Week 2

12 April 2019 – John 12:8 (NIV)

Scripture

You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

Reflection

Yesterday we read Jesus’ response to Judas Iscariot’s question as seen in verse 5 namely ‘why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages’. Judas Iscariot wasn’t really concerned about the poor, but he was only thinking of himself. Verse 6 tells us he was a thief who helped himself from the moneybag, thus knowing the perfume is worth a year’s wages, he will benefit more from it.

With such a response (v.8) Jesus is not only revealing Judas Iscariot’s sinful nature, but also reminds those around him, not to get fixed on worldly concerns (even if it seems nobble like taking care of the poor), and in the midst of it all, forget about Him.

We can learn from this account that it’s easy to sometimes fool ourselves by justifying certain actions, regardless how noble it sounds, and forget about Jesus and seeking Him first. Let Jesus always search your heart to discover the real intentions behind your motives (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • How easily can you justify your actions, regardless the degree of nobleness, to benefit your own personal interest?
  • 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

Pray for a specific situation where you need God’s presence. Invite the Holy Spirit into the place where you (or another) need help, guidance or peace.

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By |2019-04-11T09:33:08+08:00April 12th, 2019|Week 2|0 Comments

11 April 2019 – John 12:7 (NIV)

Scripture

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.

Reflection

It’s interesting to note, this account as seen in chapter 12 occurs six days before Passover. There’s a direct correlation between the Old Testament’s Passover events and that of Jesus’ crucifixion. On the same day (10th day of the first month) the Israelites had to choose an unblemished lamb to be slaughtered for there sins. Jesus (being sinless and a substitute for the unblemished lamb) entered Jerusalem on a donkey. On the 14th day of the first month, the unblemished lamb had to be offered for the sins of the Israelites. On the 14th day Jesus was crucified for the sins of the whole world – once and for all.

It is with this in mind, that Jesus told the disciples; Mary saved the perfume (which was equivalent to one year’s of wages (v. 5) for his burial to show her respect and unconditional love towards him. Through this selfless and loving act of Mary, we can now join in Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection and know we too stand blameless before God due to what Jesus did on the cross for us (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • 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

Pray for a renewed sense of the Holy Spirit with you.

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By |2019-04-10T11:18:35+08:00April 11th, 2019|Week 2|0 Comments

10 April 2019 – Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV)

Scripture

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Reflection

In these couple of verses, Paul encourages a Christian community to follow his example, to make Christ the center of their lives, whilst keeping the end goal/reward in mind – heaven. Paul understood that Christians may differ in their sentiments about various matters, but by employing the truth that Christ should be every Christian’s all, it forms the base for a like-minded attitude. Regardless of the smaller issues, Christians all have one truth in common which is to unite them and to help them overcome smaller issues since everyone’s main goal is to make Christ their all in all.

This is a great example for the church today, especially SCF that is made up of various countries, cultures, and denominations. Note, Paul is not saying it’s wrong to disagree on small matters, but for the sake of the unity of the body of Christ, keep this one truth in mind since it cuts through all barriers and produces a Christ like-minded attitude (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • When you disagree with fellow Christians, how do you deal with it?
  • Knowing that as Christians we should strive towards making Christ our all in all, how will it help you to overcome smaller issues within a Christian community.
  • 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

Pray (silently) for the people who are seated close to you as you read this.

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By |2019-04-09T20:23:13+08:00April 10th, 2019|Week 2|0 Comments

09 April 2019 – Psalm 126:5-6 (NIV)

Scripture

Those who sow with tears
    will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
    carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
    carrying sheaves with them.

Reflection

Yesterday we read, how the author encouraged Israel that God has not forgotten about them in the midst of their captivity in Babylon. In today’s passage we read a response in reference to Israel’s deliverance and return out of Babylon. This psalm is not only speaking about the physical return out of captivity from Babylon, but it also points towards the spiritual return out of captivity from sin. The author parallels both these two themes along side each other, to indicate 1) those who have returned out of captivity are called to be thankful (Ps. 126:1-3) and 2) those Israelites who have yet to return from captivity are prayed for (v.4) and are encouraged (vv.5-6).

What we can learn from this passage is 1) to be thankful for Christ’s redemption in our lives 2) to continue to pray for and to encourage those who are not yet believers, and or those who are believers who find themselves in a difficult place to keep faith and hope in the One who saves us (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • In which category do you find yourself currently (1, 2 or both?) and what should your response be?
  • 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

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 |2019-04-04T11:59:40+08:00April 9th, 2019|Week 2|0 Comments

08 April 2019 – Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)

Scripture

18 “Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.

Reflection

Chapter 43 is written to the Israelites who currently find themselves in captivity in Babylon, but the author writes to encourage them and to let them know God has not forgotten about them.

Verse 18 is a reference to verses 16 and 17 where God freed the Israelites from Pharaoh’s oppression. Often for the encouragement of our faith and hope we need to be reminded of events in the past that speaks of God’s faithfulness, so that it can boost our current faith and hope. But for the author to state in verse 18 to forget about the former things, is not to discredit the principle in verses 16 and 17, but to reassure the audience, God’s mercies are new every day. They don’t have to hold onto ‘old’ mercies that belong to previous generations, similar to hand-me-downs; but God has fresh and new mercies for them. He is doing a new thing in their lives.

