Archive for January, 2012

Seeking liquidity

January 31st, 2012 by Maureen

But I will rejoice, even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God…Phil. 2:17a

Liquidity has to do with what we are willing to invest or spend not with what we feel we must keep. Jesus travelled light, invested His life in a mission of love, and spent everything on others. Jesus was the most liquid human being ever. If we are focused on preserving what we have, if we are rigid or fearful, we are not liquid and cannot be poured.

Lord, I seek liquidity.

God has friends but not peers

January 30th, 2012 by Maureen

Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me if you know so much. Job 38:4

Just because we enjoy a close and loving relationship with the Creator of the universe does not make us His equals. If we actually believe He is all knowing, all powerful, and good then He deserves our trust and cooperation rather than resistance and questions. If we actually believe He made us, along with everything else, we should be awestruck, humbled, and honored by His presence in our lives.

You’re God and I’m not. Really not. Forgive me when I act like I am.

If the Church were a Disney musical we’d all be talking pens

January 29th, 2012 by Maureen

Clearly you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.  2 Cor. 3:3

Imagine trying to write a love letter with a talking pen. Yet the Author chose the Church as His pen. Sometimes the church reminds me of that scene in Beauty and the Beast when animated household items sing “Be our guest.” That scene would have been terrible if each one sang his own song in different keys.

Lord, help us to communicate Your message rather than trying to write our own.

Cleansing rituals

January 27th, 2012 by Maureen

For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies—physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established.  Heb. 9:9-10a

We clean, weed, purge, delete, eliminate, reformat, or visit the spa. Our cleansing rituals require doing on our part. To clean our souls Jesus did the doing part. Any good we do is because He  made us clean, not so we can get clean.

Jesus, without ritual or ceremony,  just be the “because”  in my life.

Possessed by possessions

January 26th, 2012 by Maureen

Then he [Jesus] said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”  Luke 12:15

The one who ends up with the most toys does not win. Jesus was not interested in amassing wealth or possessions. He had no house, one cloak, travelled on foot, and frequently relied on the hospitality of others for food. Jesus grew up in a working class carpenter’s family and walked away from His possessions. The things Jesus owned never owned Him.

Lord, I don’t want to be possessed by my possessions. I’d rather be Your possession so that whatever I possess is Yours.

What’s in your wallet?

January 25th, 2012 by Maureen

They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you. 2 Pet. 2:19

Besetting sins are like little gift cards tucked away in the back of a wallet. In a particular environment, with certain people, honestly, only very occassionally do we pull out the cards. Just when we feel we need to treat ourselves. Most of the time we get along knowing they’re in there and we’ve got the option to use them. If this is how sin looks then it’s still in control.

Lord, I’m ready to turn in my sin cards. Again. This time You clean out my wallet.

How to be a decent human being

January 24th, 2012 by Maureen

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him… These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. 2 Pet. 1:4-5a

Trying to be a decent human being is frustrating. Our default setting is selfishness and it’s embedded deep in human nature. Goodness comes from God. He offers to reset our selfish natures to reflect  His own good nature. How we respond to that offer can change how we respond to everything else.

Lord, help my responses reflect Your nature today.

Embrace inconvenience

January 23rd, 2012 by Maureen

Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. 2 Cor. 1:6-7

We are in this together. Sometimes our pain is the very thing that equips us to offer comfort. Sometimes the fact that we are currently in a comfortable position makes us perfect candidates to render aid. The nature of community is that we are going to inconvenience one another.

Lord, help me know it’s worth the trouble, especially when it is trouble.

Being the help

January 22nd, 2012 by Maureen

God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. I Cor. 12:6-7

Whether spiritually or practically, God is the one who supplies the opportunities,  resources, strength, and inspiration that meet our needs and solve our problems. Other people are frequently the portals God uses to deliver His help. Our talents and resources aren’t the luck of geography or genetics, they are God’s gift to others.

Lord, make me a channel of Your peace and provision.

Faith is like an expanding universe

January 21st, 2012 by Maureen

…we hope that your faith will grow so that the boundaries of our work among you will be extended. 2 Cor. 10:15b

Faith is not magical thinking, positive thinking, or wishful thinking. Faith is transformative thinking. It pushes our boundaries of influence. Faith pushes our inner boundaries as well. Faith accepts God’s definition of possible.

Lord, I can’t believe I’m asking this, but my faith could use a push.

