Note: The AMI QT Devotionals for November 21-26 are provided by Pastor Yohan Lee of Radiance Christian Church in San Francisco, CA.
Devotional Thought for Today
For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins?3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
How does the phrase “fantasy football” make you feel? For the men (sorry to stereotype) who play it, you probably got a little giddy, because to you, FF represents your last bastion of childish fun in your otherwise mature, pressure-packed, overworked, and utterly responsible existence. For the wives, girlfriends, children, or people who like to have normal conversations with the men in their lives (again, I know women play FF), the term “fantasy football” makes you roll your eyes (or convulse violently), because you know that from mid-August to late-December, your men will be engulfed by this nerdy addiction (think of it like the 21st century’s version of “Magic, The Gathering”).
I’m not going to go into great detail about the nuances of FF, but one thing you need to know is that by the halfway mark of the season, it becomes apparent that one or two teams are hopelessly out of the competition. Now, when this happens, it is important for these teams to continue to try and not abandon the season altogether by not playing a full roster or making stupid lopsided trades. This ensures integrity throughout the league. In order to prevent poor teams from mailing it in, leagues will often institute a last place punishment, ranging from things as benign as a loser’s trophy, to the extreme of having to get a humiliating tattoo. Other than to dissuade them from quitting, these types of punishments serve as lasting reminders of one’s ineptitude and failure.
In verse 3 of today’s passage, the author of Hebrews tells us that part of the reason why God instituted the OT sacrificial system was to remind us of our sins. The graphic ritual of animal sacrifice served as reminders of the gravity of our sin and our own ineptitude and failure to the holy standards of God. But thanks be to God, who by sacrificing his Son on the cross did away with the old system, as well as our shame and guilt. Because of Christ’s once and for all atoning sacrifice, we no longer need to be reminded of our failures; in fact, the opposite is true—meaning, we can and are expected to take glory in the cross. This morning, ask yourself: Am I trying to make old sacrifices by reenacting my sin, or am I living the victory of the gospel?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the cross. Thank You that I no longer need to live in the shame of sin, nor do I need to be haunted by my past. Help me to live in the victory You had over death and the cross. Thank You that in Christ, I am a winner, not a loser!
Bible Reading for Today: Proverbs 9
Lunch Break Study
Read Romans 8:31-39: What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be[i] against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.[j] 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Questions to Consider:
- Have you ever felt that people, circumstances, or even God were against you? How does this passage speak into those feelings?
- What is the picture of Christ given in this passage?
- What does it mean for you to be “more than a conqueror”?
- First, God is for us, not against us. Second, notice the phrasing of v. 31: Paul doesn’t say that no one will ever oppose you or make your life difficult (we can expect this); rather, he is saying that having God on your side is better than having no opposition (though it may not always feel this way).
- In verse 34, Christ is depicted as interceding on our behalf—we can think of Him as our defense lawyer.
- Personal/application question.
Today’s theme was living in victory and laying aside sin and shame. How has your thought life been lately? Do you live in the freedom and power of Christ, or do you dwell in shame and guilt? Do you truly believe that you are more than a conqueror? Does your life reflect this truth?