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MARCH DEVOTIONAL JOURNAL 2018

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. ACTS 2:46-47 (NIV)

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MARCH DEVOTIONAL JOURNAL 2018

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. ACTS 2:46-47 (NIV)

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

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MEMORY VERSES 2018 JANUARY But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. ACTS 1:8 (NIV)

FEBRUARY They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. ACTS 2:42 (NIV)

MARCH Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. ACTS 2:46-47 (NIV)

APRIL Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. ACTS 4:12 (NIV)

M AY

So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them… ACTS 6:2-3 (NIV)

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JUNE While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. ACTS 13:2-3 (NIV)

J U LY They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.” ACTS 16:31 (NIV)

AUGUST Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. ACTS 17:11 (NIV)

SEPTEMBER One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” ACTS 18:9-10 (NIV)

OCTOBER Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood. ACTS 20:28 (NIV)

NOVEMBER “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” ACTS 20:32 (NIV)

DECEMBER He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ − with all boldness and without hindrance! ACTS 28:31 (NIV)

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FOREWORD BY S E N I O R PA S TO R S

As we lead Covenant EFC towards Vision 2028 and our 50th Jubilee Anniversary, God has given us Acts 20:28 as our spiritual anchor:

“PAY CAREFUL ATTENTION

to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” As church leaders and members, we are to pay careful attention to our hearts’ condition and to our triune God. At last year’s Listening Retreat, God impressed a spiritual burden upon us for 2018: WE ARE CHURCH: PRAY AND REPENT! We are CHURCH We believe God has called us to be One Church with Multiple Centres and pursue the A.D.I.D. of A Certain Kind within each local centre through small groups. We will enhance the small group strategy so that we can make disciples who make disciples. This year, we were led to preach on the book of Acts, as we rediscover what the Church is all about. We Are Church: PRAY! I (Rev Tan Kay Kiong) received a distinct picture of Moses praying in the mountain with his hands supported by Aaron and Hur. As I read the account in Exodus 17, the burden was clear:

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“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which He obtained with His own blood.”

ACTS 20:28

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1. We Are Under Attack (Exo 17:8) Many of us are living defeated lives stained by sin and the affairs of this world. The devil has launched his arsenal of attacks against every possible area of our lives. 2. We Must Fight with the Weapons of God (Exo 17:9b) The staff in Moses’ hand was the staff of God. Formerly used to goad sheep, this once ordinary staff became God’s weapon to fight spiritual battles. We must put on God’s spiritual armour so that we can stand against the devil’s schemes. 3. We Must Fight with the Weapons of God and Hold Up Our Hands (Exo 17:11a) Joshua and his troops were fighting with all their might against the enemies, but the secret to their victory was Moses’ hands raised to God in desperate intercession. Aaron and Hur helped Moses keep his hands up. We must hold up our hands in intercession for spiritual victory in our lives. We Are Church: Pray and REPENT! There is no true prayer without REPENTANCE. “Bring forth fruits in keeping with repentance.” − Luke 3:8. God spoke to me (Rev Tony Yeo) through the book of Joel: 1. Repent humbly – put on sackcloth, wail before the altar, declare a holy fast and call a sacred assembly (Joel 1:13-14). 2. Repent wholeheartedly – rend your heart and not your garments (Joel 2:12-13). Return to God with all our hearts for He is gracious and compassionate! 3. Repent urgently – in the light of the day of the Lord and His coming judgement (Joel 3:3-14). We believe that God will speak to each of you personally as you spend daily devotional time with the Lord in His Word and in prayer. This Devotional Journal (DJ) has been designed to help you in this. We pray and trust that God will greatly bless you as you use this DJ daily, and His Spirit will guide and direct your prayers such that God will be pleased to answer them and display His glory in you and in our church for the advance of His Kingdom in Singapore and beyond. In Christ, Rev Tony Yeo and Rev Tan Kay Kiong

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GUIDE TO USING THIS

DEVOTIONAL JOURNAL

1

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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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 8 Prayer pointers for Pastors and Staff are included every Tuesday. On each Friday, there is a prayer pointer for Lay Leaders (e.g. Zone Mentors, CG Leaders, Assistant CG Leaders and Ministry 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

WORSHIP SONGS O PRAISE THE NAME (ANÁSTASIS) Verse 1 I cast my mind to Calvary Where Jesus bled and died for me I see His wounds, His hands, His feet My Saviour on that cursed tree Verse 2 His body bound and drenched in tears They laid Him down in Joseph’s tomb The entrance sealed by heavy stone Messiah still and all alone Chorus O praise the Name of the Lord our God O praise His Name forevermore For endless days we will sing Your praise Oh Lord, oh Lord our God Verse 3 Then on the third at break of dawn The Son of heaven rose again O trampled death, where is your sting? The angels roar for Christ the King Verse 4 He shall return in robes of white The blazing sun shall pierce the night And I will rise among the saints My gaze transfixed on Jesus’ face Benjamin Hastings | Dean Ussher | Marty Sampson © 2015 Hillsong Music Publishing For use solely with the SongSelect® Terms of Use. All rights reserved. www.ccli.com CCLI Song # 7037787 CCLI License # 324618

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ON BENDED KNEE Verse 1 On bended knee I come With a humble heart I come Bowing down before Your holy throne Lifting holy hands to You As I pledge my love anew I worship You in spirit I worship You in truth Make my life a holy praise unto You Verse 2 On bended knee we come With a humble heart we come Bowing down before Your holy throne Lifting holy hands to You As we pledge our love anew We worship You in spirit We worship You in truth Make our lives a holy praise unto You (2x) Robert Gay © 1988 Integrity’s Hosanna! 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 # 95210 CCLI License # 324618

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I GIVE YOU MY HEART Verse This is my desire To honour You Lord, with all my heart I worship You All I have within me I give You praise All that I adore Is in You Chorus Lord, I give You my heart I give You my soul I live for you alone Every breath that I take Every moment I’m awake Lord, have Your way in me Reuben Morgan © 1995 Hillsong Music Publishing CCLI Song # 1866132 CCLI License # 324618

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WONDERFUL MERCIFUL SAVIOUR Verse 1 Wonderful merciful Saviour Precious Redeemer and Friend Who would have thought that a Lamb Could rescue the souls of men Oh, You rescue the souls of men Chorus You are the One that we praise You are the One we adore You give the healing and grace Our hearts always hunger for Oh our hearts always hunger for Verse 2 Counsellor, Comforter, Keeper Spirit we long to embrace You offer hope when our hearts Have hopelessly lost the way Oh, we’ve hopelessly lost the way Verse 3 Almighty, infinite Father Faithfully loving Your own Here in our weakness You find us Falling before Your throne Oh, we’re falling before Your throne Dawn Rodgers | Eric Wyse © 1989 Dayspring Music, LLC (a div. of Word Music Group, Inc.) Word Music, LLC (a div. of Word Music Group, Inc.) For use solely with the SongSelect Terms of Use. All rights reserved. www.ccli.com CCLI Song # 106879 CCLI License # 324618

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SOVEREIGN OVER US Verse 1 There is strength within the sorrow There is beauty in our tears And You meet us in our mourning With a love that casts out fear Verse 2 You are working in our waiting Sanctifying us When beyond our understanding You’re teaching us to trust Chorus Your plans are still to prosper You’ve not forgotten us You’re with us in the fire and the flood Faithful forever, perfect in love You are sovereign over us Verse 3 You are wisdom unimagined Who could understand Your ways Reigning high above the heavens Reaching down in endless grace Verse 4 You’re the lifter of the lowly Compassionate and kind You surround and You uphold me And Your promises are my delight

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Bridge Even what the enemy means for evil You turn it for our good You turn it for our good And for Your glory Even in the valley You are faithful You’re working for our good You’re working for our good And for Your glory (Repeat) Ending Faithful forever perfect in love You are sove’reign over us Aaron Keyes | Bryan Brown | Jack Mooring © 2011 Jack Mooring Music (Admin. by CopyCare Asia Ltd (Singapore Branch)) Meaux Jeaux Music (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)) For use solely with the SongSelect Terms of Use. All rights reserved. www.ccli.com CCLI Song # 6011370 CCLI License # 324618

