Saturday 11 August, 2012

Luke 12:35-40

35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

Be dressed & ready to go!  This whole passage is talking about being ready but with a Kingdom perspective.  Jesus uses an example of the slave/master relationship. The slaves are praised for being ready to serve at any time, even the middle of the night, which really they should be, but then there's a twist.  Because the slaves were ready the master then serves them.

I'm still getting my head around what this twist means … I immediately think of the 2nd coming and the marriage feast of the Lamb, but I doubt this would have had that meaning to the disciples who were his audience at the time?

I do k

now that I need to take the warning .. I do not want the 'thief' to steal any part of my relationship with Jesus because I’m not prepared. I want to be ready; my heart in an open & giving place to respond positively to any request Jesus makes of me – whether that’s serving behind the scenes or serving out front in ministry and not just when it suits me or my plans. I want to be dressed & ready to go, my light on & not hidden.

Lord it is my prayer that my heart would always be ready both for your return and to serve you.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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Friday 10 August, 2012

Luke 12:22-34

22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life[a]? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? 27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

What is my life’s ultimate pursuit? Is it food…clothing…or the Kingdom of God.

According to Jesus, my life is for more than simply eating food, and my body is for more than clothes.

If I know that a computer is able to do more than play my music…then to use the computer simply for playing music is to undervalue and under utilise the potential of my computer.

To live only for the food we can gather and eat, and the clothes we can purchase and wear, is to undervalue our lives and our potential according to God.

My greatest value and potential is unlocked in pursuing the things of his Kingdom. I am at my fullest potential when I know my

life is shaped around the priority of living for his Kingdom, and bringing others into His Kingdom.

The wonderful promise in pursuing His Kingdom is that the other priorities of food and clothing are taken care of “as well.” But not just taken care of. The promise in these passages is that God will care for us much more than He does the ravens he feeds, and much more than the flowers of the field he dresses in greater splendour than that of King Solomon.

Lord, help me live in the fullness of my purpose – for your Kingdom to come, and your will to be done on earth, as it is in Heaven. Amen

Written by Ps. Rob Waugh

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Thursday 9 August, 2012

Luke 12:13-21

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” 16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21 “This is how it will be with those who store up things for themselves but are not rich toward God.”

“Jesus, order my brother to give me my fair share” – I can hear the whine in this man's voice….  In a family, it's a common issue with kids… But unfortunately – as Jesus experienced, it is a common issue with adults too. We may use words like fairness and equality but it often stems from a desire for more. Jesus response to this man was to turn to the crowd following Him and to caution them strongly.  The Message version says:“Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.” <

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To make sure they get the message He tells them a sobering story. The message is as relevant and sobering today as it was when Jesus told it.

Eugene Peterson in the Message version closes the story this way

21″That's what happens when you fill your barn with Self and not with God.”

The question is… What am I stockpiling?

Is my barn full of self… Self-reliance, self-confidence, self-competence, self-trust?

God help me fill my barn with… God-reliance, God-confidence, God-competence, God-trust.

Written by Ps. Linda Quinn

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Wednesday 8 August, 2012

Luke 12:4-12

4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. 8 “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. 9 But whoever publicly disowns me will be disowned before the angels of God. 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 11 “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

Knowing God is there with me every day is incredibly important to me.  This passage reminds me of that truth.  God knows how many hairs are on my head and he knows each and every sparrow that is out there and I am so much more important in God’s eyes.  I love that about God – that He cares, that He is interested in all the ins and outs of my life and that even in difficult times He is there and helping me to say the right thing.  I have been in many meetings at work where issues arise and I have the right thing to say without even thinking too hard.  Not quite the same situation as the court cases here but my example of God being there bes

ide me at all times.

For God to do that all day every day deserves my respect of Him – I need to acknowledge His help to myself and to others – its only right.  Its easy to do it to myself but it depends who the others are as to whether its “OK” to talk about God.  That’s not great respect and something I need to fix.

Dear God

How amazing that you are by my side and interested in all the stuff I do every day! Thank you that I have numerous examples I can think of where its obvious that you are there.  Help me to do better at acknowledging You and Your help to others.

Written by Therese Manning

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Tuesday 7th August, 2012

Luke 12:1-3

12 Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be[a] on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 3 What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.

* Thousands of people surrounded Jesus, yet he spoke these words specifically to his disciples.

* Jesus warns the disciples about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.  Jesus refers to it as the “yeast” of the Pharisees.  Yeast may be good for bread but not for the disciple of Christ ie. avoid being light and fluffy or lacking in substance and fake.

* Jesus warns that at some point in the future true

intentions will be revealed.

The phrase “lip service” jumps to mind here!  God so desires truth in our hearts and lives.  That we be true to him and ourselves ie. our words and actions are aligned.  We don't say one thing and think or do another.

Lord help me to live an honest life in thought, word and action before you and others, amen.

Written by Ainslie Woods

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Monday 6th August, 2012

Luke 11:37-54

37 When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. 38 But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal. 39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. 42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone. 43 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces. 44 “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.” 45 One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.” 46 Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them. 47 “Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them. 48 So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. 49 Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’ 50 Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all. 52 “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.” 53 When Jesus went outside, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, 54 waiting to catch him in something he might say.

Jesus has just been teaching about letting God’s light reach into the darkest corner of our lives. One of the Pharisees invites him to eat a meal.

