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DEVOTIONALS – WE ARE AN ARMY (29 OCTOBER 2014)

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We Are Conquerors!

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” – Romans 8:37

The best part about being in the army of God is that the victory is already ours! Think about it: when Christ died for us on the Cross, he won the eternal victory for us. Because of him, we’re headed to heaven to spend an eternity with him! Yippee! But that’s not all. His victory also guarantees our victory here on planet earth!

Imagine if Christ only saved you and then left you to spend another 30 – 60 years struggling with life on earth. What kind of Christianity is that? Useless Christianity. But the truth is, Christ doesn’t just grant us ultimate victory. He also grants us victory here on planet earth. Through Christ, men and women have overcome addictions, depression, hatred, vileness of the heart, etc.

As soldiers of Christ Jesus, we are armed and dangerous, overcoming trials and testings. And the best part is, as His army, we can share this victory with others who need it! People who have not yet tasted of the victory they can have in Jesus! Amen!

Action Item of the Day: As Spiderman’s Uncle Ben said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” The key to victory has been given to us, so let’s share it with others! Take time out today to pray for loved ones who don’t know Jesus yet.

 

by ERIC SUNG for THE CITY

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DEVOTIONALS – WE ARE AN ARMY (28 OCTOBER 2014)

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Strength In Unity

“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” – Colossians 3:14

When it comes to an army, we always think of a group of people. There is strength in numbers, especially in numbers bonded by unity.

Movies like Batman, Rambo, Super Man, etc, are nice. The hero, after desperately struggling against the forces of darkness, finally overcomes and achieves victory. But that’s not what the Church is. We’re not made up of a bunch of lone rangers, operating individually of one another. If we are, that’s easy picking for the devil. He can easily neutralize us, one by one. Because no one’s around to help! Rather, movies which center around a team of heroes working together — The Avengers come to mind — that’s what the Church is about. We’re a group of saints coming together, united under Christ, transforming the world with God. (And beating up the Enemy in the process.)

As an army, we need to be united. We need each other. No man is an island. We’re a team. Each of us brings a different strength to the fight. And we need each other to win this battle. So let’s march forth united in love!

Action Item of the Day: Pray for your LifeGroup members or some church members. Pray also for unity in our church, as well as in the Church of Singapore.

by ERIC SUNG for THE CITY

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DEVOTIONALS – WE ARE AN ARMY (27 OCTOBER 2014)

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The Church VS The Army of Satan

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” – Matthew 16:18

The very first time Jesus mentions the Church, he mentions it in the context of an army in Matthew 16:18. A lot of times when we read this verse, we have an image of two mighty armies coming against each other to fight things out — the army of God versus the army of Satan. And finally, after much time, the army of God overcomes. But that’s actually NOT the image Jesus wants us to have!

Question: If two armies are fighting, and one of them has a gate, which army is on the attack and which army is cowering and defending itself for dear life? The one with the gate is always the army which is on the defensive, not the other way round! (have you ever seen an army take a gate along with it to attack the enemy?)

So the correct image we should have of this verse is two unequal armies. There is the mighty, powerful army of Jesus, the Church, which is brutally plundering the gates of hell for the souls of men and women! And on the other side, you have Satan and his minions, cowering behind their gate and walls, trying desperately to prevent the army of God from coming in. But Jesus promises that the victory has already been won! He promises that we already have the authority to overcome the devil and his minions! So let’s march forth with his confidence!

Action Item of the Day:
Thank Jesus for his sacrifice on the Cross which has bought us the victory! We’ve already won and overcome because of Jesus, so let’s be rested in him!

by ERIC SUNG for THE CITY

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DEVOTIONALS – WE ARE A BODY (24 OCTOBER 2014)

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Growing In Love

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” – Ephesians 4:15-16

A strong and healthy body grows. Whether it’s to grow taller or stronger, it grows. But a malnourished body will deteriorate. Twice in Eph 4:15-16, Paul uses the word “grow.” We are all given gifts to build up one another in the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:12, 13).

