Archive for the ‘Colossians’ Category

Hopes and prayers for graduates

May 23rd, 2017 by Maureen

Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. Col. 1:9

This is the time of year that parents and teachers lead students to the launching pad called graduation and hope they are all ready to fly, intellectually, emotionally, practically, and spiritually. Some have developed deep relationship with the God who loves them. Some have yet to discover that He is at work in their lives. Some have been the objects of prayer from the time they were in the womb, and all of them have been the objects of God’s love and affection for their whole lives, whether they know it or not.  The joy and risk of launching them out is knowing that they will return home changed. And as they leave us we get to fill the space between us with prayers for all they will discover and become. We get to trust the God who loves them to have each of their journeys well in hand. We get to rejoice with them over the adventure ahead.

Lord, thank you so much for the hopes and dreams represented in these young lives.

Always growing

May 22nd, 2017 by Maureen

The Good news is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, just from the day you heard and understood the grace of God in truth,  it continues to bear fruit and grow in you. Col. 1:6

Do we spend too much time considering where we aren’t yet rather than rejoicing in where we are? Before a tree branch is filled with leaves there is a little nodule that looks like a little bump on the branch. It’s hard to imagine that leaves will spring from it. Before the nodule appears, the branch might even look dead, but growth is still happening inside that tree. Does the vision of where we think we should be in Christ obscure the beauty of where we are right now? Does God enjoy us throughout our journeys or only when we arrive?

Lord, thank you for the growth and fruit You are causing in each of us.

Greeky geek out about heaven

May 20th, 2017 by Maureen

Col. 1:4-5 says …for we have heard of your faith and Jesus Christ and the love you have for all the hagios (usually translated “saints” but also means holy, hallowed, pure, sanctified) because of the eplis (tr. hope. In Greek mythology Eplis is the personification of the spirit of hope, the only gift left for humankind in Pandora‘s box after she opens it.)  ho apokeimai (tr. laid up, reserved, stored) for you in ho ouranos (tr. heaven. Ouranos was the Greek god of the sky. Ouranos came to mean both the atmosphere, the regions we now call space, a physical place that is the seat of order of things eternal and perfect, and a spiritual realm. ) The article ho indicates singularity. This is a one-of-a-kind thing.

At the time Paul was writing and to the audience Paul was writing, the Colossians, the origins of these words and references would be abundantly clear. There is also causality in this statement. Faith and love are motivated by hope. The object of this hope seems to indicate that we can expect something we have not yet understood in a realm we have not yet experienced. That’s an exciting and comforting thought.

Thanks for the hope, Lord.

To unfriend or to bear with…that is the question?

February 9th, 2017 by Maureen

Bear with one another and forgive one another should anyone have a complaint against another. As the Lord graciously has forgiven you, so you must forgive. Col. 3:13

Loving people is more important than defending a position. As passionate and convinced we each are about our ideologies or positions, the people we disagree with feel exactly the same way. We can decide that our relationships are worth the investment it takes to hear one another out to choose to shelve some topics temporarily. Jesus came to earth when humans were are odds with His very nature because the foundation of His relationship with humanity is He loves us. Maybe we can choose to focus on the love that binds us together instead of the ideas that rip us apart. Maybe we can choose to live and love with the tension of disagreement.

Lord, help me to seek out and focus on the joyful connections and to bear with the conflict in my relationships.

My stake in the family biz

January 12th, 2017 by Maureen

For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality. Col. 2:17

If we continually see God in the roles of heavenly Maker-of-Rules, Cop, Judge, Executioner, or even Nag, we continue to define ourselves in the role of sinner and to relegate our responses to guilt, shame, self-loathing, and occasionally to grateful servant. Identifying as beloved children requires us to re-acclimate to what feels like unfamiliar territory. Though it seems too good to be true we get to authentically respond to a real Father, the Rescuer and Redeemer of Souls, Slayer of Sin and Death, Revealer of Truth, Lover of our Souls. We get to see ourselves as Christ has made us, beloved children and kingdom stakeholders, not mere worker bees or pawns, intimately involved in the Family business – and pleasure – of light and love.

Lord, let the distracting shadows that linger on me dissipate in Your light and love.

The wonders of Christmas 2

November 28th, 2016 by Maureen

“Once in our world a Stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.”  – C.S. Lewis

Continuing to contemplate just what that stable in Bethlehem contained:

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. Col. 1:17

How can this Baby who has yet to develop language and motor skills and who must be fed and diapered like every human baby, hold all things together? Perhaps this is part of the mystery of the Trinity. Perhaps this is part of the mystery of time and eternity, space and infinity. The incarnation of God lay in a manger and yet the world is still spinning. This is a wonder of Christmas

Lord, Your amazing love and Your amazing plan never stops amazing me.

*C.S. Lewis. The Last Battle. (The Chronicles of Narnia #7). 1956.

Deep roots of thankfulness

November 23rd, 2016 by Maureen

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Col. 2:7

Everybody rolls into Thanksgiving with specific disappointments and losses that need not be the “in spite of” or the “because of” factors in the giving of thanks. Thankfulness does not depend so much on what we have or don’t have or what happened or didn’t happen, as it does on how we recognize God’s love for us, how we value those around us, and what we consider essential to our peace and joy.

Lord, because of You my heart overflows with thankfulness.

