September 21, Thursday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on January 2, 2017.

Devotional Thought for This Morning

Whose Politics? Which Morality?”

Proverbs 18:2 

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

Colossians 2:8

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

When it comes to the beliefs of our fellow human beings and even those who “claim to live in Christ” (1 Jn. 2:6), we can be greatly perplexed at the diversity of opinion—how is it that people, many of whom are educated and of goodwill, can believe so vastly different things about the nature of reality? 

This incredulousness was certainly evident during the recent presidential election. Many of even the same families and faiths came to adopt two radically different positions concerning visions of the moral and political good during the election, very roughly categorized as liberal and conservative. 

For liberals, they saw a hard-working, honorable, and capable candidate in Hilary Clinton who was ready to pave the way for women to break the glass ceiling of a patriarchal rooftop and continue Obama’s struggle for a more just society. Trump was the incarnation of Satan: unethical, unqualified, and, most importantly, a bigoted normalizer of the triune unpardonable sin of our time in the threefold manner of racism, sexism, and homophobia. “How could anyone, much less a follower of Jesus, vote for a man who talks about minorities with such disrespect? How can we vote for a man who knows so little and lies so much?” they asked out loud. Support for Clinton was support for justice over injustice, plain and simple.

For many conservatives, they perceived Clinton to be the epitome of corruption who would force Christians to accede to the unjust mandates of social justice activists in the arenas of abortion, homosexuality, and religion: they wondered, “How can Christians support someone who so blatantly defies God in her advocacy for same-sex marriage and abortion? How can we back someone who so dangerously threatens our religious liberty? How can we vote for a person so corrupt and full of deceit?” Many conservatives saw hope in Trump for a revitalized economic future. Others voted for him as a buffer to what they perceived to be a greater evil, namely the felt threat of liberalism to the ideals of morality, freedom, and true religion.  Supporting Trump was akin to U.S. support of Stalin during World War II against the Axis powers—not ideal, but necessary to defeat the bigger threat. 

This is truly an American age of polarization, of radically different conceptions of the good. One person’s idea of marriage equality is what another would call the degradation of public morality. One man’s religious freedom is another’s religious bigotry.  One woman’s reproductive rights are another’s genocide of children.

The problem of fundamental disagreement is a profound one, and I can only offer some cursory thoughts as to finding a way through. Christians must carefully evaluate their own philosophy and competing philosophies, always measuring them against “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16).  Christians must earnestly seek wisdom to discern the various visions of ethics, politics, and justice (James 1:5, 3:17-8). And, perhaps most importantly, Christians must be willing to respectfully listen to others and truly attempt to understand where others come from, even while humbly disagreeing (Lk. 9:54-5)—if the Golden Rule applies to the political realm as well, then I think it would demand nothing less.  

So, join with me this month as we examine several election-related issues that, if handled without the “Radical-Middle” (both/and) and adequate knowledge and compassion, threaten to compromise our prophetic (i.e., theocentric, nonpartisan) witness to the unbelieving world.  

Prayer: Father, this morning, I’m amazed at Your grace once again, for I’m truly blessed.  As Christ exhorted us to love You with our minds as well, motivate and strengthen me to study the issues according to your truth, and then embody that truth in how I live by the power of the Spirit.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 7

Lunch Break Study

Read James 1:19: Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.

Lev. 10:16-20 (ESV): Now Moses diligently inquired about the goat of the sin offering, and behold, it was burned up! And he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, the surviving sons of Aaron, saying, 17 ‘Why have you not eaten the sin offering in the place of the sanctuary, since it is a thing most holy and has been given to you that you may bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord? 18 Behold, its blood was not brought into the inner part of the sanctuary. You certainly ought to have eaten it in the sanctuary, as I commanded.’ 19 And Aaron said to Moses, ‘Behold, today they have offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord, and yet such things as these have happened to me!* If I had eaten the sin offering today, would the Lord have approved?’ 20 And when Moses heard that, he approved.

*Aaron’s two sons died earlier that day for disobeying God’s explicit command (Lev. 10:1-2).

Questions to Consider

1. Why was Moses so quick to get angry with his brother Aaron?  

2. What calmed Moses down, that is, becoming “satisfied” (NIV) with Aaron’s reason for not complying with what he was told to do?

3. Application: The quickest way to end any dialogue these days is to label your “opponents,” who are merely articulating their views, with some belittling and insulting terms.  Do you think everyone who disagrees with your position deserves such treatment?  Ultimately, what does that say about us, in terms of who we are and how much we really know about things?


