REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on January 9, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Be a Real Influencer, Not the YouTube Kind”
“I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints.”
“. . . the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel . . .”
What are you thanking God for lately? Is it a new job, house, or relationship? While those things are certainly worth noting, I wonder whether many of us can readily identify with why Paul felt thankful to God here. The apostle’s gratefulness stemmed from hearing how well Philemon was walking in the Lord and about his sacrificial love for other believers. Having led Philemon to the Lord and discipled him (Philem. 1:19), Paul probably felt like a proud father!
Do you know what that feels like? I can partially understand how Paul felt because I have had the privilege of investing into the lives of others since 1982 so that they may love Christ, and in time, serve him. Recently, a rather prominent pastor in Hong Kong, who used to attend my church in the 1990s, wrote me, saying, “Thanks for the prayers and especially thank you for investing in me those early years. . . . You are a true man of faith for . . . starting a course in my life where I have the privilege of preaching [several times] a week.” I left the pastorate in 1999, discouraged with a sense of failure, but upon hearing something like that, you wonder perhaps God did more through me than what I had imagined. That’s a good feeling! So I thank God because of the faith and love of those whom God had brought into my life to influence them with “the word of truth.”
How about you? Perhaps, it is time to invest your time, knowledge and even money into the life of a young person so that one day, you will thank God for that person’s love for people and faith in the Lord Jesus. Don’t make a hasty decision; pray for the Lord’s direction and then make that call. Be a real influencer, not the YouTube kind.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank You for several people in the past who touched me in different ways at different stages of my life so that I might know, love, and serve You. While I may not be ready to do the same for others right now, I pray for your strength to at least reach out to someone with a hearty greeting or a pat on the back to encourage him (her). Thank You, Lord, for believing in me. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 32
Lunch Break Study
Read Acts 15:36-40: “Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.’ 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia (13:13) and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left . . .”
Question to Consider
- What was Paul, in fact, saying by adamantly opposing the inclusion of Mark on his missionary team?
- In what way did Barnabas’ acceptance of Mark and the price he paid to do so begin to restore him?
- Some 15 years later, Paul, facing his last hour, had this to say about Mark: “Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry” (2 Tim. 4:11b). Do you think Paul had some regrets about how he handled the earlier situation?
- He was saying that the ministry at hand (the second missionary trip) was more critical and urgent than restoring Mark. Paul was a great man of God, but in this instance, he failed to see the potential in a young man who would go on to write the first gospel.
- This demonstrated that Barnabas believed in Mark, who no doubt felt very bad about deserting Paul and Barnabas in their first missionary trip. The road to restoration begins with someone going the extra mile to believe in those who feel like a failure, all because Christ has accepted him (Rom. 14:3).
- By this time, it was apparent to Paul that Mark was no longer the same person; perhaps he had already penned his gospel by now. Regrets? I would be surprised if Paul hadn’t any. He probably thanked God that Barnabas had hung onto Mark so that he would grow into a man of God.
How was your day? Did you get to encourage anyone? Perhaps tomorrow, you can touch someone with a gesture of love and with words of encouragement from God’s word. Take a moment to pray.