August 4, Friday

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

Depending On One Another
Matthew 9:1-2

Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town.Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”

A couple of years ago, I sprained my ankle on a day trip, and it started swelling up on the bus ride home. I had always been proud of my ability take care of myself, but I found that now I had to suddenly depend on others. I had to call a friend to let me stay at her place because I couldn’t climb four flights of stairs to my home. I needed help getting groceries or getting a ride to church. I felt embarrassed asking for help, but what I was thankful for was others’ willingness and generosity. There were times when I was literally carried by others during my recovery.

Just like the invalid in this story, we all have experiences and situations where we find ourselves hopelessly and woefully unable to carry on. We might be sick in different ways – physically affected, emotionally burnt out, spiritually dry and distant from God, etc. In those times, the only solution is to rely on others to carry us along – by their faith in action, we are led to the source of healing.

Imagine if the invalid was so embarrassed by his friends carrying him that he refused to leave his home. He would never have come before Jesus! Similarly, because of our pride, it can feel so shameful to be needy, having to constantly depend on others and admit all the ways in which we are weak. We might feel tempted to avoid asking for help. But our communities are meant to be vehicles of healing: the intervention and careful work of the man’s friends brought him exactly where he needed to go – directly in front of God.

Let’s consider how we can make our communities places where we may support and be supported by one another in our times of need. In different seasons for our souls, we may freely give and receive from our brothers and sisters. If you need help, will you humble yourself before others to ask for support and assistance? And if you are feeling fine, would you think about the ones you love, and how you could serve them and bring them closer to God?

Prayer: Father, thank You that we are never alone on this earth, but that You have provided Your people to help us along the way. Teach me to be humble in my times of need and depend on others to come before You. And, Lord, when I am well, do not let me forget my brothers and sisters in need, and make me a blessing to them.

Bible Reading for Today: John 12


Lunch Break Study

Read Romans 12:9-16: Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Questions to Consider

  1. What are the attributes of “love in action” as described here?
  2. Are there any differences between how to love believers and unbelievers in this passage? Let’s reflect on how we love those around us and whether they experience the love of God through us.
  3. Is there someone in your life whom you need to show that you care about? Ask God for strength and do it today.

Notes

  1. Love is sincere, devoted, humble, energized, and generous. It is emphathetic, even going so far as to directly experience and share the joys and griefs of others.
  2. As far as the passage goes, there is no specific instruction on different types of love – believers are called to live peacably, mercifully, and kindly with all neighbors.
  3. Personal response.

Evening Reflection

When was the last time you asked for help, and when was the last time you offered to help carry someone to God? Let’s think about how we are creating a community of interdependence, and through our different seasons of struggle, bring each other to the feet of God.

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