Thursday, April 29, 2021

Thursday Devotion - Partners of Light

Therefore, do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true) and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

Ephesians 5:7-11 ESV

What does it mean to be in a formal or informal partnership? Doesn't partnership imply a conscious and active participation in the activities we have bound ourselves to? A partnership does imply the willingness to come under an agreement, even a covenant.

Paul in writing to the church in Ephesus calls them to be unyoked with the deeds of darkness. He used the term "darkness" to invoke the imagination and emotion of his readers on the type of deeds produced by those who do not have the Light - who is Christ. These deeds of darkness include sexual immorality, covetousness (envy and desire for what others have), filthy and foolish speeches.

We are Children of Light whose actions (in thoughts, words, and deeds) should reflect the Light of Christ in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. Learning to take this advice is crucial if we are to truly live faithfully as Christians. Sadly, many of us still remain in darkness even among "believers". And as Paul, we are called to instruct and admonish one another to walk in light, and in partnership with the Holy Spirit instead of the world (in terms of its independence from God).

What is the solution that Paul offers to the church who are learning to overcome the darkness? Verses 18-21 provides us some advice:

"....but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ."

Ephesians 5:18-21 ESV

  1. Be filled with the Spirit - we cannot become Children of Light and produce the fruit of light without being filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit who helps us to be God's Children that produce spiritual fruit (Ro. 8:13-17; Gal. 5:16-26).
  1. Address one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs - we are reminded to minister and serve one another. Specifically, in the act of corporate worship because we affirm and strengthen our faith when serving one another (Heb. 10:24-25). Our songs reflect our love and faith in Christ.
  1. Giving thanks always - Thanksgiving takes our minds from coveting. Thanksgiving produces in us the satisfaction and joy that comes from knowing we have all we need in Christ. We develop a spirit of humility and gratitude by thanksgiving (Phil. 4:4-8, 11-13).
  1. Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ - learning to submit to one another is key to stopping the ongoing cycle of sin in our community. We learn to consider others' interest before ourselves (Phil. 2:1-5). In submitting to one another we are asking ourselves: Are my thoughts and actions harmful to my community - fellow brothers and sisters in Christ? Do they build up and forge unity, or do they tear down and produce discord?

Friends, let us be partners of Light instead of darkness. May our actions and attitudes reflect His light and glory. Continue to serve to build one another.

The Lord be with you.

Prayer:

  1. Ask the Father to fill you with the Holy Spirit.
  2. Seek the Holy Spirit's guidance and wisdom to overcome the temptations you are facing.
  3. Pray for your family and friends who are living in darkness that God will draw them into His light - to make them Children of Light.

 


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Tuesday Devotion: Building Each Other Up in Christ (Ephesians 4:25 - 32)

In Ephesians 4, Paul writes about the importance of church unity and healthy fellowship. Paul is concerned about how we support each other. In v20-24, we are instructed to put off our old selves and the deceitfulness of our own desires. We should put on our new selves in Christ, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. We are therefore instructed to behave in a godly manner, with Christ’s help.

Verse 25 tells us to ‘put off falsehood and speak truthfully to each other, for we are members of one body’. What does this mean? Clearly it means that we should not lie to each other, but it is not limited to this. Speaking the truth means being honest and accountable to each other in every aspect of our lives. As part of the body of Christ, we have the responsibility to speak to another person when see that their behaviour or attitude is not consistent with a righteous and holy life. We should also be prepared to listen to other peoples’ feedback about how we conduct ourselves. We should do this with love, to encourage and help each other in our walk with God. Since we are part of one body, it is necessary for every part of the body to be walking in unity with each other. Division, disobedience, refusing to be accountable, and failing to admonish another in Christ, leads to disunity which is very damaging to everyone in the fellowship.

