August 19, Wednesday

Editor’s Note:  The AMI QT devotionals from August 17-23 are provided by Pastor Yohan Lee of Radiance Christian Church (S.F.).

Devotional Thoughts for Today

2 Kings 8:16-19

In the fifth year of Joram the son of Ahab, king of Israel, when Jehoshaphat was king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, began to reign. 17 He was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. 18 And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife. And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. 19 Yet the Lord was not willing to destroy Judah, for the sake of David his servant, since he promised to give a lamp to him and to his sons forever.

19When I was a kid, I hated when my parents would tell me to stop hanging out with a such and such friend because they perceived him to be a bad influence on me.  Of course, as a kid, I didn’t believe that people were that easily influenced (certainly not me). And besides, I was probably the worst influence in the neighborhood.

Now that I am a parent, I am shocked at how my thinking has done a 180 degree turn on the matter.  There is this one boy in our neighborhood whom I wish my kids would steer clear away from—I find myself constantly thinking this kid is such a bad influence on my son.  In fact, I cannot help but feel that every time my son comes home from hanging out with him, he’s picked up some more attitude and is more prone to say things like, “What the heck!”  The truth of the matter is that I just want to blame my son’s attitude and semi-potty mouth on others, and not come to grips with the fact that my boy is a genuine sinner.  That is, what I once believed—that good kids do good things while the bad ones do bad—isn’t true.  So as a sinner, all children are prone to disobedience, but it is also true that their sinfulness is augmented by influences (i.e., environment) around them.

I think this is the point that the Scripture writer was making when he discussed Jehoram’s alliances.  Jehoram was clearly a wicked king who “walked in the way of the kings of Israel,” but his wickedness was augmented by his alliances, particularly his wife, the daughter of Ahab (one of the most wicked kings of Israel).  It would be incorrect to assume that had Jehoram not married Ahab daughters, he would have been fine—just like it is wrong to blame others for our shortcomings.  Sure, others can be bad influences on us or some others may know how to push our buttons in just the right way, but at the end of the day, we need to take responsibility for what lies within our hearts.

That being said, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals’” (1 Cor. 15:33). Ahab’s wife probably did not help Jehoram to honor and serve the God of Israel.  We must understand that some of our relationships will not help us to grow in the Lord either; therefore, be wise with the company you keep.

Prayer

Lord, change my heart so that the fruit of my life will reflect a tree that is good.  Help me to be responsible for myself and my actions and never to blame others.  Also, help me to keep good company.

Bible Reading for Today: Ephesians 5

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Lunch Break Study

Luke 6:43-45:

“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Questions to Consider

  1. What good fruit do you see in your personal life/character?
  2. What good fruit do you see in your ministry?
  3. Are there bad batches of fruit that come out of your life that need correcting?

Notes

  1. This is a reflective question, but I want you to think about your character and who you are or are becoming. How is your family doing?  How is your marriage?  These are some areas of personal fruit which come from either a good/bad tree.
  2. Are people growing as a result of your ministry (either formal ministry or informal)? Does your ministry help the church?
  3. What are some areas that you are having struggles? Perhaps, the list includes anger, materialism, lust, judgmental thoughts, etc. Bring these before the Lord and ask him to prune the tree.

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 Evening Reflection

Similar to this afternoon’s study, how is your personal life, character, and ministry doing?  Are you bearing good fruit?  Did you blame others for the things that may have been your own doing?  What areas of your life and character would you like to change for God’s glory?

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