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bible study devotion

Sowing and reaping

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

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John 4:30-45

After exposing and convicting the Samaritan woman of her sin, Jesus revealed  that He was the Messiah she was waiting for.  She immediately dropped her water bucket and went to town to share her testimony and invited the people to come and see the Messiah.

30 They went out of the city, and were coming to him. 31 In the meanwhile, the disciples urged him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you don’t know about.” 33 The disciples therefore said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Don’t you say, ‘There are yet four months until the harvest?’ Behold, I tell you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, that they are white for harvest already. 36 He who reaps receives wages and gathers fruit to eternal life; that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 37 For in this the saying is true, ‘One sows, and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you haven’t labored. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” 39 From that city many of the Samaritans believed in him because of the word of the woman, who testified, “He told me everything that I did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they begged him to stay with them. He stayed there two days. 41 Many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of your speaking; for we have heard for ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” 43 After the two days he went out from there and went into Galilee.

John 4:30-45

Commentary

Jesus told His disciples to open their eyes and see the Samaritan people coming towards them with their white hats. The field (Samaritan people) was ripe for harvest. The Samaritan woman sowed the seed of the gospel message into the Samaritan people (the field). The seed bear fruits, and the disciples reaped the harvest. In evangelism, the sower and the reaper worked as a team to win souls. 

Today, you may be sowing the seed of the gospel into someone’s life.  One day another Christian will come along and reap the harvest by getting that person to say the sinner’s prayer. This is how evangelism work, 1 Cor 3:6.

The woman’s testimony was powerful. Many Samaritans believed in Jesus through her testimony. Jesus stayed with them two more days, and more Samaritans believed in Him. The woman’s testimony brought the Samaritans to Christ. Their encounter with Christ convinced them that Christ is the Saviour of the world. 

The Samaritans acknowledged Jesus as the Savior of the world. Note the progressive revelation of Christ’s identity. In verse 9, she called Him a Jew, in verses 11 and 15, Sir, in verse 19, a prophet, in verse 29, Christ, and in verse 42, Savior of the world.

Jesus and His disciples travelled north from Samaria to Galilee, bypassing Nazareth.. The Galileans welcomed Jesus because they saw the miracles He did at Jerusalem during the Passover.

  I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow

1 Corinthians 3:6

Application

Many Samaritans believed and encountered Christ personally because of the woman’s testimony. Many of your contacts will believe and encounter Christ personally because of your testimony. Write out and rehearse your testimony. Include three parts to your testimony, the before, the during, and the after. Write about how you were before you know Christ, how you came to know Christ, and, how you are after you know Christ. Share it out on social media, with colleagues, friends, and family. You may be the only Bible that people will ever read. Personal evangelism is very satisfying and rewarding.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the beautiful story of this un-named Samaritan woman who met Christ and shared her testimony with other Samaritans. We pray for opportunities to share our testimonies to family, neighbours, colleagues, and friends. We pray for divine insight and understanding into Your word. We present our bodies as living sacrifices and spiritual acts of worship, holy and pleasing to You, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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devotion

Worship in spirit and truth

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

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John 4: 19-29

Setting

Jesus ministered to a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. He offered her living water and told her to bring her husband. When she said she had no husband, Jesus exposed her life of sin. She had previous 5 husbands  and was now living with a man out of wedlock. She was shocked by this revelation. Here was a man who knew everything about her. 

19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, will you worship the Father. 22 You worship that which you don’t know. We worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to be his worshipers. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah comes, he who is called Christ. When he has come, he will declare to us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who speaks to you.” 27 At this, his disciples came. They marveled that he was speaking with a woman; yet no one said, “What are you looking for?” or, “Why do you speak with her?” 28 So the woman left her water pot, went away into the city, and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything that I did. Can this be the Christ?”

John 4:19-29

Commentary

The woman called Jesus a prophet. The Samaritans worshiped God on Mount Gerizim while the Jews worship God on Mount Zion. She wanted to know where was the right place to worship God. Jesus replied, it was not the where but the who. God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. The Samaritans got it wrong. Their theology was wrong. Their Samaritans Bible was incomplete, inaccurate, and adulterated. They only accept the first 5 books of the Bible and they changed the words extensively. Salvation was for the Jews first and then only to the Gentiles, Romans 1:16.

