January 29, Wednesday

In light of Kobe Bryant’s sudden and shocking death last Sunday, I thought it would be appropriate to reprint our Chinese brother Napa’s AMI QT blog posted three weeks earlier. I added a few thoughts of my own.

 

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“Kobe Bryant’s Last Shot”

James 4:13-15

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

[Napa] When I was in high school, the NBA held a summer camp in the biggest city of our country. They invited NBA stars to host this camp to teach high school students how to play basketball. One of my classmates was selected to attend the summer camp. Since the camp was only for a couple of days, he skipped school because this was his chance to meet Kobe Bryant! Since then, he became a star at school. Many people would ask him all kinds of questions. For example, “What did Kobe teach you? What kind of person is Kobe? Did you have dinner together? What else did you do together?” All this to say—playing basketball with Kobe Bryant made my classmate extremely special.  [Ryun] Now that Kobe has suddenly passed at the young age of 41, along with his young daughter (and seven others), we are finding out how special he was to so many people. 

As for me, being a die-hard San Antonio Spurs fan, the main rival of Kobe’s Lakers in his hey days, I couldn’t allow myself to like him too much.  My guys were Duncan, Ginobili and Parker; Kobe, Shaq and Fisher were foes to root against (to put it mildly). And after his rape allegations in 2003, I found an additional reason to keep myself from admiring Kobe’s incredible skill and dedication to win.  

Be that as it may, perhaps no one fits the description of  a “ mixed bag” better than Kobe, because over the years we saw this man mature into a dedicated husband/father who really loves his family, an incredibly busy man (now in animation business for which he won an Oscar!), who still found time to give himself to improve the lives of others; and most importantly, he reconnected with God.  I am told that he and his daughter attended a 7 AM mass on that fateful Sunday morning and took communion—before getting on the helicopter that later crashed.   

Upon finding out that he died this past Sunday, I joined millions in utter shock and sadness.  But, if Kobe could speak from the grave, he would say, “Let my untimely death remind you all of the fragility of life”—that is, as today’s passage says, “You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  

So what should we do? Get right with God.  How? Accept the provision He has made for us so that we can be with God forever in heaven.  How do you do that? Believe that Jesus Christ became a perfect man without relinquishing one iota of his divinity, to assume our sin in order to pay for its penalty by dying on the cross.  And when you do that while we tarry on earth, that is thousand times more important than the five NBA championships Kobe won.  

Here is hoping that Kobe is in heaven because he made peace with God through placing his faith in Jesus Christ.  If you haven’t done that yourself, do it today. Remember that “these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, I thank You for reminding me of my special identity. Let me know that my relationship with You is special. I am so honored to know You, to walk with You, and to be in You. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray, Amen!

Bible Reading for Today: Romans 10


Lunch Break Study  

By Jason Sato

Read Matthew 5:3-12: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Questions to Consider

  1. According to Jesus, who is blessed?
  2. According to Jesus, what are blessings?
  3. Where is our reward?

Notes

  1. The poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
  2. The kingdom of heaven, comfort, inheriting the earth, satisfaction, mercy, seeing God, and being called sons of God.
  3. In heaven.

Evening Reflection

Are you blessed?  Is your family blessed?  The answer is always “Yes” because of Jesus Christ. Remember, the Lord cares for you!

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