Archive for July, 2011

City in ruins

July 31st, 2011 by Maureen

For your own sake, Lord, smile on Your desolate sanctuary…See how your city—the city that bears your name—lies in ruins. We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of your mercy. Dan 9:17-18

“I don’t deserve this….” or “fixing this will make You (God) look better” is probably not the best way to start a cry for help. Mercy is just that, God’s decision to restore our desolate souls even after we’ve let the garden He created in us become a desert.

Lord, please fix the mess I’ve made because of Your mercy.

Genuine & authentic

July 30th, 2011 by Maureen

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Phil. 2:3

So much thought and energy goes into trying to impress. So much that is unique and honest is lost in relationships and in work because people are trying so hard to be someone else and to spout someone else’s ideas. Humility allows us to present our real selves to others, to love, serve, and accept others, and let them be their real selves around us.

Lord, call me out when I’m being fake.

Drought-plagued spirits

July 29th, 2011 by Maureen

At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you.  2 Chron. 7:12

The news said that those of us living in drought-plagued areas may see lots of grasshoppers soon. Spiritual grasshoppers are habits that discourage spiritual reflection and eat away at faith. They feed on selfishness and despair.

Lord, I humble myself, I pray, I seek Your face and turn from my wicked ways, hear me from heaven, forgive my sins and restore my soul. 2 Chron. 7:13 And please rain on Texas while you’re at it.

The Great Commissioning

July 28th, 2011 by Maureen

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 NLT

Jesus gave the Great Commission. He didn’t ask any of us to do anything without equipping us with the tools to do it. The Holy Spirit provided the commissioning experience needed to fulfill the Commission.

Lord, keep me full of Your Spirit.

Go to the cloud

July 27th, 2011 by Maureen

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. Heb. 12:1 (NIV)

Each of us has a personal cloud of witnesses made up of people from the Bible, and history, and individuals we each know personally.  Their stories of faith inspire and encourage us. When times get hard or we feel pulled away from what we know God has for us, it’s good to look at the cloud of witnesses and follow their examples for handling rough situations.

Lord, thanks for my cloud.

At the impulse of Thy love

July 26th, 2011 by Maureen

How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Gal.3:3

Perfection is a by-product of grace which is imputed to us by Christ. His work of reconciliation is perfecting us rather than the works of our hands. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make an effort but that our efforts should become Spirit led responses to His love and grace.

Lord, take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.

When life gets trife

July 25th, 2011 by Maureen

Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Phil. 3:8

According to the Urban Dictionary one definition of “trife” is “something so wack it’s not worth your time.” For some reason life is full of tedium and inane distractions and obligations. They might end up demanding our resources but they need not lay claim to our hearts and souls.

Lord, give me something good to think about while I’m dealing with situations that are trife.

You make me wanna SHOUT!

July 24th, 2011 by Maureen

At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the Lord with music. Ps. 27:6b

Praise invites a personal, unfiltered, unbridled response to the presence of God. The Holy Spirit meets our desire to praise God with the offer to unleash our spirits from distractions and self-consciousness. Praise breathes life into our spirits as well as bringing joy to the heart of God. So go ahead and shout…or at least sing.

LORD YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL, AMAZING, WORTHY…

Rolling in on flat hearts

July 23rd, 2011 by Maureen

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. Ps. 28:7…He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Rom. 5:5b

Some days we roll up with full hearts ready to sing. Other days we limp in with flat hearts, thanks and joy all drained out of them. God wants us to show up even when our hearts are flat and we’re not feeling it. He can fill them.

Fill my heart, Lord.

Unseen epic

July 22nd, 2011 by Maureen

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Eph.6:12

Other people are not our enemies. Just as grace and goodness originate from one unseen Source, evil and selfishness originate from another. Every person involved in evil is knowingly, or unknowingly, conscripted into the service of the Enemy. Like it or not, we are involved in an epic battle and our mission is search and rescue.

