Archive for October, 2012

Scary! (not so much)

October 31st, 2012 by Maureen

But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip.  Acts 2:24

Life can get scary. The monster problems shrink, the fears and memories that haunt our dreams dissipate, even the reaper is less grim in the light of the resurrected Christ. “Fear not!” is both His battle cry and His lullaby to us. Jesus conquered death, hell, and the grave; nothing we might face is going to scare Him.

Lord, Your encouragement and comfort are enough to help me overcome my fears and keep moving forward.

Unwrapping the mummy

October 30th, 2012 by Maureen

Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”  The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” John 11:43-44

Jesus made Lazarus’ friends participants in his restoration by asking them to help free him from his grave clothes. Jesus has raised each and every one of us from the dead. Like Lazarus we may need a little help getting free from the grave clothes of the past.

Lord, help me loosen another’s grave clothes, and thanks for sending friends to loosen mine.

The only thing you can really depend on

October 27th, 2012 by Maureen

Assyria cannot save us, nor can our warhorses. Never again will we say to the idols we have made, ‘You are our gods.’ No, in you alone do the orphans find mercy. Hosea 14:3

Only when we stop relying on our own strength, let go of self-comforting behaviors, and stop depending on other people to be sources of strength or comfort can we fully depend on God. Sometimes friends desert us or we lose the things we leaned on for identity, purpose, or comfort. Our dependence on God is what allows us to be fully engulfed in His comfort. I can’t resist sharing Comfort Ye My People, a song from the 70’s by the band Lamb based on Hosea 14.

Lord, no more will I turn to others for help, nor will I turn to myself.

 

Peace out

October 26th, 2012 by Maureen

For those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:18

Peacemaking does not mean that we compromise our principles but that we surrender our anger, pride, and prejudices. So often the adrenaline that arises with conflict and the self-preservation mechanisms that kick into our emotions makes it impossible for our brains to process new information, receive truth, or think about the other people involved. Going into a conflict with love, humility, and grace sets up an environment where peacemaking can occur and truth can be received.

Lord, help me to make peace.

Don’t forget where you came from

October 25th, 2012 by Maureen

For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. Col. 1:13-14

When we encounter those still in darkness we should remember that we’ve all stood in that same darkness. None of us walked out of that darkness alone. Jesus is why we now enjoy light and freedom; and it was likely a friend of His who introduced each of us to Him.

Lord, show me how to extend the kind of friendship that will lead those in darkness into the light of Jesus.

Well connected

October 24th, 2012 by Maureen

Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.  Rom. 12:15

God gave us the capacity for empathy so that nobody has to feel alone. We share in the compassion of Christ and experience a unity and connection to Him and to others when we allow ourselves to share in the experiences and emotions of those around us and let others into our experiences a well. Everybody needs to be known, loved, and understood.

Lord, thank you for friends who allow themselves to feel what I am feeling in order to connect with me.

Have you heard?

October 23rd, 2012 by Maureen

For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. Rom. 8:16

When we doubt yet turn to God anyway, His Spirit responds: “It’s true. You aren’t making this stuff up.” When we wake at night out of worry or fear, His Spirit says,  “I’m still with you.” When we pray, His Spirit answers, “I heard you and I’m on it.” We may not hear God’s Spirit speak audibly but the sense of comfort and peace we feel when we reach out to Him is an internal response to the inaudible conversation His Spirit is having with our own.

Lord, thank You for being with me and in me.

 

Get going…

October 22nd, 2012 by Maureen

Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest. Ecc.3:4

Sometimes waiting to act is the prudent, Spirit-led, wise choice. Sometimes it is simply a fearful reaction to the climate of the moment.  If fear and doubt is driving the wait, the optimum moment may never present itself. Sometimes, in spite of the current climate, it’s time to stop procrastinating and just start.

Lord, I’m getting going…I really am….

Transforming grace

October 21st, 2012 by Maureen

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? Rom. 2:4

The opposite of cheap grace is not harsh grace. God’s transforming grace reconciles us to Him. Our temptations and failures and even our resistance to His work of reconciliation does not occur outside His transforming grace. God does not force transformation upon us, but He does not abandon us to our sin either.

Lord, keep speaking to me through Your Holy Spirit, even when I don’t want to hear it.

