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Reconciliation

Today’s Reflection

RECONCILIATION IS NOT a hasty process, proclaiming peace where there is no peace, ignoring injustice and human suffering. Reconciliation is intimately connected with justice, with right relations. As Christians, we must restore the work of reconciliation from the periphery to the center of the life and witness of the church where it belongs. My dream is that every church becomes a neighborhood reconciliation center.

– Thomas Porter
The Spirit and Art of Conflict Transformation

From pages 28-29 of The Spirit and Art of Conflict Transformation: Creating a Culture of JustPeace by Thomas Porter. Copyright © 2010 by Thomas W. Porter Jr. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

How do you participate in the process of reconciliation? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

Mark 7:28, NRSV

This Week: pray for families. 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 or visit The Living Prayer Center web site.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: Albert Schweitzer (September 4).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2015, a ministry of Discipleship Ministries | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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A Life That Points to God

Today’s Reflection

SWAMI DESCRIBED the modern-day Hindu guru as God’s grace — not a ploy for men and women to be worshiped and elevated above others. God cares for us enough to bestow mercy on us by showing us how best to serve. Grace has been bestowed on someone who is more advanced and who can now show us the way,” Swami explained. “We shouldn’t envy someone whom we perceive to be more advanced at living like Christ than we are. Instead, we should feel joy that God cares enough to send that person to show us what to do.”

I hadn’t thought about God appointing gurus to help us figure out this mess of a life. But that is exactly what Jesus was: the ultimate guru and the ultimate grace. And that’s precisely what the hometown gurus I’d known — the dear followers of Jesus — had done for me.

A real guru, like Christ, will always point to God. The saints I’d known in my childhood and adolescence embodied God’s grace — and accurately represented God by that grace.

– J. Dana Trent
Saffron Cross

Pages 128-129 of Saffron Cross: The Unlikely Story of How a Christian Minister Married a Hindu Monk by J. Dana Trent. Copyright © 2013 by J. Dana Trent. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Fresh Air Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Who in your life points you to God? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

James 2:17, NRSV

This Week: pray for families. 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 or visit The Living Prayer Center web site.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: Albert Schweitzer (September 4).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2015, a ministry of Discipleship Ministries | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Being Present

Today’s Reflection

BEING PRESENT involves letting go of our current preoccupations, immersing ourselves in the here and now, and giving ourselves wholeheartedly to whatever is at hand.

Involving far more than being merely physically present, it’s about becoming more aware, alert, awake to the fullness of the immediate moment. If we are with another person, it means engaging him or her with all of our heart, our mind, our soul, and our strength. Such wholehearted attention requires patience, time, and disciplined effort. And it is one of the greatest gifts that we can give to those around us, especially our suffering neighbor.

When a priest asked the Russian spiritual writer Catherine de Hueck Doherty what contribution he could make to a hurting and broken world, she answered simply, “Your presence, Father.”

– Trevor Hudson

A Mile in My Shoes

From pages 30-31 of A Mile in My Shoes: Cultivating Compassion by Trevor Hudson. Copyright © 2005 by Trevor Hudson. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books.
http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Look for opportunities today to be fully present to another person. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

James 2:8, NRSV

This Week: pray for families. 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 or visit The Living Prayer Center web site.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: Albert Schweitzer (September 4).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2015, a ministry of Discipleship Ministries | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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True Intimacy

Today’s Reflection

ANXIETY FILLS MY LIFE.
Busyness is the order of the day.
Crowded schedules, shopping sprees and misplaced priorities mask my deepest pain.
My heart is crying out for true intimacy.
Lord, draw near to me and let me sit at your feet and grab hold of this worship moment.

– Junius Dotson
The Africana Worship Book: Year C

From page 41 of The Africana Worship Book: Year C, edited by Valerie Bridgeman Davis and Safiyah Fosua. Copyright © 2008 by Discipleship Resources. All rights reserved. Used by permission. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Pray today’s prayer. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Do good, O LORD, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts.

Psalm 125:4, NRSV

This Week: pray for families. 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 or visit The Living Prayer Center web site.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: Albert Schweitzer (September 4).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2015, a ministry of Discipleship Ministries | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Deeper

Today’s Reflection

GOD, SINK ME into the depths of your Spirit,
Beyond words
Beyond creeds
Beyond theology
Beyond logic
To the Truth beyond truth
To the Love beyond love
To the You beyond you. …
Make a spiritual spring
Well up in my soul
Bringing from your boundles depths
Your boundless truth and love.

