Monthly Archives: March 2018

30 MARCH 2018 -Luke 24:36-43 (ESV)

Scripture

36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish,43 and he took it and ate before them.

Reflection

Emotions are real. Some of us may be more emotional than others and some may be better at identifying our emotions but there is no denying that we are emotional creatures. Upon seeing Jesus after his resurrection his friends feel a range of emotions from “startled, frightened and troubled” to “joy and amazement” all within a matter of moments. When they heard him with their ears and saw him with their eyes and touched him with their hands the fear and anxiety were replaced with joy and amazement but the doubts remained. Perhaps a meal together will help them with their doubts. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29) (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell us about God, Jesus and people?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Pray for somewhere in the world that needs God’s attention. Flick to a news app or website, and pick a news story to pray for. 

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By |2018-03-23T11:17:18+08:00March 30th, 2018|Week 4|0 Comments

29 MARCH 2018 -1 Corinthians 5:6b-8 (AMP)

Scripture

Your boasting [over the supposed spirituality of your church] is not good [indeed, it is vulgar and inappropriate]. Do you not know that [just] a little leaven ferments the whole batch [of dough, just as a little sin corrupts a person or an entire church]? 7 Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new batch, just as you are, still unleavened. For Christ our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with leaven of vice and malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and [untainted] truth.

Reflection

After the resurrection, as more people experienced a new life in Jesus, new communities were formed in his name. In this passage Paul is comparing the new community of Jesus to the Passover festival – a gathering and celebration of people whose sins have been forgiven. Prior to Jesus, the festival was every year and so was the forgiveness, because the forgiveness of sins only lasted for a year then another sacrifice was needed. With Jesus as the Passover Lamb, forgiveness is forever and the old ways that led us to repeatedly sin are abandoned for a new life in Christ. If you were a Jew, then you knew that every year at Passover you ate bread without leaven and that leaven was a “word picture” for sin. At Passover there is no leaven, i.e. there is no sin. Therefore, in the new festival where Jesus is the Passover lamb we eat a new and still “unleavened” bread, i.e. no sin. If someone has come to the festival with “leavened” bread let’s lovingly help them exchange the old for the new so they too can celebrate with us (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell us about God, Jesus and people?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Pray for those who are in prison.

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By |2018-03-23T11:11:35+08:00March 29th, 2018|Week 4|0 Comments

28 MARCH 2018 -Acts 10:34-35 (AMP)

Scripture

34 Opening his mouth, Peter said:

“Most certainly I understand now that God is not one to show partiality [to people as though Gentiles were excluded from God’s blessing], 35 but in every nation the person who fears God and does what is right [by seeking Him] is acceptable and welcomed by Him.

Reflection

There is a whole big story behind these words of conclusion spoken by Peter. In a dream/vision for both men Peter is led to Cornelius’ house. Cornelius is not Jewish and in this story he represents the nations of the world. Up until this point the only people who had received Jesus were Jews; all this changed in an instant when Cornelius and his household believed on the Lord Jesus and received the Holy Spirit. Peter, to his credit, recognized it immediately and pronounced: God doesn’t play favorites; if your heart is right and you come to him, He will receive you – no matter what your passport says! Until the whole world knows . . . (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell us about God and people?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Pray for all of the Shanghai Christian Council Churches and Pastors.

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By |2018-03-23T11:06:19+08:00March 28th, 2018|Week 4|0 Comments

27 MARCH 2018 -1 Corinthians 15:1-8 (ESV)

Scripture

Now I would remind you, brothers,of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

Reflection

He (Jesus) was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,  and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.” Cephas is Peter. This reference to Peter and Jesus meeting privately after the resurrection is the only place where it occurs. The last time Peter and Jesus had seen each other was when Peter was denying Jesus and their eyes met across the courtyard. Since then, Peter had received the news of Jesus’ empty tomb; he ran with John to see for himself. He had wept bitterly after his denial and remained in the empty tomb to wonder what it meant. Did Peter have a sense even then that there would be a reckoning with Jesus concerning his denial. Whatever they talked about in the meeting described here, Peter was never the same. Jesus lovingly redeemed and restored his friend. Peter would lead the way when faith in Jesus would transition from something held by a band of 120 believers to thousands in the city of Jerusalem; he would also open the door to Jesus for the entire world. That’s coming next! (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell us about God, Jesus and people?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Pray for wisdom, healing and peace across your home country.

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By |2018-03-23T11:01:11+08:00March 27th, 2018|Week 4|0 Comments

26 MARCH 2018 -Isaiah 25:6-9 (NIV)

Scripture

On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare
    a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
    the best of meats and the finest of wines.
On this mountain he will destroy
    the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
    he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears
    from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace
    from all the earth.
The Lord has spoken.

In that day they will say,

“Surely this is our God;
    we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the Lord, we trusted in him;
    let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”

Reflection

What a mountain! What at story. On this mountain Abraham offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice at God’s request, Isaac carried the wood for his own sacrifice then God told Abraham NOT to sacrifice his son. (Genesis 22) About a thousand years later, King David would purchase a threshing floor on this mountain and an altar would be built there so that a plague would be held back from the people. (2 Samuel 24) Solomon would build his temple on this same mountain. Jesus, the Son of God, who also carried the wood for his sacrifice, was crucified on this mountain. From this mountain messianic promises will be fulfilled; our disgrace removed, all tears wiped away and a banquet will be held in honor of the King of Kings and Lord of lords who will rule and reign . . . from this mountain! (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell us about God and people?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Lift up an unanswered prayer to God and ask for a renewed sense of his patience and strength.

