Saturday, 15 September 2018

Persevere in Doing Good for our Nation

Day 40 (15 September 2018, Saturday)


Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

To succeed in its mission despite the mounting challenges, the Church must persevere on in doing good for the nation – to seek righteousness, justice and mercy; to bring the good news to all the people in this land.  We are called to press on.

Make no mistake, this is a long-term endeavour such as in running a marathon or a long distance relay.  It will need many hands to join together and it will take more than one generation to see its fruit and that is why the Church must continuously engage each generation’s young people so that hope and the mission is passed on and taken up anew.

“Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.  “For in this case the saying is true, “One sow and another reaps.  “I sent you to reap that for which you have not laboured; others have laboured and you have entered into their labour.” (John 4:36-38)

As we conclude another season of fast and prayer, let the words of Paul strengthen our hands and reassure our hearts to what God is doing through His people in our nation.

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)



Pray for the Church of Sarawak

Mission Empowered by the Spirit of God

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

A Kingdom Oriented People

Daniel 7:27 And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.


Bible Reading:        1 & 2 Peter                    Ezra 9 – 10



SOURCES


Hope that Gives

Preface for Day 36 - 40:  Harvest and Mission 


By sending off workers to the harvest fields

The Lord of the harvest is building His Bride who will unconditionally to enhance the work of the Kingdom/global missions.

Focusing on East Malaysia (Sarawak)

Sarawak:  2,354,048 (Ethnic Groups:  Iban 30.3%; Malay: 24%; Bidayuh: 8.4%; Malanau: 5.2 %; Other Bumiputera: 6.6%; Chinese: 24.5%; Indian: 0.3%; Others: 0.7%).  Sarawak is the largest state in Malaysia.  It is known as “The Land of Hornbills” for it is the home of a vast number of hornbills, and Sungai Rejang (590km) is the longest river in Malaysia.  The state capital, fondly known a Kuching, “Cat City”, is located on the banks of the wide Sarawak River.

James Brooke was the first “white rajah” who ruled Sarawak from 1841, and the legacy of the Brooke Dynasty and the British can be seen today through many colonial buildings in Kuching.  Sarawak is the only state in Malaysia were Christianity is the major religion (44%), followed by Islam (30%) and Chinese (24.5%).  The Christians in Sarawak are mainly Ibanese, Chinese, Bidayuh, Lumbawang, Kelabit and Other Bumiputeras.

Focusing on praying and implementing mission work on the Great Commission


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SOURCES




Friday, 14 September 2018

Church Exists for Its Non-members

Day 39 (14 September 2018, Friday)


Acts 13:2 – 3 While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”  Then after fasting and praying

Although hope can be fragile and elusive, hope is also a resilient and inexplicably tangible commodity.  Hope drives us on, often when it is in the direst of times.  It motivates us to do the best.  It energises us to turn visions into reality.  In whatever circumstances, hope in the coming Kingdom of God should galvanise Christians to extend his love to a lost and hurting world.

Beyond the Biblical accounts, godly Christians through the ages have acted boldly when faced with dwindling hope.  They persevered on and some paid the ultimate price – Dietrich Bonhoeffer when speaking the truth in the face of Hitler and the Nazification of German society and the German Church; Martin Luther King Jr. in confronting institutionalised racism in the so-called ‘Christian’ nation of America.

Today in our country, the hope to heal a nation that is increasingly fractured by racial, religious and economic differences is steadily bringing the Church together to pray, network, collaborate and partner in a whole range of ministries that build bridges, defend the truth, protect the weak and empower the poor.  There is still much room for improvement and greater inclusion but is it crucial for the Church to build on these initiatives as an output of being sent out by the Lord Jesus to demonstrate the Kingdom of God.



Pray for the Families of Sarawak

The Homeless & the Deprived

Psalm 10:17 – 18 O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.


Fear God and Bear Fruits

Psalm 128:3 – 4 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.  Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the Lord.


