Big inheritance

January 19th, 2018 by Maureen

There was a time when our young brains had not developed enough to understand abstract concepts like infinity. We barely could grasp the concept of millions. What we experience now of this inheritance kept for us in heaven is like a stipend from an infinite trust. From what we can know and experience here and now, this inheritance looks like relationship. It looks like love and grace, like peace and hope, like freedom and security, like wonder and rest. It looks like transformation.

This inheritance cannot be diminished by world economics, environmental impact, human valuation, or the impact of time and wear. Things change, wear out, get old, and decay. Sadly humans experience some of this wearing out too.  Fortunately our inheritance is eternal, infinite, and restorative. We can look forward to being utterly amazed by the magnitude of this inheritance when we have the capacity to comprehend it.

Father, thank you for all You are and all we are because our inheritance is forever in You.

Not because you asked

January 18th, 2018 by Maureen

Before we open our mouths to say it, before we even think it, our loving Father already knows. Talking to Him about what’s on our minds helps us feel connected to Him, clarifies our thoughts and feelings, and reaffirms our trust in Him. Our prayers are not about getting God’s attention, convincing Him our needs matter, or begging for His help until He responds to us. Prayer is about remembering that God already knows, already cares, and is already helping us and about consciously experiencing God’s attention and help.

Thank you for always hearing me even before I ask.

The condition my rejoicing is in

January 17th, 2018 by Maureen

Rejoicing in the Lord is an unconditional response. Certainly we are thankful when good things come our way. We rejoice when our prayers are answered. But that kind of rejoicing is conditional. We like the favorable circumstances; and we credit and thank God for them.

Rejoicing in the Lord is more about the joy and peace that comes with awareness of Who God Is and who we are in Him outside circumstances.
Knowing our Father loves us unconditionally, we rejoice.
Experiencing the continuously restorative, inspiring renewal of Jesus Christ, we rejoice.
Sensing the gentle voice of the Spirit assuring, empowering, and guiding us, we rejoice.
Rejoicing in the Lord is delight because we are at home in Him and He makes His home is us.

Lord, I am immeasurably blessed in You, through You, because of You. And I rejoice.

Inclimate weather days aka snow day

January 16th, 2018 by Maureen

There is something so delightful about the gift of an unexpected day at home. A snow day.  Whatever work, obligations, and have-to errands we may have had to go out and do are imprisoned under a layer of winter; and we get to stay at home. The wonder of the internet means we can probably do some work from home, but not all day. In this fast-paced life a snow day is a gift meant to be used doing things we find relaxing and fun. By the way, if you’ve ever been given the impression God prefers for us to always be productive and serious and only tolerates fun and relaxation, those are the kind of lies that give God a bad name. God made snow days.

Lord, thank you for snow days.

Truth is a mystery

January 13th, 2018 by Maureen

Truth is not a mere collection of facts or laws. Truth includes mystery. If we view mystery with fear and suspicion, if we view mystery as a threat to dogma or logic, we may be mistaking legalism or scholarship for spiritual growth that leads into truth. When the Spirit of God leads us into truth mystery fills us with awe and wonder and humility. We accept that we don’t know everything and that we don’t have to. Yet we feel drawn by God’s own Spirit to pursue and discover. His mystery is compellingly filled with love and hope.

Thank you, God, for inviting me into this mysterious, ever unfolding revelation that is loving and knowing You.

Benefits of light

January 12th, 2018 by Maureen

When we walk into a room our eyes don’t usually go to the light. The benefit of light is not that we see it but that it allows us to see everything else. Light illuminates and gives definition to the world around us.  Light creates atmosphere.

If the light of Christ in us can light up the places we go, it is not so that we can be seen but that the good news of Christ’s redemptive love and grace offers a new light for looking at everything else.

Lord, use Your light in me to illuminate the places I go

 

From glory to glory

January 11th, 2018 by Maureen

We may think of glory as the state of love, joy, and peace that exists in God, among Father, Son, and Spirit and among those who dwell exclusively in the realm of heaven. We may think of glory is also recognition and praise of God’s power and perfection; or as awe and enjoyment in the works that evidence God’s goodness, creativity, and provision.

We are invited into many glories because we aware that our lives are in Christ. We are invited to discover the glory
of His love, joy, and peace as our own,
of enjoying and receiving the works of His hands,
of developing, enjoying, and contributing the gifts and talents He’s bestowed upon us,
of being transformed by His own glory.

Lord help me live in awareness of glory to glory that is there in my life in You.

Big God in little troubles…and huge ones

January 10th, 2018 by Maureen

To think that anything that happens can keep God from loving us is to give that thing too much power. To think our responses to trouble might separate us is to give us too much power. God’s love for us is not measured by how smooth our lives are going. Neither is His love measured by how we respond to troubles. Sometimes we panic. It happens. God loves us no matter how bad things are and no matter how badly we handle those things. Nothing means nothing.

Lord, I’m so glad that nothing can separate us from Your love and that nothing actually means nothing.

