PrayerPoints ~ Saturday, February 27th

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 32

“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’ — and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”    Psalm 32:5

It is so easy to be so shocked and appalled and caught up in everyone else’s sin yet neglect our own important self-reflection and confession. Confession is so important because it is an acknowledgement of sin in our own lives.

Consider those things in your life you would like to confess because they weigh on you. You can certainly just confess those things to God — I find it helpful if I talk out loud since I am a verbal processor. But if you want some feedback in the way of spoken forgiveness, seek out a healthy pastor or priest for absolution.

Confession so often becomes one of those things we look for in others but, maybe, are not so keen on surrendering ourselves. Sometimes our busy and distracted lifestyle interrupts the time we need to contemplate our sin and confess it as such.

And the peace and healing that comes from confession? Unparalleled. That’s why it is said, “Confession is good for the soul!”

PrayerPoints ~ Friday, February 26th

James 3-17-18w

Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 31

“Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.”  Psalm 31:16

David sure knows how to write with passion! As I read through Psalm 31, sometimes it is a huge stretch for me to think about where he has been and what he is writing about because I haven’t experienced his life. But others times, it seems like I have been where he has been–at least that is how  it feels when I read his words. David gives so many examples of the incredible highs and desperate lows that come with life and yet he consistently encourages us to take refuge in and trust the Lord.

Whether you are in that incredible high or desperate low, God is there! May your intentional time in His Word give you His instruction and grant you His peace!

 

PrayerPoints ~ Sunday, February 21st

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 16

“Keep me safe, my God,
    for in you I take refuge.” Psalm 16:1

One thing about God, He is always working on me! And when I am convicted (convinced) of something in particular, I retreat to Him. The biggest problem is that sometimes He is waiting quite a while as I sort it all out. But when I finally do, I definitely find myself taking refuge in His forgiveness and grace!

While it isn’t exactly the same thing, I do think there is somewhat of a corellation between Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grief/loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance with the “Access Process” I seem to work through. Maybe you can relate on some level. Here are the phases I seem to go through:

  • Want
  • Justification
  • Scheming
  • Frustration
  • Resignation

and, finally:

  • Acceptance

Below is a description of each of the phases of the Access Process and how it might look.

Want: I identify something I want. Sometimes that is a process all by itself. I often first get tripped up in thinking that something I would like to have is something I should have, or, worse yet, deserve. When it comes right down to it, most things are just things I want. Sometimes this part of the process takes a few years!  Sometimes these things are ok to want and sometimes not. Sometimes they are things within my true control to access and sometimes they are things that are out of my control because they are dependent on many other things or people. While I am figuring out this part, God is so patient with me!

Justification: During the “justification phase” I might do a little research and/or gathering people who agree with me. That might mean also convincing them that whatever it is that I want is clearly justifiable by human standards. And maybe even God’s standards. There is no telling how delusional I am about this want. If I have “yes men” around me or I am very eloquent, I can usually get people to agree with me that what I am pursuing is absolutely reasonable.

Scheming: This is the phase where I have a tendency to figure out how to get others to endorse and come along with me to help get me what I want. I might use reverse psychology, give you what I think you want so you will help me (if you can), or I might resort to trickery. It all depends on how desperate I am for this “want”.

Frustration: If I am unable to realize the object of my intentions, particularly after all the time I have spent identifying it, justifying it, and scheming to get it, I admit I will get frustrated. This is the first of two stages where I can be pretty grumpy. I am pretty sure I am not easy to live with during the frustration stage.

Resignation: I might be a bit contemplative and quiet during this time and I might be downright stompy. I am not happy that all of my attempts to access what I want are not working and I am figuring out that accessing this desire probably won’t happen. However, I do carry a glimmer of hope with me that it will come to pass after all. The first time I come to the resignation phase I might move right to acceptance. But I also might renew my pursuit of the want and work my way through the want, justification, scheming, frustration, and registration process all over again. Here is what that looks like:

Once I get to the place where I recognize that it is just something I want or would be nice to have, I need to go back and revisit all the scheming I may or may not have done to secure this thing. In my frustration, I might try a new angle of accessing the desired item. Then, I might resign myself to the fact that I won’t ever access the item. But then I think about it some more and, with my spark of hope, I renew my justification. This cycle might last a few hours or a few years. It all depends on whatever this thing is that I want. There is a huge difference between resignation and acceptance.

And, finally:

Acceptance: A true acceptance of a situation is really recognizing that this is how it is (you will be living without this thing) and you are OK with it. I mean, really ok with it. You aren’t necessarily joy-filled at first because it might be accepting things that you had always hoped for but it can lead to trusting God in His provision for you.

Think big and think small. Try to insert your wants into the Access Process and see if you behave similarly. I have tried to apply this idea to different sized desires and it seems to work but I welcome your refinement to this idea.

