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Devotional2017-10-14T06:37:55+08:00

17 August 2018 – Acts 21:8-14 (NIV)

Scripture

Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.

10 After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’”

12 When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”

Reflection

In these couple of verses we read about two accounts where individuals operated in the spiritual gift of prophesy. This should not be a surprise to the reader since it was here in Caesarea where the gospel was first preached to the Gentiles and it was not shortly after that all who was present was filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:1, 44). These events also took place to further fulfill Joel 2:28. At first glance these prophecies about Paul might seem ‘depressed’ or even ‘sad’, but through revealing them to Paul and his supporters, God is affirming his constant and continual presence with His believers and that nothing happens without his knowledge and everything turns out ultimately for His glory (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • Even if you don’t always understand the outcome or situation, do you still trust in God and say ‘May the Lord’s will be done?’
  • 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

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

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By |August 17th, 2018|Categories: Week 2|

16 August 2018 – Acts 20:27-35 (NIV)

Scripture

27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God,[a] which he bought with his own blood.[b] 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.

32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

Reflection

Last words are powerful. The things that you absolutely want someone to know if they never see you again… “be on guard”! That warning wasn’t just for the individual, but also for the leaders of the flock, for the community, as even among them false teaching would arise. Are you in a position where you oversee a group of people? Are you keeping watch over yourself and over the flock? On a personal level, loving His Word and knowing God more deeply are part of constantly checking what is taught so that Jesus’ followers are not led astray. On a communal level, our faith is refined and in check when we are surrounded by a community that truly treasures the Word, cares for each others’ growth and are willing to dig into the Word together  (Su).

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

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

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By |August 16th, 2018|Categories: Week 2|

15 August 2018 – Acts 20:22-25 (NIV)

Scripture

22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

25 “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again.

Reflection

I love Indiana Jones’ movies. Our hero, Indiana Jones, finds out about an ancient relic (often Biblical) and then sets out on an adventure to procure the mystical artifact. The Nazi’s always show up because they just do. Indiana knows it, but he still embarks on a journey halfway across the world. The task at hand is great, but the prize is greater. You have to admire Paul at this point in the journey. He’s been all over Asia and the Mediterranean, had multiple squabbles, broke up with his best ministry friend and imprisoned. By this point, Paul has seen so much opposition to his task that it would have been completely ok to call it a day and thank him for his service to advancing the Gospel. And yet, the Apostle Paul still continued on. Under the compulsion of the Holy Spirit and the knowledge of the greatest news the world has ever heard, that being of God’s grace, he still continued on knowing full well of the dangers waiting him. The task at hand is great, but the prize is greater. It’s not easy being a follower of Christ at times…a lot of the times, it seems. We live in a world that seems to be at complete odds with our task of sharing the Good news. But I would like to encourage you that the prize is greater. There is a good ending to this race. Jesus is worth it (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

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

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By |August 15th, 2018|Categories: Week 2|

14 August 2018 – Acts 20:17-21 (NIV)

Scripture

17 From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. 18 When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. 19 I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents. 20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.

Reflection

I have been to what remains of ancient Miletus, the port. Today you can stand in the remains of the dock and look out onto not an ocean but a grassy field; the water has receded over the years. It would have taken the elders about three days to travel from Ephesus to Miletus; it was not convenient but they loved Paul that much. They remembered together in the way that old friends do and Paul spoke of his serving the Lord with great humility, tears and testing. The tears were real, the testing was real, (more than what Luke has chosen to share with us) and the humility was real. Paul lived at a time when humility was not considered a virtue. It is Christianity that would introduce to the world the virtue of humility, born out of the acts of the sacrificial love of its members (Ps. Dale).

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

“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 |August 14th, 2018|Categories: Week 2|

13 August 2018 – Acts 20:16 (NIV)

Scripture

Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus to avoid spending time in the province of Asia, for he was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost.

Reflection

The customary sea route takes them out and around the coastal cities, avoiding the “ins and outs” of the coastline. This way they can bypass the busy port of Ephesus, save time, and hopefully reach Jerusalem by the festival of Pentecost. It was at the Pentecost celebration in Jerusalem many years’ prior when the Spirit came as Jesus said it would. At that time, there were Jewish people from all over the world visiting the city; many of them had become Christians and stayed in Jerusalem. Since that time Jerusalem and the region had experienced a severe famine and the people were suffering; Paul was bringing money from the churches all over the world to care for those who were in need. This gift would be a practical demonstration of the unity of the church, many nations in many places but one Lord (Ps. Dale).

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

Remember your identity. “In Christ Jesus you are all children of God by faith” Galatians 3:26

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By |August 13th, 2018|Categories: Week 2|

10 August 2018 – Acts 20:7-12 (NIV)

Scripture

On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. 10 Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!” 11 Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. 12 The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.

Reflection

Breaking bread. A lot transpires in this short passage but one thing that uniquely sticks out is the use of the term “break bread”, twice in the same day, and for two very different reasons it seems. The first instance of “break bread” in this passage seems to indicate that they shared in the Eucharist (or Holy Communion) together; a very common practice in our faith.

What is interesting, however, is that later on after the entire situation of the kid falling off the 3rd floor window to his untimely death and then resuscitation, Paul “breaks bread” again. Odd, why would he “break bread” again? Simple, to celebrate a joyous occasion! To celebrate that the Lord had miraculously brought this child back to life, to celebrate all the good things and words they had to share with each other (Paul did speak all night into the morning. You have to have a lot of things to share to do that!), to celebrate the joy of seeing God do something awesome.

It is refreshing to know that in our walk of faith, with all the difficult things we encounter or have to deal with, God encourages us to pause, break bread and remember how faithful and good He is. Not only breaking bread solemnly, but also joyfully. Thankful for what he does, from the mundane to the miraculous, in our lives we should be quick to celebrate His good works.

What is something the Lord has done that brings you joy or reason to celebrate? Find someone this week to break bread with, either in remembrance of what Christ has done for you or just to celebrate with people His goodness! Whatever the reason, make it a meal (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

Invite the Holy Spirit to speak; Ask God to reveal something of Himself to you.

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By |August 10th, 2018|Categories: Week 1|