July 17, Saturday

REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, written by Pastor Young Kim of Grace Covenant Church in Philadelphia, was originally posted on June 23, 2013.  Pastor Young is a graduate of University of Illinois (BS), Biblical Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Westminster Theological Seminary (MA). 

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

Anger Issue Anyone? 

Proverbs 29:11 (NIV)

“A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”

I have an anger issue.  I saw it growing up. My dad was generally a very calm person but when he blew up, he went a little crazy.  I have a similar issue; I have no excuse for it.  I know better but I find myself acting like the fool that Proverbs talks about.  Of course, my family gets this foolishness the most.  Pray for me.  I believe it has gotten better but probably the better person to ask is my wife.  Honestly, I don’t know if she would agree.  Pray for me. 

Prayer: Lord, forgive me.  Lord, give me grace.  I want to be a man who keeps himself under control for Your glory.  Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 18-19

July 16, Friday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional was first posted on December 12, 2014.

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“What Give Us the Authority to be a Voice This World?”

Proverbs 22:11

He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.

When I was in seminary, a guest lecturer asked my class a simple question: “What gives us the authority to be a voice in this world?” A few tentative hands were raised with these answers: “The truth of Scripture”; “the Holy Spirit”; “the good works we do.”  But all these answers were shot down. The lecturer said, “Integrity. Integrity is what gives us authority to speak and expect people to listen. Without integrity, we lose our influence.”

We don’t have to look too closely to see how the Church is losing its influence in this world. With each rising scandal and controversy, our right to be heard in this world is becoming increasingly compromised. Yet, this is not the sole responsibility of celebrity pastors who find their failures being aired out in the public arena. 

Have you seen a car speed, swerve, and display general recklessness only to discover a Jesus Fish on its rear bumper? How about people who confess their faith to their co-workers only to go out drinking and going overboard? How many times have we compromised our morals and standards of holiness?

According to this Proverb, the authority to speak influentially in a way that is heard and makes an impact comes from the integrity of the internal with the external. It’s not about perfection, but when what is true in our hearts flows forth out of our lips as consistency, people listen.

We are called to be influencers for the kingdom of God wherever we go. It is our integrity that will allow us to fulfill this calling. Are there any areas of contradiction in your life that God is calling you to reconcile? Let us apply the grace of God that will transform us to be a people of integrity.

Prayer: Father, I need your grace. I know there are many areas that I make compromises in my life. Bring agreement between what I know is true and the way I live my life. Grow integrity in me that I may declare your kingdom in this world.

Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 17


Lunch Break Study

Read Luke 6:39-42: He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. 41 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.

Questions to Consider

  1. What does this text tell about living a life of integrity?
  2. Why is it important to be people of integrity in how we relate with those around us?
  3. According to this text, what kind of influence are we called to wield?

Notes

  1. It begins when we cast a critical eye on ourselves instead of others.
  2. Verse 42 tells us that our ability to help others comes when we deal with our own issues first.
  3. We are called to be people who help others without judgment while being honest with ourselves.

Evening Reflection

Reflect on your day. What are some patterns of compromise that weakened your integrity? In what ways were there separation between your heart and your words. Pray and ask that God would bring reconciliation between your thoughts and your words so that integrity will rise and you will be one of influence as God has called you to be.

July 15, Thursday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, written by Pastor Mark Chun of Radiance Christian Church in S.F., was originally posted on March 5, 20145  Mark is a graduate of University of California, San Diego (BS) and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.). 

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“How Will I be Remembered”

1 Samuel 12:1-5

And Samuel said to all Israel, “Behold, I have obeyed your voice in all that you have said to me and have made a king over you. And now, behold, the king walks before you, and I am old and gray; and behold, my sons are with you. I have walked before you from my youth until this day. Here I am; testify against me before the Lord and before his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Or whose donkey have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed? Or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? Testify against me and I will restore it to you.” They said, “You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from any man’s hand.” And he said to them, “The Lord is witness against you, and his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.” And they said, “He is witness.”

