Archive for October, 2015

Christ’s coup over kingdoms of fear

October 31st, 2015 by Maureen

Fear not, little flock because it gives the Father delight to didomi (give, appoint, bestow) to you the basileia (kingdom, reign, royal power, dominion, rule.) Luke 12:32

Rulers of the kingdom of fear oppress, manipulate and dominate using fear and shame. Jesus’ redemptive victory at the cross was a coup that replaced the kingdoms of fear that the religious rulers administered to their advantage and that the Enemy twisted to his own purposes. Clinging to these defeated kingdoms, its former rulers would keep us feeling like powerless serfs and worthless rabble scrambling to earn favor and dominated by fear. Knowing Whose we are now should render us fearless in the knowledge of what we are now and where we live now. God’s kingdom restores and elevates its inhabitants to fearless, empowered citizens and beloved, endowed children who can bask in our Father’s delight.

Lord, I delight in Your perfect love that casts out all fear.

 

Jesus lifted the curse of the mummy

October 30th, 2015 by Maureen

Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”  The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” John 11:43-44

Jesus made Lazarus’ friends participants in his restoration by asking them to help free him from his grave clothes. Jesus has raised each and every one of us from the dead. Like Lazarus we may need a little help getting free from the grave clothes of the past.

Lord, help me loosen another’s grave clothes, and thanks for sending friends to loosen mine.

When things get dark and scary

October 29th, 2015 by Maureen

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Eph. 6:12

Hate, anger, greed, prejudice, selfishness, etc. is scary stuff, but people who have become ensnared in these behaviors are not the enemy. The true Enemy wants us to think these people are not salvageable. The true Enemy wants us to reject and dismiss or to attack and punish those he has deceived. Love shoots holes in the darkness. The best way to fight evil is to love others and to be good to them. Love and grace are the strongest substances in the spiritual universe. They are Kryptonite to the Enemy.

Lord, help me to reflect Your light when things get dark and stormy.

Thankful

October 28th, 2015 by Maureen

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Col. 3:15

Peace and thanksgiving create a positive attitude cycle. The more we find to be thankful about the more at peace we become. The more peaceful we are the easier it is to find reasons to be thankful and seek common ground with those around us. On a personal note, I am thankful for my beautiful, healthy granddaughter Avery who joined the world yesterday.

Lord, thank you for every blessing. Help me remember to stay thankful and share my thankfulness with those around me.

Looking for a kingdom

October 26th, 2015 by Maureen

Nor will they say “Look! Here it is! or “There it is!” for behold, the kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:21

If we are to seek first the kingdom it’s not a matter of searching for the kingdom as it is seeing the kingdom that is already here. It is the forcibly advanced revolution of the cross. It is the inheritance of poor spirits and little children. It is the not yet hope of heaven and the already present home of Christ on earth and the vision of the Father from the foundation of the world. We have only to look in our own hearts, in the love of our brothers and sisters, and in the manifestations by His Spirit of grace all around us to see His kingdom. It’s not a question of looking really hard for it but of opening our eyes a little wider when we look in the mirror.

Lord, I thank You for citizenship in Your amazing kingdom.

Are faith and trust the same?

October 25th, 2015 by Maureen

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. 1 Jn. 4:16

Are faith and trust the same thing? Or does faith lead to trust? What is it that sometimes clouds our prayers with reservations and concerns? What we believe to be true (faith) about God’s attitude towards us, about His power, and about the extent of His involvement in our day-to-day lives has a lot to do with what we expect from Him. Those perceptions, in turn, determine how confident and safe we feel (trust) about those day-to-day circumstances and about how much our responses to them matter to Him. It’s difficult to trust a God that we don’t think is concerned about how much we hurt.

Lord I know Your plans for me involve abundance from You and reliance on You. Help me let go of doubt and fear.

What is trust?

