Invitation

And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this. ~Luke 22:14-23 (CEB)

“I have always been intrigued with Luke’s choice of words as he describes the Passover meal Jesus shared with his disciples on the eve before his suffering and death (Luke 22:14-23). According to Luke, Jesus said that he ‘eagerly’ desired to share the meal with the disciples. Could it be that he needed to be with those closest to him as they affirmed God’s presence and plan for him and the disciples? To spend quality time with those we love is a wonderful gift of healing and strength to all of us, and Jesus deserved this holy fellowship for comfort and strength.

Of did Jesus want to say something more to the disciples? He did declare again that it was his last meal until the kingdom of God would fully arrive. He did tell them that he was providing a new covenant for them and for the world. And perhaps most significantly, he told them by words and acts that his life and theirs were cradled and safely sheltered in God’s care.

Today Jesus invites you and me to come to the table. We are now invited to sit with Jesus, to listen to him speak to us, teach us, and bless us. In holy time and holy place he reminds us once again that his body is given for us and that his blood is poured out for us. What good news it is that the sacrifice of his life replaces the darkness of my life with the purity and light of his own.

Perhaps you are not able literally to be at the table with Jesus every day. But in your time of prayer as in your time of work and leisure you can remember that Jesus eagerly desires to be with you. And wherever you are, you may hear his words, ‘I have eagerly desired this time with you,’ and then accept his invitation to holy fellowship.” ~A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God, Rueben P Job

Dear Jesus, I thank You today that You desire to be with me. Despite my sins You have sought me out. You loved me knowing all I had done… and knowing all that I would still do. Help me to be in the holy time with You. May I give of myself completely as You have given me all of You. Amen.

For God’s glory

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. ~Matt. 6:24 (CEB)

“The Christian Gospels do not encourage anyone to believe that he or she can choose both the palace and the lotus: both mammon and God (Matt. 6:24). The Gospels are for men and women of free hearts and free wills who must decide for themselves as to where they will bestow their love and allegiance. The Gospels give few particulars as to conduct and choices; they give, rather, the basic principles that each person must apply for him or herself. They only lay the pruning saw at the foot of the tree. The Gospels confront us with the One who pierces us by his bottomless love and caring. One who compels us to decide for ourselves what in our lives is congruous with his love.” ~From Dimensions of Prayer by Douglas V. Steere

Almighty God, help me to keep my eyes on You as I go about my day today. Help me to remember that it is not about me, that it is all ultimately for Your glory. May the choices I make and the work that I do reflect Your love in all I do. Amen.

Of service

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. ~ 1 Cor. 1:9 (CEB)

“Jesus was broken on the cross. He lived his suffering and death not as an evil to avoid at all costs but as a mission to embrace. We too are broken. We live with broken bodies, broken hearts, broken minds, or broken spirits. We suffer from broken relationships.

How can we live our brokenness? Jesus invites us to embrace our brokenness as he embraced the cross and live it as part of our mission. He asks us not to reject our brokenness as a curse from God that reminds us of our sinfulness but to accept it and put it under God’s blessing for our purification and sanctification. This, our brokenness can become a gateway to new life.” ~From Bread for the Journey by Henri J. M. Nouwen

Heavenly Father, help me this day to live courageously. Help me to not run from where I have been but to embrace who I have become through trials and mistakes. May the pain I have endured be a blessing to someone today. May I use it all for Your glory. Amen.

All for your glory

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. ~ 1 Cor. 1:9 (CEB)

“Jesus was broken on the cross. He lived his suffering and death not as an evil to avoid at all costs but as a mission to embrace. We too are broken. We live with broken bodies, broken hearts, broken minds, or broken spirits. We suffer from broken relationships.

How can we live our brokenness? Jesus invites us to embrace our brokenness as he embraced the cross and live it as part of our mission. He asks us not to reject our brokenness as a curse from God that reminds us of our sinfulness but to accept it and put it under God’s blessing for our purification and sanctification. This, our brokenness can become a gateway to new life.” ~From Bread for the Journey by Henri J. M. Nouwen

Heavenly Father, help me this day to live courageously. Help me to not run from where I have been but to embrace who I have become through trials and mistakes. May the pain I have endured be a blessing to someone today. May I use it all for Your glory. Amen.

Transmitters

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master. ‘If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’

“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning. ~John 15:19-27 (CEB)

“The Church is in the world to save the world. It is a tool of God for that purpose; not a comfortable religious club established in fine historical premises. Every one of its members is required, in one way or another, to co-operate with the Spirit in working for that great end: and much of this work will be done in secret and invisible ways. We are transmitters as well as receivers. Our contemplation and our action, our humble self-opening to God, keeping ourselves sensitive to His music and light, and our generous self-opening to our fellow creatures, keeping ourselves sensitive to their needs, ought to form one life: mediating between God and His world, and bringing the saving power of the Eternal into time. We are far from realizing all that human spirits can do for one another on spiritual levels if they will pay the price; how truly impossible and unchristian it is to ‘keep ourselves to ourselves.’” ~From The Spiritual Life by Evelyn Underhill

Give me strength this day O Lord, to be Your hands and feet in this world. Help me to transmit Your love to those around me. Help me to be more sensitive to others needs. Amen.

Tools of grace

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. ~Romans 12:1-2 (CEB)

“Discipline in the Christian life is not a luxury. Without it we become confused, lost our way, compromise our principles, and discover that we are not the people we had intended to be. No one is so sturdy in the faith that the temptation to surrender bit by bit does not erode conviction. Days go by and we discover that, instead of growing in grace in these days, we have wasted them.

These, ‘means’ to whose use we are tied . . . are a positive set of directions for the Christian life often called the ‘means of grace.’ . . . These means of grace are not a method of deserving God’s grace, but a pattern by which we enable ourselves to be receptive to grace and remove the barriers that God permits us to erect as the price of our freedom. These tools, or aids, are ways by which we open ourselves to God’s free grace. In using them, we shape our lives in order to become open to God’s presence. They give our Christian pilgrimage a definite shape, in an age in which there is a general sense of loss of directions and confusion about right and wrong, along with an accompanying sense of God’s absence.” ~ From Reformed Spiritually by Howard L. Rice

Heavenly Father, continue to shape and mold me. Remove all barriers that keep me from Your will. May I continue to transform through daily renewal of my mind. Amen.

Known by love

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. ~James 5:7-11 (CEB)

“The persons and ministries of John the Baptist and of Jesus himself, both rich in the practice of activities designed to strengthen the spirit, were held constantly before [early Christians]. So, wherever early Christians looked they saw examples of the practice of solitude, fasting, prayer, private study, communal study, worship, and sacrificial service and giving- to mention only some of the more obvious disciplines for spiritual life.

These early Christians really did arrange their lives very differently from their non-Christian neighbors, as well as from the vast majority of those of us called Christians today. We are speaking of their overall style of life, not just what they did under pressure, which frequently was also astonishingly different.’ ~From The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard

Help me this day O Lord, to prioritize my day. May my life reflect my faith. May my actions speak of Your love. Guide me in the way I should go. Amen.

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