July 5, Tuesday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Cami King, now a friend of AMI, was first posted on October 15, 2015.  Cami served faithfully as a staff at several AMI churches in the past.  

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“A Tapestry of Circumstances”

Ezra 5:6-12

 This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai governor of Trans-Euphrates, Shethar-Bozenai, and his colleagues who were the officials of Trans-Euphrates sent to King Darius. 7 The report they sent to him was written as follows: “To King Darius: All greetings! 8 Let it be known to the king that we have gone to the province of Judah, to the temple of the great God. It is being built with large stones, and timbers are being placed in the walls. This work is being done with all diligence and is prospering in their hands. 9 We inquired of those elders, asking them, ‘Who gave you the authority to rebuild this temple and to complete this structure?’ 10 We also inquired of their names in order to inform you, so that we might write the names of the men who were their leaders.11 They responded to us in the following way: ‘We are servants of the God of heaven and earth. We are rebuilding the temple which was previously built many years ago. A great king of Israel built it and completed it. 12 But after our ancestors angered the God of heaven, he delivered them into the hands of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this temple and exiled the people to Babylon. 

Maria Augusta von Trapp, the woman whose story inspired The Sound of Music, once said, “It will be very interesting one day to follow the pattern of our life as it is spread out like a beautiful tapestry. As long as we live here we see only the reverse side of the weaving, and very often the pattern, with its threads running wildly, doesn’t seem to make sense. Some day, however, we shall understand. In looking back over the years we can discover how a red thread goes through the pattern of our life: the Will of God.” 

One thing that is always easy to see in the stories of the Old Testament is God’s hand in the circumstances of His people. They don’t attribute their rise and fall, successes and failures, plenty and want, merely to their own efforts or to chance. They are able to see God’s hand at work through it all (or at least the writers of the narratives are able to point it out retrospectively). When the Israelite rulers recounted their story to those inquiring of them in the passage above, it’s interesting that they mention God’s work in it all. Their being conquered by the Babylonian empire wasn’t mere coincidence or misfortune or even their lack of military prowess, but it was God at work to punish them for their rebellion (in His infinite love He was disciplining them).  

So often we attribute our circumstances merely to things that can be seen or causes and effects that we can calculate and measure in human terms. But as we learned yesterday regarding spiritual battle, there is a spiritual realm where God is at work in and through our lives. And as His people, we are part of a greater story He is writing – the redemption of the world. May this give us great encouragement today as we live our lives, remembering God is at work in every moment and writing an amazing story not only for us, but for the world. 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I acknowledge You as the sovereign Lord who, in ways I cannot always see or understand, is at work in my life and in the world. Thank You for Your will, which is good and perfect. Thank You for Your work in my life and Your plan of redemption for the world. May I have eyes to see Your movements today and everyday.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Romans 2


Lunch Break Study

Read Psalm 121:1-8: This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

Questions to Consider: 

  1. Jeremiah 29:11 is a well known verse, but what does today’s passage teach us about the context surrounding God’s word in verse 11? What might this teach us about God’s activity in our lives? 
  2. What are God’s promises to His people in these verses? How might they encourage us today as we think about His will and plans for our lives? 


Notes:

  1. This famous promise of God is given in the context of punishment. He has allowed His people to be taken captive by Babylon to discipline them in response to their sin and rebellion. This teaches us that sometimes God uses difficult things to chasten us. Not to suggest that every bad situation is God punishing us for wrong. Absolutely not. But in every season, good and bad, God is certainly at work, and sometimes it’s to discipline us as a loving Father. 
  2. First, God has a plan. That in itself should be a great encouragement. Our lives are not random or haphazard – God has thought about us and planned for us. Second, His plans are good. We don’t have to worry whether God will give us the best – He wills good for us and will give us nothing less. He longs to prosper us, give us hope, and give us a glorious future.  Finally, God promises to listen to us when we call Him and to be found by us when we seek Him. With all of this in mind we should be encouraged to persist in the things of God knowing that He is bringing forth His good plan for us through every circumstance in our lives. 

Evening Reflection

Henry Blackaby, in his famous workbook Experiencing God, says that God is always at work around us.  By this he means that God is always up to something in the world, and as believers, we are called to get involved in what He’s doing. In a similar way, God is always at work in our lives – in each circumstance we face, God’s will is laced through our lives like a thread, weaving together a beautiful story and abundant life for each of us. What are some ways you can connect the dots of God’s movements in your life in the past. What are some ways He is at work right now? Spend some time looking at the story God is writing in and through your life. Thank Him for the good plans He has for you and the hope and future He is preparing for you.  

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