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SHOW US THE ANCIENT PATH Verse 1 Lord we confess that We have wandered Far from Your purpose and plan And willingly walked In the wrong direction We’ve disobeyed Your commands Father forgive us Spirit come lead us Back to the way Back to the truth Back to the foot of the cross Chorus Show us the ancient paths Lead us along eternal highways We want to walk in the ways of Jesus We want to enter Your rest Show us the ancient paths Lead us along eternal highways We want to follow the footsteps of Jesus We want to enter Your rest Verse 2 Lord it’s Your mercy and good intention That constantly calls us to You Your infinite patience And kind correction Your covenant love coming through You are our hope and our salvation You promise joy You give us grace And courage to carry the cross

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Verse 3 We want to leave A clear set of footprints For those who will follow behind Signposts in our lives That point to Jesus A pathway they’ll easily find We want to fill up The sufferings of Jesus As we obey Our lives display The glorious way of the cross We want to follow The footsteps of Jesus We want to enter Your rest Chris Christensen © 1993 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music; (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing) CCLI Song # 1206668 CCLI License # 324618

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MAKE A CERTAIN BREAKTHROUGH Verse 1 In my life of searching For the plain and simple way Many paths were so winding The roads were never straight Then the Spirit of God broke through And healed my broken wings And showed me the way into His heart Chorus And I know that God is leading In a clear and certain way My one life for your purpose, Jesus I offer up this day To follow you completely To do all that you say Cleanse my life, fill me up And use me this day Make a certain breakthrough Make it today Verse 2 In these days of danger Lord, we rest upon Your grace With Your tender and skilful hands You shape this stubborn clay Yes, You calm my inmost being Giving courage to hope again And to build this one life In power and faith Ann Chan, Ruth Ling Š2006 Covenant Evangelical Free Church

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FIRES OF REVIVAL Verse 1 I came into the gathering Of the people of the Lord And found my way among them To His throne I needed to return Unto the altar of my God To renew again My covenant with Him Pre-Chorus And there I built An altar to His name And realised That my life would never be the same And then the fires of revival Came sweeping through my soul And I touched the Holy Presence of my God Chorus Come build an altar Unto the Lord Return to worship And hear His Word And then the fires of revival Will come sweeping through your soul And we’ll touch the Holy Presence of our God Verse 2 I wanted to discover The first love We once had shared Rekindling the fire Deep within

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FIRES OF REVIVAL (CONT'D) I found the lamp still flickering In the temple of my Lord And pour a horn of oil Unto the flame Wendell Smith © 1984 BT 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 # 15599 CCLI License # 324618

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JESUS CHRIST IS LORD Chorus Jesus Christ is Lord Jesus Christ is Lord Jesus Christ is Lord Jesus Christ is Lord Of the nations Verse He is enthroned on righteousness He is enthroned on justice His blood has overcome The enemy of our souls He is our mighty Deliverer Ramon Pink © 1987 Universal Music - Brentwood Benson Publishing (Admin. by CopyCare Asia Ltd (Singapore Branch)) For use solely with the SongSelect® Terms of Use. All rights reserved. www.ccli.com CCLI Song # 196487 CCLI License # 324618

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THE WALLS WILL COME DOWN Chorus The walls will come down With a shout of praise The walls will come down With a shout of joy The walls will come down With a shout of triumph To the Lord God Almighty (Repeat) Verse With the Sword of the Spirit in our hands The Word of God in our mouth With the blood of Jesus to set us free We have the victory Ending The walls will come down Reg Henare © 1997 Integrity’s Hosanna! 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 # 1866819 CCLI License # 324618

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Notes

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01

THURSDAY

MARCH

The Word and the Wait

S CRIPTURE

Acts 1:4-5

O BSERVATION How do you relate the word “wait” to what Jesus said (vv.4-5)?

Deeper Reflection SALVATION-HISTORY WAS AT A CRUCIAL JUNCTURE between Jesus’ ascension, which marked the completion of His work on earth, and His descent in the Holy Spirit to continue His work from heaven through His church (Acts 1:4-11). Bridging these two points of the crucial juncture is one word: “wait” (v.4). Wait on God. Waiting on God is very hard for many of us – computerised and technically impatient moderns who live in an age of instant everything. “Be patient” is not in the vocabulary of technology. The motto of technology is “Faster, and faster, and faster, and faster”. And our lives and work, and even ministry, move in sync with the increasing speed of technology. But the God-designed ancient path (cf. Jer 6:16) of waiting on God and waiting patiently (Psa 37:7; 40:1), does not and will not accommodate the speed of technology. We do not wait on God in a vacuum. The God-given basis for waiting on Him is His Word: “He commanded them…what the Father had promised…‘which you heard of from Me’” (v.4). We do not know how long God wants us to wait. But the faithful God will keep His Word. So, we can wait on Him with assurance and confidence, with patience and perseverance.

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A PPLICATION

In what areas of my life do I need to wait on God by His Word?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application

■ Give thanks:

of the Scriptures.

■ Pray for leaders:

■ Pray for significant people:

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

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02 FRIDAY

MARCH

“You Shall Be My Witnesses” (1)

S CRIPTURE

Acts 1:8; Mark 3:14-15

O BSERVATION How does Jesus’ calling of His disciples in Mark 3:14-15 help us to understand His command “You shall be My witnesses” in verse 8?

Deeper Reflection THE GREAT COMMISSION that Jesus’ disciples received from Him in Luke-Acts was “You shall be My witnesses” (v.8; Lk 24:48). In biblical times, a witness is “someone who helps establish facts objectively through verifiable observation”1. The apostles were “witnesses of all the things Jesus did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem” (Acts 10:39), and of His resurrection (Acts 1:22; 2:32; 3:15). They were witnesses out of their experience with Jesus. The words “You” and “My” in “You shall be My witnesses” point to something personal and relational between Jesus and His disciples. When Jesus appointed the 12 apostles, His purpose was “that they might be with Him” – the Great Communion, “and that He might send them out to preach” – the Great Commission (Mk 3:14-15). The order shows that the Great Communion precedes and is foundational to the Great Commission. The religious leaders recognised the reason for the confidence of the “uneducated and untrained” Peter and John: “they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). And more importantly, we have the Gospel Character. We do not just believe the Gospel, but we be and live the Gospel. Like a picture, our lives speak more than a thousand words.

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A PPLICATION

What changes do I need to make regarding the Great Communion, the Gospel Character and the Great Commission in my life?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application

■ Give thanks:

of the Scriptures.

■ Pray for lay leaders: To constantly shine as light in the world

■ Pray for significant people:

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

1

Darrell L. Bock, Acts, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Baker, 2007), 64

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03 SATURDAY

MARCH

“You Shall Be My Witnesses” (2)

S CRIPTURE

Acts 1:8

O BSERVATION What should characterise a disciple of Jesus according to verse 8?

Deeper Reflection EVANGELISM IS ALWAYS MORE than the communication of a message; it is also the ever-repeated release of the life of the Risen Jesus through the lives, corporately and personally, of those with first-hand knowledge of Him.2 This is what “Be My witnesses” means. As such, we need the empowering of the Spirit – “you will receive power” (v.8). Jesus is essentially saying in verse 8: “No Spirit, no witness.” In Acts, the Holy Spirit is the Initiator (Acts 13:1-2), Director – in both opening and closing doors (Acts 16:6-7) − and Enabler for all witness and all ministry. It does not lie with us. The extent of the witness is to be from local (“in Jerusalem”, v.8) to global (“to the ends of the earth”, v.8). A disciple of Jesus must be a world Christian whose mission is a world mission. Once as I was praying for India, I felt that India was too large for me to grasp as an individual, and that my prayer did not seem to amount to much. Then it dawned on me that I was not alone in praying for India. Over the past centuries to the present, there have been countless people around the world praying for India, and I was a part of that. Then I grasped something of what it means to be a world Christian.

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A PPLICATION

How do I know that I am a world Christian?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application

■ Give thanks:

of the Scriptures.

