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Wisdom and Compassion

Today’s Reflection

COMPASSION IS WISE. True compassion is grounded in spontaneous feeling, informed by understanding, and expressed in action, as our look at biblical understandings of compassion showed. But these core elements must be infused with wisdom: thoughtful analysis, careful deliberation, and spiritual discernment informed by intuition, data, and prayerful attention to divine invitation.

Without wisdom, reaction to compassionate feelings can lead to actions that may not actually be compassionate – that is, they may not be in the best interest of the persons they are meant to help. Without wisdom, understanding can merely skim the surface and focus on problem-soliving activities rather than truly meeting persons’ needs. Unwise action, no matter how caring the intention, may be misguided, inappropriate, or even harmful.

– Andrew Dreitcer
Living Compassion

From page 27 of Living Compassion: Loving Like Jesus by Andrew Dreitcer. Copyright © 2017 by Andrew Dreitcer. 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 see the relationship between wisdom and compassion? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.”

John 3:5, NRSV

This Week: pray for the victims of violence. 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: Rita of Cascia (May 22).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Radical Compassion

Today’s Reflection

JESUS OFFERS a spiritual path that cultivates [radical] compassion. Many times compassion comes easily and naturally, like a child seeing a wounded bird and spontaneously tending to its broken wing. When whole and vital, our hearts automatically beat with care and connection. Often, however, much less sympathetic impulses drive our lives. The pulse of our spirit accelerates with drivenness or hyper-reactivity, it shuts down and dulls with numbness or fatigue, and it beats erratically in cycles of rage and withdrawal or compulsion and shame. Sometimes, compassion requires cultivation – the pulse of our lives feels off, it beats out of sync with the pulse of God’s love, and it requires restoration to the tender heartbeat of care.

At such times, the spiritual path of Jesus offers us a way to realign ourselves with God, to restore the pulse of our spirit, and to resuscitate and sustain our God-given capacities to embody care in the world. This spiritual path contains four rhythmic movements that transform the depleted or hardened heart to beat once more in harmony with the loving heartbeat of God. This fourfold rhythm entails deepening our connection with the expansive compassion of God, cultivating a self-compassion that recalibrates our erratic pulse to the steady pulse of our restored humanity, cultivating a compassion for the suffering that afflicts someone’s humanity, and responding with concrete acts of embodied care and connection.

– Frank Rogers Jr
Compassion in Practice

From pages 34-35 of Compassion in Practice: The Way of Jesus by Frank Rogers Jr. Copyright © 2016 by Frank Rogers 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

When has your faith led you to compassion? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!”

Romans 8:15, NRSV

This Week: pray for the victims of violence. 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: Rita of Cascia (May 22).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Your Faith Story

Today’s Reflection

THERE IS A SENSE of urgency about preserving one’s faith story in the later years. It is sad when older people wait too long to achieve this task. As the writer of Ecclesiastes stated, “Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come, and the years draw near when you say, ‘I have no pleasure in them'” (Ecclesiastes 12:1). We might well rephrase those words in this way: Remember … your story in the days when you can write it down, before the inevitable losses of old age come, and you can no longer fulfill that task.

– Richard L. Morgan
Remembering Your Story

From page 25 of Remembering Your Story: Creating Your Own Spiritual Autobiography by Richard L. Morgan. Copyright © 2002 by Richard L. Morgan. 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 written or told your faith story? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

Romans 8:14, NRSV

This Week: pray for the victims of violence. 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: Rita of Cascia (May 22).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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The Blue Flag: Moving to the Outside Lane

Today’s Reflection

AS A THREE-TIME winner of the Indianapolis 500, Hélio Castroneves has probably never had a blue flag waved at him in a race. This flag means you are about to be lapped, and it tells you to move to the outside lane to make way for the car that’s a full revolution ahead of you. …

Heeding the blue flag isn’t mandatory. There is no penalty for ignoring it. That’s why it’s also called the “courtesy flag.” You obey it, Hélio says, “because it’s the right thing to do.” … Many of the important things we do in life are done not because we have to do them. We do them because they are right. “Being humble,” Hélio says, “takes you far.”…

Spiritual blue flags may be waved at us in any number of ways. You may notice, for example, that a colleague looks distraught as you are leaving the office for the day. You ask whether the person needs anything, and you get the response, “No, I don’t want to bother you.” You can keep heading to your car … or you can decide to heed the blue flag.

