July 17, Friday

Editor’s Note:  The AMI devotionals from July 13-19 are provided by Pastor Charles Choe of Tapestry LA.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

1 Kings 18:1-19

When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the LORD and followed the Baals

17The worse eruption of a volcano took place in 1816 in Indonesia, claiming the lives of 92,000 people. The volcano itself was reduced from 13,000 feet to 9,000 feet. 1816 became known as the “year without summer” because the ash in the atmosphere reduced the temperature, which was felt worldwide, not just in Indonesia. Interestingly, it is thought that an additional 100,000 people may have died from crop failures as far as Europe and America due to the decrease in temperatures from the eruption.

Following the reign of King David and his son Solomon, the kings of Israel did much evil in the sight of the Lord. The worst king in this list of infamy was Ahab who did enough evil on his own, but to make matters worse, Ahab married Jezebel, who was bent on building temples and altars to Baal, and eradicating Israel of the prophets of God. Ahab was an evil king who had no regard for God’s commandments.

Ahab, however, convinced himself that the drought Israel was presently suffering was the fault of the prophet Elijah. When Ahab finally finds Elijah, we hear in his accusation, “Is this you, you troubler of Israel?” the fundamental truth: “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Or as our Jesus said, “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man out of his good treasure brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth what is evil” (Matthew 12:34-35).

Ahab’s heart was filled with evil treasures, hatred, resentment and vengefulness. So seeing Elijah, his volcano of corruption erupted in accusations, name-calling, slandering, condemnation, and blame. That’s exactly what a heart filled with evil does; it is ready to erupt, causing incalculable damage to all within its reach. All it needs is the right situation, and bang! The mouth speaks out the corruption that has been festering within.

More than the words we speak, we need to keep a close check on our hearts. Our words, whether they be disparaging or life-giving, will be consistent with what is happening in our hearts. We must guard our hearts, for Jesus teaches us that “murders, adulteries, thefts, false witness, and slanders come from the heart” (Matthew 15:19). If we are to have shalom in our lives, for ourselves and for others around us, we must examine and become students of our own hearts. And when we find ourselves tempted with hate, resentment or bitterness, we must quickly confess them and ask the Lord to give us a way out of temptation.

Bible Reading for Today: Hosea 13

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Lunch Break Study

Read Luke 6:44-45

For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

Questions to Consider

  1. Why does Jesus say what we store in our hearts are like treasures, whether they be evil or good?
  2. What does the inevitability of “each tree being known by its own fruit” suggest to those who are following Christ?
  3. What is a sin or temptation you are secretly harboring or entertaining in your heart?

Notes

  1. The thoughts we harbor are like treasures because we value them and put our trust in them. We keep them because we think they will provide us with our needs and wants, as well as solve our problems. We think they will handle our pain or meet our needs as we perceive them.
  2. We will eventually know that we follow Christ by the fruit we bear. Our fruit will tell on us.
  3. Personal answer.

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 Evening Reflection

“Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say infinitely when you mean very; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.” –C.S. Lewis. Pray “succinctly” to the Lord what’s in your heart.

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