■ Pray for church board: To have power and wisdom to live as a world Christian ■ Pray for significant people:

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

2

Bruce Milne, Acts: Witnesses to Him, Focus on the Bible Commentaries (Christian Focus, 2010), 22

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04 SUNDAY

Sunday Journal

MARCH

S CRIPTURE

O BSERVATION

A PPLICATION

P RAYER

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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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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 WEEK 1 MARCH 2018

BUT ISN’T THAT UNFAIR? * Show that you care more about others by letting go of what seems fair. Scripture: Genesis 13:5-18; Romans 14:19 ACTIVITY BITE Have everyone in your family take turns to roll a die. Whoever has the highest number gets three pieces of gummy bears. However, when you get the highest number, you will only get one gummy bear. Play a few rounds and see who gets the most number of gummy bears. CHAT TIME Q1: Do you think its fair that you only received one gummy bear while others had three? Why or why not? Q2: If you argue about what is fair, will it sour the relationship with your family? Is it worth arguing about it? Why or why not? Q3: Why does God want us to live in peace with each other? LEARNING POINT We often argue about things when we feel that we are not being fairly treated, especially when others receive more than us. Relationships can turn sour and friendships can be broken. In Genesis 13, Abraham could have argued with Lot about who would get the best piece of land but he chose to keep the peace. He knew that God would provide all good things and he need not fight for them. God’s not concerned with what’s fair. He’s more concerned with what builds peaceful relationships. Similarly, Abraham cared more about other people than fairness. He gave up what was fair to make peace, and God rewarded him with more than he could have ever imagined. ACTION POINT Make a bookmark and write these words on it – “Live in Peace with Others”. You can include Romans 14:19 on it too. Remember these words whenever you feel like arguing with someone about what is fair or unfair. FAMILY PRAYER POINTS Pray that God will help us care for one another by making peace and not arguing about fairness. * Adapted from 252Basics, March2018. www.ThinkOrange.com

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05 MONDAY

MARCH

Sexuality as God Created

S CRIPTURE

Matthew 19:3-6; Genesis 1:27-28; 2:18-25

O BSERVATION What observations can you make on human sexuality in verses 3 to 6 and Genesis 1:27-28; 2:18-25?

Deeper Reflection WHEN THE PHARISEES ASKED JESUS if it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason (v.3), He pointed them back to thousands of years ago “from the beginning” the divine design of marriage (vv.4-6). When God created the first human beings in His own image, He created them “male and female” (Gen 1:27), reiterated by Jesus (v.4) – and not male and male, or female and female. God created the first man and first woman in a wedding setting. When God created them, He blessed them and gave them the creation mandate: “Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1:28). Here, God introduced sex as a vital element in marriage. God intended sex to be within marriage – not before or outside of marriage. “Be fruitful and multiply” can happen only through heterosexual intercourse in marriage. And it is through heterosexual union that the bride and bridegroom “become one flesh” (Gen 2:24). This “become one flesh” moment is God joining together the man and the woman (v.6). Homosexuality is outside God’s creation order and design, and thus, God cannot be inside a homosexual marriage. If the Creator God approves homosexuality, He makes a mockery of His own character and creation.

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A PPLICATION

What orientation or attitude do I need to change regarding human sexuality as God has made and designed it to be?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

Our Creator God, You have made sexuality beautiful to be a precious gift for humankind.

■ Give thanks:

But fallen humanity has corrupted it so perversely. And sadly, we Your people, saved and called to be holy,

■ Pray for leaders:

have let ourselves be likewise corrupted in our sexuality. Be merciful to us, O Holy God! Deliver us! Purge us of our

■ Pray for significant people:

impurities! Grant us Godfearing hearts!

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

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06 TUESDAY

MARCH

“My Garden… His Garden”

S CRIPTURE

Song of Songs 4:12 – 5:1

O BSERVATION What observations can you make about marriage in verses 4:12 – 5:1?

Deeper Reflection GOD HAS CREATED SEX as a vital element in marriage, not just for procreation (Gen 1:27-28), but also for pleasure, as portrayed poetically in the Song of Songs. The Song of Songs is “a collection of loosely related love poems, an erotic anthology”3, expressing the desires, feelings and acts of a couple “in clear erotic elements”4. The central climax of the Song is the consummation of marriage in full sexual union and communion in verses 4:16 to 5:1.5 The term “garden” is “a euphemism for the female genitalia”6. In this sexual union, the bride invites her bridegroom to “come into” “my garden”, so that it becomes “his garden” (v.16), which is then echoed in the bridegroom’s “my garden” (v.1). Before their marriage, the bridegroom-to-be celebrates his lover’s preservation of virginity, that she is “a garden locked…a rock garden locked, a spring sealed up” (v.12) – “a garden locked, secure, a private flowing fountain spring, her waters running pure. A stranger has no access there to taste her flowing streams, nor trespass in to penetrate her secret shady quarters, a perfect place of privilege, a tangled hedge about her spring to guard against intruders”7. “Do not stir up love (lovemaking)8 until the appropriate time” (Song 2:7; 3:5) ought to be the refrain of courting couples as in the Song of Songs.

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A PPLICATION

How will I apply the principle of sexual purity in the Song of Songs personally or in the Christian community?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application

■ Give thanks:

of the Scriptures.

■ Pray for pastors and staff: To have authenticity, boldness and wisdom in discipling people in sexual purity

■ Pray for significant people:

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

3

Raymond Dillard & Tremper Longman III, An Introduction to the Old Testament (Zondervan, 1994), 259 G. Lloyd Carr, The Song of Solomon, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (IVP, 1984), 36 Tom Gledhill, The Message of the Song of Songs (IVP, 1994), 164 6 G. Lloyd Carr, 64 7 Tom Gledhill, 74 – his free paraphrase of the Song of Songs 4:16 8 The word “love” in Song of Songs 2:7; 3:5 is “love-making, or sexual desire,” Tom Gledhill, 128 4 5

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07

WEDNESDAY

MARCH

The Better Half of Your Youth

S CRIPTURE

Proverbs 5:15-20

O BSERVATION What do verses 15 to 20 say about sexual intimacy in marriage?

Deeper Reflection IN VERSES 15 TO 20, the wise father urges his son to find his sexual fulfilment with his wife rather than another woman: “Drink water from your own cistern…from your own well” (v.15). “Cistern” and “well” are “highly erotic images” which “refer to the wife”9 and “water” “stands for quenching one’s sexual thirst”10. The wife is described as “a loving hind and a graceful doe” (v.19a) which “symbolise womanly attractiveness and beauty”11 and the husband is to be satisfied by “her breasts” which represents “the wife’s erogenous members”12, and be intoxicated in her love, meaning lovemaking13 (v.19b). This passage of Scripture can be quite easily applied by young men in a young marriage. But how does it speak to long-married old men with wives whose breasts are sagging? The satisfaction and intoxication is to be “at all times” and “always” (v.19b) – throughout the married life. Sexual intimacy is more than sexual intercourse. It is essentially relational, not just physical. A man can still “rejoice in the wife of your youth” (v.18), even when she is no more a youth, when he keeps his covenant of love made with the wife of his youth before God (cf. Mal 2:14). Love is larger than lovemaking.

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A PPLICATION

How will I respond to biblical wisdom’s call to rejoice in the better half of one’s youth throughout married life?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

Lord, we pray for the married couples in our church that they will

■ Give thanks:

walk with You faithfully, enthroning You as Lord of their lives and marriage, and growing deeper in

■ Pray for leaders:

Your love and their love for and delight in each other. Keep them from falling into marital unfaithfulness.

■ Pray for significant people:

Alert them to the slightest sign of the way to the selfdestructive entrapment. Amen.

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

9

Tremper Longman III, Proverbs, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms (Baker, 2006), 161 Bruce K. Waltke, The Book of Proverbs Chapters 1-15, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Eerdmans, 2004), 317 11 Roland E. Murphy, Proverbs, Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 22 (Nelson, 1998), 32 12 Bruce K. Waltke, 321 13 Bruce K. Waltke, 322; David Atkinson, The Message of Proverbs, The Bible Speaks Today (IVP, 1996), 74 10

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08 THURSDAY

MARCH

Rightful Due of the Other

S CRIPTURE

1 Corinthians 7:1-4

O BSERVATION What does Paul say about sexual relations in marriage in verses 3 to 4?

Deeper Reflection PROVERBS 5:15-2014 by no means portrays the wife merely as a means for the husband’s sexual fulfilment, albeit its presentation is somewhat one-sided. 1 Corinthians 7:1-9, where Paul talks about marriage and sex, gives a more complete picture. There were members in the Corinthian congregation who advocate “total abstinence from sexual union”15, using the maxim “It is a good thing for a man not to have sexual intimacy with a woman”16 (v.1). Paul’s response was: Sexual union is a “duty” that a married couple “must fulfil” towards each other (v.3). “Duty” is “literally ‘the payment of what is due’”17, implying that married couples are “indebted to one another sexually”18. Why? Because “by the marriage vow each relinquishes the exclusive right to his or her body, and gives the other a claim to it”19 (v.4). The application Paul intended is not “You owe me”, but “I owe you”. “You owe me” is selfish demand; “I owe you” is self-giving love. Paul’s emphasis is on the full mutuality and reciprocity of sexuality in marriage – against the prevailing culture of sex being viewed as the husband’s privilege and the wife’s obligation.

