Categories
devotion

Worship in spirit and truth

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

mock up image

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. 

mock up image of my books
Categories
book review books

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

Get this book free from:

Categories
bible study devotion

Devotion: the greatest of these is love

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

mocked-up image
mocked-up image

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. 

mocked-up image
mocked-up image
Categories
bible study devotion

Devotion: spiritual heartburn

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

End of Year Sales, Only 2 More Days left! 

Geab this book for free on Smashwords from now until 31/12/2022! 

Click on link or banner below:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1219553

a banner showing Smashwords end of year sales
Smashwords end of year sales

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for traveling with us on this amazing , incredible, and wonderful journey through the Gospel of Luke. Thank You for opening our eyes and giving us spiritual heartburn as You opened the scriptures to us. Thank You for giving us a glimpse into the life of Jesus Christ from His birth to His ascension. Thank You for the gift of spiritual faith, insight, growth, and maturity, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Luke 24:13-32

Context

Before sunrise on the first Easter morning, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary, the mother of James and John, and other women, came to the tomb with spices to anoint Jesus’s body. Finding the tombstone rolled away, they entered and were amazed to find it empty. Two angels clothed in shining dazzling attire appeared and proclaimed that Jesus had risen from the dead as He had prophesied when He was with them in Galilee. They hurried back to the eleven apostles and reported all that they had seen and heard. The apostles just could not believe what they heard. Peter ran back to the tomb, and saw the empty tomb with the empty linen clothes but could not connect the dots.

13 Behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was sixty stadia from Jerusalem. 14 They talked with each other about all of these things which had happened. 15 While they talked and questioned together, Jesus himself came near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 He said to them, “What are you talking about as you walk, and are sad?” 18 One of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things which have happened there in these days?” 19 He said to them, “What things?” They said to him, “The things concerning Jesus, the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people; 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we were hoping that it was he who would redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22 Also, certain women of our company amazed us, having arrived early at the tomb; 23 and when they didn’t find his body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of us went to the tomb and found it just like the women had said, but they didn’t see him.” 25 He said to them, “Foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Didn’t the Christ have to suffer these things and to enter into his glory?” 27 Beginning from Moses and from all the prophets, he explained to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. 28 They came near to the village where they were going, and he acted like he would go further. 29 They urged him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is almost evening, and the day is almost over.” He went in to stay with them. 30 When he had sat down at the table with them, he took the bread and gave thanks. Breaking it, he gave it to them. 31 Their eyes were opened and they recognized him, then he vanished out of their sight  32 They said to one another, “Weren’t our hearts burning within us, while he spoke to us along the way, and while he opened the Scriptures to us?” (read the whole of Luke 24 on your own).

Luke 24: 13-32

Commentary

This was now Easter afternoon or evening. The disciples had a very significant day and were confused and lost in words. With heavy hearts, Cleopas and his/her companion went on a walking trip from Jerusalem to Emmaus which was about 7 miles to the west. While they were deep in discussion, the Risen Jesus quietly came alongside them to join in the conversation. He had closed their eyes to prevent them from recognizing Him. Jesus gently asked what they were discussing so intensely. Not knowing the identity of the stranger, Cleopas responded ironically that Jesus did not know what happened to Himself in Jerusalem in the past few days! Cleopas clarified that they were discussing Jesus of Nazareth, a prophet, whom the Jewish leaders betrayed and condemned to death at the hands of the Romans.They were so sure that He was the Christ but now He had died, and all their hopes were shattered. What was even more incredible was some women’s testimonies about the empty tomb and seeing angels who told them that Jesus was alive. In the first-century world, a woman’s testimony was unreliable and not even valid in a court of law! Jesus censured them for their ignorance of scriptural prophesy and lack of faith. Didn’t they know that Christ had to suffer first suffer before He could enter into glory? Jesus gave them a comprehensive expositional Bible study about Himself in the Old Testament beginning from Moses until the prophets. After this, He wanted to leave but they persuaded Him to stay on. By this time it must be late in the evening. Jesus had dinner, broke bread, opened their eyes, and vanished out of sight. Did they see the nail marks on His hands when He broke bread and recognized Him?

