August 29, Thursday

Today’s devotional, provided by the staff of Kairos Christian Church (San Diego) led by Pastor Peter Yoon, was originally posted on July 4, 2013.

 

Devotional Thought for Today

“Importance of Corporate Worship”

Psalm 73:16-17

When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply 17 till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.

As Asaph reflects on the prosperity of the wicked and the suffering of the righteous, he is deeply troubled.  But understanding comes when he enters the sanctuary of God; it’s likely that Asaph is referring to corporate worship.  Israelites did not have open access to the temple of God. The Lord gave strict guidelines for the temple and the sacrificial system.  While the value of personal prayer can never be downplayed, Asaph finds understanding while worshiping among the people of God.

Often, in the midst of spiritual struggle, we are tempted to isolate ourselves.  Yet amid hardship and doubt, the thing we need most is a word that comes outside of ourselves.  When our experiences and feelings become dark, we need brothers and sisters to declare what is true with the confidence and faith that we cannot muster ourselves.

Are you committed to a community that has permission to encourage or challenge you in your faith?  Pray that God would give you humility today to hear what is true when it is spoken by someone around you, even by someone you least expect.

Prayer: Father, I thank You that You are good and Your Word is truth.  Forgive me that I am so convinced of my own wisdom and understanding that I have difficulty hearing Your voice and Your truth.  I thank You that even though my thoughts and feelings contradict your Word at times, You have blessed me with brothers and sisters who can speak what is true over my life.  Grant me grace to give and to receive words of truth and life today.

Bible Reading for Today: Acts 20 


Lunch Break Study

Read James 1:13-15 (NIV): When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 

Questions to Consider

  1. Who should we never blame when we are facing trials?
  2. What causes us to sometimes respond sinfully to trials and difficulties?
  3. What is the inevitable result of falling into temptations?
  4. In what areas do you need to stop blaming God and others for your sinful actions?

Note


  1. God is never to be blamed. Often when we encounter trials, we instantly seek someone toblame. When we blame God, it produces a twisted picture of God, when in truth, He does not want his people to stumble and gives them the strength to endure temptation.
  2. Sometimes we become weary of persevering when a trial goes on for a long time, and we find ourselves tempted to act sinfully in the situation. If we yield to the temptation, we may blame God for causing us to sin, accusing him of pushing us past the point of our being able to handle it. But God is never responsible for any temptation. Temptation comes because of some evil in us. 1 John 2:16 reminds us that the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life comes NOT from the Father but from the world.  
  3. If we yield to the temptations, we suffer serious spiritual damage. James uses the reproductive process as a vivid metaphor to show how difficult it is to stop once the process of yielding to temptation begins. Romans 6:23 reminds us that while the wages of sin is death, the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  4. Personal response.

Evening Reflection

How have you experienced freedom from sins through Christ Jesus?  Pray this prayer with me: Heavenly Father, I ask for forgiveness for having blamed You for my weaknesses and sins. Please help me to trust in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit to overcome my own evil desires. Amen.

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