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Rainbow Eggs

Today’s Reflection

MY FATHER’S TWO MOST COMMON PARENTING PHRASES were, “You should be seen and not heard,” and “Put your hands in your pockets, and keep your mouth shut.” These pieces of advice helped me navigate times when I found myself in adult company or someone’s home filled with expensive items. But as a way of life, following his advice seemed impossibly restrictive. I remember feeling that there was no way for me not to be a pest, an annoyance, and a source of embarrassment to my father. ….

I see now that my father had his own tensions and troubles that prevented him from finding delight in parenting me. As a chattering, curious, irrepressible child, I only added to his stress. I tried to keep myself quiet, but that was like trying to settle a soda bottle that had been shaken and opened. When I spoke, my thoughts bubbling over, his angry words humiliated me, put me in my place as quickly as possible, and effectively silenced me. While Dad got relief from my chatter, I began to believe that I was, at the core of my being, an annoyance. This belief took its toll on me over time.

Not surprisingly, I recall with clarity and gratitude the time an adult asked me a question and listened with interest and appreciation to what I had to say. One of the ladies at church asked me if I had dyed Easter eggs. I told her I had tried to make a rainbow egg by mixing the colors together. I said, “I thought it would make a rainbow, but the colors got too mixed, and it made more of a mud swamp color.” When she laughed, I braced myself for criticism, thinking this was yet another time I had been an annoyance to an adult.

Instead she responded, “That is such a wonderful description!” And then she repeated my words back to me.” ‘A mud swamp color!’ What a way with words!”

Her complimentary observation was living water to me. Through this simple exchange, I realized I could be delightful, that I had good ideas to share, and that others would want to share their ideas with me as well. Decades later, I still cherish this memory and replay it when I need a source of hope and joy. I held onto that memory and locked it away in my heart so I could take it out when needed – whenever I got thirsty – to remember that I matter. This encounter gave me the fresh perspective I needed for a different view of myself and eventually for a different view of my father as a person with his own struggles and feelings.

– Jane Herring
One Day I Wrote Back

Jane Herring is the featured author for May on MyQuietSpaces.org. Enrich your spiritual life by visiting this website for women.
From pages 34-35 of One Day I Wrote Back: Interacting with Scripture Through Creative Writing by Jane Herring. Copyright © 2015 by Jane Herring. 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 an opportunity to compliment someone today. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

1:3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,

1:4 who gave himself for our sins to set us free from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

1:5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Galatians 1:1-5, NRSV

This Week: pray for those who are marginalized from their communities. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

Did You Know?

devozine is celebrating 20 years of faith stories written by teens for teens! And to kick off the next 20, we are launching devozinemag.org, a digital version of the 20th anniversary issue, with the hope that many more teens around the world will be encouraged by the voices of their peers to grow closer to God, to live out their beliefs, and to share their own faith stories. Be sure to share the news with the young people in your life!

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: Rita of Cascia (May 22).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Silence and Listening

Today’s Reflection

WE OFTEN CONSIDER LISTENING something the young must learn, along with obedience to their elders. We tell our children, often with evident impatience, “Listen to your teacher!” But proper listening, or listening properly, is essential in all seasons of life, and is surely a fundamental constituent of eldering. What such listening depends upon is our fierce acceptance of what is true in our life, and not some abstract notion of “truth”; and that means embracing what is real in our lives – however broken – beyond preconceived opinions or the category of moral judgment.

Such an attentiveness depends on the quality of the silence we are able to cultivate within ourselves, for as the poet Jane Hirschfield astutely suggests, “silence is not silence, but a limit of hearing.”

Silence is the gateway to listening, the threshold that opens us to and allows embrace of what is real, beyond ideals and illusions that we often confuse with wisdom.

Weavings, May/June/July 2016

From “Listening into the Heart’s Silences” by Mark S. Burrows, in Weavings: A Journal of the Christian Spiritual Life, May/June/July 2016. Copyright © 2016 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What spiritual practices do you follow that cultivate inner silence? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Worship the LORD in holy splendor; tremble before him, all the earth.

Psalm 96:9, NRSV

This Week: pray for those who are marginalized from their communities. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

Did You Know?

devozine is celebrating 20 years of faith stories written by teens for teens! And to kick off the next 20, we are launching devozinemag.org, a digital version of the 20th anniversary issue, with the hope that many more teens around the world will be encouraged by the voices of their peers to grow closer to God, to live out their beliefs, and to share their own faith stories. Be sure to share the news with the young people in your life!

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: Rita of Cascia (May 22).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Hospitality Blessings

Today’s Reflection

HOSPITALITY HAS ALLOWED ME to break down divisions, barriers, and misperceptions. Any border-crossing I have done has been possible because of hospitality. Ultimately, people have welcomed me deeply and invited me to make myself at home with them. More than anything else, this extension of some intimacy, some trust with their lives, is precisely what allowed me to begin to see the world in a different way.