In a similar way, be reminded of past events in your life to boost your faith, but don’t cling to them. God has new mercies for you each day. Open up your heart and see what new things He has in store for you (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • How do you boost your faith and hope?
  • 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

“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 |2019-04-04T11:56:50+08:00April 8th, 2019|Week 2|0 Comments

15 March 2019 – Luke 4:9-13 (NIV)

Scripture

The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you carefully;
11 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

Reflection

Knowing the Bible is very important especially in times of trials and suffering. But understanding the Bible is equally important. Note how the devil uses God’s Word accurately by quoting Psalm 91:11 -12 to Jesus, but the difference rests in the understanding of the passage. Scholars use the term exegesis to describe interpreting the Bible in an accurate manner. The opposite is called eisegesis. It is so easy to commit eisegesis if we don’t understand and interpret the Bible correctly and the result could be catastrophic. Knowing the Bible is important, but understanding what it says is equally important. It is through understanding the Scripture that real transformation can happen (Con).

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

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 |2019-03-14T09:37:50+08:00March 15th, 2019|Week 2|0 Comments

14 March 2019 – Luke 4:1-8 (NIV)

Scripture

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”

Reflection

These couple of verses provides a great insight into the deceptive nature of the devil. Note in verse 3 how the devil takes a truth and changes it just slightly to cause doubt. The devil was addressing and questioning Jesus’ identity by asking ‘if you are the son of God….’ We see the same tactic in the garden of Eden where the serpent took the truth and changed it slightly to cause doubt by asking ‘Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Gen. 3:1). The only difference was, Jesus knew the truth. He knew who he was and he knew the Scripture to combat the devil’s question (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • When the devil accuses you or sow doubt in your mind, how do you respond?
  • 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

Grab a piece of paper, and write down the different parts of your life where you want to rely on God more. Perhaps your work, time, money or relationships. Then pray through each one and invite God to be present.

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By |2019-03-14T09:36:27+08:00March 14th, 2019|Week 2|0 Comments

13 March 2019 – Psalm 91:9-12(NIV)

Scripture

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

Reflection

Yesterday we saw the Hebrew verb ‘dwell’ carries a continuous abiding nuance with the Most High. In today’s passage the author wants to encourage and affirm his readers that those who dwell in such a manner has the freedom to make God’s dwelling place their own. The word ‘dwelling’ in Hebrew translates as a habitation or an abode of God, which has an OT connotation to the Tabernacle or the Temple where God’s presence resided. Through using this word the author wants to encourage the readers that they can now be at home with God. We can freely converse with him, delight in him, and depend upon him. God welcomes us (as his inhabitants), with open arms in his place of dwelling. Another notion behind God welcoming us is very similar to a person-receiving asylum in a new country. They are now inhabitants (for ever) in their new dwelling place (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • Do you pray out of duty or because out of a desire to spend time with God?
  • 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

Do you feel comfortable and at home in God’s presence or his dwelling place?

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By |2019-03-10T19:38:14+08:00March 13th, 2019|Week 2|0 Comments

12 March 2019 – Psalm 91:1-2 (NIV)

Scripture

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Reflection

It’s interesting to note the Hebrew word for the English word ‘dwell’ as seen in this passage carries the notion similar to inhabitants who remain or settle somewhere. It can even be seen to go as far as comparing it with a marriage (to marry). Note the verb in Hebrew is a continuous tense, which indicates it’s not just a once of action. Nor can you start the action and ‘divorce’ it later on as the comparison of a marriage indicates. By employing this verb with it’s various nuances, the author of this psalm is telling his readers to ‘dwell’ in the shelter of the Most High, requires a life long, continuous action or relationship. He continuous by stating those who dwell in such a way (not out of obligation or what one can get out of it, but because one gets to and wants to) will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. It’s also worth mentioning the word ‘rest’ doesn’t equate to prosperity or a carefree life. Instead those who dwell in the Most High will find their strength from that place of resting in the Almighty (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • Do you dwell on a continuous basis with God?
  • 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

Remembering to give thanks can be a challenge, especially when things are difficult. Take a moment to stop and recall 3 things you’re thankful for – from the weather, to what you’ve eaten, to the people who are around you in this moment.

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By |2019-03-10T19:39:03+08:00March 12th, 2019|Week 2|0 Comments

11 March 2019 – Deuteronomy 26:1-2 (NIV)

Scripture

When you have entered the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance and have taken possession of it and settled in it, take some of the firstfruits of all that you produce from the soil of the land the Lord your God is giving you and put them in a basket. Then go to the place the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name.

Reflection

These verses capture 3 points that is worth noting. Firstly, note God gave the land to the Israelites. It wasn’t theirs from the start, they did not work to acquire it nor were they entitled to have it; it was given to them by God (since everything belongs to Him). Secondly, God requires the first fruit of their produce (in our case it might be our salaries) as an offering to Him. The term first fruits carry a notion of that which is considered the best of what you have. The reason behind this concept serves a dual purpose. Firstly, it’s a way of thanking God for everything He has given us. Think of it in terms of taking a portion of God’s gift to us and give it back to Him as a way to thank Him for His provision in our lives. Secondly, it also helps us to refrain from getting caught up in worldly possessions and desires, but to always put God first. Thirdly, notice how the Israelites have to take their first fruits to a place God will choose for them as a dwelling place. The dwelling place is equivalent to a church where one worships God and notice the words “God will choose’. The Israelites had to ask God where to take their first fruit. It wasn’t a random dwelling place or a couple of dwelling places, but one specific place and once they have settled on that dwelling place, they gave their first fruits on a regular basis (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • Do you consider your ‘produce’ as something that is not your own but God’s?
  • Do you offer a portion of your produce to God on a regular basis?
  • Do you randomly bring your first fruits to any dwelling place or have you prayed to which one you should give?
  • 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 |2019-03-10T19:32:57+08:00March 11th, 2019|Week 2|0 Comments