September 5, Tuesday

The AMI QT Devotionals from September 4-10 are provided by Pastor Mark Chun of Radiance Christian Church in S. F.  Mark, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.), has been married to Mira for 21 years; they have two children, Jeremiah and Carissa.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Genesis 1:3-24 (NIV 2011)

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. 6 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day. 9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day. 20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day. 24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

In today’s world, creationism is dismissed as a myth or the wishful dreams of the uneducated. CS Lewis once observed that within the scientific discipline, biologists tend to be the most irreligious and that physicists are the most religious. The reason for this general trend is evident. Biologists tend to look at life as a closed system, that there is life and death, a beginning and an end. On the other hand, physicists ultimately have to deal with the mystery of ultimate beginnings and how the universe came to be. Any honest scientist has to confess that the idea of the universe being created from nothing cannot be intellectually satisfying.

I would propose that the view that is better than any theory out there is the belief that the universe began by the initiative of God. In fact, the idea that everything has its beginnings in God’s initiative is at the heart of Biblical Christianity. The world was created because God desired its creation. The fallen mankind can be saved because before the foundation of the world, God chose his Son as a ransom for our sin. We can love because God first loved us from the very beginning and we can know Him because He has made Himself known. Our fundamental understanding of God comes from the belief that everything starts with Him, including our own existence.

The acceptance of God as our creator is the most logical place to start a relationship with Him. Some years ago, a young woman, who was wrestling with her faith, asked me, “Did God create man or did man create God?’’ And whether she realized it or not, she landed on the foundational question that every single person, whether you are religious or not, has to answer. And ultimately your answer to this question places you on two completely different paths of life. Sadly, this young woman decided that God was an invention of man and decided to walk away from the Christian faith.
Our world is filled with distorted ideas of who God is and what spirituality should look like. Every idol and every false system of theology begins with a rejection of God’s initiative and replaces it with the initiative of man. We become the creators of our own gods. The challenge that awaits us as Christians is how we can break the stronghold of idolatry and the deception of false gods (e.g., materialism).

Prayer: Lord, we thank You for taking the initiative in creating us and ultimately loving the ones You created. As You have first loved us through Christ, teach us to love others in the same way. Help us to submit our lives to You so that You can shape us as the potter shapes the clay. Reminds us that in You we move and breathe and have our being. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 26


Lunch Break Study

Ephesians 1:3-10 (NIV 2011): Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship n through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

Questions to Consider:

  1. When did God come up with the plan of salvation?
  2. Why and for what reason did God predestine our relationship with Him?
  3. Where does our salvation fall into the greater scope of God’s plan?

Notes:

  1. We read that God chose His people for salvation even before the creation of the world. This reminds us that none of the events of history came as a surprise to God. Sin and all of its consequences were permitted by the will of God so that He could choose a people for Himself solely on the basis of His grace.
  2. Although there is a lot of debate about predestination, the apostle Paul’s main emphasis was on God’s love as the primary reason for initiating this relationship with us. From the beginning of time, it was God’s plan to take sinners like us and adopt us into His family as spiritual sons and daughters.
  3. Man’s salvation is the climax of God’s saving work. It is the crowning achievement in the redemption of the whole created order. One day God will bring all things into unity under the reign and rule of Christ. This is why Paul tells us that all of creation waits eagerly for the sons of God to be revealed. (Romans 8:19)

Evening Reflection

Every day is a gift from the Lord. It is one more day to celebrate His salvation and to live in the joyful knowledge that God has known you and loved you from the very beginning. As parents carefully plan their future family, Christ has been preparing a place for you in God’s family. Reflect on this truth and pray to the Lord.

September 4, Monday

The AMI QT Devotionals from September 4-10 are provided by Pastor Mark Chun of Radiance Christian Church in S. F.  Mark, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.), has been married to Mira for 21 years; they have two children, Jeremiah and Carissa.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Genesis 1:1-3 (ESV)

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.[1]

As we look at the creation account, it begins with arguably the most famous sentence in English literature: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”   This short sentence tells us so much about the nature of God: His eternity, His infinitude, and His power.

