Daily Bible Reflection

June's Daily Bible Reflection

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I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14

“Objects in a mirror may appear closer than they appear.”
Scene is a masterful combination of intensity and grim of humour. But sometimes the “monsters “from the past feel like they will never stop pursuing us..
We look in the ‘mirror’ of our lives and see mistakes looming right there, threatening to consume us with guilt or shame.
The apostle Paul understood the past potentially paralyzing power. He’d spent years trying to live perfectly apart from Christ, and even persecuted Christians. Philippians 3:1-9
Regret over his past could easily have crippled him.
But a Paul found such beauty and power in his relationship with Christ that he was compelled to let go of his old life (vs 8-9)
That freed him to look forward in faith instead of backwards in fear or regret” one thing I do is forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal” (vs 13,14)
Our redemption in Christ has freed us to live for Him. We don’t have to let those objects in our ‘mirror’ dictate our direction as we continue forward.
2 June 2019IN GOD’S IMAGE.
God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27

When her beautiful brown skin started losing its colour, a young woman felt frightened, as if she were disappearing, or losing her ‘self’. With heavy makeup she covered “my spots” as she called them.
It was a loss of skin pigment, melanin, which gives skin its tone.
Then one day she asked herself: why hide..... Relying on God’s strength to accept herself, she stopped wearing heavy makeup. Soon she began gaining attention for her self-confidence. Eventually she became a model for a global cosmetic brand.
This woman’s story invites us to remember that we each are created in God’s image, in the image of God created them; male and female” No matter what we look like on the outside, all of us are like image-bearers of God
As His created persons, we reflect his glory; and as believers in Jesus we are being transformed to represent Him in His world
Do you struggle to love the skin you are in....? Today look in the mirror and smile for God. He created you in His image.
“On a bed, I remember you.; I think of you through the watches of the night”
Psalms 63:6
King David earnestly sought and thrusted for the presence of God. (psalm63:1) even from his bed and through the “watches of the night” vs 6. The psalm makes it clear David was troubled. It’s possible the words contained in it reflect his deep sadness over the rebellion of his son Absalom. Yet the night became a time for David to find help and restoration in the shadow of (God’s) wings. Vs 7 In his power and presence
Perhaps you are dealing with some crisis or difficulty in your life, and the night watches have been anything but comforting.
Perhaps your own ‘Absalom’ weighs heavy in your heart and soul. Or other burdens of the family, work or finances plague your time of rest. If so, consider these sleepless moments to be opportunities to call out and cling to God. Allowing His loving hard to uphold you.
4 June 2019CAN WE RELAX.
Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.

As Jesus neared his death, He knew his disciples would need to learn this. They’d soon face a time of upheaval and persecution. To encourage them, Jesus said He would send the Holy Spirit to live with them and remind them of what He had taught. John 14:26) And so he could say” peace I leave with you; my peace I give you... Do not let your heart be troubled and so do not be afraid “(vs 27.) There is plenty we could be upright about in our everyday lives. But we can grow in our trust in God by reminding ourselves that His spirit lives in us, and he offers us His peace. And we draw on his strength, we can hear him in the therapist’s word: Okay, you can relax.
The kingdom of God is like a treasure hidden in field ....
Mathew 13:44
Takes of buried treasures have captured imaginations for centuries, though such discoveries rarely happen. But Jesus tells of a treasure accessible to all who confess their sins and follow him. (John1:12) we will never come to an end of that treasure. As we live our old lives and pursue God and His purposes, we encounter His worth. Through “the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7} God offers us treasure beyond imagination, new life as his sons and daughters, new purpose on earth and the incomprehensible joy of eternity with Him.
They will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God.
Isaiah 35:2
Prophecy Isaiah shares an encouraging vision of hope after delivering God’s message of judgement on all nations. Describing a future time when God will make all things right, the prophet said “ The desert and the parched land will be glad; and the wilderness will rejoice and blossom” (vs 1) He declared God’s rescued people will enter his kingdom” with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads . Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and singing will flee away. (vs10)
With our eternal future secured by God’s promises, we can trust him through life’s seasons of drought and drenching storms.
Deeply rooted in his love, we can grow, blooming into His likeness until, at just the right time, Jesus returns and sets all things right.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands
Psalm 19:1
‘Don’t ever miss a chance to show the babies the moon,’ is an ancient phrase to bring to attention the little ones about the wonders of creation. Here we see the psalmist describing the heavenly bodies that have no speech... yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the end of the world. He had no intention of worshiping the moon or the stars but rather the creative hands behind them. The heavens and the skies reveal nothing less than the glory (v1)
We too can encourage those around us, from babies and teenagers to spouses and neighbors to stop, look and listen for the declarations and proclamations of God’s glory that are all around us. Drawing attention to the work of His hands in turn leads us to worshiping the awesome God beside the whole show. Don’t ever miss the chance.

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again
Ecclesiastes 1:9

Laundry, cooking, mowing the lawn, work, home church, cinema....
Life seems full of tasks that once completed, have to be done again and again. This isn’t a new struggle but a new frustration, one wrestled with in the Old Testament books of Ecclesiastes.
The book opens with writer complaining about the endless cycles of daily human life as futile (1:2-3) even meaningless, because what has been will be again, what has been done will be done again (v9)
Yet, like my friend, the writer was able to regain a sense of joy and meaning by remembering our ultimate fulfilment come as we “fear(reverence) and keep his commandments” 12:13.
There is comfort in knowing that God values even the ordinary, seemingly mundane aspects of life and will reward our faithfulness (vs14)
What are the pins you are continually setting up? In those time when repetitive tasks begin to feel tiring, may we take a moment to offer each task to God as an offering of love.
I urge.... that petitions, prayers and intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people
1 Timothy 2:1
When Abby was in school, she and her mum heard news about a young man who had been critically injured in a plane accident, an accident that took the lives of his father and stepmother. Although they didn’t know this person, Abby’s mum said, “we just need to pray for him and his family” And they did.
Fast forward a few years, and one day Abby walked into a class at her university. A student offered her a seat next to him. That student was Austin, the plane crash victim, Abby had prayed for. Soon they were dating, and in soon they were married “It’s crazy to think that I was praying for my future husband” Abby said in an interview shortly before they got married. It can be easy to limit our prayers to our own personal needs and for those closest to us, without taking the time to pray for others. However, Paul writing to the Christians at Ephesus told them to pray in the spirit on all occasions with kinds of prayer and request. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the lord’s people (Ephesians 6:18) And 1st Timothy 2:1 tells us to pray “for all people” including those in authority.
Let’s pray for others, even people we don’t know. It is one of the ways we can “carry each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2)
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed
A homeless man, Steve was faced with money hardship and He sometimes would stay without food. On evening, as he displayed his hand drawn art; his attempt to earn some money, a young woman approached and offered several slices of Pizza. Steve gratefully accepted. Moments later, Steve shared his bounty with another hungry, homeless person. Almost immediately, the same young woman surfaced with another plate of food, acknowledging that he had been generous with what he had been given.
Steve’s story illustrates the principle found in proverbs 11:28 that when we are generous with others, we are likely to experience generosity as thing in return; rarely does our generosity return to us quickly and obviously as it did for him. Rather, we give to help others in loving response to God’s instruction to do so (Philippians 2:3-4), (John 3:17) And when we do, God is pleased. While He’s under no obligation to refill our wallets or bellies, He often finds a way to refresh us. Sometimes materially, other times spiritually. Steve shared a second plate of pizza with a smile and open hands. Despite his lack of resources, he is an example of what it means to live generously, willing to cheerfully share what we have with others instead of hoarding it for ourselves. As God Leeds and empowers us, may the same be said of us.
Now there were staying in Jerusalem God fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. Act 2:5.
When the disciples were filled with Holy Spirit (acts 2:4), things begun to happen beyond anyone’s experience. As a result, Jews representing every nation came together in confusion, because each one had their own language being spoken to make God’s wonders known.(v 5-6) Peter explained to the crowd that this was in fulfilment of the Old Testament prophecy which God said, “ I will pour out my spirit on all people”(vs 17)
This all-inclusive display of awesome power made the crowd receptive to Peter’s declaration of the gospel, leading to three thousand converts that day alone. (Vs 41) Following this spectacular kick-off, these new believers then returned to their corners of the world, taking the good news to them.
Good news still resounds today, God’s message of hope for all people. As we praise God together, His spirit moves among us, bringing people of every nation together in wonderful unity. He reigns!
God will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples.
Isaiah 25:7
The scripture, as well as our experience, tell us that shroud of ignorance and evil covers the world, blinding all of us to God’s love (Isaiah 25:7). Selfishness and greed, our self-sufficiency, our lust for power or image, all these compulsions obscure our vision, making us unable to clearly see the God who “in perfect faithfulness(has) done wonderful things” (vs1)
One translation calls this blinding shroud a “cloud of confusion and despair. We often feel trapped, groping and stumbling, unable to see our way forward. Thankfully, Isaiah promises that God will ultimately “destroy the shroud that enfolds all people” (vs 7)
God will not leave us hopeless. His radiant love removes whatever blinds us, surprising us with beautiful vision of a good life and abundant grace.
You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession.
1 Peter 2:9
Nobody thought much of this teenager, the son of poor, uneducated parents. Yet, Rodney didn’t listen to those voices. He was certain that God had a purpose for his life, so he bought himself a bible and an English dictionary and thought himself how to read and write. He once said “The way to Jesus is not by Cambridge, Harvard, Yale or the poets. It is .... an old-fashioned hill called Calvary”
Against all odds, Rodney became an evangelist who God used to bring many to Jesus. Peter was just too simple man, untrained in the religious rabbinic schools ( Act 4:13), a fisherman from Galilee, when Jesus called him with two simple words“ Follow me “ Mathew 4:19) Yet the same Peter, despite his upbringing and the failures he experienced along the way, later affirmed that those who follow Jesus are “ a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession” (1 Peter 2:9)
Through Jesus. Christ all people, whatever their education, gender or ethnicity, can be part of the family of God and be used by him. Becoming God’s special possession “is for all who believe in Jesus
The spirit helps us in our weaknesses. We do not know how we ought to pray for, but the spirit himself intercedes for us through the wordless groans. Romans 8:26

