Welcome to the Spiritual Awakening devotional for the HMCC of Hong Kong 2021 One Desire Fast. We’re excited for you to journey with us.

Throughout the next 13 days, our hope and prayer is that these devotionals will be a spark that will awaken something deeper in your heart and mind and connect you with God in a way that you have never experienced before. These have been written with much love, prayer, and earnest desire so that we all can experience a powerful spiritual awakening.

“Awakening” is defined by the Cambridge English Dictionary as “the act of starting to understand something or feel something.” For a person to experience this act of starting to understand something, in the spiritual realm, it must be an act of God.

But with any act of God, we are responsible for our response. Therefore we encourage you to work through this devotional:

May you develop a rich understanding of the breadth, the length, the height, and the depth of the love of Christ and be filled with the fullness of God in these next two weeks.

Awakened Helplessness

I’ve often heard people say that faith is too difficult to comprehend and develop because it is unnatural. My former self would wholeheartedly agree, because as someone who did not grow up in the church, trusting or believing in something that you could not see didn’t make any sense.

But when someone asked me to do something like admit my struggles or ask for help, though unnatural, I found it freeing in a way that allowed me to actually develop faith.

In Psalm 13, through David’s lament, you’ll notice that spiritual awakening cannot happen without admitting our helplessness and asking for help which leads to acting in faith.

Admitting our helplessness

We find the psalmist (David) asking several questions which reveal loneliness, emotional distress, and a defeated mentality (vv.1-2). He not only recognizes he’s in a poor spiritual state, but also is not afraid to be honest with God. Admitting that I’m helpless is one of the hardest things to do — it’s easy to trick myself into thinking that I’m OK or hide it from others. But without that admission first to God and second to others, it’s very difficult to expect any spiritual awakening to happen.

Asking for help

David continues in vv.3-4 by asking God to help and seeing God as the primary solution to all of his problems. His problem was a physical one (enemies), but he asked for a spiritual solution. For many of us, and myself included, our knee-jerk reaction is to take control and do everything on my own or run away. And often we turn to ourselves when the best course of action is actually to ask God for help.

Acting in faith

Though he hadn’t seen the deliverance yet, David trusted in God. He declares that he shall rejoice and will sing to the Lord (vv.5-6). These are not flippant gestures, but rather a response to who God is. It is God’s steadfast love and salvation that overcomes David’s difficulties as he admits and asks for help. Spiritual awakening is not a human-generated accomplishment, for us it must be a faith-filled response to what God has already overcome on the cross for us.

Questions for reflection:

  • Have you admitted your current spiritual, emotional, and mental condition to God? Share that with a close accountability partner
  • What ways have you been trying to avoid or take control? Ask God for help instead!
  • When was the last time that you responded in faith and praised God? What do you think God is asking you to trust in Him for now?

Prayer Topics for the Day

For ourselves:
  • Pray for your heart to be ready to hear from God in this fast.
  • Pray for strength to resist temptation and persevere through the fast.
  • Pray that you may have joy in the Lord when you are hungry and tired.

Awakened to Choose God

As we enter the second day of One Desire Fast, are you experiencing a greater tug to tap on that phone application or eat a certain food when you want to? If you do, that’s normal! In my experience of fasting, one of the main things that God does is expose how zealously I choose to depend on other things that are not God. It’s really hard for us humans to want to rely on God and find fulfillment in Him alone. Only a heart that is awakened by God can choose Him above other things. God has freely offered us a relationship with himself which satisfies all our desires, and he also gives us a new heart and new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26). Even so, it is our responsibility to choose to receive what God offers and obey Him.

In Psalm 16-17, we see how David chose to receive from and obey God.

Choosing to Receive

David postured himself to receive help from God. He did so by making 3 choices: asking God to preserve him, admitting his insufficiency (16 v.1) and declaring who God is to him in faith (16 v.5-11). David’s decisions required humility on his part. Likewise, in order to be awakened by the gospel message, we need to choose to admit that we are completely messed up and ask Jesus to save us. The only other option is to choose to deny the reality of our sinfulness (either by minimizing or hiding our sins) and to look to other things as our “savior” such as our own abilities, money, relationships, etc.

