Wednesday 20 June, 2012

Luke 4:14-30

14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. 16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”[a] 20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked. 23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’” 24 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy[b] in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

What an extraordinary story.

Luke has described Jesus origins: the Son of God, announced by angels, conceived of the Holy Spirit, promised to Abraham, foretold by the prophets; and Jesus called the Son of Joseph, descended from David (and heir of his promises), but also the son of Adam, the second Adam who would put right what Adam made wrong. It’s essential that he is both. But the people of his home town can’t see how can he be the fulfilment of prophesy and the son of Joseph they think they know.

They’ve heard of his teachings and the miracles he has done in Capernaum. Jesus reads from Isaiah and tells them that the law (“year of Jubilee” from Leviticus when slaves are set free and debts cancelled) and the prophets are fulfilled in their presence. This is one of those times when the threads of God’s plans coming together in a way that sends a tingle down my spine. And yet these people think they know Jesus. They can’t see past their preconceptions that he’s just Joseph’s son.

Jesus sees into their hearts (as he often does) and sees their disbelief: they want to see proof, they want to see a miracle. They are wrong on so many levels. God is not subject to our judgement, we are subject to His. God gives blessing where He chooses, not where we demand.

They are so outraged at his suggestion that they would reject him that they not only reject him, they try to kill him: an extraordinary reaction.

So do I rush off with what I think I know and fail to hear what God is saying? Do I expect God to support my expectations, or do I change my thinking (repent) to align with his?

Written by David Cornell

1 (reply)
  1. Richard Botta says:

    David, love it great thoughts. I’m praying like you I hear his voice loud & clear today & everyday.

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Tuesday 19 June, 2012

Luke 4:1-13

4 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted[a] by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’[b]” 5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’[c]” 9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; 11 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[d]” 12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[e]” 13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

Jesus interaction with the devil is one that is instructive in spiritual warfare.

The conditions Jesus finds Himself are these.  He is full of the Spirit, He is led by the Spirit, He is tempted by the devil for 40 days, He eats nothing for 40 days, and He is very hungry.

Then come the 3 known temptations, although the Scripture tells us there were more.

The Devil delivers the temptations each one with a clear quotation from Scripture, each with a clear challenge to prove Himself. Identity is the challenge for two temptations; “if you are the Son of God” something that would not have been proved by Jesus doing what He was being tempted with. The other is a direct temptation to serve Himself, to live for Himself.

Jesus meets the temptations with a clear quotation from Scripture for each. This suggests that Scripture is a necessary ingredient to withstand the temptations of the enemy, but a closer look reveals there’s more.

However the devil decides to tempt us, we clearly need the Scripture, but it’s not our only weapon. Of the other ‘conditions’ that Jesus has here the ones surrounding the place and his physical condition are probably least important.

Rather it’s that He is full of the Spirit and being lead of the Spirit that are most critical, plus His understanding of Himself (He didn’t try to prove who He was) and He understood how God had created things in order.

For us to withstand the temptations of the devil we need to ensure that we are full of the Holy Spirit and are being obedient to Him in that we are being lead by Him, in addition to knowing God’s Word, which is how we become obedient to God.

It also matters that we understand God’s created order and His calling and identity in us.

Written by Richard Botta

1 (reply)
  1. Ben Potter says:

    I love at the end of verse 2 “and at the end of them he was hungry”… what a surprise!

    Anyway I had a question: When the devil comes to Jesus and quotes scripture – “The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”” – what book & verse is he quoting in the Bible?

    Also do you think that the devil knows the Bible extremely well and is able to pull quotes from anywhere (just as we see here)?

    Would love to hear your thoughts Richard.

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Monday 18 June, 2012

Luke 3:23-38

23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melki, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josek, the son of Joda, 27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melki, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon,[a] the son of Nahshon, 33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram,[b] the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Kenan, 38 the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

What strikes me most about this passage is not the list of names, impressive or famous as some of them are.  Instead, I am struck by the last four words of this passage, “the son of God”.  All these people show a family lineage back to Adam and therefore to God, but I too am a child of God!  John 1:12-13 says, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”

Because of my salvation through Jesus Christ, I am now considered “part of the family” – a child of God. How truly awesome is that!  What an inheritance!

