Archive for February, 2013

Risky kingdom business

February 27th, 2013 by Maureen

Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. (Joseph was an honored member of the high council, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.)  Mark 15:43

Why would someone in an influential position like Joseph risk his reputation and comfort to help what must have seemed like a failed Messiah? Jesus’ message about the Kingdom of God and the Man Himself so captivated Joseph that his position and possessions didn’t matter. Joseph responded to something more compelling than human reason or emotion.

Lord, when You inspire me to Kingdom business help me to respond fearlessly, with wisdom and grace, no matter the risk.

 

Jesus actually was a great teacher

February 26th, 2013 by Maureen

When complimented on being a great teacher, Jesus responded “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” Mett. 13:52

Jesus’ teaching was well-presented and well-timed. Sometimes His methods were sometimes unorthodox and unique and sometimes quite traditional. He told stories that were pertinent to His listeners. He taught in the places they frequented as well as inviting them into His venues. Most importantly, He taught truth and understood how valuable it was to His students.

Lord help me remember that the truth I share is treasure.

Glory-deprived gasps

February 25th, 2013 by Maureen

I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. John 17:21

Experiencing His glory reconciles our spiritual selves to His presence. Glory makes up the atmosphere of the spiritual world. It is the oxygen of the spiritual being.  When we breathe in His glory we breathe out love, grace, purpose and unity. Operating outside a sense of His glory is like trying to run up a mountain in thin air.

Lord, give me a real sense of Your glory; let my every breath, every move, every decision, every interaction bring You glory.

Old and new glory

February 24th, 2013 by Maureen

All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Jude 1:25

Our praises do not make God more or less glorious. He doesn’t need us to feed ego, fuel power, or establish authority. Those are what happen when glory is misappropriated to human beings. Our responses to His glory reconciles us to the truth and beauty of His nature that has always been and allows each of us to uniquely participate in it, fulfilling the purpose of His creation.

Lord, glory to You!

Refrigerator pictures

February 23rd, 2013 by Maureen

For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift? I Cor. 4:7

Our best creative works happen when we develop the gifts God has given us and exercise them as images of the Maker. Our most sublime creations and brilliant inventions are crayon drawings on the Father’s refrigerator, probably hanging next to some stuff human critics panned. Pride and market research are probably not the best motivations for creative endeavors.

Lord, let the works my hands be a response to Your image in me.

The grace cycle

February 22nd, 2013 by Maureen

For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you. 2 Cor. 9:14

Extending grace has nothing to do with what nice people we are, but with our own experiences as recipients of grace. The grace we show to others authenticates our understanding of Christ’s message of redemption. Acts of grace and generosity yield responses of affection and provides those we bless with a tangible picture of what Christ’s good new means for them.

Jesus, I love you and I love Your grace. Help me to communicate that to others.

More than beautiful words

February 21st, 2013 by Maureen

Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love. 2 Jn. 1:3 (ESV)

Grace, mercy, peace, truth, love are beautiful words. Just saying them is calming. Living them is a bit more challenging. What if we desired grace, mercy, peace, truth, and love for each other as much as we desire them for ourselves? What if our words, our actions, and our attitudes reflected these ideas?

Lord, make grace, mercy, peace, truth, and love more than beautiful words in my life.

Flying blind

February 20th, 2013 by Maureen

Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. Jn. 12:44-45

We always feel more secure when we know what’s going on, understand the hows and whys, see the big picture, and feel like we are in the loop. But most of the time we don’t have all the information. Jesus doesn’t promise full disclosure, He promises security and peace when we have to fly blind.

Lord, I trust you with everything I can see and especially with everything I can’t.

Who’s the pacesetter?

February 19th, 2013 by Maureen

So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help. Is. 30:18

Too often we want to set the pace or choose the route instead of matching Jesus stride for stride. He won’t walk faster than we can go or pause longer than than we need to be equipped for the next phase of the journey. When we wait for God there is a good reason, when He waits for us we’re usually the reason.

Lord, set my pace and direct my paths.

 

Not. about. me.

February 18th, 2013 by Maureen

It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the best man is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. Jn. 3:29

John the Baptist got it. His job was to point people to Jesus, to support Jesus’ mission, to echo Jesus’ message, and to rejoice when people became Jesus’ disciples. Not. About. John. John the Baptist defines his own role and the role of any follower of Christ who leads others: best man. Supporting role. All. About. Jesus.

Lord, help leaders and aspiring leaders to deflect glory and focus toward You.

Fan the flames

February 16th, 2013 by Maureen

This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Tim. 6-7

We can’t be afraid of being who God has made us. We can’t be afraid of using those gifts that God has gifted to each of us. Our gifts are not our own but meant to be used to ignite passion, blessing and  encouragement in His kingdom.

Lord, even my gifts are not about me. Help me to use them fearlessly for You.

Light sources

February 15th, 2013 by Maureen

Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous. Ps. 112:4

Perhaps people who put others first, who care, and who do the right things with the right motives seem to be nearest the light because the light is coming out of them. We can’t self-consciously will the light of Christ to shine from us; He shines from us when we are busy being worshippers and servants and friends.

Lord, shine for me until You shine through me.

Survival mode settings

February 14th, 2013 by Maureen

My life constantly hangs in the balance, but I will not stop obeying your instructions. Ps. 119:109

Survival mode seems to have two settings: self-preservation or God-dependence. Self-preservation sometimes invites moral compromise and social manipulation. Surrendering the outcome to God and walking through the situation in peace and grace might make us appear weak or illogical to others, but God’s principles don’t exist to make us look strong and smart. They exist because God is strong and smart.

Lord, when things gets dangerous and desperate help me to hold on to Your truth instead of my pride.

Endorphins for a sad, weary world

February 12th, 2013 by Maureen

Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people. Phil. 1:7

Love and kindness are powerful forces in the life of a community. When our brains release endorphins we feel good. Perhaps love and kindness work in a community a little bit like endorphins work in the brain. They spark a myriad of positive responses and good feelings when they are released.

Lord, make me loving and kind today.

As. for. you. follow. Me.

February 10th, 2013 by Maureen

Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?” Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.” Jn. 21:21-22

What Christ asks of each of us individually is not necessarily a template for another person’s life. Questioning another’s journey is not an out when we don’t feel like walking our own. We may have one faith and one mission, but we do not all experience the same journey.

Lord, help me to follow where You lead me.

Moth-eaten legacies

February 8th, 2013 by Maureen

Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Matt.6:20-21

Not only do we humans treasure wealth, influence, and fame, we like leaving those things as legacies. Leaving a personal mark doesn’t matter as much as leaving behind the Kingdom of God. Whether we are remembered doesn’t matter so long as Christ is remembered.  Self centeredness is the moth and rust of legacy.

Lord, let Your fame and Your treasure be the desire of my heart.

Stay calm and carry on

February 7th, 2013 by Maureen

He [the enemy] prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. I Pet. 5:9

Most of the people we deal with every day are also trying to function above all the roaring and shaking, many unaware of the source of the ruckus. It’s not a competition to see who can keep his feet the longest, but a group effort to keep everybody standing. Jesus already won that last man standing competition. Hold onto Him and help steady the people around you.

Lord, deliver us from evil.

When the solution hurts more than the problem

February 6th, 2013 by Maureen

A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body. Prov. 14:30

When we look for solution to stress rather than solutions to problems we too often hurt our physical bodies and sometimes the bodies of Christ to which we belong. We may do things that provide momentary relief, delay dealing with it, or make it temporarily disappear. Christ is the Reconciler of situations, the true Source of peace, inspiration, and solace…but sometimes reaching His solution requires struggle and sacrifice.

Lord, You are my peace. Help me trust instead of worry and to patiently work the problem until the result is real peace and health.

Hold your head up

February 5th, 2013 by Maureen

But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. Ps. 3:3

When the weariness and weight of life makes our heads so heavy we can’t hold them up, the Lord may grab our chins and say “Look at Me, I have this.” He may whisper into our ears, “Look up, I have a surprise for you…a good one!”  Whatever the message, He’s the reason and the source of strength.

Lord, hold my head up.

True fairy tale

February 3rd, 2013 by Maureen

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Heb. 12:2

Jesus is the author of the story. He’s also the Hero. We are the objects of His quest, the hostages in need of His rescue, the joy set before Him. The story is really about Him.

Lord, thank you for rescuing me and writing me into Your story.