Bible Reading:        James 4 – 5              Ezra 1 – 8


SOURCES


Thursday, 13 September 2018

Hope of Healing a Nation

Day 38 (13 September 2018, Thursday)


Luke 9:2 “and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.”

Although hope can be fragile and elusive, hope is also a resilient and inexplicably tangible commodity.  Hope drives us on, often when it is in the direst of times.  It motivates us to do the best.  It energises us to turn visions into reality.  In whatever circumstances, hope in the coming Kingdom of God should galvanise Christians to extend his love to a lost and hurting world.

Beyond the Biblical accounts, godly Christians through the ages have acted boldly when faced with dwindling hope.  They persevered on and some paid the ultimate price – Dietrich Bonhoeffer when speaking the truth in the face of Hitler and the Nazification of German society and the German Church; Martin Luther King Jr. in confronting institutionalised racism in the so-called ‘Christian’ nation of America.

Today in our country, the hope to heal a nation that is increasingly fractured by racial, religious and economic differences is steadily bringing the Church together to pray, network, collaborate and partner in a whole range of ministries that build bridges, defend the truth, protect the weak and empower the poor.  There is still much room for improvement and greater inclusion but is it crucial for the Church to build on these initiatives as an output of being sent out by the Lord Jesus to demonstrate the Kingdom of God.




Pray for the People of Sarawak

Minority People Group:  Eastern Penan

Isaiah 45:8  “Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit; let the earth cause them both to sprout; I the LORD have created it.

(Eastern Penan:  Unchecked logging activities have destroyed forests and its natural resources that are a source of their food and trading items, and polluted rivers as their key source of drinking and washing up.  Girls have been raped by loggers.)

Recognize our Creator & Respond to Him 

Genesis 1:26 – 27 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.  And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.


Bible Reading:        James 1 – 3                             Nehemiah 7 – 13


Remember

Today's Scripture: Ecclesiastes 12 (KJV)


Ecclesiastes 12 (KJV)
1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:

3 In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,

4 And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low;

5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:

6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.

7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

8 Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.

9 And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.

10 The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.

11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.

12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.


Scripture Meaning

(1-7) A description of the infirmities of age.
(8-14) All is vanity: also a warning of the judgment to come.

Verses 1-7
We should remember our sins against our Creator, repent, and seek forgiveness. We should remember our duties, and set about them, looking to him for grace and strength. This should be done early, while the body is strong, and the spirits active.

When a man has the pain of reviewing a misspent life, his not having given up sin and worldly vanities till he is forced to say, I have no pleasure in them, renders his sincerity very questionable. Then follows a figurative description of old age and its infirmities, which has some difficulties; but the meaning is plain, to show how uncomfortable, generally, the days of old age are. As the four verses 2-5, are a figurative description of the infirmities that usually accompany old age, verse 6 notices the circumstances which take place in the hour of death. If sin had not entered into the world, these infirmities would not have been known. Surely then the aged should reflect on the evil of sin.

Verses 8-14
Solomon repeats his text, VANITY OF VANITIES, ALL IS VANITY. These are the words of one that could speak by dear-bought experience of the vanity of the world, which can do nothing to ease men of the burden of sin. As he considered the worth of souls, he gave good heed to what he spake and wrote; words of truth will always be acceptable words.

The truths of God are as goads to such as are dull and draw back, and nails to such as are wandering and draw aside; means to establish the heart, that we may never sit loose to our duty, nor be taken from it. The Shepherd of Israel is the Giver of inspired wisdom. Teachers and guides all receive their communications from him.
The title is applied in Scripture to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The prophets sought diligently, what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. To write many books was not suited to the shortness of human life, and would be weariness to the writer, and to the reader; and then was much more so to both than it is now. All things would be vanity and vexation, except they led to this conclusion, That to fear God, and keep his commandments, is the whole of man.

