≡ Menu

In Need of Grace

Today’s Reflection

GRACE was the basis for Jesus’ breaking bread with the disreputable of his time, the very sort of ones we point out to our children and say: that’s what could happen to you if you make bad choices or hang around in the wrong company. Ironically such grace that calls Levi and practices table fellowship with those other characters is the same grace that aims to include the offended righteous. Self-avowed states of righteousness can close us off from recognizing the need for grace in our lives. Jesus was not disinterested in good and righteous folk. Rather, his overarching concern was—and is—to reach those in need of grace.

—John Indermark
Gospeled Lives: Encounters with Jesus

From page 24 of Gospeled Lives: Encounters with Jesus by John Indermark. Copyright © 2008 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 witnessed unexpected, amazing grace in action?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.”
—Luke 5:27, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Here I am, Lord.

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

Something more

How do we pray when we are divided? 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

{ 5 comments }

Groundwork

Today’s Reflection

JESUS WORSHIPED among the fishermen. Jesus healed one of their own. Jesus spent time on the water with them. Only after laying that groundwork (or, seawork) did Jesus issue a call.

Jesus still calls us to follow by first preparing the way. We do not find ourselves addressed by a stranger, one whom we have never heard or seen before. The possibility of trust and our answering yes to Jesus is enhanced by knowing the One who speaks our name and invites us to follow.

This is a lesson we would do well to heed as individuals and communities of faith. If we follow that call to be fishers of people, we need not come at folks out of the blue with our words or invitations. We, too, need to do the groundwork.

—John Indermark
Gospeled Lives: Encounters with Jesus

From page 20 of Gospeled Lives: Encounters with Jesus by John Indermark. Copyright © 2008 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 might Christ’s presence change something you do today?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.”
—Luke 5:4-5, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Here I am, Lord.

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

Something more

How do we pray when we are divided? 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

{ 7 comments }

The Resurrection and the Life

Today’s Reflection

RESURRECTION, the miracle of new possibilities, doesn’t occur without death. We are tempted to bypass the unpleasantness of Holy Week. It’s just more appealing to go from waving branches Palm Sunday to shouting “He is risen!” on Easter morning. After all, it’s depressing to sit through dark services recounting the betrayal, suffering, and crucifixion of Jesus. It’s nice to go from exaltation to exaltation, but life doesn’t work that way. There are interruptions to joy. Heartaches happen.

Easter occurs not in spite of death but because of it. Christian faith offers hope because it faces death squarely and moves through it, not around it. It means that pain, disappointment, and heartache are not final realities.

—Rob Fuquay
The God We Can Know: Exploring the “I Am” Sayings of Jesus

From page 111 of The God We Can Know: Exploring the “I Am” Sayings of Jesus by Rob Fuquay. Copyright © 2014 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 areas of your life do you long for new possibilities?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
—John 11:25-26, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Lord, open my eyes, my heart, and my mind so that I may know who you are.

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

Something more

Hundreds of people post prayer requests on The Upper Room prayer wall each day. Take a few minutes to respond and pray with some of those in need of prayer today. Pray with us.

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

{ 24 comments }

The Way

Today’s Reflection

JESUS DIDN’T SAY, “No one comes to the Father except through Christianity.” He didn’t say, “No one comes except through the church.” He said, “No one comes except through me!” We are invited to make Jesus Christ our way. He is our pattern for living.

How do we do that? We see four ways in which the first disciples made Jesus their way. First of all, they stayed connected with Jesus in a small community. That is what they did for three years. They lived with Jesus in a small group. Knowing him was not limited to individual experiences. Faith will always be somewhat abstract until it becomes real to us in relationship with other people. The disciples came to understand who Jesus was and what he could do through a fellowship with others with whom they entrusted their lives.

—Rob Fuquay
The God We Can Know: Exploring the “I Am” Sayings of Jesus

From page 94-95 of The God We Can Know: Exploring the “I Am” Sayings of Jesus by Rob Fuquay. Copyright © 2014 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Have you ever approached a decision with the question, “What would Jesus do?”  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.”
—John 14:12, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Lord, open my eyes, my heart, and my mind so that I may know who you are.

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

Something more

Hundreds of people post prayer requests on The Upper Room prayer wall each day. Take a few minutes to respond and pray with some of those in need of prayer today. Pray with us.

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

{ 7 comments }

The True Vine

Today’s Reflection

WHEN JESUS SAYS, “I am the True Vine” he is indicating that the same authority and power of God given to Israel lives in him; but then he declares, “I Am.” He is not just a son of Israel; he is the Son of God, connected to the true, or real, source of Israel’s strength.

We stay connected to God’s power by staying connected to Christ. The way to do this is to abide. That word appears ten times in John 15. Abiding in Christ is the key to experiencing spiritual power. How do we abide in Christ? Jesus offers a vivid image—be a branch!

—Rob Fuquay
The God We Can Know: Exploring the “I Am” Sayings of Jesus

From page 74 of The God We Can Know: Exploring the “I Am” Sayings of Jesus by Rob Fuquay. Copyright © 2014 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 sources do you rely on for strength and energy?  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

Lord, open my eyes, my heart, and my mind so that I may know who you are.

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

Something more

Hundreds of people post prayer requests on The Upper Room prayer wall each day. Take a few minutes to respond and pray with some of those in need of prayer today. Pray with us.

