Archive for the ‘Luke’ Category

You can’t “fix” Christmas…and you don’t need to

December 21st, 2016 by Maureen

Glory in the highest to God, and on earth peace, among men — good will. Luke 2:14 (YLT)

So many Christians feel a specific obligation to “fix” Christmas and to “fix” the people we see at Christmas. This very attitude can rob us and the people around us of peace and goodwill. If Jesus is the reason for the season and God sent angels to announce His birth as a message of God’s peace and good will, how does criticizing secular Christmas entertainment, decorations, or traditions, resenting the winter holidays of other religions, bemoaning the commercialization of Christmas, or insisting on a “purist” position that challenges the authenticity or appropriateness of celebrating Christmas at all promote peace and goodwill? I’m still trying to wrap my head around that one preacher who went to a mall and told little children who were in line to see Santa that Santa isn’t real.  Dear, well-meaning fellow Christians. Stop it. Just adore Him. Peace, love, Christmas.

Glory to You, O Lord, show us how to greet this time of year with Your peace and goodwill toward others. All others.

the wonders of Christmas go to 11

December 14th, 2016 by Maureen

Simeon to Mary: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” Luke 2:33

Jesus is often misunderstood and misrepresented. His message, meaning, motives, His divinity and humanity, and the implications of Jesus as Savior does not fit well with human egos and agendas. His free restorative grace upsets the human desire for justice and retribution. His free gift of salvation upsets the human desire to be self-sufficient and to prove our own worth. His love is sometimes twisted, resisted, or rejected because of our perspectives and presuppositions. Yet, wonder of Christmas wonders, the power of His love, joy, and peace so reflects our deepest needs and desires, that we declare a season to celebrate those ideas even though many of us may not yet consciously interact with God, the Source of all these good things.

Lord, turn our hearts and thoughts to Your perspective and Your joys.

Peace is the 8th wonder of Christmas

December 8th, 2016 by Maureen

Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace. Luke 1:78

Peace can seem elusive. Our nagging concerns, our serious issues, our great sorrows can rob us of sleep and assurance and even cast shadows on what should be happy times. Even with all we face, most of us live pretty comfortable lives. It is easy to forget that elsewhere on earth people live in what must seem like a constant state of fear and darkness. This the stuff that Jesus came to overcome. In His bright arms there is no shadow, only peace and rest. Our situations might not immediately change (or ever change) but things get better because we experience His light and peace.

Lord, let Your light break upon all of us. Show us how to use our arms, our words, our love,  and our prayers to envelop those in dark places with Your light and peace.

The 7th Wonder of Christmas

December 7th, 2016 by Maureen

But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. Luke 2:19 (ESV)

Mary didn’t know. The story she found herself in was beyond her ability to conceive or to control. It was beyond belief when she tried to explain it to other people in her life. The future and its implications were far from her ability to foresee. All she really had to go on was what she knew of the God who brought her into this story. Mary trusted Him made treasure of the uncontrollable, inconceivable, unbelievable situation she pondered. A wonder of Christmas is that God is writing our stories too and our pondering can become treasure too. The stories we find ourselves in offer us the same opportunity to  trust God’s love, good purposes, and goodwill toward us when we don’t understand much else that is going on.

Lord, I treasure the pondering as well as the revelation.

Around the table

November 4th, 2016 by Maureen

Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!” Luke 14:15

We are entering the season where there are so many gatherings of families and friends. Jesus used meals as a time to include, to teach, and to nourish. He ate with everyone who invited him and performed miracles so everyone with him could eat. He keeps adding leaves to His table so we all can sit at the big table with Him. When I think of all the tables I get to sit around and all the faces at those tables, I am incredibly grateful.

Lord, thanks for today’s feast of friendship, discovery, and grace.

Defeat for the kingdom of fear

October 31st, 2016 by Maureen

Fear not, little flock because it gives the Father delight to didomi (give, appoint, bestow) to you the basileia (kingdom, reign, royal power, dominion, rule.) Luke 12:32

Rulers of the kingdom of fear oppress, manipulate and dominate using fear and shame. Jesus’ redemptive victory at the cross was a coup that replaced the kingdoms of fear that the political and religious rulers administered to their advantage and that the enemy twisted to his own purposes. Clinging to these defeated kingdoms, its former rulers would keep us feeling like powerless serfs and worthless rabble, scrambling to earn favor and dominated by fear. As members of Jesus flock we can now see ourselves as fearless, empowered citizens and beloved, endowed children who bask in our Father’s delight.

