Archive for August, 2012

Griefs, gripes, gratitude

August 31st, 2012 by Maureen

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever. Ps. 107:1

Every single one of us have legitimate griefs and gripes. Considering these in the context of the entire day, the entire year, our entire lives…eternity…provides some  perspective on how much emotional energy they deserve. The list of things that have real eternal consequence is much shorter than the list of things that make us worried or angry. Our problems are opportunities to experience God’s perspective and His considerable problem-solving skills in yet another way.

Lord, thank You for the eternal nature of Your love and the temporary nature of my problems.

It’s over, let it go

August 30th, 2012 by Maureen

 We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it. Phil. 1:30 I have not achieved it,but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on… Phil. 3:13

We should learn from past mistakes. We need to recognize that our past experiences color our perceptions about the present and the future. Then we have to shed baggage to keep running.

Lord, help me to let go of every thing I don’t need to run today’s race.

Remember

August 29th, 2012 by Maureen

And I said, “This is my fate;
the Most High has turned his hand against me.”
But then I recall all you have done, O Lord;
I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. Ps. 77:10-11

Circumstances sometimes cause us to feel like God has abandoned us or even aimed misfortune our way. But He has created a powerful history of compassion, mercy, and grace towards us in Christ. It is likely that we won’t have to look too far back in our lives to recognize some of God’s wonderful deeds done on our behalf.

Lord, help me process every circumstance I face with the knowledge that You are for me, not against me.

Hold out your hand

August 28th, 2012 by Maureen

He looked around at them one by one and then said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! Luke 6:10 They begged him to let the sick touch at least the fringe of his robe, and all who touched him were healed. Matt. 14:36

Jesus restores immortal souls; surely nothing else that needs restoration is beyond Him. When He walked among us, people were proactive in seeking out Jesus for healing. We can still hold out our hands.

Lord, restore me, heal all the wrong ways and broken places in my life.

The view from the top

August 27th, 2012 by Maureen

So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. Heb.9:18

Our perceptions are not as reliable as God’s goodness. Our feelings are not as accurate as God’s truthfulness. Our abilities and knowledge are not as trustworthy as God’s power and love.

Lord, I can’t see much from down here but I’m holding onto You knowing Your view is infinite.

Going non-linear

August 25th, 2012 by Maureen

You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head. Ps. 139:5

We can not change the past or predict the future; we can only deal with now, not so with God. Our experiences may be linear but our souls are eternal. Our infinite, eternal God exists in all times and places all at once so that His blessing extends into our pasts and into our futures as well as into the moment we are experiencing right now.

Lord, help me see my past, present, and future  through the lens of Your reconciliation and redemption.

The Savior is listening

August 24th, 2012 by Maureen

For if you are silent,
I might as well give up and die.
Listen to my prayer for mercy
as I cry out to you for help, Ps. 28:1b-2c

It would be nice if every time we prayed there was a loud surround-sound signal and big words appeared in front of our eyes that read:

The Savior is listening.

It builds faith to leave  unresolved situations in God’s hands and trust them to His love and wisdom. It builds patience to wait on Him for resolution.

Lord, while you’re working on my prayers, please work on my faith and patience too.

Shine on you crazy diamonds

August 23rd, 2012 by Maureen

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned…  Phil. 4:8b-9a

The more facets a diamond has, the brighter it shines. As we individually seek to translate “lovely” and “excellent” into practice, the application of those intangibles might display different facets of loveliness or excellence from person to person. Our collective response to God’s infinite goodness shines brighter than any one life can.

Lord, thank you for those who shine in different ways than I do.

When life is a hot mess

August 22nd, 2012 by Maureen

For he will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes.  He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. Mal 3:2b-3a

Impurities can only be extracted from metal with extreme heat. The hot, messy refining process doesn’t happen in a place like Tiffany’s. When the heat is on it is possible that spiritual metallurgy is taking place in our lives.  Jesus didn’t come to make our lives easier; He came to make them gold.

Lord, you know how much I hate sweating, but the dross needs to go.

Thankful for a cool breeze

August 21st, 2012 by Maureen

Who but God goes up to heaven and comes back down?
Who holds the wind in his fists? Prov. 30:4a

God doesn’t stay in His heaven, He bridges the chasm between heaven and earth so He can show us His love in the biggest ways and the smallest. He sent us His Son to save us and reconcile us to Himself. He sends us cooling breezes when we think summer will never end.

