Archive for the ‘John’ Category

The trough is full

December 16th, 2017 by Maureen

but my Father gives you the true bread out of the heaven; the bread of God is that which is coming down out of the heaven and giving life to the world….I am the bread of life. John 6:32…35

When He was born Jesus, the Bread of life, was laid in an empty feed trough. I don’t know whether this was symbolic or just a convenient makeshift bed, but He came to nourish our starving souls and fill our empty hearts. He came to satisfy our need to belong, with Him and with each other.

Nearly every day around this time of year there is an opportunity to celebrate with family and friends around holiday meals. Some people we only get to see once a year and sometimes there are new people there who become our family, even if just for the day. God lays out these feasts before us and calls us to the table to be nourished and delighted through connecting with others. As we love each other, as we become involved in each other’s joys and sorrows, as we share experiences, ideas, and food together, we also partake in the Bread of life.

Lord, thank you for today’s feast, I want to eat it up.

Peace for the broken heart

November 14th, 2017 by Maureen

Peace I leave you. My peace I give you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Don’t be troubled or afraid. Jn. 14:26-27

The world offers explanations, programs and campaigns. The world responds with fear and anger. And when it gets to be too much to process, the world offers escapes. The peace of Christ goes beyond trying to stop the hemorrhaging hate or put a band-aid on the myriad and complicated causes. Christ’s peace stems from the power of love and restoration. From Christ’s peace emerge the helpers, the comforters, and the fearless lovers of frail and broken souls.

Lord, give us Your peace and help us to bring Your peace to violent, vindictive and troubled hearts.

Just keep swimming…and shining

October 29th, 2017 by Maureen

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness. Jn. 8:12
You are the light of the world…[that] gives light to everyone… Matt 5:14-15 – Jesus

It’s actually kind of difficult to find a place on earth to experience total darkness, perhaps if you go into an unlit cave or dive deep in the ocean at night. The moment someone lights a candle or a luminescent jellyfish swims by the totality of the darkness is destroyed. Whatever darkness causes hurtful behaviors and attitudes like hate, anger, greed, prejudice, violence, selfishness, manipulation, deceit, etc. to seem reasonable, pleasurable, or justified, that darkness are not total and certainly not more powerful than Jesus, the Light of the world.

The best way to light the darkness is to love others and advocate good with much grace. Even when if doesn’t feel like showing love and grace is changing the way people see things or treat each other, love diminishes evil the way a luminescent jellyfish destroys darkness. Just keep swimming and shining.

Lord, help me to reflect Your light when darkness seems prevalent.

Grace spiral

October 8th, 2017 by Maureen

Out of His fullness we have all received grace upon grace. Jn. 1:16

Our Father didn’t suddenly become gracious because of Jesus; Jesus represents the revelation of the fullness of the  love and grace that exists eternally as Triune God’s defining nature. Reconciliation and relationship was the goal from the beginning and every avenue of grace that God provided in every age and culture was to restore us to awareness of His deep, high, wide, expansive love for us. Realizing God’s inherent pre-existing love becomes grace upon grace for us.
Grace upon grace seeps in as we experience the reality that is God, and experience awareness that we exist inside that same gracious love. Grace upon grace spills out as we experience awareness that He exists in us and through us as that same gracious love. Grace upon grace spirals into a full-circle communal experience with and in and through Him as our communication and attitudes towards others manifest and reveal love.

Lord, I want to be part of the fullness of grace upon grace.

Beings of light

September 20th, 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. That’s why Jesus came as 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. His light shines before us us, around us, within us, and through us as we walk in awareness that we live, move and exist in Him and that He is dwells in us, walks with us, and is always, always for us.

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

The B-I-B-L-E

September 16th, 2017 by Maureen

You search the Scriptures because you believe they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Jn. 5:39

Reading the Bible as a literal rule book can lead us to some pretty bizzare lifestyle choices and condemning attitudes towards those around us. Reading the Bible as a promise book turns a conversation with God into a contract negotiation. Reading the Bible as a resource to support arguments, exert control, or inflict guilt and shame is not going to do much for relationships with other humans or with God.  Reading the Bible in the literary, historical, cultural, language, and sociological contexts in which it was written adds more meaning and intellectual honesty, but can turn it into a bunch of stories about some ancient people groups and a demanding deity who all seem to have slightly megalomaniacal tendencies. To matter spiritually, the Bible, even Old Testament Scripture, has to be read through the lens of Christ’s mission and personality and translated or paraphrased honestly and without agenda.

Lord, reveal the love and truth of Christ in every chapter.

