Mission Devotional - January 29, 2017

Opening Prayer: O Lord, my God, apart from you we have no good thing, but in union with you there is joy and love and peace without measure. Enliven us by the power of your Spirit, and give us the ability to be joyful always, to pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in all things. For this is your will for us in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

Journal: How do you tend to quench the Spirit in your own heart and life? In your family? In your marriage? In your church? In your community?

Reflection: They say every community of believers has one - a fire department, that is. You know what I'm talking about, that person, or group of people, that as soon as something starts to catch fire within us or among us, here they come to douse those flames as quickly as possible with their complaints, or criticisms, or cynicism, or grumpiness, or even their own expert advice and opinions about what should be happening. It's like clockwork. No sooner has something good and beautiful begun to take shape and come to life within us or among us, when someone rushes in to douse, or quench, what is going on. And if I'm completely honest I have to admit that I have been guilty of being a part of that fire department on more than one occasion. I'm not really sure what it is, but for some reason when something beautiful is going on, and I'm not a part of it, it makes me insecure and anxious. Which leads me down that awful rabbit trail - or more accurately down into the cesspool - of criticism and complaint. It's really sad.

I'll bet Paul saw this happen all the time, which is probably why God had him pen these very words. For he knew that if we would regularly do the first three things he wrote about - be joyful always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances - then, most likely the quenching of the Spirit would never be an issue. Because the fires of the Spirit are stoked (not quenched) by those three life-giving things: joy, prayer, and gratitude. O God, help us to pursue those three things (in you) each and every day.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Heath and Angela Many have been serving at Tenwek Hospital, a Christian mission hospital in rural Kenya, as medical missionaries in their respective fields (surgery and obstetrics/gynecology). Pray today for this family who has returned to Knoxville for a home stay. Heath is participating in a one-year fellowship at University of Tennessee in Surgical Critical Care.

The Love Kitchen serves Knoxville's homeless, helpless, hopeless, hungry, and homebound by providing food and clothing. Many CSPC members volunteer there every week preparing and distributing meals. Pray today for all of the people who will receive meals from The Love Kitchen this week that they may know the love of God for them because of this ministry.

Closing Prayer: O God, you are a consuming fire. May the fires of your holy love have their way within us and among us, both this day and every day. Amen.