Archive for October, 2013

A flood of evidence

October 31st, 2013 by Maureen

He never left us without evidence of himself and his goodness. For instance, he sends you rain and good crops and gives you food and joyful hearts. Acts 14:17

Rain is often a metaphor for God’s bounty and blessing in our lives. As we navigate the inconveniences of this physical flood in Austin, we can think about God’s pleasure and faithfulness in flooding our lives with His provision and joy. Imagine His love and grace as rushing rapids carrying us along this transforming journey we call our lives.

 Lord, I thank you for flooding my life with love and grace, and everything that goes with that.

Less of me and more of God actually equals more

October 29th, 2013 by Maureen

He must increase and I must decrease. Jn. 3:30

Selfishness makes the world small. All there is to ponder or pursue is our own knowledge and passions. Looking outward opens up the world to the limitless knowledge and passion of God. Rather than the unmoved center of our own universe we move into an orbit of an infinite God that carries us  through myriad universes. We encounter new people, see and learn and experience new places and ideas. Our perspective on what was already in our lives broadens and reshapes. We grow spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and influentially.

Lord, less of me and more of You.

Grace upon grace

October 28th, 2013 by Maureen

And of His fullness have we all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Jn. 1:16-17

Could this “grace upon grace” mean that law as God’s method of extending grace is superceded by the grace accomplished through Christ? Could it be that grace is a first cause for redemption – a driving force, a defining concept of God’s nature? Could it be that grace already extends across our past, present, and future mistakes? Could it be that we are meant to live grace upon grace instead of guilt upon guilt? Yes.

Lord, for grace upon grace, I thank you.

Unfailing love and faithfulness

October 28th, 2013 by Maureen

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. Jn. 1:14

So Jesus came into our human minds, hearts, souls, spirits, and lives and made His home in us. He tells us to go out into the places where we live and be full of His unfailing love and faithfulness toward those doing life around us. He says if the world has seen us, they have seen Him.

Lord, my love fails so often – fill me with Your unfailing and redemptive love.

Hope when the lights are going out

October 24th, 2013 by Maureen

The light shines in the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it. Jn. 1:5

Even though we walk this earth with His light within us, we face darkness from time to time…and sometimes it’s really long and dark. Corrie Ten Boom wrote that “there is no pit so deep that the love of God is not deeper still.” J.R.R. Tolkien wrote of a “light in dark places when all other lights have gone out.” At the bottom of every seemingly bottomless black hole the bright love of Jesus stretches out for us like a net to bounce us back into His light.

Thank you for being there for me.

Living the life

October 23rd, 2013 by Maureen

The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought life to everyone. John 1:4

It’s possible to rename Jesus, to discredit Him, ignore Him, or deny Him but it is not possible to disentangle our existence from Him. He is the source from which we live and move and have our being. His character and nature calls to the deepest desires of our souls. It is with Him and in Him that we find the life we were meant to have and become the people we were meant to be.

Bring me to the life You have for me.

We are image bearers, not image makers

October 21st, 2013 by Maureen

By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the one who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence. 2 Pet. 1:3-4

He is the source of what we need to live the life He intends for us; and knowing Him is the source of change. We cannot create, manufacture, fake, or accomplish His image in ourselves. We may reflect His image because we are looking at Him, but ultimately He is the one who reconciles us to His image.

Lord, help me to stop trying to do and spend more time simply knowing You!

Fun fact: freshwater fish never get thirsty

October 19th, 2013 by Maureen

Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. Jn. 6:35b

When we feel spiritually thirsty we tend to seek out “spiritual things” to quench our thirst. Instead of thinking of Living Water in terms of the “old man” process that is a continual cycle of thirst and hydration, we might think in terms of new creature status. Perhaps the transformational, hydrating power of belief, trust, and faith happens for us when we fall headlong, mouths wide open, into the deep, refreshing pool of Christ, not only drinking, but breathing in Living Water, because He’s given us gills.

Lord,  help my spirit operate like the new creature you’ve made me.

The smell of baking bread

October 18th, 2013 by Maureen

I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. John 6:35

Imagine walking into a bakery and smelling fresh baked bread. Imagine the taste. Imagine spending so much time there that you carry the scent of baking bread with you even when you leave the shop. Experiencing the Bread of Life nourishes and satisfies. The taste and scent should be delicious to our spirits. When it tastes off or smells weird  it’s because someone has tried to “enrich” the bread with nasty medicine or sugary additives. Take off the baker’s hat and  just hang out in the bakery, breathe in the scent and eat what He bakes.

Feed me, Lord!

 

God really is bigger than the boogie man, even when you’re not

October 17th, 2013 by Maureen

“Don’t be afraid, I am here.” Jn.6:20

I read somewhere that “Fear not,” or “Do not be afraid” appears 365 times in the Bible. Whenever life gets scary God is there to remind us that we do not have to be afraid. Sometimes it means doing the brave thing and facing the fear with His help. Sometimes it means taking refuge behind the One who is bigger than the threat. Both are legitimate positions.

