Archive for February, 2014

God has changed your relationship status

February 28th, 2014 by Maureen

And because we are His children, God has sent The Spirit of His Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out “Abba, Father.” Gal. 4:6

As children we know Dad as Dad whether he is a movie star or president of the U.S. And some of us didn’t have any idea of any other role our fathers fulfilled except being “Dad.” To say God is our father implies a less intimate relationship than to say “My Dad is God.” He sent Jesus to make us Sons and Daughters. Any other role we fulfill in His kingdom is in the context of Family.

Father, I love being Your kid!

Jesus is frying up more fish

February 26th, 2014 by Maureen

You fathers – if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? If sinners know how to give good gifts to their children, how much more will your heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him? Luke 11:13

In concluding His teaching on prayer Jesus points out that God is our Father and has good gifts for us. Prayer isn’t begging, badgering, or negotiation. Prayer is another opportunity for us to experience trust, dependence, love and grace. Jesus redirects attention toward the love and wisdom of the Holy Spirit rather than focusing on our prayer requests or methods.

Lord, I surrender the prayer list and trust You to make a great fish fry out of it.

 

Bring out your dead

February 25th, 2014 by Maureen

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:16

All our life stories come with baggage.  If we hide and pretend, we may end up in a detective or horror story in which, eventually, somebody finds out where the bodies are buried. Jesus, our Hero, has already made us dead to our sins and our sins dead to us. What’s left is nothing more than troublesome ghosts. If we bring out our dead and live openly with one another we can enter into a healing journey, a sacred quest, a love story, a buddy tale, or some other kind of story.

Lord, tell a better story with my opened up life than I can tell by not telling.

 

What do you expect?

February 24th, 2014 by Maureen

For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast. Prob. 15:15

Whatever face we present to the world, how we process our experiences each day creates a set of expectations about life. Fear and disappointment can cause some of us to go through life expecting the next bad thing. Trust and confidence helps us expect good things and find silver linings in the bad patches. God is good and He loves us. Even when we feel bad. Even when bad things happen.

Lord, help me see the continual feast You’ve laid before me.

Openness is the only action required (and is openness even a action?)

February 23rd, 2014 by Maureen

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. Rom. 8:11

Not one of us can conjure the Spirit of God by our obedience to the law or by some formulaic prayer. This Spirit lands on us because of the grace God extended because of His love expressed through Christ. The power of the Spirit in our lives does not result from our efforts for God but from our response to Him. Open up and wait.

Lord, thank you for this grace that opens my ears and eyes, enlarges my heart, and empowers my mind to respond to Your Spirit.

An inclusive invitation

February 22nd, 2014 by Maureen

Praise the Lord, all you nations.
Praise him, all you people of the earth.
For he loves us with unfailing love;
the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever. Ps. 117

The Old Testament is mostly about God’s relationship with the Hebrews, but this little Psalm tells us  that God loves all of us, the people of the earth He made. Jesus said His followers would be distinguished by their love. In His letters Paul tells Jewish and Gentile believers to unite. It is our love for Him and one another that issues a clear, inclusive invitation to all the people of the earth to praise Him and enjoy His faithful love for them.

Lord, help the world to know we are Your followers by our love.

 

Too compelling to ignore

February 21st, 2014 by Maureen

For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things. Luke 11:42

So much injustice, violence, and sadness in the news can overwhelm and discourage us. The complexities of the problems and uncertainty about their solutions makes it tempting to simply ignore them. The justice and love of Christ compels us to impact individuals in need, to support just causes, and to pray for peace. This makes a difference.

Lord, help me channel my resources and energies lovingly and effectively.

Where’s Jesus?

February 20th, 2014 by Maureen

He came into the very world but the world didn’t recognize him. Jn. 1:10

Jesus shows up on every page of our lives but might not be wearing a red and white striped shirt. He often reveals Himself in unlikely places through unlikely individuals. Certainly deep communication with God comes through prayer, reading the Bible, or reading or listening to teaching, but Jesus can and does use every day encounters to communicate His love and direct our thinking. All we have to do is keep paying attention and expect to see Him.

Lord, help me to be sensitive to Your Spirit all day.

Light changes darkness more than darkness can change light

February 18th, 2014 by Maureen

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

In the description of the beginning in Genesis God spoke physical light into existence. The physical world would never be as dark as it was before that moment. This same Word that caused the first light on earth became the spiritual light of the world. The impact of the life of Jesus is that the world will never be as dark as it was before He came. His redemptive grace changed the power of darkness on this world forever.

