Regrets, I’ve had a few….

Kecskemet w
A chruch in Kecskemét, Hungary

Sometimes we get the opportunity to redo something we haven’t done well but more often than not we are left with an experience that helps make a better decision in the future.

There is a lot of wisdom to be gained from experience if we pay attention. I have some regrets, of course. I think if we are honest, we all do. Some of my regrets relate to missed opportunities, relational foibles (relationships are my Achilles’ heel), things I have done, and things I wish I wouldn’t have done. And there are some things that I wouldn’t change because, while they may not have been fun to go through, they helped shape and mold me into the person I am.

As I learn and grow, I also change. And so I might look back and think “Oi! I wish I wouldn’t have done that!” It also developed something in my person or strengthened my relationship with God or brought something (or someone) else into my life that I really treasure. Things are so crazily interconnected that it isn’t always to isolate a decision or a path and wish to eliminate the difficulties it brought and not also see how the experience could be a blessing to someone else in some way.

God can do that – take a bad move and make something good come out of it.

Have you ever thought about forgiving yourself? Have you walked the process of giving all of your past, all of your present, and all of your future to God and asking Him to use it all?

  • the stupid stuff
  • the evil stuff
  • the selfish stuff
  • the reckless stuff
  • the “I was clueless” stuff
  • the “I can’t believe I did that” stuff
  • the “I sure caused a lot of pain to the people I love with that activity” stuff
  • the “I blew it” stuff
  • the “I can’t believe I didn’t notice that” stuff

On the way,

Liz

PrayerPoints ~ Thursday, March 17th

philippians_w

Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 88

“O Lord, the God who saves me, day and night I cry out before you. May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry.” Psalm 88:1-2

Wow. If you read through Psalm 88 you will see it is full of  a lot of loss. It is good to read through it and know that I am not the only one who has felt devastation.

Even though the circumstances are not identical, we each travel through seasons of loss and discouragement. If you are in a good place now, I am sure you can recall the emotions and grief of a difficult time. If you know someone going through a time of loss, please pray for them. Let them know you are praying for them. And, if you can, take time to walk alongside them.

I know my faith has grown in times of struggle but those times always seems to come with a “breaking point” where things are so difficult that I am not sure I can handle one more problem. Standing “in the gap” with someone (through prayer and encouragement and reminders of God’s provision) can be hard and yet so beneficial to the person struggling.

May you be a blessing today to someone in need!

Porcupine-y

Prickly people. Do you know any? Have you been one?

I have had a time or two in my life (or ten) when I have been pretty painful to touch or have a conversation with. Get too close and I might even shoot out a couple of quills.

Ouch!

The most complicated situation for me is when I am in a room with two people–one I feel immense love for and the other I can barely stomach. I have no idea how to behave. Should I be leading this double life? Is it acceptable or even possible to show one person my loving side at the very moment I am seething with disdain for another in the very same place? Nope–it’s ugly.

Here, [insert name of favored person here] you can touch my soft side.

Sorry, [insert name of irritating person here] you bring out the quills in me…

Lord, I am blessed and forgiven by You. Help me to share those gifts with others. I can love because You first loved me. Let Your love, grace, and mercy flow through me to all, not just the easy people. Amen.

Psalm 45

This PrayerPoint was originally written in March 2010.

Painful Friendships

Over the course of life there are so many friendships we experience–some are an amazing source of love and grace and laughter on this bumpy road of life and some leave incredibly deep wounds.

If you decide to take a few moments to contemplate old, expired, and difficult friendships be sure to take along a big bucket of grace to dump over the entire situation.

As you survey your lifetime of friendships, a few may stand out. The painful friendships are precious in their own way–maybe the relationship didn’t survive but hopefully there were some lessons learned by both parties. It is tricky business to have two people in relationship with one another because everyone has their own issues. Believe me, I have mine and I am willing to bet you have yours. Those frictional friendships often help us understand more about ourselves if we can step back and look at them with an introspective eye. (I know, introspective eye sounds a little weird). At any rate, sometimes a big chunk of time might need to go by before you can look back at a friendship and consider what was going on there. If you find yourself wondering to a time period with a painful friendship, I pray you are willing to see God and His perspective and be able to experience His peace.