People have taken me in – shared their houses, their food, their families – and shaken apart all my assumptions. I have taken people into my home, which sparked an internal journey into knowing myself better. The hospitality of others is the most transformative force I know. It made me wish to live in a way that was worthy of their generosity. Hospitality taught me to love better.

– Dee Dee Risher
The Soulmaking Room

From page 55 of The Soulmaking Room by Dee Dee Risher. Copyright © 2016 by Dee Dee Risher. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

When have you experienced hospitality and how has it affected you? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

O sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth.

Psalm 96:1, NRSV

This Week: pray for those who are marginalized from their communities. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

Did You Know?

devozine is celebrating 20 years of faith stories written by teens for teens! And to kick off the next 20, we are launching devozinemag.org, a digital version of the 20th anniversary issue, with the hope that many more teens around the world will be encouraged by the voices of their peers to grow closer to God, to live out their beliefs, and to share their own faith stories. Be sure to share the news with the young people in your life!

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: Rita of Cascia (May 22).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Living a Life of Justice

Today’s Reflection

LIVING A LIFE OF JUSTICE involves pursuing equality for all people, seeking fairness in dealing with others, and championing the rights of the powerless. When we take Micah’s directive [in Micah 6:8] seriously, we engage in relationships and projects that promote matters of justice in the intimate world of home, the communal world of a nation, and the global world of the planet.

– Linda Douty
Rhythms of Growth

From page 313 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

How are you seeking God’s justice? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and even licked up the water that was in the trench.

When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The LORD indeed is God; the LORD indeed is God.”
1 kings 18:38-39, NRSV

This Week: pray for those who are marginalized from their communities. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

Did You Know?

devozine is celebrating 20 years of faith stories written by teens for teens! And to kick off the next 20, we are launching devozinemag.org, a digital version of the 20th anniversary issue, with the hope that many more teens around the world will be encouraged by the voices of their peers to grow closer to God, to live out their beliefs, and to share their own faith stories. Be sure to share the news with the young people in your life!

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: Rita of Cascia (May 22).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Prayer Practice

Today’s Reflection

A PRAYER PRACTICE is just that: practice. It is taking time to learn how to listen for God. It is taking time to see the hand of God at work in our lives. We need to take this time because this listening, this seeing are difficult tasks. …

Prayer practice is the art of setting aside our own individual desires to seek the desire that God has placed on our heart. It is becoming aware of the distractions of our minds and then letting them go, and as we repeat the disciplines over time, we become more skilled at seeing God in all that we do.

– Daniel Wolpert
Creating a Life with God

From page 18 of Creating a Life with God: The Call of Ancient Prayer Practices by Daniel Wolpert. Copyright © 2003 by Daniel Wolpert. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What prayer disciplines have helped you discern Gods desire for you? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

John 16:15, NRSV

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

Did You Know?

devozine is celebrating 20 years of faith stories written by teens for teens! And to kick off the next 20, we are launching devozinemag.org, a digital version of the 20th anniversary issue, with the hope that many more teens around the world will be encouraged by the voices of their peers to grow closer to God, to live out their beliefs, and to share their own faith stories. Be sure to share the news with the young people in your life!

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: Bernardino of Siena (May 20).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Signs of Prayer

Today’s Reflection

A FORM OF PREPARATION for prayer, practiced from time immemorial by Roman Catholics and increasingly used by thoughtful non-Catholics, is to make the sign of the cross on oneself as a confession of obedience to the Christian way. This is accomplished by placing the thumb against the first two fingers of the right hand and thoughtfully touching the forehead, the heart, the left side of the chest, and the right side of the chest.

I once heard a nun, who had been a Protestant and a homemaker until she was 40 years old, say that she wished her Protestant friends were not so afraid of this simple gesture of relationship to Christ. Even if she were to leave the Roman Catholic Church, she said, she would continue to make the sign of the cross before prayers, for she found the inward dimension of this symbolic action exceedingly helpful.

– John Killinger
Beginning Prayer

From pages 31-32 of Beginning Prayer by John Killinger. Copyright © 2012 by John Killinger. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Do you practice an outward ritual when you pray? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

John 16:13, NRSV

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

Did You Know?

devozine is celebrating 20 years of faith stories written by teens for teens! And to kick off the next 20, we are launching devozinemag.org, a digital version of the 20th anniversary issue, with the hope that many more teens around the world will be encouraged by the voices of their peers to grow closer to God, to live out their beliefs, and to share their own faith stories. Be sure to share the news with the young people in your life!

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: Bernardino of Siena (May 20).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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The Power of Thanksgiving and Prayer

Today’s Reflection

THE POWER OF THANKSGIVING and praise is like contagious laughter whose ripple effect can reach epidemic proportions. Heartfelt gratitude goes beyond a thank-you note; it’s a gracious way of being in the world. Folks who instinctively move to the rhythm of thankfulness alter the very atmosphere around them.

