REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Barry Kang who heads Symphony Church in Boston, is an updated version of his blog first posted on April 1, 2013. He is a graduate of Stanford University (BA), Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“The Path to Happiness”
Psalm 32:1-2 (NIV)
Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.
Our culture suggests many paths to happiness: accomplishments, career, “bucket-list” experiences, and romance. We seek these things to anaesthetize the pain or boredom that many of us feel. However, the authors of scripture are clear: the true path toward happiness is to live a life approved by God (Phil 4:11-13).
Both forgiveness and a right relationship with God are the only way we can attain true happiness. This is why Jesus came—why this past weekend, we celebrated the cross and resurrection of Jesus—so that we could be forgiven and come into a right relationship with God. We are indeed blessed to have a God who loves us so! God’s mercies are new with every morning (Lamentations 3:23-23).
Let’s begin our day right. As you prepare for the day, reflect upon your need for forgiveness and thank God for the repentance, cleansing and love that He offers you.
Prayer: Father, I thank You that You forgive my sins anew every morning. I thank You that the blood of Jesus covers every one of my sins. Help me to live this day in the freedom that comes from being forgiven and in a right relationship with you. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 2 Corinthians 7
Lunch Break Study
Read 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 (NIV): So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Questions to Consider
- How can we be reconciled with God?
- Focusing on this passage, what are three consequences of our reconciliation with God?
- What does it mean to regard no one from a worldly point of view (cf. Matt 5:43-48)?
- In verse 19, it is clear that reconciliation with God happens through the forgiveness of sins, which is by the work of Jesus Christ. True reconciliation is not possible without forgiveness.
- Some consequences of being forgiven:
- “We no longer regard anyone from a worldly point of view”;
- We are new creations;
- We are given the “ministry of reconciliation”.
- The way of the world is to seek revenge: “You hurt me. I will hurt you back.” The way of the Kingdom is to forgive. As one pastor put it, “forgiven people forgive people.” If we are unable to extend forgiveness, it may mean that we have not fully comprehended the forgiveness that God has extended to us through Christ Jesus.
When God forgives us, we receive not just peace and happiness, but a new ministry! As children who are reconciled with their father, we are new creations; we have completely new paradigms of treating others. We are also given a ministry to help others to be reconciled with God. When we reach out to others, we are extending the forgiveness that we have received from God.
Is there anyone who needs your forgiveness today? Just as importantly, do you know God’s forgiveness? Write down a prayer and a plan for anyone who needs your ministry of reconciliation.