July 1, Wednesday

Editor’s Note:  The AMI devotionals from June 29-July 3 are written by Pastor Ryun Chang.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

1 King 11:14, 23, 26, 40:  And the Lord raised up an adversary against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite. He was of the royal house in Edom. . . . 23 God also raised up as an adversary to him, Rezon the son of Eliada, who had fled from his master Hadadezer king of Zobah. . . .  26Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephraimite of Zeredah, a servant of Solomon, whose mother’s name was Zeruah, a widow, also lifted up his hand against the king. . . . 40 Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam.  But Jeroboam arose and fled into Egypt, to Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.

01Larry Dean, having grown up poor, worked hard to build his own software company, but he later sold it for a cool $68 million.  With that, Dean built a 68 acre estate consisting of a Moroccan theater, a Hawaii-art gallery, 24-karat-gold sinks, 15 bedrooms, 13 fireplaces, a 24-seat dining room, and an 18-hole golf course worth $40 million. He wanted to establish a family compound where the Deans could watch their children and grandchildren grow up.  Nevertheless, Dean’s mansion paled in comparison to the magnificent palace that took King Solomon 13 years to build for himself (1 King 7:1).

To us, this is the dream life—a cavernous mansion with all the amenities at your finger tips.  But would you really want to trade your present life with theirs?  You might be tempted to say yes in a heartbeat, but upon a closer examination, making that deal is akin to trading away eating “a dry morsel with quiet,” with “a house full of feasting with strife” (Prov. 17:1); it is like trading away “a dinner of herbs where love is,” with “a fattened ox and hatred with it” (15:17).

Solomon always had plenty to eat but rarely got a good night’s rest.  How could he when adversaries—like Hadad, Rezon, and Jeroboam—constantly arose to take him out of the throne?  Even worse, God was allowing it to happen as a disciplinary measure against the profligate Solomon.   As for Dean, he didn’t fare too well either.  After only1½ years, a marital separation ensued, and Mrs. Dean and their four children left the estate.   Then, disliking living alone in a big house, Dean moved to an apartment above the garage.  He quipped, “I’d say this was a big mistake.”  The saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side,” seems true until you get closer to see that the grass is spray-painted green!

Even as you strive to be upwardly mobile, “learn[] the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Phil. 4:12).  How?  Cultivate such an intimate relationship with Christ that that becomes what truly matters in life.  When we live in His presence, our social status, the amount of our paycheck or the value of our house won’t matter as much.   Seek God.

Prayer

O the great and mighty God, I exalt and glorify You today.  There is no one like You in this universe, for You are magnificent and majestic.  It is You whom I need and I desire.  Lord, help me to put my gaze upon You instead of the fleeting and temporary things of the world.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 18

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Lunch Break Study

Read Col. 3:2: Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Phil. 4:19: And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

1 Tim. 5:6-8: But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.  8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.

Ps. 84:10: For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

Question to Consider

  1. Ultimately, what causes us to feel that the grass is always greener on the other side?
  2. I think the secret of being content begins with a certain mindset. Based on above passages, what are some building blocks for this attitude?
  3. Being content doesn’t mean we stop striving to improve our situation. What is the key to maintaining a balance between these seemingly opposing forces?

Notes

  1. Setting our minds on things that are on earth means that we continue to fix our eyes on what people in the media and Madison Avenue dictate what our needs are to be cool and successful. As long as we don’t have them, it becomes increasingly hard to be content with our present life.
  2. First, God always provides to meet our needs; second, anything above food and clothing is a bonus. If we have these, then the minimum requirement for contentment has been met.
  3. In our striving to move upward, if we become negligent in worshipping and desiring God, then being content in any and every situation will never materialize. It is the seeking of God during our striving to move upward that restrains its excess.

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 Evening Reflection

As you look back to this day, did you experience a momentary discontentment because of what someone just bought, received or wore?  What does that say about you?  How is your worship of the Lord these days?  Reflect on these questions.  Even as you look to move upward, always take time each day to worship Jesus—at the very least, it will keep your priority in order.

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