May 18, Thursday

The AMI QT Devotionals from May 15-21 are provided by Pastor Barry Kang, who heads Symphony Church in Boston.  Barry, a graduate of Stanford University and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Sunny (an amazing worship leader, chef and math wizard).  They are the proud parents of Caleb and Micah.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Everybody has a thorn. Your thorn is that place in your life where you feel most vulnerable or broken or defeated. You don’t want to talk about it; you’d like to pretend it’s not there.  Paul says that he pleaded with God three times to take his thorn away.  This was not a casual request.  Paul poured his heart out before God, but the heavens were silent.  We’ve all been there.

But then God speaks.  He says, “Paul, I have something for you better than pain removal.  It’s grace, and it’s sufficient for you.”  This doesn’t sound like a great deal—until we remember what grace is. Grace is the offer of God’s ceaseless presence and wasteful love.  Grace is God’s active, seeking, reaching, stretching presence in your life, enabling you to live as God wants you to.  When Paul encountered grace, he stopped asking for thorn-removal!  Instead, his thorns became a reason to boast because it had led him to grace.  May the sufficient grace of God pour into our lives!

Prayer: Lord God, we thank You for your sufficient grace.  There is nothing like it!  We know we don’t deserve it (almost by definition), but we still try to earn it.  Please forgive us for doing that.  May Your grace become more and more of a reality in our hearts and lives.   In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Deuteronomy 12


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read Hebrews 10:12-14-31: But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

Questions to Consider

  1. How far-reaching was the effect of Christ’s sacrifice?
  2. What does v.14 tell us about ourselves as believers?
  3. In what ways can the sufficiency of God’s grace give you comfort today?

Notes

  1. Christ’s sacrifice is “for all time.” This means, once and for all, Christ has paid the penalty for our sin. This is grace—grace that brings forgiveness, once and for all, for all time.
  2. 14 tells us that through Christ’s offering of Himself, we have been “perfected for all time.” This is the sufficiency of the grace of God—that though we are still “being sanctified” we are also perfected. God’s sufficient grace is the power behind our growth and the power behind the righteousness given to us through Christ.
  3. Sometimes, guilt can pile on so strongly. The enemy will tell us that we are not good enough, or too sinful, or unworthy of God’s grace. But His grace is not about us— it’s an unconditionally-given grace that perfects us. In our weakness, let’s remember the strength and sufficiency of God’s grace for us!

EVENING REFLECTION

Tonight, let’s say this over our lives: “God’s grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in my weakness.” Let’s lay down our weaknesses before Christ, acknowledging that His power is what matters, because His grace is sufficient.

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