June 22, Thursday

The AMI QT Devotionals from June 19-25 are provided by Pastor Joshua Kim of Church of Southland.  Joshua, a graduate of Emory University and Columbia Theological Seminary (M.Div.), serves as the pastor of Access group (singles).  He is married to Christina.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

Revelations 9.12- 21

The first woe is past; behold, two woes are still coming after these things. 13 Then the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14 one saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” 15 And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released, so that they would kill a third of mankind. 16 The number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. 17 And this is how I saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them: the riders had breastplates the color of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone; and the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone. 18 A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which proceeded out of their mouths. 19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents and have heads, and with them they do harm. 20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; 21 and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.

Central to the theology of Jonathan Edwards, the revivalist pastor of the first Great Awakening, was this idea of beauty. For Edwards, we are created with an inclination toward beauty. Now this isn’t just physical beauty, but a spiritual beauty, one that comes from perfect harmony and love; the ultimate beauty being God. Edwards argues that we fall into sin because we find sin beautiful. But when the Holy Spirit comes upon us and illuminates our hearts, we are then able to see the One who is truly beautiful and to see sin for what it truly is. We become captivated by the beauty of God. But it doesn’t stop there. The Holy Spirit continues to work on our hearts so that our ability to see and understand the beauty of God grows as we continue to walk with Him.

In Edwards, just like when we look directly at the sun, what we actually see is black—we see the dark fallenness of our souls, and yet we are captivated because of the love of God that is willing to love such fallen creatures. And we respond to this amazing God through obedience, worship, and our affections.

In Revelation, the intensity of the judgments that falls upon the world seems to intensify with every seal broken and trumpet blown. And it may be easy for us to start feeling like all of this is too much, but through it, we are able to see the magnitude of sin that elicits such a response from God. But what we also see in this passage is God’s desire for His people to repent; the judgments so far have been a warning to the people for the sake of repentance.

We see that despite our fleshly response to such death and destruction, we see clearly that what God desires for His people is true repentance. He desires for people to come to realize their fallen ways that lead them away from the life abundant. Unfortunately, as John woefully records, the people do not repent.

For those of us who have experienced the forgiveness of God, the weightiness of sin shouldn’t be any different. In fact, as we come to know the holiness and beauty of God more and more, the seriousness of sin should continue to grow alongside the greatness of God’s redemptive work in our lives. If our understanding of salvation becomes static, something that has happened in the past, our sensitivity to sin can easily become dull. Faith lived out is dynamic.

Repentance should be the posture in which Christians live as we continue to see the depths of our sin, but also the greatness of God’s grace upon our lives. We wrestle with our fleshly self-dependence to replace it with utter dependence on God. We need the constant revelation of the Holy Spirit that calls us to worship and repentance. May we never become static in our relationship with God.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You for revealing the depths of my sin. Although it is often uncomfortable, sometimes even unbearable to see how sinful I am, I thank You for Your Son who has overcome my sinfulness. May I never lose sight of Him. And if I do, may I never be too slow to fall on my knees in repentance. In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Titus 2


Lunch Break Study

Read Hebrews 12:4-11: In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Questions to Consider

  1. What does Hebrews teach us in terms of those that experience the discipline of the Lord?
  2. What does our experience of the discipline of the Lord reveal about who God is? What does the Hebrews writer teach us is the purpose for this?
  3. Jonathan Edwards writes that for those who have not accepted Jesus in this life, if they were to go to heaven and see God, it would be sheer agony to behold such beauty. What does it mean for you that even through hardships and discipline that God is giving you a foretaste of heaven?

Notes

  1. The Hebrews writer teaches us that our experience of discipline (and even the ability to recognize that it is the discipline of the Lord) reveals the greater truth that we are His sons and daughters. It is out of His love for us. This discipline will be short-lived (v. 10) and may not be joyful but sorrowful, but it will yield a greater fruit (v.11).
  2. It reveals God as our Heavenly Father who disciplines us for something greater that is to come. We are called to be subject to God just like how we respect our earthly Father. The reason for all this is for training—so that we may share in His holiness (v.10). Through repentance and correction, we are being prepared for the greater glory that we will one day experience.
  3. Personal response.

Evening Reflection

As you have reflected upon a lifestyle of repentance and constantly coming back to the Lord, what has the Holy Spirit revealed to you today? Are there specific areas that you have come to realize or rediscover that needs to be made subject to the Lord? Spend a few moments thanking the Lord, that He reveals our sin to us, despite how painful it maybe. Trust His love for you.

June 20, Tuesday

The AMI QT Devotionals from June 19-25 are provided by Pastor Joshua Kim of Church of Southland.  Joshua, a graduate of Emory University and Columbia Theological Seminary (M.Div.), serves as the pastor of Access group (singles).  He is married to Christina.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

Revelation 8:6-13

And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them. 7 The first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up. 8 The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood, 9 and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed. 10 The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters. 11 The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter. 12 The fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way. 13 Then I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!”

I have a confession: I’ve been taking this three-week intensive course on Jonathan JEEdwards (think Great Awakening time, where they spoke English in such a way that even people familiar with Old English wouldn’t have fully understood); lectures Monday through Thursday, 8:30-12:30PM, about 100 pages of reading every night. I promise I’m not sitting here complaining, but with ministry and what not, I got pretty behind on things. And when our midterm paper was due on Monday, I was nowhere close to being ready. So what did I do? I prepared a heartfelt, apologetic speech to ask my professor for an extension. And lo and behold, he granted it—what a nice guy!

I’m not sure where you were the last time you were in school, but in today’s sensibilities, it’s almost expected that these things happen; and it’s almost expected that we can ask and receive an extension (perhaps it’s more of a millennial mindset). It’s almost shocking if an extension is not given. And I wonder if this kind of sensibility seeps into our spirituality as well.

If you remember from yesterday’s passage, we are introduced to this group of seven angels who are given trumpets. Then we see the angel pouring out the fire from the altar onto earth which results in thunder, rumbling, lightning and an earthquake. Now, the Scripture gives no reference to how long the interval between these events and the events of the passage we read today is, but we see that there is a time of preparation before the seven trumpets are blown. And what unfolds is horrific—an eagle that has a birds-eye view of all the events cries out, “Woe, woe, woe!” And this isn’t even the end of it. The eagle directs our attention to the three trumpets that have not been blown yet.

Foretelling of such events that points to the judgment and wrath that will come upon those who are unrepentant are probably parts of Scripture that we are tempted to skip over or not give too much thought. In fact, it is this very instinct that caused people to write off hell as a reality of those who do not repent. However, the Bible is very clear that there will come a judgment day, and some will face the wrath of a perfectly just God. But this also tells us of God’s perfect timing according to His perfect wisdom. And despite those of us who have assurance of salvation in Christ Jesus, passages like this must direct our attention to those around us who do not have the same kind of assurance. Brothers and sisters—there will be a judgment day. But until that happens, may your hearts be drawn to compassion for those who draws compassion from our Heavenly Father.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of salvation, freely given by grace. Thank You for the assurance I have in You. But Father, I recognize that there are many people around me who do not know You as their heavenly Father. I ask that You would break my heart for them. Pour out Your Holy Spirit that I may have eyes to see and ears to hear how You are at work around me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Romans 16


Lunch Break Study

Read Matthew 25:1-13: Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

Questions to Consider

  1. Compare the virgins who are deemed as foolish and those that are deemed as prudent/wise. What do you think is the biggest difference between those who were foolish and those who were wise?
  2. What is the inevitable reality of this passage?
  3. Reflecting on this parable, how does this challenge your perception on life? How does it challenge your perception of those around you who do not know the Lord?

Notes

  1. Jesus compares the two by those who are prepared and those who are not. Despite how we may normally perceive this story, when you look closely at verse 3, it’s not so much that the foolish ran out of oil; they never brought any to begin with. The wise, however, knew exactly what they needed for this journey.
  2. I think there are several inevitabilities that are at play here: (1) The virgins in the passage all have a lamp and are awaiting the bridegroom. In other words, when we extrapolate the parable, this passage teaches us that everybody is awaiting a savior, whether we recognize it or not. (2) The Bridegroom will come, that is, Jesus will return one day. And (3) there will come a moment where the door will be shut. Therefore, the warning for us is to be on the alert.
  3. Personal response.

Evening Reflection

C.S. Lewis, in his sermon “The Weight of Glory,” reveals to the congregation the insurmountable glory that God has poured out upon us, the incredible beauty that we are to possess as His creation. The challenge given by Lewis is to not only see ourselves as these vessels, but to look upon others with the same kind of potential awe. Upon reflection today, how has the Holy Spirit challenged your perspective on those around you, especially those who may not know Christ? Spend some time covering each individual in prayer by name.

