August 20, Monday

The AMI QT Devotionals from August 20-26 are provided by Hee Jung Lee Hee Jung, a graduate of Biblical Theological Seminary, serves at Catalyst Agape Church (New Jersey) along with her husband Pastor Sam Lee.  They have four beautiful daughters.

 

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Jeremiah 31:3-6

The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! You shall again be adorned with your tambourines, and shall go forth in the dances of those who rejoice. You shall yet plant vines on the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant and eat them as ordinary food.  For there shall be a day when the watchmen will cry on Mount Ephraim, ‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God.’

Perhaps every young girl dreams of a chivalrous man who would one day woo her and sweep her off of her feet with a story of happily ever after. This is often the fairy tale we see in films, and it appeals to the heart because deep inside everyone (men and women) is longing to be loved in such a way. This longing of love is to be desired, chased after, and unconditionally committed to. The truth is that we need not long for it, because we are already receptors of such a fascinating love.

Over and over again, the Word of God assures us of this most chivalrous love for us. “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel!” (vv.3-4). When Prophet Jeremiah spoke these words, the Israelites were in a great state of bondage and dryness. They appeared to be a desolate people that others could look upon and mock as if their God had forsaken them. Yet the Lord’s love had never departed them, and He makes known His intentions that His plan of rebuilding them is in motion, working on their behalf.

Perhaps as you are reading this today, you are in a similar state of feeling of dryness and desolation. If this is the case, let God reveal His heart towards you with His Truth as He spoke it to the people of Israel. He loves you with a love that goes on into eternity until the day you see Him face to face. His lovingkindness is over your life, and God will allow His kindness to be greatly evident over you as He is working in your life to bring you into a place of gladness and rejoicing. The key is to allow the Word of God to dictate what is reality over you rather than the feelings or the circumstances at hand. As you position your inner man to the superior realities of His Truth, you are positioning yourself to receive and permitting the Lord to deposit His love into you.

So be greatly encouraged and hopeful that God has His eye on you, and that His unfailing love will be made evident in your life more and more!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for speaking of Your love to me today! Thank You that nothing can separate me from this incredible love of Yours. I recognize that Your plan over me is to bring me into a greater experience of Your love and into every good thing that has been prepared for me. Thank You for such a great promise that is at work on my behalf! In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Esther 10


Lunch Break Study

Read Romans 8:38-39:  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Questions to Consider

  1. How has your love meter with God been lately? Meaning, are you feeling loved by God? Are you loving towards others?
  2. What are the benefits to having a clear promise and truth available to you, versus using your feelings as evidence of another’s affections towards you?
  3. Why is knowing that you are loved without fail so important to your well-being?

Notes

  1. One way to gauge whether we are full in God’s love towards us is by our capacity to love others, especially in their low points. In 1 John 4:19, it says, “We love because He first loved us.” When our hearts have been broken free into receiving this truth, then we find a more natural tendency to manifest God’s character as well as find His love channeled in our thinking and behavior.  Being loved by God, loving God, and loving others are all interconnected and inseparable.
  2. Feelings are not necessarily truth. God has provided us His clear Word in order that we would have a concrete meter by which we can gauge what is reality and what is not. It is to our great comfort that God assures us of His unfailing affections regardless of ourselves.
  3. We were created for relationship—relationship with God and others. The health of our spirit, soul, and body depend on the health of these two factors. Real love that God provides as defined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 satisfies the soul and sustains the body in extreme health.

Evening Reflection

We began the day by considering how committed God is in His love for us. How were you able to carry this truth in your heart today? How did it affect how you approached your day?

August 15, Wednesday

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FOR TODAY

“Who is in Control?”

Jeremiah 29:8-9

For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the Lord.

Jeremiah has been delivering some not so great news to a people who really could have used some encouragement. The Jewish exiles in Babylon were in a city where everything—the food, culture, buildings—all screamed, “Not home”! They were in Babylon because Jerusalem had been brutally conquered and ransacked, and the temple was destroyed. The royal line of David was seemingly no more. Good news in their context might have been news that Babylon was going to be punished by God, or that they would be able to return home soon.

