Christian, devotion, Glory, Matthew, Presbyterian Church (USA), Uncategorized

Glimpses of Grace Daily Devotion for May 28, 2017

For Devotional Reading from the Daily Lectionary: Matthew 10: 24-33, 40-42 (The Message)

Text: Do not be bluffed into silence by threats from bullies. There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life–body and soul–in his hands. (v. 28, The Message)

Have you ever been ashamed of yourself? I don’t mean has someone else ever made you feel ashamed. I mean have you ever been ashamed by something that you did, or, more painfully, something you did not do?  I have.

I was attending a service club meeting when someone made a very inappropriate remark at another group’s expense. The remark was not witty but cruel. Everyone at the table laughed.  And rather than calming and politely saying that the remark was “out of bounds” or inappropriate, I kept silent.  Shakespeare once wrote, “A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once…” (Julius Caesar) I now know what he meant for I have lived that moment of silence over more than once.

Our challenge as Jesus-followers is to live our lives in such a way that God is honored, glorified, if you will. We do not tear others down. Nor are we silent in the face of prejudice. Rather, we lift others up for like rising boats, when others are raised we are, too.

So today, challenge yourself to speak no ill of anyone. Seek ways to build others up. Glorify, Honor God not only by your deeds but by your words and thoughts.

Lord, let me see others through Your eyes. Let my words be kind and uplifting. Let my spirit be generous. Amen.

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

Glimpses of Grace Daily Devotion for May 26, 2017

Devotional Reading; Luke 9: 28-36

Text: Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to Him!”

The reading assigned for today is what is called The Transfiguration of Jesus. It was a mystical experience that three disciples experienced.  The thing that stood out to me was the last three words of our text; “Listen to Him!”

The disciples initial response to the Transfiguration was to build a memorial or a shrine commemorating the event.  We do do the same thing. Some are very elaborate. Others are not.  Along the highways where I live there are make-shift memorials marking the place where someone died in an automobile accident.

There is nothing wrong with this, but they are a “one and done.” Sooner or later they are largely forgotten as the generations pass. For example, no one recalls where the Old Testament patriarch Jacob erected his memorial marking his “God-moment”.

God wants followers of Jesus to be “living memorials.” That is why the voice from the cloud told the disciples to “Listen to Him!” Do what Jesus told you to do! Love with a holy and complete love those whom God loves. Take Jesus and His teachings seriously. Be a light that breaks the darkness of a broken and troubled world. Let what you do and say be a blessing that glorifies God.*

Lord, make me into a living memorial that reflects the love of Jesus to others, especially to the dark places of the world. Amen.

*While researching a sermon recently I did a word study of “glory” and “glorifies”. Using the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament I discovered that “glory” and its derivatives means “to honor.” May your life and mine be God glorifying.

Christian, devotion, faith, Fear, Glory, Lenten Devotion, Presbyterian Church (USA), Temptation, The Gospel of John, Uncategorized

Glimpses of Grace for the 34th Day of Lent, 2017

Devotional Reading: John 12: 37-50. Morning Psalm 43; Evening Psalm 31.

Text: for they loved human glory more than the glory that comes from God. (v. 43)

The words jumped out at me; “they loved human glory more than the glory that comes from God.” No truer words were ever written or spoken. My mind immediately raced to the scene during Holy Week when Pilate, “afraid of the crowd”, ceremonially washed his hands of the events that would lead to the crucifixion of Jesus. Our politicians are too often make decisions based on poll numbers and fleeting popularity rather than on what they believe to be right. And, if we are honest with ourselves, we are no better than they are. Peer group pressure has a hold on us not matter what our age.

Human glory is an intoxicating Siren call. It speaks loudly and passionately. It demands attention. God’s voice, though, is that still small voice that we hear deep in the soul. It is the voice that Elijah heard (I Kings 19: 11-13) at the mouth of a cave. It is a voice that whispers in the stillness of the moment or the darkness of the night. It comes unexpectedly but unmistakably. As I write this I am drawn to Jesus’ words, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…” (Matthew 6:33)

In this season of Lent, let us remember how fickle human glory is. It waves branches in celebration one day and cries “Crucify him, crucify him” before the end of the week.

Lord, make me attentive to Your still small voice. While I must live in this world I need not be of it. Let me see You as my guiding North Star throughout life. Amen.

Bragging, Christian, devotion, faith, Glory, Lenten Devotion, The Gospel of John, Uncategorized

Glimpses of Grace for the 22nd Day of Lent, 2017

Devotional Reading: John 8: 47-59. Morning Psalm-43; Evening Psalm-31.

Text: Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing.” (v. 54a)

    In the midst of Jesus’ theological discourse in John’s gospel, Jesus said something that made be stop and reflect. It wasn’t about death and eternity. It was a life lesson about now. “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing.”

When I was growing up there was a kid in my neighborhood who was always bragging about himself. Sometimes his braggadocio had its intended affect upon me and made me feel inferior. It was then that my mother would say to me, “If you have to brag on yourself, you can’t be very good.”  Her words were guiding wisdom that I see bear out on a nearly daily basis. It is also true of “glory”. Seeking glory for ourselves is nothing. Yet many people spend the better part of their lives doing just that in the vain hope of achieving some kind of renown or immortality. Living a life that glorifies God, though, is everything.  A God-glorifying life is the only thing that truly lasts into eternity.

So, let this be your compass, Seek first the Kingdom of God and God’s righteousness… (Jesus, Matthew 6:33)

Lord, let your Kingdom be my goal, on earth as it is in heaven. Let me know in the very depths of my soul, the vanity of glorifying myself. To Thine be the glory, the true glory, forever. Amen.