Archive for January, 2015

Peace, be still

January 29th, 2015 by Maureen

He rebuked the wind and said to the ocean “peace, be still.” Mark 4:39

If Jesus has power and authority over the forces of nature, He also has power and authority over the forces that cause us to be afraid, to feel overwhelmed, or to feel overpowered. As human beings we find ourselves in situations in which we feel we are completely outmatched and all we can do is manage the day to day associated issues. Jesus, on the other hand, is never outmatched. As we work through the daily frustrations, we can have peace because He already has ultimate victory.

Lord, I surrender my measly techniques for managing to Your real authority to defeat even wind and oceans.

 

Patience isn’t for sissies

January 28th, 2015 by Maureen

Be joyful in hope, patient in suffering…Rom. 12:12

It’s tough to stay positive in the midst of those ongoing, unresolved situations that we all face. When things just don’t seem to be moving forward, trusting God is still involved is a conscious, daily decision. It’s tough to choose to keep accepting “evidence of things not seen” as the definition of hope when we would really rather see some tangible evidence. Patience and joy isn’t for sissies.

Lord, let Your joy continue to be my strength.

 

Pain and gain

January 25th, 2015 by Maureen

And the God of all grace, the one who has called you into his eternal glory in Christ, will, after you have suffered a little while, himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. I Pet. 5:10

We live in a world full of brokenness and dysfunction. Suffering is inevitable. God takes no pleasure in it but He does offer comfort, strengthening, and opportunity through it. The experience of suffering can educate us spiritually, emotionally, and cognitively so that we gain maturity, compassion, endurance, and wisdom. As we depend on God and trust Him in suffering our relationships with Him deepen and the glory to which He’s called us becomes more tangible. Of course, we get to decide how open we will be to Him and how much we will gain when faced with the unwelcome and disappointing experience of suffering.

Lord, let pain be gain.

Plum or prune

January 24th, 2015 by Maureen

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 2 Pet. 1:3

We limit how we experience God and live in His abundance when allow “godliness” to shrivel up into a tight list of “shall not’s” and spiritual disciplines. Beauty, love, hope, healing, kindness, forgiveness, creativity, encouragement, compassion, and comfort are just a few ways that God manifests His nature into our human lives. Being aware of God in all our lives, recognizing Him in others, responding to His presence, reflecting His nature as He manifests Himself in all areas of our lives are what cause godliness.

Lord, let me experience and communicate some aspect of Who You Are in all things that pertain to my life.

God is on our side

January 23rd, 2015 by Maureen

For you are valuable and honored in My eyes. I, you God, am your strength. Is. 49:5

We matter to God. He is for us. He is in us and with us and before us and behind us because He is for us. He wants to protect us and provide for us. He wants to empower us and enable us. He wants to love us and free us. His strength is enough for whatever trials we face without and whatever struggles we face within.

Lord, I am so glad you are on my side.

God finishes what He starts

January 22nd, 2015 by Maureen

For I am confident of this very thing that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion in the day of Jesus Christ. Phil. 1:6

Jesus didn’t start His work in us and then hand it over and say “here, you finish it.” He is still at work in us, even when we make destructive choices. He is still at work in us when we can’t reconcile the hurt we feel with anything constructive He might be doing. He is still at work in us when we doubt He’s even there.

Lord, I trust that this mess is Your work in progress.

Thank God for everybody

January 18th, 2015 by Maureen

We thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly. I Thess. 1:2

In any group of “all” there is probably “that guy” who tends to be tolerated more than welcomed. Yet everyone we know is beloved by God. He made each one in  His image. If we find something – just one thing – about every person we know for which to thank Him, then it’s so much easier to be gracious about the things about those folks that get on our nerves. It becomes easier to enjoy the company of “that guy” instead of focusing on the things we don’t like about him. Life becomes more joyful and peaceful with this attitude. When we are thankful for individuals, even the way we pray for them changes.

Lord, reveal Your delight in each one I meet today.

Same different

January 17th, 2015 by Maureen

I came that you might have life and have it abundantly. Jn. 10:10

Two lives can look almost exactly the same from the outside, but one may be a result of habit and obligation while the other is a result of loving response to and relationship with God. Abundance comes in living the lives He’s gifted us rather than trying really hard to make our lives comply to what we think He wants (or the church wants) them to look like.

Lord, I want to be captivated by Who You are and live my life as a response to that.

The biggest ask

January 14th, 2015 by Maureen

If your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake?….If you humans know how to give your children good gifts, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him. Luke 11:13

Asking for the Holy Spirit is different from asking for a specific thing that we want. Asking for the Holy Spirit can seem scary because it opens us up to possibilities we have never considered, and change can shake up our lives. But Jesus promised to send Him and the gift He brings us is from the Father who loves us and is always good. The Holy Spirit knows what we want when our cognizant minds and surface emotions don’t know enough to want it.

Lord, I ask for Your Spirit with the confidence that whatever comes will be full of Your grace and love.

 

Seek and find

January 13th, 2015 by Maureen

Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Luke 11:10

Seeking takes many forms. Sometimes we seek with open hearts and minds. Sometimes we seek fearing what we might discover. Sometimes we seek with grasping desperation. Sometimes we seek with something particular in mind. Jesus knows where we are and what we need no matter what our mindsets may be when we start looking. He will make sure we find what we need.