Application

Jesus gave a comprehensive expositional Bible Study to the two disciples. Today, Jesus is still giving you expositional Bible studies. When you open the Bible devotionally, the Holy Spirit comes alongside you and speaks to you revealing truth after truth.  

The disciples’ eyes were opened, and their hearts burned when Jesus opened the scriptures to them. Your eyes will open and your heart will burn when the Holy Spirit opened scriptures to you during Bible study. God’s word can be sweet in the mouth but bitter in the stomach. The word of God is a double-edged sword. It can cut you in both ways. Hearing God’s words may be sweet but applying them to your life can be bitter Rev. 10:9. 

Christ died, was buried, rose from the dead, and ascended to heaven. He will come back again at the end of world history to set up His millennial kingdom on earth, Rev. 20:4.. We do not know when He will come back but we have His promise. We must follow the current events in Israel and the Middle East, be vigilant, and be prepared for His return. 

Are you prepared for His second coming? Have you received Him as your Lord and Savior? You can do this right now, where you are. In a simple prayer, confessed that you have sinned against Him, believe that He died on the cross to pay the punishment for your sin, and surrender your life to Him. This is the first step but is the most important. If you prayed this prayer, find a local bible believing church and tell the pastor about your decision. 

I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little book. He said to me, “Take it, and eat it. It will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth, it will be as sweet as honey.

Revelation 10:9

I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and such as didn’t worship the beast nor his image and didn’t receive the mark on their forehead and on their hand. They lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

Revelation 20:4

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for all that You have done for us in our lives. Thank You for making us better disciples, day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year. Thank You for the renewal of our mindsets and transformation of our hearts, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

an image of Smashwords end of year sales
Categories
bible study devotion

Devotion: My God shall supply

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

Christmas gift! 

Grab this book for free on Smashwords from now until 31/12/2022! 

Click on the link below:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1219553

photo of 2 rainbows
2 rainbows

Philippians 4: 17-20

Introduction

Paul, the author of Philippians, wrote this thank you letter to the Philippians Christians between AD 60-62 in the Roman prison, chained to a Roman Pretorian guard, According to church tradition, Emperor Nero released Paul in AD 62, but rearrested and beheaded him in AD 66 at the Mamertine prison in Rome. 

This is one of the 4 Pauline prison epistles,. Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon. 

The theme of Philippians is “joy and rejoice in Christ”. 

Passage

17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. 18 Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. 19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Philippians 1:17-20

Commentary

Paul was not greedy for money. He encouraged the Philippians Christians, and us, to give generously out of a grateful heart, to receive God’s blessings in return. Paul was in chains, hungry, secluded, and needy, but his spirit soars like an eagle. He was contented, at peace, and grateful. He thanked his supporters  for their timely and generous support. God will supply all that he needed out of the abundant riches of Christ. God is no debtor to anyone. He owned every cattle on a thousand hills.  

 

“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully”

1 Corinthians 9:6

“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” 

Luke 6:38

Memory verse

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus”

Philippians 4:19

Application

What have you got to worry about? God knows all your needs and all your problems. He will supply all that you need. Surrender your life to Him. Let Him take over the driver’s seat of your life. God will replenish the things that Covid pandemic took away. and eaten Do not throw in the towel. Trust Him. Do nor fear, just believe.

