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Joy

Today’s Reflection

IT IS ALWAYS our responsibility to continually focus our hearts and minds—not on our past failures or sins, on our future concerns and worries, or on those ever-present struggles that come our way each day but on the God who raised Jesus from the dead. As we choose to do this with simple trust, the Holy Spirit will impart greater measures of divine joy into our lives.

There can be no greater joy than knowing that nothing, not even death, can ever separate us from the love that God has for us in Jesus Christ.

—Trevor Hudson
Pauses for Pentecost: 50 Words for Easter People

From page 19-20 of Pauses for Pentecost: 50 Words for Easter People by Trevor Hudson. Copyright © 2018 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Do others see joy in you?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
—Matthew 28:8, NRSV

 

Prayer for the Week

Lord Jesus Christ, breathe the freshness of your Spirit into us that we may come alive again.

Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something more

Discover Sight Psalms, a daily, online, photo inspiration intended to help people reflect on God’s presence in the world and in their lives through the use of images. Learn more.

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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Ahead

Today’s Reflection

JUST AS THE ANGEL promises those women at the empty tomb that the risen Jesus will go ahead into Galilee, so he goes before us to meet us in whatever situation may represent our Galilee. When we recognize his presence and respond to him, resurrection happens in the midst of our daily lives. This is what it means to live today as Easter people filled with the Holy Spirit.

—Trevor Hudson
Pauses for Pentecost: 50 Words for Easter People

From page 18 of Pauses for Pentecost: 50 Words for Easter People by Trevor Hudson. Copyright © 2018 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Where are you going in the next few hours? How does it feel to consider that Christ walked ahead of you and is already present there? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.”
—Matthew 28:7, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Lord Jesus Christ, breathe the freshness of your Spirit into us that we may come alive again.

Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something more

Discover Sight Psalms, a daily, online, photo inspiration intended to help people reflect on God’s presence in the world and in their lives through the use of images. Learn more.

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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Angel

Today’s Reflection

LET US THINK a bit more about angels. On the one hand, they sometimes come to us in a very human way. They may come in the form of a loved one with whom we can talk about those stones that harden our hearts, as a good friend who keeps encouraging us to reach out for new life, or as a stranger who enters our life unexpectedly with wisdom and insight that shed light on our darkness. These people act for us as messengers from God who bring resurrection hope into our deadness.

On the other hand, angels from the Lord may come in a more spiritual way. They may appear in a significant dream that lights up an obstacle that prevents us from living fully, in a wide-awake vision that strengthens us to do what we need to do, or in a surprise thought that pops into our minds, suggesting possibilities that we had not thought of before. Sometimes the angel may come to us in the words of a Gospel reading like the Eastertide verses we are thinking about now.

—Trevor Hudson
Pauses for Pentecost: 50 Words for Easter People

From page 15-16 of Pauses for Pentecost: 50 Words for Easter People by Trevor Hudson. Copyright © 2018 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Was there ever a moment when you experienced life and light and hope touching you in your darkness?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.
—Matthew 28:5-6, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Lord Jesus Christ, breathe the freshness of your Spirit into us that we may come alive again.

Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something more

Discover Sight Psalms, a daily, online, photo inspiration intended to help people reflect on God’s presence in the world and in their lives through the use of images. Learn more.

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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An Encounter to Remember

Today’s Reflection

WHEN PEOPLE ran into Jesus they often had good reason to remember the encounter. Sometimes he infuriated them; sometimes he made perfect sense; and sometimes he did both. Regardless, those who encountered Jesus often left challenged, knowing the possibility of the kind of peace that the world had never offered before.

Jesus’ style of peace entails not simply resting in the presence of God so much as moving forward in the presence of God. Peace requires God-saturated behavior. Peace refers to a state of being more than a state of mind. Peace is an action word. That’s why Jesus said, “I do not give to you as the world gives.” Jesus settles the troubled heart, sometimes by troubling the settled life.

—Derek Maul
Reaching Toward Easter: Devotions for Lent

From page 40 of Reaching Toward Easter: Devotions for Lent by Derek Maul. Copyright © 2011 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Do you have a favorite Easter Sunday memory?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

The Lord has risen indeed!
— Luke 24:34

I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
—Isaiah 43:19, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.

Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something more

A message from the staff of The Upper Room: Christ has risen!.

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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Darkness

Today’s Reflection

IF YOU ARE EVER TEMPTED to doubt the reality of evil as an active force in this world, simply remember that Jesus believed it to be so. A single-dimensional outlook, unwilling to confront the possibility of darkness simply plays into the hands of evil. In C. S. Lewis’s classic book The Screwtape Letters, the crafty older demon acknowledges that the cause of evil accrues much more power when Christians fail to concede that it exists.

At the same time we also have to understand that, as children of light, evil has no long-term power over us. But it’s not that easy to defeat an enemy if we refuse to name it. Having named evil for what it is, we can go on to declare that “at the name of Jesus every knee shall bend in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil. 2:10-11). Darkness has no hold on Christ or on followers of the Way.

—Derek Maul
Reaching Toward Easter: Devotions for Lent

From page 43 of Reaching Toward Easter: Devotions for Lent by Derek Maul. Copyright © 2011 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

When have you seen that light has power over darkness and evil?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me.
—John 14:30, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.

Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something more

Now we see clearly the rest of the story. Death is not the end. Violence is not victorious. Death and darkness are overcome for all time and for all people! The Lord is risen. Death loses its sting, and God’s light permanently overcomes the darkness of evil. Read more..

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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Wisteria

Today’s Reflection

WHEN WE LIVED in Pensacola we had a troublesome wisteria vine that would never stop cropping up all over. One of its favorite venues was the telephone pole on the edge of our property; it also liked the adjacent fence. The thing was relentless.

Every once in a while I’d go out with huge pruning shears and cut the creeper carefully where it first emerged from the ground. In a few hours, fifty-plus feet of wisteria would droop, then turn brown. A few days later I could easily pull it all down.

Jesus wants us to understand that we are as vitally connected to him and to one another, as that wisteria is to its source of life. Without sustaining grace we simply wither and die.

—Derek Maul
Reaching Toward Easter: Devotions for Lent

From page 46 of Reaching Toward Easter: Devotions for Lent by Derek Maul. Copyright © 2011 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What sustains you today?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.
—John 15:4, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.

Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something more

Now we see clearly the rest of the story. Death is not the end. Violence is not victorious. Death and darkness are overcome for all time and for all people! The Lord is risen. Death loses its sting, and God’s light permanently overcomes the darkness of evil. Read more..

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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Live Like You Mean It

Today’s Reflection

WE CAN’T BEGIN to put a monetary value on a relationship with the living God. Our job is to deliver the news of that relationship to others. Yet, more often than not, we fail to deliver the news with any real enthusiasm, and people decline the inheritance as if they’re merely passing up another magazine subscription or a life insurance sales pitch.

I’ve been wearing out one particular theme recently; it’s foundational to everything I share. But the idea bears repeating because the implications are so powerful and far-reaching: “We need to live as if we mean it! Why? Because God most certainly does.”

—Derek Maul
Reaching Toward Easter: Devotions for Lent

From page 51 of Reaching Toward Easter: Devotions for Lent by Derek Maul. Copyright © 2011 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What changes in your life might help you show more enthusiasm about your relationship with God?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.”
—John 15:26-27, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.

Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something more

We invite you to pray and share today’s Maunday Thursday prayer. Check out this resource on our website, upperroom.org.

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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Align the Heart

Today’s Reflection

LAZARUS, who enjoyed dinner with Jesus in Bethany, was a new creation in Christ. And the story told every spring via re-creation points to the truth about the character of the Author of Creation. This journey together through Lent serves as an invitation to align the heart of our spiritual nature with the regenerative heart of God, the Sustainer and Deliverer, to set our intention toward life and to align ourselves with the light.

—Derek Maul
Reaching Toward Easter: Devotions for Lent

From page 16 of Reaching Toward Easter: Devotions for Lent by Derek Maul. Copyright © 2011 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

In what ways are you allowing the Spirit to work newness in you?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
—2 Corinthians 5:17, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.

Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something more

This is Holy Week, the most important week of the church year. Read more about this “Big Event” by visiting upperroom.org.

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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Traps

Today’s Reflection

TODAY, like those early followers, we still tend to reinvent the character and the picture of the God we worship, so the image fits more tidily with the values and the priorities that define the culture in which we are comfortable. In truth, the huge win Jesus achieved at Easter still calls for us to reject the trap of the status quo. It is a W [win] over greed; selfishness; religiosity; and the entire me-first, consumer-driven mentality that illustrates our foundational cultural malfunction. But it’s easier to replace the scandal of the Cross with a basket of candy and less taxing when we focus on the traditions of springtime rather than an empty tomb. We’d rather not think too much about the heavy price paid for the freedom we take so lightly.

—Derek Maul
Reaching Toward Easter: Devotions for Lent

From page 12 of Reaching Toward Easter: Devotions for Lent by Derek Maul. Copyright © 2011 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

How does your calendar or daily agenda bring a rhythm to your walk with Christ?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him,
“If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples.”
—John 8:31, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.

Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something more

This is Holy Week, the most important week of the church year. Read more about this “Big Event” by visiting upperroom.org.

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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Enter

Today’s Reflection

THE SEASON OF LENT is about preparation, so that we can “Enter [God’s] gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise” (Ps. 100:4) with the quality of renewed spiritual energy that comes in response to the sacred rhythms of daily observance. Easter celebrates the victory of light over dark-ness and the reality of the kingdom Christ invites us to explore.

But Easter, like Christmas, has fallen victim to our cultural penchant for sucking meaning from significant Christian holidays and replacing that meaning with tawdry values borrowed from the secular world, values rooted in consumerism and humanism and our incessant demand to be entertained.

—Derek Maul
Reaching Toward Easter: Devotions for Lent

From page 9 of Reaching Toward Easter: Devotions for Lent by Derek Maul. Copyright © 2011 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

In what ways do you prevent the holiday celebrations from distracting from the  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name.
—Psalm 100:4, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.

Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something more

This is Holy Week, the most important week of the church year. Read more about this “Big Event” by visiting upperroom.org.

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

{ 8 comments }