Archive for February, 2015

Just your average sinner

February 28th, 2015 by Maureen

The grace of our Lord completely overflowed in me with faith and love which are in Christ. Trust the gospel and accept it completely: “Jesus came to save sinners.” And I am the worst of them. 1 Tim. 1:14-15

Paul basically said he was the worst sinner ever. Not to encourage comparison but to make the point that the worst person ever is as eligible for God’s grace as the most righteous. Faith and love are responses that happen within us because of grace. The best person ever can’t manufacture within himself this sort of genuine faith and love and worth person ever can exhibit it genuinely because of Christ.

Lord, I might be the most average person ever, but Y0ur grace, faith, and love in me is extraordinary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making good

February 28th, 2015 by Maureen

Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. I Pet. 3:11

Sometimes we stress too much over working on “being good” or “overcoming evil.” He is already good and He has already overcome evil. He has already made us good and rescued us from evil. This awareness brings us peace and power to live out of relationship with Him rather than the constant striving to make ourselves “good.”

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace and help me to sow love, forgiveness, faith, hope, light, and joy in the face of hatred, injury, doubt, despair, darkness, and sadness.

Making good

February 27th, 2015 by Maureen

Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. I Pet. 3:11

Sometimes we stress too much over working on “being good” or “overcoming evil.” He is already good and He has already overcome evil. He has already made us good and rescued us from evil. This awareness brings us peace and power to live out of relationship with Him rather than the constant striving to make ourselves “good.”

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace and help me to sow love, forgiveness, faith, hope, light, and joy in the face of hatred, injury, doubt, despair, darkness, and sadness.

Internal beatdowns are not effective

February 26th, 2015 by Maureen

Even if we feel guilty and our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our feelings or hearts, and He knows everything. 1 Jn 3:20

Most of us are well aware of our own failings. We beat up ourselves more effectively than anyone else can. Sometimes our internal beatdowns are so effective that we let our baggage define us. Sometimes we define other people by their baggage. Baggage and condemnation make us feel stuck where we are and keep us from fully embracing Christ’s redeeming, transforming forgiveness. What changes would take place in our hearts and lives if we we felt as utterly and completely forgiven as we truly are?

Lord help me be as certain of what I am with You as I am of what I am without You.

More than words and even more than deeds

February 25th, 2015 by Maureen

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 Jn. 3:18

God loves us in deed and in truth. His loving actions toward us, His loving motives toward us, His unconditional love for us has nothing to do with whether we deserve it or return it, or are even aware of it. Love is the Father’s motivation for sending Jesus, Jesus’ motivation for redeeming us, and His Spirit’s motivation for inspiring and directing. If loving one another in deed and truth encompasses and reflects the way that God loves us then not only are words not enough, actions aren’t enough either. Loving in truth includes the spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and behavioral aspects of His relationship with us humans and of our relationships with one another.

Lord, my own capacity to love is so shallow and conditional. Thank you for making me part of Your great love. Direct Your love within me to those around me.

Arise and shine

February 23rd, 2015 by Maureen

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. Is. 60:1

Not only do we get to rise with Him – restored, redeemed, made new and alive – we get to shine with Him. His grace and truth bring the qualities of His light into our everyday lives. We enjoy the warmth, illumination, and direction that come from the light of His glory; and we get to shine that light out onto the people we encounter throughout each day.

Lord, may Your glory rise upon and through me this day.

Smell what the Lord’s been cooking

February 19th, 2015 by Maureen

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Ps. 34:8a

God serves up His goodness in surprising and creative ways. His goodness may not be plated according to convention or expectation. Even when He serves up something adventurous with unusual and unfamiliar flavors, His goodness is going to define those flavors and make life nourishing, satisfying, and delicious.

Yum, Lord, thanks for the day You’ve cooked up for me. I want to savor every bite.

God up

February 18th, 2015 by Maureen

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. Ps. 27:14

When problems arise, we often expect ourselves and others to “man up” and take action. Waiting or running seems cowardly. There are times when the solution is pretty obvious and immediate action is the right call; but sometimes we just have to wait, trusting that God will eventually provide direction about what to do next or that His Holy Spirit is already at work without our “help.” Waiting is not running away. It usually works better to “God up” instead of “manning up.”

Oh, Lord, help me to be brave enough to wait and depend.

 

God takes care of His stuff

February 17th, 2015 by Maureen

I have chosen you as my own precious possession. Deut. 7:6

We belong to God. And He takes care of His stuff. We are so precious to Him that He offered His own life to reconcile us to Him; His intentions toward us are loving. His care is immeasurable. He will never abandon us because we belong to Him and He made us to be with Him. Whatever we may be going through we can rest assured that God loves each of us and we can trust Him to cause good for us.

Lord, thank you for caring for me so well.

Have a AAAA Day

February 16th, 2015 by Maureen

This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it. Ps. 118:24

The joy we get out of each day has much more to do with our attitudes, awareness, acceptance, and adaptability than about what happens from moment to moment. Every day offers moments of challenge, disappointment, and irritation along with moments of delight, interesting idea, and exciting opportunities. We get to choose how we process all that happens to us in a day. God offers His presence and insight to us in every one of these moments.

