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Mission Devotional - April 18, 2016

While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged Him, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean." Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. "I am willing. Be clean!" And immediately the leprosy left him. Then Jesus ordered him, "Don't tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them."

Today's Devotional Reading

Luke 5:12-14
The leper came with disease and in need. He had skin problems that put him in a different class of citizen: one who was shunned, outcast, despised. He was required to yell "Unclean! Unclean!" when he was in public so other people could stay away from him. What would it feel like to be identified not as a person, not through your gifting, not through what you could offer society, but as unclean? And more personally, if you had to yell out your most vulnerable fault or problem, what would you yell? "Unfaithful, unfaithful?" "Liar, liar?" "Greedy and selfish, greedy and selfish?" "Addicted, addicted?"

He was covered with leprosy, skin problems of some kind. What are you covered with? We, too, come in need, although our disease is hidden, unlike his. He likely had sores and scabs and missing parts on his body; we have sores and sin on the inside of ours. Both are ugly and scary, and neither are how God intended His creation to be.

The leper came in humility and utter dependence. When he came, he fell to his knees and begged, even putting his face to the ground before the great Healer. We too must come to the place where we realize we are unclean in God's eyes, in desperate need of a Savior, and approach the only One who can heal us with humility and utter dependence. We must risk exposing our greatest need to the One who speaks life. What has caused you to fall on your face before Jesus? What have you begged Him to change?

The leper came with the question that would reveal the heart of Jesus: "Are You willing?" Will You heal me, will You take away my shame, will You make me right again, will You take away this awful plague, will You change my life for the better, will You love me like that? We must speak and ask the question, "Are You willing?" Do You love me - even me - like that? Will care gleam in Your eyes? Will You change my life? Will You take care of me?

Then Jesus, remarkable, compassionate Jesus, reached out and touched the leper. How long had it been since someone had touched him lovingly? With Jesus' touch and with His words, the leper was cleansed. "I am willing!" Jesus declares! These words of life change everything. That shame you've been hiding? He is willing to touch that and bring life where there was death. That hope that had died, that relationship that was ruined, that misfortune, that sorrow, that heartache, that willful sin, that disregard for God's voice, that rebelliousness, that ignorance, that fear - He is willing to touch that place in your heart and speak words of life. He is willing! Be clean!

So come to God with your situation of soul and hear His words of love. He loved you so dearly and deeply that He sent Jesus to deal with your sin, your shame, your hurt, your rebellion. Jesus was willing and took it all to the cross. There, He paid the price for you. There, your leprosy of soul turned to life of soul; your inner death turned into inner dance. Thank Him for it today, and live like someone who has been healed. Feel the joy and lightness of being so loved! - Suzanne Stelling, CSPC Director of Women's Ministries

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

T works with the SEED Company (an affiliate organization of Wycliffe Bible Translators) in their mission to promote and accelerate Bible translation that is being done by indigenous churches and organizations in their home countries. As a Field Coordinator, T seeks to form and foster relationships with these partners by acting as a liaison between them and SEED Company. The vision of SEED Company is to see God's Word available in languages where it currently is not. Pray today for good health and safety for the translators and their families.

At The Restoration House (TRH), they are working to help restore single mothers and their children back to God's good intent for their lives. Through transformational housing, team mentoring, and service planning, TRH is helping single mother families end cycles of poverty and distress. Pray today for all of the families that TRH is reaching.