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Devo2017-09-28T11:20:03+08:00

5 May 2021 – 1 John 5:5-6 (NIV)

Scripture

Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.

Reflection

John continues in these two verses the theme of loving others and loving God (see yesterday’s devo).

John states that those who obey God’s commands, are the ones who overcome the world because they are born of God and believes in Jesus Christ. And the reason why those who believe in Jesus Christ can overcome the world is because Jesus did not only come by water (referring to Jesus’ baptism that started his public ministry) but also by blood (referencing to Jesus’ death on the cross which terminated his public ministry). Without Jesus’s death on the cross, we would not be able to overcome the world. Thus, John is stating it’s because of Jesus’ death on the cross that we now are not only overcomers of this world, but we also are able love each other as well, purely because God first loved us

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 respond to God’s love for you?

Prayer

God, You hear. Please let the displaced people of the world know that they are heard. And help us to hear them.

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By |May 5th, 2021|Week 1|

4 May 2021 – 1 John 5:2-4 (NIV)

Scripture

This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

Reflection

The First Epistle of John is a very practical letter addressed to Christian readers. It warns against the dangers of false teaching and exhorts believers to lives of obedience to God and love for their brothers and sisters.

In today’s verse John is clarifying to his readers (and us today) the ability to love other Christians does not stem from their capability, but from the fact that God is the father of all believers. We cannot love if we weren’t first loved by God, for God is love. John even goes further by stating, another way to show that we love God and each other, is by obeying God’s commands. By obeying God’s commands and loving our fellow brother or sister in Christ, we become witnesses to the world especially when loving others is borderline impossible. It’s in that moment that we have difficulty loving someone that, if it was up to us, we would never be able to love, but since our source to love is God, we can with the help of the Holy Spirit love the other person as we ought to.

Thoughts for the day

  • Is there a fellow believer that you are not loving as you should?
  • Is it because you are trying to love him or her out of your own strength?
  • How do you think the world views Christians if we don’t love each other but treat one another like the world would? What damage do you think it has for Christianity?

Prayer

“I thank you, Lord, for Your beautiful, multicultural, intergenerational family. Revive and sanctify us once again we pray. Forgive our many sins and make us holy. Set our hearts on fire again with the good news of Your gospel.”

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By |May 4th, 2021|Week 1|

3 May 2021 – Psalm 98:1 (NIV)

Scripture

Sing to the Lord a new song,
    for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
    have worked salvation for him.

Reflection

In this psalm, the psalmists call on Israel to sing a new song to the Lord. The concept of a ‘new song’ occurs elsewhere in the Psalms (33:3; 40:3; 96:1; 144:9; 149:1), as well as Isaiah (42:10) and the book of Revelation (5:9; 14:3). All of these examples are in the context of warfare. A new song is sung after God rescued Israel from a battle. Thus, in this case, the psalmist calls on Israel to sing a new song to God because He has made a way for Israel to be saved through God’s promise to Abraham and subsequently the whole earth.

We see this idea of salvific redemption progressing from Israel, to all peoples, to finally the whole earth/cosmos in this psalm. In the first stanza (vv. 1–3), the psalmist calls on Israel to praise the Lord. In the second stanza (vv. 4–6), the psalmist broadens the circle of praise to include all the inhabitants. Finally, in the third stanza (vv. 7–9), the psalmist for a third time broadens the call to praise God to include even the inanimate creation (rivers, mountains). Thus, everyone and everything should/will celebrate God as king, victor and judge.

Thoughts for the day

  • • How thankful are you for the victory God secured on the cross for you through Jesus?
    • How do you plan on sharing this amazing good news with others?

Prayer

Invite the Holy Spirit to be present as you spend a moment in silence; Give thanks for one thing that you’re grateful for right now, and use it to reflect on the goodness of God; Bring to God one thing that’s on your mind right now, and lift it before Him; Devote the remainder of your day to Jesus.

