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14 December 2018 – Luke 1:68-79 (NIV)

Scripture

68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
    because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
69 He has raised up a hornof salvation for us
    in the house of his servant David
70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
71 salvation from our enemies
    and from the hand of all who hate us—
72 to show mercy to our ancestors
    and to remember his holy covenant,
73     the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
    and to enable us to serve him without fear
75     in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
    for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
    through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
    by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
    and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

Reflection

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Whoever made up this little kids rhyme got it all wrong. Words have power and you can either use them to bless or curse. There is a reason why the presidents of nations address the people during joyous occasions or tragedies. Words have the ability to shape and frame circumstances. In this particular passage, known as the Song of Zechariah, we see a father using words to bless his child, John the Baptist, upon birth. He is using words to bless and shape (or speak prophetically) the life of his newborn son. Similarly, we can do this in our lives. We can use our words to help direct the path of the loved ones in our lives. We can choose to use words in ways that will shape them into the people God desires them to be. In the same way the Father spoke life into this world, you can speak life into people (Josh).

Thoughts for the day

  • What words do you need to hear from God to bring about life in areas of your life that needs resurrection?
  • How can you use your words to speak life into others’ lives?
  • Who do you know who can benefit from hearing this truth?

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 |2018-12-09T10:35:18+08:00December 14th, 2018|Week 2|0 Comments

13 December 2018 – Malachi 3:1-4 (NIV)

Scripture

“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.

But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.

Reflection

The process of refining gold and silver requires placing the unrefined ore into a blazing hot fire. This flame is so hot that it literally burns away everything but the gold or silver. You see, gold and silver are interesting precious metals. They can withstand heat much hotter than other elements. When purified are worth so much more than other metals. The analogy of refining by fire is interesting because of a few things. First, it can be painful. Who likes being subjected to intense fire (figuratively) in their lives? But that is what is required to burn away all the impurities in our lives. Second, we often forget that God made us much more resilient than we think we are. If we are like gold and silver, then that means that we are able to withstand that intense heat and that we are made of so much more than we think we are and capable of so much more than we think we are. We often don’t see our full worth, but God does. And He’s willing to go to the proper lengths to make us all that He sees we can be (Josh).

Thoughts for the day

  • In what way do you feel God is refining you?
  • Whom can you ask to support you during this refining period?
  • How can you supprt someone else in their refining period? ?

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 |2018-12-09T10:21:29+08:00December 13th, 2018|Week 2|0 Comments

12 December 2018 – Philippians 1:9-11 (NIV)

Scripture

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Reflection

What a great prayer Paul leaves his readers with. God is love and how often do we find ourselves either forgetting how much God loves us and or because we plainly don’t fathom the depth and insight of His love for us. In these couple of verses Paul is praying that his readers will grow in knowledge and depth of God’s love for us. It is through this insight of His love for us that we will know God’s heart and be able to discern what is best for us rendering us pure and blameless. Such an outflow of God’s love will also result in us having the fruit of righteousness, which in turn will give God all the glory. What an amazing prayer it is to pray for our Christian community and for us too (Josh).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God, Jesus and people?
  • What stands out to you in particular and why?
  • How can you apply this truth in your life?
  • Who do you know who can benefit from hearing this story or truth?

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 |2018-12-09T09:59:06+08:00December 12th, 2018|Week 2|0 Comments

11 December 2018 – Philippians 1:3-8 (NIV)

Scripture

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

Reflection

We all have that place of ministry that resonates with us so deeply that whenever we think back upon that place and people, we are thankful and filled with joy. Being a Christian in a secular world can be really difficult in a lot of ways. Being a Christian in a body of believers that you don’t mesh well with can be just as difficult. Whatever place we are currently called to, it is good to be reminded of the good times and the good friends. The power of true fellowship is such a powerful force. It fills us up, drives us and can even sustain us in difficult times. If you are in such a season of good fellowship, enjoy it! If you find yourself struggling in your current environment, remember the good times. But whatever the case, be thankful (Josh).

Thoughts for the day

  • How can you be more thankful for what you have?
  • How does being thankful effect your relationship with God and others?
  • Is there someone who comes to mind to whom you can share this truth with?

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 |2018-12-09T09:44:08+08:00December 11th, 2018|Week 2|0 Comments

10 December 2018 – Luke 3:1-6 (NIV)

Scripture

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in,
    every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
    the rough ways smooth.
And all people will see God’s salvation.’”

Reflection

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene—“. We often see passages like this in the Bible and either take a glance at them or skip them altogether to get to the “meat” of the passage. Honestly, they can be quite dry and hard to read, let alone pronouncing the names correctly! But if all scripture is God breathed, then even these mundane passages must be important. The importance of these passages is that they act as historical markers and dates that help us to know the exact era these events happened in. The Bible is audacious in this way. It dares you to say, disprove me! And surely as God is faithful, even the greatest minds cannot disprove these events (or at least when they happened and if these people really existed, hint: they did). This brings about a case of surety. It is another way in which we can truly trust the bible, that it truly is God’s written word and full of truth (Josh).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God, Jesus and people?
  • What stands out to you in particular and why?
  • How can you apply this truth in your life?
  • Who do you know who can benefit from hearing this story or truth?

