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Preparing the Soil

Today’s Reflection

WHEN I THINK of how God works in the life of the pilgrim, I remember the tireless work my dad put into preparing the soil for his garden. Just as he patiently readied the earth, so too God prepares the pilgrim’s heart to receive an encounter with Divine Love. Seasons before we become aware of the movement of God’s love in our life, and long before we see any evidence of the fruit of that love, seeds of faith, hope, and love already are growing in our pilgrim heart.

—Karla M. Kincannon, Creativity and Divine Surprise: Finding the Place of Your Resurrection (Upper Room Books, 2005)

Today’s Question

When you look back, do you see moments where God was at work even before you realized?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”
—1 Corinthians 3:7 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

Holy One, Help me discover my God-given creativity and find the sacred in each God-given moment.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room or share it in the comment section.

Something More

Which Advent study is right for you this year? Take our Advent quiz to find out.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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The Truth of Our Existence

Today’s Reflection

CREATIVITY is so much more than art making. It is a tool for navigating through everyday experiences to find the sacred in each God-given moment. Those who believe they lack creativity have relegated it to remote regions of their life, burying it under the need for security, approval, and control. However, like love, which is stronger than death, creativity does not die; it simply waits to be unearthed and set free.

—Karla M. Kincannon, Creativity and Divine Surprise: Finding the Place of Your Resurrection (Upper Room Books, 2005)

Today’s Question

What helps you unearth your God-given creativity?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
—Psalm 139:14 (NIV)

Prayer for the Week

Holy One, Help me discover my God-given creativity and find the sacred in each God-given moment.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room or share it in the comment section.

Something More

Which Advent study is right for you this year? Take our Advent quiz to find out.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Moving into Wholeness

Today’s Reflection

CREATIVITY AND PRAYER allow us to see the truth about ourselves. Whether painting or praying, I learn about myself and areas of my life that need God’s healing. Painting offers guidance and helps to heal the hurts of the past, in much the same way prayer does. Through an unending process of self-discovery, creativity and prayer move us into wholeness. They afford an encounter with self-knowledge and lead to the joyful truth of our existence.

—Karla M. Kincannon, Creativity and Divine Surprise: Finding the Place of Your Resurrection (Upper Room Books, 2005)

Today’s Question

When have creativity and prayer provided you a pathway for healing?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“Heal me, LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved; for you are the one I praise.”
—Jeremiah 17:14 (NIV)

Prayer for the Week

Holy One, Help me discover my God-given creativity and find the sacred in each God-given moment.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room or share it in the comment section.

Something More

Which Advent study is right for you this year? Take our Advent quiz to find out.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Divine DNA

Today’s Reflection

THOUGH TYPICALLY associated only with artists and children, creativity partially reflects the image of God within each of us. It is one strand of our divine DNA. The other strand is love, which is enormously creative. Woven together in a double helix, creativity and love compose the soul’s purpose in life while providing the tools to mirror our Creator. They are the means as well as the end of the journey, the path as well as the purpose.

—Karla M. Kincannon, Creativity and Divine Surprise: Finding the Place of Your Resurrection (Upper Room Books, 2005)

Today’s Question

In what ways can creativity and love enable you to mirror the Creator?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”
—1 John 4:16 (NIV)

Prayer for the Week

Holy One, Help me discover my God-given creativity and find the sacred in each God-given moment.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room or share it in the comment section.

Something More

Which Advent study is right for you this year? Take our Advent quiz to find out.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Pathway to Truth

Today’s Reflection

PARTICIPATING in the creative act helps us to see ourselves as we are and as we might become. Like prayer, the creative act draws us into the authentic life that awaits us and into our fulfillment in God. Creativity, an essential tool for shaping the soul, provides a pathway to the fierce truth of our life. Those traveling the spiritual road who yearn for the healing of life’s deepest hurts, the fulfillment of immeasurable longings, or the profound peace found only in life with God need all their creativity to complete the journey.

—Karla M. Kincannon, Creativity and Divine Surprise: Finding the Place of Your Resurrection (Upper Room Books, 2005)

Today’s Question

What creative practice might point you to truth today?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”
—Psalm 25:5 (NIV)

Prayer for the Week

Holy One, Help me discover my God-given creativity and find the sacred in each God-given moment.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room or share it in the comment section.

