Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Trust

February 8th, 2017 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. Trust is involved in receiving and experiencing that message. We choose whether to receive from a perspective of belief in Christ. We can choose to believe we are loved, that God is benevolent, that He is good, that He can be trusted with everything, even the things we can’t understand, control, or change. Or we can choose to receive our experiences from a perspective of fear, doubt, or resentment.Relationship with God is not always based on how we feel. Sometimes it’s based on what we believe. Sometimes it’s both. Sometimes it’s neither. Our perspectives can change. We can’t always trust our perspective. God’s love remains. We can always trust Him.

Thanks this day when my heart is full of gratitude and trust. Thanks for sticking with me when every song gets stuck in my throat.

Choosing grace or guilt

February 6th, 2017 by Maureen

Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Eph.4:2

As long as we live on this earth somebody is going to mess up in a way that hurts us; And at some point we will mess up in a way that hurts others. We can choose to participate in grace’s restoration or in guilt’s condemnation through our responses to our own mistakes and to the mistakes of others.Grace lets us forgive ourselves. Guilt requires some self-flagellation. Grace lets us extend mercy as a free gift, just as Christ without demanding the usual payback and grovelling guilt demands. Our small, daily choices for restoration over retribution gives us insight and experience into Christ’s magnanimous redemptive gift of grace.

Lord, help me to live continually in Your redemptive grace.

Stop paddling and float

February 5th, 2017 by Maureen

You show me the way of life, in Your presence is fullness of joy, and at you right hand are pleasures forever. Ps. 16:11

Awareness of God’s love and grace is more like something we float in than something we master. We make relationship with the Father harder than it has to be. Awareness of Him is not meant to bring us shame, suffering, fear or obligation. It’s not meant to incite a flurry of rules following or self-improvement activities. He wants us to experience pleasure and joy in Him, with Him, for Him, because of Him in our real lives that we are living right. Eternity is now too.

Lord, keep showing me the way of awareness and abundance.

Uncertain

February 1st, 2017 by Maureen

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Prov. 3:5

A little uncertainty, a few unanswered questions, surprises, outliers, and unconnected dots are good for us. Trust involves those things we can’t control and don’t know. There is no adventure in knowing everything, controlling everything, and predicting everything. We can proceed into life’s uncertainties with curiosity and excitement rather than fear and nervousness because we can be certain of this: God loves us. God is trustworthy. God’s plans and intentions for us are always good.

Lord, I trust you for the next life adventure.

Be calm and love loud

January 11th, 2017 by Maureen

A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered. Prov. 17:27

Even when we are passionate about our message, sometimes we actually say more by saying less. Calm, loving, accepting, gentle, reasonable attitudes tend to create an atmosphere where communication can happen. Listening to others also helps us gain the insight we need to actually be helpful and effective when we do speak.

Lord, make my love loud and my tone chilled.

The delightful breather after all the busy cheer

December 26th, 2016 by Maureen

Jesus said, “Come off by yourselves; let’s take a little break and get some rest.” For there was constant coming and going. They hadn’t even had a chance to eat. Mark 6:30

The joy of Christmas comings and goings can be exhausting. Thinking of “holiday mode” as being constantly on the go is physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually unhealthy. We need to be secure enough in our relationships with one another that we don’t expect one another to operate at holiday pace all the time and that we don’t feel obligated to do so ourselves. We all need recharge time. We are sons and daughters of God our Father who delights when we are kicking back at home and at rest in Him, with Him and because of Him.

Jesus, thank you for all the joyful comings and goings and for the quiet rests between.

9 “what ifs” of gifting that don’t have to suck the light out of Christmas

December 23rd, 2016 by Maureen

Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights. James 1:17

Sometimes gift-giving is full of stressful “what if’s?” This is a repost from last year, but I’m feeling it again so maybe some of the rest of you are too:

  1. What if he or she thinks a gift card means lack of effort and equates lack of effort with lack of caring?
  2. What if your loved one doesn’t like the gift you picked out?
  3. What if you waited too long and it turns out the store is sold out of the one thing you know he or she wants?
  4. What if you opt for a donation in his or her name but your loved one buys you a nice gift?
  5. What if you all draw names, communicate price-limits, desired items, donations, etc. but there is that one person who is going to buy everybody something no matter what?
  6. What if somebody gives you a gift and you didn’t get them one so you have have to grab one of the unmarked obviously generic gifts you wrapped up just in case, and it’s obvious?
  7. What if you didn’t think to buy generic gifts?
  8. What if the “estimated” arrival time on that gift you ordered for someone else changes to after Christmas?
  9. What if by the time it’s time to open the gifts all the joy and light seems to have been sucked from the experience?

Any one of these “what if’s” might result in somebody feeling bad. Or mad. Maybe we all need to just take a breath and remember that we are loved and we give gifts because we love. God loved us and gave us His perfect gift and doesn’t actually care what items give each other as expressions of love and celebration. Lighten up.

Lord let whatever I give and whatever I receive be done in the light of your love.

Wonder No. 9: Fear Not

December 9th, 2016 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!

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.

The Wonders of Christmas 6

December 4th, 2016 by Maureen

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

The Greek word for peace can mean lack of conflict on both national and personal level and also the rest and prosperity that results from this lack on conflict. It’s an all-expansive word for peace. The Greek word  ἄνθρωπος means all human kind. I’m going out on a limb here, but, the Gnostics at used the word ἄνθρωπος to refer to the first man, Adam. Perhaps the writer of Luke gave it a double meaning here, this goodwill that God extends to mankind is a reconciling goodwill extended to Adam and the implications connected with the fall. A wonder of Christmas is that the narrative itself holds meaning and evokes emotion beyond those who accept Christianity. It is truly a universal message of love and peace.

Lord, bring peace and goodwill on all.

 

The wonders of Christmas 3

November 29th, 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 Who was in that stable:

The logos (embodiment of God’s thoughts) became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. Jn. 1:14

God the Father’s thoughts about human beings are full of grace and truth. From God’s own glory came this humble, miraculous, mysterious event, a human child born in a stable, and yet the glory that marked Him as the Son of God spilled out. Worship was the appropriate response. Nobody was expected to wrap their heads around what happened in Bethlehem but poor and wealthy, locals and foreigners, were invited to witness His glory and worship Him. And they came.

Lord, we still come to experience glory we can never explain.

 

 

Thanksgiving with no reservations

November 1st, 2016 by Maureen

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. Phil. 4:11-12

Thanksgiving season is not much fun if the thought of giving thanks causes us to focus on those things we think are still missing from our lives. When we actively appreciate the present, just as it is, we enjoy our lives more and can give and share more freely from the abundance we are currently experiencing. If we can really believe that God knows what we need before we ask then we can rest in His eternal abundance and thank Him even before we receive. Contentment and thankfulness feed off one another.

Lord, thank you for Your unreserved abundance. Now. Period.

When you can’t shake it loose, it could be because you are not the one who can

October 22nd, 2016 by Maureen

In your short run of days, have you ever commanded the morning to begin or taught the sun to rise in its place? Under your watch has the early light ever taken hold of the earth by the edges and shaken the wicked loose? Job 38:12-13

When God addresses Job and his friends’ foolhardy conjecture about whether or not Job’s righteousness or failures caused the tragedies that happened in Job’s life, His reasoning falls to His role as Creator and Designer.In the course of His questions He references making each morning and the act of “shaking the wicked loose.” Later in Lamentations Jeremiah writes that God’s mercies are “new every morning.” Paul writes in Romans that Christ was “raised up out from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also should walk in newness of life.” From very ancient writing about God’s design shows a theme of clean, new, fresh starts brought to us by God Himself. He shakes loose what we cannot shake loose. He never designed us to be able to.

Lord, thank you for this new morning.

Clearer vision

October 11th, 2016 by Maureen

Jesus then said, “I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear, so that those who have never seen will see, and those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind.” Jn. 9:39 (MSG)

Sometimes it isn’t what we can’t see that trips us up, it’s what we think we see. We can become convinced that how we see an idea or a person is final, absolute truth. Once Jesus provides us with His vision and enables us to see through His eyes, we recognize how blurred and distorted our own vision can be.

