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Mission Devotional - November 2, 2015

Opening Prayer: Lord, I believe; help my unbelief! Amen.

Scripture: Mark 9:14-29

Journal: Where are you struggling with the tension between faith and doubt? Is there room in you for both? Where in your life are you praying the prayer, I believe; help me overcome my unbelief?

Reflection: It is the cry of each of our hearts at one time or another, if we are completely honest. It is a cry that voices the all too familiar tension between faith and doubt: "I believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" And at its core it is really a prayer, a desperate plea to God, begging him to take the tiny bit of belief that dwells within our hearts and grow it into something bigger and more substantial; something big enough and substantial enough to be trusted, to be relied upon.

But logic would say, "How can both exist at the same time? Are they not mutually exclusive? Can there really be belief and unbelief in one heart simultaneously?"

But our hearts know the truth, because our hearts are not bound by logic - they go far beyond. As Pascal once said so beautifully, "The heart has reasons which reason knows not of." And anyone who knows the heart of a loving and desperate father understands exactly what Pascal (as well as the man in Mark 9) meant. It is a heart that says, "I believe. I really do. But this is my very own son; the one who means more to me than anything on earth. Therefore, please help me to not only believe, but to really trust you - even with the most important thing in my life!" (Reflections by Jim Branch)

Hymn for the Day

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Lucky & Sonnet Mnisi are South African and serve in Mozambique. Lucky has pastored the Reformed Church in Mucatine, and has helped plant other churches in Gaza Province, including Chake. Lucky is a discipler of young men and has a mentoring role among those he serves. Lucky and Sonnet and their family are now living in Chokwe where Lucky pastors a church they planted. Pray today for their church family to grow in faith and learn to reach out to others in the community.

The Hope Center was established in 1996 to address the unmet needs of patients infected with HIV in Knox and surrounding 20 counties. Late last year, the Center moved from its location at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center to a new home, operating under the auspices of Covenant HomeCare. Pray today for these patients and their families as the holiday season begins.

Closing Prayer: Lord, you know what's going on here. You know where I'm confused and where I hurt and what I'm questioning, and what I'm wondering about. I'm captive to my past, captive to my fears, captive to my false sense of security, captive to my pride and my judgmentalism and my petty demands. You know about all the times I've failed to let your Spirit blow through my life. I feed on emptiness until I'm stuffed, and then I wonder why you seem so distant. From all of these chains there is freedom; from all of the cages, a key. Release me. Reveal yourself. And set me free. (A Heart Exposed by Steven James)