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Mission Devotional - October 7, 2016

Opening Prayer: Father, allow the soil of my soul to be a place that is fertile and receptive to all that you desire to plant within me. Tend it carefully and nurture all that has sprung up in me that is of you; that I may be a garden of your delight. Through Jesus. Amen.

Scripture: Matthew 13:24-30

Journal: What is the state of your life and soul these days? Where is there wheat? Where are there weeds? How does this story speak to your life today?

Reflection: I don't know about you, but I'm often tempted, when I read a parable like this, to take the easy way out. I am tempted to separate and divide and differentiate myself from others, creating a comfortable space for me to exist in the story. In this case, I quickly tell myself that I am the wheat and they (whoever they may be) are the weeds and thus I am able to comfortably dismiss the story at that. But the parables of Jesus do not leave me that option. They are true on so many different levels that they invite me to look at the story from many different angles until I find the angle by which God wants to speak to me that day.

The truth is that I cannot conveniently separate myself from them because the fact of the matter is that I am always a mixture of both. I am always a messy combination of weeds and wheat. Both are always growing side by side within me, not just around me. I am not given the option of merely being a spectator in the story, but am called to be a participant. I am asked to consider where the wheat is in my life. What is good and beautiful that is growing within me these days? And I am also asked to consider where the weeds are. What is not so beautiful, but hinders and chokes out the life and the fruit God wants to grow in me? And what am I supposed to do with that?

I am not given an out in the story. I am given an invitation to come further in. To consider the tension of living life with both wheat and weeds growing within me, and how he wants to meet me in the middle of that. And what he wants to do within me as a result of that. He wants me to consider the life that he wants for me (and in me) and how best to nurture and grow that life in my soul. He wants me to consider what his hopes and dreams for me are, and not settle for anything short of that.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Isik Abla hosts a satellite TV program called "Light for the Heart" on the Kanal Hayat Turkish-language channel. She also hosts a live call-in program that is simulcast on the Turkish and Farsi channels throughout the Middle East and Europe. These TV programs deliver the message of love, healing, and freedom through Christ Jesus, reflecting on Isik's own life experience. Pray today for Isik and the "Light for the Heart" program to be used by God to reach many with the gospel.

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 serve students this semester.

Closing Prayer: Grow your good grace in me, O God. Make me receptive to the ways that you water and tend this garden of my heart. Prune me where I need pruning, nurture me where I need nurturing, weed me where I need weeding, and care for me tenderly where I need your tender care. I love you, O Gardner of my soul. In the tenderness of Jesus. Amen.