May 6, Wednesday

UPDATED Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Peter Yoon of Kairos Christian Church in San Diego, is an updated version of his blog first posted on May 28, 2014.  Peter is a graduate of University of California, Riverside (BA) and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.).

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“Not Sure Whether the COVID-19 is God’s Judgment but God Does Do This”

Jude 1:8-11

In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. 9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10 Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them. 11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.

oriento-xx69gBoiRXY-unsplashI will let others argue over whether the COVID-19 pandemic is God’s judgment—maybe it is or maybe it isn’t.  Having said that, one thing we really don’t like to think about is the fact that God does discipline His children.  Hebrews 12:6 unequivocally states, “The Lord disciplines those he loves and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”  This is to say, when we disobey and sin, God responds with correction and discipline.

Now, there are two dangerous thoughts associated with God’s discipline of His children.  First, we may sometimes think that God is passive when He doesn’t immediately take actions.  That is not so, for He is being “patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). Another dangerous thinking is that we no longer need to ask for forgiveness since we have already received Christ’s righteousness. However, we need to understand that there is still a parental forgiveness that God grants as a loving Father.

Our Father is both grieved and displeased when His children sin. God’s displeasure to our sins demonstrates His ongoing love for us. According to Heb.12:5-11, God’s discipline, though it is painful, actually confirms our relationship to a Father who still loves us. His desire is for us to share in His holiness as He trains us to bear the fruit of righteousness. None of us can claim perfection, for we are all still in God’s sanctifying process. Graham Cooke writes: “Sanctification does not mean that we no longer sin; rather it means that we feel awkward when we do sin.”

So, when you find yourself falling into sins, quickly humble yourself, confess your sins, and submit to His loving discipline. Remorse over sin, regular confession, and a continual attitude of repentance are marks of a healthy Christian life. David testified to the power of confession in Psalm 32: “When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer…I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, ‘I will confess my sin to the Lord’; and You forgave the guilt of my sin” (vv. 4-5).  Evidently, the guilt of David’s sin affected him physically and emotionally—he found relief only through full confession.

When you confess your sins, you are restored by a loving Father who delights to shower the brokenhearted and the repentant with His mercy and compassion.  Again, while no one can know for sure whether the COVID-19 is God’s judgment, this season of uncertainty is an apt time to get right with God in Christ.  Do it today.   

Prayer: Lord, I no longer desire to live with the guilt and shame of sin. The effects are burdensome. Grant to me the joy of Your salvation once again. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 12


Lunch Break Study 

Read Luke 23:32; 39-43: Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed.  39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Questions to Consider

  1. Compare and contrast the responses of two criminals crucified along with Jesus.
  2. What promise is given to the criminal who defends Jesus and makes a plea?
  3. When it comes to forgiveness, do you sometimes feel as though you need to first fix up your life and then come clean before God? How does this interaction with one of the criminals reveal the grace of God?

Notes 

  1. Though the reactions to Jesus’ crucifixion vary in intensity, the discussion among the thieves sum up the range of responses. While one continues to taunt Jesus, the other has a change of heart as he hears Jesus interceding for others.
  2. In faith, the thief turns to Jesus saying: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  This man, despite a life full of sin, comes to Jesus and seeks forgiveness. He confesses his guilt and casts himself at Jesus’ mercy and saving power. Luke could not have painted a clearer portrait of God’s grace. Jesus’ reply shows that He gives the man more than he bargained for. The thief hopes that one day in the future, he will share in Jesus’ rule; instead, Jesus promises him paradise from the moment of his death: “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” 
  3. This career criminal hadn’t done much good in his life to merit this gift from the Lord; he certainly didn’t have any time left in his life to do good in the future.  Now, that’s grace at its best.

Evening Reflection

maite-tiscar-cqBGQc98_eg-unsplashAs you have been spending time confessing and repenting, are you experiencing the Lord’s grace—the freedom and victory that comes through His Spirit?  Be reminded of what 2 Corinthians 4:17 promises: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

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