“Thank you, Lord, that through your Son, Jesus Christ, I am your child.  Thank you, that as a father, you love me, you care for me, you encourage me, you strengthen me, you discipline me, you walk beside me and you are forever “for me”.  Praise you!”

Written By Jen Irving

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Sunday 17 June, 2012

Lk 3:21-22

21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

The ministry of Jesus begins in these verses.  Luke has already told us that John was baptising ‘for the forgiveness of sins’.  Jesus – who was sinless – chose to be baptised identifying Himself with us.  While praying, after His baptism, the Holy Spirit comes upon Him and not only that but heaven opens & the voice of the Father confirms His love, favour and presence completely upon Him for His ministry ahead.

There are a lot of theological points in these verses … but the simplicity of Jesus identifying so completely in who I am, is actually overwhelming as I think about.  No one person has ever so completely identified with me ever.  Many have identified with me in certain aspects of my life, but not so completely.  This one act, identifying with me through baptism – displays a love for me that brings security, comfort, acceptance, safety, courage ….   I pray that I will never loose sight of the fact that Jesus is the only one who can truly & so completely walk through life with me.  He ‘gets’ me.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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Saturday 16 June, 2012

Luke 3:15-20

15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with[a] water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with[b] the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” 18 And with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them. 19 But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of his marriage to Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the other evil things he had done, 20 Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison.

John answered peoples’ questions about the coming Messiah.  John had a clear understanding of his role and the far, far superior role of Jesus.  He also warns people that their lives will come under scrutiny when Jesus comes.  John doesn’t hold back with his warnings about the way people live their lives and will ultimately be judged.  It’s important to note that people came to John with their questions about Jesus.  He did not shy away from telling the truth but boldly declared what was to happen to the point where he was jailed.

John answered peoples’ questions about Jesus.  It made me wonder if I was answering peoples’ questions about Jesus in my own life.  One step further, were people asking me questions in the first place?  John clearly had a relationship with Jesus (they were cousins) and it is out of this relationship that he gave answers to people in such a bold and direct manner.  It encourages me to know Jesus better so I can answer questions and even start conversations about Jesus.  It also suggests that some answers aren’t what people want to hear but shouldn’t be left out of the conversation because I feel uncomfortable.

God make me bold so I can warn our generation like John the Baptist warned his!

Written by Ainslie Woods

2 replies
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Friday 15 June, 2012

Luke 3:7-14

7 John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 9 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” 10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked. 11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” 12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” 13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them. 14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely —be content with your pay.”

John uses some strong language speaking to the crowd; it’s never complimentary when you’re referred to as a poisonous snake! John shocks the people out of their comfort zone; he confronts them in regards to their reliance on ritual, and their identity as sons of Abraham. The main issue here is the state of these people’s hearts. John challenges them that if they are sincere in repenting from sin and turning to God there should be clear evidence in their lives. Selfless generosity, integrity and compassion, these should be the fruit in our lives.

John’s voice challenges me, how deep does my repentance go? Is there evidence in my life day by day that I have turned from a life of sin and am pursuing Christ? I desire that the fruit of my life draw people closer to God.

Written by Beth Waugh

2 replies
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Thursday 14 June, 2012

Luke 3:1-6

3 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— 2 during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. 5 Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. 6 And all people will see God’s salvation.’”

John is in the wilderness at about 26-29AD at a time of political chaos & religious barrenness. In the midst of this chaos, “the word of God came to John”. It did not come to the politically powerful, or to the religious leaders, but to John, alone in the wilderness.

The wilderness is a place of uncharted territory, and there are no maps or guides.  It is a place of barrenness and beauty; it can be in drought or have flash floods, unpredictable and irregular rain. However, in this wild and uncharted place, God spoke to John.  Some think the way of the world is a way of life that will satisfy, and remember, the world will not hesitate to impose its belief on us. Some believe to only following God’s law will make us right with God. However, our hearts will always be restless until we find rest in God. We need to make a choice to prepare the way of the Lord in our heart. When in the wilderness, we must live by faith and be aware of our total dependence on God. We cannot be self sufficient; we must rely on God alone. We must shift from self-reliance to total reliance on God. Do not despise the wilderness, it is a call to surrender everything and in the surrender is the joy of knowing we can hear His word and be assured we can depend upon God.

Written by Cathy Croft

3 replies
  1. Richard Botta says:

    I love that it is God who leads us into, speaks to and sustains us in the wilderness.

