Mission Devotional - September 2, 2018

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Staying

Opening Prayer: Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. (John 15:4-9, ESV)

Scripture: Luke 10:38-42

Journal: How will you stay in Christ today?

Reflection: This morning I had a bit of an epiphany, which is totally appropriate given the season, I suppose. I realized that I normally do not have trouble coming to Jesus to sit at his feet and listen to what he says, as Mary did, I just have trouble staying there. Even when I am worried and upset about many things, as Martha was (and as I am pretty regularly), I know the answer - take it all to Jesus. My problem is that once I take it to Jesus, and find some measure of comfort and presence and peace, I do not stay there. I allow my anxieties to lure me back into the dark country of fear and angst once again. My problem is not in the coming, but in the staying. I guess that's why Jesus went to such great lengths in John 15 to tell us the spiritual value of staying (abiding). Coming is easy, but staying is much more difficult.

"Why do you allow anxiety and fear to constantly beat the hell out of you?" he asks. "You know the answer. You know the way to peace and love. And yet, so often you don't go there, or stay there. Come to me; that is the beginning. That is the easier part. For when you come, I will meet you with my love and affection and care. But don't just come, that is only a small part of the battle. You must also stay. So often you come, but you do not stay with me, even though I am always with you. You turn right around and allow anxiety to lure, or to drag, you back into a dark and fearful land. Come to me, and stay with me, then you will know - and live inside of - my peace. For you will be living in me, even as I live in you."

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Global Partner Focus: Africa

Heath and Angela Many have been serving at Tenwek Hospital, a Christian mission hospital in rural Kenya, as medical missionaries in their respective fields (surgery and obstetrics/gynecology). Pray today for Angela and the OB/GYN department as they explore the potential for starting an OB/GYN residency program at Tenwek.

The Philadelphians Prison Ministry has been ministering in Tennessee prisons for 35+ years. Its purpose is to change the thinking of a prisoner through the power and the knowledge of Jesus Christ. This is done through strong Bible teaching with praise and worship services, weekly in-prison group meetings, the HELP program, and a transitional housing program, the HELP House, in Knoxville. Christian ministry counseling is given to inmate’s loved ones, the “silent victims” of crime. Pray today for the volunteers and the inmates that are being reached by this ministry.

Closing Prayer: My child, my dear one, my beloved, you are worried and upset about so many things, so consumed and distracted. Come to me, and stay with me. Sit at my feet and listen to my words of life and love. Then you will know my peace and my great affection. Then you will be able to love as I love. Amen.