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26 April 2019 – Mark 15:42-47 (NIV)

Scripture

42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. 45 When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.

Reflection

Verse 44 might at first glance seem like just another sentence in the Bible forming part of the overall narrative of Jesus’ burial. However, due to this sentence, it disproves and eliminates any objection of any kind concerning Jesus’ resurrection and the fact that he never died. Pilate’s request for a medical confirmation of Jesus’ death (and not just taking Joseph of Arimathea’s word) confirms the truth that Jesus was dead.

Jesus’ resurrection is fundamental to the Gospel. Without His resurrection, it would’ve been just another death on Golgotha. But because Jesus died and rose again, death has no hold over Christians who profess Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Similarly, we too will resurrect after we passed away. We are not immune to physical death, but because of Jesus, we are exempt from eternal spiritual death (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
  • What does this passage tell you about humanity?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

Bring to mind some of the qualities of God that you know to be true, then spend time giving thanks to God for who He is.

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By |2019-04-25T10:33:48+08:00April 26th, 2019|Week 4|0 Comments

25 April 2019 – Mark 15:33-36 (NIV)

Scripture

33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”

36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.

Reflection

Scholars assert the darkness that came over the land from noon until three in the afternoon was a foreshadow of the darkness Jesus would endure for the following 3 days alone without God’s presence in hell. Such an absence of God’s presence can also be assigned to Jesus’ last words on the cross ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ The three hours of darkness is also a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies as seen Amos 8:9 and Jeremiah 15:9. In order for Jesus to completely atone for all our sins, he had to take our punishment (an eternal absence of God’s presence aka hell) upon himself. He had to do this since the Bible says the penalty of sin is death. Not a physical death but a spiritual eternal death from God’s presence.

May this passage encourage you of the Father’s love towards you. He loved you so much that He gave His only son, who took your punishment upon himself, so that you can have an eternal relationship with God. What a gift!! (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
  • What does this passage tell you about humanity?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

Read the Bible verse above a few times, slowly, and note any words or phrases that jump out to you. Pray for wisdom and revelation as you take time in God’s presence.

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By |2019-04-24T10:12:24+08:00April 25th, 2019|Week 4|0 Comments

24 April 2019 – Mark 15:16-20 (NIV)

Scripture

16 The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. 17 They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. 18 And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” 19 Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

Reflection

In this account we see the Roman soldiers mock Jesus by asserting He’s the King of the Jews. The irony of this statement is the very same people who wanted Jesus dead and initiated all of this were Jews. These Jewish people clearly didn’t see Jesus as their King or at least an earthly king who would save the people from Rome’s rule. Their eyes were blinded and couldn’t see Jesus was a King of a heavenly Kingdom, who came to save them from their sin and not Rome. Thus, by putting a purple robe on Jesus (which signifies royalty), placing a crown (of thorns) on Jesus and paying respect (falsely) to Him, the soldiers took elements associated to royalty to make fun of Jesus and the whole situation.

Similarly, we can sometimes also get so ‘blinded’ by our immediate situations, that we completely fail to see the real reason what Jesus wants to do in our lives or wants to save us from.

(Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
  • What does this passage tell you about humanity?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

Short prayers for the day, “Jesus; let me see you”, “God, I belong to you”, “Holy Spirit, come”

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By |2019-04-24T07:30:30+08:00April 24th, 2019|Week 4|0 Comments

23 April 2019 – Mark 14:22-25 (NIV)

Scripture

22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”

23 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.

24 “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. 25 “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

Reflection

This account of Jesus’ life explains what is about to take place and why Jesus came to earth in the first place. The reference to Jesus breaking the bread resembles his broken body and the suffering he endured on our behalf, and the wine represents His blood that was shed on our behalf for our sins. By commemorating the Holy Communion, we remind ourselves of the high price Jesus paid on the cross for us so that we can now be called children of God. It’s not because of what we have done that renders us redeemed but it’s because of what Jesus have done that makes us co-heirs with Christ. Receive this amazing gift, accept it, live it out and share it with others (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • Why are you personally grateful for Jesus’ crucifixion?
  • What does this passage tell you about God and Jesus?
  • What does this passage tell you about people?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

PRAY FOR GOD’S KINGDOM TO COME 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 |2019-04-19T11:46:45+08:00April 23rd, 2019|Week 4|0 Comments

22 April 2019 – Mark 14:1-2; 10-11 (NIV)

Scripture

Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.”

10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

Reflection

In these couple of verses we witness how deceitful and hypocritical (religious) people can be. It’s interesting to note that the chief priests and teachers didn’t only want to banish or imprison Jesus, but they wanted him dead. They despised him so much that they wanted to silence Him once for all. Verse 1 tells us the chief priest and teachers were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly with the aim to kill him. The government aka Pilate didn’t find any wrongdoing on Jesus part (Mark 15:14) but it was the priest and religious teachers who wanted him dead. It’s astonishing to read how the priests and teachers were able to convince and justify not only to themselves but also to the crowd that it’s okay to murder an innocent man over Barabbas who actually committed murder (Mark 15:7).

