Archive for August, 2013

I am a child

August 31st, 2013 by Maureen

O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Matt.11:25

The childlike trust. The childlike approach life with curiosity, enthusiasm, and energy. They arrive with empty hands and open minds. The childlike want to learn and share what they’ve learned. The childlike look and listen because they know they live in a big world filled with wonder. Fear or ambition may tempt us to opt for childish or clever instead. The childish cling to routine, fear loss, and declare “Mine!”  The “clever” compete, explain, manage, and accrue. Childlike is where it’s at!

Lord, it’s so great to be Your child.

Advancing with the Kingdom

August 30th, 2013 by Maureen

From the time John the Baptist began preaching until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people are attacking it. Matt. 11:12

John was the beginning of radical change in the Kingdom of God. John came to announce Jesus and Jesus came to bring redemption and defeat hell, sin, and death. Change of this magnitude is going to threaten those who are invested in maintaining the status quo.

Lord, help me to move forward with whatever You are doing in Your Kingdom.

Ancient promises

August 29th, 2013 by Maureen

I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it. Matt. 13:17

The Old Testament is one long cry for Jesus. He is the fulfillment of every prophet’s expression of longing for hope and forgiveness, for righteousness and reconciliation. Through Jesus God keeps an ancient promise with a new covenant. That we get to see and hear Him is nothing to take for granted.

Lord, I am so privileged to see and hear Jesus!

 

Trouble and trust

August 28th, 2013 by Maureen

Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God and trust also in me. Jn. 14:1

Troubled hearts struggle with letting go. Troubled hearts want to fix the problem, pick the scab, get the issue resolved. Now. Our stress is not going to fix whatever is troubling our hearts. God cares more than we do anyway, no matter how intensely we care. Trusting means we believe in His love, goodwill, power, and grace enough to transfer ownership of our deepest concerns to Him.

Lord, I want to trust You more.

Maximum impact

August 26th, 2013 by Maureen

Freely have you received, freely give. Matt. 10:7-8

Each of us has a story to tell. Each of us has resources and insight we can share with others. What we receive from Christ is meant to be given to other people. We should not underestimate the valuable effect that what He has done in our lives will have on lives of others. The work of Christ in our lives has maximum impact for His kingdom when we share His blessings to us.

Lord, impact others through me.

Who do you say that you are?

August 25th, 2013 by Maureen

Jesus asked “Who do you say that I am?” Peter responded, “You are the Messiah. “You are Peter….I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Matt 16:13-19

Not only does Jesus challenge each of us with that all-important question, “Who do you say I am?” but He also answers another important question: Who do you say that you are? Who Jesus says that we are is usually way better than what we tell ourselves about ourselves.

Thank you for unconditional adoption.

Exercising good judgement

August 24th, 2013 by Maureen

The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. Matt. 7:2

Some of us hold ourselves to high standards. We white-knuckle through life hoping to make it through “above reproach.” We feel disappointed in ourselves when we fail and proud of ourselves when we manage a stretch without a screw up. Problem is, no matter how high our standards and how well we achieve them, our righteousness has no redemptive power. In light of that, Christ’s imputed righteousness is the only reasonable standard, and that puts all of us on equal footing.

Lord, help me to see others through the lens of Your transforming righteousness.

Surrender your story

August 23rd, 2013 by Maureen

Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace…” Matt 10:34

Jesus disrupts our tidy lives. It is often conflict and disruption that redirect our paths and refocus our priorities. If our lives are stories, He wants to be the storyteller – and stories with no conflict are usually pretty boring. When can’t see the plot line from where we are standing, we can still take heart because the theme is always redemption.

Lord, I surrender the pen.

Do unto others…

August 22nd, 2013 by Maureen

Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets. Matt. 7:12

Most of us want to feel loved and connected, appreciated and respected. When we give that, others generally give it back. And even when some individuals behave selfishly, it’s not about them. It’s not about any of us either. It’s about grace extended because we are recipients of grace. Our response to the cross is treat others the way Jesus has treated us.

Thank you, Lord for the way you treat me.

Knock, knock, knocking

August 21st, 2013 by Maureen
Keep asking and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. Matt. 7:7
The fact that talent and opportunity are not equally distributed  is not an indication that the door has to stay closed. God could have provided us with a series of open doors and obvious routes but instead He set us up to develop a series of skills like persistence, patience, logic, communication, confidence, and faith to equip us so that when the door finally opens we are ready to walk through it.
Lord, help me to be equipped and to equip others.

And now for something completely different

August 19th, 2013 by Maureen

No one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. Matt 9:17

Jesus came to give us new lives not to polish and improve what was already there. If we are going to grow as Christians, as human beings, and as professionals we have to be open to change. Sometimes new methods and new ideas will not fit into our carefully constructed paradigms and rigid schedules. There are times when only new wineskins can accommodate change.

