March 16, Monday

Today’s AMI QT blog, written by Pastor Mark Chun of Radiance Christian Church in S.F., was originally posted on March 24, 2014.  (The last paragraph was added by the editor to respond to the covid-19 pandemic.)

 

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“A Very Much Needed Perspective Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic”

1 John 4:13-16 (ESV)

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

Wikipedia defines self-sufficiency as “the state of not requiring any aid, support, or interaction for survival; it is therefore a type of personal autonomy.”   Truth be told, we all like the concept of self-sufficiency: to be strong, independent, powerful, and not requiring any help. On the surface, it seems like the perfect human existence until we recognize that it completely negates our need for God.  This is why Martyn Lloyd Jones, the famous Welsh pastor, called self-sufficiency the “sin of sins” and “sin at its height.” As a trained doctor before becoming a pastor, this man had an amazing way of diagnosing the condition of the human heart and the sin that destroys it.  In his evaluation of the sin of self-sufficiency, this is what he had to say:

“The more you imagine that you are perfect in and of yourself and apart from your relationship to God, the greater is your sin. That is why anyone who reads the New Testament objectively can see clearly that the Pharisees of our Lord’s time were greater sinners (if you can use such terms) than were the publicans and open sinners. Why? Because they were self-satisfied and self-sufficient. The height of sin is not to feel any need of the grace of God.”

Abiding in God keeps us from the delusion that we are the authors of our own fate and protects us from self-idolatry.  This passage reminds us that we are to cling on to grace by confessing Jesus as our Savior and allowing his Spirit to dwell in us.   As we do that, we can experience the unconditional love that God has for us and continuously live within His abiding presence.  

And as the coronavirus pandemic is turning our world upside down right before our eyes, we are quickly realizing that no matter how rich and endowed we are (being able, therefore, to do anything we desire), the way we have been perceiving ourselves—self-sufficient and self-autonomous—is a mirage. So, let us wash our hands, help those in need, and turn to God as our ultimate sufficiency in Christ.   

Prayer: Lord, teach us what it means to abide in You.   Help us to avoid the sin of self-sufficiency and to remember that we are completely dependent on Your grace for all things.  And through this coronavirus pandemic, prompt the world to look to You for salvation, even as we entreat You to bring it to a halt.  Amen.  

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 48


Lunch Break Study  

Read John 15:1-15: I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

Questions to Consider

  1. What does it mean to be fruitful?  
  2. Why is it important?
  3. How can we ensure fruitfulness in our lives?  

Notes

  1. Fruitfulness in the Christian’s life can be measured by inner life change, such as growth in character and devotion as described by the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, and good works such as charity, evangelism, outreach, etc.  
  2. This ultimately brings glory to God and is an evidence of discipleship.        
  3. The only way to bear genuine fruit in the Christian life is to abide in a love relationship with Christ like a branch connected to a tree.    

Evening Reflection

Are you bearing fruit in your life?  Do you feel like you are abiding in Christ?  Take some time to renew your relationship with God and pray that He would produce fruit in and through your life.

March 15, Sunday

Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought is a reprint of Kate Moon’s blog originally posted on May 4, 2014.  Kate continues to serve the Lord in E. Asia. 

 

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“Hospitality”

Titus 1:8

“Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.” 

“I wonder if I’m spending too much time doing housework…”  The other day while I was assessing how I’d been managing my time, this thought came to mind, which was then quickly followed by a second: “Is there anyone who doesn’t feel they could be spending less time on housework?” ☺

Cooking, washing dishes, keeping the house clean.  Sometimes I feel not much different from the college student who has left home for the first time and discovered that laundry does not do itself.  Raised like many Asian children by parents who did everything so the children could focus on their studies, 20+ years after having graduated, it sometimes still feels like a surprise to me that I have to set aside time in the day to take care of the daily, more mundane tasks in life.  

At least the college student still has the cafeteria.  The recent graduate discovers that finding a way to feed herself has been added to the list of things to do, whether it means finding good take-out places or actually making the time to go grocery shopping, cook and clean up afterwards, especially if she wants to eat at home.  Yet these are the things that come with the territory if one wants to have people over.

Being hospitable.  After I moved to an area where many churches met in homes rather than large public spaces, I came to a new understanding of why Paul would mention this as being an important aspect of eldership.  In those days, church-plants would have needed a place to meet. If no one else was willing to open up their home, at the very least the elder should be willing. In establishing and building community, what could be more important than the hospitality and welcoming heart of the host?  

