Saturday, 8 October 2016

THE LESSON OF THE HULA LOOP - Our Daily Bread 2016 - October 10

Mark 6:34-44

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
-Galatians 6:9

Isaiah 34-36
Colossians 2

One of my favourite childhood toys is making a comeback – the hula hoop. My friend Suzi and I spent hours on the front lawn perfecting our technique and competing to see which of us could keep a hoop circling our waist longer. This year I relived that part of my childhood. While sitting in a park, I watched as children of all ages and sizes tried their hardest to keep hula hoops from falling to the ground. They twisted and turned with all their strength, but despite their exertion, the hoops landed on the ground. Then a young woman picked up a hoop. With hardly any motion, she moved it smoothly and rhythmically up and down from her waist to her shoulders and back to her waist. Her success depended on strategic movement, not vigorous motion.
In our spiritual lives, we can expend all kinds of energy trying to keep up with others in service to God. But working to exhaustion is not a virtue (Galatians 6:9). Before feeding thousands of people with only five loaves and two fish (Mark 6:38-44), Jesus called His disciples away to rest, proving that He doesn’t need our frantic exertion to accomplish His work. The truth Jesus taught His disciples, He wants to teach us: Quiet obedience accomplishes more than wild activity. – Julie Ackerman Link
Help me, Lord, not to compare myself and what I do with others. May I serve where You want me to serve and do it in Your strength.
I love You and give myself to You.

Jesus wants willingness, not weariness.

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT? - Our Daily Bread 2016 - October 9

John 16:25-33

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
-John 16:33

Isaiah 32-33
Colossians 1

In C.S. Lewis’ book, God in the Dock, he wrote: “Imagine a set of people all living in the same building. Half of them think it is a hotel, the other half think it is a prison. Those who think it a hotel might regard it as quite intolerable, and those who thought it was a prison might decide it was really surprisingly comfortable.” Lewis cleverly used this contrast between a hotel and a prison to illustrate how we view life based on our expectations. He says, “If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable; think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.”
Sometimes we expect that life should be happy and pain-free. But this is not what the Bible teaches. For the believer, this world is a place of spiritual development through both good times and bad. Jesus was realistic when He explained what to explain in life. He told His disciples, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). In facing life’s blessings and bruises, we can have inner peace that God is orchestrating events according to His sovereign plan.
Christ’s presence in our lives enables us to “be of good cheer” even in the midst of pain. – Dennis Fisher
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best –
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest. – Berg

In the midst of troubles, peace can be found in Jesus.

FAITH LIKE A CHILD’S? - Open Heavens 2016 - October 10

Matthew 18:1-6

Bible in one year:

Ezekiel 46:19-48:35
Psalms 77:11-20

Sing hymn 12

The child-like faith is what everybody requires, not only to make it to heaven but also to enjoy his or her days on the earth. If we do not believe this because it sounds illogical, we must believe it because Jesus said it. What is then required of us is to pray for the kind of faith that is comparable with that of a little child. The first thing about a little child is that he is very trusting. In my living room several years ago, there used to be a portrait of a little child looking so innocent with the inscription; “No problem”. The faith that will enable us not to see problems but see only God who specialises in solving problems is the best for us.
Another characteristic trait of little children is that they forgive easily. Unlike adults who keep malice, children forgive and forget the wrong done to them almost immediately after it’s done. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:32:
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”
Children fulfil this Biblical injunction freely. Children could be very generous with their things except in some unusual occasions. Without knowing the spiritual implication of their actions, children are tender-hearted with their peers. This is exactly what God wants from us. In Colossians 3:12-13, the Bible also says:
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
There are many blessings we will access from the throne of God our Father if we can begin to take after children. For example, if we freely forgive those who wrong us like a child will do, our prayers will receive quick answers from God. In Mark 11:25, Jesus Christ said:
“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
This instruction that comes from our Lord is simply saying that before we pray, we must first forgive! We can see the reason many of our prayers are not answered; we refuse to forgive. I pray that a user of this devotional will find grace to forgive and be kind-hearted in Jesus’ Name.

And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:3

Prayer Point:
Father, please help my faith and transform me to be able to forgive freely and be tender-hearted in Jesus’ Name.

I MUST DECREASE - Open Heavens 2016 - October 9

John 3:25-30

Bible in one year:
Ezekiel 44:15-46:18
Psalms 77:1-10

Sing hymn 14

For Jesus Christ to be fully formed in us, we must learn the secret of reducing our carnal nature to the level of divine approval. In Colossians 3:5-6, Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ said:
“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:”

When a person is born, he is born loaded with traits that are in enmity with God and consequently brings His wrath. Another apostle of Jesus Christ lists some things that make a typical fallen man; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life (1 John 2:15). These are the sins into which the first man and woman fell and we inherited. We must get rid of them if want Christ to be fully formed in us. The pride of life is a subtle and complex sin for many reasons. Firstly, the proud will never accept that he is proud; this makes the sin very complex until the power of regeneration comes upon the individual and he surrenders his life to Christ for total deliverance. It takes the direct opposite of pride to go to Calvary and confess one’s sins. Moreover, it takes an acceptance of his actions as sinful before the fellow can confess them. Our Lord Jesus Christ spoke on this matter when He told the story of the Pharisee and the Publican in Luke 18:9-14:
“And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

In the Bible reading for today, John the Baptist teaches us some lessons. In spite of his position as a prophet, he knew his limitation; he knew his boundary. He pointed his audience to the original Messiah. From his proclamation, we got the title for today’s devotional reading: Jesus must increase while we must decrease. Our carnal man must be mortified so that Jesus Christ can increase in us, and gradually, we shall be transformed to conform to the image of the Son of the living God. Beloved, I want to encourage you to make a decision to decrease, that Jesus may increase. Let the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22 characterise your lifestyle.

He must increase, but I must decrease.

Prayer Point:
Father, please help me to be transformed to the image of Your Son, Jesus Christ my Saviour.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

DIVINE PROVISION - Open Heavens 2016 - October 8

Matthew 17:24-27

Bible in one year:

Ezekiel 42:1-44:14
Psalm 76

Sing hymn 6

Divine provision is in play when you know that what you have is not by your strength, power or ability. For example, when you work like a rat and you get the wages of an elephant without being fraudulent, you can be sure that the blessing is from above. On the contrary, when a man works like an elephant and all he can show for his labour is the wages of a rat, you can be sure that the fellow needs divine provision. The reason for the last scenario is the fall of man which earned him a curse associated with poverty and suffering. As a matter of fact, every man, particularly a child of God, needs divine provision to be able to make ends meet. This is the reason Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, who has taken care of sin that brought hardship and insufficiency to the life of man.

Divine provision begins with the provision God made for the atonement for our sins. God gave His only begotten Son as provision for our sins. John 3:16-17 says:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

Having settled the problem of sin, the Lord now makes available to us the abundance of His riches. The death of Jesus Christ cancelled the curse that subjected us to a life of penury and made available to us divine provision. 2 Corinthians 8:9 says:
“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”

He demonstrated this by the thousands he fed with that incredibly small meal which He multiplied just so that the need of the people will be met. Also, in the Bible reading for today, divine provision came forth to meet His personal need and that of Peter from the mouth of a fish. I pray for someone reading this devotional today; the Almighty will cause His divine provision to come upon you and meet you at the point of your needs in Jesus’ Name.

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

Prayer Point:
Father, I present my needs to you today, please meet them all in Jesus’ Name.

LEARN TO WAIT ON GOD - Our Daily Bread 2016 - October 8

Psalm 62:1-8

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.
-Psalm 62:5

Isaiah 30-31
Philippians 4

Cha Sa-soon, a 69-year old Korean woman, finally received her driving license after 3 years of trying to pass the written test. She wanted the license so she could take her grandchildren to the zoo.
She was persistent in what is normally an instant world. When we want something and cannot get it, we often complain and demand. At other times, we give up and move on if what we want cannot be quickly gratified. “Wait” is a word we hate to hear! Yet, many times the Bible tells us that God wants us to wait on Him for the right timing.
Waiting on God means patiently looking to Him for what we need. David recognised why he had to wait on the Lord. First, his salvation came from Him (Psalm 62:1). He learned that no one else could deliver him. His only hope was in God (v.5), for God alone hears our prayers (v.8).
Our prayers often revolve around asking God to hurry up and bless what we want to do. What if God’s answer to us is simply, “Be patient. Wait upon me”? We can pray with David: “Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly” (Psalm 5:3 NLT). We can trust His response, even if it doesn’t come in the time we expect. – C.P Hia
When we call out to You, O Lord,
And wait for answers to our prayer,
Give us the patience that we need
And help us sense Your love and care. – Sper

The bottom line of every prayer should be, “Your will be done.”

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

THE LORD; MY HEALER - Open Heavens - October 7, 2016

Isaiah 53:1-5

Bible in one year:

Ezekiel 40-41
Psalms 75

Sing hymn 6

The title of today’s devotional requires deep thought. The is asking us to personalise this truth today. The reason is not far-fetched; the healing virtue of Jesus Christ is very potent and available for YOU.
In today’s Bible readings, we are reassured that Jesus Christ is the Ultimate Healer because He paid for our healing with His Blood. Apart from reassuring us, the Bible passage also draws our attention to some other truths; not believing that God heals His ailing people is an ancient unbelief that is meant to subject humans to perpetual suffering. In the book of Numbers 21:6-9, the serpents sent to the Israelites as a result of their sins had bitten them, God then directed Moses to make and lift up a serpent for whoever was bitten to look upon for healing; as many as looked lived. This is the type of healing God provides through our Lord Jesus Christ. In John 3:14-15, Jesus Christ said:
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
The power and secret of sickness and diseases which ultimately leads to death is hidden in sin. This is the reason why Jesus Christ often first of all attacked sin in the lives of the people He thereafter healed (Matthew 9:2-6). Healing is easily procured when the sick’s sin are forgiven him. This is why the Psalmist says:
“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”
Psalms 32:1
He is our unfailing Healer because He paid the dues for our healing, in that He atoned for the cause of sicknesses and diseases (Matthew 26:28).
To access divine healing, therefore, we must have a covenant relationship with the Healer, because by His stripes only, we can be healed. In other words, by the atonement of Jesus Christ, our healing is forever settled. To have a covenant relationship with the Healer, therefore, we must respond to His call for repentance, and surrender the totality of our lives for Him to control. The body that has been dedicated to Jesus Christ shall be spared the sicknesses that make people miserable. When we give our lives to Christ, the next thing to do is to graduate to the level of belief that, henceforth, Jesus Christ will be our Healer. We now become candidates for divine healing and we can graduate to the level of enjoying divine health.

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
1 Peter 2:24

Action Point:
Make sure your salvation is genuine by re-examining yourself to ensure that you have faith in the healing power of Christ.