Archive for February, 2012

Hitting snooze for God

February 29th, 2012 by Maureen

You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways. Ps. 139:3  ESV

God loves our conscious, focused prayers but we process information differently when we sleep. Since most of our schedules keep us from waking up naturally, we usually have to wake up right in the midst of the sleep time when our brains are most active. Inviting God into those semi-conscious snooze moments first thing in the morning opens our minds to His creative solutions, unexpected ideas, and thoughts higher than our own.

Lord, hit me with something good when I hit the snooze.

Say “Yes” to “No”

February 28th, 2012 by Maureen

So think clearly and exercise self-control. I Pet. 1:13

Recent research in self-control reveals that self-discipline is like a moral muscle that needs exercise. Though self-control is God-given through the fruit of the Spirit, it is also developed through our own conscious decisions to change habits and exercise restraint. Either way, self-control is not a default setting in most human beings; it is acquired. Sometimes being true to ourselves means saying “no” to our initial impulses.

Lord, help me to develop self-control.

God is blending up a fresh fruit smoothie

February 27th, 2012 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

Paul starts out with the good stuff then plants “patience” in the middle, throws in four more good ones, and has to go and end the list with “self-control.” Some people approach the fruit of the Spirit like a cafeteria plan. It’s not. It’s God’s special blend of nine flavors that all have to be present to call it the “fruit of the Spirit.”

Lord, I want to keep drinking what You’re blending, make this Fruit what fuels my life.

Slow your roll

February 26th, 2012 by Maureen

Look up into the heavens.Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing. Is. 40:26

 Church is not the only place for God moments. Don’t be in such a hurry to move on to the next thing. God reveals His love, power and creativity in every day moments if we take time to look. Our relationships with God deepen as we respond to those moments with wonder, praise and thankfulness.

Lord, I am humbled and grateful to call You friend and Savior.

What is God waiting for?

February 25th, 2012 by Maureen

So the LORD must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the LORD is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help. Is. 30:18

Sometimes what God is waiting for is me. God is much more interested in having us return to His arms than in meting out retribution. Even when we pursue our own agendas and reject those who try to talk sense into us, the love and mercy of God is waiting for us if we are willing to turn around.

Lord, thank you for welcoming me back when I fail You.

Avoid avoidance

February 24th, 2012 by Maureen

Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it. Is. 30:15

A frantic pace and filled schedule can mask problems for awhile but when everything slows down the issues, the doubts, the fears are all still there. Avoidance takes a lot of energy. Take time to rest in God’s presence. The arms of Christ offer consolation and protection. His voice quiets a restless soul. The mind of God holds creative solutions.

Lord, in Your strength help me address what I’ve been avoiding with peace and understanding.

Jesus > Iran

February 23rd, 2012 by Maureen

No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded. Jn. 10:18

Jesus was nobody’s victim. He was a willing sacrifice. He has power over death, hell, and the grave. Today Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkahi rejected the offer to recant Christ in order to commute his death sentence. Christ is more powerful than the political and spiritual forces he faces. Youcef is no victim either. Even if he dies.

Lord, impose Your power,  grace, peace and authority in this situation.

Forty days

February 22nd, 2012 by Maureen

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. Matt. 4:1-2

  • Noah spent forty days in the ark before the rainbow appeared. Gen. 7:12
  • Moses spent forty days on the mountain with God before delivering God’s message. Ex. 24:18
  • Goliath mocked the Israelites for forty days before God used David to turn the tables. I Sam. 17:16
  • Elijah spent forty days on the road looking for direction from God and God provided it. Deut. 9:9
  • Jonah issued God’s forty-day challenge to repent and Ninevah and they came through. Jon. 3:4
  • After His crucifixion Jesus spent forty days with the disciples getting them ready to advance His kingdom without His physical presence. Acts. 1:3

Lord, I don’t want Lent to be a religious observance but a time to seek, repent, sacrifice and prepare for whatever You want to do next.

Carried on

February 21st, 2012 by Maureen

I have cared for you since you were born.Yes, I carried you before you were born. 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: 3b-4

We are more than just blips on God’s radar. He knows each of our names, our personalities, and our stories. He knows our hopes and concerns right now this minute. If you’ve made it this far it’s because He carried you. He can carry you now.

Lord, carry me along.

It’s a group effort

February 20th, 2012 by Maureen

All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. I Cor.12:26-27

Our accomplishments and our failed attempts are impacted by the efforts and influences of many people. Might as well learn to share both credit and blame. Might as well allow others into the process of healing and problem-solving and get involved in the lives of others. Life itself is a group effort. To some extent we belong up in each other’s business.