Two ways to look at it: obligation or privilege

November 7th, 2016 by Maureen

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. Col. 3:16

The message of Christ is redemption, transformation, grace, joy, and freedom. His message is one of loving relationship with a Father who loves us, delights in us, and wants good for us. God invites us into lives that are not full of obligation and drudgery, but of privilege and wonder. We can choose to embrace this life, expect good, and give thanks for it. It’s a risk. The box of legalism and obligation is measurable and some what controllable.  Transforming freedom and grace doesn’t come with a box. What happens might not look the way we expect and we might have to let go of some pet perceptions written on the sides of our boxes. Worth the risk.

My heart is full of thanks for Who You are and all You do for me.

Quantum reconciliation

October 25th, 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 reconciled using 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. While legalists were using the law and the intellectuals were using philosophy and political forces were using might to calculate and manage the human condition, Christ introduced a quantum solution, 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 reconciled to Your peace and reconciliation.

Transcendent problem-solving

September 10th, 2016 by Maureen

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. Col. 3:1-2

So much of our problem-solving strategies involve identifying the factors influencing the problem, trying to figure out how to manipulate those factors, and possibly praying for divine intervention. What if we could access solutions that transcend our own resources, powers, and perspectives? What if time spent fully engaging with God as His resurrected, restored, and abundantly loved child could bring much more clarity and inspiration to the solution than all our research, mental focus, and even anguished praying over the problems themselves? As counter-intuitive as “forget about it” might seem, what if clearing our minds of the problems and shifting our focus to God could be the beginning of the solutions?

Lord, I release these earth-bound problems to You and set my thoughts and desires with You in a place that transcends the problems and even the solutions to them.

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.

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.

What to wear to a fight

June 7th, 2016 by Maureen

Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Forbear and forgive…and above all these things, love. Col. 3:12-14 Put on the whole armor of God to protect yourselves against the the schemes of the devil…truth, righteousness, preparation to proclaim the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, sword of the Spirit. Eph. 6:10-18

The Armor of God is to protect us from the only enemy we have, the evil one, not for shielding us from each other, and certainly not for attacking each other. God is love and everything He makes is made of that love. Sometimes we have to consciously remember to put on these love clothes. In life and in relationships, conflict happens. It may seem counter-intuitive to put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forbearance, and forgiveness in conflict situations, but these responses are made of God’s love. And His love is like metaphysical Kevlar, the ultimate protective clothing for our spiritual, mental, emotional, relational, and sometimes even physical health.

Lord, thank you for helping me into my love clothes, especially when I feel like dressing in a Hazmat suit instead.

Trading stories

April 1st, 2016 by Maureen

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. Col. 3:16

Every time one of us is personally impacted by Jesus there is a new story to tell or a new song to sing. When we tell our unique stories and express our individual gratitude, those expressions become part of everyone else’s experience with Christ as well. Sharing our joys and insights with one another unites us and makes us stronger as individuals and as a group.

Lord, thank you for my friends and their amazing stories.

Through His eyes

January 4th, 2016 by Maureen

Bear with one another and forgive each other. Col. 3:13

It’s a fresh new year. Things will happen. People will offend and disappoint. Relationships will fill up with unresolved issues and conflicts. This is inevitable. George MacDonald wrote that “love is the opener as well as the closer of eyes.” God knows, loves, and delights in the deepest, untapped depths of who we are. He has forgiven our sins with utter and complete grace. He can help us see others through His own perceptive eyes so that we can appreciate and encourage them as they grow. He can give us His grace so that we bear with and accept the struggles and challenges other people experience as they grow.

Lord, open and close my eyes that I might see others as You see them.

Songs spilling out

November 23rd, 2015 by Maureen

Let the word of the Anointed One richly inhabit your lives. With all wisdom teach, counsel, and instruct one another. Sing the psalms, compose hymns and songs inspired by the spirit – and keep on singing – sing to God from hearts full and spilling over with thankfulness. Col. 3:16 (Voice)

As we abide with and in Him we may begin to notice the art, the music, and the stories embedded into our world and into our own selves.  The patterns and motifs He’s designed into our lives emerge. The rhythms of our routines and relationships become the songs and melodies of our hearts. When thankfulness spills out of us it is as if we are singing harmonies to the song God Himself is always singing about His love for us.

Lord, thankfulness spills out.

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.

No danger, Will Robinson

September 19th, 2015 by Maureen

And let the peace of Christ be the ruling principle in your heart…Col. 3:15a

dangerWhen peace is not the ruling principle in our hearts circumstances and problems tend to kick us into emergency mode. It’s hard to shake off fear and insecurity in emergency mode. It’s hard to be proactive rather than reactive. Sometimes we just feel like running around waving our arms shouting “danger!” If we are able to improve the circumstances we might feel relief, but what happens when circumstances don’t change or when we feel vulnerable to the next disaster? When peace is the default setting for our hearts we tend to have a healthier, more even-keeled approach to all of life, even the messy parts.

Lord, I want to let Your love, goodwill, grace, and power rule my heart and tell my circumstances that they are not the boss of me.

 

Christ with me and within me

March 17th, 2015 by Maureen

This is the secret God tells us: that Christ is in you, the hope of glory. Col. 1:27

God can be with us and within us at the same time. He guides our decisions and directs our paths yet encourages and counsels us as we reach decisions ourselves. He uses others to communicate His love and care to us and uses us to communicate that to others. In every possible way God communicates the hope and victory of His good news to give us hope, comfort, and confidence because we belong to Him. Perhaps that idea is the inspiration for this part of the Breastplate of St. Patricka prayer traditionally attributed to St. Patrick.

breastplate-of-st-patrick