Praise the Lord

Praise the Lord.

Sing to the Lord a new song,
    his praise in the assembly of his faithful people.

Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;
    let the people of Zion be glad in their King.
Let them praise his name with dancing
    and make music to him with timbrel and harp.
For the Lord takes delight in his people;
    he crowns the humble with victory.
Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor
    and sing for joy on their beds.

May the praise of God be in their mouths
    and a double-edged sword in their hands,
to inflict vengeance on the nations
    and punishment on the peoples,
to bind their kings with fetters,
    their nobles with shackles of iron,
to carry out the sentence written against them—
    this is the glory of all his faithful people.

Praise the Lord. [Psalm 149, NIV]

It’s easy to get bogged down in the daily stuff. In fact, it has been easy to be bogged down as we have sludged through this year. It has been a challenge for me. And I know it has been a challenge for a lot of people. We have needed to

stretch

shift

regroup

start

stop

hunker down

disinfect

stay away

stay home

But here we are, each day continues to arrive, and we are here to be a part of it. Praising the Lord is one of those things that helps us keep our focus off our circumstances and seeking His face.

Praise the Lord!
Liz

All the Ways

Sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
    he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
    strength and glory are in his sanctuary.

Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    bring an offering and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness;
    tremble before him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
    The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
    he will judge the peoples with equity.

11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
    let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
    let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
13 Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes,
    he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples in his faithfulness. [Psalm 96:1-13, NIV]

There are so many ways to worship and praise our loving God! What are some of your favorite ways?

I must admit, sometimes I get distracted from this important work. There are times I let fearing and fretting and stressing take my energy and my perspective. Sometimes my ‘declarations” have been inaudible whispers. And other times they are loud and confident.

I am thankful that God knows and loves me in the midst of me. I need to think more about all the ways I can praise and get busy ascribing, singing, declaring, proclaiming, worshipping, and rejoicing!

God’s blessings on your week ahead!
Liz

Fearless

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever. [Psalm 23, NIV]

Most days I am fearless. But there are some days, I am a puddle. Feelings drive me crazy. Sometimes my thoughts drive me crazy. Focusing on The Truth of God’s Word is such an important process for me. Sometimes I am in a place where I forget some really important Scriptural truths that would calm my heart and mind and spirit. No matter how much I know Scripture, as a visual person, I love to see it! I love words and it is important for me to see the words — even just a few — that bring me back to Truth.

The Lord is my Shepherd…

[I shall not want….]

I can’t see that without thinking about the rest of the Psalm.

Create in me…

[a clean heart o God….]

I can fill in the rest but the first part reorients and reminds me, especially when I am floundering.

If you are visual, like me, find a few of God’s truths and write them out. You can doodle or color them. You can make or buy a wall hanging that reminds you of God’s perspective. With all that is going on in the world today and the general exhaustion that we all seem to be under, finding and creating places of peace is important work. It is easy enough to get caught up into the negative because we are swimming in it. If you are seeking peace, it might be that surrounding yourself with some visual cues taken from God’s word can create that place of peace.

Blessings on your week ahead!
Liz

Restoration

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

You transplanted a vine from Egypt;
    you drove out the nations and planted it.
You cleared the ground for it,
    and it took root and filled the land.
10 The mountains were covered with its shade,
    the mighty cedars with its branches.
11 Its branches reached as far as the Sea,
    its shoots as far as the River.

12 Why have you broken down its walls
    so that all who pass by pick its grapes?
13 Boars from the forest ravage it,
    and insects from the fields feed on it.
14 Return to us, God Almighty!
    Look down from heaven and see!
Watch over this vine,
15  the root your right hand has planted,
    the son you have raised up for yourself.

16 Your vine is cut down, it is burned with fire;
    at your rebuke your people perish.
17 Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand,
    the son of man you have raised up for yourself.
18 Then we will not turn away from you;
    revive us, and we will call on your name.

19 Restore us, Lord God Almighty;
    make your face shine on us,
    that we may be saved. [Psalm 80:7-19 NIV]

Restoration has a lot of phases. Sometimes our lives and circumstances are messy but that doesn’t mean important work isn’t happening!

There is much to pray about regarding our world, our nation, our states, and our cities. I am praying that I see what God is doing and that I work with Him and not against His purposes. God, open my eyes and gives me a clear vision of the needs of those around me. Restoration might mean me doing some work but it might also mean that some work is being done on me: a perspective shift, a growing awareness, an opportunity, etc.

Restoration has to start from within first. I cannot easily share what I have not experienced!

Blessings on your week!
Liz

PrayerPoints 2020

Hello! Hello!

