April 19, Tuesday

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 18:5

 When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah.

19I love the movie Finding Nemo. Like every good children’s movie, it not only has beautiful visuals, memorable songs, and witty lines – the story has multiple layers that both children and adults can enjoy. You can take the story at face value about a sea adventure, or you could also find some life analogies, like the joy that comes from friendships pursuing a common goal. Marlin befriends so many creatures along the way. Some of these friendships last for a short moment; others, like his with Dory, are long-term commitments through thick and thin.

Silas and Timothy are known as great missionary partners to Paul; they really went through thick and thin times with him. Here, they came bringing either monetary support or some form of relief so that Paul could focus on the ministry he cared about. Throughout the New Testament, Paul trusted these brothers to help him, whether the task was to strengthen the churches on Paul’s heart or to physically journey with him. It is evident that they were not simply “co-workers” – they were family; they never abandoned each other after hardship but continued to weather the ups and downs of their ministry together.

Good friendships in the Lord provide sharpening and discernment; they also can be the primary source of encouragement and refreshing we need to get through difficult times. For all the endeavors that you have put your mind to, do you also have Silas and Timothy going along with you? Just as importantly, are you striving to be this kind of support towards others?

If you already have these friendships, praise God!  I encourage you to take the time today to keep “[spurring] one another onto love and good deeds.” Let us also remember that beyond Timothy and Silas, Paul also had friends for various seasons during each journey and in each city he visited – maybe these were shorter partnerships, but they were no less valuable. So let’s pray that God will grow and bring forth godly friendships in every season of our lives.

Prayer: Father, thank You for not leaving me all alone. Thank You for providing brothers and sisters as means of grace for my life. Keep raising up brothers and sisters in my church who will spur me on to love You more deeply. Lord, help me not just to find Silas’s and Timothy’s in my life, but make me someone who will encourage and strengthen others as well.

Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 10

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Lunch Break Study

Read Ephesians 4:1-6: As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Questions to Consider

  1. What does Paul consider to be the nature of a life that is “worthy of the calling [we] have received”?
  2. The first directive Paul gives covers the believers’ nature. What is the second thing Paul urges them to do?
  3. This passage contains a lot of one’s. How does the one-ness of our faith help us with the previously mentioned directions from Paul?

Notes

  1. The nature of our lives should be humble, gentle, patient, and full of forbearance. The nature we have as believers is not an arbitrary collection of traits; it should increasingly reflect the character of Jesus Christ.
  2. Secondly, Paul instructs the brethren to “make every effort” to preserve unity. Unity is not a passive byproduct of our sanctified natures – it requires an active commitment and effort. Unity is intimately linked with our character and our ability to show Christ to one another.
  3. We are able to aspire to gain God’s character and have unity in our body because He models both for us. His character of holiness and love cannot be separated from Himself, and His distinct natures of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are also completely unified. Because He has given us His nature, these instructions from Paul are achievable in our lives!

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Evening Reflection

Engaging with the church community is a crucial part of our spiritual growth. Did you allow room in your life today to be strengthened by someone, or did you take the opportunity to go encourage someone? Let’s reflect on how we can make the community a part of our lives. Think about the brothers and sisters God has brought around you and ask Him for the grace and help to grow those relationships.

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