God is spirit and truth. A true worshiper worship God in spirit and truth, with correct doctrine and theology. Jesus revealed His Messianic identity to her i.e. I AM. When the disciples came back, they were shocked to see Jesus talking to a Samaritan woman.

She left the bucket at the well with the joy of living water (Holy Spirit) bubbling within her.  She went to town with her testimony.  She invited them to come and see Jesus who knew everything about her. Could this be the Messiah?, she asked. The town people followed her back to the well.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek

Romans 1:16,

 

I AM who I AM

Exodus 3:4

Application

Jesus knows everything about you and me. You cannot hide anything from His omnicient power. If you sinned, you must confess, repent, and come clean, 1 John 1:9.  

Have you ever told anyone what the Lord has done for you in your life? Share out your testimony. Your testimony is very powerful and life saving. No one can dispute your testimony. 

God is spirit and truth. You must worship God in spirit and truth. Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the life. Speaking of Himself as truth, Jesus said that you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. Jesus is I AM, YHWH, the pre-existing, self-existing, eternal, and only true God. 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness

1 John 1:9

Prayer

Heavenly Father, we pray that You will open our hearts to hear, feel, touch, and understand what You are saying to us. We asked for the presence of the Holy Spirit to teach, guide, comfort, convict, rebuke, and train us in righteousness. You came to seek and save the lost, the weak, the poor, the rejected, and the marginalized. May we never walk away from You unchanged after every encounter with You, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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devotion

Devotion: woman, water, and well

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

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Prayer

Heavenly Father, we commit to You our daily devotion. Holy Spirit we pray that You will explain, teach, reveal, and give us spiritual insight and understanding, in Jesus’ name, Amen

Setting

Jesus took the shortest route from Judea to Galilee by traveling directly northward stopping in Samaria. This was not the usual route. The Jews bypass Samaria by going through Perea, eastward, northward, and westward into Galilee. Jesus took the road less travelled. 

Jesus arrived at Jacob’s well in Sychar at noon, tired, hungry, and thirsty from the long walk,. The disciples went into the city to buy food. Jesus, who was fully man and fully God felt tired, thirsty, and hungry. A Samaritan woman came to draw water. This was most unusual. Woman came to the well in the morning or evening to draw water, socialise, and gossip. This woman came at 12 noon knowing that no other women would be there. 

John 4:7-18

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.

The Samaritan woman therefore said to him, “How is it that you, being a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. So where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father, Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his children and his livestock?” 13 Jesus answered her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst again; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I don’t get thirsty, neither come all the way here to draw.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered, “I have no husband.”Jesus said to her, “You said well, ‘I have no husband,’ 18 for you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband. This you have said truly.”

John 4:7-18

Commentary

Jesus had a divine appointment to seek and save this unnamed Samaritan woman. When Jesus asked her for a drink, she was shocked because Jews and Samaritans were sworn enemies. In the first-century world, a woman was not allowed to talk with a man in public. This was forbidden, unacceptable, and even scandalous. Jesus broke the social, cultural, and gender divide in His opening gambit! Jesus, the gift of God, spoke to her! If only she knew! Here was a spiritually thirsty woman who looked for satisfaction in the well of relationship with other men but could not find it. Jesus’ brilliant ice breaker was to ask for water and He was ready to give her the living water of the Holy Spirit, John 7:37-39.

The woman was shocked. Here was a Jewish rabbi asking her for a drink!  Jesus spoke spiritually but she thought physically. She blurted out a rhetorical question, are you greater than Jacob?  Jesus responded that drinking water from this well would not satisfy her spiritual thirst. 

The woman was caught, hook, line, and sinker!. She wanted the living water! When Jesus told her to go home and bring her husband, she could not answer. With omniscient power, Jesus exposed her sin revealing that she had 5 previous husbands and the present man in her life was not her husband. Jesus exposed her sin to convict her to repentance. 

