Monthly Archives: May 2018

31 MAY 2018 – Acts 4:31 (NIV)

Scripture

31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

Reflection

The prayer that precedes this summary verse is worth reading again. (23-30) “After they had prayed . . . they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” These were the same people who had experienced a filling of the Holy Spirit previously on the day of Pentecost. What happened? Did some of the Holy Spirit escape from them? Not hardly. The Holy Spirit is a person; he meets us daily to keep the relationship vibrant and alive. “Fresh fillings, fresh anointings, fresh moves of the Spirit, new manifestations of the hand or power of God are always available in times of need” (Stanley Horton) – (Ps. Dale)

Thoughts for the day

  • When last were you filled with the Holy Spirit?
  • 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 |2018-05-25T10:18:12+08:00May 31st, 2018|Week 5|0 Comments

30 MAY 2018 – Acts 4:19-22 (NIV)

Scripture

19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.

Reflection

These couple of verses follow Peter’s message to repent and to turn to Christ (See Tuesday’s devotion). However in chapter 4 verse 2 the Sadducees (religious people) were greatly annoyed by the message Peter spoke and as a result they took them into custody (v.3). But it is in verses 19-22 that we see how Peter, with wisdom, spoke about what they have seen and heard (their testimony) (v.20) and this results in the Sadducees releasing them, since they can’t counter or find fault with Peter and John’s personal testimony (v.21). We can learn from this encounter, that not only is our personal testimonies powerful, but people can rarely object to our own personal transformational experience (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • How often do you share your personal testimony to others?
  • 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

Ask the Lord for the gift of faith to see, pray and act for the redemption of the situation you’re concerned about.

Note: For more information on how to share/create your own personal testimonies please visit https://www.cru.org/us/en/train-and-grow/share-the-gospel/evangelism-principles/how-to-tell-your-story-worksheet.html for more information.

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By |2018-05-25T10:13:59+08:00May 30th, 2018|Week 5|0 Comments

29 MAY 2018 – Acts 3:25-26 (NIV)

Scripture

25 And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed. 26 When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”

Reflection

As the crowds turned their attention to the formerly lame man now walking and leaping and praising God, Peter takes advantage of having an audience and begins to speak. As he did before, he points people away from himself (and John) and toward Jesus in whose name the man has been healed. He then reviews with the crowd the recent events concerning the death of Jesus, emphasizing that the Roman authorities wanted to free him but the Jewish leaders wanted him executed, which they achieved but God had raised him from the dead! Peter then quotes from the Old Testament that Jesus was the fulfillment of prophecy which brought Peter to the place where he called for them to repent. As he said he would, Jesus is using Peter to build his church. Jesus keeps his word and he does what he said he would do (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • How do you sense God wants to involve you in building His church?
  • 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

The simplest prayer can be the most powerful: “Your Kingdom Come, Your Will be done, On earth as in heaven”.

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By |2018-05-25T10:07:27+08:00May 29th, 2018|Week 5|0 Comments

28 MAY 2018 – Acts 3:1-2; 10 (NIV)

Scripture

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts.10 They recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

Reflection

This is the story of the healing of the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the temple. Peter and John have come to pray at about 3pm. They are walking up the steps toward the Beautiful Gate when they encounter a lame beggar. Charity was a hallmark of Judaism and beggars knew that Jewish pilgrims on their way to the temple would not ignore them on the steps. Peter and John apparently had little money but they were not lacking in generosity or authority. As Jesus’ representatives they were authorized to heal in Jesus’ name and they did! A well-known lame beggar who is now “waking and leaping and praising God” will draw some attention, which was good because soon Peter and John will need witnesses to the miracle. As one modern healed man said with joy, “It was the hand of God” (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • Is God asking you to pray for someone’s healing?
  • 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 anyone you know who is facing challenges or struggles right now. Pray for calm in the storm.

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By |2018-05-25T10:03:23+08:00May 28th, 2018|Week 5|0 Comments

25 MAY 2018 – Acts 2:42-47 (NIV)

Scripture

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Reflection

These verses (42-47) follow the account of the outpouring of the Spirit (Acts 2:5-13 – see Monday’s devotion) and non-believers coming to faith after hearing Peter’s message (Acts 2:14-46 –see yesterday’s message). Based on the sequence of events, these newly converted believers immediately started to gather with fellow believers in each other’s homes to learn what the Word teaches, to pray with and for each other, and to support each other, among other things. In today’s day and age verses 42-47 would look very similar to our Community Groups at SCF (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • Are you currently in a fellowship with believers?
  • 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 IN POWER Leaders across our world are humans, just like us, who need prayer: “… for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” – 1 Timothy 2:2-3.

