Editor’s Note: The AMI QT devotionals from Feb. 1-7 are provided by Cami King. Cami, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, is about to complete her M.Div. at Gordon Conwell Seminary. She is currently serving as a staff at Journey Community Church in Raleigh.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
At our church’s weekly prayer meeting last week, we prayed for our church, as we always do, and my pastor reminded us of something very simple but important. As he often says, “We’re not a fancy church. We don’t have a lot of bells and whistles. We want to be a group of people who truly love God and love others.” And as I prayed this simple prayer for my church, “God please teach us to love you with our whole hearts and love the people in the world whom you love so much,” I recalled our passage for today which describes the nature and growth of the early church. As the gospel went forth and the power of the Holy Spirit came, our brothers and sisters responded by devoting themselves completely to God and to one another.
In our sophisticated, technological word, we often fix our attention on fancy programs and initiatives to grow, strengthen, and renew the church. And while vision is imperative and innovation is necessary, it’s important to remember what should always remain at the foundation of it all – a group of people persuaded of the Gospel and empowered by the Holy Spirit to love God and love others. Now that is a powerful combination. The church didn’t start out with a lot of fancy programs, but they impacted the world in amazing ways. Their conviction by the gospel (as we read earlier this week), and empowering by the Holy Spirit, led them to complete devotion – to the Word, community, worship, and prayer. Through this devotion, the Holy Spirit brought into being, from this small group of people, the Church we know it today. As we continue to do life together in the body of Christ, may we never lose sight of our heritage. May we challenge ourselves daily to greater devotion to God’s Word, God’s people, worship and prayer. And may we add to it (not replace it with) innovative and creative programs and initiatives that spread the Gospel further and grow the Church wider.
Prayer: Gracious Lord, thank you for the Gospel – your salvation plan for me and for the world. Thank you for giving me your Holy Spirit to empower me to live the life Christ died to give. Make me a devoted follower of Jesus. Teach me to love your word, and your people. Teach me to pray and to live a life of worship. And through me and my local church community, may you expand your kingdom exponentially. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 31
Lunch Break Study
Read Ephesians 5:15-20
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Questions to Consider:
- How would you summarize (or paraphrase) verse 15? How does this help you understand what Paul is saying?
- How can we avoid being foolish? What are some practical ways we come to “understand what the Lord’s will is”?
- What are some “opportunities” in your life right now? What are some ways you can be intentional about making the most of them?
- Paul is essentially saying – be intentional (paraphrase – “be intentional about what you do from day to day, exercising sound wisdom, not silly foolishness.”) Paul isn’t telling us to be on edge or walk on eggshells because we don’t want to “mess up.” What he is encouraging is intentionality and forethought into how we will spend each day.
- Instead of lending ourselves to foolishness, we are encouraged to understand God’s will. We can do this in a few important ways – first through God’s word and prayer. As we read God’s word and commune with Him in prayer we come to know his will more. Also, as we see in the text, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit and spend time in community, we also come to know God and His will more fully. Community is a huge part of coming to know the will of God, as the Spirit-filled believer is a powerful way God makes Himself know to the world.
- Spend time in personal reflection.
Missionary and minister Andrew Murray once said, “God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.” While we began today considering the ways we’re called to devotion to God and His people, let us end it in reflection on God’s devotion to us. Devotion is defined as both “adherence to and constancy in a thing” and “steadfast attentiveness and unremitting care for a thing.” How have you experienced God’s steadfast attentiveness and unremitting care? Spend some time in thanksgiving.