September 4, Monday

The AMI QT Devotionals from September 4-10 are provided by Pastor Mark Chun of Radiance Christian Church in S. F.  Mark, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.), has been married to Mira for 21 years; they have two children, Jeremiah and Carissa.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Genesis 1:1-3 (ESV)

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.[1]

As we look at the creation account, it begins with arguably the most famous sentence in English literature: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”   This short sentence tells us so much about the nature of God: His eternity, His infinitude, and His power.

The fact that God stands outside of the confines of time and space, that He is there before the beginning, is a truth that was meant to shake our lives.  The book of Ecclesiastes tells us that God has placed eternity into the hearts of men.  There is a desire in all of us to be immortal, to have our lives count for something beyond these 70 years; and if given a chance we will do almost anything to extend the length of our lives.  A couple of weeks ago, I was reading an article about some of the new designer drugs against cancer; and sadly, the title was “How much would you pay for an extra month of life?”  This was a report on some of the new cancer treatments that are not covered by insurance, which can run upwards of $25,000 per month to extend a patient’s life for 2 to 4 months at the maximum.  These pharmaceutical companies are making millions of dollars, capitalizing on the natural human desire to live forever.

Most people think about eternity when it is too late, but the life of faith begins when we seriously consider the impact of eternity on our lives.  The doctrine of eternity both challenges us and comforts us.  How much would our lives change, if we truly believed that “right now counts for eternity,” or if we realized that the true importance of this life is that it determines the destiny of our lives forever.  For those of us who are looking for answers in this life, the doctrine of eternity even provides comfort.  Perhaps a million years from now, we can look back at the difficult times of life, and discover that God has wasted nothing from our lives on Earth, that every agony gives birth to an eternal joy.  The eternal God gives us the gift of eternity through his Son, who provides hope for our despair and shines light into our darkness.

Prayer: Father, our minds cannot comprehend that before time You were!  Even in this most basic concept, we are reminded that there is no one who compares to You.  Your ways are truly higher than our ways and Your thoughts higher than our thoughts.  Give us the humility to recognize our place as Your creation and Your place as our creator.  As clay in the hands of a potter, may we be shaped for Your purpose and will.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 25


Lunch Break Study

Read: Ecclesiastes 3:9-15 (ESV) What gain has the worker from his toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man. 14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. 15 That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.[2]

Questions to Consider:

  1. What should be our attitude towards the difficulties of work?
  2. As we go through the busyness of life, what allows us to keep perspective?
  3. Why is God’s eternal nature important for us to keep in mind?

Notes:

  1. The Hebrew word translated as “business” is probably better rendered as “travail or labor.” This is a description of work that is under the curse of sin.  We have to spend much of our lives working for things that will not last.  Fortunately, God deems this to be the appropriate thing in this life.  Again the Hebrew word translated as “beautiful” can be better translated as “appropriate.”  The fact that God sees this as the right thing to do allows us to take pleasure even in our work.
  2. We are not to be consumed by our work because there is something far more significant to live for. Too many times, we enjoy work too much and forget the curse that makes the fruit of our labor insignificant.  For this reason, God has placed eternity in the hearts of men so that we would weigh things from an eternal perspective.
  3. God’s eternal nature should cause us to revere God and live in the fear of Him. Only the things that God does and says are guaranteed to last forever.  Most of what we do will not stand the test of time.   Although there are some questions about the meaning of verse 15, I believe it is alluding to God’s desire to restore man’s ability to live with Him for all of time.  Because of sin, we were driven away from paradise, but God sent His Son to seek those who were lost.

Evening Reflection

When is the last time you gave serious consideration to eternity and life after death?  Does this cause you fear or anxiety, or are you looking forward to reuniting wit h Christ?  Take time tonight to reflect on the eternal treasures that you are building up, and how you can adjust your life to pursue those things that will last forever.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ge 1:1–3). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ec 3:9–15). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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