February 23, Tuesday

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 4:29-30

And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.

23Do you ever play armchair quarterback when you read the Bible?  So, this is when you read something, you start second guessing the character’s actions and/or choices.  For example, in 1 Kings 3, God tells Solomon in a dream that he can ask for anything he wants; and Solomon chooses… wisdom.  God considered it a great choice (I would have probably asked for something more “shiny”).  Anyway, we see here that after Peter and John get out of jail, they start praying; and after thanking the Lord for His sovereignty, they make their supplications.  Now, what did Peter and John ask for?  Protection from their persecutors?  Nope.  Favor from the Jews?  Nope?  Effectiveness in preaching?  Nope.  They asked for more boldness to preach God’s Word (while God performs signs and wonders).

As I read this account, I realized how much I underestimate the value of certain things that God values—such as wisdom and boldness. From the beatitudes alone, we see all the qualities that God values: meekness, poverty of spirit, purity of heart, merciful spirit, etc.  Going back to boldness, isn’t fear the real reason we don’t share the gospel as much as we should?  We don’t want others to think we are religious fanatics, fundamentalists, or intellectually lacking.  Isn’t fear the reason why we don’t speak into other people’s lives?  We don’t want to offend or damage the relationship.  For you singles, isn’t fear the reason you don’t ask out that girl (or say yes to that guy)?  Low blow, I know, but let’s face it—we are going to face rejection or heartbreak.  But think about how awesome your Christian life would be if you were bold and feared only God.  You could share the gospel with that friend, correct that brother with love—or even get that girl.  Do not underestimate the value of boldness.  Let’s ask for the boldness that comes through the power of the Holy Spirit!

Let me close with one quick story.  I had this neighbor who many would call her “shameless,” but quite frankly—she was bold.  Within two minutes of meeting a person, she would ask questions like, “Why aren’t you serving in church now?” or “Why aren’t you tithing?”  She would also ask people outside the church, whom she’d just met, “Will you visit our church?” or “What do you think about Jesus?”  She inspired me to desire to be more bold.

Prayer

Lord, give me boldness through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Help me to fear You, not people.  Let me stand up for what You think is right today, and give me an opportunity to share about You to someone—even if it makes me feel uncomfortable.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 1

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Lunch Break Study

Read Matthew 10:24-33: A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.  26 So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

Questions to Consider:

  1. Based on this passage, how should a follower of Christ expect to be treated?
  2. In vv. 28-30, Christ gives us some reasons why we shouldn’t fear people. What are they?
  3. What are the rewards for those who stand up for the Lord?

Notes:

  1. Christ tells the Twelve that people have accused Him of working for Satan and maligned Him as such. Therefore, His followers should expect similar or worse treatment.  A disciple is not greater than a teacher, nor a slave is greater than his master.  They hated Christ; they will hate us too.
  2. First, fear of man is irrational because man can only harm our physical bodies; God can destroy both the body and the soul (v. 28). Ultimately, Christ points us to the love and care that the Father has for us as the reason to not fear people.
  3. The one who acknowledges God before mankind will be acknowledged by God in heaven (v. 32). This is our reward.

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Evening Reflection

In general, do you fear looking silly in front of others or being rejected?  Do you lack boldness?  Were there ways in which you were given the chance to grow in boldness today?  Did you take them?

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