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A PPLICATION

How will I respond to the biblical teaching of mutuality and reciprocity of sexuality in marriage?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application

■ Give thanks:

of the Scriptures.

■ Pray for leaders:

■ Pray for significant people:

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

14

See Devotional Journal entry on March 7 Anthony C. Thiselton, 1 Corinthians: A Shorter Exegetical & Pastoral Commentary (Eerdmans, 2006), 101 Anthony C. Thiselton, 1 Corinthians, 100 – his translation of 1 Corinthians 7:1 17 Gordon D. Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Eerdmans, 1987), 279 18 Gordon D. Fee, 279 19 F. F. Bruce, 1 and 2 Corinthians, The New Century Bible Commentaries (Eerdmans and Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1971), 67 15 16

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09 FRIDAY

MARCH

Sex, Solitude and Satan

S CRIPTURE

1 Corinthians 7:5

O BSERVATION What does Paul say about sex in marriage in verse 5?

Deeper Reflection PAUL TALKS about sex, solitude and Satan in verse 5. “Stop depriving one another” – sex; “that you may devote yourselves to prayer” – solitude; “that Satan will not tempt you” – Satan. How are the three ideas interrelated in this one verse? Some members in the Corinthian congregation “insisted that ‘the spiritual’ should avoid sex”20. To this pastoral situation Paul gave the imperative: “Stop depriving one another” of sexual fulfilment. A couple may put sexual intimacy on hold for one reason – to “devote yourselves to prayer”, and on one condition – “by agreement” − that is, mutual consent. But what if there is no agreement? Which should take the priority? Sex or solitude? In the context of what Paul said in verses 3 to 4, the priority is sex. Why? “Because of your lack of self-control” – a real human struggle or weakness, which Paul recognised and accepted. And because Satan will tempt the one lacking self-control. That is why, even if there is mutual consent to put sex on hold to have solitude, it must be “for a set time”21 agreed upon. Ultimately, whether it is sex or solitude, there must be mutuality (1 Cor 7:3-5), protecting each other against Satan’s sexual temptations.

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A PPLICATION

How do I view spiritual warfare in the light of Paul’s teaching on marriage and sex?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application

■ Give thanks:

of the Scriptures.

■ Pray for lay leaders: To have sensitive and self-giving mutuality and reciprocity in their marriage

■ Pray for significant people:

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

20 21

Anthony C. Thiselton, 1 Corinthians, 101 Gordon D. Fee, 281

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10

SATURDAY

MARCH

When Sex Becomes Idolatry

S CRIPTURE

Romans 1:22-27

O BSERVATION What observations can you make about the verb “exchanged” in verses 22 to 27 (vv. 23, 25, 26b-27)?

Deeper Reflection IN VERSES 22 TO 27, Paul links idolatry and sexual sins directly by the word “exchanged”. Idolatry is exchanging God’s glory and truth for something else lesser than God. The first idolatrous “exchanged” (v.23) leads to “the passionate desire for forbidden pleasure”22 and “sexual impurity” (v.24). The second idolatrous “exchanged” (v.25) leads to the exchange of “natural” sexual relations for the “unnatural” (vv.26b-27). By “natural” and “unnatural” Paul means in accordance with and contrary to the Creator’s intention respectively.23 Paul’s point is: “deviation from God leads to deviation from the right and proper use of nature”24. Sexual relations between a husband and wife is “natural” – “intended as a gift of God to reflect His glory”25. Thus, violation and perversion of what the Creator intended is idolatry.26 Pornography is idolatrous, because it is “worshiping the human body via sexually explicit pictures”27. If finding sexual pleasure is our supreme quest, our only purpose, the only thing we think about, then sex becomes our god.28 When sexual impurity and immorality are having a frequent or regular place in our lives without us dealing with it, sex has become our idol.

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A PPLICATION

How does the danger of sex becoming idolatry affect my life and ministry?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application

■ Give thanks:

of the Scriptures.

■ Pray for church board: To have protection and deliverance from the idolatry of sex

■ Pray for significant people:

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

22

Leon Morris, The Epistle to the Romans (Eerdmans, IVP, 1988), 88 – citing William Barclay C. E. B. Cranfield, Romans: A Shorter Commentary (Eerdmans, 1985), 35 Anthony C. Thiselton, Discovering Romans: Content, Interpretation, Reception (SPCK, 2016), 87 25 Rodney Reeves, Spirituality According to Paul: Imitating the Apostle of Christ (IVP Academic, 2011), 60 26 Thomas R. Schreiner, Romans, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Baker, 1998), 94 27 Rodney Reeves, 60 28 Rodney Reeves, 62 23 24

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11

SUNDAY

Sunday Journal

MARCH

S CRIPTURE

O BSERVATION

A PPLICATION

P RAYER

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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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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 WEEK 2 MARCH 2018

SHOULD I WALK AWAY FROM A FIGHT? * We don’t have to fight back when we know God is for us. Scripture: Genesis 26:1-6, 12-29; Romans 14:19 ACTIVITY BITE Search the Internet about the different types of martial arts like karate and boxing. Find out why people want to practise them. CHAT TIME Q1: Why do people fight in a quarrel? What are they trying to achieve? Q2: Have any of your friends made you angry or treated you badly before? Did you feel like fighting back? Why or why not? Q3: How would you feel if there was someone bigger and stronger protecting and fighting for you? Why would you feel this way? LEARNING POINT Genesis 26 tells us that the Philistines and the Israelites argued a lot over land and wells for water. When the Philistines wanted to take over Isaac’s wells, he did not fight back. Instead, he walked away. Isaac chose peace because he trusted God to take care of him. Later in the story, the Philistines come back to Isaac to make peace with him. They saw that God was with him. They saw that no matter where Isaac went, he found water in his wells. You don’t have to fight back. But of course, if you are ever worried about your safety, you should always tell an adult. When you choose to trust God, He will take care of all things and others will also see that God is with you. ACTION POINT Make a simple award badge and decorate it with the words “Trust God. Walk away from a fight”. Pin it some place where you can see it as a reminder each time you feel like fighting back. FAMILY PRAYER POINTS Pray that God will give you the courage to walk away from a fight and the faith to trust Him to take care of all things. * Adapted from 252Basics, March2018. www.ThinkOrange.com

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50

12 MONDAY

MARCH

God’s Wrath Is Revealed

S CRIPTURE

Romans 1:16-28

O BSERVATION How is the wrath of God revealed according to verses 18 to 28?

Deeper Reflection “THE WRATH OF GOD is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (v.18). It is in the present tense – a present reality. God’s wrath is revealed through “God gave them over”, and in relation to the three “exchanges” in idolatry and sexual sins – “sexual impurity” in general (vv.23-24) and “unnatural” female to female and male to male sexual relations in particular (vv.25-28). The “unnatural” sexual relations themselves are “the due penalty” “received in their own persons” (v.27). That is, “moral perversion is the result of God’s wrath, not the cause of it”29. “Gave them over” is a term often used to describe imprisonment.30 “God gave them over” means: “imprisoned by their own cravings, they are chained to their baser appetites”31. Now, this is also true for other forms of sexual impurity (v.24). Let’s not be presumptuous that Christians who “go on sinning wilfully” in sexual sins are not inside this circle of God’s wrath (Heb 10:26-27). This is not the total picture of God’s wrath. Paul expounds on this theme from Romans 1:18 to 3:20 to show that all people are sinners (Rom 3:9) who need “the gospel” – “the power of God for salvation” − from God’s wrath through the cross (vv.16-18; Rom 5:8-9).

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A PPLICATION

How does the wrath of God as a present reality affect the way I look at sexual sins?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

O Righteous God, Your wrath is an act of judgment and mercy, deliberately allowing

■ Give thanks:

the unrighteous and ungodly to go their own way that they might learn to hate the futility of a life turned away

■ Pray for leaders:

from the truth of God. We pray that the Holy Spirit will convict them concerning sin, righteousness and judgment32

■ Pray for significant people:

unto their salvation. Amen.

