Tuesday, June 29, 2021

2 Timothy 4: 1 - 8

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

Paul wrote this to Timothy while he was in jail. He expected to be executed soon. Over the years, he had mentored and discipled Timothy who had risen up to be a faithful Christian leader and pastor. Paul tells Timothy that even as he faced death, he was confident that he had done what was right and he was confident of receiving his reward from God (v8). By this stage, Paul had experienced the expansion of the new church and the spread of the gospel across Europe and Turkey. He had led the church faithfully and he had seen many people come to Christ. However, he had also seen many people who had lost their commitment to God or had been led astray by the wrong teaching. He had been abandoned by friends and co-workers and had come under multiple attacks. However, he had stayed faithful and committed to what God had entrusted to him. It seems obvious, but we should understand that after receiving Christ it is important to remain committed to obeying God’s word until the end of our lives. Paul knew that he had finished his journey well and was certain of gaining his reward. Will you be as certain as Paul when your time comes? What if you knew that you would die next week? Would you be as certain then?

Paul had decided to pass the baton of his leadership over to Timothy. In a relay race, the runner finishing one leg of the race is required to pass the baton to the next runner while they are both running. The receiving runner’s arm must be outstretched backwards and he must be ready to grab hold of the baton. If the baton is dropped, crucial time is lost and the runners are likely to lose the race. It is the responsibility of the incoming runner to make sure the exchange is done properly by making sure the baton is safely placed in the receiver’s arm. Even if there are difficulties with the passing of the baton, the receiving runner must finish the race, otherwise the team is disqualified. Paul was preparing Timothy for the responsibility of becoming the next church leader. He did not want Timothy to drop the baton and he wanted Timothy to finish the race. At that time, there were so many problems facing the church that there was every chance that the church might not survive. Paul gave Timothy his instructions in the form of this solemn charge, with God and Christ Jesus who will judge the living and the dead as his witnesses (v1). There is nowhere to hide when God and Christ are our witnesses. These instructions should therefore be taken very seriously.

Here are Paul’s instructions to Timothy. Preach the word; be prepared in good times and bad times; correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction (v2). This is what is required for Christian ministry. We must remember that the Word of God is the basis for all preaching. We should not divert from it. We should be prepared to speak the truth at all times. We should instruct and disciple others carefully. We should correct, rebuke and encourage each other, and do this with love and utmost patience. What a challenge! Paul warns Timothy that the time will come when people will reject the truth and choose to listen to lies (v4). The people who peddle these lies will become very popular (v3). This is as true today as it was in Timothy’s time. Despite this we need to stay focused on what is true and right, which is the Word of God. We should expect and endure hardship, and in doing so we are confident of God’s help and His promises. We should do the work of an evangelist and complete all the duties of our ministry. In short, we should be fully committed and finish everything that God has appointed us to do until we “finish the race’ of our lives.

This may seem like heavy teaching, but it is crucial to our understanding of Christian life. Starting well in our Christian journey is good, but finishing well is absolutely crucial. Our eternal lives depend upon it. When we reach the end of our lives will we be able to say confidently that we have done everything that we were supposed to do, with God and Christ as our witnesses? This is what Paul desired for Timothy and what God desires for each of us.

Suggested Prayer

Almighty God, I want to fight the good fight and to keep my faith in You. Help me to be disciplined, faithful and committed to what you have taught me through your word. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Recap

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Saturday, June 26, 2021

Staying faithful to Jesus in the last days (2 Timothy 3:1 - 9)

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.

2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.

Paul seems to be talking about people in the network of churches of which Timothy is pastoring.

 He says in verse 1:

“in the last days”

which at first glance may indicate a future generation. In verse 5 he states:

“Have nothing to do with such people”

This suggests rather that he is talking about people in Timothy’s present circle of church relationships.

