The AMI QT devotionals from Jan. 1-15 are provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (Ph.D.) who is the AMI Teaching Pastor. He and Insil have been married for 28+ years and they have three children: Christy (teacher), Joshua (grad student) and Justin (college freshman). They live in Philadelphia.
- First, the AMI devotions over the next several months will be on Acts.
- Second, this year we are sharing a little bit more about our writers.
- Third, the AMI QT blog, consisting of five parts, is not short, but each section is there for a reason. But if it feels too much, then read just the morning devotional and prayer. Also, note that you can arrange 2 or 3 related lunch break studies and use it to lead a small Bible study at work or school. The QT files can be sent to you on demand (Cryun2@yahoo.com).
Devotional Thoughts for Today
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach.
Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.
With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account . . .
Thomas Sowell never knew his father who died before his birth; he grew up in the South, where his encounters with Caucasians were so rare that “he did not know that blond was a hair color.” After dropping out of high school, it seemed very unlikely that he would one day become a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and author of 30 books.
Luke the Gospel writer was just as unlikely to have become one of the authors who penned the bestselling book of all time. In fact, he is the only Gentile among the forty whose writing was included. Furthermore, he is the second leading contributor to the New Testament after Paul: the Gospel of Luke and Acts combine for fifty-two chapters.
So, just how improbable was his success? First, as a non-Jew, Luke was an unlikely candidate to tell the gospel story that originated from Jewish Scripture and culture. Second, unlike John and Matthew, he wasn’t an eyewitness to the events he described. Third, as for his training, Luke was a physician (Col. 4:10), not groomed to be a writer. Also, it’s also possible that Luke was even a slave, since according to Commentator William Barclay, “even doctors and teachers . . . were slaves” in the Roman Empire.
When given a challenge or difficult task, the first thing we often say is, “I can’t; it’s too hard.” The outcome of Sowell and Luke’s life suggests otherwise. While hard work (Prov. 14:23) and determination (24:16) led to Sowell’s rise, Luke presents an additional component: God equips and empowers those who obey His call. In that context, we can proclaim, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13).
In 2016, for what challenging task will you trust God: a new business, degree program, or even forgiveness? Whatever it is, do all things in obedience to God’s general will, clearly spelled out in the Scripture: for instance, eschew greed (Col. 3:5), selfish ambition (Phil. 2:3) and bitterness (Heb. 12:15). As you do so, God will strengthen you to succeed in and for Him. May this year be like no other year!
Father, as the New Year commences, I praise You for all that happened in 2015—both good and bad—and thank You in advance for a wonderful journey of faith that the new year will bring. Help me never to forget how unlikely it was for You to save me; but You did because of your immense love. May I live for You the fullest in 2016. Amen.
 All scriptures are cited from the NIV unless otherwise noted.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Peter 1
Lunch Break Study
Read 2 Kings 5:1-3: Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy. 2 Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”
John 6:8-9: Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
Question to Consider
- What ties the Jewish servant girl in Syria and the boy together?
- What feeling or thought needs to be overcome in order to live like these individuals?
- Close your eyes and ask the Lord as to what hurtful past event can be redeemed to help others?
- From the human standpoint, they weren’t very impressive people, who certainly didn’t possess anything worthwhile. But what little they had was used by God to leave a tremendous spiritual legacy: without the information provided by the servant girl, there would be no story of Naaman, mentioned even in the gospel (Lk. 4:27); without the boy’s lunch, there is no feeding of the 5,000 depicted in all four gospels.
- We need to stop focusing on what we lack, thereby turning them into excuses that justifies our inaction, but offer what we do have (even simple but correct knowledge and a few dollars) to help those in need.
- As for me, getting a terrible SAT score and then being suspended from college for poor grades have helped me encourage young people who don’t have it all together. Praise God!
As we complete the first day of the year, did you help anyone today? Maybe you’ve had no such opportunity, or perhaps you did but failed to reach out. Why didn’t you? Have some fun tomorrow by reaching out to someone with what little you may have: May the Lord surprise you by multiplying your little effort with an amazing outcome both for you and others.