Today’s AMI QT Devotional is provided by Lily Jang who attends Grace Covenant Church in Philadelphia. Lily, a graduate of Emory University and teacher by profession, spent a year in Pekanbaru, Indonesia, from 2011-12.
DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY
“God builds up Faith”
Mark 11:12-14, 20-22
On the following day, when they came from Bethany, He was hungry. 13 And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if He could find anything on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 And He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And His disciples heard it. . .. As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. 21 And Peter remembered and said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” 22 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God.”
How does our faith grow? Among other things (Rom. 10:17), it grows when we experience God’s power, particularly as it relates to our own lives. In today’s passage, we see that Jesus uses the fig tree as an object lesson to show His disciples that “with God all things are possible” (Mt. 19:26). And that’s the lesson I learned in searching for jobs in Boston and Philadelphia.
Three years ago, I was looking for a teaching job in the Boston Public School district. But with the school about to start in a week and still without a job, I found myself questioning God’s love for me and was resigned to working odd jobs. That’s when a local high school principal called me about a recently opened position. I was interviewed, then offered the job, and began teaching all in a matter of few days. Through this experience, I felt that God was doing something in my heart although I didn’t want to go through that ‘11th hours miracle’ again.
It was after this and another similar experience after a job loss that I moved down to Philadelphia last year, again without a job. And once more, the week before school started, I found one: Monday someone told me about a job; Tuesday I was interviewed; Wednesday the job was offered; and by Monday again I was teaching.
So, what was the lesson learned through all this? Each encounter with God with regards to job provision in previous years was the Lord building my faith in Him, each time trusting that He would deliver. Growing in faith through job loss and search was uncomfortable and far from perfect, but with each cycle my understanding of God only strengthened. Faith takes time: like a parent who faithfully provides their child food, giving the child trust in their provision, so too will we have greater faith as God’s testimony is built through our experience in His love. The question is whether we are open, ready and willing to step out.
How about you? Realize that God wants you to embody a faith that can move mountains (Mk 11:23), and for that He may wither a tree or allow you to lose a job; but, perhaps at the 11th hour, He will provide for you. Trust Him.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of faith through which I can experience Your great love toward me. When tough times come, help me to see that You have given me an opportunity to embody a greater faith, through which I can experience Your timely provision. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: John 1
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Sam. 17:36-7: “Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!”
Questions to Consider
- What is this story trying to tell us?
- David said this before he was about to battle Goliath, a man two times bigger than him. Did God prepare him for this day? If so, how?
- What are you facing now that requires you to have faith in God? Would you take a moment to give that concern to God, so that you may do what you need to do but with the assurance that He is in control?
- The story of David is familiar to many and his story is one that has been told over and over again, as an example of courage and an unwavering faith in God.
- This faith and confidence, however, had been built up by God way before he stepped out to meet Goliath. David’s faith grew in the Lord even as he faithfully shepherded in the pastures, all in preparation for an epic battle that would bring God glory!
- Personal response.
This morning, I shared my experience with God through which I learned to put my trust in the Lord; as a result, my faith was strengthened and grown. So, how does this faith journey start? That’s an easy question to answer, for Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” So, are you consistently reading and hearing God’s word? Without that, having faith in God is as unlikely as rain falling from a blue sky. Why not then read another chapter of Scripture before calling it a day? May I suggest Hebrews 11, along with today’s Bible reading?