REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by then (2013) staff of Remnant Westside Church in Manhattan, was first posted on September 4, 2013.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“A Highway to Where?” Your Heart
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. 6 As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. 7 They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion. 8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
What does it mean for the heart to be a highway to Zion? In the Bible, Zion is synonymous with Jerusalem, the city where the temple of God rests. As the psalm focuses on the desire for the presence of God that is found in the temple, the highway imagery paints a picture of the psalmist’s heart angled and directed to meet with Him.
The writer also alludes to the pilgrimage that people make to enter Zion through the Valley of Baca. The scholars debate as to where the Valley of Baca is and its significance, but the emphasis of the text is not on the location of the valley but on the blessings the people receive as they journey through this valley, longing for the presence of God. When God’s people long for Him and go through the valley, letting God be the strength in their journey, that valley becomes a place of spring, of rain, and of pools.
The imagery of the desire for God’s presence, resulting in blessing for the land, is vivid in this text. What this shows is that our desire and pursuit to host God not only brings individual or personal blessing, but the blessings will spill over to those around us. Our prayers of desiring to host God will even impact our classmates, co-workers, friends, or family. When we fully desire to “appear before God,” God will send His rain into that valley. Today, direct your prayers solely focused on an encounter with God.
Prayer: Lord, help me to be Your sanctuary in which Your presence is abundantly clear to those around me. Fill me with the Holy Spirit so that I can commit myself to a life of holiness, for without it “no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14) in me. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Corinthians 9
Lunch Break Study
Read Philippians* 1:6-8: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.”
*Paul first came to Philippi in AD 50 as part of the Macedonian call (Acts 16:6ff).
Questions to Consider
- Do you wrestle with the question, “Am I really a Christian?” How does verse 6 encourage you as you try to honestly answer the question?
- What’s one danger of the belief that once saved, always saved?
- How should the knowledge of God’s sovereignty affect us?
- Are there people you “hold in your heart” that genuinely bring you joy when you think of them? How can you encourage them? How can you pray for them?
- Verse 6 highlights the theological concept of the “Perseverance of the Saints.” This is just a fancy term stating that once a person is born again (i.e., regenerated), they will continue to live out the Christian life until the Lord brings them into heaven. Sometimes, this is referenced as “once saved, always saved.”
- This doesn’t mean that all who have ever professed to be Christians will be saved no matter how they live their lives. This is to say, “by their fruit you will recognize them” (Matt. 7:20). No matter what some people may profess, for “even demons believe that . . . there is one God and shudder” (Jam. 2:19), only the truly regenerate believers will persevere in their walk with God, who sustains them, while those who are not saved, despite their alleged profession of faith, will not endure in their “walk” with God.
- The knowledge of God’s sovereignty should lead us to deeper love and devotion to the One who is sovereign.
- Personal response
“The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (Rom. 3:22).
Jesus, I thank you that through Your triumphant sacrifice, I can enter the Most Holy Place in heaven and receive strength to overcome worldliness, fleshly desires, and self-will. I declare Your righteousness in my mind and heart, for it is in and through You that I now live.
Take time to ask God, “In what ways have I been seeking my own way?” God wants to bring forth renewal in these areas. Repent and decree God’s righteousness over an area in which you are presently struggling in, and thank Him.