Mission Devotional - December 10, 2015

Opening Prayer: Today, O Lord, I yield myself to you. May your will be my delight today. May your way have perfect sway in me. May your love be the pattern of my living.

I surrender to you my hopes, my dreams, my ambitions. Do with them what you will, when you will, as you will.

I place into your loving care my family, my friends, my future. Care for them with a care that I can never give.

I release into your hands my need to control, my craving for status, my fear of obscurity. For Jesus' sake. Amen. (Prayers from the Heart by Richard Foster)

Scripture: Luke 1:5-23

Journal: What about this passage speaks to something within you today? Why or how? How can you relate to Zechariah and Elizabeth? How is their "story" like your own? How does the reality of God meeting them in the midst of their doubts and fears speak to something deep within you?

Reflection: Waiting is not a very popular attitude. Waiting is not something that people think about with great sympathy. In fact, most people consider waiting a waste of time. Perhaps this is because the culture in which we live is basically saying, "Get going! Do something! Show you are able to make a difference! Don't just sit there and wait!" For many people, waiting is an awful desert between where they are and where they want to go. And people do not like such a place. They want to get out of it by doing something.

It impresses me, therefore, that all the figures who appear in the first pages of Luke's Gospel are waiting. Elizabeth and Zechariah are waiting. Mary is waiting. Simeon and Anna, who were there at the temple when Jesus was brought in, are waiting. The whole opening of the good news is filled with waiting people. And right at the beginning all those people in some way or another hear the words, "Do not be afraid. I have something good to say to you." These words set the tone and the context. Now Elizabeth and Zechariah, Mary, Simeon and Anna are waiting for something new and good to happen to them. (A Spirituality of Waiting by Henri Nouwen)

Hymn for the Day

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Darlene Johnson has been a member of MTW's church-planting team in Nagoya, Japan, since 2000. She teaches conversational English and evangelistic Bible studies and is involved in choral and instrumental music ministry. Pray today for Yuri, Etsuko, and Yoko, three women that Darlene meets with for Bible study, that they will become followers of Jesus and also for other outreach efforts through the Christmas season.

Old North Abbey is an Anglican church plant in Knoxville meets for worship on Sunday mornings in the Chapel at First Presbyterian Church, 620 State St. The church seeks to be a part of the community revitalization and restoration efforts as well as ministering to the deep needs of those living in that area. They have created Abbey Fields, a two acre urban farm dedicated to rebuilding vacant or blighted green spaces for agriculture use. Pray today for this church as they seek to reach their community with the gospel.

Closing Prayer:

Dear God,
I so much want to be in control.
I want to be the master of my own destiny.
Still I know you are saying:
"Let me take you by the hand and lead you. Accept my love and trust that where I will bring you, the deepest desires of your heart will be filled."
Lord, open my hands to receive your gift of love. Amen.
(With Open Hands by Henri Nouwen)