January 23, Tuesday

The AMI QT Devotionals from January 22-28 are provided by Kate Moon.  Kate, a graduate of Yale (BA) and Columbia University (MA), has been serving the Lord in E. Asia for 15+ years.  After taking a one-year hiatus, she has returned to grace us with her wonderful insights drawn from God’s Word.  Thank you.
 

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Genesis 39:6-9

So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate. Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, 7 and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” 8 But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. 9 No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”

Lorraine’s* co-worker, Marybelle, had a slightly independent and rebellious streak, and it was often getting them into trouble. When Lorraine wasn’t sure about a decision they were making and thought they should run it by their manager, MB would say, “Why do we always have to tell him everything?” When Lorraine wanted to work on a project a little more, MB would say, “It’s good enough. Why do you always have to make everything so perfect?” Afterwards, when her manager would call her into his office (= she’d done something wrong), Lorraine would find her initial instincts had been right. Lorraine didn’t like getting into trouble, but she also just wanted things to be peaceful between her and MB.

(*Names, characters and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.)

One cue Lorraine could take from Joseph today is the principle of living and working to please one master and one alone. If Joseph had been living to please people, he could have easily lost himself trying to figure out how he could both honor his master and please his master’s wife at the same time. But for Joseph, it was simple: to honor God was to honor his master, which meant to say “no” to his master’s wife. It is impossible to please everyone because people will want opposite things from us, often at the same time. Better to acknowledge earlier on the unfeasibility of this strategy for life and go with something more sound. What kept life simple for Joseph and also enabled him to maintain integrity was his determination to live life right in the eyes of God (v. 9).

Our parents want one thing, our in-laws another; our bosses want one thing, our spouses another. When everyone is important but everyone has conflicting interests, how can we avoid getting caught in the middle or ending up compromising what we know is right? Only by living to please God first.

Prayer: Lord, help me to see all decisions through the lens of, “Does this honor You or is it sin against You?” When I place You first, making the best decisions for all involved will take care of itself. Free me from any people-pleasing tendencies and help me to walk in your ways. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today:  Numbers 10


Lunch Break Study

Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8: As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.

Questions to Consider

  1. In this passage, what does it mean to live to please God? (vv. 1-3)
  2. What aspects are related to the command to “avoid sexual immorality?” (vv. 3-6)
  3. Concepts like “sanctified,” “holy,” and “not like those who don’t know God” are a running theme throughout this passage. How is the call to be holy related to this particular command? How set apart are your views on this subject from those of society? (vv. 7-8)

Notes

  1. To be sanctified, specifically by avoiding sexual sin.
  2. Believers were to control their bodies in a way that set them apart from what were perhaps cultural norms; they were also specifically commanded not to sin against their brothers and sisters in this particular way.
  3. To be holy is to be “set apart.” Perhaps in that culture, much the same as ours, the concept of sexual morality was seen as just rules made by people (v. 8) that we could take or leave. The real battle was, therefore, not just physical but in the mind, and to win, believers had to set themselves apart by rejecting the prevailing mindset of the day to align themselves with God’s.

Evening Reflection

Tonight, ask yourself these questions: How many of the decisions that I made today were to please God vs. to please people or be in line with the society at large? When I made decisions based, first of all, on whether or not God would be pleased, did I experience His peace? (This is the real way to achieve peace in life, Lorraine 🙂 If so, thank the Lord.

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