Saturday 21 July, 2012

Luke 9: 37-43a

37 The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. 38 A man in the crowd called out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. 39 A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. 40 I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.” 41 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.” 42 Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil[a] spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. 43 And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.

Jesus and the disciples had just come down from a mountain top experience (the night before) like worship on steroids … Jesus is aware that His time with them is coming to an end when this demon possessed boy is brought before Him – his father comments that the disciples have been unable to heal him.  Luke 9:41 Jesus said, “What a generation! No sense of God! No focus to your lives! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring your son here.”  (The Message version)
I sense that Jesus words reveal his concern in leaving the disciples (in particular) to carry on with Gods work without Him when He has gone. How many times have they seen Him cast out demons? How many times have they seen Him heal the sick? How many times has He shown them and told them what God will do with them, in them, and through them, if they would only have the faith of a mustard seed? I hear those words echo in my own mind … How many times have I seen the power and authority of God accomplish all that He has promised it would in my life? And yet, right now as I face events that are challenging, overwhelming – is my response to try and then fail at believing God, or to walk in confident assurance that my God is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than I can ask think or imagine? ( Eph 3:20) Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.

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Friday 20 July, 2012

Luke 9:28-36

28 About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. 29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. 30 Two men, Moses and Elijah, 31 appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. 32 Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. 33 As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.) 34 While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” 36 When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen.

What an incredible scene. A moment where the divine glory of the Son of God breaks through the veil of his humble human nature. But a moment Peter, James and John almost missed!

Very sleepy, probably because of the rigorous ministry of Jesus, and possibly because it was early morning (often Jesus got up early to pray), the disciples were almost sleeping through an incredible encounter.

As he wakes enough to realise the moment he’s in, Peter is awkward and rushed. I bet he was just a little distracted by Moses and Elijah. Thinking to himself, “man, I have only read about these guys; what if I can actually talk to them…oh, the questions I can ask them.” Poor Peter had no real idea what was going on though.

Then comes the moment that trumps them all – God comes to them all and says, audibly, “guys, Jesus, my son, is the chosen one, give Him

all your attention.”

Surely it was a not so subtle correction of Peter, who was getting all excited about Moses and Elijah, but had not yet fully realised that Jesus, his suddenly glowing teacher and companion, was far greater than both of them together. But God graciously, and wonderfully, redirects Peter’s zeal.

I may sometimes be literally or metaphorically very sleepy; I may find myself with more than a bit of misdirected Zeal. But God takes gracious and wonderful care to constantly keep my focus on Jesus. He alone has the words of eternal life, and He alone can bring about my destiny.

God, no matter what the moment in my day, or week, no matter how glorious or mundane, help me to heed what you told the disciples; that Jesus is the one I need to have my constant attention set upon.

Written by Ps. Rob Waugh

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Thursday 19 July, 2012

Luke 9:23-27

23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for you to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit your very self? 26 If any of you are ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”

This passage comes after Jesus did the famous miracle of 5 loaves and 2 fish.  The crowd had been following Jesus. But, Jesus said to them “you are looking for me not because you saw signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill”.

Jesus points out the true follower or disciple needs to do 3 things:

  1. Deny themselves
  2. Take up their cross daily
  3. Follow Jesus

It’s a different teaching from the world. The world always tells us to be “self-indulgent” and take easy way to success.

But Jesus knew, without the first two steps – denying myself and taking up my cross daily, I can’t be the true follower.

How do I deny myself?  What is my cross?

What is my intention for believing in Jesus?  For my own prosperity/benefit or just because He is the true God.

Written by Allen Leu

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Wednesday 18 July, 2012

Luke 9: 10-22

10 When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, 11 but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing. 12 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.” 13 He replied, “You give them something to eat.” They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” 14 (About five thousand men were there.) But he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 The disciples did so, and everyone sat down. 16 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to set before the people. 17 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basket fulls of broken pieces that were left over. 18 Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?” 19 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.” 20 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.” 21 Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. 22 And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

What strikes me about this passage is generosity. Jesus had withdrawn with his disciples, hoping to spend some quiet time with them debriefing from their mission and teaching and sustaining them. Although not mentioned in Luke, it is evident from Mark’s gospel that John the Baptist had just been beheaded. Since he was Jesus’ cousin and close to the disciples also, time out would have been welcome for them to grieve together. But when the crowd came Jesus had compassion on them and spent time healing and teaching them – a generosity of time and energy.

Feeding the 5000 with abundance left over also shows Jesus’ generosity towards us with our daily needs, as well as, of course, his authority on earth. He gives thanks (blesses) God for the food and there is miraculously enough.

God has that same generosity towards us. He is always there to listen, teach and minister to us and he amply supplies our daily needs.

Father, help me to be aware of the abundant blessings you give me – not just materially but in time, love, family, nature, speaking into my life. Thank you.

Written by Megan Cornell

1 (reply)
  1. Richard Botta says:

    Love your thoughts Megan, I’ve never looked at this passage from that perspective.

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Tuesday 17 July, 2012

Luke 9:7-9

7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, 8 others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. 9 But Herod said, “I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?” And he tried to see him.

