August 16, Monday

REPOSTToday’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor David Kwon who heads Journey Community Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, was first posted on November 9, 2013.  He is a graduate of Drexel University (BS) and Columbia International University (M.Div.).

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“Joy to the World”

Psalm 98:1-9

Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The Lord has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord! Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity. 

Joy to the world! The Lord is come! Let earth receive her King! 

As some of you check your calendars for today’s date—“don’t worry”—it’s not quite Christmas yet.  Yet, this psalm inspired Isaac Watts to write one of the most famous Christmas hymns of all time: “Joy to the World.”  While this song stirs our hearts to remember Jesus’ birth, for Watts, the second coming was primarily in view: when Jesus will return and set things right once and for all. 

The psalmist encourages God’s people to make a joyful noise for the salvation that God has already brought as well as that which is yet to bring. The writer’s audience had already experienced God’s deliverance and faithfulness (recorded throughout the Old Testament narrative) and because of this, they were filled with joy and anticipation waiting for the ways that He would deliver still, in his second coming. God’s track record and all that He has already done in the salvation of the created order gives us hope and joy at the mere thought of the things that He will do. 

We find ourselves wondering, “Could it get any better; could He do more? God’s word tells us, “YES”; the best is yet to come!

Prayer: Come Jesus, come.  In the meantime, we rejoice over what we already possess in Christ Jesus!  Thank You for being a faithful God.  Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 16


Lunch Break Study

Read 1 Peter 1:3-9 (NIV): Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls

Questions to Consider

  1. According to Peter, what do we possess in Christ? 
  2. Why does Peter say we rejoice (or are filled with joy)? 
  3. What should we do with what we already have in Christ?

Notes

  1. Peter explains that believers have a “living hope,” which is our imperishable inheritance. 
  2. In the Old Testament, the Israelites (a.k.a., people of God) longed for the inheritance promised by God, which had three components: people, place and presence. God promised Israel, having begun with a childless Abraham but now had become more numerous than stars in the sky, a land to call their own (the Promised Land), and ultimately, His abiding presence among them. This was their inheritance. Likewise, we long for our inheritance promised by God, which we will fully receive in the next life.  This inheritance, unlike the earthly kind, cannot be destroyed neither from the outside nor from within; it will never fade away. Regardless of our circumstances or how we feel, for those who are in Christ, our inheritance is set and secured; it’s protected, not by us or what we do, but by God himself through what Jesus has done. This should give us a great hope and a constant reason to praise God. We rejoice because through Christ’s death and resurrection we’ve been given a new identity: a child of God.  As a result, we have already become heirs to this wonderful, imperishable and unfathomable inheritance of a promised place (new heaven/earth), a promised people (the Church), and the presence of God in its fullness (i.e., the Holy Spirit) within us for all times. 
  3. Spend some time hiding these truths in your heart.  Internalize Peter’s words; pray and ask God to cause them to take roots in you. The more we grasp these truths, the more we are filled with hope and joy, thereby becoming unshakable in our walk with the Lord regardless of our circumstances or how we feel.

Evening Reflection 

Flat broke and homeless, brothers Geza and Zslot Peladi literally lived in a cave near Budapest for years. They left their dank home only to scrape together whatever money they could through selling scrap metal and candy. Theirs was a hopeless situation.  

But then everything changed.  One day, out of the blue, charity workers informed the brothers that they had inherited a substantial portion of their late maternal grandmother’s $6.6 billion fortune. And just like that, two destitute brothers, should they want to, could call a castle their home when all they had ever known was a cave. (Mike Krumboltz)

This too is our reality: we’ve abandoned our “self-inflicted” lives of insignificance for an amazing inheritance offered us through Christ. Do you remember the day when you were first informed of your inheritance? Do you remember leaving your cave for the palace? Spend some time just remembering. Even though our heavenly inheritance can sometimes seem quite intangible, ask God to make it more real in your heart. 

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