Week 3

18 January 2019 – Micah 4:3 (NIV)

Scripture

He will judge between many peoples
    and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
    and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
    nor will they train for war anymore.

Reflection

This passage from Micah (which is also from Isaiah 2:2-4) prophesies of the day that God’s Messiah will bring judgment and peace to the world. If history has taught us anything, it is that humans, left to our own devices, cannot accomplish lasting peace. Charismatic leaders, institutions, philosophical ideas, and the accumulation of wealth have all failed and not enough to overcome the simple fact that we are fallen and subject to our own sinful behavior.

But in His mercy and grace, God sent His one and only son to the world. Jesus the Christ lived a perfect life and died as a sacrifice for us all, and through Him, we can have peace – peace both in our hearts, but also for eternity in Heaven (Charlie).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God, Jesus and man?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through these passages?
  • 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 those who are spiritually lost that they may surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ and receive salvation in His name.

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By |2019-01-13T04:08:07+08:00January 18th, 2019|Week 3|0 Comments

17 January 2019 – Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV)

Scripture

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Reflection

The Greek for “love” in this verse is not phileo, which means friendly affection, but agapao, the commitment of devotion that is directed by the will and can be commanded as duty. Jesus is telling us that the greatest commandment is that we are to love God holistically – with our heart, mind and soul. At that time, religious leaders preached the importance of doing things as the ultimate expression of piety. Jesus proclaimed (using Old Testament scripture) that those are things secondary to God’s primary desire for our lives, which is that we lovingly submit to Him from the inside, with the full understanding that our outward behavior will be an extension of our inward state.

Are you fully in love with God such that your He has captured your heart, mind and soul? Are you a holistic faith or are there areas of your life which Christ has not yet penetrated fully? If there are, open up yourself to Him in trustful prayer and ask that the Holy Spirit continue the good work of sanctifying all parts of your life so that you are fulfilling the greatest commandment (Charlie).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God, Jesus and man?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through these passages?
  • 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 the nation of China.

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By |2019-01-13T04:05:49+08:00January 17th, 2019|Week 3|0 Comments

16 January 2019 – Micah 6:8 (NIV)

Scripture

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

Reflection

The Prophet Micah is responding to the religious notion that God desires burnt offerings and sacrifices. The modern corollary is that God wants us to give money, be punctual every Sunday to church, and to learn how to pray in such a way as to sound pious and righteous.

But that is not what God truly He desires. He wants our hearts to be transformed. He wants us to conform to His image, which means that we love what is good, just and merciful. And that we ourselves live lives of justice and mercy.

What does that mean in our daily lives? Do we treat our colleagues and neighbors with mercy and grace? Do we act justly? Do we pursue humility? True worship is not simply through sacrifices, nice songs and financial offerings. True worship is when our lives are offered as living sacrifices so that God’s goodness may be known daily through our actions (Charlie).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God, Jesus and man?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through these passages?
  • 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 you right now at the people who are sitting near you or standing and pray for them.

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By |2019-01-13T04:02:11+08:00January 16th, 2019|Week 3|0 Comments

15 January 2019 – Matthew 10:35-36 (NIV)

Scripture

35 For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36     a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

Reflection

There is a cost to discipleship.

Suffering is not a popular message. People today do all that they can to avoid discomfort and sacrifice. We want a religion that conforms to our lives as opposed to us conforming our lives to a religion. We want to have experiences that are affirming, convenient, and easy, which makes this passage so fascinating.

Jesus quotes these verses from Micah at the height of his popularity. People were following Jesus to experience His blessings and miracles firsthand, but in this verse he responds by telling them that there is a COST to being His disciple.

So, what are the costs? Basically anything that has supremacy in our hearts over Christ alone. For some, that is career. For others, vanity. While for others, it is family. And while God affirms and values the institution of family, He alone must be at the center of our lives. All other things are secondary, which can be destructive for some families in which allegiance to family dynamics are not to be challenged.

