April 24, Tuesday

The AMI QT Devotionals for April 23-25 are provided by Myra Huang. Myra, a graduate of Juilliard School (BA) and The Manhattan School of Music (M.A.), lives in NYC with her husband Ed Huang and two lovely daughters: Elie (9) and Abby (7). She has been a member of The Remnant Church since its inception in 1995. Myra travels the world performing concerts with opera singers.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

James 1:17-8 (NLT)

“Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.  He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.  He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word.  And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.”

Last November, I found out that my last album with my colleague Nick was nominated for a Grammy Award in the “Best Classical Vocal Solo” category.  I am a classical pianist, and I concertize and record albums with opera singers.

When I was young, I grew up winning every competition I ever entered and being the star pianist in my hometown.  However, around the time of college, for the first time, I wasn’t winning everything and doors were closing on me.  I thought to myself, Ah, now that I’m growing as a Christian, God must want to humble me, so He doesn’t want me to win anymore.  So when this Grammy nomination presented itself, I thought, How lovely!  But God probably doesn’t want me to become arrogant, so we probably won’t win.

I spent a few weeks losing sleep because of my anxiety about losing—I knew it was going to hurt.  But then one day, a couple weeks before the actual Grammys Award Ceremony, God met me during worship.  He simply said, “You are not a loser.”  Those words, coming directly from the Lord of my life, exposed that I had almost made a career of learning to be humbled by God.  I thought He would never entrust winning to me again because it was my lot in my life to be humbled.  But with the words “You are not a loser,” I understood in an instant with beautiful clarity that behind God’s sovereign directing of my life was His deep, vast, all-encompassing love.

Yes, He wanted to work in me so that I would not base my identity on winning or success … because He LOVED me.  He loved me so much that He wanted to give me a security not based on such fleeting things.  God’s timing was so loving to heal me right before the Grammys, so that I could actually enjoy the moment rather than fearing losing.  Also for the first time, I was able to begin imagining all the good things that the Lord had in store for me, rather than just the slice of plain bread I would be rationed every day to survive.  I was able to grasp how lavish was the love my God had for me, and hope began to flood my thoughts as I thought about the future.  I was transformed from a servant who was allowed to be in God’s family, to a prized daughter who was dressed with her Father’s favor.

So, remember that you are a winner in God’s eyes, apart from anything you do or fail to do, and live a stress and anxiety free day today.

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for Your death and resurrection. The hope of eternal life with You gives meaning to my existence, apart from anything I do or fail to do, and brings joy to the things that I get to do here on earth. Help me to live in light of the joy of eternal life today. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Timothy 2


Lunch Break Study (Pastor Ryun)

Read Luke 19:1-6 (NIV): “Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. 7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” 8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Questions to Consider

  1. Given the category of being a winner or a loser, where would the Israelites place Zacchaeus and why?
  2. Where would Jesus place Zacchaeus in this category? Winner or loser? Why do you think so?
  3. Are you a winner or a loser in God’s eyes? Justify your choice.

Notes

  1. The Israelites considered Zacchaeus a profound loser for using performance enhancing drugs (something illegal) to get ahead in his career (“chief tax collector”): he betrayed his people by working for the Romans, and he cheated and lied to collect more than what was required to pocket the excess.
  2. Jesus would consider Zacchaeus a profound winner, because he recognized that no title or money could satisfy his sense of inadequacy and emptiness, so he sought Jesus—even though he must have looked like a fool climbing a tree to see Jesus. Anyone who seeks Jesus and His approval above all else is a winner.
  3. Personal response. Quiet your soul and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart (Rom. 8:16).

Evening Reflection

This morning, the issue was how God ministers to us personally and intimately.  Without being ministered that way, we cannot hear anything from the Lord. God may very well be saying, “You are not a loser,” but what good is it if we aren’t hearing it. So try this before going to sleep tonight and allow yourself to hear God’s voice through the Spirt in your heart: “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him” (Ps 37:7a).

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