Archive for July, 2012

Confusing people

July 31st, 2012 by Maureen

The Lord looks down from heaven
and sees the whole human race.
From his throne he observes
all who live on the earth.
He made their hearts,
so he understands everything they do. Ps. 33:13-15

God knows and understands every thought and every motive of every person on earth all the time.  We don’t confuse God even when we confuse ourselves and one other.  God is the sufficient source of comfort and help for every single relationship issue every single person on earth experiences.

Lord,  I leave every thing that I don’t understand about the people I love in Your hands.

Hope will rise

July 30th, 2012 by Maureen

And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  Rom. 5:4-5

Instant gratification cannot develop hope any more than bodybuilders just wake up with muscles. How we respond to life’s disappointments, and even betrayals, can build spiritual strength. Hope will rise as we wait upon the Lord and choose to acknowledge and enjoy His present blessings in the midst of pain and unresolved issues.

Lord, build my endurance when all I want is relief; strengthen my character when all I want is comfort; develop my hope when I just want to sink into bitterness and despair.

What do you expect?

July 28th, 2012 by Maureen

For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. Phil. 1:20

Paul’s hopes and expectations were about his own attitude and his effectiveness for Christ’s kingdom. While Christ may change our circumstances, maybe our hopes and expectations should be focused on who we are becoming in Him instead of what we hope to get from Him.

Lord, let my life bring honor to You.

What’s on God’s mind

July 27th, 2012 by Maureen

The Lord hath been mindful of us: He will bless us…He will bless them that fear the Lord, both small and great. Ps. 115:12-13 KJV

God’s mind is on His people, each one of us, great and small. We have His attention even when He does not have ours. In those times when we stand in awe of Him we get a inkling of His vast thoughts about us and His blessings fill our minds.

Lord, thank you for reminding me again about Your powerful  love and care.

Rest.

July 26th, 2012 by Maureen

Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Matt. 11:28

When there is trouble we pray for changed circumstance, brainstorm, budget, strengthen resolve, work harder, call meetings, Google the problem, or phone a friend. While all can be appropriate responses, what Jesus offers is rest, peaceful, soul-restoring rest. His rest shrinks problems, reveals solutions, and provides strength and perspective. Take a minute, or a night, or a vacation in His rest.

Lord, I come to You with all that makes we weary and everything I carry. Give me rest.

Testing positive

July 25th, 2012 by Maureen

Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.  2 Cor. 13:5

When we take a good hard look at our plans, actions, and interactions, Jesus words, His behavior, His compassion, His grace, His love, and His truth should be evident. If there is a litmus test for faith, it only works as a self-test. When we swirl it around in our friendships and congregations the stick should come up some shade of Jesus. Preferably a bright one.

Lord, I want to test positive every time.

Active participation

July 24th, 2012 by Maureen

Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. Eph. 4:23-24

Change happens because we participate in it. We surrender our thoughts and attitudes to the Holy Spirit and consciously adopt His thinking and attitudes. We deliberately put on righteousness and holiness and resist our old habits and urges. Jesus issues an invitation to follow not to be dragged.

Lord, help me be an active participant in my personal transformation and in the change Your Kingdom brings to earth.

Crazy

July 23rd, 2012 by Maureen

 If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit.  2 Cor. 5:13

If we are bound by what people use to measure “normal” or “smart” we will not be free to live like Jesus. Jesus lived with few possessions and fewer ambitions. He directed  his talents toward people who could never help Him while alienating people who could elevate Him. His message was unconventional and challenging. Crazy.

Lord, if living like You means flying a freak flag, help me build a really tall flagpole.

And/or worship

July 22nd, 2012 by Maureen

But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. John 4:23

A Spirit-led, authentic response to God can encompass many traditions and/or styles. Worship can be ancient and/or modern; liturgical and/or spontaneous; traditional and/or unusual; noisy and/or silent; active and/or still…Worship can be expressed in so many ways because it is a response by unique individuals in unique congregations to one or more of the many aspects of God’s character.

Lord, inhabit the praises of your people in congregations everywhere today.

Safe enough

July 21st, 2012 by Maureen

Lead me to the towering rock of safety,
for you are my safe refuge,
a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.
Let me live forever in your sanctuary,
safe beneath the shelter of your wings!  Ps.61:3-4

We cannot let fear and caution drive the way we live our lives. We can have confidence and peace because we know Jesus is the only true refuge and shelter from evil. We are safe in His presence as He defines safety and that’s safe enough.