Prayer

Heaven Father, thank You for abundant provisions. Help us to sow generously to the work of Your kingdom. Help us to store up treasures in heaven that lasts into eternity, in Jesus’ name, Amen

banner showing Smashwords end of year sales
EOY sales
Categories
bible study devotion

Devotion: Joy to the world

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

“Get my books for free from 17/12/2022 until 31/12/2022! Just go to https://smashwords.com/shelves/promos/”

https://smashwords.com/shelves/promos/”: Devotion: Joy to the world
An image showing Smashwords end of year book promo
small words EOY book promo

Prayer

Heavenly Father, we pray for divine insight, understanding, and a clear mind to read, study, understand, and apply scripture. We pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit and divine enablement, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Context

The nativity story is unique to Luke. Seemingly out of the blue, Caesar Augustus issued a decree to take a population census of the entire Roman world because he wanted to tax the people. To comply with this decree, the Jewish people had to travel back to their place of birth. Joseph and Mary had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem to register for this population census because they were descendants of Dovid. Mary in the late stage of her pregnancy made this 70 miles journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. This must have been a very difficult journey for Mary. This was to fulfil the prophecy of Micah 5:2, that Christ shall be born in Bethlehem. 

Passage, Luke 2: 6-17

While they were there, the day had come for her to give birth. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in bands of cloth and laid him in a feeding trough because there was no room for them in the inn. There were shepherds in the same country staying in the field and keeping watch by night over their flock. Behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be to all the people. 11 For there is born to you today, in David’s city, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 This is the sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a feeding trough.” 13 Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army praising God, and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” 15 When the angels went away from them into the sky, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem, now, and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 They came with haste and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby was lying in the feeding trough. 17 When they saw it, they publicized widely the saying which was spoken to them about this child (Read the rest of Luke 2 on your own).

Luke 2: 6-17

Commentary

When Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem, they could not find any accommodation anywhere. Mary delivered baby Jesus, wrapped Him up in swaddling clothes, and placed Him into a manger, an animal feeding trough made out of stone. An angel of God appeared to some shepherds in Bethlehem in a field at night. The glory of God manifested in dazzling majestic lights and frightened the shepherds. 

After calming down the shepherds, the angel announced to them that Christ was born in Bethlehem, the city of David. They shall find Him wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. Immediately, angels sang, worshiped, and praised God, saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth, peace to those on whom his favor rests”. God announced the birth of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, the Good Shepherd, the Shepherd of souls, to some poor lowly shepherds in Bethlehem. 

After the angels left, the shepherds went to Bethlehem to look for baby Jesus. They found Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes, according to the angel’s announcement. After witnessing this, they went away and testified to all the people about this, and all who heard it were amazed. The shepherds returned to Bethlehem glorifying and praising God. 

Imagine the creator of the universe chose to be born in a feeding trough in an insignificant town called Bethlehem, witnessed by poor and lowly shepherds without any fanfare! As the King of the universe, He could have been born in a grand palace with great fanfare, and witnessed by royalty but He chose not to. 

Micah 5:2, But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, being small among the clans of Judah, out of you one will come out to me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings out are from of old, from ancient times.

Application

Micah prophesied the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem 800 years before He was born! This astonishing prophecy proved beyond any doubt that God is the God of the Bible. This is not the only Old Testament prophecy that Jesus fulfilled. Jesus fulfilled 351 Old Testament prophesies and these are recorded in the Bible. The statistical chance of fulfilling all these prophesies is 1 in 10 to the power of 17. This is a mathematical impossibility.  Based on this, there is absolutely no doubt that the God of the Bible is the God of the universe. 

Today, if you go to Bethlehem in Israel, you visit the church of Nativity, and see for yourself the place where this event took place. The Bible is about real events, real people, and real places. Bible is God’s word to us. Acronym for BIBLE is Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth

When Joseph and Mary (with Jesus in her womb) arrived in Bethlehem, there was no room for them in the city. Even today, there is no room for Jesus in many people’s hearts because of unbelief. Do you have room for Jesus in your heart this Christmas? Open your heart to Jesus. Invite Him into your life. Believe, and you will see the glory of God. 