What is the cost of following Jesus for you? Is it reputation? Pleasure? Friendships? Romantic relationships? Wealth? Status? Whatever it is, nothing compares to the greatness of knowing Christ Jesus as Lord (Phil 3:8) (Charlie).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God, Jesus and man?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through these passages?
  • 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 the leaders of the nations of the world. Pray for the leader of your home country by name.

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By |2019-01-13T03:58:15+08:00January 15th, 2019|Week 3|0 Comments

14 January 2019 – Matthew 2:5-6 (NIV)

Scripture

“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Reflection

In this passage, the chief priests and scribes (the modern day religious leaders whom Jesus would later criticize) told King Herod that the Christ, the messiah whom they had been waiting for, was born in Bethlehem, fulfilling a prophecy from Micah. This is one of the great ironies of Christ’s birth story – that the savior of mankind was born of humble and lowly origins.

God is glorified through the humble and lowly. The world may see us as without value, but God will use us for His glory. Just as Bethlehem would “by no means be the least among” the tribes of Israel because of His plan for that otherwise obscure town, God will also make His love and power manifest through us as we humbly submit to Him.

Humility in Christ is strength. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (I Peter 5:5). God guides the humble in what is right, and teaches them his way (Psalm 25:9).

God crowns the humble with salvation (Psalm 149:4). Therefore, let us be to God’s plan as Bethlehem was to God’s salvation story: let us be open to God working in us – not despite but because of our humility (Charlie).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God, Jesus and man?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through these passages?
  • 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

Ask God to deliver you from your troubles to protect you from the evil one and deliver you from temptation.

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By |2019-01-13T03:54:09+08:00January 14th, 2019|Week 3|0 Comments

21 December 2018 – Isaiah 12:2-6 (NIV)

Scripture

Surely God is my salvation;
    I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense;
    he has become my salvation.”
With joy you will draw water
    from the wells of salvation.

In that day you will say:

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
    make known among the nations what he has done,
    and proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;
    let this be known to all the world.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
    for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

Reflection

The prophet Isaiah was active during the fall of Israel. During his time, Israel was destroyed and South Judah became decadent. It was under these circumstances, that the prophet Isaiah foretold God’s judgment and salvation when Jesus returns.

Today’s passage echoes the confidence and joy that Isaiah himself has in his salvation. This song is also an attempt to let the world know about the day of the Lord. He wanted to share the good news with the people because of the joy he experienced (Woowon).

Thoughts for the day

  • Did you know that Jesus Christ did not bring judgment but salvation to you?
  • Have you thought about bringing this good news to others especially during the Christmas season?

Prayer

Pray for those who are spiritually lost that they may surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ and receive salvation in His name.

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By |2018-12-14T13:03:27+08:00December 21st, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments

20 December 2018 – Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV)

Scripture

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Reflection

The book of Philippians is a letter written by the apostle Paul while in prison. He wrote about Jesus’s life and his nature and character. In today’s passage we read how Paul focuses on the characteristic of gentleness that leads to reconciliation. As christians we live in a hopeful anticipation of Jesus the Savior, not Jesus the Judge. Our surety lies in the knowledge through faith that He will come again. Thus, we “do not need to be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present our requests to God.” Our trust in His second coming is the basis for our peace today (Woowon).

Thoughts for the day

  • Are you living at peace today or is anxiety controlling your life?
  • How does your peace and anxiousness affect others?
  • In what is your peace and or anxiety based? Is this based in the world, people, and yourself? Or is it based in the Lord and His return?

Prayer

Pray for the nation of China.

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By |2018-12-14T13:00:29+08:00December 20th, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments

19 December 2018 – Zephaniah 3:18-20 (NIV)

Scripture

18 “I will remove from you
    all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals,
    which is a burden and reproach for you.
19 At that time I will deal
    with all who oppressed you.
I will rescue the lame;
    I will gather the exiles.
I will give them praise and honor
    in every land where they have suffered shame.
20 At that time I will gather you;
    at that time I will bring you home.
I will give you honor and praise
    among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunes
    before your very eyes,”
says the Lord.

