Tuesday 21 August, 2012

Luke 13:31-35

31 At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.” 32 He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ 33 In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem! 34 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 35 Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

Jesus knew what Herod was capable of; he built two cities, Tiberius and Sepphoras. He collected taxes to satisfy his own whims and that of Rome. He was morally bankrupt, he wanted to divorce his wife and marry his brother’s sister. He also had Jesus’ cousin John thrown into prison and because he could…. he beheaded him. It was also Herod’s father—also called Herod—who had all the male babies of Bethlehem massacred when Jesus was born. Jesus knew Herod and what he was capable of, but more importantly Jesus knew himself, His ministry and why He came. Jesus was not going to be manipulated and controlled by political pressure or opposition. He determined His walk based on the will of God and by doing so He would fulfill His entire ministry.

Is it possible that the Pharisees really cared about Jesus, or wa

s it that they didn’t want Jesus upsetting the status quo and spoiling favours they had wrangled from Herod?

Have we sold out to the political correctness of our world, or do we miss the voice of Jesus on behalf of the lost, broken and the hungry?

When Jerusalem rejected Jesus, they set themselves up for destruction. Jesus longs to bring us under the wings of His protection and bless us beyond what we can imagine. When people reject Jesus’ grace, they bring sorrow and destruction into their lives.

When we are faced with opposition, my prayer is that I never waver from what God has called me to do. That I would follow Christ with courage and integrity and that I would serve Him with a confidence that my today and my tomorrows are in the hands of my God.

Written by Cathy Croft

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Monday 20 August, 2012

Luke 13:22-30

22 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ 26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ 28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”

“Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom” that assails my view of grace.  Isn’t salvation a work of God’s grace, not my effort?

Jesus response to the question about how many will be saved is quite arresting.

Jesus is clearly speaking to people who think they will be in heaven; they even had meals with the Lord and were taught by Him.

This is arresting, do I kno

w of Jesus or do I know Jesus?  Am I truly engaged in a relationship with Him or merely associated with Him.

My work is the work of relationship, expressed through loving and love filled actions of faith which demonstrate the reality of my relationship with Jesus.

Father may my ‘work’ in relating to you be from a true heart.

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Sunday 19 August, 2012

Luke 13:18-21

18 Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? 19 It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.” 20 Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? 21 It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds[a] of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

Jesus had just set free a woman who had a disease for eighteen years on the Sabbath day, He was then challenged by the ruler of the Synagogue, so He made two comparisons of what kingdom of God like.

One is a mustard seed and the other is yeast. People may have different explanations about those two comparisons, but what I believe is that both mean such a “small” element can become or affect a “big” body.

The tiny mustard seed can become a huge tree (kingdom of God) and a tiny

amount of yeast can leaven the whole dough.

Jesus warns us to be careful about what we “think” and how we “see”.  (the Sabbath regulations were more important to the leader of the synagogue than Jesus setting the woman free)

Proverbs say “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

Today, there are many things happening around us (family, church, work place..), can I see it through Jesus’ eye?

Written by Allen Leu

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Saturday 18 August, 2012

Luke 13:10-17

10 On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. 14 Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.” 15 The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” 17 When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.

In this passage, Jesus heals a crippled woman on the Sabbath. An argument then developed between a Pharisee and Jesus about the Sabbath law. It is not really about a healing, but the Pharisee used this as a platform to dispute the works of Jesus.

The Sabbath and the crippled woman’s healing is the will of God, Jesus also points to the Pharisee’s hypocrisy, and inconsistency in his interpretation of the law; i.e. they would treat their animals with greater respect than the people they were to care for. Rabbinic interpretation allows them to untie their animals for a drink, but at the same time the Pharisees interpretation of the law stops them from untying this woman from her infirmity.

The Sabbath was meant to be a celebration

of God’s work of creation, and rest for the labourer. It was for good, not harm; it was to be a blessing for people. When Jesus healed the woman on the Sabbath, He recreated, restored, returned her to health and glory and praise was given to God.

Food for thought: we rescue beached whales, we have laws to protect our animals from cruelty, but our laws uphold the murder of our unborn babies. We also spend millions on gourmet dog and cat food, but do we give the same thought to the hungry poor in the world. Do we get angry at petty things that only affect our lives, or do we get angry at the way the devil has killed, stolen, destroyed and caused immeasurable suffering in the world?

Written by Cathy Croft

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Friday 17 August, 2012

Luke 13:6-9

6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ 8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”

God created each of us with a purpose. He is waiting and looking for us to bear fruit.

In this parable Jesus is the gardener. When we don’t bear fruit he pleads on our behalf (intercedes for us). He also fertilises the tree. In those days there was no superphosphate! Fertiliser was manure heaped around the tree. Sometimes God lets us go through hard (pooey?) times to lead us towards repentance and aligning our hearts with his will so that we will be fruitful.

