December 24, Monday

The AMI QT Devotionals from December 24 to 30 are provided by Pastor Yohan Lee of Remnant Church, New York City. Yohan graduated from University of Pennsylvania and Cairn University, where he studied theology.  He is married to Mandie, and they have four adorable children.

 

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Blessed?”

Luke 1:46-48

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed.”

Whether it through personal experience or—as silly as it sounds—through TV and movies, I think we all have at least some idea of how scary and “inconvenient” an unplanned pregnancy can be for a woman.  I know that some in our reading audience are actively trying to have kids now, but for the rest of us, imagine how much an unexpected pregnancy would flip your life around. For students, what would a child mean for your studies and your future?  For you singles, how would a child impact your career and personal life? For you DINKs, are you ready for your cool vacations and trendy restaurants to turn into theme parks and Red Robin? On the other end of the spectrum, maybe your children are grown up or are teenagers: how would a baby change your life now?  Money set aside for retirement quickly converts to college tuition? I just moved my last two kids from car seats to boosters, and that felt like a game-changer. You couldn’t pay me enough to go back to a world of strollers, bottle warmers, and diapers.

As “inconvenient” as it would be to have a child now, think about how utterly terrifying it must have been for Mary.  What must have gone on in her head after the angel Gabriel left her that night? How would Joseph react? There’s no way he’s staying, right?  No one’s gonna believe that this is God’s Son; everyone’s gonna think that I had an affair. Are my parents gonna kick me out? Who’s gonna help us?  Am I gonna have to raise this baby alone? How will I support myself and a child? Given all these overwhelming thoughts, would you have felt “blessed” as Mary says she was in v. 48?  My guess is that many of us would have felt the exact opposite. In reality, Mary was blessed and was given an opportunity no one in the history of the world will ever have again. However, in order to see this, she had to overcome her overwhelming circumstances by faith.  

Here’s the truth for us today: Oftentimes, God’s biggest blessings will feel overwhelming at first, and if we aren’t careful, we’ll mistake them for a burden instead of the blessings they were meant to be.  Think about some of the hard things you’ve gone through. Looking back on them, did you grow through them? Did God become more real to you afterwards? Can you use those experiences to encourage others? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, my guess is that you’ve seen how difficulties can become blessings.  What are you going through now? I’m sure they feel overwhelming, but can you, like Mary, see the blessing on the other side?

Prayer: Lord, thank You for the example of Mary, who showed that even in difficult circumstances You are still with us and we are still blessed.  Give us faith to trust You through all times. Thank You also for sending Your Son into the world to save us! Amen.

Bible Reading for Today:  Luke 2


Lunch Break Study

Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Questions to Consider

  1.  What are the imperatives that Paul gives us?
  2.  Instead of being anxious, what should we do?
  3.  What are the benefits of God’s peace, and are you experiencing them in your life now?

Notes

  1.  Paul commands us to rejoice; he also says not to be anxious, but to pray and give thanks to God.  
  2.  Pray and ask God.  Also give thanks. This is a reminder that while we are often powerless in our circumstances, we can ask the One who is powerful for help.  Giving thanks reminds us of His goodness and faithfulness.
  3.  God’s peace is transcendent—meaning, it goes beyond human reasoning.  In other words, when we have no reason to hope, God’s peace can help us to see past our circumstances.  Of course, the second part of the question is an introspective one.

Evening Reflection

In John 14:27, Jesus tells His disciples that He is giving them his peace, which is a peace that is not of the world, a peace that can only come from the Lord.  This Christmas Eve, as we celebrate when God’s peace offering entered the world, let me ask you this: Do you live in this peace, or are you anxious and worried? Take some time to reflect on what the Lord wants to do in your heart.

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