Waiting

We were in on a fun event over the weekend. Our youngest was coming home from Spain after being gone for 9 months and she created an elaborate scheme because wanted to surprise her sister who thought she was coming home a week later.

Things went pretty smoothly — although keeping track of all the “misleadings” was an awful lot of work. And there there were the delays: technical delays from New Jersey. The plane needed some mechanical work.

I couldn’t really argue with that, could I? I knew this plane was going to have precious cargo on it!!!

So, we readjusted our plans several times and tried to think of how we could still have a surprise. A little delay wasn’t a big problem. But the delay kept getting longer and longer. And pretty soon we were stuck spilling the beans to the sister who had no idea the real reason behind why we were visiting her.

We told the very confused and very excited state-side sister that the world traveling sister was coming home right now and we had to go get her from the airport. She was excited, of course, but trying to figure what clues she missed.

And so there would still be an element of surprise we decided it would be fun to surprise the surpriser!

We did a double reverse — when you have concocted a plan (surprise) but it flips around and you are the receiver of the surprise.

We let the state-side sister be the first one to greet the traveling sister at the airport. And, it worked!

So, our youngest is back “home” for a few months. She is hoping the babies (a niece and nephew) will remember her and she is looking forward to hanging out with the fam.

Sometimes our plans are sidetracked and delayed. It’s just how life goes. Sometimes there are important mechanical delays. Sometimes things just don’t go the way we wanted them to. And, sometimes, you get to be in on a surprise from start to finish. Knowing the big picture and having a well thought out plan does not mean things will go the way you want.

And that’s ok. And sometimes it is better. God always has a bigger picture in mind. I just have to keep trusting Him and doing the next thing!

The Places

Today, let’s focus on the places of your day!

Those places you actually go. It may feel pretty weird if you are getting out after being restricted for over a year… and maybe you are ready. And, maybe you aren’t quite ready.

Sometimes going anywhere is a treat!

Or, you may have restrictions on your movement due to any number of reasons, so it is definitely about where your mind goes…

Where you go and how you get there isn’t really the point. But do consider the places of your day. Sometimes we are “in a place” and we haven’t moved a muscle. Other times we dread going to a certain place or, at the very least, it brings up uncomfortable memories. Sometimes we are in a mood and I definitely consider that a place — even though it is more of a place of emotion.

Sometimes we are in a place of grief, disappointment, discouragement, disillusionment….

And, sometimes we are in a place of joy, peace, contentment, wonder…

Sometimes all of those places happen within the space of a day. Where we are makes a difference. Presenting all of the above to God is important because it is an opportunity to recognize where we are — in heart, in spirit, and in body.

Even more importantly, let’s let Him be our dwelling place — whether or not we are moving about we can always be in connection with God — being sustained by Him — and recognizing our place with Him from sunrise to the darkness of the night.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
    throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born
    or you brought forth the whole world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
Psalm 90:1-2 NIV

Thank you, Barb, for the verse!

Philippians 4:6-7

I have always loved this verse!

During May, I plan to explore different sections of these two verses and I encourage you to mull them over and make a deeper connection with them too! For now, commit it to memory if it isn’t already tucked away. If you have been reading PrayerPoints for any length of time, you know that music is very important to me. So, of course, I have to point out a song for this Psalm.

In the beginning…

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5

Let’s back it up to the beginning and take a look at what was. How it all began.

The Word. The Light. The Life.

And let’s focus on the Light. To be honest, I am feeling the darkness, and it is a bit overwhelming. So, I need to make sure The Light is around me.

The Light helps my perspective…. it helps my vision….. it helps my processing. It helps me see what is true and good. And it is so amazing what a little bit of light can do in a dark place!

I am holding onto this promise:

“And the darkness has not overcome it.”

Stinkin’ Thinkin’

Have you ever needed an attitude adjustment? Do you have a crazy situation from your past that was a unfair and created a huge life change?

  • Job loss
  • Natural disaster
  • Unexpected pregnancy
  • Cross country move
  • Friendship loss
  • Illness
  • __________________________ (go ahead, fill in that blank!)

I know not everything has a happy ending. This life on Earth is filled with struggles and disappointments. And yet, God can bring about good from difficulties. It doesn’t erase the pain from the situations. Some people are living through some extremely difficult circumstances. Ones that I cannot even imagine walking through. I don’t have any easy or pat answers. But I know time can help. Time and distance can give us a perspective that we cannot possibly have in the moment.

God can take the manure dumps of life and use them to fertilize some other things that need to grow. That tilling and hoeing of our lives can produce new and different fruit. How many ministries have come out of despair? How many incredible hymns and books have been written that show God’s transformative work?

You have surely had an ugly thing or two happen to you. If it happened 5-10 years ago and you realized a truth of God at a deeper level, consider sharing that with someone.

May you see God at work in your past as well as in your today!
Liz

Renewing

Have you ever turned trash into a treasure? Little kids like to repurpose things —

  • a stick becomes a sword
  • acorns become soup
  • paper towel tubes become trumpets
  • a treehouse becomes a castle on a hill
  • a piece of fabric is used as a cape, skirt, or royal robe

The list is only limited by our imagination. Some kids are born to think outside of the box. And maybe we all were born to think outside of the box — but we have forgotten how!

God works outside of the box on a regular basis. He takes things that we consider useless and worthless and can make them invaluable. In His hands, what is considered ugly can actually bring about something beautiful. It doesn’t mean the ugly wasn’t ugly, but God can still work with it and use it to bring about a greater purpose.

Lord, remind me that you are the business of renewing me and my sinful patterns. It’s hard for me to get out of those ruts that seem to entangle me. Help me see that transformational work. And when I can’t see the benefits, help me to trust in You anyway. Throughout history you have proven yourself. Help me to see it in my own life and be willing to share it with others! Amen.