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

29 30 31 32

Anthony C. Thiselton, Romans, 86 – citing Ernst Kasemann Rodney Reeves, 62 Rodney Reeves, 62 John 16:8

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13

TUESDAY

MARCH

Holy Temple, Crucified Flesh

S CRIPTURE

1 Corinthians 6:18-20; Galatians 5:16-21, 24

O BSERVATION How can we keep ourselves from sexual sins according to Paul (vv.18-20; Gal 5:16-17, 24)?

Deeper Reflection PAUL GAVE THE CORINTHIANS the injunction “Flee immorality” (v.18) “because some husbands are being deprived of sexual relations (1 Cor 7:5a), they are going to the prostitutes (1 Cor 6:15)”33. “Flee immorality” applies by extension to any form of sexual sin. Paul tells us what can keep us from sexual sins: “know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you” (v.19a) – God’s holy presence dwelling in us and thus, “You do not belong to yourself ” (v.19b, NLT). In this holy temple, we are to “present” to God our “bodies” “a living and holy sacrifice” (Rom 12:1), “presenting to God the members of your body” – brain, eyes, hands and feet – “as instruments of righteousness” (Rom 6:13). But, within us is the ongoing conflict between the flesh and the Spirit (Gal 5:17). However, “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal 5:24). And when we “walk by the Spirit”, that is, follow Jesus, this already-crucified-flesh reality takes effect and “you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Gal 5:16). All these form the foundation of biblical discipleship, apart from which we cannot overcome sexual sins, however hard we try.

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A PPLICATION

What areas in my life do I need to pay attention to in relation to my body being the temple of the Holy Spirit?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application

■ Give thanks:

of the Scriptures.

■ Pray for pastors and staff:

To walk by the Spirit and not carry out fleshly desires

■ Pray for significant people:

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

33

Gordon D. Fee, 278

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14

WEDNESDAY

MARCH

Battling Against Sexual Temptations

S CRIPTURE

Matthew 4:1-11; Romans 6:12-13

O BSERVATION What can you draw from verses 1 to 11 and Romans 6:12-13 that can be used to battle against temptations?

Deeper Reflection WE BATTLE AGAINST SEXUAL TEMPTATIONS by walking by the Spirit (Gal 5:16, 24). Ask God to fill and empower you with the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18; Lk 11:13), and to guard your eyes, thoughts, desires and feelings from sexual temptations both from without and within – your “own evil desire” (Jas 1:14), an “innate tendency towards sin”34. When sexual temptation comes, deflect it with the Word of God, using specific Scriptures that counter the temptation directly35 − like Jesus did (vv.4, 7, 10). Let the Scriptures run through your mind again and again until the temptation leaves you. Pray as you use the Scriptures. Memorise the specific Scriptures for battle readiness. At the same time, gear into bodily obedience, “presenting the members of your body…as instruments of righteousness to God” (Rom 6:13). Like keeping your eyes from looking at someone or something that could lead to temptation, your feet from going to places you ought not to and your fingers from keying in the words that lead to pornographic websites. Be accountable to your spouse and fellow believers. Alert them when you face temptation – and not just confess to them after you have sinned.

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A PPLICATION

What action(s) do I need to take in battling against sexual temptations?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

Lord, be gracious and merciful to me for I am weak. Keep me from sexual

■ Give thanks:

temptations from without and within me. Fill me and empower me with Your Spirit that I may walk by

■ Pray for leaders:

the Spirit. Strengthen me to discipline my body in the Spirit to avoid and not to pass by any source of

■ Pray for significant people:

temptation, but to turn away from it and pass on.36 Amen.

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

34 35 36

Douglas J. Moo, The Letter of James, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Eerdmans, Apollos, 2000), 74 Scriptures like Ephesians 5:3, 1 Peter 2:11 and Proverbs 4:14-15 Proverbs 4:15

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15

THURSDAY

MARCH

Battling Against Lustful Looking

S CRIPTURE

Matthew 5:27-28; Job 31:1

O BSERVATION What does the Word of God say about men and lustful looking? (vv.27-28; Job 31:1)?

Deeper Reflection DURING A CHRISTIAN OPEN FORUM attended by some 300 college students discussing the impact of American culture on Christian spirituality, a student said bluntly, “Pornography is mainstream. Saying, ‘I won’t look at it’ is naïve. Today, it’s not a matter of ‘if ’. It’s a matter of ‘how often’.” There was silence in the room. None of the students felt obliged to offer a rebuttal.37 This state of things is true not just in America. But even for men who avoid pornographic sites on the internet, they have other battlefronts to fight against lustful looking, like sexual images on the media that are not explicitly pornographic, but powerfully tempting. Walking on the streets and taking public transport, men cannot avoid seeing women who are dressed in ways that can stir a man’s sexual feeling at the unintended first look. It’s an age-old men-battle. Even the ancient God-fearing Job had to make a covenant with his eyes (Job 31:1). Christian women will do well to dress “properly, modestly and discreetly” as befits godly women (1 Tim 2:9-10), and all the more so in church, to spare the brothers another battlefront. It edifies the weak brothers with love (Rom 14:15 – change “food” to “dressing”).

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A PPLICATION

What do I need to do concerning temptations to lustful looking?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application

■ Give thanks:

of the Scriptures.

■ Pray for leaders:

■ Pray for significant people:

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

37

Rodney Reeves, 62

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16 FRIDAY

MARCH

A Man After God’s Heart?

S CRIPTURE

1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22 with 2 Samuel 3:2-5; 5:13; 11:1-4

O BSERVATION What observations can you make about David and sex when you look at verse 14 and Acts 13:22 with 2 Samuel 3:2-5; 5:13; 11:1-4 together?

Deeper Reflection IN 2016, after a member of parliament’s fall into an extramarital affair, Dr John Ng of Eagles Communications shared his reflection on why powerful leaders fall easily into extramarital affairs: Because powerful men are greatly admired, more vulnerable, emotionally exhausted and believe they are invincible. Being alert to these can be a safeguard. But that reflection led me to consider the greatest safeguard: being a man or woman after God’s heart. If not this, then what else? But Scripture tells us that the man after God’s heart fell into adultery (1 Sam 13:14; Ac 13:22; 2 Sam 11:1-4). My heart cried out, “What hope do we have then?” While having six wives (2 Sam 3:2-5), King David “took more concubines and wives” (2 Sam 5:13). But all these seemed to be insufficient to satisfy David sexually that he wrongfully went for Bathsheba. Here’s a hard reality. A man after God’s heart overpowered by his passion. Our application is not just “Don’t be like David”, but also “We can be like David”. Growing to be after God’s heart does not make us feel stronger, but weaker, whereby daily before the throne of grace we desperately cry out, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Heb 4:15-16; Lk 18:13).

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A PPLICATION

What does knowing the person David was, a man after God’s heart, say to me as a disciple of Jesus?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application

■ Give thanks:

of the Scriptures.

■ Pray for lay leaders: To walk with God with a broken spirit and a contrite heart

■ Pray for significant people:

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

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17

SATURDAY

MARCH

Though I Fall I Will Rise

S CRIPTURE

Micah 7:1-10, 18-20

O BSERVATION What observations can you make about God regarding His people sinning against Him in verses 1 to 10 and 18 to 20?

Deeper Reflection THE MORAL AND SPIRITUAL CONDITION of God’s people, Judah, in the days of Micah was: “The godly person has perished from the land, and there is no upright person among men” (v.2), “both hands are equally skilled in doing evil” (v.3, NLT), “even the best of them is like a brier; the most honest is as dangerous as a hedge of thorns” (v.4a, NLT). As such, “judgment day is coming swiftly” on the sinful Judah through an enemy nation (v.4b). We may have sinned against God to a point that He judges us (cf. 1 Cor 11:30-31). However, when in brokenness and contriteness, like Judah, we acknowledge before God that we “have sinned against Him” and deservedly “bear the indignation of the Lord” (v.9), there is the redemptive hope of “Though I fall I will rise” and “Though I dwell in darkness, the Lord is a light for me” (v.8). How could God be my light in the darkness of His judgment upon me? The answer lies in the Cross. However deep and often we fall into sin, including sexual sins, we can say “Though I fall I will rise”. For in His “unchanging love”, God “pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious acts” of His people (v.18) and “He will again have compassion on us” (v.19).

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61

A PPLICATION

In what areas of my life do I need the redemptive hope of “Though I fall I will rise”?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application

■ Give thanks:

of the Scriptures.

