July 7, Friday

The AMI QT Devotionals from July 3-8 are written by Andy Kim.  Andy, a graduate of Northwestern University, has recently completed his M.Div. at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is currently serving as a staff at Radiance Christian Church in San Francisco (and also soon to be married 😊).

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

Revelation 15:1-4

Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished.And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire—and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

When we were young, my friends and I spent hours playing as superheroes, using whatever we could find around the house for weapons. Our fantasy battles were the stuff of legends, complete with sound effects from our mouths. My favorite superhero was always Batman; for me, he seemed to be the most human while still standing toe-to-toe with all the other supernaturally-powered heroes. As I look back at my decision, I wonder if it was because I thought he was the closest I could get to making this fantasy a reality. It was my own fairy tale where I would fight crime, save lives, and be the hero of a dark world. We all enjoy such fairy tales and fantasies—many of them also being the story lines for most Hollywood blockbusters. Theologian Matt Smethurst explains it as “a gnawing suspicion—a hope—present deep within us, that our world isn’t the way it’s supposed to be and isn’t the way it always will be.” In fact these desires point to an underlying reality which we inwardly sense to be somehow true—that perhaps there exists something greater than the broken and finite reality we live in today. And we all hope one day it will come to pass.

Today our passage clearly speaks of this day: a time when all things will come to an end, where the beast has been conquered and God’s wrath has been completed. That heaven is not merely another fantasy or figment of our imagination, but it is a reality for those who believe.  Commentators note the parallels between this passage and that of Exodus 15, but the difference being that this passage points to the final exodus—heaven. That since the beginning of time, the story of redemption and freedom for God’s people was never meant to be yet another fairy tale, but a reality made possible through Christ. And so, may our hope be strengthened by the infinite value of the kingdom that awaits us; it is a reality that our minds cannot fully grasp, so impossible it is to overestimate its wonder and glory. May we always remind ourselves that we are simply sojourners in a broken world—that though we may struggle in this world, there will come a day in which all suffering will cease and we will spend eternity in His glory.  As we finish this series in the book of Revelation, may He create and renew your hope in what is to come.

Prayer: Lord, restore my hope in Your kingdom that awaits us. We confess that many times we minimize the gospel message to a mere a fairy tale, or we take for granted the life to come after this. Lord, thank You that You have already prepared a place for us for that time. Until then, give us the strength to endure and persevere here on earth. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 4


Lunch Break Study

Read 1 Peter 2:9-12: But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

Questions to Consider

  1. What is our responsibility as God’s people?
  2. Why does Peter call us “sojourners and exiles”? How does this affect the way we live?
  3. Spend some time reflecting on your life. How would you identify yourself in this world?

Notes

  1. Our first responsibility as His people is to realize that we have been chosen by God. The words “royal priesthood” and “holy nation” can be traced back to the OT. As the job of the priest was to lead the people towards God, God calls us to lead others to Him. This is only made possible through Christ who stands as our High Priest and Mediator, reconciling us once and for all to the Father. This is the excellency that we are called to proclaim to others.
  2. Charles Spurgeon defines the meaning of sojourner to our position and our character. First, we must know that our home awaits us. Secondly, being a sojourner means we should expect to be treated by the world as strangers who do not understand us. Just as when we visit a foreign country and they do not understand our culture or our language, as God’s people we should set ourselves apart in our character. However, this does not excuse us to keep to our own ways, but Peter calls us to live honorably to the world, that they may see the good deeds within us. But more than how we appear to others, we are also called to be strangers to the world in our hearts. In the same manner we would be cautious in a foreign land, we must be cautious and weary of the desires that this world encourages to follow after.
  3. Personal response.

Evening Reflection

Sometimes being a Christian is difficult. Often we must deny ourselves many things that bring some type of enjoyment to our lives. However, we forget that for every refusal, we are saying yes to the true joy and hope that awaits us. Spend some time reminding yourself of the wonderful hope we have in eternity and may you be renewed by this truth. What are the areas in your life which you struggle to relinquish? Spend some time asking that His Spirit will empower you, for we know that those who live by the Spirit will bear the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

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