Mission Devotional - April 11, 2016

"Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, 'Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.'" - Mark 16:14-15

"Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God." - Hebrews 3:12

"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand;
repent and believe in the gospel." - Mark 1:15

Today's Devotional Reading

Sharing the gospel with other people is really difficult when you don't believe it yourself. And there are many times on a daily basis when I do not functionally believe the gospel. I don't believe that God really loves me or that he satisfies my deepest longings or that he is powerful or that he is actively engaged in my life and the lives of those around me. I know this gospel because I have left myself ample evidence:

I don't trust God with my life. I don't enjoy coming to God in prayer. I am too busy to pray. I despair over my circumstances, believing that they are hopeless. I am unable to mourn with those who are hurting because I am too busy worrying about my own problems. I am unable to celebrate the successes of others because I am jealous and bitter that they got something that I didn't get. I manipulate others to get what I want, passing it off as love. I am filled with fear and anxiety about the future. I spend all of my discretionary income on myself. I seek comfort, security, and success above everything else. I work really hard to achieve independence from God and others, busy building my own little kingdom. At the bottom of all of this is pride and unbelief: the root of all of our sin and coldness toward God.

The life of a Christian is the life of faith and repentance. God uses our emotions to reveal to us what we actually love, hate, fear, desire, and functionally believe. He supernaturally opens our eyes to our reality, convicts us of our sin and leads us to repentance. This faithful care of our souls leads us to confess our sin to God and others and encourages us to preach the gospel to ourselves. We ask him to heal us, deepen our love for him, and help our unbelief! And this is exactly what God does for us. The gospel becomes our functional reality, and it becomes a lot easier to share with others. - Matt Avery, CSPC Director of Discipleship

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

J & F live and work in one of the poorest and most heavily populated states in their country. They are seeking to make a difference in this state in both physical and spiritual realms. They have launched a micro-finance business that is creating self-sustaining means of support for churches and church plants as well as continuing to provide funds for the installation of hand pumps to provide clean water to needy areas of the state. Pray today for several people who are currently considering joining this work that they will clearly discern God's will.

The Philadelphians Prison Ministry has been ministering in Tennessee prisons for 27+ years. Its purpose is to change the thinking of a prisoner through the power and the knowledge of Jesus Christ. This is done through strong Bible teaching with praise and worship services, weekly in-prison group meetings, the HELP program, and a transitional housing program, the HELP House, in Knoxville. Christian ministry counseling is given to inmates' loved ones, the "silent victims" of crime. Pray today for the volunteers and the inmates that are being reached by this ministry.