Mission Devotional - July 10, 2016

Opening Prayer: O Christ Jesus, when all is darkness and we feel our weakness and helplessness, give us the sense of your presence, your love, and your strength. Help us to have perfect trust in your protecting love and strengthening power, so that nothing may frighten or worry us, for, living close to you, we shall see your hand, your purpose, your will through all things. - St. Ignatius

Scripture: Isaiah 26:3-4

Journal: What is the relationship between peace and trust in your experience? What grows trust? What grows peace? What is the level of both peace and trust in your life and faith these days? Why?

Reflection: Peace and trust are intimately connected. It is impossible, it seems, to have one without the other. I mean, how can I ever have real peace if I do not trust that my life is fully and completely in the hands of someone strong enough and loving enough to take care of it? If I do not trust that truth, then I will be constantly trying to take control of my life and my circumstances myself, which is incredibly un-peaceful. I don't know about you, but when the responsibility for the management and care of my life and world falls solely on my shoulders, it creates all kinds of anxiety and fear.

God obviously knows this connection. He knows that unless we fully trust him, it will be impossible for us to ever fully experience his peace. The Hebrew word for trust offers us a great picture of this. The Hebrew word for peace is batach, which means to attach yourself to something (or someone) secure. When we trust in God, we tie ourselves to the eternal, the immovable, the unchanging, the powerful and loving God who both can and will care for us. And when we are tied to something eternal and immovable and all-powerful, we can finally be at peace.

He is able to keep in perfect peace him whose heart is steadfast. The ESV translates it him whose mind is stayed on you. Either way, we have a part in this life of trust and peace. It is to keep our minds steadfast, or stayed on God. The Hebrew word used here is camak, which means to lean, lay, or rest upon. As long as we lay our minds and our souls of the Heart of Love, we will find peace. We will be able to trust. If we do not, the storms of life and the chaos of circumstances will make it impossible for us to live in anything but fear and anxiety and insecurity. I think that's why Jesus said, "Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27) The choice is ours. We can scurry and jockey and rush frantically around, anxiously trying to keep our lives and our worlds in order, or we can lay our heads on the Heart of Love and trust him to care for us the way that he promises he will? Today, which will it be?

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Isik Abla hosts a satellite TV program called "Light for the Heart" on the Kanal Hayat Turkish-language channel. She also hosts a live call-in program that is simulcast on the Turkish and Farsi channels throughout the Middle East and Europe. These TV programs deliver the message of love, healing, and freedom through Christ Jesus, reflecting on Isik's own life experience. Pray today for Isik and the "Light for the Heart" program to be used by God to reach many with the gospel.

YOKE mentors middle school children by building friendships with Christian adults through clubs, camps, and Kid Time (hanging out with kids in their world). Currently YOKE reaches out to nearly 20,000 students at 26 middle schools located in Anderson, Blount, Grainger, Jefferson, and Knox counties. Pray today for the Yoke volunteers as they prepare for the Fall semester.

Closing Prayer: People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole, steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don't quit. Depend on God and keep at it because in the Lord God you have a sure thing. (The Message)