We may vividly remember how we chose to receive Christ as our Lord and Savior. However, that is not the only time we need to choose. Every day, God catches our attention through different events that evoke a response from us. In the case of Psalm 16, it was the threat to David’s safety. Because David chose to ask help from God (not be self sufficient), acknowledge his weakness (letting go of his pride), and trust in the qualities of God (having faith in God), he was able to be assured and experience joy. For us, God is constantly using negative or positive events to get our attention — such as a conflict in our relationship or a promotion at work. When we are faced with those situations, where do you choose to find our security and satisfaction? Do we ask God for help or advice, admit our insufficiency, and trust in His characters?

Choosing to Obey

In Psalm 17:3-5 David obeyed God, but he didn’t expect God to give him anything in return. If God did choose to rescue him, David understood that it’s because of God’s merciful character, not David’s deeds (v. 7). Often, we see our obedience as a means to “purchase” God’s blessings and feel disappointed when we don’t receive what we want. God doesn’t need a transaction from us, instead he wants us to obey him because it helps us know his character and grow our faith in Him. In your life right now, how can you choose to obey God through taking tangible steps?

Prayer Topics for the Day

For the Focus ministry:
  • Pray for breakthrough in our personal relationships with God so that we can experience freedom as we hear His voice and navigate through different decisions in life.
  • Pray for deeper relationships among members so that we can truly experience the life-on-life ministry that leads to true transformation.
  • Pray that as a Focus ministry we will move forward in unity to be witnesses of God’s grace in our different spheres so that others will be inspired to know Him.

Awakened Focus

Sometimes when we think about a spiritual “awakening,” we assume that it comes from some mysterious metaphysical power that we have little control over.

So we sit and wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Until our waiting turns to apathy, jadedness, complaint, or even license to take things into our own hands.

This is not at all what the Bible prescribes.

The book of Acts is often referred to as as the Acts of the Holy Spirit, and it is. But it is also called the Acts of the Apostles where both God’s Spirit and human responsibility work in tandem. In Acts 20, we learn why being focused and having human accountability is crucial to experiencing spiritual awakening.

A Focused Intent

Paul left Ephesus and Greece after people tried to kill him. Most of us would’ve changed plans and made adjustments — I sure would have. But Paul remained focused on God’s purpose. He paused briefly to heal a young man who fell to his death, but continues to speak through the night as if nothing happened. And though there were many places he could have stopped to visit, Paul remained laser-focused on returning to Jerusalem in spite of the danger of imprisonment (v.16, v.23) because he was intent on preaching the “gospel of the grace of God” (v.24).

For Paul, spiritual awakening was not waiting for a mystical feeling, but all about focusing on accomplishing God’s purpose. I’ve often found myself giving excuses, feeling lost or blaming God for not showing me my life “calling” or “passion”. This is when I’ve found my focus is actually on worldly ambitions, safety, comfort, and security. Yet, as Paul demonstrates, God has already shown us what our focus ought to be, to preach God’s word and follow Jesus, which has nothing to do with the world’s view of safety, comfort, and security.

A Firm Involvement of Accountability

Paul was a focused man, but he did not do it alone and had many partners in the ministry to support him. He had no less than seven traveling companions (vv.3-4) who were with him through his travel and encouraged the Ephesian elders to keep watch and to be alert of one another’s behavior. This is hardly the language of a self-sufficient man. He both actively invited others into his life and sought to insert himself into others’ lives for the sake of mutual spiritual growth.

Paul knew that everything he did was not of his own ability, but that his motivation was because of everything that Christ had given him already. That’s why he was able to agree with Jesus wholeheartedly and say “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (v.35). Without our own focused intent to declare God’s word and without a firm involvement of accountability, we are missing a part of God’s recipe for deep spiritual awakening.

Questions for reflection:

  • What other things do you find yourself focused on instead of the things on God’s heart?
  • How can you orient your life around and focus on declaring God’s truth?
  • How have you invited others in your life to help you grow in your relationship with God?
  • How are you helping others grow in theirs?

