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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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book review books

1 Corinthians: the greatest of these is love

By Dr. Andrew C S Koh

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Amazon Ranking No 1 in King James Christian Bibles.

Foreword:

by Archbishop Ng Moon Hing, Anglican Archbishop of Southeast Asia

Many people, including Christians, are looking for a perfect church. Someone once said this aptly, ‘

If you find a perfect church, please do not join it; because once you join it, it will become imperfect.’

Christians today are always very critical of their church and leadership. They seem to think that the grass is greener next door. They are unconsciously hoping for a ‘Garden of Eden’ within their church. Unfortunately, some Christians resolve to leave their church, which is imperfect, and journey to the next church, which they think is better.

Reviews:

Dr. Andrew C S Koh has done a wonderful job in creating this Bible study on 1st Corinthians. As a Religious Studies major, this book of the Bible was one of my favorites to study and it was nice to have this book to revisit those favorite passages and dwell in thought on them

R E Creech, Goodreads, Bookbub, 5 stars

1 Corinthians is a Christ-centered, life-changing, Bible study, and daily devotional guide for readers from all walks of life. Dr. Andrew C S Koh emphasized that all Scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and all are given for us to learn and grow. The study is well-written, and broken down into units for each participant to review and learn from the word of God. I received this novel from StoryOrigin. This review is my honest opinion

P A Reinert, Goodreads, 5 stars

A Great Read and a very inspiring book on the teaching of Apostle Paul. A clear explanation of each chapter for a good Bible study. Apostle Paul did not mince words but was very direct in his words. His great love for God was shown in these teachings. There are inspiring prayers too in each chapter. I found this book very informative and better understand these teachings. I am on the ARC team. I leave an honest review. I also recommend this book to other readers

S Jeyaram, Amazon, 5 stars

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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: Immanuel, God with us

DR. Andrew C S Koh

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The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel

Prayer

Heavenly Father, please direct our thoughts to connect with You and speak to us from Your word. You are pleased when we talk to You. Help us to pray without ceasing. Nourish us spiritually through the living Bread of Life. Revive our hearts, renew our spirits, restore our faith, ignite our souls, and transform our minds in service and obedience, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Passage

Luke 1: 26-35

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” 29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end. 34 Then Mary said to the angel,’’ How can this be since I do not know a man?”35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. He, therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God

(Read the rest of Luke 1 and Matthew 1)

Luke 1:26-35

Commentary

In the 6th month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to visit a teenage Jewish girl, Mary of Nazareth, who was a virgin. Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, had miraculously conceived even though she was barren and advanced in years. Gabriel pronounced a blessing on Mary saying that she was highly favoured by God. Mary was shocked by the unexpected angelic visitation. Gabriel announced to Mary that she shall conceive and give birth to a son and shall call Him Jesus.  Jesus, Son of the Most High God shall reign over the throne of His father David. At this time, the throne of David did not exist! 1000 years before Christ, God covenanted with David that his house, kingdom, and throne, shall be established forever.  One of his descendants shall reign on this throne as Messiah. Jesus fulfilled this Davidic covenant in 2 Samuel 7:16. House of Jacob refers to the nation of Israel. Jesus, the Messiah shall reign over the nation of Israel and His kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom. 

Mary was shocked because she was a virgin. The angel Gabriel proclaimed that nothing was impossible with God. The power of the Holy Spirit shall come upon her and make her conceive miraculously. This shall be a sign to her from the Lord, Isaiah 7:14.  He shall be called Immanuel, Holy One, and Son of God. Mary willingly submitted to the will of God and called herself maidservant of the Lord. Immanuel, in Greek, means God with us. Jesus is God with us in the flesh, through His incarnation. Incarnation, which means embodied in flesh. 

Joseph was Jesus’ legal father but not his biological father. because Mary was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. Mary was a descendant of the tribe of Judah and a descendant of David. 

