Archive for June, 2016

Every little thing’s gonna be alright

June 28th, 2016 by Maureen

Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:17-18

God is with us through every single thing we face. God wants to be our source for provision, comfort, healing, guidance, solutions, and inspiration. Prayer and thanksgiving are platforms for awareness that God is all that to us. We also gain better perspective on whatever we’re facing when we acknowledge all the good things that we do have and shift our focus toward God and others. And changing perspective shrinks big things into little things.

Lord, thanks for the help – I can’t make it without you.

Evidently true

June 27th, 2016 by Maureen

But if I do his work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father. Jn. 10:38

Jesus understood that His life presented unique evidence to support his message. His responses to the needs and pain of those around Him changed the way they interpreted God and themselves. Ultimately His death and resurrection reinterpreted humankind’s relationship with God. For many people life’s experiences support a cynical, depressed interpretation in which the evidence suggests God, if He’s there, doesn’t care and that human lives are insignificant. The choice to love others, to provide help and support, and to show kindness and respect presents an alternative way of interpreting the world. We participate in Christ’s miraculous works through every piece of evidence for grace and hope that He communicates to others through us.

Lord, use my life to present evidence of your love and grace.

How can we be in His house when we are His house?

June 26th, 2016 by Maureen

Lord made the heavens! Honor and majesty surround him; strength and joy fill his dwelling. I Chronicles 16:26b-27 Christ makes His home in our hearts. Eph. 3:17

That we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever yet God makes His home in our hearts right now is a spiritual paradox. We don’t fully understand how that works, and we don’t have to understand it to enjoy it. Our whole existence is permeated with the constant presence of the amazing and awesome God. The more aware we are of God dwelling in us and we in Him, the more frequently we experience moments of full joy and captivating wonder, astounding insight and breathtaking love.

Lord, thank you for making me part of all You inhabit.

Getting to know you

June 25th, 2016 by Maureen

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. 2 Cor. 5:16a

Humans have a tendency to make assumptions about one another based on appearance, income, zip code, and other superficial qualities. Sometimes we assign whole stories to people we barely know just because we discover something about their pasts. The best way to really enjoy and appreciate another person is to listen without filling in blanks that are based on our own perceptions and experiences rather than their self-revelation. Jesus responded to each unique individual with genuine interest and love…and still does. We can choose to hear and value one another in the same way.

Lord, help me to listen better and love sincerely.

Feed the hangry

June 24th, 2016 by Maureen

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov 15:1

Every day comes with irritants. We can choose to be annoyed, offended, and reactive, or we can find perspective and grace. Most people don’t get up in the morning and decide to be annoying. Many of them are just spiritually hangry* for love, peace, acceptance, etc. Grace for others taps us into the deep love God has for each of us. Our kind, gracious, loving responses nourish their spirits with the fruit of God’s Spirit.

Lord, help me to be gracious even when other people aren’t.

*Hangry-When you are so hungry that your lack of food causes you to become angry, frustrated or both. – Urban Dictionary

Nothing to earn, nothing to prove

June 23rd, 2016 by Maureen

Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. Col. 1:22

Reconciliation is the process of making conflicting things compatible. Our efforts at compatibility with God usually involve changing how we define God’s nature or instituting some way to measure ourselves on a sin to righteousness scale. Though we have 1500 years of living under the law to prove that our own efforts at reconciliation will fail miserably, we keep trying to make law work. Christ’s work of reconciliation leaves us with nothing to earn, prove, or defend because the cross is sufficient. Through no effort of our own we really are good enough to be compatible with God. And not only that, to be His own children, too!

Lord, thank you for reconciling me to You.

You-nique

June 22nd, 2016 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. The way Christ manifests Himself in each of us is different and sometimes unpredictable. We shouldn’t expect others to be clones of ourselves. We can learn the most from the people who have a different perspective from our own. Enjoy the unexpected in one another.

Thank you Lord for all these unique people around me.