Sins of omission

January 20th, 2012 by Maureen

Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it. James 4:17

Our biggest regrets in life are often centered around the things we did not do rather than on the things we’ve done. We grieve the call we didn’t make, the words we never said, the road we never took, or the still small Voice we ignored because of  fear or misplaced priorities. We don’t have to stay stuck. Jesus also came to free us from the bondage of omission.

Lord, help me to jump in there and do.

Attitudes speak even louder than actions

January 19th, 2012 by Maureen

Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets. Matt. 7:12

If actions speak louder than words, attitudes can speak even louder than actions. The question is not just “What would I want done for me?” but “How would I want it done?” Most everybody wants to be on the receiving end of words and actions that are loving, gracious, supportive, and honest.

Lord, help me to communicate to others what I want communicated to me through my words, my actions, and my attitudes.

Enough is enough

January 18th, 2012 by Maureen

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Matt. 6:31-32

In this consumer culture it’s very easy to  fall into an endless state of perceived poverty, always wanting something and never thinking we have “enough.” We always need more and better things than the ones we currently have.  Then we need bigger and nicer places to keep all the things we have and all the things we are going to “need.”

Lord, redefine “need,” “want,” and “enough” in my life.

Scalpels in unskilled hands

January 17th, 2012 by Maureen

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Heb. 4:12

If we use the word as a sword it should be to defend against our spiritual enemy not to attack one another. And none of us are skilled enough to play doctor by using the word as a scalpel. Only the Lord is skilled enough to remove sin and implant truth with His word.  Our role in one another’s healing is to bind wounds and help manage pain.

Lord,  help me use your word to encourage, to equip, and to heal.

Praying Martin’s dream

January 16th, 2012 by Maureen

Give justice to the poor and the orphan;
uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute.
Rescue the poor and helpless;
deliver them from the grasp of evil people. Ps. 82:3-4

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” …we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. – MLK

Lord, I lift up Martin’s dream to you today as a prayer for America.

Considering creation

January 16th, 2012 by Maureen

Consider the lilies…Matt. 6:28, Luke 12:27;                                                          Consider the ravens…Luke 12:24;                                                                                    Consider the ant…Prov. 6:6;                                                                                         Consider the heavens…Ps. 8:3;                                                                                          Consider the wondrous works of God…Job 37:14

Jesus, David, Solomon, and Moses all found nature worthy of consideration. In Rom. 1:20 Paul points out that God’s own attributes are reflected in His creation. It is full of  intricate design and pattern, beauty, wisdom and wonder. As we consider the creation we experience its infinite, glorious, creative, eternal, beautiful, wise and wonderful Maker.
O Lord, my God, in awesome wonder I consider all Your hands have made.

Stupid about looking smart

January 14th, 2012 by Maureen

So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. I Cor. 1:23

We can’t worry too much about what other people think of us if we are going to tell the truth about Christ. The truth of God is not designed to make us look smart. When human beings come up with ways to redeem ourselves the process is usually complicated, difficult, exclusive, and expensive. And ultimately does not work. God makes redemption simple, free, and accessible. And it works.

Lord, forgive me when I’m stupid about looking smart.

Decisions, decisions

January 13th, 2012 by Maureen

Though good advice lies deep within the heart,
a person with understanding will draw it out. Prov. 20:5

God seldom just sends an agenda attached to a bolt of lightning. We usually have to decide. Besides praying  for direction, we  become involved in one another’s decision-making as we give and seek advice. Advising isn’t about imposing our own agendas or pleasing those who advise us. Good advisors help us find perspective and information that will draw out of our own hearts the decisions that are our own best fit.

Lord, help me become more skilled in drawing out good advice.

Slow down, God working

January 12th, 2012 by Maureen

But Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I.” John 5:17

Jesus is speaking in the present tense. Like Texas road construction crews, God is always working on something.  Sometimes when a project  is under construction we have to slow down or even stop and wait. And wait. Construction can cause frustration and delay. It can seem like it will never be completed. But it will get better. Whatever God is constructing in and through our lives will be functional and beautiful.

Dear Lord,  please keep working on me even when I’m honking the horn.  Thank you.

Shadow-pedic, the best rest for the human soul

January 11th, 2012 by Maureen

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Ps. 91:1

Rest and shelter are basic human needs. Without enough rest humans become grumpy and make mistakes. This is true  emotionally and spiritually as well as physically. God’s protecting shadow is like the best mattress ever made, a restful, supportive, soft place to land for our hearts and souls.

Lord, I am so grateful that I get to nestle down in the stillness of Your shadow.