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He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. ISAIAH 53:3 (NIV)

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DEVOTIONA L JOUR NA L MARCH

2 0 19

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. ISAIAH 53:3 (NIV)

Also available at www.cefc.org.sg and “Covenant EFC” mobile app.

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VERSES 2019

JANUARY

Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? ISAIAH 53:1 (NIV)

FEBRUARY He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. ISAIAH 53:2 (NIV)

MARCH He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. ISAIAH 53:3 (NIV)

APRIL Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. ISAIAH 53:4 (NIV)

M AY

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. ISAIAH 53:5 (NIV)

JUNE We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. ISAIAH 53:6 (NIV) 4 // Š 2 0 1 9 C O V E N A N T E V A N G E L I C A L F R E E C H U R C H

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J U LY He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. ISAIAH 53:7 (NIV)

AUGUST By oppression and judgement he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. ISAIAH 53:8 (NIV)

SEPTEMBER He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. ISAIAH 53:9 (NIV)

OCTOBER Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. ISAIAH 53:10 (NIV)

NOVEMBER After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. ISAIAH 53:11 (NIV)

DECEMBER Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. ISAIAH 53:12 (NIV) Š 2 0 1 9 C O V E N A N T E V A N G E L I C A L F R E E C H U R C H // 5

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// B Y S E N I O R P A S T O R S //

2019 is the Year of Proclamation – That None Should Perish!

C

elebration of Hope (COH) which runs from 17 to 19 May is not mass evangelism on a large scale, but personal evangelism on a massive scale. In other words, unless we pray and sow the Gospel into as many people as possible on a personal basis, we will not see a massive conversion of souls. If we expect 2019 to be a year of harvest for our family and friends, then we have to prepare for it. When we were praying on the mountain during our annual Listening Retreat in July 2018, these verses from the book of Acts convicted us: Acts 8:8 “And there was much joy in that city” The context was the revival in Samaria under Philip’s ministry. Imagine the joy in Singapore when, under the preaching of the Gospel and the power of God, many people are healed of various sicknesses and delivered from spiritual oppression! Acts 13:44 “The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.” Back then in Pisidian Antioch, huge crowds came to listen to Paul’s preaching. Imagine large multitudes turning up at the Sports Hub at each COH rally to hear the Gospel! Acts 13:47 (cf. Isa 49:6) “For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.”

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“Isaiah” means “The LORD is Salvation”. Preaching through the book of Isaiah in 2019 will challenge us to fulfil our calling to be a light to the nations! During that same retreat, we received news about a crisis in Northern Thailand. On 23 June last year, 12 teenage boys and their soccer coach were trapped 2.5 miles inside the Tham Luang cave complex after heavy rains flooded it and cut off their exit route. On 2 July, they were found by two British expert cave divers. A rescue operation was carefully planned. There were 1,800 rescue personnel from 18 countries. In the midst of the rescue preparation, a tragedy happened. Mr Kunan, a volunteer and former Thai Navy SEAL diver, died while transporting air tanks into the tunnels. Although it was an extremely difficult rescue mission, all 13 survivors were eventually rescued from the cave on 10 July. Many people did their part to rescue them. And one man even gave his life to save them.

So, dear brothers and sisters, let us use this 2019 Devotional Journal to spend daily, dedicated time with the Lord in His Word and in prayer ...

The Scripture verses and the cave rescue were a confirmation of 2019 as the Year of Proclamation. Here was a fresh picture of how the Saviour died on the Cross so that people everywhere can be saved from eternal judgement. Our Lord Jesus has given us the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations. So, dear brothers and sisters, let us use this 2019 Devotional Journal to spend daily, dedicated time with the Lord in His Word and in prayer, so that we can know Him more, and be led and empowered by His Spirit to be faithful witnesses for a fruitful harvest in 2019! In Christ, Rev Tony Yeo and Rev Tan Kay Kiong

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TO USING

THIS DEVOTIONAL JOURNAL

Step One

Prepare your heart in God’s presence // Select a fixed time (preferably in the morning before you begin your day) and a quiet place where you can be alone and undisturbed. // Observe a moment of silence as you acknowledge God’s presence. Centre down. // Begin with a song of worship. Meditate on the lyrics even if you are unfamiliar with the tune. (Refer to the list of worship songs provided.) // Ask God to open your heart to hear Him.

SOMETHING TO PONDER ... Examining your life is essential in your faith journey. Your redeemed life as a disciple of Christ deserves careful examining. May you take root and bear fruit in Him!

The English Standard Version (ESV) is the default Bible version translation unless otherwise specified.

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Step Two

Allow God to S.O.A.P. you with His Word and Spirit // Scripture – Take your time to meditate on the Scripture passage for the day. Pause and mull over words and phrases that stand out to you. // Observation – Jot down significant insights and reflections from the passage you have read. You may use the guiding questions provided. The “Deeper Reflection” section is to aid your contemplation of the Scripture. It is not to replace your own observation, for the Holy Spirit illuminates the Scripture to you as you seek Him earnestly. // Application – Note down a specific and practical commitment to God’s Word for you. Is there a command to obey, a sin to avoid, an example to follow, or a principle to live out? Where appropriate, share your devotional entry with someone. // Prayer – Bring your heartfelt response to God in prayer.

P R AY E R P O I N T E R S F O R 2 0 1 9 Prayer pointers for Pastors and Staff are included every Tuesday. Every Thursday, a prayer pointer is included for Outreach/Missions/New Life Leaders. On each Friday, there is a prayer pointer for SGI Leaders (e.g. Zone Mentors, CG Leaders and Assistant CG Leaders). A prayer pointer for Church Board Members is included every Saturday. Please pray for each group as well as any specific individuals whom God may bring to your mind.

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MARCH–APRIL

A THOUSAND AMENS Verse Praise God from Whom all blessings flow Praise Him, all creatures here below Praise Him above, Ye heavenly hosts Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost Chorus Unfailing love comes with the morning It’s Your faithfulness we sing at night It’s Your kindness Lord that leads to our healing All glory to our Maker and a thousand amens Ending Amen, amen, amen Amen, amen, amen Amen, amen, amen All glory to our Maker Tim Timmons © 2009 Fair Trade Music Publishing (Admin. by CopyCare Singapore) CLCI Song # 5682346 CCLI License # 324618

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HERE I BOW Verse 1 Where would I run But to the throne of mercy Where would I kneel But at this cross of grace How great the love How strong the hand that holds us Beautiful, so beautiful Chorus So here I bow to lift You high Jesus be glorified In all things, for all my life I am Yours, forever Yours Verse 2 There is a King Who bore the scars of healing There is a Son who came in grace and truth How great the love That carries us to kindness Wonderful, You’re wonderful Bridge God here and now, be lifted high Right here and now, be glorified God of Heaven and Earth God who brought me back to life I am Yours, forever Yours Brian Johnson | Jason Ingram | Jenn Johnson | Jonas Myrin | Matt Redman © 2016 Capitol CMG Paragon (Admin. by CopyCare Asia Ltd (Singapore Branch)) Said And Done Music (Admin. by CopyCare Asia Ltd (Singapore Branch)) sixsteps Music (Admin. by CopyCare Asia Ltd (Singapore Branch)) Son of the Lion (Admin. by CopyCare Asia Ltd (Singapore Branch)) Thankyou Music (Admin. by CopyCare Asia Ltd (Singapore Branch)) worshiptogether.com songs (Admin. by CopyCare Asia Ltd (Singapore Branch)) Fellow Ships Music (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC) So Essential Tunes (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC) Bethel Music Publishing (Admin. by SHOUT! Music Publishing) For use solely with the SongSelect® Terms of Use. All rights reserved. www.ccli.com CCLI Song # 7069335 CCLI License # 324618

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’TIS SO SWEET TO TRUST IN JESUS (TRUST IN JESUS) Verse 1 ’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus Just to take Him at His word Just to rest upon His promise Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord!” Chorus Jesus, Jesus how I trust Him How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er Jesus, Jesus precious Jesus! O, for grace to trust Him more! Verse 2 O, how sweet to trust in Jesus Just to trust His cleansing blood Just in simple faith to plunge me ’Neath the healing, cleansing flood Verse 3 Yes ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus Just from sin and self to cease Just from Jesus simply taking Life and rest, and joy and peace Verse 4 I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee Precious Jesus, Savior Friend And I know that Thou art with me Wilt be with me to the end Louisa M. R. Stead | William James Kirkpatrick © Words and Music: Public Domain For use solely with the SongSelect® Terms of Use. All rights reserved. www.ccli.com CCLI Song # 22609 CCLI License # 324618

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HOLY SPIRIT (LIVING BREATH OF GOD) Verse 1 Holy Spirit, living Breath of God Breathe new life into my willing soul Let the presence of the risen Lord Come renew my heart and make me whole Cause Your Word to come alive in me Give me faith for what I cannot see Give me passion for Your purity Holy Spirit, breathe new life in me Verse 2 Holy Spirit, come abide within May Your joy be seen in all I do Love enough to cover every sin In each thought and deed and attitude Kindness to the greatest and the least Gentleness that sows the path of peace Turn my strivings into works of grace Breath of God, show Christ in all I do Verse 3 Holy Spirit, from creation’s birth Giving life to all that God has made Show Your power once again on earth Cause Your church to hunger for Your ways Let the fragrance of our prayers arise Lead us on the road of sacrifice That in unity the face of Christ May be clear for all the world to see Keith Getty | Stuart Townend © 2006 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Crossroad Distributors Pty. Ltd.) CCLI Song # 4779872 CCLI License # 324618

