March 23, Monday

The AMI QT Devotional for today 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

“Hoarders”

Matt 26:74b-75

“Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.”

Seven days ago, when this COVID madness was just starting to ramp up, I made a comment to my wife.  “The worst part of this whole thing is that it really reveals the ugliness in humanity. Everyone starts hoarding stuff in quantities that they don’t need, and as a result, what happens? Everyone else is up the creek.  People are so selfish.”  

The following day, I get this urgent text from my wife, “My Instacart shopper found us toilet paper; I got us the last two 12-packs.  It’s on hold, can you go get it?” Knowing how my digestive system works, I knew that this is a vital find, so I immediately got the kids in the car and made the trek to a grocery store that is a solid 25 minutes from my house.  When I got there, the reality of the situation hit me. Along with TP, the store was also almost completely void of cleaning supplies, paper towels, and water. I seriously think I somehow got the last two packs of toilet paper in the county, and even more miraculously, I was able to claim my prized packages off the online ordering shelf. (I seriously have no idea how anyone didn’t just steal them.)

At this point, I know what I have in my hand; I’d might as well be holding gold bars, so I do my best to leave the store as inconspicuously as possible; head down, not making eye contact with anyone.  As I’m ¾ of the way to freedom, for whatever reason (perhaps the desire not to run into another person or the Holy Spirit’s prompting), I look up for one moment and happen to make eye contact with this elderly woman.  She looks at what I’m holding and asks, “Where did you get those?” Right away I feel God telling me to give her one of my packages. But what do I do? I start doing the math. There are six of us living in my household; we only have about a dozen rolls at home now, we’ll be out in a week; I need this.  So I tell this older woman that I ordered it online, knowing she likely has never heard of Instacart and even if she did, she has no shot of finding toilet paper, and I walk away.  

Here are some quick verses that hit me; to be honest, I could hit several pages of Bible passages detailing my sinfulness:

Matt 7:5: “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

Matt 5:16: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (obviously, I failed here.)

Matt 6:24-35: “Do not worry passage concerning the birds of the air and lilies of the field, and how God provides for them all.”  

Phil 2:4: “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  

Mark 12:31: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  

It’s been about a week since this incident, and every time I use the restroom, I’m haunted by my failings, perhaps like Peter hearing the rooster crow.  What may even be worse, I still haven’t needed to open up those packs of TP, knowing that there might be some older lady in my county who is doing God knows what when she uses the restroom.  All because I am just as selfish and sinful as everyone else. In the end, no matter how long I’ve been walking with the Lord or how I’ve served him, this incident has served as a wakeup call that I still have so much more to grow. 

Lord, have mercy on me, and thank you for forgiving me, again! 

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus for the reminder of my need for you and your grace!  Help me to overcome my selfishness and be a light for you in these times.  In your name, amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 56 


Lunch Break Study*

James 4:1-4: What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. 4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 

Questions to Consider

  1. What causes fights and quarrels among believers? 
  2. What is another element that causes fights and quarrels within the body of Christ (vs. 4)?
  3. If you are finding yourself in a contentious situation, ask the Lord to reveal the wrong motives in YOUR heart that might be instigating this situation. Spend some time repenting

Notes

  1. Fights and quarrels come from a covetous heart filled with wrong motives. The bottom line: strife comes inevitability from our evil natures.
  2. Selfishness comes from friendship with the world, which is incompatible with friendship with God. Friendship, in antiquity, was usually taken very seriously as a lifelong pact between people with shared values and loyalties. The audience of James has the wrong object for a lover – the fallen world system with its set of values. 
  1. Personal response

Evening Reflection*

Reflect on the blood of Jesus Christ which allows us to meet God’s presence and worship Him.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I ask that you continue to change my heart and make it pure. Continue to sever my friendship with the world so that I will be used for Your purposes. Amen.  

* Prepared by Pastor Jason Sato (first posted on July 20, 2013).