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In Days to Come

Today’s Reflection

OUR VISION FOR CHRISTMAS may be less positive or hopeful. We may not have money to fulfill our desires. We may have lost a job or experienced the death of a loved one. We may react to hard times and think, “Nothing is changed; nothing will change.” As it was in the beginning, so it always will be.

That cynicism overflowed in me one Advent when, within two months, my mother died, a family member brought legal action against her estate, my research fellowship advisor died, and a friend committed suicide. In the midst of that sad and cynical time, a larger vision of Christmas jolted me from despondent reality to a sense of hope. I developed some new connections, sought emotional and psychological health, and began to pray in varying ways. The words of the Jesus Prayer (“Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me”) became a close companion as I prayed them over and over and as I rested in that mercy.

When reading Isaiah 2:1-5, the phrase “in days to come” seemed to beg for my attention. “In days to come” points beyond us and our immediate reality, directing us to a broader perspective. The prophet Isaiah surely understands the daily crises of life. … Even so, his perspective remains broad. The everyday obstacles of sin do not block Isaiah’s vision for the future. Amid the brokenness surrounding him, Isaiah speaks of the vision when all people will worship in the house of God. The day will come when the world’s diverse peoples will meet in peace to companion one another. In that time, people will turn instruments of war and destruction into implements of nurture. In days to come, says Isaiah, people shall learn war no more.

– George H. Donigian
In Days to Come

From pages 18-19 of In Days to Come: From Advent to Epiphany by George H. Donigian. Copyright © 2017 by George H. Donigian. 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 blocks your good vision of the future? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky.
Psalm 85:11, NRSV

This Week: pray for peace. 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: Dorothy Day (December 6).

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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{ 13 comments… add one }

  • Jill December 8, 2017, 3:33 am

    Focusing on the negativity of circumstances distorts my proper view of God’s love, grace and mercy. Allowing myself to be swept up in worry takes my focus off of God. So grateful for improvements in these areas, but always room for even more. Seeing loved ones struggling and being unable to physically assist them – this is a burden. Trusting in the sufficiency of prayer as the ultimate power…sometimes doesn’t seem enough.
    Lou – praying for your family as they will all be back together for this holiday season.
    Prayers for Cherie’s and Andrea’s husbands…and their medical situations.
    Father – You are our Rock. We cling to you, today and always.

  • Louise December 8, 2017, 4:42 am

    Jill I agree with you…negativity can definitely distort our proper view of God’s love. I know that when I am struggling or a family member is struggling it is hard to stay focused on a good vision because I am a human being and I am limited. It takes prayer, creativity, perseverance, and actions to keep my vision good. The word vision comes from the Latin word visionem, meaning wisdom. Having a vision is having the wisdom to see past certain events in expectation of a greater outcome. Again, this is so hard to do when we ourselves are sick or hurting or a loved one is sick or hurting. When our emotions and worried thoughts take over is the time that we should pray. I pray this prayer everyday…

    Dear Lord, I’m worried and full of fear. Anxiety and apprehension fill my mind. Could it be that my love for Thee is weak and imperfect and as a result I am plagued by worry?
    I have tried to reassure myself that there is nothing to worry about. But such reassurances do not seem to help. I know that I should just rest myself confidently upon Thy loving care and guidance. But I have been too nervous even to do that.
    Touch me, Dear Lord, with your peace and help my disturbed mind to know that You are God and that I need fear no evil. In Christ’s name I offer this prayer.
    Amen
    This prayer has helped me…it calms me and helps me pay attention to God. I pray for all of you here at UR. I pray for all who struggle mentally, physically, and spiritually. I pray that God will help me to be the best version of myself today. I pray for peace…our world needs peace.

    • Lou December 8, 2017, 6:08 am

      Thank you for that very wonderful prayer- I will keep that. Jill and Louise thank you for your thoughtful comments- it is so true – I strive to keep my eyes on God alone – I put my trust and hope in Him and give him my cares for today- day by day. Thankful for the support and prayers from this group.Peace and Hope to all who come here today.

