October 22, Monday

The AMI QT Devotionals from October 22-28 are provided by Pastor Paul Liu, who pastors the Grace Covenant Church Singapore.  He is a graduate of University of Illinois (BA) and Biblical Theological Seminary (M.Div.). He and his wife Ailsa have three beautiful daughters.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“God Still Speaks”

Jeremiah 47:1

The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the Philistines, before Pharaoh struck down Gaza.

Parenting is hard work!  It’s hard because the devil is in the details—diapers, discipline, fashion, fairy tales—and almost every detail leaves a ripple that the eye cannot see.  That’s a big responsibility. It’s almost unfair. What parents do AND don’t do—all of this taking place under the weight of pressures both outside and in—matters.  Whether they realize it or not, parents are under the scrutiny of watchful eyes and listening ears. All that to say: “Parents, your words are incredibly important.”  Words spoken in frustration and anger scar; words aimed to humiliate always do; and worst of all, words left unsaid leave an indelible void in the hearts of children who look to their parents for the building blocks of their personhood.  Words are powerful indeed.

Which is why the fact that God speaks is so fundamentally life-changing.  If words-left-unsaid can leave a hole in our hearts, how great would be the void if we imagine God to be silent—indifferent to our existence, disengaged from our lives, and uncompassionate toward our pains?  We would be cosmically insecure, helpless, and feeling like a small fish in danger of being swallowed by the sharks of life—that is, if God doesn’t speak—but, He does!

The context of today’s passage is international conflict involving several nations at odds.  The old enemy of God’s people, the Philistines, are about to be attacked by the Egyptians before they themselves are engulfed by the Babylonian Empire.  Philistia was a small fish compared to these empires of sharks. God’s people could relate: Judah was a speck in the dust compared to the Babylonian hoard (who would later conquer her).  The Judeans probably felt like everything was teetering out of control. But in that moment, God saw fit to address their demise and identify His sovereignty amidst their uncertainty. What others saw as chaos, God had under control.  And the fact that God speaks affirms this to us today: You cannot be lost afloat when your God continues to call. Jeremiah tells us all men and women are accountable to the God who created them—and He is NOT indifferent towards us. He still speaks!

Before delving into the ancient conflicts of the Near East, ask yourself, “Am I making space for God to speak into my life?  When was the last time I heard from the Lord? How am I responding to His words now?”

Prayer: Dear Lord, increase the longing in my soul for Your voice.  Remind me that You are neither distant or disinterested—but rather passionate and persistent in Your purposes for me.   Speak O Lord, I want to hear…

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Peter 1


Lunch Break Study  

Read Isaiah 32:14-18: For the palace is forsaken, the populous city deserted; the hill and the watchtower will become dens forever, a joy of wild donkeys, a pasture of flocks; 15 until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest. 16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. 17 And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust[a] forever. 18 My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.

This passage describes the blessing that the Holy Spirit brings to God’s people – literally described as order out of chaos.  

Questions to Consider

  1. What do forsaken castles and deserted cities represent to you?
  2. What difference does the Spirit being ‘poured upon us’ bring?
  3. How does the Spirit’s presence change our relationships?

Notes

  1. Castles represented protection and leadership, while cities represent prosperity and opportunity.  The absence of authority in a castle and people in a city is a picture of chaos. It’s life out of order.  Life outside of God’s presence is similar.
  2. In contrast to a life in chaos, the Spirit bring life (fruitful field) and vitality (forest).  This is consistent with the Holy Spirit’s activity throughout history – active in creation & the agent of God’s new creation through Jesus (Titus 3:4-5).  
  3. Surprisingly the effects mentioned here are not merely personal.  The Spirit being ‘poured upon us’ results in justice and righteousness – literally fairness and uprightness.  It changes how we live and especially how we treat those around us. If you say you have the Spirit, how are you treating the person in front of you?  

Evening Reflection

One of the realities of living in a media-saturated world is that we automatically filter out ton of stimuli.  We cannot physically process every image and soundbite. It would drive us crazy! This makes it all the more important to prioritize the right voices.  Did you tune-into God’s frequency today? What words from God did you receive? How are you responding?

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