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OUR GOD SAVES Verse 1 In the name of the Father, in the name of the Son In the name of the Spirit, Lord, we come We’re gathered together to lift up Your name To call on our Savior to fall on Your grace Pre-Chorus Hear the joyful sound of our offering As Your saints bow down, as Your people sing We will rise with You, lifted on Your wings And the world will see that Chorus Our God saves, our God saves There is hope in Your name Mourning turns to songs of praise Our God saves, our God saves Brenton Brown | Paul Baloche © 2007 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music (Admin. by CopyCare Asia Ltd (Singapore Branch)) Leadworship Songs (Admin. by CopyCare Asia Ltd (Singapore Branch)) Thankyou Music (Admin. by CopyCare Asia Ltd (Singapore Branch)) For use solely with the SongSelect® Terms of Use. All rights reserved. www.ccli.com CCLI Song # 4972837 CCLI Licence # 324618

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FACING A TASK UNFINISHED (WE GO TO ALL THE WORLD) Verse 1 Facing a task unfinished That drives us to our knees A need that undiminished Rebukes our slothful ease We, who rejoice to know Thee Renew before Thy throne The solemn pledge we owe Thee To go and make Thee known Verse 2 Where other lords beside Thee Hold their unhindered sway Where forces that defied Thee Defy Thee still today With none to heed their crying For life, and love and light Unnumbered souls are dying And pass into the night Chorus We go to all the world With (His) kingdom hope unfurled No other name has power to save But Jesus Christ, the Lord Verse 3 We bear the torch that flaming Fell from the hands of those Who gave their lives proclaiming That Jesus died and rose Ours is the same commission The same glad message ours Fired by the same ambition To Thee we yield our powers

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Verse 4 O Father, who sustained them O Spirit who inspired Saviour, whose love constrained them To toil with zeal untired From cowardice defend us From lethargy awake! Forth on Thine errands send us To labour for Thy sake Ed Cash | Fionán De Barra | Frank Houghton | Keith Getty | Kristyn Getty | Samuel Wesley © 2015 Alletrop Music (Admin. by CopyCare Asia Ltd (Singapore Branch)) De Barra, Fionan (Admin. by CopyCare Asia Ltd (Singapore Branch)) OMF International (UK) (Admin. by CopyCare Asia Ltd (Singapore Branch)) Getty Music Publishing (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.) For use solely with the SongSelect® Terms of Use. All rights reserved. www.ccli.com CCLI Song # 7002026 CCLI License # 324618

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EVERLASTING GOD Verse 1 Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord We will wait upon the Lord We will wait upon the Lord (Repeat) Pre-Chorus Our God, You reign forever Our Hope, our strong Deliverer Chorus You are the everlasting God The everlasting God You do not faint You won’t grow weary You’re the defender of the weak You comfort those in need You lift us up on wings like eagles Brenton Brown | Ken Riley © 2005 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Crossroad Distributors Pty. Ltd.) CCLI Song # 4556538 CCLI License # 324618

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BETTER IS ONE DAY Verse 1 How lovely is Your dwelling place O Lord Almighty My soul longs and even faints for You For here my heart is satisfied Within Your presence I sing beneath the shadow of Your wings Chorus Better is one day in Your courts Better is one day in Your house Better is one day in Your courts Than thousands elsewhere Verse 2 One thing I ask and I would seek To see Your beauty To find You in the place Your glory dwells Bridge My heart and flesh cry out For You, the living God Your Spirit’s water to my soul I’ve tasted and I’ve seen Come once again to me I will draw near to You I will draw near to You Ending Better is one day, better is one day Better is one day, than thousands elsewhere Matt Redman © 1995 Thankyou Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing) CCLI Song # 1097451 CCLI License # 324618

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GOD IS ABLE Verse 1 God is able He will never fail He is Almighty God Greater than all we seek Greater than all we ask He has done great things Chorus Lifted up He defeated the grave Raised to life our God is able In His Name we overcome For the Lord our God is able Verse 2 God is with us God is on our side He will make a way Far above all we know Far above all we hope He has done great things Bridge God is with us He will go before He will never leave us He will never leave us God is for us He has open arms He will never fail us He will never fail us Ending For the Lord our God is able For the Lord our God is able Ben Fielding | Reuben Morgan Š 2010 Hillsong Music Publishing CCLI Song # 5894275 CCLI License # 324618

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SHOUT TO THE LORD Verse My Jesus, my Saviour Lord, there is none like You All of my days I want to praise The wonders of Your mighty love My comfort, my shelter Tower of refuge and strength Let every breath, all that I am Never cease to worship You Chorus Shout to the Lord All the earth let us sing Power and majesty Praise to the King Mountains bow down And the seas will roar At the sound of Your name I sing for joy At the work of Your hands Forever I’ll love You Forever I’ll stand Nothing compares to the promise I have in You Darlene Zschech © 1993 Wondrous Worship (Admin. by CopyCare Asia Ltd (Singapore Branch)) For use solely with the SongSelect® Terms of Use. All rights reserved. www.ccli.com CCLI Song # 1406918 CCLI Licence # 324618

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NOTES

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FRIDAY // 01 MARCH 2019

Gracious Redemption and Glorious Transformation S CRIPTURE Isaiah 3:16-4:1-6

O B S E RVAT I O N What is the contrast between Isaiah 3:18 and 4:2?

DEEPER REFLECTION

I

saiah 2:1-4:6 is one long literary unit which begins (Isa 2:1-5) and ends (Isa 4:2-6) with the positive theme of God’s promise of His people’s glorious future. The latter frames the negative theme of the pride of God’s people and God’s punishment for pride (Isa 2:6 – 4:1). God’s promise of hope is His first word (Isa 2:1-5) and last word (Isa 4:2-6) for us even when we fail God utterly. The transition from verse 16 to Isaiah 4:1 to Isaiah 4:2-6 is amazingly abrupt. In the darkest night of God’s people, the glory of God shines the brightest. Out of the ruins of God’s people under God’s judgement will sprout “the Branch of the LORD”, which refers to “the survivors of Israel” – the remnant, at the immediate horizon (Isa 4:2) − but ultimately to Jesus, whose human ancestry would come from these “survivors”1 (Rom 1:3; 9:4-5). God intends His gracious redemption to result in our glorious transformation: The remnant will be “beautiful and glorious” and “the fruit of the land” will be their “pride” and “adornment” (v.2). By a play on words, Isaiah shows how God removes the man-made unholy “beauty” (v.18) and replaces it with the God-given holy “adornment” (Isa 4:2)2. And the Godgiven “pride” (Isa 4:2) is a sharing in the “majesty” of God (Isa 2:10, 19, 21)3. What beauty and glory do we seek?

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A P P L I CAT I O N What does it mean to me that God graciously seeks to redeem me and gloriously transform my life even when I failed Him greatly?

P R AY E R Write a prayer to God as your

Prayer Pointers

response from your meditation on and application of

// Give thanks:

the Scriptures.

// Pray for SGI leaders: To serve with life-transforming leadership out of transformed living

// Pray for significant people:

// Pray for those in need:

// Pray for self:

1 2 3

Andrew M. Davis, Exalting Jesus in Isaiah, Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary (Holman, 2017), 27-28 Both “beauty” in Isaiah 3:18 and “adornment” in Isaiah 4:2 are the same word in Hebrew. Both “pride” in Isaiah 4:2 and “majesty” in Isaiah 2:10, 19, 21 are the same word in Hebrew.

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SATURDAY // 02 MARCH 2019

Redemptive Hope in Purifying Judgement S CRIPTURE Isaiah 4:2-6

O B S E RVAT I O N What observations can you make about how God dealt with His people in verses 4 to 6?

DEEPER REFLECTION

T

o God, the beauty of the “proud” “daughters of Zion” (Isa 3:16-23) was “the filth of the daughters of Zion” (v.4). The Hebrew word for “filth” refers to “the most putrid filth imaginable and can be used for vomit or the content of the bowels”4. Have you sinned against God in such a way that you feel filthy before Him? We cannot be too filthy for divine pardon: God “has washed away the filth” of His people (v.4a). Along with divine pardon is divine purification: God “purged” His people (v.4a). The process could be the painful but needful divine punishment through “the Spirit of judgement and the Spirit of burning” (v.4b). God’s judgement on His people is always redemptive: “When we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world” (1 Cor 11:32). Mark the progression of grace from “When the LORD has…” (v.4) to “Then the LORD will…” (vv.5-6). The divine presence will return and remain with us “by day” and “by night” as a canopy of His glory over us (v.5). With the divine presence is the divine protection in and from all evil that is like the heat that scorches us and the storms of life that we cannot control (v.6).

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A P P L I CAT I O N What is the filth in my life that I want to bring to God that He may pardon and purify me?

