April 1, Wednesday

Today’s AMI QT Devotional is provided by Cami King who serves as associate pastor at Remnant Church in Manhattan.  She is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BA) and Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div.).

Devotional Thoughts for This Morning

“What Will We Choose?”

Acts 2:1-4

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

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In Acts 2, The followers of Jesus find themselves in a moment not unlike our own as they were facing a season of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and confusion. Jesus was executed and their movement rendered them enemies of Empire (both State and Temple) and thus endangered their lives. And to make matters worse, after resurrecting, Jesus subsequently ascended, leaving them with nothing but hope and His promises of a Spirit that would come (but none of them actually knew what Jesus meant by this).

They were anxious. Worried and fearful, they huddled together waiting to see how everything would play out. They were unsure. They were faithful, but unsure. Although they knew the Spirit would come, no one knew how or when or what the Spirit’s coming would mean. They were fearful. Their lives were at risk. Not by the threat of a global pandemic but by the threat of violence from the Empire. They were confused. Armed with the command to be a witness, no one knew what they were actually supposed to do.

In the face of anxiety and uncertainty —these followers of Jesus chose two important things: togetherness and anticipation. They chose to be together— praying for one another and reminding each other of the Jesus they loved and the things he taught them. They stirred their hearts toward anticipation of what God promised to do, readying themselves and waiting expectantly. And, when the Spirit did finally come, they were able to bear witness in their local community both in word and in deed (see Acts 2 & 3).

What will we choose in our moment of anxiety and uncertainty? Will we choose togetherness – finding creative ways through technology and virtual connectivity to encourage and support one another? Will we turn our thoughts and energies toward anticipation of how God might move through us in this season, reminding ourselves of God’s promises and redemptive work in the world? Will we ready ourselves and stay alert? And when the opportunity arises, will we sense the Spirit moving and move too – in love and compassion, hope and healing for our neighbors?

We can choose to see our present moment as a profound opportunity, an invitation even. Amid a global pandemic and on the tail end of the Lenten season, may the Church be sobered into reflection, repentance, and renewal, remembering who we are and why we are here.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your and gentleness and compassion from which I benefit everyday. Open my eyes to see all life around me—especially amid our chaotic world—the way you do. Help my heart to be so full of your kindness and compassion that it marks my dealings with all that You’ve created.  Help me to choose You everyday. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 66


Lunch Break Study

Read Ephesians 5:1-2, 15-20: Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God . . . 15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Question to Consider

  1. According to verses 1-2, how do we walk in the way of love? Why is it important that we do this “as dearly loved children”?
  2. What are Paul’s instructions in verses 15-20 and how is each of these commands to be carried out?
  3. In the rest of chapter 5, Paul offers practical steps he believed would help the recipients of his letter in Ephesus to “walk in the way of love” in their context and “make the most of every opportunity” in their time. Considering your context and our present time, what practical steps might you take to “walk in the way of love” and “make the most of every opportunity” today?

Notes

  1. We walk in the way of love by giving ourselves up (as a fragrant offering – Romans 12:1-2) to God for the sake of others. Jesus modeled for us love that is self-sacrificial and not self-serving. We are to immolate this example in our relationships with one another. This kind of love is sustainable only when we are secure in our identity (as God’s children) and assured that we are loved (by God) and empowered by the Spirit (who lives in the children of God).
  2. (1) Be careful how you live – we do this by seeking out wisdom and making the most of every opportunity. Paul is calling for thoughtfulness and intentionality and awareness. (2) Understand what the Lord’s will is – we do this by seeking wisdom (knowing how to apply God’s truth to the present moment), which is the opposite of foolishness. (3) Be filled with the Spirit – we do this by speaking to one another in psalms, hymns and songs. We must encourage each another with God’s word and through God’s Spirit. (4) Praise and thank God for everything – we can do this because we know that in all things God works for good (Rom. 8:28).
  3. Personal Reflection. To start, it may be helpful to identify the people around you (who you are called to love) and the opportunities before you. Ask God what practical steps you can take in light of those people and opportunities.

Evening Reflection 

Let’s end the day by way of reflecting on Acts 2:42-43. We will consider the rest of the passage on this Friday and the following Monday, respectively.

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They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47)

To what are you devoted? It may help to think about how you spent your time today or how you spend your time in an average week. It might also help to think about what typically occupies your thoughts on any given day. How might you practice devotion to the Church and the work of God through your local church community, particularly in a season of social distancing?

 

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