When I turned 30, I remember struggling with the concept of legacy, because I thought I had wasted most of my twenties and had accomplished little in my life.  By the word “legacy,” I’m referring to the idea of how you will be remembered and whether or not your life has made an impact.  As I thought of all the people that I knew who had gone on to become successful in business and other respected professions, for the first time, I seriously gave some reflection on what I was leaving behind as a pastor.    In hindsight, maybe I was overly self-critical because I was reading the biographies of people who had accomplished great things before their 30th birthday.  For example, John Calvin wrote The Institutes of the Christian Faith during his twenties.  Charles Spurgeon was leading the London Tabernacle, a church of ten thousand people, before the age of thirty.  But this self-reflection provided a healthy sense of urgency as well.  

Though we can’t measures ourselves against ‘outliers’ like Calvin or Spurgeon, it is still vitally important to use the years of our youth wisely.  The prophet Samuel reminds us of the importance of living a life of integrity from the outset of our youth and to not waste our time on frivolous things.  From the early years of his life, Samuel walked before the people of Israel with honesty, compassion, and a clear conscience.  And now as a gray-bearded prophet, this servant of God was able to use the authority that could only be conferred to someone who had been exonerated through a lifetime of character and conduct to both exhort and encourage the next generation.  In other words, Samuel’s ability to influence people did not just happen:  It was developed over a lifetime of faithfulness.

Most people don’t think about the type of legacy they will leave behind when they pass away.  Too often, we only give thought to our legacy in our fifties and sixties; but this makes little sense, because by the time you’re that old, there’s really not much you can do to improve your legacy.  You can certainly destroy your reputation at that age like many have done, but the older you get, the harder it is to leave a lasting imprint on those who will remember you.  Personally, I don’t really buy the fact that fifty years old is now the new thirty.  The time to think about living to leave a legacy is now.  

Prayer: Father, help us to number our days wisely.  Instead of wasting our time living for things that will not ultimately matter, give us a sense of urgency for the things that will last for eternity.  Remind us today of the importance of integrity and the character and conduct that is needed to truly influence the world around us.  Amen.  

Bible Reading for Today:  Joshua 16


Lunch Break Study

Read Ephesians 5:15-21 (NIV): Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. 

Questions to Consider

  1. Why is it important to make the best use of your time in the midst of an evil world?
  2. How can we ensure that we are living wisely and avoiding foolishness?
  3. Have you ever considered that activities like getting drunk are not just sinful but also a waste of time and opportunity?  

Notes

  1. The literal translation of verse 16 is that believers are commanded to “redeem’ the time.  We are to extract what is precious and pure from that which has become corrupted by the evils of our day.  The apostle Paul is mindful of the fact that the ability to live for God changes from season to season, and while we can, we must make the most of every opportunity 
  2. If we understand the will of God, we will keep ourselves from wasting our time on foolish and costly detours in life.  As 1 Thessalonians 5 reminds us, the will of God is to pray without ceasing, rejoice always, and to give thanks in all circumstance: This is a good starting point in discerning the will of God.    
  3. Sin impacts our lives in more ways than one.  Time wasted on sinful pursuits should also bring us to sorrow and repentance.    

Evening Reflection

How did you spend your time today, and how can you make better use of the time God has given you?  Reflect on the productive things that you accomplished and think of ways to minimize wasted opportunities.        

July 14, Wednesday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, first posted on April 29, 2015, is written by Pastor David Son who pastors the Thrive Church in Taipei.  He is a graduate of University of California, Berkeley (BA) and Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div.). Stay up to date with the church plant by following them here: https://www.instagram.com/thrivechurchtaipei/

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“Doing Something No One Has Done”

2 Samuel 8:3-4; 6b

David also defeated Hadadezer the son of Rehob, king of Zobah, as he went to restore his power at the river Euphrates. And David took from him 1,700 horsemen, and 20,000 foot soldiers. And David hamstrung all the chariot horses but left enough for 100 chariots… And the Lord gave victory to David wherever he went.

I love the Golden State Warriors NBA basketball team. One of the most famous Warriors’ coaches named Don Nelson (“Nellie”) changed the game of basketball. In a game where height is tantamount to the team’s success, everyone who has any knowledge about basketball knows that you have to have at least one big tall man at the “center” position if you want to be a winning team (think Shaq)! But Coach Nelson did something unheard-of—he built a team with… no center. The Warriors under Coach Nelson were a bunch of little guys, but to everyone’s surprise, “Nellie-ball” became a huge success! Don Nelson won coach-of-the-year three times and is still to this day the winningest coach in NBA history! Today, many teams have learned from Nelson’s strategy, and his legacy continues on.

