Mission Devotional - July 14, 2016

Opening Prayer: O Lord our God, when we try to do it ourselves - whatever it may be - it is always in vain, regardless of how early we get up or how late we get to bed. No matter how hard we try, we just can't keep everything under control for long. We always end up feeding on the bread of anxious toil. And that is some of the worst bread there is. Give us the wisdom, O God, to turn to you and surrender everything to your care. O Lord, help us to always trust in you. Amen.

Scripture: Psalm 127:1-2

Journal: Where in your life are you eating the bread of anxious toil? Where are you trying to build the house? What is the effect of each?

Reflection: It is a very subtle thing. At times hardly noticeable at all. It may begin with a growing sense of frustration, and then progress into a significant amount of anxiety. That's when I start getting suspicious that I've done it again. I have taken over the building of the house once more. I don't know what causes me to do it. Maybe somehow I believe in my heart of hearts that it's all up to me to build this life, or this ministry, or this career, or whatever else the house might be. Or maybe it's even uglier than that. Maybe I am determined to be the one in control of it all. I am determined to be the one who decides what it looks like. I am determined to be the one who chooses the size and the layout and the paint colors. Maybe I am actually unwilling to trust God with it.

Either way it always leads me to the same place - eating the bread of anxious toil. No matter how early I get up, no matter how many hours I put in, and no matter how late I go to sleep (if I go to sleep at all), it is all in vain. And there's really nothing I can do about it, no matter how hard I try. Somehow I have to come to the realization that it is not up to me. Somehow I have to confess that building this house is a job far bigger that I have the capability or competence to handle. It is a humbling place to be. I must confess that I have once again tried to take control of something that only God can truly care for. And I must repent, return the hammer and the plans and the blueprints to the One who dreamt the whole thing into being in the first place - and trust. Then maybe, finally, he will give his beloved rest.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

George and Kathy Cail live in North Carolina where George works in the curriculum department of a ministry called TEN3 (Transformational Education Network - Discipling to the Third Generation). With the deaths of both of their fathers in early 2015, George and Kathy now feel that God is leading them to return to Burkina Faso where they worked for 20 years. They are hoping to return soon in more of a member care/pastoral role, coming alongside missionaries, church leaders, and others to encourage, exhort, pray for, and motivate them especially in being intentional in growing more and more. Pray for them today as they continue to raise financial support to return to Burkina Faso.

A Hand Up For Women, Knox County Christian Women's Job Corps, strives to be a source of hope to women with the desire and motivation to lead a more self-sufficient life. Pray for the women reached by this ministry that they may know the love of Jesus.

Closing Prayer: If God doesn't build the house, the builders only build shacks. If God doesn't guard the city, the night watchman might as well nap. It's useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don't you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves? (The Message).