Tools

Do you have projects in mind and the tools to accomplish them but never get around to the project? My guess is that project never really moved up high enough on the priority list because even if we don’t have the right tools, we can figure out how to get a job done.

Of course, life happens and things we hadn’t even imagined can propel up the priority list in the blink of an eye. Life and circumstances are always changing and something that actually may be a priority gets pushed aside until “later” but sometimes later doesn’t come. We don’t always get to do the things we want to do.

I have come to believe that having the tools isn’t the key. Using the tools is the key. We all know of the guy who has all the big, cool tools. At first glance, you might even be envious. But if he has no time to use them, then it just seems sad. What is the point of having “all the stuff” if you can’t enjoy it?

I will admit, in certain areas of my life

(A): I have the tools;

(B): I have the knowledge of how to use them;

(C): But, I don’t have the gumption/time/energy/ability/___________ to use them, therefore

(D): I don’t have the results I want!

Owning the tools is not enough. Having the knowledge is not enough. Making the effort, etc. is not enough. It seems like there is a need for all three to even work towards the goal and even then there is no guarantee the project will be successful!

  • Feeling like you can’t move forward because you don’t have the tools?
  • Stuck in some phase of a project?
  • Suspect you don’t know enough to move forward?
  • Lack the time or motivation to tackle the situation?

Let’s not blame it on the tools.

If you are feeling stuck in a place where you don’t have “progress”, think about why that is. Pray about what might be holding you back — it may be that this area you think is “progress” isn’t a good idea.

Sometimes our priorities have changed.

Sometimes our life direction has changed.

Sometimes it is fear of failure.

Sometimes the goal is outside our ability and so it hurts our brain to even think about tackling the job.

By taking an honest look at our priorities and our abilities we can re-evaluate them. Still stuck? Have a conversation with a trusted friend, counselor, or pastor.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. [Romans 12:3-8, NIV]

God’s peace as you prioritize!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: COMPLAINING

2019 PrayerPoints for Lent

 

Florida Beach wHello! Hello! and Welcome!

It’s time for PrayerPoints again!

One thing I have discovered about myself is that I like to employ a variety of perspectives when I am in a learning mode. It helps me round out my view and see things from different angles. I also need to focus intently if I am going to move forward. Otherwise, I get distracted.

In 2019, PrayerPoints will take a little different approach compared to other years. It might not be your thing, and that’s ok. I won’t be offended if you choose to find another way to prepare during this Lenten season.

This year, my encouragement to you will be to reflect and journal your thoughts as you contemplate the verse and writing prompt provided each day. If you don’t like to write, you can choose to video or audio record your thoughts. You can also simply pray all around the topics with no “record” of your thoughts. Feel free to adapt it to your needs. But don’t be afraid to try something new. It is important to not get so caught up in perfecting the process that you miss the chance to step away from your regular routine, create some space,  and do some honest reflection during this Lenten season. Writing things down helps me gather my thoughts and it might be a useful tool for you as well.

Each day, starting today, I will provide you with a prompt that will serve as your PrayerPoint for the day. I will write my responsive prayer/thoughts and you will write (or otherwise consider) yours. On the following day, I will share what I have pondered/prayed for that prompt and I will also assign the next prompt. If you want to email me your response, I would be privileged to read it. But if you want to keep it between you and God, that is completely fine. There is no requirement to share, but the option is available. Some people, like me, benefit from outside accountability.

Where you have been in life will absolutely inform and impact how you see and hear Scripture and each experience you go through. If you have been an underdog, you will likely have a huge heart for a fellow underdog. If you have watched addictive behaviors in your home, you may (or may not) have compassion for others who struggle with addiction. Allowing God’s Word to cast light on how and what we process as we go through life is a way to grow in our understanding of our experiences, particularly in the light of God’s Word. We each come with our own prayer perspective. I encourage you to allow God to shape and mold your prayer perspective because it will help you make sense of your trials and tribulations. Remember, your words can comfort, love, and support others as they journey alongside you through this life.

So much of what we walk through in this physical life has a spiritual correlation. You might be able to make that connection with these PrayerPoint prompts. If you are in the midst of processing the physical realm of these things, the spiritual connection may not be apparent and that is okay. The connection may come later.

This time during Lent is for contemplation and reflection and might include things like:

  • Where am I in my relationship with God?
  • Am I stuck somewhere on the road toward healing?
  • Am I in a place of repentance?
  • Am I struggling with pride?
  • What has God done for me through Jesus?
  • How does Jesus’ death and resurrection impact my daily life?

