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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: 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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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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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. 

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New year devotion: in the beginning

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

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Genesis 1:1

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth

Genesis 1:1

Commentary

The Bible begins with, in the beginning, God. When was the beginning? Who created what and when? The Hebrew word for create is bara, which means, to create something out of nothing. In the beginning, in the eternity past, God created the entire universe into existence out of nothing. 

God has no beginning because He is transcendent and outside our time-space continuum. God is pre-existent, self-existent, eternal, from everlasting to everlasting, from the eternity past to the eternity future. He is the alpha and the omega, the first and the last, the Alif and the Tau, the A and the Z, the author and finisher of our faith. 

God created the universe in six days. God’s reckoning of time is not the same as our reckoning of time. One day for God can be long as 1000 years and 1000 years for God can be as short as one day. Time is relative. According to Einstein’s theory of relativity, if you travel close to the speed of light time slows down. How fast can God travel? If God travels faster than the speed of light, time will standstill and the clock will stop ticking! So, 2000 years of our time can be as short as 2 days in God’s time. This is something for you to think about.

But don’t forget this one thing, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.

1 Peter 3:8

There are three theories regarding the universe. The young age theory postulates the universe to be 6000-plus years old. The old age theory postulates the universe to be 4.5 billion-plus years old. The gap theory postulates a time gap of billions of years between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. 

The Bible is not ambiguous. The Bible says that God created the universe into existence. The Bible did not say mention any big explosion in space.

The Gospel of John begins with in the beginning, Jesus Christ.

in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.

John 1:1

Jesus Christ was the Word, who was with God, and who was God.

Application

I find it is easier to believe in creation than in the big bang explosion. If you believe that God created the heavens and the earth, you will not have any difficulty believing the rest of the Bible. So, how big is your God? And how big is your faith?

Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands, and moves towards the goal of true maturity

Romans 12:2, J B Philips

Prayer

Heavenly Father, we pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to enlighten and give us wisdom and understanding into Your word. Open our hearts, minds, eyes, ears, and spirits to receive, understand, hear, see, feel, and apply Your word of eternal life into our very own lives, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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New Year Devotion: breaking 400 years of silence

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

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Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us hungry and thirsty hearts to seek after You. Thank You for the privilege to study Your word. Thank You Holy Spirit for teaching, convicting, correcting, transforming, and training us in righteousness, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Mark 1:1-8

The beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the prophets, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you: Malachi 3:1, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord! Make his paths straight!’” Isaiah 40:3. John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching the baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins. All the country of Judea and all those of Jerusalem went out to him. They were baptized by him in the Jordan river, confessing their sins. John was clothed with camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey. He preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and loosen. I baptized you in water, but he will baptize you in the Holy Spirit.”

Mark 1:1-8

Introduction

The 4 gospels gave us 4 perspectives of the life of Jesus from 4 camera angles. Matthew presented Jesus as King of the Jews for a Jewish audience, emphasizing what Jesus said. Mark presented Jesus as a Suffering Servant for a Roman audience, emphasizing what Jesus did. Luke presented Jesus as the Perfect Man for a Greek audience, emphasizing what Jesus felt. John presented Jesus as the Son of God for all people, emphasizing who Jesus was. 

The Gospel of Mark is a fast-moving narrative.  He used the three words, ‘and’, ‘now’, and ‘immediately’ as he moved from one scene to the next. Scholars believed that Mark wrote about himself in Mark 14: 51. Mark was not an eye-witness of Jesus. According to traditions, Mark relied heavily on the input of his spiritual god-father and mentor Peter, an eye-witness,1 Peter 5:13. Mark, or John Mark, was a cousin of Barnabas, Acts 12:12 and Colossians 4:10. He traveled with Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey, but abandoned them at Perga. Acts 13:13. Eventually Paul reconciled with Mark, 2 Timothy 4:11. 

Commentary

The Greek word for good news is ‘’evangelion’’ which means Gospel. The Gospel of Mark begins with the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Mark did not begin his gospel with a genealogy of Jesus. In the first-century world, a servant’s genealogy was not important. Malachi prophesied John the Baptist’s coming as a forerunner of Jesus 400 years before Christ. Isaiah prophesied John the Baptist’s coming as a forerunner of Jesus, 740 years before Christ.

John was a hairy and rough-looking man who wore a garment made with camel hair and a belt around his waist. His appearance resembled Elijah’s. John the Baptist was a Nazarite, from birth Luke 1:15. He ate locusts and wild honey. Some bible scholars believed he ate the carob pods from the carob tree and not the real locusts. The carob pod is also called the locust bean or St. John’s bread. He probably ate wild honey derived from the dates palm and not real honey. Referring to Jesus, John the Baptist said that he was not worthy even to be His slave. John the Baptist baptized his disciples with a water baptism of repentance. Jesus will baptize His disciples with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Malachi 3:1. “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me; and the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, behold, he comes!” says Yahweh of Armies.

Isaiah 40:3, ‘’A voice of one calling in the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’’ 

Luke 1:15, For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.

Application

Jesus Christ’s appearance in Jordan broke the 400 years of prophetic silence between Malachi and Mark. After 400 years, God finally spoke in the voice of a real person, Jesus Christ, the God-Man, the Second Person of the Trinity., Hebrews 1:1-2. God became a man and moved into the neighborhood, John 1:14, the message paraphrased version. 

Malachi and Isaiah prophesied the coming of John the Baptist as the forerunner of Jesus Christ 400 and 740 years before Christ respectively. The statistical chance of this happening is 1 in 10 to the power of 17. What if I tell you that Jesus Christ fulfilled 381 Old Testament prophecies? This proves beyond any doubt that the Bible is from God, 2 Timothy 3:16.

Jesus Christ came to earth 2000 years ago, lived a perfect life, and died a cruel death on the cross to pay the punishment for people’s sins. God loved people so much, He sent His Son to die for them so that whoever believes in Him will not die but will live forever, John 3:16, paraphrased. Do you believe this? John the Baptist was the messenger and waymaker for God. Jesus Christ is the message, and Way to God. 

God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds.

Hebrews 1:1-2

The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.

John 1:14, the message

Every Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness.

2 Timothy 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:16

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the Good News of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Thank You for breaking the 400 years of prophetic silence when You send Your Son to the world as Messiah. Thank You that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the punishment of our sins for us. Thank You for the forgiveness of sins, salvation by grace, justification by faith, sanctification by the Holy Spirit, and the promise of eternal life, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Book Review

Joseph’s Faith, by Mary Hume Jane

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Joseph’s Faith: A 30-Day Bible Study Devotional for Women Based on the Life of Joseph from the Book of Genesis

by Mary Jane Humes

Review

An excellent devotional and bible study based on the life and faith of Joseph from Genesis chapters 37 to 50. A good prayer, commentary, and contemporary application accompanies each day’s devotion..A great work on the typology of Joseph showing that Joseph was a foreshadow of Jesus Christ in many respects. A Christ-centred, life-changing, and faith-building devotional. Recommended to all readers, 5 out of 5 stars

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bible study devotion

Devotion: For unto us a Child is born

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

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Isaiah 9:6

For a child is born to us. A son is given to us; and the government will be on his shoulders. His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

Commentary

Isaiah prophesied the birth of Jesus Christ 700 years before it happened. Isn’t this mind-bogging? Who can make a prophesy 700 years before it happen and fulfill it 700 years later? The statistical chance of this occurring is 1 in 10 to the power of 17.  Suppose you put 10 to the power of 17 pieces of paper into a huge container and mark out one as special. If you pick out one piece of paper at random, the chance of getting that specially marked-out paper is 1 in 10 to the power of 17. This is statistically impossible but with God all things are possible!

A child is born to us

2000 years ago, Jesus Christ was born on Christmas day for us.

A son is given to us

2000 years ago, God gave His Son, Jesus Christ to us on Christmas day, to save us from sin and death, John 3:16. God, the Father, and Jesus Christ are the first and second persons of the Trinity respectively.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:16

And the government will be on his shoulder

Jesus Christ is the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords who carries the whole world upon His shoulders. 

His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace.

These are four messianic titles of Jesus Christ that are self-explanatory, Counselor, God Almighty, Eternal Father, and Prince of Peace

APPLICATION: 

Jesus Christ is God’s perfect Christmas gift to humanity. This is a free gift, given by grace, by faith, and by Christ alone. A gift is only a gift until you receive it. You receive this gift by faith and by believing in Christ. Have you received God’s perfect Christmas gift for you? You can receive it right now, where ever you are. In a simple but sincere prayer, tell God that you are a sinner and that you believe that Jesus died for you on the cross to pay the punishment of your sins for you. By faith, surrender your life to Him. This is the first step to salvation, but it is the most important one. If you said this prayer, find a local bible believing church, and tell the pastor about your decision. Worship, serve, and grow your faith in the local church.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us Your Son as the perfect Christmas gift to us 2000 years ago. Thank You for salvation, justification, sanctification, and eternal life. Thank You that human beings will live forever more because of Christmas day, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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bible study devotion

Devotion: My God shall supply

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

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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

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Categories
bible study devotion

Devotion: Joy to the world

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

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https://smashwords.com/shelves/promos/”: Devotion: Joy to the world
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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.