February 22, Monday

yohanEditor’s Note:  The AMI QT Devotionals from February 22 to 24 are provided by Pastor Yohan of Radiance Christian Church, San Francisco.  Yohan graduated from University of Pennsylvania and Cairn University, where he studied theology.  He is married to Mandie, and they have four small children.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Acts 4:23-28

On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them.24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: “‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one. 27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.

[P. Yohan takes a different look at this passage previously covered by P. Ryun.]

22Let me make a stereotypical statement to start this morning:  “Women hate sci-fi, and only men—but not all men— like sci-fi movies.”  So in logic terms, the conditional statement, “If you like sci-fi, then you are a man” holds true; however, the converse does not: “If you are a man, then you like sci-fi.”  I bring this up because one of the more popular themes in sci-fi is time travel.  Now when Hollywood gets its hands on time travel, they generally go one of two ways:  Option 1:  Fate is set, and all your actions will inevitably lead you to the one destined path.  For example, in The Time Traveler’s Wife (do you see how I got the ladies back into this conversation by connecting sci-fi and romance movies?), despite her best efforts, Rachel McAdams cannot stop her husband from being shot in a freak hunting accident.  Option 2:  There is no fate—and people have the power to change their future (e.g., Back to the Future).

When it comes to the sovereignty of God, unfortunately, I think too many people are stuck in one of the Hollywood models.  We either think our fate is set, and we are destined to fulfill God’s plan, whether we like it or not; or we react negatively to the idea that God controls anything, so we reject the notion of His sovereignty.

First, I want to affirm that human beings have choices—and we will be held accountable for our choices and actions.  In the Bible, we are constantly told to believe, obey, or do right and resist evil—these commands imply that we have the power to choose, and that we are not mindless robots.  But second, I want us to see that God’s sovereignty was meant to be a great source of comfort for us.  After being released from prison, Peter and John were able to see that the worst event they had witnessed, the death of their Lord Jesus, was not something that was out of God’s control; in fact, God was using Christ’s betrayal for greater purposes—the redemption of creation.

How do you see God in your difficult situations?  Do you think He is helpless or just as confused as you are?  Or do you believe that God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28).  Does God’s sovereignty bring you comfort, knowing that you are not out of His plan, grasp, or power?  I hope it does.

Prayer

Oh Sovereign Lord, give me perspective to see that You are in control.  Give me peace in my heart, knowing that I can trust a good, fair, loving, and just God. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Titus 3

QT Page Break3

Lunch Break Study

Read 2 Peter 1:3-11: His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to[c] his own glory and excellence,[d] 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities[f] are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Questions to Consider

  1. As Peter discusses our calling, what are the things that God has done?
  2. What are the things that He commands us to do?
  3. When it comes to your growth in Christ (sanctification), what is the relationship between God’s working and your personal responsibility?

Notes

  1. God has granted us all things pertaining to life and godliness and called us to the knowledge of Jesus (1:3). He has given us a new nature, which frees us from corruption and our sinful desires (1:4).  All this is summed up as faith (1:5).
  2. We are called to add to our faith virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love.
  3. Growing in Christ is a joint venture between us and God. God provides the power and faith for true change; however, we are responsible to keep His commands and to strive for godliness.

QT Page Break3

Evening Reflection

Did you receive some bad news today?  Or has something been going on in your life or your loved ones?  If so, did you struggle to find comfort in God’s sovereign hands?  Did you choose to be obedient or to strive for godliness, knowing that God has given you the power to obey and follow after Him?

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