August 1, Tuesday

The AMI QT Devotionals for July 31-August 6 are provided by Christine Li.  Christine, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, currently lives and works in New York City.  She serves at Remnant Church in Manhattan.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

“Displaying Your Scars”
John 20:24-29

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.

I had a co-worker who had some very expensive travel luggage. I was marveling not only at how expensive it was but also how beaten up he had allowed it to get—it was scuffed over, with bumper stickers messily taped around. He assured me that that the whole mess was deliberate—you had to show off that you’d done quite a bit of traveling. His luggage, therefore, publicly bore the battle scars of wear and tear.

Isn’t it interesting that Jesus, who had already miraculously risen from the dead, chose not to make His physical body perfect? Instead, God kept these wounds on display. For Thomas, He readily showed His scars so that he would put his faith in God.

How often do we display the scratch marks on our lives to tell a story? If we know our testimony of sharing the work God has done in our lives, what keeps us from sharing it with others? Sometimes, it may be that we are ashamed of what our stories may sound like to others, or we might be uncomfortable with what details will be revealed. Let’s remind ourselves of the better focal point—all our details demonstrate that Jesus has redeemed and restored us all.

Our Lord and Savior publicly bears the marks of His love for us, and He can give us strength to display the testimony of His love in our lives. Today, let’s remind ourselves of the good story that God has written in our lives, and let’s look for an opportunity to share it with someone. We never know the outcome when we share, but we can be sure that God’s love is revealed when we display the depths of which He has healed us.

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your healing in our lives! Make our lives full of witnessing Your goodness through every trial and hardship. Help us not to be ashamed or uncertain of the great power You have displayed in our circumstances. Teach us how to live our lives without fear of judgment so that we may freely share the testimony You have given us.

Bible Reading for Today: John 9


Lunch Break Study

Read Genesis 32:23-32: After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. 28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” 29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” 31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.

Questions to Consider

  1. In what kind of position do we find Jacob before he encounters God?
  2. Contrast God’s comment in v. 28 with Jacob’s recounting in v. 30. What does the difference tell us about Jacob’s understanding of God?
  3. What aspects of Jacob’s wrestling with God can we apply to our lives?

Notes

  1. Jacob is completely alone. He has separated himself from his family and also from his possessions. By the same token, there is also nothing preoccupying his attention.
  2. God pronounces Jacob victorious, but Jacob remembers the struggle as an act of mercy, for he did not die. While it is incredible that Jacob could have ’won’ the struggle, he has proper reverence and fear of God to know that it was a very bold and audacious encounter.
  3. Firstly, Jacob was unrelenting. He clung onto God tenaciously and relentlessly. Secondly, Jacob came away from encountering God with an enlargened sense of His mercy and power – this should be our byproduct when we spend meaningful time with God. Lastly, Jacob and his descendants commemorate the limp tendon, keeping it as a reminder of his transformative encounter with God.

Evening Reflection

Was there an opportunity for you today to display God or tell someone about how He has changed your life? Let’s reflect on a conversation that He might be giving us opportunity to shine our light to, and let’s pray for more chances tomorrow.

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