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22 June 2018 – Acts 10:34-48 (NIV)

Scripture

34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.

Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

Reflection

God does not “play favorites” specifically He has made available to every person the blessing and the salvation in Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter what your passport says, how old you are, what language you speak or who your family is . . . anyone can believe on the Lord Jesus and be saved. The good news of the gift of eternal life in Jesus name is spreading from a small messianic sect in Jerusalem to the worldwide community it will become and is today. Give thanks for the person or persons who brought the good news to your tribe and for the grace to believe it! (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • Who do you feel God is calling you to share the good news with ?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Pray for somewhere in the world that needs God’s attention. Flick to a news app or website, and pick a news story to pray for.

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By | 2018-06-14T11:33:56+08:00 June 22nd, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments

21 June 2018 – Acts 10:24-33 (NIV)

Scripture

24 The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26 But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.”

27 While talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28 He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?”

30 Cornelius answered: “Three days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. 32 Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’ 33 So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”

Reflection

All through chapter 10 we were invited by the author to take part in the account of ‘The First Fruits of the Gentiles’. This account comes to an end in the verses following (see tomorrow’s devotion). However, it is within these couple of verses that we see God’s sovereignty at work. Both in Cornelius and Peter’s lives respectively, but also in the lives of the men sent by Cornelius, the believers who joined Peter and all the people Cornelius gathered in his home for Peter’s arrival. It is clear from this chapter that it was God’s plan and promise from the beginning to bring all – even the Gentiles – into a personal life long relationship with God and for them to be called children of the most High. God is sovereign over every little detail. All for His glory alone (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • How do you see God’s sovereignty at work in your life and in the lives of those closest to you ?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Pray for someone you may know who is need of physical healing.

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By | 2018-06-14T11:30:31+08:00 June 21st, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments

20 June 2018 – Acts 10:9-23 (NIV)

Scripture

About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”

14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”

15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.

17 While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. 18 They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.

19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three[a] men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”

21 Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?”

22 The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to ask you to come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.” 23 Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests. The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the believers from Joppa went along.

Reflection

Peter was a devout Jew and had been taught since childhood which foods a Jewish person was not allowed to eat. In the dream like scene Peter sees a sheet, some think it may have been the sail from a boat, similar to one Peter would have used as a fisherman, descend with the kind of food he could not eat. As you might have guessed, Peter says, “Surely not” when invited to eat the food in the sheet but then God says, he now declares this same food to be clean. God is about ready to break another barrier, first unclean food has become clean and now non- Jewish persons will receive the promise of Father Abraham. First, however, Peter must apply his dream to the three, very specific, non-Jewish men at his door asking him to join them. Would you go? Will you go? (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Pray for these organizations who are helping people in need: Home Sweet Home, Renewal Center and Sonflowers.

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By | 2018-06-14T11:26:24+08:00 June 20th, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments

19 June 2018 – Acts 10:1-7 (NIV)

Scripture

At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”

Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked.

The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.”

When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants.

Reflection

Chapter 10 is dubbed in some translations as ‘The First Fruits of the Gentiles’. It is in this chapter that we witness an entirely new phase of the Christian Church, the “opening of the door of faith to the Gentiles (you and me – unless you are from Jewish descent)”. The significance behind these verses reveals the recognition of Gentiles in terms of perfect equality with the Jews; it’s discipleship without the necessity of circumcision. It’s also interesting to note the main apostle Cornelius was asked to invite to his house was Peter. His main target audience was specifically those of the ‘circumcision’. But in this chapter God is even stretching Peter’s faith from a cultural and religious point of view by revealing to him (see tomorrow’s devotions) that the gospel is for Cornelius –  a gentile too (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • Do you sometimes find yourself hesitant, either because of logic, cultural traditions, and or social status, to share the gospel with a certain people/s and or a group?
  • How is God stretching or challenging your faith these days?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Identify anything that is making you weary or burdened and give it back to God.

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By | 2018-06-14T11:23:40+08:00 June 19th, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments

18 June 2018 – Acts 9:36-41 (NIV)

Scripture

36 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor. 37 About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38 Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!”

39 Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.

40 Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. 41 He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive.

Reflection

If this story sounds familiar, it should. In the Gospel of Mark, chapter 5, Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead. Although the stories are similar they are not identical; for example, Dorcas was gradually restored and Peter took care not to touch her until she was fully healed. We should not be surprised that Jesus’ disciples would do very much the same kinds of things that He did; this was part of the commission. (Matthew 10:8) They did what they saw Jesus do, we can do no less (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • Is there a specific aspect or area in your life that needs Jesus’ resurrection power?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Pray for the persecuted Church, our brothers and sisters across the world who are made to suffer because they are Christian. For more information about who is being persecuted and how to pray, visit www.opendoorsuk.org.

