February 4, Thursday

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

Acts 3:1-5

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

4“Everyone will be forgotten, nothing we do will make any difference, and all good endeavors, even the best, will come to naught. Unless there is God. If the God of the Bible exists, and there is a true reality beneath and behind this one, and this life is not the only life, then every good endeavor, even the simplest ones, pursued in response to God’s calling, can matter forever.” (Tim Keller)

In one way or another, all people have a felt internal need to make their lives matter. Some of us satisfy this need by serving of others, believing our life to be more significant the more people we impact. Others of us do it by seeking to fulfill all our desires and dreams to the uttermost, believing that we’ll make it count most by maxing out on experiences and adventures. Whatever approach we take, whether Christian or not, humans crave significance and need to know that we make a difference in the world.

In the context of the church, this need is often addressed through the language of “calling.” We wonder what good works God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10), and how He wants us to make an impact in the world for His Kingdom. But, as we see in our passage today, more so than having a comprehensive understanding of God’s calling on our life – how He’s gifted us and what He wants to do – God’s people made a great impact in the world as they lived simple lives of worship to Him. Peter and John, in their regular and mundane life of devotion (it was their custom to go to the temple for prayers, sacrifice, and fellowship), were used powerfully by God to perform a miracle. In our passage yesterday we talked about the importance of devotion. And today we see that it is that very life of devotion that positions us to be used by God in significant and meaningful ways.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, make my life matter for the advancement of your Kingdom and the glory of Your Name. May my simple offering of my devotion and worship every day position me to be used by You in unexpected and powerful ways.  In Jesus’ name.

Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 32

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Lunch Break Study

Read Matthew 28:16-20

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Questions to Consider:

  1. What preceded the disciples receiving their “calling” from Jesus?
  2. Many commentators say the following translation better communicates Jesus’ intent in verse 19 – “ As you are going, make disciples, baptizing and teaching.” How does this influence your understanding of this passage?
  3. Why are Jesus’ words at the very end of this passage important? How do they encourage you?

Notes:

  1. The disciples were obedient to what Jesus told them to do – not knowing why or what would happen when they did. Their simple act of obedience positioned them to receive the greatest calling not only for their life but for the life of the Church.
  2. Oftentimes we focus too much on the perceived command to “go” and we immediately ask the question, “Where?” While this is an important question, a more important emphasis should be on making disciples. “Make disciples” is the only command given in Jesus’ instructions (while “going” “baptizing” “teaching” are all modifying the command to go). A more important question may be how can I make disciples? How can I best position myself to make disciples? That is how we make an eternal impact.
  3. Jesus’ command to His disciples ends with a promise of His commitment to be with them. Knowing that God is with us should encourage us to continue to be faithful, even in small things, knowing that as we do, we are positioning ourselves to be used by Him. It is always God who does the work of His Kingdom through us.

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Evening Reflection

Spend some time thinking about your devotional life. How are you doing in the area of obedience to God in the everyday small things? Would you describe your life as one of worship to Him? Why or why not? How is God calling you to greater devotion and obedience today? Spend some time offering yourself to God in these areas, believing that as you do, He will move through you and make your life matter in ways that far exceed your expectations.

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