Archive for January, 2013

Love keeps on keeping on

January 31st, 2013 by Maureen

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” I Cor. 13:7

Life takes its toll on each of us. We can keep going because we know God has focused His love and grace towards us and because loving friends are listening, praying, encouraging, and supporting us. It is this love that equips us to be that loving friend to someone else.

 Lord, help me to keep loving through every circumstance.

It’s a stretch

January 30th, 2013 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

When we don’t think we have it in us, when the offense seems far too big, the relationship far too tangled up, Christ’s grace, His compassion, His redemptive Spirit is available to us to bring His reconciling power to our relationships. How does it look to forgive the way Christ forgives?

Lord, as a recipient of Your grace, help me to extend that same grace to others, even when it’s a stretch.

The art of saying the right thing at the right time

January 29th, 2013 by Maureen

Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time. Prov. 15:23

Ever  finish a conversation then later think of the perfect reply or  worry that something that was said might be offensive or misinterpreted? Nobody gets the words right all the time. Communicating love and respect is always a fitting reply and goes a long way toward assigning the intended connotations to the words we say.

Lord, let Your grace be present in what I think I said, what other people think I said, what I really said, and what I meant to say.

Blessed assurance

January 28th, 2013 by Maureen

Don’t you understand even yet? Don’t you remember the 5,000 I fed with five loaves, and the baskets of leftovers you picked up? Matt. 16:9

Each of us can probably remember a personal miracle, a time when we were undeniably aware of Jesus intervening  in a situation in our lives at a critical point. What He did at that moment is a reality. When there are no obvious solutions and too many disturbing possible scenarios, when everything is restless and uncertain, we have to go back to the truth that we know and camp there.

Lord, I know that I know that I know…

Love allowances

January 26th, 2013 by Maureen

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. Eph. 4:2-3

Love motivates the allowance we make for one another’s faults. We may not all agree theologically; ethics and social practices may vary; but love unites us in the Spirit. The love of God is greater than our differences and our faults.

Lord, just as nothing separates me from Your love, let nothing separate me from loving other followers of Christ.

More or less sin

January 23rd, 2013 by Maureen

 God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. Rom. 5:20

There is no quota on grace. There is no line in the sand that we can step over and negate the redeeming work of the the cross. If God’s grace is immeasurable should we spend time trying to measure the sin for which it paid? Grace take fear out of the mix and replaces it with love as our motivation to follow and obey.

Lord,  thank You for restoring, forgiving, abundant grace.

Quality miracles

January 22nd, 2013 by Maureen

When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine…he called the bridegroom over. “A host always serves the best wine first… But you have kept the best until now!” Jn. 2.9-10

It seems completely logical that Jesus the Creator would make high quality wine. That makes me wonder whether the blind people he healed ended up with better than 20/20 vision or whether the lame ones became marathon runners. We shouldn’t expect a mediocre miracle out of Jesus. His transforming power holds amazing potential for each of us.

Lord, transform me the way you turned water into wine.

Following Messiahs

January 21st, 2013 by Maureen

Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah”  Jn. 1:41

It turns out Jesus didn’t save the disciples from the things they expected Him to save them from. It’s easy to follow a well-funded, well-connected Messiah who lays out a logical plan we agree with; but the disciples followed Jesus even though they had questions about the way He was saving the world. They followed Jesus because they believed He definitely was the Messiah.

Lord, help me discard my expectations for Your agenda.

Because not cause

January 19th, 2013 by Maureen

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. Rom. 8:38

We can do nothing to earn God’s love and we can do nothing to lose it. That doesn’t mean He’s always pleased with our choices, but our choices cannot cause God to love or not love us. We don’t have that much power over the love of the almighty, everlasting Lord of All.

Lord, because of Your love.

Foreigners welcome

January 18th, 2013 by Maureen

Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other. Zech. 7:9b-10

Some messages are just as fresh in the 21st century as in the 6th century BC. There are still widows, orphans, foreigners and poor people who need our help. The question that strikes me in this verse is: Who is the foreigner in the 21st century church?

Lord, help me to show mercy and justice to those who feel oppressed, left out, or alienated.

