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Mission Devotional - November 6, 2016

Opening Prayer: Then run, faithful souls, happy and tireless, keep up with your beloved who marches with giant strides from one end of heaven to the other. Nothing is hidden from His eyes. He walks alike over the smallest blade of grass, the tallest cedars, grains of sand or rocky mountains. Wherever you go He has gone before. Only follow Him and you will find Him everywhere. (The Sacrament of the Present Moment by Jean-Pierre De Caussade)

Scripture: John 1:43-51

Journal: How do you think Jesus sees you? What does he see when he looks into your heart. Is it possible that he really knows you and yet really loves you? What does that do within you?

Reflection: Being truly known is one of our deepest longings and also one of our greatest fears. We long to be know, yet at the same time we realize that if anyone really knew us, they might actually reject us. If someone saw what was really going on inside of us, they might not like what they see. That must have been the tension going on in Nathanael's heart as Jesus said to him, "When you were under the fig tree, I saw you."

The word Jesus uses here (eidō) is much more than just a casual seeing of the outer appearance of someone; it is seeing into them. The word can also be translated to perceive or discern. It is a type of seeing that not only knows he is sitting under the fig tree, but also knows what is going on in his heart at the time. And, as a result of this interaction, Nathanael is both nervously curious and provocatively intrigued. Something about the way Jesus spoke to him let him know that Jesus really knew him, and also loved and accepted him. To be totally know and yet totally loved is the deepest desire of all of our hearts.

Jesus was identifying and calling out the very best in Nathanael, and Nathanael rose to it. From this moment on his life would never be the same. He had been seen by the eyes of love. And maybe that's what really loving someone is all about to begin with: seeing them, acknowledging their existence and their presence, and calling the very best parts of them to life. It is what Jesus longs to do in you. And it is also what he longs for you to do in the lives of those to whom he has given you.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Pete and Ruth Mitchell are church planters in Marseille under the auspices of Mission to the World (MTW) and in collaboration with the Eglise Réformée Evangélique de France (French Reformed Evangelical Church). Pete's role is that of team leader. The Mitchells are living in Toulouse planting a new church. Pray for their efforts to find a property to rent for the new church plant.

The goals of Kentucky Mountain Mission (KMM) and Youth Haven Bible Camp are two-fold: to reach the children and adults of southeastern Kentucky with the gospel of Jesus Christ and to train/disciple those that receive Christ for Christian leadership in their churches and communities. Pray today for these ministries and their leaders William & Dawn Owen and Andy & Erin Owen as Dawn's parents are facing health issues and Erin has been diagnosed with cancer.

Closing Prayer: O Lord Jesus, I look at you, and my eyes are fixed on your eyes. Your eyes penetrate the eternal mystery of the divine and see the glory of God. They are also the eyes that saw Simon, Andrew, Nathanael, and Levi, the eyes that saw the woman with the hemorrhage, the widow of Nain, the blind, the lame, the lepers, and the hungry crowd, the eyes that saw the sad, rich ruler, the fearful disciples on the lake, and the sorrowful women at the tomb. Your eyes, O Lord, see in one glance the inexhaustible love of God and the seemingly endless agony of all people who have lost faith in that love and are like sheep without a shepherd.

As I look into your eyes, they frighten me because they pierce like flames of fire my innermost being, but they console me as well, because these flames are purifying and healing. Your eyes are so severe yet so loving, so unmasking yet so protecting, so penetrating yet so caressing, so profound yet so intimate, so distant yet so inviting.

I gradually realize that I want to be seen by you, to dwell under your caring gaze, and to grow strong and gentle in your sight. Lord, let me see what you see - the love of God and the suffering of people - so that my eyes may become more and more like yours, eyes that can heal wounded hearts. (The Road to Daybreak by Henri Nouwen)