Mission Devotional - February 29, 2016
Opening Prayer: Blessed Father! We humbly beseech Thee, let none that wait on Thee be ashamed; no, not one. Some are weary, and the time of waiting appears long. And some are feeble, and scarcely know how to wait. And some are so entangled in the effort of their prayers and their work, they think that they can find no time to wait continually. Father, teach us how to wait. Teach us to think of thee, the God of all waiting ones. Father! Let none that wait on Thee be ashamed. For Jesus' sake. Amen. (Waiting on God by Andrew Murray)
Journal: What does it mean to wait for God? What does it mean in your life and journey right now? Where is God asking you to wait for him? Where is he requiring you to wait for him? How do you feel about that?
Reflection: I've been reading a book called Waiting on God by Andrew Murray and it has really challenged me and opened me up to consider (to a much deeper degree) what it means to wait on God, as well as what that looks like in life and in ministry. It is not something that comes naturally at all. In fact, it is pretty counter-intuitive for most of us. And, if we are really honest, it is something that we are not very good at.
I guess the reason for this struggle is that waiting on God puts us in a very vulnerable and powerless place. It causes us to admit that, in the end, we can neither produce nor manufacture anything of eternal value. That work is solely up to God. We are at his mercy, both for ourselves and our friends. I mean, obviously there are things we are given to do. There is space that must be made for God, in order to make something coming alive within us more of a possibility, so I'm not talking about just sitting on our hands.
But then again, neither are the Scriptures when they call us to wait on God. What they are calling us to is a particular posture, a way of being and of seeing, if you will. When the Scriptures call us to wait on God they are calling on us to totally surrender to him, to completely trust in him, to wholly rely on him, and not ourselves. It is a posture, and a way of being, that takes a significant amount of courage and resolve because fear would have us spring into action and trust in our own gifts and efforts. Waiting on God calls us to refrain from that reliance on self and to begin to truly rely only on him, and his grace and his power. Waiting on God means that our first movement always must be towards him in prayer and dependence, rather than towards others in pride and arrogance, or in desperation and need. I have a suspicion that if we ever learn what it really means to do this - to truly wait on God - it will change everything.
Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
After more than 20 years of church planting in Japan, God has led Ron and Amy to a new challenge of equipping the next generation of church planters. Their new ministry at IGSL in the Philippines prepares students for ministry in cross-cultural contexts around the world. Pray today that Ron and Amy would model a good husband-wife relationship to the many married students on campus as part of their preparation for cross-cultural ministry together. The Barbers will be our guests at the 2016 Global Mission Conference. Pray for a safe journey for them to Knoxville.
As a ministry of the Presbyterian Church in America, RUF holds to the core beliefs of historic Christianity which motivate a heart for God and love for the university. CSPC supports RUF on two college campuses - UT Knoxville and Carson Newman. Pray today for Matt Howell at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and for RUF as it connects with students on both campuses.
Closing Prayer: O God, give me the strength and the courage and the trust necessary to truly wait on you. Help me discover what it means to wait for your salvation in my life and in my ministry. Show me what that looks like. Keep me, O God, from the temptation of trying to manufacture or produce something that only you can bring about. I cannot do it on my own, no matter how hard I try; and no matter how much I might believe in my heart of hearts that I really can (or should be able to). There can be no good, O God, other than what you bring into being. So give me a heart filled with faith in your working, not my own. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.