Archive for March, 2017

Good morning, beauty

March 30th, 2017 by Maureen

Consider the lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet Solomon in all his glory was never arrayed like one of these. Luke 12:27

God made the lilies beautiful and fragrant and suited for their environment. Lilies do not strive to be lilies, they simply are. And God enjoys in them. We put so much unnecessary toiling and spinning upon ourselves as if we can make ourselves lilies or somehow attain greater “lilyship.” Jesus goes on to say “If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, how much more will He clothe you?” We are beautifully arrayed in God’s great love and grace. That is what makes us His pleasure, His joy, His children.

Lord, help me to be more aware of who I am, made by You and not so focused on what I am trying to make myself.

You can’t out-care God

March 26th, 2017 by Maureen

I continue to be confident of this very thing, He who did begin a good work in you, will perform [it] until a day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this about you all, since I have you in the heart. Phil. 1:6-7

Unfortunately sometimes we mistake worry for caring. When we love someone we wish them well and respond to them with good. We can trust that God’s goodwill is even greater than our own. We can trust the place each of us has in the heart of God. We can trust the adequacy of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ in our own lives and in the lives of those we live. God is always performing good, even when we don’t see it. The realization of Christ’s redemptive work in our lives and in the lives of those we love can give us confidence instead of worry.

Lord, deepen my realization of Your transforming love for me and for those I have in my heart.

Deep dive revelation

March 26th, 2017 by Maureen

Eye has not seen, hear has not heard, nor the heart of man ever imagined, what God did prepare for those loving Him –but to us did God reveal this through His Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God… 1 Cor. 2:9-10

God is like a vast ocean that is our home. We already dwell in Him but we tend toward the shallow shore where the facts float on the surface, where studies, processes, and programs are as predictable as tides, and we can understand and explain our beliefs about Him. Sometimes, though, in our searching moments of reflection and wonder God’s Spirit takes us on a deep dive past our own senses and imaginations. God has prepared vast and deep experiences in Himself for us to explore His love, to adventure in His truth, and to see and hear His beauty.

Lord, reveal more of Your depths to me.

Weakness is not a deal breaker

March 22nd, 2017 by Maureen

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is fulfilled in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 2 Cor. 12:8-9

Nobody has a perfect life and nobody executes life perfectly. Everybody is dealing with something. Sometimes God uses His power to remove our weaknesses. Sometimes He empowers us to overcome our weaknesses. Sometimes He empowers us to accomplish things in spite of our weaknesses. Sometimes He empowers us to live in His love, grace, and peace in the shadow of our weakness and to accept the ways our weaknesses change our lives. The weaknesses we see in others and in ourselves is no indicator of the power of God working in our lives.

Lord, thank You that the power of Christ dwells in me.

Entering the cave of wonders

March 21st, 2017 by Maureen

I don’t concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp. Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself… Ps. 131:1b-2a

It’s more likely that we are too bogged down in the mundane to enter God’s great and awesome cave of wonders. It’s actually good to be curious, to ask questions, and to have a healthy sense of wonder. God invites us into matters greater and more awesome than we’ve ever thought to explore. We can, however, make our desire to understand, to explain, or to control completely distract and disturb us to the point of obsession. It’s not that pursuing great and awesome ideas is going to automatically create turmoil, it’s that the vast height, width, length, and depth of God’s love is the wonder that informs how we process all the other wonders.

Lord, help me to process all wonders in the joyful context of Your calming love.

A perspective on waiting

March 18th, 2017 by Maureen

Cause me to tread in Your truth, and teach me, because you are my God, my salvation. I have waited all day near You. – Ps. 25:5

Sometimes we have to sit around and wait. Sometimes we have to walk through some sketchy terrain with no end in sight. Sometimes we have to wait without understanding or being able to change anything. Sometimes it seems like things around us are going to pieces while we wait. Sometimes we feel like we are going to pieces. No matter how we perceive the wait, God is still our salvation and He is always near us; in fact, He is closer than near. He is always with us, in us, and for us; and we are always in Him. This is a truth we can walk on when we are having to wait out a bad patch or a delay in moving on to something good.

Lord, help me experience Your nearness and with-ness as I walk and as I wait in You.

And now, a few words from St. Paddy

March 17th, 2017 by Maureen

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

Free access pass

March 16th, 2017 by Maureen

…according to the purpose of the ages, which He [God] made in Christ our Lord. in whom we have the freedom and the access in confidence through faith in Him.  Eph. 3:11-12

God’s purpose is and has always has been to be an accessible and loving Father to us humans. The things we perceive as barriers between us and God: guilt, unworthiness, doubt, fear, failure, selfishness, and  everything else that we see as creating a chasm is eliminated by Christ and through Christ for the purpose of reconciliation with the Father. Legalism illuminates the perceived barriers. Religion creates an endless cycle of failure, guilt, and payment. In fact, it served the best interests of the Pharisees and other religious legalists – then and through the ages – to preserve the concept of the barrier because having people believe the barrier persists preserves their mission, purpose, power, and income. Freedom allows us to recognize that the barrier is no longer there, that we are no longer bound to the problems of guilt, fear, unworthiness, etc. that the law seemed to solve for us. We are no longer obligated to get a pass from the religious gatekeepers. We are free to access everything that comes with relationship and reconciliation with the Father.

