Monthly Archives: January 2019

18 January 2019 – Micah 4:3 (NIV)

Scripture

He will judge between many peoples
    and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
    and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
    nor will they train for war anymore.

Reflection

This passage from Micah (which is also from Isaiah 2:2-4) prophesies of the day that God’s Messiah will bring judgment and peace to the world. If history has taught us anything, it is that humans, left to our own devices, cannot accomplish lasting peace. Charismatic leaders, institutions, philosophical ideas, and the accumulation of wealth have all failed and not enough to overcome the simple fact that we are fallen and subject to our own sinful behavior.

But in His mercy and grace, God sent His one and only son to the world. Jesus the Christ lived a perfect life and died as a sacrifice for us all, and through Him, we can have peace – peace both in our hearts, but also for eternity in Heaven (Charlie).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God, Jesus and man?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through these passages?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you can share this message with?

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 |2019-01-13T04:08:07+08:00January 18th, 2019|Week 3|0 Comments

17 January 2019 – 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

The Greek for “love” in this verse is not phileo, which means friendly affection, but agapao, the commitment of devotion that is directed by the will and can be commanded as duty. Jesus is telling us that the greatest commandment is that we are to love God holistically – with our heart, mind and soul. At that time, religious leaders preached the importance of doing things as the ultimate expression of piety. Jesus proclaimed (using Old Testament scripture) that those are things secondary to God’s primary desire for our lives, which is that we lovingly submit to Him from the inside, with the full understanding that our outward behavior will be an extension of our inward state.

Are you fully in love with God such that your He has captured your heart, mind and soul? Are you a holistic faith or are there areas of your life which Christ has not yet penetrated fully? If there are, open up yourself to Him in trustful prayer and ask that the Holy Spirit continue the good work of sanctifying all parts of your life so that you are fulfilling the greatest commandment (Charlie).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God, Jesus and man?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through these passages?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you can share this message with?

Prayer

Pray for the nation of China.

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By |2019-01-13T04:05:49+08:00January 17th, 2019|Week 3|0 Comments

16 January 2019 – Micah 6:8 (NIV)

Scripture

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

Reflection

The Prophet Micah is responding to the religious notion that God desires burnt offerings and sacrifices. The modern corollary is that God wants us to give money, be punctual every Sunday to church, and to learn how to pray in such a way as to sound pious and righteous.

But that is not what God truly He desires. He wants our hearts to be transformed. He wants us to conform to His image, which means that we love what is good, just and merciful. And that we ourselves live lives of justice and mercy.

What does that mean in our daily lives? Do we treat our colleagues and neighbors with mercy and grace? Do we act justly? Do we pursue humility? True worship is not simply through sacrifices, nice songs and financial offerings. True worship is when our lives are offered as living sacrifices so that God’s goodness may be known daily through our actions (Charlie).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God, Jesus and man?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through these passages?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you can share this message with?

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 |2019-01-13T04:02:11+08:00January 16th, 2019|Week 3|0 Comments

15 January 2019 – Matthew 10:35-36 (NIV)

Scripture

35 For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36     a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

Reflection

There is a cost to discipleship.

Suffering is not a popular message. People today do all that they can to avoid discomfort and sacrifice. We want a religion that conforms to our lives as opposed to us conforming our lives to a religion. We want to have experiences that are affirming, convenient, and easy, which makes this passage so fascinating.

Jesus quotes these verses from Micah at the height of his popularity. People were following Jesus to experience His blessings and miracles firsthand, but in this verse he responds by telling them that there is a COST to being His disciple.

So, what are the costs? Basically anything that has supremacy in our hearts over Christ alone. For some, that is career. For others, vanity. While for others, it is family. And while God affirms and values the institution of family, He alone must be at the center of our lives. All other things are secondary, which can be destructive for some families in which allegiance to family dynamics are not to be challenged.