Missions & Missionaries

Kisses From Katie

Kisses From Katie ~ A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption by Katie Davis with Beth Clark

Hannah and Elizabeth were assigned to read this book for a book discussion group. They are big readers but this book gave them a lot to think about! I am about halfway through. I think you ought to find a copy at the library though it is absolutely worth buying. Be prepared to be stretched!

We have recently had missions and missionaries on our minds. Please pray for those you know serving in missions abroad. I know there are a lot of missions within the US, but today, let God impress upon you a certain country or region of the world and intercede on behalf of the people who live there. Pray for those who have responded to the call to serve in a foreign land. And find a copy of this book! If you know of other inspirational stories involving missions, please share the title and the author as we would love any recommendations!

Fishing: Intention & The Big Picture

(part 5 of 5)

Don generally fishes with a “catch & release” mentality. He enjoys being outdoors and kayaking around in the summer sun with birds chirping and wildlife soaring and scurrying around. On a regular day his time is spent in meetings and meeting deadlines and so this slow pace, with no official expectation, other than to get away from regular duties and enjoy nature, is a great way to relax.

On the contrary, when satan uses his lures and bait, he is fishing for keeps. If he can get us hooked on any number of things that can wreak havoc on our lives he is accomplishing what he has set out to do. And we, sinners that we are, willingly succumb to the temptations that the world has to offer. Even if we get snagged in a serious way, caught and transported across the world in foreign waters and a long way from “home”, God longs to negotiate our release. It requires a recognition of our sinful nature and a heart surrendered to Him.

Why did Jesus ask for fisherman to be fishers of men?

Let’s take another look at God’s Word:

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. [Matthew 4:18-22 NIV]

Living beside the Sea of Galilee meant their daily sustenance involved a lot of fish so it was essential to know how to fish successfully! Jesus called four people who had similar experiences and two sets of brothers. Interesting. Living and working side by side requires an awful lot of patience and respect and negotiation — even if we aren’t fishing. These four had some common experiences and likely had learned to relate well to one another and were a source of encouragement and support while fishing on the water. All those are important for discipling “on land”.

An awareness of the climate, weather, access points, and location are all things fisherman learn. Fisherman also know their equipment and keep it in good repair. They are always open to learning and have a lot of patience. A good fisherman knows there isn’t any point trying to fish in a hurry. It usually takes a lot of time.

I am so thankful for what God is teaching me. He is so relevant even in areas where I can hardly relate. I am really not a big fan of fishing but I am a big fan of spending time with Don. Who knew I would “catch” all this about fishing just by tagging along?

And where are you? What principles are you “catching” from your environment? And what ideas are others catching from you? I pray we are all sharing Biblical principles in our uniquely gifted ways!

Fishing

Don Kayaking
Don Kayaking

(part 1 of 5)

I am not a big fisherman but Don, my husband, always enjoys fishing. He enjoys being out in nature and mostly  enjoys the challenge but considers himself just a recreational fisherman. A few years ago we bought Don a kayak so he could fish from on the water instead of next to it.  Don has a few different poles and a tackle box full of lures and sometimes he even buys a tub of night crawlers. Don catches a few fish on occasion but he doesn’t keep any because he is a big catch-and-release guy.  Here are the things Don takes into consideration when he goes fishing:

Licence: This let’s Don fish legally. He doesn’t leave home without it!
Location: Ideally, Don is trying to find hungry fish or at least ones who will “take the bait”.
Access point: Don has fished next to the water but wasn’t successful so he moved to “on” the water. Some people fish from “in” the water.
Equipment: Don has various poles he takes out when he fishes. He switches it up for variety but he also likes to have a “back up” in case something goes wrong with his favorite.
Lures: He’s got a tackle box full of shiny, tempting things.
Bait: Sometimes he will use minnows and earthworms but not very often.
Intention: Even though he is a catch-and-release guy there is no denying it, some fish do get wounded in this process.
Over the next few days we look at the tools of the trade for fishing from a different vantage point. For now, pray for those who fish for their livelihood.  I imagine it can be a very dangerous job.