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The Upper Room Devotion for Monday, January 22, 2024, written by Tim Southern of Massachusetts.



1 You were dead through the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. 3 All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us 5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ —by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— 9 not the result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

Ephesians 2:1-10 NRSV


Author's Thoughts

One day at lunch, I went with a friend from work to the nearby institute of Contemporary Art in the Boston Seaport District. I confess my tastes lean more toward the masters, and I sometimes struggle with contemporary works of art. But that day, I saw several pieces that intrigued me. They were created from repurposed materials like scrap metal, old paper, and cardboard. Without having read the exhibit label on the composition, it would not have been obvious what medium was used. the old materials had been made into something new.

Something like this happens when we come to Christ. God turns all the stuff we bring into our relationship into something new. This transformation will likely be a gradual process; for although God can picture the final result, often the material needs to be reworked in the creation process. As God's finished creation, we will find all that was once there - our addictions, brokenness, heartache, and selfishness - is being shaped into God's masterpiece.


Pastor Anthony's Thoughts


Psalm 139:14 reminds us that we are uniquely crafted masterpieces of our divine creator. While there may be similarities among us, none of us is exactly the same. One of the beauties of creation is its diversity. In like fashion, we are called to honor and celebrate the Spirit of God present in everyone. As the praise song states: "The Jesus in me loves the Jesus in you!" May we take time today to recognize, celebrate, and affirm the light of Christ that lives in everyone.


Author's Prayer

Artist God, we give thanks for your transformation. Help us be patient and to accept that change is not instantaneous. Open our hearts to the new possibilities of who we may become. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

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