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Mission Devotional - New Year's Day 2017

Opening Prayer: Shape me and form me, O God, more and more into the image of your Son, both this day and this year. Amen.

Scripture: Jeremiah 18:1-6

Journal: How do you sense God most wants to mold and shape you in the year ahead? What do you sense he is trying to make you into? How will you yield yourself, your plans, and your will to his shaping hand in the days to come?

Reflection: So often in this life we hear that "we are the artists of our lives" and thus we should "make of them whatever we will." But here in Jeremiah we see another paradigm altogether. It is not we who are the artists, but God. He is the Master Artist. He is the one who is constantly molding and forming and shaping us into the beautiful creation that he dreamt into being before the foundations of the world. Ours, therefore, is not to take our lives into our own hands and make something beautiful of them. Ours, instead, is to yield to the work of the Master Potter, and to be completely open to his wild and wonderful creativity. Ours is to make time and space for him to get his strong and tender hands on us, and to become that beautiful work of art that he imagined us to be long, long ago.

That is the invitation of this New Year. For our lives are his and not our own. This New Year is not about making a lot of resolutions and plans and decisions, but about doing whatever he would have us to do, and about being whoever he would have us to be, and becoming whatever he would have us to become. For he is the Potter and we are the clay.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Andy and Bev serve with an MTW team that is involved in HIV/AIDS work and church planting through the Ethiopia Aids Care and Treatment (ACT) Project. The project targets slum communities in Addis Ababa which contain the neediest people in the community - large percentages of women with small children. In recent years the project has served more than 500 AIDS-affected families, reaching more than 1,200 people. In the last few months, the government of Ethiopia has declared a state of emergency because of increasing protests. Andy and Bev have been in the U.S. on a previously scheduled trip, but they ask that you pray for their church in the Suki community that it would be a place of light and hope in frightening times.

Echo Resources is a ministry to ministers. ER's vision is for ministers to live in deeper intimacy with Christ, family and community, and to thus have greater effect for God's Kingdom. Pray today for Buddy Odom as he leads this ministry.

Closing Prayer: Creator God and artist of my life, I thank you for not giving up on me, tossing me out with the trash. Instead, you take my broken and spoiled life - the misshapen acts, cracked motives, and lumpy spirit - and rework it all! Press me into your purposes, created and re-formed for your glory. Amen. (Seeking God's Face by Philip Reinders)