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Mission Devotional - December 21, 2016

Opening Prayer: Jesus, you are truly Immanuel, God with us. You share in this flesh and blood life, entering my ordinary circumstances, filling it with wonder, hope, and promise. So, like the shepherds, make me quick and ready to spread the good news to all. Amen. (Seeking God's Face by Philip Reinders)

Scripture: Isaiah 7:10-17

Journal: What are you longing for in your life with God these days? How are you longing for him to show up? How has God been with you during this season?

Reflection: What a promise! And more than just a promise, what a statement of who God is! He is Immanuel! That is his name! Thus, he is the God who just can't stay away. He is God with us! In the midst of our deepest darkness, he is with us. In the midst of our most desperate loneliness, he is with us. In the midst of our most unimaginable pain, he is with us. When our hearts have been broken beyond repair, he is with us. When we have made a total mess of our lives, he is with us. When tragedy strikes, he is with us. When we are lost, left, or abandoned, he is with us. At the times we feel most unlovable and ashamed, he is with us. When we feel like complete and utter failures, he is with us. When we feel like all hope is lost, he is with us. When we feel completely broken and inept, he is with us. When we are terrified of what lies before us, he is with us. When we are uncertain about our futures, he is with us. And even when life seems to be going "just fine thank you" he is with us even then. In fact, the psalmist (Psalm 139:7-12) tells us that there is nowhere we can go where he is not with us. Just open your eyes and your ears, he is there. Somewhere. Even if he is there in a way - or a place, or a form - that you didn't expect. He is with us! It's just who he is. Thanks be to God. (Watch and Wait by Jim Branch)

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

F. & S. are working alongside Arab believers toward the goal of seeing churches planted for those who do not have a church. Their main focus is to work with, mobilize, resource and train nationals for this purpose. Pray today for local believers they work with to open their hearts and eyes to serve others in the region. Pray that F. & S. would be able to walk alongside to encourage and resource them as they lift their eyes to the harvest.

Bridges International serves the needs of international students adjusting to living and studying at the University of Tennessee. Pray today for the international students on campus that they may understand the love of Jesus during this next semester.

Closing Prayer: Thank you, O God, that you are ever and always God with us. Thank you for the gift of this season where we contemplate and celebrate that marvelous truth. Amen. (Watch and Wait by Jim Branch)