June 12, Tuesday

The AMI QT Devotionals from June 11-17 are provided by Pastor Yohan of Remnant Church.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Tough Love”

Jeremiah 11:14-15

“Do not pray for this people or offer any plea or petition for them, because I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their distress. 15 “What is my beloved doing in my temple as she, with many others, works out her evil schemes? Can consecrated meat avert your punishment? When you engage in your wickedness, then you rejoice.”

I don’t know if this is a male/female thing or maybe an Asian/Non-Asian thing, but there Child Hurtare times when my children get hurt, and instead of feeling sorrow, I get angry.  A classic example of something that happens almost weekly in my home is when my five-year old starts jumping on the arms of our couch.  Like a little monkey, he goes from one couch to another, having a grand old time, until boom!  He slips and bangs his head against the floor.  So he comes to me, and he’s crying, rubbing his head, seeking comfort.  Now instead of giving him a hug or rubbing his dome, what do I do?  Well, if I’m in an annoyed mood, I might give him a Korean timeout (one where he sits on his knees holding his arms in the air).  It’s kind of cute seeing little kids try to do the Korean timeout.

I know that many of you reading this might be tempted to think that I am some sort of monster (please don’t call child services), but what you need to know is that jumping on the couch is an established no-no in my household, and my children have been told countless times not to do it.  So when Jonny comes to me holding his head crying as a result of his deliberate disobedience, what am I supposed to do?  Pretend it’s okay that he broke the rules just because he’s crying?  Come on!  You take me for a fool?

When we read today’s passage, you might be tempted to think that the Lord is cold-hearted toward his people, especially when He tells the prophet Jeremiah to stop praying for them.  But remember from yesterday that the Israelites had a long history of idolatry and turning away from the Lord.  Even as they offer sacrifices in the temple, the Bible says that they are planning evil schemes; talk about a disingenuous “sorry”!  What should we expect from the Lord?  Do you want Him to take back His people just because they go through the motions of coming to the temple and offering these “sacrifices”?  Come on!  You take Him for a fool?

Here’s the point: there comes a point where allowing a person to reap what he sows is the most gracious thing that can be done.  Like the prodigal son, who woke up in a pig pen, learning the hard way might be the only way some of us learn.  But here’s my plea… please don’t be that type of person.  Please learn to heed the Lord’s warnings and wisdom before it’s too late.  Be wise, don’t be a fool.

Prayer: Lord, please don’t make me one of those people who has to learn the “hard way”.  Help me to heed Your warnings and listen to sound advice.  In times when You do show me “tough love”, help me to see and understand what You are doing through it.

Bible Reading for Today:  Ezekiel 18


Lunch Break Study

Read James 1:2-8: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

Questions to Consider

  1. In this passage, persevering trials and wisdom are juxtaposed.  What do you think is the correlation between the two?
  2. Why is faith so important when we ask for wisdom?
  3. Are there difficulties in your life that you are facing that require spiritual wisdom?

Notes

  1. Many times when facing trials, people will either blame God or the enemy and get bitter.  Wisdom helps us see what God is doing in difficult times and gives us a correct response.
  2. James gives us the key in v. 5: God gives “generously.”  Before His gifts, we must believe in His character, that God is always good and generous.  He gives His children what we need, all the time.  Understanding this, even in tough times, requires faith.
  3. Personal application question.

Evening Reflection

What is the difference between a trial from God and a temptation from the enemy?  Are there areas in your life where you are getting the two confused?  Tonight, ask for the Lord’s wisdom for not only perspective, but the right course of action.

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