Lord, help me remember that it’s not all about me.

More than enough

February 19th, 2012 by Maureen

I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. Jn. 5:24

Jesus did not come to eliminate need in the world but to eliminate insufficiency. No matter how much we have, most of us get this nagging sense that it is not enough.  So we buy more, drink more, eat more, make more friends, add more activities, seek greater influence, get buff and beautiful in order to fill that sense of insufficiency. Jesus is always enough.

Satisfying and sufficient Lord, what I supply is never enough. Feed me.

When anvils fall

February 18th, 2012 by Maureen

The LORD helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads.  Ps. 145:14

Anvils don’t just fall in cartoons. The worst is when the shadow of the weight hits before the weight itself. You know the load is coming, it slams down and flattens you, then, having been rendered two-dimensional, you struggle to get up under its weight and end up bent over and reeling around with an anvil on your back.  No matter how heavy the anvil, how deep the crater it’s pushed you into, how flat it’s left you, God is there to shift the load away from you and breath dimension back into your life.

The LORD helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads. Ps. 145:14

No umbrella

February 17th, 2012 by Maureen

You sent abundant rain, O God, to refresh the weary land.  Ps. 68:9

Rain during a period of drought is unconditionally welcome. Some people are so happy to see rain that they go out and dance in it. Welcome the rain of the Spirit with open arms and no umbrella, too. God’s presence  soaks into dusty souls. His Word hydrates shriveled spirits. Worship and praise draw His living water in through the roots and allow faith to deepen and hope to bloom.

Lord, rain down.

Social generosity

February 16th, 2012 by Maureen

The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. Prov. 11:25

In of our earliest lessons in generosity we learn to say “you come, too,”  “you go first,” or “share mine.” Including and sharing are acts of social generosity. Generosity can be five minutes of uninterrupted listening. Generosity can mean sharing credit or letting someone into your traffic lane. The generous invite and show up even when it might be boring or awkward. People who are socially generous communicate to others that they are valuable.

Lord, help me to be generous in every aspect of my life.

Peace. Still. Calm.

February 15th, 2012 by Maureen

And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Mark 4:39 (ESV)

If Jesus can speak the forces of nature into tranquility, He can speak peace, still, and calm into the turmoil that rocks our worlds. He whispers those words into our ears and hearts. We breathe them in and out as He speaks them. Peace. Still. Calm.

Lord, rebuke the waves. Bring peace, still, and calm to our hearts.

God’s love letters

February 14th, 2012 by Maureen

For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son…Jn. 3:16

God wrote us a love letter. He started writing it before the world began. It took thousands of years to compose. His own Son had to die to deliver it. It boils down to five beautiful letters:

G – R – A – C – E

Lord, carve G R A C E into my heart. Carve it big and deep so that Your love letters are visible in me.

Stand for love

February 13th, 2012 by Maureen

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love. I Cor. 16:13-14

Christ loved with fierce, unfailing, faithful love without compromising the truths of God. He kept offering the truth with love to those who embraced Him and to those who walked away, to those who asked challenging questions and to those who broke His commandments. He still does. If we can’t take stand with love there is no point in taking one without love because the uncompromising truth is His love.

Lord, help me do everything, absolutely everything, with love.

Love in every language

February 12th, 2012 by Maureen

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

Flowers, candy, cards, or gifts are just one way to express love. Love is also expressed through words, actions, and time. When we give one of those awkward sideways hugs, when we do someone else’s chore, when we change a schedule to have coffee, when we just call to say “I love you,” or better still “I love _______ about you!” we speak the language of love. There are a million ways to say, “you matter to me.”

Lord, inspire me to  show genuine affection and expressions of love every single day.

 

Spiritual ADD

February 11th, 2012 by Maureen

The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity. Luke 8:14

We can squirrel around reacting so quickly and impulsively  to the barrage of information, requests, and people we encounter that there is not time to filter or prioritize. We can develop a sort of spiritual ADD in which Christ cannot be central because we’re too distracted. Spiritual maturity requires maintaining focus on one thing, Jesus, and leaving the nuts where they are.

Lord, keep me from going into squirrel mode when distractions pop up.

Creative problem-solving God’s way

February 10th, 2012 by Maureen

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone.  James 1:5-6a

When we seek God’s wisdom in decision-making we have to be open-ended. Presenting Him with a list of pros and cons is like asking God a multiple choice question. God is a higher level thinker and creative problem solver. He’s into essay questions.

Lord, out of everything I do know and everything I haven’t even considered, show me what to do.