Archive for the ‘John’ Category

I’ll have what Jesus is having

May 27th, 2017 by Maureen

Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.” Jn. 4:34

Human beings seek physical and emotional nourishment from a number of sources, not all of which are healthy. In order to feel satisfied we may feed our stomachs, our egos, our bank accounts, even our minds. Rather than seeking to gain a sense of fullness for himself, Jesus found fulfillment, satisfaction, and sustenance by focusing on relationship with the Father and with those around Him. This is God’s offer of fulfillment for all His children.

Lord, I want to be nourished and satisfied by fulfilling Your purposes for me.

Evidence of grace

April 24th, 2017 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 perceived 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 perceiving God, ourselves, and the world. We participate in Christ’s miraculous restoration through every piece of evidence for grace and hope communicated to others through us.

Lord, let Your love and grace be evident in my relationships.

The doldrums

April 7th, 2017 by Maureen

The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” Jn 3:8

Some days we can feel like the wind’s not blowing. We might be in the doldrums but that doesn’t make us “unborn.” The wind is made of air and the air is always there. Every breath we breath, we breathe because God has put life in us and life is in us still. At some point that stillness will give way to Spirit wind again. I suspect focusing on God’s beauty and love, being with other people and doing things we enjoy is more likely to float us out than trying to analyze how we got there or trying to find the magic “how to” formula for change. How we feel or where we see ourselves does not alter Who God Is to us and for us.

Lord, I think I need fresh gust of wind.

PRV (Pressure Relief Valve) for life

April 3rd, 2017 by Maureen

Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that in me you have peace. In the world there are pressures, but tharseō, take heart, I have overcome the world.”  Jn. 16:33

The peace of Christ has a way of depressurizing potentially explosive situations. We can choose to let His peace act as a safety valve for our external and internal pressures, we can choose more toxic vents, or we can just let the pressure build up to some kind of eruption.  The word tharseō can mean “be of good cheer” or “be of good courage.”  Either way the encouraging belief that Jesus has overcome anything life throws at us can determine our attitudes and our responses to pressure.

Lord, I pray for peace under pressure…or maybe it’s peace over pressure.

Life cycles and hamster wheels

February 25th, 2017 by Maureen

Didn’t I tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God. Jn. 11:40

Our core assumptions about God, ourselves, other people, and the world around us drive our perceptions which drive our decisions which drive the results which further color our perceptions.
What we believe about God’s attitude toward us, about the value and state of humanity and ourselves specifically, and about what we can reasonably expect out of life, can create a cycle of glory and grace or a hamster wheel of futility or negativity. How we perceive and experience life begins and ends with what we believe.

Lord, I want to see your glory. Correct any false assumptions and perceptions I have about You.

Jesus’ intentions toward [your name here]

February 15th, 2017 by Maureen

Try hearing Jesus’ prayer Jn. 17:21-23 with your your own name instead of the personal pronouns. Say it out loud with your own name and hear His intentions toward and His heart for you.

I am praying not only for these disciples but also for __[say your name here]___ who will believe in Me through their message. I pray that __[your name here]____ and all who ever believe will all be one, just as You and I are one—as You are in me, Father, and I am in You. And may __[your name here]____ be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I have given ___[say your name here and let it sink in]____ the glory you gave me, so __[your name here]___ and her fellow believers may be one as We are one. I am in __[your name here]___ and you are in me. May ___[your name here]___experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love ___[your name here]___ as much as you love me.

Lord, the transforming power in Your love, grace, and reconciliation blows my mind once again.

Live and in person

February 13th, 2017 by Maureen

I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life. Jn. 8:12

Jesus didn’t tell his followers to follow a religion, a doctrine, a process, or a discipline. On-going, loving, developing, maturing, interactive relationships happen between people. Jesus came as a person. God the Father is a Person. The Holy Spirit is a Person. There are many artistic and intellectual expressions that reflect Christ, many institutions and processes that illuminate our understanding of Him, but none of these things are Him. God is live and in person!

My light, my hope, my life, my truth, my Jesus – I love you!

Not from around here anymore

February 12th, 2017 by Maureen

My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world my subjects would be fighting to prevent me from being handed over to the Jews, as it is, my kingdom is not from here. Jn. 18:36

Christ causes positive change to happen in our thinking, desires, and choices. This translates into a desire to affect positive change in the world around us. But, heirs to a Kingdom of love, hope, grace, and transformation do not employ a climate of anger, fear, guilt, and legalism to bring about change. Heirs to His kingdom do not reduce the mission of Christ’s transforming grace to political, social, or legal protocols. That kind of thinking happens a lot in earthly kingdoms, but we are beyond the methods, strategies, and attitudes we learned from the kingdom of this world. We’re not from here anymore, and neither is the power from which affect change.
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Lord, help me think and live, stand and help like an heir in Your kingdom…make that our kingdom.