And so, you can see that this is quite a process! In the end,  I take refuge in His forgiveness and grace because I so desperately need it after all that activity of the Access Process. Of course, it would be so much easier if I would start here first:

Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

I think if I focus first in delighting in the Lord, He will conform the desires of my heart to be more closely aligned with the desires of His heart and I will be satisfied with His provisions in my life. It seems crazy to (potentially) waste so much time and energy in the Access Process but, in the end, the acceptance phase is allowing Him to conform my heart to His.

Do you ever find yourself in this Access Process?

PrayerPoints ~ Thursday, February 18th

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 1

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or send in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on is law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” Psalm 1: 1-3

Whenever I see this Psalm, I immediately sing this song and I figured I just had to share it with you! I hope you will like it! I really like Integrity Music’s Scripture Memory Songs. Don’t hesitate to look up others on YouTube!

He is like a tree planted by streams of water…

Have you heard the phrase “Bloom where you are planted”? It has been useful to me through the years because not every place I have ended up is necessarily a place I chose to be. And even though that may be the case, it doesn’t mean I can’t learn and grow and “bloom” in that place..

You might not be able to really control where the next job takes you or some other diversion that occurs in your life, but you can control where you plant yourself mentally and spiritually. You might find yourself in a new state or maybe even a new country or you just might find yourself in a completely new life circumstance you were not planning on at all.  Even if you find yourself in a hospital or a rehabilitation center you can bloom where you are plantedWhatever your scenario, God can use it to grow you from the inside out and reach others with a message of His saving grace.

When we take the time to focus God’s Word and participate in a healthy congregation, God will strengthen our hearts and souls for our life’s journey.

“He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” Psalm 1:3

PrayerPoints ~ Monday, February 15th

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 138

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life”                                                 Psalm 138:7a

Trouble comes in so many different forms. I have found myself in troubled places all along my life because life is life and trouble is a part of this life.

Sometimes I put myself in the path of trouble in a moment of rebellion. Sometimes I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and trouble found me. Sometimes, well, sometimes life happened and there I was, troubled over what was going on around me. I may or may not have been powerless to change my circumstances, but they were troubling all the same.

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life

I did not research all that went into Psalm 138 and the circumstances that preceded David writing it or what he was recalling as he penned these words. But I can relate in my own way. Even though there are times God actually preserves my life, there are also times He preserves my sanity by  the words of a friend, an unexpected gift, a solution where none seemed to be found. All of these things contribute to the preservation of my life.

As I dig deep and explore who I am and how I am made, I am always amazed how God intricately weaves all of my past and uses it to impact who I am today. He continues to shape and mold me as only a loving Creator can. He will not abandon the work of His hands!

“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever — do not abandon the works of your hands.” Psalm 138:8

 

PrayerPoints ~ Friday, February 12th

Ash Wednesday_m

Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 52

“Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others.” Psalm 52:7

As I read through this Psalm, no one in particular came to mind. Until I got to the above line.

Then I came to my mind.

And I wondered,  “how close am I getting to either of these two points?” Indeed, they are related but they stand alone just as powerfully. I can trust in my own wealth. And I can also grow strong by destroying others. Keeping both of those in check is a full-time job.

I have been studying for a business degree for about 16 months. I am on the home stretch with only 8 weeks left. Woohoo! It has been a lot of work. It’s been interesting to consider little businesses (like mine) and huge multinational corporations. In the business world, it is easy to see how people grow strong by destroying others. But in my little world, my words can do it too.

What am I chasing after and who am I crushing in the meantime? Sometimes I think of the rich and famous and powerful in this world and how they are being selfish little piggies. But more often I reflect on my own actions and my own heart and the struggles I have with stuff.

What about you? Have there been things you have pursued so intensely that you have crushed others in the process?

 

 

PrayerPoint ~ Forgiven ~ March 23

So often Satan whispers lies like:

“God couldn’t possibly forgive you for doing that!” or

“God couldn’t possibly have use for you now that you have done [insert your sin here]!” or

“How many times do you think He is willing to forgive [insert repeated offense here]?”

Maybe you have heard those same lies or maybe you’ve heard others. There are days when I get in a rut and I forget that I’m forgiven. That might sound crazy but it can happen after a tough day or a restless night.

How do you recall the promises of God’s forgiveness and restoration?

  • Scripture
  • Attending church where forgiveness is proclaimed following the confession of sins
  • Witnessing a Baptism
  • Rainstorms
  • Washing dishes
  • Washing clothes
  • Showers/Baths
  • Washing hands

Within the daily routine of our lives, we are always washing something. Take a moment to connect the wordly cleanliness you have set out to achieve and remember your Baptism! Let Him refresh and restore you with a reminder of His Grace! God wants you to remember His forgiveness and Satan would love for you to forget it. Don’t give Satan the edge!

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.  2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin. Psalm 51:1-2 (read the whole Psalm!)

Thankful for His cleaning (though I don’t always like the scrubbing!!)

Liz