1. Moses knew that Aaron failed to comply with what he was told to do, but Moses didn’t consider why it could’ve happened that way; in other words, he didn’t truly listen but was quick to speak and become angry. 

2. After hearing Aaron out, Moses understood that Aaron was mourning for his two sons who had died earlier that day as God’s judgment against them; in other words, Aaron was in no mood to eat.

3. I understand why people of the world would behave a certain way, but when followers of Christ do the same, it means that they have been influenced more by the media and academia than God’s Word.  It suggests that what they know lacks both depth and breadth because quickly labeling someone (“hater,” “bleeding-heart liberal”)—which torpedoes any rational conversation—suggests that they have run out of cogent things to say.

Evening Reflection

Paul told Timothy, Pastor of the church in Ephesus: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Tim. 2:1-2).   This wasn’t an easy thing to do, since Paul was referring to the Roman Emperor Nero—a madman who murdered his own mother Agrippina to secure his power.  The President-elect Trump certainly has done foolish things, but matricide isn’t one of them.  If the early Christians could pray for Nero, we should also pray for Trump (as well as Mike Pence).  Would you pray that they would become humble people who would take God’s Word seriously and govern our country with His wisdom and compassion?  

September 20, Wednesday

Today’s AMI Devotional QT, first posted on March 8, 2017, is provided by Pastor Mark Chun through whom God founded the Radiance Christian Church (S.F.) in 2012. Mark, after stepping down as its Lead Pastor in January of this year, is currently on a sabbatical. 

Devotional Thought for This Morning

1 Corinthians 7:17, 24-8 (NIV)

“Biblical Theology of Sex”

Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. . . . 24 Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them. 25 Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is. 27 Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released. Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this. 

 I know that the main point of this passage isn’t about maintaining one’s virginity but being content in one’s current situation.  However, in today’s over sexualized society, being content in one’s relational status is clearly connected to keeping proper sexual boundaries until marriage.  In her book Sex and the Soul, Donna Freitas captures the essence of the modern struggle on the issue of sex from one of the women she interviewed for her book.  She quotes her as saying:

“Until recently my faith has been completely absent from my dating life…So I decided to give up sex and dating because I don’t know how to date without sex anymore.  There are virgins, born again virgins, and then there is me, a thinking it through virgin.  I feel that I have no right to apply the word “virgin” to myself but there is a kinship somewhere between my recent decision and a kind of virginity.”  

I believe this is the proper application of grace for single adults who are trying to live out their faith in the context of dating.  You have to make a commitment to date without sex and to resolve to remain a virgin.  If you cannot date without being physically involved, then you are still not mature enough to date seriously.  If you have past sexual history, this type of resolution is what allows you to reclaim a sense of your purity that you feel has been lost and to prepare yourself for future marriage.  

I know that preaching sexual abstinence in the modern world seems crazy, but Christians need to overcome this sinful trend and to remain set apart.   Here are three practical steps to maintaining your sexual purity until you the day of your marriage: 

1.  Understand the difference between a consumer and covenant relationship.  In a consumer relationship, you test the waters and make sure that everything is to your liking before you make the commitment.  A covenant relationship says I will make the commitment, no matter the flaws and problems that I find.  

2. Develop a biblical theology of sex.  A famous Jewish rabbi once said, “When a man unites with his wife in holiness, the Shekinah is between them in the mystery of man and woman.” The breadth of this statement is sobering when you consider that this Shekinah glory is the same presence experienced by Moses when God met with him face-to-face (see Exodus 24: 15– 18).  

3. Realize the limitations of sex and marriage.  Neither sex nor marriage was meant to completely satisfy and fulfill our deepest longings.  To believe that someone else can fulfill you completely is to put an unfair expectation on yourself and the person you love.  

Ultimately, the purpose of sex and marriage is to point us to the perfect spousal love of Christ.  It is common these days for Christians to talk about intimacy with Christ.  This has its roots in Christian mystics who understood intimacy with Christ as the idea that the passion and yearning that you have for your spouse is but a small taste of what you can experience with God.  They believed that the most effective way to break the power of sexual sin and temptation was to lose yourself completely in God’s love, to surrender yourself to Him, and live a life completely devoted to serving Him.  

Prayer: Lord, help me to be satisfied with my marital status at this moment.  If I am married, provide me with the love to make this relationship happy and lasting.  If I am single, provide me with the grace to keep my sexual desires under control and to remain pure until the day of marriage.    If I have failed, help me to receive Your forgiveness as I resolve to live for You.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today:  Joshua 6

Lunch Break Study

Read Matthew 5:27-30 (NIV): “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ j 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. 