Lord, help me to live a life that is as free as You’ve made me.

Go native

March 10th, 2017 by Maureen

May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Matt. 6:10

Jesus came to make us citizens of a kingdom that already exists in His loving unity with the Father and Spirit. His will isn’t that we pass a citizenship test for the kingdom of God based on dogma, but that we experience a transformative reconciliation to God in our spirits enacted by His grace. Our actions, attitudes, and choices as kingdom citizens are reflect our spiritual transformation not our commitment to behavioral modification or continuous improvement.

Lord, may Your Kingdom be as real in my spirit and life as it is in Yours.

The sky’s not even the limit

March 9th, 2017 by Maureen

And I have put my words in your mouth and hidden you safely in my hand. I stretched out the sky like a canopy and laid the foundations of the earth. Is. 15:16

The one who stretched out this morning’s sky has each one of us hidden in His hand. He paints color and light into our uninspired lives. He speaks words that connect and illuminate so that our inadequate expressions express meaning and communicate beauty. He inspires love in us so that we can experience and reflect His nature.

Lord, carry my through this day under the canopy of Your beautiful and creative care.

Sustained

March 8th, 2017 by Maureen

The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. Heb. 1:3

If we have seen Jesus, we’ve seen the Father. God the Father, Jesus the Son, the Spirit of God, the force and energy of love that spoke worlds into being, the breath of life that made us living souls in the first place, sustains us now. This is the interactive Love that ignites and animates and powers our spirits with His own breath and character. If He sustains everything, He sustains each of us.

Lord, sometimes I forget how huge Your reach really is. My stuff is so small to You. Thank you for sustaining me when all that stuff seems big to me.

The song really is about you

March 7th, 2017 by Maureen

God rejoices over you with joy; give you rest in His love; He sings joyfully over you. Zeph. 3:17

God is a really great singer and His song is about you. The Creator, God of the Universe, our Father experiences delight because He made us and He loves us and He sings about us. Knowing that we are objects of God’s love and delight can give us confidence, rest and peace. We have nothing to prove, nothing to earn. Responding to that kind of love and delight is going to transform and restore us in ways all our white-knuckled striving and straining cannot.

Lord, show me Your delight and thanks for making my life delightful.

It’s beyond me

March 6th, 2017 by Maureen

What eye did not see, and ear did not hear, and what did not come up in the human heart – what God did prepare for those loving Him. 1 Cor. 2:9

Nobody expected Jesus’ story to play out the way it did. So many were unwilling to embrace the unexpected and inconceivable and insisted on sticking to the story they thought God would tell instead of the one He actually was telling. It’s possible that God may invite us into stories we could never have imagined. Entering those stories will always lead us to higher, wider, longer, and deeper experiences in God’s love for us.

Lord, help me to accept wonder as a viable option to my explanations and expectations. Take me beyond what I think I know and understand right now.

It really is okay

March 5th, 2017 by Maureen

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matt. 9:36

Processing and responding to all the things in life that confuse us and make us feel helpless might be too much to handle not because we’re weak or incompetent, but because we aren’t designed to handle things all on our own. God is God and we aren’t. We can trust Him and put our confidence in Him even if we still feel confused and helpless about the circumstances. He always has the big picture and always operates for our good.

Lord, I can’t even pretend to understand or have any control but I trust you to make it okay even if it doesn’t look very okay.

Grace environment

March 4th, 2017 by Maureen

And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you. 2 Cor. 9:14

The verses leading up to this one are about generosity and giving to those in need. Giving is only one of many manifestations of grace. The grace we show to others authenticates our understanding of Christ’s message of redemption and restoration and invites others into our own experiences as recipients and transmitters of God’s grace. Grace and generosity yield responses of affection and gratitude. This causes all of us to mutually dwell in the environment of God’s grace together in a tangible and experiential way.

Jesus, I love you and I love Your grace. Help me to communicate that to others.

Are you out of your mind? I hope I am

March 3rd, 2017 by Maureen

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! How vast is the sum of them. Ps. 139:17

Our vision is so often limited to the way that we are, locked into our own assumptions, backgrounds, limited knowledge and thinking patterns. We see ourselves and God from this limited place. What if in prayer and meditation we focused on God’s thoughts about us rather than on our thoughts about God? His love and grace, His wisdom and vision concerning each of us is so vast and yet so personal. We might just need to be out of our own minds to have the mind of Christ.

Lord, I want more of the mind of Christ in my vision, my thinking, and my responses. Help me see things from Your point of view.

Love, joy, peace

March 2nd, 2017 by Maureen

Be joyful. Grow in maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Cor. 13:11

The news about Christ that we carry around with us and in us is so good. The tone of the message cannot be separated from the content of God’s message of restoration and salvation. Love, joy and peace are inherent in motivation, delivery, and result.

Thank you, Lord, for speaking love, joy, peace, and encouragement to me and through me.