Archive for March, 2014

Friends who need friends

March 31st, 2014 by Maureen

Whatever you do unto the least of these, you do unto me. Matt. 25:40

Having friends who actually need friends is usually messy and inconvenient. Relationships with the least of these is unlikely to up your cred, broaden your reach, or enhance your network. Jesus involved Himself and His disciples in the lives of people He knew were not going to be influential. He didn’t consider this slumming. He didn’t look at them as “projects.” He loved these folks. He liked them too.

Lord, You befriended me as a reject and made me a royal daughter. That’s just crazy.

Jesus is too good a writer for stock characters and hackneyed plots

March 30th, 2014 by Maureen

“I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!” Jn 9:25

Jesus healed a blind man who was later interrogated by the Pharisees who couldn’t reconcile the man’s experience with their religious laws and practices. All the man could do is tell his own story. We can over-analyze our own experiences with Christ and question His methods with others. Those experiences may not fit neatly into someone else’s preconceived ideas of how a redemption story is supposed to read.

Lord, thank you for my redemption story and for all the stories that have grown out of it

Qualified applicants need not apply

March 28th, 2014 by Maureen

By the works of the law, no one can be justified. Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, not by works or by the law. Justification is based on faith. Rom 3:27

We don’t have to submit a resume or meet a list of qualifications to be accepted by God. We simply believe Jesus. We can’t produce righteousness ourselves and neither can anyone else. If God doesn’t ask for a resume from us, should we ask that of others?

Lord, help me rejoice in belief rather than law or works.

Stuck on square one

March 26th, 2014 by Maureen

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) Eph. 2:4-5

We were dead. God loved us so He made us alive. Grace is the method. The work of Christ is the means. We can spend so much time trying to understand how salvation works and figuring out our own roles in it that we can forget to simply rejoice in it and reap the benefits of the relationship with Christ it affords us.

Lord, fill me with confidence and joy in Your salvation.

 

God never loses His grip

March 25th, 2014 by Maureen

I will keep you safe because no one can snatch you out of My hand. Jn. 10:29

We can trust God. We can trust Him with ourselves and with those we love. Our wandering hearts might create some distance and tension in our lives, but God keeps ahold of us still. Nothing on earth, no evil force or bad decision or temptation or deception or detour or meltdown is powerful enough to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

Lord, when I’m losing my grip, I’m grateful You never lose Yours.

 

Roadside assisstance

March 24th, 2014 by Maureen

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. Ps. 28:7…He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Rom. 5:5b

Some days we roll in with full hearts ready to engage. Other days we limp along with flat hearts, completely unmotivated. Fortunately we don’t have to come up with the air. We just have to call on Him and depend on Him to provide the air.

Whether we’re rolling in, limping in, or stuck somewhere along the road, God can fill our hearts, and inspire our responses to whatever this day holds, Lord.

 

 

Jesus wasn’t just yoking around about farm animals

March 23rd, 2014 by Maureen

Come Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light. Matt 11:28-30

In addition to the obvious reference to farm animals and productivity, “yoke” was understood as a metaphor for oppression. Ancient Romans made conquered enemies walk under a yoke as a symbolic act of subjugation. We may feel herded under some oppressive, controlling, life-sucking yokes in 21st century culture, too. Jesus offers rest down to our very souls, gentle instruction, and a submission experience that is not imposed on us by force or oppression, but by our own choosing.

Lord, I choose to be yoked to Your gentle, humble heart.

Related to God, once removed

March 22nd, 2014 by Maureen

Then you will ask in my name. I’m not saying I will ask the Father on your behalf, for the Father himself loves you dearly because you love me and believe that I came from God. Jn 16:26

Jesus was all about His Father. Jesus wanted His friends to know His Father and experience His love directly. The only relationship the disciples had with the Father was through reading about Him in scripture and seeking atonement through priests via sacrificial offerings according to the law. Jesus explains that redemption removes any necessity for a mediator, even Jesus Himself.

Father, I’m so glad I get to have You for a dad. Jesus, thank you for removing everything that separated us.

Amplify mercy

March 21st, 2014 by Maureen

And don’t forget to do good and give to those in need. These are the offerings that please God. Heb. 13:16

Austin is just finishing up a 24 hour giving campaign called Amplify Austin. It’s a very cool campaign but if you didn’t get in on it don’t beat yourself up. Jesus responded to needs by meeting them on the spot with helpful acts of love and mercy. Whether organized or individual, planned or spontaneous, the beauty of giving is when it is motivated by mercy and love instead of guilt and obligation.

Lord, give me your heart of mercy so that I give because I love rather than because I “should.”

Obey love

March 20th, 2014 by Maureen

This is my command: Love each other. Jn 5:17

The love of Christ is the tipping point that alters the future one soul at a time. Love is the glue that makes the truth we speak to one another stick. Love alters the environment of a room, a neighborhood, or a nation. Love breathes spiritual life into being right, fair, productive or successful.

Lord, I want to participate in the impact of Your love.