Back in the Old Testament times, everyone who knew anything about warfare knew you need chariots to win battles. In fact, in those days a trustworthy measurement of the strength of an army was to count the number of chariots. But David did something unheard-of: He hamstrung nearly all of the chariot horses that he could have added to his army. What was he thinking? But David knew something that no other king or nation at the time knew:  that the battle belongs to the Lord. 

What do you rely on to pull you through hard times? King David writes in Psalm 20:7: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Whatever you are facing in this season of your life, our God can be trusted!

Prayer: Lord, You are the sovereign God. Nothing happens without your knowledge, and none can stand against You. Help us to trust in You with the battles and hardships that we face each day. Let us not trust in the things of this world or even the gifts and abilities you have given us. Instead, we want to put our trust in the Lord of hosts. Amen

Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 15


Lunch Break Study

Read Deuteronomy 20:1-4: When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people and shall say to them, “Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.”

Questions to Consider

  1. What is the primary war strategy for God’s people?
  2. When facing a powerful enemy, what were the priests instructed to do?
  3. Who is our “enemy”?
  4. Do you believe that God’s presence with you is enough for you to face the enemy?

Notes

  1. The primary war strategy is the presence of the Lord our God with His people.
  2. The priests were instructed to declare and remind the Israelites that God was with them, and that He would give them victory.
  3. On one hand, we can apply this passage to the hardships/trials/temptations we go through in life. But also, Paul writes in Ephesians 6 that our enemy is not flesh and blood but the spiritual powers of darkness (aka Satan and his forces).
  4. If God is indeed who He says He is, and who we believe Him to be, then yes! Although we cannot see Him, we can trust that His presence is enough to give us victory over our enemy.

Evening Reflection

Take a moment today and think about your faith. Hebrews 11 teaches us that faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen. Faith is a crucial aspect of our walk with God. Have you been living in faith? Let us spend some time asking God to increase our faith in Him.

July 13, Tuesday

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“Battling Other Believers”

2 Samuel 2:14-17 (ESV)

And Abner said to Joab, “Let the young men arise and compete before us.” And Joab said, “Let them arise.” [15] Then they arose and passed over by number, twelve for Benjamin and Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David. [16] And each caught his opponent by the head and thrust his sword in his opponent’s side, so they fell down together. Therefore that place was called Helkath-hazzurim, which is at Gibeon. [17] And the battle was very fierce that day. And Abner and the men of Israel were beaten before the servants of David.

This scene seems to describe one part of an ongoing feud between bitter enemies—something akin to the warring families of the Hatfield and McCoy or even an awful ethnic conflict.  Nothing of consequence is decided, yet blood is shed.  The men of Saul and the servants of David engage in a fight to the death, essentially for the sake of pride.  

On the one hand, the conflict seems understandable; the ascension to the throne is still being determined.  But on the other hand, this is not just any transition in political power, for Israel is not just any nation: they are the chosen people of God.  The people of Benjamin and the people of Judah are not competing political parties or warring tribes—they are brothers, redeemed by the One True God.  They have a mutual calling to worship and serve Yahweh; yet, brother is killing brother and the fighting is very fierce.  

Even today, some of the fiercest “battles” in our lives are with other believers.  The conflicts with the most heated emotions can be among brothers and sisters.  What could cause such hostility between spiritual family members?

In our passage, the people of God are caught up in a battle for power, prestige, and wealth.  I’m sure they would have said something about “justice” or “the will of God.”  Maybe they would have even played the victim card.  But something other than the glory of God has become their highest priority; and the proof is in the fact that they are willing to sin to get what they want, need, or deserve.

As we consider our relationships with others in our local church, what are we motivated by?  What situations tempt us to fall into slander or bitterness?  What priority does the glory of God have?

Prayer: Father, I thank You for sending Your Son that the world might be united in worship of Him.  Yet even when I am among brothers and sisters, I have so many impure motivations and desires.  Purify my heart that I might pursue Your glory and the good of those around me.

Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 14


Lunch Break Study

Read Genesis 4:3-8 (ESV): In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, [4] and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, [5] but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. [6] The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? [7] If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” [8] Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. 

Question to Consider

1. According to vv. 4-5, what caused the conflict between Cain and Abel?

2. How did Cain respond to his disappointment?

3. Throughout the passage, who does Cain care most about?

Notes

1. Cain became angry because the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but He did not for Cain and his offering.  The conflict was caused by Cain’s jealousy.  It began in Cain’s heart and not in anything external.

