Archive for April, 2014

Relax, He’s got you covered

April 30th, 2014 by Maureen

Return, O my soul, to rest, for the Lord has been good to me. He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. Ps. 116:7-8

Our actual situations – or even our interpretations of our situations – can cause us to feel vulnerable, guarded, tense, worried, fearful, maybe even panicked. Not only are we delivered from the death, hell, and tomb that result from separation from Christ, we are delivered to refuge, rest, and peace of His arms.

Thank you Lord for salvation is so complete, that I can relax completely in Your loving arms.

Freedom for the conflicted

April 29th, 2014 by Maureen

For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Rom. 8:2

In Romans 7 Paul explains that he is conflicted because his body wants to follow the law of sin and his mind wants to follow the law of God. Only Jesus can resolve this conflict. He frees us from the fear, guilt, and condemnation we experience both when we try and fall short of the righteousness that law demands, and when we give up trying and simply follow our flesh-inspired impulses. The law of the Spirit proclaims us forgiven, righteous, alive.

Lord, help me to live freely under the law of Your Spirit.

Freedom for the conflicted

April 29th, 2014 by Maureen

For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Rom. 8:2

In Romans 7 Paul explains that he is conflicted because his body wants to follow the law of sin and his mind wants to follow the law of God. Only Jesus can resolve this conflict. He frees us from the fear, guilt, and condemnation we experience both when we try and fall short of the righteousness that law demands, and when we give up trying and simply follow our flesh-inspired impulses. The law of the Spirit proclaims us forgiven, righteous, alive.

Lord, help me to live freely under the law of Your Spirit.

 

Bottomless bag full of new

April 29th, 2014 by Maureen

But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. Rom. 7:6 ESV

Following a written code requires conformity rather than engagement. Paul explains that while the written code is good, its effect on frail, imperfect humans is condemning because it is impossible to serve it. Following the Spirit requires attention and openness to God’s personal presence. The Spirit transforms the effects of the written code on our new lives just as He redefines our relationships with God and with one another.

Lord, help me to embrace what Your transformational Spirit reveals.

Trading old for new

April 28th, 2014 by Maureen

But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. Rom. 7:6 ESV

Following a written code requires conformity rather than engagement. Paul explains that while the written code is good,  its effect on frail, imperfect humans is condemning because it is impossible to serve it. Following the Spirit requires attention and openness to God’s personal presence. The Spirit transforms the effects of the written code on our new lives just as He redefines our relationships with God and with one another.

Lord, help me to embrace what Your transformational Spirit reveals.

 

Stillness and presence

April 27th, 2014 by Maureen

Be still and know I am God. Ps. 46:10

Though we pour out our litanies of needs to God in prayer we are often still tied to everything that is happening somewhere else in the present, to past glories or disappointments, to hopes and fears concerning the future we can fail to be truly present with Him. Being present with Him requires that we detach from our concerns. When we are still and quiet it is easier experience who He is beyond our own perceptions and expectations.

Lord, I want to know You as You want to reveal Yourself to me.

I don’t deserve this

April 26th, 2014 by Maureen

I have turned so as to see under the sun, that the race is not always to the swift the race, nor the battle to the mighty, nor bread to the wise, nor wealth the intelligent, nor favor to the skillful, for time and chance happen with them all. Ecc.9:11

Life is not fair. Though our actions and attitudes can and do effect outcomes in our lives, time and chance disrupt our self-reliant perspectives and replace them with God-centric perspectives. Focus on the unfairness of life yields bitterness. Focus on the love and grace of God yields peace.

Lord, thank you for giving me better than I deserve.

Even if there is a “Seeking God for Dummies” book out there, there probably shouldn’t be.

April 25th, 2014 by Maureen

But don’t be so concerned about perishable things. Spend your energy seeking things that last for your life, things that the Son  can give you…” They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?” Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” John 6:27-29

“Believe” is probably not the how-to answer those of us who are task-oriented want to hear. As human beings we are used to success resulting from strategic plans, well-defined goals, best practices, and benchmarks. Seeking intimacy with God and trusting that what He give is what matters, and it’s a personal journey.

Lord, I believe and seek and receive from You.

Not feeling it, not faking it…but its still real

April 24th, 2014 by Maureen

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (ESV)

If humans didn’t need rescuing from sin and its effects, if the author of evil were not still at work in world, if we were capable of saving ourselves from the ravages and influences of evil and temptation then there would be no reason for a Messiah. We all experience dry seasons and growth seasons. The effects of Christ’s rescue is the same no matter what we happen to be going through, even when we aren’t particularly feeling it.

Lord, thank You for being the author and finisher of my redemption story even when I am stalled and empty.

 

 

 

 

Forgiveness transforms

April 23rd, 2014 by Maureen

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Col. 3:13

The Lord forgives us unequivocally. He remembers our sins no more. He restores us in His own eyes so that when He looks at us what He sees are saints who are not just acceptable, but delightful. His forgiveness reaches so deep into the core of our beings that it transforms us. How does that kind of forgiveness look when it is extended from one person to another?

Lord, teach me to forgive with supernatural forgiveness.

