Archive for January, 2011

Open door invitation

January 31st, 2011 by Maureen

Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Matt. 19:21-22

Jesus didn’t compromise his message nor did he burn his bridges. It doesn’t say that the young man went away deeply offended or alienated, just sad. Jesus was so compelling and so inviting that even though the man wasn’t ready yet to abandon his greed, he felt sad to leave Jesus’ company and he left knowing the door was always open should he change his mind.

Lord, help me to speak love and grace when I invite friends to follow you.

Long-term memory loss

January 30th, 2011 by Maureen

[Love]  is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. I Cor. 13:5b

Often when someone irritates us any old memories we might have of that person’s past offenses seem to surface so that we can justify prolonged and escalated irritation with that person. Our default setting seems to be to hold grudges and carry around our old wounds and past conflicts. One aspect of the transforming power of Jesus’ reconciling love is that we can learn to toss the wrongs that others commit against us, wrongs we have already forgiven, into His sea of forgetfulness.

Lord, thank you for erasing the record of my wrongs, I need to borrow Your eraser.

Don’t be that guy

January 29th, 2011 by Maureen

“Yes,” said Jesus, “what sorrow also awaits you experts in religious law! For you crush people with unbearable religious demands, and you never lift a finger to ease the burden. Luke 11:46

Beating people over the head with scripture is rarely effective. The Word of God is not meant to crush us and add to the burden we already carry but to offer relief from the suffering sin creates in our lives. As believers we are meant to share God’s truth with loving, helpful motives.

Lord, help me to honor your word by only using it with a loving heart.

Delightful surprises

January 28th, 2011 by Maureen

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Ps. 37:4

If our hearts are inflexible we tend to be constantly disappointed with God for not giving us what we want when we want it. When we relax and enjoy God rather than trying to dictate the terms of the relationship we develop flexibility, trust,  and joy so that we can find delight in what He gives. God’s gifts can be so fabulously unexpected that we have no idea that they are our heart’s desires until He gives them.

Lord, I’m open to delight.

Changing my ways

January 27th, 2011 by Maureen

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Is. 55:9

None of us has the knowledge, the perspective, nor the power to be God, or even play Him on TV. None of us is emotionally equipped to love and forgive the way He does. But we are equipped with His Spirit to lead us into the truths that define God’s ways so that our ways are at least pointed in the same direction.

Lord, lead me to higher ways and give me higher thoughts.

Life is good

January 26th, 2011 by Maureen

Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks. For we know it is made acceptable by the word of God and prayer. I Tim. 4:4-5

We can overindulge ourselves or unnecessarily deny ourselves when we lose perspective on the stuff we have, the activities we enjoy, and even the people in our lives. God intends for us to enjoy the lives He gave us as we fulfill His great commandment to love and His great commission to reveal Christ’s redemption. When we filter our choices through the Holy Spirit we can discover a good way to enjoy the good things our good God has provided.

Thanks, Lord, life is good because of You!

God of Universe seeks humans for friendship

January 25th, 2011 by Maureen

I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. John 15:15

The same God who spoke the oceans into being wants us for friends…and He’s not even desperate!  He wants us to really get to know His personality and His thoughts. God wants to involve us in His plans and make us insiders in His amazing kingdom.

Lord, thank you for making me Your friend.

Better together

January 24th, 2011 by Maureen

How we thank God for you! Because of you we have great joy as we enter God’s presence. I Thess. 3:9

God designed life to be lived together. Our friends can encourage us, challenge us, and just make us smile. Friendship with other believers strengths our relationships with God and makes our journeys of faith more enjoyable and effective.

Lord, this smile on my face is because of the friends you put in my life. Thanks.

Unassuming love

January 23rd, 2011 by Maureen

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. 2 Cor. 5:16a

Humans have a tendency to make assumptions about one another based on appearance, income, zip code, and other superficial qualities. Jesus responded to each unique individual with genuine interest and love…and still does. We can choose to hear and value one another in the same way.

Lord, help me to listen better and love sincerely.

Nobody’s perfect

January 22nd, 2011 by Maureen

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. Phil. 3:12

This verse comes after Paul talks about shedding baggage and insignificant distractions in order to live out a life of discovering Christ. A call to perfection does not involve walking through a minefield of “thou shalt nots” trying to avoid stepping on one, but rather invites us to know, love and serve Christ and others. As we follow Christ we are catching up to the life He intended for us and made possible for us to live by His redemptive work of salvation.

