March 17, Thursday

Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from March 14-20 are provided by Pastor Charles Choe of Tapestry Church, Los Angeles.  Charles, a graduate of UC Riverside and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Grace, and they have three children: Chloe, Noah, and Camden, who was recently born.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Acts 10:1-8

A devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God.

17As far as anyone could tell, the young man looked like he was a brilliant doctor, with all the right certifications indicating that he had fulfilled the rigorous requirements necessary to practice his medicine. Each day he went to work in a lab coat and a stethoscope around his neck, ready to assist anyone who happened to cross his path—but appearances can be deceiving. This was no doctor at all, but he was an 18-year-old Florida teen pretending to be a doctor. Just last month, Malachi Love-Robinson of the state of Florida was arrested for practicing medicine without a license.

Appearance can be deceiving indeed. And its danger lies in the deception of confusing form for substance. We find this to be true in the story of Cornelius, a Gentile who served as a centurion in the city of Caesarea for the Roman Empire. But we also learn that he was a man who feared God. Of all the deities in this Roman city, he chose to have a deep respect and reverence for the God of Israel. Not only that, Cornelius gave generously to the people who were in need, and he was also said to be a man of prayer.

By all appearances, Cornelius was a man of God who had the characteristics of true faith. But the truth is, Cornelius fell short; and apart from the gracious visitation of an angel and the timely visit of Peter, Cornelius would still be lost to the world and his religion.

In a sense, Cornelius represents the best of what religion has to offer, but it can only take us so far. Cornelius shows us how apart from an encounter with the living God and receiving the grace of God, all of our doings are ultimately useless and unsatisfying. We need to meet Jesus, as this is how we begin a relationship with God. It is also how we continue to sustain ourselves in our faith. We are to meet the Lord again and again.

Have you had an encounter with God? Are you making an effort to continue meeting Him this day? As you take time to examine Cornelius’ life, look at the depths of your own heart this morning and earnestly seek to meet the living God.

Prayer

Dear Jesus, come and meet me this hour! I want to experience You anew. Remind me again how apart from Your gracious visit, I am lost in my own goodness. Come and meet me today! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Proverbs 2

QT Page Break3

Lunch Break Study

Read Psalm 1

[1] Blessed is the man

who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,

nor stands in the way of sinners,

nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

[2] but his delight is in the law of the LORD,

and on his law he meditates day and night.

[3] He is like a tree

planted by streams of water

that yields its fruit in its season,

and its leaf does not wither.

In all that he does, he prospers.

[4] The wicked are not so,

but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

[5] Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

[6] for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,

but the way of the wicked will perish.

Questions to Consider

  1. According to the first two verses, what makes for a truly happy person?
  2. In this short Psalm, there is a clear contrast between the one who follows God and the wicked who do not? What is the consequence of the wicked?
  3. The one who meets the Lord “is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers” (verse 3). In what way will you meet the Lord today aside from doing this Quiet Time Devotional?

Notes

  1. The one who walks in the way of God and delights in Him.
  2. The wicked stands to be judged and will ultimately perish.
  3. Personal Response.

QT Page Break3

Evening Reflection

“We never grow closer to God when we just live life. It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.” – Francis Chan

2 thoughts on “March 17, Thursday

  1. Seems a bit unfair to compare the centurion to a con artist when an Angel of God says “Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God” and he’s referred to as a devout man who feared God. I’m curious why Cornelius is being described as “lost to the world and his religion?” I completely agree w/ the premise that we need to have an encounter with God and need to encounter Him daily, though.

    1. Hi Jin, sorry for a late reply.

      I just re-read Pastor Charles’ blog (3/17) and I don’t think he equated the con-artist with Cornelius in a moral sense. It seems to me that Pastor Charles used the example of a man pretending to be a doctor to make a simple point that looks can be deceiving. While Cornelius was a moral man in a general sense, had he thought that that was enough to merit eternal life, then that would be equivalent to “lost to the world and his religion.” That might have been the case apart from God’s intervention which led to him hearing the gospel. To the extent that some readers fail to see this, that’s when the appearance of Cornelius’ piety would have led to being deceived (since it wasn’t his good deeds that saved him).

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