Blink

January 17th, 2013 by Maureen

Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. Matt. 6:22

Our hearts and eyes open to the wonder of God when we contemplate our blessings and recognize evidence of God’s hand in our every day lives. Sometimes our eyes have to adjust to His brilliance before we can see the effects on our own lives and those around us. Even when our eyes are closed or vision blurred His light is just a blink away.

Lord, give me good eyes.

There’s your sign

January 16th, 2013 by Maureen

“How do you know about me?” Nathaniel asked.
Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.”
Then Nathaniel exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!”

Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” Jn. 1:48-50

God is at work long before any of us notice. Occasionally He gets our attention with a tangible experience that we can take on faith as a sign. When that happens  it’s a good idea not only to keep your eyes open but to get involved in whatever He’s up to.

Lord, I’m looking.

Cost-benefit analysis

January 15th, 2013 by Maureen

And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? Matt 16:26

Every choice comes with costs and benefits. We work so hard to build and preserve relationships, careers, health, and wealth. Sometimes the question to ask not whether a decision will be worth the effort in twenty years but whether the decision brings positive spiritual impact now and whether it is of any eternal consequence.

Lord, help me stop asking what it will cost me and start asking how it will help You.

Statistician is not a calling

January 14th, 2013 by Maureen

What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike!.. I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.” Jn. 4:36b, 38

Christ is the one who seeks and saves that which is lost. Neither planter nor harvester has the power to save. Our joy is in seeing others recognize Christ for who He is and move closer to Him, in the actual experience of planting, sowing, and harvesting. It doesn’t say anything about keeping stats.

Lord, thank you for every soul, everywhere who trusted you this day.

The ultimate frontier

January 12th, 2013 by Maureen

O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. Ps. 8:1

Eternity begins not with death but with faith in Christ and our wonder is a portal into an eternal adventure with Him. Wonder opens our minds to God’s immensity, our hearts to His beauty, and our spirits to His multi-dimensional love for us. Wonder transports us from our earthly agendas and needs into eternity.

Lord, thank You for taking me on these wonderful adventures into eternity.

Crazy shine

January 10th, 2013 by Maureen

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 2 Cor. 4:7

As pottery gets older a network of tiny tension lines, called crazing, sometimes form. Crazing indicates vulnerability to cracking but the plate or jar will still hold together and is still usable. His light keeps shining out even when we  show signs of crazing because we contain light; we don’t cause it.

Lord, pour light from this crazed vessel.

No celebrity Christians

January 8th, 2013 by Maureen

He must become greater; I must become less.” The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. Jn. 1:30-31

John the Baptist could have coined the phrase, “It’s not about me.” While we may appreciate the work and wisdom of individuals who have followed Chirst in the past and those who work for Him now, the Christian faith revolves around Jesus Christ. There are no “celebrity Christians,” there is just Christ…and the rest of us.

Lord, help me to reflect You and to deflect any glory back to You.

Love and grace

January 7th, 2013 by Maureen

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Cor. 5:17

Because of grace God doesn’t take our past mistakes into the relationship He establishes with us as His children. He looks at us and sees us as new people, without all the baggage. Wouldn’t life be amazing if we extended the same grace each of us has received from Him to one another? George MacDonald wrote that “love is both the opener and closer of eyes.”

Lord, open my eyes to what I need to see and close them to what I don’t.

Considering lilies

January 6th, 2013 by Maureen

Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.Luke 12:27

No human effort can equal God’s creative genius. The fruits of human labor cannot equal the provision and care of God.  Evidence of God’s care and delight in us is evident in the beauty and detail He lavishes on even the most transient things in His creation.

Lord, make me the creation You envision for me to be rather than the product of my own toil and spin.

Well played, Pete and Barney

January 5th, 2013 by Maureen

“And since God gave these Gentiles the same gift he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to stand in God’s way?”-Peter When he [Barnabas] came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, Acts 11:17,23

Both men saw evidence of Christ’s salvation given to different groups of Gentiles, people they didn’t expect to receive salvation. Each implies that it’s not up to use to judge other people’s worthiness or eligibility to receive grace, but to acknowledge them as fellow believers and to encourage their faith.

Lord, make me an encourager.