Lord, when things inevitably go wrong, help me remember to have a positive attitude, to be aware of Your presence and the perspectives of others, to accept others, myself and the situation, and to adapt to change graciously.

The voice of God

February 15th, 2015 by Maureen

And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. I Kings 19:12

Moses got an audible voice coming out of a bush on fire. But God is not Captain Obvious. Not every burning bush or major disaster is a message from God. Not every low whisper is either. The more attuned we are to His voice the more likely we are to pick up on what he’s saying. Maybe He made it that way because He’s as much about the relationship as He is about the message.

Lord, I’m listening for Your voice and Your message but I also love the times we just walk along in companionable silence.

My latest conversation with God

February 10th, 2015 by Maureen

“But I say to you who are listening to me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who threaten you.” Luke 6:27-28

“OK, Jesus, you’ve got my attention. Sometimes people say outrageous things to check and see if anyone is listening. Now that I’m listening, tell me what you really think.”

“No, I’m serious.”

“That’s a big ask.”

“I know, but I loved you before you loved me, too. Just think of it as loving them first.”

“What if they never come around.”

“That’s my worry, not yours.”

“OK, You talked me into it but now You’ve got to walk me through it.”

Squirrel vs wisdom

February 9th, 2015 by Maureen

Get wisdom and understanding. Don’t forget or ignore my words. Hold on to wisdom, and it will take care of you. Love it, and it will keep you safe. Prov. 4:5-6

Sometimes we abandon wisdom mid-sentence to pursue some distracting squirrel like the dog Dug in the movie Up. We can even forget the wisdom and understanding acquired through costly personal experience when confronted with distracting or emotionally charged situations. The Holy Spirit is God’s continuous presence with us, helping us safely navigate life’s distractions with awareness and understanding. The more attuned we are to His voice the more likely we are to be able to hold onto wisdom.

Lord, help me remember wisdom when I start seeing squirrels….dug

 

The love dilemma

February 8th, 2015 by Maureen

Let love be genuine, sincere, unfeigned, without hypocrisy…Don’t just pretend to love others, really love them! Rom. 12:9 (ESV, NIV, YLT, NKJ, NLT)

Loving because we are “supposed to” is fake. Yet we are supposed to but we don’t. We can’t. So with the best of intentions we try really hard to imitate Christs love; or we theologically justify not loving some people; or we redefine “love” so that we can remove from the equation whatever aspects of it we can’t seem to manufacture in ourselves. Yet Jesus loves intentionally and impulsively in a way that speaks to spirit,  intellect, emotion, and practical needs and circumstances. By “impulsively” I mean that because He is love, love defines His nature and therefore He responds naturally with love. The more aware we become of His nature, the more we can partake in it (2 Pet. 1:4) so that love becomes an impulsive response for us as well.

Lord, let love define my nature too.

Being a tryhard is so exhausting

February 6th, 2015 by Maureen

How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Gal.3:3

Perfection is a by-product of grace which is imputed to us by Christ. We are perfected by His work of reconciliation rather than by the works of our hands or our “spiritual” habits. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t push through to respond to Christ when we don’t feel like it or when we are tempted, but may we seek to enjoy Spirit-led responses to His love and grace rather than exhausting ourselves with forced effort.

Lord, lead me to rely on what You’ve done for me rather than what I try to do for You.

Gut level responses

February 4th, 2015 by Maureen

Do not let kindness and truth  leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Prov. 3:3

The truth that is Christ is born of God’s kindness. We cannot be truthful without also being kind yet our gut level response to the world around us is often far from kind and often colored by personal bias. How would it look if kindness and truth were the foundation of all our communication? What if we ran our responses to what is said and done to us through a filter of kindness and truth first?

Lord, let this attitude of kindness and truth become my gut level response to those around me.

Shiny love

February 2nd, 2015 by Maureen

This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before. Yet it is also a new commandment that is true in Him and in you because the darkness is passing away and the light is already shining.   I Jn. 2:7b-8

God is love. Love is the interchange that makes God Father, Son, and Spirit and the power that brings us into fellowship with Him. It is the force that drives His redemption and restoration of us. It is the light that challenges darkness and overcomes evil. This love is the light He puts in our hearts, minds, and spirits so that we not only communicate Who He Is to others, but actually participate in the love that is His very presence.

Let Your love shine in me, through me, and around me because of Jesus.

The more you know*

February 1st, 2015 by Maureen

All things were created through Him and for Him, and in Him all things hold together. Col. 1:16b-17

Creation is full of incredible detail and patterns. All is interconnected. Every discipline of knowledge is based on exploration of these details and patterns. Human beings are innately equipped to recognize and appreciate these details and patterns, and to apply them to our own creations. Knowing Christ cannot be compartmentalized into Sunday church attendance or daily Bible devotions and prayer time. An attitude of curiosity and desire for discovery opens our hearts and minds to engage in constant worship and wonder of Him.

Lord, it’s all You and You are amazing!