Jesus walks in and sits down to eat without doing the hand washing ceremony. It’s not that he’s forgotten. Jesus hasn’t finished teaching and he has a point to make.

His host is focused on a ceremony of cleaning, but Jesus has seen into his heart. He has invited all the ‘important’ people that he hopes to impress, all of whom probably had no lack of food, but there is no-one there who really needed feeding. Jesus leaves no doubt about what is wrong and what needs to be done to fix it.

So how do they respond?

One of the teachers sees the same problem

in his own life, but his response is not to repent – he’s insulted. The others become hostile, hoping to divert attention from their own failings by finding fault in Jesus.

How do I respond to having my faults exposed by God’s light shining into the dark corners of my life? Am I glad that a hidden sin has been revealed and can be dealt with? It’s often so easy to become defensive, to try to justify myself or to attack the one who has revealed me.

Lord, shine your light into my darkest corners. Find any sin lurking there. Thanks that you’ve already paid for it. Help me to get rid of it so that every corner of my life can happily receive your light.

Written by David Cornell

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Sunday 5 August, 2012

Luke 11:33-36

33 “None of you lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead you put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. 35 See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. 36 Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.”

Jesus opening statement is so obvious; I have often wondered why He even says it. Of course you don’t put a lamp under a basket! But that’s the point, Jesus is saying how stupid can you get – lights are meant to out on display, they are meant to impact the whole room and they can! Jesus goes on to ask me, what light is filling my life? Is it good or bad, is it truly light or is it darkness? I am to make sure the light filling my life is not darkness, and the evidence is that it will fill my whole life and the ligh

t will be as a floodlight filling every corner of my being!

So how do I tell if the light in my life is light or dark? I think Jesus means is my life honouring to Him, reflecting His glory – for surely a life of darkness would absorb His glory! Do I think honouring thoughts about Jesus, others and myself? That is light. I so do not want darkness filling my life.

So I pray, Jesus you are the light of the world, fill my life with Your light for I so need it!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Saturday 4 August, 2012

Luke 11:29-32

29 As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom; and now one[a] greater than Solomon is here. 32 The people of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and now one greater than Jonah is here.

Amazing things, demand a response.

Jesus uses 2 examples from Jewish history.  The Ninevites, who were a much feared and hated gentile people and the queen of the south – queen of Sheba – a gentile woman.  Neither of these missed what God was doing in their day and responded even though they were not apart of God’s people.

Jesus is telling His audience, Jewish people, that they are in grave danger of missing what God was doing in their day in Him and worst

yet, the Ninevites and the queen of Sheba would judge them for it!

Today, am I in danger of missing and responding what Jesus is doing in my time, or in my life, because it doesn’t look like I think it should or expect?  Am I missing what the Holy Spirit is doing?

Father help me to always be open to see you at work.  I don’t want to miss what you are doing because it doesn’t look like I think it should.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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Friday 3 August, 2012

Luke 11:27-28

27 As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” 28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

Wow, most of us would think how blessed Jesus’ mother Mary was to have been chosen to bear the Son of God. We would hardly dare to compare ourselves to her in the special blessing she received with that calling.  But Jesus turns it around here in this statement and says to each one of us that we can be just as blessed if we will do one thing (well, two things actually): hear the word of God and obey it. Really??

That challenges my thinking. I believe that Jesus is saying here, it’s not just the “special” people (like Jesus’ mother) who are significant in this life. It can be each one of us… each person doing the things that God has called them to, obeying the voice of the Holy Spirit. That is the definition of a significant life. It’s n

ot found in position or status, but simply in doing what God has called us to do.

Significance is one of our deepest longings. We all want to feel like our life will count for something here on earth, and in this simple statement Jesus has just given us the answer. You will have a significant (blessed) life if you hear God’s word and obey it.

That inspires me and challenges me. What is God calling me to do today? Am I working to my own agenda or am I listening to the voice of the Spirit and obeying Him?

Lord, help me to listen to Your voice and obey. Help me to align myself with your plans and your calling for me and to find my significance in You and nothing else.

Written by Shelley Witt

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Thursday 2 August, 2012

Luke 11:14–26

14 Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. 15 But some of them said, “By Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.” 16 Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven. 17 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. 18 If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebul. 19 Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 20 But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. 22 But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder. 23 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 24 “When an evil spirit comes out of anyone, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.”

This passage is about Jesus’ authority. Is he casting out demons by Satan’s authority or God’s?

Jesus soundly refutes the argument that he is casting out demons by Satan’s power, but then presents them with an alternative. If he is doing it by the “finger of God”, then the kingdom of God has come upon them. He is issuing a challenge, demanding a response. No response, or sitting on the fence, means that they are against him – “whoever is not with me is against me”. This theme continues in vv 24 – 26. A demon cast out, but not replaced, is able to return to the void left behind. However, if this space is filled with the Holy Spirit instead the demon is unable to return. Again, a response is required.

I had two thoughts about this passage. One is a reminder that Jesus is always in authority, and is more powerful than Satan. He has “overpowered the strong man”. Secondly, he requires a response from us. Do I read scripture and not let it affect or change me in any way, or am I always looking to grow because of what I read?

“Thank you Lord, that you have won the victory. Thank you for the scriptures you gave us. Help me to grow day by day as I read them.”

Written by Megan Cornell

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