2. Cain murdered his brother Abel.  Cain’s desires mattered more than the life of his brother.

3. Cain cares only for himself.  He does not care about pleasing or obeying God, nor does he care about Abel or his well-being.

Evening Reflection

Reflect upon your relationships in the church.  In the more difficult relationships, what priorities are being threatened?  In the easier relationships, what priorities are being achieved?  What things connect or disconnect you from others more than your common relationship with God?

July 12, Monday

REPOST Today’s AMI Devotional, provided by Pastor Peter Yoon of Kairos Christian Church in San Diego, was first posted on April 8, 2015.  Peter is a graduate of University of California, Riverside (BA) and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.). 

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“Lord, Awaken My Calloused Heart”

1 Samuel 22:17-19 

Then the king ordered the guards at his side: “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because they too have sided with David. They knew he was fleeing, yet they did not tell me.” But the king’s officials were unwilling to raise a hand to strike the priests of the Lord. 18 The king then ordered Doeg, “You turn and strike down the priests.” So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck them down. That day he killed eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod. 19 He also put to the sword Nob, the town of the priests, with its men and women, its children and infants, and its cattle, donkeys and sheep.

This particular passage depicts a horrific and tragic event in Israel’s history.  Saul, whom God selected to lead His chosen nation, has now become so engulfed in his rage, jealousy, and violence that he resorts to brutally—murdering 85 men who served the Lord. And if that wasn’t awful enough, Saul proceeds to make a blood bath in the town of Nob, killing all who were alive. 

Such brutal edicts may have been perceived somewhat differently back then from the way we might understand them today.  Nevertheless, we can readily see that there was something wrong and insidious about this order from Saul, for even the king’s guards had enough sensibility (and probably the fear of God) to refuse the order of slaying the priests. The price of the guards’ disobedience was probably very costly. It was indeed a day of mourning for Nob, David, and Israel. 

For many of us living in the States, even if we are a casual viewer of today’s news, we see and hear of the real and deadly persecution (and at times, execution) of Christians living in certain areas of the world. For instance, just before Easter Weekend, militant terrorists opened fire at Garissa University College in Kenya claiming 147 lives—many of whom were Christians who had gathered for morning prayer. 

Even upon such tragic news, many of us are too busy, too removed, or even too calloused to allow our hearts to be filled with compassion and concern.  While our indifference pales in comparison to the wickedness of these terrorists, we become indirectly complicit in their crime against humanity by doing nothing.   Let’s ask God to give us a heart that He has so that we, even for a brief pause, may consider, pray, and to intercede for many of our brothers and sisters who are risking their lives for the Gospel. 

Prayer: Lord, I pray for the brothers and sisters who are facing immense persecution in the world today. Protect them. Comfort them. And amid persecutions, be near to them, giving them the strength each day to “rejoice as they participate in the sufferings of Christ” (1 Peter 4:13). In Jesus’ name, amen.  

Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 13


Lunch Break Study  

Read 1 Peter 4:12-16: Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice in as much as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 

Questions to Consider 

  1. How does Peter encourage the believers to respond to suffering and persecution?  
  2. What is the outcome for those who undergo suffering because of Christ? 
  3. Have you endured through some tough sufferings because of Jesus? If so, how did you respond? Have you been “blessed” through the ordeal?   

Notes

  1. Peter tells the believers not to be surprised; rather, to actually rejoice when facing suffering and persecution and to “praise God” for bearing His name in the midst of suffering.  
  2. When suffering for Christ, one is actually “blessed” as the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon that person. Therefore, in this place of blessing, one is capable of praising God in the midst of pain and sorrow.  
  3. Personal response

Evening Reflection

Spend some time praying for others tonight, especially those around you who might be going through pain and suffering. Pray again for the Universal Church where many brothers and sisters are facing death because of their faith in Jesus Christ.    

July 11, Sunday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor David Kwon who heads Journey Community Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, was first posted on June 15, 2014.  He is a graduate of Drexel University (BS) and Columbia International University (M.Div.).

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“A Life that Shines”

Philippians 2:14-16

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, [15] that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, [16] holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

Light is an important metaphor in Scripture, one that is applied both to God and His people. For instance, shining light is often used to describe God’s glory and purity, His majesty and goodness (Num. 6:25; Isa. 2:5). Also, it is remarkable that God’s original intent in calling a people for Himself was to make them His lights to the world.