Prayer

Heavenly Father, let us open our hearts to receive Jesus Christ into our lives as our Lord and Saviour this Christmas. Thank You for sending Your Son Jesus Christ into the world to be the perfect Christmas gift to all mankind. Thank You for the grace and truth that Jesus brought to us. Thank You for the forgiveness of sin. Thank You for salvation by grace,  justification by faith in Christ, sanctification by the Holy Spirit, and the promise of eternal life. Thank You for Immanuel, God with us, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Categories
bible study devotion

Devotion: the virgin birth of Christ

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

a photo of a name card
name card

Introduction

The Gospel of Matthew opened with a genealogy of 42 generations, from Abraham to David (14), from David to the Babylonian exile (14), and from the Babylonian exile to Jesus Christ (14). This proved that Jesus was from the lineage of Abraham and David. 

The genealogy included 5 women, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary, who gave birth to Jesus. Joseph was named the husband of Mary. Joseph was Jesus Christ’s legal father but not His biological father because Mary was conceived by the Holy Spirit.

Passage

Matthew 1:18-21

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was like this: After his mother, Mary, was engaged to Joseph, before they came together, she was found pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, her husband, being a righteous man, and not willing to make her a public example, intended to put her away secretly. 20 But when he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take to yourself Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 She shall give birth to a son. You shall name him Jesus, for it is he who shall save his people from their sins.”

Commentary

Mary was engaged to Joseph. She and a virgin who miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit. Joesph was a righteous man. When He found out that Mary was pregnant, he wanted to send her away quietly, so as not to shame her. God sent the angel Gabriel to Joseph in a dream and told him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife because she was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Gabriel pronounced that Mary shall give birth to a son and His name shall be called Jesus. The Greek word for Jesus is Joshua, which means, God saves. Jesus saves us from our sins. Immanuel means God with us. Joseph took Mary as his wife and did not consummate the marriage until after Jesus was born.  Jesus’ virgin birth fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy of Isaiah 7:14, prophesied 700 years before Christ. 

Immanuel.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin will conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name

Isaiah 7:14

Application

The genealogy of Jesus proved beyond any doubt that He was a descendant of Abraham and David. Anyone who claimed to be Christ (Messiah) must prove that He is a descendant of Abraham and David. God preserved the genealogy of Jesus to prove that He is Christ. Isaiah prophesied the virgin birth of Jesus Christ 700 years before He was even born! The accuracy of Bible prophecy was simply minded boggling! No one can give a prediction 700 years before it happens and fulfill it 700 years later. Only God can do this. Jesus fulfilled 581 Old Testament prophesies! The mathematical probability for this to happen by random chance is 1 in 10 to the power of 17! 

Jesus Christ is Immanuel, which means God with us. If you are a Christian, God lives in you as the third person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit. 

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for preserving the genealogical record of Jesus Christ to prove that He is Christ (Messiah). Thank You for that we have a written record of the life story of Jesus Christ through the eyewitness account of the apostle Matthew. Help us to encounter Christ through the pages of Your infallible, inspired, and inerrant words. Thank You for sending Jesus Christ into the world 2000 years ago to save us from our sins. Thank You that You are Immanuel, God with us, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

a photo of a name card
name card
Categories
bible study devotion

Devotion: the Lost son

Dr. Andrew C Koh

photo of an open bible
open bible

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your divine appointment with us. Thank You for meeting us through the pages of scripture. Speak to us through the inspired, inerrant, and infallible word of eternal life, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Have you lost anything? It is very frustrating to have lost something. You will turn the whole house upside down until you find it. 

Luke 15 is a chapter concerning the lost and the found. Here is a triplet of three parables, the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. The tax collectors and sinners were coming to Jesus to hear Him teach. The Pharisees and scribes were incensed because Jesus was so friendly with the social outcasts whom they considered to be sinners. Jesus responded to this attack by telling these three parables. 

