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Devotional2018-09-28T23:40:26+08:00

23 July 2021 – John 6:14-15 (ESV)

Scripture

When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”  Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

Reflection

Jesus had just fed the crowd of 5000 with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes. Based on this miraculous sign, people thought he is the Prophet and wanted to make Jesus king. The Israelites had been wrong before; they thought John the Baptist was the Prophet. In the long history of this people, they have been waiting for their Messiah to deliver them out of their troubles. But God, their rebellion, had not spoken to them for 400 years. So when the people saw Jesus performing miracles, their hopes went up.
Jesus knew what was in the people’s hearts; they wanted a king who could perform miracles of healing, of provision, but not for what Jesus was teaching. Just a short while before this incident, Jesus had been in Samaria and met the woman at the well, where he revealed himself to be the Messiah. Many Samaritans believed: “ They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world’” (Eph 4:41-42). Compare that with the crowd of Jews who were celebrating the Passover feast, supposedly in remembrance of everything that God did to deliver them from slavery, yet they didn’t want to turn to God; they still wanted a king to rule over them.

The kingdom that Jesus belongs to and wants to bring us into is not of this world, but the people didn’t see that. They wanted to forcibly take Jesus and make him their king. As Jesus himself told the disciples who found him afterwards, Jesus answered them: “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Have I wanted something from God, not caring about what is on His heart but only mine? Let us recognize and worship King Jesus as who he truly is: the Savior of the world.

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 can you apply this message in your current situation

Prayer

Jesus, help me to see you in my everyday circumstances. I want to know you as a close friend, but also as Lord of my life. You alone are sovereign, and help me to trust you in all things.

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By |July 23rd, 2021|Categories: Week 3|

21 July 2021 – Psalm 145:10 (ESV)

Scripture

All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your saints shall bless you!

Reflection

What a tease to just stop at these two verses.  If you don’t know the story, it would be natural to wonder: “And then what?”  Even if we don’t know what happens next, we can pause here and reflect a little bit.  Do you know what tends to capture your attention?  When you have some down time to relax, or you’re simply bored with nothing to do, what do you turn to?

At a time when kings go off to war, David stayed back for reasons unknown to us.  What transpires after though, is a sad tale of moral descent which spiraled out of control.  David saw this beautiful woman, he sent someone to find out who she was, summoned her to see him, got her pregnant, all the while knowing that she is the wife of Uriah, a soldier in his army who went off to war.  From committing adultery, to plotting Uriah’s murder, David’s fall from grace began from a momentary look of the eyes.  He had not even realized the depth of his sin until Nathan the prophet confronted him: “the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul… Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes?'” (2 Samuel 12:7-9).

Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”.  Guarding something works both ways; by what we allow to come in that can affect us, and by controlling what comes out of us, i.e. thoughts, emotions, actions.  If David, who was known as the man after God’s own heart, could let his eyes lead him away into greater moral failure, it can easily happen to us.  Today’s verse is a good reminder for us to check ourselves of what captivates us, what is our tendency in response, and most importantly, find out what “guarding our heart” would look like.

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 can you apply this message in your current situation

Prayer

Lord, I ask you to help speak in ways that I can understand and recognize.  Help me to be fully aligned with Your will and purpose for my life,  trusting in Your Lordship in every way.

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By |July 22nd, 2021|Categories: Week 3|

22 July 2021 – Ephesians 3:20-21 (ESV)

Scripture

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.”

Reflection

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church, he closed his letter with this prayer. What an encouragement to them, and to the church today! God is able to do much more than we can ask or think “according to the power at work within us” (v. 20). Paul is not kidding or boasting here, since he wrote this letter while imprisoned. Do you feel hopeless, powerless, stuck? You are not! In the beginning of this letter, Paul wrote:

“…. I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe,” – Ephesians 1:16-19

This is what we as believers need to know and OWN. We all have moments when we feel weak, but don’t dwell on that thought or emotion, choosing instead to focus our mind on truth. The truth is we CAN ask God to do the impossible because of Christ’s resurrection power in us. I want this rich inheritance of mine, the power that will help me grow in wisdom and knowledge, to overcome, to continue the race. The letters written by Paul while in prison and in chains fully bear witness to this truth, having encouraged and comforted generations of Christians to this day. In this way, God is glorified through each Christ follower, and through the church body. Knowing that you too possess such great power at your disposal, what will you ask of God that will bring Him glory?