–Josh Broward

Weavings, May/June/July 2015

From the poem “Deeper” by Josh Broward, in Weavings: A Journal of the Christian Spiritual Life, May/June/July 2015. Copyright © 2015 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Pray today’s prayer. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Do not rob the poor because they are poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate; for the LORD pleads their cause and despoils of life those who despoil them.

Proverbs 22:22-23, NRSV

This Week: pray for families. 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 or visit The Living Prayer Center web site.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: Albert Schweitzer (September 4).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2015, a ministry of Discipleship Ministries | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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The Lord Works through It

Today’s Reflection

I ONCE WORKED with a church lay leader who had an annoying habit: He was perpetually positive. He wasn’t just happy or encouraging. He saw a bright spot no matter what, even when I didn’t always want to see one.

When I shared some tale of woe about matters in the church, he would listen and softly reply, “Ain’t it gonna be wonderful to see how the Lord works through all this? It wasn’t so much a question as a declaration. Count it every time. No matter how bad the tale, “Ain’t it gonna be wonderful. . . .” At times I could have gagged him! There’s positive, and then there’s Pollyanna. I wanted someone who would climb down in the pit with me and agree that it’s dark and awful, rather than tell me how bright it is at the top. This man, however, didn’t linger long in unwanted places.

One day I got a call that his wife had received a diagnosis of terminal cancer. She had only a few months to live. I raced over to the house. After a lengthy visit we prayed together. There was no avoidance of reality. There was clear recognition of what this diagnosis meant. He walked me to the car. Before I got in, he turned to hug me and with tears rolling down his face said, “Ain’t it gonna be wonderful to see how the Lord works through all this?”

This true journeyman of faith lived as a pilgrim. He didn’t deny life’s challenges. He understood that no place in this life is permanent. We just have stopping places, not staying places.

– Rob Fuquay

The God We Can Know

From pages 43-44 of The God We Can Know: Exploring the ‘I Am’ Sayings of Jesus by Rob Fuquay. Copyright © 2014 by Rob Fuquay. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Give thanks for God’s presence in your life, even during difficult times. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.

Proverbs 22:1, NRSV

This Week: pray for families. 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 or visit The Living Prayer Center web site.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: Albert Schweitzer (September 4).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2015, a ministry of Discipleship Ministries | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Encountering Jesus

Today’s Reflection

MY FIRST ENCOUNTER with Jesus’ amazing love came over two decades ago, when my first marriage was crumbling. Though I was an agnostic at the time, one afternoon I knelt down beside our bed, weeping, and heard myself cry out almost involuntarily, “Jesus, please help me.” In the wake of that prayer a peace flooded over me that did pass all understanding. In the months that followed that awesome experience, the fabric of my life continued its relentless unraveling. My heart broke as my husband decided to leave our home and our marriage. Yet spiritually I experienced this time as one of great blessing. Immersing myself in the Bible day after day and late into the night, several translations of scripture and dozens of theological commentaries piled all over the desk, I had one goal in mind: to learn to listen to Jesus.

One night a frightening thought hit me: Aren’t you afraid of going crazy, shutting yourself up all alone like this with all these books, night after night after night? In response, I heard a reassuring voice with the ears of my heart: Keep focusing on me in those Gospel stories. Pay attention to my effect on people, the way I healed them and brought them to new wholeness. You have nothing to fear if you’re centered in me. Just keep listening. Gradually, as I listened to the many different “voices” I heard, I learned to distinguish between the whispered words of the Holy Spirit and the thoughts that reflected my anxious fears. I came to understand that the Holy Spirit would always point me to the Bible and make Jesus’ voice alive to me.

– Alyssa Phillips
Loving an Addict

From pages 103-104 of Loving An Addict: Gospel Reflections of Hope and Healing by Alyssa Phillips. Copyright © 2014 by Alyssa Phillips. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

How do you encounter Christ? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

James 7:21-23, NRSV

This Week: pray for someone facing surgery. 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 or visit The Living Prayer Center web site.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: Rose of Lima (August 23).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2015, a ministry of Discipleship Ministries | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Expressing Gratitude

Today’s Reflection

MANY PEOPLE FIND WRITING about what they are thankful for in a journal is a great way to practice gratitude. Others vocalize their gratitude in a small group or with a spouse or friend. I know a young mom who expresses her own gratitude and teaches her children to do the same by naming something for which she is thankful every evening before dinner. I know a retired military officer who places his hand over his heart every morning and expresses his gratitude for his own life and for the lives of others. I know a young college graduate who compiled a gratitude list that includes the sound of rain, the smile of a stranger, access to running water, watching a puppy play, and the tenderness of his grandparents holding hands.

