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December 11 Devotional

Come to Stillness: Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer: To the God who pursues. Our world is groaning around me and my heart groans with it. So many tears and questions, so many stillborn children, so much cancer and divorce, so many orphans and so much poverty. Closing my eyes doesn’t make the wailing stop; doesn’t turn the grief into joy. I hear your Spirit groaning with me, taking the cry of my heart to your throne. Hear our groans. Have mercy on us. (A Heart Exposed by Steven James)

Scripture Reading for the Day: John 11:17-44

Reading for Reflection: This is not a declaration that our tomorrows will be free of travail and suffering. The people of Haiti who struggle today with the aftermath of an earthquake may continue to have one heartbreaking experience after another. My son may not return alive from his military duty in Afghanistan. Those I love may get medical test results that indicate their last days are near. The matters about which we are anxious may have outcomes that traumatize us to our very core. Still, God is with us in these tomorrows we do not welcome. God does not keep us from suffering, but God does keep us. We can rest in the assurance that as our world and we come unhinged, God remains steadfast in love and in sustaining possibilities for renewing the work of hope in the world and in our hearts. (Getting to Tomorrow by Luther E. Smith, Jr., Weavings, Volume XXV, Number 4)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Hymn for the Day

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Michael and Diana Johnson serve with People International. As International Director, Michael provides broad vision and leadership for the mission. Pray today for a continuing relief effort by People International to those who are seeking safety from Islamic militants in the Kurdish area of Northern Iraq.

Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) is committed to the evangelism of boys and girls through Good News Clubs, the Tennessee Valley Fair and any other means to reach the children of the Knoxville community. Good News Club is a ministry in which trained teachers meet with groups of children in schools, homes, community centers, churches, apartment complexes and just about anywhere the children can easily and safely meet with their parent’s permission. Pray today for the families of the children that attend the Good News Clubs each week that they may understand the love of Jesus during this Christmas season.

Closing Prayer: You are present, Eternal God, in every moment of my life, in the daily tasks and in the swirl and seeming chaos of world events; help me then to be aware of your presence and responsive to your purpose. Amen. (Advent with Evelyn Underhill)