April 26, Friday

Today’s AMI Devotional is provided by Esther Shin. Esther, a graduate of Northwestern University, is currently serving at Tapestry Church in Los Angeles while studying at Fuller Theological Seminary.

 

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Only You, Lord”

2 Corinthians 4:1-6

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Many of us reading these devotionals either are serving or have served in different contexts within the church. As it is now close to hitting the two-year mark for my time on staff at Tapestry, I’ve been reflecting heavily on my own heart of service for the church. Oftentimes, I’ve realized that when I don’t heed the biblical charges on how to approach ministry, I am not beautifying the bride but rather disheartening the disciple.

In this passage, we can learn about what it means to serve and minister well. First, Apostle Paul exhorts the believers to understand their privilege in being able to participate in the ministry of reconciliation. Paul knew far too well, given his back story, that God IN HIS MERCY chose to use Paul for the glory of Christ. Thus, he was reminding the Corinthians that in the same way, it was the plain mercy of God that allowed them to also partake. I know my heart is postured correctly when it is filled with joy because I realize the sobering truth that I am not required to serve but I get to serve. It humbles me to know that God mercifully chooses someone like me to be a part of His glorious ministry.

Second, because we understand the privilege of being able to participate in God’s ministry, we know to whom we are to be held accountable. We ought to be genuine and conscientious, PRIMARILY before God and only then SECONDARILY to man. Oftentimes I am inclined to serve out of the fear of man. But serving God should begin with understanding that we are called to be faithful to Him and to the gospel truth. We find immense freedom and no need to perform when we are honest before the Lord. We need to ask the Lord to continue to search us, to make known our intentions so that there be no false way in us. Only then can others around us see who Christ is through us.

Finally, Paul reminds us that we are called to be bearers of light because we’ve been changed and transformed by the light Christ has shone upon us. Even in our churches, we see so often how the “god of the world” tries so hard to deceive and discourage as we see people falling to depression and wrestling with their identity. But once we’ve received the light, we have the power to drive out all darkness as we minister. We don’t need to question the power of Christ in us through which we can walk with others out of their own darkness and into the light.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for allowing us to partake in Your ministry and serve your bride. We recognize that we serve because you’ve brought us out of darkness into the light and we want to see others experience the same love. Lord, in our service, help us to be humble, help us to be genuine before You, and help us to be remain steadfast as we fix our eyes on You.

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Corinthians 10


Lunch Break Study  

Read Revelation 19:6-8: “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

Questions to Consider

  1. How does the Bride prepare herself for her marriage to the Lamb?
  2. Do your deeds help to beautify the bride? Do you understand that you are the saint?
  3. What are tangible ways you would like to help clothe the Bride in fine linen?

Notes

  1. She actively seeks to be readied and made beautiful for the wedding day. It isn’t a passive thing but one that requires intentionality. We, as the church, must always be active and alert as to bring heaven down to earth in order to make way for the second coming of the Lamb of God — King Jesus.
  2. As a follower of Christ and as a saint, our deeds truly matter in beautifying the bride. We seek to serve in a way that allows for the bride to be made more and more beautiful and for others to be able to come and be part of the wedding day.
  3. There are so many things we are called to do that are considered righteous before the Lord. Giving to the poor, loving on the widow and the orphan, caring for the sick can all be tangible ways to make the Bride beautiful. Encouraging your brother or sister to walk in holiness, extending hospitality to others, praying for those who are discouraged are also tangible ways to serve.

Evening Reflection

In light of the devotional thoughts on service, where do you feel like you stand in regard to service? Are you healthy in having the right posture in service? Do you feel privileged and humbled by God entrusting his ministry into your hands? Are you serving as a saint of God?

April 25, Thursday

Today’s devotional is a reprint of Kate Moon’s blog originally posted on May 1, 2014.  Kate, a graduate of Yale and Columbian University, has been serving in E. Asia for the past 15+ years.

 

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Who Am I?”

Titus 1:1-3

“Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness . . . and at his appointed season he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior,”

Today, when we communicate with one another, there are a myriad of ways we can choose to identify ourselves.  On Facebook, email or instant messaging programs, we have the profile picture or a status line where we have the option to sum up our life’s philosophy in 50 characters or less.  Our choices can tell others a lot about our personalities, what we value in life. Is the photo a family shot? Comical? A scene of outdoor adventure? Taken with a loved one?