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By | 2018-06-14T11:16:48+08:00 June 18th, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments

15 June 2018 – Acts 9:26-30 (NIV)

Scripture

26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him. 30 When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

Reflection

Saul had been an enemy of Jesus’ people, everyone knew it so when the story started going around that the man who was the greatest persecutor had himself become a Christian there was naturally some fear and doubt. This is where Barnabas enters. Barnabas is a respected, established leader who by his friendship with Saul helps to build a bridge between Saul and his new community. At different times in our lives we will need a Barnabas, someone who will help us build a bridge to a new community. At other times we will have the incredible opportunity to be a Barnabas for someone; we will use our credibility combined with a gracious, “not to be threatened” attitude toward a fellow Christian. Opening the door to a younger, less experienced Christian and humbly assisting them when you know they will one day exceed you is a demonstration of the beauty in the Body of Christ (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • Who do you feel God wants you to help build a bridge to a new community (either at work, social life or at church)?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Pray for the spiritually lost among the global community in Shanghai; pray that they will be drawn to God by the Holy Spirit.

Note: If you want someone to help you build a bridge to Christianity and or if you want to grow deeper in your faith with the Lord please email [email protected] We would love to connect with you.

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By | 2018-06-08T16:53:49+08:00 June 15th, 2018|Week 2|0 Comments

14 June 2018 – Acts 9:13-16 (NIV)

Scripture

13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”

15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

Reflection

In these couple of verses we witness the result of Jesus’ redeeming power. Prior to Paul’s conversion, he was actively perusing Christians with the sole purpose to persecute them and even murder them (See yesterday’s devotion). He was even a witness to Stephen’s murder (Acts 7:58). Yet, Christ redeemed Saul and gave him a completely new life. God had a plan and purpose with Paul’s life (v15). No matter your past experience or your past actions, nothing is unredeemable for God. In the same way that God has a plan for Paul, He has one for you – the new you in Christ (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • How is God’s redeeming power at work in your life?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Pray for the nation of China. Pray for China’s leaders and for all those who are in authority. May they call on God for the wisdom to lead this country.

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By | 2018-06-08T16:44:10+08:00 June 14th, 2018|Week 2|0 Comments

13 June 2018 – Acts 9:1-6 (NIV)

Scripture

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

Reflection

Not by coincidence, Saul is on his way to persecute members of the Way who are in reality followers of the one who called himself THE Way. (Jesus in John 14:6) Notice Jesus’ strong identification with his people. Jesus asks, “Why are you persecuting ME?” Saul was persecuting Christians but Jesus said, you are persecuting me! Jesus is with us, if it is happening to us, it is happening to Him; He knows. He said he would always be with us, Matthew 28:20; he intervened in the persecution and he intervened in the life of the persecutor. This story is not over (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • In what way do you need to be reminded Jesus is with you?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Think of someone you know who could use a little joy in their lives and pray for presence of the Lord to rest on them. “In His presence there is fullness of Joy” Psalm 16:11

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By | 2018-06-08T16:37:34+08:00 June 13th, 2018|Week 2|0 Comments

12 June 2018 – Acts 8:30-31 (NIV)

Scripture

30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

Reflection

This account is a great example of obedience and the result it brings. In verse 26 the angel of the Lord told Phillip to ‘get up and go to Gaza’ (suggesting Philip got interrupted with what he was doing) Once Philip arrived the Spirit told him to approach the chariot. It was only once Philip approached the chariot that he understood the purpose of his commission. The Ethiopian eunuch was reading the book of Isaiah (Isa 53:7-8). Strikingly enough these verses predicted Jesus’ suffering (see vv. 32-33). The eunuch however did not understand what he read (although he was a gentile proselyte to the Jewish faith (v.27). This led Phillip to explain the gospel to the eunuch, which in turn led to his water baptism (v.36-38). All this was possible because of Phillip’s obedience to God (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • How often does God interrupt your plans and ask you to obey Him?
  • Are you only willing to obey God if He reveals the whole plan to you?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Stop and ask God to place a nation on your mind and heart. Pray for the people to blessed by God, the church to shine brightly and for God to be present in that place.

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By | 2018-06-08T16:33:29+08:00 June 12th, 2018|Week 2|0 Comments

11 June 2018 – Acts 8:4-8 (NIV)

Scripture

Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city.

Reflection

Some have speculated that the new movement of Jesus’ followers might never have left the city of Jerusalem if the persecution had not broken out against them. There were many among the Jesus followers who were not originally from Jerusalem but had come for the Feast of Pentecost, responded to the preaching of the Apostles and remained in the city to become part of this new movement. The persecution following Stephen’s martyrdom changed all of that. Luke, the author of Acts, chooses to show us that the first place people go when they scattered was the closest place, Samaria. The people of Samaria were an ancient enemy of the Jewish people and a near neighbor. Sometimes the most difficult place to go, is the place closest to you, especially if you are going to tell the story of how Jesus changed your life (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Be still and allow the presence of Jesus to bring rest to you right now.

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By | 2018-06-08T16:28:44+08:00 June 11th, 2018|Week 2|0 Comments