Archive for May, 2011

Get ready

May 31st, 2011 by Maureen

Do your planning and prepare your fields
      before building your house. Prov. 24:27

Sometimes there is barely time to wrap up one project before starting another. When we do have the luxury of a breather between projects it’s good to use that time to evaluate processes and priorities. Doing things better next time takes planning and preparation.

Lord, make me smarter than I was before.

Memorial day

May 30th, 2011 by Maureen

I will give them—within the walls of my house—
a memorial and a name
far greater than sons and daughters could give.
For the name I give them is an everlasting one.
It will never disappear! Is. 56:5

We remember those fallen in the defense of our nation. We honor them. We are grateful for their service and sacrifice.

Lord, give present and tangible comfort to those who have lost loved ones in battle.

Business as unusual

May 29th, 2011 by Maureen

You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. Mark 10:42b-44

Jesus’ tendency toward risk and unwillingness to work with the existing power structures is reckless and goes against standard practices for entities that seek to be successful and influential. Rejecting an authoritarian leadership style and relying on spiritual guidance in decision-making makes Jesus look like an unpredictable and illogical leader. His habit of interrupting His plans to address the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of total strangers must have seemed random, reactive, and counter-productive.

Lord, help me embrace Spirit-led leadership even when it goes against business as usual.

Seasons and passages

May 27th, 2011 by Maureen

For everything there is a season,
      a time for every activity under heaven. Ecc. 3:1

We gather as friends, families, and communities to mark life’s transitions with ceremonies like graduations, weddings, baptisms, anniversaries, and funerals. When those we love experience important passages in their lives, whether happy or sad, it’s important for them to know that they have a support system in place to face whatever is next. There is no season of life that is meant to be faced alone.

Lord, show me how and when to be there when I’m needed.

Digging it

May 26th, 2011 by Maureen

Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things. 2 Tim. 2:7

Some ideas take thought. It may take some time, study, questioning and prayer before some of the truths we seek to understand sink into our heads. It may take some practice and experience before they sink into our lives.

Lord, I’m digging, help me understand.

Dog-gone-it I’m worth it

May 25th, 2011 by Maureen

The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, He went away and sold everything he had and bought it. Matt. 13:44-45

The kingdom is made up of pearls purchased at a great price. To God, we are those pearls. And our value is determined by the price paid, not by our own qualities or what we think we’re worth.

Lord, thanks for valuing me so much.

Diminished

May 24th, 2011 by Maureen

God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. 2 Cor. 3b-4a

Jesus’ response to the grief of others was to show up with help, hope, and friendship… and sometimes He wept. We legitimize the grief of others and affirm our connections with others when we are willing to mourn with those who mourn. The poet John Donne put it like this: “each man’s death diminishes me because I am a part of mankind.”

Lord, show me how to respond in a way that brings real comfort.

Panties in a wad?

May 23rd, 2011 by Maureen

Whenever you enter someone’s home, first say, ‘May God’peace be on this house.’ If those who live there are peaceful, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you. Luke 10:5-6 

We can control our own attitudes but we can not control how other people receive what we offer in the spirit of grace and peace. Retaliating, getting huffy, or nursing hurt feelings when people respond negatively is ultimately self-destructive and unsatisfying. Staying mad also makes it hard to sense the blessing when it comes back around.

Lord, help me to take care of my own attitude and leave the rest to You.

Lost & found

May 22nd, 2011 by Maureen

Whoever loses his life for me will find it. Matt. 16:25b

Replacing priorities with God’s involves loss. Redirecting energy toward activities that matter to God means giving up other things. Losing some of the busy-ness allows us to find our lives in Christ’s kingdom.

Lord, help me lose & find.

The kingdom is advancing

May 21st, 2011 by Maureen

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come. Luke 4:18-19

Preaching Christ by loving and helping others through Spirit-led lifestyles, relationships, words, and deeds echoes His mission statement for His advancing kingdom. We reflect the hope and joy His present and future kingdom offers when we carry out His commission (rather than conjecture on the date of His return.) Jesus is a present and available King right now.

Lord, help me to focus on Your priorities and Your mission.

