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Mission Devotional - January 5, 2016

Opening Prayer: O God, who in all ages hast imparted Thyself to man and set alight the fire of faith in his heart: Grant to us the faith which comes from search. Cleanse our lives from all that negates and crushes out faith: fill them with the purity and honesty which fosters it. Search us for the evil that makes unbelief its friend, and drive it far from us. So that being willing, in all things, to do Thy will, we may know the truth which shall set us free, by the light of the Holy Spirit. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. - Samuel M. Shoemaker

Scripture: Matthew 2:1-8

Journal: What keeps you from seeking Jesus? How do you tend to rely on others to tell you what God wants to tell you personally? How will you seek him today? How will you seek him this season?

Reflection: No matter how you slice it, you can't genuinely seek God second-hand. No one else can do the work for you. In the spiritual life, sending someone else to find out the truth about Jesus and then asking them to come back to tell you what they've found, will not suffice. Only genuine, personal encounter with Jesus will truly transform us.

Herod was curious about - and maybe even a little threatened by - the stories he had heard about this newborn King. But he wasn't curious enough, or threatened enough - or even interested enough, for that matter - to seek the truth for himself. For some reason he wasn't willing to make the six mile journey to Bethlehem. Who knows? Maybe he was too busy. Maybe he had too much going on. Maybe he had too many obligations, expectations, and demands weighing on him. Maybe he had more urgent, and seemingly more important, matters to attend to. After all, he had to make a living, right? He had a kingdom to run, for crying out loud. He couldn't be expected to just drop everything and run off to see this One, who wise men from the east had traveled hundreds of miles to see. I mean, he had far too many responsibilities to just take off at the drop of a hat and run around the countryside trying to find the One who caused a star to rise to announce his birth. And so he sent others to go and see this extraordinary, life-changing event; while he stayed back and took care of the really important things. What a tragedy.

Hymn for the Day

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Kenton Wood serves in Guadalajara, Mexico as a church planter. Pray today for Kenton who oversees a mother church that has six services on Sunday. Pray also for the Purépecha Indians in the nearby state of Michoacan that they may be reached with the gospel.

Athletes in Action, the sports ministry of Cru, is ministering to college athletes at the University of Tennessee. Rachel and Jason Stankus minister to and through the athletic department at the University of Tennessee and are trusting God to build a spiritual movement that impacts the campus, community and world for Christ. Pray today for all the athletes at UT as they begin a new semester.

Closing Prayer: Teach me to seek you, and reveal yourself to me as I seek: For unless you instruct me I cannot seek you, and unless you reveal yourself I cannot find you. Let me seek you in desiring you: let me desire you in seeking you. Let me find you in loving you: let me love you in finding you. - St. Anselm