In the not-so-distant past, we knew who a letter was from by the return address on the envelope.  Or we could tell who a call was from, not by caller ID but because we were familiar with the voices of our close friends and family and could recognize their “Hello.”

Every time Paul began one of his letters, he had to identify himself, as was standard procedure at that time.  And he would often begin in the same way: “Paul, a servant… an apostle… to preach the gospel…” Out of all the people in the Bible, he is one of the ones with the strongest sense of self, purpose and calling.  He identified himself as a servant, one who lived to obey his master’s commands. He saw himself as an apostle, someone sent out for a purpose, on a mission. And he knew clearly what that mission was: to take the gospel beyond the Jewish world and preach it to people of all nations – something that no one had ever really thought seriously about doing before.

In some ways, all believers are like Paul in having a calling upon our lives that is 1) related to the gospel, and 2) uniquely ours.  Some of us are still on the path of discovering what this may be; others may have had it at one point but lost sight of it somewhere along the way.  This morning, we admire and are encouraged by Paul’s strong sense of identity and calling. Seeing that it was possible for him, we can ask the Lord for the same.

Prayer: Lord, I want to have a stronger sense of who I am as a Christian, how I am called to live this life.  Would you help me to be more like Paul, knowing how my life fits in to your greater gospel plan? Help me to see throughout this day what I can do that is related to this higher purpose.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Corinthians 9


Lunch Break Study

Read Titus 1:1-3: “Paul, a servant of God . . . by the command of God our Savior.”

Exodus 21:2, 5-6: “If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything . . . But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.”

Questions to Consider

  1. Paul’s sense of calling was closely linked to his identifying himself as a servant of God.  What do you think it means to be a servant? What idea of servanthood do you think Paul had?  
  2. Why did the servant choose to stay a servant rather than go free when he had the choice?
  3. What kind of commitment is it to be another person’s servant for life?  Do you think you could make such a commitment? What would it take?

Notes

  1. To be a servant is to be someone who carries out another person’s commands.  Paul saw his calling as a command from God to be obeyed. Seeing ourselves as servants, our sense of calling can become more clear.  Have we gotten to that place or are we still wanting to call the shots in our lives?
  2. Because he loved his master.  He must have received good treatment and found it better to be under the master’s orders than to make his own choices.  His master had won his heart
  3. For life . . . that is a long time.  If our idea of being a servant is just always having to give up what we want to do and being forced to do things we don’t want to do, it would be difficult, no – impossible.  It could only be possible if we keep experiencing the love and goodness of the Master.

Evening Reflection

What did I do today that was related to God’s gospel purpose?  Did I try to have the attitude of a servant of God today, living the day trying to obey him rather than going my own way?  As I did, did he reveal or confirm anything today about what he may be calling me to do with my life?

April 24, Wednesday

Today’s AMI Devotional Quiet Time is provided by Joshua Chzen who serve at Kairos Christian Church.

 

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Playing Favorites”

James 2:1-4

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

When I was serving as an intern in E. Asia after college, I was asked to meet up with some brothers at the church and spend time with them. There were these two guys (“Matt” and “Luke”) who were always together—

they were the same height, around the same age, and worked together as coworkers doing similar jobs—so I lumped them together in my mind. However, their differences quickly became apparent as I got to know them. Matt had been at the church for a few years and had gotten very plugged in. He helped lead worship, had a very passionate personality, and seemed to just mesh well with what I thought a good leader should be in a church.

Whereas Matt was warm in personality and demeanor, his friend Luke was noticeably cooler in the way he processed and communicated. So, without much thought, I dismissed him as a typical intellectual, analytical East Asian guy, and started spending more time with Matt in whom I saw potential. Not long after that, the church went through some transition. Matt left, while Luke stayed. Today, Luke serves as one of the staff members at that church—certainly not what I was expecting when I first met him. Looking back, I’m struck at how quick and easy it was for me to play favorites, and how badly I was proven wrong.

In his letter to the scattered believers, James warns them against this sin of favoritism and partiality. For these people who were forced to start over in new towns and cities, it would have been common sense for them to focus their attention on people who had means, resources, and connections. In a society where upward mobility was already uncommon, James’ audience would have simply been trying to get their best shot at making a living. However, James calls out this behavior as discrimination and judgment, rooted in evil thoughts and ungodly standards.

