Saturday, March 28, 2020

28 Mar 2020 - Wanting to See Jesus

Devotion, 28 March 2020
Luke 19:1-9 – Wanting to See Jesus
“He wanted to see Jesus… (v. 3)”

Zacchaeus was a very wealthy Jewish man. Despite his wealth, he was hated and despised by his fellow countrymen. He was seen as a traitor to his people for a) working for the Roman Empire, b) collecting tax and, c) cheating people by collecting more than he should. He was an extremely despicable sinner!

Scripture tells us that this despicable man “wanted to see Jesus (v3)”. If you make a quick comparison with him and the Rich Ruler in Luke 18:18-30, you will notice that the Rich Ruler went to meet Jesus because he desired to acquire eternal life. Zacchaeus simply wanted to see Jesus. He was not so much looking for salvation, but rather he was seeking the Saviour.  By inviting Jesus into his home, he received both the Saviour and salvation. The evidence of salvation is a transformed life. Zacchaeus was transformed because he saw Jesus and welcomed him into his home.

We can be very disillusioned by our good works and religious activities. We can be good Christians but miss the point that salvation comes to those who “want to see Jesus”. The Scripture tells us that those who seek him with all their hearts will find him (Jeremiah 29:13), and that God draws close to those who draw close to him (James 4:28). The fact that Jesus went to Zacchaeus was because Zacchaeus sought for Jesus and drew close to him.

Today, we are reminded that Jesus wants to meet with us but… do you want to see him?

Holy Spirit, help me to desire to see Jesus Christ. May I meet Him today in my devotions, worship and prayers, so that in my encounter with Him I will invite the Saviour into my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Friday, March 27, 2020

27 Mar 2020 - Bible-based Faith

Friday, 27 March
Bible-based Faith
Luke 18:35-43

Have you experienced desperation and felt that God was no way near you? It is a real emotion that we all struggle with. Our emotion can be loud but it is not something we want to rely entirely on. I was watching a sports game where the player argued against the referee that he did not foul. The reviewed it through the video recording. It was a clear foul. Emotion is like that.

In Luke reading we find a man in desperation. How can he get healing? He seemed to be at the bottom of the ladder for a miracle to happen. How can he get God to pay attention to him? Must he give more sacrifices, pray longer, know the Torah better and so on? That is what it seems.
Yet we find Jesus present to him, giving full attention and asking what he wanted and bringing the precious gift of sight to him. An assuring picture of the God of grace and love. I choose to depend on these stories rather than my emotion and experience. I am well aware I don't always see correctly so I need the stories of God in the Scriptures.

A second story of desperation we have been reading is that of Naomi and Ruth. You can read the book of Ruth without seeing God in the story. It creatively carries the cry of Naomi, "Where is God?" God seems absent again, base on one's experience.

Read attentively. He is present. God is present through His people. In this case, in the person of Boaz who was unaware of it but he simply obeyed God. He simply loved God and obeyed the law where those who have must help those who do not have.

It is interesting that Jesus said ".. whoever believes in me will do even greater things than these ..." (John 14:12-14). Could this mean that with the Holy Spirit the church carry the presence of God into the world? And we carry the presence of God simply when we take God's word seriously- understand and obey? I think so.

Lord, as I look at your stories I am grateful for your presence and attentiveness to me. There are times I struggle with this. Would you give me sight too, sight that comes from knowing you as in the Scriptures and that the Scriptures shape my experience and emotion more and more each day? Give me sight to see that I have been given the privilege and responsibility to carry your presence to others. Amen

Thursday, March 26, 2020

26 Mar 2020 - Overcoming Fear

Today’s devotion is from Luke 18:31-34 about Jesus predicting His death and resurrection, telling His twelve disciples what was going to happen to Him and all these have already been prophesied by the prophets. But yet, the disciples failed to understand what He was talking about. They were so bent on upon the prophecies which spoke of Christ's glory, that they overlooked those which spoke of His sufferings. It was very important to Jesus that He laid these details out to the disciples before they happened, as another reminder to them that this is God with infinite knowledge of things that have not yet happened and yet He has complete control over every situation.

However, mankind often prefers to listen to heart-warming messages always and close their understandings on the sufferings. Now when disaster has hit the world, fear and anxiety overwhelm them. Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has become a fearful thing worldwide! It is being unsure of what will happen to human life. People are fearful of being infected by this coronavirus. The fear of death, the fear of losing someone they love, the fear of the unknown, and many more. There are just so many fears!

In today’s reading, in a way, Jesus was telling His disciples that they would meet up with hopeless situations where they would be tempted to give up trusting in the power of God. But do we trust that He has control over every situation? We are sometimes slow to see what God is doing because our expectations prevent us from seeing it.

 Jesus knew every detail that the Father had planned, and what is expected of Him. He came to die as predicted. He came to fulfill every single detail, to give us a hope to face any situation. That was the plan, and it ended in victory. We know that was true as in verse 33 it states that, “On the third day he will rise again.” Because of Jesus’ resurrection, no matter how bad things seem, we always have hope.

            With Christ in us, through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we have the ability to understand the truth because we no longer walk in darkness but as children of the light. With that assurance, we can face the unknown and of what is to come. We can face all our fears through knowing, believing and trusting in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ who has already won the victory for us. Amen.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

25 Mar 2020 - Kingdom Of God

25 Mar 2020
Today's Devotion - Kingdom Of God

“But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. — Luke 18:16-17

In Jesus’ day, receiving a blessing by a rabbi was a big deal. It was customary for rabbis to impart a blessing.