And as we read last week, some prophets did in fact prophesy this very thing. But God makes it very clear that the good news that they are prophesying (that they would be able to return to Jerusalem in two years) was not actually from Him.

The very enterprise of prophecy requires some assumptions: first, that there is a God who can speak to us; and second, that this God is in control. While we know this, we allow our cultural, theological biases and personal needs and ambitions to skew how we hear, read and understand the will of God. We often read what we want to read, hear what we want to hear, and see what we want to see. The Jewish exiles chose to listen to these lies, because the prophets were prophesying what the exiles wanted to hear. In turn, the prophets might have been prophesying what they thought the exiles wanted to hear. When we do that, we unconsciously put ourselves, our needs, thoughts and desires, in control.

God is quite clear—He is in control and we are not. There is good news coming for the exiles (we’ll see this later in Jeremiah 29), but it’s only truly good news if it’s actually coming from the God who is in control. False prophets tell us what we want to hear; true prophets tell us what God wants us to hear.

Prayer: Father, I want to hear truly from You. As I read Your word and spend time in prayer, I ask that I would be hearing what You want me to hear, even if it doesn’t seem like good news in that moment. Give me discernment! I want to do Your will, not mine. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Esther 4

 


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read 2 Timothy 4:1-5: I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Questions to Consider

  1. What does it mean “to be ready in season and out of season” to preach the word?
  2. Looking at verse 3, what is a constant danger that people will fall into?
  3. How does Paul encourage us to handle this challenge?

Notes

  1. This means being ready to preach the word regardless of circumstances. Whatever we may feel we are going through, we need to be ready to preach the word, rather than to pursue teaching the things that just suits our needs or desires. As Jeremiah experienced, sometimes God’s word seem contrary to our needs, but still, we are called to preach His word, knowing that it truly is good, regardless of the season.
  2. People often just want to hear what they want to hear. Paul says that people will surround themselves with voices that affirm everything they do. We do not like to be challenged, because it disrupts our comfort. This is a challenge for us as well. What voices are we listening to? Do we ever listen to voices that challenge us in different ways? May we become a people who humbly listen to voices that challenge us in our blind spots!
  3. Paul says to “be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” There is a focus that is required to endure suffering. If our goal is our own comfort, we will be swayed by all voices that affirm our comfort. But when our goal is to pursue Christ, regardless of circumstance, we can endure suffering because we know that it is only temporary. We can see past the short-term pain and see the long-term joy we have with Jesus.

 


EVENING REFLECTION  

Do you seek to control God or are you surrendered to His ways? Is your obedience or faith at all conditional upon certain circumstances or outcomes? Let’s seek to surrender those to the Lord today!

August 7, Tuesday

The AMI QT Devotionals for August 5-11 are provided by Doug Tritton. Doug, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, is currently serving as a staff at Symphony Church (Boston), while pursuing a M.Div. at Gordon Conwell Seminary.  He is married to Cindy and they are proud parents of Audrey.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Yoked Part 2 – The Yoke of the Lord”

Jeremiah 27:3-5

Send word to the king of Edom, the king of Moab, the king of the sons of Ammon, the king of Tyre, and the king of Sidon by the hand of the envoys who have come to Jerusalem to Zedekiah king of Judah. 4 Give them this charge for their masters: ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: This is what you shall say to your masters: 5 “It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, with the men and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomever it seems right to me.”

Influence fades very quickly. When Fitbits first became popular, I bought one thinking it would revolutionize my exercise habits. My friends and I all competed with each for the most steps and we all were walking more—it seemed the influence of our Fitbits and of each other was helping to keep us all healthier. Yet, after a few weeks, that influence waned and I wore it less and less. Right now, my Fitbit is collecting dust in some drawer in my house, and the Fitbits of many of my friends are suffering a similar fate.