P R AY E R Write a prayer to God as your

Prayer Pointers

response from your meditation on and application of

// Give thanks:

the Scriptures.

// Pray for church board: To have humble submission to God’s purifying discipline in their lives

// Pray for significant people:

// Pray for those in need:

// Pray for self:

4

Gary V. Smith, Isaiah 1-39, Vol. 15A, The New American Commentary (Broadman & Holman, 2007), 158, footnote 113

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SUNDAY // 03 MARCH 2019

Sunday Journal

S CRIPTURE

O B S E RVAT I O N

A P P L I CAT I O N

P R AY E R

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THE PAST WEEK Review What was my high point and my low point for the week?

What gave me life and what drained me?

How was the Spirit of God at work?

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THE PAST WEEK Reflect What is one key thing that God said to me this week in light of what has happened?

Respond What is one thing I need to do in light of what God is saying? Commit in prayer.

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MARCH 2019 WEEK 1

FAMILY DEVOTIONAL

DID GOD CREATE ME TO BE LIKE HIM?* God created us in His image. Scripture: Genesis 1:26-28 ACTIVITY BITE Discuss the similarities and differences between yours and your parents’ appearances and behaviours. Share what you think the reasons for this are. CHAT TIME Q1: Why do children often look like and behave like their parents? Q2: How are we different from animals? Q3: What characteristics of God do we have when He says we are created in His image? LEARNING POINT In Genesis 1, we learn that God created all animals and man. But it was man that He created in His image. Having the image of God means that we are able to love, show kindness and be patient and generous just like Him. We have feelings like joy, sadness, anger and love. We also have the ability to think and be creative in solving problems. These special gifts are only given to man because we are made to be His children. Let us celebrate this wonderful privilege and who we are in Him. ACTION POINT On a piece of paper, write down “GOD MADE ME IN HIS IMAGE” and list the good virtues that God has given to you. Paste this piece of paper on your bedroom wall so that you can be reminded daily of how God made you. FAMILY PRAYER POINTS Give thanks to God for how He has created us to be in His image. Pray that He will help everyone to have the joy of knowing who we are in Him.

*Adapted from 252Basics, Mar 2019. www.ThinkOrange.com

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MONDAY // 04 MARCH 2019

Full Supply of God’s Grace S CRIPTURE Isaiah 5:1-7

O B S E RVAT I O N What do verses 1 to 2 tell us about God’s relationship with His people?

DEEPER REFLECTION

I

saiah sang a parable of “My Beloved and His Vineyard” (vv.1-7), which articulates a long history of God’s relationship with His people.5 It is of fundamental importance that we constantly remember, and not forget like Judah, that our relationship with God is founded on God’s deep devotion to us. God has made us “His vineyard” (vv.1, 3, 4) and “His delightful plant” (v.7). Deeply devoted to His vineyard, God showers upon us “rich attentiveness and much hard work, doing all the things necessary to maximise the productivity (i.e. the well-being)”6 of His vineyard. God’s attentiveness to us is voiced in the verbs “dug, cleared, planted, built and hewed out” (v.2) which “bespeak complete and demanding devotion”7. The vineyard of our lives is “on a fertile hill” (v.1), in which God has planted “the choicest vine” and built in the vineyard a “tower” that He may dwell there to protect us from predators8 (v.2). With this full supply of grace lavished on us, God “expects” us to “produce good grapes” (v.2) and give Him our deep devotion, like Isaiah, who as God’s beloved knew his God and affectionately called Him “My beloved” (v.1). However, will God’s devotion to us turn into disappointment?

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A P P L I CAT I O N How will I respond to God’s deep devotion to me?

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Lord Jesus, give me a fresh and compelling vision of the cross! On the cross, the Father made You who knew no sin to more than bear our sins, but to become sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in You.9 And now, in You and by Your grace, Lord Jesus, I live, no longer for myself, but for You who died and rose again on our behalf. 10

Significant people

P R AY E R

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Walter Brueggemann, Isaiah 1-39, (Westminster John Knox Press, 1998), 46 Walter Brueggemann, Isaiah 1-39, 47 7 Walter Brueggemann, Isaiah 1-39, 47 8 Gary V. Smith, Isaiah 1-39, 167 9 2 Corinthians 5:21 10 2 Corinthians 5:15 6

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TUESDAY // 05 MARCH 2019

Falling Short of God’s Grace S CRIPTURE Isaiah 5:1-7

O B S E RVAT I O N What can you learn about God’s dealings with His people in the verbs with God as the subject in verses 2, 5 and 6?

DEEPER REFLECTION

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aving received the full supply of God’s grace, God’s people fell short of His grace: they failed to “produce good grapes” (vv.2, 4) by practising “justice” and “righteousness” as God “expected” (v.7). As a result, divine devotion to the vineyard through the acts, “dug, cleared, planted, built, hewed out” (v.2) turned to divine departure – God withdrawing His care and protection. God would “remove, break down and lay waste” and “command the clouds to rain no rain”, resulting in divine devastation – the vineyard to be “consumed, trampled aground and not pruned or hoed” (vv.5-6). Here’s a picture of a garden completely abandoned. For the Church and individual believers, it means “I will spit you out of My mouth” as Christ warned the self-sufficient, complacent and indifferent church in Laodicea (Rev 3:15-17). If we do not produce “good grapes”, “briars and thorns” (v.6) will grow in our lives. There is no middle ground. In a way, there is no such thing as spiritual stagnancy where you neither progress nor regress. If we do not progress, we will regress. Are you building on Christ the foundation – “In Christ” – with gold, silver and jewels; or wood, hay and straw? We cannot escape from the divine test of fire (1 Cor 3:10-15).

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A P P L I CAT I O N How can I keep myself from falling short of God’s grace?

P R AY E R Write a prayer to God as your

Prayer Pointers

response from your meditation on and application of

// Give thanks:

the Scriptures.

// Pray for pastors and staff: To be watchful not to receive God’s grace in vain

// Pray for significant people:

// Pray for those in need:

// Pray for self:

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WEDNESDAY // 06 MARCH 2019

Material Indulgence and Spiritual Insensitivity S CRIPTURE Isaiah 5:8-12

O B S E RVAT I O N What was the spiritual condition of God’s people like (vv.8-12)?

DEEPER REFLECTION

I

saiah 5:8-25 consists of six woe oracles of condemnation and lamentation over sins. In the first two woe oracles, Isaiah mourned and wept11 over the social injustice and material indulgence of God’s people who lustfully pursued possessions (v.8) and pleasures (vv.11-12a). The wealthy increased their properties by taking away the homes of the weak and the poor. And they had the resources and could afford the leisure time to pursue pleasurable activities. Note the extent of the sinful pursuit of possessions – adding “land to land” and joining “field to field” (v.8), and of pleasures – from rising “early in the morning” to staying up “late in the evening” (v.11). In such people is the inordinate self-regard, self-absorption and selfindulgence, which leads them to “live alone in the land” (v.8) in social isolation, insensitivity and inconsideration. Let not the Church, in a world of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, think and say, “This can never happen to us.” Material indulgence leads to spiritual insensitivity: “they do not pay attention to the deeds of the Lord” (v.12b). “When the passion for pleasure has become uppermost in a person’s life, passion for God and His truth and His ways are squeezed out.”12

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A P P L I CAT I O N How would I guard against material indulgence and spiritual insensitivity in my life?

P R AY E R Gracious and merciful God,

Prayer Pointers

save me and keep me from spiritual insensitivity and

// Give thanks:

carnal indulgence. Fill me with the Holy Spirit, that I may be empowered to walk in the Spirit, and not carry out the

// Pray for leaders:

desires of the flesh,13 but to clothe myself with the Lord Jesus Christ, and not to think about how to gratify the desires

// Pray for significant people:

of the flesh,14 but to walk in holiness in Christ.

// Pray for those in need:

// Pray for self:

11

Gary V. Smith, Isaiah 1-39, 172 John N. Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah Chapters 1-39 (The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Eerdmans, 1986), 160 13 Galatians 5:16 14 Romans 13:14 12

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THURSDAY // 07 MARCH 2019

Walking the Futile Way “Triumphantly” S CRIPTURE Isaiah 5:8-17

O B S E RVAT I O N What was tragic about God’s people in Isaiah’s days, as seen from what they were (vv.8-12) and what would happen to them (vv.13-17)?

DEEPER REFLECTION

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ould we build things in life for ourselves and then hand them over to God to destroy? Isn’t it foolish to do that? But, God’s people in Isaiah’s days did exactly that. They were walking the futile way of life “triumphantly”, but fully unaware of that reality. All their increasing of possessions and indulging in pleasures (vv.8-12) would come to nothing. They would “go into exile” and be “famished” and “parched with thirst” (v.13), and death, personified “as a hungry monster”15, would swallow them up (v.14). Every gain would become total loss. How can we avert such a tragedy? Knowledge of God: Judah would go into exile “for their lack of knowledge” (v.13). They totally ignored God and His Word, did not “pay attention to the deeds of the Lord” or “consider the work of His hands” (v.12) – His sovereign providential hand shaping history – and lacked a meaningful relationship with God. Those who truly know God will walk in humility before God – “the proud will be humbled” (v.15) and live life to the glory of God – “the LORD of hosts will be exalted in judgement” (v.16). “He must increase, but I must decrease” (Jn 3:30) is the life motto of those who know their God.

