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

22 October 2018 – Romans 2:28-29 (NIV)

Scripture

28 A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.

Reflection

This passage makes me think of when God sent Samuel to the House of Jesse to find the next King of Israel. He passed by all the older brothers who on the outside looked the part; tall, dark, handsome, strong and smart. But God did not look at the outwardly, but to the inside. God loved David because He knew in David’s heart was a man who pursued God and God’s desires. It is shocking that the Jews would forget this story and all the analogies that come with it when it came to the issue of the observation of the law. But maybe it’s not so shocking at all. It is an introspective look at the condition of the human heart and our propensity to be exclusivists. I can see the parallels with Christians today and our tendencies to build little safe bubbles or draw lines to keep the world out of our ‘Godly’ affairs. Maybe we are more like the Jews than we think we are?   We are so quick to judge from the outside aren’t we? Oh how we really need the Lord! (Josh)

Thoughts for the day

  • How do you judge others?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon Shanghai Community Fellowship.

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By |October 22nd, 2018|Categories: Week 4|

19 October 2018 – Romans 2:25-27 (NIV)

Scripture

25 Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26 So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27 The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.

Reflection

A Jewish person at that time would have read this and then immediately spit out what they were drinking! How could Paul even say that a Gentile can be equal to a Jew, even if that Gentile were living according to God’s laws? Even worse, be the one who condemns the Jew. Here you begin to see God’s plan unfold and it’s much bigger than just the salvation of the Jews. As humans, we often fall into the trap of looking at things with tunnel vision. As Christians, we look at our faith the same way, through a tunnel, just our own personal faith and our sphere of influence and miss out on seeing God’s entire plan of salvation. The Jews felt this way too. But God’s plan is bigger even than just the salvation of people. He is intending to redeem the entire world; everything from art, nature, people to even abstract things like philosophy, words and relationships! God’s salvation is not just for people, but the ENTIRE world, the things in it, the galaxy and the universe! (Josh)

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell us about salvation?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Pray for the spiritually lost among the global community in Shanghai; pray that they will be drawn to God by the Holy Spirit.

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By |October 19th, 2018|Categories: Week 3|

18 October 2018 – Romans 2:17-24 (NIV)

Scripture

17 Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God; 18 if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19 if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

Reflection

Some people think very highly of themselves and our friend Paul is here to warn us to not get too big headed. Even the best of us have broken the law, told a lie, or idolized something in way or another. When you begin to think too highly of yourself spiritually, you are beginning to tread into some dangerous territory. Paul states that hypocrisy in your faith is the equivalent of blaspheming the name of God, and it seems, no one is safe from this. That is a pretty serious accusation. Paul is setting us up for something big here because he has been painting a pretty grim picture of our unrighteousness (Josh)

Thoughts for the day

  • In which area in your life do you feel you are too big headed??
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you create a space in your calendar and a place in your life for prayer. Where?

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By |October 18th, 2018|Categories: Week 3|

17 October 2018 – Romans 2:12-16 (NIV)

Scripture

12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

Reflection

No matter who you are, what religion you follow or not follow, whatever country you come from; you have an internal barometer of righteousness. That is why when tragedies such as mass shootings, wars or social injustice occur, people are saddened or there is a rally of the people to stand up and fight. Our barometers might be skewed in the wrong way due to our sin, but God created us in a way where we can sense something is unjust or wrong. That is what Paul is talking about verse 14-15, “14 Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.” Though the tone is somber, when I read this it gives me hope, because it reminds me of where we come from and where God intends for us to eventually return to. It is a beautiful reminder of our connection to our author and creator, God (Josh).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God and people?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

After the workday encourage your flat mate, your family or friends over dinner to share something they’re thankful for, and praise God for his blessing.

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By |October 17th, 2018|Categories: Week 3|

16 October 2018 – Romans 2:5-11 (NIV)

Scripture

But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.

Reflection

As humans we are naturally inclined to be stubborn and unrepentant and in doing so distance ourselves from God. But I love how Paul uses the word ‘persistence’ here. Doing the right thing, living righteously, honoring God, seeking His glory are things we must intentionally exercise. We have to persist at these ways of God, because our natural human tendencies lean back towards stubbornness to do things our way which leads to wrath and destructive behavior. Like all exercise, there is a little pain involved. The intense exercise breaks down your old muscles to build them back up stronger. You might wake up sore the next day (figuratively speaking), but be reminded that you are indeed strengthening your spiritual core! (Josh)

Thoughts for the day

  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Then after your day is done, take time to give everything back to God again as you travel home. Remember that God knows, cares about and values every part of your life, and is actively at work within it.

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By |October 16th, 2018|Categories: Week 3|

15 October 2018 – Romans 2:1-4 (NIV)

Scripture

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

Reflection

Let us be sure of two definitions here. The first is of the word ‘judgment’. It is of the most importance that we realize that this is the judgment of God, which follows death. That is the judgment to come, and it will come. But for now, we are living in His grace and God in His ultimate mercy gives grace right up until the very end! The second is of the word ‘truth’; the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Today, truth has become a very relative term. What is true for one may not be true for another. But Paul lays it down clearly; there is one truth. That is Jesus and what is found in scripture. Be on guard against lowering your definition of truth (Josh)

Thoughts for the day

  • How do the things you believe in hold up to the Bible and Jesus?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Look around, It’s easy to forget to pay attention when making the same journey to work or school every day. Use your travel time to look around and pray for what you see. Pray for the businesses 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 |October 15th, 2018|Categories: Week 3|