And in this body, Christ is the head, our leader. And we are to build up the body in love. Love should be our goal, our focus. Indeed, regardless of our social background, race or nationality, the Body of Christ should have “no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” (1 Cor 12:25-26) .

When one person in the Body of Christ suffers, the others should too. But if one person rejoices, we should rejoice alongside him or her (and not wish the person to weep). Together, let’s build each other in love!

Action Item of the Day:

Pray for The City to love one another more!

 

by ERIC SUNG for THE CITY

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DEVOTIONALS – WE ARE A BODY (23 OCTOBER 2014)

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We Need You!

“Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,” – 1 Corinthians 12:14-22

As the body of Christ, we are not an organization. We are an organism that is living, breathing, feeling and moving! And as his body, we need each other. We cannot function without one other. No one should look down on others or on their gifts, since God has chosen each one to function in his or her place in the body (1 Corinthians 12:14–26).

If the preacher looks down on the ushers of the church, then he is in big trouble. If there are no ushers to welcome newcomers to church, then no matter how awesome the preaching is, the newcomer will not come back again. Because they did not feel welcomed. If the ushers in turn look down on the worship team, then the church is in big trouble. Because without good worship, people will be disengaged from God. Hence we all need one another. Only together can we function properly.

In the body of Christ, there is a diverse number of gifts suited for different functions. No man has all the gifts. We need each other to make church work.

Action Item of the Day:

What has God gifted you to do in the body of Christ? If you are unsure, ask yourself these questions:

a) What are you good at?

b) What do people say you’re good at?

c) If you had only one day left to live and you could do any job in the world, what would that be?

d) What topic are you passionate about? If you could only share one last posting on Facebook, what would that topic be?

 

by ERIC SUNG for THE CITY

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DEVOTIONALS – WE ARE A BODY (22 OCTOBER 2014)

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Why We Shouldn’t Be Envious Of One Another

“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God” – Romans 1:1

Sometimes in the body of Christ, we become envious of one another. And when it comes to envy, we are usually envious of people who have similar giftings. For example, a teacher may not be envious of a worship leader, because he doesn’t know anything about worship leading! But he may be envious of another teacher. When members of the body are envious of one another, we cannot function properly.

So what is the key to combating envy? Remember what Paul said in Romans 1:1: ““Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God.” The Greek words for “set apart” are also found in Galatians 1:15: “But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace.” So Paul is saying that before he was even born, before he knew right from wrong and left from right, he had already been set apart by God for a great destiny!

The same is true for you and me. Before you were even born, before you had come to know Jesus, you were already set apart for a destiny in His Kingdom! When you realize that, it liberates you from envy. Instead of being envious of others, your job is to find out your God given destiny and do it! Stop wasting time being envious of others! They have their God given destinies in the Kingdom, and you have yours.

When we begin to realize that, we will stop sabotaging others. Instead, we will help others to fulfil their calling. And in doing so, the body of Christ becomes all the more powerful!

Action Item of the Day:

Ask God to search you and reveal to you any envious intentions that you may have. Confess and clear it before the LORD.

 

by ERIC SUNG for THE CITY

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DEVOTIONALS – WE ARE A BODY (21 OCTOBER 2014)

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Unity In Diversity

“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith.” – Romans 12:4-6

We the Church are the physical representation of Christ in our world. The Church is one of the ways which Christ manifests his love, his actions, his justice, his mercy and his grace into our world. Where there is social injustice, the Church should be at the forefront of destroying the injustice. Where there are lost sheep, the Church should be actively reaching out to them in love. For we represent Christ on earth.

But each of us is different. And that’s the beauty of it. We can be a body precisely because we are different. If we are all the same, then we would be a very useless and one dimensional body. Because we’re diverse, that’s why we can be so effective. Grace is given to us to use our gifting (Rom 12:6), and use it we must. And the interesting thing is that our gifts do not belong to ourselves. “Each member belongs to all the others” (Rom 12: 5).

