UPDATED Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Matt Ro who formerly pastored Journey Church in Atlanta, is an updated version of his blog originally posted on May 17, 2013. Matt is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BS) and Biblical Theological Seminary (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
Psalm 60:1-5, 9-12 (ESV)
O God, you have rejected us, broken our defenses; you have been angry; oh, restore us. 2 You have made the land to quake; you have torn it open; repair its breaches, for it totters. 3 You have made your people see hard things; you have given us wine to drink that made us stagger. 4 You have set up a banner for those who fear you, that they may flee to it from the bow. Selah 5 That your beloved ones may be delivered, give salvation by your right hand and answer us! 9 Who will bring me to the fortified city? Who will lead me to Edom? 10 Have you not rejected us, O God? You do not go forth, O God, with our armies. 11 Oh, grant us help against the foe, for vain is the salvation of man! 12 With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.
How do you view God? The degree to which you depend on the Lord is determined by the level of your confidence in His ability to deliver. When the level is low, you aren’t going to seek His help as often and fervently as you would when the confidence level is high. We readily see that in today’s psalm.
Psalm 60 was written while David was on his military campaign after his general Joab had been dispatched earlier. Since the final victory had not yet been obtained, in v. 19, David is thinking about the final triumph, “Who will bring me to the fortified city? Who will lead me to Edom?”
We learn two spiritual lessons in this psalm: first, only God can give victory. Not only were the cities in Edom well-fortified with narrow passageways and cliffs, but even if the passageway could be breached, the defenders could retreat into the mountains surrounding the hidden inner valley and defend themselves from there. Only God could give victory over a fortress like that, and David knew it. So he cries to God, acknowledging, “for vain is the salvation of man.”
Second, we must ask God for victory. In the final stanza, David asks for victory and anticipates God’s positive answer by saying, “With God, we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.” Thus, the psalm closes on a strong note of confidence, rooted in faith and claiming the promises of God. We ask ourselves: “Are there fights in our lives that we need God to fight on our behalf? Have you asked God for help?” The book of James teaches us, “You do not have because you do not ask God.” (James 4:2)
Prayer: Father, You are my strength and my shield. There is nothing that is impossible for You. Teach me to trust in You with greater confidence and I will wait patiently for Your help. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 2 Chronicles 13
Lunch Break Study
Read Ephesians 4:11-12 (ESV): And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ . . .
Questions to Consider
- What are the five different types of individuals who have the responsibility to “equip the saints for the work of ministry?”
- Usually, we expect pastors to build up the church, but biblically who should be building the church?
- What does that mean for you?
- There are five ministry gifts mentioned in v. 11. Four of them serve as ministries while one (apostle) serves more as an office. An apostle is a person who walks in and out of all the ministry gift functions according to need. Generally, these are God’s generals in the body of Christ who function as leaders over other ministry gift leaders in the local church. They often serve as church-planters or “pastor of pastors/church.” Apostles are great visionary leaders on the cutting edge of what God wants to do to reach their sphere of influence. Prophets are people who bring God to the people. They are usually endowed with gifts of exhortation, bringing revelation from the Holy Spirit in ways that can reveal or build up the condition of the church and culture. Often, prophets move in the revelatory gifts of prophecy and interpretation of tongues. Evangelists have a great burden for the lost and for outreach. They are able to communicate the gospel clearly and have an anointing for leading people to Christ. In the NT, evangelists regularly moved in signs and wonder to confirm the gospel to unbelievers. Pastors have a nurturing anointing to care for the members of the church. They are more concerned with in-reach than outreach. They love being with people and are motivated more by love (quality) than numbers (quantity). They have a burden to counsel, encourage, shepherd, and even teach. Teachers have a deep yearning to study and teach the Word of God.
- God calls each person into the ministry. Though you may not hold the formal church title of “Children’s Minister” or “Worship leader” or be called to be a Pastor or Teacher, you are still called, by God, to minister to people. The pastors and leaders of the church are charged with making sure believers are active in the work of ministry. Through the centuries, the church gradually grew away from the simple system that made it such a powerful and impelling influence upon society in its early years, and there came in gradually a terrible distortion from which we are still suffering today. The church became identified with buildings, great massive cathedrals, and imposing structures, and these were referred to as the church. The popular thinking fastened upon the idea of the building as the identifying symbol of the church, instead of the people. Along with that idea came a gradual transfer of responsibility from the people to the clergy to do the work of the ministry. Soon Christianity became a spectator sport, like a crowd cheering on a boxer or a football player on the field. God calls each of us into the ministry of the church.
- How can you find your gift? The answer is, you find spiritual gifts just as you find natural talents. Usually, you are attracted by seeing certain people exercising a gift, and that draws you to them. Then you may try exercising a certain gift or gifts. You soon discover you do not have a gift for some things at all. With others, you say to yourself, “Perhaps I can do this.” You enjoy some activities more than others, and this is a possible indication. What you enjoy doing is usually what God gives you the privilege of doing, for the exercise of spiritual gifts bring inner joy and people take great pleasure in exercising these gifts. One important indication that you have a certain gift is if others recognize the gift in you and encourage you to use it. It is important that others recognize your gift.
Begin to ask yourself what are some things that you enjoy doing. What gifts do others recognize in you? To what extent are you exercising your gifts in the local church? Does it come from a heart of duty or delight? Jot down come convictions that you have in regard to serving as a minister of the church.
Prayer: Father, thank You for the magnificent plan and program for this world to be helped, changed, and delivered. God, help me to see the excitement and the challenge of using my gift. Amen.