Editor’s Note: The AMI Quiet Times for January and February are provided by P. Ryun Chang, Teaching and Resource Pastor of AMI.
Devotional Thoughts for This Morning
Matt. 25:24-5 (ESV): “He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed,  so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’  But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! . . .  So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.’”
In Marxism, ideas are a later development to justify an unjust economic structure so that the rich can continue to exploit the workers under a false pretense. The Scripture, however, begins with divine ideas originating from the mind of God. It posits that beliefs based on wrong ideas, in time, will produce actions detrimental to individuals, society, and ultimately the Kingdom.
The Bible is replete with people with bad ideas. The servant with one talent did nothing with it because he held to an idea that his master was unfair and unreasonable. The master, displeased, called him “wicked” and “lazy”; his lone talent was given to those who had produced more with their talents.
The older son in the Parable of the Lost Son held fast to the idea which formed a self-perception of a hired servant under a harsh master. Balking at the father’s favorable treatment of his wayward brother, he said, “All these years I’ve been slaving for you. . . yet you have never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends” (Lk. 15:28). As a result, he lost out on a life of freedom and plenitude, despite the fact that “everything [the father] had was [his]” (15:31).
Bad ideas among Christians also affect the missions of the church. For instance, an elderly preacher, frowning on those who advocate missions, declared, “The world was already been reached in the first century”; he then quoted Col. 1:6: “All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing.” Sadly, those hearing this, shouted “Amen!” Then there are those, being so afraid that they might teach work-based salvation, who propagate that “Jesus guarantees eternal life to all who come to faith in Him, even if they later stop believing in Him.” But, the Parable of the Talents teaches us to work, not for salvation, but to demonstrate it.
Paul’s idea to combat bad ideas is this: “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom. 12:1). Seriously study the Bible; learn to interpret it correctly; boldly put it into practice.
Dear God, I praise You for your holy Scripture that clearly declares your wonderful attributes and will for our lives. Forgive me for spending more time reading and watching worldly sources to be informed than reading your Word. I pray that the Spirit in me stirs my mind so that I may truly understand your Word. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 15
Lunch Break Study
Read Ez. 8:12 (NIV): He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his own idol? They say, ‘The Lord does not see us; the Lord has forsaken the land.’”
1 Pet. 3:12 (NIV): “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
1 Cor. 15:32 (NIV): “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”
Heb. 9:27 (NIV): “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,. . .”
Ps. 14:1 (NKJV): “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good.”
Question to Consider
1. Why are these ideas bad and incorrect?
2. What are the consequences of these bad ideas?
3. What are some ideas that you hold that really are incorrect in view of God’s ideas in the Bible?
1. God, being omniscient, sees and hears all things at all times; death is not the end; judgment awaits; and God certainly does exist.
2. Believing that God doesn’t see and hear would lead us to do whatever we want; believing that death is the end encourages us to live for pleasure; and not believing in God’s existence makes moral laws relative since there is no law-giver. In such a world, anything goes.
3. Theologically, I no longer uphold certain doctrines that I was taught in my first church and seminary:prosperity theology, demons are the spirits of the deceased unbelievers; God always heals, etc.
You have probably spent enough time listening and reading the news and talking to interesting people. What ideas did you hear today? Are they agreeable to God’s ideas? What is the most important idea from God’s word that is also important to you? Offer up a prayer centered on that idea.