Lord, help me to discover and to receive what You provide, no matter what I think I’m looking for.

Fear and self-loathing on earth

January 11th, 2015 by Maureen

Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect. Matt 5:48

We Christians spend a lot of time focused on our imperfections. We fear God’s displeasure over them and define ourselves and others by them, when, in fact, we are perfect right now because Jesus is perfect right now. Perhaps our spiritual lives would be more productive and satisfying if we spent more time focused on discovering our transformed selves and less time engaged in fear and self-loathing over our broken selves. On earth the tension is always going to be there but we can choose where we put our time and attention.

Lord, transform me by the renewing of my mind.

I really want a shower

January 10th, 2015 by Maureen

He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and insight. Eph. 1:8 (Mounce)

On a fairly regular basis the events surrounding our lives don’t seem to make logical, moral, or emotional sense. We stumble along with our in-part, through-the-dark-glass perspective and wonder when God is going to turn on the insight shower. What we do know: He loved us so much that He sent Jesus, He will never leave us or abandon us, and He is transforming and reconciling us into His image. This gentle shower of kindness, wisdom and insight is continuously sinking into our lives. This perspective is enough to face the hard stuff and the uncertainties that come with it.

Lord, I trust You with all I understand and especially with all I don’t.

 

Grace and peace

January 8th, 2015 by Maureen

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 2 Pet. 1:2

Grace and peace is a common greeting in the Bible. What a powerful start to a relationship, a meeting, or a conversation! He can set the tone for every moment of every day. Our awareness of Emmanuel (Christ with us) in our lives transfers to His presence, His grace, and His peace in our interactions with others.

Lord, let Your grace and peace abound.

Spiritual vitamix

January 7th, 2015 by Maureen

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Rom 15:13

When we go through change, sometimes even good change, but certainly when challenging, painful situations arise, hope, joy and peace rush like white blood cells to the source of discomfort. When we feel spiritually depleted, God is the source of these spiritual antibodies that our spirits cannot manufacture for themselves. Hope, joy, and peace build up in our spiritual immune systems as we commune with Him on a daily basis.

Every day, all the time, I trust you, Lord.

Passing the baton in the here and now

January 6th, 2015 by Maureen

Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me. Ps. 71:18

Our stories aren’t our parent’s and mentor’s stories. God didn’t work in our lives or in our generations in exactly the same way He worked in those that came before. While practices, traditions, and disciplines can be helpful, what inspires this new generation is our love for God, our awareness of His constant presence, our trust in His purposes, our wonder at His works, and our Christ-inspired responses to minister grace and reconciliation into the broken world around us. These contexts empower our stories and  equip and encourage this next generation to live out their own powerful stories with Him, for Him, through Him, and in Him.

Lord, help this next generation to experience Your power and wonder.

 

Even this…whatever “this” might be today

January 5th, 2015 by Maureen

And the peace of God that passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:7

We all struggle to wrap our heads around tragedies and problems that don’t seem to make sense. We might even question God’s love and good will. Prayer and surrender brings peace and perspective when our hearts and minds feel vulnerable and troubled. God’s arms are big and wide enough and His love for us is strong enough for hold whatever we bring to Him and to bring peace to our struggling hearts and minds.  Nothing can separate us from His love, even this.

Father, let Your love and peace prevail.

The common ground of eternity

January 4th, 2015 by Maureen

He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecc. 3:11b

Eternity in our hearts is the longing for meaning and truth; it is our response to beauty and our inspiration to create; it is our desire for relationship and our need to belong. God has planted universal human eternals in all people, even those who understand God is different from traditional Christian understandings, even those who deny that eternity dwells within them at all. Through the finished work of Christ God calls all people to be reconciled with Him and empowers those who love Him to communicate that reconciliation.

Lord, help me to speak the common tongue of eternity to the hearts I meet today.

 

Life is beautiful

January 2nd, 2015 by Maureen

He has made everything beautiful it its time. Ecc. 3:11a

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder then if we want a more beautiful life we can choose to stretch our definitions of beauty so that we can behold more of it. Our tastes in art, architecture, clothing, style, etc. vary greatly. Traits in people that are considered attractive may vary among cultures. Certain flowers, dog breeds, and other patterns in nature are more and less appealing to certain individuals. What is beautiful beyond what we’ve considered? Finding the surprising, unexpected beauty in ordinary objects and people is a big part of living the life He is making beautiful for us rather than defaulting to the mundane ugliness of this fallen world.

Lord, help me to look for the beauty You’ve made, especially when I don’t recognize it at first.

If I have a resolution for 2015, it’s whatever

January 1st, 2015 by Maureen

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. Phil. 4:8

In 2015 I plan to focus on what is good. What traits do I appreciate in the people around me? What beauty do I see as I walk through my world? What enjoyment and benefit do I derive from the things I spend my time and energy pursuing? Instead of noticing what’s wrong and trying to fix it, I want to notice what is good and celebrate it.

Lord, help me to have Your eye for beauty.