October 24th, 2015 by Maureen

I will say to the Eternal, “My shelter, my mighty fortress, my God, I place all my trust in You!” Ps. 91:2 (Voice)

Is trust a decision? Is it a discipline? Is it a surrender? Is it a gift of the Holy Spirit? Is it a personality or character trait? Is it measurable? We don’t have to settle on answers to these questions in order to trust God any more than we have to be be able to explain the science behind weather in order to experience rain. Nor can understanding weather prevent it. Sometimes feeling the need to explain something or to actively affect something is just another way of feeding the need to control it. Trust is an experience in a relationship not an exercise to master.

Lord, I am so glad that You love me and that You have me yoked to You. I don’t have to see or do anything else.

 

Take this sinking boat

October 22nd, 2015 by Maureen

Jesus said, “Come to me,” so Peter got out of the boat and walked toward Jesus on the water. When Peter noticed the wind he began to sink… read Matt. 14:22-33 for the whole story

Trusting Christ results in amazing experiences.  If we think about the surrounding circumstances, we’re sunk. If we think about our own resources and competencies we’re sunk. Knowing that something as ephemeral as faith and trust is what holds us up should not keep us in the boat though.  Eventually any boat we build to keep ourselves safely afloat – our best human shots at security – relational, financial, emotional, scientific, philosophical, theological security – are going to develop a holes. Besides Jesus didn’t send us out here to stay in the boat. Keeping our attention on Jesus is the only way to walk on water.

Jesus you are the solid rock, the way, the truth, the author and finisher of my faith.

Back to the Future

October 21st, 2015 by Maureen

Before you were formed in the womb, God knew you. (Jer. 1:5) He loved you and was crucified for you before you ever knew or loved Him (Rom. 5:8 )before the foundation of the world. (Rev. 8:11)

God is not only everywhere we go, He’s also everywhen. God has been to our past, present, and future – it might be all one to Him, who really knows. The cross is basically Jesus’ “Back to the Future.” This is the moment on earth, eternally existing for Him,  that changed, reconciled, and redeemed everything for each one of us personally.

Lord, You are too big for me to wrap my head around but I rejoice in Your massive, eternal love and grace. Thank you for always being with me everywhere and everywhen.

Keep Christians weird

October 20th, 2015 by Maureen

God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. I Cor. 12:6

It makes sense that an infinite God with infinite resources and infinite creativity might not do the same thing the same way in every individual’s life. Just because Christ is recognizable in the life of each believer, He might not necessarily be predictable. Enjoy the unexpected in one another.

Thank you Lord for all these unique people around me.

Stop paddling and float

October 19th, 2015 by Maureen

You show me the way of life, in Your presence is fullness of joy, and at you right hand are pleasures forever. Ps. 16:11

Awareness of God’s love and grace is more like something we float in than something we master. We make relationship with the Father harder than it has to be. Awareness of Him is not meant to bring us shame, suffering, fear or obligation. It’s not meant to incite a flurry of rules following or self-improvement activities. He wants us to experience pleasure and joy in Him, with Him, for Him, because of Him in our real lives that we are living right. Eternity is now too.

Lord, keep showing me the way of awareness and abundance.

There is no cosmic revolving door

October 17th, 2015 by Maureen

I am with you always – Jesus. Matt. 28:20

We have a tendency to associate His presence with our behavior, our attitudes, or our circumstances. There is no cosmic revolving door so God can duck in and out of our lives depending on who we think we are or how we think we are doing. The cross was and is a permanent fix. For Jesus “I am with You always” is the like the Father saying “I am that I am.” It is an eternal present tense, a state of being, the way it is.

Lord, help me remain fully aware of and responsive to Your presence with me always.

Transparency and grace

October 16th, 2015 by Maureen

If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light. Luke 11:35-36

Light passes right through transparent objects. Transparency eliminates darkness, tears down walls, and leaves us with nowhere to hide. Transparency  outside an atmosphere of grace can be a little scary. Grace assures us that we don’t have to hide. Transparency is a commitment to letting others see what Christ is doing in us, with us, through us, around us, and occasionally in spite of us. Grace celebrates glimpses of Christ in others and recognizes light shining in the darkness.

Lord, help me to be more transparent.

Looking for some clarity

October 15th, 2015 by Maureen

Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted. Titus 1:15

Perspective is a huge part of how we process what we encounter on life’s journey. Our own particular set of disappointments, prejudices and temptations gunk up the filter on our reactions and attitudes. Jesus replaces the filter on our hearts so that we are free to process life fearlessly, joyfully and wisely.

Jesus, give me a pure heart and a clear vision. Help me see You, myself, and others the way You do.

Christ has already tipped the universe

October 14th, 2015 by Maureen

This is my command: Love each other. Jn 5:17

The love of God is the tipping point that changed everything. We experience the universe-altering redemption of Jesus one soul at a time. His love is the glue that makes the truth we speak to one another stick. His love restores relationships, reconciles families, and heals communities. Change is a result of loving Him and being loved by Him. Attempting change by any other means and we are trying to tip something he’s already upended.

Lord, let other experience You when I show them love.

Most people aren’t looking for a fight

October 13th, 2015 by Maureen

If possible, as far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people. Rom. 12:18

We can’t control what other people say or do but we can control how we respond. We can’t always understand where other people are coming from but we can extend the benefit of the doubt as to motive and reasoning. When appropriate we can ask questions and listen to and consider the answers. We can’t force peace upon those who want a fight, but most people respond to love and acceptance in kind.

Lord, help me tap into Your love and grace so that I can be at peace and encourage peace when conflicts arise.

 

 

Treat people like you love them

October 11th, 2015 by Maureen

A new command I give you: just as I have loved you, you also must love one another. Jn. 13:34

Jesus loved sacrificially, giving His life out of love and putting people before convenience while He lived here. He loved compassionately, meeting needs for healing, provision, and deliverance. He loved inclusively, inviting awkward, messy people to hang out. He loved joyfully, surprising His friends with random water-walking experiences and impromptu fish fries. He loved unconditionally, forgiving people who did Him harm. Our lives are full of opportunities to love. Sometimes we feel it and respond right away to someone. In other cases the emotions may follow the mindset. Sometimes just treating people like you love them ignites the flame of love within.

Lord help me love sacrificially, compassionately, inclusively, joyfully, and unconditionally.

Random thoughts about Paul

October 10th, 2015 by Maureen

My words were not delivered with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of Spirit and of power, so your faith would not be based on the wisdom of men but on the power of God. I Cor. 2:4-5

Ever consider the fact that Paul didn’t have the New Testament to preach from? When he spoke to Gentiles he was speaking to a group of people who didn’t consider the Old Testament sacred. So Paul, whose words are now revered as immutably sacred, responded to the people and situations he encountered with letters and sermons based on truth God’s Holy Spirit revealed to him. I wonder what he would think about his letters being used as law thousands of years later.

Holy Spirit, lead me into all truth.

Last minute adjustments

October 9th, 2015 by Maureen

Jesus said, “Come away to some deserted place and rest awhile.” Mark 6:31

Earlier in Mark 6 Jesus sends the disciples out without Him. In vs. 31 they just get back together and everybody is tired and little stressed. Then, before Jesus and the disciples can get in the boat a bunch of people show up. Jesus realizes that they need to hear from Him and gets back out of the boat to minister to them. Right after this is the part about the loaves and fishes. Then they finally get some rest. Plans get interrupted for very valid reasons. It can be disappointing, but if we roll with it cool things can happen.

Lord, my plans are yours to adjust. Help me remember I said that when things go awry.

 

It’s not easy being fleecy.

October 7th, 2015 by Maureen

A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. Jn. 10:12

Jesus saw lost humanity as sheep led by hired hands, without a genuine shepherd (Matt. 6:37). He came and called Himself the good Shepherd. (Jn. 10:4) He said that the sheep would know His voice (Jn. 10:27) and if any of the sheep got lost He would go and find them (Matt. 18:13) and if the wolf attacks He would defend the sheep. (Jn. 10:12) It is with this knowledge that He sends His sheep among wolves telling us to be smart and be kind. (Matt. 10:16) It is as His beloved, confident beloved children that He sends us out. We need not fear the wolves and we need not become sheeple following a hired hand because we are His.

Lord, You making following You so comforting and reassuring.