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Mission Devotional - July 31, 2016

Opening Prayer: Dear Lord, as I come to you today, fill my heart and my whole being with the wonder of your presence. Help me to be open to you for this time as I put aside the cares of this world. Fill my mind with your peace, your love. (Sacred Space, 2016)

Scripture: John 16:12-15

Journal: What is your life telling you these days when you listen to it? What are the Scriptures saying to you? Is there a consistent theme? What is the Spirit of God within you saying to you?

Reflection: It seems to me that a significant amount of the spiritual life involves listening. Given that fact, I wonder why we don't practice it more often. Is it because we are afraid of what God might say? Is it because we're afraid he might not say anything at all? Or is it because we are afraid we will not be able to tell the difference between his voice and the thousands of other voices going on in our heads and in our hearts at any given moment?

Jesus was really clear that one of the main ways God would speak to us was by his Spirit within us. And he was also pretty clear that once God had spoken to us, we would know it - my sheep know my voice (John 10:4). Simply put, there is a qualitative difference between the voice of the Good Shepherd and the other voices within and around us. It is up to us, with God's help, to be able to discern the difference. As a body, we must learn how to listen to God's Spirit within us, to hear it clearly, and then to trust what he has said. And my guess is that a lot of that will come as a result of practice. Just like it is with anyone we love, when we get used to the quality and the tone and the content of his voice within us, we come to recognize it more clearly and trust it more fully. It just has a ring of truth in our souls.

But luckily it doesn't stop there, because God has given us means of confirming his voice deep within us. He has given us his word, and the community of faith around us, to help us know whether or not we are hearing him clearly. For if his word, his people, and his Spirit within us are all saying the same thing, then we can be pretty sure that the voice we are hearing is, in fact, the voice of God.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Tim and Barbie K. are currently working to translate the Bible into the "Makori" language. Their goal is to see a "Makori" church effectively using its own translation. Pray today for a time of refreshment for their family as they spend some time in the U.S. together.

Cru, formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ, is a campus organization that seeks to share the gospel with students through relationships, small group studies and larger events like retreats and mission trips. John Strange leads Cru at the University of Kentucky. Pray today for the staff of Cru and the students involved in their ministry as they serve this summer on short-term mission teams.

Closing Prayer: What do you have to say to me today Jesus, through your Spirit?