January 19, Tuesday

UPDATED Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by then (2013) staff of Remnant Westside Church in Manhattan, was first posted on September 2, 2013.  It has been updated. 

Devotional Thought for This Morning 

“How We Pray When Facing Messy Situations

Psalm 83:1-18

O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God! 2 For behold, your enemies make an uproar; those who hate you have raised their heads. 3 They lay crafty plans against your people; they consult together against your treasured ones. 4 They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!” 5 For they conspire with one accord; against you they make a covenant— 6 the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites, 7 Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; 8 Asshur also has joined them; they are the strong arm of the children of Lot. Selah 9 Do to them as you did to Midian, as to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon, 10 who were destroyed at En-dor, who became dung for the ground. 11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna, 12 who said, “Let us take possession for ourselves of the pastures of God.” 13 O my God, make them like whirling dust, like chaff before the wind. 14 As fire consumes the forest, as the flame sets the mountains ablaze, 15 so may you pursue them with your tempest and terrify them with your hurricane! 16 Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek your name, O Lord. 17 Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever; let them perish in disgrace, 18 that they may know that you alone, whose name is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth.

What do we do when we find ourselves in a great big mess?  It’s good that we pray in times like that but what do we say to God?  In today’s passage we see how the psalmist prayed when facing a very difficult and threatening situation.  

As we have all noticed, many times, the Psalms that we read appear quite difficult to connect personally.   For instance, the Psalmist here is expressing his grave concern over a multitude of enemies of Israel who seek to annihilate God’s people.  However, instead of asking for strength to overcome his enemies or power to experience the victory, the writer asks that God would manifest Himself in His glory.  It is not a great personal victory that the Psalmist is looking for, but rather, the raising of the name of God above all names.

While our oppositions certainly are not as militant and brutal as those in this Psalm, we face other pressures that are quite real to us.  The secular world in which we live entices the people of God to conform to its pattern (Rom. 12:2) and expects them to put up with the mockery of their faith and God.  All around our society, there is a great uproar of secularism that seeks to quiet the name of God from being proclaimed.  

Therefore, in addition to praying for God to meet our daily needs such as provision and strength, let us also pray that God would manifest Himself in such a victorious manner that “every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:11).

Prayer: “LORD, I shout ‘AMEN’ as You tell me to inquire of Your wisdom, seek Your knowledge, depend on Your strength, and ultimately, be content in Your presence.  Oh, God, what can I possibly do that can bring the honor that You alone deserve?  LORD, I give you my heart!”  Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 22


Lunch Break Study

Read Philippians* 1:1-2: “Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

*The Book of Philippians was written while the apostle Paul was under house arrest in Rome (59-61 AD).

Questions to Consider

  1. What two aspects of our identity does this passage address?
  2. What does it mean that we are addressed as saints even though we often do not act saintly? 
  3. How is your service to Lord today? Are there specific ways that God is calling you to serve? Are there other “masters” that we need to renounce so that we may serve the one true Master?

Notes

  1. These verses speak to two aspects of our identity in Christ, namely being servants and being saints.  Servant connotes that there is a Master to whom we are submitted. Saint, or holy one, references our justified standing before God.  
  2. Though our sins make us unholy and utterly deserving of God’s judgment, we have been justified by the atoning work of Christ; as a result, we can rightly stand before the holy God.The Christian life is about growing into conformity to the identity that God has already established in us in Christ.
  3. Personal response

Evening Reflection

As we wrap up this day, let us celebrate our triumphant and righteous God who causes joyful hope to prevail in our hearts even during the most challenging and troubling times.  Offer a prayer of thanksgiving unto the Lord.

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