Being Present with Presence

December 18, 2014

Today’s Reflection

BEING WHOLLY PRESENT to another person – with body, mind, and spirit – offers a holy gift beyond measure. An encounter of heartfelt listening is a meeting of souls wrapped in a container of utter and complete safety – no judgment, no fear of betrayal. That means the speaker pays no price for complete honesty, does not worry that the words will come back to haunt him or her. The speaker feels free to be outrageous, to rant, to weep, to laugh, to speak without editing, to disclose or not disclose. Even more important, the unspoken assurance of complete confidentiality ensures that the conversation will never be used for the listener’s benefit. …

Being present means we get ourselves out of the way. Our whole self is present, yet absent. We don’t divert the exchange by inserting, “This is how I handled that problem” or “Here’s what I would do if I were you.” We bracket our advice until requested; we suspend our fix-it solutions. Simply put, we serve as a sounding board to mirror the speaker’s experience back to him or her. This encourages the speaker to tune in to the voice of his or her own soul.

- Rhythms of Growth

From page 374 of Rhythms of Growth: 365 Meditations to Nurture the Soul by Linda Douty. Copyright © 2014 by Linda Douty. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Find an opportunity to be wholly present for someone. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith —
to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever! Amen.

Romans 16:25-27 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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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 […]

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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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