Archive for November, 2011

Fake fruit is kinda waxy

November 30th, 2011 by Maureen

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Gal. 5:22-23a

These traits are so attractive  and valuable that human beings who are not Christ followers seek to imitate them, desire to experience them, and encourage them in others. Much self-improvement and relationship advice seems to be about trying to fake the fruit. If even our feeble human attempts to imitate  these traits can make our attitudes and our relationships better,  imagine what authentic, Spirit-produced fruit would do.

Lord, let the fruit I bear be Spirit-produced and plentiful.

Put no “ism” before “Jesusism”

November 29th, 2011 by Maureen

Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.” John 21:22

When disciples drew some wrong conclusions about something Jesus said, He didn’t even bother to correct them. Instead He implied that following Him did not involve comparing walks with other believers. What is it to you or me if the way Christ speaks into another person’s life or reflects out of another person’s life is different from the way He wills and works in yours of mine?

Lord, help me to  follow You and to honor how my fellow believers follow You.

Fragile jars of clay

November 28th, 2011 by Maureen

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 2 Cor. 4:7

Professional challenges, relationships, uncertainty, change, or just a rough emotional patch can leave us feeling vulnerable and breakable. That can be a good thing. It is when we recognize our inability to power through these fragile periods under our own strength that Christ can become a brighter, more powerful force in our lives.

Lord, may my fragility reveal Your treasure in my heart and Your power in my life.

What was He thinking?

November 27th, 2011 by Maureen

He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. Titus 2:14

Why would God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, take on the frailty and limitations of human flesh and  submit to suffering and death? While His “why’s” are often beyond our comprehension, His “what’s,” His statement of purpose, seems to focus on the “what’s” Christ came to accomplish.

Lord, thanks for accomplishing for me what I could not accomplish for myself. Help me to do the good You have in mind for me to do.

Stay thankful, my friends

November 26th, 2011 by Maureen

Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. 2 Cor. 9:11

Though they are distinct celebrations, Thanksgiving and Christmas are a cycle of thanks and giving.  Throughout the season we tend to recognize how blessed we are. By giving gifts and sharing meals with people we know and people in need we express appreciation for those people and for Jesus, God’s  most important Gift.

Lord, keep me in this cycle of thankfulness.

Own Black Friday

November 25th, 2011 by Maureen

Those who weep or who rejoice or who buy things should not be absorbed by their weeping or their joy or their possessions.  I Cor. 7:30

Black Friday is just another human institution. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with acquiring items that enhance our lives or buying gifts for those we love. It’s not what we buy or don’t buy but what absorbs us that bears self-examination. Do we own our shopping habits or does consumerism own us?

Lord, keep me from letting the things I own (or wish I owned) own me.

Of stewards and kings.

November 23rd, 2011 by Maureen

Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. I Pet. 4:9

In The Lord of the Rings, the king comes to Gondor and the stewards of  Gondor feel threatened because they will no longer be in charge of the  city. Calling what we do with our time, energy, wealth and possessions “stewardship” recognizes that we are merely keepers of these things for our King. We act on His behalf when we invite others into our homes and share what He has left us to steward.

Lord, I need a king and I’m grateful that You have trusted me with all I enjoy.

 

The medium is the message

November 22nd, 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

Back in 1964 Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase “the medium is the message.” Human beings are the primary medium that God uses to communicate His message. We effectively communicate that message when Christ resides is in our everyday  lives, when God’s truth is embedded in our general conversation, and when gratitude informs what we say to and about God.

Lord, make me Your message.

Thankless

November 21st, 2011 by Maureen

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them…This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. I Tim 2:1, 3-4

Praying,  interceding and wanting them to be saved, I get, but thankful?  I generally pray for protection from mean, greedy, stupid, violent, selfish people.

Lord, show me how to be thankful for all people. Help them to know You. Help me to help them know You.  Adjust my attitude beyond my ability to adjust it.

Use it all up today

November 20th, 2011 by Maureen

The meat of the peace offering of thanksgiving must be eaten on the same day it is offered. None of it may be saved for the next morning. Lev. 7:15

Our offerings of thanksgiving to God are not sweet little tokens of appreciation. Where offerings are concerned give Him something meaty and substantial, and use it all up today. This isn’t being wasteful; it ‘s being faithful and recognizing His faithfulness.  Like these Hebrews’ peace offering or the woman who poured out all her perfume on Jesus feet, go ahead, use it all up.

Lord, every blessing You pour out, I turn back to praise.