The fact that God stands outside of the confines of time and space, that He is there before the beginning, is a truth that was meant to shake our lives.  The book of Ecclesiastes tells us that God has placed eternity into the hearts of men.  There is a desire in all of us to be immortal, to have our lives count for something beyond these 70 years; and if given a chance we will do almost anything to extend the length of our lives.  A couple of weeks ago, I was reading an article about some of the new designer drugs against cancer; and sadly, the title was “How much would you pay for an extra month of life?”  This was a report on some of the new cancer treatments that are not covered by insurance, which can run upwards of $25,000 per month to extend a patient’s life for 2 to 4 months at the maximum.  These pharmaceutical companies are making millions of dollars, capitalizing on the natural human desire to live forever.

Most people think about eternity when it is too late, but the life of faith begins when we seriously consider the impact of eternity on our lives.  The doctrine of eternity both challenges us and comforts us.  How much would our lives change, if we truly believed that “right now counts for eternity,” or if we realized that the true importance of this life is that it determines the destiny of our lives forever.  For those of us who are looking for answers in this life, the doctrine of eternity even provides comfort.  Perhaps a million years from now, we can look back at the difficult times of life, and discover that God has wasted nothing from our lives on Earth, that every agony gives birth to an eternal joy.  The eternal God gives us the gift of eternity through his Son, who provides hope for our despair and shines light into our darkness.

Prayer: Father, our minds cannot comprehend that before time You were!  Even in this most basic concept, we are reminded that there is no one who compares to You.  Your ways are truly higher than our ways and Your thoughts higher than our thoughts.  Give us the humility to recognize our place as Your creation and Your place as our creator.  As clay in the hands of a potter, may we be shaped for Your purpose and will.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 25


Lunch Break Study

Read: Ecclesiastes 3:9-15 (ESV) What gain has the worker from his toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man. 14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. 15 That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.[2]

Questions to Consider:

  1. What should be our attitude towards the difficulties of work?
  2. As we go through the busyness of life, what allows us to keep perspective?
  3. Why is God’s eternal nature important for us to keep in mind?

Notes:

  1. The Hebrew word translated as “business” is probably better rendered as “travail or labor.” This is a description of work that is under the curse of sin.  We have to spend much of our lives working for things that will not last.  Fortunately, God deems this to be the appropriate thing in this life.  Again the Hebrew word translated as “beautiful” can be better translated as “appropriate.”  The fact that God sees this as the right thing to do allows us to take pleasure even in our work.
  2. We are not to be consumed by our work because there is something far more significant to live for. Too many times, we enjoy work too much and forget the curse that makes the fruit of our labor insignificant.  For this reason, God has placed eternity in the hearts of men so that we would weigh things from an eternal perspective.
  3. God’s eternal nature should cause us to revere God and live in the fear of Him. Only the things that God does and says are guaranteed to last forever.  Most of what we do will not stand the test of time.   Although there are some questions about the meaning of verse 15, I believe it is alluding to God’s desire to restore man’s ability to live with Him for all of time.  Because of sin, we were driven away from paradise, but God sent His Son to seek those who were lost.

Evening Reflection

When is the last time you gave serious consideration to eternity and life after death?  Does this cause you fear or anxiety, or are you looking forward to reuniting wit h Christ?  Take time tonight to reflect on the eternal treasures that you are building up, and how you can adjust your life to pursue those things that will last forever.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ge 1:1–3). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ec 3:9–15). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

September 3, Sunday

The AMI QT Devotionals from August 28-September 3 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

“Commissioned”

Luke 9:1-3

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, He gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: “Take nothing for the journey-no staff, no bag no bread, no money, no extra shirt.”

In this story found in Luke 9, Jesus gathers His disciples and does a few things whereby He sets a platform for them to have confidence to do His work. First, He commissions them by giving them power and authority, authorizing them. Jesus gives them simple commands—drive out demons, cure diseases, etc.—which seem very difficult to anyone. He releases them to demonstrate to others that the Kingdom of God was at hand and that Jesus had the answers to their sufferings, whether physical, spiritual, or emotional. Then, He also tells the disciples to take nothing for the journey. By this, He positions them to trust in Him for their provisional needs, setting them up to experience His power firsthand. Jesus wanted them to experience that God was not only capable but incredibly faithful. They were about to see that wherever they went, they would be carrying God’s very presence with them, and that God would always be with them.

