September 7, Monday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, written by Pastor Mark Chun of Radiance Christian Church in S.F., was originally posted on March 25, 2013.  Mark is a graduate of University of California, San Diego (BS) and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.). 

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“Enamored by the Beauty, not the Functionality, of the Lord”

Psalm 27:4, 7-8 (ESV)

One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.  7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! 8 You have said, “Seek my face.”  My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.” 

King David begins this psalm by talking about how God functions in his life, a God who would defend, protect, and fight for him, but he quickly realizes that there is something more important than the functional role of God in his life.  He sees that above and beyond this, the one thing that is most important is to see the beauty of God.  

Beauty is what captures the human heart and stirs it.  Beauty gives birth to our passions and fulfills our longings.  Beauty is what awakens the human spirit and separates us from the animals.   

Now, animals in the wild have been known to make simple tools so that they can secure food and scare off predators.  While they can create things for a functional purpose, only humans pursue beauty for the sake of beauty.  Appreciating what God does is important but being captivated by His beauty is far more vital.  

We know that the Gospel is the pinnacle of what God has done for us—that He gave His only Son as atonement for our sin and that faith in him leads to eternal life.  But if our understanding of the gospel stops there, while we might live our lives in gratitude, we are unlikely to live our lives out of love.  The gospel is not only an account of what God has done for us but it is also a window to who God is.  

Moreover, as we look through the gospel, we see a God whose beauty is beyond description.  We see the perfect symphony of love and justice, of humility and might, of mercy and holiness.  Only when this beauty of God is captured in our hearts can we truly fall in love with Him.

This morning, reflect on the beauty of God.    Make this psalm your prayer, that you may behold the beauty of God and fall deeper in love with Him.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, it is so easy to forget how beautiful You are.  I pray that as I experience the ordinary things of life that I would be mindful of the extraordinary God who made all things possible.  Help me to fall deeper and deeper in love with You, counting one day in Your presence as better than a thousand apart from You. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: 2 Chronicles 1


Lunch Break Study 

Read John 8:12 (ESV): Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Questions to Consider

  1. At what event in the Jewish religious calendar did Jesus speak these words?  (John 7:2)
  2. What did this event celebrate and bring remembrance of? (Exodus 40:36-38)
  3. What is Jesus referring to when He calls himself the “light of the world”?  

Notes

  1. Jesus spoke these words at the Feast of Booths, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles.     
  2. The Feast of Tabernacles was a celebration of God leading the people of Israel through the desert for 40 years.  If you have watched the Ten Commandments or the Prince of Egypt, you will recall that God guided the nation of Israel using a cloud by day to protect them from the desert heat and then the cloud would be illuminated at night by fire so that they could make their way through the darkness. 
  3. When Jesus refers to himself as the “Light”, it has a very narrow range of meaning.  He isn’t simply saying, “I am the source of enlightenment that will guide you through life like Buddha or a New Age guru.”  He is literally saying, “I am the shekinah glory of God,” which is the dwelling of God’s presence in a specific location that makes it perceptible to the human senses.  During the Feast of Tabernacles, as the people gathered each evening, the priest would light the candelabras for two reasons: first, as remembrance of how God’s glory led them through the darkness; second, as an expression of longing for the visible presence of God to fill the temple again. 

St. Irenaeus, a leading theologian in the early church, is famous for stating that, “The glory of God is a man fully alive.”  I would take that one-step further and say that the glory of God is what causes man to be fully alive.  Without the light of God’s glory shining into the darkness of our hearts, there is no chance for true spiritual life.  


Evening Reflection

As you start the week, think of ways to center your daily routine around the gospel.  Write down how God has reminded you of His sacrificial love.   

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