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23 FEBRUARY 2018 – 1 Peter 5:10-11 (NIV)

Scripture

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Reflection

After the suffering, after the hard time, this is what the Lord will do. He will heal the broken bones, He will rebuild the foundation, He will mend the torn nets. The cross of Jesus is the bridge between the brokenness of our world and the wholeness of Heaven. From the cross His outstretched arms touch both heaven and earth. Who better than Peter to know that Jesus can restore a promise lost and do more with what we have suffered than we can possibly ask or imagine (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell us about God and people?
  • 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 | 2018-02-14T09:54:58+08:00 February 23rd, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments

22 FEBRUARY 2018 – 1 Peter 5:8-9 (AMP)

Scripture

Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. But resist him, be firm in your faith [against his attack—rooted, established, immovable], knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being experienced by your brothers and sisters throughout the world. [You do not suffer alone.]

Reflection

We have an enemy of our souls. He wants to steal from us the precious gift which we have received from our Father in heaven. He goes about the world like a hungry lion searching for prey, looking for the weak and the vulnerable. Maybe unlike a lion but very much like him he seeks to deceive us so that he can steal from us. One of his deceptions is to get us to think that we are the only one “this” has happened to. He wants us to think we are the only one who has ever been betrayed, ever been lied to, ever been abused, ever been tempted; the only one who has ever failed. What to do? Resist the enemy and his lies, do it urgently and intentionally, make it a priority as if your life was in danger because it is. Sometimes the best way to stand is to run – get away from the temptation. Believe and trust that this will work; if you resist your enemy, and take a stand – the Lord will fight for you. “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world” (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell us about God and people?
  • 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 those who are in prison.

 

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By | 2018-02-14T09:56:11+08:00 February 22nd, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments

21 FEBRUARY 2018 – 1 Peter 5:6-7 (ESV)

Scripture

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Reflection

Earlier Peter has written that Christians should do “good deeds” or acts of kindness which benefit humanity so that those who are outside of the Christian community might glorify God. Here, the focus is on the things we can do within the Church which glorify God. The emphasis on glorifying God is to bring God in the center of all things, especially the kinds of things he gives us to do to serve his people and to build them up. Things like speaking and serving, administrating, giving, leading, healing, teaching and waiting on tables; when we serve each other we are worshiping God. “So whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” 1 Corinthians 10:31 (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell us about God and people?
  • 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

Take a moment to pray for one person on your mind. Pray for your relationship with them; for their situation; for God to be near to them.

 

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By | 2018-02-14T09:38:42+08:00 February 21st, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments

20 FEBRUARY 2018 – 1 Peter 5:1-4 (NIV)

Scripture

To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

Reflection

One can only imagine how personal it must have been for Peter to write these words. Peter had himself once been charged with caring for the people of God, “God’s flock”. Would the words of Jesus, spoken directly to him at such a critical time in his life (John 21:15-17) stir within him his own calling? How humble of Peter to identify with these individuals who were serving as elders. Yes. Peter was an elder but he was also Peter(!), the close friend of Jesus and one of the original apostles. Churches have leaders, they have primary leaders; individuals who can be financially supported as they fulfill the gift of the elder and shepherd God’s people. They should also be a person of integrity and lead by example. They are also accountable to the Shepherd who shepherds them (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell us about God, Jesus and people?
  • 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 all of the Shanghai Christian Council Churches and Pastors.

 

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By | 2018-02-14T09:36:04+08:00 February 20th, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments

19 FEBRUARY 2018 – 1 Peter 4:12-19 (TLB)

Scripture

12 Dear friends, don’t be bewildered or surprised when you go through the fiery trials ahead, for this is no strange, unusual thing that is going to happen to you. 13 Instead, be really glad—because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterwards you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory in that coming day when it will be displayed.

14 Be happy if you are cursed and insulted for being a Christian, for when that happens the Spirit of God will come upon you with great glory. 15 Don’t let me hear of your suffering for murdering or stealing or making trouble or being a busybody and prying into other people’s affairs. 16 But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being in Christ’s family and being called by his wonderful name! 17 For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin first among God’s own children. And if even we who are Christians must be judged, what terrible fate awaits those who have never believed in the Lord? 18 If the righteous are barely saved, what chance will the godless have?

19 So if you are suffering according to God’s will, keep on doing what is right and trust yourself to the God who made you, for he will never fail you.

Reflection

Peter is coming back to a familiar theme: suffering. God’s people have and will suffer when those who are opposed to the Gospel oppose them. Jesus showed us what this was like; he also said that those who belong to him would also suffer as he suffered. We are to be assured however, that God remains in control, even of the suffering, and that judgment is coming. It is a judgement that begins in God’s house first. Here Peter is thinking of the church, local churches and also the church collectively. We should think of and remember Jesus who entered the temple in Jerusalem with a judgement against the house. In essence his judgement came like this: “This house is not what it was intended to be, in fact, far from it” He knew what he was talking about because it was his house! It is often painful to be told the truth and even more so to have someone else remove what does not belong; we dare not resist (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell us about God, Jesus and people?
  • 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 be blessed by God, the church to shine brightly and for God to be present in that place.

