UPDATED Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), is an updated version of his blog first posted on January 24, 2013.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Our God of Mercy”
Endless ruin has overtaken the enemy, you have uprooted their cities; even the memory of them has perished. 7 The Lord reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment. 8 He will judge the world in righteousness; he will govern the peoples with justice.
There have been talks about the United States of America as an empire and whether she can avoid the same fate that befell all the other empires that preceded her. Augustine’s City of God is a poignant reminder that no empire or nation established by men’s might will pass the test of time.
Why? The people of empire, living in prosperity and unrestrained freedom, will corrupt themselves and soon the empire will collapse from within, much like how the Western Roman Empire fell apart from within in 476. That, ultimately, is the judgment of the world (vs. 7) by a just and righteous God.
Yet Paul said to the pagans in Lystra: “In the past, [God] let all nations go their own way” (Acts 14:16)” and to the Athenian pagans, “In the past God overlooked such ignorance” (17:30). Are you surprised to find that God was merciful (i.e., not punishing those who deserve punishment) toward the nations and the pagans who didn’t follow Him? Not Habakkuk who confidently prayed, “LORD, in wrath remember mercy” on Israel (3:2). And this God continues to have mercy on us and the nations today.
Maybe you see an angry God because you have had father issues; but remember this: the just and righteous LORD is long on mercy! This means that if God were to judge the American Empire, it would be after exhausting all His mercie. And if God were to judge us, it would also be after exhausting all His mercies.
Are you living in sin? Then, here is a suggestion you should heed. Romans 2:4b says, “God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.” God’s kindness is the Lord being merciful to us when we are not walking with Him, and that’s the moment given to us to repent. Turn from your sin and come to the merciful God today.
Prayer: Father God, I thank You that You are a righteous and just God whose judgment is fair, and above all, merciful! God, “I’ve heard of Your fame; I stand in awe of Your merciful deeds. When I am in need of Your discipline, remember mercy!” Amen.
Bible Reading for Today:1 Chronicles 4
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Corinthians 3:10-15: According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
Questions to Consider
- What do “wood, hay or straw” represent as building materials for how we live our lives (Matt. 23:5, 6:5)?
- What other things will God consider as criteria for His judgment of our live (Matt. 12:36-7; Lk. 12:16-21)?
- Ultimately, will God judge a few areas or every area of our lives (Matt. 25:34-46)?
- These perishable items represent those things done in the body, which we assume will reap rewards from God, but will be rejected due to impure motives of our hearts. Regarding the Pharisees, they won’t receive any rewards in heaven for their good deeds because they already “received their reward in full” on earth. We can conclude from this that any good thing that we do just to impress men will be burned up.
- Our words and how we spend our wealth will be part of divine criteria to judge our lives. Regarding our words, it is not just whether we used swear words but whether our words built people up or tore them down.
- God will judge the entire body of work of how we actually lived, whether with compassion and mercy toward those suffering, or with utter indifference towards the people. Only an omniscient God can conduct this sort of complex judgment.
Before turning in for the night, meditate on the following questions:
- What righteous (or unrighteous) actions did I do today?
- What positives did I derive from them? Were there any negatives?
- If God were to judge my life today, how would He evaluate it? What would He say to me?
- What are some areas of my life that I definitely need to improve? Jot them down here and ask Jesus for guidance.