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Glimpses of Grace Daily Devotion for December 5, 201

Daily Reading: Matthew 21: 12-22

Text: The blind and the lame came to him, and he cured them. (v. 14)

Since the mid-1990s I read Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at this time of year. And each year I see something new in the old tale. Today’s reading from Matthew’s gospel caused me to pause and consider one scene in particular.

It occurred during the visit of the Spectre or Ghost of Christmas Present. Scrooge watched as his underpaid clerk Bob Catchit came home to a place of the love that old Scrooge longed to have. Cratchit softly told his wife something Tiny Tim said on the way home from Christmas Day worship.

“Somehow he gets thoughtful, sitting by himself,” Cratchit whispered, “and he thinks the strangest things you ever heard. He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see.” A glimpse of Grace.

Glimpses of grace are seen whenever the lame walk and the blind see. It is witnessed whenever lifeless tradition is swept out of the lives of the oppressed and the forgotten. It is heard whenever we listen to the voice of the quiet who often see this world more clearly than we do. Glimpses of Grace are reflected in the lives of those who take the Child named Jesus seriously.

Lord, let me see Your Presence in the presence of those who the rest of the world do es not see. Amen.

 

 

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Glimpses of Grace Daily Devotion for Advent 2017, December 4

Reading: Matthew 21: 1-11. Text: When He (Jesus) entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” (v. 11)

People have been trying to answer Jerusalem’s question for ages. Who is this man Jesus? He certainly does not neatly fit into any mold.

During this season of Advent, the days leading up to the celebration of Christmas, we seek to answer the question for ourselves. Some say the Jesus was simply a great teacher. Others say that He was much more. But those who take him most seriously call Him Lord–Lord not only of the world but of Me!

At another time and place, Jesus asked the Twelve who walked with Him who people said that he was. The replied that some said he was a great prophet, while others speculated that he was John the Baptist returned from the dead. Jesus then asked a more penetrating question; Who do you say that I am? This is a question that each one of us must wrestle with in our heart. Peter replied, “You are the Christ/Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” “Blessed are you,” Jesus said to Peter, “for this has not been revealed to you by flesh and blood but from on High.”

No one can answer the question of who Jesus is for us any more than someone can learn how to read for us. In this season of Advent, this season of spiritual preparation, may you be given the glimpse of grace that reveals to you Who Jesus is in your life.

Lord, Open the eyes of my heart and show me things of an eternal nature. As I seek You, show Yourself to me in ways that I can see. Amen.

 

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Glimpses of Grace Daily Devotion for Advent, 2017

Reading for First Sunday of Advent: Mark 13: 24-37. Text: From the fig tree learn its lesson…. (During the season of Advent I will post a daily devotion based on one of the assigned Lectionary readings. I will do my best to publish them each morning.)

A few days ago someone asked if I thought we are in “the last days”. What she meant was, “Do I think that the world is about to come to an end?”

No, I don’t. Despite all of the chaos going on around us, I don’t think that the world is coming to an end. Why? Because people who take Jesus seriously have always faced chaos and destruction. When we minister to the least, the last and the lost, the world has always found fault.

In today’s lesson Jesus told His disciples that in times of uncertainty they need to reflect on the lesson of the fig tree. When its shoots are seen, know that something new is about to happen, a new season is dawning.

In this season of Advent, remember the lesson of the fig tree. Look for where God is in the midst of the chaos & uncertainty. After all, the One that brought order out of a sea of chaos, and the One who brought Light into the Darkness of the world before the luminaries in the sky existed in Genesis 1, continues to bring order and light into this world. So, be alert. Be awake. God is in our midst doing a new thing.

Lord, let me catch a glimpse of grace, a sense of Your movement that is coming into this world. Amen.

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Glimpses of Grace Devotion for November 28, 2017

Many serious followers of Jesus are entering a spiritual time called Advent. It is a season of serious soul-searching, spiritual reflection. But it is also a time of fun and celebration as we prepare for Christmas.