Prayer Topics for the Day

For the BOLD vision:
  • B – Build 1 School of Ministry
  • O – Open 1 site locally & 1 church globally
  • L – Launch LIFE Groups in universities and different regions of Hong Kong
  • D – Disciple 1000 people through the ALIVE training course

Awakened Faith

Before I committed my life to Christ and studied the Bible, I had thought that faith was something you needed to have in order to face difficulty.

But later on I realized that it’s the exact opposite.

Difficulty is fertile ground for developing faith.

In Psalm 18, we see that David’s faith was elevated when he found himself in a dire situation and couldn’t turn to anything except for God for deliverance. For many of us, we panic when we face visible difficulties that affect our relationships, finances, or health because we’re not strong enough or we lack faith. But what if it’s precisely those moments that God wants to use to make us desperate and elevate our faith?

David’s Worship

David worshiped God as a response to being rescued by God. Through this psalm, he proclaimed who God is to others and himself. The words David used were: Rock, fortress, deliverer, stronghold, Lord (v.1-3). God is both his helper and Lord. The power of faith comes not from how strongly you can believe, but rather how strong the one you believe in is. Who do you worship in times of trouble? Do you see God as your rock, fortress, deliverer, or stronghold?

David’s Cry

In verse 6, David cried out to God, who heard him from his heavenly temple. God then descended in his fury, and every element on earth was shaking with fear (vv. 7-15). Even the heavens bowed down! David both asked God for help and acknowledged God’s cosmic greatness. This shows that he had a balanced view of two truths about God: that God is worthy to be revered and full of mercy.

We often oscillate between two extreme views of God: either God is so great and harsh toward us (fear) or God is our little helper (entitlement). Neither promotes faith. The first extreme causes us to have a formal relationship with God and distance ourselves from Him. We obey God only to avoid punishment. The second extreme, viewing God as our “genie”, gives us a shallow relationship with God that is not life-transforming because we insist on our own aspirations instead of His. There is no feeling of awe towards God and our motive to obey is to just get things from Him. Out of these two views, which one do you lean more towards?

God’s Rescue

God came to David’s rescue in strength, in person, and in time. Like a father who is furious that his child is being attacked, God immediately came down himself. In our current lives, we may not be aware of any visible “enemies”, but we are constantly opposed by the Enemy. When Satan puts untruths about who God is in our minds, it can manifest in the form of anxiety, unwillingness to forgive, or complacency, etc. 1 Peter 5:8-9 warns us that this can destroy us. Our only hope is to do as David does, which is to depend on God in faith, (knowing that God is both mighty and merciful to us), and proclaim who God is in worship. What unbelief about God is putting you in spiritual danger? How can you develop faith and seek God for help?

Prayer Topics for the Day

For the ministry in CUHK:
  • Pray for us to experience community deeply and for every single person to participate in a life-on-life discipleship relationship.
  • Pray for us to raise up a new generation of SALT community members by encountering God, growing in self-awareness, and developing selflessness.
  • Pray that we will be moved by God’s love to gain a heart and reach out to those around us and see 5 people come to know Christ for the first time.

Awakened to Trust God

When I had to turn down an offer from a prestigious institution abroad to participate in God’s work here in Hong Kong, I thought life would be free from worry after taking a step of obedience. But my mind was flooded with doubts about God’s provision and I couldn’t hide my anxiety.

Have you ever felt this way before? To combat the worries we face, we find different ways to take control of things, like getting the grades/job you desired or seeking emotional satisfaction from relationships. But the truth is that if we pursue those things, we will always find ourselves “chasing after the wind” because all that we pursue after on earth won’t last long – only the Word of God remains forever (Isaiah 40:8).

In Psalm 20, David was about to go to the battlefield as per the responsibility of a king, but he had no assurance that victory would be in his hands. In light of the uncertainty that was ahead, how did he still choose to trust God rather than his “chariots and horses”? I believe we can be awakened to trust God in every moment as we behold God’s character and embrace our God-given identity.

