April 24, Friday

UPDATED Today’s AMI QT Devotional, originally posted on May 10, 2013, is written by Pastor Matt Ro who formerly pastored Journey Church in Atlanta.  P. Matt is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BS) and Biblical Theological Seminary (M.Div.).

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“Laying It All Down Before God”

Psalm 54:1-3 (ESV)

O God, save me by your name, and vindicate me by your might.  2 O God hear my prayer; give ear to the words of my mouth.  3 For strangers have risen against me; ruthless men seek my life; they do not set God before themselves.

jill-heyer-03ztkGdYWU8-unsplashHardly any Christians would say publicly, “I am not going to bother God with my petty problems when He must be so busy running the universe”—more so now amid the global pandemic.  Nevertheless, we do, at times, feel as if that is true. David, however, was not one of them.

Now, one lesson we see from the psalms is that when David had a problem (granted that the man faced some major troubles), he brought it to God, which is what he does here in vv. 1-3; in other words, he prayed.  But a matter as equally important as praying is whether we are praying in the right way.  As for David, he prayed to the God whom he had come to know by studying the Scriptures and through personal experiences.

First, he appeals to God in the opening verse by saying, “O God, save me by your name.”   We often think of God, but we seldom think about the name of God.  When Moses asked God for His name in Exodus 3 in order to tell the Israelites, God replied, “I AM WHO I AM.”  His absolute sovereignty is in play here.  This means that we have a God with whom all things are possible (Matt. 19:26).  We have a God who hears our prayers (v. 2).  David has confidence that there is nothing that hinders God from hearing us.  In other words, David is praying with the understanding that “whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him’” (Mk. 11:22-23).   This is to say, we need to pray with faith in God “according to His will” (1 Jn. 5:14).  Thus, David, having assurance in God’s willingness and ability to deliver him from all troubles, describes in detail the situation he faces (v. 3):  Ruthless men with no regard for God want to kill him.

As we will soon deal with the aftermath of COVID-19 pandemic, tell all your troubles to God in detail.  He already knows, of course, but it will do you good to spell them out.  Mentioning details will remind you that God also knows and cares about them.  Remember that “even the hairs of your head are all numbered” by God (Matt. 10:30).

God’s replies to our requests will come in the form or “yes,” “no,” or “wait”.  Whichever the case may be, we can be assured that God deeply cares for us and that He has our best interests in mind (defined not by the American way of life but God’s kingdom)—even if it doesn’t always appear to be so.  Trust Him.  God is good!

Prayer:  Father, thank you that You are a God who is near, willing, and able to meet me in my distress.  Set me free from the lingering fears that I am going through.  I trust in your power and hold on to you.  I want to “be strong in the strength of your might.”  (Eph. 6:10).

Bible Reading for Today:  Acts 26


Lunch Break Study

Read Ephesians 3:1-6: For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— 2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. 4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. 6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Questions to Consider

  1. How do Paul’s words take on a new meaning when you realize that Paul was most likely lying on a cold floor in the dark with an aching body from repeated beatings in prison?
  2. What is the “mystery” of which Paul sees himself as a steward?
  3. How should Paul’s calling (“a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles”) affect the way that we ought to live today?

Notes

  1. Paul’s primary passion is the gospel.  Though he is beset by difficult circumstances, he says in Philippians 1:12, 18, “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.”  We see a single-minded passion for the proclamation of the Gospel.
  2. The mystery that Paul speaks of is two-fold: first, it refers to the gospel that had been veiled for ages and kept from the Gentiles, but now Paul is called to share it with them; second, it is also a statement of the mystery that when people come to Christ, Jews and Gentiles together are joint heirs, members of one body.  A joint heirship has to do with possessions.  This was a foreign concept that Jew and Gentile are alike in Christ.
  3. Why can’t we get along with one another? Why are there so many family breakups? It’s because when we are still living in the old creation, those things are inevitable. But in the realm of the Spirit, the breakthrough has already occurred. When we begin to walk in the Spirit, then we can love, forgive, and begin to reach out to others.  Also, we’re challenged to live our lives in light of our calling to share the Good News with others.  Not as a secondary aspiration on the side, but through our everyday lives as servant of Christ.  We can experience Paul’s explanation and application of the great mystery.

Evening Reflection

kendal-TW2bfT_tWDI-unsplashBefore you turn in for the night, consider this: How are you living as a steward of the great mystery that has been revealed to you?  Are there opportunities that you are neglecting in the name of living with a day-to-day view in mind?  Ask God to show you (as you journal) the gravity of the revelation of this mystery in your life and what possible ways God may be asking you to live out your calling.

Prayer:  Thank You, Father, for this revealed mystery of which I am a part of through faith in Christ Jesus. Help me to live as a joint heir and partaker of the promise. Amen.

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