Paul already feels he and Timothy are living in the last days! This explains his high sacrifice, the suffering he was enduring and sense of urgency of reaching out to those around him. He felt that Christ’s return could be at any time! It is worth emphasizing again that these bad traits he is talking about, are of people inside, not outside the church.

We should take a look at this list of faults and ask the Holy Spirit to show us if we are some of these people! If so, we should ask Him to cleanse us and change us, to be filled with His love, and bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

As Christians we can go through periods when we are prayerless, and living by our own inclinations, because we do not take time to allow the Spirit of God to fill our lives.

Verses 6 to 9 further illustrate the dangers of not keeping in step with the Holy Spirit. The fallen away people described in these verses look for other mediators between us and God. When we turn away from the Truth in Jesus, we can be easily deceived by deceitful conmen. These deceivers may demand our time and money. They do not however lead us to a knowledge of the truth or help us confront and overcome our evil desires! Unfortunately, inside the church can be as big a spiritual battleground as outside, when we are not obedient to the Holy Spirit. We need to follow Christ faithfully and prayerfully.

Suggested prayer: 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. May I live by Your Spirit and keep in step with the Spirit. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Thursday Devotion

 Thursday Devotion

Reading: Psalm 113


"Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord! Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forevermore! From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!"

Psalm 113:1‭-‬3 ESV


I first learnt this Psalm as a young child attending Sunday School. Those of you who were attending Sunday School back in those days before the 1990s will remember singing this tune to a very familiar melody. 


At this point of the devotion, I would like to encourage you to read the entire Psalm, use it in your personal prayer and worship unto God. Consider how great He is and worthy of praise. Go ahead then come back after you have done so. 


Welcome back! 


As you read the Psalm you will notice that there are two key reasons to praise God "from the rising of the sun to its setting." 


The first is that God is great and glorious. The Psalm said that "the name of the Lord is to be praised (v.3)." This implied that the very nature of God is to be praised. We praise Him simply because He is God! And He deserves our praise. 


When was the last time you took time to simply praise God for who He is - the sovereign creator and maker of heaven and earth? When was the last time you looked at nature and gave God the praise for all He has made? Learn from the Psalm. Praise Him.


The second reason to praise God is for His goodness and graciousness. Verse 4 to 7 depicts God who is seated in the heavens but looks down to the earth. He notices the weak and marginalized. God is praised because He does not forsake His creation; especially those who are experiencing brokenness, rejections and neglect by society. In His grace, He lifts them up. 


Friends, would you take time to praise Him? Would you consider the Greatness and Goodness of God in your life? Would you give Him glory through your praises so that others will know Him? 


The best praise you can offer Him is by living a life of faithfulness and joy in Christ. 


The Lord be with you. 



Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Tuesday's Devotion

 Tuesday's devotion


Today’s passage Jeremiah17:1-14


In this chapter the Prophet begins to describe the character and extent of Judah’s sin, he starts with a figure that emphasizes the hardness and strength of Judah’s rebellion against God. Their sins were engraved deeply upon them, as if written with an iron pen, and with the point of a diamond. Both the heart and the religious works were deeply etched with sin. For all this deeply ingrained sin– God promised to bring His judgment upon Judah.

We can identify three distinct blunders or Judah’s rebellion against God,.

1) The rebellion of trusting in man instead of God

2) The rebellion of trusting one’s own deceitful heart

3) The rebellion of trusting in riches by unjust means and not in the God of all glories


Jeremiah pictured a weak, dry shrub in the desert about to die from drought. This is the picture of the one who trusts in man instead of the LORD; they are dry and unsustainable. His heart departs from the Lord. And, he will not see prosperity when it comes. And all those who gain riches by unjust means, is compared to a partridge that sits upon the eggs of other birds. When they do hatch, the chicks leave the partridge because they don’t really belong to that bird. Even so, riches will leave a man when he stands before God, he will be shown to be a fool for trusting in his illegal gains.


