PrayerPoints ~ Sunday, March 20th

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 16

“Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing. ” Psalm 16:1-2

There are always difficulties. Since the Fall of Man, there have been wars and disease and sin.

Theirs…Yours… and Mine.

And God continues to offer His grace and mercy and forgiveness and love. Along with those good things, He reminds us:

“Finally brothers,

whatever is true,

whatever is honorable, whatever is just,

whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,

whatever is commendable,

if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise,

think about these things.”   Philippians 4:8

Now, more than ever, I wonder where things are headed in our world. There is so much corruption, pain, illness, and death that I need to reorient my thinking multiple times a day. As Scripture says,

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”  Ecclesiastes 1:9

Life is hard. God is good. And God’s goodness is not dependent on my circumstances.

PrayerPoints ~ Wednesday, March 2nd

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 46

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear; even though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”    Psalm 46: 1-3

The imagery in the verses above…wow! it sounds like utter devastation! And, unfortunately, we have some days, weeks, months, and years like that. When you are in trouble, lean into His strength!

There is no telling what you are in the middle of at this very moment in your life but I have a great imagination. You probably do, too. I think it is both a blessing and a curse. If you are anything like me, when you hear some “bad news” you can imagine the worst case scenario in about 3 seconds flat.  But, the potential positive to that “quick thinking” is being able to empathize with others and pray for them as they walk through a challenging time even if I haven’t experienced the same situation myself. When I hear about people who are struggling with something, I immediately think about the needs, the emotions, the fears, or the “what is next?” kinds of things and I cover them in prayer. And the times I have absolutely no idea about their situation but I know there is a need? I honestly leave it up to God to fill in the blanks. At one time or another, everyone struggles with:

  • faith
  • finances
  • fears
  • relationships
  • jobs
  • education/training
  • health

So it is a safe bet that I can pray over each of those categories for anyone and God, who knows it all anyway, hears my pleas.

It’s hard to watch someone struggle through a difficult season. There are times we can only pray and wait. We can’t jump in to fix or solve the problem, but we must hand it over to God, trusting in His work. Sharing God’s Word can bring refreshment to weary bones. God’s Word is always in season, but certainly a source of strength during an anxious and fearful time in life.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.”   Psalm 46:10

A special thank you to my friend, Kristin, who has taken these great verses and put them in such a nice setting!

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?