The Upper Room devotional reflection for Monday, June 6, 2022 comes to us from Bob Schiavone of Kentucky.
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:1-10 NIV
“Becoming A Disciple”
Tee times, happy hour, concerts, ball games, and tailgating were normal events in my life until a poor decision led to my DUI. My way of life was one of self-absorption, self-reliance, and self-destruction. I knew I had to change if I was to save my marriage, my family, and my career. Hearing my devastating news, a friend asked me this question: “Where is Jesus in your life? He needs to be your priority.” For the first time in my life I heard the call to follow Jesus.
My relationship with Jesus began with an Emmaus Walk, an intense four-day Christian retreat. During that time of surrender led by the Holy Spirit, I participated in the early morning devotionals, spent time reading scripture, and prayed. When I returned from the retreat, I began serving God – first within my church and then through local ministries. The result has been a transformational journey, and I have found my calling leading a small group of brothers in Christ helping in the development of other disciples. We read about two kinds of people in the Gospels – the crowds and the disciples. Crowds are curious but remain influenced by the world. That was me. Disciples live in the word and serve as the hands and feet of God on earth – using time, talent, and treasure. Now, I am a disciple.
Like Bob Schiavone, I have made some regrettable decisions in my life. But I know that with God’s grace, I can change direction and move toward ministry with those who need to experience that grace in their own lives. Like Bob Schiavone each of us has the opportunity to share our time, talent, and treasure in efforts to build God’s Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Father God, help us to let go and let you lead us where you need us. May we share with others your way of love and mercy. Amen.
Thought for the Day:
I will trust God to lead me where God needs me.
[Jesus] saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake … “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Mark 1:16-18 (NIV)