February 19, Sunday

Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, first posted on March 6, 2016, is provided by Pastor Mark Chun through whom God founded the Radiance Christian Church in 2011. Mark, after recently stepping down as its Lead Pastor, is currently on a sabbatical.

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“Loving Your Enemy”

Acts 6:8-15 (ESV)

And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. 10 But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. 11 Then they secretly instigated men who said, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 12 And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, 13 and they set up false witnesses who said, “This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law, 14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us.” 15 And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel

Jesus’ call to love our enemies has largely been swept aside as a utopian fantasy that is unrealistic in the real world.   I recently heard a joke that highlights this point.  A pastor was preaching to his church about loving their enemies and he decided to take a quick survey of his congregation. He asked how many of them could count 10 or more enemies in their life.  A few guilty hands went up.  Then he asked how many of them had 5-10 enemies and a few more repentant hands went up.  Then he asked who had at least one enemy and this time nearly all the hands were raised.  Finally the preacher asked, who has no enemies?  After a moment, the pastor saw the hand of one elderly man being raised and wanting the church to hear the counsel of this godly man, he asked, “What is your secret to having no enemies so late in life?”  The man replied, “I thank God all those bastards have died?”

Laughter aside, this is a joke that has some level of truth to it.  And the truth is that most of us choose to ignore people that we don’t like, simply waiting for the day that either you or that person will die or disappear.  Rarely would we even consider sharing God’s love by evangelizing those who are hostile to us.   Instead of seeing difficult people as an opportunity to fulfill the law of Christ, we tend to run away from the challenges of loving those who disagree with us, offend us, or just annoy the heck out of us.  As the Scriptures point out, man’s natural tendency is to love only those who love us and to show kindness only to those who are kind to us.  Those with a greater sense of social responsibility may show love to people that they have little or no relationship with, but it is a rare thing to find someone who is able to love those who are openly hostile towards them.

But as impossible as this may seem, the practice of loving our enemies was central to the success of the early church, especially as they were persecuted mercilessly. In fact, our understanding of this golden rule is still vitally important in truly living out the Gospel.  We are told that Stephen was a man full of grace and power.  Both of those characteristics were put to the test as he was wrongfully placed on trial and ultimately martyred for his faith.  Yet through it all, we read that Stephen’s face was like that of an angel.  I believe that the only thing that could explain his demeanor under such hostile circumstances was the fact that he was filled with the love of Christ, a love that is not bound by friendship but extends to our enemies.  

Prayer:  Father, reveal to us the full depth, width, and breadth of your love.  Remind us that we were yet enemies, you demonstrated your love by sending your Son to die on our behalf.   As we face those who are hostile to us and to the message of Christianity, help us to respond with the same love that you displayed for us.  Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 16

February 18, Saturday

REPOSTToday’s Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on May 23, 2015.

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“How Much Land Does a Man Need?”

Mark 8:36

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

Phil. 4:11b-12

For I (Paul) have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Here is a story told by a great Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) that succinctly captures the meaning of these two passages:  It is entitled, “How much land does a man need?”*

Pohom had great wealth and property but he wanted even more land.  One day, he learned from some travelling merchants about a rich land in some foreign distant land which can be bought for practically nothing from a nomadic people.  Wasting no time in going there, Pohom couldn’t believe what he saw: the soil was rich, flat and its green grass chest high.  So Pohom quickly asked the Chief what he needs to pay to buy piece of this land.  The Chief said, “Our price is always the same; a thousand rubles a day.”  Puzzled by this, Pohom asked, “What kind of measurement is that?  How many acres is a day?”  

“We do not know,” the Chief answered, “How to reckon it out; we sell it by the day.  As much as you can go around on your feet in a day is yours and the price is a thousand rubles a day.”  

Finally grasping the idea, Pohom said to himself:  “As much as I mark off with my feet and come back that’s what I will own.”  He said to the Chief, “In a day you can get around a large tract of land.”  Chief laughed: “It will all be yours but there is one condition: if you don’t return on the same day to the spot whence you started your money is lost.”  He meant that Pohom has to start in one place and circle a piece of land and come back to the same place.