Fully present in the present

January 9th, 2018 by Maureen

We are here in this unique and irreplaceable now. The moment-by-moment present cannot fully be experienced and enjoyed if it is spent focused on the past or the future. And the present moment is not just a when; it’s also a where. If we are thinking about what is happening somewhere else we are not fully present in the time and the place that the Lord has made for us right now.  We discover the day’s joy as we choose to be present when and where we are now.

Lord, may I this day, all day, discover the joy that is now.

The daring metamorphosis of new creations

January 8th, 2018 by Maureen

It would never occur to a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis to drag the thing around with it for the rest of its life. Imagine a butterfly continuing to inch along on the ground like a caterpillar after discovering it has wings.

Humans often deny themselves the opportunity to fully embrace newness. We continue to adhere to old habits and thought patterns that tether us to our past. We hang onto old grudges and glories and define ourselves by past mistakes or successes. We drag around our baggage and weigh down our wings.

Let us dare to respond to life with all that is new in Christ;
dare to be authentically, unapologetically our new selves;
dare to love unconditionally; dare to dance with God.
Let us spread our wings and let His Wind take us.

Lord, help me to let go of the past and to be the new that You are making me.

Remembering mercy and truth

January 7th, 2018 by Maureen

Why is it that many of us feel much more inclined to forget mercy than to forget truth? What we believe to be true profoundly affects self image, our ethics, our choices, and our relationships. Kindness toward others, and toward ourselves, allows us to feel comfortable in our own skin and to adapt graciously to a variety of people in a variety of environment. Truth and mercy need not be viewed as opposing forces and we shouldn’t have to do without either one.

If law is our primary truth there is always going to be some tension between truth and mercy. Law gives us lists of ideological positions and behaviors against which to measure ourselves and others. If we hang law around our necks then we are almost obliged to engage in judgment of, and conflict with, those who don’t agree with our truth.

If love is our primary truth then mercy and truth become one single driving attitude and motivation. Love gives us freedom to simply enjoy all our relationships. Love creates an environment for authentic, meaningful exchange of ideas.

Lord help me speak authentic, truthful, loving words from an abundant heart.

Go jump off a cliff

January 6th, 2018 by Maureen


Holocaust survivor Corrie Ten Boom wrote, “there is no pit so deep that the love of God is not deeper still. Despair zaps our energy and motivation. It can make us feel immovable, stuck in a pit. “Hope can seem so unrealistic and fragile with despair pressing down on us.

When even the daily routines of life seem like pointless optimism, God invites us out of the pit and onto a cliff called hope. There we can fall into the lightness and lift of His vision and truth.

Sometimes God supplies us with wings and uplift to give us flight; and sometimes He just picks us up and flies us out under His own wings. If you’ve seen Lord of the Rings,  imagine the scene near the end when the eagles come and carry Frodo and Sam away from the lava flow on Mt. Doom. When we feel helpless, hopeless, and completely spent, this is a great picture of God’s rescue. He always has us and nothing we face is too hard.

Thank you giving me wings to fly and for taking me securely under Yours.

Charizomai is a mouthful. But it’s a good word. And not a Pokemon

January 5th, 2018 by Maureen

Charizomai is traditionally translated as “forgiveness” but it means a lot more than that. It means “to show oneself gracious, kind, and benevolent.” This is God’s attitude and He lets us become part of it. “Forgiveness”  is a product of a gracious attitude. Giving freely, and offering restoration and rescue to those in trouble also come from this attitude.
We can give or forgive because we are “supposed to,” but what we do out of obligation rather than freedom rarely brings peace or joy. It might relieve a little guilt or remove a little fear, but fear and guilt are the motivators Jesus came to free us from not ones that are supposed to drive our choices.
Rather than always thinking about what we “should do” we are free to focus on and enjoy what Christ has already done and to experience His nature, His attitude, and His responses flowing from us. His grace for us, in us, and through us allows us to see others with God’s compassionate eyes, respond to others with the Father’s loving heart, and understand others with Christ’s gracious mind.

Lord let Charizomai kindness naturally flow from me because I live in You and You dwell in me.

Seize the eternity

January 4th, 2018 by Maureen

Is eternity exclusively an after-death experience?
Is it possible that we are immersed in eternity right now?

Could compartmentalizing how we think and process God and life make eternity harder to experience? We may have been taught to see God as separate and nearly unattainable. We may have been taught that God is only experienced through going to particular places, participating in particular events, following a particular set of rules, or reading one particular book.
What if our everyday life experiences are part of something larger than the limitations of our time and place on earth? Maybe life is more than whatever motivates us in our work, our affiliations, or our recreations. Maybe the way we compartmentalize our lives makes integrating into the eternal life harder.

What if God permeates every sub-atomic quark and all the spaces between the quarks?
What if awareness of being in God, interconnected with all that is also within God is a way to participate and experience the eternal life now?
Is it possible that eternal life is experienced through seizing hold of an integrated way of thinking and processing everyday moments in the framework of the eternal God?

Lord, help me to seize the eternal life.

 

Faith, hope, & love.