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A P P L I CAT I O N In what ways am I walking in the futile way of life and what changes do I need to make in my life?

P R AY E R Write a prayer to God as your

Prayer Pointers

response from your meditation on and application of

// Give thanks:

the Scriptures.

// Pray for Outreach/ Missions/New Life leaders: To grow in knowing God and to have humility before Him

// Pray for significant people:

// Pray for those in need:

// Pray for self:

15

Gary V. Smith, Isaiah 1-39, 175 Š 2 0 1 9 C O V E N A N T E V A N G E L I C A L F R E E C H U R C H // 37

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FRIDAY // 08 MARCH 2019

When God’s Word Is Rejected S CRIPTURE Isaiah 5:18-25

O B S E RVAT I O N What can rejecting and despising the Word of God lead to according to verses 18 to 25?

DEEPER REFLECTION

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he third to sixth woe oracle (vv.18-23) show the dangers of rejecting and despising the Word of God (v.24). We become enslaved to sin as though we are beasts of burden serving sin, bound by the cart ropes of falsehood and self-deception (v.18). And we mock God, question God, challenge God, blame God and defy God, saying to Him, “Hurry up and do something! We want to see what You can do” (v.19, NLT). Underlying this attitude is that we want God to be what we want Him to be. In that case, God is no more God and we have become God. And we no more hold God’s absolute standard of morality: We “call evil good and good evil” (v.20). We rationalise sin and redefine sin. “Sin is very clever; it always brings forward its reasons, its arguments…for doing it and they appear to be wonderful.”16 And we become “wise in our own eyes” (v.21). We have a misplaced self-confidence of “I know best what is best for myself and God doesn’t.” And we indulge in excessive pleasures, which could lead to social injustice (vv.22-23). “Personal excess cannot remain a merely private matter, with no impact on others.”17 And God has only one response to all these: “The anger of the Lord” (v.25).

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A P P L I CAT I O N In what ways have I called evil good and good evil, and become wise in my own eyes, and what will I do about this?

P R AY E R Write a prayer to God as your

Prayer Pointers

response from your meditation on and application of

// Give thanks:

the Scriptures.

// Pray for SGI leaders: To make God’s Word the anchor and compass of their lives

// Pray for significant people:

// Pray for those in need:

// Pray for self:

16 17

Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., Isaiah: God Save Sinners, Preaching the Word (Crossway, 2005), 71 – citing Martyn Lloyd-Jones Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., 72

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SATURDAY // 09 MARCH 2019

If God Is Against Us … S CRIPTURE Isaiah 5:24-30

O B S E RVAT I O N What do the expressions “His people”, “His anger” and “His hand” (v.25) tell us about God in the context of verses 24 to 30?

DEEPER REFLECTION

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ote the expressions “His people”, “His anger” and “His hand” (v.25) in the context of verses 24 to 30. Judah was God’s people, God’s “treasured possession” (Exo 19:5, NIV), who had the Godgiven assurance of “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Rom 8:31). But when God’s people rebel against Him, it will result in “God is against us”. It will be “His anger” burning against “His people” and “His hand” “stretched out against” “His people”. “His hand” is God’s sovereign power in absolute control in carrying out His purposes and plans (Isa 14:27). God called and used the Assyrians to be “the rod of My anger” against His godless people (v.26a; Isa 10:5-6). Isaiah described the Assyrians with frightening images of a gigantic and fast-moving unstoppable war machine with disciplined troops that needed no sleep and never tire, and were armed with the very best equipment (vv.26b-28). The greatest terror wasn’t the ferocious and vicious Assyrians, but God who sent them. As such, God’s people will find “no one to deliver” them (vv.29-30). If God is against us, who is for us then? It will have to be God and no one else. Even when God is against us, He is still for us through His covenant faithfulness.

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A P P L I CAT I O N When must I be careful not to wrongly or falsely assume that God is for me when, in reality, He may be against me?

P R AY E R Write a prayer to God as your

Prayer Pointers

response from your meditation on and application of

// Give thanks:

the Scriptures.

// Pray for church board: To have wisdom to discern the ways of God

// Pray for significant people:

// Pray for those in need:

// Pray for self:

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SUNDAY // 10 MARCH 2019

Sunday Journal

S CRIPTURE

O B S E RVAT I O N

A P P L I CAT I O N

P R AY E R

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THE PAST WEEK Review What was my high point and my low point for the week?

What gave me life and what drained me?

How was the Spirit of God at work?

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THE PAST WEEK Reflect What is one key thing that God said to me this week in light of what has happened?

Respond What is one thing I need to do in light of what God is saying? Commit in prayer.

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FAMILY DEVOTIONAL

MARCH 2019 WEEK 2

WHY DID GOD CREATE ME?* God created us to have a close relationship with Him. Scripture: Luke 15:1-7, Revelation 3:20 ACTIVITY BITE Create a relationship map. First, get a piece of paper and write down your name in the centre. Then, draw a line that extends out from where your name is. Label it “family” and list down the names of your family members on this line. Next, draw another line, labelling it “relatives” and write down your relatives’ names on it. Continue creating other lines such as “friends”, “leaders” or “teachers”. CHAT TIME Q1: Why do you have closer relationships with certain people compared to others? Q2: What do you think makes a relationship close and last for a long time? Q3: Why did God choose to have a closer relationship with us rather than animals? LEARNING POINT In Luke 15:1-7, Jesus talked about a shepherd who leaves his 99 sheep behind to search for the one lost sheep. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who rescues us and makes it possible for us to know God. Jesus saves us because He wants to have a very close and lasting relationship with us. He doesn’t do that for animals. Only we who were created in the image of God have this privilege of being close to Him. ACTION POINT List down five ways that you can draw yourself closer to God. Try to do these together as a family and check on each other’s progress regularly. FAMILY PRAYER POINTS Pray that God will help us to get closer to Him daily, so that our love for Him will grow stronger every day.

*Adapted from 252Basics, Mar 2019. www.ThinkOrange.com

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MONDAY // 11 MARCH 2019

The Revelation of Who God Is S CRIPTURE Isaiah 6:1-4

O B S E RVAT I O N What is the significance of what Isaiah saw and when he saw it?

DEEPER REFLECTION

K

ing Uzziah’s reign was marked by economic prosperity, military potency and political stability and security (2 Chron 26:1-15). Then came “King Uzziah’s death” (v.1). It was a national crisis for Judah, with her prosperity and security diminishing under the looming Assyrian threat. When we are in a crisis, we need the “I saw” (v.1) – a vision of God. Isaiah could see God only because God revealed Himself to him. God has made Himself known in the Scriptures and it is up to us to search the Scriptures to know God. We need to see the sovereignty of God: “the Lord sitting on His throne, lofty and exalted” (v.1). Our confidence in life must never be in the “King Uzziahs” which come and go. Tied to God’s sovereignty is the transcendence of God: “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts” (vv.2-3a). God is holy means He is the Wholly Other, who is supreme over all, distinct from and exceeds everything He has made. And we must see the glory of God in His sovereignty and transcendence (v.3b). It is of great theological significance that against the chaotic geopolitical background, “the whole earth is full of His glory”. Mark the absolute terms “whole” and “full” and the use of the present tense “is”. Do we see this magnificent present glory of God?

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A P P L I CAT I O N How can I see that the whole earth is full of the glory of God?

P R AY E R God of glory, the whole earth is

Prayer Pointers

full of Your glory! But how can I see that fullness of Your glory

// Give thanks:

in a world filled with increasing evil? I look at the cross. There, evil was manifested in its greatest measure, when God

// Pray for leaders:

was crucified by evil to save the evil from evil. It was a glorious manifestation of Your glory! O God, teach me and

// Pray for significant people:

help me to see Your glory.

// Pray for those in need:

// Pray for self:

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TUESDAY // 12 MARCH 2019

The Realisation of What I Am S CRIPTURE Isaiah 6:1-5

O B S E RVAT I O N What is the significance of Isaiah’s response when he saw the Lord?

DEEPER REFLECTION

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or Isaiah, the revelation of who God is led to the realisation of what he was. Isaiah’s “I saw” (v.1) led to his “Then I said” (v.5) – his response to the divine revelation. Isaiah said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined” when he saw the condition of his life, “I am a man of unclean lips”. Isaiah saw the true and real him when “my eyes have seen the LORD of hosts.” When we see God in His exaltedness and holiness, in humble brokenness we see our sinfulness before such a God. And we come before the throne of grace (Heb 4:16) with the posture “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” (Lk 18:13). Two ultimate realities that we ought to pursue to know: God and our hearts. John Calvin wrote: “Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.”18 When we know God, then we can truly know our hearts, and when we know our hearts, we seek to know God more, and on goes the hermeneutical circle progressively. Isaiah’s “Woe is me” was his seventh woe that followed the six woes of divine condemnation of Judah for her rebellion in chapter 5 (Isa 5:8, 11, 18, 20, 21, 22). What God desired to hear from Judah was “Woe is me!” like Isaiah.

