Famous last words

August 28th, 2016 by Maureen

 

If I want him to remain alive until I come back, what concern is that of yours? (Jesus to Peter concerning John)  John 21:23

Behold I am sending the promise of my Father to you, but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. Luke 24:49

I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matt. 28:20

Each of these gospels records different last words of Jesus, and each offers a different perspective. John records a personal conversation between Peter and Jesus, basically offering assurance that Jesus is interested and involved in our individual stories. Luke offers assurance that God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit continue to communicate with us and will be our source and inspiration. Matthew simply says that no matter what happens throughout history, or through the passages of our own lives, Jesus is always, always with in.

Jesus, thank You for communicating to humans through Your life, Your words, and Your Spirit.

The shame factor

August 25th, 2016 by Maureen

For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. Phil. 1:20

If we feel shame, rejection or retribution from God every time we fail, if we may interpret the negative events  surrounding our lives as God’s punishment for our failures, we expect too much from ourselves and too little from Christ. Christ came because we can’t execute perfection on our own. If we expect Christ to cover us, if we expect the Holy Spirit to guide us, and if we expect the Father to treat us like beloved children, love and trust towards God replaces shame and fear as motivation for our life choices. We live bolder, more honorable lives when He is living in and through us, without the shame factor, than we possible can live through our own efforts.

Lord help me let go a shame and honor You with my trust.

Safety Second

August 24th, 2016 by Maureen

This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. Ps. 91:2

Savings plans, generators, medical plans, security systems, prenups, fire alarms, airbags, diet and exercise, or lucky socks are uncertain safety nets. Mountain cabins, spa baths and special coffee creamers are all unworthy to be called refuges. Whatever benefits these other things may hold, the only truly safe place, the only sure refuge, is God. Yet, we have a tendency to think that what we can control is safer that what is unknown and God, as much as we may love Him, comes with things unknown and uncontrollable. God’s love for us is trustworthy and it is only in that trust that we can fully experience the safety He offers us.

Lord, whether my safety nets fail or hold up, I trust You and take refuge in You.

Always means always

August 22nd, 2016 by Maureen

We who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. Heb. 6:19b

We run to God for many reasons. Sometimes it is it escape harm or evil, fear, or shame, sometimes it is victimization, self-loathing, or grief, sometimes it involves our awareness of evil or our own mortality. His love doesn’t distinguish between our reasons. His victory at the cross was a victory over every possible situation or condition. The reality is that we are already and always in His arms. The hope is that we remain aware of His arms always around us so that the peace and confidence that sometimes seems so fleeting becomes as certain as breathing.

Lord, I run headlong, with complete abandon, deeper into the refuge of Your arms.

Love does not equal circumstance

August 18th, 2016 by Maureen

And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. Matt. 10:30

God has intense, personal love for each one of us. It’s reassuring and amazing to look at any crowd of people and realize that God know how many hairs and tears and needs are represented. The Holy Spirit is always surfing crowds looking for someone who is open to experiencing the love and grace of Christ. this is true in Louisiana and California where people are experiencing floods and fires, in the Middle East where people live in war zones, in every part of the world where people face disease and poverty. Our circumstances, and even our doubts, are no measure of God’s intensive love and concern for each of us.

Lord, let some unsuspecting head and heart be filled with the wonder and beauty and magnitude of your love!

Peace when faced with the unknown

August 17th, 2016 by Maureen

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. Jn. 14:27 RSV

These are Jesus’ words to His disciples as He tells them that He will soon complete the world-changing mission His Father sent Him to accomplish, return to the Father, and leave them here. He promises His Spirit will be with them in an even better way than He’s been with them. It is likely the disciples could not stretch far enough to imagine a scenario where Jesus’ absence could be better than His physical presence. We often  have trouble imagining benefits in change that requires that we let go of a beloved known for an uncertain unknown. The same peace He promised His disciples is ours because not only is He with us always, He is in us too.

Lord, help me to embrace peace and hope, untroubled and unafraid no matter what the situation.

