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Grace and Simplicity

Today’s Reflection

SIMPLICITY is not denial of the complications of modern life. Simplicity is not so much an outward form of speech or manner as it is the driving heartbeat that sets the rhythm of a human life. Thomas Kelly defines simplicity as living from “a divine Center.” The simplicity that characterizes this divine center allows us to make choices among the many demands on our lives. True gratitude is born of simplicity.

—Michael E. Williams, in The Wondrous Mystery: An Advent Reader (Upper Room Books, 2019)

Today’s Question

How can you simplify the way you express what God means to you?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
—Micah 6:8 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

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Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Lou November 23, 2019, 6:54 am

    Jesus loves me this I know
    For the Bible tells me so.
    As a child I learned this and I believe-
    Blessing and love to all here at the UR. God loves you and me and that is all we need. Prayers for all who are in pain both physically or mentally. God is with you.

  • Jill November 23, 2019, 7:15 am

    This is a bit of a strange question. I suppose that if a person with whom I am speaking is able to ask questions to help me clarify some of what I am saying – I would then be able to “simplify” my words. But in no way would I minimize the impact Christ has on my life. (I don’t think this is necessarily what the question is implying.) My simplest explanation is that He is my peace. And even in saying that – it is hard to get another to understand the depth of that, as well as the simplicity of that, if the person has never experienced the life changing peace inside of them. I often heard other people speak of it and tried to imagine it. Well – it is far beyond imagination.
    Robert – I am sorry to hear that Erich’s job was not what he anticipated.
    My god daughter’s basketball season begins today -anxious to see her play meaningful games. Lots of schoolwork to be done, of course, but so looking forward to just 2 days next week and then a break…filled with more schoolwork (sigh). But, also, time at home with Roger and not much else on the schedule.

  • Julie November 23, 2019, 7:55 am

    I thought as Lou did, that God is love. All love comes from Him. We are able to love one another because He loved us first. As Jill points out He is also our peace, but I believe that peace is ours because He loves us. He both gives us peace out of love and we are at peace because we can rest assured in His love.
    Prayers for Lou and so good to hear from her. Her words are always insightful and impactful.
    Prayers for Jill and Roger, may they enjoy quality time together. Prayers for her god daughter and her basketball team.
    Prayers for Mary, may she have time for hobbies this weekend.
    Prayers for Robert and Erich, may Erich find a job that suits his wishes. Prayers for Robert as he struggles with the assaults of a nonbeliever. i remember you once you related that Erich is such a nonbeliever, is that the one of which you speak? Megan does not believe but I have raised her with my belief that we are entitled to our own beliefs and views. She respects my belief and does not try to challenge me.
    Prayers and thank you UR

  • robert moeller November 23, 2019, 8:20 am

    Simply thank the Lord again, and again, and again. All we have and are comes from the Lord.

    A bright, clear, sun shining day here in the Mount Washington Valley. Thank You, Lord. Thanksgiving approaches, but we are directed to be thankful always in unceasing prayers.

    While it is a longer stretch of roadbed. it is the easier to lay as there are no switches. When it is in place and sanded, track can be checked for power, and finally be fastened down. Trains can run. Thank You, Lord.

    I found the UMC bishop who wrote yesterday’s devotion, but am still searching for news of his model trains. Thank you, Julie.

    Thank you Lou, Jill, and Julie. Yes, Erich thinks I am foolish believing in a story that to his way of thinking can not be proven. He, like Thomas, has to see to believe. I tell him that each of us are guaranteed our freedom to worship. Children and their parents do not always agree. That’s a given. How many times did Edison try to find the filament that made the light bulb work? We can all learn from that. Lord, I thank You for the challenges that bring endurance.

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling November 23, 2019, 11:35 am

    Thanks Julie!

    I was told on Friday night to lead bible study this Sunday so I will be busy preparing and also will be playing the piano for the singing group on Sunday.

    My left ear is blocked due to some shower water. Feeling annoyed.

    God is love and I am grateful for His love.

    Blessings and praying for the spirit of the living God to fall afresh on us!

  • April November 23, 2019, 5:50 pm

    I learned more about defining simplicity from the topic this morning. I have also been thinking of the stories in my life that have molded me into the person I am today. Now to the question: How can you simplify the way you express what God means to you?
    My answer is to live more Christ like every day. Christ came to earth to save us from sin. His life is a perfect example of God’s love in practical ways of living among all people here on earth so that they too might believe and be saved. He served as a mentor to us and the stories as told in the Bible reflect this. Here is a current story about seeing a mentor to learn versus listening to a leader telling.
    Recently we began a gym class at the gym we normally went to. The class was taught following guidelines from a national organization. The leader was rarely early to unlock the door or set up the space. The class consisted of us performing the exercises that were explained to us. If we did not perform them correctly, the leader gently explained in further detail until each performed correctly. Not too long after we began the class, we were informed that the gym was closing and our membership was being transferred to another gym where they had the same type of class. While we were sad to move on, we did so and have thoroughly enjoyed this new opportunity. We look forward to going every day and are becoming more fit including losing weight, improved balance, more energy, etc.!! What is the difference? This new leader relates to us and simply does with tangible results that we see in her and want to see in us…appearance, energy, happiness…. what exercises can do!! The leader arrives early and has music going with a beat that we use to time the exercises. The exercise is explained including the muscles or desired outcome (such as balance) along with possible “pains” that we should recognize and stop the extent of the exercise or completely as these are signals from our bodies to ourselves. Yes, we are tired when we finish a week of classes, but along with the classes we often arrive 15 minutes early to use other equipment and I have also started to yoga class that I love.
    How does this apply to my life and simply living like Christ as best I can? I am reminded of the Bible verse, be doers of the word and not hearers only (James 1:22). Christ did not just tell; he simply lived His life and used opportunities that demonstrated and explained His actions. As the new gym leader’s actions (and results) demonstrate to me, I am inspired to follow this mentor and even do more. I want to be a mentor to all who I interact with all the time, not just in a class when I am assigned to be a leader, but in my every day life. May Christ be so rooted in my heart that I automatically do what He would do and thus others might see and believe (or change if they are so moved). Might others ask “why are you so happy” as a co-worker did one day. She asked if I have a belief in a Higher Power and I said yes. She never asked again, but from that time on, others seemed to “understand” that is where my manner came from. I invited our team to events at our church, but only once did one come with her children and she said they enjoyed the event. I continued in my manner and hoped that the seed I planted might grow, but I left that up to God …1 Corinthians 3 vs 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. This relates to the topic a few days ago on Nov 20, A Lasting Peace: WE WILL PRAY for peace, recognizing where our own power ends and the power of God begins.
    Sorry for the ramble this morning dear UR family, it seems that today the words I have been praying for so long have finally jelled…the Joy of the Lord is my strength, Nehemiah 8:10. God is joyful when I live (try to live) as Christ…when I develop relationships and befriend others… when I trust( that the Lord has everything under control so that I need not worry but simply live as His example)…for these are my strengths to continue on until my life on earth is complete.

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