These are truths for us today. Through the redemptive work of Jesus, we are now carriers of God’s presence to demonstrate to the world what the arrival of our Savior means for them. It is the Lord’s pleasure to reveal Himself to people through us. We need only to trust Him and mindfully step out as the disciples were commissioned to do. The Lord has already qualified us for His work. As with the disciples, He has given us a platform to be confident in Him. So let us not take this commissioning lightly, but allow ourselves to be that vessel that brings God’s answers to others—this is the good works He has prepared for us to do. Let us be intentional in our relationships and interactions with those whom God has placed in our lives, in order that we would be a source by which they will experience God’s amazing and faithful demonstration of Himself through our words, prayers, actions—and release of His miraculous ways.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You so much for not only trusting us to do Your work but equipping us with Your very presence to do it. Please help us to be willing but to also be compelled by Your love to be that vessel. Allow us, Lord, to experience and also demonstrate Your great power working through us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Bible Reading: Isaiah 24

August 21, Monday

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

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

1 John 3:18-20 (NIV 1984)

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongues but with actions and in truth.  This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20 whenever our hearts condemn us.  For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”

When facing a temptation—like looking at porn or spreading rumors—recognizing the choice between sinning and not sinning isn’t as hard as choosing not to sin.   What’s difficult is having to choose between two seemingly valid options. Consider the following example which I wrote while attending seminary in Southern California.

“Last Wednesday, I was once again fighting the traffic to get to my 8 am class.  The ride to the school, located about 30 miles from my home, usually takes anywhere from 45 minutes to one and a half hours.  I try to be on time out of respect for my professor and to avoid my grade being docked for tardiness.  That morning, as I was cruising fast, I saw an elderly man pushing his stalled car off the road; I continued to drive.  Immediately, however, my conscience began to bother me: Well, what is more important: my grade or helping that man out?  So, I made a U‑turn to return to him, only to find that he was already being helped.  Although I was late to my class, again, I didn’t feel as bad as other times because I felt like I had made the right decision (though a tad late).”

After citing this incidence that happened some 30 years ago, I began to feel that perhaps I had patted myself on the back for no good reason, and as a result, my readers would frown on me.  But then I realized that that is my point: as believers, we should cultivate a sensitive conscience so that we don’t feel totally satisfied with the good that we’ve done, either because we could’ve done it better (e.g., stopping for the elderly man right away) or chosen another action that is better.

Facing such situation, John tells us to find rest for our condemned hearts in God who is greater than our hearts—meaning, don’t seek satisfaction or escape from guilt by justifying our actions, however good or almost good they may be, but throw yourself at God’s mercy.  John says that God knows everything—meaning, He knows you tried, He knows you feel bad, and He knows you love Him.  With that in mind, “let us not love with words or tongues but with actions and in truth” today.

Prayer: Dear God, I’ve failed to reflect Your light to the world so many times.  At the same time, I’ve tried to justify my standing before You with good deeds, which shows how deficient my understanding of Your grace and mercy is.  Thank You for being always being gracious and merciful towards me.  Amen.  

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 9


Lunch Break Study

Read Luke 18:9-14: To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13 But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14 I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Questions to Consider

  1. In light of 1 John 3:18-20, how would you advise the Pharisee who was quite confident of his own “Christian” performance?
  2. In light of 1 John 3:18-20, how would you advise the tax collector who felt so miserable over what he failed to carry out?
  3. What is your main struggle? Is it more like that of the Pharisee or the tax collector?       Pray about what action to take in order to find peace for your troubled heart.

Notes

  1. An example of an advice: “Mr. Pharisee, while ‘you give a tenth of your spices . . . you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness’ (Mt. 23:23). Therefore, don’t feel too good about yourself by selectively appraising your life; instead, throw yourself at God’s mercy.”
  2. An example of an advice: “Mr. tax collector, you did the wise thing by throwing yourself at God’s grace and mercy since you’ve done little to please Him. Now that you have been ‘justified before God’, I urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain’ (2 Cor. 6:1).  From now on, ‘produce fruit in keeping with repentance’ (Mt. 3:8)—‘not with words or tongues but with actions and in truth’.”
  3. Personal response.