But, the one who trusts in the LORD will be like a tree planted by the waters, whose leaf will be green. Whatever challenges come, this heart will not fear and this blessed one will always bear fruits (Vs 8).  

Jeremiah contrasted the person who experience barrenness (verses 5-8), with the one who receives blessing. The difference in attitude is whether our “trust” is placed in man or is “trust” vested in the Lord. The man who trusts in the Lord is simply believing Him in all things - believing His Word, trusting His promises, and not allowing himself to be shaken by circumstance, sight, emotions, or feelings. Blessed indeed, is the man that trusts in the Lord. Favoured and fortunate, is the one whose hope is resting in the God of our Salvation; “whatsoever he does shall prosper." What a beautiful promise to those blessed of God! 

God searches, tests, and knows the heart and mind.


 Jeremiah in Vs 9-10 writes, it is the Lord who rewards each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve. In contrast to the foolish people of Judah who trusted in man, in their own heart, or in riches, Jeremiah looked to Yahweh, the covenant God of Israel.  If we understand that we cannot ever rely on our own understanding or intuition to lead us in the best direction, Jesus becomes the obvious choice. With Him, we cannot fail.


Jeremiah writes, (Vs 12)  A glorious throne, exalted from the beginning, is the place of our sanctuary. There is nothing more glorious than His throne, a place where His presence fills. It is a place where there is a genuine heart of worship, a place totally reserved for the Maker. Jeremiah seems to have learned that the place to begin prayer to God is with praise. If we substitute anything in His place, be it man, a selfish desire or love for riches, we diminish the glory of God in our lives. There is no one more worthy of this praise.  


Reflect: What situation do you know the Lord is asking you to trust Him with?

Suggested Prayer: Loving Father, I realise more and more, I’m blessed when I trust in Your Word and place my hope in You. Help me to live by faith and not by sight, so that You become increasingly the focus of my heart and joy of my life. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.




Sunday, June 20, 2021

Father's Day Sermon: Father - Hunger for God.

 [20.06.21] Father's Day Sermon: Father, Hunger for God.

We apologize as there was no audio for the first 5 mins and 20 sec, due to some issue.

Blessed Father's Day to all fathers. Stay safe and God Bless.




Saturday, June 19, 2021

Saturday Devotion: Wealth and its uncertainty (1 Timothy 6:17 - 21)

The first line of today’s passage tells us that wealth can make us selfish and proud. Because money has the ability to change you. The more money you have, the greater the temptation to be proud. You are more susceptible to looking down on people because you think highly of your own achievement. Why are there passages in the Bible warning us against loving money? God recognizes the human weakness for wealth and the Word of God serves as a command and a reminder to us all the dangers of placing our trust in money. There is no two ways about it. Trusting in money means that you have little or no trust in God to supply your needs. Jesus gave the perfect example by saying that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to gain eternal life (Matthew 19:24). Jesus recognizes that when a man places his trust in wealth, there is no place for God in his life.

Paul also warns that there in uncertainty in riches. One can be wealthy today and it can be gone tomorrow. For example, during 2008 financial crisis, Americans lost $9.8 trillion in wealth home values plummeted and their retirement accounts vaporized. One of the largest banks in America, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. When we placed our hope and trust in riches, that can happen to us. It affects our peace and joy. When we lose money, people around us will be affected by our negative emotions. So Paul says, place our trust in what is the only certainty in our life, our God. Our God is always faithful, and we can be certain that he is our provider and blesser.

To do good

Paul instructs people of means to be generous, to do good and be ready to share. Most of us are people of means in Brunei as compared to poverty stricken countries. Most of us are blessed. God wants us to use our wealth to bless others. It can be difficult for us to be generous toward others because we want to cover for all possible contingencies. We have to trust God to supply our needs and we must transform our mindset that all our possessions are actually a gift from God. We are just stewards of our possessions. Just as God was generous to us to give us grace that we did not deserve, we are to show generosity towards others as well as evidence of our overflowing gratitude to God for his gift of eternal life. If we are blessing others with our wealth, it means that we are rich towards God. This is the most valuable treasure one could have, a life that glorifies God. At the end of this life, we hope God would say to us, you have stored up treasures in heaven by your giving.

