March 9, Thursday

The AMI QT Devotionals from March 6-12 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.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FOR TODAY

1 Corinthians 7:29-40 (NIV)

What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; 30 those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31 those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away. 32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife—34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord. 36 If anyone is worried that he might not be acting honorably toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if his passions are too strong and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married. 37 But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin—this man also does the right thing. 38 So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does better. 39 A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. 40 In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is—and I think that I too have the Spirit of God.

It is the wise person who asks the question, “What makes my life significant in the eyes of God, and what will I ultimately be rewarded for when I stand before the Lord?”   We live in an area that is driven by metrics and analytics, and everyone in our church seems to be consumed by measurable results.  But what does God consider a win?   Unfortunately, it’s difficult to quantify spiritual success, because God’s scoreboard is different than ours.

There are many things that God will evaluate as a measure of our significance.  He will look at the health of our marriages, how we raise our children, and how we conduct our friendships.  He will even consider our career success, and how we earn and spend our money.  But all of these things will pale in comparison to our impact on the lives of the lost and hurting.  Proverbs 11:30 teaches us that “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life and he who is wise wins souls.”

In the past year, if you have not touched the life of another person who is in need of the gospel, you have not fulfilled one of your primary duties as a follower of Christ.  We all have a number of callings in our lives.  We are called to be husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, teachers, doctors, employees; but all of these callings are subordinate to our primary call to follow Christ and to be engaged in His mission to share His gospel to the world.  Unfortunately, we often invert our priorities and live with divided devotions to God.  For some, we will be limited by our responsibilities to our family, but we must still make God’s kingdom our priority.  God’s desire for all of us is that we would live fully devoted lives for Him, whether we are married or single.

Prayer: Father, I confess that my devotion can be divided by many things.  Some of these responsibilities are necessary and part of Your will for my life.  Help me to be the best spouse or parent that I possibly can be, but in seasons give me the faith to live with single-minded devotion, entrusting the welfare of our loved ones to you, so that I can serve You without reservation.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 20


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read Matthew 6:25-34: Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

 

Questions to Consider:

  1. Why does Jesus tell us not to worry?
  2. What does it mean to seek God’s kingdom first?
  3. How does seeking God’s kingdom help with the problem of worry?

Notes:

  1. Jesus tells us not to worry, based on the fact that His Father takes cares of the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. If He would take care of His lesser creations, how much more would He take care of us.
  2. The true people of God understand the innate beauty of God’s glory and know that their well-being is secondary in terms of its importance. There are too many Christians who do not live a God entranced life, but they live a self-absorbed life.  The question on their heart isn’t what can I do to please God and how can I better glorify Him, but rather they are consumed by how God can please them and make their lives more enjoyable.  In making this critical mistake, these people never find the pleasure and enjoyment of life that they are looking for, because pleasure and joy come when God is pleased with us and when we seek His kingdom
  3. The command to seek the kingdom is found in the greater context of Jesus’ command for us not to worry. Jesus teaches us not to worry about the food that we will eat, the clothes that we will wear, the graduate school that we will get into, or the success of our career.  These needs are secondary in terms of their importance, and they will be given to us when we attend to the greater priority of God’s kingdom.  The Scriptures are absolutely clear on the importance of the Kingdom of God, and every Christian needs to know the infinite value of God’s kingdom and the necessity of buying completely into it.

EVENING REFLECTION

Think about the ways in which you worry and allow anxiety to fill your heart.  Is this because you are not seeking God’s purpose and plan?  Pray to the Lord that He would calm your anxious heart and fill you with the peace that surpasses all understanding.

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