Archive for September, 2012

Pot-luck carry-out church

September 30th, 2012 by Maureen

When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must strengthen all of you. I Cor. 14:26

Every gathering of Christ followers is like a feast that God puts together. Each one of us brings something to the table inspired through our own personal relationships with Jesus. We exchange information, encouragement, and inspiration then leave the table nourished and carrying out a pot-luck of truth, grace, and love.

Lord, thanks for this feast we call church!

The mystery of God’s delight

September 29th, 2012 by Maureen

For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. Zep. 3:17

Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us (Jn. 1:14) and now makes His home in our hearts (Eph. 3:17). Jesus, the Messiah, the Redeemer, the Maker is delighted by us. Imagine Him bursting into songs about us! Because He loves us like this we can face anything with calm and confidence.

Lord, I am amazed and thankful for the mystery of Your delight.

Natural joy

September 28th, 2012 by Maureen

I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! Jn. 15:11

Given the seriousness and cost of His mission joy is not usually the first adjective that comes to mind in describing Jesus; but He was joyful. I suspect that joy dawns like the sun rather than switching on like an electric light. His joy cannot be forced but comes upon us as we contemplate what Jesus has told us and act on His words.

Lord, thank you for the joy that dawns as I see your blessing and purpose in my life.

See through faith

September 27th, 2012 by Maureen

If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light. Luke 11:35-36

Light passes right through transparent objects. Transparency eliminates darkness, tears down walls, and leaves us with nowhere to hide. Transparency is a commitment to letting others see what Christ is doing in us, with us, through us, around us, and occasionally in spite of us.

Lord, help me to be more transparent.

See you at the pole

September 26th, 2012 by Maureen

I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. Acts 2:17

All over the world young people gathered around flagpoles to pray today. These young men and women offered up prayers for revival and unity, for grace and truth, for Spiritual inspiration and opportunities to show Christ’s love, for countries and troops, for cities and schools, for families and friends. Their prayers are not borne of naivety but of hope and vision.

Lord, restore the joy and hope of fresh faith in all of us.

Reasons to serve other people

September 25th, 2012 by Maureen

 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mark 20:28

On top of meeting practical needs, acts of service to others reflect Christ and helps those receiving service experience His love and grace in a tangible way. Serving reconciles our hearts and attitudes to Christ and causes us become more like Him. Acts of service in His name helps those who do not know Christ understand Him better.

Lord, bless the acts of service performed in Your name today.

 

Privileges and responsibilities

September 24th, 2012 by Maureen

God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. 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. 4:5-6

Through Christ we become what we were not. His Spirit empowers us to carry out the privileges and responsibilities that adoption bestows on us. We now have an intimate father-chlid relationship with God and represent His gracious gift of Christ to the world around us.

Abba, bring me ever closer to You and help me to represent well.

Boldly vulnerable

September 22nd, 2012 by Maureen

The rich man had to admire the dishonest rascal for being so shrewd. And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light. Lukw 16:8

While it’s never a good idea to set ourselves up to be patsies, approaching others with a spirit of cynicism, suspicion, and fear squeezes our hearts shut. More light pours from open hearts and transparent lives. His strength is revealed when we look weak and the wise are confused when we look foolish.

Lord, help me to be boldly vulnerable.

Growth opportunity

September 21st, 2012 by Maureen

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. I Pet. 5:7

Troubles don’t mean God loves us less or that we do not matter as individuals in His grand plan. God sees every sparrow fall and He knows about and cares about all our troubles. Facing troubles alone can cause bitterness and isolation. Leaning on Him, looking to Him for help, and welcoming the friends He sends to support us turns trouble into a growth opportunity.

Lord, if I have to go through it, help me to grow from it.

Worn out

September 20th, 2012 by Maureen

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

Everything we face, all that we carry, every confrontation, the big tragedies, and even the little inconveniences just wear us out. Some of the stuff we try to do to relieve the stress and relax can turn out to be almost as exhausting. Jesus offers rest and quiet, comfort and silence when we come into His presence and hand off every tiresome burden to Him.

Lord, thank you  for rest.

 

Authentic copies

September 19th, 2012 by Maureen

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Cor. 1:4

We don’t have to be counselors to offer affirmation, encouragement, empathy, and reassurance to someone who is hurting. When we aren’t sure what to say or do, we don’t have to fake it. We only need to remember the acts of grace and words of comfort that helped us and use those as a model. Copying what originates in Christ is authentic behavior.