Though this might be a silly example, we can see this in the broader world, too. YouTube stars become famous for a few weeks, only to fade once again into obscurity; movie stars who once were on the A-list are suddenly not getting any more parts; politicians who seemed like the next big thing make a few stumbles and suddenly are forgotten. Influence fades very quickly.

In our passage for today, the nations of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon were kingdoms that probably felt secure. Their kings likely could not imagine losing their influence over their countries. However, God was appointing a time when their influence would fade and be replaced by the Babylonians; and ultimately, we know that Babylon would eventually fade away as well. Yet through the turning tides of influence, God was always the one in control—His influence never fades.

This is why we should desire to yoke ourselves to Him. If we yoke ourselves to the things of this world, we will get motion sickness—that is, we will be pulled this way and that, only to realize we need something new to yoke ourselves to. But our passage tells us that the Lord is the one who created the earth and everything in it. He’s the one in control and thus is the only true constant in this world. When we yoke ourselves to God, we will be steady. His influence never fades. May we continue to remove all yokes that are not God and truly yoke ourselves to Him!

Prayer: Lord, Your yoke never fails! Help me to follow You rather than anything else. I am tired of chasing the various forces of influence that surround me, influences that fade away. Help me to follow Your influence alone, because Your influence will never fade. I need Your help to do this, Lord! Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: Nehemiah 8


Lunch Break Study

Read Psalm 23:1-3: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Questions to Consider

  1. What does it mean to have the Lord as our Shepherd?
  2. Where does the Lord our Shepherd take us?
  3. How does the Lord restore our souls?

Notes

  1. A shepherd guides his sheep. His desire is to protect his sheep and bring them to the things they need—such as food, water, and shelter. If the Lord is our Shepherd, this means we are letting Him lead us and influence us. It means we are trusting that He knows what is best for us.
  2. He takes us to green pastures and still waters! For real sheep, this meant food, water, and comfort. For us, this means God takes care of us. He takes us to what is best for us. Sometimes we are scared to let Him lead and influence us. We worry that He may send us to places where we do not want to go, but God knows what is best, like a shepherd over his sheep. And when He leads us, we will find comfort! So often we are stressed and anxious about our futures – we feel like we need to be in control. But God as our Shepherd brings us comfort, a comfort that removes all stress and anxiety and brings true peace!
  3. When we find God’s peace and His comfort, our souls will be restored. We will find refreshment over our lives—a refreshment that frees us from the worries and stresses of this world. So much of the stress we experience is due to our need for control. The irony is that the only way to find true peace, to have souls truly restored, is to surrender our control to God—the only One who is truly in control.

Evening Reflection

Ask God to be your yoke. However, His yoke cannot compete against other yokes. As we did yesterday, continue to surrender every influence that is not God and allow His influence to cover over you. Invite God to be the Shepherd of your life.

May 28, Monday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

JKimThe AMI QT Devotionals from May 28-June 2 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 (singles) Community at the Church of Southland. He is married to Christina. 

“The Religion of Just Fulfilling Obligations”

Jeremiah 7:1-7

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 2 Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house and proclaim there this word and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you of Judah, who enter by these gates to worship the Lord!’” 3 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. 4 Do not trust in deceptive words, saying, ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’ 5 For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, 6 if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, 7 then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever.

052818Growing up in Salt Lake City, UT, I had the unique experience of getting to know Mormons in close proximity. They are some of the nicest people I have ever met. But many of my friends who grew up in the Mormon church participated simply because that’s what they were supposed to do. I was talking to a high school friend of mine who was getting ready to go on his 2-year mission trip with the LDS church. I was curious because I knew his negative feelings toward the religion he grew up in, which showed in his lifestyle choices. But despite these feelings, he told me, “I don’t know if I really believe in this stuff, but this is what I’m supposed to do.”

We see this dynamic in todays’ passage. One of the central representations of the Hebrew faith was the temple. It was symbolic of God’s presence amongst the people. So when we consider Jeremiah’s prophetic act of standing at the gate of the Lord’s house, physically blocking people from entering the temple, this is a huge deal: he is literally blocking the people from God’s presence. This physical act embodied the judgment of God upon the people.

