Today’s AMI QT Devotional, first posted on November 12, 2014, is provided by Pastor Yohan Lee, a friend of AMI, who has served as a staff at several AMI churches in the past. He and his wife Mandie have four adorable children: Simon, Maggie, Jonathan and Abigail.
Devotional Thought for this Morning
My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, have given your pledge for a stranger, 2 if you are snared in the words of your mouth, caught in the words of your mouth, 3 then do this, my son, and save yourself, for you have come into the hand of your neighbor: go, hasten, and plead urgently with your neighbor. 4 Give your eyes no sleep and your eyelids no slumber;5 save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the hand of the fowler.
In the 1995 film Heat, Robert DeNiro, playing a bank robber, tries to live by one guiding principle: “Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.” As a felon, one could see how such a philosophy would be helpful: if you have to flee from the police, it behooves you to not have to go back for a family, house, dog, etc. Of course, in the movie, DeNiro is undone because he betrays his life principle, and ultimately his relationships (girl and loyalty/desire for revenge) lead to his downfall. (By the way, don’t watch Heat, it’s kind of slow and violent.)
In many ways, I see debt as that thing that regular honest people cannot “walk out on in 30 seconds flat.” For example, when I was doing college ministry, countless number of people have told me that they felt called to go overseas and serve in missions. But since they were students and had to pay off student loans, they worked after college. Yet after working for a few years, the Parable of the Sower kicked in, where many were “choked by the cares of this world and the deceit of wealth” (Matt. 13:22). Payments on cars, homes, credit card debt bills and other financial obligations won out, while the dream of missions never materialized. (I still hope and pray that these guys will make it out some day.)
In today’s passage, the writer of Proverbs warns against debt (technically co-signing) and likens it to being trapped by a “hunter.” Anyone who has been in heavy debt will tell you that this is an accurate description of what it feels like. Have you ever thought that your financial responsibility can make or break the way God uses you? There is a reason why Christian financial advisors warn against debt. If God were to tell you to get up and go, would be you be prepared financially to obey? If the answer is no, then understand that financial freedom (in Christ) does not often happen overnight. Although it takes years of disciplined decisions, the process could start today.
Prayer: Dear God, help me to be a faithful steward of all that You have given me. Help me to “leave no debt outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another” (Rom. 13:8) but to make wise and disciplined choices starting now.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 26
Lunch Break Study
Read Matt. 13:1-9; 18-22: That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2 And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil,6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.” 18 “Here then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
Questions to Consider
- What do the seeds represent?
- What do the differing types of soil represent?
- Personally, which of these “soils” best represent you and your life?
- Although the common interpretation is that the seed represents the gospel message, it can still be applicable to the believing Christian, because any Christian can hear God’s word/calling and fall into these circumstances.
- The seed on the path are those who are easily plucked by Satan; rocky soil is a person with a poor foundation; thorn filled soil is one who has a lot of worries in life and loves riches and is endangered of being choked; and the good soil is a receptive heart yielding an abundant harvest.
- Personal response.
Did you have a chance to eliminate some thorns today, particularly in your financial decisions? Is there a debt that you need to pay off? Is there some other word that has hit you lately that needs to fall on good soil? Were you able to move toward that goal today?