Mission Devotional - August 20, 2016

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, help my life, this day, to be driven by and determined by my hunger and thirst for you, rather than my hunger and thirst for the things of this world. For only then will the words of my mouth reflect the truth that is in my heart. Amen.

Scripture: Matthew 5:6, 33-37

Journal: What is your deepest hunger and thirst right now? How do you hunger and thirst for righteousness? How does that work its way out into your life? How does it affect what you say?

Reflection: I love how the beatitudes set the tone for the entire Sermon on the Mount. Jesus tells us who to be, and then he shows us how that should affect what we do. It is almost as if he is painting a picture of what life in the kingdom of God is all about, in contrast to that of the world around us. There should be a qualitative difference between God's people and the people of this world, all the way down to our yes and our no.

Our very lives should be so saturated with his righteousness and his truth that there is never any reason for us to try and convince those around us that what is coming out of our mouths is actually one with what is going on in our hearts. A simple yes or no should suffice, because those around us know us well enough to know that we are not given to embellishing or exaggerating. We are not trying, unlike the rest of our culture, to spin "the truth" to our advantage. We are not trying to sell anyone anything. We just speak simply and truthfully. Our lives and our hearts are one. A hunger and thirst for righteousness is our driving force. A hunger and thirst for righteousness determines what we do and what we say, not a hunger and thirst for affirmation, or advantage, or success.

So the question becomes, "What hunger and thirst is ruling our lives these days?" Is it a hunger for God and his kingdom, or a hunger for this world and the things of this world? Maybe whether our yes is yes and our no is no can give us a hint.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Kenton and Ariana Wood serves in Guadalajara, Mexico as a church planter. Pray today for Kenton who oversees a mother church that has six services on Sunday. Pray also for the Purépecha Indians in the nearby state of Michoacan that they may be reached with the gospel. Kenton has recently married Adriana. Pray today for the Woods as they serve together.

Joni and Friends Knoxville ministers to families and individuals affected by disabilities in Knoxville, TN, as well as in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi and in Guatemala. The vision of Joni and Friends is to accelerate Christian ministry in the disability community by communicating the gospel and equipping Christ-honoring churches worldwide to evangelize and disciple people affected by disability. Pray today for the Knoxville staff of Joni and Friends.

Closing Prayer: You called, You cried, you shattered my deafness. You sparkled, you blazed, You drove away my blindness. You shed your fragrance, and I drew in my breath, and I pant for You. I tasted and now I hunger and thirst. You touched me, and now I burn with longing for your peace. - Confessions by St. Augustine