God’s Character

Psalm 20:1-5 is a prayer of blessing for David. Each verse begins with the use of “may”, depicting what the Israelites hope and wish for their king, David. We see much of God’s character in this prayer of blessing:

  1. The Lord answers our cry and protects us in times of trouble (v. 1)
  2. The Lord helps and sends support to us (v. 2)
  3. The Lord delightfully receives our sacrifice/ investment (v.3)
  4. The Lord fulfills our heart’s desires and plans (v.4)
  5. The Lord answers our prayers (v.5)

Before David became the king of Israel, he had already experienced some of these characteristics of God as a shepherd boy – guarding his sheep against lions and beasts, fighting against Goliath, to name a few. It was these prayers from his fellow countrymen that helped him to make the connection that the same God who delivered him from Goliath would do the same here. I was reminded that my first year back in Hong Kong could have been much more miserable and purposeless if I wasn’t surrounded by community, where we encouraged and challenged each other with the Scripture.

Our Identity

In v.6, David declared with confidence that he will put his trust solely in the Lord. The fact that David uses the phrase “Now I know…” signals that David finally chose to believe not only that the Lord is trustworthy and will save him, but that he is who God called him to be — his anointed (1 Samuel 16:1-13). It was David’s identity that allowed him to trust God. It took conscious effort for me to renew my mind and realize who I am in Christ. This helped me to trust that where I go matters less than who I am. GPA, diplomas, salary, or a relationship status don’t define who I am and they can’t add up to my trust in God.

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.” (Psalm 20:7-8) David closes the psalm declaring those who trust in the Lord will be able to stand firm. Let’s be awakened to trust in God this year!

Reflection Questions

  • Which characteristic(s) of God from vv. 1-5 do you find it hard to believe?
  • How can vv. 7-8 be an encouragement to you to trust in God as you continue to pray and fast in the remaining ODF?
  • What do the “chariots and horses” that you have been trusting in recently reflect the kind of God you are trusting in, and how is that the same/ different from the God described in Psalm 20?

Prayer Topics for the Day

For Transformation Center:
  • Pray that God will open up doors to lead us to a location that He has for us.
  • Pray that God will raise up generous people to give and support to the vision of Transformation Center

Awakened to a Rejoicing Heart

Read Psalm 22

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1)

These words remind me of the feeling of rejection. “Forsaken” means abandoned or deserted, and these words are strong – we wouldn’t use such words if we haven’t had a personal relationship with the person. There aren’t enough fingers to count how many times I have felt disapproved, unaccepted, or insignificant by loved ones. I can recall moments of disappointment when I didn’t get the job I wanted or when prayer requests remained unanswered. Instead of turning to God for his truth and promises, I found myself lingering in lies about my worth. David, on the other hand, chose to praise God for His faithfulness in the midst of feeling forsaken. How can we still rejoice and praise God when we run out of reasons to?

God’s Understands Us

Taking a closer look at Psalm 22, we can see several parallels with the accounts of Christ’s crucifixion:

  • V.1, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” → Jesus cried to God as He was nailed to the cross (Matthew 27:46).
  • V.8, “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” → Jesus was mocked by the chief priests, scribes and elders while He was on the cross (Matthew 27:43).
  • V.16b, “they have pierced my hands and feet” → Jesus’ hands and feet were pierced through when the soldiers nailed Him to the cross (John 20:27).
  • V.18, “they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots” → The soldiers who nailed Jesus to the cross gambled for his clothing (Matthew 27:35).

Knowing Jesus went through a similar account in His crucifixion is an assurance that Jesus can very much relate to our moments of rejection. In fact, Jesus was rejected by his disciples, the ones he loved deeply and spent most of his ministry with. Yet in spite of that, the Creator of all things didn’t “despise” us nor did He “hide His face” from us. David reminds us that God has not rejected us but is there with us and hears our prayers when we face trials, rejection, and suffering (Psalm 22:24).

God Sacrificed for Us

When Jesus went through death, He knew that this was the worst place to be — separated from God, rejected by Him. Sin created a chasm between us and God but Jesus became the mediator and reconciled with God for us so we have access to Him. It is God’s plan that we may return to Him one day (Psalm 22:27). This is the love that triumphs all things. Jesus was willing to suffer and experience that rejection so that we may have a restored hope. The suffering that we experience nowadays is incomparable to what Christ has endured on the cross. We have sinned and we deserve to be punished, humiliated, and crucified, but because of God’s great love, Jesus bore it all for us. This alone should be our reason to rejoice.

