November 9, Thursday

The AMI QT Devotionals from November 6-12 are provided by Pastor Paul Liu, who pastors the Grace Covenant Church Singapore. He is a graduate of University of Illinois (BA) and Biblical Theological Seminary (M.Div.). He and his wife Ailsa have three beautiful daughters.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“The Danger of Looking Back”

Genesis 19:23-26

The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. 24 Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26 But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

An undeniable fact of contemporary life is that we live in a MULTI-TASKING world—we’re always doing multiple tasks at the same time. So the other day I was just being a product of my culture by doing two things at once: preparing pour over coffee while cooking ramen noodles. Neither of these things is that difficult by itself, but doing both at once was a bigger challenge than I anticipated. The pour over is done in measured pours over three and a half minutes, so you get an even extraction from the coffee beans. For ramen, you want to take the pot off the boil when the noodles have cooked for just the right amount of time—not too soggy and not too hard. But because I was doing both at once, time became my enemy and I ended up rushing the first thing and being late for the next—ending up with sour coffee and soggy noodles. I had ruined both (depending on your tastes).

I think we’ve all faced situations where multi-tasking diminishes the returns rather than multiplies them. There are some things that just shouldn’t go together. This is true of spiritual devotion. You cannot divide your affections between multitudes of loves— there’s just not that much room in our hearts. There has to be a priority of our loves; otherwise, we’ll end up loving nothing or loving many things poorly.

This likely was at issue in the heart of Lot’s wife. She loved too many things. And it ended up compromising her obedience to the most urgent concern of the moment: running to God’s rescue. She looked back, presumably, because she was mourning over what she was about to leave behind: her home, her friends, her routine, and her lifestyle. Ultimately, her unwillingness to obey God’s clear commands led to her ruin.

There are some things that require more focus. It doesn’t mean you have to put everything else on hold. It just means you must prioritize and emphasize the most important commitments of your life. Otherwise, you may find yourself becoming a slave to that which is not ultimately or eternally significant.

Prayer: Lord, open my eyes today to prioritize the best over the good. Help me, especially, to be devoted to You and to Your purposes. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 7


Lunch Break Study

Read Matthew 6:19-24: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Questions to Consider

  1. What kinds of treasure does Jesus say we ought to prioritize? What do you think this would look like?
  2. What does it mean to have a healthy eye, as opposed to a bad eye? What would a person with a good eye prioritize or look to?
  3. Why can’t you serve two masters?
  4. How can you prioritize heavenly treasure—kingdom vision—being mastered by God today?

Notes

  1. Jesus exhorts his listeners to prioritize eternal treasure, as they are not temporary or vulnerable. Laying up eternal treasure means prioritizing the things of God’s kingdoms—both His mission and His values. As we do so, we will be drawn into deeper communion and fellowship with God. Our heart will be with him.
  2. Jesus talks about the eye providing light or darkness as an analogy to our orientation (what we look to). If our eyes are directed towards kingdom things, we will walk in the light. On the other hand, if our eyes are directed toward earthly things, we will walk in darkness. To have a healthy eye means we orient our lives around the things of God. We have a vision that our lives please God. This means prioritizing devotion (our relationship with God); integrity (faithfulness to God); fellowship and service in the church (building up the family of God); and ministry (serving God).
  3. Jesus’ point is that what dominates your heart will dominate you. If you’re mastered by money, money will master you. If you’re mastered by God, He will enrich and strengthen your life, for He is a good master. Each will compete for your heart and not share priority. You must choose which to follow.
  4. Personal response.

Evening Reflection

Were there moments today in which you felt like “turning back” from the path of obedience? Ask the Lord to show you the benefits of obedience compared to the promise of earthly treasure. Let’s run for the prize that awaits faithful servants (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)!

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