At times, I feel like I am unable to communicate and express my heart when I pray to my Heavenly Father, and I am not alone. Many of us struggle sometime with prayer. But the apostle Paul wrote
“The spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the spirit, because the spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27)
How amazing is the gift of the Holy Spirit! Better than any computer program, He clearly communicates my thoughts and desires in harmony with the father’s purposes. The work of the spirit makes prayer work!

1 Samuel 1:7
So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the lord, that she provoked her; therefore, she wept and did not eat.

“Stones and sticks may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” This is a common phrase especially when someone wants to imply that they are not moved by words hurled to them. But this doesn’t seem to be true. Unkind, thoughtless words do hurt, sometimes badly, leaving wounds that went deeper and lasted much longer than a welt from a stone or stick.
Banner certainly knew the sting of thoughtless words. Her husband Elikanah, loved her, but she had no children, while his second wife Peninnah, had many. In a culture where woman’s worth was based on having children, Peninnah made Hannah’s pain worse by continuing “provoking her” for being childless. She kept it up until wept and couldn’t eat. 1 Samuel (1:6-7)
And Elikanah probably meant well, but his thoughtless response, “Hannah, why, are you weeping? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons? (vs 8) was still hurtful.
Like Hannah, many of us have been left reeling in the hate of hurtful words. And some of us have probably reacted to our own wounds by lashing out and hurting others with our words. But all of us can run to our loving and compassionate God for strength and healing.
Psalms 27:5,12-14. He lovingly rejoices over us, speaking words of love and grace.
How do you know me, Nathaniel asked?
John 1:48
Like any attentive parent, I know my children. I know how they’ll respond when unhappy. I know what they prefer for their lunches, I know countless interests, desires and preferences. But for all that, I will never know them perfectly, inside and out, the way our lord knows us.
We watch a glimpse of the kind of intimate knowledge Jesus has for his people in John 1. As Nathaniel, who Philip had raged to meet Jesus, moved towards Him, Jesus pronounced, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit” vs 47. Startled Nathaniel responded; how do you know me? Somewhat mysteriously, Jesus replied that he’d seen him under the fig tree (vs48)
We may not know why Jesus chose to share this particular detail but seems Nathaniel did! Overwhelmed, he responded, “Rabbi, you are the son of God” (vs 49)
Jesus knows each of us like this: intimately, completely and perfectly, the way we long to be known. And He accepts us completely, inviting us to be, not only His followers, but His beloved friends ((John 15:15)
A college mate drew a stick figure in a piece of paper. She labelled this “the private” self. The she drew an outline around the figure, about half an inch larger and named it the “public” self. The difference between the private and private selves, represent the degree to which we have integrity.
I paused at the lesson and wondered, am I the same person in the public that I am in private.? Do I have integrity?
