Mission Devotional - February 21, 2016

Opening Prayer: Lord God, our heavenly Father, may we always remember that we are your Beloved children, and may that knowledge give us the strength and the power and the encouragement we need to be victorious over temptation.

Scripture: Matthew 3:13-4:1

Journal: What words did God want ringing in the ears of his Son as he spent forty days in the desert being tempted by the devil? Why do you think God gave Jesus those particular words? How do those same words help you to fight temptation in your own life?

Reflection: Don't you just love the fact that the words the Father wanted ringing in the ears of his Son as he battled temptation in the wilderness were, "You are my son, whom I love. With you I am well pleased." Obviously God knew that one of the chief strategies of the enemy is to try to make us doubt who we really are. In fact, that's how the devil begins his first two temptations: "If you really are God's son…" For he knows that if he can forge any doubt at all in our hearts, he has begun to develop a foothold. But not with Jesus, the Father took care of that well in advance. Jesus knew to his core that he was the Beloved Son of the Father, and it was the bread he fed on for forty days and forty nights in the desert. Those words nourished and sustained his soul.

I don't know about you, but that is the place I am often attacked as well. It is a very vulnerable area for me. You see, I have trouble believing that God could ever really love somebody like me, so it doesn't take much of an attack to allow doubt to creep into my heart and mind. That's why I need to constantly be attentive to the voice of the father as well. Unfortunately, I don't remember quite as well as Jesus did who I really am as the Beloved child of the Father. I need constant reminders. For when I am able to really believe it is true and to fully trust who I really am to (and in) God, I have strength and courage to face the temptations of the day.

Hymn for the Day

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Vitaly and Oksana Voinov live in Moscow, Russia. Vitaly is working with the Institute for Bible Translation (IBT) in Russia/CIS as IBT's director. IBT has been serving the non-Slavic peoples of the former Soviet Union for four decades by translating the Holy Scriptures - Bibles, New Testaments, individual Bible books, and illustrated Children's Bibles. Pray today that the staff of IBT, including Vitaly as their director, would grow better at not creating obstacles for each other as they seek to work smoothly together.

Navigators Collegiate ministry at UT Knoxville has this mission: "To advance the gospel of Jesus and His Kingdom into the nations through spiritual generations of laborers living and discipling among the lost." Pray today for the leaders of this ministry and the students.

Closing Prayer: Help me, Lord Jesus, to remember who I really am today; and to believe it. Amen.