The fear of God includes in it all the affections of the soul towards him, which are produced by the Holy Spirit. There may be terror where there is no love, nay, where there is hatred. But this is different from the gracious fear of God, as the feelings of an affectionate child. The fear of God, is often put for the whole of true religion in the heart, and includes its practical results in the life.
Let us attend to the one thing needful, and now come to him as a merciful Saviour, who will soon come as an almighty Judge, when he will bring to light the things of darkness, and manifest the counsels of all hearts.
Why does God record in his word, that ALL IS VANITY, but to keep us from deceiving ourselves to our ruin? He makes our duty to be our interest. May it be graven in all our hearts. Fear God, and keep his commandments, for this is all that concerns man.


Scripture Application


Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the Book of Ecclesiastes with Chapter 12.
In our text today we see the preacher advise us on how we are to remember our Creator about who we are and where we came from to remember where we are going as we obey His Word.

In making application we see that we too should remember where we have come from and how the Lord has delivered us from our sin. To remember too where we are going and who we are in Christ to live the Christian life. How about you? Do you see who you are in Christ Jesus? Let us learn from our text today to remember where we came from and our eternal home Heaven as we allow the Lord to live His life in and through us as believers in Him.




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Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Our Responsibility to Spread Hope

Day 37 (12 September 2018, Wednesday)


John 20:21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

Where does hope spring from?  It sprouts from God because when there was no hope, he sent his Son to give life and to inaugurate his Kingdom.  Jesus’ momentary renunciation of his privilege position changed forever the dynamics between life and death, mercy and judgment, hope and hopelessness.

“who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death on a cross.”  (Philippians 2:6-8)

But it also changed the dynamics of our responsibilities.  No longer strangers but his children and co-heirs, the task of continuing his work has fallen on all who believe in him.

Today in our country, Christians may be a minority in the national population (making up about 10% of the population only) but we need to understand our calling as God’s people and play our appointed roles in His mission whether as vocational ministry workers, people in the marketplace, students, retirees, homemakers or any other category.  This way, hope will spread far afield and we will see communities and nations transformed.




Pray for the Land of Sarawak

Cleansed from the Ancestral Tribal Strives & Worship

Ezekiel 36:25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.

Righteousness in Dealing with the Issues of Land

Nehemiah 5:11 Return to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive orchards, and their houses, and the percentage of money, grain, wine, and oil that you have been exacting from them.


Bible Reading:        Philippian 1 – 4                         Nehemiah 1 – 6



SOURCES



Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Self-denial for the Sake of Others!

Day 35 (10 September 2018, Monday)


Luke 9:23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

If one were to follow Christ, one has to deny himself/herself and be self-sacrificial.  What is self-denial?  Is it self-abandonment?  Is it self-sacrifice?  Is it without self-confidence?  Is it self-loathing?  Many times, legalistic Christians are over-rigid and they are concerned that self-confidence, self-respect, and even self-love violate the very demand of God for us to be self-denial.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian, described that Christ is “a man for others” when he concluded the life of Christ.  He discovered that Christ had lived his life fully and completely for others.  He gave up Himself in order for others to receive God’s blessings.  A sacrificial life that carries his or her own cross is on that is willing to pay the price, to not prioritize other’s needs.

Bonhoeffer thought of living for Christ as more than being a godly religious follower, and for us to imitate Christ, and to live for others.  Therefore, living for Christ is living for the needs of others.  When there is a group of selfless people who are willing to die to selves, they will definitely bring changes unto this world of apathy and indifference.




Pray for the Church of Sabah

A Church that is discipled by the Lord

John 8:31 -32 … If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Willing to Pay the Price of Following Jesus

Luke 9:23 – 24 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.


Bible Reading:        Hebrews 12 – 13                        Daniel 1 – 8



SOURCES




Monday, 10 September 2018

Dare to Hope in the Coming Kingdom

Day 36 (11 September 2018, Tuesday)


Jeremiah 20:8 – 9 “For whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, “Violence and destruction!”  For the word of the LORD has become for me a reproach and derision all day long.  If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name, “there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.”