Because we belong to others, our gifts should be used for them too. Not just for ourselves. A Christian who is gifted in something and yet does not use his gifting to benefit the body of Christ is being selfish and not fulfilling God’s Will for the Church. So let’s make it our aim to honour and help one another.

 

Action Item of the Day:

Ask God to reveal to you what your place in His body is. What your role is. What you’ve been placed on earth to do for His Kingdom!

 

by ERIC SUNG for THE CITY

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DEVOTIONALS – WE ARE A BODY (20 OCTOBER 2014)

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We Are The Body Of Christ!

“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take it; this is my body.’” – Mark 14:22

The Bible often speaks of our Church as the body of Christ, where Christ is the head. The first time that Jesus indirectly refers to the Church as his body is at the Last Supper, in Mark 14:22. He tells his disciples, “Take it, this is my body .” Of course, he wasn’t advocating cannibalism. He was telling them that his body would be broken for them. By his wounds, we will be healed. Because of his sacrifice, we are made whole.

This symbolic act initiated communion. And part of communion is remembering that we believers are part of the body of Christ. Because of Christ’ sacrifice for us on the Cross, we can be part of his body.

No man is an island, we cannot operate individually of one another. We belong to one body. A finger cut off from the rest of the body will decay and be destroyed. But if it’s part of the body, it’ll blossom and grow. Conversely, every man is important. A body that is missing a finger cannot operate to its full capacity. It needs that finger to be at its best. We are the body of Christ, and we need each other for our body to function well.

Action Item of the Day:

Thank Jesus for his sacrifice that made it possible for you to be part of his body.

 

by ERIC SUNG for THE CITY

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DEVOTIONALS – WE ARE THE BRIDE (17 OCTOBER 2014)

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“Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. 7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come,  and his bride has made herself ready. 8 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.) 9 Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”    – Revelation 19:6-9

We, the Church, await that glorious Day when we are eternally joined with our groom, Jesus! It will be such a Day, with such rejoicing and glory!

But before that, let us prepare ourselves for the wedding through intimacy and purity. Intimacy: let us aim for a closeness with Jesus in our relationship with him. Purity: let us aim daily to put Jesus first in our lives. No others should come before him. And remember: we love because he loved us first.

Action Item of the Day: Before you go to sleep, give thanks for three items that has happened to you today! Develop that intimacy with Jesus!

 

by ERIC SUNG for THE CITY

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DEVOTIONALS – WE ARE THE BRIDE (16 OCTOBER 2014)

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“I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.” – 2 Corinthians 11:2

In ancient near eastern culture, the father gave his daughter in marriage to the bridegroom, assuring the groom of her purity. And Paul saw himself as the Corinthian church’s spiritual father (1 Cor 4:15) . Paul was concerned that his daughter would lose her virginity by accepting another Jesus, Spirit or gospel (2 Cor 11:4) .

In modern day society, we often ask what’s wrong with premarital sex? What’s wrong with cohabitating? What’s wrong with two young people madly in love and consummating that love before some old fashioned ceremony called marriage? The answer in one word is: commitment.

When a couple is unwed, one party or both can walk out at anytime, anywhere under any circumstance. There is no obligation under the law or in the eyes of society to indefinitely stay in that relationship. The escape route is open all the time. But when a couple is married, a husband and wife comes together to say that they are committed to this, “for better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness or health, till death do we part”.

In the eyes of society and the law, they are to be committed for life. Marriage is about commitment. And commitment is based on trust. And that famous verse in 1 Corinthians 13:7 says very simply that “love always trusts.” So marriage is based on love. (Of course, the divorce rate in modern society is going up. But Jesus said that the only grounds for divorce should be adultery. As some pastors would say: “Divorce? Never! Murder, yes. But divorce, no!”).

And the truth is that Jesus is totally, absolutely, unashamedly committed to his Church. Through thick or thin, good times and bad. Even when His Church is uncommitted, he will be committed to her. And for us, His bride, we need to resonate in the same way by committing ourselves to him.

Action Item of the Day: Do you have any idols which you’ve placed ahead of Jesus? Repent and put him first in your life.

 

by ERIC SUNG for THE CITY

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