Luke 15:11-24

11 He said, “A certain man had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of your property.’ So he divided his livelihood between them. 13 Not many days after, the younger son gathered all of this together and traveled into a far country. There he wasted his property with riotous living. 14 When he had spent all of it, there arose a severe famine in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 He went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 He wanted to fill his belly with the husks that the pigs ate, but no one gave him any. 17 But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough to spare, and I’m dying with hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father and will tell him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight. 19 I am no more worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 “He arose, and came to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21 The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’  22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe, and put it on him. Put a ring on his hand, and sandals on his feet.23 Bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let’s eat, and celebrate; 24 for this, my son, was dead and is alive again. He was lost, and is found.’ Then they began to celebrate ( read the rest of Luke 15 on your own)

Luke 15:11-24

Commentary

Here is the famous parable of the lost or prodigal son. A man had two sons. The younger son demanded his share of his father’s estate when his father was still alive! In Jewish custom, the elder son will get 2/3 and the younger son gets 1/3 of the estate but only when the father dies. After cashing out the money, the younger son ran away to a Gentile country and wasted everything on irresponsible living. Very soon, he was bankrupt and destitute. To make matters worse, a severe recession hit the land. The only job he could get was to look after the pigs for a Gentile businessman. Here is the shocking part.  He had to feed the pig!  For a Jew to feed the pigs was terribly insulting as pigs are unclean animals. He was so hungry that he even wanted to eat the pig’s food! 

When the prodigal son hits rock bottom, he came back to his senses. He was dying of hunger. He decided to return to his father or he will be dead. He acknowledged that he had made a terrible mistake. He was willing to apologize to his father and become his servant. He made a 180 degrees U-turn to go home, rehearsing his repentance speech along the way. 

When he was still a long way off, his father spotted him from a distance. The father felt sorry for the son. He had been looking out for him ever since he left. He ran and kissed the son’s neck even though he was dirty and smelly all over. In those days, for a rich man to run was considered very shameful. Before the son could even complete his repentance speech, the father interrupted him. 

The father covered the son with the best robe, put a signet ring on his hand, shoes on his feet, slaughtered the fattened calf, and hosted a feast to celebrate the return of his lost son. 

Interpretation

A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. In a parable, every character represents something. The father represents God. The prodigal son represents the tax collectors and sinners. The best robe represents Christ’s robe of righteousness. The signet ring and shoes represent restoration to sonship. The signet ring is a stamp for authorizing family transactions. In those days, servants went around barefooted but sons wear shoes. 

The prodigal son also represents people. People have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. People are like lost sheep who have turned to their own way. God waits patiently for people to repent and comes back to HIm. He will forgive people who come to him in repentance. He will cover them with Christ’s robe of righteousness and restore them to sonship. 

The prodigal son also represents Christians who have back-slided in the faith. God is waiting for them to repent and turn back to him. To repent is to make a 180 degrees U-turn and return to God in repentance. God waits patiently for back-slided Christians to return to Him. 

The father had to celebrate because his son was lost and found. He was given up for dead but came home alive. The elder brother in the parable represents the self-righteous, judgmental, and hypocritical Pharisees and scribes, who scoffed at the tax collectors and sinners.  They too needed to repent and come back to God but they would not. 

Application

People are like lost sheep who had gone astray. God sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for them on the cross to pay the penalty of their sins for them. There will be great joy in heaven when one sinner repents and turn back to God. 

The prodigal son came back to his senses, returned home, confessed his sin, and repented. The four steps to salvation are acknowledgment of sin, return to God, confession, and repentance. God is waiting for sinners to return to Him. 

