Archive for April, 2013

Can you see me now?

April 30th, 2013 by Maureen

Then, spitting on the [blind] man’s eyes, he laid his hands on him and asked, “Can you see anything now?” The man looked around. “Yes,” he said, “I see people, but I can’t see them very clearly. They look like trees walking around.” Then Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again, and his eyes were opened. His sight was completely restored, and he could see everything clearly. Mark 8:23-25

Even after Jesus touches us the lens through which we see the world might still be distorted.  Healing may take time. Clarity might require more than one touch from Jesus.

Lord, keep your hands on my eyes.

It comes down to love

April 29th, 2013 by Maureen

Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. Jn. 13:35

Jesus summarizes His instructions to His followers in two commandments: “Love God” and “love each other.” After all of His miracles and wisdom and power Jesus chose to rest the revelation of His truth to the world on how His followers love.  If our motives for knowledge, discipline, charity, or any other “Christian” behavior is not to learn to love better we are missing the point.

Lord, use everything I learn and experience today to help me love more and love better.

Anybody might be not just anybody

April 28th, 2013 by Maureen

The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. They asked, “Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?” Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter…Mark 6:2-3a

Jesus deliberately chose to come as “just a carpenter.” He still choses “just” people to speak His message. If we dismiss God’s truth based on the job, education, economics, neighborhood, race, ethnicity, social status, gender, or age of the speaker we just might miss something amazing.

Lord, help me to receive Your truth from every source You choose to use.

 

That’s not all, folks

April 28th, 2013 by Maureen

 The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. Heb. 1:3

Rather than making Himself unattainable and unknowable, God came in the form of Jesus Christ to remove any doubts we might have about His character or His intentions. Certainly God is almighty, omnipotent, omniscient, and sovereign, but that’s not all, folks. He is also attainable, approachable, and lovable. His love and mercy, his grace and goodwill that are directed toward each of us are just as mysterious and glorious as his might.

Lord, thank you for being my friend.

Pause and rewind

April 26th, 2013 by Maureen

‘You have eyes—can’t you see? You have ears—can’t you hear?’ Don’t you remember anything at all? When I fed the 5,000 with five loaves of bread, how many baskets of leftovers did you pick up afterward?” Mark 8:18-19

Fear, panic, emergency, boredom, despair, desire. Our emotions can cause spiritual amnesia. We forget what we’ve learned, seen, heard, or experienced. Too bad life doesn’t have a pause or rewind button. There are moment in our lives when we need to stop and really take in that moment. There are times when remembering those sweet moments will matter.

Lord, help me remember what I need to remember.

Still harbor

April 25th, 2013 by Maureen

He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! Ps. 107:39-30 Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Mark 4:29

The Lord God knows how to still a raging storm and how to still a troubled soul. Even if the storm is still raging we can be still and let him bring our souls into Your still harbor.

Lord, thank You for times of stillness.

 

Feel the love

April 24th, 2013 by Maureen

You should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. I Pet. 3:8

It feels great to do good for others, but it also feels great to be recipients of good. Receiving sometimes takes humility but it builds security and grace. Too often we store up resentments that separate us from others rather than focusing on the acts of kindness that unite us to others.

Thank you, Lord, for all the kindnesses done toward me. Help me remember them all day.

Vegging out

April 23rd, 2013 by Maureen

Let my teaching fall on you like rain; let my speech settle like dew. Let my words fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants. Deut. 32:2

Many Bible metaphors cast humans as plants that are acted upon by God, soaking in nourishment and growing as a result. Merely acting on information that hasn’t soaked in does little to develop our souls or contribute to health or productivity. As we allow teaching and understanding to hydrate our souls, our roots deepen and our fruit gets sweeter and more plentiful.

Lord, integrate what I learn from You into who I am for You.

 

Lessons from Madagascar

April 22nd, 2013 by Maureen

I am the Holy One living among you,
and I will not come to destroy.
For someday the people will follow me.
I, the Lord, will roar like a lion. Hos. 11:9b-10a

Sometimes a restless spirit is not a sign that we need rest, but that our domesticated spirits pace, like lions in a cage at the zoo. When we hear HIs roar we are meant to run after Him. But the allure of comfort, safety, provision, and admiration can make it harder to break out and rush toward the wild adventure the Lion of Judah calls us to have with Him.

Lord, You are no tame lion. Give me courage.

Beneath the surface

April 20th, 2013 by Maureen

For if the correct time for circumcising your son falls on the Sabbath, you go ahead and do it so as not to break the law of Moses. So why should you be angry with me for healing a man on the Sabbath? Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly. John 7:23-24

When rules make it easy to tell who’s in and who’s out; when rules make it easy to quantify and rank people then it may be time to look beneath the surface.

Lord, help me to see beneath the surface, especially when it’s murky and my own expectations obscure my vision.

Service is not a competitive sport

April 19th, 2013 by Maureen

In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. Matt 5:16

First responders aren’t in it for glory. Good deeds, acts of charity and kindness, words of comfort and support shine because they reflect love, the very nature of Christ. When good deeds go public it shouldn’t be to promote ourselves or our organizations but to inspire others to join in helping, comforting, and loving those who are experiencing loss and pain.

Lord, let the good I seek to do effectively meet the needs of those I try to help.

Search for God not answers

April 18th, 2013 by Maureen

The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you. Ps. 9:9-10

When we personally, or as part of a group of people, experience hard times, evil times, or seasons of grief or doubt, God is still our shelter. He is near though confusion or doubts can obscure our view of Him. His goodness and His nearness are constants. God can always see us, even when we don’t think we can see Him.

Lord, thank You for being with me while I search.

Pure and genuine

April 17th, 2013 by Maureen

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. James 1:27

Imagine the impact if every person who loved Christ cared for just one child who needs an adult in his or her life. Helping one child is unlikely to solve the larger sociological problems that impact that child, but helping and caring can change the trajectory of that one life.

Lord, break my heart for the orphans You hold dear.

Peace of mind and heart

April 16th, 2013 by Maureen

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.  Jn. 14:27

Peace empowers us to do ans say what is constructive and of eternal consequence instead of posturing or cowering. The peace of Christ empowers us to stare down whatever scares us right now and whatever threats we perceive to be looming on the horizon and breathe, sleep, laugh, and dance like all is resolved. Infinite, eternal Jesus has seen whatever scares us right now all the way to its defeat.

Lord let Your peace be with all those who are fearful.

What’s your forgiveness number?

April 15th, 2013 by Maureen

“…how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” 

“No, not seven times,”Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven! Matt. 18:21-22

Jesus didn’t pull this number out of a hat nor was he setting a numerical limit for forgiveness. As He often did, Jesus referenced the Old Testament, in this case, Genesis 4, as he communicated His message of grace. We apply human justice to situations and try to come up with fair exchanges, but the cross and grace do not plug comfortably into our fairness formulas. Forgiveness transcends fairness.

Lord, stretch my capacity to forgive others beyond comfort and fairness.

Safe Haven Church

April 14th, 2013 by Maureen

A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other….God has appointed some to be: apostles,  prophets, those God uses to do miracles or heal, those who can help others, administrators, prayer, hospitality…give wise advice…share knowledge…exhibit extraordinary faith…show hospitality I Cor. 12, I Tim. 5

While the Church may not endose every behavior or agree with every idea held by those who attend, hopefully all those seeking Christ will find the doors wide open and the arms of its member wide open too. Nowhere in the many lists of spiritual gifts and church offices or roles will we find “bouncer” or “judge” or “reporter of wrongdoing.”

Lord, help those who need You perceive that the Christian circles to which I belong are safe havens of renewal and grace.

 

Jesus kicks down the wall between “us” and “them”

April 13th, 2013 by Maureen

Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled. Luke 19:6-7

Jesus made intentional connections with people the religious establishment had labelled “sinner.” If we think our labels can keep us as distant observers in a tree, we may be in for a surprising and personal encounter with Christ. If we feel uncomfortable in the company of certain “sinners,” if we worry too much about our Christian reputations, Jesus just may have dinner plans for us that we aren’t expecting.

Lord, help me to keep my arms and my heart open to all the company You keep.

What makes David such a cool cat?

April 12th, 2013 by Maureen

“One of Jesse’s sons from Bethlehem is a talented harp player. Not only that—he is a brave warrior, a man of war, and has good judgment. He is also a fine-looking young man, and the Lord is with him.” I Sam. 16:18

Since Saul was looking for a harp player, I get why Samuel put that first. But seems to me that the Lord being with David should be mentioned first, and certainly before the fact that he’s good looking. Kinda shallow, Samuel, just saying….

Lord, help me base my estimation of other people on Your priorities.

Bold desperation

April 11th, 2013 by Maureen

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Heb. 4:16

When we are stretched and drained beyond capacity, when there is no more money or resources, when we are out of patience, energy, and ideas, when another step is too much to ask, His grace and mercy are there. Before we do something or say something we can’t reverse and will regret, God is where to turn.

Lord, show me Your mercy and fill me with grace and mercy for others.

How did I get here?

April 10th, 2013 by Maureen

If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. Ps. 139:9

Life takes some surprising turns. We can find ourselves miles from where we started or ever planned to be. Whether we got there on purpose or just drifted, whether God led us there or we resisted Him and went anyway, wherever we find ourselves at this very moment God has the wisdom and strength to move us forward, toward joy and purpose and truth. Toward Him.

Lord, guide me.