Mission Devotional - August 14, 2016

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you that you have conquered death, and because of that so can we. Thank you that pain and chaos and death do not have the final word, but life does. Help us to believe it is true and live our lives in that hope. Amen.

Scripture: Mark 12:18-27

Journal: Where in your life right now are you overwhelmed by death? What is dying around you or within you? What does it mean to believe that the dead will rise? How will that truth effect the way you live today?

Reflection: If we are not careful it is easy to find ourselves believing that death has the upper hand in this life. After all, it is all around us. And even, at times, within us. Loved ones die, and we are left to deal with the reality of life without them. Dreams die and we are left reeling, trying to figure out what life after the dream is supposed to look like. At times, it is easy to believe that death has the final word. That is, evidently, what the Sadducees believed. What a sad and hopeless existence.

Jesus, however, comes to open our ears to a new voice, the voice of hope and possibility. A voice that constantly reminds us that death - be it around us or within us - does not have the final word, life does. Death is not the point. It is only a means to a greater end. Life is the point, and death is only a part of the process of new life coming into being. In God's economy, life always follows death. The dead will rise. Don't focus on, and be consumed by, the death around you or within you. Focus on the life that is to come, the life that the death is making room for. Don't settle for death when God wants to use it to make way for new life. Reach for life.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

M. is living in an area in Asia working with an unreached people group. She is trusting that God will open doors for the gospel and empower local brothers and sisters to make disciples among them. Pray today for God's help in raising up local leaders with the vision of initiating a movement of rapidly reproducing local churches. Pray today that many TL people will enter into the family and be changed forever by God's redeeming love.

Heart for Lebanon is a faith-based holistic ministry that uses relief in many cases, but not exclusively, as the first step in the process of transforming an individual and their community. They seek to to unconditionally serve those who have been marginalized and rejected in Lebanon, including refugees from Syria. Pray today for the staff of this ministry that they may have the stamina needed to carry out their mission this month.

Closing Prayer: Lord, you know me better than I know myself. Your Spirit pervades every moment of my life. Thank you for the grace and love you shower on me. Thank you for your constant, gentle invitation to let you into my life. Forgive me for the times I have refused that invitation, and closed myself off from you. Help me in the day to come, to recognize your presence in my life, to open myself to you, to let you work in me, to your greater glory. Amen. - Ignatius of Loyola