 

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By | 2018-02-14T09:17:08+08:00 February 19th, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments

16 FEBRUARY 2018 – 1 Peter 4:11 (TLB)

Scripture

11 Are you called to preach? Then preach as though God himself were speaking through you. Are you called to help others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies so that God will be glorified through Jesus Christ—to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.

Reflection

Earlier Peter has written that Christians should do “good deeds” or acts of kindness which benefit humanity so that those who are outside of the Christian community might glorify God. Here, the focus is on the things we can do within the Church which glorify God. The emphasis on glorifying God is to bring God in the center of all things, especially the kinds of things he gives us to do to serve his people and to build them up. Things like speaking and serving, administrating, giving, leading, healing, teaching and waiting on tables; when we serve each other we are worshiping God. “So whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” 1 Corinthians 10:31 (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell us about God and people?
  • 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 | 2018-02-08T09:58:59+08:00 February 16th, 2018|Week 2|0 Comments

15 FEBRUARY 2018 – 1 Peter 4:7-8 (ESV) – Part 2

Scripture

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.


Reflection

Many a person has said of their own sin, “This is about me only, I am not hurting anyone else” but sin rarely is isolated, we do end up hurting our friends and family. Peter is not suggesting some kind of “cover up” or denial but a way to relate to each other after promises have been broken and destructive behaviors went unchecked. The way to respond after sin comes “out of the closet” is to respond in love. “Love is patient, love is kind, love keeps no record of wrongs . . . love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13) (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell us about God and people?
  • 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 this prayer today: (from Common Radicals) “May the peace of the Lord Christ go with me: wherever He may send me; may He guide me through the wilderness: protect me through the storm; may He bring me home rejoicing: at the wonders He has shown me; may He bring me home rejoicing: once again into my door”

 

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By | 2018-02-08T09:56:08+08:00 February 15th, 2018|Week 2|0 Comments

14 FEBRUARY 2018 – 1 Peter 4:7-8 (ESV) – Part 1

Scripture

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

Reflection

One of the traps that most of us fall into is thinking that things will always be as they are now. It brings us comfort to think that tomorrow is going to be just like today. It’s why we can be so “caught off guard” by change when some part of our brain knows that change is coming. This season of grace in the Son will one day come to an end; not because it finally runs down, out of strength and exasperated but because the season will be completed – it will be time to move on. Changing metaphors . . . Today I watched a young man run across the departures hall in the Guangzhou train station. He was late for the train; he pleaded with the attendant but to no avail, the train had left the station and he was left behind. There was a lot of activity in the hall and plenty of distractions but trains do leave as scheduled – pay attention! (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell us about God and people?
  • 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 worship ministry at SCF; for Josh and the team of worship leaders, singers and musicians who lead us in the praise of our almighty God every week.

 

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By | 2018-02-08T09:59:31+08:00 February 14th, 2018|Week 2|0 Comments

13 FEBRUARY 2018 – 1 Peter 4:3-5 (NIV)

Scripture

For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

Reflection

In previous chapters of our lives we used to live a certain way, a way without Christ. We followed our passions without restraint, we “joined in” when others invited us, never thinking about what we were doing. We were challenged by our friends to drink more, party more and have sex more without counting the cost to ourselves or to others. Then one day it all stopped. What was once a happy friendship became a resentment, the kind of resentment people feel when confronted by what is unfamiliar to them. The old friends used to heap abuse upon themselves now they heap it on you. If Christianity teaches anything it teaches that everyone will give an account for their own lives. That’s not a threat, it’s a promise (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell us about God and people?
  • 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.

 

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By | 2018-02-08T10:00:43+08:00 February 13th, 2018|Week 2|0 Comments

12 FEBRUARY 2018 – 1 Peter 4:1-2 (AMP)

Scripture

Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh [and died for us], arm yourselves [like warriors] with the same purpose [being willing to suffer for doing what is right and pleasing God], because whoever has suffered in the flesh [being like-minded with Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [having stopped pleasing the world], so that he can no longer spend the rest of his natural life living for human appetites and desires, but [lives] for the will and purpose of God.

Reflection

“For the rest of my life” how often does a person say that or even have that kind of “long term” perspective on their own lives. We are more like “for now” kind of people as in “I live in Shanghai for now” or “I work at this company for now”. Rather the rest of my life should be shaped by God’s purpose expressed uniquely in me; an expression which is good, perfect for me and pleasing to the Father (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell us about God, people and Jesus?
  • 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

Look around you right now, take note of someone near to you and pray for them silently

 

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By | 2018-02-08T09:47:04+08:00 February 12th, 2018|Week 2|0 Comments