Laughter & Joy

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
    we were like those who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are filled with joy.

Restore our fortunes, Lord,
    like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow with tears
    will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
    carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
    carrying sheaves with them. [Psalm 126, NIV]

Yesterday, I was visiting with one of my children about how our mood can change just by being able to see a photo or video of one of the babies in our family. They have been the source of a lot of laughter and joy for all of us this year!

The heaviness of the complications and challenges of our daily lives these days threatens to steal our laughter and joy. I don’t know about you, but I am wee bit tired. If I don’t leave the house very often and the news is not on, I don’t think about this pandemic very much. But then, I have to do something and I remember — everything takes longer. And, too often, I forget to build in that extra time to accomplish the task I set out to do.

The Lord has done great things.
The Lord is doing great things.
And the Lord will continue to do great things.

Even in the midst of the challenges of our days — and we are all facing some level of challenge — the Lord is doing great things. Take time to focus on those things and, quite often the laughter and joy will follow.

Goodness

Goodness is always found in what God is doing in our lives. His goodness is sure, even as there are struggles and incredibly painful days. Sometimes His goodness is found in the simplest gift or thoughtful deed. It might come from an unexpected place.

This world has its challenges, but being on the lookout for goodness, particularly God’s goodness, is an essential part of my every day!

Fresh

Sometimes, I need to step away from a situation to see it with fresh eyes. A “refresh” if you will. I often refresh my newsfeed or my email – and it gives me something new to see or focus on. How much more important is it to “refresh” how I look at things, particularly from God’s perspective.

“Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.”

What is something you love when it is fresh?

Encouragement

Encouragement is something I have to be intentional about seeking. I have to place the Scripture or words of God around me. Sometimes, when I receive written words of encouragement from a friend, I keep it handy. As a visual person, it is important to see words of encouragement to keep it in my mind.

What Scripture verse speaks encouragement to you?

Creation

Creation is all around us! I simply cannot look at some of the amazing animals or the body’s systems or the Earth’s position in the Universe without acknowledging a Creator.

I look at the things people have created and designed through the years and it is also a reminder. God has designed us with amazing creative abilities. Our opportunities to express creativity are endless! What is your favorite thing to create? Do you have a creation you are particularly proud of?

Relationships

Hear us, Shepherd of Israel,
    you who lead Joseph like a flock.
You who sit enthroned between the cherubim,
    shine forth before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
Awaken your might;
    come and save us.

Restore us, O God;
    make your face shine on us,
    that we may be saved.

How long, Lord God Almighty,
    will your anger smolder
    against the prayers of your people?
You have fed them with the bread of tears;
    you have made them drink tears by the bowlful.
You have made us an object of derision[b] to our neighbors,
    and our enemies mock us.

Restore us, God Almighty;
    make your face shine on us,
    that we may be saved. [Psalm 80:1-7, NIV]

Relationships are about give and take. Some relationships are imbalanced all the time. Some relationships are imbalanced most of the time. And some relationships have an imbalance that switches back and forth between the people within the relationship. All of these things are a part of regular human relationships.

Our relationship with God is so different! From start to finish, He takes care of it all! He is sure to hear and restore and save us. But, God also feels. He gives and gives some more, even though He has given it all already. We have the relationship before us.

We have the gift of faith.

He loves and we can respond. Ultimately, He has provided the opportunity for choice to His creation. We can reject. We can turn away. But He holds tight.

He hears.
He restores.
He saves.

I trust God and His Word.

Blessings on your week!”
Liz

Advent 2020

In a season where there isn’t really any space for daily PrayerPoints, I have to intentionally create it. And, for certain, this is the year for intentionality. I invite you to be find space for God’s Word, prayer, and reflection during Advent 2020. May our hearts be softened to the Savior; to the work He is doing in our hearts and lives.

Numbering our Days

A prayer of Moses the man of God.

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.

You turn people back to dust,
    saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
A thousand years in your sight
    are like a day that has just gone by,
    or like a watch in the night.
Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death—
    they are like the new grass of the morning:
In the morning it springs up new,
    but by evening it is dry and withered.

We are consumed by your anger
    and terrified by your indignation.
You have set our iniquities before you,
    our secret sins in the light of your presence.
All our days pass away under your wrath;
    we finish our years with a moan.
10 Our days may come to seventy years,
    or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
    for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
11 If only we knew the power of your anger!
    Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
12 Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
[Psalm 90:1-12]

“Teach us to number our days…”

Well, if this isn’t the year to number our days! It is interesting to have these days and months of altered and restricted movement. How fast and slow they go by. How fast and yet how slow they add up. And how, while significant, they are so insignificant in the grand scheme of time.

“…that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

If I am off looking for wisdom in the world, there are many “wise guys” who are wolves in sheeps’ clothing. How do I know who to believe anymore? The opinions, often sold as truths, come from the far left and the far right and at every point in between. What was commonly known and understood before gets ridiculed now. Remember when butter, eggs, and milk were all normal? And remember when they were all vilified? Remember when a completely fabricated chemical spread called “margarine” entered the scene? And, where are we now? Back to basics, living off the land. We are all about “clean” food. Farm-to-table. Ideas — bad and good ones — circulate around every generation or so.

Remember when styrofoam and plastic were the “new answers” for packaging and convenience? And we needed to save the trees and not use wood? And now we have overdosed on plastic (and insane packaging for some products) to the point where it can’t all be recycled. And we are back to using “all natural” products.

I don’t even listen anymore. And that has its dangers, too.

Wisdom comes with discernment — and that takes time to develop. Some discernment comes from experience or trusting the “Hmmm, this doesn’t feel right” feeling. Spiritual wisdom comes from God.

I am thankful I am anchored in Christ. I am thankful I don’t have to have all the answers. I am at the point where I have less life to live than I have already lived. And so, I dig a little deeper into where my hope comes from. My comfort comes from knowing that God has been there from the beginning. He is the Creator. My days are numbered, and I am thankful for that. And while I am here, I will continue to patiently encourage, to deeply love, and to continue to point people to God. It certainly isn’t all I do in this life, but it is the most important thing I do.

Blessings on your week!
Liz