February 2, Thursday

markThe AMI QT Devotionals from February 2-3 are provided by Pastor Mark Chun of Radiance Christian Church in S. F.  Mark, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.), has been married to Mira for 20 years; they have two children, Jeremiah and Carissa.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the respective views of AMI pastors.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FOR TODAY

An Inconvenient Truth about Abortion (1)*

2 Kings 16: 1-6 (NIV)

In the seventeenth year of Pekah son of Remaliah, Ahaz son of Jotham king of Judah began to reign. 2 Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God. 3 He followed the ways of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in the fire, engaging in the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. 4 He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on the hilltops and under every spreading tree. 5 Then Rezin king of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem and besieged Ahaz, but they could not overpower him. 6 At that time, Rezin king of Aram recovered Elath for Aram by driving out the people of Judah. Edomites then moved into Elath and have lived there to this day.

2While I squirmed over having to present a morning devotional based on a passage dealing with infanticide, we, as followers of a holy God, need to deal with the horrifying nature of sin head on.

In reading about the reign of King Ahaz, I think most of us would agree with the biblical assessment that this man did evil in the eyes of the Lord.  Faced with the threat of being conquered by his political enemies, Ahaz committed the unthinkable act of sacrificing his son to pagan idols in the hope that they would deliver him from this situation.  His desire to maintain power and control overrode any remnant of moral conscience that this man may have had and became his excuse to commit the inexcusable sin of sacrificing his child.  And it appears that Ahaz’s idols gave him exactly what he desired: he withstood the attack of the armies of Aram and Israel.  However, in the annals of biblical history, this was a victory that felt more like a defeat.

In 1973, there was another victory that seemed rather hollow, because it, too, involved the sacrifice of children: the landmark Supreme Court case known as Roe v. Wade.  Ironically, some who oppose infanticide do an about-face over feticide, which actually is infanticide unless the humanness of the one in the womb, whether 12 or 32 weeks old, is categorically denied.

This morning, I want to be sensitive to those women who have endured the shame of abortion and offer the forgiveness and healing of Christ.  Yet, at the same time, I would like to shed light on this issue.  The advocates for on-demand legalized abortion celebrated the decision as a victory for all women, but they forgot to mention the countless children lost as a result of the verdict.  And since that decision in 1973, over 50 million abortions have been performed in the United States.  Planned Parenthood, an organization that performs most of these abortions, plainly states that one of out of three babies conceived in the United States is deliberately aborted. Over 1 million abortions will be reported in this country this year alone.  These aren’t just numbers but real people who could have been our brothers or sisters, brilliant scientists or outstanding theologians.

Maybe you have had an abortion?  Confess that sin to Christ and receive His forgiveness and healing.  There is no sin that God won’t or can’t forgive.

Prayer

Lord, Your word tells us that You have known us from the very moment we were conceived, and that we were wonderfully and fearfully formed in our mother’s womb.  Help us to understand the sanctity of life and the awesome privilege of having children who bear Your image.    May You protect our marriages, our families, and especially our children as we live against the tides of this culture.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Judges 11

*Today and tomorrow’s AMI QT Devotionals are reprints from 2014.


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Matthew 19:13-15 (NIV)

13 Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. 14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there. [1]

Questions to Consider:

  1. Why did the disciples rebuke people for bringing their children to be blessed by Jesus?
  2. What is Jesus’ attitude towards the children?
  3. What does it mean that the kingdom of heaven belongs to children?

Notes

  1. Ancient cultures held children in low-esteem and did not see it worthwhile to go out of their way for them. In addition, the disciples were intent on getting to the next place of ministry and saw this interruption as a hindrance.
  2. Jesus’ attitude is completely opposite of the disciples. He gladly takes the time to lay hands and to pray for each child.  As believers, we should treat all children with the same attitude that Jesus did—as special recipients of God’s love, even prior to their personal commitment to Christ.
  3. Childlike dependence and innocent faith are the hallmarks of an authentic relationship with our heavenly Father. Although there may be room for doubt, cynicism, and a critical heart, these things can easily poison our walk with God.  What this verse does not mean is that all children go to heaven.

[1] The New International Version. (2011). (Mt 19:13–15). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.


EVENING REFLECTION

I recently read a post from a person, who I thought was a committed follower of Christ, stating that he was indifferent to the subject of abortion.  This deeply saddened me because I don’t believe this espouses the heart of God.  Although we don’t want to make hot button topics bigger than they are in relation to the Gospel of Christ, at the same time, we must hold unwavering to a Christian worldview and ethic.  It is important that we think through our position on many cultural and societal matters and hold fast to the Scriptures as our guide.  Take time tonight to ask the Lord to give you clarity on the controversial issues that Christians face and the courage to stand for the truth.

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