Archive for March, 2012

No appointment with disappointment

March 31st, 2012 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

Disappointment sits in the space between what we want for ourselves and what God wants for us. We can’t always guess where He’s taking us nor can we always plan the route.  Relax, enjoy the ride, even when the scenery looks a bit questionable, His good will come.

Lord, I’m sorry.  It’s silly of me to want to drive when I can’t see where you are taking me.

Conversation starters

March 30th, 2012 by Maureen

May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace. 1 Tim. 1:2 & 2 Tim 1:2

This is how Paul began both letters to Timothy, who Paul considered his “son in the faith.” Grace, mercy, and peace support and motivate everything else Paul has to say to Timothy. More conversations should begin with mutual prayers for grace, mercy, and peace.

Lord, help me begin what I have to say with grace, mercy and peace.

Found in translation

March 29th, 2012 by Maureen

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. I Cor. 13:13

Love takes faith and hope out of the abstract and makes them personal for individuals and mutual among believers. Love is a translation of who Jesus is and what He does for those who are learning His language and for those who do not yet speak it. Unless love informs how we live out our faith and hope, the message of Christ can be lost in translation.

Lord, make me a better translator.

In the spiritual brackets, bet the farm on Christ

March 28th, 2012 by Maureen

For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Rom. 5:17

There are times, lots of times, when it feels like sin and death are winning. Regardless of what the scoreboard looks like right now, Jesus Christ is hope. He plays on another level entirely. Sin and death may be in the final four but Christ already occupies the center of the spiritual brackets.

Jesus, You rule!

He stretched out the sky

March 27th, 2012 by Maureen

And I have put my words in your mouth and hidden you safely in my hand. I stretched out the sky like a canopy and laid the foundations of the earth. Is. 15:16

The one who made this morning’s perfect sunrise sky has each one of us hidden in His hand. He paints color and light into our uninspired lives. He speaks words that connect and illuminate into our inadequate expressions.

Lord, carry my through this day under the canopy of Your beautiful and creative care.

If x = humans

March 26th, 2012 by Maureen

Your unfailing love will last forever. Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens. Ps. 89:2

God is the constant and we are the variables. Whether we choose to respond to His love or to love something else more, God is committed to loving us. Whether we seek His will and follow Him or set other priorities and pursue those, God continues to focus His attention on us and lay paths before us that will lead us in His direction. Even when we ignore Him, God is always working on the relationship He wants to have with each of us.

Lord, help my love and faithfulness to mirror Yours.

Game changer

March 24th, 2012 by Maureen

This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard  and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace. Col. 1:6

Christ’s message of reconciliation and transformation is good news for desperate, struggling, hurting people. It’s even good news for those who think they’ve reached the pinnacle of happiness and success. The gospel is a game changer for anyone who receives it.

Lord, sometime I forget just how much the game has changed for me.  Thank you for grace.

Attention to detail

March 23rd, 2012 by Maureen

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand. Is.4:10

The small things that happen right at the beginning of a project can set it up for success. Some details just have to be right and keep being right.  Enthusiasm, optimism and confidence are attitutdes that often mark beginnings but lag as the details pile up. Attitude is a detail that matters too.

Lord, give me patience for all the little things.

Not seeing is believing

March 22nd, 2012 by Maureen

You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. I Pet. 1:8

The story God keeps telling hinges on belief in what we cannot see. We walk through this imperfect life holding His unseen hand, uncertain of what will happen next. Faith, hope and trust are unnecessary if we have all the information. Trusting God is a response to life that proclaims and affirms His character and His intentions toward us.

Lord,  I don’t have to know what lies ahead, knowing You is enough.

Crave

March 21st, 2012 by Maureen

For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. I Jn. 2:16

The problem is not the eating, drinking, sex, relationships, buying, owning, building, creating,  power, or influence; the problem is the craving and the context. These “lusts of the flesh, lusts of the eye, and pride of life” experiences are weak substitutes for craving God, revelling in His provision and delighting in His direction.

Lord, I crave Your presence; what You provide is enough.

