February 18, Thursday

Editor’s Note: The AMI QT devotionals from February 17-19 are provided by the AMI Teaching Pastor Ryun Chang.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Acts 4:29-31 (NIV)

Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

18While serving in Mexico, I used to hand out evangelistic tracts during my daily jog.  After returning to the states, I continued the practice—at least for a time.  One day while jogging in a park, I ran by three park workers but felt timid to say anything.  So I said to God, “If they’re still there when I return, then I will hand out tracts.”  I was hoping that they would be gone by then, but they were still there—and I felt just as nervous.  Now, what do I do?

In today’s passage, what is so amazing about this prayer is that Peter, whose absence of boldness before an accusatory servant girl had prompted him to deny Jesus, was the one who led it.   Here he was, merely seven weeks after his spiritual meltdown, boldly proclaiming Christ before a hostile crowd.  So, what turned the timid Peter around, who was no longer afraid to pay the ultimate price for testifying of Jesus?  Certainly, seeing the risen Lord was necessary but not sufficient for that.  What enabled Peter to speak God’s word with great boldness was being filled with the Holy Spirit.  While that sounds neither academic nor particularly insightful, without tapping into the power of the Spirit, we’ll continue to be timid about testifying of Jesus, especially in our secular culture where believers are treated as delusional and unintellectual.  So, how can we tap into the Spirit’s power?  More knowledge, better music or sophisticated technology?  No, nothing can embolden us for Christ apart from praying to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

And that’s what I did: as I forced myself to head toward where the park workers were, I offered a short but intense prayer, asking God to fill me with the Spirit and boldness.  Once I got there, I shared the gospel and offered a tract. But out of the three, only one took it—he assured me that he would read it.  Several months later, I encountered one of the workers.  After telling me that the man who had taken the tract had died, he said, “It was as if God was preparing him by having you share the gospel with him.”  I hope to see him in heaven.  Be bold for Christ; be filled with the Spirit.  Pray hard.

Prayer

Lord, I praise and glorify You this morning.  I confess that I’ve made my reticence about sharing the gospel some sort of a virtue when, in fact, it was my timidity that led me to stay silent about You.  God, I need to be filled with the Spirit, so I can be bold for You.  Help me to pray persistently! Thank You. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 48

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Lunch Break Study

Read Exodus 4:1-3, 10-4: Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’” 2 The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.” 3 And he said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it. . . . 10 But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” 11 Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” 13 But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” 14 Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses. . . .

Question to Consider

  1. Timidity is the last thing that comes to our mind when thinking of Moses. But how does he come off here as God tells him to go to Egypt to lead Israel? What does that mean at a personal level?
  2. We talked about the need to be filled with the Holy Spirit in order to be bold for Christ. What does God do here for Moses, so that he can be emboldened to appear before the mighty Pharaoh?
  3. Are you surprised by how God ultimately responded to Moses’ continual timidity? Why would the Lord respond that way?  How about you?  Are you being bold for Christ?

Notes

  1. After 40 years of living in the wilderness, Moses became timid and was mired in self-doubt—unlike before when he “thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them” (Acts 7:25). God preferred that state where Moses lacked confidence in himself, since he was now in a position to completely depend on Him.  In the same way, we often feel low about ourselves, but this is good news—God can use us too.
  2. First, God shows Moses that just as an ordinary and weather-beaten staff can turn into God’s tool, he, too, can be transformed as God’s instrument. We need to experience that as well. Second, God assures that He Himself will speak through Moses.  We need the same assurance to be bold for Him.
  3. Why did God get angry at Moses? Since Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God,” suffice it to say Moses’ continuous lack of trust in God’s ability to do what He said He would greatly displeased Him.   Our lack of faith in God is saying to Him, “I don’t think You can do it!”

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Evening Reflection

As you wrap up this day, can you recall any opportunity you had to testify of Christ in some way?  Before you say no, you must recognize that anything can be useful to bring Christ into the conversations.  While jogging in America, if I saw the same person three times (due to my running route), I used to say to them, “Well, I’ve this rule that if I see the same person three times while jogging, I must tell them this: God expressed His ultimate love for us in Christ who died for our sins.”  Not sharing the gospel is a problem that we all face.   Would you pray for boldness?  Pray for someone whom you need to reach out to.

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