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By |2018-03-23T10:56:27+08:00March 26th, 2018|Week 4|0 Comments

23 MARCH 2018 -Mark 15:42-47 (NIV)

Scripture

42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. 45 When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.

Reflection

Historian Craig Keener writes that the Sabbath began at sundown and that Jesus died a few hours before this. This would have given Joseph just enough time to buy the linen in which Jesus’ body would be wrapped and buried. Joseph, who was from Arimathea, was a member of the ruling Jewish Council and part of the aristocracy. Crucifixion took several days to kill a person unless hurried along. (John 19:31-32). “After a body had been prepared for burial it would be left to decompose for one year; then the eldest son or other closest family member would return, gather the bones for burial in a box and deposit them in a slot in the tomb wall. Of course with Jesus, he was gone by then. “He is not here; He is risen”! (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell us about God, Jesus and people?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Pray for these organizations who are helping people in need: Home Sweet Home, Renewal Center and Sonflowers.

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By |2018-03-15T09:35:14+08:00March 23rd, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments

22 MARCH 2018 -Philippians 2:9-11 (TLB)

Scripture

Yet it was because of this that God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name which is above every other name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Reflection

In Acts 4:12 we read that there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we can be saved. We are called and sent out by that name; we rejoice to be counted worthy to suffer and be rejected by the world on account of his name. It is a name that is above every other name; the name which will bring every human being to their knees in worship to declare that Jesus Christ is Lord. He is as close as the mention of his name, Jesus. Kings and kingdoms will all pass away but there is something about that name. “All hail the power of Jesus name, let angels prostrate fall!” (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell us about God, Jesus and people?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Stop and ask God to place a nation on your mind and heart. Pray for the people to blessed by God, the church to shine brightly and for God to be present in that place.

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By |2018-03-15T09:31:45+08:00March 22nd, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments

21 MARCH 2018 -Philippians 2:5-9 (TLB)

Scripture

Your attitude should be the kind that was shown us by Jesus Christ, who, though he was God, did not demand and cling to his rights as God, but laid aside his mighty power and glory, taking the disguise of a slave and becoming like men. And he humbled himself even further, going so far as actually to die a criminal’s death on a cross.

Yet it was because of this that God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name which is above every other name,

Reflection

The word, “kenosis” is the word behind “emptied”. Jesus did not ever stop being God but he emptied himself of the advantage that being God would bring. In a way, he took off his kingly robe to put on the robe of a servant but he was not done humbling himself. His obedience took him as far as death, even to a humiliating death on a cross. The Morning Star, Heaven’s Glory, the Indescribable Gift, the Light of the World and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah willingly surrendered himself to the worst that humanity could bring, Satan tried to crush him, Peter denied him and Pilate washed his hands of him yet with tears and prayers to his Father that if there would be any other way, “let this cup pass from me”, he surrendered himself to His Father’s will and learned obedience in the things which he suffered. No one would or could take his life; it was his to offer, which he did. Jesus offered his life for you and for me, now is the time to offer your life to him (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell us about God, Jesus and people?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Think of someone you know who could use a little joy in their lives and pray for presence of the Lord to rest on them. “In His presence there is fullness of Joy” Psalm 16:11.

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By |2018-03-15T09:29:38+08:00March 21st, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments

20 MARCH 2018 -Psalm 118:21-24 (AMP)

Scripture

21 I will give thanks to You, for You have heard and answered me;
And You have become my salvation [my Rescuer, my Savior].

22  The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief corner stone.
23  This is from the Lord and is His doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.
24  This [day in which God has saved me] is the day which the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Reflection

“The building block that was rejected Became the cornerstone of a whole new world. When I am down and unsuspected. With a burden that does not show. I think what time has resurrected. And how the sun can make the water flow. There is a man who has collected all the sorrow in our eyes. He gives us love as God directed but is seldom recognized. When all your dreams have been connected. And your vision has been returned. Remember, love, you are protected. By the truth your heart has learned. The building block that was rejected Became the cornerstone of a whole new world!”  – Noel Paul Stookey (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell us about God, Jesus and people?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Pray for a renewed sense of God’s Presence. Allow yourself to stop and acknowledge God’s presence – pray, “Holy Spirit come”.

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By |2018-03-15T09:25:29+08:00March 20th, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments

19 MARCH 2018 -Isaiah 50:4-9a (NIV)

Scripture

The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue,
    to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
    wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.
The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears;
    I have not been rebellious,
    I have not turned away.
I offered my back to those who beat me,
    my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face
    from mocking and spitting.
Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
    I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
    and I know I will not be put to shame.
He who vindicates me is near.
    Who then will bring charges against me?
    Let us face each other!
Who is my accuser?
    Let him confront me!
It is the Sovereign Lord who helps me.
    Who will condemn me?serves me.

Reflection

Hundreds of years before Jesus was born the Spirit of God gave a description of Jesus to a man named Isaiah. From prophetic descriptions regarding his birth, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14); His life, “I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” (Isaiah 42:6-8) and now His passion (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell us about God and people?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Pray for the Board of Elders, Ministry leaders and Admin staff at SCF.

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By |2018-03-15T09:16:13+08:00March 19th, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments