December 12th, 2013 by Maureen
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19 (NIV)
The initial impact of God being born as a baby complete with angelic announcements and worshipping magi must have been an amazing and joyful experience. Mary probably spent the rest of her life trying to wrap her head around that night as bits and pieces of its importance unfolded. Each Christmas offers each of us personal opportunities to treasure and ponder the significance of Jesus in our lives.
Lord, lead my pondering heart to a deeper, more personal understanding of You.
December 11th, 2013 by Maureen
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. Jn. 1:14
The same Word who pre-existed creation and spoke it into existence came wrapped in the flesh and bone of an infant child. When he was born, even those who first recognized Him as Messiah didn’t know that He came to bring forgiveness and reconciliation. Instead of a political or religious revolution, this baby began a revolution of grace.
O Lord, continue Your revolution of grace in the words of my mouth and the attitudes of my heart.
December 9th, 2013 by Maureen
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. Jn. 1:1-
Christ existed before the world began. God loved the world before He ever made it and Jesus is the logos or divine expression of that love. The word logos implies not only the expression of an idea but the force that gives that idea meaning and purpose. God made His message of love tangible, intimate and personal in Jesus.
Lord, thank You for making You love for me so clear through Jesus.
December 8th, 2013 by Maureen
And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself. John 12:32
Jesus’ act of sacrifice and redemption spiritually magnetized all creation. Attractions changed. The effect of the forces that impact us changed. The power of the repelling force of evil was diminished because Jesus is the more powerful force, the one that holds everything together. His grace attracted us and it holds us even when we feel the pull of opposing forces. It continues to draw and attract.
Lord, let the pull of your love and grace flow through me and attract those around me to You.
December 7th, 2013 by Maureen
I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name. You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy. John 16:23-24
Ever been greeted at the door by a leaping, delighted dog? What a display of unbridled joy! Nobody exists for him except you and you are the best things he’s ever seen. Jesus came so our Dad could become our Dad. He came so that we can always respond to our Father with leaping, yelping delight instead of fear or shame.
The Lord is Here! Yes!
December 6th, 2013 by Maureen
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Eph. 4:31
Nelson Mandela’s words on forgiveness:
“ As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”
“Our Messiah, born like an outcast in a stable, and executed like criminal on the cross…Whose life testifies to the truth that there is no shame in being persecuted: Those who should be ashamed are they who persecute others…”
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
Thank you for using Nelson to remind us of what it can look like when we forgive each other.
December 5th, 2013 by Maureen
I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. John 12:46
Jesus came to shed light on our confusion, misinformation, and ignorance. Having questions does not indicate a lack of faith or trust. In fact, being interested in matters of faith, seeking truth, and asking Him to shed some light on areas where we have questions draws us so much closer to Him than simple parroting the “Sunday school answer” that has no root in how we actually live our lives. Trust opens our lives so that His grace and truth can take root.
Lord I trust You in all I don’t know and all I seek to understand.
December 4th, 2013 by Maureen
Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and to open the prison to those who are bound Is. 61:1 Luke 4:18
Jesus announced this mission 2000+ years ago and Isaiah spoke it hundreds of years before that. In one way or another we all experience poverty, broken hearts, and imprisonment. We can respond to the healing, comfort and freedom He gives us by participating in His mission. This is the work of compassion, the prayer of peace, the heart of grace.
Lord, let bringing and binding, proclaiming and opening be my heart’s mission.
December 3rd, 2013 by Maureen
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. Eph. 3:18
This love is where we land. When we experience hurt and pain, when we fail, when we feel confused. When we celebrate. When we mourn. We land here. Without judgment. Without reservation. Right here in His wide, long high, deep love. That’s grace.
Lord, we need you.
December 2nd, 2013 by Maureen
It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them. Ecc. 5:18
Sometimes our grandest purpose is simply to be present in our eating and drinking and working, to pay attention to the people who are right there in front of us, and to savor life’s small adventures. In a season that is full of planning, preparation and purpose it’s easy to focus on “special events” and fail to be present in the moment.
Help me practice the art of being present and increase my awareness of Your presence in these present moments.
November 30th, 2013 by Maureen
But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.” Mark 5:19
For some reason holidays can create unrealistic pressures and expectations that make it impossible to actually celebrate the season or the relationships that cause us to gather. Some families do performance reviews. Some do guilt trips. Some do ”events.” Some write those “ain’t we great” holiday letters. The best gatherings are the ones that simply let His continually transforming mercy and redemption be the success story we tell about ourselves and the one we celebrate in those we love.
Lord, I want to celebrate Your goodness with my loved ones all season long.
November 28th, 2013 by Maureen
Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. Col. 2:16
I feel like I’m cheating on Thanksgiving if I put up Christmas decorations or buy gifts before celebrating Thanksgiving. As a holiday, I love Thanksgiving and hate to see it upstaged by it’s flashier cousin. And now it looks like some poor souls will be working Thanksgiving night so Black Friday can start even earlier. But I’m not judging anyone who starts Christmas early. Thanksgiving is an attitude more than it is a holiday. Celebrating Christ, spreading love and joy, giving gifts are all ways to express thanks through the whole season.
Lord, keep me in this cycle of thankfulness.
November 27th, 2013 by Maureen
“O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way. Luke 10:21
Jesus was thankful that God chose the childlike to receive His message instead of overly confident strategists, jaded intellectuals, or proud academics. That had to make his job easier…and more fun. I am thankful for open-minds and open hearts, for those still capable of wonder and delight, for the childlike among us and for those who long to shed the guarded facade that disappointment and disillusionment has erected around them and be childlike again.
Lord, reawaken the child in us.
November 26th, 2013 by Maureen
He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” Luke 22:19
At the Last Supper Jesus gave thanks that He could give His body and blood to redeem us. Thanksgiving is more than a time to acknowledge what we have been given; it is also a time to give thanks for what we have the opportunity to give. Give thanks for each chance to share resources with others. Give thanks for each chance to speak His grace, forgiveness, and redemption into the world. Give thanks when giving requires personal sacrifice of some kind. Perhaps giving of ourselves is a practice of communion the way taking bread and wine is a symbolic observance of it.
Thank you, Lord.
November 26th, 2013 by Maureen
Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength! Neh. 8:10
Loss of a loved one, unpleasant memories, loneliness, or other issues can cast shadows on the holidays. Feasting and celebration can seem like a stretch. Joy comes as we shift our focus away from self and toward thanking God and sharing what we have with others.
Lord, bring joy and celebration to heavy hearts.
(This is a repost from last year.)
November 24th, 2013 by Maureen
[I pray] that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, so that, because you have been rooted and grounded in love, you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and thus to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:17-19 (NET)
The encompassing love of Christ is the environment in which we as believers live, not just those who are good enough or deserve it or are chosen for it, but all the saints are meant to comprehend the love of Christ.
Thanks for Your love.
November 23rd, 2013 by Maureen
Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquetin the Kingdom of God!” Luke 14:15
Jesus used meals as a time to include, to teach, and to nourish. He ate with everyone who invited him and performed miracles so everyone with him could eat. He keeps adding leaves to His table and extending His family so we all can sit at the big table with Him.
Lord, thanks for making a place at Your table for me. Let my table be a place of love and laughter, grace and acceptance.
November 22nd, 2013 by Maureen
There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? John 14:2
The time around the holidays can be especially hard when we miss our loved ones. As we feel the tug of eternity, through empty places at the table and traditions changed because of loss, we can be thankful for this hope: Jesus has marked the road home with signs of His grace. He has a room waiting and has set us a place at the table…right next to the ones we are missing.
Lord, keep my heart homeward bound.
November 21st, 2013 by Maureen
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. Phil. 4:11-12
Sometimes it’s not the need itself that creates discontent, it’s the tendency to focus on those things we think are missing from our lives. When we actively appreciate the present, just as it is, we enjoy our lives more and we tend to give and share more freely. Contentment and thankfulness feed off one another.
Lord, thank you for all I have right now. Period.
November 19th, 2013 by Maureen
From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. Jn. 1:16
Every blessing we have is a result of grace and God is the source. Those moments of connectedness, peace and joy we experience through relationship with God and others are often the most gracious and impactful blessings. This Thanksgiving we can celebrate the intangible abundance God supplies.
Thank you for this day and the one-after-another blessings you’ve placed in it.