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Mission Devotional - November 3, 2015

Opening Prayer: Almighty God, Lord of the storm and of the calm, of day and night, of life and death; grant to me so to have my heart stayed upon your faithfulness, your unchangingness and love, that whatsoever betides me, I may look upon you with untroubled eye. I ask it for thy mercy's sake. Amen. (Little Book of Prayers by George Dawson)

Scripture: Mark 4:35-41

Journal: What are the storms in your life right now? What doubts do these storms create within you? Does it cause you to feel like God doesn't care? Is it hard for you to believe that Jesus can provide calm to your storm?

Reflection: Life is so fragile at times. One minute the skies are blue, the sun is shining, and all is well with the world. And the next, all hell seems to break loose - storms, waves, chaos, frenzy, pain, suffering - and we're just hanging on for dear life, trying desperately to survive or stay afloat. And when the furious squall comes, the questions of our heart seem more numerous than the waves on the sea. What in the world is going on? Why is this happening? Why me?

So, in our desperation, we turn to God. Where are you? Are you asleep? Don't you care if we drown? All of these are gut-wrenchingly honest questions, raw and real. They are questions that we desperately need to have answered. Questions that show us what the foundation of our lives really rests upon. Questions that ultimately show us - for better or worse - what our faith is really made of.

And they are questions that, depending on where we go with them and how they are answered, will determine what we truly believe about life and faith and God. Are we on our own? Do we have to fend for ourselves? Or is there really a God who cares? Is there really a God who can help us make sense out of all this? Is there really a God that can bring calm into the midst of chaos?

What we find, if and when we turn to Jesus in the midst of our storms, is that he indeed is always true to his name - Immanuel - God with us. He indeed is present, and not asleep. He indeed cares for us deeply, in ways that we could never imagine.

What we find out is that he, indeed, is able to bring calm into the midst of chaos, peace into the midst of upheaval. He, indeed, is God and he, indeed, can be trusted - even in the midst of the storms. Even when we feel like we are about to go down, about to drown, about to be swamped. He indeed, can rebuke the wind and the waves. He indeed, can utter the words Quiet! Be still! And he indeed, can make the wind die down and the sea become completely calm. Turn to him and see for yourself. (Reflections by Jim Branch)

Hymn for the Day

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

F. & S. are working alongside Arab believers toward the goal of seeing churches planted for those who do not have a church. Their main focus is to work with, mobilize, resource and train nationals for this purpose. Pray today for teachers to travel and teach and for internet ed groups to be formed to follow up the live teaching.

Cru, formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ, is a campus organization that seeks to share the gospel with students through relationships, small group studies and larger events like retreats and mission trips. John Strange leads Cru at the University of Kentucky. Pray today for the staff of Cru and the students involved in their ministry.

Closing Prayer: Dear God, you never said it was going to be easy, you simply call us to trust you. Give us the faith necessary to do just that. Grant us the strength and the courage to choose to trust you, rather than to focus on the storms brewing around us and within us. Help us to be consumed with love for you rather than being consumed by our own fears, anxieties, and agendas. Teach us what it means to have faith; for that is the deepest desire of our hearts. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.