Note: If you are interested in joining a CG please reach out to comgroups@scfenglish.com

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By |2018-05-18T10:00:28+08:00May 25th, 2018|Week 4|0 Comments

24 MAY 2018 – Acts 2:17-21 (NIV)

Scripture

17 “‘In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
    and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood
    before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21 And everyone who calls
    on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Reflection

“In these last days” are the days that began with the ascension of Jesus. Days which had begun, as Peter noted and would continue. It’s a new day and the promise of God spoken to Joel has started with more to come. Joel looked across time and the saw the mountain peaks, i.e. pouring of out of the Spirit, prophesying, dreams and visions, blood and fire and billows of smoke and other wonders in space. It means that Joel’s outpouring continues to be available to all who will answer the call of salvation. “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:39 (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • 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 refugees in Europe and in Hong Kong and those who serve them.

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By |2018-05-18T09:55:50+08:00May 24th, 2018|Week 4|0 Comments

23 MAY 2018 – Acts 1:9-11 (NIV)

Scripture

 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Reflection

Theologian Michael Lloyd has some great points to make about the benefit of the ascension of Jesus, including: The coronation of Christ, The exaltation of Christ AND humanity, Enabling the pouring out of the Spirit on all flesh, The commitment of God to His world and Giving us a job to do. All authority has been given to Him to make disciples of All nations, now go! An ascended Jesus is enabled to keep the promise, “surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • In which areas in your life do you need more of the outpouring of the Spirit?
  • 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 team traveling to India to care for the children of Bible translators for a week. They leave today!

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By |2018-05-18T09:51:33+08:00May 23rd, 2018|Week 4|0 Comments

22 MAY 2018 – Acts 1:1-3 (NIV)

Scripture

In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

Reflection

The person writing these introductory words is Luke, the author of the Gospel by the same name. Luke-Acts is actually not two books but two volumes of the same book. This structure emphasizes a greater point, it’s the same Jesus that we saw in the gospel who is still alive and working in and through his followers. By the Holy Spirit, Jesus is still advancing His kingdom. The rest of the Book of Acts is a telling of this story; judging by the way the “Acts of the Apostles” ends (chapter 28) it appears as if the story is still being told! (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • In what way do you feel God is asking you to join Him in advancing the kingdom?
  • 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 and praise God for one aspect of his character that is meaningful to you, confess your sin, give thanks for the good things in your life, ask for what you need.

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By |2018-05-18T11:42:17+08:00May 22nd, 2018|Week 4|0 Comments

21 MAY 2018 – Acts 2:5-8;11b-13 (NIV)

Scripture

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” 13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

Reflection

These verses describe the moment the Holy Spirit (our advocate), descended on humankind. In both John 14:15-31 and John 16:7 Jesus states the benefits of having the Holy Spirit. In addition to having the Holy Spirit as our councilor, and helper, another function of the Holy Spirit is to provide each believer with a gift of the Spirit, as the case in Acts when they were speaking in other languages for God’s glory (See 1 Corinthians 12 for gifts of the Spirit). The reason for receiving the gifts of the Spirit is not for our own benefit, or to show how mature we are in our faith, but it’s for the edification and benefit of the church (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • How are you serving/helping the local church/community?
  • 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 team traveling to India to care for the children of Bible translators for a week.

Note: Visit our website (https://www.shanghaifellowship.org/) to learn more about the various ministries at SCF where you can serve and or help.

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By |2018-05-18T09:34:05+08:00May 21st, 2018|Week 4|0 Comments

18 MAY 2018 – 1 Corinthians 12:26 (NIV)

Scripture

 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Reflection

This verse falls within the pericope entitled ‘Unity in the midst of diversity’, a concept very familiar to SCF due to our diversity. In order to explain this concept better, Paul is alluding to an analogy of the human anatomy to explain the diversity within the church. The point Paul highlights in verse 26 is when a thorn enters the heel, the whole body (the entire church) feels it, and is concerned. As a result the back bends, the belly and thighs contract themselves, the hands come forward and draw out the thorn, the head stoops, and the eyes look at the affected member with intense gaze. Similarly when the head is crowned, the whole man (entire church) feels honored and all the members rejoice. There is no superior or inferior member (ministry or gift within the church), all are equally important (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • Do you believe certain ministries or gifts are more superior than others?
  • 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 pray for someone who is near to you right now, someone you can see.

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By |2018-05-11T09:39:25+08:00May 18th, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments