Archive for March, 2013

He has risen. Now what?

March 31st, 2013 by Maureen

‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’  Matt. 28:7 (NIV)

The resurrection of Jesus is exciting, mind-blowing information. But wait, there’s more! As we go where we normally go – home, work, fishing  – we  will see Him! If we have it on good information that there’s someplace He frequents, we should definitely go there! Galilee wasn’t perfect, and certainly not heaven, but it was His earthly home and Jesus showed up there. Enjoy church this Easter.

Thank you, Lord that no matter where I go, You’ve always gotten there ahead of me.

 

 

Uncertain Saturday

March 30th, 2013 by Maureen

Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders)…[and]Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night…asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body.  John 19:38-39.

At some point faith has to trump fear. At some point the truth needs to see the light of day. Perhaps Joseph and Nicodemus weren’t entirely convinced Jesus was the Messiah, perhaps they didn’t expect Him to rise from the grave they purchased for Him, but on that uncertain Saturday between death and resurrection two fearful men respected Jesus enough to come out of hiding.

Lord, help me to be open about my faith, even on uncertain Saturdays.

Jesus didn’t have a martyr complex

March 29th, 2013 by Maureen

“My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Matt. 26:39

The cross wasn’t suicide; it was sacrifice. Jesus acted out of love, not defeat and despair. Jesus trusted that His journey to the cross was the only means to accomplish His purpose of forgiveness and redemption for us, but He didn’t want to go. This is Jesus’ model prayer for times when following Him leads to loss, to sacrifice, to suffering, and even to apparent failure.

Lord, I’d rather not go there, but let Your will and Your purposes be accomplished in my life by whatever means necessary.

Torn curtain

March 28th, 2013 by Maureen

Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. Mark 5:37-38

The death of Christ the Eternal Creator and King had a powerful impact on the access of human beings to God. Christ’s desire to redeem and befriend us was so great that it had symbolic physical manifestations. Jesus has already torn whatever we imagine as an impassible curtain between us and God and He stands in the gap with open arms. Run through.

Lord, I’m running to Your arms.

Good grief and greater joy

March 27th, 2013 by Maureen

You will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy. John 16:20

Jesus’ horrific death now causes grief even among those who don’t believe He is Messiah. Only when we realize that He truly is the Hope of nations, the Savior of the world, the Prince of peace can that grief turn to joy. Only when we grieve as recipients of His personal sacrifice for our individual redemptions can we experience the joy of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Risen Lord, thank you for this good grief and greater joy.

Abstract, concrete

March 26th, 2013 by Maureen

For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. Jn. 3:16

Believe. Abstract, immeasurable idea. Love motivated grace (more abstracts)  to accomplish redemption (abstract again) in the form of a concrete (yet divine) Human Being who lived on earth in a particular place at a particular time. Redemption is abstract and concrete, and deeply personal. Like a relationship. Easter is a great time to celebrate the concrete events that redeem us and to appreciate the unique immeasurable relationships with Christ that result from love, grace and belief.

Lord, thanks, for what You did and how You did it for each of us.

Everything is nothing

March 25th, 2013 by Maureen

Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. Mark 10:21

Jesus knows our unique idols, distractions, fears, and weaknesses. We need to bring everything we think we are, everything we think we need, and everything we think we have to contribute to Him and realize it’s nothing. Only then can He give us everything we need.

Lord, if there is still one thing in my life, help me let it go.

Never meet a stranger

March 23rd, 2013 by Maureen

We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too. I. Thess. 2:8

We share the amazing, transformative News about Jesus because we love others already not so that He can make them lovable to us. Love means being involved in the lives of the people around us. Love brings acquaintances into our circle of friends and gives strangers a place at our tables. The love of Christ enlarges our hearts beyond the borders of our shyness, trust issues, or busyness.

Lord, help me to open my heart wider to those around me.

Big mysteries

March 22nd, 2013 by Maureen

Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things. Ecc. 11:5

Delving into God’s big mysteries can stretch our minds and spirits. With prayer and study we may gain more insight. However the Bible seems to spend the most ink on our relationships and responses to God and other people.

Lord, help me to enjoy the mystery of living in You, for You, and through You in relationship with You and others.

Call it like you see it

March 21st, 2013 by Maureen

From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. Jn. 1:16

God has a track record of blessing us.When the unexpected occurs, when change comes, when things seem out of our own control, perhaps our best response is to remember all the times God has sent good things our way and look for more good. So much of what we count as blessing depends on perspective and response. There is no official there to call whether it’s a blessing or not. Each of us calls it as we see it. See blessing.

Lord, thanks for continually blessing me.

Oh joy

March 19th, 2013 by Maureen

The joy of the Lord is my strength. Neh. 8:10

The Lord’s joy comes from a source other than ourselves. We can’t make ourselves feel joyful; but our response to the Lord’s loving and eternal perspective on our circumstances, surroundings, and feelings can result in deep-seated joy. This kind of joy makes us stronger.

Lord, fill me with your powerful joy.

Living every week like it’s Resurrection week

March 18th, 2013 by Maureen

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  Jn. 10:10 (ESV)

While Jesus primary purpose was our redemption from sin, one of the byproducts of that is a full, meaningful, abundant life. Every day. Every week. Not just during holidays and vacations. This day, this week, sparkles like a Carribean beach. Dive in.

Lord, thank you for this full and abundant Monday.

Happy St. Pat’s

March 17th, 2013 by Maureen

The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly. Is. 32:4

I would not be silent… in spite of my lack of knowledge and my slow tongue…How much more should we earnestly strive to do this, we, who are, so Scripture says, a letter of Christ for salvation unto the utmost part of the earth, and, though not an eloquent one, yet written in your hearts, not with ink, but with the spirit of the living God! ” – Confession of St. Patrick 450 A.D.

Lord, make me a letter for salvation written in the hearts of those I meet.

A spirit, a soul, and a body walk into a garage

March 16th, 2013 by Maureen

Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. 1 Thess. 5:23

There is plenty of disagreement as to what constitutes the spirit and the soul. Mind-body-spirit seems to be the current thinking. However they divide up, our spirit, soul, and body can sometimes pull in different directions, like wheels on a car that needs alignment. Spending time with Christ and embracing His teaching gets us back in alignment.

Lord, do work on my spirit, soul, and body, and teach me to maintain that work.

Wardrobe basics

March 15th, 2013 by Maureen

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Col. 3:12

Now that’s fashion forward. Getting dressed involves deliberate choices – at least in the first world. And the act of get dressed at all is a choice everywhere. What if wearing our relational clothes was as important as than that next pair of jeans?

Lord, I think I need help getting dressed.

Cheap perfume in a cracked jar

March 14th, 2013 by Maureen

“She knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.” Luke 7:38

This is the response of one broken woman to Jesus. She didn’t wait until conditions were perfect or all her baggage was gone to bring Jesus sweet perfume in a beautiful alabaster jar. She brought the best and most valuable stuff she had and her broken self to Jesus and used them to serve. Too often service means bringing cheap perfume in cracked jars and saving the good stuff for personal use.

Lord, forgive me when I don’t use my best stuff to serve You.

The right answer isn’t always the right response

March 13th, 2013 by Maureen

Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. Col. 4:6

The “right” answer is only right if the attitude with which it is spoken is also right. Winning an argument is never the motivation for a conversation, especially about Jesus. Our responses, especially to what seeking people say about Jesus, can negatively or positively affect the decision-making process. It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict people of sin and confirm truth to their hearts. Our job is to love them and tell His story through our responses, not only to them, but to life itself.

Lord, let Your Holy Spirit be present before, during, and after my conversations today.

Acoustic Jesus

March 12th, 2013 by Maureen

Sound mixing consoleSo pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them. Luke 8:18

How we hear depends on our intelligences, dispositions, experiences, preconceptions, philosophical positions, emotional states, spiritual condition at the moment and on what we believe and feel about the speaker or the message. Maybe all these factors work a bit like knobs on a sound recording console. We can filter a message based on our own preferences or try to receive and reproduce that message as close to its acoustic form as possible.

Lord, help me hear what You are really saying.

 

Environmental impact

March 11th, 2013 by Maureen

Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Heb. 13:1

Love is atmosphere of the kingdom of God. Love means that we genuinely cherish one another and continually extend grace, prayer, encouragement, and service toward each other. We seek, celebrate, mourn, and study together. How we treat one another has a direct environmental impact on that Kingdom.

Lord, help loving to be as natural as breathing for me.

 

How much does glory weigh?

March 10th, 2013 by Maureen

This light, temporary nature of our suffering is producing for us an everlasting weight of glory, far beyond any comparison, 2 Cor. 4:17 (ISV)

Glory may seem ethereal, fluffy and light like clouds, but here it is  linked to suffering, the thing that seems to tether us to earth. Persistent burdens that we must pick up and carry with us, even as we follow Christ, and afflictions from which we plead for release produce this weighty, substantial glory. It is the presence of God and the counterweight of glory that make what we must carry lighter.

Lord help me to feel the weight of glory when things start getting heavy.