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By |May 3rd, 2021|Week 1|

30 April 2021 – John 15:7-8 (NKJV)

Scripture

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.  By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

Reflection

How many times have we prayed this prayer: “God, you said ask whatever I desire and it shall be done, so please do [fill in the blank].” Doesn’t work this way, does it? If you ABIDE in Me. Let’s look again at the definition of “abide”, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary:

Definition of abide
transitive verb
1a: to bear patiently : TOLERATE
b: to endure without yielding : WITHSTAND
2: to wait for : AWAIT
3: to accept without objection

intransitive verb
1: to remain stable or fixed in a state
2: to continue in a place : SOJOURN
abide by
1: to conform to
2: to accept without objection : to acquiesce in

Sure we might have waited, tolerated, and conformed on many occasions — but were we abiding in Christ? In nature, every living thing needs time to grow. Tree trunks need time to take root, and fruit takes time to ripen before it can be picked. So why not us if we are the branches? The Master Gardener knows how long it will take for us to be rooted, when to prune us, and when we should bear fruit.

Just as I’ve come to accept His pruning to be a privilege, I also remind myself to enjoy the times when God clearly wants me to abide; it is the season for growth. Instead of complaining and wrestling with God, we can be filled with expectation for what’s to come because we are already in Christ. I can testify that there have been times when every single thought that came through my mind, God answered without my asking ~ I know I’ve been rewarded! He proves He is faithful when we abide in Him. Will you?

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 respond to God’s love for you?

Prayer

Invite the Holy Spirit to show you something to rejoice over. Look beyond your current circumstances to the Lord of all Creation. Remember that you are fully, unconditionally loved. Take time to rejoice in the goodness of the God who has saved you.

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By |April 30th, 2021|Week 5|

“All the Places to Go…How Will You Know?”

On Sunday, May 16, SCF will begin a new small group series called, “All the places to go…How will you know?” by John Ortberg. There will also be a sermon series to match the small group study which you will be able to hear “live” at a Watch Party, Online Sundays at 11am or on the SCF Youtube channel. (You can find all the details on the SCF website, shanghaifellowship.org)

As we get into this series our prayer is that you will learn to recognize open doors and trust God who gave them to you to walk through. The concept of the “open door” comes from something Jesus once said, “I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” (Revelation 3:8)

We are encouraging everyone to either join an existing community group or start your own group just for this series. For help finding and existing community group or starting your own group for the series, write us here, comgroups@scfenglish.com

By |April 28th, 2021|Pastor|

28 April 2021 – 1 John 4:18 (NKJV)

Scripture

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

Reflection

I must have read or come across this verse many times before, but I never saw its true meaning until now. It was so comforting to me, and I can only say that it’s a Holy Spirit revelation because God wants to show me something that is significant and purposeful for this season. With all that is going on in the world today, I sense a sifting by God of things and people all around. Along with that, I’ve been wondering how things will play out, what God is wanting to do and show the world, as the life we’ve known has been changed drastically by a single virus. To be honest, there is a bit of nagging fear in the back of my mind about the uncertainties of the future even though I know I shouldn’t be fearful. 1 John 4:16-17 says:

And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.

If God promised us boldness that we can stand in the day of judgment, what have I to fear about anything happening now or tomorrow? The idea of God’s perfect love is somehow new to me again, because it is so different from me trying to comfort myself with scriptures about God’s provision, protection, promises, etc…His love surpasses everything!

This past Easter, I listened to a podcast sermon by R.T. Kendall that gave me new insight about Jesus. In his final moment on the cross, Jesus experienced the worst physical and emotional torment, but also the greatest joy ever known: of the inexpressible relief of his suffering, and the indescribable ecstasy of seeing his Father at any moment. Wow! I never saw Jesus on the cross this way. It’s not to say that I want to be a martyr, but I want the same anticipation and joy of seeing the Father one day. I can’t say that I’m there yet, but I am working on it: to grow in boldness and rest in the perfect love of God.

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 respond to God’s love for you?

Prayer

Invite the Holy Spirit to be present with you in this moment. And then, wait. Allow God’s peace to draw near.

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By |April 28th, 2021|Week 5|