November 11 Devotional
Come to Stillness: Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.
Opening Prayer: Gracious and loving God, you know the deep inner patterns of my life that keep me from being totally yours. You know the misformed structures of my being that hold me in bondage to something less than your high purpose for my life. You also know my reluctance to let you have your way with me in these areas. Hear the deeper cry of my heart for wholeness and by your grace enable me to be open to your transforming presence. Lord, have mercy. (Invitation to a Journey by M. Robert Mulholland Jr.)
Scripture Reading for the Day: Mark 5:12-20
Reading for Reflection: What is your name? What a great question. A question that, on the surface, seems fairly harmless and safe, but is actually one of incredible depth and insight. Because a person’s name can tell us a lot, especially in Jesus’ day. A name was significant because it was meant to convey, not just what a person was called, but who they really were. It was meant to tell us something about their identity; to give us a hint as to who they really believed themselves to be.
So, when Jesus asks the name of this tortured soul, he is really asking, “Who are you? Who do you believe yourself to be?” And that is a great question. An important question. A question we all, at some point in our lives, must struggle to find an answer for. Who am I, really? How do I define myself? What is it that gives me a true sense of identity? What am I counting on to give me the worth and the value I most deeply long for?
Most of us work our entire lives to find an answer to that question - to try and make a name for ourselves. The problem is that the name we make for ourselves can never be our true name. Because our true identity can never be achieved, it can only be bestowed. And it can only be bestowed by the One who made us.
“My name is Legion,” says this tortured soul, “for we are many.” In other words, “I have no idea who I am. There are so many different voices in here that it’s impossible to tell.” A legion was around 5,000 soldiers, so obviously bearing that name meant that this man was a mass of chaos and confusion within. He was everybody. And because he was everybody, he was really nobody at all. That is undoubtedly the way he must have felt: insignificant, worthless, unlovable, a nobody. He was destined for a life of confusion, despair, and loneliness because the truth of the matter is that we all tend to live out of the name we most believe to be true about us.
This is the man that comes down out of the tombs to meet Jesus on this particular day: a man who spent his life among the dead, cutting himself with stones, breaking chains, and crying out for some sort of relief from his torment. And while everyone else is running away from him, Jesus meets him right where he is, right in the middle of his pain and brokenness. And somehow, in the process, Legion is Legion no more - he receives a brand new name and, therefore, a brand new identity and a brand life. He is completely and totally transformed. He is made whole. (Being with Jesus by Jim Branch)
Reflection and Listening: silent and written
Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
M. is living in an area in Southeast Asia where the Tai Lue, an unreached people group, live. She is trusting that God will open doors for the gospel and empower local brothers and sisters to make disciples among them. Pray today for His leading as Morgan and prayer walking teams go to numerous villages that their prayers will bring a breakthrough for future work.
Knoxville Inner City Kids Outreach (KICKO) is a para-church ministry with a mission to “Mobilize the Message of Hope” to the at-risk children in our inner-city neighborhoods. This is done through a unique program called Sidewalk SONday School. Large trucks, outfitted to take the church into these communities, allow them to share the gospel with children at multiple locations each week. Pray today for the children that KICKO will minister to during this week.
Closing Prayer: May you experience grace - God acting in your life, in your thoughts, in your feelings, in your rest. May his face shine upon you. May his shining face lift up over you as you lie down, as you sleep, and give you the thoughts you need to have. The blessing of the Trinity rest upon you and everything you are and do. Let it be so. Amen. (Living in Christ’s Presence by Dallas Willard)