July 2, Monday

The AMI QT Devotionals for July 2-3 are 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 School of Theology.

 

Devotional Thoughts for This Morning

“Let’s make a change!”

Jeremiah 17:1-2

“Judah’s sin is engraved with an iron tool, inscribed with a flint point, on the tablets of their hearts and on the horns of their altars. Even their children remember their altars and Asherah poles beside the spreading trees and on the high hills.”

The recently released film “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”  highlights the life and legacy of Fred Rodgers. His start into the television business came about after seeing a man getting pied in the face on TV as a form of comical relief.  To most people, these slapstick shows were entertaining and appeared to be harmless jesters.  But Mr. Rogers saw things differently. To him, using humor to avoid life’s most difficult realities was an extreme disservice to children.  Knowing how impressionable children were, Mr. Rogers, therefore, devoted the next three decades of his life teaching children how to deal with life’s weightiest issues through the lens of mass media.

In Jeremiah 17:1-4, we read about how Judah’s sin caused God’s anger to burn forever. Their sin was so deeply engrained in them that Jeremiah describes the permanency as being engraved “on the tablet of their hearts, and on the horns of their altars.”  In other words, their sin was a mark of history, negatively affecting and influencing the generations to come.  Jeremiah proceeds to warn the nation about how God will punish them because of their rebellion.  The similarity between those broadcasting slapstick shows, and the rebellious nation of Judah, is that they were both only interested in instant gratification.  They were in it for themselves and did not care about the consequences that would later harm them or others. Thank goodness for Mr. Rogers, who constantly fought to challenge those norms!

Every day, we are faced with the same dilemma of choosing to live our lives in line with God, or to turn from Him.  It is impossible for us to do it on our own, so that is why we need the help of the Holy Spirit.   As we reflect on our lives, here are some good questions to ask ourselves: Am I seeking out instant gratification or am I seeking the eternal rewards? Am I self-seeking, or am I seeking Christ? Am I being a positive influence to others, or a negative one?   I think what is most powerful about this film is that it brings to light a desperate need for more people like Mr. Rogers.  An ordinary, imperfect man, centered on Christ, called to minister to others (particularly children) through love and kindness. A man who challenged cultural norms and fought for the dignity of all children. Because of this, his ministry and legacy continues to live even beyond his years.  What once was a humble television show intended to change the way children deal with the difficulties of life has now become a film inspiring adults in the present day to continue that work and make a change in this world.   Now, before you think, I am no Mr. Rogers, remember that no matter who you are, you are a teacher to someone.

So whether that person is a child, a sibling, a co-worker, a friend, or even a stranger, know that God gives us amazing opportunities to make a positive influence in other people’s life.  Speak truth, show kindness, and share the love of Christ!

Prayer:  God, help me to live a life that influences others in a positive way.   I know that how I choose to live my life matters to You, so Holy Spirit, help me not to fall into temptation and continue walking in rebellion towards You.  Root me in Your truths and cover me in Your grace so that I am firmly grounded and able to minister to others with love and compassion.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Ezekiel 40


Lunch Break Study

Read Colossians 3:12-17: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Questions to Consider

  1. As God’s chosen people, what character traits does He call us to strive for?
  2. How can we have the peace of Christ rule our hearts?
  3. Think about someone in your life whom God is calling you to extend a little more compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and/or patience towards. Pray for that person and ask the Holy Spirit to give you an opportunity to minister to them.

Note

  1. God calls His people to have compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. He also calls us to forgive and to put on love.
  2. We can have the peace of Christ by allowing the Word of God to dwell among us. As we read and meditate on the Word of God, as we sing praises with a grateful heart, the peace of God will be upon us.
  3. Personal response. 

Evening Reflection

Read over Ephesians 4:29-32. Spend some time meditating on these verses and consider areas in your life where you may be tempted to fall into sin.  Does your speech corrupt others, or does it build them up? Are you quick to become angry or bitter, or are you able to forgive and show kindness?  If there are sins that you need to surrender to God, take this time to do so now. Acts 3:19 tells us to, “Repent, then, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”

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