April 18, Monday

christineliEditor’s Note: The AMI QT devotionals for April 17-23 are provided by Christine Li.  Christine graduated from University of Pennsylvania and currently lives and works in New York City.  She attends Remnant Church in Manhattan.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Acts 18:2-3 

After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them.

18In 2014, Whatsapp, one of the most widely used global messaging apps, sold for $19 billion dollars to Facebook. What many people found more noteworthy than the price was the irony, since both of the founders had been rejected after interviewing at tech companies, including Facebook, years prior. One said optimistically at the time, “Looking forward to life’s next adventure.” Both men had decided to step off the path of finding an existing tech job and find something new to do. Eventually, they teamed up to build a platform that became much, much larger than they would have foreseen.

Priscilla and Aquila are known as great partners in the ministry with Paul. But their divine appointment occurred in Corinth, where they settled after being driven out of Rome. What a long, complicated journey to finally end up in Corinth, but it would have seemed well worth the trouble once they met Paul and began co-laboring with him in missionary work. Being forced to leave their home would have been a disappointing and confusing experience, but the path actually led to a new life with fruitful ministry in Asia. Only in hindsight, it becomes clear that this was God’s plan.

When doors are shut in our lives, our instincts often rush to question God: Why would He suddenly pull the plug on something going just fine? What could be the point of creating a very large obstacle in our way of life? But through Priscilla and Aquila’s story, we can see that what we consider to be “difficulties” or “detours” are part of God’s good plans for us. The present situation might seem very mysterious and confusing, but we can trust that all things happen out of His love for us.

Since it is a Monday, some of us are dreading what the week holds. Let’s search our hearts to ask if we are truly willing to trust the wisdom of God’s plans, especially if He closes doors or allows adversity into our lives. May Priscilla and Aquila’s faithfulness help us joyfully and expectantly submit to what He brings.

Prayer: Father, I remember that You are loving and wise beyond my understanding. Help me to trust You in every twist and turn. More than needing to know what lies ahead, I need the comfort of Your presence and assurance that the path in front of me is filled with Your goodness. Lord, give me faith to trust You in every step!

Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 9

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Lunch Break Study

Read James 1:2-8

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a]whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

Questions to Consider

  1. What does James say is the purpose of our sufferings and trouble?
  2. Why should we believe and not doubt when we ask God for gifts of wisdom?
  3. In the path of following God, what does unbelief show? Why is the consequence so harsh? Do you find that you exhibit more belief or unbelief when you approach God?

Notes

  1. James says that the purpose of trials is to increase perseverance in our lives, and perseverance is an essential quality of spiritual maturity. Perseverance demonstrates trust in God even when all circumstances suggest otherwise.
  2. When we ask God for gifts of wisdom, we must trust that only He can provide that to us. To believe and not doubt demonstrates that we believe God is truly the only source of wisdom and that He is truly a generous giver.
  3. A “double-minded” man does not fully trust in God’s character or His provision – that is, the doubtful man is unsure if God will provide and if He is truly the only provider. To believe that God will not provide or that He is not the only source we can go to will cause us to live in insecurity, for we will not have a solid foundation that we can build our lives upon.

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Evening Reflection

Today we have reflected on trusting God when He shuts doors or even through trial. Are there specific situations where God is nudging you to rethink your attitude and to trust Him more fully? Let’s pray over those and ask God to give us wisdom and the grace to walk even more in step with Him tomorrow.

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