REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on January 7, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“What Sound Do We Hear?”
“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
One sound that I don’t like is the ringing phone. It all started in Mexico when most of the calls for me meant another invitation to teach and preach and all I wanted to do on Sundays was rest after a week of constant talking and writing. That tendency continued as I began living in the States but for a different reason. As a family, we are not phone users; when calls are made, it is usually because something happened, like a car accident, stolen wallet or not feeling well. Today, I received a call from my mechanic who informed me that an additional $200 is needed to buy another part; without it the gear will not shift properly. Just another bad news!
Now, when we open the Scripture, what “sound” do we hear? Is it bearing good or bad news? “Grace to you” (plural in Gk), says Paul to all who believe. To those worn out from trying to accrue enough merits to earn God’s approval, this is indeed good news for, “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—not work by works” (Eph. 2:8-9a). Yes, we’ve freely received a wonderful gift of salvation because Christ did all the “heavy lifting” (i.e. paying the penalty of sin by dying on our behalf).
Then Paul adds, “Peace to you,” which implies hostility existed between God and man prior to this declaration. Doesn’t God love us? Yes, but something got in the way; it’s called sin and it always stirs up the wrath of God whose nature demands that all who violate His Law must be punished; thus, “we were by nature objects of wrath” (Eph. 2:3b). But Paul could declare, “Peace” only because “we [have been] saved from God’s wrath through [Christ]” (Rom. 5:9b), who became sin for us in order to undertake God’s wrath on our behalf.
I know of no other news that ought to get us out of depression or discouragement than what God did through Christ, to be able to offer his grace and peace to the undeserved. We are truly loved! Now, have a great day in the peace and the grace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
Prayer: Lord, during the course of a hectic day at the office, school or home, I often forget what I have in you. And after hearing bad news and anticipating more of the same, I become discouraged and fearful. But I am reminded today that your love for me came at a cost so that my life can be lived in your grace and peace. Thank you. Help me to be always mindful of what you did for me in Christ. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 40
Lunch Break Study
Read John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give it to you as the world does.”
Eph. 2:14: “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility; Luke 12:51: “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division”; Matt. 10:34: “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
Questions to Consider
- When comparing Jn. 14:27 and Eph. 2:14 with Matt. 10:34 and Lk. 12:51, what can you conclude?
- Obviously, these passages are addressing different human situations or conditions. So, in what sense does Christ gives us peace?
- In what sense does Christ take away our peace, instead, giving us division and sword (conflict)?
- It appears to be a total contradiction. The way to solve this dilemma is to understand each within its proper context without synthesizing the two apparently contradicting meanings; in other words they mean different things.
- As alluded in the morning QT, Christ broke the barrier of hostility between God and man by suffering the consequence of sins that we committed on our behalf. In this way, God reconciled us to himself through Christ (2 Cor. 5:18-9).
- The peace alluded in Lk. 12:51 and Matt. 10:34 is the type of peace that the world gives based on a false sense of security rooted in wealth, power and useful relationships. Christ is willing to break down that façade so that we yearn for the peace that he gives.
How peaceful was your day? Were you being gracious to others? Summarize your day around those two themes. We can always improve but only through the strength that God provides; and that comes from earnestly praying in humility. So pray!