June 1, Thursday

The AMI QT blogs for June 1 and 2 are provided by Mei Lan Thallman. Mei Lan is originally from Taiwan and a graduate of Asbury College and Asbury Theological Seminary (M.A.) in Kentucky.  She is the wife of Pastor Kirt, who serves at Grace Covenant Church (Philadelphia).  They have two children, Nate and Naomi .

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

For God So Loved

Genesis 22:11-14

But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

At our former church in Taiwan, Kathy, an oncology nurse, was trying to live out her new-found faith in her work place; she joined her hospital’s Christian fellowship and prayed before her meals. One day a co-worker doctor approached her with this question:  “I know you became a Christian recently. I like Christians, but I have a difficult time accepting the teachings of your God.  Why does your God ask Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, just to prove his allegiance to God? What kind of God does that?”  As a new believer, my friend Kathy didn’t know how to answer this question, so she came to my husband and me for an answer.

So I shared with her a powerful sermon I had heard from my college president Dr. Dennis Kinlaw, addressing this very question.  He talked about how the testing of Abraham was not so much for God, but it was for Abraham to settle, once and for all, with confidence and certainty, who has the supreme place in his life.  Through this testing, a freedom was released in Abraham, knowing in confidence that God was his first love and greatest treasure in life.

Dr. Kinlaw pointed out that at a climatic juncture, when Abraham raised the knife to slay his beloved son, God personally called out from heaven for a dramatic intervention: “Do not lay a hand on the boy or do anything to him! Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” As this scene unfolded, there was another conversation between the Father and the Son of the Trinity: The Son turns to the Father and says, “Father, this story is a foreshadowing of what is to come, right?” Father responds, “Right, my son.”   Son says, “Only, when it does happen, there would be no stopping.”  There is silence as the father nods in agreement.

Our God is not a demanding, impersonal God as the doctor suggested.  While God spared Abraham from sacrificing his promised son at the altar, we see in the NT that God never spared His own son Jesus from dying on the cross as a ransom to redeem sin enslaved humanity such as me and you.

Prayer: Dear God, thank You for loving me so much that You gave me Your beloved precious son, Jesus to die for my sins.  You gave Your all to love a helpless sinner like me, making me your very own.  As your child, I desire also to love You whole heartedly in deep gratitude. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Deuteronomy 28


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read Romans 8:32-35: He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

Questions to Consider

  1. How has your life been impacted by God’s love?
  2. Do you usually feel like God is for you or against you? Why?
  3. Who or what is trying to separate you from the love of Christ?

Notes

  1. Personal reflection question.
  2. When we face adversities in life, it’s easy to question God’s love. Romans 8:34-35 reminds us that Jesus is not only with us, but He is also interceding for us and working through the difficulties for our good and for His glory.
  3. Temptations come to all of us when we take our eyes off God. We have the tendency to turn good things—family, career, education, ministry, etc.— into an idol, when we cling tightly to these things.   Let’s ask God to help us to keep our hands open and to empower us to keep Him as the center of our lives.

EVENING REFLECTION

Our Heavenly Father is trustworthy and He always has our best interest in mind. His will may not always be easy, but it’s always for our best.  Let us trust and love Him whole heartedly!

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