Monthly Archives: December 2018

31 December 2018 – Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV)

Scripture

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

Reflection

Jesus is not original when he says that “love of neighbor” is the greatest commandment (Leviticus 19:18) It is his combination of the commandment to “love God” put together with the commandment to love one’s neighbor that opens your eyes. Love will be the hallmark of Christianity and the greatest of all the virtues. Once, in response to this teaching, someone asked Jesus, “Who then is my neighbor”. Jesus answered by telling a great story (Luke 10:24-37) and finishing with a question of his own. “Will you be a (loving) neighbor? (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about Jesus and people?
  • Do you think people can love each other out of their own capacity?
  • If yes, why do you think Jesus is commanding such a question?
  • If no, in what way do you need God’s help to love your neighbour as yourself?
  • Who can you share this passage with?

Prayer

Pray for revelation: ask God to show you something of His character, presence or beauty where you are now.

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By |2018-12-29T04:48:38+08:00December 31st, 2018|Week 5|0 Comments

28 December 2018 – Psalm 80:1-7 (NIV)

Scripture

Hear us, Shepherd of Israel,
    you who lead Joseph like a flock.
You who sit enthroned between the cherubim,
    shine forth before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
Awaken your might;
    come and save us.

Restore us, O God;
    make your face shine on us,
    that we may be saved.

How long, Lord God Almighty,
    will your anger smolder
    against the prayers of your people?
You have fed them with the bread of tears;
    you have made them drink tears by the bowlful.
You have made us an object of derision to our neighbors,
    and our enemies mock us.

Restore us, God Almighty;
    make your face shine on us,
    that we may be saved.

Reflection

This prayer has been answered and the Lord God Almighty has sent a shepherd. Jesus has come, that great Shepherd of the sheep. He will lead us in green pastures and beside still waters, he will restore our soul and in paths of righteousness. The one who has walked through the valley of the shadow of death and has passed to the other side, invites us to follow him; he knows the way.

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
(Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about Jesus and people?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • Who can you share this passage with?

Prayer

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you create a space in your calendar and a place in your life for prayer. Where?

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By |2018-12-23T23:08:31+08:00December 28th, 2018|Week 4|0 Comments

27 December 2018 – Hebrews 10:5-7 (NIV)

Scripture

Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:

“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
    but a body you prepared for me;
with burnt offerings and sin offerings
    you were not pleased.
Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—
    I have come to do your will, my God.’”

Reflection

For many years’ offerings were made and religious rituals, which included the sacrificed of animals, were carried forward in order to make up for the things we did not do or should have done. As one friend pointed out, Jesus didn’t come however to “point out” the sins of the world, he came to take them away, which he did. “I have come to do your will, my God”  (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about Jesus and people?
  • Do you live in the freedom Jesus bought for you?
  • Who can you share this passage with?

Prayer

Pray for the leaders of SCF; Elders, Ministry leaders, Staff, Community Group Leaders and all those who serve.

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By |2018-12-23T22:59:35+08:00December 27th, 2018|Week 4|0 Comments

26 December 2018 – Micah 5:2 (NIV)

Scripture

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
    one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
    from ancient times.”

Reflection

I have been to modern day Bethlehem and it is still a small town; an ornate and large church sits on top of the cave where Jesus was born. According to historian Dr. Lamont Luker, Joseph was from Bethlehem but living far north in the small town of Nazareth. In order to meet the requirements of a recent call for a government census, Joseph brought his pregnant wife Mary to his parent’s home in Bethlehem. Many family members had come “back home” for the same reason so the small, typical 2-bedroom house was overcrowded. Mary, about to give birth and needing privacy moved into the cave which housed the animals and there the Son of God was born. Thus, a large prophecy was fulfilled in a small place  (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about Jesus and people?
  • In what way did the birth of Jesus impact your life?
  • Who can you share this passage with?

Prayer

Follow the ACTS acronym in prayer: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication (Asking).

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By |2018-12-23T22:54:21+08:00December 26th, 2018|Week 4|0 Comments

25 December 2018 – Luke 1:46-55 (NIV) – Merry Christmas

Scripture

46 And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49     for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
    just as he promised our ancestors.”

Reflection

Mary’s “song” is filled with references to the legacy of her people. You will find a reference to a similar song by another woman named Hannah when she found out that she was pregnant (1 Samuel 2:1-10), a reference to Psalm 103:17 which reminds us of God’s faithfulness even we are overcome with our own frailty, principle that God exalts the humble and lowers the proud (Proverbs 3:34, Isaiah 2:11-12) and that God keeps his promises to Israel made in an eternal covenant. (Deuteronomy 7:7-8). In the end Mary doesn’t make this about her as much as she does about her people, her community. Look at what the Lord has done for us! (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about Jesus and people?
  • How can you apply Mary’s song to your community?
  • Who can you share this passage with?

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 |2018-12-23T23:09:50+08:00December 25th, 2018|Week 4|0 Comments

24 December 2018 – Luke 1:39-45 (NIV)

Scripture

39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

Reflection

This small passage is “pregnant” with meaning (pun intended!) It is the gospel writer Luke who will tell us the most about the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Early in the story of Jesus which will be carried forward by these women and others like them; we see the Holy Spirit introduced when he fills Elizabeth and when the baby John leaps within her womb. Many years later Jesus will fill others up with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4) and a certain lame man would go leaping at the sound of that name, Jesus (Acts 3:8) Oh that the name of Jesus would still set our feet to dancing even today! (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about Jesus and people?
  • How is the Holy Spirit active in your daily life?
  • Who can you share this passage with?

Prayer

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. Be still and allow the presence of Jesus to bring you rest right now.

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By |2018-12-23T22:43:09+08:00December 24th, 2018|Week 4|0 Comments

21 December 2018 – Isaiah 12:2-6 (NIV)

Scripture

Surely God is my salvation;
    I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense;
    he has become my salvation.”
With joy you will draw water
    from the wells of salvation.

In that day you will say:

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
    make known among the nations what he has done,
    and proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;
    let this be known to all the world.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
    for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

Reflection

The prophet Isaiah was active during the fall of Israel. During his time, Israel was destroyed and South Judah became decadent. It was under these circumstances, that the prophet Isaiah foretold God’s judgment and salvation when Jesus returns.

Today’s passage echoes the confidence and joy that Isaiah himself has in his salvation. This song is also an attempt to let the world know about the day of the Lord. He wanted to share the good news with the people because of the joy he experienced (Woowon).

Thoughts for the day

  • Did you know that Jesus Christ did not bring judgment but salvation to you?
  • Have you thought about bringing this good news to others especially during the Christmas season?

Prayer

Pray for those who are spiritually lost that they may surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ and receive salvation in His name.

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By |2018-12-14T13:03:27+08:00December 21st, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments

20 December 2018 – Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV)

Scripture

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Reflection

The book of Philippians is a letter written by the apostle Paul while in prison. He wrote about Jesus’s life and his nature and character. In today’s passage we read how Paul focuses on the characteristic of gentleness that leads to reconciliation. As christians we live in a hopeful anticipation of Jesus the Savior, not Jesus the Judge. Our surety lies in the knowledge through faith that He will come again. Thus, we “do not need to be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present our requests to God.” Our trust in His second coming is the basis for our peace today (Woowon).

Thoughts for the day

  • Are you living at peace today or is anxiety controlling your life?
  • How does your peace and anxiousness affect others?
  • In what is your peace and or anxiety based? Is this based in the world, people, and yourself? Or is it based in the Lord and His return?

Prayer

Pray for the nation of China.

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By |2018-12-14T13:00:29+08:00December 20th, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments

19 December 2018 – Zephaniah 3:18-20 (NIV)

Scripture

18 “I will remove from you
    all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals,
    which is a burden and reproach for you.
19 At that time I will deal
    with all who oppressed you.
I will rescue the lame;
    I will gather the exiles.
I will give them praise and honor
    in every land where they have suffered shame.
20 At that time I will gather you;
    at that time I will bring you home.
I will give you honor and praise
    among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunes
    before your very eyes,”
says the Lord.

Reflection

Following yesterday’s devotion, today’s passage is also about the joys of those who believe that Jesus will come again. We read in this passage that the ‘people of joy’ are “people who mourn over the loss of appointed festivals.” The appointed festival in this context refers to the Passover. On the actual Passover day Yahweh freed the Israelites from the oppression and bondage of Egypt. The Passover is also a foreshadow of the sacrifice of Jesus (the lamb who was slain for he sins of the world). It was through this great sacrifice that all of Israel and now Gentiles are freed and redeemed from their transgressions. Even though the Israelites experienced the first Passover, the people of Zephaniah didn’t experience that nor did they see the true Lamb. Through this passage the prophet is encouraging his readers not to loose hope. Similarly we can also draw courage and hope from this passage (Woowon).

Thoughts for the day

  • Is there anything that you need to be freed from in your life?
  • How can the understanding of the Passover help you in living a free and abundant life in Christ?

Prayer

Look around you right now at the people who are sitting near you or standing and pray for them.

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By |2018-12-14T12:57:17+08:00December 19th, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments

18 December 2018 – Zephaniah 3:14-17 (NIV)

Scripture

14 Sing, Daughter Zion;
    shout aloud, Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
    Daughter Jerusalem!
15 The Lord has taken away your punishment,
    he has turned back your enemy.
The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;
    never again will you fear any harm.
16 On that day
    they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, Zion;
    do not let your hands hang limp.
17 The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Reflection

The Book of Zephaniah was written by the king’s fellow worker, the prophet Zephaniah, during the time of King Josiah’s religious reform in an attempt to rid Judah of all her corruption and sin. This book mainly tells of the Judgment Day, which is also known as Jehovah’s Day (not to be mistaken by the religion Jehovah’s witness). Jehovah’s day will occur at the second coming of Christ and means the destruction of God’s enemies and deliverance for those who fear and serve Him. On this joyful day, the people of God are exempt from God’s wrath. Therefore, Zephaniah says he will sing for joy based on these reasons. This passage can also help us in a time of current trials and tribulations. We as Christinas can know that all earthly problems will fade away and we will rejoice with God in His presence for all eternity long (Woowon).

Thoughts for the day

  • What trials or problems currently keep you away from sharing in Zephaniah’s joy?
  • How does it make you feel, if you are a Christian, that on Judgement day, you will be delivered from the wrath of God? What feeling and attitude does it leave you with?

Prayer

Pray for the leaders of the nations of the world. Pray for the leader of your home country by name.

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By |2018-12-14T12:54:30+08:00December 18th, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments