Archive for September, 2011

Good and painful

September 30th, 2011 by Maureen

For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. I Pet. 2:21

Sometimes good choices are also painful choices. For citizens of the Kingdom of God eternal consequences have to trump earthly consequences in how we make our decisions. Following in His steps puts us in proximity to His wisdom, strength, and comfort that empower us when doing what He has called us to do results in suffering.

Lord, strengthen and comfort those who suffer for good today.

*This post was inspired by Christian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani who faces execution in Iran.

Giving and forgiving

September 29th, 2011 by Maureen

And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ. Philemon 1:6

As recipients of God’s free grace and His ongoing provision, as believers in His endless resources and power, our response to others can be open-handed, open-hearted freedom to give and forgive. There is no need to be stingy with our resources or our hearts. They are God’s anyway. He will keep taking care of us as we take care of others.

Lord, put giving and forgiving into action in my life.

For thine is the kingdom…

September 28th, 2011 by Maureen

May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Matt. 6:10

Our prayers reflect our personal responses to who we believe the Father is and what we believe the Kingdom of God is. Time spent in silence and waiting, seeking God’s heart and will, can be the most productive prayer time. Prayers that arise from the urging of His Holy Spirit are often God’s most powerful and effective agents of change.

Lord, reveal Your kingdom, Your power, and Your glory this day in my life and all that my life impacts.

Be loved, beloved

September 27th, 2011 by Maureen

I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. Jn. 15:9

“Beloved” is such a tender, possessive word. It implies an affectionate, valued relationship with lots of history and an appreciation for what makes the beloved person or object uniquely itself. We are beloved by God and continue to garner His unearned affection beyond any capacity to be lovable. He loves us right now, as we are. We are His treasure, His pearl of great price, that he gave Jesus to possess.

Lord, I love being beloved by You. I love you back!

Unexpected essentials

September 26th, 2011 by Maureen

Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything. 2 Cor. 2:10

It is impossible to do a full needs assessment before launching into God’s work. Following Him means we allow Him to redefine ideas like “need” or “desired conditions.” What me might consider essential before launching into a project may not even be on God’s radar and what He considers essential might be unexpected.

Lord, I trust You to supply what I need and show me how to work with it.

Got Joy?

September 25th, 2011 by Maureen

Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. Jn. 17:13

Sometimes joy is a still, overwhelming, breathless moment of awe and sometimes the only reasonable response to joy is to jump up and down and shout. Either way, joy is not some sort of “bonus” or optional experience we get to have after we do all the hard stuff. Joy is part of Christ’s daily agenda; He intended for us to be joyful just as much as he intended for us to be disciplined or patient.

Lord, help me to be more open to moments of joy.

Realistically optimistic

September 24th, 2011 by Maureen

And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Rom. 5:5

Dashed hopes and broken dreams can lead to walls of bitterness, despair, and defeat. God offers more than pie-in-the-sky optimism. His Holy Spirit offers us a realistic hope that is rooted in God’s eternal love and purpose through the roughest patches of our lives.  There is always something good to look forward to in Christ.

My  hope is in you, Lord.

Forward fashion, in the spiritual sense

September 23rd, 2011 by Maureen

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Col. 3:12

It’s sometimes fun to dress up for an occasion and see how nicely friends “clean up.”  In The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis described Narnian clothes, “But in Narnia your good clothes were never your uncomfortable ones. They knew how to make things that felt beautiful as well as looking beautiful.”  Spiritually speaking, mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and, yes, even patience, feel beautiful to the wearer and look absolutely gorgeous all the time.

Lord, dress me up.

Take heart

September 22nd, 2011 by Maureen

But take heart, for I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Taking heart is a genuine, legitimate response of hope and trust when ongoing struggles and challenges make us feel defeated or discouraged. It’s not a fake smile. It’s not denying reality. It’s embracing the complete reality that Jesus is bigger than any problem and letting that inform our responses to current circumstances.

Lord, overcome what I cannot.

He’ll leave the light on for you

September 21st, 2011 by Maureen

I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life. Jn. 8:12

Imagine inching through a dark, unfamiliar room, sliding your hands along with wall looking for the light switch or the door knob, trying to avoid unseen obstacles. Now imagine there is no electricity and no door. Walking in darkness is a lot like that. Jesus illuminates our lives and keeps them well-lighted. He constructs doors that open into good places.

