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Mission Devotional - July 23, 2016

Opening Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me, this day, to walk in the light of your presence and not in the darkness of my selfishness, insecurity, anxiety, and fear. For when I walk in your light, as you are the light, I become more like you. Then I am more able to live like you, and to love like you. Amen.

Scripture: Exodus 34:29-35

Journal: Have you ever known anyone whose face was so radiant that you could tell they had been spending time with God? What happened within you when you saw the glow of God in their face? What did it produce in you? What effect does your time with God have on you?

Reflection: I don't begin to know all of the reasons Moses covered his face with a veil after he spoke God's words to the people of Israel. The third chapter of 2 Corinthians gives us a bit of a clue as to one of them; that he didn't want the people to see the glory as it faded. But I also wonder if there was something more involved.

The very worst parts of me, if I were Moses, would want the people to see the radiance as long as it lasted, so they might think more highly of me as a result. "Oh, there's the guy that talks with God face to face. Look at him! Wow, he must be pretty special. I wish I had a relationship with God like that." I mean, it wouldn't be the first time I'd used some sweet gift that God had given me just to get people to think more highly of me than they ought.

The best parts of me, on the other hand, love the beauty of Moses not wanting the people to see his shining face, fading or not. After all, it wasn't for them. It was something that was the direct result of the intimacy that Moses had experienced with God on the mountain. And intimacy, by its very nature, is something that is spoiled when it is broadcast. Some things just aren't meant to be shared, they are meant to be savored and cherished. That's what intimacy is all about. So what if Moses put a veil over his face to say, "This radiance is not for you. It is for me. It is the sweet result of an unspeakably intimate relationship forged on the mountaintop as God and I shared indescribably beautiful moments together."

God obviously had specific things he wanted Moses to share with the people of Israel when he came down from the mountain. In fact, he was carrying those things on the stone tablets in his arms. But there was also a part of the experience that was just for Moses, and maybe Moses knew that. Therefore, he put the veil over his face when he was with the people to savor the sweetness of the time he had spent with God.

Moses knew that God was not just a means to an end, but he was the end itself. C. S. Lewis once said that if we are approaching God as a means to an end, we are really not approaching God at all. Moses obviously knew this. He wasn't using God to further his own reputation or standing or position or ministry. He wasn't using him to gain admirers. He wasn't approaching God just so God might give him something to say that might wow the crowd. He wasn't just approaching God so that God would give him something to make an impact on the lives of those around him. That is the great temptation of ministry. He was approaching God simply because He was God, and the rest would take care of itself. I pray that I might be able to do the same.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Bill Harding is currently a special representative for SIM in North America. God is using Bill's gifts and rich experience in Ethiopia as a conference speaker to challenge and reaffirm the priority of world missions. Pray today for the supply of scholarship funds for continuing education of the teachers at the Harding Bible School in Yirgachefe, Ethiopia.

Campus Renewal Ministries is a National Christian Ministry devoted to seeing transformation on college campuses for God's glory. They have been around for over 15 years and work with colleges all across America. Pray today for their leaders to have a renewed vision for ministry on UT's campus as they prepare for the Fall semester.

Closing Prayer: Lord God, help me to burn and shine with love for you, this day and every day. Amen.