August 14, Wednesday

Devotional Thought for Today

“Why Disciplines?”

Hebrews 12:7-11 (NASB)

It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

DisciplineI can recall during my second year of college my dad took it upon himself to cut me off financially. Through that point in my life my dad had taken care of me and made sure I always had what I needed. We were not financially well-off by any stretch of the imagination; however, my dad worked hard, saved and always found a way to make things work. My dad paid my expenses during my first year of college and made sure I had a little spending money. All he wanted me to do was work hard in school. However, that all changed after my first year ended. To make a long story short, my dad told me I was no longer a good investment and I was now on my own. He was no longer going to pay my tuition or cover my living expenses. He said I did not have to go to college if I didn’t want to and I was welcome to move back home. But if I wanted to stay in school and live on my own, I had to figure out how to make it work. I thought that was a very sudden and harsh thing to do, but to my dad my grades were not up to par and I was squandering his hard-earned money.

At the moment when this happened I panicked. I thought how my dad could do this to me? There was no grace period, no warning…just like that I was cut-off. Though his method was harsh, I realized much later in life that this was one of the greatest lessons my dad taught me. What I saw as cruelty from my dad was actually him loving me. He could have easily continued to pay for my tuition, and I could go on as I was. However, in reality I needed this life lesson. I needed to learn to stand on my own, be responsible for myself and trust that I would be able to handle the most difficult of situations. My father knew me best and knew that I needed to learn how to stand on my own. As his child he was loving me by taking away my safety net.

In yesterday’s quiet time I shared about our identity as God’s children. We see from today’s passage that as His children, He disciplines us. (vs. 7-8). Discipline can take many forms. Sometimes, it is corrective, it can be preventative, or it can be instructive. Whatever the form of discipline, we must see that, as His children, He will discipline us. It is because He truly loves us that He has to teach us the way. Have you ever seen a child who completely lacks discipline? It is not a pretty sight. The discipline from our Heavenly Father is not a punishment, but a demonstration of His love for us. Our earthly mothers and fathers discipline us. How could we believe that our Heavenly Father wouldn’t? In verse 10 we see the reason for the discipline. It is for our own good so we may share in His holiness.

We have to understand that God wants us to share in His holiness. The discipline we receive is training in order for us to incorporate His holiness into our lives. Discipline differs from punishment in that discipline stems from God’s love for us. Punishment is God acting as a judge but discipline is God acting as a loving father. As a loving father, He offers guidance through discipline in order that we are able to share in the glory to come.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for disciplining me so that I can improve in all areas of my life, particularly in the area of loving and trusting You. Remind me to respond appropriately, in humility and reflection, so that I can share in Your holiness. Amen,

Bible Reading for Today: Acts 3


Lunch Study Break

Read Proverbs 3:11-12: “My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord or loathe His reproof, 12 For whom the Lord loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.”

Questions to consider

  1. Why should we not reject God’s discipline?
  2. Who does God discipline?
  3. Recall a time that you believe you were disciplined by God. What was the lesson learned?

Note

  1. God’s discipline is born out of His love for us. The corrective action is to allow us to join in His holiness. (see Heb. 12:10). To reject His discipline would be to reject His love for us as His children. It shows great wisdom to accept His discipline.
  2. God disciplines those whom He loves. As His children we will be disciplined. Not because He wants to punish us, but His love demands that He does.
  3. Personal response.

Evening Reflection

In what ways has God’s discipline shaped your life and your faith? Are you able to see that it is truly because of His love for you that He has to discipline you? Spend some time in prayer and thank God for His loving touch in your life.

July 10, Wednesday

Today’s AMI QT Devotional, written by Pastor Mark Chun (Radiance Christian Church) was originally posted on March 19, 2014.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“The Great Antidote to the Condemning Voice from Within”

1 John 3:19-24 (ESV)

By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

Adulterous womanThe story of the woman caught in adultery out of John 8, illustrates powerfully how Jesus frees us from condemnation. (See below for John 8:1-11.) We are told that the religious leaders brought this woman into the temple courts, in the middle of a crowd having Bible study with Jesus, and demanded a verdict regarding her sin. Imagine the humiliation, the isolation, and the fear of this woman as the weight of her sin was exposed to the church. As the passage unfolds, Jesus speaks the famous words that lead to this woman’s freedom: “If any of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” One by one, each of these men filled with anger, drop their stones, and leave until only Jesus and the woman are left alone. In that divine moment, Jesus turns to the woman and asks, “Has no one condemned you?” In response to the woman’s answer of “No one, sir,” Jesus sets her free by stating, “Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.”
In going through this passage, it dawned on me that not many of us will fall into public condemnation, but we leave ourselves open to a much greater threat: the voice of self-condemnation. Like this woman, we have to get to a place in our relationship with Jesus, where we are free enough to say, “There is no one left to condemn me, not even myself.” The promise of forgiveness that is found in the Gospel is greater than what our fickle hearts often feel. In fact, it is impossible to be freed from our patterns of sin unless we truly receive the love of Christ, and open ourselves to share that love with others. Then and only then, are we able we come to God with the confidence that is promised us through the sacrifice of Christ.