Your house and your kingdom will be made sure forever before you. Your throne will be established forever

2 Samuel 7:16

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel

Isaiah 7:14

Application

Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born by the virgin Mary. Isaiah prophesied this 700 years before Christ was born. No one can make a prediction 700 years earlier and make it come to pass 700 years later. Only God can do this because He is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient.  This was only one of 351 Old Testament prophecies fulfilled by Christ. The statistical chance for all these prophecies to be fulfilled by random chance is 1 in 10 to the power of 17. This is mathematically impossible, but with God all things are possible. This proves beyond any doubt that the Bible is truly the word of God. 

Jesus is God in the flesh. 2000 years ago, God step out from eternity and entered the time-space continuum to become a human being through the virgin birth of Mary. He lived a perfect life and died a cruel death on a Roman cross to pay the payment of your sins for us. All we have to do is believe in Jesus and weour shall be saved. This is the good news of the gospel. 

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for speaking to us today. Strengthen us in the faith for personal life enrichment. Engage us with Your word daily. Feed our weary souls and quench our spiritual thirst. Develop in us, a desire to know You more. Let Your word dwell richly in us. Thank You for including us in Your plan of salvation for the world. Thank You for the hope that we have in You. Even as we read about the birth of Your Son, we are humbled by His humble beginnings. We pray that You help us understand what we read today, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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bible study devotion

Devotion: the Lost son

Dr. Andrew C Koh

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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.

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Review needed for a new devotional book

by Dr. Andrew C S Koh

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Manna of Life: Daily Devotion

Hey, we need reviews for a new book, Manna of Life. The book contains 20 daily devotions for devotional readings at quiet times. We will be glad to send an ARC copy to anyone to review. Enclose your email address

Description

I have taken 20 Bible passages as a basis for 20 daily devotions. Each devotion begins with a verse-by-verse commentary followed by application and prayer. Although I only quoted a short passage of scripture for each devotion, readers are encouraged to read the whole chapter to get a flavor of the context and background. I pray that these daily devotions will uplift, encourage, and stimulate readers to read and meditate on scriptures on their own

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15, NIV

Links

Amazon

https://storyoriginapp.com/universalbooklinks/a8ef2e1e-69ef-11ed-8608-dfc631de6464

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/63411918-manna-of-life-daily-devotion

You can only review on amazon.com if you have bought $ 50 worth of products from them in the past 2 years, but you can review on Goodreads without making any purchases. You need to open an account with Goodreads and it is free.

Thank you, God bless,

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Devotion: Creation

Genesis 1:1-4

by Dr. Andrew C S Koh

a picture of God creating Adam
Creation of Adam

Creation

God created the world in six days. Whether this is a literal 24 hours day or not is something that is hotly debated. According to God’s reckoning, 1 day is as 1000 years and 1000 years is as 1 day, 2 Peter 3:8. God created, transcends, and is outside of the time, and space continuum. There are two schools of thought regarding the age of the universe. Is the age billions of years old or is the universe 6000 plus years old? There is also the gap theory. Is there an interval of time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2? These are hotly debated issues among Bible scholars. As far as the Bible is concerned God is the creator of the universe. In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth. The universe is not a product of a massive explosion billions of years ago. The universe is not a product of random chance and mutations. Human beings did not evolve from monkeys or gorillas

“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.”

2 Peter 3:8,

The Beginning

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and empty. Darkness was on the surface of the deep and God’s Spirit was hovering over the surface of the waters. 3 God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw the light, and saw that it was good. God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day”, and the darkness he called “night”. There was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Genesis 1: 1-4

Commentary

The Bible begins with “in the beginning God created”. We do not know when this beginning was. Is it billions of years or thousands of years? God created the universe in eternity past. The universe did not evolve by random chance over billions of years. It takes a lot more faith to believe in evolution than creation. God has no beginning. He is outside the time-space continuum. He is pre-existent, self-existent, eternal, from everlasting to everlasting, from eternity past to eternity future, from the Alpha, and to the Omega.

The six days of creation have a pre-set template, starting with “let there be…..” and ending with ”there was evening and there was morning………”

On the first day, God created the heavens, the earth, and the light. There are three heavens. The atmosphere from the ground to the clouds is the first heaven. The outer space from the clouds to the galaxies is the second heaven. The abode of God’s throne beyond the galaxies is the third heaven. When God created the earth, it was dark, empty, and structureless. Hebrews word for create is bara, which means to create something out of nothing, or ex-nihilo in latin.

