Archive for December, 2010

Finish it

December 31st, 2010 by Maureen

Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have. 2 Cor. 8:11

The year ends with projects incomplete and plans unfinished. Somewhere along the way enthusiasm waned and distractions took their toll. How we commit our resources deserves reflection and evaluation as the year draws to a close.

Lord, show me where you want me to put my energy, my money, my time, and my attention, and renew my commitment to what is important to You.

Power

December 30th, 2010 by Maureen

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. Rom. 8:11

Imagine the power that it must have taken to raise Jesus from the dead and defeat death, hell, and the grave. The very same powerful, life-giving Holy Spirit lives within each believer to comfort and guide us. There is no reason for us to be overcome by fear or temptation when we are inhabited by such a powerful presence.

Lord, teach me to respond to your Holy Spirit’s presence within.

Looking back

December 29th, 2010 by Maureen

Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God!I am God, and there is none like me. Is. 46:9

As we look back on the past year, whether it was the best year ever or full of problems, God was there. Whatever we’ve been through He was holding us close. We have stories to tell about His goodness in 2010.

Lord, thank you for all the blessings, all the comfort, all the provisions, and all the grace you’ve extended to me this year.

Obedience is cool

December 28th, 2010 by Maureen

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Ps. 51:12

God isn’t looking for our obedience so He can kill our fun, add to our pain, or turn us into mindless sheeple. God foresees the fallout of our disobedience and knows how acting on our selfish desires and insecurities leads to broken relationships and messed up lives. Obeying God’s Word helps us have joyful, healthy relationships with Him and with one another.

Lord, lead me to obedience that is joyful and restorative rather than resentful or legalistic.

Habit-forming cheer

December 27th, 2010 by Maureen

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Prov. 17:22

Much of the energy and goodwill of this time of year happens because we tend to make a conscious effort to spread cheer, wishing strangers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and taking treats and cards to neighbors we barely know. Habitual cheerfulness can be annoying if it’s rote or forced, but when it’s sincere, cheerfulness has an amazing effect on the emotional environment of everyone around it. Consider that it takes about three weeks to develop a habit, so many of us are already well on our way to habitual cheerfulness.

Lord, help me to be good medicine to the hearts I encounter all year long.

A non-returnable, non-exchangeable, fully functional gift

December 26th, 2010 by Maureen

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Jn. 14:27

Sometimes we receive a gift and never take it out of the box. Or perhaps, like the four food processor blades I’ve never tried,  we use the gift but don’t actually read the directions and discover everything it can do. Like all God’s gifts, this peace cannot be returned or exchanged but we can settle for less than full functionality.

Lord, thanks for the amazing gift of peace…now please help me figure out how it works.

A revolution of grace

December 25th, 2010 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 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.

Thank you, for your gift of glorious grace.

Away in a manger

December 24th, 2010 by Maureen

She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger. Luke 2:7

When He was born Jesus,  the Bread of life,  was laid in an empty feed trough. He came to nourish our starving souls and fill our empty hearts. He came to be broken for us, symbolized by the bread we break at the Communion table.

Be near me, Lord, Jesus, I ask thee to stay, close by me forever…

Pondering Christmas

December 23rd, 2010 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 kings 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 throughout her life. Each Christmas offers personal opportunities to treasure and ponder the significance of Jesus  in each of our lives.

Lord, lead my pondering heart to a deeper, more personal understanding of You.

The odd moments

December 22nd, 2010 by Maureen

As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Matt 1:20

Joseph was looking for a logical explanation for the strange turn his life was taking.  Sometimes, out of nowhere, God does something unexpected and supernatural that challenges our presuppositions.  When He does this sort of thing He makes sure we know that He’s the One at work and that, no matter how odd the  situation may seem, He’s got it under control.

Lord, thank you for all those odd God moments I can’t explain.

