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13 DECEMBER 2017 – Psalm 126 (MSG)

Scripture

1-3 It seemed like a dream, too good to be true,
    when God returned Zion’s exiles.
We laughed, we sang,
    we couldn’t believe our good fortune.
We were the talk of the nations—
    God was wonderful to them!”
God was wonderful to us;
    we are one happy people.

4-6 And now, God, do it again—
    bring rains to our drought-stricken lives
So those who planted their crops in despair
    will shout hurrahs at the harvest,
So those who went off with heavy hearts
    will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.

Reflection

I heard someone once say that he saw this verse lived out before him. It was near the end of the year and the grain that was used to make bread and trade for other food supplies was getting low. The family was down to just one meal a day, when the hungry children ran from the barn to tell their father they had found “extra grain”. The brokenhearted father then had to explain that they could not eat this grain because this was the grain which would be planted in the spring to bring a harvest in the fall and feed the family for the next year. We have tears now but there will be joy at harvest time. Trust the process! (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 | 2017-12-07T11:04:03+08:00 December 13th, 2017|Week 2|0 Comments

12 DECEMBER 2017 – Isaiah 61:8-11 (ESV)

Scripture

For I the Lord love justice;
    I hate robbery and wrong;
I will faithfully give them their recompense,
    and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their offspring shall be known among the nations,
    and their descendants in the midst of the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge them,
    that they are an offspring the Lord has blessed.

10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
    my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
    he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
    and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
    to sprout up before all the nations.

Reflection

One expression of justice is to live in a society where the wealthy cannot take advantage of the poor. Where the rights and the property of the poor are protected against those who are strong enough to take what they want without consequence. It is encouraging to say the least that this is also the heart of God. He cares especially that the weak and the vulnerable are remembered. When we care for and protect them it is as if we have done it for God Himself  (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

Our prayers matter – wherever you are, your prayers could change the destiny of a nation. Start with one nation; one that stirs your heart or catches your attention.

 

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By | 2017-12-07T11:21:01+08:00 December 12th, 2017|Week 2|0 Comments

11 DECEMBER 2017 – Isaiah 61:1-3a (NIV)

Scripture

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

Reflection

Very few people in the world today have the kind of wealth that can shield them from life’s difficulties and tragedies. Even then the wealthy are not completely protected, there are some things that money can’t buy. Life is going to bring a fair amount of heartache, more for some, less for others. It is into this reality that God has stepped in to redeem our hurt, “the ashes, the despair and the mourning”; the cross is the bridge that stretches between the harshness of life on earth and the beauty of heaven’s eternal life. It is the man on the cross who has the power to take what was meant to harm us and use it for his and our good (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 ministries at SCF: Hospitality, Worship, Prayer, Welcome and Reflect (Youth).

 

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By | 2017-12-07T11:20:24+08:00 December 11th, 2017|Week 2|0 Comments

8 DECEMBER 2017 – Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV)

Scripture

11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Reflection

A local church is an extraordinary thing; a diverse collection of gifted people living and working together as one. Individuals who would otherwise be strangers to each other become like a family under the loving care of Jesus who is the leader of the church. Among the many gifted people in a local church are those who are appointed to make sure that the whole church stays together, stays under the banner of Jesus and grows together in love. You can find a local church in almost every language group, ethnic group and nation. Even with all of its faults and struggles the local church today remains as Pastor Bill Hybels described, “the hope of 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

There are 7.5 billion people and 196 countries in the world. How do we start to pray for them? Start with one nation; one that stirs your heart or catches your attention.

 

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By | 2017-11-29T10:52:03+08:00 December 8th, 2017|Week 1|0 Comments

7 DECEMBER 2017 – Hebrews 4:12 (AMP)

Scripture

12 For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Reflection

The Bible is a mirror unlike anything we have seen before. When we look into the Bible we don’t see our outward appearance but we see ourselves as we truly are. The Bible is a like a great therapist able to reflect back to us the true nature of our thought life and our attitudes. The Bible speaks to our EQ as well and gives us the feedback we are looking for in order to grow and mature into the person God dreamed of when he first imagined us (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 the Lord’s Prayer: Matthew 6:9-13:

“OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN,
HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME,
YOUR KINGDOM COME,
YOUR WILL BE DONE,
ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.
GIVE US TODAY OUR DAILY BREAD.
AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS,
AS WE ALSO HAVE FORGIVEN OUR DEBTORS.
AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION,
BUT DELIVER US FROM THE EVIL ONE.”