Sometimes you just have to rip off the band-aid

June 21st, 2016 by Maureen

How often I have wanted to gather you children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. Matt 23:37b

We all have our own emotional band-aids which may make us feel better temporarily, but are actually counter-productive to real healing. Covering the sore spot protects it the way our emotional band-aids offer temporary protection when we feel vulnerable and hurt. We sometimes resist the very things that would ultimately bring about healing because letting go of the things we’ve been using to cover the pain feels like ripping off a band-aid. Often healing the sore spot requires exposing it, examining it, treating it, and releasing it. God made our emotions and His kind and gentle love and wisdom can lead us to real emotional health and healing. He may immediately heal us or He may lead us to experiences and people who He can use to help us. Then don’t need the band-aids anymore.

Lord, show me how to accept your healing, help and protection when all I want is band-aids.

Don’t be a settler

June 20th, 2016 by Maureen

Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts. I Jn. 5:21

Sometimes not settling means letting go, or re-prioritizing stuff we really love. Some of this stuff can cause us cause us to hurt ourselves or other people. We may feel the need to close our hearts and minds to God in order to shut out the dissonance these desires create within us. Stuff like this obviously isn’t good for us. But some stuff we really love may seem to be healthy, profitable, even noble, yet throwing all our attention and efforts there still leaves us feeling vaguely naggingly unfulfilled. We were made for more than any of this stuff can offer us, yet we find ourselves oddly grasping for more of the same because it provides us with familiar, if temporary satisfaction. God wants to fill our hearts, minds, and lives with His eternally satisfying abundance. We need not settle for anything less than the love, joy, peace, purpose and identity that God wants to give us.

Lord, my heart is all Yours.

Change is the ultimate trust fall

June 19th, 2016 by Maureen

Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds. Matt 6:26 (Message)

Change can feel like all the ground has come out from underneath because there is no predictable future to step into. Because God is so big and cares so much about each one of us, we really can be careless in his care. “What’s next” is where it’s always been: in God’s hands. We don’t know where change will take us, things might not go we envision them, we might hit storms, we might make unplanned stops, but God really does have us, we just have to spread our wings and fly.

Lord, when I can’t feel the ground underneath me, help me to fly.

You can’t measure infinite

June 18th, 2016 by Maureen

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. Eph 3:18

Only God’s infinite arms are big enough to stretch out to say “I love you this much.” Humans like to quantify, so we establish rubrics in which we perceive that certain behaviors can earn certain people more of God’s love. Humans like to categorize, so we assume that in order for us to be chosen, there have to be a “them” category made up of people God doesn’t love. When we try to fit God’s love into some human metric the answer is always “infinite.” We can put away our rulers, He loves us…them.

Lord, thanks for Your love. Help me understand it more.

What if Jesus parables were about you?

June 17th, 2016 by Maureen

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Col. 3:16a

Sometimes Jesus put his messages in parables. Some of those are in Mattt. 13 and Luke 15. What if they were about you? You are the treasure He gave all to attain. You are the sheep He left everything to find. He left everything behind and turned heaven and earth upside down to find you. You are His beloved child. He runs to greet you with open arms and celebrates your homecoming with a feast. The message of Christ is that He loves you, that you matter to Him, that your value to Him is beyond riches. Let that rich message sink in and fill your life.

Lord, I am overwhelmed by your messages of love for me.

A mind blown is a mind changed

June 16th, 2016 by Maureen

So, then, if with Christ you’ve put all that pretentious and infantile religion behind you, why do you let yourselves be bullied by it? Col. 2:20 (Message)

Christian communities may exert pressure on members to conform to whatever formula for Christian growth is trending in that particular group at that particular time. It’s when we throw down gauntlet and demand agreement and compliance that we create static, legalistic environments that discourage change. Authentic experiences that tap us into the mind of Christ are likely to challenge some of our paradigms and cause of to change some of our ideas. And our varying experiences with an infinite God might possibly create some dissonance in how we interpret what to do with what we’ve experienced. God blows our individual minds over different things and sometimes those experiences are specific to us and we shouldn’t expect or demand that other people experience God in exactly the same way. We are each where we are right now. We can trust the transformative power of the cross and the revealing power of the Spirit as sufficient agents of change for all of us.

Lord, thank you for helping me to experience the mind of Christ even if it means changing mine.

Free citizen of the state of grace

June 15th, 2016 by Maureen

Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Ps. 32: 5

Christ has created a state of pristine grace where we experience cleansing forgiveness and freedom to be who He has redeemed us to be. We pollute the environment of grace when we inflict guilt on ourselves and on one another. Free citizens of the state of grace are not supposed to be predators or chameleons but these mutations occur in us when fear and guilt corrupt our environment.

