February 10, Thursday

REPOSTToday’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on October 16, 2014.

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“A Good Friend”

Proverbs 18:24 (ESV)

“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Having good friends certainly made our life in Mexico more enjoyable; and one person, Pastor Javier (PJ), pastor of the largest Baptist church in Chihuahua, really stands out (not just because he was 6’3”).

I first met him when I visited his office to offer classes teaching his leaders. After reviewing my course material, he later called back, saying, “I don’t want you to teach my leaders, but can you teach the pastors in our Baptist convention?”   My dismay quickly turned to elation!  And that’s how God led me to the all the Baptist pastors in that region whom I taught from 2003 to 2010.  

Later, PJ told me how someone had warned him about me (a strange Korean), but he wanted to find out for himself what I was like.  His wife told me how I was an answer to her prayer, after seeing how encouraged her husband (who was never trained in seminary) was to continue learning.  Later in our relationship, I would run to his house every Monday morning to walk with him so that he could lower his weight.

In truth, I received so much more from him than he gained from me.  I had absolute confidence that he had my back all the time: He invited me to speak at his church several times a year, as well as his group’s important gatherings.  Once, after finding out that one of my classes could no longer meet at this facility, he called me to offer his church.  And when we needed to move from Mexico to the states, he not only let us use the church’s truck and trailer, but he crossed the border with us to ensure our safe passage.

I thank God for PJ for showing me what friendship with God is like; for Abraham was called God’s friend on account of believing God (Jas. 2:23).  And His Son not only taught but demonstrated with his life and death that “greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Today, do something costly for a friend or someone who is friendless, to let him/ her know that we always have a friend in Christ.   

Prayer: Lord, it is an unfathomable concept that the You, the God of this universe, would consider me Your friend.   Instead of pondering upon why God would do that, I am going to just enjoy this great privilege.   Thanks for always being there for me, listening to my cries and complaints.  You are truly a great friend!  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 44


Lunch Break Study

Read Proverbs 18:26: The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray”; 22:24:Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered.”

1 Cor. 15:33: “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’”

John 15:14-5: “You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”

Questions to Consider

1. Do you have a best friend?  How many friends do you have?  In light of the passages from Proverbs, what is often amiss in that type of friendship-making?

2. We rarely think of friendships in terms of being commanded to do something.  Ultimately then, what is the true nature of our friendship with the Lord? 

3. Why should we be selective in choosing friends?  What are your criteria for choosing friends?

Notes

1. Basically, we are making friends with people whom we do not know:  we know neither how they actually live nor their character.  And if we think we know them, we only know the parts that have been embellished and “photoshopped.”

2. Our friendship with Christ must be defined from the standpoint of his Lordship, which makes us his servant; that is, one who eats only after his master is done eating (Lk. 17:8).  The friendship aspect helps us to understand that his Lordship is neither coercive nor harsh, but rather invitational and gentle.  

3. People with whom we spend the most time affect how we feel, think and evaluate.  Thus, it is important that we surround ourselves with people who are not wicked, hot-tempered, and devoid of good character.  That doesn’t mean that we don’t reach out to them so as to help them change. 


Evening Reflection

As you wrap up another busy day, reflect on God’s friendship with us.  Friends spend much time talking to one another.  When we do that with God, it’s called “praying.”  Talk to God!   

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