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A P P L I CAT I O N What does it mean for me to pursue knowing God and my heart?

P R AY E R Write a prayer to God as your

Prayer Pointers

response from your meditation on and application of

// Give thanks:

the Scriptures.

// Pray for pastors and staff: To increasingly know God and their own hearts

// Pray for significant people:

// Pray for those in need:

// Pray for self:

18

Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion 1, Library of Christian Classics (Westminster John Knox Press, 1960), Volume XX, John T. McNeill, editor, 35

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WEDNESDAY // 13 MARCH 2019

The Redemption of What I Am S CRIPTURE Isaiah 6:1-7

O B S E RVAT I O N What observations can you make about the relationship between the “holy, holy, holy” God (v.3) and the “man of unclean lips” (v.5)?

DEEPER REFLECTION

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wo unexpected things happened to Isaiah. Isaiah found himself in the “triple” holy presence of the transcendent God of glory (vv.1-4). He was not seeking God’s presence. It was God who took the initiative to reveal His awesome presence. Standing in this divine holy presence was not a holy man, but an unclean man who saw his unclean life (v.5). An apparent theological incongruence! But here is both the glory and the grace of God. This is God. Then came the second unexpected thing. One of the seraphim “flew” to Isaiah “with a burning coal in his hand” which he had taken from the altar and “touched” Isaiah’s lips and declared: “Your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven” (vv.6-7). Again, it was a divine initiative of grace. There was no asking God for His forgiveness, but just a broken and contrite heart. To God, that was enough. God sees the heart. God’s presence is a holy presence. But it is also a gracious redemptive presence. “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man,” cried Peter when he saw Jesus’ holiness in the miraculous catch of fish (Lk 5:8). It is a prayer the Lord will not answer. Jesus came to us to save us from our sins as Immanuel, God with us (Matt 1:21, 23).

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A P P L I CAT I O N What does it mean for me to walk in the holy and gracious redemptive presence of God?

P R AY E R Holy and gracious God, I am

Prayer Pointers

utterly grateful to You that Jesus offered Himself without

// Give thanks:

blemish to You, that through His own blood He entered the Holy of holies to obtain eternal redemption for sinners,19 so that,

// Pray for leaders:

in Christ, we redeemed sinners could have the freedom and confidence to enter the Holy of holies by the blood of Jesus.20

// Pray for significant people:

// Pray for those in need:

// Pray for self:

19 20

Hebrews 9:12 Hebrews 10:19

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THURSDAY // 14 MARCH 2019

The Readiness for What God Wants S CRIPTURE Isaiah 6:1-8

O B S E RVAT I O N What observations can you make about Isaiah saying “Here am I. Send me!” (v.8) in the context of verses 1 to 8?

DEEPER REFLECTION

F

or Isaiah, the revelation of who God is leads to the realisation of what he is (vv.1-5), which leads to the necessary redemption of what he is (vv.6-7), out of which is the readiness for what God wants (v.8). Observe how Isaiah’s “I saw” (v.1) leads to his “Then I said” (v.5), and how his “I heard” leads to his “Then I said” (v.8). Biblical discipleship does not begin with what we do for God, “Here am I. Send me!” It starts with seeing who God is, through which we see the true and real us, and thereupon we receive God’s redemptive grace. Readiness for what God wants is marked by sensitivity to God: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’” (v.8). God wasn’t speaking to Isaiah, “Isaiah, shall I send you? Will you go for Me?” God was speaking to His heavenly council (cf. 1 Kin 22:19; Psa 89:6-7)21 and Isaiah just overheard what God said. The readiness is marked by availability: “Here am I. Send me!” At this point, Isaiah knew nothing of what God would send him for. This Isaianic availability means “Lord, wherever You lead me, I will follow; whatever You give me, I will swallow.” For Isaiah, the vision of God (vv.1-3) and the voice of God (v.8) were sufficient.

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A P P L I CAT I O N What do I need to have or do to be ready for what God wants for my life?

P R AY E R Write a prayer to God as your

Prayer Pointers

response from your meditation on and application of

// Give thanks:

the Scriptures.

// Pray for Outreach/Missions/ New Life leaders: To have the readiness to be and do what God wants

// Pray for significant people:

// Pray for those in need:

// Pray for self:

21

Gary V. Smith, Isaiah 1-39, 193

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FRIDAY // 15 MARCH 2019

Divine Judgement in Hearing God’s Word S CRIPTURE Isaiah 6:8-10

O B S E RVAT I O N What observations can you make about hearing the Word of God from verses 9 to 10?

DEEPER REFLECTION

I

saiah’s prophetic mission was marked by two divine commands. Firstly, God’s command to His people: As they “keep on listening” and “keep on looking” to God to speak to them His Word, they were to “not perceive” and “not understand” what was spoken (v.9). Then building on the first command was God’s command to the prophet: “Harden their hearts”, “dull their ears” and “close their eyes” towards the truth (v.10a). And what follows is God’s purpose for His two commands: God did not want His people to see, hear and understand, lest they “return and be healed” (v.10b). God was preventing His unfaithful and rebellious people from returning to Him and to be healed of their spiritual sickness. God’s people had repeatedly chosen to refuse to follow God, even while they had been hearing His Word and had many opportunities in the past to repent. God had decided that it was “past the time of repentance”22 for them. It was time for God’s judgement, and not a time to see, understand and be healed. The frightening reality is: We can keep on hearing God’s Word and keep on hardening our hearts until God hardens our hearts in judgement. “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (Heb 3:7-8).

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A P P L I CAT I O N What changes do I need to make in my attitude in hearing the Word of God?

P R AY E R Write a prayer to God as your

Prayer Pointers

response from your meditation on and application of

// Give thanks:

the Scriptures.

// Pray for SGI leaders: To be kept from hardening their hearts towards God’s Word

// Pray for significant people:

// Pray for those in need:

// Pray for self:

22

Gary V. Smith, Isaiah 1-39, 194

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SATURDAY // 16 MARCH 2019

A Mission According to Divine Design S CRIPTURE Isaiah 6:8-13

O B S E RVAT I O N What characterised Isaiah’s prophetic mission according to verses 9 to 13?

DEEPER REFLECTION

T

hings in the spiritual realm do not work like that in the industrial realm. For the latter, it is what works for productivity; for the former, it is God working according to His purpose and process. God called Isaiah to an “unproductive” (in industrial terms) mission, in that there will be no positive results (vv.9-10). Isaiah was called to “failure”. Yet, it would be a productive mission, in that God’s purpose, His judgement on His people, will be accomplished, albeit “unproductively”. We can observe three elements in the divine design of Isaiah’s mission. Isaiah’s first response to his “unpromising” mission was a “cry of dismay and lamentation”23: “Lord, how long?” (v.11). God’s answer was the divine time: “Until” (v.11) – “until” cities, homes and fields in Judah were destroyed (v.11) and God’s people were deported to exile (v.12). The destruction and deportation were not merely brought about by Judah’s enemies, but ultimately a divine act: “The Lord has removed” (v.12). The devastation was so severe that only “a tenth” of the people survived, who would be subject to further reduction (v.13). However, in this remained “a very small ray”24 of divine hope: “The holy seed is its stump” (v.13).

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A P P L I CAT I O N What changes do I need to make in my perspective and posture to what God has called and assigned me to in serving Him?

P R AY E R Write a prayer to God as your

Prayer Pointers

response from your meditation on and application of

// Give thanks:

the Scriptures.

// Pray for church board: To serve God as He has designed and assigned

// Pray for significant people:

// Pray for those in need:

// Pray for self:

23 24

Gary V. Smith, Isaiah 1-39, 196 Gary V. Smith, Isaiah 1-39, 198 Š 2 0 1 9 C O V E N A N T E V A N G E L I C A L F R E E C H U R C H // 57

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SUNDAY // 17 MARCH 2019

Sunday Journal

S CRIPTURE

O B S E RVAT I O N

A P P L I CAT I O N

P R AY E R

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THE PAST WEEK Review What was my high point and my low point for the week?

What gave me life and what drained me?

How was the Spirit of God at work?

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THE PAST WEEK Reflect What is one key thing that God said to me this week in light of what has happened?

Respond What is one thing I need to do in light of what God is saying? Commit in prayer.

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FAMILY DEVOTIONAL

MARCH 2019 WEEK 3

DID GOD CREATE ME FOR A PURPOSE?* God created us to make a difference in the world. Scripture: 1 Timothy 4:12 ACTIVITY BITE Discuss as a family how each of you can do something to make your home a more pleasant place. For example, keeping the rooms neat and tidy or putting up photos on the walls. Get everyone in the family to contribute. CHAT TIME Q1: Is it difficult for one person to do all the tasks to improve things? Why or why not? Q2: What role do you think God wants you to play in your home? Why? Q3: Do you think that everyone in the family should play a part in doing tasks together? Why or why not? LEARNING POINT In 1 Timothy 4, Timothy was a gifted leader even though he was young. Paul reminded him to stay faithful in carrying out the task that God gave him. Paul knew that God had given Timothy the gift of leadership to lead the church to worship God. God has given us gifts and talents. He wants us to use them to bless others. We can make a huge impact if we let God use us, whether it is at home, in school or other places. We may not see how we can make a difference, but with God all things are possible. ACTION POINT Think of something you can do to make your school classroom a more conducive place to be in. Share your idea with your teacher and discuss how it can be done. FAMILY PRAYER POINTS Ask God to help us see how we can make a difference with what we have and to be willing to be used by Him.

