June 14 Devotional

Opening Prayer: O Jesus, speak to me during this time about the story you are telling, the story I was made for. Open my eyes, Lord, to the ways that story is being told - and lived - in the events and circumstances of this day. Show me how all that happens to me this day echoes your larger Story if only I will keep my heart focused on you. In your name I pray. Amen.

Scripture: Galatians 1:11-24

Journal: How is God calling you into his larger story today? How is God revealing his Son to you, or in you, these days? Why do you think Paul went into Arabia? How might God be calling you to do the same? What do you think it was like when Paul and Peter finally got together? What stories can you imagine them telling each other?

Reflection: Immediately after my calling - without consulting anyone around me and without going up to Jerusalem to confer with those who were apostles long before I was - I got away to Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus, but it was three years before I went up to Jerusalem to compare stories with Peter. (Galatians 1:16-18, The Message)

I love that the first thing Paul and Peter did when they got together, for the very first time, was tell stories. Can you imagine being a fly on the wall? There is something about the telling of our stories (or of God’s story in us) that is very rich and life giving; it’s almost like the stories must be told in order to have their fully desired effect in our hearts and lives and souls. And the funny thing is that I’m not sure who they have the bigger impact on, the hearer or the teller. 

Obviously there is something wonderful about hearing stories of how God grabbed someone’s heart or made someone whole; but there is also this strange and wonderful dynamic that takes place in the heart of the teller even as the story is being told. It is as if somehow it is continuing to move and to grow in his heart and soul even as he shares what he has seen or heard. Do you know what I’m talking about? It’s those times when you are in the middle of telling some incredible story of God’s Spirit and God’s work, and you actually begin to hear what you are saying - and be completely captured by it. It is almost as if you didn’t completely realize what all was going on until you began to tell it, and as you opened your mouth it is almost as if the story began telling itself and was just using your mouth as its vehicle. 

After all, it is not your story, or even mine (or theirs for that matter), but the story of God. It is His, and something about its quality tells us that. Somehow if the story was only about me, or about you, it wouldn’t carry the same weight, it wouldn’t have the same impact. It would fall lifeless to the ground and die - so many of my stories have suffered that fate through the years simply because I didn’t yet understand that the story wasn’t about me, but about Him. Stories about Him have life, they live on and produce their fruit long after their telling. And it is a beautiful thing.

Hymn for the Day

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Eric and Beth Yodis are facilitating church planting in eastern Ukraine. Because of the war there, Eric and Beth have recently be staying in the U.S. but are planning to return to the Ukraine soon. Eric and Beth are returning this month to the Ukraine to help with church planting in Kiev. Pray for them as they travel and get back to work in the country that they love.

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: Father, write yourself upon my heart and life - that I may be an open book about you, so that others might read of your unending love on every page. In the name of Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Amen.