6 December 2018 – Psalm 25:1-10 (NIV)
1 In you, Lord my God,
I put my trust.
2 I trust in you;
do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3 No one who hopes in you
will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
who are treacherous without cause.
4 Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
6 Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you, Lord, are good.
8 Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
9 He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way.
10 All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful
toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.
David, who wrote the Psalms, starts this psalm by declaring how he puts his trust in God. Not in circumstances, people or worldly things. It is because of this trust and confidence in God’s promises and His character, that David can say in verse 2 and 3; no shame will over take him. However it is worth noting that God isn’t a genie that one could ask certain favours and once it’s been granted you depart from God. We clearly see in the remaining of these verses how David is asking God to show and teach him God’s ways and commandments, to guide him in the truth and to remind him of God’s love and how impossible it is for David to achieve any of this on his own account. It’s because God saved David from his sins, that David can now have the confidence to put his faith and trust in God, who would also redeem him and rescue him from shame. What a great psalm to pray to God and praise His great name (Con).
Thoughts for the day
- What do you define trust as and do you fully trust God with all of your life?
- How often in your prayer time do you view God as a genie?
- Do you worship God for who He is or what He can do or give to you?
Grab your camera and go for a prayer walk with the intention of taking photos of the beauty you see in people, buildings and nature. As you pray, ask God to speak and reveal more of His creativity to you.
5 December 2018 – Jeremiah 33:14-16 (NIV)
14 “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah.
15 “‘In those days and at that time
I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line;
he will do what is just and right in the land.
16 In those days Judah will be saved
and Jerusalem will live in safety.
This is the name by which it will be called:
The Lord Our Righteous Savior.’
In these couple of verses we see a prophecy that is timeless. In chapter 33 the prophet Jeremiah prophesied what Judah and Jerusalem would experience once they’ve returned from captivity. He declares both these two kingdoms of Israel will see their country being rebuilt to its former glory, their sins being pardoned, and their country enjoy adequacy and joy, all for the glory of God.
In a similar manner, the prophet also continues by announcing this good news is not only for Israel, but also for all those who put their faith in Jesus Christ (the righteous Branch from David’ line). We too can be restored to out former glory (the way God made us before we sinned). Our sins can also be pardoned and our lives can also be joyful all for God’s glory.
As post New Testament believers we are in a very privilege position since we read Jeremiah’s words and we also get to see in the New Testament it being fulfilled. What an incredible surety we have in this marvelous book called the Bible (Con).
Thoughts for the day
- Is there anything in the Bible that you doubt or causes you to fully trust in God’s love for you?
- Do you live a life that reflects Jeremiah’s prophecy of Israel?
Pray for courage; pray for opportunities to be courageously generous, loving and gracious to those around you today.
4 December 2018 – Luke 21:34-36 (NIV)
34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
These 3 verses follows yesterday’s parable of the second coming of Jesus Christ. Here Jesus is cautioning and counseling us at the same time that even though one will be able to realize the second coming is drawing near based on the signs. It is still very much possible to miss the signs based on everyday life issues. These verses also clearly state no one who lives on the earth will escape the second coming. Don’t be weighted down by life’s problems. Cast them on Christ so that you will know with surety (based on what Jesus did on the cross) that you will also stand one day before the Son of Man when he comes (Con).
Thoughts for the day
- Are there any issues or problems that are currently weighing you down? Are you willing to cast it on Jesus?
- Who do you know who should hear this message?
Pray for focus; fix your eyes back to Jesus and acknowledge Him at the center of everything.
3 December 2018 – Luke 21:29-33 (NIV)
29 He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30 When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
32 “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
In these couple of verses Jesus uses a parable to explain the awereness of the second coming. In the same way one knows summer is near based on the the leaves of a fig tree that is sprouting. Similarly, one will also know the second coming of Jesus is near based on the end time signs that are happing. See Luke 21:25-28 for more information regarding the signs for the end times.
This parable also links up very well with the Advent season we are entering. Advent is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas as well as the return of Jesus at the second coming. Advent commences on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. This is a great way to start preparing your heart for what Christ has done for you on the cross and the surety that he will come again on a cloud with power and great glory (Con).
Thoughts for the day
- In what way do you sense God wants you to prepare (either through prayer or fasting) in anticipation of Jesus’ birth?
- Which areas of your life are you the most thankful for when it comes to the redemptive power of the cross?
Pray for revelation: ask God to show you something of His character, presence or beauty where you are now.
30 November 2018 – Romans 8:31-39 (NIV)
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This is the crescendo of an amazing chapter. The author Paul sums up His long and complex doctrinal arguments by assuring us that “we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us.” Our authority comes not from money, status, job title, material possessions, friends, family name or citizenship. Our victory is because God loves us. God. Loves. Us.
And that love is like nothing else. Neither death nor life. Angels nor demons. Not present things. Not future things. No powers in this world. No height is greater; no depth is deeper. NOTHING can separate us from the amazing love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So, while Paul’s letter to the Romans may have a lot to offer in terms of the tenets of the Christian faith, let us not lose sight of what is at its core: that the God of the universe loves us and all good things come as we receive that love into our lives through a relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ (Charlie).
Thoughts for the day
- In what areas of your life has God made you a “conqueror?”?
- How can you better grasp the infinite greatness of God’s love?
Pray for those who are in prison.
29 November 2018 – Romans 8:26-30 (NIV)
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
“In all things God works for the good of those who love Him.” What a promise! This verse does not say that “God works for the good of those who follow the law.” Or “God works for the good who try hardest.” God is a relational God. He loves us and desires more than anything that we can be in relationship with Him. As any good father, he also longs for us to experience joy, peace, and satisfaction. He wants us to thrive. And that can only happen when we are living in a loving relationship with Him – our creator and the author of our faith. It is not that God simply rewards the people who love Him; rather when we are in loving communion with God – which is what we were created for – we can know what goodness is. Outside of relationship with God, our eyes are blinded, our minds are distorted, and our hearts are desensitized.
If you desire a deeper relationship with God, then spend time in prayer with Him. You can even do it now. Tell Him you long for His love. Confess the things that you know are against His will for you. And open your heart to Him. If you don’t know what to say, then just ask for His Spirit to intercede. God loves you and wants nothing but good for you and your life (Charlie).
Thoughts for the day
- Think of a time in your life in which God has made good out of difficult times. How did He reveal more of Himself?
- How can you better see God as your Heavenly Father?
Pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon Shanghai Community Fellowship.