July 7, Thursday

Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from July 4-10 are provided by Pastor Barry Kang, who heads Symphony Church in Boston.  Barry, a graduate of Stanford University and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Sunny (an amazing worship leader, chef and math wizard).  They are the proud parents of Caleb and Micah.

Devotional Thought for Today

Colossians 3:11

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

7I remember Richard Mouw, former president of Fuller Theological Seminary, talking about when he was a seminary student.  He spent many late nights in the library and got to know the custodian, an older gentleman who would engage Richard Mouw in conversations every so often.

One night, as Mouw was working on a paper, the custodian came over and said, “So, you like books….”  Mouw wanted to focus on his work, and said, “Yes, I do,” and returned to his reading.  The custodian responded, “Ernie was like that.  He liked books, too.”

“Ummm, okay,” he said, but after a few moments, Mouw asked, “Who’s Ernie?”

“Ernie was a friend of mine from way back.  He really liked books, too.”

Mouw thought, “Well, okay.”

“Ernie ended up writing some books of his own.  You may know some of his books.  He wrote one about a fisherman.”

Something clicked in Mouw’s mind, so he asked,  “Wait, was Ernie’s last name Hemingway?”

“Yep.”

All of a sudden, the custodian wasn’t just a custodian anymore.   He was Ernest Hemingway’s friend.  He was interesting!

God has placed various people in our lives: friends, family, spouses, co-workers, bosses, etc.  When we see them, do we see just them, or do we see the One who created them?  How would our interactions change if we truly saw Jesus behind them?

Prayer: 

Father, help us to see You in every relationship we have.  Lord, we have never locked eyes with anyone who was not loved by You, so help us to love them as You have loved us.  We thank You for Your love.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 100-101

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Lunch Break Study

Read Matthew 25:31-40: When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?” 40 And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

Questions to Consider

  1. The passage speaks of the Son of Man coming in His glory to judge. Who will be judged at this time?
  2. Who will inherit the kingdom?
  3. Upon what basis are we to love the people we encounter?

Notes

  1. Jesus tells us that “all the nations” will be gathered before Him (v.32).
  2. Those who gave Jesus food, drink, clothes, and welcomed and visited Him will inherit the kingdom.
  3. The basis for our love and care is not that people deserve love and care, or that we are good people doing the right thing; rather, we are to love the people whom we see around us (particularly those in need) as though we were serving Jesus, who is our Lord, Judge, and Savior.

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Evening Reflection  

Take some time to journal your feelings toward the primary relationships in your life.  To what extent are you loving them as though you were honoring Jesus?  How is the Holy Spirit asking you to love them?

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