Archive for May, 2014

Wherever you go, there you are

May 30th, 2014 by Maureen

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. I Cor. 5:17

Having new selves is more than a simple passage or ascension. We do not become older, wiser, more prudent and improved souls. Instead, the fingerprints of the Lord are imprinted into the wet clay of our new spirits. The echo of the Father’s “It is good,” sets the rhythm of our spiritual heartbeats. We are new and it is this same new person that we are now that we are wherever we go.

Lord, reconcile me to this new self.

 

Captain non-obvious

May 29th, 2014 by Maureen

Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt. John 8:6-8

In this particular situation, Christ chose a less-obvious approach. Some situations are complicated and take some patience and finesse. The Holy Spirit is there to help us bring grace, healing, and truth when our first impulse is fight or flight.

Lord, when I’m tempted to play Captain Obvious at a bad time, inspire me to write in the dirt instead.

Such as I have, such as it is

May 28th, 2014 by Maureen

But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” Acts 3:6

Sometimes what we ask for is neither what we get or what we actually need. Sometimes what others ask of us is beyond our capacity to give, yet what we do have to give is exactly what the other person needed all along. We shouldn’t focus on our inadequacies but on responding to the needs of others with what God has given us.

Lord, what I have is Yours to give away.

 

This little light

May 27th, 2014 by Maureen

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 2 Cor. 4:7

We can become so focused on dealing with pressures and responsibility and all our personal stuff that our fragile jars start to crack. Fortunately we do not have to be the light source, just the jar where the candle burns. We can trust that His love for us and for those He wants to reach through us is big enough and bright enough  that, even when we’re cracking up, He shines out through our cracks.

Thank you for shining in my tired, distracted heart.

Remembrance by the numbers

May 26th, 2014 by Maureen

There is not a remembrance of former [generations]; and will be no remembrance of those who live now by those that are at the last. Ecc. 1:11 YLT

As citizens we owe it to those who have lost their lives on the battlefields in the name of the United States to remember their names, to value their lives, and to grieve their loss. And as we remember the fallen, let us include the 22 veterans who commit suicide each day, the 5.5 million disabled veterans. including the 1 in 5 suffering from PTSD, and the 57,849 homeless veterans,  These men and women have lost the lives they used to have before they fought. To remember is to push against the tide of selfishness and apathy and to count the costs of war.

Lord, inspire us to do more than remember.

 

 

 

 

 

Adventures in trust

May 24th, 2014 by Maureen

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Prov. 3:5

A little uncertainty, a few unanswered questions, surprises, outliers and unconnected dots are probably good for us. Trust involves those things we can’t control and don’t know. There is no adventure in knowing everything, controlling everything, and predicting everything.

Lord, I trust you for the next life adventure.

Another ask

May 23rd, 2014 by Maureen

In that day, in my name you will make request, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father for you, for the Father himself  loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.  Jn. 16:26-27 (YLT)

Jesus ripped down the veil that kept the Almighty, Holy, and Eternal God at a distance. His love for us made God our ever present and loving Father. We can come to God the way a child comes to a Father and ask Him anything because we know He loves us.

Lord, I love You. You are my hope, my righteousness, my peace, and my provider. So I’m asking.

A non-try-hard version of “to will and to work”

May 23rd, 2014 by Maureen

For it is God who works in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Phil. 2:13

If we go try-hard on this verse we may unintentionally superimpose our own wills, goals, and interpretations on the work God is doing. Our desires, our inspiration to act, and our works themselves become authentic when we let Him do in us, for us, and through us what trying hard only causes us to imitate. Desiring God results in our desires and works being reconciled with what He desires for us.

Lord, I surrender my will and my work to Your pleasure.

 

Stay in the cool

May 20th, 2014 by Maureen

God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do and it gave Him great pleasure. Eph. 1:5-6

Before the fall He took pleasure in walking with His human creation in the cool of the day. Before the foundation of the world, through Christ, He planned for a cool place to walk with us again. It is His great pleasure to give us this Kingdom and to send His Spirit to give us eyes to see it. Each of us is a very much wanted and beloved child.

Lord, I want to stay in the cool with You.

 

Choices matter. Motives matter. Results matter.

May 19th, 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

We can trust in God’s plan and feel assured of  His love for us because He sent Jesus to redeem us. Our choices are responses to this provision. Our motives reflect how we view this gift. Choices motivated by the need to earn, achieve, or deserve God’s love may result in frustration, hopelessness, and condemnation. Choices motivated by hope and trust  in Christ are more likely to result in gracious, fulfilling lives that have a positive effect on His kingdom.

Lord, I trust and rejoice in Your free gift of grace thorough Christ.

Big, big family

May 18th, 2014 by Maureen

I wish that people everywhere pray in all places, lifting kind hands to God, free from anger and disputing. I Tim 2:8 YLT/NIV

It’s cool to think that in churches and home churches all over the world brother and sisters in Christ are worshiping our Savior and King. Whatever our differences, Our Father sees each of us as His children and sees us collectively as His family. We are all connected, for all eternity. Let’s all get along.