The next day before the crack of the dawn, Pohom arose from his sleep and after placing his 1,000 rubles in the fur cap of the chief, he began his walk.  As he walked to the land, his strides quickened because the land seemed to be getting better and richer, and more fertile. And to include a particularly inviting field, he went far, he went much too much before he set his marker and turn back.

He then hurried back even faster under the hot scorching sun of the day. Exhausted after circling such a huge tract, Pohom turned back toward his starting hill.  Walking with greater difficulty as his legs began to wobble, his chest was breathing heavily, his heart was beating like a hammer, his legs sometimes failed him.  Pohom could see the hill with the Chief cheering him on.  Pohom looked at the sun which had reached the earth; one side of it already disappeared.  With all of his remaining strength he rushed on, bending his body forward but his legs could hardly follow faster enough to keep him from falling.  But just as he reached the bottom of the hill, it suddenly grew dark; he looked up and saw that the sun had already set. And he gave out a cry, “All my labor has been in vain.”

He was about to stop but all of sudden he heard the Chief and his people still shouting.  Then Pohom remembered that to him, from below, the sun seems to have set but they, on the hill, still see the sun.  He took a long breath and ran up the hill—it was still light up there.  He reached the top and saw the fir cap.  Before the cap sat the chief laughing and holding his sides. Pohom uttered the final cry; as his legs gave away beneath him, Pohom fell forward but managed to reach the cap with his hand just in time.  But he was no more!  Pohom’s servant picked up a shovel and dug a grave just long enough for him to lie in and be buried in it: 6 feet from his head to his heels—that was all Pohom needed from all the vast land that he had gained.

Prayer: “. . . I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die: . . . give me neither poverty nor riches,
 but give me only my daily bread.  Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’  Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”  Amen (Prov. 30:7-9).

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 14-15

*I got this material from a sermon given by a pastor many years ago.

February 17, Friday

REPOSTToday’s AMI QT Devotional, first posted on June 8, 2016, is provided by Phillip Chen who is associate pastor at Kairos Christian Church in San Diego. Phil is a graduate of University of California, San Diego (BS) and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.). He was ordained last month. Congratulations.

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“A Promise from the Father”

Galatians 3:15-20 (ESV)

To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise. 19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.

When I was a child, my dad would often have to go on business trips, sometimes very long trips to Taiwan. I didn’t like that he was away and thought that if only he had a private jet, he could come back much faster. So, one day, I promised him that I would grow up to make a lot of money and buy him his own personal private jet. I guess he didn’t believe me, because he wanted proof of it, a written contract if you will. So I drew an airplane on a piece of paper, signed my name on it, and handed it to him. I hope he doesn’t find that contract, because I don’t think I will ever be able to honor it.

A promise from God is not as fickle as a promise we make to one another. We might go back on our promises, or even due to circumstances simply be unable to fulfill it. But God always follows through on His promises. If man-made promises, in the highest degree, are contractually binding, how much more binding is a covenant that God makes with people?

With those lens, it’s important to see that the promise of grace precedes the giving of the Law. Paul argues that the gospel he has shared with the Galatians about the free grace of God through Jesus Christ was not a new invention that he came up with; rather, it dates all the way back to Abraham. He recounts to them God’s promise, that through the offspring of Abraham—not offsprings—He would bring blessing to all the nations on the earth. The offspring that He referred to is now revealed as His Son, Jesus. The Law is not a set of rules that is in competition to grace; rather, it is subordinate to grace. It is merely a subset in the grand scheme of grace that God had already set into motion, long before Moses was even born. Paul takes it a step further by showing that the Law was given through a middle-man, but the promise of grace was given directly by God to Abraham. Trust in His promise today, for He is trustworthy!

Prayer: Father God, Your promises are true. Thank You for Your grace and Your promise to love me. Help me to be confident in that promise when I feel unlovable, for Your words are trustworthy and true.