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them’. By this, he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified 

John 7: 37-39,

Application

Here is evangelism 101 masterclass. How do you talk with a stranger? How do you break the ice? Ask a simple question. Jesus was thirsty and the woman came to draw water with a bucket. It was very natural to ask for water. Use this approach. Start a small talk by asking a question with eye contact to build a bridge. Be sincere, friendly, and genuine. You are trying to break into a stranger’s world and he/she may be going through some hard times. Break down social, racial, political, gender, or religious divide. Jesus did it and so must you and me. 

Drinking water will only quench the thirst temporarily. What she, and everyone need is Jesus Christ, the living water of eternal life. Only Jesus can satisfy the thirst of relationship with the God of creation. Physicist Blaise Pascal said, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ”. 

What wells are you drinking from? Are you drinking from the material wells of the world? None of these wells can satisfy the longings of your heart. Only the well of Jesus Christ can give you true inner and lasting satisfaction. Will you turn to Him?

Prayer

Heavenly Father, the waters of worldly pursuit makes us thirst for more. We need a drink from You to satisfy us for eternity. Fill us with Living Water, Holy Spirit, Spirit of Truth, and Spirit of Life. You came to seek and save those that are lost. You went out of Your way to save to a lowly, unnamed, despised, and immoral woman of Samaria. Thank You for Your grace, mercy, loving-kindness, and faithfulness, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Acts volumes 1 and 2: from Jerusalem to Rome

by Dr. Andrew C S Koh

Amazon ranking No 1 in Life Application Christian Bibles.

Description:

Acts is a sequel to the gospel of Luke, written by Luke between 70-90 AD, in Rome. This is a historical narrative of the first-century Christian church from 33 to 60 AD. It is an action-packed, fast-moving, Hollywood-style narrative on the adventures of Peter, Paul and others.

Reviews:

This is an educational journey in the Book of Acts as only Dr. Koh can so brilliantly explain. A good book

R E Creech, Bookbub, Goodraesd, 5 stars

A very informative read about the travels of Peter and Paul, two Apostles who greatly influenced Christian teachings. Those amazing miracles and sermons help us to think differently about our lives. Very inspiring book. Beautiful prayers accompany each chapter. I am on the ARC team. I leave an honest review. I recommend this book to other readers

J Sharmani, Amazon, 5 Stars

What an excellent novel to use as a guide for a weekly Bible Study Group. Many of us do not know that Acts is a sequel to the gospel of Luke. It is written by Luke somewhere between 70-90 AD. Luke looks back on the world of the first-century Christian church. Take a chance to step out of our tightly conservative view of the church and follow along with Luke, Peter, Paul, and others as they journey through the world of the first Jewish Christian believers. We travel with the first believers from Jerusalem to Samaria all the way to Rome. This book will introduce the reader to the sermons and testimonies of Peter and Paul. You will come across many “firsts” in Acts, e.g., the birth of the first-century Christian church, the first miracle, the first sermon, the first Christian martyr, the first Christian burial, the first Gentile convert, the first European Christian convert, etc. This is the time of the first hundred years of our heritage. What a joy for the reader. I received this novel from StoryOrigin. This is my true and honest review

P A Reinert, Bookbub, 5 stars

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bible study devotion

Devotion: the greatest of these is love

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

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Prayer

Heavenly Father, open our spiritual eyes to see, ears to hear, minds to understand, and hearts to apply and obey the truth of Your words. Help us engage in Your word for the transformation of hearts and renewal of minds, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. Love is not a spiritual gift but it is the first fruit of the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Commentary

1 Corinthians 13 is the love chapter.

The Greek word for love is agape, which means selfless, sacrificial love, and unconditional love. Agape is the highest form of love. 

Without love, speaking in tongues is noisy and irritating. Without love, prophesy, words of knowledge, faith, selfless giving, and even martyrdom are valueless in God’s eyes. 

Paul spelled out the 17 characteristics of what love is, what love is not, and what love does and does not do. Love is patient, kind, not jealous, not boastful, not proud, not rude, not abusive, not self-seeking, not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not rejoice in evil and injustice, rejoices in truth, never gives up, always trusts, always hopes, always persevere, never fails. Even, prophecies, tongues, and knowledge will fail but not love. 

On this side of eternity, we do not have full revelation, perfect vision, and comprehensive knowledge. Our speech, understanding, and thoughts are only partial at best. We are works in progress being sanctified by the Holy Spirit into spiritual maturity. 

