December 30, Thursday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on October 3, 2014.

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“Rising from the Rubbles of Life”

Isaiah 61:1, 2-3(NIV)

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners . . .  3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”

The rags to riches stories are really encouraging to hear, but most people aren’t that poor to begin with, and even less people become that rich to make an impression.  The story of orphan Esther, who rose to be the queen of an empire, is certainly amazing but may seem too improbable for ordinary people to be inspired by it.  But if you get to know some people around you, they may share a story that is both inspiring and within your grasp with God’s help. 

When Jonathan, a German-descent Mexican in his late 20s, came to my class in 2004, he was a youth pastor, eager to learn.  In his teens, he ran away from an abusive father who forced him to sell things on the street and beat him.  Living now with a relative, he worked to support himself while going to school.  And during this time he came to know the Lord.  

After studying diligently with me for 3 years, he had progressed enough so that his superior allowed him to train other pastors with my courses. But I was so disappointed when Jonathan informed me in 2006 that he was moving to New Mexico to take on a small pastorate.

Soon after we moved back to the states in 2011, Jonathan invited me to offer a course to his leaders and to preach.   Oh, how pleased I was to find that a church of 30 had grown to a congregation of 200 adults and 100 kids!  Though the numbers do not always tell the right story, but in this case, it does. Pastor Jonathan, who could have easily given up, didn’t; instead, he worked and studied hard and prayed even harder to be the right spiritual leader for many Mexican-Americans who had a hard life in the states. 

The Bible is full of people whose ashes became a crown of beauty because God wouldn’t give up on them, and they wouldn’t give up on God (Peter, Mary Magdalene).  Today can be the start of a new beginning to become, not a queen, but someone useful for God’s kingdom work.     

Prayer: Dear Lord, how I exalt You for your steadfast love towards me.  Although I have given up on myself many times, You have always stayed close to encourage me.  Lord, although I cannot offer much, if at all, use me for your Kingdom work.  Cleanse me, train me, and equip me so that I can be useful for You.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Thess. 4

Lunch Break Study

Read Phil. 1:6 (ESV): And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ; 2:13 (ESV): for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

2 Tim. 2:6 (NIV): “The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.”

1 Peter 2:11 (ESV): “…whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.  To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

Questions to Consider

1. What should be the basis of our confidence?  How is this fundamentally different from humanism?

2. What is the relationship between God strengthening us and us working hard?

3. Ultimately, what are we trying to demonstrate by trying to be successful in the Lord?


1. Our confidence stems from what God has promised.  He promises to strengthen our will in order to produce the work that would please him; on top of that, He is going to ensure that we finish what we have begun.  Humanism is relying on personal resources without acknowledging or depending on God. 

2. Among several variables, one tangible connection for me is motivation.  God’s strength motivates me to discipline myself to work hard and to yield the fruits desired by the Lord.

3. We aren’t trying to tell the world how great and smart we are; instead, we want the world to know how great and awesome God’s power is to transform broken lives, thereby glorifying Him.

Evening Reflection

How would you describe the day you had? Was it another mundane day?  Be silent before God and think through all that have happened today.  Perhaps had you missed the encouraging voice from the Lord.  Pray.

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