Editor’s Note: The AMI QT devotionals for Dec. 10-11 are provided by Pastor (intern) David Son who serves at Symphony Church, Boston. David got married this year to Grace. Congratulations!
Devotional Thoughts for Today
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)
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: John 19
Lunch Break Study
Read Matthew 14:28-33
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Questions to Consider:
- What was Peter’s rationale for stepping out of the boat, and onto the water?
- Why did Peter begin to sink?
- What is the final result of this story?
- Peter reasoned that since Jesus called him, he could do anything, even walking on water!
- While Peter had enough faith to step out onto the water, he was afraid and began to sink when he saw the wind (i.e., circumstances). After Jesus rescues Peter, He asks him, “Why did you doubt?” Fear and doubt caused Peter to sink.
- This story isn’t really about whether Peter could pass a “faith test” by walking on water; rather, it was whether he and other disciples, who never left the boat, would respond to Jesus in worship. In our faith journey, while we may experience flashes of great faith, we are likely to encounter many moments of doubts and fear in which we would need God’s grace and mercy. Either way these should lead us to worship Him.
Today we talked about faith, especially in light of hardships. The Bible says, “Faith comes from hearing” (Romans 10:17). Have you listened for God’s voice today? If not, take a moment to meditate on today’s Scripture; pray and ask if there is something He wants to say to you.