Comparing the three virtues of love, faith, and hope, the greatest of these is love.

Application

Love is the first and greatest fruit of the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23. Love covers a multitude of sins, 1 Peter 4:8. Love is the greatest commandment, horizontal love to others, and vertical love to God, Matthew 22:23.

Do you love the Lord with all your hearts, souls, and minds? Do you love your neighbour as yourself? 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23, NIV

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”

1 Peter 4:8

Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’

Matthew 22:23

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for teaching us to love. Help us to obey Your commandment to love You with all our hearts, souls, and minds and to love our neighbours as ourselves. Help us to love others just as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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bible study devotion

Devotion: charge that to my account

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

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Philemon: 10-25

Philemon is a story on providence. Onesimus escaped to Rome and met the great apostle Paul. Paul saved his soul and gave him a new life, a new faith, a new hope, and a new beginning. Reconciled to his old master Philemon and freed from slavery, he served his new master Jesus Christ. 

Philemon 10-25

10 I beg you for my child, whom I have become the father of in my chains, Onesimus,11 who once was useless to you, but now is useful to you and to me. 12 I am sending him back. Therefore receive him, that is, my own heart, 13 whom I desired to keep with me, that on your behalf he might serve me in my chains for the Good News. 14 But I was willing to do nothing without your consent, that your goodness would not be as of necessity, but of free will. 15 For perhaps he was therefore separated from you for a while, that you would have him forever, 16 no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much rather to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. 17 If then you count me a partner, receive him as you would receive me. 18 But if he has wronged you at all or owes you anything, put that to my account. 19 I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it (not to mention to you that you owe to me even your own self besides).20 Yes, brother, let me have joy from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in the Lord. 21 Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even beyond what I say. 22 Also, prepare a guest room for me, for I hope that through your prayers I will be restored to you.23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, 24 as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers. 25 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Philemon:10-25

Commentary

Paul converted, mentored, and adopted Onesimus as his spiritual godson. Onesimus in Greek means useful. Note the wordplay. The Greek word for useless is “achreston”. The Greek word for useful is “euchreston”. Onesimus, (useful), who was once useless (achreston) to Philemon was now useful (euchestron) to him. 

When he knew that Onesimus ran away from Philemon, he quickly sent Onesimus back to him. He urged Philemon to extend his right hand of fellowship to Onesimus.  

Paul wanted to keep Onesimus but not without Philemon’s blessing. Paul urged Philemon to receive Onesimus as a brother in Christ and set him free. In the first-century world, a runaway slave had committed a capital crime. Paul took a risk by sending Onesimus back. Onesimus could face capital punishment. 

Paul told Philemon to charge all of Onesimus’s crimes into his (Paul’s) account reminding him (Philemon) that he owed him (Paul) his soul. Paul emphasised that he hand-wrote this letter. 

Paul urged Philemon to forgive and release Onesimus. Paul requested Philemon to pray for his own release and prepare a guest room for him

Paul was a team player with a personal touch. He sent greetings from Epaphras, Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke. Epaphras was also a prisoner in Rome. He pronounced a blessing of grace to Philemon. 

Application

Onesimus ran away from his master. Have you run away from your master Jesus Christ? If you have, you must come back to Him and be useful to Him again, 1 John 1:9. 

No matter what circumstances you may be facing today it will eventually work for good in your favour. You may not see it now but you will see it in the future, Romans 8:28. 

You and I are sinners before a Holy God. We owed a debt of sin to God that we could never repay. Jesus Christ paid for our sin debt 2000 years ago, when He died on the cross. Jesus charged our debt of sin into His account.

According to tradition, Philemon forgave and freed Onesimus and he became a bishop of Ephesus. Onesimus was arrested, tortured, and martyred for his faith.

Jesus Christ forgave us. He restored us to fellowship when we come back to him in repentance.

Romans 6: 23, “for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord’’.

2 Corinthians 5:21, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”.

Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose”. 

