Editor’s Note: The AMI QT devotionals from May 30th – June 5th are provided by Cami King. Cami, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, is about to complete her M.Div. at Gordon- Conwell Theological Seminary. She is currently serving as a staff member at Journey Community Church in Raleigh.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother. 20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. 21 Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they praised God because of me. Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also.
One of my favorite preachers often says that in all his seminary training, no one ever taught him how to exegete a white space. By that, he means that in all the verses of Scriptures chronicling the lives of our heroes, there are lots of things in the middle: moments between God’s calling and the fulfillment of His promises, between conversion and effective ministry, moments of waiting, heart ache, persecution, confusion, strife that are not written down. They happened in between the recorded moments, and exist somewhere in the white spaces between words on the page.
The timeline of Paul’s life is one of the most well chronicled in Scripture. Although Paul’s point in giving this particular timeline is to assure his readers that the gospel he preached came directly from the Lord, not any human teacher, I love passages like the one above because they remind me that Paul was a real person, walking with God over the span of an actual life time. Oftentimes, in my life, I get bogged down in the day-to-day. My journey with God is full of few moments that feel miraculous and monumental and many that feel fairly mundane and ordinary. Sometimes these in-between moments are merely lackluster, at which point my greatest battle is usually boredom or complacency. Other times they are difficult moments of waiting, heartache, uncertainty, and difficulties when I’m not sure what God is up to or where He is leading me. In those moments, the battles are fierce – doubt, bitterness, unbelief, the temptation to take back the reigns and fail to surrender. It’s in these moments that the skill of white space exegesis is most important – the ability to remember that God is faithful and to trust that He’s still at work.
Are you in an in-between moment today? Are you waiting on God to answer a prayer or come through in a specific situation? Or maybe you are facing another ordinary day of work or school. Don’t despise the seemingly small and insignificant moments (Zechariah 4:10). God is still present and He’s always up to something good.
Prayer: Sovereign Lord, I choose to believe today that You are always with me and to trust that You are constantly at work for my good and for Your glory. Help me to surrender anew today as I put one foot in front of the other and follow You into all You have for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 60
Lunch Break Study
Read Colossians 2:6-10: Therefore, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and firm in your faith just as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 8 Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him all the fullness of deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.
Questions to Consider:
- According to the passage, how can we “live lives in him”?
- Are there any popular teachings and philosophies threatening to captivate you today? How do they align with the truth of God’s Word?
- Paul reminds his readers of the lordship and authority of Christ. Why is this important?
- We can “live lives in him” in three ways”: (1) by being rooted and built up in him, (2) by standing firm in our faith, and (3) by overflowing with thanksgiving. Foundational to all three of these is receiving Jesus as Lord – surrendering our lives to Him and following His leadership.
- Paul is condemning false teachers who are propagating “additions to Christ” and leading the believers astray with teaching based on tradition and worldly practices. There are many popular teachings and philosophies in our culture today. What, if any, are based more on tradition and worldly practices than on the truth of God’s word? Some areas to consider: philosophies regarding work place ethics, finances, marriage, dating, child rearing, success and achievement, etc.
- When we remember that Jesus is Lord, we yield to His word over every other teaching around us. It serves as the standard against which we evaluate everything else. This gives us a firm foundation that is not so easily shaken by the popular teachings and philosophies of our day.
Spend some time reflecting on an in-between season in your life. What challenges did you face? How did you experience God’s faithfulness? Ask the Lord to encourage you through your past experiences with Him, and to continue to follow Him faithfully in the future.