Entries by YMI

ODJ: Learning Another’s Song

December 8, 2018 

READ: Acts 11:19-26 

The power of the Lord was with them, and a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord (v.21).

During my master’s degree studies, I attended a church with people from many different nations and ethnic backgrounds, where we often worshipped by singing songs in various languages. One year for Christmas the choir director asked me to teach the other choir members a carol in my native Romanian language. Tears streamed down my face when we sang it on Christmas Eve. I was away from my home country, yet at home with brothers and sisters in Jesus who loved me enough to learn a song in my first language.

The people in the city of Antioch must have felt similarly moved when Christians from the island of Cyprus and the North African city of Cyrene willingly shared the good news of Jesus with them. These Jewish Christians were refugees from persecution, yet they persevered in sharing the faith, and “the power of the Lord was with them” (Acts 11:21).

Antioch was a centre for travel and commerce in the Roman Empire, so its population was ethnically diverse. The church contained Jews, Romans, Syrians, Greeks and other nationalities. This multinational church demonstrated to the leaders in Jerusalem that the gospel can transcend ethnic boundaries (vv.22-23). It was the beginning of the fulfilment of Jesus’ promise that “the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it” (Matthew 24:14).

When believers from diverse backgrounds fellowship together in unity, God receives the glory and those around us can recognise His love. May we find in Him the courage to intentionally love, serve and worship with brothers and sisters who are different from, and yet “one” with us! (Galatians 3:28).

—Estera Pirosca Escobar

365-day plan: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-18

MORE
Read Romans 15:5-13 and consider Paul’s encouragement to “accept each other just as Christ has accepted you” (v.7). 
NEXT
Have you ever met with other believers in a multi-ethnic community? How did you feel? What can you do to share the good news with a person from a different ethnic background? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: Home

December 8, 2018 

READ: John 14:1-6 

In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:2 nkjv

 

Recently a friend who sold homes for a living died of cancer. As my wife and I reminisced about Patsy, Sue recalled that many years ago Patsy had led a man to faith in Jesus and he became a good friend of ours.

How encouraging to recall that Patsy not only helped families find homes to live in here in our community, but she also helped others make sure they had an eternal home.

As Jesus prepared to go to the cross for us, He showed a keen interest in our eternal accommodations. He told His disciples, “I go to prepare a place for you” and reminded them that there would be plenty of room in His Father’s house for all who trusted Him (John 14:2 nkjv).

We love to have a nice home in this life—a special place for our family to eat, sleep, and enjoy each other’s company. But think of how amazing it will be when we step into the next life and discover that God has taken care of our eternal accommodations. Praise God for giving us life “to the full” (John 10:10), including His presence with us now and our presence with Him later in the place He is preparing for us (14:3).

Thinking of what God has in store for those who trust Jesus can challenge us to do as Patsy did and introduce others to Him.  

— Dave Branon

Lord, while we anticipate the home You’re preparing for us, may we tell others they too can enjoy forever the home You’re preparing for all who believe in Jesus.

Who can you talk to today about their need for an eternal home and the assurance that would bring them?  

ODJ: The Road Least Travelled

December 7, 2018 

READ: Acts 8:26-40 

An angel of the Lord said to [Philip], “Go south down the desert road” (v.26).

The story of Eric Liddell’s athletic prowess was immortalised in the highly acclaimed 1981 movie Chariots of Fire. Eric was expected to win gold in the 100m race in the 1924 Olympics. Staying true to his convictions, however, Eric withdrew from the race because he would not compete on Sunday. Despite intense criticism, he entered the 400m race instead and—with only five months preparation—won the gold in world-record time. Lucrative sponsorships and deals awaited him. But Eric chose to walk away from fame and wealth to be a missionary in China.

Philip had a successful ministry in Samaria (Acts 8:4-8). Instead of remaining in the city to reach the masses, he left for “the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza” (v.26). Beyond Gaza was a huge desert. Following God’s leading, Philip took the road few used.

But in His divine plan, God had arranged for Philip to meet with an Ethiopian—a Gentile who himself had embarked on a 200 mile journey as he earnestly sought after God (v.27). Philip made contact with him just as the Ethiopian was reading a prophecy about Jesus (vv.28-34). The man believed in Christ and was baptised on the spot (vv.36-38). Somehow God even made waters available in the dry desert. Imagine how Philip must have felt when he realised he had been sent out on the divine assignment of leading a devoted seeker into heaven!

Philip on the road least travelled was no accident; he was there by God’s leading. Solomon wisely observed, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps” (Proverbs 16:9). All our actions are under God’s providential care, “for in him we live and move and exist” (Acts 17:28). May we follow Him by faith today.

—K.T. Sim

365-day plan: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

MORE
Read Isaiah 55:6-11 and think about how we can better understand God’s will and ways. 
NEXT
What road least travelled has God asked you to take? How are you encouraged by God’s providential work in Philip’s life? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)