Archive for October, 2011

Scary stuff

October 31st, 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

Hate, anger, greed, prejudice, selfishness, etc. is scary stuff, but people who have become ensnared in these behaviors are not the enemy. The true Enemy wants us to think these people are not salvageable. Love shoots holes in the darkness. The best way to fight evil is to love others and to do good with much grace.

Lord, protect me and help me to reflect Your light.

 

 

 

What God likes

October 30th, 2011 by Maureen

Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Eph. 5:10

God has given us a whole book explaining what pleases Him and what doesn’t. He’s sent his Holy Spirit to lead us and convict us when we stray from His ways. He’s made His very presence available to us when we pray and worship so we can learn to hear His voice and recognize His pleasure.  If we bother to look, we can find out what what God likes; it’s more a matter of liking the same thing.

Lord, I know what You like, help me like it too.

Tapping the aquifer

October 29th, 2011 by Maureen

But the water I give them takes away thirst altogether. It becomes a perpetual spring within them, giving them eternal life. Jn. 4:14

During times of drought we rely on aquifers, deep reserves of water under the earth. While there is plenty of water saturated into the pores of the earth, only a small percentage can be immediately extracted, so a water management method called recharge and recirculation is used. Perhaps managing spiritual drought requires each of us to be recharged by the deep reserves of  grace that saturate our souls and to recirculate that refreshment into the lives around us.

Lord, recharge and recirculate Your quenching grace in me and through me.

Evidence of the invisible

October 28th, 2011 by Maureen

[Faith is] the evidence of things unseen. Heb. 11:1b

 The existence of quarks explains the phenomena scientists observe when electrons bounce off protons and neutrons. Scientists have to rely on this indirect evidence since quarks have never been directly observed, yet these unseen quarks are now believed to be the “elementary particles” of matter. We may not be able to directly observe the invisible God either, but we see the bounce produced when lives encounter Him.

Lord, open my eyes and mind to all the invisible evidence around me.

Core assumptions

October 27th, 2011 by Maureen

Faith is the substance of things hoped for  Heb. 11:1a

Faith starts with certain working assumptions: 1) God loves you; 2) God is good; 3) The good God who loves you and died to have a relationship with you has both the power and the desire to help you with your present situation; 4) The ultimate, eternal outcome of God’s intervention will be good and helpful whether or not God deals with your circumstance the way you expect. We find peace and confidence in Him as these assumptions become substantial realities in our lives.

Lord, when I ask, let it be with substantial hope.

Help you can count on

October 26th, 2011 by Maureen

I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word. Ps. 130:5

In the face of uncertainty or disappointment, when there is good reason to fear, when all the wiggle room is gone, Jesus is still our hope. He remains the hope of nations, the light in dark places, and friend to the tattered, the confused and the desperate. Nothing that happens in our lives is beyond His help.

Lord, I am counting on You. I am leaving it all in Your capable hands.

1-2-3 Liftoff

October 25th, 2011 by Maureen

And Jesus Christ was revealed as God’s Son by his baptism in water and by shedding his blood on the cross—not by water only, but by water and blood. And the Spirit, who is truth, confirms it with his testimony. I Jn. 5:6

God provides confirmation of Jesus’ identity and His mission though water, blood and Spirit. We are saved by the same blood and profess our faith by the same baptism. His truth is continually revealed to us by the same Holy Spirit. From this launching pad of faith we begin each new journey.

Lord, as I liftoff into another day I rest in your sufficiency.

Resume building

October 24th, 2011 by Maureen

We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. 2 Cor. 3:4-5

Study, research, education, talents or skills alone do not qualify human beings to speak God’s truth. This is valid preparation (and we should prepare) but God factors in immeasurable intangibles like trust and inspiration to empower His followers. And experience alone qualifies us to tell about our own personal encounters with Him.

Lord, I’ve prepared as much as I can but You write the resume.

Just for starters

October 23rd, 2011 by Maureen

Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. Matt 7:21

We may not know all God’s will but what we do know should keep us busy the rest of our lives. For starters: love God and others, tell others about Jesus, help those in need, be part of Christ’s body the Church, share your stuff, talk to God and listen to what He says, live with peace, integrity, compassion, and hope.

Lord,  help me to do Your will.

Longing for home

October 22nd, 2011 by Maureen

Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth. Col. 3:2

Life on earth, even Christian life, can be so distracting that heaven seems a distant, barely relevant concept. When life as we know it on earth ends and heaven becomes our only home will it be culture shock? When we, without earthly agenda, spend time in God’s presence, speaking His names, dwelling on His traits, reading descriptions of His glory, giving ourselves fully to worship and praise of Him, we begin to long for home.

Lord, in whatever ways possible let it be on earth as it is in heaven.

Wardrobe malfunctions

October 21st, 2011 by Maureen

….you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience… And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Col. 3:12b & 14

Nobody plans a wardrobe malfunction but sometimes the traits of Christ slip off our human frames. Maybe that’s why the verse right between these two says “You must make allowances for each other’s faults. Forgive the person who offends you.” We are all children hoping to grow into our big brother Jesus’ clothes.

Lord, help me to keep wearing Your love, mercy, kindness, gentleness, and patience all day; and help me forgive myself and others when something slips off.

Jesus is a big deal

October 20th, 2011 by Maureen

Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. Luke 19:6

When the Maker of all things, Savior of the world, Almighty, Everlasting, Capital Letter God shows up at your house for dinner it’s a BIG DEAL!!!! Zacchaeus didn’t even know for sure that Jesus was the Messiah and he was excited. The fact that Jesus shows up at our houses every day doesn’t make it less of a big deal.  Jesus is in the house! Rejoice today!

Jesus, thanks for showing up at my house.

Becoming a Col. 3:16 Christian

October 19th, 2011 by Maureen

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. Col. 3:16

We belong to Christ as individuals but we also belong to Him as part of a collective group. We need to tell our redemption stories, to seek and communicate His wisdom, and to respond openly and thankfully to His presence together. As members of this singular Body of Christ we are called to become conduits of blessing and agents of belonging.

Lord, help me to be a Col. 3:16 member of Your Body.

A breath of fresh air

October 18th, 2011 by Maureen

The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” Jn 3:8

Rebirth feels like a that first blast of cool wind after a long hot summer. Transformation brings to our perspective, our attitudes, and the atmosphere that surrounds us. We don’t have to be able to explain how Christ changes us, we can bring refreshment to the tired sweltering world when we breeze in with the transformed perspective He causes in us.

Lord, help me be a breath of fresh air.

God knits? Who knew.

October 17th, 2011 by Maureen

I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. Col. 2:2

It’s fascinating to watch someone take a basket of colored threads and design a beautiful pattern by knitting those individual threads together. God designs our social groups, knitting individuals together into families, churches, schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces. The final product is more beautiful and useful than a bunch of individual threads.

Lord, thank you for knitting me into the groups to which I belong. Help me to give and receive love and encouragement.

Spiritual strategery

October 16th, 2011 by Maureen

So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom 5:21

The rule of law results in competition, posturing, and striving to be holy enough to achieve right standing with God. If right standing is now a given, the rule of grace applies. Having a relationship with a loving Father, seeking to know His heart and following the leadership of His Spirit requires response not strategery.

Lord, I trust You to love me and lead me.

Just faith

October 15th, 2011 by Maureen

Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. Hab. 2:4

We trust that through our faith in Christ’s sacrifice for us justice has been done concerning us. The faith that justifies us also teaches us what it means to live just lives.  His word instructs, His Spirit inspires, and the redemptive justice He demonstrates through Christ informs the way we view justice and the choices we make to behave justly.

Lord, help me to be redemptively just.

Your move

October 14th, 2011 by Maureen

I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help.
I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me.
I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’
to a nation that did not call on my name. Is. 65:1

God doesn’t hide so we can’t find Him but He doesn’t force Himself on us either. He has already shaken heaven and earth to initiate a relationship and now expects an appropriate response from us. Seeking changes our proximity to Him and asking establishes our position of dependence on Him.

Jesus, I call on Your Name!

Abandoned to abundance

October 13th, 2011 by Maureen

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. Jn. 10:10

Abundant lives are full of deep, trusting, supportive relationships and rich, fulfilling activities.  The Thief of Souls wants to steal our security, kill our joy, and destroy our relationships. He wants to shrink us down to our meanest, most fearful, most hopeless, and most selfish by trying to make hoarding look like abundance.  Christ offers abundance if we will surrender our lives to His care. It is only what we keep that is vulnerable to theft.

Lord, I abandon myself to Your abundance.

Sweeter than revenge

October 12th, 2011 by Maureen

Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.  I Pet. 3:9

Jesus’ work of reconciliation turns human ideas about justice and retaliation upside down.  We manifest His grace and demonstrate His reconciling love when we meet evil with good. Extending grace is sweeter than revenge.

Lord, thank you for gathering me to yourself even when I choose evil. Use me to reconcile others to Your goodness.