*Adapted from 252Basics, Mar 2019. www.ThinkOrange.com

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MONDAY // 18 MARCH 2019

What Divine Initiative of Grace! S CRIPTURE

Isaiah 7:1-12; 2 Kings 16:5-9

O B S E RVAT I O N What can you discover about God and Ahaz from verses 1 to 12?

DEEPER REFLECTION

A

ram and Israel warred against Judah for refusing to join forces with them to fight off the Assyrian threat (v.1). But the SyroEphraimite coalition “could not conquer Judah” (v.1). It wasn’t that Judah was stronger, for they “shook” in great fear under attack (v.2). It was divine deliverance. “Then the LORD spoke to Isaiah” to speak to Ahaz (v.3). Note that Ahaz did not turn to God to ask for help. It was totally a divine initiative. God’s word to Ahaz contained four elements. A fourfold divine encouragement: “Take care and be calm, have no fear and do not be faint-hearted” (v.4a). A divine perspective: The “fierce anger” of Aram and Israel were nothing but just “two burned-out ambers” (v.4b, NLT). A divine assurance: The “evil plan” of Aram and Israel “shall not stand nor shall it come to pass” (vv.5-9a). But with a divine warning: “If you will not believe, you surely shall not last” (v.9b). There was no response from Ahaz. But “the LORD spoke again to Ahaz” (v.10). Mark the word “again”. The second divine initiative! God invited Ahaz to “ask a sign for yourself ” from Him that would signify the divine commitment to Judah’s wellbeing (v.11). Finally, we hear Ahaz speaking. He rejected the divine grace (v.12), because he intended to rely on the Assyrians (2 Kin 16:5-9).

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A P P L I CAT I O N What posture should I take towards divine initiatives of grace?

P R AY E R Lord, no matter how early

Prayer Pointers

I rise to meet You to have communion with You, You are

// Give thanks:

always there waiting for me. I can never be earlier than You. When I have gone astray like a lost sheep, my prayer is “Seek Your servant”25. And when I

// Pray for leaders:

rise on my feet and begin to return to You, You are already walking towards me to receive me with Your grace.

// Pray for significant people:

// Pray for those in need:

// Pray for self:

25

Psalm 119:176

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TUESDAY // 19 MARCH 2019

What Divine Presence of Grace! S CRIPTURE

Isaiah 7:10-25; 8:1-10

O B S E RVAT I O N What is the significance of “Immanuel” (v.14; Isa 8:8) and “God with us” (Isa 8:10) occurring thrice in Isaiah 7:10-8:10?

DEEPER REFLECTION

A

haz rejected God’s offer to ask for a sign for assurance of His covenant commitment to Judah (vv.10-12). Nonetheless, God still gave a sign: A child will be born and named “Immanuel” (vv.13-14) – “God with us” as reassurance to Judah. God had promised that the Syro-Ephramite attack on Judah would fail (Isa 7:1-9). But despite Ahaz’s refusal to rely on God, God still reassured Judah of His presence with them; and He would keep His promise, that swiftly and speedily (Isa 8:1-4) by two years26 , when the child “Immanuel” “knows enough to refuse evil and choose good”, Aram and Israel would disappear (vv.15-16). But at the same time, it is also “God with us” in retribution through Assyria, because of Ahaz’s refusal to rely on God (Isa 7:9b). When the “strong and abundant waters of the Euphrates” – the massive and brutalising superpower, Assyria (cf. Isa 5:26-30) drowns and destroys Aram and Israel (Isa 8:5-7), “it will sweep into Judah” – the land of “Immanuel” – overflowing, passing through, and reaching the neck (Isa 8:8; vv.17-25). “God with us” in judgement! Yet it is also “God with us” in restraint on Assyria. Assyria (“peoples”)27 will “be shattered” (Isa 8:9 – thrice repeated!), and their evil plans “will be thwarted” by God and “it will not stand” (Isa 8:10a). Why? “For God is with us” (Isa 8:10b).

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A P P L I CAT I O N What posture should I take towards the divine presence of grace?

P R AY E R Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application of

Prayer Pointers

// Give thanks:

the Scriptures.

// Pray for pastors and staff: To live and serve in God’s presence of grace

// Pray for significant people:

// Pray for those in need:

// Pray for self:

26 27

Walter Brueggemann, Isaiah 1-39, 71 Walter Brueggemann, Isaiah 1-39, 77

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WEDNESDAY // 20 MARCH 2019

God of the “But Later On” S CRIPTURE

Isaiah 8:11-22; 9:1-5

O B S E RVAT I O N What is the significance of the contrast between verses 11 to 22 and Isaiah 9:1-5?

DEEPER REFLECTION

J

udah was in a severe theological crisis: the hiding of God’s face (v.17). What leads to God hiding His face? Fear of what makes us feel insecure. Judah was living in “fear” of the “fierce anger” of Aram and Israel, instead of God, the true security (vv.11-13; Isa 7:1-2, 4). This fear leads to faith in what makes us feel secure. Judah “consulted” “other religious techniques”28 instead of “their God” (v.19). For us today, we may take the road of self-help – religious or any other technology − rather than living by the Word of God – “the law” and “the testimony” (v.20). The divine absence results in distress, darkness, gloom and anguish (vv.21-22). Then very abruptly, the hiding of God’s face (vv.11-22) moves to the hope in God’s light: “But there will be no more gloom” (Isa 9:1a). God’s hiddenness is not forever. God is the God of the “but later on”: “but later on” “those who walk in darkness will see a great light” (Isa 9:1-2). The “hiding of His face (paneh)” (v.17) has become “gladness in Your presence (paneh)” (Isa 9:3). There are times when God hides His face from us even when we follow Him faithfully (Psa 44:17-19, 23-24). How do we respond when God hides His face? “I will wait” and “look eagerly for Him” (v.17).

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A P P L I CAT I O N How do I relate the theological reality of God hiding His face to my discipleship journey?

P R AY E R I have sinned against You

Prayer Pointers

O God and I will bear Your discipline of wrath. But I watch

// Give thanks:

in hope for You. I wait for You, O God of my salvation. O God, my God, You will hear me. Though I have fallen, I will

// Pray for leaders:

rise, for You will make me rise. Though I dwell in darkness, You are my light. You will bring me out to the light and I will

// Pray for significant people:

see Your righteousness.29

// Pray for those in need:

// Pray for self:

28 29

Walter Brueggemann, Isaiah 1-39, 79 Micah 7:7-9

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THURSDAY // 21 MARCH 2019

A Theological Reflection on Divine Judgement S CRIPTURE Isaiah 9:8 – 10:4

O B S E RVAT I O N What observations can you make about God’s judgement on Israel?

DEEPER REFLECTION

I

saiah 9:8-10:4 contains four waves of God’s judgement on Israel (vv.8-12, 13-17, 18-21; Isa 10:1-4), from which we can observe three features of divine judgement. Divine destruction in judgement: Note the divine sovereign acts: “the LORD raises” and “spurs on” (vv.1112), and “the LORD cuts off” (v.14). It is striking that in His judgement, God “does not have pity” on Israel’s “widows” and “orphans” (v.17). Was God being heartless? No. But rather, this seeming “heartlessness” of the compassionate and gracious God, who is slow to anger (Exo 34:6), reflects the depth of Israel’s hardness of heart in rebelling against God. Such was Israel’s callous “arrogance”: whatever God destroys, they will “rebuild” and “replace” with something much better – “smooth stones” for “bricks” and “cedars” for “sycamores” (vv.9-10). Divine determination in judgement: Each of the four waves of divine judgement ends with the refrain “In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away and His hand is still stretched out” (vv.12, 17, 21; Isa 10:4). The whole recital of judgement (Isa 9:8-10:4) concludes with this refrain and stops there, as if there is no divine turning back. Actually, in this divine determination is the divine desire in judgement: that Israel will “turn back” and “seek” the God “who struck them” (v.13).

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A P P L I CAT I O N How do I relate divine judgement on His people to my discipleship journey?

P R AY E R Write a prayer to God as your

Prayer Pointers

response from your meditation on and application of

// Give thanks:

the Scriptures.

// Pray for Outreach/Missions/ New Life leaders: To have the ability to recognise divine judgement in biblical discipleship

// Pray for significant people:

// Pray for those in need:

// Pray for self:

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FRIDAY // 22 MARCH 2019

History, Theology, Reality and Security S CRIPTURE Isaiah 10:5-34

O B S E RVAT I O N How do verses 5 to 34 teach us about looking at history through theology to see its reality and live in security?

