Christian, devotion, faith, Good Friday, Lenten Devotion, Presbyterian Church (USA), The Gospel of John, Uncategorized

Glimpses of Grace for the 39th Day of Lent, Good Friday, Evening, 2017

Devotional Reading (evening): John 19:38-42. Psalm 105.

Text: Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. (John 19: 39)

The evening devotional reading is a story about a “secret” disciple, Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus, the one who came to Jesus at night. Together they came to claim the body of Jesus for burial. What struck me most was not the “secret” disciple–there are many secret disciples in totalitarian countries around the world. Rather, I was struck by Nicodemus, or more accurately, his extravagant generosity. He acted like the woman who bathed Jesus feet with fragrant oil valued at more than a year’s salary and Zacchaeus who not only made restitution but gave away half of his wealth to those in need.

Jesus once said that you can tell about a person’s faith by the fruit that it produces. I think that one of the fruits of the spirit is Generosity. I believe that once a person has been touched by Jesus, truly touched by Jesus, they become extravagantly generous. They become extravagantly generous because they realize that Life is not about them, but about God. They understand that their call to be stewards of everything God entrusted to their care. They realized that they are responsible to God for the assets of God’s Kingdom–the whole of creation including its creatures and especially God’s children.

A part of the Good News is that we are freed to be who God knows we truly are. We are free to be God glorifying stewards.

Lord, open my eyes, heart and mind to see the true abundance of your merciful grace rather than the fearful scarcity that the world wants me to see. Let me have a Nicodemus. Amen.



devotion, faith, Good Friday, Lenten Devotion, Presbyterian Church (USA), The Gospel of John, Uncategorized

Glimpses of Grace for the 39th Day of Lent, Good Friday Morning, 2017

Devotional Readings for the Day: John 13: 36-38.  Morning Psalm 22

Texts: “Will you lay down your life for me? Very truly, I tell you, before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times. (John 13:38).

(There are two devotional readings for today; one for the morning and one for the end of the day. They will be treated in separate Glimpses of Grace.)

One morning, when I was in grade school, my mother came into my room to wake me up for school.  Blurry-eyed, I slowly rolled over and said, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak!” Where that came from I do not know. My family often took “church sabbaticals”, largely due to work schedules. And, I was definitely not a religious kid; sports were my religion. Nor was I good at memorizing scripture verses. So where the words came from I have no idea!

The morning devotional reading is a part of the exchange between Jesus and Peter. Peter had just pledged his unwavering loyalty to Jesus, but Jesus knew better. He knew who Peter. He knew Peter better than Peter knew himself.

We say that we love Jesus and that our faith is solid, unshakable. Yet, often we, too, falter when following Jesus gets in the way of our safety, security or wealth. Our spirit may be willing but our flesh is indeed weak. Jesus knows this. God knows this. The Psalmist acknowledged this: “God knows we are weak and remembers that we are made of dust”. (Psalm 103: 14)

As we walk in Jesus discipleship we will stumble and fall. We will deny His Lordship of our lives in a variety of subtle and not so subtle ways. But here is the good news: we are forgiven. God picks us up, brushes us off and sets us on the path of discipleship again and again and again. And each time we will do better until we are finally molded into a reflection of Christ.

Lord, I want to be true but I am weak. Teach me. Strengthen me in my weak places. Give me courage. Amen.