God doesn’t give a damn

April 22nd, 2014 by Maureen

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. I Pet. 5:7

In times of uncertainty and transition, in times of detail overload and busy schedules, in seasons of health, relationship, or financial challenge, nothing impacting our lives is too big, too hard, or too trivial for God’s help. When we hurt or fail or feel like nobody gives a damn or like we are damned to reap what we’ve sown, nothing we may have done or not done disqualifies us from asking for- and expecting- His love and help.

Lord, thank You for blessing and loving and helping me.

 

 

Easter is a good day to burn graveclothes

April 20th, 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

Spiritual death and resurrection is disorienting and transforming. Jesus died to save us from spiritual death and rose to free us from spiritual tombs yet most of us walk around spiritually alive but still somewhat wrapped in familiar grave clothes. Jesus wasn’t always recognized after His resurrection and we might not always recognize ourselves in shiny new Easter skin but this transformed, resurrected self is who we really are now.

Lord, You are risen and so am I. Hallelujah!

 

What was Jesus doing on Saturday?

April 19th, 2014 by Maureen

From the hand of Sheol I do ransom them, From death I redeem them, Where [is] thy plague, O death? Where thy destruction, O Sheol? Hos. 13:14 YLT

There are several theological views on what Jesus was doing on Saturday. One: He was suffering hell in place of sinners; Two: He was proclaiming victory to fallen angels held in the pit; Three: He was preaching the gospel to souls who lived before He came. Four: He was simply asleep having completed His work on Calvary. Whatever each of us believes about that Saturday, the bottom line is that Jesus is the Victor over death, Satan, or any power or obstacle imaginable, even time.

Lord, I am so grateful that nothing can separate me from Your love.

Good Friday is a red letter day

April 19th, 2014 by Maureen

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:10

For those who hurt themselves or others, for those who perpetuate and institutionalize hate in communities and nations, for those who bear the scars of this hatred, for those who hate themselves, for those who make messes and those who clean them up, for those who feed their own desires and those who starve those desires, for those who lie and those who enslaved by lies: on a Friday much like this one Jesus wrote His love for you in blood.

Lord, I am so grateful and amazed by Your love.

Jesus got a gift at Easter too

April 16th, 2014 by Maureen

For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of of the Father. Heb. 12:2

For this horrific story of torture and death to make any sense at all the results accomplished by such suffering would have to be tremendous, and prize, substantial. Victory over death, hell, and the grave, overcoming the forces of evil, redemption of the human race fits the bill for a worthy quest. The crazy plot twist is that we enjoy the reward without having paid the price. An even crazier twist is that Jesus’ reward is us. We are the joy set before Him.

Lord, thank you for this most amazing redemption story.

Ping pong glory

April 15th, 2014 by Maureen

Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ Jn. 8:54

Even within the fellowship of the Trinity attention and glory is deflected one to another. The Spirit points to the Son and the Son points to the Father who glorifies the Son. As we believers receive love, glory, gifts and attention, we bounce these toward one another rather than seeking glory for ourselves just like the Trinity bounces glory off one another,

Lord, let my life glorify You and reflect an others-centered attitude.

Necessary suffering

April 14th, 2014 by Maureen

“My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Matt. 26:39

Jesus’ journey to the cross was necessary to defeat death, hell, and the grave. Jesus’ suffering is the only suffering necessary for our redemption. It would be masochistic to seek out suffering and egotistical to think our suffering could add to Christ’s completed work in us but when our journeys take us through loss, sacrifice, suffering, and even apparent failure, those experiences can have a redemptive effect on our lives and choices.

Lord, I’d rather not go there, but let Your will be done, not mine.

Jesus world is crazy world

April 12th, 2014 by Maureen

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return…because He is kind to the ungracious and evil; therefore be merciful, as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:34-36 YLT

Humans have a tendency to admire those who earn their way and assign greater worth to those we deem “good people.” But in Jesus world mercy is extended indiscriminately, illogically, it would almost seem  immorally, to ungracious, undeserving, evil people who have done nothing to earn it. And then Jesus has the nerve to tell His followers to extend the same kindness toward these folks that His Father has extends. Crazy.

Lord, help me respond to others out of the same kindness You’ve shown me.

Stop grovelling

April 11th, 2014 by Maureen

Jesus made us new and living way so…let us go confidently into the presence of God  fully assured that our hearts are sprinkled clean from guilty conscience and bodies bathed in pure water. Heb. 10:20, 22 (YLT)

We don’t have to open every conversation with God with an apology. Christ’s redemption has dispensed with that formality. Gratitude is beautiful, but grovelling just keeps us focused on ourselves instead of God. Nothing we do makes us good enough and nothing we do makes us not good enough for a relationship with God. Christ proves our worth, earns our place and transforms who we are so that we belong.

Father, I’m convinced I belong so what do you want to show me now?

 

Smart people ignore a lot of stuff

April 10th, 2014 by Maureen

But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:42

A recent study shows that people with higher IQ’s have a greater ability to ignore distracting, unimportant background motion. Life comes with a lot of spiritually nonessential moving parts. Mary may have been gifted with a higher spiritual IQ, but Jesus offers Martha compelling motivation to ignore the distractions and simply enjoy His presence.

Lord, You’re beautiful. Your face is all I see.