PrayerPrompt: INHERITANCE

May God bless you as you discover more about His love and provision for you in the weeks to come.

Liz

 

Boundaries and Perfection

There are things we have control over and things we don’t.

Learning about my own boundaries (or lack of them, in some cases) is a very good thing. Sometimes it takes an intense situation to recognize where a problem is and, oftentimes, the problem is with me. I want things to go a certain way and they aren’t going that way and then what? I have to decide my next move.

I am not in charge of everything, but I am in charge of my behavior.

First I need to figure out if I really should be calling the shots on a particular thing. Then I need to determine if “my way” is truly the best way. There is usually more than one way to get somewhere.

It’s a lot to sort out and it’s a lifetime of learning for me!

We each have unique gifts and I trust God is refining all of us in His time. I know He is refining me. He is working out those details in my character and in my life. I still have a lot to learn and I do have to do my part, but I also need to trust that God is working out the details, weaving together the different aspects of my life to create something beautiful. It might not be my idea of perfection, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful.

Jesus is the pioneer and perfecter of my faith!

Unfortunately, it is so easy to get caught up in what we want and are looking for. It is way too easy. Boundaries are healthy and important and we all have a lot to learn about being healthy in relationships, but if the focus is always on us and our ideas, the results will not be eternal.

Instead, let us fix…  “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 12:2-3 NIV]

May He grant you His perfect peace!

On the way,

Liz

You might be able to find all of these books on boundaries through ILL (Inter Library Loan) if you want to brush up on the concept. I plan to!

 

Settled

It’s nice to feel situated. It is a relief to know things are settled – an old bill, the future (at least in theory), and our hearts.

When I am unsettled and stressed about something, I can get anxious.

  • How will this play out?
  • Have I covered all the bases?
  • What have I forgotten?
  • What if all my efforts are in vain?
  • Am I doing enough?
  • Am I enough?

Have you ever had your mind entertain those types of questions? It can be in human relationships or jobs or even in my relationship with God. Sometimes things “feel” unsettled even though God assures me that they are.

It is important for me to know and remember that God, through Jesus, worked out my salvation. The “bill” there is settled.

Jesus is

“‘the stone you builders rejected,
    which has become the cornerstone.’

 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” [Acts 4:11-12 NIV]

Check out Psalm 118.

On the way,

Liz

It is finishedw

 

Renewing my mind

Window Flowers w
Flowers in Hungary

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  [Romans 12:1-2a NIV]

Even though Eccelsiastes 1:9 tells us “there is nothing new under the sun” I am seeing some things I didn’t imagine I would see in my lifetime. I know that makes me sound like an old person. I don’t feel old but I am saddened and shocked by some of the ugliness I see these days. There has always been ugly behavior and I can’t focus on it because I will get disoriented and discouraged. The patterns of this world are sad.

I am in control of what my mind feasts on. If I am looking for the ugliness, I will surely find it. And if I am looking for the beauty, I will surely find that too. I believe we will find what we look for. That critical person you know who is always looking for the wrong in the world? They will surely find it. The person who hunts for the good in every person? They will surely find what they are looking for.

If I am going to get caught dwelling, let me dwell in positive and encouraging worlds and stories and with positive and encouraging people.  Some of my spots for encouragement and beauty are:

  • God’s Word
  • Nature
  • Art
  • Music
  • Family
  • Good friends
  • Heartwarming stories of love, sacrifice, and perseverance

Where do you look for beauty?

On the way!

Liz

 

For a moment…

Flower and insect w
A moment on a flower

I always wondered why the chemical process to curl hair was called a “permanent” but it really only lasted about three months. No wonder we are a confused society.

There are times when things are permanent, of course. Sometimes that can be a relief and sometimes it is overwhelming. It depends what it is and it depends on our perspective. Sometimes I get all cozy and comfy in a place – so much so that when it is time to move along, I might stomp my feet a little. I liked it “here”.

But it is all temporary, particularly in light of eternity. The relaxing beach vacation, the place you live, the job you have, the routine of your day…it can change so quickly.

So, for the moment, see who and what is around you. Don’t fret about the future, don’t get stuck in the past, find things to enjoy about where you are and what is happening around you right now. You are in a place where God can teach you so much.

Be present. Be teachable.

We will only be here for a moment.

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 4:5-7 NIV]

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 8:38-39 NIV]

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. [Colossians 3:1-3 NIV]

On the way,

Liz

Dwelling Places

Dwell w
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