Lord, I was blind, but now I see. Thank you.

The economy of mercy

September 20th, 2011 by Maureen

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Heb. 4:16

Jon Foreman wrote, “In the economy of mercy I am a poor and begging man.” Grace and mercy are scarce commodities in this world but they are the currency of God’s Kingdom. Our King is generous and has given each of us an unparalleled, undeserved fortune of mercy and grace which increases when we are merciful and gracious.

Lord, help me to give away Your grace and mercy to someone who needs it.

Work with me people

September 19th, 2011 by Maureen

Jesus said to them, “My Father is aways at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working. Jn. 5:17

After resting on the 7th day God didn’t just sit back and watch creation spin. When it failed, He did not abandon it but began working to reconcile it back to Himself. Because of God’s work we are changed and because of His work we are invited to work with Him as agents of change in His work of reconciliation. It’s the most challenging, interesting job ever.

Lord, show me how can I work with You today.

There He goes counting hairs again

September 17th, 2011 by Maureen

And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. Luke 12:7

God values us, He loves us, He knows more about us than we know about ourselves. He made everything we can see with our eyes, with microscopes, with telescopes, or even space probes but pays attention to details in our individual lives like how many hairs we have on our heads at any given time.

Lord, You know when sparrows fall, You can surely manage my fear.

Days and days of small things

September 16th, 2011 by Maureen

For who has despised the day of small things? Zec. 4:10a

We seldom realize the impact of  small things as we are experiencing them.  Too often we focus attention on what we see as big moments when our true legacies are collections of little moments strung together. It’s not up to us to create the moments, only to do the little things as though they matter and let God take care of assigning them significance.

Lord, help me approach the little things with grace and enthusiasm.

Behold!

September 15th, 2011 by Maureen

Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. John 13:35

In the 3rd century Tertullian recorded a remark he heard a  Pagan say about the Christian community, “Behold how they love one another.” “Behold” is an retro way to say, “LOOK! That’s just massively impressive!”  Being right, being smart, being beautiful, being talented, or being successful don’t hold a candle to being loving.

Lord, if I get a “behold” out of anybody, let it be “behold how she loves others.”

Public displays of affection

September 14th, 2011 by Maureen

Love each other with genuine affection,and take delight in honoring each other. Rom. 12:10

Deep down, even if it feels a little awkward, everyone wants to be recognized and valued. Expressing appreciation for one another not only delights the recipient of praise but the giver as well. It just takes a minute and feels great to say to someone, “I appreciate…. about you,” or just “I love the way you are!”

Lord, put loving, honoring words in my mouth today.

God’s supply chain

September 13th, 2011 by Maureen

Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ.  I Pet. 4:11b

When we feel overwhelmed or unmotivated by the task at hand we don’t have to try to power through it alone. If God has a job He wants done He provides the inspiration and resources we need to get it done. We are in the middle of God’s supply chain, taking what He gives (always more than we can supply on our own) and using it to bless others, which brings honor back to Him.

Lord, supply what I lack to get this done.

Help is on the way

September 12th, 2011 by Maureen

“Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble,
      and he saved them from their distress. Ps. 107: 6, 13, 19, 28

If life is a song, God saving us from distress is the refrain. He hears when we cry out for help and He sends help. We all have stories to tell about times when God came through. Telling those stories is a way we remind one another that if it doesn’t seem like God’s help has arrived yet, it’s on the way.

For all the times you’ve saved me in my distress, I thank You and praise You.

All the days of my life

September 11th, 2011 by Maureen

Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked,  I will remain confident. The one thing I ask of the Lord – the thing I seek most  – is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. Ps. 27:2-4

Some days bring unforgettable tragedy and unbelievable evil. The presence of God is the only certain place in fallen world. His love and truth offer comfort and confidence that transcend tragedy.

All my days, Lord, especially the hard ones.

Carry on, carry on

September 10th, 2011 by Maureen

I will be your God throughout your lifetime— until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. Is. 46:4

As we face  life’s twists and turns, its disappointments, adventures, and change, God is there to walk us through them. Even when we struggle against His arms, He keeps hold of us, taking care of us because we are so very dear to Him. Whatever circumstances we face, we can carry on for as long as we have to because God carries us.

Lord, thank You for all these years of caring and carrying. I need You!