I leave this devotion with a quote for us to reflect from A.W. Tozer who said, “The goal of every believer is to enjoy the blessedness of possessing nothing.” 

Prayer:

Lord, I thank you that you are a God who provides. Teach me to trust you instead of our possessions. Only in You, I can find true security, true riches and blessings. Holy Spirit, guide us and convict us to be generous to others. Help us be a salt and light so that others may see Christ in us. Amen.

 

 

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Thursday Devotion: THE JOY OF CONTENTMENT (1 Timothy 6:3–10)

In today’s reading, Paul gives some final warning against false teachers. These people, who do not “agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ,” are arrogant, ignorant, and create controversy resulting in “envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people” (vv. 3–4). But even worse, these false teachers had a false view of wealth and money.

Paul encourages Christians to view wealth differently. We must recognize that godliness does not lead to financial gain, but to contentment (v. 6). Paul reminds us that “we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it” (v. 7). In other words, material wealth does not have eternal value. This raises the question for a Christian: How much is enough?

Paul’s standard for contentment was pretty low: food and clothing (v. 8). It is likely that Paul looked to Jesus as his model (Matt. 6:25–34). Paul was not saying that every Christian should only have the bare minimum. What he was saying is that wealth beyond the basic necessities does not lead to more contentment. In fact, a desire for wealth can lead to a ruined life (v. 9). There is a real danger in the pursuit of more. Paul closes this section with the warning that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (v. 10). It can lead us down a road that ends in “many griefs” (v. 10).

 

Live a Godly life and Love God. Live your life with joy which our lord gives and with contentment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Tuesday Devotion: Jeremiah 12

Like Jeremiah, I’m sure we’ve all had those burning questions; that while we can ask our pastors or leaders, we want to ultimately hear from God too.

Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Asaph asked the same question in Psalm 73. Hopefully without pride, Jeremiah understood that he was righteous and most of those that were in Judah and Jerusalem were wicked. And yet, they were prospering while Jeremiah seemed to be suffering a lot. How many of you have found yourselves in a similar position; when we see people who we have deemed to be evil or lack compassion and yet they continue to prosper before our very eyes?

Jeremiah proceeded to boldly contrast his life with the life of the wicked – perhaps those who threatened him (Jer. 11:18-19). He knew that his life and heart were tested before God in a way that their lives did not seem to be. In the previous chapter, he felt like he was a sheep for the slaughter (Jer. 11:19). He prayed that the wicked would now be put in that same place. He went on to tell God that because He did not answer the wicked with judgement, it brought mourning to the land.

God’s resolution to Jeremiah’s question? Without directly answering, God encouraged Jeremiah to regard his present challenge as a preparation for greater challenges to come (Jer 12:5). By analogy, Jeremiah could expect to run against horses in the future. He needed to learn to trust God and to draw on His strength in his present challenge and put on the armor of God. The greater challenges that came later was evident when Jeremiah spent a night in the stocks (Jer. 20:1-3), confinement in a cistern (Jer.38:6), and imprisonment in the court of the guard (Jer. 28:13).

While we may ask God questions or have doubts about his judgement, will we take and accept the resolve that has already been given? Jeremiah’s story can embolden us to bring our complaints and pain to God. In looking up to our loving God, we will find a higher perspective and renewed hope; for he is always with us (Rom. 8:31-39), he knows our pain intimately (Heb. 4:14-16), and he can redeem our efforts for his glory (Rom. 8:28). Like Jeremiah, we can find success in faithfulness to God and his words (Gal. 1: 6-10).