In today’s increasingly disconnected society where knowing our neighbors’ names is an anomaly, perhaps this passage can refresh our hearts to be more hospitable.  When was the last time we had someone over for a meal?

Exercising hospitality could also include welcoming a newcomer at church or making the effort to get to know a new colleague at work by taking them out for a meal.  At its heart, it’s just having the eyes to see the outsiders around us and reaching out to them in love. Shall we give it a try today?  

Prayer: Lord, help me to be more hospital, especially toward those who are in great needs.  As the present global health crisis necessarily needs to encourage distancing ourselves from others, let us not cease to be hospital while exercising caution.   Amen.  

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 47

March 14, Saturday

Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, written by Pastor Sam Lee who leads Catalyst Agape Church in Northern New Jersey, was first posted on October 31, 2013. 

 

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“The Three Facets to the Christian Faith”

Psalm 108:1-5 (NIV)

My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul. Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth. 

There is a difference between knowing and experiencing the truth. For instance, those who have been raised in the church are ingrained with the truth that God is love, yet this becomes so personal when that truth is actually experienced.  At that point, the truth of God’s love is not just part of our head knowledge but an integral part of our faith, heart and even worldview. 

When I was first introduced to Christ a while ago, I learned that there are three facets to the Christian faith: First is gaining cognitive knowledge about the Bible, such as knowing that Jesus, after having lived a perfect life on earth, died on the cross for our sins, and then, arose from dead.  Second is building experiential knowledge of God’s goodness, which is the result of having encountered His abiding presence, healing and deliverance, particularly during difficult moments in life; often tears and other overwhelming emotions are accompanied. 

Another facet involves our volition, through which we make willful choices and commitment to Christ. This, I believe, holds the key to our spiritual growth and maturity.  While at times doubts may challenge our knowledge and our emotions may run dry, we can always choose to cooperate with the Holy Spirit who is in us, because “it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Phil. 2:13).  

In this Psalm, David writes four times in the span of three verses, “I will sing and praise the Lord. Although he went through difficult circumstances and turmoil in life, which would make most people to turn away from God, David willfully chose to sing and praise the Lord: “I will sing and make music. . . . I will praise you. . . . I will sing of you . . .  for great is your love, higher than the heavens, your faithfulness reaches to the skies.”  Why? Because he hadn’t forgotten all the wonderful things God had done for him in the past; this is the experiential knowledge of God, not just head knowledge. So whether or not we “feel” God’s love today, let’s willfully choose to live this day praising our great God.

Prayer: Lord, even though David felt as though God had rejected him in times of war (Ps. 108:11), he still chose to praise and trust You that You would bring victory. I pray to have this kind of faith.  Dear Lord, increase my faith! Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 45-46.

March 13, Friday

From Pastor Ryun Chang: Currently, our world is undergoing a crisis of enormous proportion and the worst is yet to come.  Where is God in all this? I plan to offer a biblical response that may rattle many in our world (including Christians) who worship a God made in our image, that is, based on our own desires and preferences.  But before doing that, I am reprinting my blog, first posted on October 31, 2014, that underscores the need of the church to be always compassionate toward those who have suffered, including many throughout the world who have already succumbed to novel coronavirus disease.  

 

Devotional Thoughts for This Morning

“Being Compassionate”

Job 18:5 

[Bildad replied]: “The lamp of the wicked is snuffed out; the flame of this fire stops burning.”  

Acts 12:1

 “[Herod] had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword.”

After arriving in Guatemala City in 2004, and another 3 hours of driving and then a boat ride, I reached my destination where I was to train missionary candidates.   I stayed at the house of the hosting pastor who, though small in stature, was a dynamic yet polite leader overseeing a growing church. Eager to network with the hope of introducing my courses in the future, I spent time getting to know him.  But something the pastor said over lunch made me stop: He said, “I’m having the most difficult time right now. My wife and two boys, on their way to join me at our annual conference, died in a bus accident.” 

That kind of tragedy is supposed to happen to the wicked, according to Job’s friend Bildad, but the pastor’s wife was not any more wicked than you nor me; yet, her lamp was snuffed out as if she were!  I wonder whether Bildad would have said that to Mrs. Zebedee when her son James, a top disciple of Jesus, was killed even before reaching his prime.   

