June 14, Friday

Today’s AMI QT Devotional, written by Pastor Jason Sato (who, with his family, will soon head to Japan as a missionary) was originally posted on December 12, 2013.

 

Devotional Thought for Today

“Sowing Tears Today, Reaping Joy Later”

Psalm 126:1-6

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. 2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” 3 The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad. 4 Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negeb! 5 Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! 6 He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

How has your life been lately?  Has it been a season of much grief and sadness?  The prayer of this Psalmist, crying out to the Lord so that the fortunes of His people may be restored, is no different than a father or a pastor earnestly praying for his troublesome family or congregation.  Reference to sowing, bearing seed, and reaping, an obvious allusion to the agricultural cycle, indicates that the writer has come to terms with the present predicament. Instead of trying to get out of it through whatever means, he will wait and cry out for God’s deliverance; he will sow the tears of hope so that in God’s time, it will turn into a season of reaping laughter and joy.  

What gives the Psalmist even greater confidence is recalling what the Lord had done in the past for the Israelites and the result that ensued: ever expanding worship as the people of God rejoiced while the nations were awed by what God did for them.  

May we approach our crisis in the same way so that it not only deepens our worship of God, but also causes our unbelieving family members and coworkers to notice the greatness of our God.

Do you have any serious or desperate needs this morning?  Spend a moment reflecting on the faithfulness of God to you in the past, worship Him for it, and then bring your request to the Lord.

Prayer: Father, I thank You that You have been faithful to me even from the womb.  You have never forgotten or failed me. While I am tempted to give in to doubt and fear, give me grace to remember all that You have done, especially what Your Son has done on the cross for me.  Lord, please answer my cries for deliverance and favor. May the fruit of Your answer be worship in my own heart, among those around me, even unto the nations. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Samuel 6


Lunch Break Study

Read Matthew 6:26-33: Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Questions to Consider

  1. What reasons does Jesus give us to not worry?
  2. What questions arise from one who has an anxious heart?
  3. What do we share in common with nonbelievers?  What is unique to believers?

Notes

  1. If our Father provides for the birds who do not plan ahead, then how much more will He take care of us who are created in His likeness? While worrying will not solve anything, circumstances that often produce anxiety can clarify an obvious truth that we often forget: as fragile beings, we must always and totally depend on God.    
  2. What shall we eat?  What shall we drink?  What shall we wear? Certainly, we need food, clothes and other material things but when we try to make a statement about ourselves through these (“Look how cool and sophisticated I am”), that’s a wrong and unhealthy way to handle our insecurity; our security is found in Christ.    
  3. Obviously, all humans share common needs, but those who have become God’s children through Christ are unique because He has covenanted with them to supply all of their needs, provided that they seek first God and His kingdom.

Evening Reflection

Can you recall any moments today when your over-concern for your material needs prevented you from obeying God?  Does your lack of material need tend to draw attention to God’s greatness or your own?

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