  • Cherie December 8, 2017, 6:31 am

    Louise, thank you so much for the prayer. I need it today as we go to a new dr. Thank you all for your prayers. Love and Light!

  • Julie December 8, 2017, 7:55 am

    Louise, what a powerful and empowering prayer. Thank you for sharing.
    Prayers for both Cherie and Jill. Prayers have been said for each person wh visits and their specific issues. Louise, are you still caring for your aunt?
    Thank you to those who shared where they live.
    This reflection explains well my sentiments regarding the sharing of my situation. I find it easier to stay focused on God if I do not focus on my situation. God has seen me through and will continue to do so. How else could I get through what i must.
    Blessings and prayers for you, my friends in Christ.

  • Connie December 8, 2017, 7:58 am

    My hope and joy is often blocked by health issues, but I realize everyone is experiencing ups and downs in this area. I pray for them-God is our healer, but it is even more magnified during the Holidays.
    God grant us an inner peace.
    God grant us moments of joy.
    God be with us.

  • Andrea December 8, 2017, 9:42 am

    I have fears about my health and that of my loved ones. I fear losing my husband. I have other fears. Then I remind myself that in scripture, God says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” And in a lovely song, God says “I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have found you and you are Mine.”

    Thank you for the prayer, Louise.

    I pray for peace for each UR friend. Thank you for your sharing and for your prayers. My husband is much stronger today. Thank You, God.

  • Andrea December 8, 2017, 9:44 am

    Prayers for Marcy, who has not posted in a couple days.

    • Marcy December 8, 2017, 4:07 pm

      Thank you and God bless you, Andrea. I have still been praying for your husband, Lowell, especially after his trip to the ER after his procedure. And I pray for you too. I am only able to pray for all of you here in our grace-filled UR family, along with your families and loved ones. Praying for Cherie and Ron. I am very sick, physically and otherwise. Don’t want to burden others, especially during Advent and the season of the Christ Child’s birth. Prayers going out to Jill, Joan, Robert, Gerri, Mary, Connie, Betsy, Francesca, Louise, Julie, Lou, Pam, Ami, April, Jean, Rusty and K, Carol, Eileen and the members of our UR family and beyond. Hope I didn’t miss anyone.

      Praying for Peace everywhere, and may all of you rejoice in the peace, joy, comfort and love that comes from God through the precious Christ Child. Love to you all.

      And these three remain: Faith, Hope and Love, and the greatest of these is LOVE!

      • Andrea December 8, 2017, 8:49 pm

        You are not a burden, Marcy. I pray for you to have pain relief, to be comforted, to be supported, and to gain strength. I am sure that God is very close to you, holding you tenderly and lovingly. Bless you.

        • Mary Ng Shwu Ling December 9, 2017, 7:45 am

          Marcey, i am keeping you in prayer.

          You are sick but you continue to pray for each of us. You are a blessing to us, not a burden.

          May God grant you speedy recovery!

          Blessings!

  • robert moeller December 8, 2017, 5:10 pm

    Better late than never. It has not been a bad day, but when the reflection doesn’t come early in the morning, before I go to heart rehab, then the activities of the day take over and there are fewer times when I have access to my computer.

    Thankful for a good heart rehab session and a class on advance directives or a living will as it also called.

    Prayers for Andrea and Lowell, Cherie and her husband, health issues experienced by Marcy and Julie, Jill and her parents, Betsy, Grace, and Grace’s husband’s family. Thankful for the news from Lou and Mary in recent days. Lord, we need You in so many ways, and I’m very thankful that You are
    with us. Lord, may Your peace, wisdom, mercy, grace and love be upon us.
    Thank You, Lord.

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling December 9, 2017, 7:50 am

      Praise God that you have a good heart rehab session and a class on advance directives, Robert!

      May God bless Erich and you abundantly!

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