Have you walked away from God? You can return to him right now, right where you are. In a simple prayer, confess your sin, and surrender your life to God. He is waiting for you.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the wonderful and memorable parable of the prodigal son. Thank You for looking for us to bring us home to You through Jesus Christ, our Saviour. Thank you for the wonderful gift of salvation by grace through faith in Christ. If we have walked away from You, help us to return back to You. Help us to recommit our lives to You to serve You in the kingdom of God, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Categories
bible study devotion

Devotion: the Word became flesh

by Dr. Andrew C S Koh

a mock-up image of a book shelf
book shlef

John 1:14

Prayer

Heavenly Father, we come before You with reverence and awe. We pray for quiet, soft, receptive, and teachable hearts. Speak to us as we listen to You, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

The Word became flesh

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth

John 1:14

Commentary

I will dissect this verse into 5 parts.

The Word became flesh

The Word is Jesus Christ. The Word became flesh means incarnation. Incarnate means embodied in flesh. Jesus is the embodiment of God in human flesh. Jesus of Nazareth stepped out from eternity into our time-space continuum and became a man 2000 years ago. This explains why the calendar is divided into BC and AD.

In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God

John 1:1

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched, this we proclaim concerning the Word of life

1 John 1:1

made His dwelling among us

The Greek word for “dwelling” is “tabernacle”. God dwelled among the Israelites in the tabernacle and later, the temple.  The tabernacle or temple was a foreshadow of Jesus Christ. Today, Jesus tabernacled among us. The body of a Christian is the temple of the Holy Spirit. When someone is born again, the Holy Spirit tabernacled in his/her body. During the inauguration of the first temple, Solomon asked whether God would really dwell in the temple that he built, 1 Kings 8:27. God answered this question 1000 years later when Jesus came to earth and dwelled among us!

But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!

1 Kings 8:27

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

1 Corinthians 6:10

If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our dwelling place with him

John 14:23, amplified Bible

we have seen His glory

The Greek word for glory is “doxa” which means splendour. “We” is a plural pronoun. John and the apostles had seen, heard, and touched Jesus. They saw the glory, grace, and truth of the Son of God. John was not only an eyewitness of Jesus but also a reliable one. John was a cousin of Jesus because his mother Salome and Jesus’ mother Mary were cousins. As children, they would have played together as a family. This was how close they were. 

the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father

The Greek word for one and only is “monogenes’’ which means the only unique or the only begotten. Jesus Christ, the unique Son of God, came from the Father as the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.

He was in the beginning with God

John 1:2

No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known

John 1:18

full of Grace and Truth

Grace is to get something that we do not deserve. Truth is something that is authentic. The Hebrew words for grace and truth are “hesed” and “emet”, which means unfailing love and faithfulness. Hesed and emet in the Old Testament correspond to Grace and Truth in the New Testament. Salvation is by the Grace of God through faith in Christ, who is Truth. 

So, the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness

John 1:14 (a), NLT

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God

Ephesians 2:8

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me

John 14:6

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free

John 8:32

Application

Jesus Christ stepped out from eternity into our time-space domain to become a human being. Jesus Christ is God in a human body. He is not just a good man, wise teacher, or prophet. He is fully God and fully man. He is God whom you can know, see, hear, love, and relate to. He is the message, the Word of God. 

Do you know Jesus? Do you want to know  Him? You can know Him right now, right where you are.

If you want to know Jesus say this prayer with me:

Dear God, I confess that I am a sinner. Please forgive me. I believe You died on the cross to pay the punishment of my sin for me. I surrender my life to You, in Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

If you prayed this prayer you are born again as a child of God. This is the first step. Find a Bible-believing church near you, inform the church pastor about your decision, and join in the fellowship of believers to grow and mature in the faith.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son Jesus Christ to step out of eternity into our time-space domain to live among us. Thank You for showing us Your Glory, Unfailing Love, Faithfulness, Grace, and Truth. Thank You for the gift of salvation and eternal life by grace through faith in Christ, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Categories
bible study devotion

Devotion: How big is your God?