January 2nd, 2018 by Maureen

Three beautiful ideas follow us into each new year.  Awareness of God’s empowering love in us, through us, and for us causes us to notice and experience faith, hope, and love. Something happens and there they are like unexpected pop-up notifications in our lives. We witness them manifested in others. We respond to someone or to a situation with faith, hope, and love, sometimes without even having to think about it. These three are the elemental forces of spirit that abide after everything else we look forward to in 2018 is no more than a fading memory. Breathe them in. Swim in their flow. Notice.

Lord, thank you for everyday reminders that faith, hope, and love abide.

Change is whatever

January 1st, 2018 by Maureen

The new year often begins with grand plans for change. To a great extent change starts in our minds. Change starts with a desire and a vision for something good. Change happens through a series of choices.

It’s great to have a vision for change and important to identify barriers to change, but we put ourselves in a constant state of striving if we focus primarily on these things. Compartmentalizing end result from process and goal from journey diminishes our experiences in the present.

Right this minute, before any change takes place, there are still things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise. What are these present “whatevers?”

Perhaps developing an awareness and appreciation of present “whatevers” is a change agent itself. By focusing on the present rather than the future we are able to apprehend the nourishing and encouraging joy, hope, and grace that are there for us in our present “whatevers.”

Lord, help me to realize and think about whatever is good, wherever I am, in each moment.

What is your New Year’s quest?

December 31st, 2017 by Maureen

To everything there is a season and purpose under heaven. Ecc. 3:1

We march into new seasons and new years determined to fix ourselves and to do better. Perhaps instead of resolutions about changing our behavior we might consider a journey of self-discovery. What are my purposes? What motivates these purposes? How does who I am (or think I am) flow with these purposes?

From a place of love and significance our answers to these questions might be different than they would be from a place of fear and obligation.

Too often we settle for compensation rather than fulfillment. Too often we are driven by the “should’s” and expectations of others, some planted into our psyches from childhood, rather than operating from a sense of personal identity and worth. Too often our choices and behaviors are so God will love us instead of because God always loves us. Too often how we perceive ourselves is derived solely from our own and our culture’s past and present rather than from discovering our identity within the Eternal Who is Love and in Whose flow we live and move and belong.

Lord, I want my purposes under heaven be a natural response to existing in Your love, to loving You, loving life, loving others, and loving myself.

All the seasons under heaven

December 30th, 2017 by Maureen

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to be born and a time to die… Ecc. 3:1-2

Image converted using ifftoany

7.6 billion people will say goodbye to 2017 and greet 2018.*
There were approx. 140,240,000 births and 68,082 deaths this year on earth.*
It’s estimated that between 90 and 110 billion people have lived on this planet.*

Some people were only here for a brief moment while others spent over 100 years on the planet. The far reaching impact of some lives are clearly evident in history, while others are long ago forgotten. Not one of us earned or lost His love through impact or purpose. God is love and knows and loves us all of us who have ever lived because that is His nature. Every one who lives or has ever lived exists and is held together in Him.

As Jesus prayed, may our seasons and purposes be on earth as they are in heaven.

*Worldometer
**Population Reference Bureau

Listen first

December 28th, 2017 by Maureen

To give an answer on a matter before listening lacks good sense and is rude. Prov. 18:13

Listening can be challenging, especially when you think you already know the information or when you disagree. Communications experts usually present four or five stages in the listening process.
1. Attend. Open yourself to the message and the messenger. Acknowledge your biases and preconceptions and put them aside long enough to consider what is being said.
2. Interpret. Don’t jump to conclusions. Don’t fill in blanks with what you think is meant.
3. Evaluate. Now consider how this message sits with what you already know and believe.
4. Respond. Repeat the message you think you heard back to confirm that you understand. Ask for more clarification and information in you think you need it.
We don’t have to agree with one another, but we can really listen to each other and make sure when we do engage in disagreement, we actually understand what the other person is saying.

Lord, help me to listen more than I talk.

The realities of perception

December 27th, 2017 by Maureen

Look, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs forth. Do you not perceive it? Is. 43:19

What is perception?
-awareness of all the elements, the distinct parts, that make up our environment. Where are you now?
-what we experience through our physical senses. What did you see, hear, smell, touch, or taste?
-the way we regard, understand, or interpret ideas and experiences. How do you process and give meaning to what you experience through your senses and environment?
-intuitive recognition or appreciation of the qualities found in something. What causes you to recognize that something is important, useful, or beautiful?
God is always making things new again. God is always revealing new things to us.
Perception is sometimes dulled because we dismiss everything doesn’t confirm our assumptions. Perception is sometimes dulled because we focus on one thing and ignore the wonder around us. Perception is sometimes dulled by busyness, pain, or worry.
These are not insurmountable obstacles. When we are able to recognize that these things are obstacles and understand what forms our perceptions we become better equipped to perceive differently and to receive new things that what God puts in front of us.

Lord, open my senses to You. Help me to interpret what I experience through the filter of Your loving Self. Give me inspiration and understanding so that I see the new things you are doing around me, in me, and through me.