October 13, Friday

The AMI QT Devotionals from October 9-15 are provided by Pastor Peter Yoon of Kairos Christian Church in San Diego.  Peter is a graduate of U.C. Riverside and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.).  He and his wife Jessica have three very active children: Nathan, Abigail, and Jason.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“God Uses Ordinary People in Extraordinary Ways”

Genesis 12:10-13

Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. 11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”

We understand that faith plays a critical role in our Christian life. Faith is critical for our salvation. Faith moves mountains. Faith heals people. In fact, without faith, we know it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). But if we are honest, we often struggle with doubts. Many in the church wonder if they are genuinely saved. Mountains still remain while healings are sparse. It’s easy to scrutinize ourselves and have a low view of our own faith.

As a kid growing up in the church, I remember singing, “Father Abraham Had Many Sons.” Do you remember that song? (You can google it if you want to hear it.) It was a silly song with even sillier calisthenics, but I remember one time asking my Sunday School teacher, “Who the heck is Father Abraham?” Usually, we are told that he was a great man of great faith. He was called by God to leave his family, and he did. He was asked by God to sacrifice his son, and he almost did. He would receive a promise that his descendants would outnumber the stars in the sky. But they never told you that he lied about his wife…TWICE.

Here, we read the first time where Abraham lies to Pharaoh about his wife because he is afraid (the second time is found in Genesis 20). Both stories reveal a faithless man filled with self- preserving fears. I’m sure that Sarah didn’t appreciate being called Abraham’s sister, just so her husband can save his own hide. But that was who Abraham was. Now go ahead a google “father of faith” on your phone or laptop, and guess who comes up. You probably already guessed it, but it’s no one other than Abraham himself. NT passages such as Romans 4:16 (father to us all) and Hebrews 11:8-9 (by faith he made his home in the Promised Land) lead us to Abraham’s moniker, the “father of faith.”

That’s what God does. He takes people, such as Abraham, filled with doubts and fears, and simply asks us to follow Him. He already knows that we are filled with fears and reservations. I’m sure it wasn’t a surprise to God that Abraham used his wife. Yet, God simply asked Abraham to follow Him. Generations later, despite these humiliating stories, Abraham would be called the “father of faith.” When we follow Him and His ways, our fears make room for faith. One of many subplots of the Bible story is that God takes ordinary people and uses them for accomplishing His extraordinary purposes. He’s been doing that for thousands of years, and He’s still doing that today. How about allowing God to write that story in your own life?

Prayer: Lord, I admit that I’m far from having great faith. Help me in overcoming my own unbelief. Continue to work in and through me for accomplishing Your Kingdom purposes here on earth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Acts 3


Lunch Break Study

Read Mark 9:17-29 (NIV): A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” 19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” 20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” 23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” 25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. 28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”

Questions to Consider

  1. How does Jesus amaze you in this story?
  2. As you read through the father’s plea, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief,” how does that encourage you in your own place of faith and doubts?
  3. Jesus answers the disciples, “This kind can come out only by prayer.” Do you see a correlation between faith and prayer?

Notes

  1. Consider the severity of the boy’s condition, his duration, and the lack of faith by those around him. Yet, Jesus’ authority and power brings light into darkness. Is there anything that Jesus cannot do?
  2. There is such sincerity in the father’s plea to Jesus. He is neither presumptuous about his faith nor deeply insecure.
  3. Prayer by definition is dependence on God.

Evening Reflection

Spend a little extra time tonight in prayer, cultivating a greater dependence on the Lord.

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