Thank you Lord for being behind me and in front of me when fear comes.

 

The Point of scripture

October 15th, 2013 by Maureen

You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life. John 5:39-40

Jesus is what makes the Bible a worthwhile read. Through it He reveals Himself to us. Without Him, it’s just words.

Lord, help me to read Your Word through the lens of Your Son.

Unjudging the world

October 14th, 2013 by Maureen

God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17

Jesus is the only one qualified to judge but that wasn’t His mission. He came to rescue us from being judged. He came to extend grace. He came to enact His law of love. As His grateful followers we can communicate His message of rescue, grace and love to those who expect to be judged.

Lord, help me to extend to others all that You’ve so freely given me.

 

Forrr-ev-errr

October 13th, 2013 by Maureen

Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ Jn. 3:6-7

The forces that push babies from womb to world are powerful but the Holy Spirit that ushers our spirits into life in Christ is more powerful still. From the moment we take our first breaths, our last breaths are inevitable. But through His powerful grace, our first spiritual breaths are the beginning of endless life with Him.

Lord, thank You that since I breathed me first prayer You are always, forever, eternally in me, with me, and for me.

 

Doing mom a solid

October 12th, 2013 by Maureen

Mary: They’ve run out of wine.
Jesus: Dear lady, that’s not our problem. It’s not my time yet.
Mary: (to wine stewards) Do whatever he tell you. Jn. 2:3-5

There are probably all sorts of theological theories on why Jesus would start doing miracles before He was ready, and on why He would let his first miracle be something like making booze for a party (or sparkling grape juice depending on your theological leanings). Maybe His point is that His every act isn’t a big hairy theological deal or the fulfillment of a prophecy. Sometimes He just does a solid for people He loves because they ask.

Lord, somebody I know just needs a solid.

No ascended Christians

October 11th, 2013 by Maureen

“You will see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending on the staircase which is the Son of God.” John 1:51

It’s not us climbing the staircase but God coming to us via the staircase that is Jesus Christ. Our efforts do not advance us up a spiritual staircase to attain grace or approval. There are no ascended Christians. We are all at the feet of Jesus receiving the grace and help God sends.

Lord, thank you for Jesus who brings Your grace and help to us.

Come and see

October 10th, 2013 by Maureen

Jesus walked by and John the Baptist said, “There goes the Lamb of God!” A couple of his disciples followed Jesus. Jesus turned around and asked “What do you want?” They replied, “Teacher, where are you staying?” “Come and see,” Jesus answered. John 1:37-39

The first two guys who followed Jesus followed Him on one piece of information: He is the Messiah. Jesus didn’t turn around and give them a list of theological positions they had to accept before they could keep following Him. He issued an invitation: “Come and see.” The entire Christian walk is an experience of come and see as Jesus continually reveals more of Himself to us.

More, Lord! I want to know You more.

 

What is man?

October 8th, 2013 by Maureen

When I consider the heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You ordained, What is man? Ps. 8:3-4a

What is man? God’s favorite creation. The object of His love and affection. When the universe looks vast and beautiful, remember that you are dearer to Him than all you see.

Thank You, Lord for Your eternal, immense love for me.

Out of the mouths of babes

October 7th, 2013 by Maureen

You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you. Ps. 8:2

We are born with a predisposition for wonder and belief. Before we’re taught differently we delight in discovery. We assume the supernatural and accept our ability to interact with a Force larger than ourselves (perhaps because when we are children all forces are larger than ourselves.) Children were attracted to Jesus because they were attracted to His goodness and kindness and didn’t try to define his theology or measure his lawfulness.

Lord, give me childlike wonder and help me receive Who You are with the open acceptance of a child.

As it is in heaven…or hell

October 6th, 2013 by Maureen

What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees…For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are! – Jesus. Matt 23:15

Jesus went off on members of the Jewish religious leadership in this chapter. Apparently He didn’t think making converts was enough. The Jewish leadership had developed a system that turned some converts into children of hell, and consequently sentenced others the sort of constant condemnation that equates to hell on earth. What we are saved to is as important as what we are saved from.

Lord, make Your church heaven on earth.

Servanthood over status

October 5th, 2013 by Maureen

Don’t let anyone call you “Teacher” for you have only one teacher, the Messiah. The greatest among you must be a servant. – Jesus Matt. 23:10-11

Earlier in the passage Jesus describes the “official interpreters of of the law of Moses” as Rabbis who “crush people with unbearable religious demands” and “do everything for show.”  Instead, He emphasizes the servant over status. Titles and position are unimportant. Follow Jesus. Learn from Jesus.

Lord, teach me Your servant ways.