Monthly Archives: June 2018

29 June 2018 – Acts 12:5-19 (NIV)

Scripture

So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.

The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.

Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.

11 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”

12 When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. 13 Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!”

15 “You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.”

16 But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. 17 Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers and sisters about this,” he said, and then he left for another place.

18 In the morning, there was no small commotion among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter. 19 After Herod had a thorough search made for him and did not find him, he cross-examined the guards and ordered that they be executed.

Reflection

This is a story that has been told with touches of the kinds of things that happen in “real life” and the humor that we experience with those touches. Peter is imprisoned and the church begins to pray for his release. An angel meets Peter in prison and leads him out through locked doors and gates into freedom. When Peter goes to the house of his friends where they are praying for him, they shut the door in his face because they can’t believe it’s him. God answers their prayer and when Rhoda tells them God has answered their prayer they tell her she is “out of her mind”! it is a good thing that God is patient with us, even when it is hard to receive the answer we have longed for (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

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 |2018-06-23T12:44:52+08:00June 29th, 2018|Week 4|0 Comments

28 June 2018 – Acts 12:1-4 (NIV)

Scripture

It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.

Reflection

In these 4 verses we witness how things don’t turn out well for John, and the author paints a picture that Peter will follow the same fate as John. All this happened not long after we read how the churches in Antioch flourished and grew large in number. We can also learn from these verses that sometimes as the case with Peter and John, situations in a Christian’s life don’t always flourish or go the way we want it to go. It is in these moments that our faith will truly reflect how much we trust God and His character (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • Are you presently going through a rough time? What do you sense God wants to tell you about who He is and His character?
  • 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 |2018-06-23T12:40:52+08:00June 28th, 2018|Week 4|0 Comments

27 June 2018 – Acts 11:27-30(NIV)

Scripture

27 During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) 29 The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea. 30 This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.

Reflection

As godly people had done for centuries, they responded to the needs of the poor. Across the kilometers, from Antioch to Jerusalem, the people of God are using their money to feed the poor. It looks different than what we saw in Acts 4:32 but the principle remains the same. What is also worthy to notice is how Christians received a prophetic word concerning a coming famine and responded before it happened (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • Is God prompting you to help with the poor, widow and or orphan?
  • 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 |2018-06-23T12:36:48+08:00June 27th, 2018|Week 4|0 Comments

26 June 2018 – Acts 11:19-26 (NIV)

Scripture

19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.

22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.

25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.

Reflection

In these couple of verses we see the expedited result of what transpired from the time Peter visited Cornelius’ home in Acts 10 to the existence of multiple Gentile churches in various provinces in Acts 11. In the preceding verses (Acts 11: 1-18) we do not only read the acceptance of Gentile inclusion from the believing Jews in Jerusalem. But we also witness multiple of Gentiles coming to faith in Antioch. So much, that the very same believing Jews who were initially opposed to Peter visiting Cornelius (see yesterday’s devotion), commissioned Barnabas to ‘pastor’ the church in Antioch. However, in verse 24 we read the church grew large in number and it became too much for Barnabas, who in turn went to find Paul to aid him in his commission to ‘pastor’ the church in Antioch (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • God’s timing is perfect. He is always on time. Which area in your life do you need to be reminded of this ?
  • 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 |2018-06-23T12:33:13+08:00June 26th, 2018|Week 4|0 Comments

25 June 2018 – Acts 11:1-5a (NIV)

Scripture

The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”

Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story: “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision.

Reflection

It is hard to underestimate the seismic shift that has taken place. Every Christian up until this point was Jewish and faithful to the covenant of Moses. God has exploded across a barrier and accepted a non-Jewish, non-covenant keeping family and made them heirs to the promise, which was once the exclusive right of the Jewish people. This was how it was always meant to be, God was not waiting any longer, he pushed forward in the Spirit and challenged His children to trust Him and to follow Him (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • Is there anything in your life you sense God is asking you to trust in Him and to follow Him?
  • 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 |2018-06-23T12:27:43+08:00June 25th, 2018|Week 4|0 Comments

22 June 2018 – Acts 10:34-48 (NIV)

Scripture

34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.

Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

Reflection

God does not “play favorites” specifically He has made available to every person the blessing and the salvation in Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter what your passport says, how old you are, what language you speak or who your family is . . . anyone can believe on the Lord Jesus and be saved. The good news of the gift of eternal life in Jesus name is spreading from a small messianic sect in Jerusalem to the worldwide community it will become and is today. Give thanks for the person or persons who brought the good news to your tribe and for the grace to believe it! (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • Who do you feel God is calling you to share the good news with ?
  • 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 |2018-06-14T11:33:56+08:00June 22nd, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments

21 June 2018 – Acts 10:24-33 (NIV)

Scripture

24 The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26 But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.”

27 While talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28 He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?”

30 Cornelius answered: “Three days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. 32 Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’ 33 So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”

Reflection

All through chapter 10 we were invited by the author to take part in the account of ‘The First Fruits of the Gentiles’. This account comes to an end in the verses following (see tomorrow’s devotion). However, it is within these couple of verses that we see God’s sovereignty at work. Both in Cornelius and Peter’s lives respectively, but also in the lives of the men sent by Cornelius, the believers who joined Peter and all the people Cornelius gathered in his home for Peter’s arrival. It is clear from this chapter that it was God’s plan and promise from the beginning to bring all – even the Gentiles – into a personal life long relationship with God and for them to be called children of the most High. God is sovereign over every little detail. All for His glory alone (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • How do you see God’s sovereignty at work in your life and in the lives of those closest to you ?
  • 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 someone you may know who is need of physical healing.

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By |2018-06-14T11:30:31+08:00June 21st, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments

20 June 2018 – Acts 10:9-23 (NIV)

Scripture

About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”

14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”

15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.

17 While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. 18 They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.

19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three[a] men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”

21 Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?”

22 The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to ask you to come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.” 23 Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests. The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the believers from Joppa went along.

Reflection

Peter was a devout Jew and had been taught since childhood which foods a Jewish person was not allowed to eat. In the dream like scene Peter sees a sheet, some think it may have been the sail from a boat, similar to one Peter would have used as a fisherman, descend with the kind of food he could not eat. As you might have guessed, Peter says, “Surely not” when invited to eat the food in the sheet but then God says, he now declares this same food to be clean. God is about ready to break another barrier, first unclean food has become clean and now non- Jewish persons will receive the promise of Father Abraham. First, however, Peter must apply his dream to the three, very specific, non-Jewish men at his door asking him to join them. Would you go? Will you go? (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 these organizations who are helping people in need: Home Sweet Home, Renewal Center and Sonflowers.

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By |2018-06-14T11:26:24+08:00June 20th, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments

19 June 2018 – Acts 10:1-7 (NIV)

Scripture

At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”

Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked.

The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.”

When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants.

Reflection

Chapter 10 is dubbed in some translations as ‘The First Fruits of the Gentiles’. It is in this chapter that we witness an entirely new phase of the Christian Church, the “opening of the door of faith to the Gentiles (you and me – unless you are from Jewish descent)”. The significance behind these verses reveals the recognition of Gentiles in terms of perfect equality with the Jews; it’s discipleship without the necessity of circumcision. It’s also interesting to note the main apostle Cornelius was asked to invite to his house was Peter. His main target audience was specifically those of the ‘circumcision’. But in this chapter God is even stretching Peter’s faith from a cultural and religious point of view by revealing to him (see tomorrow’s devotions) that the gospel is for Cornelius –  a gentile too (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • Do you sometimes find yourself hesitant, either because of logic, cultural traditions, and or social status, to share the gospel with a certain people/s and or a group?
  • How is God stretching or challenging your faith these days?
  • 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

Identify anything that is making you weary or burdened and give it back to God.

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By |2018-06-14T11:23:40+08:00June 19th, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments

18 June 2018 – Acts 9:36-41 (NIV)

Scripture

36 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor. 37 About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38 Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!”

39 Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.

40 Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. 41 He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive.

Reflection

If this story sounds familiar, it should. In the Gospel of Mark, chapter 5, Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead. Although the stories are similar they are not identical; for example, Dorcas was gradually restored and Peter took care not to touch her until she was fully healed. We should not be surprised that Jesus’ disciples would do very much the same kinds of things that He did; this was part of the commission. (Matthew 10:8) They did what they saw Jesus do, we can do no less (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • Is there a specific aspect or area in your life that needs Jesus’ resurrection power?
  • 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 persecuted Church, our brothers and sisters across the world who are made to suffer because they are Christian. For more information about who is being persecuted and how to pray, visit www.opendoorsuk.org.

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By |2018-06-14T11:16:48+08:00June 18th, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments