August 25, Thursday

emersonEditor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from August 25-26 are provided by Emerson Lin. Emerson, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, serves as a staff at Kairos Christian Church, while studying at Talbot School of Theology. He and Annie got married earlier this year.

Devotional Thought for Today

Returning to John 9: verses 25-7

He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” 26 Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”27 He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”

25A few months ago, during the last stretch of the hike through a cave in Sequoia National Park, our tour guide brought us into an open area in its most natural state. Once the breaker was shut off, we experienced pitch- black darkness. I could not see anything in front of me! The longer we stayed in the dark, the more fearful and uncomfortable I became. Once the breaker was back on, I was able to see again and felt a sense of relief.

Can you imagine the blind young man’s joy when Jesus healed him? I was joyful of the lights after experiencing 20 minutes of darkness, yet this young man experienced a lifetime of darkness. Jesus didn’t just physically heal this man, but his physical healing led to an emotional healing. In those days, the Jews believed that deformities were a result of God’s punishment over a family (John 9:1-2, 34). Imagine the social shame that was placed on him, as well as his family. Through this healing, we see his overwhelming joy in verse 25: “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know; I was blind but now I see!

We, too, have experienced this joy! We were once spiritually blind and spiritual outcasts, but through Jesus, we were accepted and could see. This joy is vital to our faith. When we’re struggling with our family, work, relationships, and ministries, in order for us to persevere, we need the joy of the Lord. Nehemiah 8:10 says, “…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” It refreshes us when we are tired and renews us when we are weary.

When we lack the joy of the Lord, we burn out. Like the Pharisees, we will even begin to discourage those who have experienced powerful ministry from the Lord. Ultimately, we stop believing that God is working our lives.

Are there indications that you are losing joy in your life? I encourage you to ask the Lord for more joy. Another great way to restore joy is to surround yourself with testimonies of God’s work in people’s lives. As you hear more, your spirit will be refreshed. Let the joy of the Lord be your strength!

Prayer:

Dear Lord, thank You for bringing me out of spiritual blindness and into Your marvelous light. Thank You for the joy that comes with the gospel. Help me to continually live in the joy that I have found in You because it sustains me. If I am lacking joy in life, Lord, remind me of Your goodness through Your Word and Your Church. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Luke 3

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Lunch Break Study 

Read Psalm 126:1-6: When the Lord restored the fortunes of[a] Zion, we were like those who dreamed. 2 Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” 3 The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. 4 Restore our fortunes, Lord, like streams in the Negev. 5 Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. 6 Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.

Questions to Consider

  1. What are the people’s reaction to victory and deliverance? Who receives the credit?
  2. How are sadness and joy intertwined in this passage (vv. 5-6)?
  3. How do the Gentiles respond to the joy of the Israelites? What has the Lord done in your life that might bring a similar response from unbelievers who you know?

Notes

  1. The Israelites react with much joy. The joy manifests into laughter and songs. The Lord receives the credit.
  2. The Lord will restore those who are in mourning and in tears with songs of joy! It is a foreshadow of the good news.
  3. They recognize that the Lord has done great things for them.

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Evening Reflection  

In light of today’s theme on joy, were there situations today where the joy of the Lord sustained you? In what areas of your life do you feel like you need more joy (school, family, ministry, work, etc.)?

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