God separated the light and the darkness, calling the darkness, evening, and the light, morning, and this was the first day. God defined a day as one evening and one morning. A Jewish day starts from 6 pm in the evening until 6 pm the next evening.

The Holy Spirit circled around the formless, structureless, dark, empty, and watery earth. God spoke, let there be light and light appeared on site. This was not the light of the sun but the light of God’s glory, Revelation 21:23. Jesus Christ is the word of God’s word, John 1:1.

The Trinitarian God of the Bible, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit created the universe. God saw that the light was good. He separated the light from the darkness and called them day and night. Hebrews for God is Elohim, a plural noun.

In the presence of the Holy Spirit, God, the Father spoke, and it came to be. Jesus Christ is the spoken Word of God, the father.

The city has no need for the sun, neither of the moons, to shine, for the very glory of God illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb.

Revelation 21:23,

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

John 1:1,

Application

Genesis declared that everything is created by God. If you believe that God created the heavens and the earth in 6 days, you will have no problem believing the rest of the Bible. How big is your God? How big is your faith? It takes more faith to believe in evolution than in creation. Faith is the key to unlocking spiritual truth. Believe and you will see the glory of God. Without faith, it is impossible to please God.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, help us to understand Your word. We pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to enlighten us and to give us wisdom and understanding. Open our hearts, minds, eyes, ears, and spirit to receive, understand, see, apply, honour, and hear the truth of Your word, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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bible study devotion

Devotion: spiritual lessons from Ai

Joshua 7:1-8

1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the devoted things; for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. Therefore Yahweh’s anger burned against the children of Israel. Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth Aven, on the east side of Bethel, and spoke to them, saying, “Go up and spy out the land.” The men went up and spied out Ai. They returned to Joshua, and said to him, “Don’t let all the people go up but let about two or three thousand men go up and strike Ai. Don’t make all the people to toil there, for there are only a few of them.” So about three thousand men of the people went up there, and they fled before the men of Ai. The men of Ai struck about thirty-six men of them. They chased them from before the gate even to Shebarim, and struck them at the descent. The hearts of the people melted, and became like water. Joshua tore his clothes, and fell to the earth on his face before Yahweh’s ark until the evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads.

Joshua 7:1-6
(please read the rest of Joshua 7 on your own)
A satellite image of the middle east, showing Egypt, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Red Sea
A satellite image of the middle east, showing Egypt, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Red Sea

Commentary

After the successful military campaign of Jericho, the Israelites came to the city of Ai. Compared to the fortified city of Jericho, Ai was a very small town with no walls. Ai was located to the east of Bethel, and about 2 miles to the west of Jericho. Abraham built an altar to the Lord between Ai and Bethel, Genesis 12:8. The Israelites’ first military campaign to take Ai was a total failure.

He left from there to go to the mountain on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to Yahweh and called on Yahweh’s name.

Genesis 12:8

The Israelites sinned because Achan secretly took some spoils of war from the battle of Jericho and hide them. The Lord forbade the Israelites from taking anything in Jericho. Everything must be destroyed because they were cursed. Only articles of gold, silver, brass, and bronze were to be preserved. Only Rahab, the prostitute, and those family members who stayed in her house would be saved. The LORD’s anger burned against the Israelites.

At that moment, Joshua did not know about this. He sent spies to Ai. Ai in Hebrews means heaps of ruins. Modern-day Ai is Baythin in the West Bank. The spies returned and told Joshua that Ai would be an easy target and that all they needed was a small army. Without enquiring from the LORD, Joshua sent three thousand fighting men to Ai.

They men of Ai defeated the Israelites on the battlefield. Thirty-six Israelites were dead and the rest fled out of Ai terrified with fear. Joshua and the elders of Israel tore their clothes, applied ashes on their heads, and fell prostrate before the ark until evening. The people in biblical times tear off their clothes and apply ashes on their heads during times of grief, mourning, and loss.

