The AMI QT Devotionals for November 15-16 are provided by Jennifer Kim, a staff of Church of Southland, Anaheim, California. Jennifer, a graduate of Biola University, is current finishing up her M.Div. at Talbot School of Theology.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
“What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5 When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ 7 I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”
Upon returning from our church retreat a couple months ago, I discovered that I had lost my car keys. Immediately, I went into a panic mode and began searching everything around me. I frantically checked all of my belongings, every vehicle I had entered, and every room I set my foot in. When some of the church members noticed my predicament, they quickly jumped in and helped me search for my keys as well. One of my friends even went as far as to call the retreat site and ask about any lost items. After a couple hours passed by, I came to the unfortunate reality that my keys were officially lost.
Throughout the following weeks, not a day went by without me thinking about my keys. I found myself constantly retracing my steps, forwards and backwards, in hopes that I may have overlooked a spot where I could have misplaced them. I called the retreat site again multiple times and searched our entire church building with a sense of determination. However, after two full weeks of incessant searching, I was left disappointed and ready to give up. As I reluctantly made the decision to move forward and make the necessary replacements, I received an unexpected text from one of our staff members. To my surprise, my keys had been discovered in the back crevice of one of the church vans. I literally leapt to my feet and was filled with an overwhelming sense of relief and happiness. My keys were finally found!
As silly as this story may be, I am reminded of the relentless love of our God. If we, being merely men, have such concern for a couple scraps of metal, how much more does our Heavenly Father have concern for those who are completely lost and without hope? Here, we see a God who actively pursues us in our desperate need. He does not leave us to fend for ourselves, but His eyes watch over us with careful attention.
As we reflect on this short passage this morning, let us be reminded of God’s great love for us. That no matter where we have been or what we have done, God never rejects a heart that is broken and contrite before Him (Ps. 51:17). He opposes the proud, but rejoices over a heart of humility. Let us give thanks to God for how far He has carried us up until this point. But not only that, as we have been recipients of God’s undeserving grace, may we also seek to exemplify the heart of our Father and become a channel of God’s blessing to those around us. Perhaps God is nudging you to be the very display of His care to another. Whether this is to extend a helping hand or a listening ear to a friend, family member, or co-worker, may you be used by God to be a source of fresh hope and encouragement today!
Prayer: God, thank You for being a Father who never gives up on me. Help me to have a heart that is tender before You and actively seek to be an extension of Your love and care to others. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 14
Lunch Break Study
Read Luke 18:9-14: And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Questions to Consider
- How did the Pharisee measure his standing and righteousness before God?
- What was the tax collector’s posture before God?
- Why was the tax collector’s prayer to God more justified than the Pharisee?
- The Pharisee depended upon his own religious works and performance. He thought himself to be more superior to others because of how much he fasted and tithed to God (v.12).
- The tax collector was aware of his sinfulness and desperately pleaded for God’s mercy (v. 13).
- The Pharisee was full of pride and was impressed with his own ability to perform religious works. He was completely unaware of His desperate need for God and thought he was better than the tax collector. On the other hand, the tax collector understood the gravity of his sin and felt unworthy to approach a holy God. He knew that only God could ultimately save him from his sinful condition. He humbled himself before God’s saving mercy rather than relying on his own righteousness.
Take some time to reflect on everything that happened today. In what ways were you a channel of God’s blessing to those around you? In what ways did you struggle to be a display of God’s love? Pray for strength and ask God to fill you with His love and compassion.