Great Plains Daily Devotional for 1/4/2019

Today please be in prayer for

Elm Creek UMC
Overton UMC
Williamsburg, NE UMC
Gateway District
Oxford, NE UMC
Gateway District
Haven's Chapel UMC
Pleasanton, NE UMC
Gateway District
Hazard UMC
Ravenna UMC
Gateway District

Today's Lectionary Text

Acts 7:44-53 

“Our ancestors had the tent of testimony in the wilderness, as God directed when he spoke to Moses, ordering him to make it according to the pattern he had seen. Our ancestors in turn brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our ancestors. And it was there until the time of David, who found favor with God and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the house of Jacob. But it was Solomon who built a house for him. Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made with human hands; as the prophet says,

‘Heaven is my throne,
    and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord,
    or what is the place of my rest?
Did not my hand make all these things?’

“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are forever opposing the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do. Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, and now you have become his betrayers and murderers. You are the ones that received the law as ordained by angels, and yet you have not kept it.”

Today's Devotional

In my life, I have moved around a lot. Through those moves, I have learned that home is less about a specific place as it is about the people I share it with. I am reminded of the gift it is to have a roof over my head, especially in this season where weather becomes cold and some struggle to find a safe place to stay. I think of all who seek asylum and refuge in a war-torn world, and those who experience the pain of extreme poverty. So too, it was with Jesus’ family as they first made their way to Bethlehem and found no place in the inn. So too it was for the people in Acts who were still trying to come to terms with how they understood the person and work of Jesus Christ.

This passage in Acts reminds us that when we sing “let every heart prepare Him room,” it is not about building a physical place. It is about preparing our spirits to welcome the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is so easy to let our lives become cluttered and distracted away from allowing the room for God’s presence to be among us. Indeed, we are stiff-necked and uncircumcised of heart and ears when we do not allow ourselves to be affected by the pain of this world as Jesus did on the cross. In this season where we welcome the Christ Child into our hearts once more, we cannot forget to welcome the child in need who lives and walks among us today. For in that child, too, Christ is present. May we welcome him and build a place for him in our hearts today.

 -Rev. Michelle Byerly
Bassett and Springview UMC, Nebraska



Prayer for Reflection

O, God who came as a little child, whose home was always mobile and ever-present, may we make our hearts worthy to receive your presence in us. May we welcome those in need as though we welcome you. Amen.


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