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

22 November 2019 – John 3:16 (NIV)

Scripture

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Reflection

In some countries, John 3:16 is everywhere – on bumper stickers, key chains, billboards, hamburger wrappers (shout out to In-n-Out!) and even held up by rabid fans during football games.  The problem is that sometimes the verse is so ubiquitous that we can get desensitized to the power of its message.  So, let us meditate on what John 3:16 is telling us:

God loves the world. He loves humanity, but He also loves us individually.

He loves us so much that He sent us His son, Jesus, to live among us and ultimately be killed on a cross so that we do not have to suffer the penalty of our sins.

Through Jesus – by believing in Him and His death on the cross – we are reconciled to our loving God and given the blessing of eternal life with Him in Heaven.

That’s the message of John 3:16…it is a message of love and redemption!  I guess now I know why so many people want to proclaim it.

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
  • What does this passage tell you about humanity?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

Stop and ask God to place a nation on your mind and heart. Pray for the people to be blessed by God, the church to shine brightly and for God to be present in that place.

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By |November 22nd, 2019|Categories: Week 3|

21 November 2019 – Acts 26:17-18 (NIV)

Scripture

17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

Reflection

Jesus’s words to Paul (then known as Saul) on the road to Damascus highlighted the core of Jesus’s message to the world:  he was not just teaching people how to be ‘good;’ His teaching was to ‘open our eyes’ so that we can turn “from darkness to light.”  Jesus calls us all to receive forgiveness of our sins by having faith in Him.

Darkness hides sin.  When we are in darkness, we are blinded to the iniquities that keep us from knowing and following God.  But when we focus on hearts and minds on Jesus, we enter His light, which is revealing and redeeming.  Our sins are revealed as we encounter His goodness, and our lives are redeemed as we receive His forgiveness and grace.

Once we are forgiven, we are called – like Paul in this passage – to carry on that message to others, letting them know that God, who is love, is calling them out of darkness and into the light.

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
  • What does this passage tell you about humanity?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

Identify anything that is making you weary or burdened and give it back to God. You might like to physically represent this by clinching your hands then opening them.

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By |November 21st, 2019|Categories: Week 3|

20 November 2019 – 2 Corinthians 7:1-10 (NIV)

Scripture

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have exploited no one. I do not say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you. I have spoken to you with great frankness; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.

For when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.

Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

Reflection

In verse 10 of this passage, Paul writes that “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”  We often conflate accountability with being judgmental.  If my friend calls me out on my sin, I have two choices:  I can either acknowledge his admonition as an opportunity to repent and grow, or I can reject it and dismiss it as an unfair judgment on who I am.  The former reaction comes from a place of humility; the latter comes from a place of pride.

God calls us to repent – not because He wants us to feel bad about ourselves, but because He wants us to experience salvation and the freedom of living without regret.  But if our pride interferes, the accountability of a loving friend will result in ‘worldly sorrow,’ which is marked by hurt feelings, calloused hearts and an insensitive spirit.

Think of a time when someone challenged you to change a belief, action or idea because it was not consistent with Biblical teachings.  It is natural that you initially felt ‘sorrow,’ but did that lead to repentance and new life?  Or did it result in embittered feelings and relational distance?  Part of being a believer is acknowledging our sinful state and knowing that God’s love is bigger than our sin and we can live in freedom as we turn away from our sin and towards Him.

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
  • What does this passage tell you about humanity?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

Think of someone you know who could use a little joy in their lives and pray for the presence of the Lord to rest on them. “In His presence, there is the fullness of Joy” Psalm 16:11.

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By |November 20th, 2019|Categories: Week 3|

19 November 2019 – Titus 3:4-7 (NIV)

Scripture

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

Reflection

“But when the kindness of the love of our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we have done, but because of his mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”

This verse is the Good News of Jesus Christ!  It is a message of love.  The emphasis is not on what we do or shouldn’t do, but the focus is on the grace and mercy of God.  It is God alone that saves. This verse addresses two mistaken views of salvation:  one, that Christians have somehow earned the reward of salvation by doing good things; and two, that people need to first ‘get right’ before they can become a Christian.  Quite the contrary, our salvation is not by our righteous acts, but by a love that was generously given to anyone who receives it.  We are saved by God’s goodness, and because of Jesus, we can be “heirs” of the Almighty King.

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
  • What does this passage tell you about humanity?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

Pray for wisdom, healing and peace across your home country.

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By |November 19th, 2019|Categories: Week 3|

18 November 2019 – Acts 16:14 (NIV)

Scripture

14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.

Reflection

In this passage, a group of Christians were travelling throughout the region and stopped in the city of Philippi (notably, the book of Philippians is a letter from Paul to the church in Philippi).  Paul, Luke and their companions stopped by a river on the Sabbath to pray.  They struck up a conversation with a group and shared the Gospel.  One of the women in the group was named Lydia.  She was a businesswoman, a Gentile (non-Jew), but believed in the God of the Old Testament (unlike most Gentiles at that time who believed in Paganism).  In verse 14, it says that “the Lord opened Lydia’s heart to respond to Paul’s message.”

From this, we learn a few important truths.  Firstly, as Christians we should be sharing the Gospel (literally the “Good News”) of Jesus to people we come in contact with.  It is not simply the work of pastors and missionaries.  It is a calling for all believers.  Secondly, the actual work of evangelism is done by God through the Holy Spirit.  God opens hearts as we share His message.   Even if we lack confidence in our own abilities to share the Gospel, we trust that the Holy Spirit is doing the real work of bringing people to Himself.

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
  • What does this passage tell you about humanity?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

Follow the ACTS acronym in prayer: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication (Asking).

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By |November 18th, 2019|Categories: Week 3|

15 November 2019 – John 3:3 (NIV)

Scripture

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

Reflection

I like how Ellicott’s Commentary describes this passage: The condition of the spiritual vision which can see this kingdom is spiritual life, and this life is dependent on being born anew.

This passage is not past or future tense; in fact, it’s very clearly present tense. What are the implications of this?  That means that the Kingdom of God is not someplace far off or in some time in the future.  It means that we can very much experience and see the Kingdom now, should we be born anew.  Broken things, relationships can be restored in Jesus’ Kingdom. Healing can happen both physically and spiritually!  We can find true peace in God and with each other.  If only the world saw that this Kingdom is here… This is news too good to keep to ourselves; surely the world in its current state needs to hear.  That is why we who know, need to make known that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord of All.  Lord, open the eyes of the hearts of those who need to see you.  That they may see that the Kingdom is already here and that they can truly begin to see and live.

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
  • What does this passage tell you about humanity?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. Be still and allow the presence of Jesus to bring you rest right now.

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By |November 15th, 2019|Categories: Week 2|