Lord, thank you for this big, big family.

Gotcha

May 17th, 2014 by Maureen

The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees watched Jesus closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath. Luke 6:7

There is a certain satisfaction in the “gotcha.”  The Pharisees even found fault with Christ Himself. If our focus is on obedience as a concept rather than on the One we want to obey, we will always be able to find something wrong with the way others follow God, especially if we are looking for mistakes.

Lord, make me healer of hands rather than a finder of faults.

Jesus photobombs every shot

May 15th, 2014 by Maureen

Behold I am with you always, to the age. Matt. 28:20

Whether we’re confused and mad and nothing is going right or it’s a picture perfect day, Jesus is always somewhere in the picture. Sometimes we’re just too busy, distracted, or self-absorbed to notice His presence. If we take time to reflect back on where we’ve been and how we got to where we are right now, we may begin to notice that Jesus is present in all the delightful, annoying, amazing and devastating moments that make up our lives.

I am thankful I don’t have to experience anything without You.

 

 

It is finished and it is good

May 13th, 2014 by Maureen

On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. Gen. 2:2

Even God rested. God doesn’t get tired, but we do. God doesn’t deplete his resources. We can. The literal translation of “rest” is “ceased from all His work which He had made.” Basically it’s another case of God saying “It is finished.” He stopped to enjoy what He had made. It’s a good idea to stop periodically to celebrate mile markers and completed projects to say “it is good.”

Lord, I thank You for the work You’ve given me to do and the fruits of those labors.

Conformity is not transformation

May 12th, 2014 by Maureen

So, then, if with Christ you’ve put all that pretentious and infantile religion behind you, why do you let yourselves be bullied by it? Col. 2:20 (Message)

Christian communities may exert pressure on members to conform to whatever formula for Christian growth is trending in that particular group at that particular time. If the Christian community is to be a a safe place for followers of Christ to be transparent, we must respect one another’s diverse experiences in responding to Him. We must trust the Holy Spirit to do His transformative work in others’ lives and stop trying to it for Him.

Lord, thank you for the love and support of my fellow Christians who don’t do it exactly like I do it.

Mother love is fierce

May 10th, 2014 by Maureen

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. I Cor. 13:7

This describes mother love pretty well. There is no sacrifice too big, no burden too heavy for a mother to bear for the well being of her child. Mothers invest countless hours, miles, dollars and applause to support children’s dreams. Mothers always root for their kids and want the best for them. Mothers forgive a lot. They endure messes, rabbit trails, and even poor decisions. There is nothing a kid can do that will cause a mom to stop loving her child.

Some of us may not have had a mom who was able to, or knew how to, manifest mother love in these ways. Forgive her. Call her tomorrow anyway (if you still can).  Love your kids fiercely. Mother love is a reflection of the fierce love God has for each.

Lord, thank You for loving me this  fiercely.

Self-sufficient is insufficient

May 9th, 2014 by Maureen

Humble yourselves under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up, in good time. I Pet. 5:6

Experiencing unexpected setbacks, several dropped balls and a couple of abject failures in one of our projects is humbling. Our confidence and competence does not determine our value as human beings. We live and move and have our beings from the grace of His hand anyway, so when we what we thought we had all together starts falling apart, we might as well be honest. There is no shame in needing God’s help

Lord, I don’t want to do it without Your help.

 

 

 

You are what you eat

May 7th, 2014 by Maureen

He who is eating my flesh, and is drinking my blood, remains in me, and I in him. John 6:56 (YLT)

I love the present progressive tense the literal translation uses here. Nutrition for our bodies and our spirits needs to be continuous.  Partaking in Christ’s spiritual nourishment has restorative powers that literally animates dead spirits and restores sick and damaged ones. There is powerful nutritional content in the continuous feast of Christ’s presence in our lives.

Lord, feed me.

Only when we see Him as He really is do we see ourselves as we really are

May 4th, 2014 by Maureen

For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality. Col. 2:17

If we continue to see God in the roles of heavenly maker rules, cop, judge, executioner, or even nag, our role as sinner defines us. Perhaps we return to the shadows of rules or sin because those roles are familiar. When we recognize God as Father, Rescuer and Redeemer of souls, Slayer of sin and Revealer of truth, we begin to recognize ourselves as His resurrected and restored sons and daughters.

Lord, I want to focus on You. Let the distracting shadows that linger on me dissipate in Your light.

 

 

Trusting God is a thrill ride

May 2nd, 2014 by Maureen

When Paul and Silas left the prison, they returned to Lydia’s house. Acts 16:40

When we decide to submit everything inside ourselves and everything in our lives to Him, Jesus will disrupt our nice, planned, scheduled lives and use up our time, energy, and resources. We can look at this as  “sacrifice” or “obedience” and suffer through it. Or we can embrace the adventure He’s inviting us into and experience  the thrill of trusting Him as we let go and take the ups and down and sharp turns with our hands in the air.

Lord, help my “What now?” be one of anticipation rather than aggravation.