The Wednesday Word Devotional for June 14, 2023.

By Julie Hart, Director of Connectional Ministries

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, Joy, PEACE, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-2

I am writing this devotional from the road this week. It’s actually Monday, the first full workday on the youth mission trip in Yucaipa, California. We are staying in the youth lounge basement of the church — the place where (just like our youth lounge at home) ugly couches go to die. Love it!

I was the first one to wake up this morning and I got dressed and headed outside to this view in the picture above. It was a dewy, misty morning with just the right amount of chill in the air. The kids were still asleep. The day had not yet begun. And a feeling of peace washed over me. The peace of knowing that no matter what this new day had in store, God was with me, and with all of the teens and adults who had come here to serve and shine light into this beautiful corner of the world.

In Philippians 4:6-7, we read:
6 Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. 7 Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.

This scripture instructs us to take our petitions to God, so I will pause here to share my requests to God. I have been on many mission trips over the years and my prayer is always the same — Let the young people see Christ in me and Christ in each other. And let those whom we serve see Christ in each of us. And every time my prayers are answered!

Can I tell you that every mission trip is without stress, struggles, and unwelcome surprises? Absolutely not! Because when you live in a community with others, things are gonna happen. I’m sure this week will be no different. And, even in the midst of all that a road trip and week with 12 teens and adults will bring, I am certain that there will be peace. Not peace and quiet. Not the absence of conflict. But the peace that comes in knowing that The Holy Spirit is with me and within me.

But what can I do to grow in this spiritual peace?

Continuing on with Philippians 4, in verses 8-9 it says:
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

So, note to readers here— As things go, a devotional that I started writing Monday morning is now being finished on Tuesday afternoon because … well, mission trip. Already we have had some plot twists, and unexpected turns on our journey. But we have been able to bring it back to thinking the best of each other and ourselves. We have had a chance to put this scripture into practice.

But the coolest thing to me is that the biggest problem to be solved so far was solved by a 16-year-old peacemaker in the group. If he can live into this scripture, then so can we, right?

Well, time to sign off and get back to the group. Wishing you a week of peace and welcoming your prayers for our teens.