REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on October 20, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Don’t Rely on Your First Impression of People”
Hebrews 11:1-2, 8, 24, 32 (NIV)
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. . . By faith Abraham. . . By faith Moses. . . And shall I say? I do not have time to tell about . . . Barak.”
My first impression of Anita in Mexico, a flight attendant, wasn’t good because she was always talking in my class. When I was told that she studied at a local Bible institute in the past, I sort of wondered why, seeing that she didn’t appear to be the “type.”
Deborah’s impression of Barak wasn’t good either (Judges 4:8-23). After being told to attack a superior enemy (with 900 iron chariots), he said to her, “If you don’t go with me, I won’t go.” What a sight! A seasoned soldier so dependent on a woman half of his size! After agreeing to go, she said, “Because of the way you are going about this . . . the LORD will hand over Sisera over to a woman.”
So, finding Barak’s name, along with Abraham and Moses, in the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrew 11, is surprising. While lack of information about Barak lends itself to speculate as to how he was chosen for such an honor, he did show a dramatic improvement. Just prior to launching the actual battle, when Deborah said to Barak, “Go! This is the day the LORD has given Sisera into your hands, . . . Barak went.” Being outnumbered and out-gunned, this took a lot of faith and courage for Barak, but God must have been pleased since “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6).
A few years had passed since my first encounter with Anita when I met her again. It was after I had preached about missions in which I shared how I hated the idea of becoming a missionary, but I came to Mexico anyway out of obedience to God. Anita, in tears, told me how that resonated with her because she, too, decided to become a missionary out of obedience to him. And in 2010, Anita, now married with a child, left the comforts of her home to reach a tribe in a remote part of Mexico.*
Don’t make too much of your first impression of people, because God changes people. He is in the process of changing you too, to be useful for His kingdom work. Come to Christ; learn to trust him; renew your passion and purpose through Jesus. It’s never too late!
*She and her husband have been serving at a Baptist church for the past 10 years.
Prayer: Dear Lord, how I praise you this morning. How refreshing it is to know that You are constantly working in me to will and to act according to your good purpose. Again, I am amazed and humbled by your grace, that the little faith that I have, is counted as something. Thank you. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Philippians 1
Lunch Break Study
Read Romans 15:1, 7: “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves . . . Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”
Gal. 6:1: “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”
Questions to Consider
1. We dislike or have problems with some people for different reasons, both real and imagined. What is the attitude that we are told to cultivate? What does that mean?
2. Are we to simply accept the failings or defects (real, not imagined) of others? What are we told to do?
3. What should we watch out for when we try to correct others or when others try to correct us? What is one thing you are struggling with at the present moment?
1. We are told to bear with and accept the one whose faith (character) is weak and immature. Without agreeing with or tolerating the behavior, we accept the person, thereby treating him/her with civility and respect.
2. No, it does not mean that we put up with bad behaviors of others. We are to correct them gently out of the desire to help them (restorative, not punitive).
3. We should know that we aren’t above the problem, meaning the correction should be tempered by the realization that we may do the same thing in the future. The person being corrected should know that unconditional acceptance and the need to be corrected are not mutually exclusive.
Did anyone point out anything about you that wasn’t necessarily positive? Pray about whether God may be behind it. If so, then, what should you do? Pray a little more to find out.