December 4, Monday

The AMI QT Devotionals from December 4-10 are written by Andy Kim. Andy, a graduate of Northwestern University and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.) currently serves as a staff at Radiance Christian Church in San Francisco. And this past November Andy got married . . . to Jane. Congratulations.

 

 

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Genesis 25:6-7; 16-18

Abraham gave all he had to Isaac. 6 But to the sons of his concubines Abraham gave gifts, and while he was still living he sent them away from his son Isaac, eastward to the east country.
16 These are the sons of Ishmael and these are their names, by their villages and by their encampments, twelve princes according to their tribes. 17 (These are the years of the life of Ishmael: 137 years. He breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people.) 18 They settled from Havilah to Shur, which is opposite Egypt in the direction of Assyria. He settled over against all his kinsmen.

We have all given up something to be where we are today. For the sake of your career, think about all the fun you gave up with countless hours for that next promotion; for your family, all the sacrifices you made for your kids; for your health, all the sugary carbs with depressing diets and workouts. We call these “opportunity cost”: simply put, it is to give up something for something else usually of greater value.

This was a situation all too familiar for Abraham as he had to make some difficult choices.
Finally having become a father to several children, that is, after not having even one for many years, Abraham finds himself having to send them away for the sake of Isaac, his promised inheritance. One thing we learn from Abraham’s life is that living according to God’s promise will come at a cost.

For Abraham, Ishmael, in particular, was one of those great costs that he struggled to give up. Remember, Ishmael was the product of Abraham and Sarah not trusting in the Lord. Nevertheless, Abraham spent 15-16 years raising his only child at the time, giving him everything he had. It is after this God asks Abraham to give Ishmael up and cast him out of his presence. This had to be one of Abraham’s greatest regrets, perhaps muttering to himself, “If I had only waited for God to come through, or what about all those years I spent with him . . .” But the story concludes in verses 12-18 where we see that God is faithful to His promise to bless Ishmael and make him into a mighty nation.

Like Abraham, maybe there are areas in our lives that we simply cannot let go. Perhaps, we are given to thinking that if we let this go, then all the work and effort we put into will go to waste. But take hope in that nothing goes to waste when it is given to the Lord. May we remember that it is not simply giving them up, but it is giving them to Him. Though these costs may seem weighty at the moment, they will prove to be insignificant in comparison to the promise given to us. Therefore, let us follow after Him as Abraham did, knowing that He will be faithful to the very end. Yes, there will be costs, but may we remember the greatest cost that was paid for us—
the very life of Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Father, we confess our lack of faith in you. Giving You complete control can be so hard, but help us to see that Your plan is so much greater than ours will ever be. We know that You have what’s best in store for us. Help us to surrender all that we have so that Your perfect will be done in our lives.

Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 36


Lunch Break Study

Read Luke 9:57-62: As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Questions to Consider

  1. Jesus provides three scenarios in regard to following him. What is Jesus trying to teach his disciples about following Him?
  2. What does this mean for us? Does this mean we should not have any of these important things?
  3. How does this apply to you? Spend some time in prayer, refocusing and remembering the value of Christ. What are the things in your life that you cannot fully let go of?

Notes

  1. The context of this passage is Jesus heading to Jerusalem where he would be mistreated, betrayed, and ultimately crucified. In the first scenario Jesus refers to the fact that following him could mean giving up our securities even such as a place to settle down. Second, it could mean giving up obligations to our relationships that are close and dear to us. Lastly, following Christ means not to look back. John Piper warns us of “indecisive discipleship, meaning you can’t follow Christ if you are second-guessing the value of following him.” Following Christ requires everything.
  2. No, it’s a matter of what is priority in your life. When it comes to it, could you and will you put Christ before these important things? It doesn’t mean that you don’t care about them, but it means that you trust in Him enough that He would allow His will to unfold in your life. It means to believe in the value of His kingdom over all things.
  3. Personal Response. Take courage for Christ welcomes us to follow Him as he walks with us. Remember it may not happen overnight, but it is a life long journey that we walk with him.

Evening Reflection

Today, some churches try to make the Christian faith more appealing and “nicer” by avoiding ideas around the cost of following Him. It can be discouraging to think about the costs. However, as Christians, we look at the cost in the face of understanding what we gain. That in giving up our lives to Him, we gain the ultimate glory of being with Him in eternity. If we truly understood this, then we would gladly give up the temporary pleasures of this world.

In light of all that we have considered today, spend some time reflecting on this. Begin with the infinite glory that He promises us, and allow that truth to help us to surrender those areas we struggle to give to Him.

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