■ Pray for church board: To have a pure heart and a resolute spirit from God ■ Pray for significant people:

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

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18 SUNDAY

Sunday Journal

MARCH

S CRIPTURE

O BSERVATION

A PPLICATION

P RAYER

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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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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 WEEK 3 MARCH 2018

CAN I BRING PEACE TO OTHERS? * Show that you care more about others by being the peacemaker. Scripture: 1 Samuel 25:1-35; Matthew 5:9 ACTIVITY BITE Have two people pretend to have an argument with each other, while you try and settle the conflict. Let each one tell you why he or she is not happy with the other person. After that, suggest one thing that both of them can do to have peace again. CHAT TIME Q1: When you have disagreements, does it help to understand how the other person feels? Why or why not? Q2: How did you feel about helping the two people become friends again after an argument? Q3: Read 1 Samuel 25:32-34. Why would David say those things? How does that encourage you in being a peacemaker? LEARNING POINT In 1 Samuel 25, Abigail acted quickly to make peace. She kept David from acting in anger and doing something he would regret. She saved Nabal’s entire family. She saw the problem and worked quickly to find a peaceful solution. She knew that fighting wasn’t the answer. David was thankful that God had sent Abigail to calm him down. He praised her good sense and peacemaking skills, and he thanked her for what she had done. Abigail cared enough to be a part of the solution, and that’s what we should do too. If we care enough for others, God will use us to be His peacemaker. ACTION POINT If there is someone you have just had an argument with, go quickly to make peace with that person. If not, commit yourself to God to use you as a peacemaker. FAMILY PRAYER POINTS Pray that God will help the people in the church to live at peace with each other and settle all arguments in His love. * Adapted from 252Basics, March2018. www.ThinkOrange.com

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19 MONDAY

MARCH

Wait and Pray

S CRIPTURE

Acts 1:4-8, 12-14

O BSERVATION What observations can you make about the idea of “wait” (v.4) in verses 4 to 8 and 12 to 14?

Deeper Reflection JESUS COMMANDED HIS DISCIPLES to “wait” at Jerusalem to receive the promised Holy Spirit for empowerment (vv.4-8). But they “prayed” (v.14). The command was not “wait and pray”, but they understood that they were to wait by praying. The focus of their prayer was the promised Holy Spirit, applying the principle of praying according to the Word of God. Linking prayer to the Holy Spirit is a key idea in Luke-Acts. Jesus began His mission on earth at His baptism when “while He was praying…the Holy Spirit descended upon Him” (Lk 3:21-22). There is no mention of Jesus praying in the parallel account in Matthew and Mark (Matt 3:16; Mk 1:9-10). The exalted Jesus continues from heaven “all that He began to do and teach” through His church (Acts 1:1-2), and it similarly began with the church praying for the Holy Spirit. The church is to follow Jesus in being “full of the Holy Spirit…led around by the Spirit” (Lk 4:1) and in fulfilling her mission “in the power of the Spirit” (Lk 4:14). Our waiting “implies that the things that need doing in the world are beyond our ability to accomplish solely by our own effort, our programmes and crusades”38. We need to wait and pray to be “clothed with power from on high” (Lk 24:49).

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A PPLICATION In what areas of my life do I need to practise waiting and praying?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

O Holy Spirit of God, come into my heart and fill me. I open the window of my soul

■ Give thanks:

to let You in. I surrender my whole life to You. Come and possess me, fill me with light and truth. Fill me so that I

■ Pray for leaders:

may live the life of the Spirit, the life of truth and goodness, the life of beauty and love and the life of wisdom and

■ Pray for significant people:

strength.39 Amen.

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

38 39

William H. Willimon, Acts, Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching (John Knox, 1988), 21 Angela Ashwin, The Book of a Thousand Prayers (Zondervan, 1996, 2002), 32

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20 TUESDAY

MARCH

The Greatest Request

S CRIPTURE

Luke 11:9-13

O BSERVATION What is the significance of Jesus concluding His teaching on prayer in verses 9 to 13 by asking God for the Holy Spirit?

Deeper Reflection IN VERSES 9 TO 13, the two words “ask” and “give” are each repeated five times, underlining the motif of assurance regarding answered prayer. How Jesus assures us of answered prayer: The promise of “ask and it will be given to you” and its variants are repeated six times in verses 9 to 10. What is the significance? Jesus is giving us a six-fold promise and assurance of God giving us what we ask of Him. Then Jesus reinforces this assurance by showing the kind of father God is to us. If our “evil” earthly fathers “will not give” us evil things (snakes and scorpions) when we ask for our basic needs (fish and egg), but give us “good gifts” instead (vv.11-13a), “how much more” will our heavenly Father give us what we ask (v.13b). But, the ultimate point that Jesus is driving at in the six verses of immense assurance is what He wants us to ask most: “the Holy Spirit” (v.13b). Jesus applies the concept of “how much more” specifically to this greatest request that we can ever make to God. The “gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38) “is never an assured possession of the church. It is a gift, one which must be constantly sought anew in prayer”40. “Come, Holy Spirit!” And we have the six-fold promise and assurance of “how much more”.

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A PPLICATION

How will I respond to what Jesus teaches on asking God for the Holy Spirit?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application

■ Give thanks:

of the Scriptures.

■ Pray for pastors and staff: To have a Spirit-empowered and Spirit-directed life and ministry

■ Pray for significant people:

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

40

William H. Willimon, 21

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21

WEDNESDAY

MARCH

The Praying Church

S CRIPTURE

Acts 1:13-15

O BSERVATION How did the early church pray according to verses 13 to 15?

Deeper Reflection PRAYER IS A KEY THEME in Luke-Acts, it is mentioned 47 times (22 times in Luke; 25 times in Acts). How did the early church pray? Praying as a community: 120 persons gathered to pray (v.15). In Jewish law, a minimum of 120 Jewish men was required to form a new community.41 But this gathering of 120 did not only include men, it also included “women” (v.14) – who accompanied Jesus from Galilee (Lk 8:2-3; 23:49, 55; 24:10-11). Under the new covenant, “all are one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28) as a multi-gender community. It is of great significance that Luke mentions “women” (v.14) immediately after the apostles (v.13). Praying in unity – “with one mind” (v.14). The Greek word for “one mind” occurs five times in Acts (v.14; 2:46; 4:24; 5:12; 15:25 – cf. 4:32). The early church was marked by unity. Praying together is crucial, for it builds, maintains and restores unity. Praying with continuity: devoting, continuing and persisting in prayer (v.14). Arthur T. Pierson, an American Presbyterian pastor and missionary, said, “There has never been a revival in any country that has not begun in united prayer.” However, he also noted that “no revival has ever continued beyond the duration of those prayer meetings.”42

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A PPLICATION

How will I make myself part of a praying church?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

Lord, You have said how we ought always to pray and not lose heart but so often,

■ Give thanks:

our spirit is willing but our flesh is weak. Teach us to pray. Let us be concerned as much for Your glory

■ Pray for leaders:

as for our need. Hear our prayers, not according to the poverty of our asking, but according to the riches

■ Pray for significant people:

of Your glory. Teach us to pray often, that we may pray oftener. Amen.

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

41 42

I. Howard Marshall, Acts, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (IVP, 1980), 64 Cited by William J. Larkin Jr., Acts, IVP New Testament Commentary (IVP, 1995), 45

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22 THURSDAY

MARCH

Seeking Divine Direction (1)

S CRIPTURE

Acts 1:15-26

O BSERVATION What can you learn about seeking divine direction from the way the early church went about replacing Judas Iscariot in the apostolic ministry from verses 15 to 22?

Deeper Reflection THE EARLY CHURCH sought God’s direction in getting a replacement for Judas Iscariot in the apostolic ministry (vv.15-26). We can gather from here certain principles for seeking divine direction. Scripture: The Scripture was foundational in the early church’s seeking divine direction – “the Scripture had to be fulfilled” (v.16), “for it is written in the book of Psalms” (v.20). They acted in the light of Scripture and applied Scripture to their situation. When I was 17 and feeling lost regarding my future, a church leader kept asking me, “What is your plan?” My only plan then was “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt 6:33). Necessity: The 11 apostles saw the “necessity” (v.21) of having a 12th apostle to complete their representation of the 12 tribes of restored faithful Israel43 in God’s redemptive plan (Lk 22:28-30) as “a witness with us of His resurrection” (v.22). God does not expect us to seek His direction every time in everything. But we will know what and when it is of “necessity” when we walk with God faithfully. He whose faithfulness is infinitely greater than ours will surely lead us in this.