 

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By | 2017-11-29T10:49:03+08:00 December 7th, 2017|Week 1|0 Comments

6 DECEMBER 2017 – John 15:6-8 (NASB)

Scripture

If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

 

Reflection

A renewed mind is critical to being rooted or “remaining” in Christ. Our minds are renewed by his words. Reading the Bible and listening to the Bible are not only life giving but the Bible is Spirit empowered to renew our mind and transform our worldview. When we think with a new mind which has been shaped by the Bible we make choices that lead us into fruitful living. We become living emails to be read by everyone which tell the story of an amazing God and His amazing grace (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 action points can you take to apply this passage in your life?
  • 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 | 2017-11-29T10:42:51+08:00 December 6th, 2017|Week 1|0 Comments

5 DECEMBER 2017 – John 15:1-5 (ESV)

Scripture

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Reflection

A mentor of mine once used the words, “fruitful and effective” to describe the life of a follower of Jesus. It is possible to be “fruitful and effective” without Jesus so to be clear we are talking about the kind of fruitfulness that comes from being “rooted” in Jesus. Jesus’ words here are so uncompromising; we must remain in Him the way a grape branch is connected to the vine. His commitment is to remain in us, our responsibility is to make Him the center of our lives and to keep him there. If we will do this, then He will make our lives fruitful (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 our sister international churches in Shanghai: AGIF, SWIF, ICS and TEF.

 

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By | 2017-11-29T10:37:42+08:00 December 5th, 2017|Week 1|0 Comments

4 DECEMBER 2017 – Romans 12:3-5 (NIV)

Scripture

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.


Reflection

We often talk about community at SCF. It is not a coincidence that it is in the middle of our name, Shanghai COMMUNITY Fellowship. Community is created from many parts joined together to form one whole, working expression. We are a Christian community, which means that the kind of community we are forming can only be created when we each one is “in Christ” and Christ himself is the leader of the community. A life in Christ is demanding and not meant to be lived alone, “belong” to others and thrive! (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 Ignite Kids, the Children’s Ministry at Shanghai Community Fellowship.

 

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By | 2017-11-29T10:32:23+08:00 December 4th, 2017|Week 1|0 Comments

1 DECEMBER 2017 – Romans 15:13 (KJV)

Scripture

13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Reflection

This is a prayer with an implied positive answer. Yes! The God of hope WILL fill us with joy and peace. But it is also conditional . . . “as we trust in Him”. Trust is an implicit belief in the character and goodwill of the one trusted. It is also an action which, when our trust is in God, is also life-giving. When we trust in God, the act of trusting opens the gate to an outpouring of joy that exceeds our capacity and splashes on to those near to us. Let the joy of the Lord be our portion today (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell us about God and people?
  • What does this passage tell you?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life this week?
  • 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 | 2017-11-22T03:50:53+08:00 December 1st, 2017|Week 4|0 Comments

30 NOVEMBER 2017 – Romans 5:7-9 (NIV)

Scripture

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!

Reflection

Before we knew God, thought about God or much less loved God, He loved us. He showed us His love by making a way for us to return to Him even though it was uncertain we would ever take Him up on the offer. If God has invested this much to bring us back from the dead, then how much more will he deliver us from the troubles of today? In the words of the song writer, “He didn’t bring us this far to leave us, He didn’t teach us to swim to let us drown, He didn’t build his home in us to move away, He didn’t lift us up to let us down” (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What does this passage tell us about God and people?
  • What stands out to you in this passage and why?
  • What action points can you take to apply this passage in your life?
  • 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 | 2017-11-22T03:46:38+08:00 November 30th, 2017|Week 4|0 Comments