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Mission Devotional - December 7, 2016

Opening Prayer: Speak your truth, in love, to my soul today, O God. And help me to listen carefully to it, without denying or defending. Allow that truth to free me from all of the ways I am living so much less of a life than the one you desire for me to live. Help me to realize that only the truth can really set me free. Amen.

Scripture: Luke 11:42-46

Journal: What are your woes these days? What things in your life cause God woe? What do you neglect? What does God want to say to you about those things? What does it look like to prepare your heart, during this Advent season, for his coming?

Reflection: Woe to you, my child, when you despise something that I have created good and beautiful - yourself. Woe to you when you allow self-contempt to determine the way you live your life, as well as determining who and how you love. Woe to you when you live out of shame rather than belonging, out of fear rather than love. Woe to you when you try to manufacture and create an identity that can only be bestowed and received. Woe to you when you seek the affirmation and affection of people, and neglect the affirmation and affection of God. Woe to you when you are not satisfied with my love.

Woe to you when you are prayerless, and thus start to believe you can actually can do life on your own. Woe to you when you stop listening to me, and instead choose your own will and your own direction in my name. Woe to you when your life becomes more about you than it is about me. Woe to you when you would rather be noticed than go unnoticed, when you would rather be something than be nothing, when you would rather be more than less. Woe to you when you become demanding, entitled, and manipulative, rather than setting aside your privileges, emptying yourself, and taking the nature of a servant. Woe to you when you are filled with comparison, competition, and criticism, rather than grace, mercy, and compassion. Woe to you when you look more like the world than you do like your Savior.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Hugo and Jackie are from South Africa and have two children, Marlena and John. Hugo has been the leader of a media ministry and has also been providing oversight to the PALM ministry (Preparing Arab World Leaders for Ministry) for the last few years. Pray today for Hugo in the position as regional leader. He and his team have just begun new training for Sudanese church planters.

In community with the local church, World Relief envisions the most vulnerable people transformed economically, socially, and spiritually. World Relief is on the ground in South Sudan working with families internally displaced by the current violence. Pray today for their continued work with refugees.

Closing Prayer: Lord God, help me to never live in such a way as to cause you woe. But give me the strength and the courage to live according to your greatest hopes and dreams for me. Amen.