Thursday, September 23, 2021

1 Peter 5:8 - 14

8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers[a] all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 11 All power to him forever! Amen.

In this morning devotion I want to share about 3 ‘R’ which I have learned from 1 Peter 5:8 - 14;

1. Resist

2. Remember

3. Restore

Resist:

In verse 8 peter talks about what we should resist in our life. He encourages us to stay alert and resist our great enemy who is devil. Satan can dress himself up in many guises and disguises. He slithers into the lives of believers as the evil serpent, seducing those that are unprepared for his malicious advances. He comes as the accuser of the saints and as the destroyer of nations - for he is the father of lies and a murderer from the beginning - and he comes as a roaring lion seeking to destroy the faith of many Christians through fear, anxiety, worry and depression - weakening our witness. But Peter is encouraging us not only to resist him but also to Stand firm against him, and be strong in our faith.

Remember

Remember that your family of believers[a] all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are v9

As we Stand against him, we also need to remember our believers in Christ. But how do we remember them? I believe it is through prayer.

Restore 

In the midst of our suffering God never allow us to suffer alone. In the midst of our suffering, he is always with us holding our hand journeying with us and he restore us and strengthen us and place us on a firm foundation which is on Christ.

For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:11

Prayer

Heavenly Father, keep me humble in spirit and help me to cast all my cares and worries upon You. knowing that Satan is prowling around. We remember the families who are suffering also lord restore us strengthen us lord and build our life on you lord. in Jesus Name AMEN.


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Tuesday Devotion: SUFFERING AS A CHRISTIAN

 Devotion 21st September 2021


Suffering as a Christian


1 Peter 4: 12 - 19

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though 

something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or a thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household: and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, “if it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner”. So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”


This is a challenging scripture. Nobody wants to suffer pain or hardship. The thought of suffering a fiery ordeal (v12) would probably fill most of us with dread. However, we are told that suffering is sent to test us, and this suffering enables us to participate in the sufferings of Christ. Somehow, as we engage in the ministry of Christ (being obedient to what He has told us to do) we will share fellowship with Christ 

through suffering in His name (v13, & Philippians 3:10-11). 


Christ suffered greatly for us on the Cross, and fellowship with Christ involves sharing in His suffering. This suffering is connected with our reward in heaven. There is a sense that suffering in this way refines us, as gold is refined in fire (Zechariah 13:9). We are to consider it a blessing to suffer for our Christian faith. We must expect suffering, as everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12). We are blessed through this suffering because it indicates that we are walking with God and His Spirit rests on us (v14). It is proof of an obedient Christian life. Those who have suffered due to their ministry for Christ can take encouragement from the fact that this suffering is part of God’s plan. God who loves us, knows all about what we have gone through! We are blessed that He chose us and we are honoured because we obey Him. 


We must be clear that suffering in this sense means righteous suffering, because we have chosen to follow God and His ways. This is completely different to the suffering that we inflict on ourselves and on others through sin, disobedience and foolishness. It is not the same as suffering that occurs as a result of our own bad decisions or wrong doing. It is interesting to note that being a “meddler” is mentioned in the same sentence as being a murderer, thief or criminal (v15). Meddling basically means being a busybody or troublemaker, with the intent to cause the suffering of other people or for your own satisfaction or gain. This kind of behavior often causes great pain and disruption. It appears to be considered as seriously as other crimes. When we cause suffering as a result of our own sin, we need to learn to recognise it and repent. This is not the kind of suffering that is meant in this scripture. Instead when we suffer for Christ we have nothing to be ashamed of, although the enemy may try his best to make us feel condemned. We can choose to meditate on v16 and praise God that we bear his name.


God uses suffering to discipline us in this lifetime, because He begins His judgment in His own household (v17). We are God’s children and therefore part of His family. This suffering is the worst that can happen to us because we are confident of our eternal salvation in Christ! However, for those who do not know God, the judgement that is coming is far worse. We can rejoice in the suffering we experience now, because we are confident of living in His will. We can choose to give our lives to Him and continue to do good, because of our confidence in His faithfulness (v19), for His love and mercies never end (Lamentations 3:22-23). 