Lord, thank You for comforting me; use me to comfort others.

Omniscience is more than a cool superpower

September 18th, 2012 by Maureen

Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything. I Jn. 3:20

God doesn’t know everything just so He can find fault and assign blame and, I expect there is more to it than the intellectual thrill of understanding all things. God’s love is present in all that He knows. God knows us better than we know ourselves because He knows us as He intended us to be, free of sin and shame, fully redeemed and reconciled to Him.

Lord, let Your love and grace be present in all I can know.

Locust lunch

September 17th, 2012 by Maureen

And I will restore to you the years that the locust have eaten…Joel 2:25a (ASV)

The presence of locusts does not mean we have to become so preoccupied in dealing with them that we don’t take the time to speak love and truth, serve and bless others, hold conversations and hold hands. Years can be eaten away as a result of our own poor choices, and by trivia, worries, and busy-ness.  When our lives seem like lunch for locusts it’s comforting to think that God’s work of restoration is so complete that He can even restore lost years.

Lord, restore my locust-eaten years.

This little light is not mine

September 15th, 2012 by Maureen

 John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light.  The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. John 1:8-9

Being the light is too big a responsibility, far beyond the nature and scope of the human soul. Human beings reflect the light of Christ. By the inspiration of His Spirit we are part of His light-giving presence in the world,  but the light does not originate in us.

Lord, be Sun to my moon; shine through the dark places that still lurk in me that others might see Your light.

The faithfulness of rain

September 14th, 2012 by Maureen

For the rain he sends demonstrates his faithfulness. Once more the autumn rains will come, as well as the rains of spring. Joel 2:23

Even in times of physical and spiritual drought we can know He has not abandoned us. We may not understand all the reasons for the lack of rain; and, even if we can pinpoint causes, we may not be able to change the conditions. What we can know is that God is faithful and that eventually rain will fall again.

Lord, thank you for the rain; drench my dusty land, drench my dusty life.

God at work

September 13th, 2012 by Maureen

The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged. Ps. 69:32

We can’t wait around for God to finish His work in us before we begin working for Him. He doesn’t hand out move-in ready lives. The encouraging news is that every one of us is a fixer-upper who is participating in our own and each other’s restoration as God works in us and through us.

Lord, help me to live a complete life as an unfinished work, a wounded healer, and a broken vessel.

Respect

September 12th, 2012 by Maureen

Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God and respect the king. I Pet. 2:17

Some are respected because of the positions they hold. Some earn respect because of the way they live their lives. Flawed and fallen as we all are, all people are due respect as human beings who are created in God’s own image and loved and valued by Him.

Lord help me to respect all others and to live in such a way that any positional or inherent respect due me is replaced with earned respect.

Refreshing generosity

September 11th, 2012 by Maureen

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

Generosity expressed with an open hand and no ulterior motive is refreshing. Too often generosity comes with the caveat that “what goes around comes around” or “now you owe me one.” Giving with the expectation of getting something in return, trying to manipulate with gifts, looking at a favor as an exchange opposes the whole idea of grace. Refreshing generosity doesn’t expect repayment.

Lord, let my generosity reflect Your scandalous, open-handed gifts of grace.

Slugging it out

September 10th, 2012 by Maureen

Cry out for insight,
and ask for understanding.
Search for them as you would for silver;
seek them like hidden treasures.  Prov. 2:3-4

Insight and understanding are to be sought, not consumed. We can be spoon-fed information but to really grasp the spiritual, emotional, social, intellectual, or political ramifications of information we need wisdom. Sometimes God sends flashes of genius and sudden enlightenment but a good deal of the time wisdom comes by seeking wise council, praying for answers, and slugging it out internally.

Lord, give me wisdom to deal with all that I know and think I know.

Don’t go there but when you do…

September 9th, 2012 by Maureen

I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. Rom. 7:18

There is always this tension between the real and the ideal, between good and evil, between Christ and the enemy of our souls, pulling us in different directions. Without meaning to, we go to those places we never meant to go and we fall in those places we meant to stand. And still the power of Christ’s grace holds.

Lord, pull me back me when I go there.