The AMI QT Devotionals for November 11-12 are provided by Christine Wang who, along with her husband Ulysses, recently planted the Renewal Church in Sunnyvale, California. A graduate of New York University, Christine is a proud mother of Audrey and Noah.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
Cultivating Obedience (Part 2)
Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” 3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days’ journey in breadth
Yesterday, I shared how God didn’t relinquish my husband Ulysses and me from the call to China after we had run from it. Instead, He relentlessly pursued us and allowed us time in the “belly of the fish” to experience Him.
RETURN: While God never relinquished us, it was us who, under the Lord’s tender guidance, were finally able to relinquish all of our weak reasons for disobeying and returned to His calling on our lives. Praise God for giving us second chances and not passing us over when we initially refuse! In September 2012, our family went back to China. We spent the next two years there ministering to a local church and learning so much about ourselves. We were stretched and challenged—it was so difficult but so good. It began to work in me a faith to obey Him who is trustworthy. It was a critical refining period and little did we know it would prepare us for what was to come…
REVELATION: The story of Jonah seems like it could have ended at chapter 3 with Jonah’s obedience to return to Nineveh. Amazingly, it doesn’t. Chapter 4 shows the very real and raw emotions Jonah feels after obeying God. Our obedience could easily be just about performing the task given to us. But we need to remember, God doesn’t need us to do anything. I am reminded of that fact from seeing Jonah’s rather insincere preaching (he hoped that the Ninevites wouldn’t repent and be destroyed as a result—Jonah 4:5-9) resulted in the repentance of an entire nation: “The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth” (Jonan 3:5).
So then why does He choose to partner with us to carry out His will on earth? It is an incredible truth that God loves us so much that He wants to transform us and reveal His heart to us in this process. Learning to obey God has fundamentally transformed me and given me a bigger heart for others. When He called us to SF last year to plant a new church, we went through a similar process, but this time, rather than two years, it took a little over two months to say “yes” again!
In Matthew 12:40 says, “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Ultimately, Jesus empowers us to say yes because He obeyed the Father and said yes to the Cross. He relinquished all of His rights as the Son of God to save us. Because of that and the power of the Holy Spirit, we can also relinquish and obey!
Do you believe God wants to reveal and transform you – not just get you to perform a task? He cares about you, not just what you do. Wherever you are in the process of turning that NO to a YES, remember that He seeks to work in you!
Prayer: Lord, I thank You for Your sacrifice that you made on the cross. Transform me and fill me with Your Holy Spirit so that I could surrender and obey You completely and wholeheartedly. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 11