Questions to Consider

  1. Why does Jesus place such a high standard on sexual purity?
  2. How can we apply the extreme measures that Jesus commands us to take against lust?
  3. Why is the punishment so severe for the sin of lust?  


  1. At the bottom line, Jesus is most interested in the purity of our hearts.  The Pharisees in their quest for holiness had narrowed down the definition of sexual purity as simply being free of an adulterous relationship.  But Jesus, as He did with the sin of murder, takes the issue of sexual sin into the depths of the human heart.   
  2. Most people don’t take time to reflect on the self-destructive nature of sex driven by our lust and broken sexuality.   Jesus has done that reflection for us, and His bottom line is that lust is so dangerous that it is better for you to pluck out your right eye and cut off your right hand before you fall under it’s control.  This is a figurative way of Jesus telling us to do whatever is needed, go to whatever extremes necessary in order to deal with the problem of lust.  
  3. For the modern person, Jesus’ warning that uncontrolled lust can bring a person to the doors of hell go largely unheeded as being old-fashioned or intolerant.  But the Hebrew word that is translated as “hell” in your Bibles is the word Gehenna, which actually is a reference to a literal place outside of the walls of Jerusalem where historically, Israelites who had turned against God went to worship the idols of Baal and Molech.  And the literal warning that Jesus is giving us is that the same judgment reserved for idol-worshippers is the same fate reserved for those who cannot find a way to get their lust under control.  

Evening Reflection

Reflect on your thought life today.  Were you filled with negative thoughts like anger, jealously, or lust?  Consider what Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8, and end the day meditating on these things: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

September 19, Tuesday

REPOST  Today’s AMI QT Devotional, first posted on May 9, 2017, is provided by Emerson Lin. Emerson, who serves in E. Asia as a missionary, is a graduate of University of California, San Diego (BS) and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.).  

Devotional Thought for This Morning


2 Corinthian 9:6-11

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.9 As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever. 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 

Last week, a deacon and I went to East Asia to serve at a retreat. Since we arrived a few days earlier, we were able to spend time with the local church leaders. During lunch time, we met with a group of leaders to hear how God was working in the church—it was a time of laughter and encouragement. But once the bill arrived at our table, we started to bicker back and forth over the bill, and each time, the church leaders would tell me, “Just accept love.” While I was frustrated with not “winning,” I was incredibly encouraged to see how eagerly they wanted to bless us with their finances.

In this passage, Paul uses an illustration of planting seeds and applies it to the area of generosity. We see that the Corinthian church had not yet given money to the Jerusalem church but have only eagerly wanted to do so. Therefore, Paul uses this passage to explain the spiritual blessing behind being generous—just in case they decide not to give.

Like the Corinthians, I believe that many of us fall into this struggle with generosity. In our minds, we know that generosity is a spiritual blessing; but when we actually are called to give money, it becomes a spiritual struggle. Paul describes three blessings that come from being generous: First, he makes it clear in verses 6, 8, and 10, that generosity leads to material blessings, along with an increasing desire to become more generous. Second, Paul understands that our battle with generosity is a process of our sanctification. As we grow in righteousness, it will become easier to give. Verse 10 and 11 says, “…and will enlarge your harvest of our righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion…” Lastly, our generosity leads to greater worship onto the Lord. The end of verse 10 says, “…and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”

For myself, I struggle with generosity because I struggle with trusting in the Lord with my heart, mind, and strength. However, as I am learning more about generosity, I realize that God is in control and always provides. Do you struggle with offering your finances to the Lord? If so, what are your reasons? I want to encourage you with this passage that shows us that spiritual blessings will come for those who strive to become generous.

Prayer: Dear Lord,thank You for being a generous God. You gave us your most precious gift, Jesus. You ask that we imitate You and be generous with our resources. I know that being generous is a struggle, so I ask for more of Your grace to cover me in this area. I want to grow in my generosity, ultimately to see people worship You! Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 5

Lunch Break Study

Read Acts 4:32-35: Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

Questions to Consider

  1. What fueled generosity within the church after Pentecost?
  2. According to this passage, what kind of perspective does a believer need to be generous? 
  3. How is your generosity?  Has it grown over the years?  What (fear?) is holding you back?


  1. Unity was a key factor in having people sell their possessions and give to those in need.
  2. A believer needs to understand that what they own truly does not belong to them, but to God.
  3. Personal response. 

