August 20, Tuesday

This AMI Devotional QT, prepared by the staff at Remnant Church Westside (NYC), was originally posted on September 15, 2013. 

 

Devotional Thought for Today

“Clinging to the Lord”

Psalm 88:8-18

You have caused my companions to shun me; you have made me a horror to them. I am shut in so that I cannot escape; 9 my eye grows dim through sorrow. Every day I call upon you, O Lord; I spread out my hands to you. 10 Do you work wonders for the dead? Do the departed rise up to praise you? Selah 11 Is your steadfast love declared in the grave, or your faithfulness in Abaddon? 12 Are your wonders known in the darkness, or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? 13 But I, O Lord, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you. 14 O Lord, why do you cast my soul away? Why do you hide your face from me? 15 Afflicted and close to death from my youth up, I suffer your terrors; I am helpless. 16 Your wrath has swept over me; your dreadful assaults destroy me. 17 They surround me like a flood all day long;    they close in on me together.18 You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness.

Out of all the Psalms written in the Bible, this particular psalm seems to end on a low note. The psalmist seems to point his finger toward God and declares that God is the source of all his troubles and iniquities: his friends have deserted him; he feels no escape from his circumstances; he feels cast away from God, and helpless. Yet, with the overwhelming frustration and hopelessness, we find that he consistently and daily cries out to God. The psalmist pours out all that is within him, hopeful as well as bitter emotions unto the Lord and reminds God that all His works are seen in the light of His people. 

As Job once spoke in 2:10, “Shall we receive good from God and not trouble?” we see that the psalmist is wrestling with what seems as though God Himself is working troubles and difficulties in his life. Instead of turning away from the Lord, giving into despair, or turning to other for answers, the psalmist clings to what he knows of God. He clings in hope, as seen in his prayers and cries to the Lord. He declares that God works wonders and establishes praises among the living, and they experience His steadfast love and faithfulness. Even when all his situations tell him otherwise, the psalmist clings to the truth of who God is and what He does.                                                                                        

Do you find yourself easily turning away from God and clinging to other “saviors” in the midst of difficulties?  Remember who God is and what He has done. Cling to the Lord during those times; learn to wrestle in prayer (Col. 4:12).

Prayer: Lord, remind me to cling to You every step of the way. Help me to cling tightly specially when storms of my life turn into a hurricane and wind waves become tsunami waves.  May You continue to be the anchor for my “soul, firm and secure” (Heb. 6:19). Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Acts 10


Lunch Break Study

Read Philippians 2:14-18: Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.

Background tidbit: The main offering in both Roman and Jewish sacrifices was the killing of an animal. The drink offering would be a cup of wine poured over the sacrifice (c.f., Numbers 28:6-7).

Questions to ponder

  1. What tarnishes our light before the world? Are there things that you are currently “grumbling” about? What are some of the disputes that you are involved in? Is repentance in order?
  2. What does the expression “the day of Christ” (vs. 16) mean?
  3. How is your joy today? Are you feeling “poured out”? That’s a natural feeling for those who strive to the serve the Lord. Ask God for strength and for the filling of the Holy Spirit, that your worship of Him may be filled with joyful adoration!

Note

  1. It is interesting that the apostle Paul focuses on complaints and disunity as a means of tarnishing our light. It gives us a glimpse into God’s perspective regarding “drama” in our relationships and in our church.
  2. “The day of Christ”—The eternal state is prominently on the apostle Paul’s mind and serves as a matter-of-fact motivation for the Christian life. He was so heavenly-minded that nothing on earth could shake him.
  3. Verses 17-18 have a lot to say to the “sour-faced servants”—people who serve with a scowl on their faces.  Surely, Paul’s joy wasn’t rooted in his current circumstances, for he was in prison at this time, but it was a God-given inner attitude unmoved by his circumstances.

Evening Reflection

2 Corinthians 7: 6-7: “But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more.”

Prayer: “Lord, you will always be my Comforter.  I trust that no matter what condition I’m in, whether I’m troubled, confused, fearful, or just tired, you will come to me as my Comforter. Your comfort may come through another person, and I will receive those you send to minister to me.”  

Tonight, ask God to show you how you can comfort others with your thoughts and actions and take the focus off yourself.

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