Transforming

I am all about music. Of course, there are times I need silence too, because music can be distracting, but what an amazing way to tuck some great Scriptural Truths into your brain!

Sometimes it is a daily battle to readjust my thinking and perspective. I don’t always have Godly thoughts about the situations I am confronted with and so I try to turn things over to God on a regular basis.

Here is one of my favorites and it involves the Scripture I talked about last week. I hope you enjoy it!

Blessings on your week!
Liz

Conforming

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect Romans 12:2 NRSV

There are so many things we need to conform to these days that it is difficult not to be lulled into complacency. I have always been a questioner. Well, maybe not always, but after a few big things happening in my life when I was younger, I have a tendency to not just trust what comes out of someones mouth, particularly if they are in a position of authority. Maybe especially if they are in a position of authority.

And so, I have a little trouble conforming. If there are throngs participating, I tend not to jump in. I have to think about it for myself. I step back and survey the big picture of activity and try to sort it out. In the last few years there are increasingly more “camps” of people who expect that you have to do _________ to prove you are ___________. And once that is “satisfied” the next required piece of proof is mentioned.

It’s never ending.

And, if you don’t conform, you will be hackled and heckled until you do. Your employer might get contacted, you might get dressed down in a very public and ugly way. I’ve watched it. I’ve experienced it. It isn’t healthy.

Conforming to the expectations of ________________ (fill in the blank that applies to you). We are all experiencing this in one way or another. This seems to be the way things are working today in the world. And it is absolutely everywhere. The need to “be transformed by renewing your mind” has never been more important than now. Do you have God’s Word hiding in your heart so you can recall it when you don’t have tangible access?

Tell me the passage that, when you are facing an incredible challenge, just comes to mind and soothes your soul. With all the challenges of these days, some soul soothing from our Creator, is essential.

If I want my mind renewed and reprogrammed, I need to go to the Source of Light, Love, and Life. It’s where I go to cast my sorrows, celebrate my joys, and ask for a reframe of what I am experiencing.

May God grant you His perspective for the day!
Liz

Praising the Creator

I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever;
    with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known
    through all generations.
I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
    that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.
You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
    I have sworn to David my servant,
‘I will establish your line forever
    and make your throne firm through all generations.’”

The heavens praise your wonders, Lord,
    your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies above can compare with the Lord?
    Who is like the Lord among the heavenly beings?
In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared;
    he is more awesome than all who surround him.
Who is like you, Lord God Almighty?
    You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you. [Psalm 89: 1-8, NIV]

It is not difficult for me to look around at creation and know there is a Creator. From the seasons to the incredible variety of flora, fauna, animals, and the vastness of the animal kingdom. And then the solar system and the amazing sunrises and sunsets and, well, you get the picture. The beauty and intricacies we get to see and understand while we are here on Earth are simply amazing.

As we close the books on another year, I am so very thankful for the beauty I saw, for the people in my life, and for the grace extended to me, each and every day, by the God of the Universe. He know my name. He knows your name!

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
Thomas Ken (1637-1711)

Righteousness and Justice

You rule over the surging sea;
    when its waves mount up, you still them.
10 You crushed Rahab like one of the slain;
    with your strong arm you scattered your enemies.
11 The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth;
    you founded the world and all that is in it.
12 You created the north and the south;
    Tabor and Hermon sing for joy at your name.
13 Your arm is endowed with power;
    your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.

14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
    love and faithfulness go before you.
15 Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,
    who walk in the light of your presence, Lord.
16 They rejoice in your name all day long;
    they celebrate your righteousness.
17 For you are their glory and strength,
    and by your favor you exalt our horn.[d]
18 Indeed, our shield[e] belongs to the Lord,
    our king to the Holy One of Israel.

19 Once you spoke in a vision,
    to your faithful people you said:
“I have bestowed strength on a warrior;
    I have raised up a young man from among the people.
20 I have found David my servant;
    with my sacred oil I have anointed him.
21 My hand will sustain him;
    surely my arm will strengthen him.
22 The enemy will not get the better of him;
    the wicked will not oppress him.
23 I will crush his foes before him
    and strike down his adversaries.
24 My faithful love will be with him,
    and through my name his horn[f] will be exalted.
25 I will set his hand over the sea,
    his right hand over the rivers.
26 He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father,
    my God, the Rock my Savior.’
27 And I will appoint him to be my firstborn,
    the most exalted of the kings of the earth.
28 I will maintain my love to him forever,
    and my covenant with him will never fail.
29 I will establish his line forever,
    his throne as long as the heavens endure. [Psalm 89:9-29, NIV]

We don’t see what God sees. And we surely don’t define things the same way God does. Unless we are rooted in Scripture ourselves and are regularly connected to a healthy, Biblical perspective, we only see what we see or what others tell us they see. And all of those things we know come from a flawed perspective. Ever listen to two or more people describe an incident and everyone is compelling but each story is so different? It would do us all good to start out with, “From my point of view…” or “The way I see it at this moment…” because a slightly different angle almost always gives us new information to consider.

But when we go back to the source, or the author of the concepts, and seriously consider the words, that is where we really see the intentions.

Are you hearing some words and phrases these days that don’t seem to add up to God’s definition or perspective? I would like to encourage you to not take the world’s word on what is what. Even when, and especially when, the world is loud and disruptive, consider the source of the definitions.

We are in the midst of difficult days for a number of reasons. But God is with us in every step.

 “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”
2 Chronicles 20:12

May we fix our eyes on our Creator and follow His lead!

God’s Peace!
Liz