REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on February 15, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“The Fear of Death”
Rise up, O Lord, confront them, bring them down; rescue me from the wicked by your sword. 14 O Lord, by your hand save me from such men, from men of this world whose reward is in this life. You still the hunger of those you cherish; their sons have plenty, and they store up wealth for their children. 15 And I—in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.
In theory, those who believe in Jesus Christ, who promises eternal life to those who believe in him, should no longer be gripped by the fear of death. What about in practice? Are we any different than unbelievers who have every right to fear that which is inevitable—death?
The New Atheist, Richard Dawkins, told a story of a clergy who told his dying colleague, “Congratulations! I wish I was coming with you.” Noting that this clergy seemed like a sincere believer, Dawkins said, “It is precisely because it’s so rare that his story catches our attention. Could it be that [religious people] don’t believe all that stuff they pretend to believe?”
To some extent, this is true. One reason is that believers are more enamored by men of this world who are getting all their “rewards” now, than the rewards of seeing God’s face. David, always yearning to worship Him, ultimately found this satisfaction when, upon dying, awoke in heaven and saw the face of God.
Who do you yearn to meet? If it is anyone not named Jesus, what does that say about us?
Prayer: My precious, righteous, and loving God, I yearn to see Your face: I thirst for Your presence, and I hunger for Your word! Who in this world can quench this longing in the depth of my being? Oh LORD, help me to place my hope in Your grace and mercy instead of the fleeting wealth, fame, and power of those whose reward is in this life. Amen.
Lunch Break Study
Read Matt. 6:1-4: “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Questions to Consider
- What does “reward in this life” mean (Matt. 6:2, 5, 16; Lk. 16:19-26)?
- Ps. 17:14 can be read as, “Save me from the influence of men of this world whose reward is in this life.” How can “the men of this world” affect our outlook on life if we allow it (Matt. 11:7-9, 3:1-6)?
- How should we live our lives now in such a way that we would yearn for heaven and long to see God’s face (Phil. 3:7-11, 1:22-6)?
- In short, it refers to enjoying the trappings of success here and now without any regard for God’s rewards in heaven. The Pharisees got the respect and accolade of men that they sought after, while the rich man, in his lifetime, was so caught up with living in luxury (“dressed in purple and fine linen”) and receiving good things that he was utterly unprepared to meet his Maker.
- Jesus implied that if people were still chasing after living in luxury and dressing in fine clothes, they would not have come out to the desert to hear John preach repentance, thereby drawing themselves closer to God. One reason some churches grow is that they no longer preach repentance but tips on how to live like a king here and now. People are not likely to yearn to see God in such a setting.
- We constantly need to let go—either temporarily or permanently—of those things that take the place of God in life. This is a call to a radical lifestyle!
James 4:14: “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
Life is like a 100-meter race—so fleeting. Review what went on in your life today in that light. Are you living for God or for yourself? How can we make our tomorrow better?