July 2, Tuesday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“It Rains on Everyone—No Exceptions”

Psalm 1:6, 2:7-8

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish . . .  7 I will proclaim the decree of the Lord:  He said to me, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.”  8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.

While serving as a youth group leader many years ago, I once asked my students to draw a picture of the parable of the wise and foolish builder in Matthew 7:24-27.  And I still recall what Fred drew: While the rain fell, the streams rose, and the wind blew and beat against the house 

built on sand, the sun was shining from above the house built on rock. Even though I was only a young man at the time, I knew enough to tell Fred that that’s not how life works; neither does faith. 

If you haven’t discovered it already from the laboratory of life, God never guaranteed a problem-free life.  Recall what David said: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadows of death . . .” However, the LORD did promise to give us sufficient grace (2 Cor. 12:9) to overcome whatever trial and tribulation that may come our way.  It could be a problem quickly (or eventually) fixed (don’t we all wish that) or experiencing “the peace of God that transcends all understanding, . . . guard[ing] our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7)—even though our circumstances remain the same. Why would God do that for us?  It’s because we have been adopted as His sons and daughters through faith in Christ! Therefore, He deeply cares for us. For that, we are eternally thankful and grateful! 

Can you recall a time when you really felt God’s presence while going through a tough situation in life? What did you learn about Him at that time?  My 30s was very disappointing because much that I had planned and hoped for in ministry didn’t materialize. But, during my 40s, while serving as a missionary in Mexico where I had so much fun, I came to see that God prepared me through many disappointments in my 30s so that I could be part of a meaningful and fruitful ministry later; for that, I am so grateful the Lord.   

Are your present circumstances quite difficult to bear?  Take a moment to see with the “eyes of our heart” (Eph. 1:18) a God who cares for you (1 Pet. 5:7).

Prayer: Dear God, I praise and thank You in all circumstances, even those that are very difficult because You allow them so that I may not rely on myself but on You.  LORD, remind and motivate me to come to You daily for a moment prayer and reflection

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Kings 3


Lunch Break Study

Read Luke 17:11-19: On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers,[a] who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.  17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well

Questions to Consider

  1. Who said this and to whom was this said?
  2. Why was this said?
  3. What is the subtext to the fact that only the Samaritan (i.e., an outsider) returned to thank Jesus (Mt. 20:16)?

Notes

  1. Jesus said it to a leprous Samaritan who returned to thank the Lord for healing him.
  2. Because nine other lepers, all Israelites, failed to express gratitude to Jesus for healing them.
  3. The Israelites who were supposed to be closer to God had ungrateful (entitled) hearts toward Christ while a man whom the Jews saw as distant from God (being of a mixed race and religion) showed a sensitive heart. This shows that in the spiritual world, the last can be first (when the spirit of humility and gratefulness is embodied) while the first can be last 

Evening Reflection

We began the day reflecting on God’s protective presence. Was today more difficult than other days?  What happened?  

And for Lunch Break Study, we dealt with the matter of gratitude.  Honestly assessing your life, do you find yourself thanking God more or complaining about your life?  What is keeping you from being grateful to Him? What will help you to become more grateful?  How about recalling our miserable existence before coming to Christ; not measuring ourselves with others who appear to have more on the outside.  Anyway, as you start the new month, can you think of anything that you can be thankful for right now?

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