September 13, Thursday

Todays’ AMI Quiet Time is written by Pastor Ryun. 

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Winning isn’t Everything; It’s the Only Thing. No, There Is Something More Important.”

1 Corinthians 6:7b-8:

Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? But, instead, one brother goes to law against another—and this in front of unbelievers.

Upon seeing Serena William’s rage during the U.S. Open Finals, I got a glimpse of what I must look like when I have had those episodes—a huge difference being that William’s meltdown happened before the eyes of the world, while mine happened before my wife and kids. Like Serena, I typically felt that my anger (later rage) had a just cause. But, the Holy Spirit always has my ears, reminding me, first, “man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” (James 1:20); and second, “now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror” (1 Cor. 13:12)—meaning, my anger was in part due to not seeing everything that truly happened.  I chose to see only what I wanted to see, so that I could win over my wife and kids.  Perhaps that also played a part in Serena’s implosion. But life doesn’t need to be lived out that way—”winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing”—instead, we can place compassion and decency above winning, whether in marriage or playing tennis.

In 1995, Pete Sampras faced Jim Courier, an old friend, in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. At that time, Sampras’ coach Bill Gullickson had suffered his third stroke during the Open and had to return to the State prior to Sampras’ match against Courier.  Greatly affected by this, Sampras was badly losing the match.  As Courier was about to serve, someone in the crowd yelled, “Win one for you coach!”  That made Sampras become emotional and he started to cry.  So, what did Courier do?  Instead of nailing a serve to finish off Sampras and take the next step to win his millions, Courier delayed his serve, giving Sampras a time to compose himself.  Then he yelled out, “Are you all right, Pete? We can finish this thing tomorrow!”  At that point, it really didn’t matter who won the match—compassion won over the ethos of “winning is the only thing.”

Paul tells the Christians who sued those who defrauded them of money, “and this in front of believers, . . . ‘Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?’” (1 Cor. 6:6b; 7b). Why? In order that “God’s name is [not] blasphemed among the [unbelievers] because of you” (Rom. 2:24). So, if a tennis player, despite several hundreds of thousands of dollars hanging in the balance, can show such level of compassion toward his “enemy,” how much more the Christians, with souls in the eternal balance, should show the same for Christ’s sake.

I don’t condemn Serena because I have been as guilty as her. So, I might say, “Serena, there is peace to be had, not by winning another tournament but in the forgiveness of God in Christ.” Perhaps, as I have done so many times to my wife and kids, you might consider saying to those affected, “It’s my bad; that’s on me. I apologize.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to live in harmony with others, being sympathetic and loving toward my brothers and sisters, as well as being compassionate and humble. Lord, help me not to pay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing (1 Pet. 3:8-9), for that’s what You did for me. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Job 26


Lunch Break Study

(by HeeJung Lee)

Read Colossians 3:14-17: “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Questions to Consider

  1. What type of conversations do you find yourself engaged in these days?
  2. How much do you find yourself despising all that is wrong and being attracted to whatever is good, noble, pure, and lovely?
  3. Are you ruled by your feelings and your own will, or do you submit to the Word of God in your daily choices of thought, attitudes, and will?

Notes

  1. Scriptures tell us that out of the abundance of the heart of the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). Doing an inventory of your words and conversations is a good start to getting a gauge on what is dwelling in your heart and how you are doing spiritually.
  2. Love is not a good deed. Love, as explained in the Scriptures, is one’s nature—a way of being that is the compelling motive behind deeds and actions. Love is drawn to all that is upright, pure, and promotes the well being of others. If this is not the operation of your thoughts and heart, then you may be needing to first be filled up with God’s love for you so that you are not living out of an orphan spirit trying to gain His approval by outward acts of righteousness. You are already approved by God because of Christ’s righteousness in you. His desire is for you to be filled up in the knowledge of His love for you first, and then you will be able to overflow His love to others. All unhealthiness of the heart needs to be addressed first so that this can happen.
  3. The ways of flesh oppose the ways of the Spirit (Galatians 5:17). The more we incline to self lordship, the less we are being filled with God’s love. Then we will find it difficult to see and feel as God does because we will grieve the Holy Spirit in us. The more we submit to the Word of God, it becomes easier to think and make choices that are in obedience to God’s commands. We will be more filled with the Holy Spirit and able to walk in His nature.

Evening Reflection

We began the day by considering the heart of love and how it is drawn to all that is good and right. In light of this meditation, how did you find your heart operating today?

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