In today’s context, we may not be so quick to discriminate based on someone’s wealth. But our partiality might show up in other areas, such as cultural background (do we perceive entire groups as being “rude”?), life stage (are people dismissed as immature or out of touch based on their age relative to yours?), politics, personality, academic/career experience, etc. We can end up having all sorts of standards to judge people worthy or unworthy of our time, resources, and efforts; but God has chosen to provide redemption, freedom, and grace to all of us who are unworthy by His ultimate standard.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for the mercies You have shown me. I know I’m ultimately unworthy to know You and be known by You, but it’s because of Your grace and mercy that I meet your standard of righteousness. Help me to live in Your grace, so that I can live it out to others.

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Corinthians 8


Lunch Break Study

Read Matthew 7:1-2, 15-20 (NIV): “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Questions to Consider

  1. What does Jesus say about judgment in verses 1-2?
  2. What does Jesus say about judgment in verses 15-20?
  3. How do we reconcile these two statements?

Notes

  1. Jesus warns against judgment, and says that the standard we use to judge others will be used to judge us.
  2. People are to be recognized and judged as false prophets by the outward fruit that they bear; bad trees bear bad fruit.
  3. In order to assess the fruit of one’s life, there needs to be some form of examination and judgment. However, in that process we are to remember the love, grace, and forgiveness extended to us by God, and bring that same heart into our own judgment.

Evening Reflection:

Who are the people we tend to favor at school, at work, at home, etc.? Who are the people around us we tend to dismiss? Ask the Holy Spirit to bring people to mind – who are you thinking about? Spend some time asking God for a heart of love, humility, and grace toward them.

April 23, Tuesday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Losing the Battle, Win the War”

2 Corinthians 2:14

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.”

As someone who grew up playing sports all her life, I have naturally taken on quite the competitive spirit.  And for all those who, like me, are competitive, we share one thing in common: We hate losing! Losing cuts our pride, ruins our days, and often leads us to fixate on what we could have done differently. Simply put, losing never feels good.  The apostle Paul, on the other hand, had a completely different perspective about losing. To him, losing meant that the victor, Jesus Christ, would have all the honor and glory.

In this verse, Paul talks about being a captive in Christ’s triumphal procession. In those times, Roman generals would have these triumphal processions (a.k.a. parades), to celebrate the victory over their enemies.  Typically, a Roman general would lead his troops along with their captives (prisoners of war) in a triumphant march through the crowd as they honored the general that led them through the battle. The captives would ultimately be led to their deaths as a sign of complete and utter defeat.  Paul, in his humility considered himself, a captive, a slave to Christ, knowing that in the presence of the Messiah King, all he could do was to surrender and give all the glory and honor to the one who deserves it most.

Part of the reason many of us hate losing is because WE want the glory. We want to celebrate that we are amazing, that we conquerors, that we have the power and control to reign over our lives.   But the apostle Paul reminds us to take that stance of humility. It is not us who are amazing, awesome, and wonderful; it is the victor, Christ Himself. Only He alone deserves that glory and honor.  So, with that reminder, we gladly bow down and lose the battle to Him, surrendering ourselves as captives of Christ, so that through Him and Him alone may we win the war!

Prayer:  Lord, forgive me that I often look to glorify myself and my own accomplishments.  I pray that You will keep me humble in all that I do and remind me every day who is King. Thank You, Jesus, for being our general and leading us to victory!  May my life reflect Christ in me, daily giving You all the praise, glory and honor!

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Corinthians 7


Lunch Break Study

Read Ecclesiastes 3:9-13: What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.

Questions to Consider

  1. Prior to this passage, the Preacher writes a list of vanities of life.  What’s his point? Or in the words of the author, “What do workers gain from their toil?”
  2. What does the author mean when he says, He has “set eternity in the human heart?”
  3. What posture are we to take in light of all that God has given to us?

Notes

  1. Both the good things and the bad things in this life are a blessing from the Lord. They are beautiful in its time.  But to pursue these things alone is meaningless. The Preacher helps us to fix our eyes on what is eternal and lasting, not what is temporary.
  2. Because the vanities of life do not give us true fulfilment, it eventually leads us to despair and there’s a deep longing within us for something more.  We are made for the eternal, so that void can only be satisfied through Christ alone, who gives us eternal life. He has placed that in our hearts, but we also lack the understanding and wisdom to fully comprehend the magnitude of all that He’s done.
  3. God does it so that people will fear him.

