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Mission Devotional - September 3, 2016

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, what lives in me that hinders me from living and loving the way you desire for me to live and to love? Whatever it may be, help me to remove it, that I may be more like you, a beautiful reflection of your grace and mercy. Amen.

Scripture: Matthew 7:1-5

Journal: What do you see in other people that drives you crazy? Why? How is that thing also in you? What is the log in your eye these days?

Reflection: If you lived inside my head (or my heart) you would quickly find out that a critical spirit is my constant nemesis. I'm sure it's a struggle that comes largely from my own insecurities, but a struggle, nonetheless, that I have a hard time being victorious in. After all, if I can find the speck, then I can avoid the log. But Jesus tells me to start on the other end of the equation. He tells me to start with my log, not their speck. And that's a whole lot more difficult. Because, unfortunately, my log didn't just appear overnight. It goes deep down into my heart and soul. It has been growing within me for a long, long time and by now its roots have grown deep into me. So its removal will not be quick and easy, like washing a tiny speck out of an eye. No, removing this log is a different proposition all together. It will be a long and painful process. It will take much time and much effort and much grace and much prayer. It will take a bloody revolution. The question is, am I up for it? It is the only real path to freedom.

We spend an enormous amount of energy making up our minds about other people. Not a day goes by without somebody doing or saying something that evokes in us the need to form an opinion about him or her. We hear a lot, see a lot, and know a lot. The feeling that we have to sort it all out in our minds and make judgments about it can be quite oppressive.The desert fathers said that judging others is a heavy burden, while being judged by others is a light one.

Once we can let go of our need to judge others, we will experience an immense inner freedom. Once we are free from judging, we will be also free for mercy. Let's remember Jesus' words: "Do not judge, and you will not be judged." (Bread for the Journey by Henri J. M. Nouwen)

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Mark and Annemarie Dye are passionate about building Christian leaders to mobilize and equip the African Church for mission in the world. Pray today for the Dyes as they travel to the U.S. for meetings later this month.

The New Anglican Missionary Society or NAMS Network is a global and dispersed community of men and women who have come together to do an apostolic work under an apostolic rule. As missionary servants of the gospel, they carry in their hearts the desire to see the gospel of Jesus Christ reach to the ends of the earth, giving everyone the opportunity to respond to the love of God in Christ Jesus. Pray today for their work in Southeast Asia.

Closing Prayer: O Lord, remove the log, whatever it may be. Have mercy on me. Amen.