Staying on point

March 20th, 2012 by Maureen

[I] did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I Cor. 2:1b-2 (ESV)

There are times when it is critical to stay on point and not let specific doctrines, tenets, or even scriptures distract from the central message of Christ. Sometimes it’s better to let the arguments and nagging questions go and just live Jesus.

Lord, Your grace is enough.

Plans and motives

March 19th, 2012 by Maureen

I know, my God, that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there. You know I have done all this with good motives…I Chr. 29:17a

When things don’t turn out the way we plan, God knows what we were trying to do and why we were trying to do it. He strengthen us so that we can maintain our integrity in the face of disappointment or loss. I would rather fail in a way that causes God to rejoice than succeed in a way that offends God.

Lord, examine my motives as well as my plans.

On earth as it is in heaven

March 18th, 2012 by Maureen

And he is God, the one who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. Rom. 9:5b

No matter what our circumstances, no matter how we feel, God is still God. God is still sovereign. God is still good. No matter what the atmosphere seems to be in the kingdom of God on earth, in heaven angelic beings are always singing “holy, holy, holy.”  When we our voices join that eternal song it is on earth as it is in heaven.

Holy, holy, holy to You, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come.

 

Expect less, restore more

March 17th, 2012 by Maureen

But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers. Luke 22:32

Even Jesus’ friend and apostle wasn’t able to hold it together. Knowing failure was imminent, Jesus prayed for full restoration and created the expectation that Peter would be welcomed back. As the Church do we expect more from Christian leaders than Jesus did? Do we turn lapses into long-term isolation by how we respond to the inevitable dysfunction of other human beings?

Lord, help me to expect and participate in restoration.

Pray responsibly

March 16th, 2012 by Maureen

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.” Matt. 6:7

Our prayers are not going to convince God to care more. We do not summon God’s power. Prayer is not a magic spell; it’s a conversation with God, who is already leaning His love, goodness, and power into our lives. Jesus spent time teaching about prayer and sent His Spirit to further those lessons because  how we pray matters and what we think happens when we pray matters too.

Lord, keep teaching me to pray.

Nourishment for hungry hearts

March 15th, 2012 by Maureen

Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything. I Jn. 3:19-20

Hearts need food too. We hunger to belong, to be known and loved. We hunger for the truth, and for purpose. We hunger for relief from guilt and fear. Humans engage in all sorts of behavior that provides temporary satisfaction. Instead of filler, God feeds our hearts with authentically nourishing relationships, information, and experiences.

Lord, help my actions and emotions to reflect Your truth.

Pi and proof of God

March 14th, 2012 by Maureen

Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. John 10:25 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. John 13:35

For some the mathematical  intricacies of Pi is proof God exists. Others use a perceived error in I Kings 7:23 as excuse enough to dismiss God. Still others feel the need to prove there is no error.  Considering such things is kind of cool but Jesus pointed to His life and our love as proof enough.

Lord, use my heart and life to add to the evidence.

Imprint on God

March 13th, 2012 by Maureen

And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father. Gal. 4:6

Bonds are created between parent and child from the first moments of birth. Some baby animals imprint on the first moving thing they see, which can lead to some pretty funny pairings.  As God’s adopted children He has to undo some of our earlier imprints so He sends His Spirit to help us form bonds with Him as our true Father.

Daddy, help me to depend on You, to follow You, and to imitate You.

A trip to bountiful

March 12th, 2012 by Maureen

May their land be blessed by the LORD
with the precious gift of dew from the heavens
and water from beneath the earth;
with the rich fruit that grows in the sun,
and the rich harvest produced each month;
with the finest crops of the ancient mountains,
and the abundance from the everlasting hills;
with the best gifts of the earth and its bounty,
and the favor of the one who appeared in the burning bush.  Deut. 33:13-16

I counted 8 different kinds of apples at the grocery store today. The place was brimming with bounty.

Lord,  I am overwhelmed and grateful. Thanks for delicious!

That’s rich

March 11th, 2012 by Maureen

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Col. 3:16a

Fill your heart with His message: You are the treasure He gave all He had to attain. You are the sheep He left all He had to find. You are His beloved child. He runs to greet you with open arms and makes a feast celebration that you are home with Him.

Lord, that You love me is just about the richest message I’ve ever heard.