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 }

The Good Shepherd

Today’s Reflection

HOW COULD SHEEP stay protected without a door? The shepherd would lie down at night in the doorway. The shepherd would be the door. This is what people would have pictured when Jesus said, “I am the door for the sheep.” I recently saw these kinds of sheep pens in the Holy Land.

Sheep are restless creatures. They are easily startled, and once star-tled it is hard for them to settle down and sleep. Author W. Phillip Keller spent some time as a sheep rancher in Africa and wrote a couple of books relating his experience as a shepherd to his faith in Christ, the Good Shepherd. He said four conditions have to be met in order for sheep to lie down: They must be free of fear, free from friction with others in the flock, free from parasites and pests, and free from hunger.

—Rob Fuquay
The God We Can Know: Exploring the “I Am” Sayings of Jesus

From page 62 of The God We Can Know: Exploring the “I Am” Sayings of Jesus by Rob Fuquay. Copyright © 2014 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Can you relate to being like a restless sheep?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.”
—John 10:9, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Lord, open my eyes, my heart, and my mind so that I may know who you are.

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

Something more

Hundreds of people post prayer requests on The Upper Room prayer wall each day. Take a few minutes to respond and pray with some of those in need of prayer today. Pray with us.

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

{ 15 comments }

The Light of the World

Today’s Reflection

OUR DARKNESS is not always of our own making. Sometimes our paths are just cloudy. We can’t see the destination. We don’t know how the road will end. All we can do is trust Christ one step at a time.

Sometimes our darkness is a result of our own actions. When we come to such acknowledgments, as painful as they are, we can know that being able to admit our fault is a result of Christ working within us. We have not been abandoned. We are not beyond grace. Part of the work of Christ’s light is to reveal truth, not to condemn us but to spare us.

—Rob Fuquay
The God We Can Know: Exploring the “I Am” Sayings of Jesus

From page 51 of The God We Can Know: Exploring the “I Am” Sayings of Jesus by Rob Fuquay. Copyright © 2014 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 people use the expression, “he (or she) is in a dark place.” What do they mean?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
—John 3:17, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Lord, open my eyes, my heart, and my mind so that I may know who you are.

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

Something more

Hundreds of people post prayer requests on The Upper Room prayer wall each day. Take a few minutes to respond and pray with some of those in need of prayer today. Pray with us.

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

{ 4 comments }

The Bread of Life

Today’s Reflection

YOU WOULD THINK Jesus would be encouraged by thousands of people searching for him, but he knew why they came. They were just looking for another miracle. They were driven by a need for fullness. Therefore Jesus told them that he could give something lasting and complete. In response, the crowd asked him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you?” (John 6:30). Think about that response for a moment. The crowd is fewer than twenty-four hours removed from a miracle and they are asking, “What can you do for us now?” That’s the problem with chasing fullness. There is never enough. We always need more. It keeps us on the lookout for the next miracle.

—Rob Fuquay
The God We Can Know: Exploring the “I Am” Sayings of Jesus

From page 29 of The God We Can Know: Exploring the “I Am” Sayings of Jesus by Rob Fuquay. Copyright © 2014 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 do you think Jesus meant when he said, “I am the Bread of Life”?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
—John 6:35, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Lord, open my eyes, my heart, and my mind so that I may know who you are.

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

Something more

Hundreds of people post prayer requests on The Upper Room prayer wall each day. Take a few minutes to respond and pray with some of those in need of prayer today. Pray with us.

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

{ 0 comments }

The Great “I Am”

Today’s Reflection

GOD IS NOT HIDING. God doesn’t avoid us. God wants to be known. That’s the story of the Bible. God wanted to be known by Adam and Eve. They didn’t have to look hard to find God. Even when they tried to hide, God came looking for them. God likes being recognized. God came to Abraham. Abraham recognized and welcomed God’s presence; they had a special relationship. Abraham was called a friend of God. God came to the prophets so they could speak God’s message to people: “I want to be recognized by you.”

—Rob Fuquay
The God We Can Know: Exploring the “I Am” Sayings of Jesus

From page 13 of The God We Can Know: Exploring the “I Am” Sayings of Jesus by Rob Fuquay. Copyright © 2014 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 see yourself working through this prayer exercise when faced with a difficult decision?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
—Exodus 3:14, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Lord, open my eyes, my heart, and my mind so that I may know who you are.

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

Something more

Hundreds of people post prayer requests on The Upper Room prayer wall each day. Take a few minutes to respond and pray with some of those in need of prayer today. Pray with us.

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

{ 0 comments }

Our Entire Selves

Today’s Reflection

WHEN THE RISEN CHRIST is revealed to us, the full power of the Resurrection is released in us. Our Lord doesn’t just lay claim to our spiritual nature, but to our physical nature as well: heart, soul, mind, and strength! It’s no wonder Jesus says to love God with each of these. We need our entire selves to love God fully.

—Wendy LeBolt
Made to Move: Knowing and Loving God Through Our Bodies

From page 91 of Made to Move: Knowing and Loving God Through Our Bodies by Wendy LeBolt. Copyright © 2019 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Loving with heart, mind, and strength: which of these three is the most difficult for you? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’
—Mark 12:30, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Thank you, Magnificent God, for the body that you created uniquely for me.

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

Did You Know?

Those who pour out their lives daily in service to others need a little refreshment. Join us for a special event in April, Resilience for Activists. 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

{ 7 comments }