Sunday, June 13, 2021

[13.06.21] Last sermon series on Armor Of God: Fully Equipped in The Armor of God

[13.06.21] Last sermon series on Armor Of God: Fully Equipped in The Armor of God


Saturday, June 12, 2021

Jeremiah 10 - God, Our Source of Life"

We were created to love and worship God, and to bring glory to Him over everything else. And everything was created in a way that helps us to love and savour God. But what happens when our priorities, and our focus is not on God?

It’s common for almost everyone to have an idol in their life. Something or someone whom they give their most attention, time, or even worship to. For those who have made idols out of objects it says in Jeremiah chapter 10 verses 3 to 5

“For the practices of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold;  they fasten it with hammer and nail so it will not totter. Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.”

The idols are made by our hands, human hands, and they are unable to do anything without us. So why do we worship things that cannot do anything without us? Why do we continue to look to those things first to confide in?

And if it’s people whom we choose to worship, why do we worship a being of equal status? 

Who we should be looking to is God. He was the one who created us, and he is the one who is the ultimate judge, and it’s through Him that all things are possible and not through anyone else or through anything else. 

He can function without us, and without the world as a whole. He can function just on His own, and He is the one who can create something out of nothing, He can create the whole earth again if he wanted to. God is the person worthy of our worship, and He is our source of life, and no one else.

A pastor once said that you’re not you when you’re not plugged into the source of life.

I know a few friends who become different people under different circumstances. They’re the nicest people I know but when they are missing something they can turn grumpy, sensitive or just different in other ways. 

For instance, one of my friends becomes very angry when he’s hungry, or as I like to say “hangry.” And it’s very obvious that he is, and there’s no denying it. Another can get sensitive and in the same way easily angered when he doesn’t get enough sleep, or when he’s bothered in his sleep. You get the picture?

In the same way that my friends turn into different people under different circumstances, Us christians can become very different when we are not plugged into our source of Life which is God, and the Bible.

So look to God for guidance. Look to God for comfort. Seek Him first above all else, love and worship Him first. Just as Jeremiah says in chapter 10 verse 23, people’s lives are not their own, but it is God’s. 

Thursday, June 10, 2021

1 TIMOTHY 4:1-8 – FALSE TEACHINGS

Today’s bible reading passage is about Paul advising Timothy on how to refute the false teachings and heresies. He started that chapter by saying, “The Spirit clearly says….” It seems the Holy Spirit gave that revelation to Paul. With that revelation, he knew that in the latter days, some will depart from the faith, follow deceiving spirits and false doctrines. Therefore, it is important for him to inform church leaders like Timothy so that he can protect the people from these types of dangers.

 I believe most of us would know of some believers who have decided to leave the Christian faith. It is a sad thing when we see people that we know, people who are close to us, falling away from God. Worldly influences and materialism may have turned them away. For whatever reason that they decided to abandon the faith, we may not know, but we do know that the devil seeks to deceive people and to entice them away from the Truth.

We have to be aware that deceiving spirits were around since the beginning that even Adam & Eve were being deceived by the serpent in the Garden of Eden. It is therefore clear that “our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil” (Eph 6:12). These deceiving spirits can work through various means such as social media, movies, pleasure, etc, teaching ideas that are contrary to God’s Truth.

Paul refers to those who have departed from the faith, those false teachers as “hypocritical liars” who taught to support their own agendas following their own man-made rules, and that “their consciences have been seared with a hot iron,” which is as if the nerve endings of their conscience have been burnt and are dead to feeling.

False teachers take on many forms. They can be from outside the church and also within the church today. They are those who profess they know the bible but yet their teachings contradict the clear message of the bible. In verse 6, Paul urged Timothy to point those false teachings out and instruct the people accordingly, and to continue to remain steadfast in the Word of God, following the right doctrine. To ensure that we do not fall away, this is what we should do too. We must always remain vigilant that we do not drift away from God. In Matthew 7:15, Jesus tells us to “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” We must train ourselves to be discerning too, and if there’s any statement any speaker said that doesn’t sound right, always compare with what is stated in the bible or ask someone who is well-versed in those areas. The more we build up our knowledge of the Scriptures, the easier it will be for us to see through any lies.