Paul is addressing the Christians in Philippi, telling them the importance of being blameless and innocent. The word “blameless,” meaning, pure or without mixture, was used in the vocabulary of primitive metallurgy to talk about pure gold, pure copper, or any metal that did not have impurities.  So it means that we should strive not to live a life of hypocrisy, but rather we should conduct ourselves worthy of Christ in all that we do.  Because we live in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, the light of the gospel will shine into the darkness of where we live: This is what Jesus means when he says, “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works” (Mt. 5:16).

The only way this is possible is if we are submitted to the Holy Spirit and rooted in the Word of God.  Take some time to pray and ask the Lord to search your heart and to remove any areas that might not be considered “blameless” in the eyes of the Lord.  Do not lose heart; God desires to change us and make us more like him.  

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to do more than merely talk about living a life worthy of your name.  Help me to live it out right, now, in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.   

Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 12

July 10, Saturday

REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, written by Pastor Young Kim of Grace Covenant Church in Philadelphia, was originally posted on June 6, 2013.  Pastor Young is a graduate of University of Illinois (BS), Biblical Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Westminster Theological Seminary (MA). 

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“Run Away from Sexual Immorality; Run Toward Ants”

Proverbs 6:24-27 

“Keeping you from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of the wayward wife. Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes, for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life. Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?”

There are too many great verses in Proverbs 6.  I love the example about the ants., but I did notice that there is much warning about immoral sexual activities. Stay away from it! It will destroy you.  You will get burned. You don’t want to be reduced to a loaf of bread. 

Proverbs 6:6-11

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! 7 It has no commander,

no overseer or ruler, 8 yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. 9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—11 and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.

Is there an area in your life that you are being lazy about?  What is it? Bring it before the Lord. Ask God for strength to get it done.  Remember, God did not give us a spirit of timidity but of love, power and self-discipline.  Laziness can destroy your relationship with Jesus. Ask God for His love, His power, and His spirit of self-discipline. 

Prayer: Lord, give me strength and grace today to keep my heart and thoughts pure.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today:  Joshua 10-11

July 9, Friday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on February 21, 2013.

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“How Did We Become So Righteous?”

Psalm 18:20-22, 24 

The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. 21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord; I have not done evil by turning from my God. 23 I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin. 24 The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

I get little uncomfortable whenever I read David’s Psalm where he appears to be self-righteous.  Yes, he did the right thing in his dealing with Saul, to which this Psalm apparently alludes, but he did not always lead a blameless life. God certainly rewarded David for being a man after His heart (Acts 13:22), but it was not solely based on his righteousness. Perhaps, this Psalm is better understood in terms of David the shepherd as a type of Christ, the Great Shepherd (Heb. 13:20).  

Thus, those who are in Christ have become “the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21), and thereby, are blameless before the accusation of the enemy (Col.  2:13-4).  It is not by our righteousness that God deals with us but that of His Son.  While God will reward us based on our works (1 Cor. 3:14; 2 Cor. 5:10), His rewards will far exceed our expectations.  So it is safe to assume that “God will reward us according to the richness of His grace” (Eph. 3:20), and not based on our actual “performance.”   I think David would have agreed.

Before leaving the house today, take a moment to ponder on the greatness of our gracious and merciful God.  He loves you. 

Prayer: Dear LORD, I praise and worship You this morning. God, I tend to blame people for my problems because deep inside I see myself as a victim, which I realize is a warped view of myself.  In the end, I am where I am in life because of my unwise choices. There is only one who is righteous—Christ. In Him and through the Holy Spirit, I’m no longer a victim but someone who is enabled to lead a fruitful life.  Thank You.  Amen

Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 9


Lunch Break Study

Read Romans 8:1: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Questions to Consider

  1. How is it possible that we are no longer condemned for all the sins that we ever committed (2 Cor. 5:21, Col. 2:13-4)?
  2. What is God’s reward based on (1 Cor. 3:14-5, Matt. 10:40-2)?  What does it mean that giving a cup of water is rewarded?
  3. We need to do our part to avoid sinning, but there is more to it than that; what’s God’s part (1 Cor.  10:13, Phil. 2:12-3)?