Or you may be trying to get to your airport gate, but you overhear an elderly couple speaking a foreign language, and they appear confused. You realize they are probably having trouble understanding a sign. You think about stopping to help, but you know it will delay you. You can keep walking to your gate … or you can decide to heed the blue flag. …

No one can anticipate when blue flags will be waved, and they often show up when it’s inconvenient. It’s easy to feel resentful or frustrated at being the one who is getting the signals, but learning to heed them can take us far in life.

Jesus demonstrated a blue-flag way of life for his followers. Paul would later write to the Philippians that moving over for others is the very reason that Jesus came to earth: “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness” (Phil. 5:2-7).

– Rob Fuquay
Take the Flag

From pages 41, 43-44 of Take the Flag: Following God’s Signals in the Race of Your Life by Rob Fuquay. Copyright © 2016 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

What does it mean “let the same mind be in your that was in Christ Jesus”? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace!

Psalm 29:11, NRSV

This Week: pray for the victims of violence. 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: Rita of Cascia (May 22).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Have Mercy on Me

Today’s Reflection

I DECIDED I WANTED TO TRY a new prayer practice. I began saying the Jesus Prayer repeatedly at various times of the day. Christians have been reciting this prayer for over a thousand years. Because it’s short, it makes a great breath prayer: a prayer you can say in connection with your breathing.
Inhale: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,
Exhale: Have mercy on me, a sinner.

I practiced saying this prayer while folding laundry, walking the dog, driving to soccer practice. One day I sat at a red light while saying the prayer. Suddenly, I stopped on the second line: “have mercy on me.” Mercy. My thoughts immediately returned to what I had recently learned about hesed [a Hebrew word used to describe the love God has for us and the love we are called to have for each other; it is a love that is kind, faithful, loyal, unfailing, unconditional, merciful, rich, wonderful, transformative, and grace-full].

What if I used hesed in the Jesus Prayer? Slowly, I prayed, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, love me, a sinner.” Though it didn’t change the spirit of the prayer, the difference was profound. I was proclaiming God’s love for me, connecting with it and inviting it into my heart.

– Kristen E. Vincent
Beads of Healing

From pages 89-90 of Beads of Healing: Prayer, Trauma, and Spiritual Wholeness by Kristen E. Vincent. Copyright © 2016 by Kristen E. Vincent. 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 today, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, love me, a sinner.” Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength

Psalm 29:1, NRSV

This Week: pray for the victims of voilence. 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: Rita of Cascia (May 22).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Persistence

Today’s Reflection

ONCE AGAIN, my parents took me to doctor after doctor in Arizona with the same results we had gotten in Tennessee. In desperation they sought out a new pediatrician in town, Dr. Howard Robertson. Dr Robertson had retired from teaching at Vanderbilt Medical School an institution that was fewer than 50 miles from our previous home in Tennessee. …

Almost immediately, my parents and I built trust with Dr. Robertson and his wife, who served as the nurse in the practice.

After Dr. Robinson had examined me several times and looked over my past medical records, he decided to send me to a large medical center in Tucson for tests. There were several possibilities for a diagnosis, some of them so dire as to be life-threatening. Dr. Robertson didn’t tell my parents about the worst of these diagnoses until later, nor did he reveal that he would like awake at night, wondering if he could keep me alive long enough to find out what was wrong with me. My most vivid memory from that time was that several of the tests required that I take large doeses … of castor oil in preparation for them. I hated the taste, which reminded me of the smell of motor oil, and I gagged at the consistency, almost unable to drink it and keep it down.

Dr. Robertson received my test results from the hospital in Tucson, and he shared them with my parents and me, letting us know that his worst fears were not realized. I had been born with a blood deficiency that affected my immune system. … My deficiency could be treated by injections of gamma globulin – nine cc’s every six weeks. … Over time, … and with continued treatment, I grew into an active and healthy young person.

– Michael E. Williams
Spoken into Being

From pages 85-86 of Spoken into Being: Divine Encounters Through Story by Michael E. Williams. Copyright © 2017 by Michael E. Williams. 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 has persistence paid off for you? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”

Isaiah 6:8, NRSV

This Week: pray for the victims of voilence. 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: Rita of Cascia (May 22).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Driven by Narrative

Today’s Reflection

I AM AN ONLY CHILD. My mother miscarried several times before I was born, and doctors warned her not to try to have another child. She ignored their advice and, though she carried me to term, had such a difficult pregnancy that she was forced to go to the hospital in Murray, Kentucky, to give birth. …

I was a sickly child from the start, causing constant work and worry for both my parents. They took me from doctor to doctor to discover the root of my almost constant ill health. This story of fear – that my parents’ only child would die – drove my family’s narrative. Finally, when I was five years old, my parents decided to move to a climate that would better suit my sickly constitution. Doctors had told them that the dry air of the desert often worked wonders for someone who suffered from symptoms like mine, even though those same doctors could not put a name to the malady from which I suffered. …

My father … arranged for a transfer to Fort Huachuca, Arizona, at the very southernmost part of the state in the desert near the town of Sierra Vista. My parents eagerly pursued the fantasy that the desert air would work a miracle and that my health would improve miraculously. … My health did improve slightly, but it was not the dramatic improvement for which my parents had hoped. They moved from the fantasy of miraculous cure back into the fear of a premature death.