Suggested Prayer

Almighty God, thank you for choosing me to be part of your family. Help me to trust you and to have full confidence that you are in control even in the midst of hardship and suffering. I pray God, for your encouragement through any test that I may have to overcome as I obey You. Help me to continue to walk faithfully beside you. Thank you for your faithfulness and love. Thank you for the confidence that I can have as a follower of Christ, that I will receive my reward in heaven. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Suffering as part of God's will (1 Peter 4:1 - 6)

4 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. 2 As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. 5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

Why do many of those who are godly suffer? Examples include Jesus Himself, Job, Paul, Peter, and many others. Sometimes God allows suffering to occur to help us become more focused on Him. The suffering of Jesus did not occur because of sin. We know that Jesus is God’s Son. He is perfect. His suffering was to help Him walk through the things that many other people walk through, to aid the ministry of the Kingdom of God in people’s lives. As the only perfect man who was also fully human, God willed that He would experience human suffering in life. God the Father and the Son want us to know that He too has lived experience of human sorrow.

Jesus experienced a lot of suffering even before He experienced the Cross. From birth, His parents were not welcomed in their hometown and Jesus was treated with the stigma of illegitimacy. His earthly parents became refugees and experienced years of upheaval.

Sometime between the age of 12 and the beginning of His ministry aged 30, Jesus’ earthly father Joseph died. By the time Jesus turned water into wine at Cana in Galilee, His mother had turned to him instinctively as the family problem-solver because He was already experienced in dealing with day-to-day challenges and suffering. Before God the Father allowed God the Son to experience the Cross, Jesus in His humanity had to develop abilities at navigating lesser but still very significant suffering. 

One example is His experience of racism. This was from Roman soldiers (the beatings, spitting and crown of thorns and taunting of being “king of the Jews”). In Isaiah chapter 53 he is named the “man of sorrows”.

How does this relate to us? Paul in Philippians 3:10-11 states, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” The Bible seems to state that suffering has an important role in the Christian life. It is significant that Paul equates suffering with fellowship with Christ.

No normal person wants to experience suffering. However, It appears to be necessary to achieve the Christian goal to draw near to Christ and please God in our lives. When we read Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane it is clear that, although He fully submitted Himself to God, He did not seek suffering any more than a normal person would. Similarly, Paul prayed for his “thorn in the flesh” to be taken away. Jesus indicated just before His resurrection that Peter would be bound up and taken where he did not want to go. Jesus therefore warned Peter that he would suffer against his own will, because of his obedience to Jesus.

In Romans 8:28 Paul states;
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. Suffering is included in Paul’s statement about “all things”. God can use suffering in our lives to do good. He can use suffering to mature and improve our character. He can conform us to the image of his Son through suffering.

In 2 Timothy 3:12, Paul states;
“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”. For Paul, persecution and suffering follow on naturally from our desire to lead a godly life. 1 Peter 3:14-15 states,
But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened. 1But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

We need to draw near to God. When we do so, we experience a blessing, even during a period of suffering. The blessing of Christian joy is not dependent on happy external circumstances.

Suggested prayer: 
Dear Heavenly Father. Help me to draw near to Christ and live a life that pleases You. May I trust in Your perfect love that casts out all fear. Help me to find out what pleases You and to be obedient to You. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

THURSDAY DEVOTION: TRUST IN THE LORD - PSALM 125:1-2

1 Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.

2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore.

With just these two verses, they do seak volumes to all believers of Christ, especially during this covid pandemic whereby people are affected mentally, physically and spiritually. These two verses relay to us the promise of God. When we trust in Him, we are like “Mount Zion which cannot be shaken but endures forever.” We have God’s protection all around us at all times. He surrounds us (His people) like the mountains surround Jerusalem and He will do so both now and forever!”