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the epistle of Philemon. Thank You for the promise of Romans 8:28. Thank You for the forgiveness of sins, salvation by grace, justification by faith in Christ, sanctification, and the gift of eternal life. We pray for those who have run away from You to return back to You and be useful to You in the kingdom again, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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bible study

Philippians: rejoice in the Lord always

by Dr. Andrew C S Koh

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Amazon Ranking No 2 in Life Application Christian Bibles and King James Christian Bibles

Description:

Philippians is an expositional bible study on the Epistle of Philippians. This book is a valuable teaching aid to Christians of all denominations of all levels of maturity for personal enrichment, to encounter the God of the Word through the word of God. I have given a clear background and simple explanations of Philippians on a verse-by-verse, paragraph-by-paragraph, and chapter-by-chapter basis in 11 lessons to be used as a bible study guide over 11 weeks. Any reader who goes through this study guide carefully will gain a good foundational understanding of one of Paul’s prison epistles Philippians.

Reviews:

Always thinking that Paul portrayed a martyr, I always shied away from his writings. This book helped me to see that Paul’s martyrdom is something beautiful and it is to be treasured. Paul was obviously a dedicated man. This study guide has helped me to learn more about Paul and his magnificent cause

T Townsend, Amazon, Goodreads, Bookbub, 5 stars

A great study of the bible on Apostle Pauls’s journey to Philippi where he converted Lydia and her family, the Philippians jailer and his family, and established the church there. This is an easy-to-understand and great book of devotion. I received this book for free and I leave an honest review. I recommend this book to other readers

J. Sharmani, Bookbub, 5 stars

This was the second missionary journey of Apostle Paul to Philippi. Here, the conversion of Lydia and her family took place. Apostle Paul was jailed after he exorcised a slave girl but God saved him. He converted the Philippians jailer and his family. The Philippians church was established by Apostle Paul with Lydia, the Philippians jailer, and his family. A beautiful study of the bible and the miracles Apostle Paul did in the Philippians. I received this book for free and I leave an honest review. I recommend this book to other readers

J. Sharmani, Goodreads, 5 stars

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Book Launch

Manna of Life Daily Devotions, by Dr. Andrew C S Koh, 18/1/2023

Hey shalom, we hope this finds you well. We thank God for His grace upon us this New Year to have achieved Amazon’s No 1 best-sellers for three books, Memoirs of a doctor, kindle edition, 1 Corinthians, kindle edition, and Acts, kindle edition. We are launching our new book, Manna of Life, Daily Devotions, on 18/1/2023. Please help us by purchasing this book from amazon.com or other participating retailers for $ 0.99 on 18//1/2023 as this will help us in our ranking.Please leave a review after reading.  Here are the retailer’s links to Manna of Life:

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Thank you for your support!

Reviews

Manna of Life is a unique 20-day devotional book. Each day’s devotion contains a selected scripture, then provides a commentary on the verses for us to gain a fuller knowledge of God’s Word, Brad Simon, Amazon, Goodreads, 5 stars

In this devotional booklet, each day starts with a verse-by-verse commentary, followed by application and prayer. I enjoyed reading this devotional booklet, Ruth wu Wong, Amazon, Bookbub, Goodreads, 5 stars

This is the perfect book to read a passage daily, contemplate the word of God, and enrich your life daily. It is a concise yet enriching book for a Christian, Rowan E. Creech, Goodreads, 5 stars.

It’s a daily devotion that encourages readers to further enrich their lives to love God better and practice their faith which gives more meaning to their lives, J. Sharmani, Goodreads, 5 stars

Dr. Andrew C S Koh has created daily devotions from 20 carefully selected Bible passages and given them new life with his original insights. Each devotion includes practical ways for the Christian to apply Scripture to his or her everyday situations, and a prayer to bring the reader closer to God. My favorite is Stones of Remembrances, Hilary Walker, Goodreads, 5 stars

A 20-day devotional book. The dialogue in each passage will assist in the reader’s understanding of the scriptures and how they apply to our daily lives, PAR, Goodreads, 5 stars

Easy to read and study God’s Word devotional. A perfect reflection on the Journey of Christ. Recommend this book to all, T Townsend, Amazon, Goodreads, 5 stars

Manna of Life Daily Devotions by Dr. Andrew C S Koh is an inspirational book, it touches on lots of important topics that cause the reader to stop and think, Borgia Swaby, Goodreads, 4 stars

It is a nice devotional to stop and ponder about the word of God, Malgorzata B, Amazon, 3 stars

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Devotion: Grace and Peace

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

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Setting

Paul wrote 4 prison epistles during his first Roman imprisonment between AD 60-62, Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon. Nero arrested Paul and put him under house arrest in Rome where he awaited trial. He lived in a house chained to a Roman Pretorian guard 24 hours a day. Epaphras visited Paul with a love gift from the Collosian church. 