Reflection Questions

  • What is hindering you from rejoicing?
  • What are some tangible ways to remind you of Jesus’ sacrifice so you are able to take joy in times of suffering?

Prayer Topics for the Day

For the ministry in HKU:
  • Pray for 5 new committed members from different faculties and nationalities who have a burden for HKU campus.
  • Pray for 5 people coming to know Christ.
  • Pray that we can raise up new leaders and 5 new SALT community members.

Awakened to Godly Passion

When we think about our passion in life, we usually default to thinking about the things that we enjoy doing. We take passion quizzes to find out what we are good at, we seek advice from academic/career advisors so that we can find and do the things that we are passionate about.

While these things help to get us to do the things that we want to do, do you know whether or not that is what God truly wants for you? Sometimes, our pursuit of passion is fueled by selfish ambitions rather than Godly purpose. In Acts 21, we will see how Paul lives with a godly passion in life.

Understanding the Call and Cost of Godly Passion

Being warned several times on his way to Jerusalem (Acts 20:22-23, Acts 21:4, Acts 21:11), Paul’s reaction was “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”(v.13). Paul was passionate about the Gospel and focused on going back to Jerusalem to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

When being advised to perform the traditional Jewish customs, Paul agreed to do so even though he knew that, as a Christian, he was no longer bound to the ceremonial rituals and laws. Paul’s passion for the gospel compelled him to live out 1 Corinthians 9:19-20 “19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law.”

It is easier to stick through a passion when things are easy, but what happens when things are hard, or when we feel like injustice is done upon us? Though the whole city was trying to seize and kill him, Paul does not complain about his situation. Paul’s enduring passion was for more people to encounter God. Passion that gives up or is elusive is a self-centered, me-driven phenomenon. Passion that endures is a selfless, love-driven phenomenon.

Reflection Questions

  • Do you have a passion that seeks to glorify God in your own life as you think about what you are pursuing after?
  • God put us around people so we can be a witness, do you witness with the kind of intentionality to “win those over”?
  • When we follow God’s will, the path will not be easy. Can you still choose to obey God because you trust in Him or is there a temptation run away?

Prayer Topics for the Day

For our city:
  • Pray for COVID cases to drop and for people to stay vigilant in keeping health-safety precautions
  • Pray for healing and restoration of hope in the city from the political issues and the pandemic.
  • Pray for all churches to shine Christ’s light brightly and proclaim the gospel no matter what the future brings

Awakened Satisfaction in God

Read Psalm 23

Though we know we ought to be content with God (Philippians 4:11), we sometimes find ourselves wanting more, unsatisfied with what we have in our daily life — I know I do. I’ve pursued different things in life hoping that it will provide me the satisfaction that I am longing for, but it has always left me wanting more.

David found something deeper, more satisfying.

In v. 1, David proclaimed that he “shall not want” because God is his Shepherd, in another translation, it says “I lack nothing”. When we truly grasp this idea that He is our shepherd, then we will be able to understand true satisfaction in God.

God is for God

It’s sometimes easy for us to think that in order to be satisfied, our lives should be successful and prosperous because we are blessed by God. This is a human centered approach to understanding the Gospel and satisfaction. David reminds us that God leads us for his name’s sake (v. 3). He wants us to glorify Him and not ourselves.

God is for us

David continues by saying In v.4 that he will not fear even as he goes through the valley, for he knows that God is with him. Oftentimes when we are in difficult times we instinctively ask God to remove our struggles. But David showed how God wants us to draw strength from Him through our struggles. What if God wants you to be drawn near to him through the difficulties that you are going through as well? God doesn’t eliminate the presence of difficulty, but He eliminates the fear of evil, for He is greater.

