Today’s AMI QT Devotional (new) is provided by Pastor Shan Gian who serves at Symphony Church in Boston.
Devotional Thought for Today
“Life or Death”
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess.
It’s probably a rare occasion now, but if you go to a bookstore, one of the biggest sections of a bookstore is the self-help books. You can find hundreds of books that give you advice on diet, fitness, mental health, productivity, etc. And if you stroll over to the magazine section as well, many of the covers offer promises of good advice that will make you happier, healthier, stronger, better. And then if you just pull out your phone and look through your Facebook feed, you’ll almost certainly encounter articles or ads about how to parent your children, have good EQ, or how to do better in business.
In a world where good advice is offered all over a bookstore or all over our social media newsfeed, it’s not hard for us to lump the Bible into that the category of good advice or self-help as well. We could read books like Proverbs that gives a wealth of good and practical advice or we could read some of Jesus’ teachings like the Sermon on the Mount and think that it’s a good way for us to live, and maybe we should try harder to live like that.
Consider what Moses says about the commandments of God in this passage in Deuteronomy though. Verse 15 says, “I have set before you today life and good, death and evil.” Moses doesn’t see the Word of God as just good advice or good self-help material; to him, it’s a matter of life and death. He goes on to say, that if we would keep the commandments of God’s Word it leads to life abundant, but failure to follow this Word results in death.
At every church, you’ll hear a pastor or leader exhort the congregation to read the Bible. For many people, it just sounds like good advice, but in reality, it’s a matter of life and death. Let us commit ourselves to reading God’s Word not just because it’s good advice, but because in it we can find life.
Prayer: Jesus, I thank you for Your Word today. Thank You for the invitation to experience life with You. Help me to receive much as I spend time with You in your Word this day. AMEN.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 26
Lunch Break Study
Read John 6:66-69: After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
Questions to Consider
- Disciples of Jesus turn away from following him because Jesus teachings’ earlier in this passage are difficult to hear and accept. What are some teachings in the Bible that are hard for you to hear and accept? Why are they difficult for you?
- Why is Simon Peter able to accept these difficult teachings of Jesus?
- How can we learn from Simon Peter’s example when it comes to difficult passages of Scripture?
- Personal reflection question
- It’s unlikely that Simon Peter accepts what Jesus teaches because he stood what they meant nor it is likely that he agreed 100% with all that Jesus said. What sad Simon Peter to stay with Jesus is that he understood that Jesus had the words of eternal life and that there is no other place or any other person to go to that leads to eternal life.
- We can learn to trust that in the end, Jesus is the Holy One of God and that following His words lead us towards eternal life. Even if we find it hard to accept a given passage or even if we disagree with it, we should trust that Jesus’ words lead to life.
The Bible promises us life and life to the full if we follow Jesus. Take some time to reflect on how these promises of abundant life have been true in your life. Remind yourself of God’s goodness in your life and pray that you’ll continue to experience more of it as you grow in relationship with Him.