DEEPER REFLECTION

I

saiah 10:5-34 teaches us to look at history through theology to see its reality and live in security. What God’s people experienced in history was that they suffered greatly under the brutal Assyrians’ hands. The Assyrians saw themselves as the master and shaper of history by their own “wisdom”, “understanding” and “power” – “I did”, “I removed”, “I plundered”, “I brought down” and “I gathered” (v.13-14). But we must look at history through theology: God is behind history. This is the reality in history. The Assyrians were merely a pawn in God’s sovereign hand – “I send it…I commission it” – as “My rod of anger” to judge “the people of My fury” for their unfaithfulness and rebellion (vv.5-6). The Assyrians’ boasting in false self-perception was empty (vv.12b-15). Over this frightening history was God’s purpose and timing: “So it will be that when the LORD has completed all His work” on His people, God “will punish” the Assyrians (vv.12, 16-19). God can act “in a single day” (v.17). And God’s people can live in security. God will preserve a “remnant” through His destructive judgement (vv.20-23). God’s “indignation” and “anger” will only be for “a very little while” (v.25). And God’s gracious comforting encouragement is: “Do not fear the Assyrian who strikes you with the rod” (v.24).

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A P P L I CAT I O N What does it mean for me to look at history through theology to see its reality and live in security?

P R AY E R Write a prayer to God as your

Prayer Pointers

response from your meditation on and application of

// Give thanks:

the Scriptures.

// Pray for SGI leaders: To have the ability to look at history through God’s eyes

// Pray for significant people:

// Pray for those in need:

// Pray for self:

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SATURDAY // 23 MARCH 2019

The Throne and Kingdom of David S CRIPTURE

Isaiah 9:1-7; 11:1-10

O B S E RVAT I O N What is the significance of Isaiah mentioning “the throne of David” and “his kingdom” (v.7) and “a shoot” and “a branch” that “will spring from the stem of Jesse (Isa 11:1) in his exalted portrait of a particular person in verses 6 to 7 and Isaiah 11:1-5?

DEEPER REFLECTION

I

saiah 7:1-11:16 is one long literary unit with Judah’s fear of the SyroEphramite attack (Isa 7:1-16) and God’s destructive judgement on Judah through the Assyrians for their rebellion (Isa 7:17-8:8) as the background. With “the house of David” being unfaithful and unrighteous (Isa 7:1-13), will God’s covenant promise that “the throne of David” and “his kingdom” (v.7) will endure forever (2 Sam 7:12-16) be fulfilled? God answered the question twice. First, the birth of a child, a son, an heir to the Davidic throne, a perfect King, who is human and divine (vv.6-7). He will rule with transcendent infinite wisdom as “Wonderful Counsellor”, the omnipotence of “Mighty God”, the care, concern and discipline of “Eternal Father” and unceasing peace and wholeness as “Prince of Peace”. His reign of “justice and righteousness” will have “no end”. Second, “a shoot” and “a branch” that “will spring from the stem of Jesse”30 (Isa 11:1). He will be filled with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge and fear of God, and will judge the weak and the wicked with righteousness, fairness and faithfulness (Isa 11:2-5). None of David’s descendants, not even the godly Hezekiah and Josiah, matched this exalted portrait, except Jesus of Nazareth, whose everlasting reign (Lk 1:31-33) must be first through the cross (Jn 12:12-15; 18:14-16).

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A P P L I CAT I O N What does it mean for me to have Jesus as my King and live in a world that is largely ruled by unrighteous and unjust governments?

P R AY E R Write a prayer to God as your

Prayer Pointers

response from your meditation on and application of

// Give thanks:

the Scriptures.

// Pray for church board: To rest in Jesus’ righteous and everlasting sovereignty

// Pray for significant people:

// Pray for those in need:

// Pray for self:

30

Jesse was David’s father (1 Sam 17:12).

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SUNDAY // 24 MARCH 2019

Sunday Journal

S CRIPTURE

O B S E RVAT I O N

A P P L I CAT I O N

P R AY E R

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THE PAST WEEK Review What was my high point and my low point for the week?

What gave me life and what drained me?

How was the Spirit of God at work?

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THE PAST WEEK Reflect What is one key thing that God said to me this week in light of what has happened?

Respond What is one thing I need to do in light of what God is saying? Commit in prayer.

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FAMILY DEVOTIONAL

MARCH 2019 WEEK 4

WHO AM I CREATED TO LOVE?* God created me to love Him and others. Scripture: Matthew 22:34-40 ACTIVITY BITE Discuss the family rules that make your home a better place and list them down on a piece of paper. Share why they are important and how they work. CHAT TIME Q1: Are there family rules that are difficult to follow? Why or why not? Q2: Why are there family rules? What is their purpose? Q3: What do you think are some “family rules” that God has in your relationship with Him? LEARNING POINT The Israelites had many rules to follow. There were family and religious rules, as well as societal and community laws to keep the nation at peace with each other and with God. However, some of these rules or laws had become very burdensome to follow. In the greatest commandment, Jesus clarified that it is not about following hundreds of commands, but that we are to love God with all our hearts and to love others as we love ourselves. When we put this into practice, it helps us to prioritise love in all our relationships. ACTION POINT Identify the three most important family rules that would ensure there is love and respect for each other at home. Get everyone in your family to follow them consistently. FAMILY PRAYER POINTS Thank God for His great love for us. Pray that He will help us to do everything out of love for each other.

*Adapted from 252Basics, Mar 2019. www.ThinkOrange.com

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MONDAY // 25 MARCH 2019

The Bible Is the Word of God S CRIPTURE

2 Timothy 3:14-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21

O B S E RVAT I O N What qualities of God’s Word are mentioned by the apostle Paul?

DEEPER REFLECTION

A

part from the Bible, God has revealed Himself through nature and all of creation. They contain clear and abounding evidence of a Creator whose power, creativity, knowledge and wisdom are infinitely beyond human limits. The apostle Paul described it thus: “For [God’s] invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.”31 King David wrote: “The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.”32 In the Bible, God has revealed to us His identity, character and plans, and humankind’s origin, destiny and purpose. That information was recorded by God’s servants inspired by God’s Spirit (2 Pet 1:20-21), and thousands of copies of the original writings were preserved under God’s sovereign hand through the centuries. The Bible we now have is a collated library of 66 books – 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books – written over about 1,500 years by about 40 authors, most of whom did not know one another. Yet there is an organic unity to their writings and consistency in what they say about God and His Kingdom. This can only be explained by what John Stott calls the “dual authorship” of the Bible. It is simultaneously a product of human authors and God the Divine Author, who ensured that what was written was exactly what He wanted to say to humankind. The Bible is God’s Word to all people everywhere; its message continues to go forth into the world.33

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A P P L I CAT I O N What am I committed to do to grow in the knowledge of God through His Word this year?

P R AY E R Eternal God, thank You

Prayer Pointers

for revealing Yourself to us through the Scripture. If You

// Give thanks:

hadn’t done so, we wouldn’t have been able to know You and have a love relationship with You. Thank You for

// Pray for leaders:

protecting and preserving the sacred writings for the blessing of humanity. Help me to read the Bible daily to know You

// Pray for significant people:

more and to be instructed and guided by You for wise living. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

// Pray for those in need:

// Pray for self:

31 32 33

Romans 1:20 ESV. Psalm 19:1-2 ESV. The Bible continues to go forth into the world in print, digital and audio forms in hundreds of language translations (see http://www.wycliffe.net/statistics).

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TUESDAY // 26 MARCH 2019

God Created the Universe and Humankind S CRIPTURE

Genesis 1:1, 26-27; 2:24

O B S E RVAT I O N What do these verses tell us about the Creator God’s design for marriage?

DEEPER REFLECTION

G

od created human beings male and female (v.27). Sex between a man and a woman is God’s idea. A key purpose for sex is procreation, that is, human reproduction or the production of offspring (“be fruitful and multiply”, Gen 1:28). God designed a male and a female person to have the complementary features and characteristics to be able to engage in sexual intercourse, through which a woman’s egg can be fertilised by a man’s sperm to form a human embryo that over time develops into a fully-formed human being. Procreation is intended by God to take place within the context of a committed, covenantal relationship – marriage. The permanence of the marital bond provides the sense of security and wellbeing, and promotes the partnership and sacrificial giving that are necessary for raising healthy offspring in the family. God intends for a husband to stick with or “hold fast” (Gen 2:24) to his wife in an inseparable relationship. Their marriage relationship is to take precedence over other human relationships (Gen 2:24). What makes relationships possible in the first place is the fact that human beings are created in the image of God (v.26). There is a God-given, God-like capacity in human beings to relate, dialogue and share with others, and to feel for, receive from and give to others. While a man can have good relationships with many other people regardless of their age or gender, that man can only enter into a marriage relationship with a woman and together produce offspring. And vice versa. To think or do otherwise is to deviate from God’s design for marriage.

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A P P L I CAT I O N What will I do and not do in order to uphold marriage according to God’s design?

P R AY E R Write a prayer to God as your

Prayer Pointers

response from your meditation on and application of

// Give thanks:

the Scriptures.

// Pray for pastors and staff: To hold fast to biblical truths about God’s design for marriage and family

// Pray for significant people:

// Pray for those in need:

// Pray for self:

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WEDNESDAY // 27 MARCH 2019

Sin Has Separated Human Beings from God S CRIPTURE

Psalm 14:1-3; Romans 3:9-20; Isaiah 64:6-7

O B S E RVAT I O N What are the Psalmist’s charges and against whom were they made?

