Friday 31 August, 2012

Luke 16:14-18

14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight. 16 “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and people are forcing their way into it. 17 It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law. 18 “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

These stories are rather perplexing.

Is Jesus condoning theft, for isn't that what the steward is doing, cutting the value of the bills simply for his own gain?

Do worldly resources truly benefit us for eternity?

What are true riches of h


The clear lesson of the stories is that how we deal with our money has an impact on our futures. It is a window into our character, a clear indicator on our ability to deal with people.

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Thursday 30 August, 2012

Luke 16:1-13

16 Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 2 So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’ 3 “The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg— 4 I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’ 5 “So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 “‘Nine hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied. “The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’ 7 “Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’ “‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied. “He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’ 8 “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. 9 I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. 10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? 13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Jesus tells a story of a manager being sacked because he was dishonest.  Then a twist, the dishonest manager is praised for being smart in finding a way to look after himself once he is out of work.  His dishonesty stands but it's his quick thinking for his survival that is praised.
The Message Bible puts verse 9 like this  ” … I want you to be smart in the same way – but for what is right – using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, …”
This man was neither honest or faithful in the responsibilities he was given.
Whether at work, school, church, family, friends, I see this as being a stor

y about how we handle the things we have been given responsibility for. Whether that's money, people, ministry gifts or just doing what I've been asked to do.

Honest or dishonest I will be seen – by man and by God.  Better to make sure it's honesty I am seen for and even more so when I have responsibility for what belongs to another.

Father, I want to be smart about doing the right thing in the first place. Help me to be diligent in even the smallest things asked of me, help me to be a person of integrity, honesty in all situations – small or big.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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Wednesday 29 August, 2012

Luke 15:25-32

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ 28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ 31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

The picture of the loving father in the parable of the Prodigal Son is unimaginable really when we look at how we love others.  I find this parable a great blessing.  This part of the parable about the older son is interesting and challenging.  Its easy to be confused by the picture – to think why didn’t God reward him, he did the right thing.  This is a great reminder about how generous God is if only we would reach out.  The older son did “the right thing” but didn’t understand why nor did he understand how the father thought of him.  We need to engage with God, to reach out, to work with Him, alongside Him.  When we work with God we see the world through His eyes and we have access to everything He has made – all the ri

ches of the universe.

The older son was as far away from really understanding what was going on as the prodigal son.  They both needed to learn how much the father loved them and how life working together with him would provide everything.  The prodigal son appeared to learn but the older son was just starting to hear when we leave the story.  It would be nice to know what happened next.

Dear God

I need to learn more about how to be the person who understands how You organize things, how You want us to engage with You.  I want to learn the lessons of both sons and to live my life working with You not for You.  Help me to see the picture you are painting here – really see.

Written by Therese Manning

1 (reply)
  1. Richard Botta says:

    Great thoughts. I hope to get the depth of God’s love one day. Every time I get a little close, I realise just how much more there is to experience.

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Tuesday 28 August, 2012

Luke 15:11-24

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

A familiar passage in which we usually focus on the generosity, love and forgiveness of the father in accepting his son back. What an amazing blessing to be accepted by God after all we have done.

But what touches me freshly at the moment is the celebration. I can just fathom that God loves and accepts me. It is harder to understand that he threw a party in my honour when I accepted

Jesus – that he actually celebrates me being part of his kingdom. Stop and think about that. You are so loved that God didn’t just say “Yep, he/she believes, let him in”. He says “Wow! Let’s throw an expensive, exorbitant party because he’s here!”

Lord, help me to understand that you want to celebrate me.

Written by Megan Cornell

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Monday 27 August, 2012

Luke 15:8-10

8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

When the woman loses one silver coin, she will do whatever she can to find it. Because without the lost coin, “ten silver coins” are not complete (according to Jewish custom).

So, the true value of the “lost one” is not just “one” but “ten”. That’s why when the woman finds the one that

was lost, she calls her friends and neighbors together to rejoice with her.

In the same way, when one sinner repents, the rejoicing in heaven is huge.

Dear Jesus, please open my eyes to see what you see and open my mind to have the heart of Jesus. Amen.

Written by Allen Leu

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Sunday 26 August, 2012

Luke 15:1-7

15 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

The parable of the lost sheep is a beautiful story that describes the faithfulness of the Father to seek out those who have gone astray.

Too often, I am like the Pharisees in some way, even if it is only expressed internally. Father God give us your heart for the lost

and those who wander. Break our heart for what breaks yours. Make us a people who care for the “Tax collectors and other notorious sinners” in our world and help us to find a way to help them share a meal with Christ too.

Written by Justin Ware

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Saturday 25 August, 2012

Luke 14:25-35

25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even life itself—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ 31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples. 34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

Costly, challenging, requiring great sacrifice and measured intent. Jesus cautions the crowds that following Him is not be something to be taken lightly. His words must have seemed shocking to them. He has their attention! He has my attention!

