REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on January 13, 2015.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Not All Ideas Are Equal”
Matt. 25:24-5 (ESV)
“He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed,  so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’  But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! . . .  So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.’”
In Marxism that “discount[s] the role of ideas in history” (Kramer 2001:3), ideas are a later development to justify an unjust economic structure so that the rich can continue to exploit the workers under a false pretense (i.e., pie in the sky). The Scripture, however, begins with divine ideas originating from the mind of God. It posits that beliefs based on wrong ideas, in time, will produce actions detrimental to individuals, society, and ultimately the kingdom. In this sense not all ideas are equal.
The Bible is replete with people with bad ideas.
The servant with one talent in the parable of the Talents (Matt. 25:14-30) did nothing with it because he held to an idea that his master was unfair and unreasonable; the master, none too displeased, called him “wicked” and “lazy.” Subsequently, his lone talent was given to those who had produced more with their talents. The sad outcome of this bad idea: meaningless and boring existence on earth and, at the very least, no rewards in heaven. The right idea: God, being fair and just, will “judge each man’s work impartially” (1 Pet. 1:17b).
The older son in the parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32) held fast to an idea that led to identifying himself as a hired servant under a harsh master who happens to be his own father. Balking at the father’s favorable treatment of his wayward brother, he said, “All these years I’ve been slaving for you. . . yet you have never given me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends” (15:28). The sad outcome of this bad idea: The older son lost out on a life of freedom and plenitude, despite the fact that “everything [the father] had was [his]” (15:31). The right idea: “If we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17).
Bad ideas among Christians also affect the missions of the church. For instance, an elderly Baptist preacher, frowning on those who advocate missions, declared, “The world has already been reached in the first century”; he then quoted Col. 1:6: “All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing.” Sadly, those hearing this shouted, “Amen!” The sad outcome of this bad idea: no missions. The right idea: God of the Bible is a missionary God who has commanded the church to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19b).
Then there are those, being so afraid that they might teach work-based salvation, who propagate that “Jesus guarantees eternal life to all who come to faith in Him, even if they later stop believing in Him.” However, the parable of the Talents teaches us to work, not to gain salvation but to demonstrate it. The sad outcome of this bad idea: a rude awakening (with hell to follow) when the Lord says to those who had adhered to this bad idea, “I don’t know you and where you come from” (Lk. 13:25b). The right idea: “We are saved by grace alone but not by grace that is alone” (Martin Luther).
Paul’s idea, given through the Spirit’s inspiration, of combatting bad ideas is this: “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom. 12:1). Therefore, seriously and prayerfully study the Bible and allow your findings to reform your worldview that has been shaped by progressive secularism, which denies the existence of core truth that is true everywhere and at all times.
Here are some examples: whereas those who are born as biological males cannot get pregnant, those who are born as biological females who have made themselves appear as men and assumed male gender, can get pregnant (Gn. 1:27-28); human life begins at conception (Ps. 139:13-14); favoritism is wrong (Rom. 2:11). And after boldly and prudently articulating God’s eternal truth in your public space, “if the world hates you, know that it has hated [our Lord] before it hated you” (Jn. 15:18). So make sure to “fix [y]our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:2b).
Prayer: Dear God, I praise you for Your holy Scripture that clearly declares Your wonderful attributes and will for our lives. Forgive me for spending more time reading and watching worldly sources to be informed than reading your Word. I pray that the Spirit in me stirs my mind so that I may truly understand your Word. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 16
Lunch Break Study
Read Ez. 8:12 (NIV): He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his own idol? They say, ‘The Lord does not see us; the Lord has forsaken the land.’”
1 Pet. 3:12 (NIV): “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
1 Cor. 15:32 (NIV): “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”
Heb. 9:27 (NIV): “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,. . .”
Ps. 14:1 (NKJV): “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good.”
Question to Consider
1. Why are these ideas bad and incorrect?
2. What are the consequences of these bad ideas?
3. What are some ideas that you hold that really are incorrect in view of God’s ideas in the Bible?
1. God, being omniscient, sees and hears all things at all times; death is not the end; judgment awaits; and God certainly does exist.
2. Believing that God doesn’t see and hear would lead us to do whatever we want; believing that death is the end encourages us to live for pleasure; and not believing in God’s existence makes moral laws relative since there is no lawgiver. In such a world, anything goes.
3. Theologically, I no longer uphold certain doctrines that I was taught in my first church and seminary: prosperity theology, demons are the spirits of the deceased unbelievers; God always heals, etc.
You have probably spent enough time listening and reading the news and talking to interesting people. What ideas did you hear today? Are they agreeable to God’s ideas? What is the most important idea from God’s word that is also important to you? Offer up a prayer centered on that idea.