Lord, thank you for illuminating my life.

Risky love

February 15th, 2014 by Maureen

If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.  I Cor. 13:2

Wielding knowledge and faith can make us feel powerful and certain (and sometimes prideful) while love brings vulnerable uncertainty when we care deeply for those who may not affirm or accept what we know or believe. Love can make us look, and sometimes feel, foolish, naive, wasteful, exposed, and even compromising. Yet love is the cause of Christ. No wonder we are nothing without it.

Lord, help me love others. All others.

Stand on love instead of ceremony

February 13th, 2014 by Maureen

For when we place our faith in Christ there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love. Gal. 5:6

Is it possible that some 21st century Christians put faith in certain “Christian” behaviors and disciplines in the same way some 1st century Christians continued to put faith in circumcision? Ceremonial allegiance to behavior, even noble, honorable behavior, may distract our focus away from loving God and loving others out of hearts authentically changed by grace.

Lord, let Your love be the change in my life and the motive behind my responses.

Nature walk

February 12th, 2014 by Maureen

For ever since the world was created people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Rom 1:20

Too often we rush from car to building without opening our eyes and looking at God’s creation. God’s invisible qualities are so present in His creation that Paul saw nature as an apologetic argument.  What aspects of His nature might He reveal to those who know Him if we simply take the time to look and reflect on the Creator and the wonders He has made?

Wow, God.

Plan for peace

February 11th, 2014 by Maureen

Show [spiritual leaders] great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other. I Thess. 5:12-13

Before we have the first conversation of the day  with family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, leaders or students we can plan to extend the benefit of the doubt, find common ground, show respect, recognize talents and contributions, trust, listen, love, and build grace-filled relationships. We can not only seek peace and reconciliation, we can plan for it.

Lord, help me worry less about being right and more about being a loving peacemaker in the communities where I live and work and worship.

 

 

First love

February 10th, 2014 by Maureen

This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. I Jn. 4:10

God loved us before we prayed a prayer, tithed a cent, or read one verse of scripture. His love for us came first, before we even considered His existence, much less recognized our need for the Savior He sent. He has watched each of us since before we were ever born, counted the hairs on our heads, known the thoughts in our heads, and loved us always.

Lord, Your loves takes my breath away.

Feel free to move about the kingdom

February 8th, 2014 by Maureen

If the Son shall make you free, you will be free indeed. Jn. 8:36

The redemptive power of Christ is designed to free us from the influence of sin and from the guilt and baggage it produces. If all redemption is to us is a continuous cycle of regret and forgiveness we fail to move beyond the threshold of relationship with Christ. We are freed from sin so that we can move beyond the threshold and into the free access to Christ and His kingdom that adoption offers us.

Lord, I want to move deeper and farther into relationship with You!

The least in the kingdom

February 6th, 2014 by Maureen

When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will say “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!”

God’s heart is with “the least of these.” We, who have provision, are his way of providing for them. When we come through for them His will is done, He is glorified, and they experience not only provision, but the kingdom of Christ itself.

Lord, help me be aware of Your kingdom and its purposes as I walk this earth.

Relative safety

February 5th, 2014 by Maureen

Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. Eph. 3:12

Boldness and confidence before a holy, perfect God is not something any of us can possibly achieve because of our behavior. God’s love for us makes this relationship possible. We are safe in His arms because His redemption has made His arms safe.

Father, I love Your presence.

To infinity and beyond

February 3rd, 2014 by Maureen

Now all glory to God, who is able, though his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Eph. 3:20

What a comfort that what God has for us is beyond what we can imagine or desire for ourselves. Our dreams are small and limited. His possibilities are infinite and eternal. We put our hopes and dreams in very good hands.

Lord, with all I can ask or think and beyond, I trust in You.

 

Love remains

February 1st, 2014 by Maureen

…Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged… I Cor 13:5-6

God’s so loved us that He brings us into a relationship with Him that frees us from past wrongs and the demands of the law. We are not sinners in the hands of an irritable God but beloved, known, and accepted members of His family. Our reflections of His great, forever love has more lasting, convincing, life-changing impact on our world than anything our  knowledge or actions alone can accomplish.

Lord, let Your fearless love motivate me.