In the same way, we can very easily sometimes justify to ourselves certain actions to be right (regardless the extend of severity), but in actual fact, we end up only deceiving ourselves for our own personal gain/revenge. This is one of the reasons why Christian community plays such a vital role in every believer’s life. It keeps us accountable and helps us to keep our eyes on Jesus and not to loose perspective (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • What measures do you have put in place to keep you accountable and not to loose perspective?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

Pray the promises of God. Remind yourself of God’s character and power by finding a promise from God that speaks to you. Reflect and pray on it today.

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By |2019-04-19T11:43:07+08:00April 22nd, 2019|Week 4|0 Comments

19 April 2019 – Philippians 2:6-11 (NIV)

Scripture

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Reflection

Before becoming human, Jesus pre-existed in glory and in equality with God but unlike Adam and all of humanity who tried to seize equality with God, Jesus chose not to exploit his status as God rather he emptied himself of status, became human, he became a servant of humanity but even more he allowed himself to be humiliated by being obedient to the Father by going to his death through Roman execution. Through God’s power Jesus’ death has been reversed by his resurrection and now God has highly exalted Jesus as the king of all; giving him the name that is above all names. In the things that happened to Jesus we can know who he is and we can know who God is. We also have an example to follow – Jesus (thebibleproject.com) (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God and Jesus?
  • What does this passage tell you about people?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

Pray for people to join the work of proclaiming the good news, “Jesus is Risen”, to a lost and dying world.

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By |2019-04-12T12:05:32+08:00April 19th, 2019|Week 3|0 Comments

18 April 2019 – Psalm 31:5 (NIV)

Scripture

Into your hands I commit my spirit;
    deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.

Reflection

In the first four verses the psalmist, most likely David, is in some real trouble, like one caught in a net. What is also real is his trust in God; God’s commitment to see justice done and his ability to deliver. When Jesus quotes this verse from the cross, he only quotes the first half, “Into your hands I commit my spirit” The word “your” indicates the intimacy Jesus has with the heavenly Father, the one he calls “Abba”, a name of endearment. He does not ask his Father to deliver him, to save him from the cross. The Father and the Son have something altogether different in mind; the Father will not rescue him from the cross; he will raise him from the dead!  (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God and Jesus?
  • What does this passage tell you about people?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

ACKNOWLEDGE GOD’S POWER As humans, we can forget that ultimately, God has created the world and is not absent from it but all-powerful in it: “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all who live in it.” – Psalm 34.

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By |2019-04-12T11:59:41+08:00April 18th, 2019|Week 3|0 Comments

17 April 2019 – Luke 19:37-38 (NIV)

Scripture

37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Reflection

Welcome to the Festival of the Passover! Bless you as you enter; we bless you with peace – hosanna! “What Jesus implied (Matthew 21:42, 45) the crowd enthusiastically embraces.” ‘Hosanna’ means save. The man who has fed them, healed them, delivered them and raised their dead is welcomed into the capital city as a Savior and rightfully so. He WILL save them but not the way they anticipate. He will save them by offering his life as a sacrifice, he will take their place and take on himself their/our penalty – the penalty is spiritual death and Jesus will pay it on our behalf. This a victors welcome but there is still price to be paid – Jesus knew it and so should we (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • Is Jesus the Savior in every part of your life?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

Pray for our sister international fellowships; AGIF, ICS, SWIF, TEF as we celebrate Easter on Sunday.

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By |2019-04-12T11:49:57+08:00April 17th, 2019|Week 3|0 Comments

16 April 2019 – Psalm 118:1-2 (19-29) (NIV)

Scripture

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

Let Israel say:
    “His love endures forever.”

Reflection

The Servant has been told that hardship is coming, gross and inhumane hardship. (Mark 15:16-20) He is also told ahead of time that all of this This Psalm begins with a familiar and joyful call to worship and will end the same way it begins. (118:29) As the celebrants gather, their joy is anchored in the stirring memories of God’s great and mighty deeds; of rescue and battles won. It is a good thing that his “love endures forever” because our King will need this enduring love and a timely victory to win the day. Before the struggle is over he will have a new song of praise and we will sing it with him. Our King is exalted on high! (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • During difficult times do you remember God’s love endures forever?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

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.

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By |2019-04-12T11:41:14+08:00April 16th, 2019|Week 3|0 Comments

15 April 2019 – Isaiah 50:6-7 (NIV)

Scripture

I offered my back to those who beat me,
    my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face
    from mocking and spitting.
Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
    I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
    and I know I will not be put to shame.

Reflection

The Servant has been told that hardship is coming, gross and inhumane hardship. (Mark 15:16-20) He is also told ahead of time that all of this will happen in a courtroom, the last place where the Servant or anyone for that matter, should have to experience this kind of humiliation. (Mark 15:3) Yet, someone, somewhere believes that they are doing the “right” thing. With the knowledge that he will stand before a higher court and be vindicated, the Servant endures the shame. Jesus once said, that we love darkness rather than the light. (John 3:19) Darkness is descending but we can still choose to love the light; it’s not too late. (Mark 15:39) (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

Pray for the children of Cambodia and those who work with them.

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By |2019-04-12T11:36:36+08:00April 15th, 2019|Week 3|0 Comments