God wanted to address the attitude of the people who felt safe/justified/righteous/etc. simply because of their practice of coming to the temple and offering their worship and sacrifices. We know from verses 5-7, their lives beyond the temple did not reflect the kind of reverence they may have displayed within the temple courts. In other words, just like my high school friend, their faith was mere token ritual, limited to certain part of their life. It did not transform their hearts, which showed in their lifestyle. And God would not allow this to continue.

How about us today? If we were to be honest, we have or can remember moments where our thoughts were uncomfortably similar to my friend or even the people in this passage. We are reminded in this passage that our relationship with God is not merely satisfying certain procedures. It is not about fulfilling quotas or checklists. It is a vibrant, love relationship with the Most High God that cannot but transform the way we live.

Prayer: Father, thank You that You first pursued a deep relationship with us. You did not create us to practice empty religion; you created us to enjoy and experience Your love in ways that bring You glory. Forgive us for those moments where it simply becomes about the physical, religious acts, and change us in ways that only Your love can. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Ezekiel 1


Lunch Break Study

Read James 2.14-26: What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. 18 But someone may well say, You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

Questions to Consider

  1. What is the passage saying in terms of the relationship between works and faith? How might this be different from how we often understand these two things?
  2. To be clear, what is the passage not saying when it comes to work and faith (specifically in regards to salvation)?
  3. Take a moment to reflect: in light of this passage, how should we pray for ourselves?

Notes

  1. Especially if you pay attention to how the passage is translated, James in verse 18 makes clear that faith is shown BY works. Oftentimes, it is tempting for us to separate the two, especially because of what we will address in question 2. True faith will always lead to righteous works because true faith is transformative. We cannot remain the same when we have a relationship with God in faith.
  2. What we must be careful is that this passage does not suggest that we earn our faith or salvation through works. This is not a prooftext of work-based salvation. It’s perhaps this reason that we tend to shy away from what James wants to get at: our faith must reveal itself in our works.
  3. Personal reflection. Perhaps some of the things you can pray is for courage to live out your life in such a way that reflect who you believe God to be and what He has done for you. Perhaps others, God is calling you to check your busyness in serving or your “works” that might be overshadowing a truth faith relationship with Him.

Evening Reflection

Taking the last question from today’s lunch study, pray those things over yourself as you end the day. Pray as one who believes our God truly wants an intimate relationship with us; that God can and will transform us. Don’t forget to take a moment to allow Him to respond. Listen for His voice.

March 19, Monday

Today’s AMI Devotional is provided by Pastor Shan Gian who serves at Symphony Church in Boston.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Dirty Job”

Genesis 46:31-34

Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I will go up and tell Pharaoh and will say to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me. 32 And the men are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock, and they have brought their flocks and their herds and all that they have.’ 33 When Pharaoh calls you and says, ‘What is your occupation?’ 34 you shall say, ‘Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we and our fathers,’ in order that you may dwell in the land of Goshen, for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.”

There used to be a TV show on the Discovery Channel called Dirty Jobs. The title gives the basic premise of the show: the host would go around the country and join actual workers for a day, doing their “dirty jobs” that were uncomfortable, hazardous, disgusting and sometimes all of the above. Some of the examples of the dirty jobs that he did were sewer inspector, pig farming, mosquito control officer, and diaper cleaner. None of these jobs are at all appealing, but they are all necessary because someone has to do them.