No wonder these parents flocked to Jesus. Receiving his blessing would be a great gift.

The disciples saw these parents crowding around Jesus, and they weren’t too happy. After all, Jesus was way too busy to take time for children!

But Jesus didn’t want his kingdom to be fenced in. As the disciples tried to block the parents and children from him, Jesus called the children toward him with open arms. The Master wanted them near, and he gave them the greatest blessing of all, saying, “The kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

The disciples needed to learn that, rather than being self-imposed gatekeepers of the kingdom, they were to invite people freely, recognizing that all who come to the Lord with the trusting dependency of a child may receive God’s abundant blessings.

Jesus, thank you for encouraging me to come to you with childlike faith. I come with open hands, believing and trusting that you are my father. In Jesus name . Amen.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

24 Mar 2020 - Prayer Points for today

Good Afternoon,

Here is the prayer points for today. Please take some time to intercede and pray on your own or with your family from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.

Thank you, practice good hygiene and remember to stay connected! God Bless

24 Mar 2020 - The Pharisee and The Tax Collector

Good Afternoon all, here is today's devotion. Tuesday, 24 March Luke 18:9-14 (15-17) The Pharisee and The Tax Collector Can you identify with what Jesus is saying, about being like the Pharisee and the tax collector? About a sense of self righteousness and about brokenness before God? Most of us start with being like the tax collector in humility and brokenness. Yet self-righteousness is always knocking at the door of our hearts. It's never far away. It will keep on knocking. We can fall for it easily. There is huge amount of temptation to become proud and self righteous. The attention we get through success; and Facebook and Instagram is ever so tempting that we want to look good. It is easy to pretend and hide. And this sipped into church. In fact the danger of comparison is Jesus' warning here. 'I pray longer. I know the bible better. I serve more. I am more gifted. My marriage is great. My children is in Sunday school. I give more. I am not like so and so ... Thus I am more spiritual and righteous compare to so and so.' Let's guard our heart. 2 disciplines Jesus gives here in this passage: (a) Confession and worship. In confession before God we remember who we really are, sinners. In worship we remember who God is, the God Almighty who look into our hearts and the God of grace and forgiveness. We have been forgiven. (b) Being with people who are considered lower or lesser in the eyes of human ( but never to God)- children, poor and needy, forgotten and the many others you know that is considered lower by others or the system within our culture. Do this because in God's eyes we are all equal and valued. Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me against self-righteous. Guard my heart. Help me always remember not just who I was but also who I am, a sinner forgiven. Let me see and value people as you do. Shape my heart day by day as I keep laying my pretentiousness, craving for attention and pride at the foot of the cross. Amen.

Monday, March 23, 2020

23 Mar 2020 - The Parable Of The Persistent Widow

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

Luke 18:1-8 English Standard Version (ESV)
1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give h justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Good morning!

Today’s devotion is taken from Luke 18: 1-8 about the Parable of the Persistent Widow.

This is an interesting parable where the principle behind the parable is clear from the first verse which is that we ought always to pray and not lose heart (Luke 18:1). In this parable, Jesus is seeking to reaffirm us that he cares for you and he will bring about justice in an imperfect world (Luke 18: 6-8). Jesus uses a lesser to bigger example in that if an unrighteous judge person can give this persistent widow what she asks for then what more a God who is righteous, unlimited in power and unlimited in love.

1. Prayer
Two things in respect of the unrighteous judge stood out for me as I meditated on this parable is that the unrighteous judge gave in to the widow’s requests because he did not want the widow to “bother him” otherwise the widow “will wear him out” (Luke 18:5). This is in stark contrast to our Heavenly father who wants to listen to us at all times and the psalmist wrote in Psalm 116:2 “Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live”. Sometimes some of us may wonder is God listening to us or do I pray this item again? The answer is yes and yes! God cares for each and everyone of you and He will never be tired of listening to you! The Apostle Paul also reminds us that God’s will is for us to pray: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing” (1 Thes 5:16-17). Prayer may not always get immediate results but our persistence and faithfulness in prayer will be rewarded by our Heavenly Father.

2. Do not be discouraged
The phrase “do not lose heart” means do not be discouraged. Jesus knew in this life we will face troubles and challenges. By humbling ourselves before him and by always praying, we will find peace in Jesus Christ. Another place in the Bible which the phrase “Do not lose heart” appears is in 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 which

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen."

I find that this is such an apt parable for the situation that many of us are feeling at the moment. Some of us have been pre-occupied with anxiety about the virus and this serves as a reminder to us do not be discouraged! This virus is just a little dot in the bigger scheme of God’s plans, plans which are perfect for us and plans which are good for His people. God hears our cries to him and God will bring justice in this situation in His own timing (Luke 18-7).

Let me encourage all of you to never stop praying and do not be discouraged for God is moving even if we cannot see it. We must trust in God’s grace and His plans in our lives.

Father, we thank you for loving us even though we are sinners. We thank you for being always being with us in difficult situations. Please teach us to surrender to you and seek you with all our hearts and not to be discouraged. Teach us how to pray always in accordance to your will. Increase our faith and we pray for Your will to be done in this nation and in our lives. Amen.