Partial eclipse of the heart

August 24th, 2017 by Maureen

In the beginning… was the Word [Jesus]…and in Him [Jesus] is life and that life is the light of humanity. The light shone in the darkness but the darkness didn’t perceive it. Jn. 1:1,4-5

Jesus cannot be eclipsed by the darkness. The light that is Christ has always been. He shone at the creation of the world. He was shining when the first creeping darkness cast its shadow on creation. In the moments when it looked like darkness would overtake the whole world, Christ has always been that spirit of mercy, that gesture of love that overtakes prevailing hate. In the moments of confusion and emptiness when the light in our hearts feel eclipsed by pain, fear, loss, and evil, Christ is that fleeting thought of truth and goodness, that sliver of hope that persists. His is the voice that speaks love and grace, reason and truth so we never have to perceive total darkness.

Lord, help my eyes to perceive Your light when things look dark.

The greatest go-to ever

August 12th, 2017 by Maureen

As the Father has loved me, I love you. Remain, abide, in my love. John 15:9

God equips us with His love as a go-to for whatever we encounter.
Love can be the idea that informs how we process and respond to the things that happen around us and to us.
Love can be the emotional connection that guides our interactions with others.
Love can be the spiritual light that connects us to God and all He created.
Sometimes stress and habit cause us to detour into our old go-to responses because love response feels unfamiliar.
If our past automatic responses to hurt, threat, or confusion have been despair, fear, or anger,
if our past relationships have been mired in unforgiveness, suspicion, or power,
if our past spiritual experience has been rooted in law and shame,
we might respond in ways that obscure how we experience and communicate His love.
Remaining and abiding is about our perceptions, experiences, and responses.
Such detours can’t move us out of God love, though. Nothing can.

Lord help me to remember go-to love when my heart, mind, and spirit start to detour.

Health 101: stay hydrated and rested

August 9th, 2017 by Maureen

Jesus stood up and said, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me and drink! Whoever believes in me, as it is written, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from within them.” Jn. 7:37-38

The human soul requires hydration just as much as the human body does. Christ is the source of refreshing, life-sustaining  nourishment. It is like a river that flows through us, hydrating our spirits. If we start feeling parched it could be that we’ve forgotten or just been too busy, to stop and drink. Sometimes the most productive thing we can do for ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually is to take time to rest and drink.

Lord, I’m stopping by this river. Fill my soul and my life with Your living water.

Love can suck the life right out of you. But in a good way.

August 5th, 2017 by Maureen

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13

Some people die or risk death saving someone else in emergency situations. Some people choose professions that require risking their lives for strangers. Until we are faced with the reality of it, none of us actually know whether we’d choose to die for someone else, even for someone we love. While it’s not death, sometimes we lay down some of things that make up our lives, like our time, our energy, our space, our resources, and our comfort, because we love someone who needs those things from us. There are days when death seems quicker and easier than the tedium of daily laying down of life that caregivers and others engaged in long-term support for loved ones experience. Whatever we lay down when we choose love over self reflects and punctuates the great love that God has for all of us.

Lord, thank you for not requiring this of me but doing it for me. I would like to get to a point when love doesn’t feel so sacrificial and I’m not so protective of my own concerns. Show me how.

You are not defined by your past. Not by the ways you’ve been hurt nor by the ways you’ve hurt others.

July 20th, 2017 by Maureen

John 8:1-11 The Pharisees interrupt Jesus while He is teaching to drag in a woman they’d caught in the act of adultery and ask, “What should we do with her?”At the time adultery was punishable by death according to the law of Moses which all of them followed. The Pharisees were hoping to discredit Jesus by asking Him this question.
Basically the Pharisees are like Vizzini in The Princess Bride, pridefullyexpecting to win a battle of wits with Jesus.
If He agrees with the law He contradicts the message about love and grace He’s been teaching and therefore gets labeled a hypocrite.
If He sticks with His message, He contradicts the law and therefore gets labeled a heretic.

Instead of answering right away Jesus squats down and starts writing in the dirt.
“Well?” The Pharisees demand an answer.
Jesus stands up and says, “Is there anybody here who has never made a mistake? Anybody not even a little bit maladjusted? Anybody here faultless? Blameless? Sinless? If you are, go ahead, cast the first stone.”
Then He squats back down and starts writing in the dirt again.
One by one, they walk away starting with the oldest, who, naturally, has the longest fault-filled past.
When nobody is left except the woman Jesus asks her, “Where is everybody? Who’s here to sentence you, now?”
“No one,” she answers. It’s probably just dawning on her that she’s not going to die on the streets in shame that day.
“I’m certainly not here to pass sentence. Go and sin no more.”
The story ends. Hopefully the woman, and some of the Pharisees walked away asking “What just happened? Where do I go from here?”

Jesus didn’t let the Pharisees label or define Him and He offered the woman and the Pharisees a chance to walk away from the labels that created shame for them in that moment and be redefined by His message of love and grace.

Lord, let “Child of God” be the only label that sticks to me.

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.