May 11, Thursday

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 9:14-15

And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

In my family, gifts have always been an essential part of a celebration; whether it be Christmas, birthdays, or anniversaries, my wife and I make sure to put lots of thought into what kind of gifts we get each other. However, between the two of us, my wife is much better at choosing gifts; she can figure out what I like and do not like, without making it very obvious that she is asking. Since we have been dating, I’ve never been disappointed in the gifts she has given me—I can’t say the same for her.

As we mentioned in yesterday’s devotion, the Corinthians were preparing a monetary gift for the Jerusalem Church. Paul uses different ways to exhort them to give generously, such as sharing the testimony of the Philippian church, using an illustration on sowing seeds, and teaching that it leads to worship. In the latter part of this passage, Paul finalizes his teaching on generosity with a reminder about God’s greatest gift to us—Jesus. In verse 15, Paul says, “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”

Like the Corinthians, we have many different reasons why we serve others. We serve because God has blessed us with much financial resources, or because we can spiritually grow in our righteousness. While all of these things are very important, the real reason we should bless people is because God has extended His grace to us through Jesus Christ—He is our indescribable gift!  We serve and generously give because God has given us His greatest gift.
When you think of Jesus, do you see Him as an indescribable gift? Do you treasure Him? I want to encourage you to spend some time giving thanks to God for sending Jesus to redeem us. Without Him, we would be stuck in death, fear, and shame. But in Him we have life, joy, and peace!

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for giving me the greatest gift of all. Help me to treasure this gift in my heart and not be distracted by the busyness of ministry. I understand I have to be a good steward of the spiritual gifts You have given to me, but help me to treasure You above all things. Amen!

Bible Reading for Today: Deuteronomy 4


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read Ephesians 2:1-8: As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Questions to Consider

  1. Why is it impossible to save ourselves (v. 3)?
  2. What is the purpose for the Ephesians to be seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (v.7)?
  3. Why are we not saved by our own works (v. 9)?

Notes

  1. We cannot save ourselves because we have an innate desire to gratify our own flesh—we are the problem. It is only through Christ’s work on the cross that we can be saved.
  2. It is important that the Ephesians be seated with Christ so that they can be testimony for future Christians. Their salvation will be a testimony of Christ’s grace and mercy.
  3. So that we cannot boast in our own strength.

EVENING REFLECTION

In light of today’s devotion on God’s gift to us, have you given thanks to Him? Are you more focused on the gifts you receive from Jesus, rather than the gift Himself? Please take some personal time to worship Jesus for who He is.

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