Lord, thank You for all the ways you remind us of Your love and presence.

Storytelling

August 20th, 2012 by Maureen

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story— Ps. 107:2 (NIV)

If some of our lives were novels, the plot might be mundane and the dialog inane. Good stories need plot twists, great dialog, and character arcs. Without dangerous journeys and uncomfortable moments our own stories stay predictable, comfortable, and safe; and our character never changes.

Lord, help me to live a better story.

The beginning and the end

August 18th, 2012 by Maureen

When you sound the signal to move on, the tribes camped on the east side of the Tabernacle must break camp and move forward. Num. 10:5

The hardest part of transitioning is breaking camp. Lyricist Dan Wilson is right, “Every new beginning is some other beginning’s end.” It is comforting and exciting to remember that when God is the one sounding the signal moving on is always moving forward.

Alpha and Omega, You are the beginning and the end of all my beginnings and endings and of everything between.

 

Extreme following

August 17th, 2012 by Maureen

may he equip you with all you need
for doing his will. Heb. 13:21a

Following Christ is a lot like extreme sports. There is adventure, exhilaration, challenge, and risk; and the proper equipment and training makes the experience much more rewarding. Skimping on prayer and praise, on reading the Bible, and on participating in faith communities is like jumping out of a plane wearing a dollar store parachute.

Lord, thank you for so many equipping forces in my life.

Beloved family

August 16th, 2012 by Maureen

You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. Eph. 2:19b

We are united as citizens of His kingdom and members of His family. We enjoy all the benefits and responsibilities that come with community. Believers belong together, even the loners, screw-ups, and curmudgeons.

Lord, help us to recognize the value of and communicate love to each member of our family of believers.

Greater expectations

August 15th, 2012 by Maureen

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation…I Pet. 1:3

Times of transition can cause uncertainty but we can be sure that wherever God leads us, He has always gotten there first. We can expect great things to happen, not easy or hassle-free, but great. He anticipates our routes and leaves good surprises for us to find along the way.

Lord, give me greater expectations and a clearer vision of You in front me.

When pressure is coming down

August 15th, 2012 by Maureen

As pressure and stress bear down on me,
I find joy in your commands. Ps. 119:143

Pressure and stress can cause us to lose perspective. Making quick decisions or blowing off steam for the sake of relief often adds to existing problems rather than alleviating them. God’s word helps us sort out what’s really important and what is really true.

Lord, thank you for being  faithful and true even when I’m stressed out.

Get serious about joy

August 13th, 2012 by Maureen

Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy. Ps. 100:2

Life is pretty serious and the way we respond to our obligations and burdens often become the default emotions with which we walk through life. Somewhere along the the way fear, depression, resignation, and/or anger start to come more naturally than  gladness and joy. These are not our default settings; God intends joy for us.

Lord, help me to recognize all my reasons for joy and help me to live joyfully in spite of all the reasons to respond otherwise.

Greatness

August 12th, 2012 by Maureen

But may all who search for you
be filled with joy and gladness in you.
May those who love your salvation
repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!” Ps. 40:16

With every song sung in a worship gathering, with every hope left in the Father’s hands, with every act of mercy in His name, with every baptism, confirmation, and acknowledgment of faith, we shout that God is great. Our search for Him is meant to result in a joyful rush into His arms and a glad surrender of all our wounds and baggage. Loud, rowdy shouting seems like an appropriate response to that.

Lord, You. Are. Greatness!

Seeking sanctuary

August 11th, 2012 by Maureen

Honor and majesty surround him;
strength and beauty fill his sanctuary. Ps. 96:6

The way human beings treat one another is so often graceless and less than honorable. The thoughts that rise up within us often come from weakness and result in ugliness. God’s presence is sanctuary for those who wander this dusty earth longing for something better.

My beautiful, majestic, strong and honorable Friend, thank you for this refreshing place of sanctuary called praise.

Dusting for God’s fingerprints

August 10th, 2012 by Maureen

In the past he permitted all the nations to go their own ways, but He never left them without evidence of Himself and His goodness. Acts 14:16-17a.

Even individuals and cultures that don’t recognize God for Who He is have evidence of His presence, though they may attribute it to other causes or ignore it. Admittedly we see Him in the evidence because we are looking for Him there. Yet the more familiar we become with the evidence and with God, the better we get at recognizing the  places where He’s left fingerprints.

Lord,  help me see You everywhere I go.