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 13

Lunch Break Study

Read Genesis 22:15-19 (ESV): “And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, ‘By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.’”

Question to Consider

1. Read Genesis 22:9-14. How did Abraham obey God by not withholding his son from God?

2. Who is the offspring God is referring to?


1. God called Abraham to sacrifice his one and only son, Isaac, which would have meant that God wasn’t going to keep His initial promise made to him; yet Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac, trusting that God would somehow keep the promise. 

2. Abraham must have thought that the offspring that God was referring to was Isaac, and it was through the line of Isaac that the nation of Israel was formed. But ultimately, it is referring to Jesus, through whom all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. 

Evening Reflection

Philip Ryken says, “Salvation in Christ does not rest on a law that we inevitably break; it rests on a promise that God cannot break.” As you close the day, spend some time thanking the Lord for His promise of salvation to us. May you find a new joy in this amazing grace. 

February 16, Thursday

REPOST Today’s AMI Devotional Thought, first posted on April 14, 2016, is provided by Pastor Yohan Lee.  He is a friend of AMI who in the past has served as a staff at several AMI churches.  He is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BA) and Cairn University (MA).

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“Be Distressed . . . Keep Your Eyes Open”

Acts 17:16-17 (NIV)

While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.  17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.  

Just about every Friday morning after our prayer meeting, our pastoral intern and I go out and grab breakfast, typically at Burger King.  More than half of the time, this guy will do something kind that humbles and embarrasses me.  For example, he will buy an extra breakfast sandwich for a homeless person that we just passed by on the street, or he will notice a person digging too deeply into his pocket to find the money for a cup of coffee and purchases it for him.  Every week it would be something different, but every week it is him showing how big his heart is, and me—feeling like a dork.  The reason I never buy anyone a sandwich is not that I don’t care or I am too cheap, but rather, I simply do not notice (and this may be worse).  Over the years, I’ve learned to walk with my head down in the city (for fear of stepping on dog poop), or when I’m at a restaurant, I get too excited about food and have tunnel vision, or I’m thinking about something else.  Emotionally, I can be an aloof monster, I know— I’m not trying to make excuses on the matter.  

I wonder if I were in ancient Athens, I would have felt the same level of “distress” (NIV) that Paul felt when he saw all of those idols.  Would I have even noticed?  When we were younger in the faith, growing in Christ was pretty easy.  As a youngster, I used to swear like a sailor, but when I met Christ, I quit that pattern of speech.  Then I began to read the Bible and pray more frequently, and I grew.  Now that I’ve been a believer for over 20 years, I’ve noticed that while growth does come with prayer and Bible reading, rapid growth comes when I have a heart that beats on God’s rhythm.  Do I love the things He loves?  Do I hate the things He hates?  Do the things that distress Him even cause me to bat an eyelash?  More in line with today’s passage, does my heart break for people who do not know Christ or for those who are trapped in idolatry?  

I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.  America is a unique country— if you go to a coffee shop, you will run into literally a dozen people of different religion or no religion whatsoever.  There is so much diversity in faiths (or lack of faith), we can easily get desensitized to how lost people are.  This morning, pray for your heart.  Pray that you will be distressed by the things that distress the Lord.  

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray for ___(fill in the blank) who doesn’t know You.  I pray that You will put some urgency in my heart to share with him or her.  Help me also to see every person as one who is made in Your image.  Give me a heart that is distressed by the things that distress You.  

Bible Reading for TodayRevelation 12

Lunch Break Study

Read Psalm 4:1-8: Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer! 2 O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah 3 But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.

4 Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah. 5 Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord. 6 There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” 7 You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. 8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Questions to Consider

1.  What were the things that distressed David, and how did he find comfort in the Lord?

2.  In v. 4, we read, “Be angry (or “In your anger” – NIV) and do not sin and offer right sacrifices.”  What do you suppose this verse means?  