Philemon was a wealthy man from Colossae whom Paul converted and mentored in Ephesus. He (Philemon) returned to Colossae and planted the Colossian house church. Onesimus was one of Philemon’s slaves who ran away and escaped to Rome. There, Onesimus met Paul who converted and mentored him. Tychicus accompanied Onesimus to Philemon with this personal letter from Paul, Colossians 4:7-9. Ancient Colossae was a Roman province along the Lycus River valley in Asia Minor, modern-day Turkey.

Now when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard; but Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him

Acts 28:16

 Philemon: 1-9.

Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon, our beloved fellow worker, to the beloved Apphia, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the assembly in your house: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers,hearing of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all the saints, that the fellowship of your faith may become effective in the knowledge of every good thing which is in us in Christ Jesus. For we have much joy and comfort in your love because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.Therefore though I have all boldness in Christ to command you that which is appropriate, yet for love’s sake I rather beg, being such a one as Paul, the aged, but also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. 

Philemon:1-9

Commentary

Paul mentioned his spiritual godson, Timothy, as his co-worker, in his opening salutation. Paul considered himself a prisoner of Jesus Christ and not Nero. Paul had great insight. He new that it was Jesus Christ and not Nero who put him in prison.  Nero had no power to incarcerate and imprison Paul unless Jesus Christ sanctioned it.

Paul greeted Philemon, Apphia, and Archippus, his co-workers in the gospel. Scholars believed that Apphia was Philemon’s wife and Archippus was Philemon’s son, who was also a pastor of the Colossian house church. The Greek word for grace is “charis”, which means getting what we do not deserve to get. The Hebrew word for peace is “shalom”, which means tranquility. Paul combined the Greek greeting of grace with the Hebrew greeting of peace. Grace and peace come to us from God, the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace precedes peace. Justification and forgiveness of sin result in triple peace, peace with God, peace from God, and peace of God, Philippians 4:6-7, Romans 5:1-2. Paul was a prayer warrior. He wrestled with God in prayer every day, remembering all his friends, and co-workers, by name, and interceding for them. Paul took the time to pray specifically for Philemon.

Paul was encouraged by Philemon’s love for the Lord, love for the saints, and love for the Gospel. The Greek word for saint is “hagios”, which means holy or separated. Christians are saints because they are holy and separated to serve God. Christians are holy people and a royal priesthood, 1 Peter 2:9.

Paul was refreshed when he remembered the time he spent with Philemon in Ephesus. The Greek word for refreshed is “anapsucho”, which means relief. Paul found joy, encouragement, comfort, and relief in Philemon’s love and faithfulness.

Paul was old by now. Although he had the apostolic authority to command Philemon to free Onesimus, he preferred to be diplomatic.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light

1 Peter 2:9

For this reason, I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church

1 Corinthians 4:17

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light

1 Peter 2:9

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus

Philippians 4:6-7

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God

Romans 5:1-2

Application

Paul was a prayer warrior. Even though in chains, he spent time interceding for everyone. Are you a prayer warrior? Do you pray for all your family, relatives, friends, colleagues, church members, acquaintances, and co-workers, mentioning them by name and interceding for them at a personal level?

Paul rejoiced even though he was in chains. Paul thought about others even though he was incarcerated. He was Christ-centered, and others-centered but never self-centered. Are you Christ-centered, others-centered or self-centered?

Have you experienced the peace from God that transcends all understanding? Have you experienced the triple peace, peace from God, Peace with God, and the peace of God? 

Prayer

Heavenly Father, help us to rejoice even when things are not going smoothly in our lives. Help us to be Christ-centered, and others-centered but never be self-centered. Help us to be prayer warriors. Help us to take the time to intercede for our family, friends, and co-workers by name, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

a mocked-up image
a mocked-up image