Evening Reflection

In light of today’s sharing on generosity, what are some reasons that hinder you from becoming generous? What are some practical steps that you can take to become more generous to your church community or others who are in need?

September 18, Monday 

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, first posted on March 20, 2017, is provided by Pastor David Kwon who leads Journey Community Church in Raleigh, North Carolina.  David is a graduate of Drexel University and Columbia International University (M.Div.).  

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“Be Imitators of Me”

1 Corinthians 11:1

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

A famous author once said, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”  We all have people and role models in our lives where we want to strive to be like them in their character, abilities or even their way of life.  In high school, I played for my varsity golf team, and I remember wanting to be like my golf coach in many ways.  He was a talented teacher and golfer, and knew how to specifically help each of my teammates with their swings and pointed out areas of improvement. He also taught us to play the game with honor and ingrained in us the importance of losing graciously.   We were told to respect our opponents and congratulate them, even when we lost.  It’s something that I remember even today.

Imitation is an important concept taught in the New Testament. We are told to imitate Christ, imitate mature believers, and to imitate faithful churches.  Paul is saying here to imitate him as he imitates Christ.  What a bold statement!  Paul had just reminded the church in Corinth the pattern of his Christian freedom, which was to not seek his own profit, but for the profit of the many that they might be saved.  The reason why Paul was so confident in his Christian living was his responsible use of his Christian liberty in particular, that he was an imitator of Christ in ministry and humility.  

Can we say the same thing about ourselves?  How do we use our Christian freedom?  The truth is that we are all an example for someone. Whether we like it or not, someone is watching us and our life is influencing them.  Do our lives point to Christ? Are we being that example of a Christ follower to our church, family, friends, co-workers and neighbors?

Start this morning by surrendering to the Lord.  Pray that in all the areas of your life, you can say to others, be imitators of me as I follow Christ.  

Prayer:  Lord, help me to echo Paul’s prayer to the people in my church, family and world.  Maybe I live in such a way where I can confidently say – follow me and I follow Christ.  Amen.  

Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 4

Lunch Break Study

Read Mark 9:33-37: And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” 36 And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”

Questions to Consider

  1. Why do you think the topic of greatness was argued amongst the disciples?
  2. According to Jesus, what is greatness?   What does it look like?
  3. What can you do practically this week to practice greatness?


  1. The disciples still thought Jesus was an earthly Messiah, who would come and overthrow Roman rule and achieve great earthly status.  The disciples wanted to have high positions of power and authority once Jesus reigned.  
  2. Jesus defined greatness as servanthood – one that serves.  When we want to be great in God’s kingdom, it means we serve others and look to the needs of others like He did.  That’s how we become great.  
  3. Learn how to serve others – be intentional and look out for the needs of others.  Learn to sacrifice and to give your time and energy to serve people.  

Evening Reflection

Meditate on the Scriptures you read today.  Pray for conviction, and ask the Lord how you can apply these passages this week.    

September 17, Sunday

REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, first posted on July 17, 2016, is provided by Mei Lan Thallman—now a friend of AMI—who had served at Grace Covenant Church UC (now Philadelphia) for a long time.   

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“Being Ready for Any Attack from the Enemy”

1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV)

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

I have been enjoying a new exercise class at the YMCA called Body Combat—a non-combat, martial arts-based fitness program with moves drawn from karate, tae-kwan-do, boxing, and muay thai. Prior to this class I had zero experience with any type of martial arts, yet I love this class for several reasons: First, exercising with others motivates me to keep going when I feel like giving up. Second, the class instructor always pushes me beyond my limit.  Just when I think I have given all I have got, she would challenge us towards the next level by pushing, kicking and working harder.   Third, I feel empowered as I learn and practice martial arts moves, like how to take basic defensive stance and offensive tactics— such as throwing punches, jabs and hooks with my hands, and different kicks with my feet. More than exercise, this class is equipping me to remain calm and have the confidence to defend myself in case of an assault.  Whenever I am throwing punches, however, I imagine my target practice as my arch enemy, Satan, and I begin to believe and act like a warrior.

Too often Christians take on a mindset of being a fearful, helpless, defenseless victim of Satan—the enemy of our soul.  The enemy tries to deceive believers into thinking that we are powerless to stand against his attacks. We are taking punches from him left and right, questioning why we are being attacked, and why God is allowing it to happen. Some even go as far as to blame God for their own fears and defeat.

God’s Word teaches us that we do have an enemy who is seeking for opportunities to strike against us: 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  Scriptures also give specific commands on how to fight back as a warrior of Christ, instead of a defenseless victim: 1Peter 5:9: “Resist him, standing firm in faith”; and Ephesians 6:10-18: “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devils’ schemes.”  

