Mission Devotional - August 22, 2016

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, you tell us "Blessed are the peacemakers." May we be peacemakers, as you were, this day. May we fight evil and opposition, not with anger and hatred, but with love. For then we will be like you. Amen.

Scripture: Matthew 5:9, 38-42

Journal: What is your first reaction to opposition? How do the words of the Scriptures today speak to that? What is Jesus asking of you? Who do you need to make peace with?

Reflection: Jesus certainly has a way of turning things upside down, in the most beautiful way possible. He constantly suggests that we upset the dysfunctional balance of the world and, instead, act in unexpected and life-giving ways. These verses are a classic example of that. He names situations that would normally cause us to react in anger and frustration, and tells us to react in love and kindness instead. That's what life in his kingdom is all about. That's what makes his kingdom so much different than the kingdom of this world. In his kingdom we do not fight evil with hostility and retaliation, we fight it as he did, with love. He asks us not to be defensive, reactive, and self-protective, but to be gracious and generous and hopeful.

"Blessed are the peacemakers," he tells us, "for they will be called sons of God." Those who are members of his kingdom will be marked by peace and love. How can they not be? For if we are his children, we will look more and more like him each day. And what beautiful lengths he went to in order to bring about peace, whether it be turning a cheek, giving away a cloak, canceling a debt, or going the extra mile. May we do the same.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

J & F live and work in one of the poorest and most heavily populated states in a country in Asia. 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 goals of Kentucky Mountain Mission (KMM) and Youth Haven Bible Camp are two-fold: to reach the children and adults of southeastern Kentucky with the gospel of Jesus Christ and to train/disciple those that receive Christ for Christian leadership in their churches and communities. Pray today for these ministries and their leaders William & Dawn Owen and Andy & Erin Owen as they begin their Fall programs.

Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, help the first reaction of my soul to all of the circumstances of this world to be one of love and not anger; there's way too much of that in the world already. But I realize, Jesus, that unless you put that spirit of love in my heart, unless you build that reaction of peace within my soul, it will simply not be there. Only you can plant it within me. O Jesus, give me your Spirit of love and peace. For your kingdom and your glory. Amen.