His will prevails

David closes out this Psalm by saying that God’s goodness and mercy will follow him for the rest of his days. We need to understand that God’s goodness will follow us not because we are faithful but because He is faithful (c.f. Romans 8: 38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord). If God’s mercy is up to us, we will be destined to fail because we are sinful and will never be good enough. However, because God is for God and for us, His will will prevail forever. Knowing these things about God, how can we not be satisfied with God?

Reflection Questions

  • When you think about your pursuit of God, are you seeking Him for Him or for the sake of wanting to obtain something for yourself?
  • If you really understand that God is with you and for you even in the valley of death, how would your perspective change when you are facing struggles in life?
  • How do you want to respond to God’s faithfulness in your life?

Prayer Topics for the Day

For the ministry in HKUST:
  • Pray for 4 people coming to know Christ this year.
  • Pray for a multiplication of leaders and life groups on our campus.
  • Pray for our members to have a deeper personal desire to develop a relationship with Christ, not just a group of friends that meet together.

Awakened Patience

Read Psalm 27

Here in such a fast-paced city, it’s easy to rush from one thing to another. The instant gratification culture thriving under the internet era has seeped its way into our lifestyles. We become impatient when the screen doesn’t load for more than 2 seconds, or when the next MTR takes more than 5 minutes to come.

We might not even realize how this affects how we approach God, our expectations of how He should answer us, and how quickly He should answer. But when God doesn’t work according to our expectations, we can learn from David, who, when adversity comes, waits patiently and expectantly for God.

David’s confidence in God

David was a king and a skilled warrior, but he didn’t boast in his status or skills. Instead, he started the Psalm by declaring who God is in his life. His focus and credit solely went to God alone. If God is with him, not if he has defeated countless nations, then who can be against him?

Who do you regard God as in your life right now? What do you count on to bring you out of difficult times?

David’s desperation for God

The first thing David asked from God is to be where God is and to be mesmerized by God (v.4). If you ever had a crush on someone, you might know how David felt. We just want to be where that person is, their presence is more than enough, and we’re willing to wait just so we can spend time with them. To David, God is not a means to an end. God is the end goal.

Do you enjoy spending extended time with God? If not, what makes it hard for you to enjoy being with Him?

David’s surrendered attitude

Then David asked God to teach him His ways before asking for blessings. He’s more concerned about learning from God than God’s gifts. He ends with a reminder to wait for God, which comes from a heart of patience, surrender, and humility. He didn’t ask for God’s saving act to happen immediately and play the victim, but trusted in God’s timing.

Reflection Questions

  • What are some things you need to wait for God for (i.e. wanting to hear His voice for a specific issue, wanting to know God deeper)?
  • What makes it hard to wait on God?

Prayer Topics for the Day

For our Church-wide Conference:
  • Pray for the speakers, Rev. Dr. John and Sandra Snelgrove, that they may have wisdom and strength as they prepare the message to share with us.
  • Pray for God’s power to bring healing and freedom that restores our hope and trust in God as our Heavenly Father.
  • Pray for unity in our church as we come together to worship God together.

Awakened by Hard Truths

Read Acts 22

The truth is often a bitter pill to swallow. I’m sure every one of us has faced criticism before and it especially stings when we know it’s true. It’s easier to judge others instead of taking a good hard look at ourselves. The Pharisees and the Jews in Jesus’s time fell into this pit and didn’t even realize it. The good news is that God doesn’t want us to fall into the same trap and gave us the Bible to learn from. Let’s allow God’s truths to transform us and others!

Paul speaks truth to his accusers

After being arrested by the Roman commander, Paul addressed his accusers in Hebrew, the local language. He patiently recounted his life story to them and how God worked in his life. In spite of his accusers’ opposition, God gave Paul a burden for his adversaries, preaching to them about Jesus. He didn’t shy away from talking about the Gentiles even though this was what triggered the Jews to arrest him in the first place (Acts 21:28). He risked his life to let the Jews know God’s whole truth.

When we relate with people, including those who may have a different faith, do we speak truth in their best interest (truth in love)? What can you learn from Paul’s response?