As sons and daughters of the King of kings and Lord of lords, we are born again to become mighty warriors in Christ.  Let’s keep encouraging each other to daily sharpen our sword by taking the time to soak in the Bible and to know and live the truth, so that we would be transformed and free. When the lion seeks to devour us, may we stand firm to wield the sword, to throw the punches, and to live out our true identity as mighty warriors, through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and the body of Christ.

Prayer: Indwelling Holy Spirit, keep reminding us the truth that we are no longer slaves to fear, but that we are adopted, beloved, empowered sons and daughters of God.  Through Christ our Lord, we have the power to overcome the enemy and to live consistently as God’s mighty warriors. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 3

September 16, Saturday

REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, first posted on July 23, 2016, is provided by Pastor Joshua Kim. Joshua, a graduate of Emory University, Columbia Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Talbot Theological Seminary (Th.M.) just planted a church in Seattle called “Seattle Upper Room”.

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“Were the Pharisees Always the Bad Guys?”

John 2:13-17

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. 15 And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; 16 and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house will consume me.” 

When you study the history of the Jewish people, you might be surprised to find that the often criticized group of the New Testament called the Pharisees had God-honoring intentions when they were first formed. During what is called the intertestamental times (in between the Old and New Testament) or the 400 years of silence, the Pharisees began as a group that sought to maintain the purity of the Jewish faith, while the Jewish people were scattered and under foreign oppression. However, by the time Jesus enters the scene in the New Testament, what started as good intentions soon became religious stubbornness. 

You see such effects in today’s passage. It can be argued that the reason why these merchants and money changers were there was to serve those who trekked long distances to pay homage at the temple during holiday seasons such as the Passover. What started as good intentions quickly turned evil and displeasing to the Lord as time passed. Perhaps a lack of checking their hearts or fighting against the temptation of even the smallest of compromises, whatever the reason may be, we see how quickly humans can taint good things. 

How are you doing? Are there good practices or honorable ways of doing things that were originally meant for good but due to compromises, arrogance, or lack of reverence, these things have become ineffective or worse, self-serving than God serving?

Tomorrow is the Sabbath, where we gather together as a church body to worship the Lord and minister to each other. It is a good thing. But perhaps to the unchecked life, Sunday worship has become just a routine without the expectation of a true encounter with the living God. Especially for those who are serving, are your intentions pure before the Lord? 

More than anything, we need the Holy Spirit’s examination of our hearts on a daily basis:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts,” writes the psalmist. May this be our prayer today and every day. 

Prayer: Father, thank You that You desire for me to be holy more than I do. Please reveal by Your Spirit areas that have become calloused and tainted in my heart, so that these things can be overturned and cleansed from me. And although that process may often be painful and require deep surrender, may I always trust that it is out of Your love for me that You do this. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 1-2

September 15, Friday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on January 4, 2017.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Open Borders or Walls?

Numbers 21:22-3 (NIV)

Israel sent messengers to say to Sihon king of the Amorites: 22 “Let us pass through your country. We will not turn aside into any field or vineyard, or drink water from any well. We will travel along the King’s Highway until we have passed through your territory.”23 But Sihon would not let Israel pass through his territory. He mustered his entire army and marched out into the wilderness against Israel. When he reached Jahaz, he fought with Israel.

Having crossed different US-Mexico borders hundreds of times in several states, I’ve seen tall fences and even walls.  So, President-elect Donald Trump’s promise to build a wall along the 2,000-mile US-Mexico border isn’t an entirely new idea.  In contrast, some push for open-borders, while others advocate—in effect—a similar stance by opposing measures aimed to curve illegal immigration.  Regrettably, Trump’s wall (seemingly a logistic nightmare) beclouds the more fundamental question of whether America, as a sovereign country, has the right to secure its borders.  How should a believer think on this matter?

Last September, there was nothing out of the ordinary as I applied for a visa to enter an E. Asia country for the umpteenth time, until the replay came a day later—the $25 visa fee had jumped five times!  I was upset but that’s as far as it went: to enter any country as a foreigner, you must play by their rules, not yours.  You don’t have to like it and that’s your prerogative; sovereign states can place any stipulations they deem justifiable and that’s their prerogative.  A sovereign state has the right to admit only those who satisfy the requirements placed on them, even if they seem unfair to the outsiders.  The U.S. has that right inasmuch as Mexico who guards her southern borders with Guatemala even more tightly; in fact, no mercy granted! 

State sovereignty is not a new concept—just ask Moses who, as the leader of a new nation on the move (from Egypt to Canaan) in the 15th century B.C., clearly understood that the Israelites couldn’t just barge into the sovereign state of the Amorites.  Therefore, he asked King Sihon for an official permit to pass through his land, assuring the king that they would not to take any of his nation’s resources.  The fact that Sihon still perceived Israel as a hostile entity makes sense geopolitically, prompting him to defend his nation’s border.    

Having immigrated from S. Korea as a teenager in 1974 and now a naturalized U.S. citizen, the Lord has blessed my life in America, a nation that has enjoyed God’s favor for a long time: its educational system, freedom to worship, and job market are equal to none.  No wonder so many people desire to come to this land of opportunity any way they can.  That, however, does not mean that anyone outside of this sovereign state has the right to cross the border illegally, without passport or visa.  Some of us can dedicate themselves to be an advocate of change so that more people can enter this nation legally; but to call U.S. an anti-immigrant and xenophobic country for not permitting open borders is to hold America to a different standard not applied to other nations.

Having said all this, as kingdom people, we have good news to proclaim to those around us: that God breaks down the “dividing wall of hostility” among men (Eph. 2:14), because the veil separating all of us from a holy God has long been torn in two by Christ (Heb. 10:19).  Set your goals high: long to be a citizen of heaven (Phil. 3:20)—a far better place than America.

Prayer: Father, as our nation is going through many tumultuous changes, please help us, the believers, to be clear- minded and not “think” emotionally.  Please help us to be smarter when it comes to thinking about our sociopolitical issues.  And help us to love and respect those with whom we disagree.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: John 21

Lunch Break Study

Read Deuteronomy 2:30-3: But Sihon the king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him, for the Lord your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that he might give him into your hand, as he is this day. 31 And the Lord said to me, ‘Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land over to you. Begin to take possession, that you may occupy his land.’ 32 Then Sihon came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Jahaz. 33 And the Lord our God gave him over to us, and we defeated him and his sons and all his people . . ..

James 1:13-4: When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.

Questions to Consider

1. When Sihon refuses to let the Israelites pass, God reveals to Moses His plan, which meant that Israel needed to respond militarily to Sihon’s attack.  James 1:13 says that God does not tempt anyone but here, it says that God hardened the spirit of Sihon.  What do you think happened first?

2. Geopolitically speaking, how would you describe what happened here?  In other words, what is the worst way to settle any border dispute? (Those of you who are old enough remember, does Falkland Islands debacle ring a bell?).

3. What is one sure way to make certain that we do not reach a point where God hardens our heart (Rom. 1:24-6; 2 Thess. 2:11-2)?


1. God does not harden our hearts first.  In the case of Sihon, it was he who first decided to be inhospitable toward Moses, who clearly made no threatening move.  Sihon immediately launched an all out war against a people who merely wanted to pass through.  Only when this king wouldn’t relent from his ill-advised attack, did God harden his heart so that he would be defeated in the ensuing in war, thereby accomplishing God’s objective. 

2. The worst way to settle any border dispute is war, of course, and there have been many wars fought over this matter, including the battle fought between England and Argentina over the Falkland Islands in the 1980s. To the advocates of open border and/or illegal immigration, building a wall appears to be the final straw—I wonder how they felt about the Great Wall of China.

3. Repentance!  Don’t play with this thing.  In the spiritual world, if you insist on being an recalcitrant sinner, then God would remove His protection over you—which means the enemy, who prowls around like a roaring enemy looking for someone to devour (1 Pet. 5:8), will get a piece of you.  

Evening Reflection

Whether we like it or not, Donald Trump will be our next president—and the whole world knows about his many flaws.  So, why don’t we start praying that our next president will experience a profound spiritual change.  If the wicked king Manasseh was not outside of God’s reach (2 Chron. 33:12-3), then, the President-elect is well within God’s range of encountering His grace.  We, as Bible believing Christians, should cease from taking our cues from the media and academia that clearly have a different vision for what constitutes justice, freedom, and free speech; instead, let’s start listening to God who commands us to pray for “kings all those in authority” (1 Tim. 2:2). 

September 14, Thursday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, first posted on March 16, 2017, is provided by Pastor Jason Sato who, along with his wife Jessica and three young children, serves in Japan as an AMI missionary.  Jason is a graduate of UC San Diego (BS) and Westminster Theological Seminary (M.Div.).

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“Everything in Its Proper Place”

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (ESV)

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. [25] Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. [26] So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. [27] But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

We expect children and even adolescents to have misplaced priorities: they want to play, not eat; they want to jump off things, not stay safe; they care about being cool, not the future.  But we expect adults to be wiser.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve surprised (or disappointed) myself with my foolishness more times than I’d like to admit.

In preparation for marriage, I did not spend any time contemplating how I would love my parents as a married son.  I rarely considered how our marriage could be used to bless the church and unbelievers.  I did not really think about the sacrifices I need to make for wife Jess.  Instead, I spent a great deal of time and thought on things like a song list, a seating chart, and a vacation we would take following the wedding.  Of course, none of those things are bad in and of themselves, but the real battles of life are not between good and bad per se but between good and best.

Athletes know that you do not need to hate junk food, sleep, or hobbies as the spawn of Satan.  They simply need to put everything in its proper place: they need self-control; they need to prioritize their craft; they are focused on their prize.

Similarly, believers do not need to discipline their bodies because everything in this world is evil and God hates it when we enjoy His good gifts.  But we do so, knowing that everything has its proper place: we need self-control; we need to remain focused on our prize.

How can we evaluate how we are doing in this?  Our measure depends on what is our prize.  The athlete’s prize is victory.  Anything that helps this is more important.  Anything that hinders it is less important.  Our prize is the person and presence of Jesus Christ.  

Brothers and sisters, in light of our prize, are our careers in their proper place?  Are our standards of living in their proper place?  Are our romantic lives in their proper place?  Are our children in their proper place?  People of God, is Jesus in His proper place in your lives?

Prayer: Father, I spend much of my time worried and distracted with things that will not matter.  Give me grace to see the shining face of the Lord Jesus Christ, that I may know for whom I live and for whom all things are for.

Bible Reading for Today: John 20

Lunch Break Study

Read 2 Kings 5:20, 25-27 (ESV): Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, “See, my master has spared this Naaman the Syrian, in not accepting from his hand what he brought. As the LORD lives, I will run after him and get something from him.” …[25] He went in and stood before his master, and Elisha said to him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” And he said, “Your servant went nowhere.” [26] But he said to him, “Did not my heart go when the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Was it a time to accept money and garments, olive orchards and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male servants and female servants? [27] Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and to your descendants forever.” So he went out from his presence a leper, like snow. 

Question to Consider

  1. Is it always wrong for a prophet to receive a gift?
  2. Why were Gehazi’s actions so inappropriate?
  3. What was Gehazi’s punishment.


  1. No, Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 9 that one who labors in the Lord’s work should be paid.
  2. Gehazi rejected Elisha’s wisdom and discernment.  This was not a time to receive gifts or to be concerned with the things of this world, but Gehazi did not care. 
  3. Gehazi became a leper, someone unclean and therefore unable to enter into God’s presence.

Evening Reflection

Reflect on your day.  What did you worry most about?  What did you pray most about?  Thank God that He is concerned about your concerns.  Also, ask Him that more and more His concerns would become your concerns.

September 13, Wednesday

REPOST  Today’s AMI QT Devotional, first posted on December 27, 2016, is provided by Pastor Joshua Kim. Joshua, a graduate of Emory University, Columbia Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Talbot Theological Seminary (Th.M.), is the Lead Pastor of Upper Room Seattle church.  

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“Something Better Than Burger King”

2 Peter 3.8-10

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

Like many Asian males, I grew up I taking taekwondo lessons. It was all part of my parent’s effort to get me to be more active and build up my confidence. My dad would pick me up from school, drive 30 minutes to my lesson, and then pick me up afterwards, which would end around 4:30PM. After a “hard day at the gym,” I would be so hungry that I would beg my dad to take me to Burger King, since dinner felt like a thousand years from then.  But my dad would always say, “Be patient Josh, mom’s got something better waiting for you at home.” 

I think about the ways my parents taught me patience and endurance. It really comes down to the idea of if I trusted my parents. But this trust comes in two different ways. Sometimes waiting to get home was better because my mom would cook something I loved to eat; other times, I would have preferred to eat Burger King. But my parents ultimately knew what was best for me, and I would learn to trust that. 

Here, in today’s passage, is the Bible saying that God can change time in such a way that one day is like a thousand years and vice versa? I’m sure He could, but that’s not necessarily what this passage is saying. What Peter is teaching the church here is that God’s concept of time is entirely different from how we perceive time. He is temporal, that is, beyond time. He does not experience the same kind of restrictions of temporality that we do, and thus, does not experience delay or hurry like we do. His timing is perfect; He is in full control.