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

a photo showing a setting sun over the sea
setting sun

Joshua 10: 12-14

12 Then Joshua spoke to Yahweh in the day when Yahweh delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel. He said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand still on Gibeon! You, moon, stop in the valley of Aijalon!” 13 The sun stood still, and the moon stayed until the nation had avenged themselves of their enemies. Isn’t this written in the book of Jashar? The sun stayed in the middle of the sky and didn’t hurry to go down about a whole day. 14 There was no day like that before it or after it, that Yahweh listened to the voice of a man; for Yahweh fought for Israel. (Read the whole chapter of Joshua 10 on your own).

Joshua 10:12-14

Commentary

When Adoni-Zedek, the king of Jerusalem heard about the conquest of Jericho and Ai, and the Gibeonites’ surrender to Joshua, they were afraid. Adoni-Zedek in Hebrews means lord of righteousness. This is the first mention of Jerusalem in the Bible. Gibeon was a great royal city, and its inhabitants were warriors. Adoni-Zedek formed a confederation with four more kings to attack Gibeon. This five city-king confederation and their fighting men surrounded Gibeon and attacked her. The Gibeonites reached out to Joshua at Gilgal and pleaded for his assistance to rescue them. 

Without any hesitation, Joshua obliged and gathered his fighting men. The LORD reassured Joshua to be strong and courageous because He would ensure his victory. Joshua and his fighting men marched the whole night from Gilgal to Gibeon. The LORD confused the fighting men of the five city-king confederation until they could not wage war effectively. Joshua defeated them at Gibeon and chased them all the way to Beth Haran, Azekah, and Makkedah. The LORD rained hail hailstones from the sky which selectively landed on and killed Joshua’s enemies! Even the hailstones have eyes to see and log on to its target!

After defeating the Amorites, Joshua sought counsel from the  LORD. In front of all the Israelites, Joshua commanded the sun to stand still in Gibeon and the moon to stand still in the valley of Ajalon! This was certainly a tall order! Immediately, the sun stood still over Gideon and the moon stood still over the valley of Ajalon until Joshua defeated all his enemies! The LORD gave Joshua one extra day to do battle. Wow, this is mind-blowing! One day became 2 days. God stood outside of the time-space domain and stopped the clock!

Application

Earth stopped rotating

Joshua wanted more time to fight his battle and God stopped the clock for him! Isn’t this amazing? A 24-hour day became a 48-hour day.! The earth rotates around the sun once every 365 days. The earth also rotates on its own axis relative to the sun once every 24 hours. When the sun stood still, time was frozen, and the earth stopped rotating on its axis. God stopped the earth’s rotation for 24 hours. 

How big is your God?

We serve a great and mighty God who created the heavens and the earth in six days. Jesus Christ, who is fully God and fully man, fed thousands with 5 miserable loaves of bread and 2 tiny little fish, calmed the storm, walked on water, changed water into wine, healed the sick, and raised the dead to life. Our Almighty God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. There is nothing that He cannot do to the universe that He created. He is beyond time, beyond space, and beyond matter. He is the name above all names. All glory, honour, and praise belonged to Him.

How big is your faith?

Do you believe in the God of the Bible? Joshua had faith when he commanded the sun to stand still in front of all the Israelites. Imagine what would have happened if the sun did not stand still after his prayer! Faith is the key to unlocking the power of prayer. If you have faith as small as a tiny mustard seed, you can even move mountains, Matthew 17:20. Without faith, it is impossible to please God, Hebrews 11:6.

.

Matthew 17:20, He said to them, “Because of your unbelief. For most certainly I tell you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you

Matthew 17:20

Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to him, for he who comes to God must believe that he exists and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him.

Hebrews 11:6

Prayer

Heavenly Father, we acknowledge that You are a great and mighty God and there is no other God apart from You. We acknowledge that You are the only true and the living God of the Bible. We believe that You created the heavens and the earth in six days. We believe that nothing is impossible for You. We bring all our needs before You for healing, restoration, and a miracle. We bring all our battles before You and seek victory over them. We pray that You will increase our faith, subdue our enemies, and train us up to be prayer warriors, in Jesus’ name, Amen.