May 8, Monday

The AMI QT Devotionals from May 8-14 are provided by Emerson Lin.  Emerson, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, serves as a staff at Kairos Christian Church, while studying at Talbot School of Theology.  He is married to Annie.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

2 Corinthians 9:1-2

There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the Lord’s people.For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action. 

In science, there is a process called a positive feedback loop in which a change from the normal range of function elicits a response that amplifies or enhances that change. An example is a cattle stampede. Once panic causes some cattle to start running, other cattle will find this frightening and start to run, until the general level of panic and the number of cattle running reaches its peak.[1]

In this passage, we see a positive feedback loop being displayed, which results in a generous giving to the materially-poor Jerusalem church. Paul encourages the Corinthian church that their enthusiasm to give money to the Jerusalem church has spurred the Philippian (Macedonian) church to also give. In fact, in 2 Corinthians 8:3, Paul says, “For I testify that they (Philippian church) gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability.” We learn that the Macedonians were willing to give “beyond their ability,” not simply because they were a generous church, but because they were inspired to hear that the Corinthian church had eagerly promised to give to Jerusalem. Now that the Philippians had given money, Paul is urging the Corinthian church to honor their promise to give.

Many of us have been encouraged by other’s testimonies. Testimonies are not just stories, but like what Paul said in verse 2, they are supposed to encourage and “stir believers into action.” Just as the Corinthians and Philippians were spurred to give generously by each other’s testimonies, our personal testimonies can spur others to take action in their spiritual walks with God. 1 John 1:2-3 makes it very clear that testimonies are important to our Christian walk. It says, “This life was revealed to us, and we have seen it and testify about it. We declare to you this eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us. What we have seen and heard we declare to you so that you, too, can have fellowship with us. Now this fellowship of our is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus, and Messiah.”

This past year, Kairos Christian Church has made an effort to have a Sunday testimony on different topics at least once every two weeks. Our members share how the Holy Spirit has healed them, encouraged them to go on missions, convicted them to evangelize to co-workers, and to join discipleship. We have seen an increase in the participation of these areas of the church. While there might be other factors contributing to the increase in participation, I believe that testimonies play a large part in spurring our members into action. Our heart is that those who experience God in a deeper way will be able to share their testimony to others. This will create a positive feedback loop in the local church.

When was the last time you shared a testimony? I encourage you to reflect back on the month of April and find something that God has done in your life. Take time to write each thing down and share it with your small group. Maybe somebody in your group will be spurred to take action!

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for being a good Father. As I take time to reflect on the month of April, help me to remember incidences where You were working. I want to remember these things, not to boast in my own strength, but to testify of Your goodness to the people around me. You deserve all the glory and praise in my life! Amen.

[1] Feedback Loops.” Models. November 14, 2016. Accessed May 05, 2017. http://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/models/loops.html.

Bible Reading for Today: Deuteronomy 1


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read Psalm 71:9-18:  Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone. 10 For my enemies speak against me; those who wait to kill me conspire together. 11 They say, “God has forsaken him; pursue him and seize him, for no one will rescue him.” 12 Do not be far from me, my God; come quickly, God, to help me. 13 May my accusers perish in shame; may those who want to harm me be covered with scorn and disgrace. 14 As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. 15 My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long—though I know not how to relate them all. 16 I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone. 17 Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.18 Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.

Questions to Consider

  1. We often testify of God’s goodness when good things happen to us. What is unique about David’s passage concerning testimony?
  2. How are grief and joy intertwined in this passage (v. 15)?
  3. What is the specific reason that David asks God not to forsake him (v. 18)?

Notes

  1. His testimony is unique because he is testifying about God’s goodness in the midst of grief.
  2. Regardless of the circumstance, David is not looking for answers and reasons. Rather, he simply understands that God is good and that is enough for him.
  3. David tells God to not forsake him until he is able to testify of God’s greatness to the next generation of believers. This reveals the burden he has to shepherd the next generation in understanding the goodness of God.

EVENING REFLECTION

In light of today’s sharing on testimony, were you able to reflect on God’s faithfulness in the month of April? Where were some areas in your life that God revealed His goodness to you (school, relationships, family, spiritual walk)?

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