Lord, I delight in Your perfect love that casts out all fear.

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.

The planning stage

August 10th, 2016 by Maureen

Then Moses said, “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place.” Ex. 33:16 [Jesus said] “But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.” Luke 24:49

The only plan the disciples in the upper room had was to wait for the Holy Spirit. Moses wasn’t about to budge until He sensed God’s personal presence. We can get caught up in purpose, in planning and in the details of executing our plans, and fail to recognize or enjoy God’s personal presence. Fully and continually experiencing God’s presence with us, in us, and through us is the purpose and plan.

Lord, fill me with Your Spirit and help me respond to whatever happens out of Your presence in me.

How can I help….

June 8th, 2016 by Maureen

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Luke 6:31

We all like to be treated respectfully, justly and considerately, and I think this verse lands in those generalities. I don’t think we should take it as an instruction to create one-size-fits-all responses to other people’s life situations. We are all different. For example, when in crisis some of us like it when others come rushing in to be physically present and talk with us, while some of us feel smothered by this kind of response, but really appreciate it when people help with logistics so we can have space to process. Getting to know individuals and finding out their preferences before jumping in to help assuming what would make us feel loved might be the better helping strategy. If we are recipients of help, we need to have the grace to recognize when others are trying to help and tell them what would actually help us if what they are doing isn’t really helping. Ultimately, how we help needs to be about the person being helped, not about the helper.

Lord, help me to treat others the way they want to be treated.

Behold now the Kingdom

May 15th, 2016 by Maureen

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come. Is. 61:1, Luke 4:18-19

Jesus read this and said: “today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” This was His mission statement, His proclamation of His advancing kingdom. When our Spirit-led lifestyles, relationships, words, and deeds are a response to citizenship in His present kingdom our natural response to others is to  desire freedom, vision, and blessing for them. The great commission is inviting participation in the hope and joy of His fulfilled work of grace and redemption, His present and advancing Kingdom.

Lord, help me to focus on Your priorities and Your mission.

See the lily, be the lily

May 9th, 2016 by Maureen

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

There is a difference between moving in concert with God and making our own concerted efforts to move for God. When we stop trying to measure up to human definitions of beauty, glory, or worth we discover the infinite beauty, glory, and worth of being our authentic, restored, created selves. When we stop trying to prove our devotion and to earn His pleasure through our own try-hard efforts we discover the incredible lightness of being yoked to Christ whose gracious work of righteousness is enough to make us lilies.

Lord, help me to be aware of the beauty, the glory, and the worth in which you have arrayed me.

When Jesus gets ahold of the social calendar

April 11th, 2016 by Maureen

Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled. Luke 19:6-7

Jesus made connections and associations with people the religious establishment labelled “sinner.” If we think our labels can keep us as distant observers in a tree, we may be in for a surprising and personal encounter with Christ and His followers. If we feel uncomfortable in the company of certain “sinners” and focus too much on preserving our comfort zones and Christian reputations, Jesus just may have dinner plans for us that we aren’t expecting.

Lord, help me to keep my mind, my heart, and my door open to all the company You keep.

Medicinal properties of love

March 4th, 2016 by Maureen

And all the people tried to touch Him and power went out from Him and healed them all. Luke 6:19

Christ is the healing force that seeps into our every aspect of our beings and heals not only our bodies but our cold hearts and confused minds. His love is healing medicine that eats away the dead remnants of our old perspectives that clog the spiritual arteries between heart and head, between head and hands. When we respond to the powerful healing that His redemption causes in us we become live carriers of transforming love and infectious grace. He uses us to spread spiritual health to those around us.

Lord, make me an infectious carrier of love and grace.

Unwrapping gifts from Jesus

December 25th, 2015 by Maureen

Jesus gives us gifts, some of which we use on a daily basis, some we take out of the box once in awhile, some we look at, say “thanks” but have no idea what to do with them, and some we never even unwrap.

abundant life Jn. 10:10

supernatural love Jn 13:1

complete joy Jn. 15:11

overcoming peace Jn. 16:33

truth and freedom Jn. 8:32, 36

healing for broken hearts Luke 4:18

and bodies Matt. 10:8

significance Luke 12:7

empowerment Acts 1:8

fearless belief Mark 5:36

every possibility Mark 9:23

His own glory Jn. 17:22

Thank you, Lord, for giving me these gifts.  Show me how to fully realize them in my life.