In this passage we discover that Herod Antipas, the ruler of the region, hears about the ministry of Jesus and the disciples. He didn’t have an explanation for the events, and according to the passage those around him didn’t seem to be able to explain what was happening either. It would seem that Herod was mostly curious about what was occurring in his territory. In Luke 23:8 it says that Herod was pleased when Jesus was brought before him, as he wanted to see Jesus and he wanted Jesus to perform a sign.

What strikes me about this passage is the way that people sit up and take notice when God moves in power. I am made hungry by this passage, that God would use me to move in power in the lives of those around me, whether it be provision, wisdom or a miraculous healing. It’s hard to argue with an event. God may you show me and teach me to live a life that impacts those around me and draws people to you.

Written by Beth Waugh

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Monday 16 July, 2012

Luke 9:1-6

9 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3 He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. 5 If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.” 6 So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.

The disciples are deliberately commissioned to go and preach the Gospel.  Jesus imparts both power and authority to them to cast out demons and heal the sick.  Then He sends them out to preach the Good News.

Jesus instructs them to travel light, as the people they meet will be expected to provide what they need.

If they are not welcomed, which was expected by one Jew to the next, then they were to leave in a manner that left the village in no doubt as to the fact they were responsible for their fate, that is God’s blessing was removed from them.

Jesus obviously had the authority to invest both power and authority in the disciples for the task.  This commissioning or ordination is an important aspect of releasing people for public ministry.  It is not simply that they are recognized as ministers of the Gospel by the wider body but that they are endued with both power and authority in the realm of their ministry for the penetration of their ministry in effect and extent.

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Sunday 15 July, 2012

Luke 8:40-55

40 Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. 41 Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house 42 because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying. As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. 43 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. 45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” 47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” 49 While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher anymore.” 50 Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” 51 When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52 Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.” 53 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” 55 Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat.

I love the story of great faith this passage talks about, from both the synagogue leader & the beggar woman.  The leader had the right to come into the crowd and stand before Jesus.  The beggar woman would have been an outcast and not allowed to mix with people, due to her “uncleanliness”. Still, both had great needs and knew that Jesus could provide the solution…

In both of their situations, Jesus showed great compassion – He responded to their faith.

When I read these two examples I often think about India and people I’ve seen there in similar circumstances. There was a time after a morning church service, I had prayed for a husband & wife.  The Holy Spirit had touched this couple so much they raced to the hospital to get their son. Just as we were leaving the church, they arrived back with their son, still with a drip in his arm!!  We prayed for him and he received salvation, healing & deliverance… He was bound in Hinduism and was set free that day.  Verse 48, “…your faith has made you well.  Go in peace.”

I love seeing faith in action, really letting go and believing that God can achieve all things.

The woman in the story took herself out of her comfort zone to go to Jesus.  Even though she was treated as an outcast, she knew that if she could just touch something of Jesus, she would be healed…  I want that faith in every situation – to be able to push through and not doubt what I believe God has spoken to me.  To let go of my own abilities and let God…

Written by Ps. Mandy Miller

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Saturday 14 July, 2012

Luke 8:26-39

26 They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. 27 When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” 29 For Jesus had commanded the evil[b] spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places. 30 Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. 31 And they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss. 32 A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. 33 When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. 34 When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, 35 and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 36 Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. 37 Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left. 38 The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.

Jesus’ healing of the demon possessed man brings so many aspects of faith into view.  Jesus’ compassion toward this man is powerful. He could have simply overlooked this fellow.

Yet Jesus ministers to Him, engaging Him and delivering Him. (what a herd of pigs is doing here I don’t know)

The people of the region became fearful and the result was that they asked Jesus to leave.  Jesus did so, although the man, now in his right mind, wants to go with Him.  Jesus asks Him to witness to the power, grace and mercy of God and tell His family all that had happened.

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Friday 13 July, 2012

Luke 8:22-25

22 One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. 23 As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. 24 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25 “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

Normally when I look at this passage I see that Jesus calmed the storm and think “how fabulous Jesus will calm the storms of my life”.  Today however I noticed the phrase “Why can’t you trust me?” in verse 25.  That is a big thing – trusting that Jesus knows what to do whenever there is a storm.  Do I trust Him? Can I wait until it’s the right time for Him to calm the storm?

It seems like trusting Him should be straightforward – after all the winds and the sea obey Him.  However, I am not sure that I really do.  I am impatient.  When the world is whirling around me in chaos I just want Him to fix it now.

Not only is the Bible speaking on this but I have evidence in my life that He is trustworthy.  There have been storms in my life and Jesus has enabled amazing things to happen but I get grumpy in the waiting.  I want to get better at waiting.

Lord help me to remember how trustworthy you are.

Written by Therese Manning

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Thursday 12 July, 2012

Luek 8:19-21

19 Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. 20 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.” 21 He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

Jesus is in the midst of ministry when his mother & brothers come to see him. He’s told “your mum’s here”.
“Your mum’s here” always gets a response from us & Jesus is no different.  Jesus redefines who his mother & brothers are saying that even they needed to change in their relationship with Him.   For any of us to be truly related to Jesus we need to not only hear what he says but we also need to “do it”.
Jesus help me to be someone who is truly related to you, and not to hesitate to do or practice what you teach.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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