Lord, help me recognize and participate in this unseen epic.

Regifting

July 21st, 2011 by Maureen

What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift? I Cor. 4:7

Our talents, time, money, and possessions are gifts. When God provides inspiration or resources to one person those gifts are meant to benefit others as well. God is into regifting.

Lord, show me how to use my gifts and talents to bless others.

All eyes and ears

July 20th, 2011 by Maureen

But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. Matt. 13:16

The more we think we know the less open we become to looking and listening. Processing simple truth through our own biases and misconceptions dilutes its power to change and heal. The teaching of Christ has the greatest impact when we expect to see and hear Him rather than expecting to have what we already think confirmed.

Lord, I’m all eyes and ears.

Burden exchange program

July 19th, 2011 by Maureen

Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matt. 11:28-29

Christ wants us to come to Him and exchange our worries, fears, stresses, and hardships for His yoke. It shifts the heavy weight and work onto Him. His yoke connects us to Him so that we are walking in rhythm with Him.

Lord,  help me walk with the rhythm of the yoke.

The semantics of forgiveness

July 18th, 2011 by Maureen

and forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Matt 12:6

While reciting the Lord’s prayer in church last week someone behind me said “forgive our trespasses”  when the rest of us said “debt.” They don’t mean exactly the same thing. More general terms like “sin” or “wrong” encompass both of them.  But whatever word we use, we need to forgive and be forgiven.  “As” is actually the tricky word in this verse.

Lord, help me to reflect Your magnanimous grace by readily forgiving those who wrong me without resentment or remembrance.

More Christian than some Christians

July 17th, 2011 by Maureen

This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about. Acts 17:23a

Many people are drawn to the nature of Christ before they actually know Him personally. Desire to display kindness and generosity, unselfish love and concern for others sometimes inspires these folks to behave more like Christians than some who profess salvation. Christ followers who love His nature and display it in word and action help move those who love the character of Christ toward loving Christ Himself.

Lord, help me to recognize those who are worshiping you without knowing it.

Death is losing

July 16th, 2011 by Maureen

And the last enemy to be destroyed is death. I Cor. 15:26

Jesus is life, and death, like sin, is His enemy. Starting with Jesus, death is losing it’s grip on the human race. We grieve the end of fleeting, visible life on earth but we no longer need fear death or lose hope because of it. The power of His resurrection causes the invisible to become tangible, visible, and unending.

I thank you, risen Lord, for the hope of eternity.

The best thing I’ve ever tasted

July 15th, 2011 by Maureen

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Ps. 34:8a

God serves up his goodness in surprising and creative ways. His goodness may not be plated according to convention or expectation. Even when it’s a hidden ingredient, His goodness is going to define the flavor and make it nourishing and delicious.

Yum, Lord, serve me up more of that sweet, savory goodness!

Sustainable spiritual energy

July 14th, 2011 by Maureen

The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. Heb. 1:3

God ignites and animates lifeless spirits through the cross and fuels those spirits through relationship with Him, through community, through His word, through His church, and through prayer. God powers our spirits with His own breath and character. Jesus is the true source of radiant energy.

Lord, re-energize my spirit.

Face it

July 13th, 2011 by Maureen

Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. Ps. 34:5

It’s important to face our sin and receive forgiveness from Christ, but holding on to guilt after that keeps us tied to the past. Shame keeps us looking down and back while redemption allows us to look up and out. Face what Christ came to bring us to rather than what He came to help us escape from.

Lord, help me to keep looking up and moving forward.

Through the darkest night

July 12th, 2011 by Maureen

Because of God’s tender mercy, the Morning Light from Heaven is about to break upon us. Is. 60:1

It’s hard to wait out a rough patch, a sleepless night, or a dry season. Jesus has a way of dawning on our darkest nights in a personal way just as He dawned on the world in a spiritual way. Though discouragement can do a number on faith and hope, we can be confident He also is there in the dark with us, holding our hands.

Lord, thank you for hope.