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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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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