Love can only win when you trust it

February 4th, 2017 by Maureen

I came that you might have life and have it abundantly. Jn 10:10

In some ways abundance is linked to trust and hope. Perhaps whether we experience abundance has more to do with how we choose to process our experiences than the experiences themselves. What we expect from God and from ourselves affects how we process and respond to present circumstances, how we remember past experiences, and how we view the future. We get to choose whether we process our experiences from a place of trust and belief that we are loved. Or not. Perhaps the choice to trust God’s love is the pivot point for experiencing abundance.

Lord, I have trust issues, help me.

Individualized itineraries

January 17th, 2017 by Maureen

Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?” Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.” Jn. 21:21-22

The way Christ guides each of us individually is not a universal template for the journey of faith. None of us is equipped to measure the difficulty or ease of another’s journey. None of us is qualified to explain all the apparent departures and differences in another’s path. Comparison or competition only distracts us from experiencing peace and purpose. Our Father lovingly responds to each of us exactly where we are and is taking us exactly where we need to be.

Lord, help me to follow where You lead me even when I can’t see where I’m going.

This means something

January 8th, 2017 by Maureen

For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only (monogenēs) Son that everyone who believes in Him not perish but have eternal life. Jn. 3:16 (Mounce)

The Greek word monogenēs means “pertaining to being the only one of its kind in a specific relationship” and”pertaining to being the only one of its kind or class, unique in kind. This distinguishes Jesus from every other prophet, every other eternal being, every other heavenly being, every other child of God, every other savior, both in His unique attributes and mission and His unique relationship with the Father and Spirit. Understanding who Jesus matters in terms of understanding and experiencing God’s love toward us and perceiving who we are in the context of who Jesus is.

Lord, I love You and thank You.

Unwrapping the big present

December 25th, 2016 by Maureen

If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water. Jn. 4:10

Wrapping Christ up as a baby and placing Him on earth as a free Gift of grace was God’s tangible proclamation of love for the human race. In this verse Jesus is presenting grace with the wrapping still on but He knows what will happen when the woman he’s addressing in the passage unwraps the gift He’s giving her. Heaven joyfully anticipates the moment each of us unwraps the Gift. The original angel song “Glory to God in the Highest and on earth, peace and goodwill!” rings out for each of us. The original message “Fear not, I bright you good news of great joy!” continues to become personal reality for humanity, one heart at a time. Unwrap the gift!

Thank you, Lord, Your grace is exactly what I need and it always fits perfectly.

Why Jesus is better than Santa

December 16th, 2016 by Maureen

God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Jn. 3:17

Ever notice the words “he knows when you’ve been bad or good, so be good, for goodness sake” in that Christmas song? Is it possible for any of us to merit a decent Christmas present if getting a gift is contingent on being good? The legendary Christmas gift giver in some other cultures does not discriminate between good and bad kids, but in the U.S. generous St. Nick has evolved into judging Santa. Then Elf on a Shelf was added to the mix, I suppose because Santa got so busy he needed snitches. All this pressure to “be good” adds a fear-based, merit-based element to the Christmas tradition of receiving gifts. Fortunately God offers us His grace-based free gift in Christ because nobody can be good enough, and nobody has to be. Jesus isn’t looking for us to be good, He gives us His own goodness. If you’re going to do Santa, ditch the judgment and restore His jolly.

Thank you Lord Jesus for the free and loving grace of Christmas.

The 12th wonder of Christmas

December 16th, 2016 by Maureen

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Jn. 14:27

Sometimes we receive a gift and never take it out of the box. Or perhaps, like the four food processor blades I’ve never tried, we use the gift but don’t actually discover everything it can do. Like all God’s gifts, this peace cannot be returned or exchanged but we can settle for less than full functionality. So many things in our lives and in our world can cause unrest in our minds and hearts, but no matter what is going on, this peace is a gift we can unpack and enjoy right now. Jesus is our peace and in Him and through Him our minds and hearts experience abundance, rest, and joy.

May Christ’s gift of peace of mind and heart be an out-of-the-box experience for each of you this Christmas!