Onward and usward

August 16th, 2016 by Maureen

He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. Eph. 4:16

Just as we are meant to individually experience what it means to be one in and with Christ, we are also meant to experience unity as a community of those He loves and leads. “Synergy” describes what occurs when two or more produce a result through Christ that isn’t individually obtainable. God’s kingdom runs on interdependence. The Kingdom of God can go viral when a group of individual believers experience synergy with Christ together.

Lord, help me to look outward and upward instead of “me-ward.”

The longest view

August 14th, 2016 by Maureen

we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. Heb.9:18

Our perceptions are not as reliable as God’s love and goodness. Our grasp of facts are not as accurate as God’s truthfulness and wisdom. Our abilities and contributions are not as trustworthy as God’s power and grace. God can help us gain more clarity, confidence, and hope, but none of us will always see things as fully as they truly are.

Lord, I can’t see much from down here but I hold onto You knowing Your view is infinite and Your intentions are perfect.

Squinting through life

August 11th, 2016 by Maureen

Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is! Matt. 6:22-23

Nearsighted people tell stories about seeing trees for the first time through corrective lenses and being able to make out individual leaves and branches. We base our insights, responses, and plans on what we think we are looking at. If we are squinting distorted lenses of selfishness, fear, anger, inflexibility, hopelessness, and confusion then we may never know that the green blob we’ve been calling a monster is really a tree. In Christ we can see and respond to our world through His loving, truthful, hopeful, wondrous, and gracious 20-20 vision.

Lord, correct my flawed vision.

The planning stage

August 10th, 2016 by Maureen

Then Moses said, “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place.” Ex. 33:16 [Jesus said] “But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.” Luke 24:49

The only plan the disciples in the upper room had was to wait for the Holy Spirit. Moses wasn’t about to budge until He sensed God’s personal presence. We can get caught up in purpose, in planning and in the details of executing our plans, and fail to recognize or enjoy God’s personal presence. Fully and continually experiencing God’s presence with us, in us, and through us is the purpose and plan.

Lord, fill me with Your Spirit and help me respond to whatever happens out of Your presence in me.

God with us, in us, and for us

August 9th, 2016 by Maureen

I am always with  you. Matt. 8:20;  I am in my Father and you are in Me and I am in you. Jn 14:8; If God is for us who can be against us. Rom. 8:31

God is always with us. When we experience the moments of our day in the companionship of God every sense is heightened and our enjoyment, meaning and understanding increase. He is also in us, inspiring us  and empowering us to comprehend, to respond, and to create, as members of something larger than ourselves. Even when we meet with adversity or challenges the God who is still with us and in us is also for us. His intentions for us are always for lives filled with His love, grace, and abundance.

Lord, help me to sense You with me, in me, and for me no matter what is happening around me.

 

Belief is not an Olympic event

August 8th, 2016 by Maureen

The boy’s father cried out, “I believe, keep helping my unbelief.” Mark 9:24

God is not up there judging our belief and awarding answers based on technique. Though there are thousands of books, posts, and sermons out there instructing us on proper techniques for prayer and exercising faith, we need not trust ourselves or learned techniques to muster enough faith for an answer to prayer. All this desperate father had to go on was his wavering, unstudied belief in the person, Jesus, who had just told him “all thing are possible for the one who has faith.”  Instead of holding up a “5” and telling that dad to try again when his execution of belief improved, Jesus compassionately healed his boy.

Lord, I believe in You and in Your love me and everyone else. I trust Your redemptive power to make whole all these broken, hurting parts of all our lives. When nothing changes or things get worse and doubt creeps in, out of Your love and grace please help my unbelief and continue restoring us anyway.

Jesus has my ID

August 7th, 2016 by Maureen

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal. 3:28

Membership in God’s family identifies us in ways that make each of us more uniquely and utterly ourselves and infinitely more valuable than anything we might do to attempt to distinguish our uniqueness or worth. We can only identify ourselves in very limited ways through identifying with different groups, ideas, or pursuits. Our efforts might increase our level of fame, respect, or contribution, but those are not the same thing as inherent worth. Jesus reveals our identity and proves our worth by coming Himself to redeem us, by making us His family, not just followers or adherents, and by creating an inexplicable bond that causes us to be in Him and Him to be in us.