Lord, help me to see everyone I know and everything I think I know through Your eyes.

3 Relationship models with the Father

October 2nd, 2016 by Maureen

Is this the way you repay the Lord? …Isn’t he your Father who created you? Has he not made you and established you? Deut. 32:6

Moses suggests that God established something with people that mirrors the relationship of fathers and children, that fathers establish  a legacy through their children, and that this is a reciprocal relationship in which the children owe the Father something to stay in the relationship. The Law built around this model. Jesus taught a recipient model since the Father is the source of everything the children have available and they have no means in which to reciprocate. Even this can be distorted into reward model in which resources are mean of control, manipulation, and punishment. So many relationships with earthly fathers, and with God Himself, are damaged by a distorted view of  what a relationship model with a Father should look. Jesus lived his life in relationship with the Father as the perfect Son. receiving from the Father and responding out of love for Him rather than fear of Him.

Lord, heal relationships between fathers and children.

O what a glorious day

September 27th, 2016 by Maureen

All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Jude 1:25

God doesn’t need our praise to feed His ego, fuel His power, or establish His authority. That is what happens when glory is misappropriated to human beings. But instead of merely acknowledging His superiority and demanding our praise, our Father invites us into His glory. Our responses to His glory reconciles us to the truth and beauty of His nature that is now, always has been and always will be. Praise allows each of us to uniquely experience the glory He has given us through Christ, in Christ, and because of Christ.

Lord, I stand breathless and amazed in Your glory.

Is it possible to care too much?

September 21st, 2016 by Maureen

In my search for wisdom and in my observation of people’s burdens here on earth, I discovered that there is ceaseless activity, day and night. Ecc. 8:16

We are all busy and because we are so connected through instant-access media and social networks, we also are keenly aware of other people’s busy-ness.,,and their business. While the desire to know, the desire to help, and the desire to pray are all good, we can become spiritually, mentally, and emotionally over-saturated with concerning information. Sometimes caring about everything makes it hard for us to effectively impact concerns in our own backyards. We have to trust that God has it and that He can inspire those closer to each situation to become involved.

Lord, lead me to become involved where You want me, help me to be effective in those areas, and help me to let go and trust You and other people with the concerns that are not mine to bear.

The long middle

September 14th, 2016 by Maureen

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Col. 2:6

Beginnings are exciting, endings are gratifying, but in the long middle seems to play on our weariness and weaknesses, on the distance ahead, the mis-steps behind, and all the bumps in the road. When that becomes our perspective we just have to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and stay on the road. God is no less loving, exciting and awesome than He was at the start or will be at the finish. It’s in the long middle that learn the most about the way He inspires us, provides for us, and cares for us.

Lord, help me to keep following even when I’m not feeling it.

Always means always

August 22nd, 2016 by Maureen

We who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. Heb. 6:19b

We run to God for many reasons. Sometimes it is it escape harm or evil, fear, or shame, sometimes it is victimization, self-loathing, or grief, sometimes it involves our awareness of evil or our own mortality. His love doesn’t distinguish between our reasons. His victory at the cross was a victory over every possible situation or condition. The reality is that we are already and always in His arms. The hope is that we remain aware of His arms always around us so that the peace and confidence that sometimes seems so fleeting becomes as certain as breathing.

Lord, I run headlong, with complete abandon, deeper into the refuge of Your arms.

Love does not equal circumstance

August 18th, 2016 by Maureen

And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. Matt. 10:30

God has intense, personal love for each one of us. It’s reassuring and amazing to look at any crowd of people and realize that God know how many hairs and tears and needs are represented. The Holy Spirit is always surfing crowds looking for someone who is open to experiencing the love and grace of Christ. this is true in Louisiana and California where people are experiencing floods and fires, in the Middle East where people live in war zones, in every part of the world where people face disease and poverty. Our circumstances, and even our doubts, are no measure of God’s intensive love and concern for each of us.

Lord, let some unsuspecting head and heart be filled with the wonder and beauty and magnitude of your love!