REPOSTToday’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by then (2013) staff of Remnant Westside Church in Manhattan, was first posted on September 30, 2013.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“What Constitutes God’s House for Us?
The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, 15 to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
This morning’s Psalm reminds us that the root of the blessings and goodness in our lives stems from being found in a right place. Just like cedars can grow in Lebanon (and other similar environments), the righteous (i.e., those who live by faith in Christ) cannot grow unless they dwell in God’s house and courts, which is more than just going to church. It is the way we live our lives, that is, places we go to spend our time and money, the people whom we meet to socialize.
Among the many attributes of God, the psalmist here underscores God’s holiness, which implies separation. This raises the question of whether our lives are separated from the values of this world even as we live in the world as his ambassadors.
Theologically and spiritually, what constitutes God’s house for us? It is being in a right relationship with God by being justified through faith in the person and work of Christ (Rom. 5:1), thereby having peace with God instead of receiving His wrath for our sins (Rom. 5:9). Thus, we can enter boldly into the presence of God because of what Jesus has done. We are invited into His presence. It is in that place where we truly experience the promise that we will flourish even as we grow older.
Today, we are encouraged to enter the presence of God, not based on how righteous we can make ourselves, but because of Christ. God is calling us to desire more of His presence in our lives, to host Him, to be planted firmly in His presence. He is declaring our ability to do so because of the righteousness of His son, Jesus. Today, do not wait or hesitate, but call out your desire to flourish in His presence.
Prayer: Lord, amid Your palpable presence, I will declare that You are my strong and powerful Guide. Your love and mercy washes over me, for You are good every day! You give me abundant life each day, making a way for me to be victorious even when I cannot see it. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Galatians 2
Lunch Break Study
Read Philippians 4:4: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Questions to Consider
- What is the major theme of this book?
- Two other major themes of Philippians are having the right attitude and the importance of fellowship, respectively. What does the attitude consist of?
- In addition to Philippians, Paul wrote Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon during his Roman house arrest. Collectively, these books are often referred to as what?
- It is “rejoice in the Lord.” The words joy, rejoice, and gladness appear in 15 out of the 104 verses in Philippians.
- Regarding attitude, Paul gives a number of instructions regarding one’s inner life—the world of his feelings, thoughts, and dispositions.
- The Prison Epistles
Psalm 31:3: “Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.”
Heavenly Father, tonight, I thank You for Your mercies that are new each day, drawing me to Your heart, providing for me and protecting me, and giving me rest in Your wise ways. In Your Word You tell me that You do this for all Your children, for the sake of Your great Name. Amen.
Tonight, take time to thank the Lord for how he has guided you throughout the day. Think about how God puts his arms around you, gives you hope, encourages your heart, and strengthens you in His presence. Take time to rest upon the comfort of the Lord.