May 12, Thursday

Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from May 9-15 are provided by Pastor David Kwon of Journey Community Church (Raleigh). David, a graduate of Drexel University and Columbia International University (M.Div.) is married to Helen (“Pie”) and they have three beautiful daughters (Cara, Phoebe, and Ruth).

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Acts 24:26-27

At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul. So he sent for him often and conversed with him. 27 When two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.

12Hardships and trials and are all part of life no matter what you believe.  We will all face difficulties because we live in a broken and sinful world.  Yet as believers, we should view our hardships differently than how the world views them.  We can go through trials with hope, and even joy, because we know that each trial we experience has purpose in God’s divine plan.  The great Christian writer Philip Yancey puts it like this: “For the Christian pain represents, at various times and from various angles, a design feature worthy of praise and gratitude, an affliction to be overcome, a potential value of soul-making, and a spur to hope in a painless future.”

At the end of chapter 24, we read that Paul has been in prison; and when it looked like there might be hope to be released, it turns out that Felix the governor of Rome been succeeded by Porcius Festus.  Felix wanted a bribe from Paul to be released from prison, and yet we read that no such thing happened, resulting in Paul’s delayed imprisonment (v.26).  As an outsider looking into the story, it seems unfair that God would put Paul through such trials and hardship despite his faithfulness to the gospel ministry.

Are you facing trials and hardships today?  Remember that in the midst of your suffering, God has a purpose for you and wants to speak to you.  Ask Him for an open heart as you strive to trust Him in difficulty.

Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 34

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Lunch Break Study

2Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Questions to Consider

  1. Why does James say we can experience joy in the midst of trials?
  2. In his words, what do trials produce?
  3. Do you see evidence of growth in your life as you face trials?

Notes

  1. We are to consider what we are going through as a matter of joy, not because the thing itself is something that is pleasurable, but because tribulation works patience within us. Our suffering is not an exercise in futility. God has a purpose, and that purpose is always good. We can count all things joy because God is working in all situations, even the most painful, for our sanctification and ultimate glorification.
  2. The word translated as “testing” occurs rarely in the Bible, appearing only three other times. In this case, “testing” deals with purification through trial. God wants our faith to grow, and often, he will use trials to do that.
  3. Personal application of the passage.

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Evening Reflection

As we close out the day – I encourage you to spend some time in worship.  Take time to stand in awe of God and be in His presence.  My hope is that as we do that, it will gives us right perspective of our lives in light of the greatness of our God.  Amen.

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