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Holiness

Today’s Reflection

HOLINESS IS NOT SOMETHING we consume on a Sunday morning and then slowly lose during the week. Nor is it a one-time ecstatic experience, a mountaintop of excitement that we keep trying to repeat.

Rather, holiness is a slowly dawning way of being in the world with God and neighbor. It is each day’s reception of what is always offered from the dearest, deepest source of our being—offered from the heart of the very life of God. It is like a beautiful melody we come slowly to know and to sing over time. It is like learning to breathe in pure air deeply every morning and to trust sleep at night as a metaphor for God’s constancy.

Weavings, Nov/Dec/Jan 2016-17

From “Open the Door” by Don Saliers, page 7 in Weavings: A Journal of the Christian Spiritual Life, November/December/January 2016–17. 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

Name specific ways you encounter the holy. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.

1 Corinthians 1:17 NRSV

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

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 website.

This week we remember: Anthony of Egypt (January 17).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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The Task of Love

Today’s Reflection

THERE IS ONE TASK ONLY: the task of love. We are called by God to live this life with love for everyone. All that we do can be an expression of God’s love. However mundane the task, perform it with a generous spirit and grateful heart. The most insignificant task performed with love is tribute to God, and every act of charity or service done for self-gain or with hate – or worse, indifference – is a hollow offering to God.

– Christopher Maricle
The Jesus Priorities: 8 Essential Habits

From page 93 of The Jesus Priorities by Christopher Maricle. Copyright ©2007 by Christopher Maricle. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Are there tasks you perform that could become acts of love? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose.

1 Corinthians 1:10 NRSV

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

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 website.

This week we remember: Anthony of Egypt (January 17).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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From Emotion to Psalm

Today’s Reflection

THE PSALMS can help us to pray with body, mind, and spirit. The beauty and wonder of creation is writ large in the Psalms; so is encouragement to celebrate God’s praise through movement, dance, body prayer, and music. …

The psalmists wrote out of their daily experiences. Nothing was too mundane or earth-shattering to bring to God, whether it was caused by pain, ecstatic joy, fear, hope, or longing to know holy Presence. …

When something really grabs us, we may be surprised at our capacity to give voice to the experience. The trouble is that all too often our days pass in busyness without pause to acknowledge the divine grace that touches our lives moment by moment.

But if we do stop—even briefly—we notice the gratitude, fear, or other emotion that lies beneath the surface of experience. Out of this awareness we can pray with integrity—and create our own psalms.

– Elizabeth J. Canham
Finding Your Voice in the Psalms

From pages 15, 17–18 of Finding Your Voice in the Psalms: An Invitation to Honest Prayer by Elizabeth J. Canham. Copyright 2013 by Elizabeth J. Canham. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Take time today to look beneath the surface of your experience and share your feelings with God. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
Psalm 27:6 NRSV

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

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 website.

This week we remember: Anthony of Egypt (January 17).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Facing Up to Ourselves

Today’s Reflection

JACOB, IN CRISIS, knew that it was God’s nature to bless, and he needed that blessing. … However, God did not immediately bless him; God wanted to know his name. There needed to be an honest disclosure about who he was. For Jacob to receive the blessing that God wanted to give, he had to be willing to come clean.

There is a clear message here for those of us in crisis and in need of God’s blessing. We must tell God our names and share with God who we really are and what we have done. Usually we want our relationship with God to work the other way around. … But that is not the way God works. If we want God to bless us, we need to face up to ourselves honestly.

– Trevor Hudson
Questions God Asks Us

From page 54 of Questions God Asks Us by Trevor Hudson. Copyright © 2008 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

What comes to mind when you read the phrase, “get real with God?” Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my help. Do not cast me off, do not forsake me, O God of my salvation!
Psalm 27:9 NRSV

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

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 website.

This week we remember: Anthony of Egypt (January 17).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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The Holy Spirit, God with Us

Today’s Reflection

The Holy Spirit is God with us to comfort and convict, to remind and renew, to guide and guard, to sustain and support. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, we are convicted of our sin and assured of forgiveness. We are reminded of Jesus Christ and renewed in our relationship, guided toward the fulfillment of God’s purposes, and guarded against the powers of sin and death. In the power of the Holy Spirit we are sustained and supported amid temptation, suffering, and death. It is the Holy Spirit who draws us toward God and into community with God and one another. …

The test of whether a spirit is the Holy Spirit is its conformity to Jesus Christ (1 John 4:2ff). The fruits of the Spirit are the qualities of Jesus’ own being: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22). Such qualities within and among human beings are God with us; they are not human achievements or universal “natural” characteristics. What we cannot produce in ourselves God produces in us – faith, hope, and love or Christlikeness.

– Kenneth L. Carder
Living Our Beliefs, Revised Edition

From page 44 of Living Our Beliefs: The United Methodist Way, revised edition by Kenneth L. Carder. Copyright © 2009 by Discipleship Resources. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Discipleship Resources. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

How do you describe the Holy Spirit’s presence in your life? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness on them light has shined.
Isaiah 9:2 NRSV

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

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 website.