June 19, Monday

The AMI QT Devotionals from June 19-25 are provided by Pastor Joshua Kim of Church of Southland.  Joshua, a graduate of Emory University and Columbia Theological Seminary (M.Div.), serves as the pastor of Access group (singles).  He is married to Christina.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

Revelation 8:1-5

When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. 3 Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

I’ve had the privilege of being able to attend three different seminaries during my time in ministry, all with very different perspectives on theology and the Christian life. And as I have learned through my professors and classmates, you start to see how wide the spectrum of thoughts that people hold on various topics such as prayer. You have people on one extreme where prayer is merely an activity of religion because they emphasize the sovereignty of God so much that they don’t see the benefit of prayer. But on the other extreme, you have people who pray in such a way as if everything still depend upon what they do or say. But the reality is, prayer is neither of these extremes. Prayer is more relational, more dynamic than that.

In the passage today, we see the final seal being broken open by the Lamb. Every time a seal is broken, we’ve seen since chapter 6 an outpouring of God’s judgment upon earth. But this final one is different from the other ones. We see the participation of the saints’ prayers in the unfolding of the events that follow. Commentator Leon Morris points out how the prayers of the saints rise with the incense to God out of the angel’s hand, suggesting that there is a sense of oneness amongst the saints and the angels of heaven. This reminds us that we are never alone in our prayers. It reminds us of the cloud of witnesses in Hebrews 12 that stand testifying of God’s faithfulness. The sense is that there is a participation of the prayers of the saints in the events that unfold in God’s sovereign plan. What an incredible reality of prayer!

How is your prayer life these days? Has prayer become an empty gesture, a to-do that you check off because that’s the right thing to do? It is passages like today’s where we see that our prayers do matter, that they rise from the altar to the throne of our Heavenly Father. And although our God is indeed sovereign and in control, He also invites us to participate in His unfolding of redemption. Won’t you respond to His invitation today?

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for the gift of prayer. You are sovereign, omniscient, and all powerful, yet You allow imperfect beings to participate in Your redemptive work. Lord, fill us with Your Holy Spirit so that we may pray according to Your will. In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Romans 15


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read Matthew 6:5-15: And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.’14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Questions to Consider

  1. As you meditate on these verses, what can you glean from this passage about prayer? How are the prayers of those discussed in verses 5-8 different from how Jesus teaches us to pray in verses 9-15?
  2. In the greater context of this passage, there is a repetition of the phrase, “they have their reward in full” (verses 2, 5). What is implied in this passage about the nature of prayer?
  3. How does Jesus’ instructions on prayer speak to your personal prayer life?

Notes

  1. There are several things at play in this passage: There is a contrast to the visibility of the one who prays. There is a contrast in terms of the content of their prayers. One thing you can draw from this passage is that prayer is an act of intimacy with your Heavenly Father—it is from a place of intimacy for the things that are so intimate to you (such as your everyday meal).
  2. This passage talks much about those who seek an earthly reward will receive just that, and the manner of their actions reveal it. What is implied (or perhaps explicit in verse 1) is that there is indeed a reward for our actions, but it comes down to the kind of reward we desire. Those who want to be seen by others, they will receive their reward. But those who pray in intimacy with their Heavenly Father, they will also be rewarded—God will respond to our prayers. Nevertheless, there is indeed a reward.
  3. Personal response.

EVENING REFLECTION

Prayer is an act of faith. How has today’s reflection on prayer challenged your notion of what it means to live by faith? How does your prayer life reflect the level of faith with which you live? Spend some time in intimate conversation with your Heavenly Father, asking for greater faith that you may ask and receive, not just any reward, but His reward.

June 18, Sunday

The AMI QT Devotionals from June 12-18 are written by Pastor Andrew Kim at Tapestry Church.  Andrew, a graduate of Eternity Bible College, is currently attending Fuller Theological Seminary.  He and Jessie were married in 2014.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

Revelation 7:13-17

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. 17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

In the early 1900’s, there was great optimism about where the world was headed. Many believed that through the ingenuity and creativity of human beings, it was only a matter of time before a utopian society would be ushered in. However, this optimism was short-lived.  In a matter of a few decades, two world wars had devastated the world, leaving countries in ruins and people in a state of shock.  Instead of seeing the human potential to cultivate a world defined by welfare, people experienced the human potential for destruction. With millions dead, it was clear that the world was not getting better. Ironically, humanity’s endeavor to resolve the world’s most profound issues led to the bloodiest century known to man. It seems that we have always attempted to usher in a perfect world, to find effective solutions to man’s ills, and bring lasting change. But because of sin, this has been an impossible task. All of man’s attempts have fallen short and the world is still filled with strife.