Prayer: Jesus, I pray that I would encounter you in such a powerful way that reminds me that you are greater than my heart. Help me to overcome the temptation of self-condemnation and to fight against the accusations of the enemy. May I come to realize that whomever you set free, will be free indeed!

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Kings 12


Lunch Break Study

Read John 8:1-11 (ESV): but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.

Questions to Consider

  1. What was the nature of the trap that the religious leaders set for Jesus?
  2. Why did Jesus bend down to write on the ground?
  3. What did Jesus command the woman to do?

Note

  1. The religious leaders wanted to trap Jesus either by making him out to be an enemy of the Roman Empire or a false teacher. In the first case, no one could pass a sentence of death without knowledge of the Roman authorities. In the second case, if he simply let the woman go, he could be cast as a teacher without moral convictions and little regard for the Mosaic law.
  2. The classic Christian commentaries suggest that Jesus wrote on the ground to remove attention from the condemned woman and to place the crowd’s focus onto himself. This was a way for Jesus to protect this woman’s dignity and personhood.
  3. Jesus did not minimize the serious nature of her sin, even as he forgave her. In a manner that is consistent with both grace and truth, he commanded her to leave her life of sin.

Evening Reflection

Did you struggle at any point in the day with feelings or thoughts of self-condemnation? Did you judge someone else’s sin without grace? Confess yours sins before the Lord and ask for the freedom that comes through forgiveness.

January 15, Tuesday

Read this version.

AMI Quiet Times

The AMI QT blogs for January (weekdays), provided by Pastor Ryun Chang, are extended to cover important sociopolitical matters that have serious ramifications for the Christian faith.  Pastor Ryun (PhD), who serves as the Teaching Pastor of AMI, is the author of Manual de Misionología, Theologizing in the Racial Middle, and a contributor to The Reshaping of Mission in Latin America.

Disclaimer: AMI, as a consortium of several churches, allows the expression of multiple standpoints on non-essential biblical matters. My views expressed here do not necessarily represent the respective views of AMI pastors.  I am also mindful that not every reader will agree with my stances on sensitive and contentious issues addressed in this month’s blogs. Where that may be the case, I invite you to utilize the comment section below, so that we may have an open dialogue; I highly encourage all readers to share their…

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January 10, Thursday

Read this version.

AMI Quiet Times

The AMI QT blogs for January (weekdays), provided by Pastor Ryun Chang, are extended to cover important sociopolitical matters that have serious ramifications for the Christian faith.  Pastor Ryun (PhD), who serves as the Teaching Pastor of AMI, is the author of Manual de Misionología, Theologizing in the Racial Middle, and a contributor to The Reshaping of Mission in Latin America.

Disclaimer: AMI, as a consortium of several churches, allows the expression of multiple standpoints on non-essential biblical matters. My views expressed here do not necessarily represent the respective views of AMI pastors.  I am also mindful that not every reader will agree with my stances on sensitive and contentious issues addressed in this month’s blogs. Where that may be the case, I invite you to utilize the comment section below, so that we may have an open dialogue; I highly encourage all readers to share their…

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January 5, Saturday

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AMI Quiet Times

The AMI Spiritual Food for Thought for the weekend of January 5-6 is provided by Mei Lan Thallman who is currently serving as a staff at Grace Covenant Church in Philadelphia. Mei Lan, originally from Taiwan, is a graduate of Asbury College and Asbury Theological Seminary (M.A.) in Kentucky.  She and her husband Pastor Kirt have two children, Nate and Naomi

 

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“Serving Jesus”

 Luke 1:38

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”

In preparation for the past advent season, I was struck by Mary’s character, childlike trust and deep faith in God. Though just a teenager, she displayed maturity beyond her years.  And while tracing the progression of her life recorded in Scripture, I, as a child of God, and a wife and mother, have been convicted and challenged by her example.

First, her…

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January 3, Thursday

Please read this updated version.

AMI Quiet Times

The AMI QT blogs for January (weekdays), provided by Pastor Ryun Chang, are extended to cover important sociopolitical matters that have serious ramifications for the Christian faith.  Pastor Ryun (PhD), who serves as the Teaching Pastor of AMI, is the author of Manual de Misionología, Theologizing in the Racial Middle, and a contributor to The Reshaping of Mission in Latin America.

Disclaimer: AMI, as a consortium of several churches, allows the expression of multiple standpoints on non-essential biblical matters. My views expressed here do not necessarily represent the respective views of AMI pastors.  I am also mindful that not every reader will agree with my stances on sensitive and contentious issues addressed in this month’s blogs. Where that may be the case, I invite you to utilize the comment section below, so that we may have an open dialogue; I highly encourage all readers to share their…

View original post 1,350 more words