February 28, Wednesday

Today’s AMI QT Devotional is written by Esther Chailim. Esther, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, is currently serving as the director of ministries at Kairos Christian Church (San Diego) and pursuing a Masters in Christian Ministry and Leadership at Talbot Theological Seminary.

 

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Hope in the Promise of God”

Genesis 49:29-33 (NIV)

Then he gave them these instructions: “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre in Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite. 31 There Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried, there Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried, and there I buried Leah. 32 The field and the cave in it were bought from the Hittites.”33 When Jacob had finished giving instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.

For many, the end of life often calls for deep reflection on the things most important to them.  Some reflect on the great memories they’ve had, while others think about what they would have done differently.  In a similar fashion, this final request from Jacob was of great importance to him.  Of all the choice words he could have said in his very last moments, he chose to give final instructions on the burial of his body.  It’s important to note that though Jacob had been residing in Egypt for 17 years and had quite a successful life there with his sons, he knew his future did not lie there.  Rather, he desired to be buried alongside his forefathers in Canaan, because it was the place in which God made his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, promising the land to them and all their descendants (Genesis 28:13-14).  In other words, life to Jacob was found in the Promised Land, where he knew he would be in the special presence of the Lord.  To Jacob, Canaan was more than just his hometown; it marked a statement of future hope.   Thus, the burial in Canaan with his forefathers revealed Jacob’s hope and faith that God’s covenant promise would eventually come to pass.

Jacob did not fear death because he knew where he belonged. He knew that death was not the end of it all, and he rested in that security of God’s promise to him.  As the late Billy Graham said, “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.” As believers, our hope is in Jesus Christ who paid the ransom for our sins, so that we might have freedom from sin and walk in the way of righteousness (1 Peter 2:24).  Because of Christ alone, we have victory over sin and death itself.  Therefore, we no longer fear death, but rest in the salvation and eternal glory of Christ.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for the Cross and the hope I have in You.  I want to live my life well so that when my time is up here on earth, You will say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 15


Lunch Break Study

Read 2 Corinthians 4:7-18: But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak,14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Questions to Consider

  1. What kind of life did Paul live for the gospel of Jesus Christ?
  2. Where does Paul hold his confidence?
  3. How can we keep the focus on eternal things?

Notes

  1. Paul lived a life that was hard pressed, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. He was willing to die for Jesus because that meant that others might see LIFE in Jesus.
  2. Paul’s life was not easy by any means, but he showed resilience in overcoming suffering because of the confidence and trust in the ultimate glorification of Jesus Christ. He knew that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ would ultimately bring him salvation and thus never lost heart.
  3. Paul encourages the Corinthian church to fix their eyes on what is unseen (the eternal things) and not on the things seen (temporal things). As Christians serving the kingdom of God, we can sometimes find ourselves caught in the web of the comparison game on worldly matters, struggling to fully devote ourselves to the Lord. But Paul reminds us that our sacrifice to the Lord is not only good, but grants us eternal glory that far outweighs these momentary troubles.

Evening Reflection

As you reflect on your life, spend some time honestly asking yourself these questions:  Where do I put my hope and security in?  Do I find myself chasing that “American Dream” and seeking security in my career, family, possessions and/or comfort? Or do I rest in the promises of God, knowing that my final resting place is not here on earth but in eternity with our Heavenly Father?  Ask the Lord how you can adjust your life so that your hope rests in the eternal things.

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