 

 

Assumption-free worship

December 23rd, 2015 by Maureen

Angel: Though you are a virgin you will have a Son…He will be great, the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne and… His kingdom will never end. Luke 1:32-33

Mary: Let it happen to me just as you have said. Luke 1:38

When the angel told Mary Her son would sit a throne, she was confused but responded with openness to whatever God was doing. She could ponder without reaching false conclusions. When the Magi came with their gifts to this new king, these very wise men didn’t know what kind of king Jesus would be. It didn’t matter. They were responding to the evidence of the star. On the other hand, Herod felt threatened by his false assumptions. Later, when Jesus’ disciples recognized Him as Messiah they did so with assumptions about his kingdom that didn’t pan out. We don’t have to explain everything or make assumptions in order to connect all the dots.

Lord, I surrender my assumptions. Let Your kingdom exist in me as it is in heaven.

 

Wonder No. 9 Fear not!

December 18th, 2015 by Maureen

Fear not, I bring you good news of great joy that will be to all people…Luke 2:10

An angel spoke these words to a group of shepherds who were witnessing the unknown and supernatural in the middle of a normal work schedule. They had no idea what they had to fear but fear was their knee-jerk reaction to such an encounter. They had no idea of the ramifications of the good news they were being told or how that idea would impact the whole world. They had no idea what role they might possibly play in God’s plan. They had no idea what great joy would feel like should they accept the angel’s invitation to go to the manger. Our joyful, loving, amazing God Himself delivers the good new to us Himself: there is no fear in love and He is love.

May Christmas be a time of good news of great joy for all of you!

Light in the shadows

December 17th, 2015 by Maureen

Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace. Luke 1:78

Though dark times are part of our human experiences, the light of Christ has broken, taking substance from darkness so that all that is left of darkness is mist and shadow. He makes His presence evident when the shadow of death falls, for even death is now only shadow. He guides, protects, illuminates, warms, and ignites us with His light. Even in dark moments we have His peace.

Lord, for all of us with broken hearts and broken lives, living in shadowy places in this broken world,  let Your light break upon us. This Christmas season, help us experience Your breathtaking light – emotionally, physically, circumstantially, and spiritually.

Eat up

December 16th, 2015 by Maureen

She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger. Luke 2:7

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 the a convenient makeshift bed, but He came to nourish our starving souls and fill our empty hearts. He came to be broken for us, symbolized by the bread we break at the Communion table.

Lord, You seat me at Your table and lay a feast before me every day. I want to clean my plate.

Somebody did make this stuff up. It was God.

December 13th, 2015 by Maureen

nativity-siloutte080

He is the light that reveals your message to the other nations and He is the shining glory of your covenant people. Luke 2:32 (Voice)

Jesus came to tell a story with his life that would be relevant to human beings of every culture yet speak to the unique story God had been telling the Hebrews. It is a story in which a Hero with supernatural powers, motivated by love and goodness, sacrificially rescues and restores His beloved, defeats the evil foe, and establishes a joyful, eternal Kingdom. His story speaks to basic needs of individual humans and to cultural ideals of benevolent nations: safety, love, belonging, esteem, satisfaction, beauty, freedom, and transcendence. The stories we tell often follow this pattern, not because we humans made this one up, but because before the foundation of the world God wrote the archetypical story of Jesus and put eternity in the hearts of humans so that we would love it and embrace it.

Lord, I need everything You offer. I can’t invent a better story for myself than the one You’ve already told.

 

Be a player or get benched

December 12th, 2015 by Maureen

In the Christmas story angels appear to two different guys, Joseph and Zechariah, telling them not to be afraid and explaining that their wives’ pregnancies are results of miraculous circumstances.” Joseph’s story is told in Matt 1:18-22 and  Zechariah’s in Luke 1. Elizabeth and Mary were already players having received angelic visits of their own. Zechariah got a face-to-face angelic appearance while Joseph got an angel in a dream. Zechariah was asked to believe that his wife Elizabeth would get pregnant in old age while Joseph was asked to believe that his fiancee Mary was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Zechariah’s immediate response was to question and object. Before the angel ever showed up in the dream Joseph’s attitude was already to show mercy to the woman who may have cheated on him. Seems like Joseph had way more of a stretch but he chose to be a player in this amazing story and his response was to accept a reality that seemed impossible. Zechariah got benched for awhile for attitude.

Lord, I want to respond like Joseph when things seem illogical, incredible and impossible. An angel would help though, just saying.