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.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
Acts 1:12, 15
Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. 13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. . . . 15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty.)
My uncle had always been a man of bravado but not that day: he spoke slowly in a low voice following a grueling surgery to treat his cancer. A man of substantial wealth, he was living at a nice condominium during the treatment, but it paled in comparison to his house, a mansion. In fact, I had stayed at this sprawling property the night before while in town. As I was leaving, my uncle said, “Whenever you are in town, please stay at my house; in fact, it’s open for any Lord’s servant; I want my house to be used for the Lord’s work.”
It wouldn’t surprise me if Mary’s house was bigger than my uncle’s, which is quite large but probably wouldn’t accommodate 120 people; yet that’s how many had gathered at Mary’s house to pray. Now, Mary’s house appears to be the main meeting place in the early days of the church, for when the imprisoned Peter miraculously got out of jail, Luke tells us that “he went to the house of Mary . . . where many people had gathered and were praying” (Acts 12:12). So, my uncle and Mary have one thing in common: Being people of means, they gladly offered their spacious house for the work of the Lord.
It seems like a rite of passage for the average middle-class family to move up the social ladder, ostensibly through moving into a bigger and better house. Of course, the Bible is known to frown on things like that, backed by a myriad of verses that warn against ostentatious display of wealth. Probably the most graphic passage is Haggai 1:4, 9 (NLT): “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? . . . You hoped for rich harvests, but they were poor. And when you brought your harvest home, I blew it away.” Scary.
Does that mean the end of American dream for those who desire to be good Christians? We cannot God ask for a bigger and better house? Well, I think there may be one spiritual ground for asking God for one, that is, as long as we go about obtaining it the right away. What could that be? I think that if you are willing to use your house the way Priscilla and Aquila did with theirs, you can aspire to own a “mansion.” Paul, as he was wrapping up his letter to the church in Rome, wrote, “Greet also the church that meets in their house” (Rom. 16:5).
So, are you willing to use your space for the Lord’s work the way Aquila, Priscilla and Mary did? Then ask the Lord for a bigger house. Work hard to afford one but don’t cheat God—neither with your time nor your money—on your way to attain one. If spiritual compromise is what it will take to get one, then, don’t do it because once you have the bigger space, your faith will be nowhere to be seen. Plan wisely.
Dear God, I confess that You are the King, Lord and Ruler of my life. I once again count all my blessings that I do not deserve. As I seek to rise in wealth, constantly drive this point to me: “Do good . . . be rich in good deeds . . . be generous and willing to share” (1 Tim. 6:18). Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 4