Lord, be tangibly present with those who mourn and those who fear.

Messaging Jesus

July 20th, 2012 by Maureen

He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly. Luke 1:17b

Though this prophecy is about John the Baptist who was chosen for a specific role, every follower of Christ sends the the same message as John: the Savior has come. Every one of us has the power to communicate love that reconciles broken relationships and wisdom that compels rebellious hearts because the same Spirit that enabled John the Baptist enables each of us.

Lord, communicate Jesus through my words, attitude, and actions.

The search is on

July 19th, 2012 by Maureen

Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. Col.v3:2-3

We search for understanding, for satisfaction, for belonging and joy and love. Even followers of Christ search. We’re supposed to. This life is never going to be enough. This world is never going to feel like home.  It’s not supposed to. The urge to search is  meant to lead us deep into the presence of Christ so that we can explore our real lives and our true home.

Lord, show me more.

Unconditional rejoicing

July 18th, 2012 by Maureen

‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns than ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed. Luke 15:6b-7

The other ninety-nine may not see the point of rejoicing, thinking, “The fool wandered off and came home messy.” It is not up to us to clean up the sheep before celebrating its return. Heaven rejoices now. The party starts the minute any of us gets home.

Lord, without reservation or judgment, I rejoice and welcome those you bring home.

Unnatural reborn killers

July 17th, 2012 by Maureen

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Gal. 2:20

My new friend Andy Baxter explained “crucified with Christ” as “murdering your preferences.” Killing our sinful nature is unnatural enough, but when there is no moral imperative we enjoy the power to choose among all the good options. Being crucified, no longer living for ourselves, means surrendering those choices to Christ’s preferences too.

Jesus, live in me.

Words with friends

July 16th, 2012 by Maureen

Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. James 3:2

Words are powerful. There are more words than actions that I wish I could take back. Most actions begin with words anyway. How we use our ability to communicate brings life or death into our relationships. Words reveal Jesus. Words express love. Words connect people. What if we spent as much effort getting our tongues under control as we do our diets or our finances?

Lord, help me speak words of life today.

The church is a construction zone

July 15th, 2012 by Maureen

You are members of God’s family. Together, we are his house…We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Eph. 2:19b-20a, 21

The church is not yet the perfect house. It’s more like God bought a fixer upper with potential knowing it’s a money pit. Fortunately He has a vision, unlimited resources, and a brilliant plan for renovation. He loves us as we are right now and makes His home in of this construction zone we call His church. It’s going to be messy, but it’s a beautiful mess.

Thank you for letting me live in your beautiful Church.

We’re all recovering from something

July 14th, 2012 by Maureen

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Eph. 4:31-32

Getting rid of the junk in my life makes me understand hoarders. It’s unhealthy and hurtful but the behavior has been in my life so long I don’t feel like myself without it. We all need Jesus’ help and the support of those around us to deal with our junk. Forgiveness is a crucial part of this day-by-day journey.

Lord, help me let go of my junk and be patient as others are letting go of theirs.

Building a bigger wheelhouse

July 13th, 2012 by Maureen

Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith. Gal. 6:10

We may feel called to serve a specific cause, ministry, or group of people and focus most of our energy, time, and money there. But sometimes proximity dictates involvement rather than whether we consider a need to be in our wheelhouse. Just when we think we have no more room in our lives for another thing, God enlarges our hearts and expands our territories.

Lord, help me see opportunities to help and give me the heart and wisdom to embrace them.

Questionable hire

July 12th, 2012 by Maureen

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him. Matt.9:9

Matthew did not seem to have “potential apostle” written all over him. He had an unsavory reputation and  shady associates. He was accustomed to a well-paying job and the lifestyle that came with it. Jesus didn’t even utilize Matthew’s  one obvious talent by making him treasurer. What God sees in us or makes of us does not always match the  “potential” we see.

Lord, I’m open to whatever…

Get satisfaction

July 11th, 2012 by Maureen

When you supply it, they gather it.
You open your hand to feed them,
and they are richly satisfied. Ps. 104:28

We are created to work and enjoy the fruits of our labors. We are made to follow dreams and pursue visions.  God’s vision for each of us and what He supplies to us is designed to satisfy our deepest longings.  How often do we reject that which He holds in His open hand to pursue the gnawing hungers of temptation and greed? Always wanting something else is no way to go through life.

Lord, I want to want what You want for me.