Today’s AMI QT Devotional (new) is written by Napa, a local staff serving at an AMI church in E. Asia
Devotional Thought for Today
“Continue in God’s Grace”
As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath.43 When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and talked abusively against what Paul was saying.46 Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.47 For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'”48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.49 The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.50 But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region.51 So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
How can you be a person who is full of joy? What is the secret? Is it through having untold riches or leading a colorful life? For many of us, we do not lack material things. Some would say that we have more choices and freedom compared to the past; yet, despite of these favorable changes in society, depression has become rampant in our cities
In today’s Scripture, we see a group of people who have experienced unexpected joy in difficult circumstances. When Paul and Barnabas arrived in Antioch, they preached the gospel in the local synagogue. The result was surprisingly good. Scriptures say, “Almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.” However, Barnabas and Paul’s success made some Jews extremely jealous; as a result, they began to attack and slander them. In addition, verse 50 says that the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city against Paul and Barnabas; as a result, many wealthy people in Antioch rejected the gospel.
Can you imagine the challenge of being a Christian in the middle of this type of persecution? Yet, Paul and Barnabas were still “full of joy and full of the Holy Spirit”. How can this be? When these Antiochians were interested in the gospel and willing to follow Paul and Barnabas, they taught them to “continue in the grace of God (v. 43).” I believe this was the secret to their joy. The Antioch Christians really understood the treasure they possessed: It was the grace of God which cannot be exchanged for wealth or fame.
This morning, God is also reminding us that if you feel a lack of joy in your life, you need to be reminded that you possess a treasure that surpasses wealth, fame, vacations, social media posts, and status. You possess eternal life!
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, do not let me forget the amazing grace You have given me through Jesus Christ. Teach me to rely on Your grace in both trouble and prosperity. Let my heart be filled with joy through Your grace. In Jesus name we pray, Amen!
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 24
Lunch Break Study
Read Romans 5:1-5: Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Questions to Consider
- Verse 2 says that we have gained access, by faith, into this grace. What specifically does this grace mean?
- What is the reason that we can rejoice in our sufferings according to Paul?
- Is there anything in your life that sucks up your joy? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you—to pour God’s love into your heart (v.5).
- This grace means that we have made peace with God through Jesus Christ. Jesus has restored our strained relationship with God, and, as a result, we have become the children of God
- We can rejoice in our sufferings because we know that our hope is in Jesus Christ. The promise and grace of God in Jesus Christ will never let us down.
- Personal Reflection
Paul reminds us to “continue in the grace of God, ” because we can forget God’s grace. Therefore, we need to constantly remind ourselves to return to it. Tonight, please take a moment to meditate on God’s grace and let it begin to affect the way we see things. Let’s not live with anxiety and fear, but with joy.