April 8, Friday

Editor’s Note:  The AMI QT devotionals from April 4-10 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 16:13-15

From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days. 13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.

8What Paul experienced by the riverside was an unexpected encounter that led to the first conversion in Philippi.   While my recent experience wasn’t quite that dramatic, it, nonetheless, shows what we ought to expect from the Lord in our everyday lives.

I recently got a part-time job at a retail store to help cover some of my expenses. While working earlier this week I encountered a woman who came into the store after having a terrible fall outside. We took her into the back to use our first aid kit (she was pretty banged up) and sit down for a rest and some water. After a few minutes, my manager sent me back to work, but my heart was heavy and burdened, so I prayed for her for the rest of my shift.

Feeling helpless (because I was at work) I told God – if you want me to do more, open the door. On my way to my car after work, I saw her in the parking lot. I was terrified – I knew this was a divine appointment and that I needed to go speak to her. I walked over, asked how she was doing, and let her know I was praying for her. She explained that she was taking some new medications and her body was not responding well. She was so thankful for the kindness we’d shown her and for the prayers I prayed for her. And that was pretty much it. We parted ways. I didn’t pray with her. I didn’t tell her about the ultimate Healer. I didn’t stop and ask God what He was up to in that moment – I think because I was unsure and afraid (and unexpectedly so!).

While I believe God is in control and will care for that woman apart from me if for some reason I didn’t fully do what He had in mind (and I’m hoping He’ll send her my way again), the experience itself challenged me to remember that no matter what we expect when we go and do this or that (I thought I was just going into work to make a little money), God is always at work in blessing and healing the world through us. I want to be like Paul, ready – fearless and willing – to partner with God in whatever way He grants me the opportunity. How about you?

Prayer: Sovereign Lord, You are always at work in the world around us. As Your hands and feet in this world, may I be ready and willing to partner with You whenever You present me with the opportunity to do so. Give me divine appointments today to be a blessing (in great and small ways) to those around me. Make me sensitive to the movements of Your Spirit and fearless to move and speak according to Your will. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Proverbs 27

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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. Other than the fact that it happened this way, why might it be significant that Jesus gave His commission to “the eleven disciples”? How should this encourage us today?
  2. The Greek in verse 19 lends itself to also be translated as “When you go make disciples…” or “As you go, make disciples…” How does that add to your understanding of Christ’s call on our lives?
  3. How does Jesus’ promise in verse 20 encourage you as you think about the task of being on mission for Him in your daily life?

Notes:

  1. Jesus gave the commission to an imperfect group. Twelve was a significant number in the Old Testament and in Jewish culture. Eleven was a striking number of imperfection and incompletion (something was lacking, broken, missing). I find it encouraging that Jesus commissioned an imperfect Church and that He still believes we can do the work He’s called us to do even with our shortcomings.
  2. While we are called to “Go!” to the ends of the earth, to those who have not heard and share the Gospel around the world, we are also called, in all that we do and everywhere we are, to be on mission for the advancement of God’s Kingdom. It’s easy to “be on” when we are on mission, at Church, or in similar spaces. But everyday, we are on mission for God because He is at work all around us.
  3. The idea of constantly being on mission for God can feel daunting. My story this morning shows how easy it is to potentially fall short and how uncertain we can feel about what we are supposed to do in any given situation. But Jesus is with us and God’s Spirit within us will lead us. That’s a promise in which we can take comfort. All we have to do is depend on Him.

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Evening Reflection

What are some ways that you’ve experienced divine appointments to be a blessing (or to be blessed by someone else) in your life? What are some things that could hinder you from participating in God’s work in the world around you on a daily basis (e.g. being too busy, being afraid, not being mindful of the things of God when you’re at work or at school, etc.)? Spend some time offering yourself the Lord and ask Him to use you to be a blessing and tell others about Him. Pray for divine appointments. When we ask of the Lord, He will answer, so be on the look out for opportunities to be a blessing and share the truth of God throughout this week!

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