July 26, Friday

This AMI Devotional QT, prepared by the staff at Remnant Church Westside (NYC), was originally posted on September 6, 2013. 

 

Devotional Thought for Today

“No, God Hasn’t Changed”

Psalm 85:1-7

Lord, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. 2 You forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin. Selah 3 You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger. 4 Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation toward us! 5 Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations? 6 Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? 7 Show us your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation.

In many people’s minds, there is a false dichotomy when it comes to understanding the character of God: that the God of the OT is a wrathful deity, while the God of the New Testament is all about grace and love. Yet, when we examine the Old Testament texts such as this Psalm, God is full of grace and love, and as a result, we are reminded that God is unchanging. The psalmist points to the forgiveness of God in the past as an encouragement to ask for forgiveness in their current circumstances. They are able to call on the character of God for his salvation, forgiveness, and grace; for God’s desire is to see people rejoice in Him, rather than to suffer.

The heart of God for us is not that we suffer, but be redeemed; therefore, He calls us to repent so that God would make us right before Him again and again, instead of driving us out from His presence. Yes, God is angry over sin, but He never changes His desire to redeem us. Therefore, God’s anger over sin and its rightful punishment was taken by Christ on the cross.  This morning, God is asking you to readjust your understanding of repentance. If you have been hiding your sins from God, fearful of what He would say, remember that God’s love for you is steadfast. Ask God to cover your sins; because Christ has taken on the punishment, we can come boldly before Him to repent.

Bible Reading for Today: 2 Kings 8


Lunch Break Study

Read Philippians 1:12-14: “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”

Paul’s friends were concerned about him being imprisoned or under house arrest, which meant that he was chained to a Roman soldier 24/7, and guards would switch out regularly on shifts. But Paul reassures them, saying that it is clear that he is imprisoned for Jesus, and that it has been a blessing instead of a curse, since he has been able to share Jesus with his captors. It’s as if Paul was saying, “I’m not chained to them … They are chained to me!”

Questions to Consider

  1. In what situations do you lose your courage in sharing the gospel? What are some ways we can overcome our fear in such circumstances?
  2. If you were chained to someone for eight hours, how long would it be before you would talk about Jesus? How can you bring up the topic of Jesus sooner than that?
  3. Has God placed you in a special environment where He wants you to be a witness? Bring this before the Lord in prayer and ask Him for opportunity and boldness!

Background tidbit:

The reference to the imperial guard in v. 13 suggests a Roman setting, which is one reason it is believed that Paul wrote this letter during his imprisonment in Rome.

Note

  1. The mere thought of sharing the gospel makes most people feel nervous and anxious.  One way to overcome this fear is to pray for God’s boldness and then open our mouth to speak.  It would help tremendously if we have thought about what to say beforehand.
  2. It is hard to remind ourselves of this inevitable reality, but it bears repeating: Our friend or relative who does not believe in Jesus will go to hell. If that doesn’t motivate us, I don’t know what will.
  3. Personal response.

Evening Reflection

Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power” (Ps. 21:13). 

Jesus, You are inviting me to grow in the knowledge of You, to be strengthened with all power according to Your glorious might so that I may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully give thanks to You. I declare that You will be strong in my daily life and I will praise You.  Tonight, declare His strength over an area where you need to be strong.

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