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 |2018-12-09T09:38:31+08:00December 10th, 2018|Week 2|0 Comments

7 December 2018 – 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 (NIV)

Scripture

11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

Reflection

In the closing of this chapter we read a prayer Paul wrote to the Thessalonians (since Paul couldn’t have been there physically himself – see chapter 2:18). From this prayer we can learn two things that we can include in our daily prayers. Firstly, Paul prayers that God will make a way for him to visit the Thessalonians. Yes, Paul can as easily decide to visit them, however Paul understood the importance of prayer and the desire to do God’s will. For in God we live, and move, and have our being. The second point we can learn from this payer is that Paul desired for the Thessalonians (and something that we should desire for ourselves too) is to increase and abound in love towards one another (referring to the Thessalonians believers) and to all men (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • When you have to make decisions, how often do you pray before you act?
  • When you pray, do you only pray for yourself and your needs or for the others (believers and non-believers?

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 |2018-12-05T12:20:14+08:00December 7th, 2018|Week 1|0 Comments

6 December 2018 – Psalm 25:1-10 (NIV)

Scripture

In you, Lord my God,
    I put my trust.

I trust in you;
    do not let me be put to shame,
    nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in you
    will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
    who are treacherous without cause.

Show me your ways, Lord,
    teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.
Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
    for they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth
    and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
    for you, Lord, are good.

Good and upright is the Lord;
    therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
He guides the humble in what is right
    and teaches them his way.
10 All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful
    toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.

Reflection

David, who wrote the Psalms, starts this psalm by declaring how he puts his trust in God. Not in circumstances, people or worldly things. It is because of this trust and confidence in God’s promises and His character, that David can say in verse 2 and 3; no shame will over take him. However it is worth noting that God isn’t a genie that one could ask certain favours and once it’s been granted you depart from God. We clearly see in the remaining of these verses how David is asking God to show and teach him God’s ways and commandments, to guide him in the truth and to remind him of God’s love and how impossible it is for David to achieve any of this on his own account. It’s because God saved David from his sins, that David can now have the confidence to put his faith and trust in God, who would also redeem him and rescue him from shame. What a great psalm to pray to God and praise His great name (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • What do you define trust as and do you fully trust God with all of your life?
  • How often in your prayer time do you view God as a genie?
  • Do you worship God for who He is or what He can do or give to you?

Prayer

Grab your camera and go for a prayer walk with the intention of taking photos of the beauty you see in people, buildings and nature. As you pray, ask God to speak and reveal more of His creativity to you.

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By |2018-12-05T12:15:42+08:00December 6th, 2018|Week 1|0 Comments

5 December 2018 – Jeremiah 33:14-16 (NIV)

Scripture

14 “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah.

15 “‘In those days and at that time
    I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line;
    he will do what is just and right in the land.
16 In those days Judah will be saved
    and Jerusalem will live in safety.
This is the name by which it will be called:
    The Lord Our Righteous Savior.’

Reflection

In these couple of verses we see a prophecy that is timeless. In chapter 33 the prophet Jeremiah prophesied what Judah and Jerusalem would experience once they’ve returned from captivity. He declares both these two kingdoms of Israel will see their country being rebuilt to its former glory, their sins being pardoned, and their country enjoy adequacy and joy, all for the glory of God.

In a similar manner, the prophet also continues by announcing this good news is not only for Israel, but also for all those who put their faith in Jesus Christ (the righteous Branch from David’ line). We too can be restored to out former glory (the way God made us before we sinned). Our sins can also be pardoned and our lives can also be joyful all for God’s glory.

As post New Testament believers we are in a very privilege position since we read Jeremiah’s words and we also get to see in the New Testament it being fulfilled. What an incredible surety we have in this marvelous book called the Bible (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • Is there anything in the Bible that you doubt or causes you to fully trust in God’s love for you?
  • Do you live a life that reflects Jeremiah’s prophecy of Israel?

Prayer

Pray for courage; pray for opportunities to be courageously generous, loving and gracious to those around you today.

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By |2018-12-01T13:43:39+08:00December 5th, 2018|Week 1|0 Comments

4 December 2018 – Luke 21:34-36 (NIV)

Scripture

34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”

Reflection

These 3 verses follows yesterday’s parable of the second coming of Jesus Christ. Here Jesus is cautioning and counseling us at the same time that even though one will be able to realize the second coming is drawing near based on the signs. It is still very much possible to miss the signs based on everyday life issues. These verses also clearly state no one who lives on the earth will escape the second coming. Don’t be weighted down by life’s problems. Cast them on Christ so that you will know with surety (based on what Jesus did on the cross) that you will also stand one day before the Son of Man when he comes (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • Are there any issues or problems that are currently weighing you down? Are you willing to cast it on Jesus?
  • Who do you know who should hear this message?

Prayer

Pray for focus; fix your eyes back to Jesus and acknowledge Him at the center of everything.

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By |2018-12-01T13:38:17+08:00December 4th, 2018|Week 1|0 Comments

3 December 2018 – Luke 21:29-33 (NIV)

Scripture

29 He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30 When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

32 “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Reflection

In these couple of verses Jesus uses a parable to explain the awereness of the second coming. In the same way one knows summer is near based on the the leaves of a fig tree that is sprouting. Similarly, one will also know the second coming of Jesus is near based on the end time signs that are happing. See Luke 21:25-28 for more information regarding the signs for the end times.

This parable also links up very well with the Advent season we are entering. Advent is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas as well as the return of Jesus at the second coming. Advent commences on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. This is a great way to start preparing your heart for what Christ has done for you on the cross and the surety that he will come again on a cloud with power and great glory (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • In what way do you sense God wants you to prepare (either through prayer or fasting) in anticipation of Jesus’ birth?
  • Which areas of your life are you the most thankful for when it comes to the redemptive power of the cross?

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 |2018-12-01T13:34:50+08:00December 3rd, 2018|Week 1|0 Comments