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Christ’s Transforming Presence

Today’s Reflection

ANGER AND ANXIETY characterizes our lives more than patience and peace. We act in compulsive, competitive, and controlling ways. We have our addictions, though some of us hide them better than others. We lose our temper, and our tongues rattle off with meaningless chatter or hurtful diatribes. Then all of this produces grief and guilt because we don’t want to live in this way. A conflict rages inside us. We know we ought to love, and at times we desire it deeply; but still, more often than not, we do not do it.

Hear this good news: the experience of Christ’s presence is transformative. That presence compels and creates love, reorients and renews the human spirit toward compassion and kindness. That presence creates a whole new capacity to love God, neighbor, and self. I remember the story of the woman who stood in a worship service to testify, “I’m not what I ought to be. I’m not what I’m going to be. But thank God, I’m not what I used to be.”

Personal transformation is not left to us alone. We are not abandoned to our own will and wit. It is not just the warring elements in our personality that can determine the development of our character. A divine dimension beyond our psychic and emotional energy can empower us to love. An incredible gift is offered to us. Not only consolation, comfort, and companionship but Christ’s real presence collaborates with us in the process of inward transformation.

– Daniel Vestal
Being the Presence of Christ

From page 62 of Being the Presence of Christ: A Vision for Transformation by Daniel Vestal. Copyright © 2008 by Daniel Vestal. 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 are you being transformed?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Psalm 1:6, NRSV

This Week: pray for those who affected by natural disasters. 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: Hildegard of Bingen (September 17).

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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{ 18 comments… add one }

  • Jill September 18, 2018, 5:04 am

    How am I being transformed…let me count the ways. Father, thank You for Your continual work in me. Your steady presence and guidance is there, even when I struggle to sense it. Then it comes rushing in like a comforting flood – you know when I truly need it. His transformation is evident as He keeps a guard over my mouth. Frustrated thoughts are kept at bay, better than before. An awareness of a need to rely more fully on Him is quicker to arise.
    I began this morning in Ephesians 4. “…lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” Yes, this path with my parents is where I have been called. Verse 2 continues…”with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” So much good stuff packed into those verses. Father – may these characteristics…Your characteristics, abound with the four of us as we travel to and from the oncologist office and support each other. May the three of us be conduits of Your peace as we support mom today and always. Oh, Father – draw her to Yourself. May the shackles of fear fall away – miraculously.
    Grateful for Bible study beginning last evening and a few new members. Grateful to be amongst women who seek to honor Him and encourage each other.
    Be still, my soul, the Lord is at thy side.

    • Marcy September 18, 2018, 8:09 pm

      Jill, I have been praying today as you and your Dad, Becky (?) take your Mom for her scan. I pray that your Mom finds peace, that God’s Love enters her heart and spreads that Love throughout her body, mind and soul. I keep you in my prayers as your schedule becomes full, but with prayerful Bible Studies that are needed! Sending Love to you!

  • robert moeller September 18, 2018, 5:49 am

    Today’s question is one of those tough ones for me. I don’t feel much anger and anxiety is fading, the capacity to love is there, but I’m sure it is not at its full potential. While I am personally at peace where I live, I know that it is not the right place for my son, thankfully we have found a place where we think opportunities are more plentiful. The process to move is underway. I’m hopeful that God guided patient persistence will bring this change about. Thankful that effort over the last two years is paying off and enabling this change. A lot still has to be done.

    The power of love is immense. I believe that and see it at work. Without God’s love where would we be?

    Prayers for Gloria, especially today. Praying for God’s peace and reassurance for Gloria, Larry, Becky, and Jill. Prayers for Marcy’s complete well being, thankful for her prayer filled posts to all of us here at the UR. Peace, resolution, safety, and comfort for Julie as she deals with her hands and foot, a job search, and an uneasy home life. God’s strength, wisdom, and energy to Mary as she teaches and works at school. I lift up Betsy, Connie, Andrea, April, Louise, the new posters, those who read, and all who visit the UR. God is with you, each day you receive God’s blessings. Thank You, Lord.

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling September 18, 2018, 7:55 am

      Thanks Robert!

      May God lead and guide and bless your moving!

      Blessings!

    • Marcy September 18, 2018, 8:22 pm

      Robert, thank you, once again, for a stimulating post! I read your words and ask myself questions, and find I have to ponder on them awhile! You and Erich are blessed to have one another. That’s so precious, though complicated at times. Something I wish I had in my life and am happy for those who share love with their Mom, Dad, son, daughter, in-laws, grandchildren and still have a chance at relationship with them. So glad I got to the point of feeling joy for others, instead of painful memories. Anyhoo, I continue to keep you and all your family, loved ones, friends from church and Pearl in my prayers!

  • robert moeller September 18, 2018, 5:51 am

    Wonderful words from Ephesians, thank you, Jill.