 

God always does work

March 19th, 2014 by Maureen

But Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I.” Jn. 5:17

God protects and provides when we don’t even know He is doing it. He reveals Himself when we seek Him and leaves clues of His love and direction on the paths we walk so we can find them if we choose to notice. God works in our lives to heal us, deliver us, and help us discover and become who he redeemed us to be. He works to let us know how much He loves us right where we are now.

Thanks, Lord for all you do on my behalf.

Even what doesn’t end well…eventually does.

March 18th, 2014 by Maureen

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Rom. 15:13

Trust allows us to live joyfully and peacefully. That doesn’t mean we put on the happy face mask and pretend it doesn’t hurt when it really does. It means that even when its apparent that the immediate circumstances aren’t going to end well, we can have our cry and keep turning the pages with hope, joy, and peace. The Author and Finisher of our faith has finished the story…and it ends well.

Lord, I trust you with my story, beginning to end.

Through God’s strength – the Breastplate of St. Patrick

March 17th, 2014 by Maureen

Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Eph 6:11

I arise today through God’s strength to pilot me: God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me, God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me, God’s way to lie before me, God’s host to shield me – from the Breastplate of St. Patrick

Written sometime between the 4th and 9th centuries, this ancient prayer is thought to be a response to the Ephesians passage about the whole armor of God. The emphasis is on God’s protecting power rather than the strength of the wearer.

Lord, not by my strength, but Yours, I stand clad in the protection You’ve provided me.

 

Following a Who instead of a What

March 16th, 2014 by Maureen

I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life. Jn. 8:12

Jesus didn’t tell his followers to follow a religion, a doctrine, a process, or a discipline. On-going,  loving, developing, maturing, interactive relationships happen between people. That’s why Jesus came as a person. There are many artistic and intellectual expressions that reflect Christ, many institutions and processes that illuminate our understanding of Him, but  none of these things are Him.

My light, my hope, my life, my truth, my Jesus – I love you!

A more evolved version doesn’t change the nature of the beast

March 15th, 2014 by Maureen

It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God. Gal. 6:15-16

The Jews thought change happened through a physical act, a ceremony, or spiritual discipline called circumcision. Do we still try to help Jesus out in the transformation process by putting ourselves “under the knife?” Instead of the approved-improved-duly-and- obediently-circumcised better version of ourselves, Christ transforms us into an entirely new kind of creature.

Lord, show me what it means to live by the principle of transformation.

Grab your Father’s hand and take a walk

March 14th, 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

Take a look at The Guardian’s 2013 Nature Photography collection

Getting out into nature does help us see that God is big and creative, eternal and divine. Objective knowledge becomes personal experience with the Creator when we see the same beauty while holding our Father’s hand and letting Him point out the details of His creation.

Wow, Father, that’s amazing.

Tragic assumptions

March 13th, 2014 by Maureen

And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matt 28:20

When tragedies like the hit and run crash at SXSW or Malaysia Flight 370 strike assume God loves everyone involved. Fall into the Father’s arms. Ask questions from there. It’s natural to look for the immediate explanations, try to assign blame, and even ask the big questions: Where was God? How could an all-powerful God who loves us allow this? Our assumptions about God when bad things happen can cause us to put up walls that make it difficult  to receive the comfort, peace, and assurance He offers us when we need it most.

Lord, comfort us now.

 

 

100% organic peace

March 12th, 2014 by Maureen

In peace I lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, cause me to dwell in confidence. Ps. 4:8 (YLT)

Peace  offers true rest and restorative sleep. Peace allows us to face whatever happens in our lives with confidence in His love for us. Peace is the antidote to stress, guilt, and fear. Peace grows naturally in our spirits as we trust in God’s complete and unconditional grace. If we think we can make peace through some act of contrition, compromise, or restitution it’s only a synthetic peace.

Thank you for this sweet, organic peace.

 

This will blow your mind

March 10th, 2014 by Maureen

Try hearing Jesus’ prayer Jn. 17:21-23 with your your own name instead of the personal pronouns. Say it out loud with your own name:

I am praying not only for these disciples but also for __[say your name here]___ who will believe in Me through their message.  I pray that __[you]____ and all who ever believe will all be one, just as You and I are one—as You are in me, Father, and I am in You.  And may __[you]____ be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I have given ___[say your name here and let it sink in]____ the glory you gave me, so  __[you]___ and her fellow believers may be one as We are one. I am in __[you]___ and you are in me. May ___[you]___experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love ___[you]___ as much as you love me.

Lord, the power of Your love, grace, and reconciliation blows my mind once again.

You have always been a twinkle in the Father’s eye

March 8th, 2014 by Maureen

He [Jesus] was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was manifested in these last times for your sake. Through him you now trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. I Pet. 1:20-21 NET

Before God made the earth, before sin reared its ugly head, God loved us and planned for relationship with us. In other words, you were always a twinkle in the Father’s eye. His eternally purposed and completed work in Christ makes you His child.

Father my mind is blown and my faith and hope are in You.