Week 2

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

9 November 2018 – Romans 5:17-21 (NIV)

Scripture

17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Reflection

“How much more” is a phrase that is often used by Paul in the first 8 chapters of Romans. For example, if sin and death reign, and we can see that all around us, then “how much more” will grace reign? Grace offers forgiveness and the opportunity to begin again, grace heals the soul, grace feeds the hungry and sets the captive free. Grace does not give up when others will. We approach the throne of Jesus to find a throne of grace where mercy is freely give and freely received. Grace meets all our needs especially the strength to keep going when all of our strength has failed. “Where sin thrives, grace thrives even more” (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How will you apply what God is telling you in your life today?
  • Is there someone you feel you need to tell this message to?

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 |2018-11-05T13:30:55+08:00November 9th, 2018|Week 2|0 Comments

8 November 2018 – Romans 5:12-16 (NIV)

Scripture

12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—

13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.

15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.

Reflection

We know that sin entered the world because we have death. We will all eventually die and unfortunately die also spiritually to the life we could have had in Christ. Adam, literally “a man”, introduced sin when he disobeyed God, but we don’t need Adam’s help with this, our own stories are also filled with our own disobedience. This is true for everybody. What is also true is that life came through Jesus Christ. As pervasive as sin and death are, meaning it effects all of us without exception, then grace in Christ has the potential to reach anyone who will receive grace and do more for us than sin could ever do. “Grace, grace, God’s grace; Grace that will pardon and cleanse within. Grace, grace, God’s grace; Grace that is greater than all my sin” (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How will you apply what God is telling you in your life today?
  • Is there someone you feel you need to tell this message to?

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 |2018-11-05T13:24:51+08:00November 8th, 2018|Week 2|0 Comments

7 November 2018 – Romans 5:6-11 (NIV)

Scripture

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Reflection

Perhaps the best way to understand the full impact of what Paul is writing is to know that for many people then and now, it was believed that a person could not know their eternal future until after their death. In other words, while you are alive, walking around on the planet, doing all the good things you can think of, hoping to please God and be at peace with him, you would never know how successful you were until after your death and stood before him. Paul is saying, “You don’t have to wait until you die to know how it’s all going to work out” You and I can have assurance, peace, confidence and joy right now! Why wait?” (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How will you apply what God is telling you in your life today?
  • Is there someone you feel you need to tell this message to?

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 |2018-11-05T13:22:57+08:00November 7th, 2018|Week 2|0 Comments

6 November 2018 – Romans 5:1-5 (NIV)

Scripture

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Reflection

Every phrase and every word Paul writes is so full of meaning. Now that all has been made right between God and us, not by keeping a series of laws but by our faith in Him we have peace. Peace here is not the absence of strife but the presence of God’s life in us and around us. Yes. We are glad to say that “our ticket has been punched”; a place in Heaven is secured for us after we die, but even now the journey toward our eternal home has begun. A journey which will include suffering and setbacks, character development and back to hope again. On the day we stand before God we will discover then, more than at any other time, we were not ashamed to have been called a “Christian” (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How will you apply what God is telling you in your life today?
  • Is there someone you feel you need to tell this message to?

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 travellers. Invite God’s presence to show you your commute through His eyes.

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By |2018-11-05T13:19:55+08:00November 6th, 2018|Week 2|0 Comments

5 November 2018 – Romans 4:18-25 (NIV)

Scripture

18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”[a] 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

Reflection

God gives us “hope against all hope.” What an amazing gift! When we believe, there is power – God’s power in us. That power allows us to face the most hopeless situations and respond with confidence that our God is bigger and better than anything in or of this world.

100-year old Abraham and Sarah showed us the power of unwavering belief in God. What gave Abraham that faith? What made him trust in God when all evidence suggested that his desires were impossible? We can only surmise, but that level of trust only comes out of a personal relationship. We can’t trust created things in this way. We can’t trust money in this way. But when we know God, then we are able to trust Him. Abraham was “fully persuaded that God had power to do what He promised.” For us – as spiritual descendants of Abraham – our journey of faith starts by knowing God. The more we know His love, power, goodness and authority, the more we can put our trust in Him over all else (Charlie).

Thoughts for the day

  • What do you put your hope in?
  • Are there things in your life now that you feel are hopeless? What are they? What does this passage say about that?
  • How is your relationship with God? Do you know Him? Are you trying to get to know him better every day?

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 |2018-11-02T10:59:30+08:00November 5th, 2018|Week 2|0 Comments