Show me how to contribute to an environment of grace.

God’s tent

June 14th, 2016 by Maureen

You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering yourself with light as a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent. Ps. 104:2

Nature is a beautiful tent. Sunshine, rain, starry skies, forests, mountains, fields, flowers, creatures, seas, lakes, and rivers all offer beauty to appreciate. God is in the pulse of each day, and we experience the rhythm of His pulse in the sights and sounds and breath of His creation. He spread out this tent today. Dance under it.

Father, I love You and appreciate Your beautiful handiwork. Dance with me under the tent.

Delighted, I’m sure

June 13th, 2016 by Maureen

For the Lord delights in his people; he crowns the humble with victory. Let the faithful rejoice that he honors them. Let them sing for joy as they lie on their beds. Ps. 149:4-5

Waking up singing is a great feeling. The Creator, God of the Universe experiences delight because He made us and He loves us. He want to He pour His joy right back into us so that we are delighted too. The more we are aware of His love for us and delight in us, the more we are able to become who He made us to be, and the less our frustrations, mistakes, and desires define us.

Lord, help me be more aware of Your delight and of all the ways You make my life delightful.

Vision. check. Now what?

June 12th, 2016 by Maureen

Where there is no vision, the people perish. Prov. 29:18a (KJV)

Visionaries are concerned with communicating vision and inspiring others to embrace it. As soon as we have a grasp on the vision our tendency is to start trying to manage it, organizing tasks, developing processes, measuring compliance and effectiveness, and generally getting the job done. Instead of trying to manage vision in order to speed up its effects or make it a practice, we need to simply experience the vision as a present reality rather than a future accomplishment. It is from the completeness of Christ’s vision of us, for us, that we can figure out next steps.

Lord, thank you for the vision of the reality of our authenticity, grace, and community in You.

Quantum grace requires no explanation

June 10th, 2016 by Maureen

For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. Col. 1:20

Quantum theory attempts to explain the behavior of sub-atomic particles, waves, and energies, and addresses problems of time and space, all of which cannot be fully reconciled to the classical laws of physics. Jesus introduced a quantum-level reconciliation that shook up the practical laws and consequences humans believed were the boundaries of their understanding of God and relationship to Him. Through Christ, the fullness – all God is – reconciled all that exists everywhere and at all times to Himself. It’s mind-blowing.

Lord, I don’t fully understand how it all works but I want to live my life in Your peace and reconciliation.

Fear? There’s no fear in love!

June 10th, 2016 by Maureen

There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out all fear. I Jn. 4:18

Imagine Jesus saying “There is no fear in love” in the same incredulous tone that Tom Hanks says “There is no crying in baseball,” in A League of Their Own. The power of His love makes fearlessness it not only possible, but reasonable. If we know and feel that we are deeply, personally, unconditionally loved by the most powerful force in the universe who has nothing but goodwill toward us, is it possible to stop being afraid? Is part of our fear concern that God won’t address the problem the way we want it addressed? God reveals Himself as love incarnate, establishes His covenant of grace through Christ, and proclaims us eternally reconciled to Him. As powerful and legitimate as many of our fears may seem, no fear can reasonably stand up to that.

Lord, help me to be so aware of Your love for me and for others that my fear disappears; and help me trust You when I’m afraid Your solution will be different from mine.

God calls shenanigans on identity theft

June 9th, 2016 by Maureen

You have not received a spirit of bondage to fear but of adoption as children so you can call out to Him, “Daddy!” Rom. 8:15

Every single one of us is beloved and valuable and adopted. We are God’s wanted children. We sometimes identify ourselves by our fears and guilt, by our past wounds and scarred psyches, by our flawed desires and addictions, by our imperfections and inadequacies. These things define us in our own eyes and are reinforced by the Accuser, who comes to lie, steal, and destroy, who wants us to see ourselves as damaged goods and outsiders, and who offers us unhealthy, destructive response patterns that entrench us in these false identities. God calls shenanigans on all this, saying to the identity Thief  “not who they are, not who I made them.” Our loving Father already identifies us with Christ. As His children. He offers us the authenticity, freedom, and abundance that comes with discovering who we already are.

Daddy, when I forget who I am, help me remember.