  • Betsy September 18, 2018, 6:56 am

    I am being quietly transformed in many small ways. Through interactions with other believers, through time in God’s Word and in prayer. I loved the quote from the woman in the devotional passage. I echo her sentiment “Thank God, I’m not what o used to be.” Thank you, Lord, for not leaving me in place.

    • Marcy September 18, 2018, 8:25 pm

      Betsy, I agree! “But thank God I’m not what I used to be.” Looking forward to what I’m going to be!

  • Julie September 18, 2018, 8:03 am

    The scripture I read this morning was James 3:3 – 13. This is about the tongue and how it can set fires or be soothing and healing. I believe that I am changing on the inside which is changing what my tongue unleashes. I am much more likely to think before I speak and keep angry words to myself more often than not.
    Prayers for Jill, Gloria, Larry and Becky. May the scan results be positive. One line from the serenity prayer comes to mind. “Taking as He did this sinful world, not as I would have it, trustiing that He will make it right if I surrender to His will” May Gloria surrender to Your will Lord and cease her fight within her soul.
    Prayers for Robert and Erich. Please make straight their path if it is the path You have set for them.
    Prayers for Betsy and her continued growth. I am learning and being transformed by the believers who graciously post here, including kind and spirit filled Betsy.
    Praayers for Mary and her job and parents.
    Prayers for Marcy and Lucy. May Lucy take Marcy’s mind off her pain.
    Prayers for Connie and her example of simple and daily gratitude.
    Prayers for all of the UR family and thank you for your prayers for my daughter and me

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling September 18, 2018, 7:56 pm

      Thanks dear Julie!

      May God bless you abundantly!

  • Connie September 18, 2018, 8:19 am

    Lord, stand with Jill’s Mother as she faces this trying day. Give this family encouraging news, Father. I ask this in Your name. Amen
    Thankful for:
    A gentle rain that quiets the soul.
    For Perla as she uses her bilingual ability to the good of others.

    My transformation is complicated lately. I thank God that He has patience with me and guides me. I AM HIS. HE IS THE POTTER.

    • Marcy September 18, 2018, 8:43 pm

      Beautiful, Connie! And Amen!

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling September 18, 2018, 7:53 pm

    Father God, we commit those affected by natural disaster into your hands. May you restore and heal them physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally. May your presence be so close to them so that they will experience comfort, peace and love.

    Thank you for hearing our prayers!

    • Marcy September 18, 2018, 8:45 pm

      Mary, I am joining you in your prayers and keeping you in mine!

      • Mary Ng Shwu Ling September 19, 2018, 12:06 am

        Thanks dear Marcy!

        May God’s presence transform and empower us!

        Blessings!

  • Marcy September 18, 2018, 8:40 pm

    Julie, I’m finding that as I started changing my thoughts (started quite some time ago, will always have to keep track of them), what came out of my mouth changed also. Of course, this required a change of my circumstances also. It was nearly impossible when with h. Fearfulness, which I could not hide, kept me stuck. It’s been a long road, and there was anger to be dealt with and more recently, forgiveness to bestow and really mean it, before I could move on. Still have to mindful to control what I say, but I hardly talk to anyone! Just among the UR family, so I try not to type anything wrong-headed. When I do, it’s usually because the writing was bad, not what was meant. Julie, I keep you and your daughter in my prayers, praying for a change in your circumstances concerning h, and I can’t help it; I pray for Chai and Tazzie and wish I could hear more about them! Sending Love to you, my friend!

    • Marcy September 18, 2018, 8:42 pm

      I’m so sorry, the above was meant as a reply to Julie! Getting over a migraine, vision is sketchy.

  • Marcy September 18, 2018, 9:05 pm

    My transformation goes slowly forward, with brief setbacks. I am thankful for the teachings of Jesus Christ and God’s Infinite Love poured in us through the Holy Spirit! Lifelong Learning will continue with each day I spend on earth. I’m curious if we will continue to learn when the Day comes, or if we will know all, which I can’t wrap my mind around!

    I had a rough couple of days and am so thankful for the prayers and posts from Jill, Ribert, Julie, Betsy, April, and any others who pray for me. These help especially when im reading with one eye! Migraine ending, but still may not be quite up to posting, I find. Been back on the meds for two weeks, so not as long-lasting and so far, no side effects like before. Pain still the same, with some strange pins and needles sensations, which are new. I’m praying patiently to God for His will, in His time.

    Praying for all the UR family and beyond, for God to continue to transform us. Praying for all who are suffering in the aftermath of destructive storms, in VA, NC, SC, the Philippines, and all places in the world. Prayers for all who have lost loved ones and their families.

    And these three remain: Faith, Hope and Love, and the greatest of these is LOVE! May the Love of God, our Almighty Father envelope you all!

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