This week we remember: Anthony of Egypt (January 17).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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The Gift of Imagination

Today’s Reflection

WE NEED THE GIFT of imagination if we are to see and hear God in the world about us. Poetry, art, and music can take us to places that literal and scientific truth cannot. This is not to deny the importance of research and scholarship, but it invites us to reclaim the wisdom of our own creativity. I do not literally believe that God is “up there,” racing across the sky in a convertible. But when I gaze reverently at the changes in the clouds moved by wind, I do lift my soul to the Creator. And sometimes, like Charlie Brown, I see some fastastical creatures in the clouds, and I giggle with delight because it seems that God has fun with creation. Why else would we see long-necked giraffes, elephants using their long noses to suck up water, camels with lumps on their backs, and so many other curious creatures? …O LORD, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
–Psalm 104:24

A sense of wonder is God’s gift to us. Do we pause long enough to grasp the awesomeness of creation?

– Elizabeth J. Canham
Finding Your Voice in the Psalms

From page 62 of Finding Your Voice in the Psalms: An Invitation to Honest Prayer. Copyright © 2013 by Elizabeth J. Canham. 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 of creation makes you think of God? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
John 1:29 NRSV

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

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 website.

This week we remember: Brother Lawrence (January 11).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Tips for Contemplative Coloring

Today’s Reflection

1. Everyone is an artist. You are wonderfully made in the image of God, your Creator. Therefore, you have creative gifts embedded within you. ….

2. Set aside time. Designate time in your day to be with God on purpose. You may choose to mark your prayer time as an appointment with God on your calendar. … Allow yourself to let go of your distractions and sit at the feet of Jesus to color and pray on a regular basis.

3. Set aside sacred space. You may find setting aside time for God easier if you set aside a space dedicated solely to prayer. …. Set aside a special space and gather items you will need for prayer—a Bible, mandalas, colored pencils, a candle, a journal, and so on. …

4. Lines are optional. In contemplative coloring, the lines are merely suggestions. Color within them, color on them, draw new lines, and draw beyond the lines. Anything goes!

5. No color is off-limits. Pick the colors that attract you or that hold meaning for you. Don’t overthink color selection so that it becomes a distraction of its own. …

6. Leave blank space. There is no need to “finish” coloring a mandala. You can leave blank space that you return to at a later time. The blank spaces may even become integral parts of your prayerful creation.

– Sharon Seyfarth Garner
Praying with Mandalas

From page 17 of Praying with Mandalas: A Colorful, Contemplative Practice by Sharon Seyfarth Garner. Copyright © 2016 by Sharon Seyfarth Garner. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Have you ever prayed while creating or coloring? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Corinthians 1:9, NRSV

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

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 website.

This week we remember: Brother Lawrence (January 11).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Fully Present

Today’s Reflection

LET ME describe what it means to be truly present. Being present involves letting go of our constant preoccupations, immersing ourselves in the here and now, and giving ourselves wholeheartedly to whatever is at hand. …

It’s about becoming more aware, alert, awake to the fullness of the immediate moment. If we are with another person, it means engaging with 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.

– Trevor Hudson
A Mile in My Shoes: Cultivating Compassion

From pp. 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 to be fully present to someone today. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

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

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

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 website.

This week we remember: Brother Lawrence (January 11).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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“In this World You Will Have Trouble”

Today’s Reflection

WHY DO SO MANY of us think being a Christian is going to guarantee an easy life? … God never promised a trouble-free life. The Bible is filled with saga of God’s people facing persecution and suffering. Jesus declared, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33, NCV). Notice he did not say may; he said you will have trouble. People of all faiths get sick, lose their jobs, and experience heartache and strife. …

We have little choice about most of the things that go wrong in our lives, but we do have choices about how to approach them. We can insist on solitary misery and stoicism. Or we can allow God to partner with us in our struggles. Our God is a God who delivers, not from trials and brokenness but out of them. With God’s assistance, we get not under, over, or beneath but through our challenges. The cost may be everything — health, families, friends, jobs, even our lives. But letting go of control and turning to the Eternal One promises a stupendous payoff. We receive peace and fulfillment through companionship with the God who delights in being with, encouraging, loving, and saving God’s children.

– Nell E. Noonan
The Struggles of Caregiving

From pages 12-13 of The Struggles of Caregiving: 28 Days of Prayer by Nell E. Noonan. Copyright © 2011 by Nell E. Noonan. 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 are the ways you allow God to partner with you through your struggles? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

I have not hidden your saving help within my heart, I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.
Psalm 40:10, NRSV

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

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 website.

This week we remember: Brother Lawrence (January 11).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Happy Thankfulness

Today’s Reflection

SOMETIMES, BECAUSE WE ARE NOT THANKFUL, we become sorry for ourselves and feel neglected. It is in being thankful that we see how truly rich we are.

I have a friend who works with the deaf. Her work is very demanding and exhausting. Some days she begins to feel tired and depressed. But she is a woman of prayer.

“Whenever I begin to feel depressed,” she told me, “I think of something for which I am happy, and I say, ‘Thank you, Lord.’ Then I think of something else for which I am happy. Again I say, ‘Thank you, Lord.’ Then I think of something else, and say it again.

“Before I know it, I’ve completely forgotten about being depressed, and my whole day is bright again!”

– John Killinger
Beginning Prayer

From page 75 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

Think of three things for which you are happy. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Happy are those who make the LORD their trust, who do not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after false gods.
Psalm 40:4, NRSV

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

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 website.

This week we remember: Brother Lawrence (January 11).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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