  2. Linda Quinn says:

    I love that the word of God that John brought was proclaiming that all humanity would see the salvation of God. They were “about” to see what we can “now” see – our salvation – our Saviour. Holy Spirit – open my eyes, I want to see Jesus.

  3. Sam Liu says:

    First time I’m checking out the daily digest. I think I’ll make it a regular thing from from now on!

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Wednesday 13 June, 2012

Luke 2:41-52

41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” 49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”[a] 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them. 51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

Jesus had parents – imagine being Jesus’ mum or dad. Initially it might seem easy – the perfect kid. But Mary and Joseph didn’t “get” Jesus – they knew He was different but they didn’t “get” how. Imagine looking for Jesus for 3 days!!! Then finding Him calmly talking and listening in the temple. Didn’t He know He was lost? Why did you do this to us Jesus? Why are you doing this to me Jesus? I hear my anxiety echoed in their words. I thought You were coming this way with me – but I turn around and You’re not here!

Jesus answer to them is the same answer to me – Didn’t you know I would be here?

Do I know where to find Jesus when “He”, I mean “I” get lost? How incredible to know that He is with me – always and everywhere. I can be with Him – I just need to keep Him in view, not get too far ahead, watch where He is leading me. Challenging but comforting. Lord help me keep close today.

Written by Linda Quinn

2 replies
  1. Megan Cornell says:

    You’re right Linda! It’s us who ‘get lost’ and don’t follow God’s direction for us.
    “Lord, help me to go where you’re going, not expect you to follow me”

  2. Sue Botta says:

    I love this part where it says that Mary ‘treasured’ these things in her heart… She was so aware of all the ‘truth’ around Jesus…
    she must have wondered WHEN would be His time…HOW would it happen…..She waited patiently treasuring things in her heart….Lord give us patience to see all that you want to come to pass….will happen in your way, your time…

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Tuesday 12 June, 2012

Luke 2:36-40

36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[a] She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. 39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.

This passage is about the prophetess, Anna.  After 7yrs of marriage, she lost her husband.  A widow of 84 years, living in the temple, praying and fasting to God.  I can only imagine she had been in the temple about 60yrs!

After Simeon, had prophesied over Jesus, Anna came up to him too.  It is not clear if Anna heard what Simeon said, but regardless, she too gave thanks to God.  And Anna spoke “about this child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem”.   The holy city of God’s chosen people.   Thereby confirming Simeon’s prophecy.  This, I believe, took a lot of boldness!

The bible calls Anna a prophetess.  She must have had may prophesies for many faithful Jews. Inspired by the Holy Spirit.

What this passage speaks to me, is how God uses women, like men to speak prophetically and serve the Lord. Certainly Anna may not have had anyone to provide for her, but her faithfulness in the Temple, loving and seeking God, was foremost to her.

Father God, please fill me with your Holy Spirit that I too, will seek you passionately, and know you have a purpose with my life, as you did with Anna.

Written by Linda Stengl

2 replies
  1. Mandy Miller says:

    It’s always great to see men & women stepping into our God-given gifts – and with passion… Thanks Linda!

  2. Richard Botta says:

    Never keep a person down based on gender – God doesn’t nor should we – go for it Linda!

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Monday 11 June, 2012

Luke 2:25-35

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss[a] your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” 33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

Simenon was one of the witnesses in Jerusalem who saw Jesus as the comfort of Israel.

His story is not very long, but the bible said “he was righteous and devout, and waiting for the comfort of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.” What a great man!!

Not only that, the action of the Holy Spirit upon his life is mentioned 3 times in 10 verses.

  1. Holy Spirit was upon him.
  2. He had knowledge, through the Holy Spirit,
  3. He came by the Spirit into the temple:

Before Jesus went to the Father and sent the Holy Spirit to His believers, there are not many cases for people to have Holy Spirit upon them.

Also, there was one special element of Simeon life: “waiting for the comfort of Israel” before he died.

Today, I have Holy Spirit with me at all times. But, what I am waiting/longing for? new car, new house, new Job, new……?

I am not saying a new car, house, job…are not good. They all come with the blessings of Jesus.

But, what is the heart-beat of my life?

What would I like to be described as from Jesus’ eye?

Written by Allen Leu

2 replies
  1. Mandy Miller says:

    I love being reminded about “what is the heart-beat of my life…” What are my priorities & am I really walking that path…

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