The Jews’ response reveals their hearts

It was only after Paul mentioned that God sent him to the Gentiles that the Jews were provoked to a violent response. This could have stemmed from their self-righteousness and self-centeredness, thinking only they deserved salvation. Yet all through the book of Acts and the New Testament, God was demonstrating that the Gospel was for non-Jews too.Romans 10:12-13 says “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

It’s easy to remain in our own bubble and lose touch with God’s heart for the pre-Christians around us. We become indifferent to others who are looking for hope in things other than God. But we, as Christ-followers, have the responsibility to declare God’s truth and pray for lost souls’ spiritual awakening.

Reflection Questions

  • What are some hard truths for us to accept?
  • Challenge yourself today to have a conversation with someone who is a pre-Christian or has a different background than you do.

Prayer Topics for the Day

For the ministry in POLYU:
  • Pray for Evangelism to happen in both LIFE Groups – 3 freshmen joining us this semester.
  • Pray for unity in our LIFE Groups where genuine friendships may form across different graduating classes.
  • Pray for a deeper understanding and conviction of the Gospel in the younger generation that they may value the Gospel above their own pursuits and desires.

Awakened Gratefulness

Have you ever met, read about, or watched a video of somebody who is grateful even though their world is falling apart? Every time I see those kinds of people, I always wonder how they are able to have that perspective. In our society, it is common to think that gratefulness is a response to success or abundance. But sometimes the people who are experiencing or have gone through hardship in their lives are the most grateful people. In Psalm 30, David, who had encountered many dangers in his life, was able to have a grateful perspective that enabled him to praise God regardless of his own situation.

A Grateful Heart

David started off by looking back to where he was before God came and saved him (vv. 1-4). In difficult situations, it’s easy for us to focus on how much suffering there is, yet the moment that it passes and things start to become better, we forget about all of it. For me, when things get better, I find myself feeling entitled to God’s blessings and then what He does give me starts to feel like not enough. Pausing to remember who we were before God saved us can help us to be grateful of what He has done in our lives. It can help us to realize the contrast between where we were and where we are now and, once we realize that, even small blessings can lead us to praise and exalt God.

A Humble Response

As David looked back, he realized how far God had brought him and his response was to cry out for mercy– he realized how he didn’t deserve anything (vv. 6-8). David humbled himself because he realized he could not have gotten there by his own effort. Academic success was always an important goal for me as a student and I often chose to believe in my own ability to carry me to that goal. Only when God broke me by placing me at the bottom of my class did I humble myself and admit to God that I could not succeed on my own. Right after that, even though my grades increased only a little bit on my next assignment, I was praising God. When we don’t humble ourselves, we forget that we need God in our lives. This prevents us from being thankful for what God is doing but, on the other hand, humility leads us to gratefulness as we realize how much we don’t deserve the gift that God has given us.

Reflection Questions

  • Have we taken the time to pause and look back to what God has done in our lives?
  • How have we been expecting God to work in our lives?
  • How can we grow in responding in humility as we receive blessings from God?

Prayer Topics for the Day

For the ministry in Covenant:
  • Pray for spiritual growth in families that husbands, wives, fathers, and mothers would grow personally in maturity through our LCGs so that our marriages can become stronger and our love for one another, our children, and the community will become deeper.
  • Pray for blessings on the children that God may bless and protect them in the midst of the continuing challenges that come with COVID-19 regarding their education, development, health, and well-being.
  • Pray for outreach opportunities and growth in our ministry that we could see more married couples and families join our church community in the future, and that our current families can reach out and be a witness to the friends and neighbors around us.

Awakened Reliance on God

Most of us would agree that life is not easy. I especially dread those moments where I feel completely not in control. Fear, uncertainty, and doubt often cause me to falter in the face of difficult situations. We may not always know how to react or even face the situations that seem so insurmountable in our lives. Paul finds himself in such a situation in Acts 23 but it is in this exact situation that God showed a glimpse of His might to save Paul. Through this story, we can learn how to rely on God in our most difficult moments.

God’s Encouragement

Paul was imprisoned and faced threats of assassination. We can only imagine what Paul would have been feeling — perhaps a mix of fear, stress, or doubt through that time. It was in this exact moment that God encouraged Paul with His presence and a promise (v.11). In difficult times, I realize that I often do not turn to God and His promises until I am at my most helpless point. It was only then that I would turn to all that the Bible says about who God is. Reminders that God loved me (John 3:16) and His word will never fail (Matthew 24:35) become an undeniable comfort when everything else fails. God was Paul’s source of comfort and he chose to hold on to this promise of God to strengthen him in the face of adversity.

