Mission Devotional - August 16, 2018

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Stilled

Opening Prayer: Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side. Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain. Leave to thy God to order and provide. In every change he faithful will remain. Be still my soul, thy best thy heavenly friend. Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Scripture: Psalm 131:1-3

Journal: How do you try to still and quiet your soul? How is that going? How are you making time and space for that to be a possibility?

Reflection: I have stilled and calmed my soul like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.

Okay, let’s be honest. When was the last time your soul was still and calm, like a weaned child with its mother? Has it been a while? Why is that?

I don’t know about you, but my soul can be pretty chaotic and turbulent at times. It can be so full of noise and clamor and busyness that stillness doesn’t even seem like a remote possibility. It can be so needy and anxious and demanding that a weaned child is the last thing my soul is like. Yet that is what God desires, both for me and from me. He wants me to be still and calm and secure and content in his loving embrace. Just like a mother wants to sit and embrace and love and adore and stare in wonder at her precious child, so does our God long to embrace us. Why do we have such a hard time just sitting still and being loved?

Probably because we think that God’s love is like the world’s - it must be earned. And when we truly believe that, rather than believing that God’s love is totally unconditional, we will never be able to be still, much less find rest. We will wear ourselves out, continually trying to prove that we are worth loving. It is exhausting.

But God offers another way - the way of the weaned child. The problem is that the stilling and calming of our souls is our part of the equation. Notice David said, “I have stilled and quieted my soul.” It is up to us to make time and space to sit in God’s embrace. It is up to us to still and calm our turbulent souls. It will not come quickly. And it will not be easy. It will take some effort and commitment on our part - some intentionality. And it will take some time, maybe a lot of time. We must make time and space to sit before God in silence until all of the voices and chaos and turbulence within us finally starts to settle down. If we don’t commit ourselves to making this a regular practice, it is unlikely that we will ever be able to say, as King David did, “I have stilled and quieted my soul like a weaned child; like a weaned child is my soul within me.” Lord, have mercy.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Global Partner Focus: Asia

H and L serve in Asia and have taken on new roles in 2018. H has been asked to be a coordinator for their agency’s efforts to facilitate the development of local mission movements within one country in Asia, particularly for reaching the peoples of East Asia. L is working to connect Asian citizens who have become Christians while studying abroad with local churches in their own countries upon their return. They ask that you pray for church leaders in China that they may have courage, boldness and perseverance during some challenging times.

Joni and Friends Knoxville ministers to families and individuals affected by disabilities in Knoxville and Tennessee as well as in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi and in Guatemala. The vision of Joni and Friends is to accelerate Christian ministry in the disability community by communicating the gospel and equipping Christ-honoring churches worldwide to evangelize and disciple people affected by disability. Pray today for all of the families and volunteers who attended the Family Camp in July that God may continue the work begun during that time in their hearts.

Closing Prayer: Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake to guide the future as He has the past. Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake; all now mysterious shall be bright at last. Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.