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A PPLICATION

In what areas of my life do I need to apply the principles of “Scripture” and “Necessity” in seeking God’s direction?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application

■ Give thanks:

of the Scriptures.

■ Pray for leaders:

■ Pray for significant people:

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

43

William S. Kurz, SJ, Acts of the Apostles, Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture (Baker, 2013), 42; William H. Willimon, 23

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23 FRIDAY

MARCH

Seeking Divine Direction (2)

S CRIPTURE

Acts 1:15-26

O BSERVATION What can you learn about seeking divine direction from the way the early church went about replacing Judas Iscariot in the apostolic ministry from verses 23 to 26?

Deeper Reflection INTENTION: The early church’s intention in seeking divine direction was theocentric. They sought for the one “You have chosen” (v.24) to “occupy this ministry and apostleship” (v.25). Do we seek God’s will for our lives anthropocentrically just to feel secure, or theocentrically to live our lives “worthy of the Lord” (Col 1:9-10)? Wisdom: Joseph and Matthias were nominated (v.23) because they met the criteria required (vv.21-22), and certainly, the community knew their character. Corporate wisdom was exercised. Wisdom, the ability to navigate life, is necessary in determining what, why, when and how to choose the best thing to do in a particular situation. Wisdom is something we grow in personally and is given by God situationally (Jas 1:5). Prayer: Having done every necessary thing, “they prayed” in humble submission to God to “show” the one “You have chosen” (v.24). And they were confident, not presumptuous, that God’s hand was on the “lots” (v.26). Heart: At the centre of seeking divine direction is God, “who knows the hearts of all men” (v.24). On our human part, it is a matter of the heart. God’s hand is assuredly on a Godcentred heart.

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A PPLICATION

In what areas of my life do I need to apply the principles of intention, wisdom, prayer and heart in seeking God’s direction?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application

■ Give thanks:

of the Scriptures. ■ Pray for lay leaders: To have spiritual wisdom and understanding to know God’s will

■ Pray for significant people:

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

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24 SATURDAY

MARCH

Discipleship and Mystery

S CRIPTURE

Luke 6:12-16; Acts 1:15-20

O BSERVATION What observations can you make about prayer, Scripture and Judas Iscariot in verses 12 to 16 and Acts 1:15-20?

Deeper Reflection JESUS “SPENT THE WHOLE NIGHT in prayer to God” before He “chose” His 12 apostles (vv.12-16), and yet among them was Judas Iscariot. Now, this is very striking in the light of Luke’s great emphasis on prayer in Luke-Acts.44 It seems as if the praying of the best in prayer “has failed” in some way. Here is a mystery of God and prayer. Despite that, Luke’s emphasis on prayer calls us “to pray” “at all times” and “not to lose heart” (Lk 18:1). Against this backdrop in Luke-Acts, Judas’ betrayal of Jesus was a fulfilment of Scripture (Acts 1:16). Another mystery. However, it was not such that Judas could turn to God and say, “You and the Scriptures have fixed me up. I have no choice. And I cannot change it even if I want to.” On the contrary, Judas himself took responsibility for the betrayal by taking his own life (Acts 1:18; cf. Matt 27:3-5). Significantly, the one who led the exercise to replace Judas (Acts 1:15-22) denied his Lord thrice recently. “The church meets no failure or deceit in the world that it has not encountered in itself – even among those who founded and led the very first congregation.”45 We all can fail and fall like Peter and Judas, but we can choose to be like Peter, and not Judas.

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A PPLICATION

How can I be sure that I will remain secure in God’s hand when I stumble and fall badly in my discipleship journey?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application

■ Give thanks:

of the Scriptures.

■ Pray for church board: To have spiritual sensitivity to subtle straying away from God ■ Pray for significant people:

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

44 45

Prayer is mentioned 47 times in Luke-Acts (22 times in Luke; 25 times in Acts). William H. Willimon, 25

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25 SUNDAY

Sunday Journal

MARCH

S CRIPTURE

O BSERVATION

A PPLICATION

P RAYER

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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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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 WEEK 4 MARCH 2018

WHY MAKE PEACE WITH OTHERS? * We make peace with others because God makes peace with us. Scripture: Romans 5:1; Colossians 3:15 ACTIVITY BITE Draw emojis that represent a relationship without peace on a piece of paper. They could be sad and angry faces, a broken heart or a thumbs-down sign. On another sheet of paper, draw emojis that represent a peaceful relationship like a happy face, a heart, a peace or thumbs-up sign, praying or clapping hands or a rainbow. CHAT TIME Q1: How do the first set of emojis represent a non-peaceful relationship? Q2: How do the second set of emojis represent a peaceful relationship? Q3: Why must we keep a peaceful relationship with one another? LEARNING POINT In the Bible, Apostle Paul was a man who once bullied people who followed Jesus. Then one day, he encountered Jesus himself, and he was changed. Instead of hating and hurting Christians, Paul went around encouraging them. He also shared the news with everyone that Jesus had come to save them. God sent Jesus to earth to make peace with us because our sins have separated us from Him. Because of this peace that He gives us, we can also make peace with our friends, family members and neighbours. ACTION POINT Draw a big smiley face emoji on a card and write the verse Romans 5:1 on it. Make the card as colourful as you can. Pass it to a friend and share about God’s peace and love. You can make a few more for other friends. FAMILY PRAYER POINTS Ask God to help us make peace with those who have done wrong against us. Pray that we can love others with the love of Jesus. * Adapted from 252Basics, March2018. www.ThinkOrange.com

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26 MONDAY

MARCH

The Last Teaching of Jesus

S CRIPTURE

Matthew 26:1-5

O BSERVATION Why did Jesus tell His disciples that He would be crucified?

Deeper Reflection IN MATTHEW 24, Jesus has His final private teaching with His disciples describing the end times. He warns them to be on guard as there will be great tribulation, persecution and false teaching. And then, at a time no one knows, the Son of Man will return to restore His kingdom. He will not only come as a great warrior (Matt 24:30), but as a great judge (Matt 25) of the people. Only the faithful will participate in the marriage feast and the unfaithful will be turned away: “Truly, I say to you, I do not know you” (Matt 25:12). The disciples’ response to this teaching would have been fear and relief. Fear of persecution and judgment, but relief that Jesus will be the ultimate victor. The disciples would have felt assured that they were on the winning side. But Jesus reminded them that victory would come at a great cost – their Messiah would have to be crucified. “Perhaps after the triumphal descriptions of the coming kingdom, the disciples were strengthened in their idea that it was impossible that the Messiah should suffer. Jesus reminded them that this was not the case.”46 The most important battle for Jesus was triumphing over sin and death. Before Jesus could be the triumphant King, He needed to be the sacrificial Lamb. Jesus’ goal was not only to reign over the injustices of the nations, but to restore our broken hearts.

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A PPLICATION

What is my response to Jesus who is both the sacrificial Lamb and the coming King?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

Lord Jesus, You are the Lamb who was slain to save us from sin and death. You are

■ Give thanks:

worthy of all our praise and worship! Worthy of all of our lives! Truly, “salvation belongs to our God who sits on the

■ Pray for leaders:

throne, and to the Lamb”! May “blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and might

■ Pray for significant people:

be to our God forever and ever! Amen”47.

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

46 47

https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/matthew-26/ Revelation 7:10-12.

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27 TUESDAY

MARCH

The Anointing of Jesus

S CRIPTURE

Matthew 26:6-13

O BSERVATION Why did Jesus put such global significance upon the act of this woman?

Deeper Reflection IT WAS AN ORDINARY DINNER with casual conversations among friends. Then something unexpected happened. A woman quietly approached the table not to serve drinks or take away plates. Instead she opened a bottle of precious perfumed oil and poured it on Jesus’ head! Time stood still as the marvelous scent filled the room. The disciples were livid at this extravagant use of perfume on their leader. Jesus had taught them to give to the poor, not to pamper themselves (Matt 25:31-46). What a thoughtless waste! The woman should be scolded and corrected. But instead, Jesus heaped praise on the woman.48 First, Jesus praised her recognition of His office. Such oil was only reserved for the highest offices, such as priests and kings. To her, Jesus was her Saviour and King, hence she lavished on Him with what He deserved. A great symbolic act of her wholehearted love for Jesus. Second, Jesus gave her recognition of her devotion. Jesus predicted that her display of love would follow the Gospel story throughout the world. A vivid picture of how we should relate to One who gave His life for us. Jesus deserves nothing less than all of our hearts, souls and minds (Matt 22:37). The great preacher, Charles Spurgeon, once said, “I wish we were all of us ready to do some extraordinary thing for Christ – willing to be laughed at, to be called fanatics, to be hooted and scandalised because we went out of the common way, and were not content with doing what everybody else could do or approve to be done.”

