May 12, Thursday

REPOST Today’s AMI Devotional QT—first posted on April 20, 2014—is provided by Pastor Yohan Lee, a friend of AMI, who in the past has served as a staff at several AMI churches.  He is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BA) and Cairn University (MA).

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“Rather Be Embarrassed Now Than Later”

1 Sam. 20:34

Jonathan got up from the table in fierce anger; on that second day of the feast he did not eat, because he was grieved at his father’s shameful treatment of David.

For both the good and bad, this generation of young people is a lot different from my generation.  A positive example is that kids today don’t seem to be as easily embarrassed by their parents as we were.  In fact, kids today want or expect their parents to chauffeur them to and from school; back in my day, I would have rather died than to be caught getting a ride to school from my mom.  Now as a somewhat needy and smothering dad, I am hoping that this trend will continue, so that I can walk my kids, hand-in-hand, all the way to their first class when they are seniors in high school. 

So when I was a kid, my mom did a ton of things that embarrassed me.  We were poor immigrants, and my mom did not know that “American” children didn’t wear the same outfit every day.  We never spent money on brown paper lunch bags, so my lunch was either in a large paper shopping bag or a plastic grocery bag—consisting of the “wrong” kinds of food.  And of course, we didn’t spend money on haircuts, so thanks to mom, my face was an embarrassment.  (Growing up in 80’s was rough if you were not normal, because outward appearances were so important.)

As I get older, I laugh at those embarrassing things and realize that in the grand scheme of life, I can get over them.  Looking back, I had a great mom, who worked hard for me, loved me, and prayed earnestly for me; in other words, I had a respectable mom.  Now, let’s just imagine that I had a mother who dressed me like Miami Vice, put the best sandwiches in the right sized bags, and paid for the sweetest feathered haircut.  But if she was lazy, selfish, and disinterested, would I be looking back so fondly of her and have respect for her?

You have to feel for Jonathan, because I see this man who was trying to do right by himself, for his friends, and his God; but he had a father who constantly did things to bring shame upon himself and his family.  Jonathan was the prince, so Saul could have given him whatever he wanted, except for things that cannot be purchased—like respectability.  In the end, what is true for the king is true for the street sweeper: respectability (or shame) is won by character and right actions.  Let me ask you this question: Do your children, spouse, or friends see in you a person who is respectable, honest, consistent, etc.?  Or do you just have really cool stuff and a lot of money to buy them things?  When my children get older, I don’t think I’ll mind if they say, “My dad used to embarrass me in front of my friends with his corny jokes and poor fashion sense.”  On the other hand, it would break my heart if they say, “My dad was an embarrassment because he always talked about Christ, but never followed him.”  This day, live a faith that your children (even if you don’t have kids) can respect.  Know that if you have not been living a life of integrity, it is never too late to start.

Prayer: Lord, please help me to be a person whom my children, my parents, my spouse, my friends can be proud.  Help me to make good choices and have blameless actions; simply put, let me live a life worthy of the calling that I have received.  

Bible Reading for Today:  Genesis 34


Lunch Break Study

Read James 1:22-25: Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. (NIV)

Questions to Consider

  1. Why do you think Paul equates self-deceit with “merely listening to the word”?
  2. What is the importance of obeying the word?
  3. Are you a doer of the word or merely a listener?

Notes

  1. Especially for those of us who are in the church (a lot), there is a tendency to think that listening to messages and going to many meetings makes us obedient and pleasing to God.  However, there is no substitute for obedience: To obey is better than sacrificing of time or resources.  
  2. Obedience leads to God’s blessing; disobedience amounts to foolishness.  Although God’s grace is upon all who believe, it is also fair to say that God blesses obedience and punishes disobedience.  
  3. Please be truthful with yourself; do not deceive yourself.  

Evening Reflection

Did you live a life of integrity today?  Did you do your best to obey God in matters of thought and action?  Do you generally strive to obey Christ because He has purchased your life with His blood?  

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