Mission Devotional - September 24, 2018

Monday, September 23, 2018

Together

Opening Prayer: How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore. (Psalm 133:1-3, NIV)

Scripture: Psalm 133:1-3

Journal: How is your sense of community these days? Do you feel union or isolation? Where are you living in fear right now? What would it look like to live in love instead?

Reflection: How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore. (Psalm 133:1-3, NIV)

When God’s people live together in true community there is a qualitative difference. It is good and pleasant. It is like precious oil poured on the head - fragrant, soothing, and healing. It is like the dew of Hermon falling on Mount Zion - renewing, restoring, and life-giving. It is the place where God’s blessing is poured out, and where life, as he intended it to be, is experienced first-hand.

True community reverses the effects of the fall. It is where we are able to go from “I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid” (Gen. 3:10) back to being “naked and unashamed.” (Gen. 2:25) It is the place where we are able to recapture the intent of God’s “very good” creation. Thus, it is no accident when King David - in Psalm 133:1 - uses the same word (towb) to describe what happens when God’s people live together in unity that is used to describe the goodness of his original creation. (Gen. 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31) God’s desire for us is union, not isolation. Union both with himself and with each other.

Unfortunately the leap from fear to love is a pretty big one. Few seem willing to make it. It is hard for us to muster the courage to come out of hiding, stop covering, and begin to relate to one another in loving vulnerability. Fear always divides and separates, but love always unites. Therefore, we must stop choosing to live in fear and start choosing, instead, to live in love. Paul put it so well in Romans 8:15 when he says, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.” Thus, if we ever want to recapture the life of deep, true community that God desires for us - and that we desire for ourselves - we must choose love instead of fear. “For there is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18) The only path to true union comes through love.

So let us come out of hiding. Let us truly show up and be fully present with each other. Let us stop trying to fix and judge each other, and simply be with each other and listen to each other in love. Let us open up, rather than covering up. Maybe then we will start to live the life God really desires for us to live. And it will be like precious oil.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Global Partner Focus: Asia

Jeff and Ellen work among unreached people groups in two restricted access countries of Southeast Asia catalyzing Church Planting Movements. Pray today for the 21 people who recently had TL training as they take the gospel back to their people.

Located in South Knoxville and led by Milad and Theresa Guirguis, who are displaced from Egypt, the Arabic Church is spreading the word of God and hope by embracing Christians and Muslims from all Arabic countries. Most of the members of the congregation are from Iraq, Egypt, and Syria, and many are refugees. Pray today for Milad and Theresa and the members of their church.

Closing Prayer: How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! It’s like costly anointing oil flowing down head and beard, flowing down Aaron’s beard, flowing down the collar of his priestly robes. It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon flowing down the slopes of Zion. Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing, ordains eternal life. (Psalm 133:1-3, The Message)