Verses 26-27 tell us, ‘In your anger do not sin; do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold’. Whilst this verse is commonly interpreted as advice to a married couple to resolve any disputes urgently and not to dwell in anger, it is also a warning to Christian fellowship. Church disputes should be resolved urgently, with care and love. We should try our very best to avoid sinning whilst we are under the influence of our emotions. The devil will use any unresolved conflict in our lives, if we do not guard ourselves against it. If you are admonished by a fellow believer about your behaviour or attitude, you will need to react according to God’s word, acknowledge your sin and repent. Otherwise, you are likely to react with denial and anger, and risk giving the devil a foothold into your life. This provides the devil with an easy entry into your heart and your life, with the deadly opportunity to destroy your faith, and to cause untold damage to you and the people around you. As Christians, we should be aware that the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). The devil wants to control our minds and our hearts; do not give him any opportunity to do so.

Verse 28 tells us to repent and stop stealing, but instead to work doing something usefully with our own hands that we may have something to share with those in need. This verse tells us that we must all do our part and contribute to the fellowship. Do not just expect to take and receive from others, without giving something yourself. The work of the Kingdom of God is substantial, and we all have a responsibility to work and contribute to benefit of other people. Do not leave it to others.

Verse 29 advises to speak unwholesome words but instead to speak wisely in order to build others up and to benefit those who listen. This means that we should be aware that we need to speak and act in accordance with God’s love for everyone and by His measure of righteousness. We should avoid gossip, slander, bullying, talking down, or any malicious talk. Our role in every fellowship is to help and encourage others. Tearing each other down can unfortunately happen in fellowships. This kind of destructive behaviour can cause a lot of harm, pain and discouragement. Learn to speak gently and avoid harsh words that sir up anger. Choose your words wisely and avoid having a mouth that gushes folly, be mindful that the eyes of the Lord are everywhere, and aim to having a soothing tongue that gives life rather than a perverse tongue that crushes the spirit (Proverbs 15:1-4). Speaking unwholesome words, would also risk us grieving the Holy Spirit of God (v30).

Finally, we are told to get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice (v31). When there is disunity, in-fighting, resentment and jealousy in a fellowship, the damage that is done can often lead to bitterness and anger. It is absolutely heartbreaking to experience these things, especially if we have invested a lot of effort into the fellowship. The Bible warns us to manage our emotions and not to give in to bitterness or anger, not to participate in foolish talk, and not to allow ourselves to act in our anger. If we have done wrong, we should be willing to repent and apologise to others. If we have ourselves been wronged, we may never get the apology or the closure that we want. However, we need to remind ourselves daily that God forgave us all our sins, and Christ died for us willingly in order to save us from the punishment for sin. God chose to forgive us, before we repented and said sorry. Therefore, we can choose to be kind and compassionate to others. We can choose not to seek revenge or vindication. Let us believe with confidence like Job did, that God will vindicate us (Job 13:18). We can choose to behave with integrity and to trust that our lives are in God’s hands. God’s plan for the church is unity, righteousness and holiness through His son, Jesus Christ. Only if we obey Him in this, can we be effective witnesses of His love to others who desperately need Him. We should desire to fight the good fight, finish the race, keep the faith and claim the crown of righteousness which the Lord will award to all those who have longed for Him (2 Timothy 4:7-8). Be encouraged, brothers and sisters in Christ.

Suggested Prayer

Almighty God, forgive me for the times when I have sinned against you, when I have failed to encourage others, when I have spoken foolish words and harboured anger in my heart against others. I repent of these sins. Transform my heart and help me to speak and behave as You have taught me, to live in truth and to show kindness and compassion. Help me to encourage others in their walk with You. I pray too for my fellowship, that the members will behave in a righteous and holy manner, with Your help. I pray that we will be a united and loving fellowship where we may serve one another and build each other up in You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

#SermonSeries: Armour of God - Introduction

#SermonSeries: Armour of God - Introduction

Good afternoon, Come and join us online on the Equipping the Saint sermon series. Have a blessed Sunday. Stay safe. God bless.



Saturday, April 24, 2021

Unity in the Body of Christ

Life as a Christian is like no other and truly unique. We regularly meet people from different backgrounds, different ages, different opinions through bible studies, church and other events. With such diverse group of people, it presents opportunities for conflicts to arise. Just think about your own family or friends and think about how often conflict can arise. However, in this passage, Paul calls us to be one body and one family in God’s family. We are called to live in peace and called to love one another through the power of the Holy Spirit. Is that possible? In order to apply this passage to our lives, we need to examine our own attitudes and characters. I will focus on verses 2 to 3. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 

Humility

There cannot be unity without humility. Pride is one of the most common root causes of conflicts. Pride tells us to hold on to power and authority tightly. Humility means that serve God without the need to be recognize by people. It means you can contribute to your ministry or team without seeking for validation. Humility allows you to listen to others who has a different opinion. Humility says I do not have to be right all the time and accept that we can be wrong or others might have a better idea than us. When we have a humble attitude, it is easier to say you may be right! Jesus himself was the ultimate example of humility. Though in the form of God, he emptied himself for our sake to live on this earth and lived a humble life. 

Be Patient and bearing one another in love

I cannot stand your attitude or your behavior? Does that sound familiar? We often get impatient with people if they act in a certain way that irritates us. It could be a friend who is never on time and a family member who is too quick to jump to conclusions. Paul instructs us to do the opposite of that and instead say, I will be with you through your weaknesses and through a person’s ‘faults’. Paul  says in order to maintain unity, patience and bearing one another in love is important. We are to be kind to one another appreciating that all of us have our own struggles. We have to be patient, to bear with one another and to make every effort to keep the unity. Notice that Paul uses words that requires actions because he appreciates that it is not easy to be patient. It requires effort. Jesus himself tolerated disciples who did not understand him a lot of times and still remained patient with Peter despite his shortcomings. We have to consciously be aware of our actions and words to others. We have the Holy Spirit to help and guide us. We ought to live a life of submission to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to control our emotions, words, attitudes and actions.

Why is unity important one may ask? We cannot live our Christian life alone because we need one another. Fellowship with believers is an important part of God’s design for our spiritual growth and our walk with God. 

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we pray for unity in our church and also churches around the world. May we learn to fully submit to the Holy Spirit to guide us in all our actions and words. Where there are areas that we are struggling with to maintain unity, help us. Amen. 


Thursday, April 22, 2021

Thursday Devotion: Fruit of Suffering

This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.

Ephesians 3:11‭-‬13 ESV

Study:

The Christian faith and life is both an invitation to a life of abundance and suffering in Jesus Christ.

When you read Ephesians 1, you will discover that Paul expressed the abundance of spiritual blessings in the heavenly realms that were available and given to him, the apostles and those who believed in Jesus Christ. However, as you go along in the reading you will notice that he wrote of being a prisoner of Jesus Christ for the sake of the Gentiles (3:1).

Paul understood that the abundance of blessings were God's grace to be lavished on others. It is God's eternal plan - predestined will, that the Church (Jews and Gentile) display His wisdom (i.e. salvation and life is found in Jesus Christ). This truth gave him great confidence and boldness to continue proclaiming the gospel despite the risk of being imprisoned. Suffering, therefore, was a burden he was willing to bear because it is the grace of God for both the Jews and Gentiles to be united with one another in the inheritance of Christ in Him. So, he encouraged the readers to "not lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory" (v.13).

Reflect:

Most of us have yet to understand the joy that Paul experienced for the sake of the Gospel. In fact, because he chose to be obedient to Christ in life and death, even to share in Christ's sufferings, we who are Gentiles have become recipients of the Gospel. His suffering has resulted in the spreading of the Gospel that brings life to the Gentile world. You and I are indeed the fruit of suffering.

You may know of people who are contending for the Gospel and are at risk of being imprisoned for Christ. Some are denied proper rights as citizens for the Gospel. Yet, they continue to persist in faith because of the confidence they have in Jesus Christ. Perhaps, you are going through a type of suffering because of your professed faith as a fellow disciple of Christ. Do not lose heart. You are in great company with Paul and the other apostles who have gone before you. For we know that Christ will be glorified through of sufferings.

Application:

As we consider the countless of godly men and women who have joyfully gave their lives for the Gospel for the sake of our salvation and eternal inheritance as God's people, may we also consider how we can continue the Christian tradition of evangelism - to include, invest and invite others into the family of God in Jesus Christ.

Pray:

1. Let us pray for those who are suffering or experience hardships for the sake of the Gospel.

2. Let us pray for one another to be bold and confident in our faith as we proclaim the Gospel to others.

3. Let us pray for God to lead us to people who we can share His love and salvation with.

The Lord be with you. Amen.


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Tuesday Devotion: Citizen or Foreigner (Ephesians 2:11-22)

Tuesday Devotion: Citizen or Foreigner (Ephesians 2:11-22)

"Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints.." (v.19) 

Ephesians tells us we are citizens of God's Kingdom and that we are not strangers and foreigners. These are opposing identity. Believers in Ephesus struggled with their identity. They claimed to be citizens yet tried to earned citizenship by living the law, e.g., circumcision. A confusing bunch of citizens. Or are they strangers and foreigners?

What about you?  For now,  let just do 2 checklists:

1. He is your Savior? You know Jesus and thay He has died for you and given you salvation? 

2. He is your King? This means trust and obey His word. Trust and obey even when I don't feel like it or don't understand fully. Trust and obey even when the Scripture is not convenient to me and my situation.  Trust and obey even when you think it is unfair or very uncomfortable. 

What are those moments you don't want to trust and obey? That distinguish between citizens and foreigners in God's Kingdom. Jesus made the line very clear, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness..." (Matt. 6:33).

The first is about Jesus' finished work to give us complete forgiveness and salvation.  The second is about we belonging to the King, Christ's Lordship.

Prayer 

Dear King Jesus, thank you that you made me citizen of your Kingdom. Help me live as faithful citizen to you, trusting and obeying. Amen

You live as one? 

Believers in Christ are citizens of God's Kingdom because Christ has made it a reality through his death and resurrection.  

Question. Are you citizen of the Kingdom of heaven?

Citizens of every nation live with a certain culture,  values,  beliefs,  practices, laws, rights, protection and so forth. 

God's Kingdom is not different. We have the Word of God to tell us who our King is and how good He is to us. Amazingly  how we are to live and shine His Kingdom.

Do you know them? More importantly,  do you live by them?

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Saturday Devotion: What do you see? (Ephesians 1:15-23)

Jesus taught that "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light ..." (Matthew 6:22). What our eyes see determine how healthy we are. Example, if we see treasure on earth, we will be earthly bounded. If we see treasures in heaven, we will be heavenly minded. These two are a world apart. The former lives for now and will do all things to grab, including hurting others. The latter lives for eternity and becomes a steward of what God entrusts him and thus bless many.

Paul understood this truth and in Ephesians 1:18-19 told us that with healthy eyes we know:

1. The hope of His calling- to salvation, Christlikeness, to serving the King of kings.

2. What are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.  Imagine this, a son of a billionaire inherits the billions.  That is awesome. Now imagine what the God of all creation, of eternity possesses (where a billion dollar is like one cent to Him) and what inheritance He has for you and I, who are made saints through Christ's perfect and complete work on the cross. Wow!!!

3. What is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe. Do you see God's power at creation, opening the Red Sea ... and above all, raised Jesus from death? This power is shared with us who believe, i.e., the church. What sin, fear, bondage, habit, or anything can keep us captive? Only if we see with enlightened eyes.

 

Reflection

Care to check the optometrist?

How healthy you are depending on how healthy are your eyes?

 

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, heal my eyes. Let me see what you see and live the way you live. Amen


Thursday, April 15, 2021

Thursday Devotion: Bless the Lord? (Psalm 103)

“Bless the Lord, O my soul.” The phrase comes up repeatedly, over and over again in Psalms 103 (depending on your translation). And this is something we often hear, sing and maybe even say. But what does it really mean to bless the Lord? And isn’t it supposed to be us being blessed by Him, and not He by us?

The word blessing, most of the time when we use it, we usually mean it for a gain of some kind. However to “bless” isn’t restricted to just that one meaning. It's also words of promise, truth, and encouragement.

When we say “bless the Lord” it means that we are praising God, we are pouring out praise upon him, we are declaring that He has power, we are glorifying Him for what he has done and we are worshipping Him.

God wants us to worship Him, and praise Him, not because He needs it, but because He wants us to know who he is and to recognize who He is. Because the more we understand Him, the more we will grow to love Him, and to find Joy in Him.

Have you ever seen videos of baby ducks who've never experienced swimming? Ponds? They will first be hesitant to go in, scared of what that large body of water is. But the moment they step into the water, they will freak out initially, overcome with so much joy in how fun the water is.

And that’s what God wants for us too. He wants us to draw near to Him, so that we may experience Him and find so much Joy in praising Him because God is the greatest good in life.

Take some time to think about the good you have in life, the good that God has done for you, and thank Him for those things. Praise Him for his goodness.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Tuesday Devotion: Be a Co-Worker! (2 Corinthians 6:1-10)

2 Corinthians 6:1 - ‘Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain’. 

What would it look like to receive the grace of God in vain? How would it appear to be a recipient of God’s grace, but to have none of its authority or power in your life? What good is the favor of God if it makes absolutely no difference in the life of the inheritor? Paul is here quoting from Isaiah 49:7 that the day is coming when the captivity is over, when the dispersion will be gone… and he will help his humble servant to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. In today’s context, Paul is saying that the day of the new has arrived in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Today God has offered salvation through Christ and this is the favorable time, the day of salvation. Receiving God’s grace is receiving God’s salvation. And because we have received this grace we become God’s co-workers. It is His work that He asks us to do together with Him. If we do not work with and for God, we receive God’s grace in vain. It’s time we remind people that now is the day of salvation. Paul’s great plea was that now is now, and that now is the only opportunity for us to remind people that if they have received the Salvation then its time they don’t keep it to ourselves.

Be a blameless servant of God! 

And when we are co-workers, as servants of God “we (should) commend ourselves in every way” says Paul. We need to be careful not to allow anything in our lives to turn someone off from becoming a Christian. There is no better rule of life than to ask ourselves the question every day, what influence are my actions now having on the Church of God? Paul had this passion to be blameless as a servant of the gospel. Paul was willing to do most anything to make sure he gave no offense in anything. He was willing to forego his salary as a minister of the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:3-15). He was willing to work hard and endure hardship. Paul was not afraid to offend anyone over the gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:18-25), but he would not allow his style of ministry to offend anyone. But, Paul’s ministry was blamed and discredited by the Corinthian Christians. He has taken great risks to tell the Corinthians of God’s grace and love. Yet, Paul never doubts that the gospel is worth it all. His focus was Jesus and his plea is that everyone receives this salvation he has experienced. 

Be joyful in suffering! 

For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, Philippians 1:29-30 Look at verses 8 to 10. Paul lists seven paradoxes, seven seemingly contradictory truths; the sufferer is seen as an imposter, unknown, dying, punished, sorrowful, and poor; having nothing. YET, well known, not killed, always rejoicing, making many rich and possessing everything. But God takes the worst and transforms it to the best. Here’s what God does in the life of a sufferer. He knows you and sees the inside of you. Romans 5:3–5 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Expect to suffer for Jesus, but expect greater joy and life to come through that suffering. ...as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything. (2 Corinthians 6:10) What a magnificent life! 

Suggested prayer: 

Thank you, Heavenly Father, Thank you for Paul, as he lived through the pressures and the calamities of his own time. Grant us grace to live right under similar pressures that we may seek to glorify God and count it as joy; manifesting a character of purity, of knowledge, of patience, and of kindness. We thank you, Lord, and ask that you will make us that by the power of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

#SermonSeries: Maturity

#SermonSeries: Maturity


Good afternoon,

Come and join us online on the Equipping the Saint sermon series. Have a blessed Sunday.

Stay safe.


God bless. 



Saturday, April 10, 2021

Saturday Devotion: Job 13

Though He slay me, yet I will trust in Him.”

The book of Job tells the story of a righteous man who loved and obeyed God. He was blessed with wealth and a large family. God asks Satan what he thinks of Job and tells Satan that Job is a blameless and upright man who fears God and shuns evil (Job 1:8). However, Satan replies that the reason Job fears God is because God has protected and blessed him, and suggests that should God remove these things from him, Job would surely curse God to His face (Job 1:9-11). Then God does something that is unusual. He tells Satan, “very well then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.’ God therefore allows Satan to destroy whatever Job has. Job loses his family, his wealth and everything that is dear to him. In the proceeding chapters, we see how Job’s wife is so upset that she becomes angry with God. His ‘friends’ Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar go to visit him, supposedly to sympathise with him but it turns out that they are not much help. They tell Job that this has perhaps happened to him because he has done some evil and ‘deserves’ the punishment. There is a conversation back and forth, and it is clear that his friends are not actually well intentioned. They imply that Job is inferior to them, and less righteous than they are because he has been afflicted and they have not. These ‘friends’ are prime examples of whom you do not want as friends in fellowship. They did not provide comfort and their views about why God had allowed suffering in Job’s life, were judgmental and inaccurate. 

By chapter 13, Job has listened to them at length and has also given his replies to their accusations. In this chapter, he tells these friends that he is not inferior to them. He tells them that they smear him with lies and are worthless physicians (v4). He has understood that they have spoken deceitfully and they think they are better than him. He warns them that God will surely call them into account. Job desires to speak to the Almighty to argue his case with God (v3) directly (and not with these three men). In verse 15, Job shows that he has understood the correct response and attitude to his situation:

‘Though he slay me, yet I will hope in Him.’

Job has understood that he is fully in God’s hands. He is confidence that God will deliver (save) him, because he knows he is righteous before God. He trusts that he will be vindicated (v18) from all the baseless threats these men have brought against him. He does not fall into the trap of denouncing God.  

What does it mean to have faith in God’s deliverance? We have all experienced pain, loss and suffering. It can be difficult to see God’s plan when we are feeling emotionally or physically exhausted due to our suffering. Job had suffered unimaginable loss. He went through a long and painful period of wondering what was going on, and why God had inflicted this suffering upon him. However, he did not lose his faith in God because he understood that everything he had was from God. It can be very hard to make sense of suffering. We may feel angry with God and wonder why he has allowed such pain into our lives.

Nevertheless, Job sets us the biblical example of trusting in God and continuing to uphold our integrity.

Suggested Prayer

Father God, I understand that you are the Almighty God, and that you hold everything in your hands. Help me hold onto my hope in You, even as I go through trials and suffering. Help me to trust that you will deliver me and help me not to sin in my pain. Thank you, God that You love me and will never leave me nor forsake me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Thursday, April 8, 2021

Thursday Devotion: UNCHANGING GOD (PSALM 102)

The psalmist in this chapter started by crying out to God for help, pleading for His presence. He is obviously suffering, and feeling there and then that God is so distant from him. He is so depressed to the extent that he lost his appetite, making him weak and thin. He also described himself as a “desert owl and bird alone on a roof” indicating his loneliness and sadness, with no one besides him. Added to that, he also faced opposition, was being mocked and cursed. 

However, after describing his gloomy depressed situation, from verse 12 onwards, the psalmist changed his focus. He started remembering and acknowledging God for His greatness, that He is one who will endure forever. He trusted that God will have compassion and that He will rebuild and restore the nation, bringing deliverance to the people. And that God will answer and not reject the prayers of those in need. Towards the end of this chapter, the psalmist said that “God will remain the same and His years will have no end.” Even though the psalmist is still in his suffering, he ended this psalm with confidence trusting that God will make all things right in the days to come. 

Because of mankind’s fallen nature, they tend to look for permanence/security in the wrong place. They place their hope and trust in things that are changing, thinking that they would be able to find security in them. Whether it is banks, investments, relationships, authority, or something else, they all too readily seek security in these things. But, none of all those things are able to give them the security they are looking for. Nothing is permanent in this ever-changing world. Everything around us will change, such as the landmarks, buildings, mountains, landscape, etc. We ourselves will also change over time. We will experience physical, mental and spiritual changes too. 

There is no way that we can stop changes from taking place. But as Christians, we can put our trust in Christ, our solid Rock who is our firm foundation. Only our God who is unchanging is able to provide us with the security that we are seeking for. Because God is eternal and unchanging, we can trust Him and count on His promises. He cannot fail to keep His promises to protect us forever. He is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). We are secure in Him.

The Psalmist in Psalm 102 understood this truth, that he can placed his trust and hope in this unchanging God who is able to provide him with the security and save him. Thus, in the midst of his suffering and insecurity, he turned to God. This helped him as he walked through the dark valley of trials, troubles and problems.

Suggested Prayer -

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank you for reminding me of Psalm 102. I know that everything around me changes as time passed. I am truly blessed to have an unchanging God whom I can rely on and trust without any reservation. I pray that you will give me the confidence to trust in all of Your promises.

In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Galatians 2:11-14

In this passage, Peter was visiting Antioch to probably visit Paul and Peter was spending time with Gentile believers. We read here that he was eating with them. From the perspective of a Jew, it was highly unacceptable to eat with Gentiles as they were considered unclean in the light of God’s laws. It is likely that Peter was not observing the strict Jewish traditions as we know from Acts 10 that it was Peter who preached the Gospel to Gentile Cornelius and family. God gave Peter a vision that there were no longer any divisions of clean and unclean for all of God’s people. As we read on, we know that Peter withdrew from eating with the gentiles because a group of Jews arrived because Peter feared them.

This is an incredible account of Paul opposing and correcting Peter’s behavior by calling him a hypocrite. Peter was one of the 12 apostles. He walked with Jesus for 3 years, listened to him preach and saw the risen Christ. Peter was asked to lead the church and was given the title, “the Rock”. You would think that of all people, Peter would be the last to be called a hypocrite, especially after the events in Acts 10 as well. What led to this embarrassing event for Peter? It was his fear of others might think of him. When we have fear in our hearts, we will compromise our walk with God. When the rubber hits the road, what do we stand on? The approval of men or the approval of God? Peter always had this weakness. Remember when Jesus was on trial and Peter denied Jesus 3 times? We must remember that fear is not from God. God does not want us to live in fear but to trust him and make choices that glorify him.

You see, all of us have certain traits in us that has a potential to compromise our relationship with God. What is it for you? Fear? Pride? Insecurity? It is important that we identify it and pray for the Holy Spirit to work in those areas of our lives. His strength is made perfect is our weakness. What do I mean by that? Only when we acknowledge our imperfection will the Holy Spirit take over and empower us to be like Christ.

In this account as well, we learn that our actions may lead others astray. This is especially true for leaders, not only for those holding positions in ministries but also your household. Our actions and choices can have an influence on others. We must realise that our Christian life is not to live in isolation and wrongly assume that nobody is watching our words and actions. We are called to be a pleasing aroma of Christ to those around us and so let us all live our lives that is faithful and glorifying to God.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I pray for your strength to never compromise your Word and to continue to be a faithful servant to you. Reveal to us areas that may cause us to stumble and we trust the Holy Spirit to take over and empower us to be overcomers for Your Glory. Amen.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Easter Sunday on Resurrection Sunday: Dies

Good afternoon, church!

Join us online as the reverend shares a messages on Resurrection Sunday. A day where Jesus is risen and defeated death. A day where we know that He lives and gives us hopes for tomorrow. 

Matthew 28:6


Have a blessed Easter Sunday

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Saturday Devotion: The gospel I preached is not something that man made up (Galatians 1:11-24)

There was no motive for Paul making up a new religious message. The disciples including Paul were persecuted for this message. They did not make money from the message. On the contrary, they had to endure sometimes severe hardship and some of them were executed. They also often had to deal with difficulties from people inside the church. They sacrificed a lot because of this message. Paul went from a respected Pharisee with authority from the Chief Priest, to experiencing persecution from the Jewish leaders. He was later arrested, charged and executed by the Roman authorities.

In this passage and especially at the beginning of chapter 2, Paul seems to suggest he was so astonished by the Gospel, it took him some years to fully understand it! He withdrew to Arabia, then went to Damascus and after 3 years went to see Peter. He later had to check with

Peter to make sure the gospel he preached was correct. See Galatians 1, verse 18 and Galatians 2:2. This may be because human beings want to earn their salvation, but God makes it clear, we by ourselves cannot earn our way to Heaven.

