Week 2

15 February 2019 – Hebrews 2:17-18 (NIV)

Scripture

17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Reflection

In the closing verses of chapter 2 we gain an insight into Jesus’ true nature and role for humankind. In the Old Testament we read only the high priest was able to access the holies of holies and this was done only once a year (on the day of atonement). The high priest acted as a representative or mediator for Israel to make amends for their sins. But in the New Testament Jesus has assumed the responsibility of our high priest (because he is sinless) by taking on himself all of our iniquities and sins, and through the death on the cross and his resurrection, became our representative and mediator. Through this act we can now have access (not only once a year) but on a daily basis to God’s throne (Con)

Thoughts for the day

  • Knowing the high price that has been paid for you to have access to God’s throne room, how often do you spend time with God?
  • What does this passage tell you about God, Jesus and man?
  • 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 can share this message 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 |2019-02-12T12:45:41+08:00February 15th, 2019|Week 2|0 Comments

14 February 2019 – Hebrews 2:9 (NIV)

Scripture

But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

Reflection

So far we have read and seen how the writer of Hebrews have been successfully advocating for Jesus’ supremacy over everything, including the angles. In this verse we see how Jesus takes it upon himself – purposefully to become lower than the angels (an equal to mankind) so that he can die an excruciating death (on our behalf – for the wages of sin is death Rom. 6:23) in order that we can join him (Jesus) as co-heirs and be crowned with glory and honour. And all this was made possible by God’s amazing and sweet grace. What a great example Jesus sets for us to become humble or lower that a status we currently hold for the benefit of others (Con)

Thoughts for the day

  • Do you struggle with pride in your life?
  • How can you use Jesus’ example of humility to make him the center of your life?
  • What does this passage tell you about God, Jesus and man?
  • 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 can share this message with?

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 |2019-02-12T12:39:58+08:00February 14th, 2019|Week 2|0 Comments

13 February 2019 – Hebrews 2:4 (NIV)

Scripture

God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

Reflection

Chapter 2 continues with the same theme as in chapter 1 – namely the supremacy of Christ. This connection is detectable by the word ‘therefore’ in verse 1. The author uses this word to further apply the truth or doctrine as discussed in chapter 1 by way of exhortation and argument. The goal for this exhortation and argument is to validate the gospel and the message of salvation as we see in today’s verse. This validation should be an encouragement as well as an assurance to us today, knowing that what we profess and belief has in fact God’s hand in it and it’s not something new or man made (Con)

Thoughts for the day

  • Where do you draw your encouragement and assurance from when things get tough?
  • What does this passage tell you about God, Jesus and man?
  • 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 can share this message with?

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 |2019-02-11T12:15:48+08:00February 13th, 2019|Week 2|0 Comments

12 February 2019 – Hebrews 1:14 (NIV)

Scripture

14 Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

Reflection

Yesterday we read how the author of Hebrews argued for the supremacy of Christ above everything else including the angles. In today’s verse the author brings this claim to a close, by drawing a comparison between Jesus’ status versus the angles’ nature and their role. We read in the preceding verse (v.13) Jesus’s status and in verse 14 we read the ministerial role of the angels. The writer of Hebrews isn’t disclaiming the importance of the law, prophets or the role of angels, rather he is asserting they all played a part in God’s message, but Jesus is now the Good News. He is the one who saves. He is the one who should be first in our lives. The rest is all secondary (Con)

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God, Jesus and man?
  • 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 can share this message with?

Prayer

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

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By |2019-02-10T19:57:55+08:00February 12th, 2019|Week 2|0 Comments

11 February 2019 – Hebrews 1:6 (NIV)

Scripture

And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,

“Let all God’s angels worship him.”

Reflection

In the first couple of verses of chapter 1 the author of Hebrews has proved that the gospel supersedes the law and that Jesus Christ is above the prophets. He then continues by addressing an obvious objection that some of the Jewish zealots would make by asserting the law was not delivered by men, but ordained by angels (Gal. 3:19), since the scripture has always represented the angels as the most excellent of all creatures including man. But in the wake of this fact, the author continues to state in verses 5-14, that Jesus Christ is even loftier that the angels and that even the angles will worship him. Through this description, the author is expressing and proving that Christ is not only superior to the angels but he is also challenging what or whom the listeners place at the center of their lives (Con)

Thoughts for the day

  • What or who do you place at the center of your life?
  • What does this passage tell you about God, Jesus and man?
  • 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 can share this message 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 |2019-02-11T07:40:34+08:00February 11th, 2019|Week 2|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