What is the cost of following Jesus for you? Is it reputation? Pleasure? Friendships? Romantic relationships? Wealth? Status? Whatever it is, nothing compares to the greatness of knowing Christ Jesus as Lord (Phil 3:8) (Charlie).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God, Jesus and man?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through these passages?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you can share this message 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 |2019-01-13T03:58:15+08:00January 15th, 2019|Week 3|0 Comments

14 January 2019 – Matthew 2:5-6 (NIV)

Scripture

“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Reflection

In this passage, the chief priests and scribes (the modern day religious leaders whom Jesus would later criticize) told King Herod that the Christ, the messiah whom they had been waiting for, was born in Bethlehem, fulfilling a prophecy from Micah. This is one of the great ironies of Christ’s birth story – that the savior of mankind was born of humble and lowly origins.

God is glorified through the humble and lowly. The world may see us as without value, but God will use us for His glory. Just as Bethlehem would “by no means be the least among” the tribes of Israel because of His plan for that otherwise obscure town, God will also make His love and power manifest through us as we humbly submit to Him.

Humility in Christ is strength. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (I Peter 5:5). God guides the humble in what is right, and teaches them his way (Psalm 25:9).

God crowns the humble with salvation (Psalm 149:4). Therefore, let us be to God’s plan as Bethlehem was to God’s salvation story: let us be open to God working in us – not despite but because of our humility (Charlie).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God, Jesus and man?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through these passages?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you can share this message with?

Prayer

Ask God to deliver you from your troubles to protect you from the evil one and deliver you from temptation.

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By |2019-01-13T03:54:09+08:00January 14th, 2019|Week 3|0 Comments

11 January 2019 – Matthew 2:13-15 – Part 2 (NIV)

Scripture

13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Reflection

The life of Jesus gives hope in every situation we might face. We read in these passages how from an infant stage, Jesus’ life wasn’t all perfect. Yes, he was perfect in the sense that he never sinned, but it wasn’t without any trials and hardships. From an early stage in Jesus’s life he had to flee for his life. There was multiple times where people plotted to murder him. Jesus knows what it feels like to be a refugee. He had to flee his country. He knew what it felt like to be betrayed. He understood how it hurts when you loose someone. He knows how it feels to be treated unfairly. He experienced the worse kind of torture imaginable. Jesus experienced it all. So next time when you find yourself in any of these situations, know that Jesus experienced it as well. Run to Him. He knows. He understands. Take your sorrow, tears, and heartache to Him. He restores the broken hearted and lifts us up on wings like eagles. He is our refuge and strong tower. In and through Him we can do all things. He is our Saviour (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • Is there anything you are experiencing that you feel no one understands? Have you taken it to Jesus?
  • How will these verses impact your life going forward?
  • Is there anyone you can share this message with?

Prayer

As you travel on your daily journey, take a few minutes to pray through your day before it starts: any tricky classes, meetings or people you’ll encounter in your day. Then after your day is done, take time to give everything back to God again as you travel home.

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By |2019-01-04T06:19:25+08:00January 11th, 2019|Week 2|0 Comments

10 January 2019 – Matthew 2:13-15 (NIV)

Scripture

13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Reflection

Again we see how the New Testament writers employed an Old Testament prophecy to point to Jesus as the Saviour. But what’s worth noting in this story is 1) Joseph wasn’t aware of Herod’s evil plan. 2) God told Joseph not only of the plot against Jesus’ life but also a way out. 3) Joseph left during that night. These couple of verses reveals that God is sovereign over everything and knows everything. The devil can plot evil plans against us, but God ultimately has the final say. In this case, it was not part of God’s story for Herod to fulfill his plan. God informed Joseph of the current situation and also told him what to do. God doesn’t leave us in the dark. He looks after his children.

Interesting enough is we don’t read how Joseph protested and or said ‘I will go in the morning’. He left immediately. Such an act requires an immense amount of faith. To put in into perspective, think back how long it took you to decide if you would move to China. He packed up that very same night and left with his newborn baby and wife to a new country. Based on these verses we can see God’s sovereignty over everything. We witness God’s provision for His children and at the same time, to walk according to God’s plans, it requires faith from our side (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • In what way have you experienced God’s provision in your life?
  • Based on the above question, whom can you share or encourage your story with?
  • Are there any situations God is asking you to place your faith in Him but you are struggling?

Prayer

Take time to praise today. If you’ve got a phone and headphones, carve out time today to listen to worship music, or a song that helps you to connect with God. Start and end your regular routine with praise (remember, you don’t have to sing out loud!).