Paul informs us in verse 12, Jesus Himself appeared to him on the road to Damascus and turned his life around with the gospel message. He started that journey from Jerusalem intending to persecute the young Christian church. Jesus met Paul in a vision and turned him from opposing the good news.

A major theme of the letter to the Galatians is that we can’t earn salvation by ourselves, by just doing good deeds. The Christian message differs from other religions. In many religions, the message is about people doing good things and avoiding bad things. If people fulfil these obligations, then they can deserve to be saved.

Paul followed zealously the idea of obeying the Old Testament Law and earning his salvation. The Old Testament however, is full of many hundreds of prophesies of Jesus and the grace that would be poured out after He shed His blood. There are prophesies of how Jesus body would be a perfect and effective sacrifice for our sins. The writer to the Hebrews in chapter 10 verses 3-4 notes that the very fact that the Old Testament animal sacrifices needed to be repeated again and again should have alerted people to the fact that they function only as a reminder of sins and do not remove the sins of the people.

Where Christianity differs from other faiths is the emphasis on the need for the blood of Jesus to cover our lives with God’s grace and forgiveness. When we repent and ask God to forgive our sins, He does so because Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross has opened the way to Him. We cannot earn our salvation by ourselves. We have to come to God and ask His forgiveness,and invite Him into our lives. He graciously and extravagantly does so. He then makes His home in our lives by His Holy Spirit. This is why Paul can say in verses 15-16:

“But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being.”

His Presence in our lives is a clear sign of God’s approval and salvation. Jesus said He and the Father would make His home in our hearts. John chapter 14 verse 23 notes:

“Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”

Jesus informs His disciples in this passage that the Holy Spirit shall reveal Himself to them and give us His Peace.

When we invite Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we find Christians are privileged indeed to have the Presence of Almighty God reside in our lives!

Suggested prayer: Father God, we thank You for Jesus’ perfect sacrifice for us. As both fully God and fully human we thank You for covering over our sins and making us righteous in Your sight. We acknowledge our inability to live up to Your perfect and holy standard in our own strength. We are thankful for the fellowship with You in our lives until You take us finally home to Heaven. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Thursday Devotion: Examine Your Spiritual Condition (2 Corinthians 13:1-10)

In this chapter the apostle Paul gave the directive instruction to “test yourselves” while dealing with some serious problems of sin in the church of Corinth. In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul was preparing to return to them a third time after having spent a great deal of time in Corinth already. In this chapter Part of Paul’s warning included these words:

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Paul wants to see the wrongdoers to repent. But many of those who had fallen into immoral practices had taken to challenging Paul’s authority as an apostle. Paul intended to firmly discipline those who did not heed his warnings and repent before his arrival (2 Corinthians 13:2–3). So he turned their challenge around, asking them to examine and test themselves to see whether they were in the faith.

This was not the first time Paul had asked the Corinthians to examine themselves. Earlier, he had observed the church participating in the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner. He told them, “Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup” (1 Corinthians 11:28). Believers are to examine their motives, their actions, and the current condition of their hearts to make sure they are in the faith.

Paul’s primary concern was to bring spiritual health and wholeness to the Christian community in Corinth. If the individuals were genuinely in the faith, then they would know that Jesus Christ lived inside them. His Holy Spirit would be at work within them, promoting sanctification and moral living. But if their lives showed no evidence of the Spiritual activity, then Jesus Christ was not dwelling in them. And if Christ was not in them, they failed the test.

Rather than cross-examining others, believers are to stick to examining their own lives: “Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else” (Galatians 6:4). In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul told them, “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27, NLT). Paul made it a practice to test himself, too.

The words examine yourself and test yourself mean essentially the same thing. Some Bible versions have “look carefully at yourself” or “ask yourself.” One way to test yourself is to check for evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work in your life: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23).

A question to ask ourselves regularly is, “What is my spiritual condition?” The prophet Jeremiah called God’s people to honest self-evaluation and repentance: “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD” (Lamentations 3:40). Scripture calls us to “test everything,” renounce evil, and “hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21–22, ESV). We might consider making this our prayer as David did: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23–24).