July 5, Thursday

Today’s AMI QT Devotional is provided by Charles Graham. Charles is a new intern with Kairos, who came aboard in September of 2017. He is currently studying at Talbot School of Theology to prepare himself for a life of service and ministry.

 

Devotional Thoughts for This Morning

“Fair weather worship”

Jeremiah 17:10-19 [NIV]
“¹⁴Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise. ¹⁵They keep saying to me,“Where is the word of the Lord? Let it now be fulfilled!” ¹⁶I have not run away from being your shepherd; you know I have not desired the day of despair. What passes my lips is open before you. ¹⁷Do not be a terror to me; you are my refuge in the day of disaster. ¹⁸Let my persecutors be put to shame, but keep me from shame; let them be terrified, but keep me from terror. ¹⁹Bring on them the day of disaster; destroy them with double destruction.” 

I’m a huge sports fan; following American football and basketball the closest. I may lose some people with this, but being a SoCal native, my earliest memories of watching sports are of my family gathering around a giant CRT TV in the living room, and watching the Los Angeles Lakers. I love the Lakers, and I’ll welcome Lebron James with open arms (and no shame). Anyway, further down the road, my family moved from LA to San Diego, where I developed a love and appreciation for the (then) San Diego Chargers. Growing into a fan of the Chargers was an interesting experience. In watching and attending games, I began to observe a peculiar pattern in the behavior of most other fans; that they would love the Chargers as long as we were winning, but in down times there were serious concerns of season ticket holders abandoning their passes, or even jerseys getting disowned. As time went on, I grew to understand that these people are known as “fair weather fans,” or more commonly, “bandwagoners.”

Unfortunately, fair weather fandom doesn’t stop at our favorite sports teams. Have you noticed how much friendlier you are to someone when you want something out of them? We use the most polite tones when asking for things from our parents, we’re friendly with our friends because we generally do favors for one another, we’re friendly with potential business partners, entire industries are made or broken over how friendly we are to customers and we’re nicest of all to people we’re just starting to date. Now, what happens in these situations, is we bend over backwards to try to get to that “fair weather” place with whatever we’re interacting with, and then we start the cruise control. Then, the second we deviate from that fair weather spot, it’s a crisis. The sad truth is, sometimes we bring this fair weather mindset to our faith as well.

You see, the Israelites got to that fair weather place on their walk with God and hit the cruise control too. As a result, they began spiraling out of control with their idolatry, among other sins. A lot of the time, like the Israelites, we find ourselves in a good place in life, and, though we can remember it was God who got us there, the true weight of that gift in your life is neglected. Slowly, we start to ease up on our commitments to God, and eventually forget them entirely. We convince ourselves “we’ll be alright” if we miss a small group here and there, or take a Sunday off from worshipping, and most times it’s fine. However if the trend remains consistent, and the snowball keeps rolling downhill, one Sunday becomes two, then you’re gone for a month and before you know it, you’re no longer the season ticket holder. You just attend church when you’re winning.

Jeremiah saw this pattern occurring with the Israelites and warned them of God’s coming judgement. God sent Jeremiah with words that would “…uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant,” (Jer 1:10 [NIV]). Unfortunately, the Israelites did not heed Jeremiah’s warning, and were eventually dispossessed of their land and sent into exile. In the passage above, Jeremiah’s words serve as a great reminder of our need for active engagement with God. We need to be die-hard fans of Him.

Prayer: Father, it’s very easy to get caught up in life, and forget about You. Please, don’t let me get to the point of nominal worship. I don’t want to grow numb or ambivalent to You. Please speak to my heart, and rekindle the passion I had for You in the beginning. In Jesus’ name, amen .


Lunch Break Study

Psalm 9:1-2
¹I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. ²I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High. Questions To Consider: 1. What does it mean to love God with all your heart? 2. What does it mean to “be glad and rejoice” in God?

Notes

  1. Interestingly enough, I don’t think loving God with all your heart is quite enough (though I’m not criticizing David). We are called to love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind (Luke 10:27). That is to say, we are called to love God with all of our being. It would seem, God does not want us to only enjoy Him emotionally, but intellectually, physically and spiritually as well.
  2. Everyone goes through times where they feel like the world is ending and their world is coming crashing down, myself included. Though I can’t say there is a universal standard of what being glad and rejoicing in God is, as it may  look different from person to person, we can all be fall back on the notion that the God of the universe loves, pursues, teaches and cares for us as a people, and each of us individually.

Evening Reflection

We seek a relationship with God. Any good relationship takes active effort and work for it to grow. Sometimes, even heavy sacrifices must be made to make it work. God has already offered up His sacrifice to to make it work with you. What are you willing to give to make it work with Him?

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