August 8, Monday

christineliEditor’s Note: The AMI QT devotionals for August 8-14 are provided by Christine Li. Christine graduated from University of Pennsylvania and currently lives and works in New York City. She attends Remnant Church in Manhattan.

Devotional Thought for Today

John 5:2-6 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie — the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.  One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

8The last time I was at a basketball game, my family and I had a good time laughing at the Dance Cams and Kiss Cams. Part of the fun comes from watching the people on the big screen; another part is half-hoping and half-dreading that you might get picked. There are always people wildly participating, all with hopes that the cameraman will notice and broadcast them. But in a crowd of so many people, chances are that they will slip his notice.

Shifting now to a completely different environment, we might be able to imagine the same type of chaos at Bethesda. Can you imagine dozens of people showing up day after day, publicly acknowledging their needs? Not only would someone have to find some personal space in that kind of crowd, they would have had to jostle for attention to get a shot at healing. How discouraging it would be to get passed over day after day. When would it finally be their turn?

Sometimes it seems like we are similarly lost in a crowd of many people. Even among Christians, we might feel that our concerns are overlooked or on-hold. We know with our minds that God is with us, but it feels as though He is busy with everybody else’s lives. We tend to project human limitations onto God and live as if He’s passed over or lost track of us.

As this story shows us, our God is neither short-sighted nor unaware. Instead, our God sees us even when we are in a throng of people. He knows our condition and comes to meet us directly! No matter what type of chaos you find yourself starting off with this week, let’s remind ourselves that He is near. His eye is on you, He is wholly attentive to what you are going through, and He Himself draws near to you.

Prayer: Father, I know You are with me. You do not pass over or forget me, even if I am one of billions on this Earth. Remind me that You are a perfect shepherd with an eye on me. Help me to trust and see that You are present in every circumstance I face.

Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 135

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Lunch Break Study 

Read Genesis 28:10-17:  Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep.12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.13 There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” 16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”

Questions to Consider

  1. Jacob encounters God on this journey fleeing from home. What type of encounter did Jacob have (versus one he may have expected)?
  2. What is the significance of God’s blessing for Jacob in verses 13-14?
  3. In addition to the blessing of abundance, what are the additional promises God gives Jacob? Is this a promise that we can partake in?

Notes

  1. Jacob, as a fugitive and having stolen the blessing from Esau, might have dreaded punishment in the presence of God. However, God does not condemn him but, in mercy, reveals Himself to Jacob.
  2. Jacob receives promises for future hope: numerous descendants, land for those descendants, and the opportunity to be a source of blessing to the earth. This is the favor that he tried to secure through deception; however, God Himself now confers the blessing onto Jacob. God has confirmed that it belongs to him.
  3. Isaac could only bless Jacob’s propserity and future descendants. However, God ups the ante by promising His continued presence through the fulfilling of the the blessing. God’s promise extends through generations. Since we are spiritual descendants of Jacob, we get to partake in the promises of God’s provision and presence.

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Evening Reflection  

Today’s passages were about trusting that God is present in (and attentive to) our lives. Did you sense His presence or His hand in your daily living? Look towards tomorrow – let’s ask that He will impress upon us greater awareness of where He is.

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