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Mission Devotional - September 2, 2016

Opening Prayer: O my God, teach me to seek you, for I cannot seek you unless you teach me, or find you unless you show yourself to me. Let me seek you in my desire, and desire you in my seeking. Let me find you by loving you, let me love you when I find you. - St. Anselm of Canterbury

Scripture: Matthew 6:33

Journal: What (or who) are you seeking first these days? What effect is that having on your life and soul?

Reflection: There is a designed order for all things, particularly our affections. Simply put, the things that have captured our hearts are the things that we will always seek first. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance in the life of faith that we regularly examine exactly what those affections are. The best way to do that is to ask ourselves what is getting the majority of our time and energy. That will tell us what is really going on in our hearts, and help us to recognize and determine if those things that occupy first place in our lives and hearts are really worthy of that position.

That's what a significant amount of Matthew 6 is all about, making sure we are pursuing affections that are worthy of that pursuit. The created order for those affections involves putting God first. If we can get that one down, then the others will fall into place. But if we get our affections out of order there will be chaos. For anything that we are counting on to satisfy the deepest longings of our souls, other than God himself, simply cannot accomplish what we seek. That's why Jesus says to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all of the other things will be added unto you. It's really not as complicated as we make it.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Paul and Karan Davis have been working with TEAM in France since 1978 in church-planting ministries. They have planted churches in the southern suburbs of Paris, northwestern suburbs of Lyon, and more recently in the Alps region around Albertville. Pray today for the local government to grant the property a tax exemption and for other issues to be resolved in the neighborhood. Find out more about how you can pray for this church here.

Since 1996, the Mission of Hope has ministered to the people of various counties in Kentucky and Tennessee from which 80% of the residents no longer have jobs in the coal mining industry. In their first event in 1996 they were able to assist 150 children. This past Christmas, because of the generosity of so many people, the Mission of Hope was able to help more than 18,000 children and their families with food, clothes, toys and hygiene items. Pray today for Mission of Hope as they continue to reach out to the children of Appalachia.

Closing Prayer: O Jesus, who has taught us that not all those who say Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but only such as do the will of you Father, whose lives correspond with their belief, grant us a truly Christian spirit, a Christina heart, and guide us in the paths of a Christian life. Grant that I may become detached from all things and in all things seek you alone. Grant that I may direct all my knowledge, my whole capacity, all my happiness, and all my exertions, to please you, to love you, and to obtain your love for time and eternity. Amen. (The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis)