REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, written by the then (2013) staff of Kairos Christian Church in San Diego, is an updated version of their blog first posted on July 16, 2013.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Struggling with Who? God?”
I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint. 4 You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak. 5 I thought about the former days, the years of long ago; 6 I remembered my songs in the night. My heart meditated and my spirit asked: 7 “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? 8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? 9 Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”
The psalmist is in no ordinary trouble. His spirit is faint; he is so troubled he can’t even speak. He remembers the goodness of the past in contrast with the present which causes him to ask, “Where is God?”
If nothing else, the psalmist is honest. He recognizes that the excruciating struggles in his heart are ultimately struggles with God. His enemies and his circumstances have not simply produced a material or emotional crisis; he is in a crisis of faith.
When our hearts are filled with turmoil, we are tempted to believe that we are not struggling with God. We know that “good Christians” do not doubt God, but we are not “good Christians.” We doubt Him daily, and difficulties simply magnify those doubts. We must face the fragility of our faith. When we do, we finally come to a place where we can receive His grace.
Pray that today your heart would constantly say, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” As you encounter difficulties and challenges, ask the Lord to search and expose your heart and to give you the forgiveness and power you need.
Prayer: Lord, I am so ready to blame others or to blame my circumstances. But Father, I thank you that your primary concern in my life is my heart. Lord, search and expose my heart in such a way that it drives me to the cross. Make my heart pure before you and grant me the grace I need to please you even in the midst of the most difficult circumstances.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Corinthians 2
Lunch Break Study
Read James 3:1-8 (NIV): Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. 3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
Questions to Consider
- James now turns his attention to wisdom and speech. Why does James warn the believers not to become teachers too quickly?
- What is James trying to teach us by the use of metaphors to describe the effects of the tongue (bits, rudder, a small spark, taming of animals)?
- Before you speak to others today, think about the kind of ramifications it may have on those who hear your speech. If it will be for the good, speak sincerely. If it will be for the worse, remain silent. So, how are you doing with your tongue?
- James warns the believers not to become teachers too quickly because teachers (who depend so heavily on the use of their speech) will be judged more strictly when they sin (because they have more widespread influence.) And the teachers are just as susceptible to reckless speech as anybody else.
- The tongue is a powerful influence for good, completely out of proportion to its size. Right speech is a sign of Christian maturity. In the way that a small bit can turn a horse or a rudder can turn a ship, a small tongue can accomplish great things for the Lord. In the same way, the tongue can also cause disproportionate damages; a small spark can burn down an entire forest or this small part of the body can corrupt the body entire. And unfortunately, man has not figured out how to tame this tongue.
- Personal response.
Think about the way in which Jesus used his tongue when he spoke to men, women, and children during his ministry. Which of his sayings or teachings comes to your mind? Journal about that particular teaching or saying.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to recognize my own speech patterns. If my tongue has been used for destruction, please fill me with Your Spirit so that it will be used for God’s glory. Amen.