Suggested prayer –

Lord Jesus, we need You. We need Your Grace, Your Strength and Your Power. Help us to keep our focus on You and You alone. Help us to remain steadfast in the midst of this chaotic world around us. Grant us the discerning spirit to know what is right and what is wrong. Protect and shield us from the ferocious wolves whose aim is only to harm us. Thank you, Lord, we love You. Amen.


Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Devotion - 8th June 2021

Tuesday Devotion: 1 Timothy 3: 1 -7

 Spiritual Maturity


In this letter to Timothy, Paul gives him advice on how to instruct the new church in Ephesus. In chapter 3, Paul appears to be giving instructions on the attitude and conduct of leaders. However, this message is something that all Christians should pay attention to, as we are all called to serve and minister to others. 1 Peter 4:10 states that each of us should use whatever gift we have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace. 1 Timothy 3:13 reassures us that those who have served well gain an excellent and great assurance in Christ Jesus.


God may have put in your heart a desire to serve and lead in a church ministry. Verse 1 tells us that whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Here are some instructions on how to prepare yourself for this responsibility. Before studying this passage, be reminded that Christ is the Head of the church, and we the body of the church receive our nourishment and help from Christ. Therefore, He is able to help us in all that we do.


We need to be above reproach, faithful to our spouse, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome and not a lover of money (v2-3). This indicates that we need to develop knowledge of God’s word, faithfulness, self-control and kindness. These characteristics are the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) within us.


 Whilst reading these verses, it is important not to fall into the trap of legalism or self-righteousness. Intending to earn money and drinking alcohol are not necessarily bad things in themselves, as money clearly has its uses and Christ drank wine in moderation. This passage is about our intentions and priorities. We need to be a good example to others and reflect the love and goodness of Christ in our everyday lives. People are unlikely to be encouraged in their faith if they see ignorant, reckless, hostile or worldly behaviour in their leaders.


We should manage our own family well and see that our children obey us, and we must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. This reflects the truth that church is a family, which needs to be nurtured and managed with love. The leader has the role of a parent of the people within his ministry. However, in order to do this effectively he has to be able to manage his own family well because a parent’s priority should always be his own children and spouse, first and foremost. I recall some years ago, a pastor whom I respected telling me that in order to get the measure of a person or a married couple, he would observe their children to see how the children respected and interacted with their parents. I felt honoured because he was telling me that he had been observing how my own children behaved! I believe that what he meant was the importance of managing your own household well when you are a Christian because this is a reflection of your faithfulness and obedience. Proverbs 31 describes the wife of noble character in a similar way, “her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her... a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised, she is honoured for all that her hands have done.”


Leaders should not be recent converts, or they may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil (v6). This does not specify a minimum time limit from conversion to leadership. Instead, it indicates spiritual maturity. If we walk into a ministry that we are not equipped to manage, we may fall into pride and sin. People grow in their walk with Christ in different ways, and we must be wise when we decide when to take on tasks and responsibilities. Have we prepared for this? How much prayer and discipleship have we dedicated to our spiritual growth? Do we have accountable relationships with fellow believers?


Finally, we should have a good reputation with outsiders, so that we do not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. This indicates that we should conduct ourselves well inside and outside of church. We should not be on our best behaviour on Sundays and then behave differently the rest of the time. We need to have the same consistent standards and guard our hearts at all times. We are witnesses of the Light to the outside world and therefore our lives should reflect this at all times. Clearly, we cannot do all this in our own strength, but we are able to do this with God’s help.


