I can pray quite a bit off of one word because I just try to cover all the bases. When I am at a loss for words or direction, I just remind God that He knows the situation and knows the need and I ask Him to take care of it/them.

Here is an example of me covering the bases on just using a name:

Heavenly Father, Bless ______ today. Bless their finances, their work/school tasks and their work/school relationships. If there are medical concerns, bring them to light.   If the challenge is financial, please make provision for them. Be with their family and family relationships during this time. Help this time of struggle be a time when their relationship with You is strengthened and they come to depend upon You for their every need. If they are headed down a difficult path, continue to give them warnings and give them eyes to see the warnings and a spirit that responds. You know their needs and You love them much deeper than I so I trust them and their circumstance into Your Hands. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

When someone asks for prayer, it immediately deepens my connection with them. I appreciate their willingness to be vulnerable with me but it is also precious that they know God wants to hear prayers from them and on their behalf. So often we look at prayer as a last resort — after we have tried everything else! This week, consider asking someone to pray on your behalf with a request large or small. It might feel awkward in the beginning but I do believe it has a tendency to strengthen your relationship with that person. Your willingness to request prayer might open the door for them to also share a request with you. And those are the types of relationships that help sustain us while we navigate life on Earth!

I believe we all have an important prayer perspective to offer. If you want to know more about my thoughts on prayer perspectives, click here!

On the Road,

Liz

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