Christian, Congregationalist, devotion, Forgiveness, Presbyterian, Presbyterian Church (USA), Snow, Uncategorized, United Church of Christ (UCC)

Glimpses of Grace for a Winter’s Day

On a gray winter morning large dry flakes of snow fell from the sky. This was not the “Good for packing” kind of snow that is good for the building of snowmen and snowball fights. This was light fluffy stuff that swirls like ghostly figures whenever the wind stirs.

Watching the snow give the land a white covering, I recalled the words of the prophet Isaiah. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow…” (1:18)

Those are God’s words of promise spoken though the prophet to a repentant and penitent nation. They are God’s words to you and to me, too. They are words that I use most weeks in worship.

May snows of winter become a reminder of God’s forgiving love. May they become a glimpse of grace.

Lord God, thank you for Your forgiving love that covers my sin. Give me a change of heart, one that is penitent, one that is not only forgiven, but forgiving. Amen.

Congregationalist, devotion, faith, Forgiveness, Love, Presbyterian, Presbyterian Church (USA), Uncategorized, United Church of Christ (UCC)

Glimpses of Grace Daily Devotion for October 24, 2017

I got lost today. After visiting Glasgow University on the Weat End of the city I took a few wrong turns while taking pictures and suddenly realized that I didn’t know where I was. I pulled out my very scanty “tourist” map and tried to find my “bearings”. I was at the bottom of a large hill in what appeared to be a warehouse district. Looking around, I saw a familiar name on a directional sign and began to follow the directions. Still, nothing looked familiar. To make matters worse, what was a light sprinkle of rain became a steady shower. I pulled the hood of my jacket over my head and soon saw drops of rain falling off of the hood I front of me!

On the upper part of the hill, though, I looked to my right and saw a familiar site; the Sandyford Henderson Memorial Church of Scotland, the very place that I worshipped only a couple of days before! It was a welcomed sight! I finally knew exactly where I was and what I had to do next!


There are times in all of our lives when we “lose our way”. We take a wrong turn, make a bad decision and suddenly wonder to ourselves, “How in the world did I get here!” 

When the Church is at its best it is a collection of people who have decided to take Jesus seriously. They encourage one another in both life and individual faith journeys. At its best the church is not a place of judgement but grace, not a place of “have to’s” but “get to’s”. It is a place of encouragement and love and acceptance enabling us to grow more and more into the image of Christ.

Such a place, such a church, is a hint of the Kingdom of God and the very embodiment of a glimpse of grace.

Lord, when I stumble and lose my way, help me find a faith community that will help me get my “bearings” again.  And, Lord, help me be a mirror reflecting Your life-changing love seen in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. Amen. 

Christian, devotion, Forgiveness, Luke, Gospel of, Presbyterian Church (USA), Uncategorized

Glimpses of Grace Devotion for May 11, 2017

Devotional Reading: Luke 6:39-49

Text: Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye but do not notice the log in your own. (vs. 41)

We are so good at seeing the faults of others while being blind to our own shortcomings. We are so quick to judge someone else and seek a pass for ourselves. Against this backdrop Jesus said, “Wait a minute. What’s with that?”

My mother told me that whenever I point a finger at someone else there are three fingers pointing back to me. Don’t we know that when we are so quick to judge others, to project upon them our presumptions, we are making ourselves smaller?

Good trees to do not produce bad fruit. Grapes are not found in bramble bushes. If we are to be Kingdom ambassadors and Jesus’ followers we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

I have often said that there is no one who is more truly humble than a serious follower of Jesus. Serious followers of Jesus know that they are not perfect. They don’t point fingers nor to they judge. They know that they have been forgiven much–by the grace of God. Serious Jesus followers pass this forgiveness and grace onto others so that God may be glorified by our actions.

Lord, give me a humble heart. Make me slow to judge. Grow in my life the delicious fruit of your Kingdom. Amen.

Christian, devotion, faith, Fear, Forgiveness, I John, Love, Presbyterian Church (USA), Uncategorized

Glimpses of Grace Devotion for May 2, 2017

Devotional Reading: I John4: 7-21

Text; No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and God’s love is perfected in us. (v. 12)

I don’t read a lot of poetry but today’s devotional reading drew me to two poems in Gordon and Gladis DePree’s book of poetry, Faces of God (Westminster Press, c. 1974).

Recognizing the stranger/ As a face of God/ Takes so much of the suspicion and hostility/ Out of Life./ Perhaps I have never met you before…/But if I look at you with an open face,/ Accepting you as a valid person,/ With no need to judge/ Whether you conform to my standards or not,/ Will you really seem to be a stranger?/ Or will we have the vague feeling/ That we must have met somewhere before?’

Somehow viewing the stranger as a face of God/ Changes the other as well as me./ For if I have seen God in the other,/ How can he see less in himself?


When I think of myself/ And you/ As faces of God,/ Praying seems different …/ Should I still close my eyes/ And pray to somewhere,/ Or should we open our eyes/ And look at each other,/ Aware of our mutual life/ And the source of life beyond us both?

What would happen if we prayed about a problem,/ Looking at each other?/ If we prayed about a worry,/ Looking at each other?/ If we prayed about an anger,/ Looking at each other?

It is not as though we pray to each other,/ But how could I look into your face,/ A face of God,/ And be a hypocrite?

When the Old Testament patriarch, Jacob, decided that he had to return home and face the brother he wronged, he was afraid. But for once in his life he decided to trust the God’s Providential Care. He had a fitful night’s sleep, wrestling with a Stranger on the banks if the Jabok River.

The next day, when he met his brother Esau he was surprised to be met not with a sword but with unconditional love. Looking into Esau’s face he said, “To see your face is like seeing the Face of God.” (Genesis 33:10)

Our challenge today, and every day, is to see the face of God in the other for each one of us have been created in the Divine Image. When we learn to love the other, we learn what God’s love for us really is.

Lord, open my eyes that I may see Your reflection in everyone that I meet, even in the faces of those I wish to avoid. Amen.

Christian, devotion, Forgiveness, Peter, Presbyterian Church (USA), Uncategorized

Glimpses of Grace Devotion for April 30, 2017

Devotional Reading: John 21: 15-25

Text: Jesus said to him a third time, “Simon, do you love me … Feed my sheep.” (v. 17)

This is the last post Resurrection appearance in John’s gospel. It is an exchange between Jesus and Simon Peter in the presence of the other six disciples. The seven had returned to their nets–to their old way of life–but once Jesus enters your life, you can never be who you were.

In some ways this reading an absolution for Peter’s threefold denial of either being one of Jesus’ disciples or ever being with Him. Not only did the Resurrection Lord give absolution but He also gave him a purpose; feed and tend the sheep and the lambs, the old and the young of God’s children.

I believe that that is our call, too. Jesus forgives us for the variety of ways that we deny Him. He restores us into relationship with Him for once He has claimed us, we are always His. We cannot be lost.

Lord, we know that like Your first disciples we not only betray You but deny You. We are thankful that you are more ready to forgive than we are to ask for it. Thank you for Your faithful love that is beyond out wildest imagination. Amen.