August 2, Thursday

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


“Something Old, Something New”

Jeremiah 26:1-2

Early in the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came from the Lord: 2 “This is what the Lord says: Stand in the courtyard of the Lord’s house and speak to all the people of the towns of Judah who come to worship in the house of the Lord. Tell them everything I command you; do not omit a word. Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from their evil ways. Then I will relent and not inflict on them the disaster I was planning because of the evil they have done. Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: If you do not listen to me and follow my law, which I have set before you, and if you do not listen to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I have sent to you again and again (though you have not listened), then I will make this house like Shiloh and this city a curse among all the nations of the earth.’ ”

Earlier this month, I was on Instagram scrolling through the account of a worship leader. She posted something that seemed particularly relevant and timely for me. When I started reading, I thanked God for ministering to me through her words. As I read on, I realized that she was actually quoting The Message version of a passage I had read earlier in the day. Oops—turns out that the word I needed to hear and take to heart was in front of me all along. Sure, the wording was different, and I may have been more receptive as a result, but I felt a gentle reminder that God’s word is available for me to listen to—and I should pay more attention!

If we were to compare Jeremiah and his hearers in their obedience, one might point out the glaring difference is that Jeremiah hears directly from God, while the rest of the people may not have had such clarity. However, it is clear that God has always been speaking to His people. He Himself reminds the people that His law was set up, so that they could listen and live in a way that brought fellowship with Him. God’s people did not need “special access” similar to Jeremiah’s in order to faithfully listen and live. They had exactly what they needed in front of them!

I confess that I too-frequently ask God for something different and new—something insightful, something “fresh” to my ears, maybe something supernatural. I go to many other sources: books, articles, songs of worship, friends, etc. But there are a couple thousand pages that I have not diligently perused, and I have forgotten thousands of things that He has revealed in those pages. If we will humble ourselves to focus on His words, we will surely hear Him and know how to follow Him. We might find that Martin Luther did not exaggerate when he said, “The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me.”

Today, let’s approach the Word with fresh and eager openness, remembering that He speaks—and has always been speaking—to us through the Bible. We do not need anything “extra” to meet with Him today. When we read with His Spirit, we will hear Him clearly.  Let’s ask Him to open our hearts and tune our souls to commune with Him.

Prayer: Father, open my ears to hear You speak. Your Word is unchanging, and I want to encounter You through it. Give me the ears to diligently listen to and obey everything You have already placed in front of me. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Nehemiah 2


Lunch Break Study

Read 1 John 2:11-18: For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters,] if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. 16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Questions to Consider

  1. What does John say is the primary message of God passed to us?
  2. According to John, how can we live out the command of God in our lives?
  3. The passage urges us to love not just with words but in action and in truth. Let’s take time to ask God to reveal to us how we can grow in love this way.

Notes

  1. The message of God sent to us from the beginning is love. God’s redemptive intention for the world has been one of reconciliation through His agape love—and His generous, proactive love gives us the richness that we may love one another with.
  2. John writes about loving in a way that reflects that of Christ’s love: sacrificial, generous, and compassionate. Unlike Cain, who hated his brother, the love that God gives us allows our love to surpass our selfish and jealous temptations. We will lay down our lives and give our own resources to serve our brothers and sisters.
  3. Personal reflection.

Evening Reflection 

How was your time with God today? Were you able to focus a little better to hear Him through the Word? Let’s think on how we can continue to make hearing Him a natural, consistent part of our lives.

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