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Glimpses of Grace Daily Devotion for August 14, 2017

Devotional Reading from the Daily Common Lectionary: Mark 9:42-50

Text: If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. (v. 42)

Do you know the name of your server in a restaurant? Nine times out of ten I introduce myself to them. I think that it is simply a polite thing to do. And then, if I need something I can ask them by name and thank them. 

I do this because a long time ago I learned that everything we do is educative. Everything. People learn about our character by the way we act and things we say. We, too, learn about others in the same way.

Jesus warned His disciples to be careful what they say and do because their actions or comments may push people away from Jesus! I’ve known too many people who have been wounded by those who say they are followers of Jesus. A missionary once told me that everyone lives Jesus, it’s just Christians they can’t stand! Christians are seen as being judgmental, prejudiced and closed-minded. This is too bad because Jesus was none of these things!

So, if you decide to take Jesus seriously be careful. Others may judge Him by you!

Lord, let me be humble enough to allow You to speak through me and act through me. Let me be transparent enough that when they see me, they see You. Amen

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Glimpses of Grace Daily Devotion for August 13, 2017

Devotional Readings my from the Daily Common Lectionary: Mark 15:1-13

Text: May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another (v. 5)

Yesterday we saw the face of evil in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was ugly and scary and intimidating. It is the dark side of our common humanity. It reminded me of something that Martin Niemoller wrote in the aftermath of the dark side of humanity.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

A follower of Jesus cannot remain silent. 

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Glimpses of Grace Daily Devotion for August 12, 2017

Devotional Reading from the Daily Common Lectionary: Mark 9:30-41

Text: (Jesus) sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.”

Greatness is not found in salary, position or pedigree. Nor is it found in gender, skin tone, Zip Code or diploma. Those things may be signs of greatness as “the world” measures greatness but not in the Kingdom’s measure.

Jesus overheard the disciples measuring their own greatness against one another. He told them that greatness, true Kingdom greatness, is found in service; more specifically, in serving one another.

The only competition that Jesus’ followers participate in is “out-serveing one another and God’s world.

And come to think of it, doesn’t the world give accolades to those who unselfishly serve the least, the  last and the lost?

Lord, let me not get caught up in the world’s definition of greatness. Lead me in humble serve to others. Amen.

 

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Christian, devotion, Mark, Prayer, Presbyterian Church (USA), Uncategorized, United Church of Christ (UCC)

Glimpses of Grace Daily Devotion for August 11, 2017

 

 

 

Devotional Reading from the Daily Common Lectionary: Mark 9: 14-2

Text: (Jesus) said to (the disciples), “This kind can come out only through prayer.” (v. 29)

“If all else fails, pray.” Or, “I’ve tried everything else, all I can do now is pray.” Prayer as a last resort.

Several years ago I read a little known book by Jonathan Bathke entitled Jesus>Religion. A line in that book was revelatory to me.  We rarely bother to consider whether or not our plans are God’s plans. Too often we ask God to bless our plans rather than asking God what He wants us to do.

Maybe the place to start is not with plans but with prayer. The story in Mark 9 is a difficult one. It seems that the disciples pulled every trick out of their sleeves, did everything they ever saw Jesus do, except one thing. Pray.

Some things are only possible through prayer. Every member of the 12-step recovery group knows this. Everyone who lives in extreme poverty knows this. Everyone who suffers great loss knows this. It’s just that most of us just don’t believe it.

A few weeks ago, after over three decades of being a minister, I realized that I don’t really know how to pray. So, I am asking God to teach me. And I am learning, one step at a time.

Lord, teach us to pray. Amen.

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Glimpses of Grace Daily Devotion for August 10, 2017

Devotional Reading from the Daily Common Lectionary: Mark 9: 1-13

Text: He (Peter) did not know what to say, for they were terrified. (v. 6)

When we don’t know what to say, why is it that too often we insist on saying something?! “It’s for the best.” (It usually doesn’t feel like and is generally not!) ” “God needed another angel…or flower…or whatever.” (An especially terrible thing to say about God when a child’s mommy or daddy died.) I could go on, but you get the idea. 

In today’s reading Peter, James & John had seen something that theologians call “The Transfiguration” and have difficulty explaining. Not knowing what to say, Peter said something “silly”, simply because he didn’t know what else to say. 

A voice from a cloud corrected Peter essentially saying that in Jesus God was doing a new thing, pulling aside for a moment, the curtain between the Temporal and Eternal, thus revealing the essential nature of God.

Sometimes when we don’t know what to say the most profound thing to say is to say nothing at all. Just being there says it all.

Lord God, teach me the eloquence of silence. Amen. 

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Glimpses of Grace Daily Devotion for August 9, 2017

Devotional Reading from the Daily Common Lectionary: Mark 8: 34-9:1

Text: For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake and the gospel, will save it. (v. 35)

My biggest regrets in life is when I played it safe; I was afraid to take a chance. Too often I was afraid, to be painfully honest. Opportunities were lost because of my fear. I cannot help but to wonder if God was disappointed in me, not in a bad sort of way, but in the way a parent feels for their child when they don’t apply themselves. It’s a disappointment born of sadness.

I think that while God understood my fears and even forgave me, I also think that God wished that I would have trusted Him more. My lack of trust diminished His glory.

I don’t know where I would have been if I had trusted more. I still struggle trusting God but I am getting better at it.

If you have trouble trusting God with your future, I will pray for you…for all who are fellow strugglers in the journey.

Lord God, give me a discerning heart and the courage needed to take Jesus seriously, for it is only in taking Him seriously that we will find Your purpose in our lives. Amen.

 

 

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Glimpses of Grace Daily Devotion for August 8, 2017

Devotional Reading from the Daily Common Lectionary: Mark 8: 22-33

Test: Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him from the village. Then he put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands upon him and asked, “Can you see anything?” The man looked up ad said, “I can see people, but they look like trees.” (v. 23)

It takes more than one touch for us to “see”. Someone struggling with an addiction must fall time and time again before they “see” that they need help. A person goes from one bad relationship to another before they “see” that others cannot make them happy; happiness is an “inside job.” Another goes from job to job before they find a career. It takes more than one touch for us to “see”.

It is true for followers of Jesus. More than one person touched us in our lives before we “see” that we must take Jesus seriously if our life is to have meaning and purpose. The touches may have come from a mother or father, grandparent, teacher, coach, colleague, or complete stranger. But sooner or later Jesus comes into full view. Sooner or later this world comes into full view, and we begin to see it from God’s perspective.

When this happens, we want to do something, not so much for ourselves but for others for Jesus followers have been saved to serve.

Lord, let me see more clearly. Give me a servant’s sight and a servant’s heart. Use me as one of the “eye-opening” touches that restores sight to the “blind” of this world. Amen.

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