Hope that Sustains Us

December 17, 2014

Today’s Reflection

IN JOYOUS ANTICIPATION of her firstborn, Mary sings revolution. Enraptured that God chose her, a maiden of no prominence, a woman with no voice, to bear the world’s Savior, her joy calls up visions of the rich tasting the dust of poverty, the powerful limping with the burden of oppression. …

Mary would, I suspect, have us dream dreams and tell tales of hope, the kind of hope that the rich and powerful are too busy and satisfied to entertain, the kind of hope that sustains us in our poverty. That takes knowing our poverty, if not poverty of money, the poverty of intimacy and belonging – the very things our souls need most, the very things that require setting aside possessions and power. Mary’s anger frees us to celebrate her son’s birth. Let her in.
–J. Marshall Jenkins

- The Upper Room Disciplines

From a reading by J. Marshall Jenkins, page 365 of The Upper Room Disciplines 2006: A Book of Daily Devotions. Copyright © 2005 by Upper Room Books. All rights reserved. Used by permission. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Where do you see evidence of God’s justice and mercy? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.”

Luke 1:51-53 NRSV

This Week: pray for teenagers. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers, call 1-800-251-2468.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember:
Peter Casinius
(December 21).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2014, a ministry of GBOD | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Open to God’s Joy

December 16, 2014

Today’s Reflection

JOY’S PRESENCE IN THE WORLD doesn’t depend on our feelings. Joy surrounds; we simply open our eyes and heart to God’s presence.

Remember God. Remember God’s presence and gifts. Rejoice in God’s action in the world.

In this busy season, we can pray for drivers in front
of and behind us in a traffic jam. We can give thanks for friendships, food, and fellowship at a party. We can think of ways God works through us in the workplace. We can notice signs of God’s joy – the beauty of colors, the diversity of people, the warmth of the sun, the miracle of birth. We can take an action of joy.

Carry these words in your heart today: I will open my eyes to see God’s joy.

- Beth A. Richardson
The Uncluttered Heart

From pages 47-48 of The Uncluttered Heart: Making Room for God During Advent and Christmas by Beth A. Richardson. Copyright © 2009 by Upper Room Books. All rights reserved. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

How have you experienced God’s joy recently? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”

Luke 1:46b-49 NRSV

This Week: pray for teenagers. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers, call 1-800-251-2468.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember:
Peter Casinius
(December 21).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2014, a ministry of GBOD | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Christ Present With Us

December 15, 2014

Today’s Reflection GOD’S ASTOUNDING and radical intervention in our human history cannot be contained in the tame and timid displays of Christmas lights, catchy slogans, or the exchange of gifts. Advent confronts us once again with God’s unparalleled effort to communicate the message that all humankind is embraced and held close by a God of […]

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The Joy of Christ’s Presence

December 14, 2014

Today’s Reflection WE HAVE NOW reached the third Sunday of Advent, the midway point of our holiday season. We pause to consider our path in this season of peace. As we look forward to our holiday celebrations, Help us to focus on your incarnation and not our stress. As we anticipate gift giving, Help us […]

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God’s Grace Is Enough

December 13, 2014

Today’s Reflection THE OTHER DAY someone asked me if I was ready for Christmas. My response was, “Ready or not – here it comes!” Advent asks all of us the same question. Isaiah called people to “make straight” a way for the Lord. The modern equivalent of the prophet’s image is heavy earth-movers and dynamite. […]

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Prepare the Way

December 12, 2014

Today’s Reflection WE HEAR THE VOICE of your prophet, O Lord, cry out, “Prepare the way!” How, God, do we prepare for the birth of a king, the Prince of Peace? Do we bow at his feet? Do we hide our faces in the presence of such glory? In a world searching for easy answers […]

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Live Hopefully

December 11, 2014

Today’s Reflection HOPE LIFTS OUR eyes above the present human condition and circumstance. … Without hope, there is little motivation for patience. But where hope is present—and hope is a gift of God (1 Cor. 13:13)—there is a will to continue and a path forward. … Each Advent our congregation lights the candles of peace, […]

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Mutual Support

December 10, 2014

Today’s Reflection IN TRULY STUNNING fashion, God orchestrates Mary and Elizabeth’s pregnancies six months apart. It is a testament to God’s care and provision that each woman has someone to journey with as she navigates the peculiar seasons in which she finds herself. The gift of a believing community can make all the difference in […]

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Seasons of Darkness and Light

December 9, 2014

Today’s Reflection “I want to walk as a child of the light.I want to follow Jesus.”–Kathleen Thomerson THIS ADVENT HYMN holds great meaning for me, living as I do in North America. In the midst of days when the sun is distant and the days are shortening, I sing an affirmation, “I want to walk […]

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Joseph “the Just”

December 8, 2014

Today’s Reflection Because the word righteous in Matthew 1:19 also has been translated “just” (KJV, NKJV, NLT), Jesus is sometimes referred to as “Joseph the Just.” When we think of a “just” person, we think of someone who obeys laws and applies rules rarely to all. Joseph did not do as the law required: “If […]

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