Paul wrote letters to the church in Corinth, weaving love and discipline into his teachings to be like Jesus. As he neared the end of his letter (2 Corinthians) he addressed accusers who challenged his integrity by saying he was bold in his letters but weak in person (10:10) These critics used professional oratory to take money from their listeners. While Paul possessed academic powers, he spoke simply and plainly. “my message and my preaching
Praise be to the God of Shadrach Meshack and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants
Daniel 3:28
Nebuchadnezzar, the king much known in the world, who decided to kill anyone who didn’t worship his giant statue. (Daniel 3:1-6) when three courageous Jewish officials refused (vs 12-18) God dramatically rescued them from blazing furnace (vs 24-27)
But in a surprising twist, Nebuchadnezzar ‘s heart begins to change. In response to this spectacular event, he said “praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (vs 28)
But then he threatened to kill anyone who defiled God, not yet understanding that God didn’t need his help. Nebuchadnezzar would learn more about God in chapter 4, but that’s another story. What we see in Nebuchadnezzar isn’t just villain, but someone on spiritual journey. In God’s story of redemption, our hero, Jesus reaches out to everyone needing rescue including the villains among st us.
In the same way, the spirit helps us in our weaknesses.
Romans 8:26
Since the fall, all human beings have experienced a devastating spiritual condition brought about by sin. (Romans 5:12) Only the death and resurrection of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit has made it possible for us to be healed (8:1-12) . The Holy Spirit enables us to enjoy abundant life on earth and for eternity in the presence of God (v 9-10)” And if the spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from death will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his spirit who lives in you” vs 11.
When your sinful nature threatens to drain the life out you, look to the source of your salvation, Jesus, and be strengthened by the power of his spirit (. v 11-17). “The spirit helps us in our weaknesses” and intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God”
The Lord Almighty is with us, the God of Jacob is our fortress.
(Psalms 46:7)
A family of four found themselves in the midst floods. The mother and the two children lost their life and the father was in hospital ailing in pain. Unfortunately, heart-breaking events like this continue to happen again and again. When they are replayed, so is the old question: why do bad things happen to good people.?” And it doesn’t surprise us that this old question doesn’t have new answers.
Yet the truth that the psalmist put forth in Psalms 46 has also been replayed and rehearsed and embraced repeatedly.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” vs 1. The conditions described in verses 2-3 are catastrophic, earth and mountains moving and sea waters raging. We shudder when we imagine being in the midst of the stormy conditions poetically pictured here.
But sometimes, we do find ourselves there, in the midst of terminal illnesses, tossed about by a devastating financial crisis, stung and stunned by the death of the loved ones.
It is tempting to rationalize that the presence of trouble means the absence of God. But the truth of the scripture counters such notions. “The Lord Almighty is with us: The God of Jacob is our fortress” (vs7) He is present when our circumstances are unbearable, and we find comfort in his character: He is good, loving and trustworthy.
21 June 2019ENDING ENVY!
Each one should test their own actions Galatians 6:4

