REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, first posted on July 28, 2015, is provided by Ulysses Wang who pastors Renewal Church in Sunnyvale, California. Pastor Ulysses is a graduate of New York University (BA) and Westminster Theological Seminary (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Seize the Moment”
2 Kings 2:9-14
When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?” “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied. 10 “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise, it will not.” 11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. 12 Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two. 13 Elisha then picked up Elijah’s cloak that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14 He took the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and struck the water with it. “Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over.
“Carpe diem. Seize the day. Make your lives extraordinary”: In Dead Poets Society, John Keating (played by Robin Williams) used these words to inspire a group of young English students to aspire to live lives of significance. He reminded them that in just a few short years, they would be dead and fertilizing the flowers of the field. Much of our millennial generation would agree with Keating – that life is short and therefore should be lived to its fullest. How this plays out, however, varies greatly by individual. Some throw themselves into making the next hot app, dreaming of millions (if not billions) as they program away into the night. Others look for meaning in experiences, whether through travel or thrills or drugs. Still for others, romantic love is the answer. Whatever the path, meaning is the goal.
Elisha was no slouch himself. When his master Elijah was about to be taken up to heaven, he asked for a “double portion of [his] spirit.” In other words, he wanted everything that Elijah had – the prophetic ministry, the power and the miracles. He wanted to be great in the kingdom of God. The fact that this was “a difficult thing” did not discourage him. Someone once said that if something isn’t difficult to do, then it probably isn’t worth doing. Elijah assented to his request, but not without condition – Elisha would have to witness Elijah’s ascension in order to receive such power. In other words, such power must be actively appropriated, not passively received.
In Acts 1:6-11, we witness a strikingly similar event. Jesus is taken up into heaven before the disciples’ eyes, and a few days later on the day of Pentecost, the disciples are filled with incredible power (as evidenced in Peter’s sermon as well as the ensuing miracles throughout the book of Acts). What cannot be missed, however, is what took place between these events— “They all joined together constantly in prayer…” The power of the Holy Spirit did not come upon casual observers or slack disciples – it came upon a people actively seeking the promise of the Father through prayer.
God wants us to live lives that count, and He provides the means to do so – the power of His Spirit. We can be great in the kingdom of God. But we have to go after it. What kind of life do you want to live? There is nothing stopping you from living it, no matter what your life circumstances. God’s grace is sufficient for you. But you have to take hold of it through radical, believing, faith-filled prayer. Carpe diem!
Prayer: God, I don’t want to live a lukewarm, defeated, mediocre Christian life. I want to live a radical, power-filled, miracle-witnessing, sin-overcoming life! Forgive me if I’ve settled for anything less. Give me the faith to believe that no matter how difficult, it can be achieved through Your Spirit. Give me a heart to pray. Give me a passion to pursue. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Micha 5
LUNCH BREAK STUDY
Read 1 Chronicles 4:9-10: Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” 10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.
Questions to Consider
- How would you describe Jabez’s background/past experiences? What does this teach us about how our past should affect our future?
- What did Jabez ask of God? Do you think this was easy for him?
- What kind of change or freedom do you need to ask of God and to believe in Him for?
- In spite of the fact that his identity was so caught up his mother’s negative experience, he cried out to God that his life wouldn’t be bound or limited by the past. No matter what you’ve experienced in the past, through Christ’s power you can have a different future.
- What Jabez asked for took faith. Oftentimes, even though we may wish for freedom from the past, we fail to seek it aggressively because we just don’t believe it could ever happen. We become prisoners of the past. Jabez, however, in asking God took a step of faith.
- Be bold! There is nothing in your life that God cannot change.
“Every man dies. Not every man really lives.” – William Wallace