April 15, Friday

Editor’s Note:  The AMI QT Devotionals from April 11 to 17 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 children: Maggie, Jonathan, Abigail and Simon.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Acts 17:21

21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.

amiDoes it make me un-American to say that I hate Apple, Inc.? Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate their products. Whenever I play on an iPhone or iPad or Macbook, I generally feel this sense of, “Wow, this thing is smooth!” However, what I hate about Apple, Inc. is—how I feel six months after I buy one of their products. The last Apple product I bought was the iPad 3, and for about five months, I enjoyed it. But in the sixth month, iPad 4 (or more correctly iPad with Retina Display) came out, and then overnight, I felt like I was using a stone tablet with a hammer and chisel. Though I am not a gadget guy by any stretch, I hate that I am one of the people who have been suckered by their marketing strategy. I wish I didn’t care—but I do.

When it comes new and trendy, we all have our soft spots, don’t we? For some of you, it is clothes; you have to be in the latest fashion. For some of you it is tech; you upgrade your phone quarterly, you have every piece of wearable technology, and you will be the first in line to get digital implants when they become available. Others of you are foodies; you have to try the newest restaurants. Now, I do not want to sound like one of those old people pining for the “good old days,” but let’s be real here—not all that is new or trendy is good. You want proof? Dig up some photos during the mid to late 90’s; women, who were not farmers, wore overalls! You may laugh, but I know that if overalls came back in style today, more than just a few of our readers would be wearing them tomorrow.

All joking aside, trends are not just confined to tech or fashion. As we read in today’s passage, there were intellectual trends. People in Athens spent all their time discussing new ideas. The church is not immune to new trends either (think music styles, service styles, preaching styles, etc.).   While I don’t want to disparage these methods or new ideas, I don’t want us to forget that some things are tried and true. I know of only one way to grow in Christ, and that is the old fashioned way of spending time with and obeying Him; and I know of only one way to grow a ministry—sacrifice.

Are you trying to innovate your way to godliness? It took former generations their lifetime to develop character: Are you trying to bypass it for something quicker or more “impactful”? Do you think your church will grow if it adopts a better business strategy? Are you trying to find something new for the community because meeting together is too impractical for today’s world? Don’t sit around discussing new ideas when the old ways are the best ways.

Prayer: Lord, help me to wade through all the new ideas out there. Let me see the new things that You are doing and understand all that You have done in the past. Do not let me run after new ideas or new trends that lead to nowhere. When it comes to spirituality and character, let me never try to skip patience, endurance, and diligence. In all things, give me wisdom and discernment.

Bible Reading for Today:  Psalm 5

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Lunch Break Study

Read Psalm 5:

To the choirmaster: for the flutes. A Psalm of David.

1 Give ear to my words, O Lord;
   consider my groaning.
2 Give attention to the sound of my cry,
   my King and my God,
   for to you do I pray.
3 O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
   in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
4 For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
   evil may not dwell with you.
5 The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
   you hate all evildoers.
6 You destroy those who speak lies;
   the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
7 But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
   will enter your house.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
   in the fear of you.
8 Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness
   because of my enemies;
   make your way straight before me.
9 For there is no truth in their mouth;
   their inmost self is destruction;
their throat is an open grave;
   they flatter with their tongue.
10 Make them bear their guilt, O God;
   let them fall by their own counsels;
because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out,
   for they have rebelled against you.
11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
   let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
   that those who love your name may exult in you.
12 For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
   you cover him with favor as with a shield.

Questions to Consider

  1. What is the general idea of this Psalm? What was David requesting?
  2. Why do you suppose justice is such a big theme in the Psalms?
  3. Are there people who are recipients of injustice whom you should pray for and possibly help?

Notes

  1. David’s prayer in Psalm 5 can be summarized in vv. 10 and 11: In v. 10, he asks that the wicked would have to “bear their guilt”; and in v. 11, he asks that the Lord would exult the righteous.
  2. Many Psalms, such as Psalm 5, remind us that God has not closed His eyes to the deeds of the wicked or the righteous. Of course, while the gospel reminds us that we are saved by the blood of Christ only, we must not forget that the Lord does promise to give each what his deeds deserve (Rom. 2:6). This should be an encouragement, knowing that all the wrongs will be made right and that our good work will be rewarded.
  3. Personal application question.

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Evening Reflection

Romans 12:2 says that we should renew our minds and not conform to the patterns of this world. When was the last time you thought about things like politics, justice, policy, liberalism, or our culture. Do you truly have a biblical worldview? When it comes to the basic disciplines of growing in Christ—such as word, prayer, fellowship, service, evangelism—how are you doing? In your constant search for efficiency, have you swiped over these things?

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