June 22, Thursday

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

Revelations 9.12- 21

The first woe is past; behold, two woes are still coming after these things. 13 Then the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14 one saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” 15 And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released, so that they would kill a third of mankind. 16 The number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. 17 And this is how I saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them: the riders had breastplates the color of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone; and the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone. 18 A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which proceeded out of their mouths. 19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents and have heads, and with them they do harm. 20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; 21 and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.

Central to the theology of Jonathan Edwards, the revivalist pastor of the first Great Awakening, was this idea of beauty. For Edwards, we are created with an inclination toward beauty. Now this isn’t just physical beauty, but a spiritual beauty, one that comes from perfect harmony and love; the ultimate beauty being God. Edwards argues that we fall into sin because we find sin beautiful. But when the Holy Spirit comes upon us and illuminates our hearts, we are then able to see the One who is truly beautiful and to see sin for what it truly is. We become captivated by the beauty of God. But it doesn’t stop there. The Holy Spirit continues to work on our hearts so that our ability to see and understand the beauty of God grows as we continue to walk with Him.

In Edwards, just like when we look directly at the sun, what we actually see is black—we see the dark fallenness of our souls, and yet we are captivated because of the love of God that is willing to love such fallen creatures. And we respond to this amazing God through obedience, worship, and our affections.

In Revelation, the intensity of the judgments that falls upon the world seems to intensify with every seal broken and trumpet blown. And it may be easy for us to start feeling like all of this is too much, but through it, we are able to see the magnitude of sin that elicits such a response from God. But what we also see in this passage is God’s desire for His people to repent; the judgments so far have been a warning to the people for the sake of repentance.

We see that despite our fleshly response to such death and destruction, we see clearly that what God desires for His people is true repentance. He desires for people to come to realize their fallen ways that lead them away from the life abundant. Unfortunately, as John woefully records, the people do not repent.

For those of us who have experienced the forgiveness of God, the weightiness of sin shouldn’t be any different. In fact, as we come to know the holiness and beauty of God more and more, the seriousness of sin should continue to grow alongside the greatness of God’s redemptive work in our lives. If our understanding of salvation becomes static, something that has happened in the past, our sensitivity to sin can easily become dull. Faith lived out is dynamic.

Repentance should be the posture in which Christians live as we continue to see the depths of our sin, but also the greatness of God’s grace upon our lives. We wrestle with our fleshly self-dependence to replace it with utter dependence on God. We need the constant revelation of the Holy Spirit that calls us to worship and repentance. May we never become static in our relationship with God.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You for revealing the depths of my sin. Although it is often uncomfortable, sometimes even unbearable to see how sinful I am, I thank You for Your Son who has overcome my sinfulness. May I never lose sight of Him. And if I do, may I never be too slow to fall on my knees in repentance. In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Titus 2


Lunch Break Study

Read Hebrews 12:4-11: In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Questions to Consider

  1. What does Hebrews teach us in terms of those that experience the discipline of the Lord?
  2. What does our experience of the discipline of the Lord reveal about who God is? What does the Hebrews writer teach us is the purpose for this?
  3. Jonathan Edwards writes that for those who have not accepted Jesus in this life, if they were to go to heaven and see God, it would be sheer agony to behold such beauty. What does it mean for you that even through hardships and discipline that God is giving you a foretaste of heaven?

Notes

  1. The Hebrews writer teaches us that our experience of discipline (and even the ability to recognize that it is the discipline of the Lord) reveals the greater truth that we are His sons and daughters. It is out of His love for us. This discipline will be short-lived (v. 10) and may not be joyful but sorrowful, but it will yield a greater fruit (v.11).
  2. It reveals God as our Heavenly Father who disciplines us for something greater that is to come. We are called to be subject to God just like how we respect our earthly Father. The reason for all this is for training—so that we may share in His holiness (v.10). Through repentance and correction, we are being prepared for the greater glory that we will one day experience.
  3. Personal response.

Evening Reflection

As you have reflected upon a lifestyle of repentance and constantly coming back to the Lord, what has the Holy Spirit revealed to you today? Are there specific areas that you have come to realize or rediscover that needs to be made subject to the Lord? Spend a few moments thanking the Lord, that He reveals our sin to us, despite how painful it maybe. Trust His love for you.

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