Mission Devotional - September 1, 2016

Opening Prayer: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)

Scripture: Matthew 6:25-32

Journal: What is causing you to worry these days? What strategy have you chosen to deal with it? How are you trying to sow or reap or gather into barns? How are you toiling or spinning? How can looking at the birds of the air or considering the lilies of the field help you deal with worry in your life?

Reflection: Worry is a given in this life. So the real question is not so much how to eliminate it, as it is how to fruitfully deal with it and come against it. The human strategies for dealing with anxiety are many and varied. We can try to avoid or deny anxiety, using to old "if I don't think about it, it will go away" strategy. But, as we all know, it doesn't go away. At least not for long. Or we can run off into busyness, toiling and striving to arrange our lives in such a way that whatever it is that we are anxious about will never come to pass. Good luck with that one as well. Or we can let it totally consume and paralyze us so that it is all we can think about. Who wants to live like that?

So exactly how do we deal with anxiety in a healthy way? We do it, Jesus tells us, not by not thinking - or by thinking too much about what lies before or within us - but by thinking about him, and his care for us, as well as his care for our world. Jesus points us to nature, to looking at and considering how God cares for all that is around us. Then reminding us that he cares for us far more. When we really begin to believe that, when we really begin to live our lives trusting both his heart and his hand, then we will really begin to trust him, which will give us peace rather than anxiety. Try it today. When you are feeling particularly anxious about something, stop and take a moment to refocus your heart on the incredible love and faithfulness of our God. See if that doesn't begin to give you some handholds in your battle against worry.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

L. and E. serve in a Creative Access country. L. is working to make evangelical literature available to the nations so that people can come to Christ. Pray today for students who attend a book club that L. and E. will have fruitful conversations and discussions with them.

Mekong Ministries' vision is to see churches among every Mekong People group that are spiritually healthy and glorifying God, reaching beyond themselves and planting churches in nearby unreached villages and unreached peoples. They seek to facilitate indigenous and Biblical church planting movements among unreached peoples of the Mekong Region. Pray today for the leaders of this ministry.

Closing Prayer: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me - practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)