March 24, Wednesday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Barry Kang who heads Symphony Church in Boston, is an updated version of his blog first posted on April 16, 2013.  He is a graduate of Stanford University (BA), Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min.). 

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“Delighting Ourselves in the Lord”

Psalm 37:3-6

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.  4 Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.  5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: 6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

I have heard some preachers claim, on the basis of Psalm 37:4, that God will give us anything we want. If we simply “claim it,” God will give us mansions, yachts, luxury cars, etc.  God can and does bless us materially. But if we argue from Psalm 37:4 that “God will give you anything you want,” we miss the whole point of the verse.

This verse does promise that the Lord will “give you the desires of your heart” but notice it happens when we “delight [ourselves] in the LORD”.  When we delight in God, i.e. we love him with all that we are; we will discover that the desires of our heart become transformed.  We will stop being so concerned about ourselves; instead we will yearn for the things of God.  Our desires will reflect God’s own desires.  We will want what God wants, and he will give us that which is according to his will.  Moreover, the more we delight in the Lord, we will discover that what we desire most of all is a deeper relationship with God.  True intimacy is the deepest longing of our hearts, and as we learn to enjoy God’s presence, we will seek him more, and by his grace, we will find him!

Are you delighting in the Lord?  Are you looking for joy and satisfaction from him first?  If you are reading these QTs, then I am probably preaching to the choir, but let us seek to love him with all of our hearts, and desire his desires!

Prayer: Father, help me to delight in you.  I confess again that I am easily distracted.  I want my focus to be on you.  I ask that you would transform my heart, that I would desire you above all things, and that your desires would become my desires.  Thank you for the gift of your mercy and love.  Thank you that your desire is to be with me! Thank you that you are my Father in heaven who is the giver of every good and perfect gift. In Jesus’s name, I pray.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 11


Lunch Break Study

Read Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV):“This, then, is how you should pray: “ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,  10your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  11 Give us today our daily bread.  12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ 

Questions to Consider

  1. What does the first part of verse 9 tell us about how we are to pray? 
  2. Who is the focus of the first half of the Lord’s Prayer?  What does this tell us about our priorities in prayer?
  3. What does Jesus ask us to pray for in verses 11-13?  If this is how we ought to pray, what does this tell us about the heart of God?

Notes

  1. Jesus here tells us that this is how we ought to pray.  We are not being told to recite the Lord’s Prayer by rote (although there is certainly nothing wrong with praying it verbatim) and as our only prayer.  Certainly, we see Jesus offering other prayers in the gospels.  Rather, the Lord’s Prayer models for us the kind of priorities God wants us to have in prayer.
  2. The Lord’s Prayer begins by focusing attention on God—on his name, his kingdom and his will—rather than our own reputation, influence and desires.  A heart moved by God will begin to prioritize God’s will being done on earth above all things.
  3. In the second half of the Lord’s Prayer, we pray for:
  • Our daily bread (everything that we will need for that day)
  • Forgiveness (remembering that a forgiving spirit exemplifies the person who has been broken by grace)
  • Protection and freedom from the enemy’s schemes and temptations

Since we are instructed to pray for these things, we can discern that God’s desire and will are also to provide for these things!  When we seek after God’s will, we do indeed find that he gives us everything that we need.

We could study the Lord’s Prayer for days and not plumb the depths of its richness! What we can say today is that the Lord’s Prayer models a heart focused upon praising God and seeking his will above all things.  The greatest prayer (and privilege) of any follower of Jesus is to desire the will of God to be done on earth just as it is in heaven.  When we do this, we find that God’s will includes our daily provision, our forgiveness and freedom.  Truly, when we seek God’s kingdom, we get everything we need as well!


Evening Reflection

Read over some of your recent journal entries.  How much of your focus is upon God and how much of your focus is upon yourself?  What has God been asking you to do?  Have you been faithful in obeying?  Ask God for greater guidance but also more of his Spirit to help you to obey.

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