Personal Application and Prayer


Spend some time in prayer and self-reflection. Ask God to show you areas in your life that you may need to surrender to Him. Are there things in your life that you need God’s help with? Pray for your leaders and the people in your fellowship. Give God thanks for these people who are serving you, and ask for God’s encouragement and protection for them. Ask God to reveal where and whom He wants you to serve and ask Him to equip you with what you need to be able to do this well. Re-dedicate your life to Him, and ask Him to give you a willing and obedient heart. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Amour of God: Helmet of Salvation

 Good morning, church!

Join us online and listen to the sermon series on Equipping The Saints. Have a blessed Sunday. God bless.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Devotion @ 5 June 2021

1 Timothy 1:12-20 

Holding onto faith and a good conscience

Once saved, always saved? Or can we lose our salvation? Do we need to work at our faith? Today’s reading touches on these issues.

Paul begins by giving thanks and marvelling at the grace and mercy and faith and love of Christ Jesus. Paul praises Christ’s “Immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.” (see verse 6).

He instructs Timothy in verse 18 to “Fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience”

These appear to be crucial, for in verses 19-20 two named individuals Hymanaeus and Alexander who “Have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.” These two did not hold onto faith and a good conscience.

Questions about salvation have generated theological controversy for centuries. 

Note Paul instructs Timothy in verse 18 to “fight the battle well”

That is, the process of keeping our faith strong requires our intentional effort. We should not take our faith for granted. Our broken, marred natures unfortunately do lead us astray. We need to intentionally draw near to God in prayer to correct this flawed tendency. The love and grace of God is huge, as Paul indicates in verse 14, but we still have freewill and a sinful nature. The biggest issue is not whether we can lose our salvation, but rather the biggest issue is we have a need to hold onto faith and a good conscience to have the best relationship we can with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

Paul declares in verse 17:

“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Paul clearly is amazed by Jesus, His patience and grace. He has a heart of gratitude for his salvation. He is so enthusiastic and thankful. He does not take his salvation for granted and loves to spend time with his King. This is an example for us to follow, 

just as Paul encourages Timothy to follow him I can’t pretend to completely understand what Paul means in verse 20 when he discusses the discipline of Alexander and Hymenaeus.

“Whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.”

It appears that their hearts were so bad that they required some severe mysterious punishment, so they would not self-sabotage their faith and lose their salvation. This is extremely serious. We need to be careful not to damage our discipleship under Christ so badly! A broken sinful nature and the capacity to make really bad life choices are dangers we need to be aware of and fight against in our own lives.

We should remember this when we like Peter (as recorded in John 21:21) want to look around and say:

“What about him, Lord?”

We should heed Jesus reply which makes clear our responsibility to guard our own 

hearts and follow Christ. See John 21:22. Peter said “what about him?” Jesus replied 

“what about you?” It may be difficult to discern what went on in Alexander and Hymenaeus’s lives a long time ago, but we have a responsibility to “fight the good fight” as Paul declares in 2 Timothy chapter 3. We need to make our calling and election sure. We should take time and effort to read the Bible, pray and draw near to God.

 

Suggested prayer: 

Father God, may we love You and cherish our time with You. May the fear of God fill our hearts and guide us to remain in Your righteousness and Peace. May you help us avoid idols and evil in our lives and fight the good fight in our faith to stay strong in You to the end. In Jesus Name. Amen.

 


Thursday, June 3, 2021

 

Devotion @ 3 June 2021

2 Thess. 3:13-15

Doing Good Anyway

 

"But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother."

II Thessalonians 3:13-15

 

Doing good is a virtue.

 

Doing good even when it is tiring and difficult is godliness.

 

This was what Paul called the believers to. In fact in this passage (2 Thess. 3)

 

he called the believers to encourage and work on the lazy, troublemaker and busybody. Never give up on anyone, discipline them and seek to restore them.

 

Such is Christ-likeness. Such is imitating Christ. Jesus never gave up on his disciples. Jesus never give up on you.  And I wonder whether Paul had his own story in mind, how he persecuted Christians and yet Jesus never gave up on him. If a Christ-hater and murderer can be turned around, why should we give up on anyone.