Get real

May 20th, 2011 by Maureen

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” John 3:3

Jesus often started with “I tell you the truth” and then boiled down some complexity of the law or basic life situation to a truth that required response and that often challenged what some consider “reality.” His truth invites us to embrace change but not  just by doing things differently but by becoming new. Authenticity and change are distinguishing properties of  the Kingdom of God.

Lord, help me to live out Your teaching truthfully, authentically, and graciously.

Waiting for the other shoe to drop

May 19th, 2011 by Maureen

So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matt 6:34

Piling worry about the “what if’s” on top of today’s problems lets trouble dominate. Only focusing time and effort on finding solutions to current problems frees us to enjoy the simple, unclouded joys that happen between the problems. If nothing good is happening between problems then at least some of those problems probably belong to tomorrow.

Lord, help me to own my problems instead of letting them own me.

Finish strong

May 18th, 2011 by Maureen

Finishing is better than starting.
      Patience is better than pride. Ecc. 7:8

We can run out of energy and enthusiasm as we approach the end of a  long project or school year.  The final product may not be what we hoped and there are always things we could have done better.  Even if pouring our best efforts into a strong finish does not significantly improve the outcome of the current project but will change the way we approach future projects. 

Lord, give me the patience I need to finish strong.

Tenacious grace

May 17th, 2011 by Maureen

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Heb. 10:36a

Everyone has a set of ongoing problems that never seem to resolve and relationships that just wear us down. It takes spiritual tenacity to practice the grace and compassion of Christ when we have to deal with the same irritants day in and day out. Endurance builds as we learn how to give them an appropriate amount of attention then place them firmly in God’s hands and walk away for awhile.

Lord, help me endure with grace.

Back to basics

May 16th, 2011 by Maureen

Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory. I Pet. 1:21

Trusting God isn’t conjuring up enough optimism to put bad situations in a better light. The existence of suffering does not mean that God stops being good, that He stops loving us, or that He has somehow been defeated by evil. Even, and maybe especially, through the painful reality of suffering the basics still apply.

Lord, let your grace always be enough for me.

 

You want me to do what?

May 15th, 2011 by Maureen

But Moses again pleaded, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.” Exodus 4:13

Sometimes the task seems way too big for my skill set and my immediate response is “Really? Me? Seriously?” There has to be someone, somewhere, more equipped, more talented, smarter, cooler, better for the job. But God, in all his wisdom and foresight, has a transforming experience for the doer as well as for His kingdom through the task He wants done.

OK, Lord, I still doubt myself but I totally trust You!

Doing nothing is underrated

May 14th, 2011 by Maureen

Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. Mark 6:31

We all need a break from hard work and responsibilities. Often stepping away from a problem or situation lends some clarity and certainly renews energy to deal with it. While doing something fun or filling free time with more stuff to do is tempting,  sometimes what we really need is to do is nothing: just to be still and silent and know that He is God.

Lord, renew and refresh me.

 

Otherness and sameness

May 13th, 2011 by Maureen

When I am with the weak I share their weakness, for I want to bring everyone to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I Cor. 9:22

The “otherness” of others makes it easier to limit our associations to people who share our attitudes,  faith, and values.  But a conversation in a waiting room, attending a work event or neighborhood party, or joining a team can lead to relationships and opportunities to tell others about Christ. Jesus addresses our deepest human needs, the needs that make us more alike than we are different.

Lord, help me to make friends with people who need to know you.

1-2-3 Go

May 12th, 2011 by Maureen

And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding. Heb. 6:3

There is a time to stop debating the basics, tweaking the plan, or getting ourselves ready. Feeling unprepared or insecure creates a tension that keeps us mentally focused and spiritually trusting. Our understanding and skills strengthen as we accept the tension, take a deep breath, and go.

OK, God, here goes…

Spiritual gravity

May 11th, 2011 by Maureen

Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you His peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all. 2 Thess. 3:16

When the pressure is overwhelming or the pain just seems senseless, God has not abandoned us. When we can’t control the situation or the outcome, God is still God. When our lives and our hearts are tearing apart, God’s peace is spiritual gravity.

Lord, Your peace holds me together.