February 9 Devotional
Come to Stillness: Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.
Opening Prayer: Our Father, giver of all gifts, You love and choose us, your least ones. Increase our humility so that we might rejoice in the generosity of Your love and be mindful that the good in us comes from You, Creator, Redeemer, and Giver of Life, now and forever. Amen. - Macrina Wiederkehr
Scripture Reading for the Day: Nehemiah 8:1-12
Reading for Reflection: The difference between shallow happiness and deep, sustaining joy is sorrow. Happiness lives where sorrow is not. When sorrow arrives, happiness dies. It can’t stand pain. Joy, on the other hand, rises from sorrow and therefore can withstand all grief. Joy, by the grace of God, is the transfiguration of suffering into endurance, and of endurance into character, and of character into hope - and the hope that has become our joy does not (as happiness must for those who depend upon it) disappoint us.
In the sorrows of the Christ - as we ourselves experience them - we prepare for Easter, for joy. There can be no resurrection from the dead except first there is death! But then, because we love him above all things, his rising is our joy. And then the certain hope of our own resurrection warrants the joy both now and forever. (Reliving the Passion by Walter Wangerin Jr.)
Reflection and Listening: silent and written
Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
Tom Matthews serves as a translation consultant to Bible translation teams from multiple people groups in northern Tanzania and Kenya. Some of the groups are minimally reached for Christ and some are dominated by Islam. Pray today for Tom and Juanita for Godly wisdom in all aspects of their jobs. Tom really enjoys his work as a Bible translation consultant, but it is a remarkably challenging ministry. Imagine, for example, checking the translation of the Pauline letters to the Corinthians for a minority group that herds camels in a desert in northern Kenya.
Young Life Spain pursues and befriends teenagers to introduce them to Jesus. Drew and Sharalyn Goodman are in Madrid where Drew serves as an intern for YL. David Beltran leads the YL Spain team. Pray today for Drew, Sharalyn and David that they may effectively reach teens in Spain with the gospel.
Closing Prayer: Father, it is so easy for me to live automatically, so that nothing touches me or moves me. Give me the fullness of living in the now. In the name of your Son, who loved children and flowers and people, I pray. Amen. (Disciplines for the Inner Life by Michael Benson and Bob Benson)