Archive for June, 2014

Big lap, little problems

June 30th, 2014 by Maureen

Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help. Heb. 4:16

The Father has adopted us as His children so that we can feel at home even in the oval office of heaven. We live our lives in His reconciliation and rest. When we come rushing in with our needs and problems we aren’t bothering Him or disappointing Him, we are doing exactly what Jesus came to make it possible for us to do.

Father, I came in here because I needed some lap time and now here’s a bunch of needs and problems that are big to me and small to You. I love You.

 

 

 

On a grace mission from God

June 29th, 2014 by Maureen

Jake and ElwoodBut when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with sinners and tax-gatherers?” Matt. 9:11

Jesus and His crew must have looked to the Pharisees like Jake and Elwood at Chez Paul.
The lack of uniformity at the table of grace makes rule-keepers uncomfortable and ruins the religious aesthetic. But Jesus ate at the table with sinning, disreputable people and turned over the tables of those who judged or disenfranchised them.

Lord, thank you for carrying me to Your table of grace.

Beachcomber on the shore of the Sea of Forgetfulness

June 28th, 2014 by Maureen

You delight in showing unfailing love. Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! Micah 7:18b-19

The sea of forgetfulness is a powerful visual for forgiveness. We can accept God’s forgiveness but still struggle to forgive ourselves and others. Guilt, shame, and regret over our past sins, resentment and distrust over past hurts keep us from enjoying the freedom and grace that redeeming forgiveness offers us. What God has thrown into the sea need not junk up the shores of our lives. Imagine combing the beach with your loving Father to deliberately pick up each offense, each sin, and throw it back into the sea of forgetfulness where it belongs.

Lord, thank You for the power of forgiveness.

 

Forget the magic words

June 27th, 2014 by Maureen

Your Father knows what you need before You ask. Matt. 6:8

When we pray we aren’t telling God anything He doesn’t already know. We aren’t saying the magic words or performing the correct ritual that obliges Him to give us what we ask. We aren’t that powerful, but we are powerfully loved by our  loving, powerful, interested Father. His love for us is the reason we can ask and the reason He answers. We pray to experience and be empowered by His love as we desire good together.

Father, here are my heart’s desires, the ones we’ve talked about before, the one’s that have just come up, and the ones I can’t even verbalize.

 

 

 

Nothing, zero, zip, goose egg

June 26th, 2014 by Maureen

I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor messengers, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present,
nor things about to be, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. 8:38-39

His victory covers our losses, His journey to the cross covers our detours, His grace and mercy catches our falls. Our wandering hearts and stumbling feet might create distance and tension on our end, but from His end God loves us as much and holds us as close to His heart as He ever has. There is no exception to nothing.

Lord, let my heart feel what my head knows.

 

 

It’s raining, evidently

June 25th, 2014 by Maureen

Though all the nations went there own way, but he never left them 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

It’s raining and Austin, Texas welcomes it with joyful hearts. No matter how technologically advanced we become, we still need rain, we still can’t control when it comes and we still depend on it for most of our food. God provides, we receive and say “thank You.”  We eat of His bounty and celebrate His provision. Rain is still evidence of God’s goodness and power.

Lord, Your rain is so refreshing and welcome. Thank You!

 

Just keep swimmin’

June 24th, 2014 by Maureen

just-keep-swimming…through endurance may we run the contest that is set before us, looking to the author and perfecter of faith…Heb. 12:1b-2a YLT

Endurance doesn’t mean we won’t get tired,  hit rough patches, feel adrift,  falter, or encounter a few sharks. Endurance means that we keep looking at Jesus even when we’re tired and the way ahead is murky We can trust Jesus to set the course and keep us afloat. It may be a contest, but it’s won He’s already one.

Jesus, I’m still swimming here, waiting for direction and loving the wonders of Your love.

 

 

God is still here

June 23rd, 2014 by Maureen

In my distress…I cried out to my God…he heard my voice and listened to my cry for help. Ps. 18:6

When emotions are high and situations seem dire we send up desperate prayers. When help is not immediate, our Enemy will tell us that we’ve been abandoned, that we don’t deserve God’s help, that we’re only getting what’s coming to us. God’s message to us is that He hears us, He loves us, and He is helping us even when we don’t see it.

Lord, thank you for caring about all our big and little disasters, for loving us and helping us through them.

Making plans

June 22nd, 2014 by Maureen

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Prov. 19:21

Things don’t always work out the way we plan. Speculating on the why can only take us so far in avoiding future disappointments. What we can know is that God’s plans and purposes are always, always, always for our good. His love and grace motivates His intervention into our plans whether it is to aid or to disrupt.

Lord, I believe You are good and Your mercy endures. I want Your plans to always supersede my own.

 

Perspective on earthly things

June 21st, 2014 by Maureen

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Col. 3:2

Every day we make choices about our thoughts, perceptions, focus, and response to life around us. Thinking on “things above” is not permission to disengage from life on earth for fear we might dirty ourselves. People who do that seldom reflect the present-in-the-moment love of Christ for people…and they get annoying fast. The option to “set our minds” invites and empowers us to engage with and process our world through the eternal, loving, gracious, redemptive lens of Christ Himself.

