Mission Devotional - January 2, 2016

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to be like you; willing to lay aside our rights and privileges, willing to empty ourselves and humble ourselves, willing to become of no reputation, for your sake and your kingdom and your glory. Amen.

Scripture: Philippians 2:1-13

Journal: Where is God doing a work of humility within you? How? How is this making you more like Jesus? Will you embrace this process the way Jesus did?

Reflection: God has been teaching me a lot about humility lately; some through prayer and scripture, and some through hard experience. He is teaching me about the great value of being unnoticed, unseen, and unnecessary. He has actually been teaching me about these things for years, but finally, I think (and hope), I am beginning to embrace what he is trying to do in me. Madeleine L'Engle once wrote: "When we are self-conscious, we cannot be wholly aware; we must throw ourselves out first." It seems that this throwing ourselves out is what the work of humility is all about, so that we might be fully aware of God, and what he desires, and what he is up to within and around us.

Humility is such a good and beautiful - and terrible - thing. It creates such open, receptive soil in our souls. It opens our ears, and our hearts, to God's voice because it keeps us from being so full of our own. Humility brings about freedom and wholeness because it releases us from the burden of constantly having something to prove. It empties us of self and creates space for God to move and to act by preparing our souls to receive whatever he might desire to plant in us. It is a dying that makes way for a Living. It is an emptying that makes space for a Filling. It is an absence that makes us aware of a Presence. It is a sorrow that brings about a Joy. It is a letting go that leads to a Taking Hold. And I have a suspicion that this work of humility God is doing within me is not so much a season as it is a destination - calling me to a new way of being.

Eugene Peterson said it this way: "When God became human in Jesus, he showed us how to be complete human beings before him. We do it the way Jesus did it, by becoming absolutely needy and dependent on the Father. Only when we stand emptied, stand impoverished before God can we receive what only empty hands can receive. This is the poverty of spirit in which Jesus blesses us (Matthew 5:3)."

Hymn for the Day

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Manuel and Annabella Valverde are involved in church planting and leadership training in Guatemala. Dr. Valverde started the Francisco Lacueva Theological Seminary (STFL) in 2012 and they now have 14 students. Pray today for the students in the seminary and the churches where they serve.

Al Massira is an online course for groups to use that presents the Christian faith through a chronological overview of the Bible. It centers the Christian faith in its original Middle Eastern context and includes a variety of integrated activities: viewing the films, open discussion, prayer, food and companionship. Pray today for those just starting the course, that they will find Jesus through it and begin a new life with Him.

Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, let humility do its work in me: emptying me of self, opening my ears to your voice, softening my heart to those around me, and allowing me to be, and to love, more like you each day. Amen.