The p

assage also says that the gardener paid special attention to the tree during the year of waiting for fruitfulness. When we go through unfruitful times we are not bereft. Jesus is paying special attention at those times to help us through them.

I think it is encouraging that we are so loved that Jesus goes to all this trouble to help us fulfil our purpose. As we are told in Proverbs the Lord disciplines those he loves.

Written by Megan Cornell

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Thursday 16 August, 2012

Luke 13:1-5

13 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

In the face of tragedy and disaster, Jesus knows that we have questions and that we get anxious about death and suffering. These are things out of our control.
Jesus emphatically refutes these deaths as being due to worse sin. He contradicts the popular concept of “bad karma” and implores that we accept a way out. He reminds us that there is a level playing field when it c

omes to what we deserve. Without repentance the reality is that we all perish. We all have a choice between 2 things – to repent or perish.
While we can't control tragedy, accidents and disaster, we can control and change our eternal outcome by choosing to accept His gift of eternal life, received when we repent.

Written by Lyndall Gourlay

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Wednesday 15 August, 2012

Luke 12:57-59

57 “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? 58 As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled on the way, or your adversary may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. 59 I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”

Jesus is clear – believing in him will challenge your relationships.  He came to speak for the truth and the truth causes a division among people and so the natural outcome is happening.

Jesus however is somewhat perplexed in that the people can understand the signs of nature but not the signs of the times.  We need not si

mply to be able to tell the changes in nature, but even more so the signs of the times, the changes in attitude and behaviours so that we can help people navigate life well.

Father, help me to know what is happening in our world and bring Your wisdom to this around me.

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Tuesday 14 August, 2012

Luke 12:54-56

54 He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. 55 And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. 56 Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?

In the middle of warning the people to be ready for the Son of Man, Jesus is obviously frustrated: They can interpret complicated things like the weather, but they can’t see what God is doing all around them.

He told a story about a servant who should be waiting for his master’s return. If he waits faithfully he will be rewarded, but he usurps his master’s position and is caught by surprise when he returns. How could this happen? Did he forget he had a master? Did he think he wouldn’t return?

He tells the people to be ready for the Son of Man. Yet even though they’ve seen miracles that should make it obvious that here is the Son of Man warning them, somehow many miss this

and reject him.

So often we see what we want to see. Our hearts rule our senses. The faithful servants were looking, hoping for their master’s return and they see it. The unfaithful servant obviously didn’t want his master to return and misses it.

So what things make it hard for me to see what God is doing? How much do I want him to come, or to act in my life, or am I comfortable the way things are? Do I ask him what he’s doing, or do my plans get in the way?

Lord, speak to me. Show me what you are doing. Open my heart and mind to see it, and to be part of whatever you are doing. Break through whatever clouds my sight.

Written by David Cornell

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Monday 13 August, 2012

Luke 12:49-59

49 “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! 51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52 From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” 54 He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. 55 And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. 56 Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time? 57 “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? 58 As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled on the way, or your adversary may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. 59 I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”

Jesus is clear – believing in him will challenge your relationships.  He came to speak for the truth and the truth causes a division among people and so the natural outcome is happening.

Jesus however is somewhat perplexed in that the people can understand the signs of nature 1 Month Break Up Your Girlfriend Is Still Holding You Back but not the signs of the times.  We need not simply t

o be able to tell the changes in nature, but even more so the signs of the times, the changes in attitude and behaviours so that we can help people navigate life well.

Father, help me to know what is happening in our world and bring Your wisdom to this around me.

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

More: 1 Month Break Up Your Girlfriend Is Still Holding You Back

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Sunday 12 August, 2012

Luke 12:41-48

41 Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?” 42 The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. 47 “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

Jesus has just completed a long dialogue on the kingdom of heaven and how to practically approach issues of everyday life with an eternal perspective and Peter approaches him and rightly asks for clarification. It is clear that Jesus is covering a lot of complex issues and Peter (and possibly many of the other disciples) are struggling to follow. I can imagine them nudging one another saying “no, you ask him!”

Interestingly, Christ's response does not seem to answer Peter's question. He actually continues along the same analogy of a master and a steward. Christ's message to Peter has many layers and refers to issues of salvation at the same time as it refers to issues of recognisi

ng God's sovereignty and the need to take care of the things which God has entrusted to us.

When I am faced with a situation in life that seems confusing, do I become frustrated and confused? Do I do what the disciples may have done and try to get someone else to approach God on my behalf to ask for clarification? Am I bold enough to seek God in the confusion and wait on Him for His peace?

What about the issues of salvation, sovereignty and stewardship? Do I have a real understanding of these concepts and am I fulfilling what this passage is calling: To be ready for the Master's return and to recognise all possessions as truly His?

Written by Justin Ware

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