Hope is often times a fragile and elusive commodity.  Just when one thinks relief has come, it can so easily be snuffed out by despair or oppression.  The prophet Jeremiah was a person in such a situation, caught between a rock (God) and a hard place (his hard-headed people).  It seemed an impossible position with little hope for anything positive to come out of this task to proclaim righteousness and justice in a wicked environment.

Still, he stayed the course because he felt overwhelming compelled by God’s calling for him to speak His Word to his people.  Jeremiah was sent for this task and there was no turning back.

Today in our country, there is ostensibly dwindling hope for righteous governance and a more just society; for a healthier climate and a sustainable environment.  Dare we hope in the coming Kingdom of God?




Pray for the Head & Government of Sarawak

Voice of Righteousness

Proverbs 31:8 – 9 Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

The Reign of God over those in Authority

Psalm 103:19 The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.


Bible Reading:        Galatians 1 – 6            Daniel 9 – 12


Sunday, 9 September 2018

Men Who Faithfully Impart the Truth

Day 34 (9 September 2018, Sunday)


2 Timothy 2:2 And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.

Genuineness “become something very rare and precious in a market filled with counterfeits and fakes.  Likewise is our faith.

Is there a way for us to lead and assist others in becoming true disciples of Christ?  The key lies with us first becoming Christ’s disciples.  Regardless of the stage of life, we are in, the position we hold, the title we claim to be in church, and whether we are parents, instructors, mentors or bosses, etc., there is an inevitable fact we all have to face.  Only those throughout their lifetimes who are disciples of Christ are capable of influencing others to become disciples too.

Paul exhorted the Corinthians to imitate him as he imitated Christ.  His former statement will sound too arrogant if there were no subsequent facts to support it.  We end up with mere religious forms and outlooks and are not considered as His disciples the moment we stop following Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Only true disciples magnify their Lord and humble themselves by following Christ step by step, in order to live like Him and to reveal His love and fragrance.  People can see within them virtuous values they have been holding and defending as they live for Christ.  Only people with such values are able to bring forth excitement in others, and they will experience deeply in their hearts the reality of Christ’s life and confess that “You are my living testimony”!




Pray for the Families of Sabah

Parental Discipleship

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk to them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontless between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Breakthrough from Poverty Cycles

Psalm 121:1 – 2 I lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come?  My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.


Bible Reading:        Hebrews 6 – 11                  Isaiah 63 - 66



SOURCES


Saturday, 8 September 2018

Follow Me!

Day 33 (8 September 2018, Saturday)


Matthew 4:19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

There is a scene in the recent Spanish Biblical movie of “Son of God”, which goes like this: Jesus asked Peter, who failed to catch any fish and returned empty-handed in the morning, by the seaside, “Do you need any help?”

Peter looked fatigue and frustrate, and said “You can’:t be of any help.”

Jesus went on board Peter’s boat bluntly.  Peter asked, “What are you doing?”

“Go fishing with you, “Jesus smiled and said.

“I already told you there is no fish to be caught, “Peter said as he intended to leave, but at last he rowed his boat into the deep water and cast down his net.  Finally, the net was almost broken and it was too heavy for him to pull it up.

Peter was exhausted in pulling the net, and he asked, “How could this happen?” while puffing away.

Jesus did not answer Peter.  He gazed at Peter and said, “Follow me!”

“What are we supposed to do?”

“Change the world.”

Neither flattery nor lofty speech was given to the audience, the interpretation of this movie was so straight-forward.

“Come! Follow me!”

“What are we supposed to do?”

“Change the world!”

Brothers and sisters, if there were a choice to be made in this life, will you be willing to follow Jesus and change the world?

Pray for the People of Sabah

Harmony in the midst of Diversity

Romans 12:16-18 Live in harmony with one another.  Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.  Never be wise in your own sight.  Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honourable in the sight of all.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Divine Encounter with the Living God

John 1:9, 12-13 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world…  But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but God.


Bible Reading:        Hebrews 1 – 5              Isaiah 58 - 62


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