Gratitude expands our capacity for delight. Delight, joy, and happiness are gifts God wants to give us in all circumstances and in spite of our circumstances. When we express gratitude — when we find delight in God’s goodness — we are freer to love and serve others.

– Rebecca Dwight Bruff
Loving the World with God

From page 38 of Loving the World with God: Fourth Day Living by Rebecca Swight Bruff. Copyright © 2014 by Rebecca Dwight Bruff. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

How do you express gratitude? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.”

James 7:14-15, NRSV

This Week: pray for someone facing surgery. 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 or visit The Living Prayer Center web site.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: Rose of Lima (August 23).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2015, a ministry of Discipleship Ministries | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 6 comments }

Holy Tears

Today’s Reflection

WHY SHOULD WE WEEP with those who weep? Because Jesus showed God’s love for us by weeping with us in our weeping and dying with us in our dying. Such weeping is not a mistake, or a reason for embarrassment — it is instead one of the most important spiritual resources available to us. We are not in control in such traumatic circumstances. I think we often go to great extents in our minds and our emotions to try to rationalize our lack of control. We are not in control of the reality of which we are a small part, and our powerlessness leads us to tears.

In crying, we acknowledge our lack of control, our inability to have things the way we want them. In crying, we are not failing to be strong; we are being strong enough to acknowledge our weakness, our humanness. A friend once said that tears in such a situation are really a form of prayer to God, a confession of our limitedness, our humanity. I think that statement contains great truth. In such situations, tears are the bodily expression of humility. Tears are our humble acknowledgment that while we are beings created by God in God’s image, we are not God. When we cry those kind of tears we are being real, and being real is a necessary step toward the threshold of real holiness. That threshold is humility.

– Gregory S. Clapper
When the World Breaks Your Heart

From page 40 of When the World Breaks Your Heart: Spiritual Ways of Living with Tragedy by Gregory S. Clapper. Copyright © 1999 by Gregory S. Clapper. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Think of a time you have cried with someone else. Give thanks for this holy moment. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

1:21 Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.

James 1:21, NRSV

This Week: pray for someone facing surgery. 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 or visit The Living Prayer Center web site.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: Rose of Lima (August 23).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2015, a ministry of Discipleship Ministries | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 6 comments }

Do One Thing at a Time

Today’s Reflection

TYPICALLY IN OUR SOCIETY, we believe that time must be filled with as many activities as possible. We eat dinner while we watch television. We read a book while we ride a bus. We talk on the phone while we fold the laundry. On a lovely morning, we’ll decide to sit on the deck and enjoy a cup of coffee, but we also take the radio, the television, a book, the newspaper, a laptop computer, some handwork, or the telephone. Or we might plan to catch up on bill paying, correspondence, mending, or the grocery list.

If we take only a cup of coffee, what happens? We find other things to do. We see the roses need pruning or the lawn needs mowing or the trash needs to be picked up. So we rush for our pruning shears, lawn mower, or trash can. The moment and the morning are lost.

Is it possible to do just one thing at a time? Try it for yourself. Take that cup of coffee and sit in a lawn chair. Taste the coffee — really taste it. When was the last time you really tasted something for itself? Now feel the lawn chair beneath you, the breeze on your face, the sun on your back. Hear the birds in the trees, the traffic on the road, and the children’s voices from the next yard. Savor the moment completely. Experience the joy of the now.

– Patricia Wilson.
When You Come Unglued . . . Stick Close to God

From page 78 of When You Come Unglued . . . Stick Close to God by Patricia Wilson. Copyright © 2007 by Patricia Wilson. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Spend at least ten minutes today experiencing the joy of the now. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

James 1:17, NRSV

This Week: pray for someone facing surgery. 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 or visit The Living Prayer Center web site.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: Rose of Lima (August 23).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2015, a ministry of Discipleship Ministries | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 6 comments }