It isn’t hard to see that we are surely in the end times. Much like the church in today’s passage, we experience the harsh realities of life; and in a world of brokenness that seems to break even more every minute, the church can’t help but cry out, “Come!” as it says in Revelation. But in what seems like delay, what we learn from today’s passage is that this “delay” is an expression of God’s patience… God’s mercy upon this world. The ultimate question comes down to this: Do you trust God? Do you trust that what He has in store for you is ultimately not only the best for you but the best for the world? 

Prayer: Dear Lord, I praise You for You are eternal and all-knowing! I praise You because Your perfect plan in Your perfect timing is what’s ultimately the best for me. Lord, help me to trust in You, especially during times of waiting. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: John  19

Lunch Break Study  

Read Isaiah 55:6-9: Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;
7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Questions to Consider

  1. In the passage, what is the implication for those who do not forsake his ways or his thoughts? What happens to those who forsake their ways?
  2. What is the picture of God’s character you get from this passage?
  3. How are you responding to this passage? What are some practical ways that the Holy Spirit is calling you to respond?


  1. The call of this passage is for the wicked to forsake his ways and the unrighteous his thoughts. The implication is that those who do not are wicked and unrighteous. It’s not just ignorance. But for those who forsake their ways, they receive the compassion and pardon of God. 
  2. Responses may vary, but generally, it’s a picture of a transcendent God who is beyond not only our wisdom but the wisdom of this world. It is a picture of a God who is not only wiser than man but is categorically separate and on a different level than us.
  3. Personal response. 

Evening Reflection

As you have spent the day reflecting on the perfect timing of God, what are some of the things that come to your mind? These may be areas where you are struggling in trusting God’s timing. Take some time to jot them down in a journal. As you write them down, surrender each of these things to the perfect wisdom and timing of God.

September 12, Tuesday

REPOSTToday’s AMI QT Devotional, first posted on September 29, 2016, 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 Thrive Church by following them here:

Devotional Thoughts for This Morning

“Barabbas and the Rest of Us”

John 18:39-40

But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.

All that we know about Barabbas was that “Barabbas was a robber.”  Scripture has nothing positive to say about this man. It is safe to say that Barabbas was considered the scum of society at that time—a notorious prisoner (Matt 27:16), most likely destined to see the inside of a jail cell for the rest of his days. 

But one day, the crowd began to chant his name: “Barabbas! Barabbas!” Hearing the commotion, Barabbas must have thought the worst—that his execution day had come sooner than he anticipated. But as the soldiers who dragged him out began to unshackle his limbs, it dawned on Barabbas: he was being freed. Impossible! There was no hope of freedom left for him!  How was this happening? 

As he moved about freely for the first time in ages, perhaps he caught a glimpse of the other prisoner, the man named Jesus. I wonder if Barabbas knew at that moment that he had been the first of many for whom Jesus would die. 

The Bible doesn’t tell us much about Barabbas, but we know that Jesus took his place. We know that because of Jesus, this undeserved sinner was given life again. We also know his name means “son of the father” (bar = son of; abba = father). 

In a profound way, Barabbas represents all of us who believe in Jesus. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. And now we have become sons/daughters of the Father. Spend some time today thanking Jesus for taking our place!

Prayer: Lord, we thank You that you suffered and died for us while we were still sinners, unaware of Your great love for us. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: John 18

Lunch Break Study

Read Romans 5:6-8: For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Questions to Consider

  1. How did God show His love for us?
  2. What is unusual/different about the timing of God’s love?


  1. God showed (demonstrated) His love for us when Jesus died for us, while we were still sinners. In other words, Jesus’ death on the cross is God’s ultimate act of love for us.
  2. For most, love doesn’t exist (or last very long) unless it is a two-way street. Typically, love is the last stage in the maturation of a relationship. First we make acquaintances, then a few of those become friends, and from there even fewer eventually make it into our inner circle—those whom we call “loved ones.” But God starts the relationship with love! Before we became “friends” of God, and even before we made our acquaintance with Him, He loved us and died for us. What does it look like for you to display this kind of love towards others?

Evening Reflection

The Hebrew word for “compassion” shares the same root as the word “womb.” The idea is that a pregnant woman already loves her baby. Even if she hasn’t seen, heard, or held the baby yet, she would give her life for it. This love of a mother over the baby in her womb is a dim reflection of God’s love over us. Read this verse and spend some time reflecting on God’s great love over us:

Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.

(Isaiah 49:15-16)