One of the most profound truths we find in the book of Revelation is that God is also at work to bring about lasting change. But unlike us, the promise of renewal is guaranteed to come to pass. It is not a matter of if but a matter of when. Here in Revelation 7, we see a glimpse of what the future holds for those who belong to God. There will be a day where there are no more tears and no more hunger. You see, this vision was a source of encouragement for the recipients of this letter. As the early church attempted to build a world reflecting the values of the kingdom, it was a difficult task. At times, it would have seemed pointless and too daunting to continue in this journey. However, the vision of Revelation promises that their work and perseverance will not be in vain; that not even death could undermine the value of their toil. In the end, they will be brought to a place where they will find true rest, where there will be no more thirst and be led to springs of living water. Let us take time to reflect on this vision and find a reenergizing hope to help us to continue to fight the good fight of faith, because in the end, it will not go in vain!

Prayer: Father, I confess that it is difficult to live out the calling you have given to all of us. At times, it seems that our hard work for your kingdom does not make a difference and it can be discouraging. But this morning, we invite You to fill our hearts with a future hope that gives us a renewed sense of energy for the work before us. May my life be marked by a perseverance and faithfulness when it comes to the work of your kingdom, knowing in the end, the world you desire will come to pass.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Romans 14

June 17, Saturday

The AMI QT Devotionals from June 12-18 are written by Pastor Andrew Kim at Tapestry Church.  Andrew, a graduate of Eternity Bible College, is currently attending Fuller Theological Seminary.  He and Jessie were married in 2014.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

Revelation 7:9-12

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every Nation Peoplenation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

In Revelation 7, we see a remarkable picture of heaven and the answer to the question, “Who can stand before God?” John is given an answer when he sees in his vision a “great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne, and before the Lamb.” What’s important to recognize is that God’s people in heaven are diverse and multicultural. People from all over the world will be numbered among the redeemed.  You see, God’s desire is to reach every tribe and nation–whether poor or rich, first-world or third-world–God is seeking to save the lost.

A few years ago, I was reminded of this truth when I attended a missions conference. During one of the sessions, over a 100 people came out with flags representing each of their own countries. One by one they took turns coming to the center of the stage to read a Bible passage in their own language. This went on for more than 30 minutes! But in that moment, I was truly moved upon being reminded that God is a universal God; that He cares for every nation and tribe, even the ones I never heard of. He sees every person on earth- even those who are in the most remote of places and desires to save them. As I watched each person proclaim God’s word in their native tongue, I was compelled to ask God to give me a heart for the nations, to help me see beyond my own borders.

Today, let us ask God for a heart that longs for the nations to be redeemed, a longing that moves us to proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth.

Prayer: Father, You desire to see every person saved and brought into your kingdom. Grant me the same heart, a heart that desires to proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth. May my life’s goal be to bring the good news of Christ to those who truly need it. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Romans 12-13

 

June 16, Friday

The AMI QT Devotionals from June 12-18 are written by Pastor Andrew Kim at Tapestry Church.  Andrew, a graduate of Eternity Bible College, is currently attending Fuller Theological Seminary.  He and Jessie were married in 2014.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

Revelation 7:1-4

“After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel”

Throughout the book of Revelation, there are interludes that occur between descriptions of God’s judgment that are meant to console the persecuted Christians. Here in our passage for today, we find ourselves at the first interlude. As the opened seals reveal the wrath of God, chapter 6 ends with a piercing question that chapter 7 answers: “Who can stand before the divine judgment?” We find the answer in verse 3. The only ones who will not be harmed will be those who are sealed by God. In ancient times, seals were used by kings to designate those who belonged to them. Other religions used seals as a marker of devotion to their gods. Similarly, those who are sealed by God are those who belong to Him. Later on we find out that the seal is given to those who have been washed by the blood of the Lamb. In other words, those who have believed upon the gospel are the only ones who are able to withstand the judgment of God.