It’s a curious emotion, envy, listed by the Apostle Paul among the worst traits, as bad as “every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder quarrelling deception, malicious behaviour and gossip” (Romans 1:29)
It results from foolish thinking, Paul writes, the result of worshipping idols instead of worshipping God.
Author Christina Fox says that when envy develops among believers, it’s because our hearts have turned from our one true love “in our envy, she said “we are chasing after the inferior pleasures of this world instead of looking to Jesus. In effect, we’ve forgot whose we are.”
Yet there is remedy. Turn back to God. “Offer every part of yourself to him “Paul wrote (Romans 6:13) your work and life especially. In another of his letters also Paul wrote” Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else” (Galatians 6:4)
Thank God for his blessings, not just things, but for the freedom of His grace. Seeing our own God given gifts, we find contentment.
22 June 2019HIDE AND SEEK

Genesis 3:9

Hide -and -seek. Most have fond memories of playing the game as children. Yet sometimes in life the fear of being found isn’t fun but is rooted in a deep instinct to flee. People may dislike what they see. As children of a fallen world, we are primed to play what a friend of mine calls “a mixed -up game of the hide and seek” between a God and us. It’s more like a game of pretending to hide, because either way, He sees all, the way through our messy thoughts and wrong choices. We know it, though we like to pretend He can’t really see. Yet God continues to seek. “Come out” He calls us. “I want to see you, even your most shameful parts”, an echo of the same voice that called to the first human who hid out of fear: “Where are you.? (Genesis 3:9). Such a warm invitation voiced in the form of a piercing question. “Come out of hiding, dear child, and come back into relationship with me”
It may seem far too risky, but there, within the safe confines of our father’s care, any of us, no matter what we’ve done or failed to do, can be fully known and loved.

God will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17
The prophet Zephaniah described this love in the way that astounds me. He describes God as rejoicing over His people with singing. God's people had not earned this love. They had failed to obey Him or treat each other with compassion. But Zephaniah promised that in the end, God’s love would prevail over their failures. God would take away their punishment (Zephaniah 3:15) and he would rejoice over them (vs 17) He would gather His people into his arms, bring them home and restore them.
(Vs 20):
The fruit of the spirit is joy
Galatians 5:22
I thought of the Apostle Paul’s last words to the elders of Ephesus: “That I may finish my race with joy” (Act 20:24)
His aim was to complete the task Jesus had given him. I have made these words my motto in prayer” May I run and finish my race with joy”
We all have good reasons to get grouchy - discouraging news, everyday stresses, health problems. Nevertheless, God can give us a joy that transcends these conditions If we ask Him, we can have what Jesus called “my joy” (John 15:11)
Joy is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. So, we must remember each morning to ask Him to help us. “May I play with joy”. Author Richard Foster said. “to pray is to change. This is a great grace. How good of God to provide a path whereby our lives can be taken over by .... joy”
25 June 2019VANITY ON FIRE

Create in me a pure heart o God.
Psalms 51:10

A monk started a fire. Leading to this, he and his followers spent several months collecting items that they thought might entice people to sin or neglect their religious duties, including artwork, cosmetics, instruments and dresses. On the appointed day, thousands of vanity items were gathered at a public square and set on fire. The event was known as the bonfire of vanities.
Mathew 5:21-30 “If your eye causes you to stumble gouge it out and throw it away” said Jesus. “and if your right caused
as you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away”

But if we interpret Jesus’ word literally, we miss the point of the message. The entire sermon is a lesson on going deeper than the surface, to focus on the state of our hearts rather than blaming our behavior on external distraction and temptations,

The bonfire of the vanities made a great show of destroying belongings and works of art, but it is unlikely that the hearts of those involved were changed in the process. Only God can change a heart. That’s the psalmist prayer ”create in me a pure heart, O God". It’s our hearts that count.
26 June 2019
27 June 2019
28 June 2019
29 June 2019
30 June 2019