April 8, Monday

The AMI QT Devotionals from April 8-14 are provided by Emerson Lin.  Emerson and his wife Annie are serving as AMI missionaries in E. Asia.  This past January they became brand new parents! Congratulations.

 

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Accepting the Invitation”

Exodus 19:1-6

On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. 2 They set out from Rephidim and came into the wilderness of Sinai, and they encamped in the wilderness. There, Israel encamped before the mountain, 3 while Moses went up to God. The Lord called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”

Do you remember the feeling of receiving an invitation to a friend’s birthday party? I remember always feeling really excited because I anticipated the games, the cake, and the goody bags containing Pokemon cards. Looking back, I think I was really excited because out of some thirty students in the class, I was chosen to attend—and that made me feel special.

In this passage, the Israelites had just been rescued from the hands of the Egyptians. The Israelites were trapped between the Egyptians who chased them and the Red Sea. While all seemed lost for the Israelites, the Lord parted the Red Sea for them to cross. But, the Lord kept the Egyptians from crossing themselves; instead, they all drowned.

From the Red Sea, the Israelites entered the wilderness of Sinai. And after encamping near Mount Sinai, Moses climbed up the mountain where the Lord met him.  It is here when God made a covenant with the Israelites. The stipulation of the covenant was that if the Israelites obey the Lord’s commandments, then they would be called God’s most treasured possession, a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.

What was the purpose of this covenant? Recall that in Genesis 12 God had made a covenant with Abraham concerning His descendants. He said, “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (12:1-3). The Lord was inviting the Israelites to fulfill their purpose and, as Abraham’s descendants, to become a blessing to other nations. Through the Israelites, the Lord wanted to restore fallen humanity.

Like the Israelites, we have the privilege of being God’s treasured possession through His son, Jesus. However, God has set us apart, not only to enjoy His blessings, but so that we can become the channel of God’s blessings to the people around us.

Often, we get lost in the routines of work, family, and friends, and forget what God is doing in these spheres. Thus, we must remember that God is always working in every aspect of our lives, and there is a reason why we are in our situations. Through you, God’s treasured possession, God is inviting you to be part of His work of restoring humanity! Will you accept His invitation?

This morning, take a few minutes to think about your workplace, family, friend circle, and invite the Holy Spirit to help you become aware of what God is doing in these areas.

Bible Reading for Today: Romans 6


Lunch Break Study

Read John 5:1-19: Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda[a] and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. [4] 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” 7 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” 8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”12 So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. 14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well. 16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. 17 In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” 18 For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. 19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.

Questions to consider

  1. How long has the man been an invalid? From his point of view, why can’t he get well?
  2. Why did the Jewish leaders persecute the invalid man and Jesus?
  3. When does the Son do the Father’s work?

Notes

  1. The man has been an invalid for 38 years. He cannot get well because no one is willing to carry him into the water.
  2. The Jewish leaders persecuted the invalid and Jesus because they were doing work on the Sabbath: the invalid picked up his mat and Jesus healed the invalid.
  3. The Son can only do the Father’s work when He sees His Father working. Therefore, the Son must wait, see, and recognize when the Father is moving.

Evening Reflection

This morning, we invited the Holy Spirit to help us become aware of the what God is doing in different spheres of our lives. This evening, ask the Lord to give you wisdom in how to join Him. It is a privilege to be invited to be part of what God is doing around us.

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