If the Egyptians had TV and had their own version of Dirty Jobs, they definitely would have aired an episode involving shepherds. We’re told in verse 34 that “every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.” We don’t know why exactly the Egyptians so disliked shepherding, but we can guess that it was mostly due to the fact that shepherding was a dirty job. It was physically taxing as shepherds were outside all day long and likely slept in tents at night, still tending their flocks. They were separated from most of general society, outside city walls. The work of a shepherd was constant because sheep are very needy and not the brightest of animals. Shepherds had to lead the sheep to food and water, they had to defend them from predators, help them if they had fallen into ditches, and keep them away from danger. And of course the job itself was dirty, because sheep, of course, aren’t exactly the fluffy and white animals that we see in children’s books; they are dirty and smelly and so were the shepherds. We don’t have to wonder too much about why the Egyptians despised shepherds.

When we consider how despised shepherds were, it’s amazing to think that one of the most prominent and important descriptions of who Jesus is to us is that He is our shepherd. We can understand that Jesus is our king or that Jesus is our judge. He is God, so He has authority and power, and He is to be revered and honored as such. And yet, Jesus is our shepherd. What the Scriptures tell us is that Jesus took on the dirtiest and toughest job, and it didn’t just last for one day. He leads us, His flock, from danger and to food and water. He helps us when we fall down. He attends to our needs. Jesus Himself got “dirty” when He took our sin on the cross, and He was despised by humanity and separated from God. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for His sheep.

So today, let us remember our shepherd who loves us and did the toughest and dirtiest job imaginable so that we could be with Him.

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for being the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for us. You have come into the messiness of my life to show me Your love for me. Thank you Jesus for your amazing love and care for me. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Judges 13


Lunch Break Study (P. Ryun)

Read Luke 15:11-13: And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.

2 Tim. 4: 10a: For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.

Questions to Consider

  1. Although parables are fictitious stories, they are based on the lives of real people. So why would a young man want so desperately to leave his family?
  2. Spiritualize your answer to the first question. Why would some of us want to leave the Father’s house?
  3. There is a saying that goes, “The grass is always greener on the other side.” For those us who have wandered off from the Father’s house and stepped into the world, how has your experience been? Decent? Yes, perhaps at first. Why don’t you come back, today! If you know someone like that, then pray for that person right this moment.

Note

  1. It is always a combination of things, right? First, the dull life of a farm boy makes a person feels like they are missing out; second, the rumors of great fun and opportunities in the city lure them as well. What they don’t hear about is the emotional, financial and spiritual cost of trying to find that life. Many have been and continue to be disappointed.
  2. Besides the typical reasons such as loving the world, which is what sidetracked Demas from the narrow path, one other reason can be the unhealthiness of the spiritual community of which you are a part, that is causing more pain than joy. My suggestion: Don’t go the world where more pain awaits; instead, first address your legitimate concerns with your leaders; second, if all else fail, then, look for another fellowship, but know that as long as humans are involved, nothing will match your idealism.
  3. Come on, think of someone! You know a lot of these people. Care enough to pray for them.

Evening Reflection

As we wrap up this day, ask yourself this question: Am I the kind of person who is willing to take on responsibilities at work or church that no one wants to take on? Of course, this question needs to be tempered with other considerations, but I am talking about our basic orientation and attitude. Mull on Philippians 2:5-8 and examine what is in your heart.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross

March 18, Sunday

Today’s AMI Devotional is provided by Pastor Ryun Chang.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Matt. 6:19-20

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The senior pastor of a church died and proceeded on to heaven. At the pearly gates, the pastor’s guardian angel met him to escort him to his heavenly abode—otherwise known as a place prepared for us by Christ (Jn. 14:1-3). Along the way, the pastor spotted the church janitor who had died a few months earlier. The pastor marveled at the grandeur of the janitor’s mansion and thought, “Wow, if his heavenly home looks like that, then surely mine must be bigger and more splendid!”

Then the pastor ran into the old widow of the church who had died only a few weeks earlier. Next to her stood an even more stunning mansion. The pastor again thought, “If this old lady—all she ever did was cook and clean for the church— if she got this big of a mansion as a reward for her faithfulness, then surely mine has to be much greater!”