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 can you apply this message in your current situation

Prayer

Pray for specific people you know; neighbors, friends or those you see when you walk. Or, pray for opportunities to get to know your neighbors better.

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By |July 22nd, 2021|Categories: Week 3|

19 July 2021 – 2 Samuel 11:1-2 (NIV)

Scripture

In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.

One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful.

Reflection

What a tease to just stop at these two verses.  If you don’t know the story, it would be natural to wonder: “And then what?”  Even if we don’t know what happens next, we can pause here and reflect a little bit.  Do you know what tends to capture your attention?  When you have some down time to relax, or you’re simply bored with nothing to do, what do you turn to?

At a time when kings go off to war, David stayed back for reasons unknown to us.  What transpires after though, is a sad tale of moral descent which spiraled out of control.  David saw this beautiful woman, he sent someone to find out who she was, summoned her to see him, got her pregnant, all the while knowing that she is the wife of Uriah, a soldier in his army who went off to war.  From committing adultery, to plotting Uriah’s murder, David’s fall from grace began from a momentary look of the eyes.  He had not even realized the depth of his sin until Nathan the prophet confronted him: “the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul… Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes?'” (2 Samuel 12:7-9).

Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”.  Guarding something works both ways; by what we allow to come in that can affect us, and by controlling what comes out of us, i.e. thoughts, emotions, actions.  If David, who was known as the man after God’s own heart, could let his eyes lead him away into greater moral failure, it can easily happen to us.  Today’s verse is a good reminder for us to check ourselves of what captivates us, what is our tendency in response, and most importantly, find out what “guarding our heart” would look like.

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 can you apply this message in your current situation

Prayer

Lord, I ask you to help speak in ways that I can understand and recognize.  Help me to be fully aligned with Your will and purpose for my life,  trusting in Your Lordship in every way.

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By |July 19th, 2021|Categories: Week 3|

“Thinking about Thinking”

Author Gerald Hawthorne translates Philippians 4:8, “And last of all, my Christian friends, since there is moral excellence and things worthy of praise, focus your minds on these things – whatever is truthful, whatever is majestic and awe inspiring, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever calls forth love, whatever is winsome.”

Moral excellence and things worthy of praise are real things, they exist! Because of this we can focus our thinking on thoughts that are truthful, majestic, awe inspiring… the whole list and more. The last thing Paul mentions in this is list is “winsome,” not a word we may use often. In this context it means we should be thinking about the ways we can live which “win” people to faith in Jesus and help them grow. Thinking about the kinds of things which when put into practice don’t drive people away from Jesus but toward him and the love he has for them.

What have you been thinking about lately?

By |July 14th, 2021|Categories: Pastor|

9 July 2021 – Ephesians 1:3-4 (NIV)

Scripture

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. (…)

Reflection

In Christ, we are blessed with every spiritual blessing. But what does it mean? Spiritual blessing is a term that expresses the fullness of blessing in God’s gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ. In the following verses (v. 5-14), Paul lists out a number of those spiritual blessings we receive through Jesus: our adoption as God’s sons and daughters, our acceptance, our redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins, the revelation of His will, a godly purpose, the promised Holy Spirit in us, and so on.

In Him, nothing is by chance. It’s by choice. He chose us to be holy and blameless in his sight. There is a beautiful assurance in knowing He chose us and blessed us abundantly. We count our blessings, remembering that the greatest blessing of all is Jesus Christ Himself.

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 can you apply this message in your current situation

Prayer

What are the characteristics and compulsions of my false self? What masks do I hide behind? What behaviors do I use to avoid God’s presence and to protect myself from change? I confess these defenses and avoidance strategies to Jesus now.

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By |July 9th, 2021|Categories: Week 1|