June 3 Devotional
Opening Prayer: My God, let me know and love you, so that I may find my happiness in you. Since I cannot fully achieve this on earth, help me to improve daily until I may do so to the full. Enable me to know you ever more on earth, so that I may know you perfectly in heaven. Enable me to love you ever more on earth, so that I may love you perfectly in heave. In that way my joy may be great on earth, and perfect with you in heaven. O God of truth, grant me the happiness of heaven so that my joy may be full in accord with your promise. In the meantime let my mind dwell on that happiness, my tongue speak of it, my heart pine for it, my mouth pronounce it, my soul hunger for it, my flesh thirst for it, and my entire being desire it until I enter through death in the joy of my Lord forever. Amen. - St. Augustine
Scripture: Revelation 2:12-17
Journal: What name do you think will be written on your white stone? What name do you long to be on it? How does it make you feel that God has a name picked out specifically for you? What other things said to the church at Pergamum speak to your heart or life right now?
Reflection: One of the constant struggles in the life of faith is to pay attention to the right voices and ignore the wrong ones. That would be especially true if you lived in a place like Pergamum. It was the heart of Enemy territory. The capital city of Evil. It was a place of indulgence, immorality, and deception. It was a place where the wrong voices abounded. And one of the chief strategies of the Enemy is to try and make us believe things about ourselves and about our God that simply aren’t true.
In an environment such as this it is vital to hold fast to the truth, lest we get sucked into one of these deceptive ways of thinking. For the truth is our greatest defense against the deceptions of the Enemy. In fact, John tells us in one of his earlier writings that when we come to know the truth, the truth will set us free (John 8:32). Maybe that’s why in this passage Jesus uses the image of a double-edged sword (his word) as the means by which he will wage war against the Enemy. His truth is our main offensive weapon. It is the thing we can use to destroy the lies of the Deceiver and hold fast to the truth of our Creator. When we hold fast to the truth about our God and about ourselves we will be free men and women.
That truth being that our God is so filled with love for us that he has a special name picked out for each one of us. A pet name, if you will. It is a name of deep affection that will bear our true identity. One that will immediately let us know how incredibly valuable we are to Him and how extravagantly loved we are by Him. It is a name written on a white stone that he will share with us when we are united with him in the heavenly realms for all of eternity. It a name that is the truest expression of who we are in him. It is a name that is just too good to be true, yet it is both too good and too true. And I am convinced that when we hear it, a deep “yes” will rise up from the core of our being. I can’t wait.
Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
Paul and Dori Pittman currently serve as area directors for United World Mission’s Latin America region. Paul is also project coordinator of UWM’s Cuba Partnership Project. Pray today for them as they travel this month to the U.S.
The mission of Compassion Coalition is to inform, prepare, and unite churches to transform lives and communities through the love of Christ. They strive to walk alongside Knoxville-area churches who earnestly desire to slow down and respond to the cry of the suffering, the broken, and the abandoned within their congregations and out in the community. Pray today for the work of this ministry in Knoxville. Pray today for Executive Director Grant Standefer.
Closing Prayer: O Lord, our God, thank you that you have a name picked out especially for us. One that has been hand-picked by you with us specifically and uniquely in mind. When I am tempted to believe the lies about who you are and who I am in you, give me a little hint about that name; that I might know the truth that will set me free. The truth that you love me more than I could dream about in my wildest dreams. In Christ. Amen.