April 27, Monday

NEW Today’s AMI QT Devotional is prepared by Pastor Jason Sato who is currently serving in Japan as a missionary.  Jason is a graduate of University of California, San Diego (BS) and Westminster Theological Seminary (M.Div.).

Devotional Thoughts for This Morning 

“To Reassess and To Shine”

Matthew 5:14–16 (ESV)

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. [15] Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. [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.

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The coronavirus is a disaster in endless ways, yet it is also a unique opportunity for the church on at least two counts: 1) to reassess and 2) to shine.

1. To reassess: In Hearing God in Conversation, Samuel Williamson writes how we ask God, “Should I go right or left?” and His response is “Turn around.”  We ask, “Should I swing at this pitch?” and He says, “Uh…you’re playing soccer.”

In the midst of ordinary life, we can drift unknowingly into the ways and values of this world, and before long we are going down the wrong path or playing the wrong game.  Times of crisis jolt us awake, and they can be opportunities to see and pursue what is actually important. Jesus has always been right:  We cannot love Him and the world, and He invites us to store up our treasures in heaven where thieves and rust, viruses and recessions cannot steal or destroy. 

May each of us come out of these challenging times with smaller longings for the things of this world and greater longings for His glory and the Kingdom than before the crisis.

2. To shine: Most of the time, American Christians do not stand out in any sort of way, but when we do, it’s largely for negative reasons.  In the news, the church is only visible when we’ve condemned someone or our leaders have been involved in an embarrassing scandal.

During a plague in the middle of the third century, 5,000 people were dying every day in the city of Rome alone.  Pagan doctors and religious leaders fled, and families abandoned their own sick.  Yet Christians stayed behind to care for their own ill as well as for their neighbors.  The love they showed to strangers shocked the empire.

Certainly, we have legitimate reasons to worry for those in our inner circles of family and close friends, but especially as lockdowns are lifted and the slow road to recovery begins, we will have unprecedented opportunities to love and serve our neighbors. 

Nearly every community in the world will have been affected and the poor exponentially more so as we are already seeing in inner city communities, slums, and refugee camps around the world.  May we prepare our hearts and churches to love, give, and proclaim the gospel hope in a way that will shock the world.

Prayer: Father, search my heart and take Your rightful place in my life as King.  In this time, as I draw near to You, O Lord, draw near to me.  And please, use Your church to love and draw many who are far off, even enemies of the cross, to know and worship You. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 2


Lunch Break Study 

Read Luke 19:2–10 (ESV): And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” [6] So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. [7] And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” [8] And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”

Question to Consider 

  1. What kind of a man was Zacchaeus?
  2. What transformed Zacchaeus?
  3. What was the sign of Zacchaeus’s transformation?

Notes

  1. He was a tax collector and sinner.
  2. The love and welcome of Jesus transformed Zacchaeus from a man who loved money and power to a man who knew that knowing Jesus was most important.
  3. Since Zacchaeus was free from his greed, he was free for repentant and radical giving.

Evening Reflection 

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Reflect on your day.  What worries and concerns seemed more important than knowing God?  Ask Jesus to free you from all other loves that compete with Him.

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