Lord, help me to identify and value myself and others as you do.

This is going to end well

August 5th, 2016 by Maureen

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Rom. 15:13

Trust allows us to live joyfully and peacefully. That doesn’t mean we put on the happy face mask and pretend it doesn’t hurt when it really does. It means that even when its apparent that the immediate circumstances aren’t going to end well, we can have our cry and keep turning the pages with hope, joy, and peace. The Author and Finisher of our faith has finished the story…and it ends well.

Lord, I trust you with my story, beginning to end.

Viral joy

August 4th, 2016 by Maureen

His presence was a joy, but so was the news he brought of the encouragement he received from you. 2 Cor. 7:7

Joy is not dependent on circumstance or on how we are treated by other people, but encouragement does give joy a power boost. In fact, encouragement is an exchange of joyful acknowledgement that God loves us, values us, and cares about our lives. Joy goes viral when we share the encouragement we receive in one place with people in another place.

Lord, fill me with joy that goes viral.

Listen for the song

August 2nd, 2016 by Maureen

Sing a new song to the Lord! Let the whole earth sing to the Lord! Psalm 96:1

The work we do, the things we learn and ponder, the voices of those we meet, even the daily chores we perform contain the song of the Creator. His voice encourages and instructs us in the rhythms of each day. Everything we experience is an opportunity to join our voices in the new song God is singing. God is singing something new but vaguely familiar. The harmony is already in us to sing along

Lord let all I am and all I do be in tune with the song You’re singing today.

Past Forgetting

August 1st, 2016 by Maureen

I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on for the prize which God is calling me to: life in Christ Jesus. Phil. 3:13

We should learn from past mistakes then let them go. We need to recognize that our past experiences and perceptions color our perspectives, interpretations, and expectations about the present and the future. We have to shed baggage to keep running with minds and hearts open to God’s perceptions and intentions for us in each new experience. We miss abundance, discovery and growth when we assign value and meaning based solely on past experience.

Lord, help me to let go of every thing I don’t need to run this day’s race.

Past forgetting

August 1st, 2016 by Maureen

I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on for the prize which God is calling me to: life in Christ Jesus. Phil. 3:13

We should learn from past mistakes then let them go. We need to recognize that our past experiences and perceptions color our perspectives, interpretations, and expectations about the present and the future. We have to shed baggage to keep running with minds and hearts open to God’s perceptions and intentions for us in each new experience. We miss abundance, discovery and growth when we assign value and meaning based solely on past experience.

Lord, help me to let go of every thing I don’t need to run this day’s race.

Life is impromptu

July 31st, 2016 by Maureen

You say, “Tomorrow we will go to a certain city and stay there a year to do business and make a profit.” You have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. James 4:13-14a

Expect the unexpected because the unexpected is definitely expecting you. It’s not bad to make plans but it’s a mistake to expect them to play out in real life the way they do in your head. Even contingency plans end up tweaked or scrapped. If satisfaction depends on smooth execution of plans, get used to frustration and disappointment. Breathe.  Accept. Adapt. Enjoy. There is more than one way to get there and God knows them all.

Lord, help me to be flexible and nimble when plans fall through.

Increasing chance of showers

July 30th, 2016 by Maureen

Let my teaching fall on you like rain; let my speech settle like dew. Let my words fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants. I will proclaim the name of the Lord… Deut 32:2-3a

Rain in the middle of a hot summer is a sweet delight. Things are heating up with the election, plus we live in a diverse culture where we encounter people who hold to different philosophies, doctrines, agendas and practices than our own. Our conversations with like-minded individuals can feel like the respite of a summer shower. We all need that, but instead of viewing the rest of humanity as drought, what if stayed open to the possibility of refreshing showers anywhere, anytime, from anyone? Sometimes, through very unexpected sources, God reveals profound truth and interesting connections that gently soak into our open hearts and minds as we enjoy and appreciate relationship with another person.

Lord, help me to listen to everyone with a loving heart and open mind. Help me to find common ground where there seems to be none.