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A PPLICATION

What can I do to show my deepest gratitude and love to Jesus?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

Write a prayer to God as your response from your

■ Give thanks:

meditation on and application of the Scriptures.

■ Pray for pastors and staff: To learn to love the Lord with all their hearts, minds and souls

■ Pray for significant people:

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

48

She is believed to be Mary, the sister of Lazarus. See John 12:1-8.

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28

WEDNESDAY

MARCH

The Betrayal of Jesus

S CRIPTURE

Matthew 26:14-16

O BSERVATION Why did Judas betray Jesus?

Deeper Reflection IN STARK CONTRAST to the woman’s expensive offering of love to Jesus, Judas betrayed his leader for 30 pieces of silver. This was roughly equivalent to the cost of a slave in the period after the exodus (Exo 21:32). While the woman publicly spared no cost to honour her precious Saviour and King, Judas privately bartered Jesus off like a slave. This draws parallels with the selling of Joseph into slavery by his own brothers (Gen 37:12-36). Two possible reasons for Judas’ betrayal of Jesus are:49 • Perhaps Judas was disappointed with the type of Messiah Jesus revealed Himself to be. The alabaster jar incident was the final straw that made it clear to Judas that he would not gain financially from following Jesus. • Perhaps Judas watched the ongoing conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders and concluded that they were winning and Jesus was losing. Therefore, Judas decided to cut his losses and join the winning side. Judas had built up such resentment towards Jesus that he wanted to sever ties with Him and make a quick profit. Judas had an opportunity to repent during the Last Supper but did not (Matt 26:21-25). After Jesus’ arrest, Judas confessed his sin, returned the money to the priests and then committed suicide (Matt 27:3-5). Judas’ disappointment with his self-constructed image of Jesus and with himself eventually led to his own death.

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A PPLICATION

How can I guard myself from sin and error when I am faced with disappointment in the course of following Jesus?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

Lord Jesus, I confess there are times in my life when You did not meet

■ Give thanks:

my expectations. Please would You meet me in my disappointments and teach me the perspective

■ Pray for leaders:

that all things are in Your hands? Help me to trust that You will keep me through difficult times and cause all

■ Pray for significant people:

things to work together for my good and for Your glory. Amen.

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

49

https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/matthew-26/

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29 THURSDAY

MARCH

The Last Supper with Jesus

S CRIPTURE

Matthew 26:26-29

O BSERVATION How did Jesus change the traditional significance of the Passover?

Deeper Reflection THE JEWISH PASSOVER was an annual event to commemorate their freedom from Egyptian slavery. During the Passover meal, the head of the household would describe the different elements of the Passover meal: the unleavened bread of affliction, the herbs of bitterness, the salt water and the fire-roasted lamb. Every item had a symbolic meaning to remind the next generation of their liberation from Egypt. Shifting thousands of years of tradition, Jesus personalised the Passover elements to Himself: This is my body and this is my blood. The unleavened bread was no longer to be a reminder of their affliction as slaves, but a picture of Jesus’ body being crushed (Isa 53:5) and broken (1 Cor 11:23-24) for them. The cups of wine drank during the recitations of the Passover meal was now a symbol of Jesus’ shed blood for our sins. Jesus’ reinterpretation of the Passover fulfilled the promise of the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31:33-34. The Abrahamic Covenant was sealed with the blood of an animal, but the New Covenant was made in the blood of God’s Son. And instead of an annual tradition, Jesus instructed His disciples to regularly partake in the eucharist (which literally means “thanks” in Greek) until He returns. The Passover created a nation − a mob of slaves were freed from Egypt and became a nation. This new “Passover” also creates a people – all those united in Jesus Christ, remembering and trusting in His sacrifice of Himself for the atonement of their sins.50

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A PPLICATION

How can I keep the regular Holy Communion as a sacred time to remember what Christ has done to save me?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application

■ Give thanks:

of the Scriptures.

■ Pray for leaders:

■ Pray for significant people:

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

50

https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/matthew-26/

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30 FRIDAY

MARCH

The Suffering of Jesus

S CRIPTURE

Matthew 27:26-31

O BSERVATION What were the specific ways in which Jesus suffered?

Deeper Reflection PILATE WAS UNSUCCESSFUL in convincing the crowd to release Jesus. Therefore he had no choice but to release a notorious prisoner, Barabbas, and order Jesus to be subjected to a series of brutal and cruel punishments. First, they scourged Him. Jesus’ back was whipped with leather straps, each having sharp pieces of bone and metal. The blows would tear the skin and then tear into the skeletal muscle. These blows would commonly lessen as a criminal confessed. But Jesus remained silent, taking the full extent and force of the scourging. After Jesus suffered much trauma and blood loss, a whole battalion51 of soldiers (v.27) surrounded Him, stripped Him and scoffed at Him. The Roman soldiers could not resist publicly humiliating the fallen Jewish leader. They dressed Jesus with mock kingly symbols – a scarlet robe, a crown of thorns and a reed scepter. They knelt before Jesus in mock worship and said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” So Jesus was not only rejected by the Jewish religious leaders, He was also mocked by the Roman Empire as represented by the soldiers. The humiliation continued as the soldiers spat on Him and struck his head with the reed scepter, in complete disdain of the so-called Jewish King’s authority symbolised by his scepter. All of this was only the beginning of the suffering Jesus had to endure. His physical, emotional and spiritual suffering continued in His journey to Golgotha, crucifixion on the cross, bearing of further insults and mocking, hanging on the cross for about six hours, and eventual death as one forsaken by God (see Matt 27:32-50).

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91

A PPLICATION

How does what Jesus willingly endured for my sake speak to me about His love for me?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application

■ Give thanks:

of the Scriptures.

■ Pray for lay leaders: To experience deeply the love of Jesus and to love Him wholeheartedly

■ Pray for significant people:

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

51

A Roman battalion or cohort was a tenth of a legion, about 500 to 600 soldiers.

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31

SATURDAY

MARCH

The Empty Tomb of Jesus

S CRIPTURE

Matthew 27:62-28:8

O BSERVATION What is the relevance of the secure yet empty tomb to the Christian faith?

Deeper Reflection NOTICE THE DEPTH OF UNBELIEF the Jewish leaders had towards Jesus. They saw Jesus as a deceiver, though they have witnessed or heard about Him teaching openly about the Kingdom of God, calling people to repent of their sins, healing the sick and bringing the dead back to life. Not content to plot Jesus’ death, the Jewish leaders also proceeded to plan against his foretold resurrection. In so far as human intervention was concerned, the Jewish leaders “succeeded” in making the tomb as secure as they could. With Pilate’s authorisation, the Jewish leaders deployed soldiers to guard the tomb. Such soldiers took their assignments seriously; failure could cost them their lives (Acts 16:26-27). The Jewish leaders did everything they could to keep the body of Jesus inside the tomb. This ensured that there was no way the body of Jesus could have been taken by his followers. Here is the ironic twist – what our opponents meant for evil, God used for good (Gen 50:20). This detailed passage about the secure yet empty tomb only serves to strengthen the truths that: (1) Jesus died and was buried in a tomb, and (2) Jesus was indeed resurrected. God sovereignly worked in and through the unbelief of the Jewish leaders and used their actions to demonstrate the reality of Jesus’ resurrection and to prove that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God and the risen Saviour. Thanks be to God, for the resurrection of Christ is such a cornerstone of the Christian faith: “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” (1 Cor 15:17)

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A PPLICATION

How can I be strengthened in my faith in Christ?

P RAYER

Prayer Pointers

Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application

■ Give thanks:

of the Scriptures.

■ Pray for church board: To grow stronger in their faith in the Lord Jesus ■ Pray for significant people:

■ Pray for those in need:

■ Pray for self:

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Notes

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© 2018 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 2018  
March Devotional Journal 2018