The Lord revealed to Joshua that one of his men had taken some spoils of war from the battle of Jericho and hidden them. Joshua assembled the people and drew lots tribe by tribe, clan by clan, family by family, and men by men until the lot fell on Achan.

During the Old Testament time, the Israelites drew lots using the Ummim and the Tummin to seek God’s will, Leviticus 8:8, Proverb 16:33.

He placed the breastplate on him, He put Urim and Tummin in the breast plate.

Leviticus 8:8

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from Yahweh

Proverbs 16:33

Achan confessed to Joshua that he had taken a Babylonian robe, two hundred shekels of silver, and one piece of gold weighing fifty shekels, and had buried them in his tent. Joshua sent men to Achan’s tent, who went and brought back the stolen items. At the LORD’s command, Joshua and his men stoned Achan and his family members to death and burned their bodies with his animals, belonging, and stolen items in the valley of Achor.

Application

Sin

Joshua and his men were defeated at Ai because of many reasons. After the victory at Jericho, they became overconfident and proud. They did not seek God’s will and direction. They planned and acted on their own agenda and with their own strength.

You cannot hide any sin from God. God is omniscient and knows everything, Luke 8:17, Hebrews 4:13 Unconfessed sin will lead to a defeated spiritual life. If you have sinned, confess, repent and claim the promise of 1 John 1:9. God will forgive and restore you.

For nothing is hidden that will not be revealed, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light

Luke 8:17

There is no creature that is hidden from his sight, but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him to whom we must give an account.

Hebrew 4:13

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

You must not be overconfident and proud because of past victories. Always seek God’s will and wait for His direction first. Do not fight the battle with your own strength. You are fighting a spiritual battle using spiritual weapons such i.e. prayer, fasting, worship, and the word of God, 2 Corinthians 10:4. The battle belongs to God and not to you. You are not fighting against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers, Ephesians 6:12

the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the throwing down of strongholds

2 Corinthians 10:14

For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:12

Seeking God’s will

Buddhists draw lots to seek god’s will in the Buddhist temple. On the altar, they juggle a bamboo container containing sticks with words on them. If they juggle long enough, one of the sticks will fall out to the ground. The words on the stick will be taken as god’s answer to their prayer.

As a Christian, you do not draw a lot. You seek God’s will through prayer, fasting, worship, meditation, and bible study. God will also speak to you through the Bible, the still small voice and the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and other mysterious ways.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we confessed that we are sinners. Please forgive our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. We pray that You will speak to us through Your Word, the still small voice, the Holy Spirit and other ways. Help us to discern Your good, pleasing, and perfect will. Help us to put on the full armor of God that You have provided for us. Thank You that the battle belongs to You, and not to us, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Book: Apocalypse

Understanding the Book of Revelation by Dr. Andrew C S Koh

A Book Cover of the book Apocalypse: understanding the book of Revelation by DR. Andrew C S Koh
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Many of us find the Book of Revelation intimidating. There is also confusion over its intended audience, and new interpretations are constantly being presented about the Antichrist, the beasts, the tribulations, and the 144,000 chosen, to name just a few Using everyday language, Dr. Koh explains the writings of Apostle John to his seven churches on how to conduct themselves and prepare for the difficult times ahead. The Apostle also bids them rejoice, for final victory is coming. He encourages them to take heart with the help of the Holy Spirit and be ready ‘in season and out of season.  