Happy New Year! I love the freshness a new year brings, don’t you?

Each time there is a new season in the calendar year it signals new sounds, smells, tastes, and experiences. I enjoy the refreshment of the “new” when I am expecting them, but there are other seasons that catch me by surprise! Sometimes I am in a “new season” for a while before I even realize it! You may have felt similarly as you have traveled through the various seasons of:

  • Life
  • Employment
  • Parenting
  • Education
  • Marriage
  • Health
  • Family Life

We are all traveling through seasons, though not necessarily the same ones or in the same order, and certainly not in the same way. Sometimes I think I would love to have 2020 vision in what God is doing in my life or when I am in a difficult season but, really, I don’t. He asks me to trust in Him, no matter the season. He never promised that I will see, know, or understand it all!

The seasons of the church year are relatively consistent, if you pay attention to them. They can be a way of being united together in the course of a year with people all over the world, particularly if you are from the same church body. Of course, the church year “seasons” are a manmade sort of thing, but they are based on significant happenings in Scripture, organized in a way that helps us remember better while also providing a little structure.

Instead of just taking a deep dive during the Lenten season, I plan to post a new PrayerPoint each Monday. If you have been following PrayerPoints for a while now, you may have noticed that I shared a lot more this year than I have in previous years. This year I am aiming for a steady rhythm. While I seem to learn better with more intentional focus, I need to grow in my consistency. For 2020, each weekly PrayerPoint will include a psalm, hymn, or spiritual song that will correspond to the church season and highlight something that caught my heart. The rhythm of the church year will help me be a little more grounded and give me a little focus. I encourage you to contemplate the posted words each week and see what stands out for you and write it down. I love that God’s Word is so relevant to our lives and that God uses the Holy Spirit to personalize what we hear! We can each “bump into” the same piece of Scripture and take away a different application, depending on what God is working on in our hearts.

Feel free to join me on this journey. If you sign up to receive my posts in your inbox you won’t miss a week. Otherwise, Facebook algorithms (and whether I remember to post the link) will determine whether or not you see the weekly PrayerPoint.

I am looking forward to the growth God has in store for me this year. I hope you are looking forward to your growth too! If you have a favorite hymn you would like me to see in a post, send me a message at vospower6@hotmail.com and I will consider it.

Blessings and Peace!
Liz

Pace

Have you found your optimal pace? The rhythm and tempo you work best in?

I am still trying to figure it out!

I know I don’t love the “Hurry up and wait!” kind of thing. When I have put my mind to something, I like to move forward without interruptions.

But I also think it depends on what I am trying to accomplish. If I am visiting with someone I enjoy, I don’t want to rush the time. But, there are time limits all around me. Maybe grabbing a coffee and 60 minutes of conversation is all there is time for, even though I want more time. Sometimes those limits make me cut to the heart of things much more quickly because time is of the essence.

A friend of mine recently said, “A deadline is my muse.” And boy does that ring true for me! There is nothing like a ticking clock nearing its finally tock that can spring me into action.

If the task ahead is something I dread, it is hard to get motivated. But “the road to a friend’s house is never long,” [Danish Proverb]

What motivates your movement?

  • Relationships?
  • Accomplishment?
  • Accolades?
  • Commitment?
  • Obligation?
  • Love?

I do much better following through when there is an external commitment on me. I do get plenty of things done on my own, but I often fudge on my own, self-inflicted deadlines. I probably don’t do a great job estimating what space and time I need to accomplish a task. Also, I sometimes let perfection be the enemy of something that is “good enough”.

I know I am guilty of wanting a certain pace for things. For example, when I have a need — how often do I ask God to come quickly?

16 Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of your love;
    in your great mercy turn to me.
17 Do not hide your face from your servant;
    answer me quickly, for I am in trouble.
18 Come near and rescue me;
    deliver me because of my foes. [Psalm 69:16-18, NIV]

And God wants me to call on Him (He does quickly come) – but to also keep perspective on His pace and His much bigger picture plan.

8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. [2 Peter 3:8-9]

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. [Romans 8:28, NIV].

May you have the patience to see God’s work unfolding in your life!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: GOOD, BETTER, BEST

Meditation

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. [Psalm 19:14, NIV]

We do a lot of traveling for our business. I love the people we meet but I also love the time my mind can wander around and explore different ideas. Of course, one thought leads to another and pretty soon I am way down a path and I couldn’t even tell you how I got there. If I don’t have a “plan” for my thinking time I usually wander, and that isn’t always a bad thing.