The pastor, still enraptured by his anticipation, was suddenly stopped by the angel, who said, “Here is your home.” The shaken pastor said, “What do you mean? I don’t see anything.” The angel said, “Look down.” The only thing the pastor could see down there was a house that reminded him of his dog house. The pastor shouted, “How could this be?! The janitor and cook of our church got huge mansions but how come the pastor of the church only gets a dog house?!” The angel said, “Well pastor, we wanted to build you a bigger and nicer mansion, but you wouldn’t send us any supplies, so we did what we could with what little you sent us.”

I heard this story told many years ago and I jotted down as best as I could remember. It is a funny story that raises an important question: What does it mean to send materials to heaven now so that Christ can use them to build our house for us? These, of course, are our rewards stored in heaven—“God . . . rewards those who seek him” (Heb. 11:6). This raises another question as a way to answer the first: Whether you are rich or poor, or hold a high position in the church or no position at all, are you laying up yourselves treasures on earth or in heaven? Jesus tells us to “use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into the eternal dwelling” (Lk. 16:9). Meaning what? Invest your wealth, whether it is much or little in the eyes of the world, into doing God’s work; so that as a result, many may believe and will thank you in heaven for what you did. Now that’s a big mansion. So let’s become long-term investors!

Prayer: Dear God, help us to count the number of our days and prepare for our end accordingly. Remind us to invest into our eternity while living in this world. Help us to fix our eyes on the Lord. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Judges 12

December 10, Sunday

The AMI QT Devotionals from December 4-10 are written by Andy Kim. Andy, a graduate of Northwestern University and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.) currently serves as a staff at Radiance Christian Church in San Francisco. And this past November Andy got married… to Jane. Congratulations.

 

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Genesis 26:26-31

When Abimelech went to him from Gerar with Ahuzzath his adviser and Phicol the commander of his army, 27 Isaac said to them, “Why have you come to me, seeing that you hate me and have sent me away from you?” 28 They said, “We see plainly that the Lord has been with you. So we said, let there be a sworn pact between us, between you and us, and let us make a covenant with you, 29 that you will do us no harm, just as we have not touched you and have done to you nothing but good and have sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of the Lord.”30 So he made them a feast, and they ate and drank. 31 In the morning they rose early and exchanged oaths. And Isaac sent them on their way, and they departed from him in peace.

After a few years of working in corporate America, I felt the Lord calling me to pursue full-time ministry. The conversation I had with my boss would be one to remember. To provide some context, my boss was a devout Hindu who knew I was a Christian—way too devoted to church work. That day, I stepped into her office and gave her my resignation, explaining that I wanted to pursue full- time ministry. After much disbelief and negotiation, she allowed me to work on a flex schedule that gave me enough time to focus on ministry. But more than these benefits, it was her passing remark that I cherished: She said, “Andrew, you put out good work. But more than that, I feel like having you on my team means I have God on my team.” She joked saying that she wanted all the extra good karma possible, but even if it was a joke it meant everything to me.

In our passage today, Isaac has even a greater testimony to share. Keep in mind, Isaac and Abimelech started on the wrong foot after Isaac lied about his wife Rebekah. Not only this, Abimelech felt threatened by Isaac’s prosperity in his land and forced him out. But even in the midst of all his hatred, somehow, Abimelech returns to Isaac. Why? Because it was evident that the Lord had been with Isaac. Even this pagan Philistine king who hated Isaac couldn’t deny the presence of the Lord upon Isaac and ultimately submits to him! There is no mention of Isaac speaking to Abimelech or doing anything, but both walk away in peace. May we be encouraged to live in a manner so that others may plainly see that the Lord is with us. D.L. Moody once said, “We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining—they just shine.” He believed that the most effective way of showing God was by how we lived. May everything we do, whether it is how we drink or eat, reflect the glory of the Lord so that all may come to know this amazing God!

Prayer: Father, may we be a light on a lampstand that gives light the entire world. Like how the moon reflects the sun, help us to reflect Your light to the people around us. Father, empower the way that we work, serve others, care for others, so that people may see Your love in us. May our lives become living testimonies in which people may come to know You. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 43