Reviews

A great study material on the writings of Apostle John when he was banished to the small island of Greece, off the coast of Asia Minor. A simple explanation of these books makes it a great study and meditation for all ages. Apostle John wrote this book to the seven churches of Asia Minor. Beautiful prayers accompany each chapter. I am on the ARC team and I leave an honest review. I recommend this book to other readers, J Sharmani, Goodreads, and Bookbub, 5 out of 5 stars

Dr. Koh’s book is an enjoyable way to experience the Book of Revelation and understand its intricacies. A very good book, Rowan E Creech, Goodreads, 5 out of 5 stars

A timely book in everyday language that demystifies this daunting book of the Bible! Dr. Koh explains the instructions of St. John the Apostle to his seven churches on how they are to behave generally, and what they need to do to get ready for coming tribulation, Hilary Walker, Amazon, Goodreads, 5 out of 5 stars

A storyline that continues to keep individuals from all faiths and religions captivated. This novel is a story written following the works of John as closely as possible, but one in which the reader must form his/her own opinion of a story written nearly 2,000 years ago and now interpreted yet again. You will follow the story and draw your own storyline. Pamela Anne Reinert, Goodreads, 5 out of 5 stars

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Categories
bible study devotion

Devotion: Sabbath

by Dr. Andrew C S Koh

Genesis 2:1-3

A photo of God creating Adam
The creation of Adam

Sabbath

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1 The heavens, the earth, and all their vast array were finished. 2 On the seventh day God finished his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. 3 God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because he rested in it from all his work of creation which he had done

Genesis 2:1-3

Commentary

Genesis 1 is an overall account of the first week of creation. Genesis 2 zeroed in specifically on the sixth and seventh day of creation

On the sixth day, God created Adam, animals, birds and Eve. On the seventh day, God rested from His work of creation. He blessed the seventh day and made it holy.

The Hebrew word for God is Elohim. El is singular and Elohim is plural. The Hebrew word for blessed is baruch, which means praise, happy, favoured, or a good report. The number 7 is the number of completion. God completed His work of creation on the 7th day and rested. The Hebrew word for holy is qadesh, which means sanctified, set apart, or separated.

Application

The 7th day of the week is the Sabbath day. Sabbath starts from sundown on Friday and finished at sundown on Saturday. In the Old Testament, the Israelites stopped doing work on the Sabbath as stipulated in the Mosaic law. The difficulty is defining what is work and what is not work.

but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. You shall not do any work in it, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your livestock, nor your stranger who is within your gates.

Exodus 20:10

The Jews today still keep the Sabbath by not doing any work.

If you are a Gentile Christian, you do not have to stop doing work from Friday sundown until Saturday sundown. The Jerusalem council of Acts 15, freed Gentiles Christians from keeping the Mosaic laws except for drinking blood and committing sexual immorality.

For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay no greater burden on you than these necessary things: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality, from which if you keep yourselves, it will be well with you. Farewell

Legalism verses freedom

Acts 15:28-29

For Gentile Christians, the principle of the Sabbath is to take a rest from work one day out of every seven days. You can also take a longer rest from work if you wish. How about one week out of every 7 weeks or 1 year out of every 7 years? This is a principle to apply, not a legalistic law to enforce. The principle is to have time to rest from work so that you can seek the Lord in spiritual things. A regular rest from work is required to reflect, recollect, recharge, re-energise, and re-connect with God, yourself and others. A regular rest will prevent you from getting burnt out. If you do not rest, you will fall sick, and you will be forced to rest. Even computers machines requires a rest periodically for maintenance.

The Sabbath rest is an opportunity to be free even for one day. Freedom from work, from anxieties, from the tyranny of the urgent, from the routine of daily life. The Sabbath rest allows you to free your minds from the demands of the world to concentrate on spiritual matters and on God.

The Pharisees became so legalistic over the law of Sabbath-keeping to the extent of causing a burden to the people and to themselves.

The Pharisees accused Jesus of breaking the Sabbath because He healed people on the Sabbath. Jesus created the Sabbath for the benefit of people and not the other way around. As Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus superseded the Sabbath. Jesus had the authority to set aside the demands of Sabbath keeping. Jesus fulfilled the Sabbath. Jesus frees you from bondage to sin and death. Jesus invites you to come to Him for rest.

Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest

Matthew 11:28

Prayer

Heavenly Father, You are the God of creation, the God of salvation, the God of redemption, and the God of reconciliation. You are wonderful, counselor, prince of peace, mighty God, and everlasting Father. You are Lord of the Sabbath. Help us to rest in You. Free us from bondage to sin, fear, anxiety, depression, and pessimism, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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