Evening Reflection

Who is King in your life? As we consider our lives, even in the smallest of things, have we sought to glorify our own name or are we persistent to give all the glory to the one and true King? Are we chasing the things that are temporary or the things that are eternal?

April 22, Monday

We mourn the passing of our dear colleague and friend Dr. Johann Kim who went to be with the Lord this past Saturday while serving the Lord in Greece.  While we miss him dearly already, we will continue the work of the Lord that he so faithfully carried out all his life. We love you Pastor Johann. We will see you soon in the presence of our Lord—Ryun Chang from Greece.

Today’s AMI Devotional is written by Esther Chailim who serves at Kairos Christian Church in San Diego.  

 

Devotional Thoughts for Today

2 Corinthians 2:14:15

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.

One of the traditions of the triumphal procession was to burn spices, spreading the aroma of victory into the streets for all the crowd to know. In the same light, I think Paul was alluding to the fact that we as believers were captured by the grace of God so that we can be a fragrance of Christ to all those we encounter.  

If there is one couple I can confidently say who exemplifies being used to spread the aroma of Christ everywhere they go, it is Pastor Johann and Sister Grace.  They have immensely impacted the lives of so many they come across, including mine. To many, they are spiritual parents, mentors, co-laborers, and dear friends.  I had the great privilege and honor to serve alongside them in 2012 for a 1-year internship, where I got to witness, first hand, their love for the Lord and their relentless pursuit to make Christ known wherever they went.  Of course, not everything was picture perfect as they struggled through moments of discouragement and unsuccessful attempts, but never once did they give up hope in our Lord or cease in worship. And it’s evident that through their ministry, so many lives were touched by the Spirit of God. The aroma they left behind always pointed back to Christ, our Savior

Last Monday I received the devastating news that Pastor Johann was in the ER in critical condition from bleeding in his brain. He and Sister Grace had been in Athens, Greece for about a month, in obedience, spreading the good news of Christ to the many refugees there. Upon their arrival, they faced much attack from the enemy, even losing their laptops (with all his teaching material) from a team robbery, prior to a 3-day intensive teaching seminar.  But in faith, he persisted to teach and minister out of the work of the Holy Spirit. And by the grace of God, Sister Grace informed me that “he finished well.” We see that, still, in the face of much spiritual attack, the aroma that he and Sister Grace leave behind continues to point back to Christ, our Savior, worshiping Him through and through. I was reminded of this, once again their spiritual daughter, Christine Yun, updated us about the state of Pastor Johann’s condition. She shared this after meeting some of the refugees Pastor Johann and Sister Grace had been ministering to, “They said Pastor Johann and Sister Grace changed their life and I absolutely believe this — as they carry the Spirit of our Living God everywhere we go. This brings a lot of comfort to us…and if we weren’t certain already, God is so glorified through their obedience and love for Him and can see how they have deeply touched lives of the people here.” Her words could not describe their love for Jesus more perfectly.

This morning, I learned that Pastor Johann went to be with the Lord. Though I grieve over the loss of my pastor, spiritual father, and friend, I am comforted knowing that he is dancing and worshiping side by side with our Heavenly Father.  It is without a doubt that every waking moment of Pastor Johann’s life was fully, and whole-heartedly devoted to our Lord, Jesus Christ. His faith is unlike anyone’s I have ever met and it is clear that many have smelled the sweet fragrance of Christ throughout his ministry.  I believe he and the apostle Paul share that same passion and zeal for the Lord in spreading the aroma of the knowledge of Christ everywhere they went. All glory, honor and praise to our Lord, Jesus Christ

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank You for the life and ministry of Pastor Johann and Sister Grace. I am so honored to know such people of faith and I know that You, Lord, are so pleased with them. As their lives continue to spread the aroma of Christ knowledge to all, I pray that we too, as believers, can do the same.

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Corinthians 6


Lunch Break Study

Read 1 Peter 4:7-11: The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Questions to Consider

  1. What does Peter mean by “the end of all things is near?”
  2. How does love cover sins?
  3. How do we spread the aroma of Christ to others?