 


EVENING REFLECTION

Looking back to your entire day, did you experience feeling guilty or ashamed?  Was it over a sin or genuine mistake on your part, or something good that you could have done better or should have done?  Before vowing to do better tomorrow, thereby feeling better about yourself by your deed, let’s find our rest in God.  Throw yourself at God’s mercy and repeat what the tax collector told God: “‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner and someone who doesn’t produce as good a fruit as I should.”  

August 20, Sunday

Today’s AMI QT Devotional is provided Jasmin Izumikawa. Jasmin, a member of the Church of Southland, is currently a high school teacher.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

Perseverance in Prayer

John 17:1
“He lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you . . .’”

On a recent flight, I watched a movie on the plane that began with a scene of a reporter asking “Miss Elliot, aren’t you scared? Given the history, given the dangers?” Elliot replied, “Of course. I’m scared that I might let the mission down in some way. . .. Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” Her answer caused me to think about the conflicts and fears that I had been holding onto rather than lifting up to the LORD in prayer.  This of course seems like a normal reaction by most of us who “fix our eyes . . . on what is seen, [not] on what is unseen” (1 Cor. 4:18).

How did our Lord Jesus handle his mission when one wrong move (think the temptation of Jesus by the devil) could have destroyed everything, thereby ensuring that humans would be forever lost in their sins?  Jesus, as he was about to offer his last prayer before the crucifixion, “lifted up His eyes to heaven”; instead of allowing the suffering and death which lay before his sight to turn him away from obeying God’s will (Mt. 26:39), he fixated His eyes on the unseen: that is, the Father and His will which he came to fulfill.

What a beautiful stance to take—taking a position of humility, hope, and faith towards the LORD, in spite of the reality of such sorrow. It takes a deep and loving relationship with the Father for us to pour out our prayers even in the greatest difficulties.

So, do we pray to acknowledge God’s will above our own requests and conflicts in life? Do we pray with tenacity, especially when difficulty lies ahead? Perhaps there is something you have stopped praying about after long periods of wholehearted effort, or maybe you have grown weary of praying over the same problems after all this time. Take heart and lift your prayers again and again to the LORD, because we must commit to prayer rather than neglect our conversations with the Lord.

Remember, it takes perseverance in prayer to be effective and victorious, as evidenced by the parable of the persistent widow (Lk. 18:1-8) which begins with these words of Jesus: “They should always pray and not give up.”  Let us take the stance of a believer who has truly received the gift of eternal life by our loving Father, and lift up our voices in deep and steadfast prayer.

Prayer: LORD, thank you for the gift of eternal life. Thank you for being my loving Father and for hearing my prayers. Cover me with your grace and love so that I may be a channel of mercy and blessing to my spouse, family, co-workers, and neighbors. Fill me with kindness so that I may bring Your words to those around me with gentleness and humility. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 8

July 29, Saturday

Jennifer Kim, a graduate of Boston University, spent a year in Shanghai as one-year intern from 2013-14.  She is currently serving as a staff at Catalyst Agape Church (New Jersey) while attending Alliance Theological Seminary.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

Overcoming Fear to Serve God

Exodus 4:1-12

Then Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’” 2 The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.” 3 And he said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it. 4 But the Lord said to Moses, “Put out your hand and catch it by the tail”—so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand— 5 “that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.” 6 Again, the Lord said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” And he put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow. 7 Then God said, “Put your hand back inside your cloak.” So he put his hand back inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh. 8 “If they will not believe you,” God said, “or listen to the first sign, they may believe the latter sign. 9 If they will not believe even these two signs or listen to your voice, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground, and the water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.” 10 But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” 11 Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.