Know your role, shut your mouth

November 19th, 2011 by Maureen

And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. I Pet. 3:15b-16a

Reconciliation brings a healthy tension into lives who need Christ. There is who Christ is, who that other person is, and Christ’s transformed vision for that person. We have to trust the Holy Spirit to do the convicting and Jesus to do the transforming and stick to gently, respectfully telling our stories of hope and change. Conflict happens when we try to take on God’s role in the process.

Lord, help me to tell my story effectively and know when to shut up.

*Bibliographic credit: yes, I did reference The Rock’s famous WWF Smackdown catchphrase in the title.

Just thinking of you makes me smile

November 18th, 2011 by Maureen

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Phil 1:3

Friendship is more than a greeting card sentiment. We humans are social beings and we really do need one another. Friends are often God’s tangible expression of help, comfort, love, and wisdom. When a name is referenced in conversation or a face pops up in the friends field on Facebook offer a prayer of thanksgiving to go with the affection that rises up at the very thought of that friend.

Lord, thank you for friends near and far. Thank you for past, present, and future friends.

Void the warranty

November 17th, 2011 by Maureen

Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus. Luke 5:10-11

Discipleship is an extreme move. Following Him means He disturbs the universe so that our plans come unhinged and our security blankets rip like the temple veil.  We might as well void the warranty and embrace the freedom and joy of not knowing where He’s going to take us next.

Lord, whatever you plan and wherever You take me is golden as long as I’m with You.

God is in His sanctuary…and we are it

November 16th, 2011 by Maureen

I love your sanctuary, Lord, the place where your glorious presence dwells. Ps. 26:8

God has made His Church His dwelling place. His presence is in a gathering of believers, whether it’s two or three or lots more. Loving His sanctuary means appreciating His people not visiting a building or preserving  in a faith tradition. Love makes a true place of sanctuary for those who encounter Christ’s followers when those followers are actually being the Church.

Lord, I really am thankful for Your Church. Help me be Your sanctuary with the other believers I encounter today.

Haves and have nots

November 15th, 2011 by Maureen

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Phil. 4:6

Gratitude for what we do have is a constant reminder that God has given us what we have and can take care of what we don’t have. Today we may be perfectly okay without whatever it was we prayed so hard about having a few months ago. We can look at our immediate perceived need in the context of God’s current and past provision and gratefully cast our cares on Him. 

Lord, I am needy and grateful. Please help and thank you.

Care packages from God

November 14th, 2011 by Maureen

Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. Heb. 12:28

God recognizes things in this world are always falling apart and sees the encroaching darkness seeping in so, through Christ, He opens the gates of His Kingdom filled with hope and light says “welcome home!” While we dwell on this earth God sends us gifts that have been crafted in His kingdom. The breath of God clings to them and as citizens of that kingdom we recognize that they are gifts from home.

Lord, thanks for the awesome care packages.

Just go with it

November 13th, 2011 by Maureen

It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down. Heb. 11:30

Faith and obedience inspired a group of followers to do what God asked them to do even though it seemed kind of silly under the circumstances. God has a way of bringing about results through unexpected means. We just have to go with it.

Lord, whatever You’re up to, I’m in…even if it means marching in circles blowing horns and shouting…in public.

Take heart and keep faith

November 12th, 2011 by Maureen

And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” Matt. 9:2

Believing Jesus could change their friend’s current situation the paralytic’s friends took action, picking him up and carrying him to Jesus because he couldn’t walk himself. Jesus healed and forgave this man as a result of collective faith and collective action.

Lord, whether I’m the one being carried or part of a group carrying someone else to Jesus for help, may we all take heart and keep faith.

Challenge

November 11th, 2011 by Maureen

Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. I Jn. 2:6

Has the pursuit of status, achievement, power, wealth, and knowledge become a bit routine? Bored with entertainments and comforts? So over consumerism? Perhaps it’s because we are made for bigger challenges. Figuring out how Jesus’ life would look in our own personal contexts, seeking God about how to execute such a life, and actually following through ought to fill any intellectual, emotional, or relational void that might exist.

Lord, help me pursue and prioritize as if this life I live were really Yours.

No D.I.Y. project

November 10th, 2011 by Maureen

 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.  Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Eph. 4:21

Developing healthy personal disciplines and letting go of self-destructive habits and attitudes can only take us so far. Real transformation is no D.I.Y. project. We can’t transform ourselves we can only submit to God’s Spirit and let Him change us from the inside out.

Lord, help my heart and my behavior reflect the change and renewal You effect.