But, when I pray and meditate, I like to have a focal point. For prayer, I usually use a word or phrase and talk it over with God. Sometimes that word or phrase conjures up some interesting reflections and reactions from me but, more importantly, I want to learn what His thoughts are on it. When I meditate, I like to mull over Scripture – particularly an area where I need God’s counsel. Sometimes it is just a couple of verses of the Bible but other times it is a chapter in a particular book of the Bible. It’s also a good time for me to use music, particularly soothing music without words. But but hymns and other spiritual songs that fill my mind with God’s Word and Truth are a great way for me to step away from myself and explore the deeper things.

Spending time in prayer and meditation gives me the opportunity to pause and be refreshed with healthy thoughts and concepts. It helps me to uncover those things I might wish to keep covered. By letting God into my thought life I am allowing His truth to correct me and guide me and encourage me.

How do you like to ponder God’s Word?

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers. [Psalm 1:1-3, NIV]

May God bless you as you meditate on His Word!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: UPROOTED

In the queue

Waiting for church w
Waiting for church to start in Transylvania

Sometimes I look at my phone to pass the time when I am in line and not interested in engaging with the world around me. I can get impatient when I am waiting.

Who am I to think I don’t have to wait for things? When I look at Scripture, there is so much waiting – years and years of it. Check out Psalm 5, Psalm 27, Psalm 33, and Psalm 37 and pretty much all of Scripture. There is a lot of waiting.

Waiting is a part of life.

And sometimes there is even a purpose in waiting. The “delay” allows other pieces to fall into place. Sometimes the delay prepares us for the next step. Waiting is natural and there is no point in complaining about it. I have found that I can increase my impatience just being so caught up in the frustration of the waiting. That’s ridiculous. I am not above waiting.

What are you waiting for?

While I am waiting I can still live my life. I don’t want to let waiting steal my joy. Whatever it is I am waiting for, I can be sure that God is working on my heart while I wait.

On the way,

Liz

Where are you going?

Night Flight w
Night Flight! 

Recently I have needed to travel quite a bit. I appreciate a good but flexible itinerary and I also like time to explore on my own.

The most important thing to keep in mind when I am “on the road” is that things often change. A flight might be delayed or cancelled. If I am traveling by car there might be a traffic delay or a problem with my vehicle. There may be a detour that allows for an unusual adventure, if I quit stewing about the delay.

Life can be like that too! You’ve got a plan and you seek to execute it but something interrupts the itinerary. Maybe someone else inserted their agenda. Maybe your destination changed because you made some choices that took you on a detour.

This is life.

There are some things we have control over but not everything. You might think you are going one place but things aren’t adding up to that.

Where are you headed?

This seems to be the better question. If you think about what you are hoping to accomplish, are the things you are doing now heading you in that direction? Are the people you are spending time with encouraging you in your goal? Have you asked God for His insight on the matter? Sometimes He speaks through prayer and Scripture and sometimes He uses people in our lives to influence us.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. [Psalm 119:105 NIV]

Lord, face me in the direction I need to go and direct my footsteps and clear my path. Amen.

On the way,

Liz

A Time to Dance

PA dancers w
A Hungarian dance group from Pennsylvania

A Time for Everything 
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 NIV

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.


“I’m dancing as fast as I can.”

“Dancing with the devil.”

“Do the hustle.”

Dancing is a great metaphor for relationships and expectations. It can also be an expression of joy and release.

Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp. [Psalm 149:3 NIV]

You turned my wailing into dancing;
    you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
    Lord my God, I will praise you forever. [Psalm 30:11-12 NIV]

When was the last time you danced?

I like to dance a little here and there but I don’t dance nearly enough. I am more inclined to dance alone because my heart for dancing and my skill set are so woefully unmatched I know I will be embarrassed. I am just too uncomfortable knowing that others could be watching me or, worse yet, filming me! That’s unfortunate because dancing is good for you in a variety of ways. And it wasn’t designed to be a competition that intimidates people.

I have danced a few steps in response to a victory of some sort. I like a slow dance with my husband. And I would like to learn more Hungarian folk dancing. But I really don’t consider myself a dancer and I certainly don’t know much about dancing in a technical way.

Dancing is closely related to joy for me. Even though I don’t dance often when I do it is typically because I am feeling pretty excited about something. It’s a fun way to celebrate and express joy.

I do know a bit about the relief and release that comes after a period of mourning and the permission or sense of release that it is ok to dance. The mourning time has ceased and it’s a new day and a new situation and I can dance in spite of the mess I just walked through. I might dance in the middle of my circumstances because I know God is working out the details or because I know time is short and life is short and I can wallow about this or that or I can dance to pass the time.

Dancing while on the way,

Liz