– Michael E. Williams
Spoken into Being

From pages 85-86 of Spoken into Being: Divine Encounters Through Story by Michael E. Williams. Copyright © 2017 by Michael E. Williams. 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 story has shaped your life most profoundly? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

Acts 2:1, NRSV

This Week: pray for the growth of new 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: Isidore the Farmer (May 15).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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People of The Story

Today’s Reflection

AS PEOPLE OF FAITH, storytelling has special meaning for us. If all revelation is relationship, then storytelling becomes testimony, or the sharing of another’s testimony, to relationship. The act of storytelling itself becomes relational. It extends beyond the bounds of instructive or entertaining to become connectional. The storyteller engages the listener relationally. The listener seeks credibility in the voice, posture, and nonverbal communication of the storyteller. The storyteller responds to the face of the listener. We are people of The Story.

We are able to testify. We are able to say, I remember. I remember you. Remember me. And we tell The Story.

– Ray Buckley
Dancing with Words

From page 13 of Dancing with Words: Storytelling as Legacy, Culture, and Faith by Ray Buckley. Copyright © 2004 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

Who’s story do you remember today? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Romans 8:27, NRSV

This Week: pray for the growth of new 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: Isidore the Farmer (May 15).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Reporting God’s Love

Today’s Reflection

FOR WESLEY, it is not only important to reflect the love of God to others, we also must report (tell) about this love to others. … The Wesleyan way of evangelism calls for us to tell about this love to others. … We, too, are called to report to others what God has done in our lives.

If we are called as Christians to report about God’s love to others today, then how do we do this? … Critical to testifying and to reporting about God’s goodness to others is establishing a relationship. The Wesleyan way of evangelism is relational, and for others to hear your testimony, it is necessary to have some form of a relationship with them. … People are willing to listen if they feel you care.

Reporting God’s love to others is not an attempt on our part to fool, manipulate, or force anyone into believing something different. It is instead an unapologetic and honest reporting of how we have experienced God’s love and goodness. When God is transforming us, it will shine through in ways we cannot imagine and bring us into relationships with individuals we could never imagine. Are we willing to love others by sharing with others God’s love? The Wesleyan way of evangelism encourages us to tell of God’s love and goodness so that all may experience God’s transformation through Jesus the Christ.

– Henry H. Knight III & F. Douglas Powe Jr.
Transforming Evangelism

From pages 83-84 of Transforming Evangelism: The Wesleyan Way of Sharing Faith by Henry H. Knight III & F. Douglas Powe Jr. Copyright © 2006 Discipleship Resrouces. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Discipleship Resources. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Where will you have opportunity to share God’s love today? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now.

Romans 8:22, NRSV

This Week: pray for the growth of new 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: Isidore the Farmer (May 15).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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God in Your Neighborhood

Today’s Reflection

ALTHOUGH JESUS IS AT THE HEART of what we do at Union Coffee, “Offer them Christ” is not our guiding principle. We did not plant our church to bring God to the neighborhood or Jesus into the lives of those who walk in our doors. We believe that God is already at work in our neighborhood, that Jesus is already at work in the lives of the people who walk in our doors. our responsibility is to see what God is doing in our neighborhood and become a part of that. …

Church planting rooted in the omnipresence of God shifts the standard church planting perspective in subtle ways that significantly transform the community and the church. Our responsibility as the church isn’t to necessarily change the lives of individuals or our community. That is God’s work. Our responsibility, instead, is to set our imagination loose, open wide our ears, listen for the easily overlooked symphony of God that plays in the broken corners of our neighborhood, and join in God’s great work. I have consistently found that when I look for God, I’m rarely disappointed and always inspired.

– Michael Baughman
Flipping Church

From pages 9, 12 of Flipping Church: How Successful Church Planters are Turning Conventional Wisdom Upside-Down</em., edited by Michael Baughman. Copyright © 2016 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

What do you see God doing in your neighborhood? How can you become involved? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the LORD.”

Ezekiel 37:6, NRSV

This Week: pray for the growth of new 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: Isidore the Farmer (May 15).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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