June 27, Tuesday

The AMI QT devotionals from June 26-July 2 are provided by Cami King.  Cami, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, recently completed her M.Div. at Gordon Conwell Seminary.  She is currently serving as a staff at Journey Community Church in Raleigh. 

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

Equipped for the Task

Revelation 11:3-6
 And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire.

I took an exegesis class on Revelation in seminary because I wanted to understand the things that are to come—it was a great class! Yet, I left it with more questions than answers. But one thing I did learn, and of which I am reminded every time I read Revelation, is just how unstoppable are the plans of God. When God gives His authority to His servants and equips them with His power, they are literally unstoppable to accomplish what it is He has for them to do.  There is debate among Bible scholars about exactly who these two witnesses are: some say they are prophets from long ago brought back to life (e.g. Moses, Elijah, or Enoch), or others say they are people unknown to us now who will be living at the time of the vision’s fulfillment. Regardless of where you stand in your interpretation, it is clear from these verses that with God’s authority and power, they are unstoppable to accomplish His purposes.

Two topics about which I am asked most often are spiritual gifts and calling: How do I know what my gifts are? How do I know how to engage them? How do I discern my calling? While the redundancy of the question isn’t super thrilling, I am always extremely encouraged to see the young people around me hungry to know how they can best serve God. While I take time to offer what I’ve learned from Scripture and from my years of walking with Jesus about spiritual gifts and calling, I always try to make sure to remind them that our most powerful spiritual gift is the Holy Spirit, and our most clear calling is to be children of God and to make disciples. With that kind of authority and power at work within us, we are absolutely unstoppable (regardless of how we specifically feel led to advance the Kingdom of God) in accomplishing God’s good purposes in the world.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit and Your power at work in me. Thank You for calling me Your child and friend and making me Your ambassador in the world. May I not squander the authority and power You’ve given me to accomplish Your purposes (even in small ways) as I go throughout my day today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Zephaniah 2


Lunch Break Study

Read Acts 1:4-8: Gathering them [the disciples] together, He [Jesus] commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

Questions to Consider

  1. How can we receive Jesus’ admonition to His disciples in these verses in light of God’s further revelation in the New Testament books (especially the book of Revelation)?
  2. Instead of focusing on when God would accomplish His ultimate end, the disciples are encouraged by Jesus to focus on their part in God’s plan. What does He call them to do (i.e. what is their part in God’s plan)? How will they be equipped for the task?
  3. What does it mean for you to be Jesus’ witness today through the power of the Holy Spirit?

Notes

  1. Obviously, God has given us more insight into future things through the book of Revelation than what the disciples had when they asked Jesus the question recorded in these verses. However, we are still left with many questions of our own and much to interpret, even with John’s vision recorded in Revelation and the apostles’ words recorded in the rest of the New Testament. While we should feel free to ask of the Lord concerning the things to come and to interpret His divine revelation concerning such things given in Scripture (responsibly, of course, and with sound exegesis), we have to also recognize the limitations of what we can know and be content with those limitations.
  2. Jesus calls them to be His witnesses locally and abroad. They will be equipped for the task through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit and the power of God at work in them (through the Holy Spirit).
  3. Spend some time in personal reflection.  Whether it is in ways that we normatively call “supernatural” or in ways that we evaluate as “ordinary,” God’s Spirit is at work in each of us to witness to the world who Jesus is and what God is up to (the gospel message of God’s salvation and coming Kingdom). That is a fact! We just have to be willing vessels for the Spirit to work through us. We can do this by the way we live our lives (according to God’s truth and not the world’s), the words we say to others (words of God’s love—in sharing the Gospel or simply speaking truth in love), and the many other ways we step out in faith to be used by God. All of it, even the seemingly mundane, is supernatural if we are conduits for the Spirit of God to use in pointing others to Jesus (for their salvation and redemption).

Evening Reflection

Preachers and Bible expositors in many forms love to point out that the most often repeated command in the Bible is, “Do not fear.” And with good reason, God reminds us not to be afraid a whole lot throughout Scripture! More so than a lack of gifting or awareness of calling, fear is what often hinders God’s work through His people. Fear of man (fear of others – judgment, rejection, etc. – or fear of ourselves – failure, inadequacy, etc.) often prevents us from entering into the work God is already doing around us. Our authority is sure as children of God, and our power is unmatched as temples of the Holy Spirit. So, many times, the only thing stopping us is us.

What are the ways God is calling you to join in the work He is doing in the communities around you and in lives of the people around you? How might He be challenging you to move from your local spheres of influence to be His witness abroad? Spend some time in prayer concerning these things – petitioning and listening to God. Ask God for His heart and His courage to be His witness.

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