Sunday 30 September, 2012

Luke 22: 24-30

24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

People always like to be the greatest guy or the ruler no matter the office or organisation. Sometimes, to become a greatest guy or ruler, we have to fight with others.

Today, Jesus shows us a different concept/definition of the greatest guy & ruler in God’s Kingdom.

He said the greatest should be like the youngest and rulers like servers, so that we may eat and drink at His table in His kingdom.

But, the question is how to become be a “youngest” or “servant”?

Matthew 25:38 provides the answer: ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

Dear Lord, Thank you for letting me know the true “greater.”

Written by Allen Leu

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Saturday 29 September, 2012

Luke 22:14-23

14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” 17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. 21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!” 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.

This is such a well-known piece of Scripture, especially for anyone who grew up in a main stream church with a specific order of service for communion.  And sometimes, familiarity means we tend to skip over things!  So it has been good to take a close look at this passage.

I am struck by verse 20, where Jesus talks about His blood being “poured out” for us.  The Greek word used here is ekcheō, which gives a sense of “gushing out” or “running greedily out”.  No stingy, little drip feed here!  Instead, a gushing forth of the blood of Christ for us.

This new covenant is ratified by the blood of Jesus.  Normally, when we sign a legal agreement, there is usually no sense of “gushing” associated with it.  Instead, agreements are neat, formal things, with careful signatures.  But this covenant with Jesus speaks of abundance, it speaks of a lavishness, it speaks of a pouring forth of the love of God.

“Lord, when we come to celebrate communion, may I remember that my relationship with you is a result of your blood, and therefore your love, gushing out towards me. “

Written by Ps. Jen Irving

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Friday 28 September, 2012

Luke 22:7-13

7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.” 9 “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked. 10 He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, 11 and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.” 13 They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

Jesus determined that it was important to celebrate God’s achievements and He organized and provided for such a celebration to be able to occur with those He loved.  They were itinerant people – Jesus and His disciples.  At that time they were walking from place to place – they had no “home” if you like.  An important event was coming up so Jesus organized what was needed.  He was trustworthy.  He had a plan.  He can do that for us too.

Also the disciples didn’t try and figure it out themselves.  Jesus told them to organize the meal and they asked – where?, how? etc.  They trusted Him and what He said and went and found that it was as He had said.

Do I ask enough about what Jesus has organized for me?  Do I follow through and go with His directions – trust Him?  Something I need to do more.  What about you?

Thanks Lord that you have plans, that you recognize that plans are needed and that provisions need to be made to make sure the important situations happen well.  Help me to ask about your plans more often. Help me to trust your plans rather than mine.

Written by Therese Manning

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Thursday 27 September, 2012

Luke 22:1-6

22 Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, 2 and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. 3 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. 4 And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. 5 They were delighted and agreed to give him money. 6 He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.

The Passover celebration was approaching and the religious leaders and priests were trying to work out a way to kill the ever popular Jesus.  This passage of Scripture tells us that the religious leaders were afraid of peoples’ reaction to their plan and the need to keep it quiet, even secret.  Jesus was loved and he proposed a new way a living – a way of living that was different to what the religious leaders of the day proposed.  Jesus influence was growing and the religious leaders’ was diminishing.  The status quo was being challenged and the religious leaders felt threatened to the point of wanting to permanently remove Jesus.

It is also interesting to note that when it came to “Jesus” the religious leaders were more concerned about how they would look in front of others than how they would look in front of God.  After all it was God’s son they were plotting to kill!  There would be crowds at the Passover as families gathered to celebrate – that’s a lot of reputation to lose!

Satan then entered Judas and he approached the religious leaders about handing Jesus over to them at suitable time, ie. a time away from the crowds.  Judas was promised money and it seemed like a win/win situation.

To me this was a reminder about giving greater credence to God’s reaction than mans’.  Is it more important to look good in front of others than God? Reputation can get in the way of embracing Jesus.

­­Dear God, help me to esteem being right before you over being right before others.  Help me to place the highest value on what you think and not on what others may think.  Amen.

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Wednesday 26 September, 2012

Luke 21:5-38

5 Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6 “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.” 7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?” 8 He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.” 10 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. 12 “But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 Stand firm, and you will win life. 20 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. 25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” 29 He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30 When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. 34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” 37 Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, 38 and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple.

