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Mission Devotional - January 11, 2017

Opening Prayer: Father, I expend so much energy wondering what your will is for my life. Could you make it any clearer? Give me a gospel-motivated resolve to carry out your clear and good purposes - living justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with you. In Jesus' name, amen. (Seeking God's Face by Philip Reinders)

Scripture: Micah 6:1-8

Journal: What words would you use to describe your journey with God these days? What words in Micah are you most drawn to? How do those words speak into the life God most wants for and from you?

Reflection: We all seem to have a tendency to make things way more complicated than we need to. Take God's will for example. We pray and labor and seek and strive and worry and wonder about what exactly it is that God wants us to do. We strain and listen and beg and watch for signs, yet it often seems that God fails to answer. Maybe that's because he already has. Maybe he has already told us who he wants us to be and all we need to do is to be that wherever we go and whatever we do.

"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." That is God's will for us. That is who God wants us to be. He wants us to be people who literally do justice. The only way to really do that is to be people who hold justice in high regard, so that when we are called on to do justice it will be something that flows freely from who we are. The Hebrew word for justice is a rich one - mishpat. It has to do with a verdict that is pronounced judicially. Those who belong to God have God's heart, and God has a heart of justice. Justice means that the standards of the kingdom are applied equally and fairly to all.

But it doesn't just stop there. He then tells us to love mercy, or literally to love lovingkindness. In order to properly do justice, we must be people who love mercy. The word used here for mercy is another very rich one - chesed. It is a word that is most often used to describe how God loves us. His love is an unfailing love, a steadfast love, a love that is eternal and unchanging. In other words, those of us who belong to God are to love unfailing love. It is to be one of the distinctive characteristics that mark the people of God.

And finally he calls us to walk humbly with our God. Thus, life with God is a continual journey. It is not something we can do sporadically or inconsistently if we are to truly walk with him. For if we do not continue, we are not walking with him any longer, we are walking our own way, following our own path and agenda. We are to be people who walk with our God, both continually and humbly. The Hebrew word for humbly (tsana) means lowly, or submissively. We are to walk with God is such a way that we are totally dependent and submissive to him - wherever, and to whomever, the journey may lead. We are not in control. We do not determine the agenda.

So God's will is not so elusive and mysterious after all. As a matter of fact, it is fairly simple: do justice, love lovingkindness, and walk lowly with your God.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

T works with the SEED Company (an affiliate organization of Wycliffe Bible Translators) in their mission to promote and accelerate Bible translation that is being done by indigenous churches and organizations in their home countries. T watches over 12 translation projects that represent 35 languages, many of which are just receiving the first Scripture in their own language. Pray today for all of the projects that T is working with in this new year.

Gospel Wave Media is a satellite and Internet ministry that produces, records and broadcasts Christian television programs to Central Asia. Pray for safe travels, for God's protection and guidance for the staff of this ministry.

Closing Prayer: Dear people, how have I done you wrong? Have I burdened you, worn you out? Answer! I delivered you from a bad life in Egypt; I paid a good price to get you out of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you - and Aaron and Miriam to boot! Remember what Balak king of Moab tried to pull, and how Balaam son of Beor turned the tables on him. Remember all those stories about Shittim and Gilgal. Keep all God's salvation stories fresh and present."

How can I stand up before God and show proper respect to the high God? Should I bring an armload of offerings topped off with yearling calves? Would God be impressed with thousands of rams, with buckets and barrels of olive oil? Would he be moved if I sacrificed my firstborn child, my precious baby, to cancel my sin?

But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don't take yourself too seriously - take God seriously. (The Message)