Deep thoughts

December 21st, 2010 by Maureen

He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.  Luke 2:34b-35a

If we scratch beneath the shallow commercial aspects of Christmas we discover the importance of family and friends. As we dig deeper into the Christmas Spirit our hearts are touched to give generously and to seek peace, hope, and joy. But if we allow God into the deep places of our hearts He will reveal the Christ of Christmas who gives meaning not only to a season of the year but to our whole lives.

Lord, lead me deep into Christmas this year.

Rescued

December 20th, 2010 by Maureen

We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live. Luke 1:74-75

Just as fear and doubt affected Zechariah, who spoke these words, our insecurities can cause us to become paralyzed and ineffective. Fear keeps us stuck in a routine of joyless obligation where legalism replaces holiness and righteousness. We have an enemy who tries to use fear to enslave us, destroy our souls and wreck our lives but Christ was born to rescue us and bring us into His service.

Lord, make me fearless, holy, and righteous.

Magnificat unpacked

December 19th, 2010 by Maureen

My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. Luke 1:46

Mary sang about her unbridled passion and excitement over who God is, what He has done,  is doing, and is going to do. She rejoiced to be used  in His plan. God’s desire is to lead each one of us to the purpose, meaning, and truth found in Christ and our response to that is to bring glory to God and to rejoice…REJOICE!

Today I rejoice in God my Savior!

Immanuel, God with us

December 18th, 2010 by Maureen

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matt. 1:23

Even when we wander far away, God, as He always has, uses every available means to let us know He is still with us and still wants us with Him. Even when don’t feel like He’s there, God is still with us and loves us just as much as He does in those moments when His presence feels absolutely tangible.  In John 17, before Jesus is crucified for us, the prayer He prays is about being with us and helping us know that He is always with us.

I rejoice, Immanuel, that You ransomed my captive soul and ended my lonely exile.

Tis the season

December 17th, 2010 by Maureen

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

The Christmas season can overwhelm us with commercialism and celebration, and sometimes even opens up our old wounds. Christ is the Counselor who offers relief from the baggage we carry.  He is the Father who loves unconditionally and never leaves us. He is the mighty God whose truth puts all our petty desires into perspective and satisfies us with experiences that matter and last.

Prince of Peace, reign over my Christmas season.

God is not a last minute shopper

December 16th, 2010 by Maureen

 But you, O Bethlehem are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past, from the days of eternity. Micah 5:2

God’s redemptive love for us is so strong that he had a gift ready for the world from the beginning. He knew exactly what we needed, wrapped it simply, and presented it with love one night in Bethlehem. Christ is the gift that never stops giving.

Thank you for giving your Son.

Follow the star

December 15th, 2010 by Maureen

When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! Matt 2:10

God sent an angel to Mary and the shepherds who were all Hebrews, but to the wise men who were from a different culture He sent a star. God knew these men, he understood their culture, and used something they would understand to draw them to worship His son. God wants each of us to find Him so He’s placed guiding stars that lead to Christ in the lives of every seeker.

Lord, help me to recognize the stars in the lives of my seeking friends.

I’m in

December 14th, 2010 by Maureen

Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her. Luke 1:38

Mary found out that God wanted to use her in a big way but even the angel messenger didn’t have a lot of details. And he wasn’t planning to stick around. There was a definite possibility that Mary would be misinterpreted and judged, but her response was still “I’m in!”

Lord, I don’t always fully get what you’re doing, but I’m in.

Sudden glory

December 13th, 2010 by Maureen

Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. Luke 2:9

Sometimes God gets involved in our lives suddenly and unmistakably. When He shows up like that we can know two things: 1) He’s going to upset our status quo; and 2) The end result of His intervention will be good news and great joy. Fear not.

Lord, I’m looking forward to the next sudden glory in my life.

Drop everything

December 12th, 2010 by Maureen

The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them. Luke 2:20

God doesn’t always send an angel to say “Come and look at this wonderful thing I’ve done for you!” If a time comes when God asks us to drop everything and participate in something big that He’s doing, we should definitely go. And if we do have to go back to our routine tasks after that, our lives will never be the same.

Lord, I glorify and praise you for all You’ve told me and shown me!