Archive for November, 2014

Focus on the message instead of the miracle

November 23rd, 2014 by Maureen

Moses and Elijah appeared to them. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” Matt. 17:9

Don’t you love that God interrupted Peter mid-sentence? When God does something mind-blowing our immediate response is to start putting up markers and putting out publicity. God’s spectacular display might not be the actual message. God may have something that is so important and profound to tell us that heaven simply spills out in the telling.

Lord, I saw that and I’m listening

Jesus’ blanket invitation

November 20th, 2014 by Maureen

Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!” Luke 14:15

At the cross Jesus issued a blanket invitation to all. As time goes by the crowd of guests grows exponentially. He keeps adding leaves to His table so that every one of us can sit at the big table with Him…or maybe at this feast the big table is the kid’s table. Either way, it’s is going to be a joyful, delicious, cacophony of thanksgiving.

Lord, thanks for making a place at Your table for me.

Thankful

November 19th, 2014 by Maureen

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. Col. 3:16

The  message of Christ is redemption, transformation, grace, joy, and freedom that we can gratefully offer and receive that message. Relationship with God and with one another is not an obligation, it’s a privilege.

My heart is full of thanks for Who You are and all You do for me.

Th-th-thanks, God, really….

November 18th, 2014 by Maureen

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them…This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. I Tim 2:1, 3-4

I generally pray for protection from mean, greedy, proud, violent, selfish people rather than thanking God for them. But God in His grace and mercy gave all of us Jesus, even the people who are currently registering zero on our thankfulness meters. His Spirit draws us into one another’s redemption stories. Every relationship has the potential to become mutually transforming through prayer and thanksgiving.

Lord, thank you for all the people in my life. Period.

 

 

Father of lights

November 17th, 2014 by Maureen

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17

God sheds light on us when we find ourselves in dark, uncertain places. His steady hand is never far when the ground beneath our feet gets shaky. He gives us crazy “aha” moments of illumination that cause us to change and grow. Though our own variations and shadows of turning sometimes cause us to lose awareness of the constant certainty of His loving presence, our Father keeps sending us gift after gift.

Lord, thank You for this beautiful barrage of good gifts.

 

When it comes to payback, we are amateurs

November 16th, 2014 by Maureen

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, I will take revenge;  I will pay them back,” says the Lord. Rom 12:19

Sometimes we may feel “righteous” indignation because God is under attack, but, if we are honest, at least a little of that anger is about what we perceive as an assault on our beliefs or way of life. We tend to get angry when we feel hurt or threatened. It’s at least a wee bit satisfying when mean, petty, selfish, or even misguided and incompetent people who hurt us, or merely inconvenience us, reap what they sow. Yet God’s response to all of us who do evil is to attack and defeat the Author and Influencer of Evil. He sent Christ to absorb any payback we deserve for all the evil done by us and to us. God is big and powerful enough for His anger and vengeance to affect real change. We just know how to get ineffectually pissed.

Lord, help me learn to return evil with Your goodness and grace.

 

 

 

 

 

Share the care

November 15th, 2014 by Maureen

In my search for wisdom and in my observation of people’s burdens here on earth, I discovered that there is ceaseless activity, day and night. Ecc. 8:16

We are all busy and because we are so connected through instant-access media and social networks, we also are keenly aware of other people’s busy-ness.,,and their business. While the desire to know, the desire to help, and the desire to pray are all good, we can become spiritually, mentally, and emotionally over-saturated with concerning information. We have to trust that God has it and that He can inspire those closer to each situation to become involved.

Lord, lead me to become involved where You want me, help me to be effective in those areas, and help me to let go and trust You and other people with the concerns that are not mine to bear.

Love the one you’re with

November 13th, 2014 by Maureen

Don’t squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us (Msg). For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.” (NLT) 2 Cor. 6:2

The present gets lost in thoughts like “If only I could go back to the time…,” or “I can’t wait until…” We squander the present focusing too much on the past or on the future. The people in the room are the ones God wants to love through us. Love happens in the now.Now is a key piece of God’s transforming redemptive power in our lives. Faith happens in the now.

Lord, keep me present in the present.

Not fair

November 12th, 2014 by Maureen

The prodigal son’s older brother said to his father, “I’ve stayed and done everything you’ve asked of me and you’ve never thrown a party for me, yet when he comes home after squandering his inheritance you go all out for him.” Luke 15:28-30 Paraph.

If this is a story about fairness, and earning and deserving what we get, the older brother is the hero. But this is a story about love, grace and restoration. In that sort of story the hero is the father who opens his forgiving arms to his son and celebrates his return rather than focusing on the condition in which he returns. When prodigals return we have a choice about how we receive them. When a prodigal is still out there we have a choice about creating a climate that invites or repels return.