In the house

November 13th, 2016 by Maureen

Jesus: “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
Jewish followers: “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been anyone’s slave! How can you say ‘we will become free?'”
Jesus: “I tell you the solemn truth, everyone who commits a sin is a slave to sin. A slave does not remain in the house for all time, but a son remains for all time. If, therefore if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.” Jn. 8:34-36

Jesus was having this conversation with those among His own followers who were still adherents to the Jewish law and believed its ideas about who is “in” and who is “out” and believed the law was the process necessary to be “in.” Jesus announced a different paradigm: No more law, just grace. No more condemnation, just restoration. No more sacrifice, just redemption. No more revolving doors, just belonging. No more slaves, just sons and daughters. No more visitors, just family. Robert Frost wrote in his poem, The Hired Man, “Home is the place that, when you go there, they have to take you in.” God is our home.

Thank you for making Yourself my home and for making Your home in me.

 

What’s called for is empathy not explanations or egg salad

September 24th, 2016 by Maureen

When Jesus saw her weeping… He was deeply moved and distressed…Jesus wept. Jn. 11:33, 35

Grief and sadness are part of human existence, at least right now. What people in distress need is empathy not explanations, friendship not fixing. Jesus’ response to His friend’s sadness was not to try to cheer her up but to weep with her. Expecting people to power through, equating periods of sadness with lack of faith, or going Job’s friends on the situation and trying to figure out why bad things happen are uncalled-for responses. Then there is the well-meaning knee-jerk Christian response to sadness: prayer and casseroles. While often welcome and helpful, sometimes doing something for our hurting friends is a way of avoiding emotionally engaging with them. Sometimes in the course of being Jesus hands and feet, we are also called upon to be His tears.

Lord, show me how to be with my friends who are hurting not just for them.

When God bursts into song

August 30th, 2016 by Maureen

For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. Zep. 3:17

Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us (Jn. 1:14) and now makes His home in our hearts (Eph. 3:17). Jesus, the Messiah, the Redeemer, the Maker is delighted by us. Imagine Him bursting into song about you! He does this not because we can do anything to inspire His songs but because His own love and grace for us makes us part of the song of love and joy He’s always sung with the Father and the Spirit. Because He loves us like this we can face anything with calm and confidence, and even joy.

Lord, I am amazed and thankful for the mystery of Your delight.

Famous last words

August 28th, 2016 by Maureen

 

If I want him to remain alive until I come back, what concern is that of yours? (Jesus to Peter concerning John)  John 21:23

Behold I am sending the promise of my Father to you, but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. Luke 24:49

I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matt. 28:20

Each of these gospels records different last words of Jesus, and each offers a different perspective. John records a personal conversation between Peter and Jesus, basically offering assurance that Jesus is interested and involved in our individual stories. Luke offers assurance that God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit continue to communicate with us and will be our source and inspiration. Matthew simply says that no matter what happens throughout history, or through the passages of our own lives, Jesus is always, always with in.

Jesus, thank You for communicating to humans through Your life, Your words, and Your Spirit.

Peace when faced with the unknown

August 17th, 2016 by Maureen

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. Jn. 14:27 RSV

These are Jesus’ words to His disciples as He tells them that He will soon complete the world-changing mission His Father sent Him to accomplish, return to the Father, and leave them here. He promises His Spirit will be with them in an even better way than He’s been with them. It is likely the disciples could not stretch far enough to imagine a scenario where Jesus’ absence could be better than His physical presence. We often  have trouble imagining benefits in change that requires that we let go of a beloved known for an uncertain unknown. The same peace He promised His disciples is ours because not only is He with us always, He is in us too.

Lord, help me to embrace peace and hope, untroubled and unafraid no matter what the situation.

Does the light of life come with an adjustable intensity rheostat?

July 24th, 2016 by Maureen

Jesus spoke to them saying, “I am the light of the world. One who follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life. Jn. 8:12 (Mounce)

This light, this phōs, is the same powerful energy that animates all creation, same illuminating force that first lit the newly created earth, the same blinding light that caused people in Old Testament stories to shield their eyes, the same glow that flickers as love, joy and hope in our emotions, and the same flash of enlightenment that reveals truth, discovery, and understanding in our minds. His light animates us, bodies, minds and spirits. This light is not something that just follows us around, outside and separate from us, but something that He has put in us. He gave it to us and we have it in us. Permanently. To a certain extent, though, we seem to get to choose how much light we let into our lives and how much we let flow out.

Lord help me to shine bright inside and out with Your own life-giving, darkness-dispelling light.