Trust God – these two words are easier said than done. It is definitely easier to trust God when times are good with everything going smoothly and according to how you want or plan it to be. But when the bad times come and things feel uncertain, people tend to question God especially when help does not come fast enough. However, it is during those bad times that it is even more important to trust God. When things around us are “tossing and churning,” bringing us fear and anxiety, we can rely on Jesus because He is our Firm Foundation. He is our Solid Rock! (Matthew 7:24-27) 

When you trust someone, you believe in that person’s ability, reliability and strength. When it comes to trusting God, it means believing in His reliability, His ability, His strength and His Word. God always keeps His promises as He cannot lie because He is perfect and sinless. However, we can choose whether we want to trust God or not. But if we choose not to trust God and rely on the circumstances surrounding us, those things are definitely not reliable and they can change any moment. God, on the other hand, is more reliable because He does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

We do not know when or how the covid pandemic will end, but God knows. What we can do is to pray and trust Him because He knows and understands the situation that we are in. Trust that He will grant us His protection, that He will put a stop to this pandemic, and that some good positive things will emerge from this pandemic. Trusting in God makes us to be as strong as Mount Zion and allows us to remain unshaken by circumstances and change. Trusting in Him also brings peace, strength and comfort into our lives.

Suggested Prayer:

Jesus, thank you that those who trust in You are secured and cannot be moved for You are with us to protect and provide for us no matter what we may face today and the days ahead. 

In Jesus’ Name. Amen

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Tuesday Devotion

 Tuesday Devotion: Peter 3:1-7


In this passage, Peter admonished wives to submit to their husbands, just like how he admonished us to submit to every human authority for the Lord’s sake (1 Peter 2:13) and for slaves to submit to their masters (1 Peter 2:18). In this specific case, the wives are married to unbelieving husbands, and Christian husbands to unbelieving wives. 


There are 3 things we can learn from this passage.


1. Actions. Our actions speak louder than words. We are always surrounded by unbelievers, our families, friends, colleagues, etc. Sometimes when we use words to try to reach out to them, our words can fall on deaf ears. However, our actions and behavior can serve as silent preaching. We can win their hearts with our actions, for Him. 


2. Attitude. Our attitude is our best feature. We sometimes spend so much time and money on our outward appearance but forget about our spiritual appearance. It is fine to look good on the outside, but we need a spiritual makeover, the incorruptible beauty. A gentle and quiet spirit.  Gentle spirit – the words from our mouth, our responses, our emotions are powerful but under God’s control. Quiet spirit – the undisturbed tranquil trust in God with whatever is happening around us. Incorruptible beauty can make you look more beautiful as the years go by. Everyone has a hidden person of the heart. That’s the real you when nobody is looking.  We need the Holy Spirit to transform the hidden person of the heart, and we need to put in more time and effort into that spiritual makeover.


3. Admiration. Admiration is more biblical than contemporary. Who do we look up to? Who is our role model? We should be looking for role models in the bible, a biblical role model. The bible is our life manual, and it provides transformation. It can change the way we think and live our life. 


From this passage, we learn that we need to focus on the hidden person of the heart, choose good character and adorn ourselves with gentleness and a quiet spirit; we need a spiritual makeover. We are to be a witness in this unbelieving world. They are watching us, and most importantly, God is watching us. Therefore, we must live with integrity. 


May the Holy Spirit help us to live with integrity so that we can be a living witness of God. Amen.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Saturday Devotion : Lamentations 3:19-42

 September 11, 2021

Today’s Passage is from Lamentations 3: 19-42


How do we spiritually thrive in the midst of suffering?  What are the thoughts that we should 

have, as we walk through a season of wide-spread despair and anxiety?  How do we fight this daily COVID-19 battle to be able to interpret life through a biblical lens?


When suffering, hardship, or judgment comes, these questions will be a part of the dynamic in one way or another.  In other words, pain of any kind causes us to ask really important questions, and it tests what we really believe.    It shows us who we really are, it surfaces what we believe about God, for, suffering is hard, but it is not bad.