Reflection

Following yesterday’s devotion, today’s passage is also about the joys of those who believe that Jesus will come again. We read in this passage that the ‘people of joy’ are “people who mourn over the loss of appointed festivals.” The appointed festival in this context refers to the Passover. On the actual Passover day Yahweh freed the Israelites from the oppression and bondage of Egypt. The Passover is also a foreshadow of the sacrifice of Jesus (the lamb who was slain for he sins of the world). It was through this great sacrifice that all of Israel and now Gentiles are freed and redeemed from their transgressions. Even though the Israelites experienced the first Passover, the people of Zephaniah didn’t experience that nor did they see the true Lamb. Through this passage the prophet is encouraging his readers not to loose hope. Similarly we can also draw courage and hope from this passage (Woowon).

Thoughts for the day

  • Is there anything that you need to be freed from in your life?
  • How can the understanding of the Passover help you in living a free and abundant life in Christ?

Prayer

Look around you right now at the people who are sitting near you or standing and pray for them.

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By |2018-12-14T12:57:17+08:00December 19th, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments

18 December 2018 – Zephaniah 3:14-17 (NIV)

Scripture

14 Sing, Daughter Zion;
    shout aloud, Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
    Daughter Jerusalem!
15 The Lord has taken away your punishment,
    he has turned back your enemy.
The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;
    never again will you fear any harm.
16 On that day
    they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, Zion;
    do not let your hands hang limp.
17 The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Reflection

The Book of Zephaniah was written by the king’s fellow worker, the prophet Zephaniah, during the time of King Josiah’s religious reform in an attempt to rid Judah of all her corruption and sin. This book mainly tells of the Judgment Day, which is also known as Jehovah’s Day (not to be mistaken by the religion Jehovah’s witness). Jehovah’s day will occur at the second coming of Christ and means the destruction of God’s enemies and deliverance for those who fear and serve Him. On this joyful day, the people of God are exempt from God’s wrath. Therefore, Zephaniah says he will sing for joy based on these reasons. This passage can also help us in a time of current trials and tribulations. We as Christinas can know that all earthly problems will fade away and we will rejoice with God in His presence for all eternity long (Woowon).

Thoughts for the day

  • What trials or problems currently keep you away from sharing in Zephaniah’s joy?
  • How does it make you feel, if you are a Christian, that on Judgement day, you will be delivered from the wrath of God? What feeling and attitude does it leave you with?

Prayer

Pray for the leaders of the nations of the world. Pray for the leader of your home country by name.

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By |2018-12-14T12:54:30+08:00December 18th, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments

17 December 2018 – Luke 3:15-18 (NIV)

Scripture

15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” 18 And with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them.

Reflection

In the time of Jesus Christ, there were many who had the wrong perspective of salvation. They thought salvation was a solution to their current unsatisfactory reality. John the Baptist, however, presents a new concept of salvation to the people through the idea of “Baptism by Spirit and Fire.” In the Bible, this dual notion includes both concepts of “purification (Judgement)” and “recovering (Restoration).”

God’s working, especially from an eschatological (end times) view, is not just a judgment were all are destroyed, nor is it an unconditional recovery where everything ends up well. When put together both Judgement and Restoration are complementary, and renders a ‘complete’ salvation which has a real meaning. Jesus began this complete salvation and is still doing it and will certainly complete it (Woowon).

Thoughts for the day

  • How do you view the end times and does it have any bearing on how you view salvation?
  • When someone ask you what salvation means, how would you explain it to them?
  • How do you see Jesus’ complete salvation at work in your life?
  • Who do you feel need to hear this message

Prayer

Ask God to deliver you from your troubles to protect you from the evil one and deliver you from temptation.

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By |2018-12-14T12:52:00+08:00December 17th, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments