June 27, Wednesday

The AMI Devotional Blogs from June 25-July 1 are written by Phillip Chen, college pastor at Church of Southland. Philip, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, is currently studying at Talbot School of Theology.  He is married to Esther.

Devotional Thoughts for This Morning

“Being a Prophetic Voice” 

Jeremiah 15:10 (ESV)

Woe is me, my mother, that you bore me, a man of strife and contention to the whole land! I have not lent, nor have I borrowed, yet all of them curse me.

I strongly dislike confrontation; not only that, I’m just not good at it. Sometimes when I need to rebuke someone or point out an area that they need to improve on, I stress out while planning out what I’m going to say. Of course it may sound good in my head—until, the actual confrontation happens. Then, for some reason, all of the things I’ve prepared escape my mind, and I talk about everything but what I need to say, until I’ve thoroughly confused the person. I definitely have to grow in this area. Yet some people are naturally good at it: for example, my wife can rebuke people with a smile on her face, and they actually leave feeling convicted and loved.

Whether you’re good at it or not, there are times where we need to confront people— particularly convictions that God has placed on our hearts. After all, we are His mouthpieces. Whether it’s sharing the gospel with someone we’re nervous about sharing with, or having a difficult conversation about sin in people’s lives, we know that we must be faithful to the word that the Lord has put on our lips. But it’s definitely not easy.

I used to think about how amazing it must be to be a prophet, since they get to be the direct mouthpiece of God; not only that, they had the ability to do miraculous things (because the power of God was so present in their lives). And then I realized that most of the prophets actually had a very difficult time. They had to say hard things to people that no one wanted to say and were probably hated by many. They were definitely not the popular ones—many of them lived very tragic lives. Jeremiah (known as the “weeping prophet”) probably cried so many tears over the nation of Judah because he knew what was coming for this nation but also because the whole land hated him. In fact, in the middle of this conversation with God, he cries out in agony because the whole nation is angry at him for prophesying destruction upon their nation. How difficult it must have been to be a prophet in a time of rampant sin, prophesying that God’s judgment was coming!

Yet God gave Jeremiah the grace to speak the difficult words that needed to be said—despite a whole nation against him. God has also given each of us specific words that need to be said. In the midst of difficult conversations, and the truth we must speak from our convictions, He gives us the grace to do so. May we live prophetic lives, speaking forth the word of God through our lips with grace and truth.

Prayer: Father God, I pray that You would help me to speak Your truth with wisdom and grace. In times when I need to have difficult conversations with someone, strengthen me and give me the courage to speak forth Your truth. Give me a love for people and a tenderness in my words to lead people closer to You rather than further away from You. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: Ezekiel 34


Lunch Break Study

Read Colossians 4:2-6 (ESV): Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— 4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. 5 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

Question to Consider

  1. What is Paul’s prayer request?
  2. What are some ways salt would be used, and why do you think Paul uses this analogy of being “seasoned with salt”?
  3. When you have a conviction from the Lord to confront someone, how do you approach it?

Notes

  1. That he would have opportunities to share about Jesus. Even though he is in prison on account of the gospel, his prayer is that God would use and strengthen him to be faithful in speaking forth the good news of Jesus. He also asks the believers in Colossae to pray that he would be clear in his speech so that people would understand the mystery of Christ.
  2. Salt was used to bring greater taste to bland foods, it was used to preserve foods that would spoil easily, and in some instances, it was used as a means of healing. With that, our speech ought to bring greater taste (edifying), it ought to preserve this decaying world, and it definitely must be a means of healing. Our words are so powerful and ought to be used to build up rather than to destroy.
  3. Personal response.

Evening Reflection

James 3 talks about the power of the tongue – it has the power to do great things (to build up or destroy people). Think about the words that came out of your mouth today. How did you use these words? Did you speak forth the love of God? Or did you use it to hurt others? Spend some time reflecting before the Lord and ask Him to fine tune your tongue to be used as an instrument for His glory.

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