May 27, Friday

Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from May 23-29 are written by Andy Kim. Andy, a graduate of Northwestern University, is about to complete his M.Div. at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is currently serving as a staff at Radiance Christian Church in San Francisco, CA

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Acts 28:19-21

But because the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar—though I had no charge to bring against my nation.20 For this reason, therefore, I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain.” 21 And they said to him, “We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brothers coming here has reported or spoken any evil about you. 

27A while ago, I had the privilege of meeting a member of one of most notorious gangs in the US. At the age of 12, he walked the streets with his first assignment to shoot a rival member in order to prove his loyalty. His reason for joining was that it gave him a sense of purpose, belongingness, and value. He spent the next five years wasting his life, resulting in unforgettable memories that he now trembles at when recalling such experiences. By the end of those years, he was caught and said that at the time, it was the greatest disappointment for him and his gang, yet later, he realized it was the greatest appointment by a Savior who was calling him. What was ironic for him was that he began to learn what hope really meant behind bars in a dark, hopeless prison cell.

He learned that hope bound by circumstances only turned into disappointment, and a hope lost in fantasy was no more than a wish. How often have we abused the phrase “I hope for” when in reality we meant “I wish for.” Such false hope is vulnerable to change, and the endless pursuit of it leads to something far worse, which is no hope at all. But as Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” The hope that Dr. King talks about is the very hope of Jesus Christ—a hope that never disappoints since the beginning of time, so that those who have it may find eternal life.

This is the very hope that Apostle Paul speaks about in this passage. It is more than simply a mission or a task, but the hope of Israel was the very person of Jesus Christ. Paul committed his life and sufferings for the sake of sharing this truth. We live in a world where hope has lost its weight to the deception of false wishes and securities. When a man loses hope, his world collapses, but when a world loses hope, the people collapse. Today, the ex-gang member walks the same hopeless streets, sharing the life of Jesus Christ so that those who hear it may put their hope in Him.

Prayer: Lord, would You restore hope in my life and in our world today? Thank You for Your promises of everlasting hope that never leads to disappointment. May we take such promises and share the news of this hope with the people around us so that this world may come to know You.

Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 53

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Lunch Break Study

Read Hebrews 10:23-25: Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Questions to Consider

  1. What keeps our hope from wavering? What are the areas in your life that you put hope in that is not of Christ?
  2. What does the writer mean when he says “to stir one another in love”?
  3. What is the writer’s purpose of verse 25 in this context?

Notes

  1. The promises of God keep us from faltering because He is faithful. The phrase “hold fast” implies that there will be pressures of the world to cause you to deter you from His hope. Grab hold of His promises and continually confess them over your life. The writer also implies in the following passages that the people around us keep us from wavering in our journey with Christ.
  2. Here, the writer transitions from focusing on our vertical relationship with Christ to our horizontal relationship with one another. We are accountable to one another and have a responsibility to each other. The word “stir” in the original text includes “rousing to activity” or even “provoking,” but it should be done in love. Accountability can sometimes be in the form of pushing one another and challenging one another.
  3. It appears that some believers neglected to gather together for worship. So the writer emphasizes and concludes this passage with the importance of the believer’s unity with one another. We are to continually point each other to the hope of Christ’s return.

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Evening Reflection

Spend some time reflecting on your relationship with Christ. Do you find your hope in Him alone? Secondly, what does your relationship with others look like? Are you accountable to others and do you challenge one another to love and serve Him more? Third, spend some time asking God to give you the courage and conviction to share the good news of hope to someone who doesn’t know.

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