The Unstoppable God

God worked His miracle to move Paul safely from Jerusalem to Caesarea, using an army to guard Paul as he was transported. Paul never had any control of the situation and all he could do was watch as God worked these miracles. This is really hard for me to do, I’m usually focusing instead on what is humanly possible. When I got rejected, my focus was on working to move my emotions away from the heartbreak because that was all I knew how to do. But God pulled me out and introduced me to the church and a community that exemplified His love, who brought me healing and salvation from my situation. It wasn’t something that I would have ever considered in my wildest imagination, but God placed a simple question in my heart that said “what if I try going to church?” God has formed a plan that surpasses human logic and is far more wonderful than our own plans, and all it takes is to have a little faith in the One who is unstoppable.

Reflection Questions

  • In our difficult situations, have we been looking to God’s presence and promises for encouragement?
  • Why is it so hard for us to be able to trust in God’s plan?
  • Do we still resist God’s plan for us, trusting in our determination and abilities to get us to the place that we want instead of where God wants us to go?

Prayer Topics for the Day

For the ministry in Building Blocks:
  • Pray for more outreach opportunities to reach out to families and to serve the community together as a ministry.
  • Pray that more families will join BBlocks so that they can hear and be blessed by the Good News.
  • Pray for wisdom, creativity and joy for our BBlocks teachers as we serve, especially with virtual learning.

Awakened by Forgiveness

Forgiveness is only impactful in a relationship if we realize we have something to be forgiven for. When we receive forgiveness from someone knowing that we have wronged them, it helps us love that person more deeply and hate the offense we committed. For us as humans, our need for forgiveness from God stems from the problem of sin, our rebellion, pride, and selfishness which separates us from God. We need to recognize we have wronged God in order to receive forgiveness and be reconciled to Him.

In Psalm 32, David wrote an instructive message (“Maskil”) on how to relate with God and receive His forgiveness through confession and repentance.

Hiding Causes Pain

David chose to keep silent about his sins (v.3) and consequently God’s hand made him waste away and suffer all day long. God pressed David to confess, not hide, his sins because it creates a barrier between them. Imagine hiding wrongdoing from someone you love. We may harbor feelings of mistrust, discomfort. Have we ever felt that towards God? What are some areas of your life that you’re currently hiding from Him?

Confession Invites Mercy

In v.5, David decided to confess all his sins to God, and God responded in mercy and quickly forgives. God wants people to confess so that there can be reconciliation in the relationship we have with Him. When we are able to confess and be reconciled to God, that’s when we experience the essence of the gospel: God’s steadfast love (v.10). “Steadfast” is defined by the Cambridge English Dictionary as “staying the same for a long time and not changing quickly or unexpectedly”. It doesn’t change according to the weight of our sin and we can be assured that God will forgive even the worst of our sins when we confess them to Him.

Repentance Mends The Relationship

We see how liberating repentance was for David in v.7, where David called God his hiding place and someone who preserved him from trouble. David does not look to God in fear or guilt anymore and instead declares that he will teach others to obey God. Repentance stirs up obedience. Throughout this One Desire Fast, God might have exposed different sin areas in your life and extended his forgiveness to you as you repent. He’s inviting you to respond to him in obedience so you can grow deeper in your relationship with Him! Reflect on the past two weeks of your life, what are some ways you were able to obey God and what fruits does it produce? How can you build in repentance and obedience into your routine even after the fast since it’s an essential part of your relationship with God?

Prayer Topics for the Day

For the ministry in The World:
  • Pray for people’s heart to be softened and awakened to their need for God so that more will come to know Christ as our Savior and Lord.
  • Pray for the body of Christ, churches around the world, to be unified in spirit and in faith to do God’s Kingdom work.
  • Pray that God will be glorified and His name to be known through the pandemic and different political issues that are going on in the world.