Category Archives: Devotionals

Devotionals

Devotional –  Stand firm, and you will win life – Luke 21:19

It was the Great Shakeout Day yesterday (October 19 10:19 am).  The students at school they all practiced earthquake drill. “Drop, Cover and Hold On”.  I don’t know how serious they practiced. I guess they did, perhaps because our memory on the disastrous earthquakes happened recently in Mexico is still fresh.  Indeed, earthquake experience is not nice, even a small one, it leaves a strong sense of insecurity and destruction in people’s mind.

The Bible has some mentions of earthquake.  Many of them connect to the wrath of God to the world. It is also a sign of the end time:  11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.  Luke 21:11, Jesus told His disciples.  Besides earthquakes and other disasters, there will be persecution because of our belief in Christ.  Therefore, let us take heart and prepare.

13 And so you will bear testimony to me. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.”

The promise from Christ is “19 Stand firm, and you will win life.

October 20, 2017

Devotional – No branch can bear fruit by itself – John 15:4

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

Our theme this year is “Take root and bear fruit” and the theme of our upcoming retreat is “Bear Fruit now”.   I believe the LORD has been guiding us.  I see clearer and clearer that the LORD is giving us many opportunities in evangelism and mission.  However, this passage reminds that if we want to bear fruit, the number one requirement is we need to remain (abide) in Christ.

We need to have a consistent spiritual life. Daily devotional and prayer is essential to abide in Christ. Spend time other fellow Christians in fellowship can make us encourage each other. Consistent worship attendance keeps us focus every week.  All these require commitment.  Someone says, if you want to cultivate a good habit, you will need to keep practicing in three weeks.  So let us try it!  Start with a consistent quality time with Jesus every day.  Let’s see if we can build a good habit in 21 days!

October 12, 2017

Devotional – Solomon’s Prayer – 2 Chronicles 6

We find the prayer of Solomon after he finished building the Temple in 2 Chronicles 6.  Here are some of the main points of the prayer:

  • When people of Israel sin against You, they come to confess, Lord God, for the sake of your Name, please forgive them
  • When people sin against their neighbors, they come and confess, Lord God, please forgive them
  • When there are famines, plagues, wars and natural disasters, Lord God, please have mercy on them
  • When foreigners came to worship You, Lord God, show Yourself to them so they can know You
  • When people of Israel go out to fight, they come and ask for Your favor, Lord God be with them and grant them victory
  • When people of Israel sin against You and being punished and captured, if they repent, bring them back to the place You have chosen to worship You

In the New Testament, we know the Temple is a shadow of something greater and better, which is the “body of Christ”.   Perhaps this prayer can serve as a guide for us to pray when we come together to worship at church

October 6, 2017

Devotional – Everything comes from you – 1 Chronicles 29:10-20

This is the prayer of King David towards the end of his reign.  He had a heart to build the Temple for the LORD but the LORD chose Solomon.  Yet David prepared everything for Solomon.

Since we are in the middle of our building project, here are a few things we can learn from his prayer:

  1. Everything comes from the LORD. We give because it is from the LORD. “We have given you only what comes from your hand” (v14)
  2. Our lives on earth are short and limited, we should make a good use of it to give and serve. “Our days on earth are like a shadow”  (v15)
  3. It is our blessings and joy to give and serve.  God is pleased if we do it willingly.
    “And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you” (v17)
  4. It is all for the glory of the LORD.  “A temple for your Holy Name”  (v16)

September 29, 2017

Devotional – Who is wise? Hosea 14:9, James 3:13

At the end of the book of Hosea, the author asked: “Who is wise?” We know from the Wisdom tradition of Israel, they regard wisdom as the discernment to make right decision, so that they can live in fruitful and prosperous lives. And who is “wise”?  “The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them”  It means those who walk in the ways of the LORD are wise. It is consistent to the main teaching in Proverbs.

We find an echo in James, chapter 3: Who is wise and understanding among you?” James 3:13

Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom”

Those who are in Christ are wise! They possess the Holy Spirit of Wisdom.  These Wisdom is displayed in good characters: Pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  And in good deeds: in particular in maintaining peace.  That is the theme continue from James chapter 3 to 4.

Wisdom is not just an intellectual quality, it is how to live!  And this Wisdom yields all the good fruit!

18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”  3:18

With the Holy Spirit of Wisdom and credited as righteous in Christ, let us live out this Wisdom from heaven and we will reap a harvest of righteousness.

September 22, 2017

 

Devotional – Natural Disaster and Man-made Calamity – Matthew 24

When Jesus were sitting on Mount Olives, the disciples came and ask, what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Matthew 24:3

Then Jesus answered: “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.”

When I look at our world today, it is filled with natural disasters and man-made calamities. We ask question like: Why does this thing happen?  We easily fall into extremes: everything happens is a judgement to our sins. On the other hand, there are just “natural disasters”, “natural” phenomena that will always happen and it has no meaning, it will pass.

But Jesus told us they are all “signs” and pointing to the end! Moreover, Jesus said, All these are the beginning of birth pains” The Bible uses the allegory of a woman going into labor to describe the end time. The birth pains will come more frequent and more serious and then the labor will come. In the same way, we will see more and more of the natural disasters and man-made calamities. That is not the end, but the beginning.

Here is something we need to do: 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

Stand firm in our faith in Christ and continue the hard work of spreading the Gospel to the end of the world.

Prayer

Dear LORD Jesus, help us to fix our eyes on you, ready to listen, stand firm in difficulties and ready to bring the Gospel to the sinners, oppressed and wounded.

September 15, 2017

Devotional – Love your neighbor as yourself – Leviticus 19:18, 33-34

33 ˜When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. 34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

To love your neighbor is a commandment given by God (If you see “I am the LORD your God”, you know that is some of the most important teachings in the Old Testament).  God is just. He treats everyone in a fair manner. He is the God of poor and needy. In this same way, He expects us to do the same. In this passage, the Israelites are reminded that they were foreigners in Egypt. God’s people were referred as Hebrew, basically mean foreigner. Show your kindness to the foreigner, as you all needed that.  This concept does not change in the New Testament, Peter reminds the disciples that you are all aliens and foreigners in this world (1 Peter 2:11).

When Jesus was asked what is the most important commandment. He replied to love God and then to love your neighbor as yourself.  And it is more important than burnt offerings and sacrifices!

Love is the central theme in the Bible. God wants us to love beyond our emotion, our relation and our reasoning, but to love unconditional.

I know so many people they are immigrants.  Contrary to certain political viewpoint, immigrants are usually law-abiding. Even more, they are in general more receptive to the Gospel message (When a person goes in a new place, the person in general will be more open to new idea).

Let us see thing in God’s perspective and understand why this is happening.  God places them among us so that we can show them the love of God and they will become a “citizen of the Kingdom”.  This is the heart of God and it is also our responsibility.

September 8, 2017