Two-way street

October 20th, 2012 by Maureen

When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. Rom. 1:12

Even when our faith is shaky, our hope is in shreds, and the pit we find ourselves in seems deep, in the words of Corrie Ten Boom “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.” Even from the bottom of our respective pits we can share words of encouragement. Faithful thoughts spoken when everything is not okay are often the most powerful.

Lord, help me be encouraging in every circumstance.

The measure of success

October 19th, 2012 by Maureen

And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Ps. 90:17

All our plans and skills only can take us so far, especially when we are involved in faith-based enterprises. It is God we have to please and God who may intervene when success seems impossible (or inevitable). When our efforts and motives are focused on gaining His approval, success becomes a bi-product rather than a goal. And success may not be measured in the same way the world measures it.

Lord, help me be successful in living a life that gains Your approval.

Sub-atomic love

October 18th, 2012 by Maureen

And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. I Cor. 13:2

Love is the building block of Christian life. At a sub-atomic level, love is the most elementary particle that makes up the Christ-filled spirit. All we know and understand about God, how we interpret and obey His word, and interact with the souls around us is informed by what we are made of. Without love, we are nothing.

Lord, let me display the properties of love at the deepest level my being.

What do you expect?

October 17th, 2012 by Maureen

Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else? Matt. 11;3

There is what we expect God to do, what He actually is doing, and how we process what He is actually doing in light of our expectations. The same is true of our expectations of other people. Faith sometimes requires that we lay aside our expectations, the agenda we expected to follow, and the disappointment we may feel because God went a different way.  If we embrace what God is actually doing and climb aboard, unexpected joys await.

Lord, whatever You’re up to, I’m on board.

Absolute greatness

October 16th, 2012 by Maureen

Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. Ps. 100:4

Sometimes it’s good to go into God’s presence with only thanks and praise. Period. No ask. No confession. No focus on self at all. Just God. Because He’s God. Contemplate grace and everything that comes with it and thank Him. Speak every one of His names and meditate on every aspect of His character and be blown away by His greatness.

Lord, I am amazed and delighted and incredibly grateful.

and not we ourselves

October 15th, 2012 by Maureen

Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us,  (and not we ourselves)and we are his . We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Ps. 100:3

Ancient versions and some translations include the and not we ourselves. It’s an important reminder. We are made for His intents and purposes, His design and direction, not our own.

His pasture, His plans, His purposes are so much better and more fulfilling than anything we might invent.

Lord, You are my Maker, my Shepherd, my Father, my Friend. I love you and want You to lead me.

Better things

October 13th, 2012 by Maureen

You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever. Heb. 10:34

Discipleship does come with a cost. Sometimes we have to release things we’ve depended upon in the past  and accept that some opportunities may be outright taken away because of our faith. Fortunately forever begins the moment we believe. We get to experience the beginnings of some of those better, forever things as we focus more on Christ.

Lord, help me to keep letting go of good for better.

Wherever you go there He is

October 12th, 2012 by Maureen

If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. Ps. 139:9-10 ESV

Psalm 139 begins “where can I go from Your presence?” God never abandons us even when we seek to abandon His presence. Even if we put on Lucifer’s own wings and try to fly out of God’s presence only to find ourselves bobbing around in a sea far from home, even then, He holds our hands.

Lord, thank you for always bringing me back home.

Questionable hire

October 11th, 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 You want me to do and whoever You want me to do it with.

Thinking of you

October 10th, 2012 by Maureen

I rise early, before the sun is up;
I cry out for help and put my hope in your words.
I stay awake through the night,
thinking about your promise. Ps. 119:147-148

God is never preoccupied. Whenever we start talking to God, He will always say, “I was just thinking about you!” Each of us remains in God’s sight and on His mind all the time. The second  we turn our thoughts toward God, He is ready to pick up the conversation right where we left off.

Lord, I trust you with every hope and every need.

There is more to it than “shalts and shalt nots”

October 9th, 2012 by Maureen

Help me understand the meaning of your commandments, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds. Ps. 119:67

We aren’t supposed to put the Book down just because we think we’ve gotten the point. We cannot compartmentalize Bible reading and expect it to sink  into our real, walking-around lives. Sometimes we have to seek and study, meditate and pray about what it means, in order to integrate the breadth and depth and weight of His truth into our own experiences and attitudes.

Lord, I want to know what You mean and to live like I mean it too.