Chapter three contains probably the most familiar verse in the book thanks to the hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness”:


22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.  (Lamentations 3:22–23)


Most people sing this song with a view toward a reflective gratitude for what God has done.  It is typically sung to give thanks for the Lord’s care or for his provision (“All I have needed thy hand hath provided . . .”).  But in Lamentations 3, “Great is Thy Faithfulness” is said, as Jeremiah looks at a smoldering, destroyed, and over-run city.  In other words, Jeremiah is not just reflecting in his heart; he is pushing his heart toward what is true despite what he sees with his eyes.  He is rehearsing what is true so that hope will rise.


Let us put our trust in God over and over when the circumstances of life are painful.  Hard is hard, but hard is not bad.  Why?  Because God is good.  That belief and trust matters the most when the circumstances of your life or family or city or nation might cause you to think otherwise. Even in the midst of the relentless battering of difficulty you can still “call to mind” what you know to be true about God.  


Justly, aren’t we the only ones who have hope because of JESUS,  in the midst of very difficult moments?


We need to preach to our own hearts.  That, God’s mercy never ends (vv 22-24).  Other translations render this as “lovingkindness” (NASB) as  “great love” (NIV), or “faithful love” (NLT).  In Hebrew it is Hesed, it is God’s covenant love for His people, and it is rooted in the very character of God.


Verse 23 says, “they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  Jeremiah now makes it very personal and daily.  God’s faithfulness and mercy affect every single day.  Jeremiah, means that in each new day, we see evidence of God’s grace and that there is a possibility of renewal and repentance.


In verse 24, we get to the foundation of everything.  “The Lord is my portion . . . therefore I hope in Him”  In other words, Jeremiah is saying “The Lord is all I have” or “I’m living on God’s grace.”  Psalm 73 says it: 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26 (ESV).


Let us must remind ourselves that God’s mercy never ceases.  “Good is the Lord to those who wait for him,” “Good it is that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord,”  31 For the Lord will not cast off forever, 32 but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; (Lamentations 3:31–32). Everything is working out perfectly in accordance with God’s loving plan for our lives.  


Suggested prayer:

Loving Lord Jesus, we praise you because righteousness and justice are the foundations of your throne, and that steadfast love and faithfulness go before You. I thank You because Your mercies are unending and they are new every morning. Enable me Lord, to reflect Your love and compassion specially, during this pandemic season. Help me to exalt Your name in everything that I do today. In Jesus name I pray. Amen. 


Thursday Devotion: Seed of Perfect Love

 Devotion 9 Sept, Thursday 

Seed of Perfect Love (1 Peter 1:20-25)


Two things I like to draw your attention to. 


The first thing is the call to love one another fervently with a pure heart. What does this mean? It is difficult to fully comprehend as we all are very limited in loving people. Yet it is clear what Peter is saying, he is pointing us to Jesus, who love fervently (to the point of death on the cross) and with pure heart (100% for us, no selfishness or ulterior motive). In Christ we don't just see it, we experience it ourselves. 


The second thing is the reason why love is expected of us inspite of the fact it 


seems almost impossible for us to achieve.  The reason is simple, it is the seed of the Gospel (of Christ) that we 'live and abide'. I have always take for granted our rice's quality until a padi farmer told me that there are many types of seed for padi. Some are superior breed and others are less. Not only does the superior breed gives better quality rice, it also produces larger quantity.  That is how seed works. Here it tells us that we are born again from the best seed, the Word of God, thus 'fervent love with pure heart' is part of you and I. Jesus's life is produced in you and I. 


Reflection

Do you know this perfect love? Jesus invites you to it.



Is this perfect love of Christ for others growing or even maturing in your life? How it is so? Invite the Holy Spirit into people whom you find difficulty to love, to forgive, to be kind, to be patient... (1 Cor. 13).


Prayer 

Lord, I am so grateful you love me fervently with pure heart.  I know what this kind of love is because you have love me with such. Such love is spelled with the Cross. And no one is called to such love except those born again with the incorruptible seed of the Word of God. And through your Holy Spirit bring forth this fruit of love to maturity so that i can love others as you love me. In Your precious Name. Amen