Lord, help me to be flexible and adaptable to whatever You pour into my life.

 

Consider the lilies

August 17th, 2013 by Maureen

And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you  have so little faith? Matt. 6:30

Flowers generally have short life spans and little power over their environments. We don’t know if plants are aware of their Creator or able to respond to Him but it looks like God sees them, enjoys them, and takes care of them. Humans can acknowledge dependence, ask, thank, express hope, and follow directions. When we don’t have to feel alone or doubt God’s love or power.

Lord, strengthen my faith.

No worries

August 16th, 2013 by Maureen

Can all your worries add a single moment to  your life? Matt. 6:27

Worry not only can’t add moments to our lives, it actually can subtract moments from them.  Worry distracts focus from things that are constructive and enjoyable. It drains emotional energy away from our relationships. It eats away at our spiritual, mental and physical health. God is way bigger than our biggest worry. He is better equipped to deal with every one of those relentlessly gnawing concerns than we are. He understands each problem completely and loves those involved even more than we do.

Lord, take care of the problems and the worry.

 

Of birds and other valuable creatures

August 13th, 2013 by Maureen

Do not worry about everyday life – whether you have enough food or drink or clothes. Isn’t life more than food and clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you more valuable to Him than they are? Matt. 6:26

If we feel abandoned by God, if we don’t think that what we have is enough to meet what we perceive as need, it could be that how we define “need” and “enough” and “care” are entirely subjective. God has already demonstrated how much He values each of us. He loves us and wants to provide for us.

Lord, I trust You and I thank You.

If you had to pick

August 11th, 2013 by Maureen

No one can serve two masters…For you will be devoted to one and despise the other…You cannot serve both God and money. Matt. 6:24

Devotion to God requires flexibility in what we expect from Him and what we expect from our lives. Serving God means that we submit our lives to the context of His message and kingdom. Our status and position, prosperity and roles are flexible arrangements that serve His purposes. When we serve God we can relax in His joy and freedom. When we serve money we end up obsessing over making it, keeping it, and losing it.

Lord, I choose to serve You!

Depends on how you see

August 10th, 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. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is! Matt. 6:22-23

Nearsighted people tell stories about seeing trees for the first time through corrective lenses and being able to make out individual leaves and branches. We base our insights, responses, and plans on what we think we are looking at. If we are looking through myopic lenses of selfishness, fear, anger, inflexibility, hopelessness, and confusion then we may never know that the green blob we’ve been calling a monster is really be a tree. Christ offers us corrective lenses so that we can see and respond to our world with His love, truth, hope, wonder, and grace.

Lord, correct my flawed vision.

Surrender the treasure

August 7th, 2013 by Maureen

Wherever your treasure is, there the desire of your heart will be. Matt. 6:21

Spiritual disciplines and good habits can help us set appropriate priorities and stay out of trouble. But our deepest longings, the things we think about and look forward to “on our own time” is a better reflection of what we treasure. Christ reconciles what we want, how we invest our resources, and what makes us feel like whole people into one deep, satisfying life.  If He is to be our heartfelt treasure we have to surrender control to Him rather than trying to manage our conflicting desires and priorities through sheer personal will.

Lord, I surrender all.

 

Moth-eaten reminder

August 7th, 2013 by Maureen

Don’t store up treasure here on hearth, where moths eat them, and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasure in heaven where moths and rust cannot destroy,and thieves do not break in and steal. Matt. 6:19-20

When I edit belongings and get rid of stuff that is broken, worn out, or that I don’t use I often remember what a big deal it seemed to acquire some of those items. It’s okay to enjoy our things but it is spiritually healthy to recognize the temporary nature of acquisition and ownership.

Lord, help me to treasure my life in Christ and and keep a loose grip on the stuff I use to live it.

 

Real fast

August 6th, 2013 by Maureen

When you fast, don’t make it obvious….so people will admire you…no one needs to know you are fasting except your Heavenly Father. Matt6:16-18

Fasting can be a religious exercise or a spiritual experience that makes us ready for the blessing God already wants to bestow. It’s not a hunger strike to get God to do something he doesn’t already want to do for us. It is a declaration of dependence on God rather than on all the things we stuff into our lives (including but not exclusively our mouths).

Lord, guide my heart in all I offer You and all I ask of You.

Deliverance

August 5th, 2013 by Maureen

And don’t let us yield to temptation but rescue us from the evil one. Matt. 6:13

There is a spiritual force at work focused on undermining of the work of Christ in our lives.This enemy affirms desires we may harbor that run counter to the nature of Christ, and minimizes any sense that acting on these desires might cause spiritual, emotional, or physical harm to ourselves and those around us. God knows we are tempted so He ups the ante and offers us rescue from temptation as well as the redemption and reconciliation from sin that we’ve already experienced.

Lord, keep delivering me.