March 25, Monday

The AMI QT Devotionals from March 25-31 are provided by Pastor Matt Ro, the Lead Pastor of Journey Church of Atlanta.  Pastor Matt, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BS) and Biblical Theological Seminary (M.Div.), has been married to Julia since 2006 and they have three beautiful daughters: Ella, Audrey and Claire.

 

Devotional Thought for Today

“The Art of Celebration”

Exodus 15:1-18 (ESV)

Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying, “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider[a] he has thrown into the sea. 2 The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. 3 The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name. 4 “Pharaoh’s chariots and his host he cast into the sea, and his chosen officers were sunk in the Red Sea. 5 The floods covered them; they went down into the depths like a stone. 6 Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power, your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy. 7 In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries; you send out your fury; it consumes them like stubble. 8 At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up; the floods stood up in a heap; the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea. 9 The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them. I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.’ 10 You blew with your wind; the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters. 11 “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? 12 You stretched out your right hand; the earth swallowed them. 13 “You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode. 14 The peoples have heard; they tremble; pangs have seized the inhabitants of Philistia. 15 Now are the chiefs of Edom dismayed; trembling seizes the leaders of Moab; all the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away. 16 Terror and dread fall upon them; because of the greatness of your arm, they are still as a stone, till your people, O Lord, pass by, till the people pass by whom you have purchased. 17 You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain, the place, O Lord, which you have made for your abode, the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established. 18 The Lord will reign forever and ever.”

The Rocky Run.  You know it. An early morning run beginning in the streets of South Philly, then sprinting along the waterfront of Penn’s Landing, moving to the banks of the Schuylkill River, culminating with a final climb up the 72 steps to the top of the Art Museum.  The steps scene in the movie “Rocky” is arguably one of the most iconic shots in film history; it’s an allegory for personal victory and has been copied and parodied countless times over.

Today, we find ourselves celebrating so many things.  Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, job promotions, a good grade on a test…the list goes on and on.  It’s so easy to celebrate something that goes in our favor, and we often remember to thank God for His goodness when things are going right.

In Exodus 15, Moses and the Israelites sing a song to the Lord in celebration and thanksgiving of their escape from the Egyptians through the Red Sea.  Verse 2 states, “The Lord is my strength and my defense: he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”  It is so easy to remember that God is the reason for anything good in our lives when everything is good. When we’ve experienced a victory, it’s easy to praise and thank Him and give Him the glory.  

But what happens when things aren’t so good?  Where is our urge to give thanksgiving and praise to God when a loved one is dying, our car breaks down at the worst possible time, or our marriage is falling apart?  How can we thank God for being good when we just don’t see the good?

Exodus 15:13 says about the Lord, “You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed. As Christians, we have the ability to trust in God in the good times and bad because we know God’s love never fails.  He is always leading us to something better than we could ask or imagine. Praising Him and thanking Him even through the trying times will help give us clarity and discernment, and it will remind us that God really is good all the time.

Do you find it difficult to praise and thank God when times are hard?  How do you think your perspective of God could change if you begin to praise Him in all circumstances?  Take some time today to thank God for the good in your life and ask Him to show you the good in the situations that may be trying.

Prayer:  Lord, you are my strength and my song; you have become my salvation.  You are my God, and I will praise you, I will exalt you. Teach me to give thanks always; to bless Your name!  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today:  Acts 18


Lunch Break Study

Read Philippians 4:4 (ESV): “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, Rejoice.”

1 Thess. 5:18 (ESV): Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Question to consider

  1. Based on these passages, why is it important to practice the discipline of thanksgiving and celebration (i.e., rejoicing)?
  2. What are some benefits we derive from giving thanks to God especially when facing difficult moments?
  3. What are you going through at the moment? Regardless, give thanks unto the Lord.

Notes

  1. Thanksgiving and celebration remind us that every success happens by the grace of God.  It is important to remember that we contribute nothing to our own salvation, and subsequently, our journey in faith.  All our success is from Him, through Him, and for Him.
  2. Thankfulness is not an add-on activity.  Gratitude towards God removes pride and opens the door to future blessings.  Without it, we would forget what is truly important—faith in God.
  3. Personal response.

Evening Reflection

The spiritual discipline of celebration is not just an outward expression.  It is also something internal. Joy is something we have to find in our own relationship with God.

Were you able to celebrate God’s blessings in your life today?  If not, take some time to celebrate them now.

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