May 27, Wednesday

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

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“Holy Discontentment”

Hebrews 12:25-29

See that you do not refuse the one who is speaking; for if they did not escape when they refused the one who warned them on earth, how much less will we escape if we reject the one who warns from heaven! 26 At that time his voice shook the earth; but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of what is shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe; 29 for indeed our God is a consuming fire.

daniel-schludi-jj7KUeTRTCE-unsplashTo my surprise, the pervasive sentiment I’m noticing in myself in this season is discontentment. And when I talk to others, I sense discontentment in them as well (even though some describe it as boredom). The luxury of routine and ample provision can leave us thinking, “There must be more than this!” Others express it as frustration with the brokenness we sense in ourselves and the world. Still others express it as confusion and uncertainty about our purpose, worth, and life path. And while I imagine some of these feelings were present before this pandemic, they seem harder to ignore nowadays.

God’s promise in every situation is to work for our good (Romans 8:28). And I believe that God, in grace and mercy, is entering into our present mess to shake everything that can be shaken so that what is unshakable remains. We have a profound opportunity in this moment to contend with what is broken (in ourselves, relationships, community, society, etc.), bring it to God, and begin to imagine something new and unshakable.

As the world shuts down and the effects radiate throughout our lives, our illusion of control is shaken. As the behaviors of each person pose a palpable threat to the lives of others, the lie of independence in shaken. As our present systems continue to fall short of our collective needs (to put it mildly), we are invited to question our social structures as they are utterly shaken. As our jobs change (in fact, no jobs for many), we’re trapped in the house; vacations are cancelled and weddings are put on hold.  However, as our plans are interrupted and life as we know it quivers, God is inviting us to STOP and take note of all that’s being shaken.

I suspect this is the source of much of our discontentment. In the face of a world falling apart, we are sensing in ourselves a hunger for that which is unshakable, a hunger for the Kingdom of God. As we move forward from here, our world won’t be the same. And that may seem scary, and our impulse may be to fight to preserve and revert, but we have to remember that the world is broken (and so are we) and God’s whole Kingdom project is not one of preservation but of transformation.

The longer we sit in this moment with God and one another, I pray our discontent with business as usual grows. I pray that we begin to cry, “I want a new world!” Or, better yet, “I want to join God in making a new world.” And as we do so, may we rejoice and give thanks to our God who has already promised, “I am making everything new!…these words are trustworthy and true” (Revelation 21:5).

Prayer: Sovereign God, help me to remember that I am where I am and that I do what I do because of your sovereign plan. Open my eyes so that I can join You in the remaking of this world. Help me to partner with you in the Kingdom work You have for me to do today. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Isiah 35


Lunch Break Study

Read Micah 6:6-8: With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Question to Consider

  1. In verse 8, the prophet explains what God requires of God’s people. What are those requirements? How do they reveal God’s heart and desire for us?   
  2. The prophet compares what God actually requires (v. 8) with the religious rituals God’s people chose to offer God instead (vv.6-7). How do you find yourself falling into the trap of offering rituals over relationship?    
  3. What would it mean for you to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God in your present context? What is at least one practical way you can live out this verse this week?

Notes

  1. God requires that God’s people: (1) act justly (doing what’s right and fair and good in our relationships with one another), (2) love mercy (exercising kindness in our dealings with one another), (3) walk humbly with God (leaning into our need for and dependence upon God at every step). God’s heart and desire is for relationship—the relationship we have with God and the relationships we have with one another. This is what’s important to God—just and merciful relationships over religious rituals.
  2. While we don’t practice the same religious rituals, the original audience practiced (those listed in the verses), we certainly have our own versions of religiosity. What are the things you can fall into by routine without actually engaging your heart in loving (just and merciful) relationship with God and others?
  3. Personal reflection.

Evening Reflection

noble-brahma-kZWQ4mT-TlU-unsplashDo you sense things being shaken in your life or in the world around you in this season? In what specific ways? How have you responded? How might God be inviting you into holy discontentment and deeper hunger for the Kingdom of God?

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