This is good news for all of us. It won’t be our track record, our good works, or how much time we’ve spent at church that will determine whether or not we are able to stand before God. What will allow us to stand confidently in the period of judgment is the assurance we’ve received from the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this reason, we do not have to be afraid of God’s wrath or where our eternal destiny will be. God has sealed us by the blood of the Lamb. We bear the mark that proclaims that we belong to His kingdom- protected by His grace and mercy. Nothing will be able to remove God’s seal over us. Today, let us reflect on this marvelous truth, walking confidently in our relationship with God!

Prayer: Father, thank you for your gospel and the assurance it gives me. Help me to walk securely and confidently in your love!

Bible Reading for Today: Romans 11


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read Ephesians 2:1-10: And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Questions to Consider

  1. What was the state of our being before Christ?
  2. On what basis are we saved?
  3. Do you feel secure in God’s love for you?

Notes

  1. We were dead in our sins and trespasses. It is important to recognize that we were not simply neutral towards God, but it says that we followed the prince of the power of the air and that we were children of wrath. In other words, we were against God and His ways. Our goal was simply to fulfill the desires of our flesh.
  2. We are saved by grace through faith- not by the works we do. The faith that we received is not something we work towards but a gift from God.
  3. Personal response

EVENING REFLECTION

Oftentimes we revert back to basing our relationship with God on our performance. We feel secure in God’s love when we are doing well, but not so much when we fall into sin. Take some time before going to sleep to reflect on your relationship with God. Are you living your life in response to God’s grace or are you working to be loved by God?

June 15, Thursday

The AMI QT Devotionals from June 12-18 are written by Pastor Andrew Kim at Tapestry Church.  Andrew, a graduate of Eternity Bible College, is currently attending Fuller Theological Seminary.  He and Jessie were married in 2014.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

Revelation 6:9-11

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slaughtered for the word of God and for the testimony they had given; 10 they cried out with a loud voice, “Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long will it be before you judge and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth?” 11 They were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number would be complete both of their fellow servants and of their brothers and sisters, who were soon to be killed as they themselves had been killed.”

Recently, a bus full of Coptic Christians were killed for their faith as they were on their way to a monastery. At least 28 died and 25 wounded. Among the dead were two small girls who were 2 and 4. This is just one tragic example of the persecution that many Christians face throughout the world. In fact, 900,000 Christians have been martyred for their faith in the last 10 year, making it one of the most violent eras for the church. It is a sobering reminder that following Christ is not for the fainthearted—there is a cost to be paid, sometimes even with our very lives. Many of us in the West are often shielded from this reality, since the worst thing that can happen to us is a moment of embarrassment. Sometimes we think that violent persecutions are a thing of the past, but many of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are paying tremendous cost for their testimony to God.

The recipients of the letter understood the cost well. When the fifth seal had opened, John saw “those who had been slaughtered for the word of God and for the testimony they had given.” In other words, he saw Christians who had been martyred for their faith under the altar. What’s interesting is that in verse 11, they are given a white robe, which symbolized purity and victory. Just like John redefined what power looks like (weakness rather than a show of force) in chapter 5, he is also reminding those who are suffering that true victory is in remaining faithful to God, even in the face of death—not in conforming or violently rebelling against their persecutors. God declares that it is He who will avenge them in due time. In other words, all their sacrifice will be worth it, and in the end they will be true victors. Let us take time to remember our persecuted brothers and sisters, and pray that God will strengthen their resolve, fortify their faith, and provide them with an unrelenting hope!

Prayer: Father, I pray for my brothers and sisters who are being persecuted at this moment. We ask that You might alleviate their pain, but if not, provide them with strength to remain steadfast and faithful to the word of God! Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Romans 10


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read Mark 8:31-38: And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul?38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Questions to Consider

  1. Why did Peter take Jesus aside after he heard that Jesus would be killed, and why did Jesus rebuke Peter for his actions?
  2. What is the call to discipleship that Jesus gives in this passage?
  3. What areas of your life do you need to deny?

Notes

  1. Many Jews at the time were waiting for a Messiah who would come in power and overthrow the Roman Empire, giving back the people of Israel their Promised Land. A dead messiah did not fit into Peter’s expectations. However, Jesus reminds him that Peter did not have the things of God in mind. God’s way of life is different—it is one of weakness, loving one’s enemies, and dying to oneself.
  2. The call to discipleship is to deny oneself and take up the cross and follow Jesus. It is not an easy way to live but it requires much sacrifice and self-death.
  3. Personal response.

EVENING REFLECTION

“To take up your cross is to consider it better to die than to live for something other than Jesus.”

-Richard Chin