July 28, Thursday

Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from July 24 – 31 are provided by Pastor Yohan of Radiance Christian Church, San Francisco.  Yohan graduated from University of Pennsylvania and Cairn University, where he studied theology.  He is married to Mandie, and they have four children: Maggie, Jonathan, Abigail and Simon.

Devotional Thought for Today

John 3:27-30

27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom.The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

bballIn my neck of the woods, a dominant sports story occurred earlier this month when Kevin Durant announced that he was joining the Golden State Warriors for the 2016-17 NBA season. For those of you who are unfamiliar with basketball, Kevin Durant, who is in the discussion for being one of top three players in the world, joined a team that was five points away from winning back-to-back NBA championships. And this team already has four all-stars, one of which is Stephen Curry, who is also in the discussion for being one of the top three players in the world.

After the shock of the formation of the “superteam” wore off, the next question sports journalists began asking was: “How would this dynamic with all these stars, especially between Steph and Kevin, work? Who would defer to whom? Who would be the lead, and who would be sidekick? Who would be the ‘face of the franchise’?” You see, in basketball, when there are ten seconds left on the clock, and your team is down by one, there is still only one basketball and only one person who can take that final shot—and that person is often considered the alpha-dog of the team. Golden State now seems to have two alpha-quality players. If neither of them can concede alpha status, then the team will likely implode. I once heard preacher Tony Evans say, “Anything with two heads is a monster.” Most people outside of the Bay Area are hoping for such a result.

John the Baptist understood this truth well. He understood that there could not be two Saviors, and that his role was not to be the Savior but to point people to the Savior. Yet he was perfectly happy to become less, so that Jesus could more easily and readily become more. Sometimes, even as believers, we are guilty of making other things more, while making Christ less. Consider your careers, families, finances, dreams, or even your ambitions in ministry: In these trying times, some would have you believe that your race is more important than faith. But here is the important thing that we all need to remember: for the believer, there can only be one Alpha, and if we try to create more, our lives will implode. All other things, including self, need to become less as He becomes more.

Prayer

Lord, please become greater in my life. Please allow me to surrender my will and desires to You, trusting you, because you are good. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 122

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Lunch Break Study

Read 1 Kings 11:1-6: 1 King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done.

Questions to Consider

  1. What was the Lord’s command about marriage? And what was the purpose of that command?
  2. What was the result of Solomon’s disobedience?
  3. What is the greater principle, and how can you apply it to your life?

Notes

  1. The Lord’s command to Solomon was not to marry foreign women. This command was given to Israel as a whole in Ex. 34:16. The issue was not about race but religion. God knew that foreign spouses would turn His people’s hearts toward foreign gods (11:3).
  2. As God predicted, Solomon’s heart turned away from God (11:4); he worshipped other gods (11:5); he did evil in the eyes of the Lord (11:6), and this eventually lead to the downfall of Israel (11:11).
  3. The broader principle is that anything you love that is not of the Lord will diminish your heart for the Lord. Even things that seem less significant like hobbies can take from your heart for God, but the bigger problems arise when they are important idols—such as spouses.

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Evening Reflection  

Today’s theme was singular devotion. Take some time this evening to jot down the five to ten most important things in your life. Assuming that God is no. 1, ask yourself this: “Do items two through ten help me to love God more, or do they vie for my attention?”

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