April 4, Tuesday

The AMI QT Devotionals from April 3-9 are provided by Pastor Peter Yoon of Kairos Christian Church in San Diego.  Peter is a graduate of U.C. Riverside and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.).  He and his wife Jessica have three very active children: Nathan, Abigail, and Jason. 

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FOR TODAY

Saved a Wretch Like Me

1 Cor 15:9-10

For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.” John Newton, a former slave trader, penned these words into a hymn titled, “Amazing Grace” back in 1773. He probably never would have guessed that this hymn would be sung by millions of worshippers in so many languages. One biographer of John Newton estimates that this hymn is performed 10 million times annually, reminding the singers of the greatness of God’s grace over the wretchedness of our sins.

Do you at times struggle with a sense of guilt for the sins you have committed in your past? Although you know in your thought-life that you’ve been forgiven, the painful and shameful memories of your past still drag you towards the lies of low self-worth and a negative view of yourself. This can often hold you back from serving joyfully in the Lord’s gospel work.

Steve Arterburn, the author of Walking into Walls, has observed that many people today are still hurting over something that may have happened years ago. Unfortunately, it has become a wall they cannot get past. Rather than resolve the pain and move on, they continue to judge themselves as well as others. This then leads the wretched person to go on facing life in a negative, self-defeating way. Yet the good news of God’s grace shatters this wall.

Apostle Paul lived in the certainty of God’s grace. He understood that in the past, he had committed some of the most dreadful acts against God and God’s people. The very first Christian martyr was stoned while Paul (formerly Saul) stood over the dead corpse with satisfying approval (Acts 8:1). Could you imagine the immense guilt that must have burdened Paul’s heart after he became a Christ follower? In this brief statement, Paul reveals that of all people, he was the worst. But rather than wallowing in shame and guilt, he moved forward. Paul understood that God’s grace had enabled him to now serve God’s purposes.

You may have some skeletons in the closet. However, God’s grace fills us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Yes, we were all wretches at one point. Yet, God gives us the grace to move from our past sins into a new life in His Spirit.

Prayer: Sing the hymn: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound; that saved a wretch like me; I once was lost but now am found; was blind but now I see.”  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Bible Reading for Today: Matthew 26


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read Matt 26:6-13: While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. 8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” 10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial.13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Questions to Consider

  1. What does the unnamed woman’s action reveal about her understanding of Jesus?
  2. How would you have responded to the woman’s “waste” of the expensive perfume?
  3. How does this narrative challenge us to think about our own finances, time, and talents?

Notes

  1. In the context of Matt. 26, Jesus is anointed by this unnamed woman in preparation for His death. She understood this. Unfortunately, the disciples were more concerned with money, even if it was truly for the poor. Jesus had to remind them that they “would not always have” Him, as He would soon go to the cross.
  2. We might criticize the disciples for their judgmental comment, but self-righteousness tempts all of us.
  3. Loving Jesus may seem to be a waste of time and other resources in the eyes of the world. However, Jesus considers our devotion to be a beautiful thing.

EVENING REFLECTION

How have you seen God’s grace work in your life today? Spend some time thanking the Lord for His Grace. From Evangelism Explosion:

                                    God’s

                                    Riches

                                    At

                                    Christ’s

                                    Expense

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