While many have heard the testimony of my time serving in Shanghai, not as many people know about the long two-year journey I had wrestling with God before I obeyed Him to serve overseas. On a regular Friday night worship service, our church was singing the song, “How Great is Our God,” and while I was meditating upon the words, I was so encompassed by the truth of the lyrics of how majestic and awesome our God is. Captured by His presence, I prayed to the Lord, “There is nothing more that I want than to serve the awesome God You are for the rest of my life.” Immediately after, I heard the Lord say to me, “Then will you go.” While this was one of the greatest moments of my faith, it also became one of my most shameful moments, because while I had just prayed this prayer of submission to the Lord, the moment God asked me to go overseas a fear came upon me, and all I could say was, “God I can’t do that.”

In today’s passage, Moses encounters the living God through a burning bush, and immediately after, the Lord commissions Moses to go to Egypt to deliver the Israelites from Pharaoh. While Moses is in the midst of God’s presence and given this incredible calling to be used by God, he wonders how he could be used for such a task as this, sharing all his doubts to the Lord. Yet the Lord addresses all of Moses’ fear by telling him exactly what to say to Pharaoh (3:13-22), by showing him miracle after miracle to show His incredible power (4:1-7). God even eases Moses’ insecurity regarding his inability to speak by allowing him to bring his brother Aaron (4:13-17).

My greatest insecurity regarding God’s commission to serve the Lord overseas was my fear of leaving my comfort zone, as well as the reaction of my non-Christian parents. For the next year, God addressed all of those insecurities when I had to be re-located to another state for a job and saw God’s amazing provision in my life, and when my parents gave me their full blessing to serve in China. While I had never asked God to ease these insecurities, He showed me powerfully that He is the God of miracles and the sustainer of our lives, and thus I could trust that He would be with me in Shanghai.

God has called each and every one of us to serve His Kingdom. We may struggle through fear and doubt, but I want to encourage you today to be honest about these fears. Ask God to show you His provision and grace, so that you may align yourself to God’s calling over your life. For: “God will supply all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).

Prayer: God, what an amazing privilege it is to join Your Kingdom work. Help me to surrender my fears to You so that I may serve faithfully in all that You ask of me. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: John 5-6

 

July 22, Saturday

The AMI QT Devotionals July 17-23 are written by David Son, who serves as the college pastor at Symphony Church in Boston.  David, a graduate of UC Berkeley (B.S.) and Gordon-Conwell Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Grace who teaches at a public school.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

“Don’t Just Do Something… Sit There”

Luke 10:38-42

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Young blond man reading the Bible with bright green background

According to Barna Research, after conducting a national survey with the question “Do you read the Bible at least once a week?” the Baby Boomer generation (55+) chimed in at 49%. The millennials were the lowest group, coming in at 24%. Now I don’t know how exact those numbers are, but one thing I can say with confidence: we are currently living in the least Bible-reading generation since the printing press made the Bible available to the public.

Ironically, our information intake has skyrocketed. A study[1] conducted eight years ago showed that the average person consumes about 100,000 words a day. Since then, with the explosion of the social media, that number has grown to around 150,000. Despite the 50% increase in information we are soaking in, we are reading the Word less and less.

But not all of this is necessarily due to an antagonistic view towards God’s Word. Most people (including Christians) simply don’t read books anymore. Our culture is shifting away from reading books and moving towards faster-paced articles and news snippets, designed to give us an adrenaline shot of information. Perhaps we need to take a cue from Mary the sister of Martha. Despite the pressures of all the things she needed to accomplish, and the fast-paced lifestyle exemplified by Martha, she slowed down and sat at Jesus’ feet.

The truth is, in this information saturated culture, when we fail to slow down and sit at Jesus’ feet, reading His Word… we will inevitably miss out on the intimacy of knowing God in the stillness. Today, spend some time slowing down and spending time in stillness at the feet of Jesus.

Prayer

Holy Spirit, help me to slow down for the sake of sitting at Your feet. Help me to see that although there may be a lot of good things going on around me, only “one thing is necessary,” and that is to know You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

[1] https://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/09/the-american-diet-34-gigabytes-a-day/?utm_source=Cultural+Commentary&utm_campaign=85f91e2825-Man+stops+talking+for+17+years&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_51f776a552-85f91e2825-273784321&mc_cid=85f91e2825&mc_eid=1d719dca7f

Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 21-22