One of the traditions of my family is something called the “Advent Wreath.” My wife made one of cloth many years ago, and it has been used in our household for as long as I can remember. But this year we have a new Advent wreath to mark off the days before Christmas. It is a handmade wreath constructed by our oldest granddaughter. She is only 10 years old. She used her own money to buy buttons, yarn and an assortment of candy to use on the wreath. With an embroidery hoop and a piece of cloth she drew a Christmas tree, sewed on buttons, and tied candy to the wreath’s buttons with strands of yarn. I can only imagine the time that she spent on the project. When she gave it to us at Thanksgiving I saw not only a granddaughter’s work of art but the embodiment of pure Love.

I suspect that that is really what Advent is about; opening ourselves to receive a Holy Love; a Love so great that the Creator of All that Was and Is and Will be became one of us and with us, a visible manifestation of an invisible holy truth. The heart of this season is not condemnation but salvation. As John wrote in the gospel that bears his name, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through Him. (3:17)

Each morning I will be able to take a piece of candy from the wreath and be reminded of the sweetest love of all; a forgiving, redeeming, restoring holy love. And that is a glimpse of grace.

Lord God, in this time of Advent preparation let me be ever thankful for your love that will not let me go. Amen.

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Glimpses of Grace for a Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 2017

In a few hours my family will gather around a table with this centerpiece and celebrate Thanksgiving. The cornucopia made by my wife from the herbs on our garden remind me of the bounty bestowed upon us. The 106th Psalm reminds us to give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

While today has largely become a forgotten “secular holiday” sandwiched between the marketing behemoths of Halloween and Christmas, it maintains its “holy” vestige. Some families will seem incomplete because of loved ones not present. But the separation is only physical. Those who we love and loved are never really far from us. They are as close as a memory or a twinge in the heart.

God’s infinite love and mercy envelops all of us; Past, Present and Future, Near and Far. Our live have been intricately woven together in a weave that can never be torn apart. We are one with each other.

Yes, today give thanks to the Lord for his mercy endures forever.

Lord, I bow before you with few words, only a thankful heart. Amen.

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Glimpses of Grace for November 21, 2017

When I came home, what should greet me but packages left outside the front door of my house. Two were early arrival Christmas gifts and the other was something that we intend to give later.

As I carried these harbingers of the Christmas season into the house I thought about the gifts found in the Christmas story. There are the obvious gifts of the Magi, those travelers from the East who followed the Star in search of the Promised King. But there are also lesser recognized gifts; the visitation of the angel Gabriel to Mary, Gabriel telling Mary to visit her kinswoman Elizabeth for confirmation of her own pregnancy. Gabriel’s visit to Zachariah reminiscent of the Strangers’ visit to Abraham generations earlier. Jospeh’s dream telling him not to be afraid and the Mary’s Child was the longed for Holy One. Later, a warning in a dream sending him to Egypt.

So many unexpected and largely unrecognized gifts, each a glimpse of grace. I believe that God still sends gifts our way, packages on our doorsteps. They always come as a surprise. All we do is bring them into our heart’s home and open them.

Lord, thank you for Your many unrecognized and too often unappreciated gifts that flood our lives Daily. Give us humble and thankful hearts. Amen.

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Glimpses of Grace for November 20, 2017

A cornucopia reminds us of “bounty”. This season of Thanksgiving is a good time to step back from the hustle and bustle life and reflect upon the blessings that enrich our lives.

Some of us were blessed with loving parents who loved us with no strong strings attached. Others have been touched by a mentor or two, who saw something in us that no one else recognized. They encouraged us and believed in us more than we believed in ourselves. Still others of us have children and even grandchildren who are themselves a blessing.

We live in a land, while not perfect, gives us a freedom that is the envy of the world. In a few days we may share a meal with family and friends, or maybe help feed those who have hit one of life’s rough spots. In any case, we can be thankful.

In his letter to the Thessalonians the apostle encouraged serious Jesus followers “to be thankful in all circumstances (5:18)

Over the next five days I challenge you to write down three different things for which you are thankful. Make it one of the first things you do in the morning. And at the end of each day, write down one thing that went extremely well.

If you take up this challenge I believe that you will see glimpses of Grace that you have never seen before.

Lord God, help me nurture a thankful heart so that I can see You more clearly and be a Glimpse of Grace to others. Amen.

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