June 21, Wednesday

The AMI QT Devotionals from June 19-25 are provided by Pastor Joshua Kim of Church of Southland.  Joshua, a graduate of Emory University and Columbia Theological Seminary (M.Div.), serves as the pastor of Access group (singles).  He is married to Christina.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

Revelation 9.1-5

Then the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him. He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit. Then out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. And they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man.

If you spend any amount of time online, you will see how drastically things have changed over the years in order to secure information online. Those highlighted scales of password strength, entering in the secret code to verify that you are human, two-step and two-factor authentication—these things have become an everyday part of our lives. But the reality is, these methods are in need of constant updating and changing because the security that they offer is only temporary.

The book of Revelation continues with John’s account of some horrific events. A quick note about reading the book of Revelations: this is an especially difficult book to understand as there are many different ways to read it—whether these events are account of things that have happened in the past, things that will happen in the future, or a mixture of both—drawing from all these different perspectives is probably necessary for a fuller understanding of this account. For instance, many scholars debate the identity of this star from heaven which had fallen. Some say it is a fallen angel (perhaps Satan), while others argue that this descended star is the gospel message or even Christ Himself. Though this is probably not the best place for a deep theological discussion, there are definitely things to glean here.

A few keywords to note: given (v. 1, 3), told (v. 4), not permitted (v.5). Are you starting to see a pattern here? Whether this fallen star is indeed the Prince of Darkness or the Prince of Peace, there is an establishment of authority that is over them. Even the locusts that are released—creatures that throughout history have decimated entire villages and communities—are given and not permitted certain things. In other words, despite how overwhelming these things may be from our perspective, there is indeed a God who never loses control over the world.

God is in control, brothers and sisters. This passage is talking about God’s control over the things that face people who do not repent. How much more so for people who have confessed their faith in Christ? Whatever you may be facing now or in the time to come, God never changes. He is and will always be in control. Then that means whatever you are facing, it [1] is allowed by God (though not necessarily caused by Him), [2] is restricted by God, and [3] will result for the good to those who love God and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8.28). This is our ultimate security—no matter what we may face in life (whether the loss of a job or our Facebook accounts being hacked), God is the ultimate source of our security.

Prayer: Lord, thank You that You are, in Yourself, complete and perfect. You are the Creator. You are the Ruler of this world. Nothing is a surprise to You. Nothing occurs that goes unnoticed by You. And I as Your child can rest in the security. Thank You for being my security. In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Titus 1


Lunch Break Study

Read Mark 4.35-41:  On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him.

Questions to Consider

  1. What does Mark tell us about the interaction between Jesus and the disciples prior to their departure for the other side?
  2. What do you think is going on in the minds of the disciples when they face the storm? What can we learn about their understanding of Jesus based upon their response?
  3. Jesus has the power to even command the winds and the storms. How is the Holy Spirit convicting your heart in terms of the winds and storms of your life?

Notes

  1. Before they set sail, note that it is Jesus’ desire and command that they leave and go to the other side. If you flip over to Mark 5, we see that He crosses the sea to heal a man tormented by a legion of demons. Jesus has a mission. He knows that there will be a storm, but Jesus also knows that He has authority over all things.
  2. Plainly, we see that they lacked faith as Jesus says. They looked at the slumbering Jesus and thought that He did not care for them, that He did not care about what was happening. What we see is that the circumstances had become their lord in that situation, not Jesus. Jesus’ display of His authority brings upon the disciples a holy fear of who He truly is—the Lord of even the winds and the storms.
  3. Personal response.

Evening Reflection

Theologically, we can sort out the relationship between God’s control, God’s allowance, and the circumstances that we face, but to understand in our hearts is another thing. As you have reflected upon God’s authority over all things today, what has God revealed to you about who He is, and secondly, that He is for you? Spend some time worshipping the One who was, who is, and is to come.

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