Lord, thank you for the grace You showed me when I was the prodigal. I want to be the father in this story for all the prodigals I know and love.

Not fair

November 12th, 2014 by Maureen

The prodigal son’s older brother said to his father, “I’ve stayed and done everything you’ve asked of me and you’ve never thrown a party for me, yet when he comes home after squandering his inheritance you go all out for him.” Luke 15:28-30 Paraph.

If this is a story about fairness, and earning and deserving what we get, the older brother is the hero. But this is a story about love, grace and restoration. In that sort of story the hero is the father who opens his forgiving arms to his son and celebrates his return rather than focusing on the condition in which he returns. When prodigals return we have a choice about how we receive them. When a prodigal is still out there we have a choice about creating a climate that invites or repels return.

Lord, thank you for the grace You showed me when I was the prodigal. I want to be the father in this story for all the prodigals I know and love.

Neurosignatures and Pneumasignatures

November 10th, 2014 by Maureen

As the Father has loved Me, so I have loved You. Abide in my love. Jn. 15:9

Apparently our brains register different neurosignatures when we read for pleasure and when we read for information,  enlightenment, assignments, or other purposes that involve “close reading.” One is not “better” than the other, but close reading lights up different areas of the brain than relaxed, pleasure reading does. Perhaps our spirits have “pneumasignatures” that light up when we engage in intercessory prayer or bible study or service and different “pneumasignatures” that light up when we just hang out with God for pleasure. Abiding in His love is as important as any of our more structured and “purposeful” spiritual pursuits.

Lord, here I am not planning or doing, not asking or learning right now, just Being and being Loved.

And that’s when all the fighting, running, freezing and fawning started

November 8th, 2014 by Maureen

My grace is sufficient. My power is fulfilled in your weakness. 2 Cor. 12:9

We believe our own hype until… we fail to meet our own expectations, we disappoint someone else, or we face something we can’t handle alone. Then the stress sets in. Stress typically triggers a “fight, flight, freeze, or fawn” response in human beings. We may get defensive about our choices or their results. We may escape in whatever way best distracts us. We may remain stuck in the status quo. We throw all our energy into regaining favor and making it right. Or not. We can choose to respond in the freedom of grace and perceive ourselves, including our mistakes, through the lens of Christ’s grace rather than through the lens of the expectations we put on ourselves… and each other.

Lord, let the power of Your grace be fulfilled in my weakness.

 

Pride and patience and stuff

November 5th, 2014 by Maureen

Patience is better than pride. Ecc. 7:8

When interruptions happen it’s easy to become frustrated because, after all, whatever we are doing when we were interrupted matters. When we have to wait it can feel as if our time is more valuable than whatever causes the delay. Conversations that requires considerable investment to get to “yes” or to reach consensus can seem really tedious, especially if we are focused on our own agendas. Recognition that none of this is exclusively about our stuff helps us develop patience. Sometimes it takes conscious and repeated acknowledgement of this fact to approach anything vaguely resembling patience.

God help me be patient when my stuff seems like the only stuff that matters. Thanks for being so much more patient with me than I am with others…or with myself.

Electing to trust God

November 4th, 2014 by Maureen

For our citizenship is in heaven and it is from there that we eagerly await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Phil. 3:20 (Mounce Interlinear)

Happy Election Day. We are already citizens of a kingdom that is already established but not realized on earth as it is in heaven. As we participate as citizens of our earthly country we can do so with the confidence that we are already citizens of something so much greater than the best system of governance humans can establish, ruled by a king more gracious and supportive of each of us than the best leader humans can elect. As such we can be at peace with the outcome and support whoever is elected with our prayers.

Lord, bless and direct those who vote and those we elect to lead.

The rhythms of grace

November 2nd, 2014 by Maureen

“Take my yoke and learn from me. NLT Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. Matt. 11:28 Message

Dancing and singing to the rhythms of grace is a lot more like dancing to gamelan than waltzing. According to scientists, gamelan is the most complex rhythm measured.  The repetitious beats of love, peace, and hope are as consistent and simple to hear as the patterns of a heartbeat but the complexities happen in the fluctuations of many voices and instruments repeating this same beat in myriad ways. The yoke makes us all part of these simple and complex rhythms of grace.

Lord, thank you for inviting me to dance and sing to Your rhythm.

 

And so it begins…

November 1st, 2014 by Maureen

They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Ps. 1:3

In this extended season of celebration, friendship, and family our spiritual fruit is juicy and full of rich, complex flavors. We are both busier and more mindful than usual. We count our blessings and we get to hang out with many of them. Feasts and parties and even preparation and shopping time can be opportunities to experience and share God’s love and grace.

Lord, when I’m meeting myself coming and going remind me that You are in on all those meetings!