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August 28 Devotional

Opening Prayer: Oh Lord Jesus, make me happy enough in you to avoid sin, and wise enough in you to avoid danger, that I may always do what is right in your sight. In your name I pray, Amen. - Tim Keller

Scripture: Joel 2:12-14

Journal: What do you think is the purpose of repentance? What is it designed to accomplish within us? How is God longing for you to return to him?

Reflection: Martin Luther opened the Reformation by nailing the “Ninety-five Theses” to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. The very first of the theses stated that “our Lord and Master Jesus Christ . . . willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” 

On the surface this looks a little bleak. Luther seems to be saying Christians will never make much progress in life. That, of course, wasn’t Luther’s point at all. He was saying that repentance is the way we make progress in the Christian life. Indeed, pervasive, all-of-life-repentance is the best sign that we are growing deeply and rapidly into the character of Jesus. Consider how the gospel affects and transforms the act of repentance. 

In “religion,” the purpose of repentance is basically to keep God happy so he will continue to bless you and answer your prayers. This means that religious repentance is selfish, self-righteous, and bitter all the way to the bottom. In the gospel, however, the purpose of repentance is to repeatedly tap into the joy of our union with Christ to weaken our impulse to do anything contrary to God’s heart. - Tim Keller

Hymn for the Day

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

J & M have begun their fourth year of serving in Creative Access using the platform of micro finance lending to engage in church planting with holistic development. They have sought to be deeply immersed in the language and culture and continue their work with a micro finance company. They are living temporarily in Knoxville until M and their new baby can travel. Pray also that their Hindi studies will go well in order to keep their language skills sharp while in the U.S.

Family Promise of Knoxville serves families that come into their program “situationally” homeless – something has happened in their lives (job loss, medical conditions, financial problems, or other tough circumstances) to cause them to be homeless. It is not a choice they have made consciously or easily. This organization has created an interfaith network involving 16 “host” congregations and 26 “support” congregations. Pray for the homeless families that Family Promise will reach this month. 

Closing Prayer: May we return to you, O God, from our many wanderings. May we return to you, O God - each and every day - with all our hearts. May we return to you with fasting and mourning and weeping. May we rend our hearts, instead of our garments, and return to you, O God. Amen.