Notes

  1. In short, Christ assumed our debt (i.e., becoming sin for us), which we didn’t have the“spiritual capital” to pay for, and “took it away, nailing it to the cross.” So, in the legal sense, we are no longer guilty of the sins that were charged against us. 
  2. While salvation is God’s gift freely given to those who believe in Jesus, God’s reward is based on our works.  Thus, David was right when he said “the Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness.” However, the fact that God considers our works to be worthy of being recompensed, and that He gives far more than what we deserve (e.g., even over giving someone a cup of water), shows God’s magnanimous grace. 
  3. In today’s Psalm, David said, “I did this” and “I did that” to keep himself from sinning.  Indeed, it ultimately comes down to us making the right decision, but we aren’t doing it alone.  First, God provides a way out from succumbing to temptations; second, the Holy Spirit strengthens our will so that we will make the right decisions, but because the Spirit is gentle, he won’t force us do anything.  However, we have been greatly empowered to “keep the ways of the LORD”. Now that’s grace!

Evening Reflection

John 15:5: Apart from me you can do nothing.

The crowd wildly cheered as Jesus, riding on a donkey, entered Jerusalem a few days before being crucified. Had the donkey mistakenly believed that the cheers were for him, how silly that would have been!  While that was highly unlikely, the same cannot be said about us since we have limitless desires for self-recognition and capacities for self-delusion.  Jesus’ disciples were no exceptions since they often discussed who was the greatest among them.  Once when Jesus asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” they said nothing because “they had argued about who was the greatest” (Mk. 9:33-4).   The disciples did not stop there; they had the same discussion right after Jesus revealed that one of them would betray Him (Lk. 22:24).   We can be sure that God, who “opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” will not tolerate such attitudes.  Before using us, God will teach us that apart from Christ, we can do nothing.  It is a lesson that we need to be reminded of constantly.

July 8, Thursday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, written by a former AMI church staff, was first posted on December 9, 2014.

 Devotional Thought for This Morning 

“A False Sense of Urgency”

Proverbs 21:5

The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.

In the book, Why We Buy, Paul Underhill describes various aspects of retail psychology. There are strategies that retailers employ in order to manipulate us into buying more. It’s to the point that over half of the grocery purchases in the U.S. are unplanned. One of the strategies is to create a false sense of urgency by using phrases such as “limited time offer” or “while supplies last,” even if they don’t indicate the available quantity of the item.

Just as there’s a false sense of urgency that retailers create which can lead us to financial poverty, there is often a false sense of urgency in our lives when we get caught up in the busyness of life, which then leads us down the path of poverty in our intimacy with the Lord.

There have been too many days when my intimacy with the Lord has been rushed. I would speed through His Word, rush through the list of prayer topics, say my “Amens” and rush out the door. If I’m being really honest, there are too many times when I skip it altogether and rush out the door. I find myself so hasty doing things for God and God’s people that I neglect being with the One who called me in the first place. I’ve made too many minute issues more important than they should be, and while I get things done with my time, I find myself becoming more spiritually dry. 

It’s during this season that God has reminded me that a persistent, diligent, ardent longing for His presence is what will fill me. The life of abundance He has for me is received through the diligent study of His Word, the diligent prayers in His presence, and the diligent soaking in of His goodness.

Has your hastiness in this life brought upon spiritual poverty in your relationship with the Lord? This morning, God is asking us for diligence in hosting His presence because He wants us to live the life of abundance.

Prayer: Father, I ask for an increase of diligence when it comes to Your presence. Fill me with an abundance of Your love and goodness. Grow me in my longing of You. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 8


Lunch Break Study

Read Psalm 16:7-11:  I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. 8 I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. 10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. 11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Questions to Consider

  1. According to these verses, what is God’s desire for us?
  2. What allows us to receive this blessing?
  3. What is the assurance given to us in these verses?

Notes

  1. God’s desire is to preserve us in life and to pour into us the fullness of joy.
  2. We receive this blessing by blessing the Lord (v. 7), by setting the Lord before us (v. 8), and by being in His presence (v. 11).
  3. In verse 11, it says that God makes all this known to us. It’s not about what we can do to earn the fullness of life, but about what we do to receive it.

Evening Reflection

Tonight is as good of a time to practice diligence with the Lord. Spend some time in slow, intentional engagement with Him, whether through the Word, conversational prayer, or praise. Let’s have some quality time with our heavenly Father.