November 1, Wednesday

The AMI QT Devotionals from October 30-November 5 are provided by Emerson Lin. Emerson, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, serves as staff at Kairos Christian Church, while studying at Talbot School of Theology. He is married to Annie. They will soon leave for E. Asia to serve as missionaries.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Mission Impossible”

Genesis 17:17-21

Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!” 19 Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.” 22 When he had finished speaking with Abraham, God went up from him.

When I was in 5th grade, I attended a Chinese Vineyard Conference in Los Angeles that opened my eyes to the reality of God’s power. During the last session, the speaker preached on Mark 11:23: “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.” I was so inspired by this message that when I went home, I faced the Santa Cruz Mountains and screamed, “Move, in Jesus name!” Unfortunately, nothing happened.

Whenever I tell this story, many people chuckle to themselves at the absurdity of a child telling mountains to move. In this passage, Abraham has a similar reaction when God promises a child for him and Sarah in their old age. Can you imagine a 100-year old and a 90-year old having a child together? It defies all logic and science! Even Abraham doubts and asks the Lord to make Ishmael his heir. Yet, God is determined to give Abraham a son, and he is to be called Isaac.

Our God specializes in the impossible and the supernatural. He operates within as well as outside of our understanding. Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.’”

Because this world is dominated by science and logic, we forget that our God can operate outside of the natural. Unfortunately, even as believers, we slowly begin to lose that child-like wonder, and we stop trusting in Him.

Of course, we are not to disregard reason. As believers, we need to use sound reason to properly study God’s word and defend our faith. Yet, we need to acknowledge that our God can operate outside of our natural thoughts. Let’s continue to pursue both, so that we can become more faithful and effective Christians!

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for being a God that specializes in the impossible. It brings me tremendous comfort that I can trust You in all things, no matter how small or big. Lord, please restore my child-like wonder in You again. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Acts 25


Lunch Break Study

Read Mark 9:14-29: When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. 16 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked. 17 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

  • In this passage, why couldn’t the evil spirit be driven out by the disciples?
  • There seems to be a paradox in verse 24. What do you think the man meant by, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief”?

Notes

  • The disciples could not cast out the boy’s evil spirit because the people lacked belief. In this context, we learn that faith is a catalyst that allows us to witness miracles in our lives.
  • The paradox is a sign of humility before Jesus. Although he wants to believe, he knows that there are parts of him that do not believe. Only when the man is honest with himself, does Jesus heal his son.

Evening Reflection

In light of today’s passage, what are some things that hinder you from believing in God’s power in your life? As you meditate on these obstacles, ask the Lord to help you with your unbelief!

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