Following a moment of silence, I shared something with him, but it wasn’t like what the disciples asked Jesus after seeing a man blind from birth: “Who sinned, this man or his parents” (Jn. 9:2).  I simply expressed how devastating it must be, how sorry I felt as a husband and father myself, and how grateful I was to witness such grace flowing from him despite the unfathomable pain. That was my heart being compassionate toward this devasted father and husband, however clumsily I expressed it. 

As for Christ’s response to his men, he said, “This happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life” (9:3).  While I’m unsure whether this is the reason behind the pastor’s tragedy, it does show what Jesus said about our world: “In this world you will have trouble” (Jn. 16:33).   

So, we take precautions and pray for God’s protection, fully knowing that undesired events may still happen.   So we live one day at a time (Matt. 6:34), thanking God for what He already has done in Christ, and doing our best to serve him.  So let us be compassionate, particularly to those who have suffered. “Today” is always a good time to start!  

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I exalt You and praise You this morning for being a firm anchor in my life.  In this tumultuous world in which we live, it is so comforting to know that I am always in the hands of my creator, provider, and sustainer.  Ultimately, You are my redeemer and for that I am eternally grateful.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 44


Lunch Break Study

Read Luke 13:1-5 (NIV): “Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.’”

Rom. 12:15: “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”

John 11:33-6:When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 ‘Where have you laid him?’ he asked.‘Come and see, Lord,’ they replied. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’”

Question to Consider

  1. When the people informed Jesus about what Pilate had done against certain Jews, what were these people thinking?
  2. What does Jesus’ reply truly reveal?
  3. How should we respond to people who have suffered from life’s travails?

Notes

  1. They thought that those whom Pilate slaughtered were, somehow, worse sinners than they and that was why that tragedy came upon them.  In that sense, they were being no different than the disciples who wondered aloud why the blind man was born that way.
  1. The default position for all humanity is to suffer, whether through a tyrant or an accident (like the tower that fell on the people at Siloam) because the place in which we live is a fallen world.  It is only by God’s grace and mercy that we are still alive. This calls for our repentance out of gratitude.
  1. I once witnessed an older woman rebuking a grieving mother, who just lost her son, to stop crying because that showed no faith.  The elder woman got it all wrong.  Our faith does not dehumanize us; we mourn with those who mourn, like Jesus did when his friend Lazarus died.

Evening Reflection

Do you know anyone who is grieving today?  Would you say a prayer for them? As you conclude this day, thank God for the life that you presently enjoy.  Worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.

March 12, Thursday

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“Courageous” (Pt. 2)

Joshua 1:5-9

No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. 8 This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Stepping into His Victory

Daniel Putman, professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, in an article entitled The Emotions of Courage, claims that courage involves deliberate choice in the face of painful or fearful circumstances for the sake of a worthy goal. We can deduce from this that courage happens not in the absence of pain or fear but in the face of it. 

Yesterday we took time to reflect on the history that God has been writing into our lives—a history of His faithfulness even before we were able to recognize it or give Him praise for it. But the dynamic nature of our relationship isn’t just about thinking back on what has happened. There is a forward direction. Today’s passage begins with God’s promise: Just as I have been with Moses (history), I will be with you (future). 

Because God was with the Israelites, they experience great victory in the face of great fear and danger. Because God was with them, they were able to defeat a great city like Jericho without even having to remove one stone from the wall. The thing is, the Israelites would’ve never been able to taste this victory had they not followed the instructions of God. But to follow God’s instructions (to walk around the wall without even striking the city), a great courage was required in the face of real danger.

Brothers and sisters, courage is the fruit of our history with God; but it doesn’t stop there. Courage then becomes the pathway through which we experience God’s victory. When we see how faithful God has been in our lives and that He promises us He will be with us if we walk in alignment to Him—by way of making deliberate choice to follow Him even in the face of fear and pain—this puts us in the place where we experience His victory. And when we see God’s faithfulness through the victories in our lives, our courage grows even more, which further thrusts us into the perfect plan of God to experience more victory. This is the dynamic nature of our relationship with God. This is why we are called to be strong and courageous.

Prayer: Father, thank You again for our incredible history with You. But thank You that there’s more to come. There’s more we can experience in You. We recognize that for us to do so, we must be courageous, just like you call us to be. Help us to make the deliberate choices to be courageous because You are bigger than our fearful or painful circumstances. Thank You Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 43


Lunch Break Study

Read Provers 3:5-8: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.

Questions

  1. As is typical of proverbs, there are positive statements and negative statements that are coupled together. What are the negative statements found in this proverb? What are the positive statements?
  2. What does this passage teach us as the consequence of following the positive statements? What is implied if we do not follow this wisdom?
  3. Human experience teaches us that the practical application of this passage is much harder than what it seems. Why might it require courage for us to follow this wisdom?

Notes

  1. The positive statements are “trust in the Lord with all your heart”, “in all your ways acknowledge Him”, and “fear the Lord and turn away from evil.” The negative statements are “do not lean on your own understanding” and “do not be wise in your own eyes”
  2. If we trust and acknowledge Him, He will make our paths straight = He will guide our lives. If we fear the Lord and turn away from evil, it will be healing and refreshment to our lives. The implication is that if we do not, our paths will be crooked, and our lives will be broken and weary. Another thing to note is that the positive and negative statements implies that they are opposites (e.g. trusting in the Lord means to not trust in our own understanding)
  3. Personal response. In many ways this proverb is teaching us to not do what comes naturally for us—trust in ourselves, acknowledge ourselves. To be able to detach from this “innateness” can be very jarring and scary. This is why we need courage. 

Evening Reflection

Were you courageous in the Lord today? In what ways did you display this courage? And how did you experience God’s victory through that courage. Thank the Lord for the ways He builds our faith. If you do not feel like you were courageous or you experienced His victory, reflect on His history of faithfulness to you. Prepare yourself to walk in courage again tomorrow.

March 11, Wednesday

The AMI QT Devotionals for today and tomorrow (new) are provided by Pastor Joshua Kim of Church of Southland.  Joshua, a graduate of Emory University, Columbia Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Talbot School of Theology (Th.M.), serves as the pastor of Access group (singles).  He is married to Christina. They have a young daughter whom they named Amelia. 

 

Devotional Thought for This Morning

Courageous” (Pt. 1)

Joshua 1:1-9

Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying, 2 “Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. 3 Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory. 5 No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.

A God of History.

Perhaps one of the biggest things to happen in the box office in the last 12 years is the emergence of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. From kids to adults alike, we are fascinated with this universe of superheroes who courageously risk their lives to save the world. Part of the appeal is not only the recognition that this world needs more heroes, but there is in all of us a longing for us to be that courageous. 

The passage we’ll be looking at for the next two days recounts the story of the Israelite who have finally arrived at the Jordan River after 40 years of wandering. And as they are preparing to finally enter the Promised Land, Joshua and the people receive these words from the Lord: Be strong and courageous.

But how? The people were facing real, fearful circumstances. If you remember from the narrative, the Promised Land was filled with strong, trained soldiers, fortified cities, and what is understood to be giants (Numbers 13, the Nephilim). The Israelites were children of slaves who knew nothing about combat. In a situation where they were commanded to wipe out the people and take possession of the land, how could they find the courage to do so?

We see how God builds this courage in their hearts. God points to the history He has had with these people. Not just with them, but from the days of Moses. Just as I have been with Moses… and the Israelites knew what had happened because God was with Moses. All the things that led to their freedom from Egypt, their survival in the desert, it was because God had been with Moses. And in this moment, in the face of utter fear, God reminds them of the history of His faithfulness in their lives. 

Brothers and sisters, this world needs to witness the Bride of Christ, that is, the Church, living with this kind of courage. The truth is that if you are reading this, God has been writing an incredible, unique history with you. A history of HIs faithfulness in your life. As you take a moment to reflect, I pray that you will be reminded of all the things that have happened in your life because of the faithful orchestration of your Heavenly Father. Just as He was with Moses, just as He was with Joshua, God promises that He is with you. May this history serve as the rich soil from which courage will come to fruition in your life.

Prayer: Father, we take this moment to remind ourselves of how faithful You have been in our lives, and we thank You. There is nothing we have done to deserve it—it is entirely by Your grace. And as we reflect upon our history with You, may courage arise in us to do what is right before You. Help us Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 42


Lunch Break Study

Read Romans 5:6-8: For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Questions

  1. What kind of picture do words like “helpless” or “sinners” paint in regard to our status before Christ’s redemption?
  2. What is the surprising truth of the gospel that Paul talks about in verses 7? What does this teach us in regard to the nature of our redemption and relationship with God?
  3. The reason for God doing all of this according to Paul is to demonstrate His own love towards us. What does this constancy of God’s love mean to you?

Notes

  1. These words describe a state of our being where we could not do anything to change or to earn what we have received from God. To be a sinner means that we are completely spiritually dead. It is a picture of a relationship that is entirely one-sided: God is faithful towards us. 
  2. The surprising truth of the gospel is that there is no logical reasoning for why God should do this. Even in the best of human scenarios, people would hardly give of their lives for a righteous person—let alone, an unrighteous person. And yet this Holy God willingly gave His life for the unrighteous, and there’s nothing we could have done to earn or prevent this from happening.
  3. Personal response. 

Evening Reflection

How faithful has God been to you? In the hurriedness of our lives, we too often forget to stop and reflect upon how faithful our Heavenly Father is towards us. It is no wonder we do not live with much courage—we are lacking the foundation upon which our courage grows. Take a moment tonight to remind yourself of all the ways that God has been faithful to you, and may this fuel you tomorrow to be courageous.

March 10, Tuesday

The AMI QT Devotional for today, first posted on August 4, 2014, is provided by Phillip Chen who is the associate pastor at Kairos Christian Church in San Diego.  

 

Devotional Thoughts for This Morning

“A Little Hope vs. A Lot of Hope”

John 1:1-5 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

In the first of the Hunger Games movies, one of the characters, President Snow, says something that I found to be particularly insightful. He said “Hope is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective, a lot of hope is dangerous.” He was speaking in regard to the people that his government was oppressing. By giving them small doses of hope from time to time, he is able to keep them and their expectations at bay, but if and when the people were to realize that there is a greater hope that they can lean upon, it could be a dangerous one for his regime. But, when it comes to hope promised by God, nothing can be further from the truth. 

As this portion of the Gospel of John mirrors the beginning of the book of Genesis (the Hebrew eye would not have missed this), we see that the gospel writer is introducing Jesus and the commencement of his ministry. As we take a closer look at verse 4, we see that in Jesus is life, which is the hope of all mankind. Why? Because the light shines into the darkness, and the darkness has not and cannot overcome it. The light of the world, the hope of the nations is Jesus, the eternal God who has come into the world to defeat the kingdom of darkness. 

Friends, as we remember that we live in a kingdom of darkness that so desperately needs the light of Jesus to pierce through, we must remember that we hold onto a different hope. The world may offer small doses of hope (a promotion here, recognition there), but we have set our hope on the living Christ. Let us remember that the hope we have in Jesus is not a weak one. If it were, there would be nothing we could do to infiltrate this kingdom of darkness. Rather, Jesus is the light of the world that has come to bring hope for the nations. We carry that message of hope with us, so powerful and dangerous, that it is able to penetrate the darkest places in the kingdom of this world and infiltrate the strongest forces of the enemies.

Prayer: Lord, I believe you are the hope for the nations. Today, remind me that I carry a dangerous and powerful message of hope that can destroy the kingdom of darkness in my life and in others lives as well. Help me live in a way where this hope is evident in my life!

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 41


Lunch Break Study

Read John 1:6-10: There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.”

Questions to consider

  1. Who is John the Baptist, and how is our role similar to his?
  2. Verse 8 tells us that he was not the light, but simply came as a witness to the light. In what ways do we end up claiming to be the light rather than a witness to the light?
  3. Are you being a creditable witness for Christ to people around you?

Notes

  1. John was a messenger of God, sent to carry the message of hope to all people. He was to testify of the light and living hope found in Jesus, and we also, as ambassadors, are sent to declare this message to the nations.
  2. For some, we can use our faith to point to ourselves rather than God. We can use our good works, our ministry, our character to promote ourselves rather than Jesus.
  3. Personal response

Evening Reflection

The New Testament is loaded with passages that speak of our identity as Christians. We are ambassadors. We are a royal priesthood. We are messengers of God. We testify of the light. Today, may we be reminded that we play an important role in the kingdom of God. If you’ve been burnt out and are standing on the sidelines, remember the glorious part you play as a messenger of the living hope of God! Remember this message for yourself and bring it to everyone else around you as well.