Jesus is setting priorities before the people – following Him means putting Him first above everyone and everything else. There is to be no confusion – there is no half-hearted following

– it's all or nothing.

All… or nothing…

All… or nothing…

God I'm sorry for giving you less than you ask. My “some” is not enough. You ask for and deserve my all.

Jesus help me keep choosing to give you my all…

Help me sacrifice my own plans and priorities this day…

Help me keep my eyes on You and respond to Your lead as I follow.

Written by Ps. Linda Quinn

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Friday 24 August, 2012

Luke 14:15-24

15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed are those who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” 16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ 19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ 20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ 21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ 22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ 23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”

Jesus tells this story in response to a comment about how wonderful it would be to attend a feast in God's kingdom.  This story details who will eat at such a feast and it's not necessarily who you'd think!

The original guests do not show up for the feast.  These were the people the host wanted at the feast – his first choice.  Yet none of them show up!  On the surface they seem to provide reasonable excuses as to why they can't attend.  The host is not just disappointed he is furious and moves onto his “B” guest list – the misfits!  There is still room around the table so the host instructs the servant to go further afield and basically invite anyone.  It doesn't matter that these people are unknown to the host.  The original guests can be likened to the Jews while the guests from t

he highways and byways are like the gentiles.

It is worth noting that the host wanted the meal to be enjoyed and his house full.  Ultimately the feast was open to anyone who said “yes” and showed up.

Today this passage of Scripture spoke to me about priorities.  The excuses the original guests gave were legitimate but caused them to miss out on what God had prepared.  I don't always see or realise what God has on offer.  Heck God himself is at the table, my name is on a place setting and I'm not there for one reason or another! It's not just the food or God's provision that I miss out on but time in His presence. Time just hanging out together.

Dear God, help me to value time with you and not let the stuff of life preoccupy me, amen.

Written by Ainslie Woods

2 replies
  1. Kerrie says:

    A great lesson to slow down and listen to where God is inviting us to each day. Fancy missing out on a party with God!
    Thanks Ainslie

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Thursday 23 August, 2012

Luke 14:7-14

7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” 12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Jesus noticed that the guests picked the places of honour at the table. This would not have come as a surprise to Him. This, unfortunately, is basic human (flawed) nature- to want the best for yourself without considering others. You see it very early on in young children fighting over a toy or something else they want. And so we have to work hard (with God's help) to train ourselves out of this tendency to grab for the best for ourselves.

This parable of Jesus and also his follow-up statement challenges my self-centredness which, it seems, is something that needs to be regularly challenged. It's a reminder for me to check my motivation in what I do, because even a

'good' work can have a selfish motivation.

Firstly, the parable challenges my motivation in wanting to feel important and get recognition. Am I happy to serve even if no one (besides God) ever notices or thanks me for it?

Secondly, the statement following the parable challenges my motivation in relating to people. Am I only relating to the people that I enjoy hanging out with, or am I reaching out to people in need who may not be able to give me anything in return?

Lord, may you continually help me to serve in a way that brings honour to You. Help me to show Your love to those You have called me to with a pure motivation.

Written by Shelley Witt

1 (reply)
  1. Dimity Milne says:

    Thanks Shelley, I am struck by a new insight on grace – giving to those who can never repay us. Not only do we not receive the punishment we deserve from God, but we receive blessing beyond what we can repay. I pray that in Gods strength I can do this for the ones he puts on my heart, with joy.

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Wednesday 22 August, 2012

Luke 14:1-6

14 One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. 2 There in front of him was a man suffering from abnormal swelling of his body. 3 Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” 4 But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him on his way. 5 Then he asked them, “If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?” 6 And they had nothing to say.

What I find striking in this passage is that we can have an agenda that completely closes us off to the need and suffering that is around us.

These Pharisees were watching Jesus closely. They were completely set on trying to trick him, or find a fault of flaw in his teaching, or find a reason to accuse him. They completely ignored the present need and suffering of the distressed man in their midst.

Jesus’ response to their agenda was to completely ignore it, and move with compassion and power to meet the need that was right under their noses; the man with abnormal swelling in his body.

Whenever I make the goal about being right, or correct, or religi

ously perfect, I am warned by this passage that I will find myself under the spell of all kinds of agendas that rob me of true compassion and the true power of God to help this broken world.

I need Jesus to keep me from agendas other than His that steal my heart away from truly seeing and meeting the human need that is around me with the compassion and love of Jesus.

Lord, keep my eyes on what truly needs to take place…the healing and restoration of a broken world. That is what is right. That is right theology. That is right exercising of grace. That is what you demonstrate here. Help me live it too!

Written by Ps. Rob Waugh

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