Something More

Which Advent study is right for you this year? Take our Advent quiz to find out.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Unearthing Creativity

Today’s Reflection

CREATIVITY is so much more than art making. It is a tool for navigating through everyday experiences to find the sacred in each God-given moment. Those who believe they lack creativity have relegated it to remote regions of their life, burying it under the need for security, approval, and control. However, like love, which is stronger than death, creativity does not die; it simply waits to be unearthed and set free.

—Karla M. Kincannon, Creativity and Divine Surprise: Finding the Place of Your Resurrection (Upper Room Books, 2005)

Today’s Question

What helps you unearth your God-given creativity?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” —Psalm 139:14 (NIV)

Prayer for the Week

Holy One, Help me discover my God-given creativity and find the sacred in each God-given moment.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room or share it in the comment section.

Something More

Which Advent study is right for you this year? Take our Advent quiz to find out.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Living Our Belovedness

Today’s Reflection

WE ARE CALLED to live into our belovedness with courage. At times we will be called to take risks and make sacrifices. We will be called to be vulnerable and lean into uncertainty and even fear. We will be called to do what is necessary to glorify God. It may be scary, and it will require a great deal of courage. But it will be possible because we will be living out our true story with our whole heart. And it will be possible because Jesus sends his Spirit so that we too might live this life of belovedness.

—Kristen E. Vincent, We Are Beloved: A Lenten Journey with Protestant Prayer Beads (Upper Room Books, 2019)

Today’s Question

In what ways are we called to glorify God?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.”
—John 14:26 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

I love you, Lord.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room or share it in the comment section.

Something More

Join The Upper Room Facebook community. Click here.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Our Bodies Are Holy

Today’s Reflection

WE ARE CREATED in God’s image. Just as the Jews invest a great deal of time, thought, and resources into building the Temple, God invests a great deal—God’s own image—into the creation of our physical bodies, which serve as the vessels for our spirits. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you? Don’t you know that you have the Holy Spirit from God, and you don’t belong to yourselves? You have been bought and paid for, so honor God with your body” (CEB). Seeing our bodies as holy may not come easily to us. Even in Jesus’ time, there are many rules—particularly for women—that can make it sound as if physical bodies are dirty or defiled. In our time, cultural messages about weight and ability and sexuality and color make it even more difficult to love our bodies. But when we question the holiness of our physical bodies, we need only remember that God becomes human in the form of Jesus and then declares Jesus to be God’s Beloved. Part of being beloved is recognizing the sacred value of our bodies and honoring them as such.

—Kristen E. Vincent, We Are Beloved: A Lenten Journey with Protestant Prayer Beads (Upper Room Books, 2019)

Today’s Question

Does knowing “your body is a temple” affect your view of the human body? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.”
—1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

I love you, Lord.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room or share it in the comment section.

Something More

Join The Upper Room Facebook community. Click here.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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God Is Love

Today’s Reflection

[THE] FEELING OF belovedness doesn’t come easily to us. We are surrounded by media, cultural norms, and even religious folks who tell us that we are not enough or are too much of something. We are told that we must earn love by being good or pretty or smart or that we are sinful and unworthy of so much. It is good news to know that no matter who we are or what we have done—no matter what anyone thinks or says—we are beloved by God. Because God is Love. … God created us in God’s image, which means we reflect divine love. God created us for love. And God created us to be love. We are beloved.

—Kristen E. Vincent, We Are Beloved: A Lenten Journey with Protestant Prayer Beads (Upper Room Books, 2019)

Today’s Question

Where did you experience God’s love this week?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”
—1 John 4:7 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

I love you, Lord.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room or share it in the comment section.

Something More

Join The Upper Room Facebook community. Click here.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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The God Who Calls Us Beloved

Today’s Reflection

WHEN WE MINISTER to those in need, we respond to the presence of God in others and remember the moments when God ministered to us in our need. When we pray, we respond to God’s call to step out of the constant hustle of our daily lives, enter into sacred space, and be renewed by God’s Spirit. When we fast from food, drugs, technology, or possessions, we let go of the things that cloud our senses so that we can see God for who God is: the God who loves us deeply. The God who calls us beloved—that’s the real treasure.

—Kristen E. Vincent, We Are Beloved: A Lenten Journey with Protestant Prayer Beads  (Upper Room Books, 2019)

Today’s Question

How might you welcome, feed, or clothe Jesus today?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’”
—Matthew 25:40 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

I love you, Lord.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room or share it in the comment section.

Something More

Join The Upper Room Facebook community. Click here.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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