 

Reflection

How has Christ kept doing good in your life when you were far from him?

 

Who do you need to keep doing good to, even if it is tiring for you? Draw strength from Christ

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

 

Today’s Devotion: Jeremiah 4

Judah was a tiny nation.  The Babylonian armies had been cruelly conquering one small state after another, getting ever closer to Jerusalem and Judah was threatened with extinction. The people were busy fortifying their cities and trying to make peace treaties, but Jeremiah knew this would all prove useless in the face of the onslaught of the enemy. Jeremiah knew that the Judah’s only hope was through divine intervention. That they needed to set right the relationship with God.

Jeremiah appeals this to the people in a few ways, let us look at three of these for today’s devotion.

1.       RETURN TO ME (Vs 1)

a.      If you will return, O Israel, return to Me! 

First God calls his people to return to Me (Him).  A return to God Himself.   This is very personal.  God wants us too, to come back to Him; in a personal relationship. With a heart of repentance. That is not insincere and feigned, but real and hearty; not delayed to another time, immediate, without any delay; If thou wilt return, return now.

b.      …you put away your detestable idols out of my sight and no longer go astray.

The second thing the people had to do was to get rid of their idols and their sin. What about us?  The Holy Spirit will show us the idols we need to turn away from.  It may be the love of something more than God; a wrong relationship; a permissive life style; internet pornography; or a deep-rooted grudge?  We can’t afford to hold onto things that God dislikes. Proverbs 6:16-19

Similar to sheep, we always find the pastures greener on the other side and are led astray. We are led astray by the fancies of this world.  The sheep must have a constant supervision from the shepherd, for without this constant supervision the sheep will go astray becoming hopefully lost. To be connected to the Shepherd; the sheep must listen to His voice. Read the word of God every day, so that you may not be led astray by what the world offers.

2.       BREAK UP YOUR UNPLOWED GROUND (Vs 3)

Unplowed ground won't let a crop grow. It's hard, preventing seeds from penetrating, germinating, and growing to maturity. What's been growing in our hearts? Hatred, bitterness, lust or greed? These must be rooted out so a new crop can be planted. Grain doesn't flourish under the shade of trees. They must be removed so the new crop can grow in the light.

It is also sometimes the hardness of the heart. If we've been hurt in a relationship, we may have sealed off an area of our lives because it's just too painful. But we need to let God break up those resentments and heal those longstanding hurts. He'll pull the plow, but we must direct it toward those hard places in us that we know must be dealt with.

From time to time we've been hardened by unbelief too. You prayed that someone wouldn't die and your prayer wasn't answered. You've been out of work or have chronic illness that has taken its toll on your faith. We come to the conclusion that God doesn't answer prayer — at least for you. That hardness of unbelief must be faced squarely and broken up if God is to plant something new and fruitful in your heart. Heartfelt repentance and confession are the only ways of plowing deep.

3.       CIRCUMCISE YOUR HEARTS (Vs 4)

Jeremiah’s third appeal is, circumcise your hearts. Circumcision was the sign given to Abraham that he was in covenant relationship with God, which signified Abraham’s commitment to the Lord—that the Lord alone would be his God, whom he would trust and serve.  The idea of “circumcision of the heart” refers to having a pure heart, separated unto God, it focuses on the condition of the heart that only belongs to Christ. Using circumcision as a metaphor, we know that only the Holy Spirit can purify a heart and set us apart to God. Through Him, a person can be made right with God and receive eternal life.

Suggested prayer:

Lord help me Father to identify things that I should be doing right, by returning to you. There maybe things about me, that are really hateful to you, teach me loving God as my heart receives your word, to respond to you wholeheartedly. Set me apart Oh Holy Spirit, to live a life that is glorifies you.

In your name I pray, Amen.