August 1, Wednesday

The AMI QT devotionals for July 30-August 5 are provided by Christine Li. Christine graduated from University of Pennsylvania and currently lives and works in New York City. She attends Remnant Church in Manhattan.


Devotional Thoughts for Today

 

“What Makes Dad Mad?”

Jeremiah 25:37-38

The peaceful meadows will be laid waste because of the fierce anger of the Lord. 38 Like a lion he will leave his lair, and their land will become desolate because of the sword of the oppressor and because of the Lord’s fierce anger.

While I was mostly a goody-two-shoes child growing up, I still got in trouble quite a bit. Normally, my mom gave me an earful, while my dad was the good-natured Good Cop. Oh, but woe to me on the day that I provoked my dad to anger! I remember this happening twice, both times when I talked back extremely rudely to my mom—the one thing he could not stand. The spanking that ensued on those occasions was a very effective way to indicate that disrespect was one of the greatest offenses in our home. These punishments didn’t cure my impertinence, but you can bet I was more careful because I knew what made him mad.

While I admire how my parents raised me, I felt strange choosing to share this story because, in the church, we rarely value anger, especially God’s anger. However, the majority of Jeremiah’s prophecies warn about wrath and the punishment that all are headed for as they continue in rebellion. Anger, at its core, is the emotion that indicates what we are passionate about or wish to protect. From God’s reaction, we learn how He is fiercely passionate about His holiness and whether it is reflected by His creation.

As believers, we often live in blissful ignorance of the offensiveness of our sins against God. Of course, we live by His grace because Jesus has already paid for every sin. However, to increase our appreciation for what Christ has done, today let’s take some time to think over our actions and whether they are in-line with our Father in Heaven. We should remember how holy and pure our God is and find ourselves still far from His perfection. And therefore, we can find ourselves more thankful and amazed by the love of Christ that would compel Him to take the Father’s wrath on our behalf.

Let’s not skip over the long passages about God’s anger as we keep reading Jeremiah but be reminded of God’s great mercy for believers. His fury against sin is justified and fearsome – but every punishment has already been paid on Christ. Today, let’s not take the shed blood of Christ lightly but rather rejoice and give thanks for His sacrifice!

Prayer: Father, I am in awe of Your holiness and amazed that You would send Your Son to atone for my sins. Make me humble to remember how Your anger was settled by Christ on my behalf. Give me a thankful, grateful spirit for Your love once more, and help me to live in freedom, now that all my debts are paid! Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Nehemiah 1


Lunch Break Study

Read 1 John 1:5-10: This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

Questions to Consider

  1. Verse 6 says that if we walk in the darkness but claim to have fellowship with God, then we are lying. What does this mean?
  2. John both exhorts us to walk in the light but also encourages us to admit that we have sins. How do we reconcile the two?
  3. Having observed that admitting sin and walking in the light are part and parcel, let’s set aside some time for confession and repentance—changing our walk so that it aligns with His.

Notes

  1. To “walk in darkness” would be impossible if we truly had fellowship with God, for a holy God cannot abide with unholy creatures. If we are closely joined with Him, then we would walk the path of holiness and purity with Him. Walking in the light is an action taken in faith that we have exchanged our old nature of darkness with the new nature of light through Christ. Purposely choosing to walk in darkness would be to reject the fullness of life that God has given us.
  2. While the two sentiments seem to be at odds, the passage captures the ongoing process of sanctification, as we are perfect but still being made holy (Hebrews 10:14). Confession is an ongoing process of both recognizing our sin and wielding His power to walk in the light with Him. We may not walk in the light perfectly, but as we stay close to Him, we can walk in the light victoriously.
  3. Personal reflection. 

Evening Reflection

Has it occurred to you recently that an aspect of how you are living may grieve and trouble God? Let’s not take that revelation as condemnation, but quickly turn to Him to be reminded by the depth of unconditional forgiveness available to us. Let’s commit our steps tomorrow to Him so that we can live lives that please Him.

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