DEEPER REFLECTION

I

n verses 1 to 3, the Psalmist charged that all humanity, the entire human race (“the children of man”, v.2) is corrupt and does evil deeds; “they have all turned aside” (v.3), gone astray and deviated from what is righteous; and “there is none who does good, not even one” (v.3). In other words, there is no one who seeks after God and none are righteous in God’s eyes. Indeed, the prophet Isaiah graphically described that “all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment” (Isa 64:6) and concluded that as a result of our iniquities, God has turned away from us (Isa 64:7) and we experience a separation from God. It is no wonder that verses 1 to 3 were quoted by the apostle Paul in Romans 3:10-12 in his irrefutable argument that there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles in that all have sinned and are unrighteous according to God’s law (Rom 3:9-20). All people are under the power of sin and cannot help sinning in their words and actions. “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom 3:18). No human being will be justified in God’s sight by keeping God’s law, because every single person breaks God’s law and sins against Him (Rom 3:20). God cannot tolerate sin and has for the present time given humankind over to their sinful ways and the consequences of their sins (“You have hidden Your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities”, Isa 64:7). But God will hold everyone accountable and judge all people one day (Rom 3:19).

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A P P L I CAT I O N What is my response to my own sinfulness before God?

P R AY E R Almighty God, long-suffering

Prayer Pointers

and of great goodness: I confess to You, I confess with my whole heart my neglect

// Give thanks:

and forgetfulness of Your commandments, my wrong doing, thinking and speaking; the hurts I have

// Pray for leaders:

done to others, and the good I have left undone. O God, forgive me, for I have sinned against You; and raise me to

// Pray for significant people:

newness of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen34.

// Pray for those in need:

// Pray for self:

34

https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/worship-texts-and-resources/common-worship/daily-prayer/ forms-penitence

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THURSDAY // 28 MARCH 2019

Jesus Christ Is the Son of God S CRIPTURE

John 10:22-33; 5:15-18

O B S E RVAT I O N Why did the Jews seek to kill Jesus in response to His teaching and healing ministry?

DEEPER REFLECTION

M

any people accept that Jesus Christ was a historical person who lived in the first century, but that He was merely a man, though a good moral teacher. The truth is Jesus is the Son of God, indeed God the Son and the second Person of the Trinity. God exists as three persons, yet He is one God.35 All three persons – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit – existed before the creation of the universe and were involved during the work of creation.36 Jesus Christ is God incarnate, meaning God in human flesh (“the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”, Jn 1:14). In the incarnation, God the Son became a man without ceasing to be God. Therefore, Jesus is fully God and fully man. He dwelt among people about 2,000 years ago in first century Palestine and fulfilled a public ministry of teaching, preaching and healing. God the Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to save sinners (Jn 3:16-18). Jesus willingly bore the sins of the world in His body and died on the cross as an atoning sacrifice for humanity’s sins, so that whoever believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Historical records tell us that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day and subsequently appeared to many of His disciples before ascending to heaven. Jesus did many things consistent with His identity as the Son of God and God the Son. He constantly referred to God as “My Father”. He forgave sins (Mk 2:5-7) and received worship (Matt 14:33; 28:8-9; Jn 20:28).

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A P P L I CAT I O N How can I explain to someone that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and is fully God and fully man?

P R AY E R Write a prayer to God as your

Prayer Pointers

response from your meditation on and application of

// Give thanks:

the Scriptures.

// Pray for Outreach/Missions/ New Life leaders: To have a growing ability to explain Christian beliefs and manifest Christ’s love to others

// Pray for significant people:

// Pray for those in need:

// Pray for self:

35 36

This is the doctrine of the Trinity, which Wayne Grudem helpfully defines as “God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and each person is fully God, and there is one God.” See: Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (IVP, 1994), 226. See Genesis 1:1-3 and John 1:1-3.

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FRIDAY // 29 MARCH 2019

Jesus Christ Is the Bridge to Life in God S CRIPTURE John 5:19-29

O B S E RVAT I O N What did God the Father send His Son Jesus into the world to do?

DEEPER REFLECTION

I

t is apt to describe Jesus Christ as the bridge for people to cross over from death to life. God is the Source of life and the Giver of life (vv.21, 26). The Father sent His Son Jesus to give life to all people throughout the generations who would hear His Word and believe God’s plan of salvation (v.24). At Jesus’ first coming into the world, He came to give life to dead people. Spiritually dead people are those who are separated from God and have no relationship with Him. They are separated from the life of God and have no hope of a blessed eternity with Him in His glorious presence. Their only hope is to believe in Jesus Christ whom God the Father has sent for people’s salvation. People can be spiritually dead while still having physical life. But inevitably, they grow sick or old and one day that physical life will end. Jesus will come again soon, this time to execute judgement on all people, whether living or dead (vv.22, 27). At Jesus’ second coming, He will raise all who are physically dead (v.28). People who have done good (and received salvation through faith in Christ) will experience a resurrection resulting in life; those who have done evil (and rejected salvation offered in Christ) will experience a resurrection resulting in judgement (v.29). Those two separate destinies are for eternity. What is your eternal destiny? What about that of your family members and friends?

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A P P L I CAT I O N What will I do this year to help my family members and friends receive life in God through Jesus Christ?

P R AY E R Write a prayer to God as your

Prayer Pointers

response from your meditation on and application of

// Give thanks:

the Scriptures.

// Pray for SGI leaders: To lead by example in personal evangelism

// Pray for significant people:

// Pray for those in need:

// Pray for self:

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SATURDAY // 30 MARCH 2019

God Is Making All Things New S CRIPTURE

Revelation 21:1-8; 22:12-20

O B S E RVAT I O N What are being made new by God and when will be their completion?

DEEPER REFLECTION

A

ll of creation as we know it will be made new by God in the end. Everything marred by sin as a result of fallen humanity will be restored and made beautiful and perfect, to the glory of God! God is making new the heaven and the earth. God is forming and preparing the people of God (“the holy city, new Jerusalem”, v.2). God’s redeemed people are the Bride of the Lord Jesus Christ, her husband who loved her and gave Himself for her. For the sake of His people, Jesus died and was raised (2 Cor 5:14-15). He paid the penalty of their sins, so that they can have the water of life without payment (v.6; Rev 22:17). Their robes washed and made white in the blood of Jesus (Rev 7:14), they receive the right of access to the tree of life and city of God (Rev 22:14). God dwells with His people (v.3), His glorious presence fills the city (see Rev 21:9-27). God’s people will reign with Him forever and ever (Rev 22:5). There will be a new order of things, the old order will pass away (v.4). There will no longer be any pain, suffering and death (v.4). All evil and uncleanness will be removed forever (v.8; Rev 22:15). The completion and final fulfilment of all that has been revealed in this prophecy will be at the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. He says, “I am coming soon” (Rev 22:12, 20). We, the Church, His Spirit-filled Bride, say, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”

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A P P L I CAT I O N How will I live my life in light of the end that will come soon?

P R AY E R Write a prayer to God as your

Prayer Pointers

response from your meditation on and application of

// Give thanks:

the Scriptures.

// Pray for church board: To live with a strong sense of hope, destiny and purpose

// Pray for significant people:

// Pray for those in need:

// Pray for self:

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SUNDAY // 31 MARCH 2019

Sunday Journal

S CRIPTURE

O B S E RVAT I O N

A P P L I CAT I O N

P R AY E R

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THE PAST WEEK Review What was my high point and my low point for the week?

What gave me life and what drained me?

How was the Spirit of God at work?

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THE PAST WEEK Reflect What is one key thing that God said to me this week in light of what has happened?

Respond What is one thing I need to do in light of what God is saying? Commit in prayer.

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FAMILY DEVOTIONAL

MARCH 2019 WEEK 5

DO I REALLY MATTER TO GOD?* God created us and we are important to Him. Scripture: 1 Samuel 16 ACTIVITY BITE Share with your parents about the times when you felt left out or unimportant in your family. Tell them why you felt that way and how you would like things to improve in the future. CHAT TIME Q1: What usually makes you feel unimportant? Why? Q2: Have you treated others in a way that makes them feel unimportant? Q3: What truly makes us important to God? Why? LEARNING POINT In Samuel 16, God used Samuel to anoint David as the king. As the youngest son of Jesse, David was the least likely to be crowned king. God helped Samuel to discover that true worth is not what we see on the outside, but who we are on the inside. Each of us matters to God because we are created in His image. Similarly, God wants us to see others as He does and to value everyone because they matter. ACTION POINT Make a commitment to treat people around you with love and to value them − not because they are smart, good or have certain skills, but because they matter to God. FAMILY PRAYER POINTS Pray that God will help us to value people around us, because they matter to God, just as we matter to Him.

*Adapted from 252Basics, Mar 2019. www.ThinkOrange.com

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NOTES

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© 2019 COVENANT EVANGELICAL FREE CHURCH T (65) 6892 6811 • E mail@cefc.org.sg • W www.cefc.org.sg

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March Devotional Journal 2019  

March Devotional Journal 2019