Lord, take my mind past the limitations of my earthy perspective.

Little big faith

June 20th, 2014 by Maureen

And immediately Jesus, reached out his hand and grabbed him, saying, `Little faith!  for what did you waver?” Matt. 14:31

What would be on the list if we actually sat down and thought about our individual reasons for wavering?  Belief doesn’t require any level of knowledge, experience, resources, or fitness. Anybody can do it. But because of all kinds of distractions and desires,  presuppositions and fears, faith seems hard. Even if we can figure out exactly what makes us waver, the things we try to do to fix the wavering become the focus instead of Christ Himself.

Lord I believe, help my unbelief. I’m looking at You to make my little faith big because my efforts are too small.

Cry “Freedom” !!!

June 19th, 2014 by Maureen

With every bone in my body I will praise him:
“Lord, who can compare with you?
Who else rescues the helpless from the strong? Ps. 35:10

Sometimes it takes a long time but He knows the plight of the slaves, of the oppressed, of the imprisoned, of wandering souls and of broken hearts. He cries “Freedom!!! in His plans and promises, in His power and His sacrifice. Every celebration of freedom is a reminder that He came to proclaim liberty to captives.

Thank you for spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, and political freedom.

Sunlight and rain help souls grow too

June 18th, 2014 by Maureen

Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you. In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. Matt. 5:43-44

Jesus used the sunlight and rain as illustrations of how we are to love one another. Sunlight and rain are indiscriminate and don’t just fall on the worthy or favored. We aren’t endorsing or minimizing sin when we love others. The love we extend is  like sunlight and rain on souls that need nourishment.

Lord, pour out your sunlight and rain on all of us.

 

 

 

 

The bestest Dad ever

June 14th, 2014 by Maureen

How much more will the Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him. Matt 7:11

Our Father  doesn’t give out of contractual obligation or because we’ve sold Him on the cause we champion. He gives but out of genuine interest in our well being, out of desire to see us delighted, out of concern for our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, and out of a wise and gracious Father’s heart. When we ask, we ought not to ask like lawyers or salespeople but  like trusting children who believe our Dad is the best is everything and loves us more than anything!

Lord, You are the bestest Dad ever!

First, last, and in the middle

June 11th, 2014 by Maureen

But make sure in your hearts that Christ is Lord. Always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you about the hope you have. Be ready to give the reason for it. But do it gently and with respectI Pet. 3:15

The first and last sentences are often overshadowed by what’s in the middle. Defending a position, winning an argument or slam-dunking an opponent do not reflect gentleness, respect, or the love of Christ. Besides that, too much breath is spent arguing about topics that do not pertain to the thing we are supposed to be explaining.

Lord, in disagreements, help me remember what matters most.

Children, not servants or masters

June 10th, 2014 by Maureen

I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know his Master’s business. Instead I have called you friends because everything I learned from my Father I have made known to you. Jn. 15:15

His business is demonstrated and revealed in His life and teaching,  in His death and resurrection, through His Story and His Spirit. So much fear and insecurity comes from not being sure we know what He’s about and what our role should be. On the flip side, being too sure we know can turn us into obnoxious Masters.

Lord help me recognize the privileges and limitations of my role as Your child.

Life is pain, princess

June 8th, 2014 by Maureen

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

From small annoyances to real tragedy, our lives are marked by trouble. To quote The Princess Bride – “Life is pain, princess. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” Life’s pain does not occupy a separate compartment from life’s joy,  but happens alongside it. Most real adventures begin with something going wrong. The overcoming Christ is just as real as every trouble in our lives. He has no intention of letting us be defeated by a world over which He has already taken victory.

Lord let those who feel defeated take heart and those who feel afraid have peace.

Always running, always there

June 7th, 2014 by Maureen

We who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. Heb. 6:19b

We run to God for many reasons. Sometimes it is it escape harm or evil, fear, or shame, sometimes it is victimization, self-loathing, or grief, sometimes it involves our awareness of evil or our own mortality. His love doesn’t distinguish between our reasons. His victory at the cross was a victory over every possible situation or condition. The reality is that we are already in His arms. The hope always before us is a deeper relationship with Him that increases our awareness of His arms always around us.

Lord, I run headlong, with complete abandon, deeper into the refuge of Your arms.

 

Keeping truth

June 6th, 2014 by Maureen

The person looks to God for help and hope is happy. God makes the heavens and earth and sea and all that is in them. He is keeping truth forever. Ps. 146:6

God puts such detail into making each day in this massively complex natural world. He knows each specific star, creature, and wave. He is legitimately capable of and willing to redeem each specific situation in each unique person’s life. He keeps the truth of His resurrection love in births, sunrises, Springs, tides, and all regenerative manifestations in nature.

Lord, keep me firmly in the truth I know about You.

 

That time God…

June 5th, 2014 by Maureen

I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. Phil. 4:13

Most of us can remember a time when God showed up. We felt His presence and He intervened in a situation in our lives at the very time we felt hopeless, vulnerable, or inept.  He provided wisdom. He gave courage and direction. He got us through it, whatever “it” entailed. It’s good to remember those times in the middle of tough situations when we don’t know what to do. It’s good to tell those stories to one another.

Lord, remember that time…more of that, please.