Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from October 3-7 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 small children.
Devotional Thought for Today
Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
Just about every day, my wife and I lament at the rate our children are growing. Truthfully, I wouldn’t want to keep them at seven, five, and three years of age forever, but I would like to freeze them like this for another five years or so. One of the things I find most cute about them is their voices—little kids have really high pitched voices. But what’s interesting is that even after countless conversations and spending almost every day of their lives with them, I often find it difficult to distinguish their voices. So when I am away, and I call home, I generally have to ask who I’m speaking with (don’t tell my 7-year old son this; he’d be crushed to know that his voice is just as high and girly sounding as his 5-year old sister’s).
In the complete opposite vein, I am touched by Mary’s ability to recognize the Lord once He called her name. Sure, it took her a moment, but when Jesus said, “Mary,” something in her heart was triggered to the Lord’s presence, for this was probably not the first time Mary had heard Jesus call her name or listened to the sound of His voice. Undoubtedly, Mary had heard Jesus speak many times; she had spent many hours listening to him and had come to love the sound of His calling. So when Jesus called her name, she was immediately able to distinguish His voice from all the others she had heard that day.
Many times people will ask me how they can distinguish God’s voice from all the other voices they might hear (mainly their own minds telling them this or that). Well, part of that involves getting familiar with God’s voice; spending time in His presence and obeying when you think it might be Him. And yes, sometimes it’s trial and error; but after a few weeks, months, years, of learning to listen and walking in faith, I have no doubt that when Christ calls your name, you too will be able to recognize His voice.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I know that You speak, so please do so in my life. Help me to love Your presence and the sound of Your voice. Help me distinguish Your voice and promptings, from the voices of the world, friends, or even my own mind and desires. Amen.
Lunch Break Study
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
Questions to Consider
- What does Christ say about the one who asks or knocks on the door? What has prevented you from asking in the past?
- What was Jesus’ point with the bread-stone and fish-serpent illustrations? Do you view your Heavenly Father as good and generous?
- What are some things for which you should pray and ask?
- Sometimes we lack because we have not asked (see also James 1:5). Christ indicates that God’s nature is more generous than stingy. So if it is guidance, provision, help, etc., we should be more willing to ask.
- Jesus’ point is made clear in v. 11 that even evil people know how to give good gifts to their children. So how much more is God, who is good, willing to give to His children? The question is: Do you truly believe God is good, or, do you kind of think He is out to get you?
- Obviously, it’s a personal question, but think of some things you were too afraid or embarrassed to ask in the past.
This morning we touched on learning to hear God’s voice (or leadings). In the afternoon, we talked about our generous God. As we link these ideas together this evening, try asking for God’s guidance or direction on a matter with which you’ve been struggling. Remember, when Jesus tells us to ask and knock, He is also talking about guidance for His children. 05