Lord, free me from unrealistic perfectionism and general uptightness.

For the very young at heart

January 21st, 2011 by Maureen

At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: “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.” Matt. 11:24

The  nature of Christ invites wonder rather than analysis.  We don’t have to fully explain him to experience him and to invite others to experience him with us. In fact, not having all the answers is part of the adventure that comes with being His child.

Thanks, Lord,  I love being your child.

Father of Invention

January 20th, 2011 by Maureen

 The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. Ps. 19:1-2

When we consider the work of God’s hands and the mind from which all this springs we can only stand in awe at its elegance and intricacy. Awe and wonder inspire humility and curiosity. We may elaborate on God’s creation with our inventions, discoveries, and innovations, but He’s the source of all the raw materials.

Lord, open my mind to understand and my heart to appreciate everything you’ve designed.

Disreputable followers

January 19th, 2011 by Maureen

Levi got up, left everything, and followed him. Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.) Mark 2:14-15

Everyone who follows Christ starts somewhere (possibly a disreputable somewhere).  Jesus didn’t say to change first, then follow; He said to follow wholeheartely. Transformation happens while we’re following Christ.

 Lord, create an atmosphere of fellowship and support among all of us followers.

Realistically idealistic

January 18th, 2011 by Maureen

So love truth and peace. Zech 8:19b

Our world encourages an attitude to self-serving and self-preservation. It’s easy to become disillusioned and cynical and to consider the pursuit of truth and peace to be unrealistic and idealistic. Yet the life Christ lived and the life he offers us is full of truth and peace.

Lord, I love the ideals that reflect your nature, help me to live them out.

Trouble

January 17th, 2011 by Maureen

I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul. Ps. 31:7

Trouble and anguish are nothing to smile about.  We might not be happy about the trouble but knowing we are not alone in it and that our problems are on God’s radar actually are reasons to rejoice. If we can’t escape the trouble we can still have joy in knowing that we can’t escape the love of God either.

Lord, thank you for wrapping me, trouble and all, in your unfailing love.

Safe harbor

January 16th, 2011 by Maureen

He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! Ps. 107:29-30

After life’s storms pummel and exhaust us, we can land in a company of other followers of Christ where our hearts can be stilled and our fears calmed. There we can participate in the unbridled joy of worship, express our gratitude to Him, and find affirmation of His love, power, and faithfulness. A gathering of believers is a safe harbor where we can find the inspiration and wisdom we need to continue the journey.

Lord, thank you for my brothers and sisters in Christ, my safe harbor.

Scented prayers

January 15th, 2011 by Maureen

And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.  Rev. 5:8

How absolutely astounding that our prayers –  the very ones we prayed this morning, some half-asleep whispers, some spoken with only a shred of hope, the joyful anthems we sing on the happiest days of our lives, and our desperate cries on the worst – are so valuable to God that he keeps them in golden bowls.  How amazing that they are incorporated as perfume into the worship of heaven. We don’t need to fully understand the nature of prayer, we just need to pray.

Lord, you are worthy of my trust so I lay before you the hopes and needs of my life.

Close your ears

January 14th, 2011 by Maureen

Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. James 3:2

Every one of us has moments when we say something we didn’t mean or regret saying.  Love is not easily offended.  “Love is the opener as well as the closer of ears,”  to paraphrase 19th century author George MacDonald.

Lord, put a love filter on my receiver as well as my transmitter.

The love challenge

January 13th, 2011 by Maureen

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. I Jn 3:18

Paul tells us that loving involves a patient, kind, gentle, forgiving, hopeful, and others-centered attitude. Jesus said that the greatest love is shown by someone who lays down his life for a friend. Love involves actions that may be inconvenient, perhaps even sacrificial.

Lord, help my attitude to be more loving, then help my actions reflect my attitude.

Be Thou my vision

January 12th, 2011 by Maureen

Then Jesus told him,“I entered this world to render judgment—to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.” Jn. 9:39

Sometimes it isn’t what we can’t see that trips us up, it’s what we think we see. We can become convinced that how we see an idea or a person is final, absolute truth. Once Jesus provides us with His vision and enables us to see through His eyes, we recognize how blurred and distorted our own vision can be.

Lord, help me to see everyone I know and everything I think I know through Your eyes.