Today’s AMI QT blog—prepared by several staff at Kairos Christian Church in San Diego (Cal)—was first posted on July 13, 2013.
Devotional Thought for Today
“We Cannot Lose”
“Make vows to the Lord your God and fulfill them; let all the neighboring lands bring gifts to the One to be feared. 12 He breaks the spirit of rulers; he is feared by the kings of the earth.”
We are particularly fearful of making commitments. Whether it be as silly as signing up for a potluck or as serious as choosing a career path, we tend to delay making a commitment as much as possible, hoping to eliminate risk and guarantee an experience and outcome that we are sure to enjoy. But in light of God’s greatness and power, the psalmist calls us to a radical commitment to God in fulfilling our vows and bringing Him gifts.
While specific outcomes may not be guaranteed, we may be certain that God will receive glory when we obey Him. While suffering and disappointment may not be avoided, we are assured that our God is always and absolutely worthy of all honor and praise. Though we may not obtain the future which we have envisioned, we have a certain hope that when we lose our lives for Him, our God is faithful and true to give us everlasting joy in His very presence. To put it another way, we cannot lose!
This morning, take a moment to consider the things that are not certain in the coming day, but also consider the things that are absolutely certain and guaranteed by God Himself.
Prayer: Father, I come to You with many fears and with much uncertainty in my life. I am tempted to try to control my future and find it difficult to trust that You will truly take care of me and my family. But You are glorious, O God, and You are good to me. Help to me see again Your greatness and beauty. May I hear Your voice today and obey promptly and wholeheartedly, regardless of the cost.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 45
Lunch Break Study
Read James 2:14-17 (NIV): What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
Questions to Consider
- What is produced in the life of those who place their faith in God?
- How does faith respond to those who are poor and in need?
- Ask God for opportunities this week to put your faith into action.
- James’s words have sparked a tremendous debate. Is James really denying salvation by faith? Is he really suggesting that salvation can be secured only by producing good works? The answer to these questions is a resounding “No!” James was not denying salvation by faith; he was not advocating salvation by works. James believed firmly in salvation by faith, but he believed just as firmly that saving faith inevitably shows up in good works. Paul’s teaching about faith and works focuses on the time before conversion, and James’ focus is after conversion. John Calvin says, “It is faith alone that justifies, but faith that justifies can never be alone.”
- James adds an example to make it very clear of what he is talking about. He paints a picture of a Christian brother or sister in real need. It is not that he does not have nice clothes, but that he does not have enough clothing to keep warm and decent. It is not that he does not have any food for the rest of the week, but that he does not have anything to eat for that day. What does his fellow-Christian do? He or she says a prayer saying, “Go, I wish you well; Go in peace”- which is a blessing. Also saying, “Keep warm and well fed” makes this a specific blessing. It is pious, full of faith—that God will provide, and very religious. It is also theologically correct. What it lacks is this fellow Christian actually going to his own closet and pantry, getting out his own clothing and food, and sharing it with his brother or sister. Because of this lack of real faith in action, James says that such a prayer is totally useless, as well as all forms of faith which are not accompanied by action.
- Personal response
Reflect on the blood of Jesus Christ which allows us to meet God’s presence and worship Him.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for saving me through Your Son Jesus Christ. Help me now to place this faith into action by caring for others. Amen.