One inspirational elder (nearing her centennial birthday) shared her daily mantra: “God, show me how I can bless someone today. Make me the giver of holy gifts – even if it’s as simple as a smile.” These generous souls have a way of pulling a golden thread from a patchwork of gray and inspiring the rest of us to do the same. They foster hope, engender joy, and celebrate beauty. They build bridges instead of borders. A grateful heart paves a pathway to the best thing an elder has to offer – a legacy of love.

– Linda Douty Mischke
Weavings, May/June/July 2016

From “Eldering Among Elders” by Linda Douty Mischke, page 42 in Weavings: A Journal of the Christian Spiritual Life, May/June/July 2016. Copyright © 2016 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

How can you bless someone today? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Romans 5:3-5, NRSV

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

Did You Know?

devozine is celebrating 20 years of faith stories written by teens for teens! And to kick off the next 20, we are launching devozinemag.org, a digital version of the 20th anniversary issue, with the hope that many more teens around the world will be encouraged by the voices of their peers to grow closer to God, to live out their beliefs, and to share their own faith stories. Be sure to share the news with the young people in your life!

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: Bernardino of Siena (May 20).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Making the Decision to Say Yes

Today’s Reflection

DURING MY SENIOR YEAR of college, everyone wanted to know what I was doing after graduation. Frankly, I didn’t know the answer. …

Many people tried to make a decision for me. Some of my friends were studying for graduate school; others were filling out stacks of job applications. I felt pressure to do what everyone expected, to make my professors proud, to be successful. But I know that God had planted a different seed in my heart, and slowly it was taking root. …

I had known for a long time that Jesus was asking me to leave home for a year to be a missionary. I felt led to a program called the World Race, a journey to eleven countries in eleven months to share the love of Christ and to grow in relationship with God. I had been praying about it for almost two years, but secretly I had hoped that God wouldn’t ask me to actually do it. I waited for the desire to go away, but it grew stronger. … Finally I stopped asking God questions and started answering the questions God was asking me. Did I trust the Lord with all my heart? Would I follow Jesus wherever he asked me to go?

Leaving home for a year sounded crazy. It seemed dangerous. But I could see Jesus, patiently holding out his hand to me, and I knew that if Jesus was reaching out for me, reaching back for him was the only response. I told God, “Yes, I trust you.” I told Jesus, “Yes, I will follow you.” I said yes to the World Race.

Are you paying attention to the questions God is asking you? If prayer is a conversation with God, shouldn’t both participants in the conversation get a chance to speak? Try practicing a listening prayer. Ask the Lord to speak to you; then sit in silence to see what God might say. Jot down any questions you think God is asking you, and pray for God’s help as you search for the answers.

– Katy Steele
devozine, September/October 2015

From “Making the Decision to Say Yes” by Katy Steele, pages 23-24 in devozine, September/October 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

What is God asking you? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.

Romans 5:1-2, NRSV

This Week: pray for someone struggling with depression. 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: Bernardino of Siena (May 20).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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A Morning Prayer

Today’s Reflection

O LORD, I long to love you with my whole heart,
honor you with my entire being.
Yet, even my most noble intentions fall apart
and rattle around, mocking me
As they’re ground to dust
and drift out through the shattered places in my soul.

Yet, I remember you have always known and loved me,
even in my brokenness.
Thank you for the power of the cross
and the promise of second chances.
Send your Breath of Life to blow away yesterday’s failures.
Guide me by your Spirit into your best for this new day.

– Dorothy Johnson
Alive Now, May/June 2016

“A Morning Prayer” by Dorothy Johnson, in Alive Now, May/June 2016. Copyright © 2016 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

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?

Psalm 8:3-4, NRSV

This Week: pray for someone struggling with depression. 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: Bernardino of Siena (May 20).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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The Heart of Christ

Today’s Reflection

TO CLAIM THAT I HAVE a pure heart is the height of presumption. All I can do is pray for God to grant me a heart that loves as Christ has loved me. [John] Wesley describes the heart cleansed of sin and filled with love. It is renewed in every way: perfect, right, pure, good – “a copy” of the heart of Jesus. Impart your very nature to me, he prays. Write your new, best name of love, Lord Jesus, on my heart.

– Paul Wesley Chilcote
A Life-Shaping Prayer: 52 Meditations in the Wesleyan Spirit

From page 135 of A Life-Shaping Prayer: 52 Meditations in the Wesleyan Spirit by Paul Wesley Chilcote. Copyright © 2008 by Paul Wesley Chilcote. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Pray for a clean heart. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

LORD, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.

Psalm 8:1, NRSV

This Week: pray for someone struggling with depression. 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: Bernardino of Siena (May 20).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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