Archive for May, 2015

The desires of corpses

May 31st, 2015 by Maureen

Present yourselves to God as alive from the dead and your members as instruments for dikaiosynē (translated “righteousness.” Romans 6:13

The Greek word dikaiosynē can also be translated as “justification” or “justice.” Earlier in Romans 3 Paul uses the word in relation to God’s righteousness as justification that frees us from sin. God is the actor and we are the ones acted upon.

Who we believe that we are affects our responses to God, our desires, and the things we believe will satisfy those desires. If we presuppose that we are forever bound to a cycle of sin-guilt-repent-sin again-more guilt… then we will continue to believe that we are driven by the same desires that satisfied the old self that died with Christ at crucifixion. Believing that we are resurrected, transformed beings brought alive by Christ and seeing ourselves in that way is going to change the dynamics. Instead of spending spiritual energy focused on resisting the desires of corpses we are free to pursue the desires and fulfillment that arise from who we are now that Christ has raised us from the dead.

Lord, when I look to the destructive habits of a dead self remind me of who I am now.

May 31st, 2015 by Maureen

Present yourselves to God as alive from the dead and your members as instruments for dikaiosynē (translated “righteousness.” Romans 6:13

The Greek word dikaiosynē can also be translated as “justification” or “justice.” Earlier in Romans 3 Paul uses the word in relation to God’s righteousness as justification that frees us from sin. God is the actor and we are the ones acted upon.

Who we believe that we are affects our responses to God, our desires, and the things we believe will satisfy those desires. If we presuppose that we are forever bound to a cycle of sin-guilt-repent-sin again-more guilt… then we will continue to believe that we are driven by the same desires that satisfied the old self that died with Christ at crucifixion. Believing that we are resurrected, transformed beings brought alive by Christ and seeing ourselves in that way is going to change the dynamics. Instead of spending spiritual energy focused on resisting the desires of our dead selves we are free to pursue the desires and fulfillment that arise from who we are now that Christ has raised us from the dead.

Lord, when I look to the destructive habits of a dead self remind me of who I am now.

What does it mean to be covered in prayer?

May 30th, 2015 by Maureen

In the way that hope causes us to wait patiently and expectantly for what we do not see, the Spirit helps our weaknesses; for, we may pray for things that are not be beneficial for us, but the Spirit himself makes intercession for us…according to the will of God.  Rom. 8:25b-26

Prayer is never counter-productive, even the reactive ones that are better unanswered. We can’t know the future. We seldom recognize all the negative or positive impacts and ramifications that having our desires become reality might have on our families, our community. God knows all this. If we pray for things we’re better off without, the Spirit has us covered. Though we pray for things that we never get and never discover the reasons why we don’t get them, prayer remains an intimate act of trust and hope. Prayer brings us into the triune union of a loving Father, a redeeming Christ, and a perceptive Spirit who move in our lives in ways that are always beneficial and loving.

Lord, I lay my deepest desires before You, trust You to cover them with Your wisdom and grace, and expect your response to be good.

In seasons of change

May 29th, 2015 by Maureen

To everything there is a season and a time for every delight under heaven. Ecc. 3:1 YLT

Change is inevitable and often outside our own choosing or control. Sometimes we have to let go of familiar routines, say good-bye to beloved friends, and adapt to new and sometimes unfamiliar people, environments, and scenarios. That can feel scary. Even when life’s unexpected turns seem to be taking us where we didn’t plan to go, God can be trusted to bring good things into the challenges of change. Our Father loves us and wants to give us peace and hope so that we can genuinely delight in what each new season brings.

Lord, I want to thrive in change, not just survive it.

Settle for nothing less than daring hope

May 28th, 2015 by Maureen

May you have the eyes of your heart enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what is the riches of the glory of inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, which are conferred by the energy of His powerful strength; the same power at work when He raised Christ from the dead. Eph. 1:18-20

Seeing ourselves as His children who live right now with an unimaginable legacy blows the walls off what we dare to hope. Our transformation is not based on our efforts but on what God has already done for us and in us. Our redemption is energized and defined by the forces that powered the resurrection of Christ. As we hope for all He has for us our vision concerning what we have right now grows larger.

Lord, help me see that my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus.

 

Expect what you inspect

May 27th, 2015 by Maureen

It is my earnest expectation and hope that I will in no way be put to shame but with complete boldness Christ will be exalted in me whether in life or death. Phil. 1:10

Engineer and businessman W. Edwards Deming coined the phrase, “you can expect what you inspect.” Following all the rules and not messing up is not the same thing as Christ exalted in us. If we focus on simply avoiding shame then we probably will manage to do that, perhaps only that. If we inspect the exalted Christ then we can expect to reflect His image.

Lord, Help me to look at You more than I look at myself.

 

Peace mindset

May 26th, 2015 by Maureen

To set the mind on the flesh is death but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Rom. 8:6

Flesh relies on a set of human understandings, capabilities, and expectations based within a fallen, exhausted, and limited world. Even if everybody perceives and responds with optimum results, the end is eventually death. Bummer. Jesus sets us free from the chronic fallenness and limitations of fleshly perspective and offers a much more hopeful, powerful, and effective perspective for us to process the impacts of living life on earth.

Lord, help me keep setting my mind on You.

God is aware

May 24th, 2015 by Maureen

I trust you. You are my God and my times are in Your hands. Ps. 31:14-15

God knows the times, the time, and the timing. God is aware of every situation around the globe, social climates, attitudes of each generation, the state of technology, medicine and social sciences, movements within the arts, and the condition of every natural resource and creature. God is aware of how long every single person who has prayed a prayer, dreamed a dream, or hoped a hope has waited to see those desires realized. God is aware of each of our schedules, what’s coming and when. And He cares.

Lord, I’m sure You’ve already solved things I’m still praying desperately about and I just don’t see it. I trust, help my impatience and lack of peace when situations don’t resolve when I think they should.

Need to know

May 22nd, 2015 by Maureen

And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they *were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself *would not contain the books that *would be written. Jn 21:25

A test cannot measure the breadth and depth of our knowledge about a subject. A curriculum cannot communicate the breadth and depth of information about or application of a subject. All we can know about a subject only prepares us to actualize that information, just knowing it cannot actualize it for us. In order for knowledge to integrate into the way we operate and contribute to the flow of who we are and what we create, we have to need to know, the way gifted kids who become engineers latch onto math, or those who become musicians need to listen. We are meant to latch onto knowledge of Christ because of who we are meant to become, not so we can pass a test.

Lord, let what I know about You be only the beginning of knowing You.

Let it go

May 21st, 2015 by Maureen

When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought joy to my soul. Ps. 94:19

Ever held a ball underwater? Let it go and it comes shooting out from under water, sometimes soaring above the surface before it splash lands and floats.  Sometimes life’s pressures make it feel like we’re being held underwater. Stress points can be uncertainty, fear, over-commitment, time crunch, strained relationships, sickness, or fear. Sometime we need to let go, shift perspectives, and enjoy His love for us, remember His goodwill towards us, and experience with Him the joy that surrounds Him all the time.

Lord, when I am under pressure help me let go of my stressors and hold onto You instead.

Always more

May 19th, 2015 by Maureen

He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we ask or think according to the power that is working in us. Eph. 3:20

The more we seek to define exactly what God will and will not do, the more we limit our expectations of God and our own participation in His work. The point of seeking Him and studying His word is not to create definitions and parameters for belief, but to discover the exceeding abundance and power that is God beyond our thoughts or desires. The point of deepening faith is that God will always be and do more than we think.

Lord, empower me to receive and respond to aspects of Who You Are beyond the limits of my current understanding.

 

Looking at a bigger picture

May 18th, 2015 by Maureen

I meditate on all Your work and muse on Your deeds. Ps. 77:12

When we fill our minds with God and consider His incredible creative power to make the universe where we live, to make the stories we live, to make us our unique selves there is less room for destructive thoughts. Focusing on our deeds and abilities narrows the possibilities for our lives. Realizing how very big our Father is creates optimism and security that allows us to be open to options we never imagined for ourselves.

Lord, help me to let go of the limits I place on myself because of what I think I can do and embrace all that You can do instead.

If Jesus repaid evil with grace – can we?

May 17th, 2015 by Maureen

Do not repay one evil with another evil. Give careful thought to what is good in the sight of all people. Rom. 12:17

Payback, vengeance, retribution, punishment, karma, whatever we choose to call it – many interpret “justice” as seeing someone who has caused harm “get what’s coming.” Some prefer restorative justice, rehabilitation, or penance – a way for the person who has done harm to earn back good status through changed behaviors and conformity to what the culture deems “good.” Either way we are expected to pay for the evil we do. Disputes may arise over whether the payment imposed is enough, too much, or truly just. Jesus throws out every other paradigm of justice in favor of grace – unearned forgiveness and total restoration. He transforms us so that we are no longer sinners continually requiring retribution but children continually receiving grace.

Lord, I want to learn to repay evil with grace instead of more evil; help me remember that when I’m really mad.

May 17th, 2015 by Maureen

Do not repay one evil with another evil. Give careful thought to what is good in the sight of all people. Rom. 12:17

Payback, vengeance, retribution, punishment, justice, karma, whatever we choose to call it – many cultures interpret “justice” as seeing someone who has caused harm “get what’s coming.” There are cultures that practice some form of restorative justice, rehabilitation, or penance – a way for the person who has done harm to earn back status through changed behaviors and conformity to what the culture deems “good.” Either way we have to pay for the evil we do and perhaps dispute over whether the payment is enough, too much, or truly just. Jesus throws out every other paradigm of justice in favor of grace. He transforms us so that we are no longer sinners continually requiring retribution but children continually receiving grace.

Lord, thank You for transforming grace.

Personally universal, universally personal

May 16th, 2015 by Maureen

Not one of sparrow falls on the ground without your Father knowing; the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Matt. 10:29-30

“God is love,” “God so loved the world…” The implication is a sort of universal benevolence, a love directed toward all. But love, by its very nature, is more than a universal concept. Love is personal. The fall of an individual sparrow is specific. God loves the world but He also loves each one of us on the planet specifically. I like sitting toward the back of church so that I can see the backs of people’s heads. I imagine the Father counting hairs the way loving parents count baby toes and fingers. I imagine His specific concern about what’s going on in each one of those heads and His specific delight in each individual.

Lord, I bask in Your universal and personal love.

I think I can, I think I can

May 15th, 2015 by Maureen

Come to me all who labor and are heavily burdened and I will give you rest. Matt.11:28

Sometimes we are crazy busy with the emphasis on crazy. There never seems to be enough time and yet the work seems to stretch on forever and weigh a ton and a half. God knows. He offers rest, strength, and perspective when we are exhausted, weak, and out of patience. We can do whatever it is we have to do because the God who loves us never runs out of power, energy, or grace.

Thank you for the rest and the renewed motivation!

Pressure’s off

May 12th, 2015 by Maureen

Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.1 Cor. 15:59

We can put so much pressure on ourselves to “do God’s work.” We second guess ourselves when things don’t work out the way we expect. Was it all in vain? Did we fail God in some way? Could our poor performance cost human souls? Is God displeased with us? This places a lot of misplaced power and pressure on our human performance. Christ has already done the big Work and sent His Holy Spirit to convict, convince, and reveal Himself to those who have not yet recognized what He has done for them. He is responsible for the work and the results. Our work is simply joyful response to what He has already done for us and in us.

Lord, help me to be less results-oriented and more trust- and joy- oriented in the work I do because of You.

Mother’s Day when mothers are a mess

May 10th, 2015 by Maureen

As a mother comforts her child, so I’ll comfort you. Is. 66:13

Mother’s Day might be all pink roses and teacups for some people, but it can be painful for those who feel that they missed out on the tender, comforting, safe and accepting love usually associated with mothers. Some of us had messy mothers or have been messy mothers. Mother’s Day might even arouse resentment, disappointment, or guilt. Whatever our “mommy issues,” God can transform our relationships, our memories, and our perceptions about our mothers and ourselves. He loves us and no matter how we think we’ve been failed or how we think we’ve failed, He can heal and restore the years the locusts have eaten. God longs to gather us under His wings like a mother hen to love, comfort, and restore us, our mothers, and our children. It doesn’t matter who failed because He hasn’t.

Thank You God for being there with the messy mother I had and the messy mother I’ve been.

Keepsake necklace

May 6th, 2015 by Maureen

Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Prov. 3:3

It’s not easy to remain loyal and kind. People do or say thoughtless or unkind things that hurt us or hurt those we love. We will disappoint one another. We will disagree. We go into relationships with others knowing that. Loyalty and kindness often require a deliberate, conscious decision. We can choose to feel the weight of love tied around our necks and to trace the letters of each name written on our hearts.

Lord, tie a good knot on this necklace. I never want to take it off.

Prudent planning or pessimistic paranoia

May 4th, 2015 by Maureen

A prudent person sees trouble coming and ducks. The simple person walks in blindly and gets clobbered. Prov. 22:3

We shouldn’t skip through life without caution but if we refuse to ever skip without orthopedic shoes and umbrellas we get clobbered by fear. If we focus too long on all the things that might go wrong, those possibilities start to feel like probabilities, or even inevitabilities. Fear can turn prudent planning into pessimistic paranoia. Planning is supposed to help us feel more free and joyful, not less.

Lord, I don’t want to get clobbered by fear any more than I want to get clobbered by imprudence.