Notes

  1. In light of Christ’s return, Peter was encouraging the church to live godly lives. Because we do not know the time and date of His return, he exhorts us to be alert and of sober mind, so that we can pray.  And as we wait for His return, this ought to influence our attitude, actions and relationships with others.
  2. Just as God’s love deals with our sins through his forgiveness, Peter encourages us to choose love and forgiveness when we are dealing with relationships. When we enter a relationship with love, we are much more willing to overlook that person’s faults.  When we’re sinned against, love overrides our reflex for revenge.”
  3. We should love each other deeply, offering hospitality and using our gifts to serve others.  God uses us as humans to be instruments in delivering His word, so we are encouraged to speak, with reverence, the words of God by preaching, teaching or simply talking with others about His goodness and faithfulness.

Evening Reflection

Take some time to reflect on your own life.  Do others smell the scent of Christ in you? Can they see that you live for the Lord or do they simply know that you go to church?  Our time on earth is limited, so I want to encourage us to be like our brothers in Christ, the apostle Paul and Pastor Johann, and continually spread the aroma of Christ everywhere we go.  Let’s be intentional in the conversations to make Christ known.

April 21, Sunday

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“The Value of Friendship for Salvation”

Acts 13:1

Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

Manaen. His name is only mentioned once (right here) in Scripture. But there is something interesting about Manaen: he was “a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch.” Other translations read, “brought up with Herod the tetrarch.” This is the very same Herod who beheaded John the Baptist, and later handed Jesus over to Pilate to be crucified. While Herod and Manaen grew up together, they chose very different paths. Herod heard the message of the gospel numerous times, having personal encounters with both John the Baptist and Jesus; yet at every turn, he rejected the word of God. Meanwhile, his friend became a prophet/teacher in the church at Antioch. Yet despite their differences, Manaen and Herod were “lifelong friends.”

There are at least two things we can learn from this short passage. The first is that salvation depends on our response to the gospel. The second is that friendship does not.

I have to admit that I’m guilty of severing more than a few friendships based on their lack of response to the gospel. Instead, I tend to draw ever nearer to those whom I deem spiritually mature. There’s a constant temptation we face to place value on people based on their spirituality. What many of us can learn from Manaen and Jesus is that while salvation requires faith, having faith (or lack thereof) is not grounds for exclusion. The real issue is how we can befriend the “Herods” of our lives without compromising our commitment to Christ. Today, let’s pray for the humility to live this way.

Prayer: Lord, help me to be salt and light in this world. Teach me to see people the way You see them. Holy Spirit, grant me the humility to love my friends and family as I love myself. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Cor. 5

April 20, Saturday

Spiritual Food for Thoughts For the Weekend

“When We Really Pray with our Back Against the Wall”

Esther 9:1

Now in the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king’s command and edict were about to be carried out, on the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, the reverse occurred: the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them.

In 2010, I was on a short-term mission trip to Northeast China. Traveling to different villages, we preached and taught many pastors who had gathered from surrounding villages.  It was during one of these secret gatherings that the police barged in. Four policemen kicked the door open and immediately arrested my pastor and his translator. Within moments, he was put into the police car and driven to the police station, hours away.  I began to panic.

We did the only thing we could do: pray.  For hours and hours, we kept asking God to do something.  When we finally got in touch with the translator who called us from police station, it was not good news. Our pastor was in jail, awaiting his sentence, which was expected to be one or more of the following: a massive fine, jail-time and being added to the “blacklist” of China. The verdict would happen the next morning.

I fell asleep, but I woke up early to the sound of the Chinese locals praying; they had stayed up all night, interceding for my pastor. Soon, a car pulled up and my pastor stepped out with a huge grin on his face. “What happened?” we asked. While the chief of police was explaining all the punishments that could be inflicted upon my pastor, for some reason, his heart softened. Instead of my pastor being punished, the reverse occurred: my pastor shared the Gospel with the police chief, and he agreed not only to release him, but to begin attending church, to learn more about God!

As today’s text says, sometimes God allows “the reverse” to occur to rescue His people, thereby bringing further glory unto Himself. When the Israelites were trembling before the Philistine army, He used a shepherd boy to bring down Goliath. When Jesus was being nailed to the cross, and it seemed all hope was lost, God was actually unfolding his plan for the salvation of man. Today, let us strive to put our faith in our God, especially in the midst of trials, hardship and brokenness. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Prayer: Lord, we rejoice even in our sufferings, not because they are fun, but because we know and believe that you are a God who works even with suffering to produce good.  Open our eyes today to your faithfulness that is revealed in today’s passage, and all throughout Scripture. Increase our faith as we read and meditate. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Cor. 3-4