June 19, Wednesday

The AMI QT devotionals for June 18-19 are provided Joe Suh who serves as a pastor intern at the Church of Southland (Anaheim, California). Joe, who was a practicing attorney in the area of civil litigation, is currently enrolled at Talbot School of Theology. He and his wife Betty have been blessed with two beautiful children.  

 

Devotional Thought for Today

“Forged in Fire”

Romans 5:3-5 (ESV)

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Being “forged in fire” means that you have been battle-tested and have come out stronger because of what you have been through.  The ability to withstand the pressure of difficult situations and come out the other side generally makes us stronger. This is why in sports it is better to have a proven veteran lead your team rather than a rookie fresh out of college.  The experience that comes from adversity and struggle is invaluable, and cannot be taught. It is something you have to go through and actually experience. Reading about it or hearing it in a lecture may give you some head knowledge; however, until you struggle through and then process pressure, there can be no true understanding or strengthening.  

Job was a person that truly understood suffering.  However, he understood that he would be tested, he would endure, and in the end, come out as gold. Job 23:10  Job was patient, he showed perseverance and in the end God blessed him with twice as much as he had before.

It seems counterintuitive to “rejoice in our sufferings”.  Why would anyone celebrate the difficulties of life? Generally, I think the human instinct is to avoid suffering and to try to live a life free from it.  However, as Apostle Paul writes, we should rejoice in it! It is a good thing when we go through suffering. When we are in the midst of suffering, it is definitely a perspective that we do not see.  

But Paul reminds us that through the suffering we are forged in the fire.  Our suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope.  This is a process that we will all go through and we must all endure to get to hope, a hope which does not shame because of the love that is poured into us.  We all need hope in our lives. Hope keeps us going and hope lifts us when we have nothing left.

It is never easy to go through suffering. However, we must keep the right perspective and know that God has a plan for our lives.  Through the most difficult times, the most tragic sufferings, our loving Father carries us through and uses all that is challenging and difficult to plant seeds in our lives that produce the sweetest of fruit.  I am a better man because of the suffering I have endured, and to suffer for Christ is truly a blessing…even if we do not immediately see it.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to have the right perspective on life and not deviate from the right path towards You. When pain and suffering come in my life, remind me of the sufferings of Christ and be grateful that I don’t have to face the consequences of my sin because of Jesus. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: 2 Samuel 12


Lunch Break Study

Read 1 Peter 4:12-19: Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? 19 Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.

Questions to Consider

  1. What is the “fiery ordeal” they are experiencing?
  2. How do we truly suffer with Jesus?
  3. What suffering(s) have you had to endure for the sake of Jesus?

Notes

  1. The “fiery ordeal” is imagery for the refiner’s fire.  It is to be tested, refined, strengthened and purified.  This is not something that is unusual or strange, but is part of being a believer.  In order to draw closer to Jesus and live a life that glorifies Him, we ought to experience the “fiery ordeal” and become more Christ-like.  The more we are purified, the more we draw closer to Him.
  2. We suffer without shame.  The interesting thing is that the world may see it as foolish to suffer with Jesus; however, to suffer with Jesus is what we all should be doing.  We live our lives by the world’s standards and we seek to chase its dreams with our flesh. However, it should be the other way around. To suffer with Jesus is to surrender to His will and way.
  3. Personal reflection.

Evening Reflection

I do not believe that suffering is something we would intentionally embark upon in our lives.  Yet, at some point, because of the circumstances of our lives, we all go through it. Take a moment to reflect on a time in your life when you were truly struggling and suffering.  Pray through it and identify how our Heavenly Father carried you through it. It is always a good reminder to know that through it all, He is there for us.

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