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Mission Devotional - February 5, 2016

Opening Prayer: Thank you, O God, for meeting me here in ways far beyond my knowing. I thank you for working in me in ways far deeper than my awareness. I thank you for your love. It enfolds me even when I am most resistant to your presence. I thank you for your grace. It offers yourself to me even when my back is turned. I thank you, as I come to you this day, for the infinite variety of your creative power in my life. I thank you for the infinite diversity that you have crafted into me. It makes me a unique person. As I think upon this, I pray that you will enable me to be truly thankful for the creation gifts you have given me. Enable me to offer myself to you in them for the work you want to do in me and through me in my life and in the world. (Invitation to a Journey by M. Robert Mulholland)

Scripture: John 21:15-19

Journal: How is Jesus calling you to give your life away in loving service to him?

Reflection: Do you ever wonder what all Jesus was trying to teach Simon Peter as they walked together on the beach only days after the resurrection? Of course He was offering him a beautiful restoration, giving him three opportunities to profess his love after the three denials only days before. And of course He was trying to teach Peter that the most important question in all of the spiritual life is "Do you truly love me more than these?" Whatever our these may be. And of course He was trying to show Peter that in the days and weeks - and even years - ahead that undying, passionate love for Jesus is the only way to truly feed the sheep without feeding on the sheep.

But I also wonder if one of the main things He was really trying to teach Peter was that until our lives are ordered and determined by Jesus' love and His kingdom, then we really aren't following Him at all, but only following ourselves. I think that's why He makes that disturbing statement in verses 18-19. Almost as if to say, Okay, okay, when you were younger you called your own shots and determined your own agenda. But when you get older, when your life of faith grows and matures, you must put yourself completely under my control. That's what this life of faith is really all about. You must stretch out your empty hands and let me do all the leading. You must operate by my plans and my agenda. I must be the one that determines how and where you spend your days, even if it means going to places that you'd rather not go. That's what following me really looks like. There is a shift that must take place deep within you; a shift from leading to being led. First you are led (by Me) and then, and only then, you lead. True service always involves following before it involves leading.

Hymn for the Day

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Heath and Angela Many are now serving at Tenwek Hospital, a Christian mission hospital in rural Kenya, as medical missionaries in their respective fields (surgery and obstetrics/gynecology). Pray today for this family, that they will be able to respond to poverty and need around them in a way that reflects Christ and honors God. The Manys were featured recently in a video on the Reclamation Stories blog. You can watch it here.

Hope Resource Center is a multi-faceted Christian ministry addressing such matters as sexual purity and health, unplanned pregnancy, post-abortion stress and abstinence education. Pray today for all of the young women that will come to this ministry this month.

Closing Prayer: My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. (Thoughts in Solitude by Thomas Merton)