Mission Devotional - February 22, 2016
Opening Prayer: Lead us not into temptation, O Lord, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Scripture: Matthew 4:1-4
Journal: What do you try to feed on other than God?
Reflection: One of the first temptations we come across in this life of faith, it seems, is the temptation to feed ourselves. Or, more specifically, the temptation to feed on something that was never intended to be food in the first place. I don't know about you, but I tend to feed on so many things other than Jesus, so many things that were never intended to be the food my soul most deeply longs for. For instance, I feed on affirmation, I feed on achievement, I feed on attention, I feed on applause, I feed on reputation; the list just goes on and on.
God desires me to feed only on him, for then, and only then, will I be able to love those he has called me to love without feeding on them. Therefore, when I am hungry in the depths of my soul; when I am starving to be loved, or to be cared for, or to be noticed, or to be affirmed, I really need to be careful. The enemy is very subtle, and before I know it, I will stop feeding on Jesus and start feeding on the very people Jesus has called me to feed. And the kicker is that I might never know the difference until it's almost too late; until my soul is near death, until I am starving for the bread I was truly created to eat (see John 6:48-51), and until those that I have been called to feed have been devoured and have also devoured me in the process, in one gigantic dysfunctional feeding frenzy.
"If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." Or, in others words, "Make something food that was never intended to be food. Take matters into your own hands. Feed yourself. Be self-sufficient. After all, you're hungry. You've got a right to care for your own needs." It is a familiar mindset in our world. One that is even applauded and held up as an inspiration and an example of character and strength.
But Jesus knew better. "It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God,'" he replied. And a beautiful reply it is. Almost as if to say, "I will feed on nothing, or no one, other than God. It is on him alone that I will feed." O Lord Jesus, Bread of Life, help us to feed on you and you alone. For man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
Andy and Bev Warren serve with an MTW team that is involved in HIV/AIDS work and church planting through the Ethiopia Aids Care and Treatment (ACT) Project. The project targets slum communities in Addis Ababa which contain the neediest people in the community - large percentages of women with small children. In recent years the project has served more than 500 AIDS-affected families, reaching more than 1,200 people. Pray today for Andy and Bev to have wisdom as they explore expanding into new communities and focusing on church planting. Find out more about the Ethiopia ACT Project by going here. The Warrens will be our guests at the 2016 Global Mission Conference. Pray for a safe journey for them to Knoxville.
The focus of Navigators International at UT Knoxville is the over 1,000 international students at the University of Tennessee who come from 100+ nations. Spouses and family networks back home multiply the potential for the gospel to spread. Navigator's mission is to advance the gospel of Jesus and His Kingdom to 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: O Lord Jesus, Bread of Life, help us to feed on you and you alone. For man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.