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By |2019-01-04T06:15:54+08:00January 10th, 2019|Week 2|0 Comments

9 January 2019 – 1 Peter 2:9-10 (NIV)

Scripture

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Reflection

Peter is writing this epistle to newly converted Jews who not only experienced opposition from the existing Jewish community, but also during a time where the government of Rome persecuted Christians on a big scale. It is during such a time that Peter is writing to these newly Christians to remain strong in their faith. Since the readers are mainly newly converted Jews who hold the Old Testament in a very high regard, he uses Hosea 1:10 to affirm, encourage and to put their minds at ease that even the prophets in the OT was talking about the Messiah and the hope that rests within their salvation. He uses the OT scriptures to give them a sense of security that their persecution isn’t in vain but that even the prophets spoke of this Hope they have (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • Similarly that the OT gave a sense of security and hope to the newly converted Jews in times of trials and hardships, where do you turn to for your hope and security during hard times?
  • Is there anyone in your circle of influence that places their hope and security in something other than Jesus?
  • How can you apply this passage in your own life?

Prayer

Use a specific part of your daily commute as a prayer prompt. Perhaps you pass the same landmark or station every day; or maybe your journey involves a few different types of transport. Build a connection, so that when you reach a certain part of your journey, you’re prompted to pray for a certain situation or people.

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By |2019-01-04T06:11:48+08:00January 9th, 2019|Week 2|0 Comments

8 January 2019 – Romans 9:25-26 – Part 2 (NIV)

Scripture

25 As he says in Hosea:

“I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people;
    and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”

26 and,

“In the very place where it was said to them,
    ‘You are not my people,’
    there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’”

Reflection

Following yesterday’s passage, Paul employed very strategically a passage from the Old Testament (Hosea 2:23) in a response to the Jews’ obvious claim that salvation in the Old Testament (OT) isn’t inclusive of Gentiles. Since Paul knew they would make such a claim, he purposefully quoted Hosea to show that it was God’s plan all along to include the Gentiles into his salvation plan. Paul used the very same medium they would’ve used to counter his argument to support his claim. One can just imagine what a great wave of freedom and hope this message must’ve brought the Gentile readers upon hearing this statement. Not only did God have them in mind from the very beginning, but us also living in Shanghai in the 21st century (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • After reading these passages what emotions or feelings are you left with? Is it feelings of hope or joy and why?
  • Based on the previous question, is there anyone whom you can share your insight to?
  • Knowing that Paul strategically used an OT passage to counter and support his claim at the same time, what thoughts come to mind regarding such a clever usage of writing?

Prayer

Flick on a news site on your phone or computer and pray for a situation that is evolving today and the people involved.

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By |2019-01-04T06:07:59+08:00January 8th, 2019|Week 2|0 Comments

7 January 2019 – Romans 9:25-26 (NIV)

Scripture

25 As he says in Hosea:

“I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people;
    and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”

26 and,

“In the very place where it was said to them,
    ‘You are not my people,’
    there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’”

Reflection

In the preceding chapters Paul was arguing that justification and salvation is only found through faith in Jesus Christ and not by works of the Law, nor by Moses nor by being a Jew. Paul quotes Hosea 2:23 to drive the point home that all peoples (not only Jewish people) have now access to be called ‘children of the living God’. This was a big paradigm shift for the Jewish people at that time, since Israel was declared God’s chosen nation, which contained multiple benefits including salvation for them alone. So as far as a Jewish person was concerned it was only them that could be rightfully called ‘children of the living God’.

But in these verses Paul states salvation in particular, is not based on nationality, ethnicity, or religion (as some of the Jewish people thought), but solely in Christ though faith. By declaring this bold theological statement, Paul is announcing Christianity has become an all-inclusive faith (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • Based on these verses, is there anyone you know who believes Christianity isn’t for them?
  • How would you go about in explaining to them that through Jesus’ resurrection they too have access to Him?
  • How can you apply these verses in your own life?

Prayer

Look around and pray. It’s easy to forget to pay attention when making the same journey every day. Use your travel time to look around and pray for what you see. Pray for the buildings you pass; the people you see, your fellow travelers. Invite God’s presence to show you your commute through His eyes.

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By |2019-01-04T06:04:34+08:00January 7th, 2019|Week 2|0 Comments