3.  In v. 7, David says that he has more joy than anyone who has riches.  Why was he able to feel this way?  Do you feel this way?  


1.  In verse 2, we read that there were wicked men who were trying to “shame” David, possibly through slanderous words.  In verse 3, David found comfort in being set apart for God and the fact that the Lord hears his prayers.  

2.  In its context, it seems that when slandered, the natural reaction is to be angry; however, a righteous course of action is to remain silent (v. 4) as opposed to rushing in to defend oneself.  In this context, a right sacrifice seems to be the faithful act of not retaliating.  It’s helpful to know that David, while a man of action, never attacked Saul who persecuted him unjustly on several occasions.  

3.  I think vv. 7 and 8 are related.  David’s joy came first because God put it there, but also in the fact that he could lie down in peace (knowing he had a clean conscience) and under the safety of the Lord’s hand.  Do you believe a clear conscience is more important than a large bank account?

Evening Reflection

This morning, we talked about having God’s heart and caring for people, especially those who do not know Jesus.  Take some time to pray for one or two people you see routinely, and allow God to speak to you about them.  We also talked about trusting in God when others slander or persecute you.  Are there people in your life who give you trouble for seemingly no reason?  Consider what God wants you to do (or not do) about these people.  

February 15, Wednesday 

UPDATEDToday’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Charles Choe who leads Tapestry Church in Los Angeles, was first posted on March 16, 2016.  Charles is a graduate of University of California, Riverside (BA) and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.).

Devotional Thoughts for This Morning

“A Secret Behind Why God Would Use You”

Acts 9:32-42

But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, ‘Tabitha, arise’ And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up.

In the 2002 movie Like Mike, Calvin and his friends who all live an in orphanage, find some old shoes with the faded letters “MJ”. These shoes are somehow tied to a power line; and on one stormy night, they go to retrieve the shoes when Calvin and the shoes are struck by lightning. Calvin now has fantastic basketball powers and eventually plays for the NBA where he dominates fellow NBA stars with his new found shoes. 

In the same way, the story of the Bible is the ability of God to take ordinary people to do extraordinary things through them. We see again and again when God’s Spirit takes hold of an individual, astonishing things can happen. We see in our story today, God working powerfully through Peter, an uneducated fisherman from small town Galilee. First, he heals the man Aeneas from paralysis. Then immediately after, he resurrects Dorcas.

Jesus can use anyone who is obedient and willing to be used by Him. That’s the secret behind why God would use you. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead and saved our soul is now in us to do God’s works. But the truth is, we often find ourselves defeated by Satan’s lies—the most effective one being low self-esteem. That’s Satan’s greatest weapon. He renders us powerless by giving us a sense of inferiority, inadequacy, and low self-worth—this is what shackles many of us. And in spite of amazing spiritual experiences and knowledge of God’s Word, we find ourselves not fully living up to our potentials. 

God calls us to an extraordinary life. And for God to use us, we must humbly make ourselves available. Then we must obediently use the gifts and opportunities God gives us to usher the presence of God wherever we find ourselves. This act of surrender is precisely the power of God in us. God will only do great things through us when we surrender to His kingdom and His priorities. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, let us remember the power of God in us this day! 

Prayer: Dear Jesus, help me to realize the potential I have in You. I want to be an agent of change. Help me to join You in all the work You are doing in and around me. In Jesus’ name.  Amen.  

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 11

Lunch Break Study

Read Ephesians 6:12-20: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. [13] Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. [14] Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, [15] and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. [16] In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; [17] and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, [18] praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, [19] and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, [20] for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Questions to Consider 

1. If we are to realize the potential for great power we have in Jesus, we must also realize who our enemy is and what our battle is. According to Paul, who is our enemy and what is our battle? 

2. What are we commended to do to prepare for this heavenly battle?    

3. As you read through the section on the armor of God, what is one particular area you have to strengthen in your life?   


1. The enemy is the Devil and the battle is against the cosmic powers of darkness. 

2. We are to put on the armor of God.  

3. Personal Response

Evening Reflection

“Take God at His Word – because winning the battle doesn’t require physical brawn, but spiritual brains!” – Pedro Okoro

February 14, Tuesday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional is a reprint of Kate Moon’s blog originally posted on March 8, 2016.  Kate continues to serve the Lord in E. Asia. 

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“God Doesn’t Give Up On You”

Acts 7:23-29

When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites.  He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian.  Moses thought his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not.  The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting.  He tried to reconcile them by saying, “Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?” But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, “Who made you ruler and judge over us? Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?”  When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons.

Sometimes when children of immigrants visit the countries their parents originally came from, it can be both exhilarating and traumatic.  They often go to visit because they are looking for their roots, a sense of belonging, but sometimes they end up being rejected by the very people they are longing most to find connection with. When they walk into a store and can’t speak the language quite correctly, people wonder what is wrong with them.  If they inadvertently say or do something rude, people assume it was intentional and react accordingly.  Through such experiences, they discover things are more complicated than they’d imagined.

When Moses is 40 years old, after a lifetime of being brought up in the Egyptian palace, he decides to go visit “his people.” When he sees an Israelite being mistreated by an Egyptian, he makes his choice as to whose side he feels he belongs on, but as he continues to make attempts to help, he fails to do it in a way that people can understand or accept.  Also, because he was an Israelite like them but had somehow escaped slavery and had all these advantages in life, perhaps out of resentment and jealousy, he is rejected all the more.  

Moses’ life parallels Jesus’ in that both left privileged backgrounds to identify with a people in slavery.  Both are rejected by the very people they came to save, and for Moses, at first it was enough to make him reject his people right back.  He leaves them, Egypt, and goes to live in land where he doesn’t have to deal with either.  But Jesus does not give up on His people, and we all know that in the end, God does not let Moses do so either.  Is there anyone we are tempted to reject or give up on today?  Someone we had the greatest hopes of connecting with whose rejection is hurting us the most?  Nevertheless, can we follow the example of Jesus and Moses and continue to reach out in love?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, would you give me the grace and wisdom today to reach out to those who have rejected me?  I’m sure I’ve made my share of mistakes in the ways I’ve tried to relate to people.  Please forgive me, show me the error of my ways, and help me to change.  In Your name I pray. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 10

Lunch Break Study 

Read and compare the following two verses:

Acts 7:22: Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.

Exodus 4:10: Moses said to the LORD, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant.  I am slow of speech and tongue.”

Questions to Consider

1. What apparent contradiction do you notice in these two verses?

2. The first verse describes Moses before he left Egypt; the second, 40 years after he left Egypt.  What life experiences did he have between these two points of time?  How could they account for these two seemingly opposite depictions of Moses?

3. Which description of Moses do you think was true?  Have certain failures or disappointments in life affected your perception of whether or not you are fit to carry out a particular commission of God?


1. The Acts passage says that Moses was powerful in speech, but this comes as somewhat of a surprise as Moses is also famous for saying to the Lord in Exodus that he was not eloquent. 

2. He had killed a man, been rejected by his own people, and lived in a foreign land for forty years. Perhaps he’d had to learn a foreign language and couldn’t remember the last time he’d been eloquent.  Perhaps he felt he’d failed in life and lost confidence.

3. I think that when God created Moses, He had indeed given him certain abilities that made him fit to accomplish the task God had for him.  Ability is not the most important factor in doing God’s work, but we do need to reject any false perceptions of our limitations that keep us from engaging in His work.

Evening Reflection

Did you experience any rejection or failure today that you need to put behind you?  Give them to the Lord at this time, and ask Him for visions of hope for the future to take their place.  

February 13, Monday

Today’s AMI QT Devotional, first posted on May 9, 2016, is provided by Pastor David Kwon of Journey Community Church (Raleigh).  David, a graduate of Drexel University and Columbia International University (M.Div.) is married to Helen (“Pie”) and they have three beautiful daughters (Cara, Phoebe, and Ruth).  

Devotional Thought for This Morning


Acts 24:1

And after five days the high priest Ananias came down with some elders and a spokesman, one Tertullus. They laid before the governor their case against Paul.

In the book of Acts, one of the major themes that we see is the boldness that the early believers had for the gospel.  The Greek translation for the word “boldly” or “boldness” is “candor in the face of opposition.” Boldness isn’t being obnoxious, mean, or pushy; rather, it’s about speaking the truth of the gospel out of conviction of what Jesus has done for sinners, and out of a love for those who need it.  Tim Keller puts it like this:

“When the gospel ‘comes home’-humbling and affirming you, it turns every believer into a natural evangelist…Evangelism happens because of the humility of the gospel. The gospel produces people who are not disdainful and contemptuous towards those who disagree with them. Also, it happens through the affirmation of the gospel. Because of the reality and joy of Christ’s love, we are not as concerned what others think. The gospel brings a gentle boldness.”

Paul is about to go before Felix, the Roman governor, because of his defense of the gospel.  Tertullus had been hired by the Jews to present their case in Caesarea before the Roman governor, and it was apparent that he and the other Jewish rulers wanted to kill Paul.  We see that Paul’s boldness had led him to defend his life and trust in the sovereignty of God.  

As you think about your own life, do you have boldness for Christ?  Are you willing to speak up about your faith to your friends, co-workers, family members, neighbors and others who are in your circle of influence? Is the fear of man preventing you from being a bold witness?  

As we reflect and remember what Christ has done for us, ask the Lord that He would give you the boldness to proclaim Him in this dark and hostile world.  Pray for opportunities to share His love to those who do not know Him.  

Prayer: Lord, thank You for examples of faith in Your Word that demonstrates great boldness even in the face of opposition.  By the power of the Holy Spirit, help me today to be bold for the truth in my words and witness.  Amen.  

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 9

Lunch Break Study 

Read Luke 12:4-12: “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell.  Yes, I tell you, fear him! 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?  And not one of them is forgotten before God.7 Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.8 “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, 9 but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 11 And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

Questions to Consider 

1.  What is Jesus telling us not to fear?

2.  How does vv. 11-12 give you confidence when we acknowledge Christ to the world?

3.  How can you apply these verses today?


  1. We are called not to fear man because we have a Heavenly Father who knows us (v.7) and we are valued by Him.  It should give us courage to display Christ in our lives even when we may fear what man thinks of us.
  2. When we acknowledge Christ before men (v.8), Jesus promises His followers that the Holy Spirit will teach us what to say.  We ought not to be anxious about how we should defend ourselves, but rather trust in Him.  
  3. Think about how you can acknowledge Christ to those who may not know Him.  Be specific in praying for people and ask God that He would give you courage to acknowledge Him even when it seems difficult.  

Evening Reflection

Take some time reflecting on the passage you read today.  What challenged you?  How can you be bold for the gospel?  Ask the Lord to search your heart and show you how to make specific applications.  

February 12, Sunday

The person who wrote Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, first posted on December 27, 2015, wishes to remain anonymous. 

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“The Christian Faith and Secular Ideology”

John 17:14-7 (ESV)

I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.

Leprosy causes the loss of all physical sensations, including pain.  Even an open wound, infected and full of puss, doesn’t hurt; if left untreated it will disfigure the entire body, limb by limb. At the risk of offending some, many evangelicals suffer from spiritual leprosy.  Living in this world that is becoming increasingly militant against God’s truth, we feel no tension, no indignation, and certainly no desire to fight back (but not with the weapons of this world). 

The fundamental tension for us is one between Christianity and the reigning paradigm of our time—secular ideology.  But the thoughts and teachings of this world, of which we are a part, will never, ever be our highest authority—only Christ and His word is, no matter how alluring, appealing, or popular the dictates of secularism appear to us.  

At the same time, we must learn to avoid the extremes of a hateful “us versus them” stance and a naïve lack of discernment in encountering the good, evil, and sometimes ambiguous influences upon our souls.  For instance, even as we take on secularism or radicalized Islam, we do so respectfully, not hating the person and even learning a thing or two from those who oppose us. 

But through it all, we must remember that we live by faith, not by sight. We live for Christ, and not for any person or nation. We live by evaluating human experience through Christ’s word, not primarily the word of this or that guru or intellectual elite. Nothing should become our ultimate foundation and measuring rod for right living and thought, whether our favorite political movement, secular ethic, ideal of social justice, life pleasure, human identity, technological advancement, or fashionable science. 

As alluded earlier, that is not to deny there may be things of great value in the secular ideas and products I have just mentioned; on the contrary, we can welcome many of these to improve human living or enhance our intellectual and moral growth. But our ultimate hope and authority will never be to anything secularism has to offer, anything that comes out of the city of man. Our allegiance is to Christ alone. I leave you with Joshua’s call to the people of Israel as they started their existence as a nation in the Promised Land: “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15). 

Prayer: Lord, deliver us from spiritual leprosy so that we can begin to feel the righteous indignation in light of secular and post-truth ideologies that defy God’s eternal truth. Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 8

February 11, Saturday

REPOSTToday’s Spiritual Food for Thought, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on May 9, 2015.

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“What I Learned About God’s Law After Getting a Speeding Ticket”

2 Sam. 12:9-14

“You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.” 11 Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.” 13 David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. 14 Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die.”

I once got a speeding ticket in Arizona for driving 60 MPH back in 1985 when the legal limit was 55 MPH. It’s probably 70 or 75 MPH now. The speed limit is the rule of the road, much like how some countries have rules to drive on the right side of the road while others require the left side—they are completely arbitrary.  What isn’t arbitrary is the law of speed, which stipulates that the faster I go, the more time and distance it takes to stop. Ignoring that law may result in a serious accident that can kill or injure people.  This is to say, while it is no longer a volation to drive above 55 MPH in Arizona, that doesn’t abrogate the law of speed, which, once broken, can produce death.      

The same is true in the spiritual realm, for Paul states, “For before the law was given, sin was in the world.  But sin is not taken into account when there is no law.  Nevertheless, death reigned from time of Adam to the time of Moses, even those who did not sin by breaking a command” (Rom. 5:13-4).   Before the Mosaic Law was ever introduced, the law of sin (Rom. 7:23) was living and active, and reaping havoc on humanity who dared to ignore it.  King David challenged it head on and paid a dear price.   

This is what we can learn from David’s saga about the consequences of unmitigated and prolonged sin, with blatant hypocrisy to boot (even after God’s forgiveness has been granted): “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows.  The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction” (Gal. 6:8a).   No one should be surprised to find, then, that Absalom later shames his father by “lay[ing] with his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel” (2 Sam. 16:22).

Before I leave you all frightened, recall what apostle John stated: “There is a sin that leads to death. . . . All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death” (1 Jn. 5:16-7).  Whatever else John meant, he is saying this: while all sins are an affront to God, not all have the same consequences.  For instance, if you commit the kind of sin that David, as a top leader, committed—adultery and murder—you can expect steep discipline from God.  But, there are some sins that may not result in such devastating consequences meted out in such a swift fashion. 

But here is the good news: “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.  He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.  He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities” (Ps. 103:8-10).   Thank you, Lord, for being so gracious.

Prayer:  Holy Lord, I praise for your infinite grace and mercy.  Help me not to take your love for granted, but that I would fear You and hate sin.  Give me the desire to be holy as You are holy. Amen.    

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 6-7

February 10, Friday

REPOSTToday’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Cami King—now a friend of AMI—was first posted on April 8, 2016.  Cami served faithfully as a staff at several AMI churches in the past.  

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“Don’t Miss Out on the Opportunity to Bless Those in Need”

Acts 16:13-15

From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days. 13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.

What Paul experienced by the riverside was an unexpected encounter that led to the first conversion in Philippi.   While my recent experience wasn’t quite that dramatic, it, nonetheless, shows what we ought to expect from the Lord in our everyday lives. 

I recently got a part-time job at a retail store to help cover some of my expenses. While working earlier this week I encountered a woman who came into the store after having a terrible fall outside. We took her into the back to use our first aid kit (she was pretty banged up) and sit down for a rest and some water. After a few minutes, my manager sent me back to work, but my heart was heavy and burdened, so I prayed for her for the rest of my shift. 

Feeling helpless (because I was at work) I told God – if you want me to do more, open the door. On my way to my car after work, I saw her in the parking lot. I was terrified – I knew this was a divine appointment and that I needed to go speak to her. I walked over, asked how she was doing, and let her know I was praying for her. She explained that she was taking some new medications and her body was not responding well. She was so thankful for the kindness we’d shown her and for the prayers I prayed for her. And that was pretty much it. We parted ways. I didn’t pray with her. I didn’t tell her about the ultimate Healer. I didn’t stop and ask God what He was up to in that moment – I think because I was unsure and afraid (and unexpectedly so!). 

While I believe God is in control and will care for that woman apart from me if for some reason I didn’t fully do what He had in mind (and I’m hoping He’ll send her my way again), the experience itself challenged me to remember that no matter what we expect when we go and do this or that (I thought I was just going into work to make a little money), God is always at work in blessing and healing the world through us. I want to be like Paul, ready – fearless and willing – to partner with God in whatever way He grants me the opportunity. How about you? Don’t miss out on the opportunity to bless those in need.

 Prayer: Sovereign Lord, You are always at work in the world around us. As Your hands and feet in this world, may I be ready and willing to partner with You whenever You present me with the opportunity to do so. Give me divine appointments today to be a blessing (in great and small ways) to those around me. Make me sensitive to the movements of Your Spirit and fearless to move and speak according to Your will. In Jesus’ name. Amen.  

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 5

Lunch Break Study

Read Matthew 28:16-20: Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Questions to Consider

  1. Other than the fact that it happened this way, why might it be significant that Jesus gave His commission to “the eleven disciples”? How should this encourage us today?
  2. The Greek in verse 19 lends itself to also be translated as “When you go make disciples…” or “As you go, make disciples…” How does that add to your understanding of Christ’s call on our lives? 
  3. How does Jesus’ promise in verse 20 encourage you as you think about the task of being on mission for Him in your daily life? 


  1. Jesus gave the commission to an imperfect group. Twelve was a significant number in the Old Testament and in Jewish culture. Eleven was a striking number of imperfection and incompletion (something was lacking, broken, missing). I find it encouraging that Jesus commissioned an imperfect Church and that He still believes we can do the work He’s called us to do even with our shortcomings. 
  2. While we are called to “Go!” to the ends of the earth, to those who have not heard and share the Gospel around the world, we are also called, in all that we do and everywhere we are, to be on mission for the advancement of God’s Kingdom. It’s easy to “be on” when we are on mission, at Church, or in similar spaces. But everyday, we are on mission for God because He is at work all around us. 
  3. The idea of constantly being on mission for God can feel daunting. My story this morning shows how easy it is to potentially fall short and how uncertain we can feel about what we are supposed to do in any given situation. But Jesus is with us and God’s Spirit within us will lead us. That’s a promise in which we can take comfort. All we have to do is dependent on Him. 

Evening Reflection

What are some ways that you’ve experienced divine appointments to be a blessing (or to be blessed by someone else) in your life? What are some things that could hinder you from participating in God’s work in the world around you on a daily basis (e.g. being to busy, being afraid, not being mindful of the things of God when you’re at work or at school, etc.)? Spend some time offering yourself the Lord and ask Him to use you to be a blessing and tell others about Him. Pray for divine appointments. When we ask of the Lord, He will answer, so be on the look out for opportunities to be a blessing and share the truth of God throughout this week!