July 26 Devotional
Opening Prayer: Almighty God, you have created us, called us, chosen us to be your people. We wait now to receive your word of guidance and blessing. Grant unto us ears to hear, eyes to see, and faith to respond to your love and leadership. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. (A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants by Rueben P. Job and Norman Shawchuck)
Scripture: Ephesians 1:3-14
Journal: How does it make you feel to know that God has chosen you to be his very own? What does it do within you? What is your response to his grace and love?
Reflection: This longing that wells up in us, though, does not spring into existence on its own. “God is always previous,” is the way the theologian Von Hugel put it. “You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,” is the way Aslan put it, the lion in the Narnia Chronicles who called Edmund and three other children from England into the magical land of Narnia. The way the apostle John put it was, “We love because he first loved us.”
Maybe, too, that is why we long.
“God’s yearning for us stirs up our longing in response,” says Howard Macy in Rhythms of the Inner Life. God’s initiating presence may be ever so subtle - an inward tug of desire, a more-than-coincidence meeting of words and events, a glimpse of the beyond in a storm or a flower - but it is enough to make our heart skip a beat and to make us want to know more.” (Windows of the Soul by Ken Gire)
Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
Joe and Cindy Platillero proclaim the transforming presence of Jesus Christ through Biblical teaching and practical training to all who come through their doors. Their main ministry is through the Torchbearer Center where they have camps, conferences, and a small Bible School during the winter. Pray for them today as they focus on the local church and the church throughout Europe.
The Volunteer Ministry Center (VMC) was established in 1987 and offers specialized services to the homeless and those within our community who are in crisis. VMC’s programs support its two-fold mission of facilitating permanent supportive housing for those who are homeless and providing services to prevent homelessness. Pray today for the staff of this ministry.
Closing Prayer: How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people - free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.
It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. - The Message