As the disciples were walking with Jesus they made a comment about the temple.  Jesus took the opportunity to talk about the temple and the end of days.  Jesus describes various scenarios, from false Messiahs to persecution where believers will be given wisdom and the words to confound their persecutors, where families attack one another, where armies surround Jerusalem, and strange natural phenomena take place.

Jesus’ final comments draw the illustration to a close – make sure you stay alert, and keep prayerful for strength to withstand what happens.

My grasp on current events with a Christian world view is crucial; this is what Jesus is in effect saying.  Stay alert means to me don’t simply take everything at face value, but see through the lens of Christ!

I need also to be prayerful for strength so that I can withstand all I need to at all times, i.e. stand strong in faith!

Father please give me the strength to withstand all I face throughout life in faith.

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

 

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Tuesday 25 September, 2012

Luke 21:29-33

29 He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30 When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Jesus gave us a simple analogy and the disciples understood this; when they look at a fig tree and saw leaves, they knew that summer was almost near. When you see these things happening, you know that the coming of the Kingdom is near. Every generation since Jesus has been faced with the reality of signs pointing to the end of the age. The generation that sees all the signs, will then know that Jesus Christ is near.

Jesus talks about two things to prepare ourselves for – tribulation and His second coming. We have seen a lot of tribulation in our generation alone; Jesus used the fig tree to teach his disciples an important lesson. The fig tree bore fruit twice a year, in autumn and early spring. Jesus told them to look for the signs of spring, and so are the signs of God’s Kingdom. Let’s pray that our hearts are open to His word, even though we do not know when He will return. He gives us signs to wake us up and to ignite our spirits to see His Kingdom come. Jesus is really emphasising this truth, He wants us to eagerly anticipate His return, and to seek His Kingdom in everything that we do.

God keeps His promises, they are faithful, and this means that I will always have hope in my heart, never forget His word, or stray from His ways. He wants me to always remember I am saved by the living and everlasting Word, His word will not fail in my salvation, and I will be bought to glory by that same Word. Thank you God for Your truth, in this I have hope, thank you that you called me, help me to incorporate your word and promises in my daily life.

Written by Cathy Croft

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Monday 24 September, 2012

Lk 21:20-28

20 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. 25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

In response to a question the disciples asked in verse 7, Jesus continues in His description of the signs that will precede the destruction of the temple and signal end times. This includes the destruction of Jerusalem and the judgement of the nations. In verse 22: Jesus says “For those will be days of God’s vengeance, and the prophetic words of the Scriptures will be fulfilled.”

Clearly God has warned of these days – and as terrible as they seem, they are part of God’s plan.

But what do I take away from these verses? Is it God’s intention to fill me with fear and dread about the days to come?

As I have reflected on this, it is the final verses that ring in my ears.

I don’t know when this will happen or if it is even happening now. My job is not to stand around waiting for it, but to continue with the job God has given me to do now, ready – when it does happen – to look upward – confident that God is in control and that my salvation is near!

Written by Ps. Linda Quinn

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  1. Kerrie says:

    Even now, before these end days take place, it is a great discipline to ‘stand up and lift up your head’ when times are tough. Looking to heaven and giving the situation to God is better than trying to help ourselves.
    I like that picture: ‘stand up and lift up your head’. It’s an image of overcoming.
    Quite the opposite of curl up on the floor and despair.

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Sunday 23 September, 2012

Luke 21:5-19

5 Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6 “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.” 7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?” 8 He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.” 10 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. 12 “But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 Stand firm, and you will win life.

Jesus appears to be pointing to a time ahead before his return where there will be great trouble, distress, and disruption in the world.

But Jesus has strong words for all who follow him – “do not be frightened;” “make up your mind not to worry;” “I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict;” “but not a hair of your head will perish;” “stand firm, and you will win life.”

Jesus appears to be warning his disciples, and us, but it is not so that we will shrink back in despair and defeat. Rather, the clear call from Jesus is neither to be afraid, nor worried, because Jesus will be right with us, giving us poise, giving us insight, giving us wisdom, and giving us incredible protection. We have one ultimate call in such times of trouble – stand firm, in faith, in Jesus, and we will win life.

If Jesus tells me not to fear or be worried in these circumstances he describes – wars, famines, opposition, and betrayals…then surely I don’t need to fear or be worried in anything less than these worst of circumstances. I can trust him likewise for the provision of wisdom, and the right words, for every circumstance and interaction that I walk into each day.

Lord, help me to stand firm and win life, for with you, there is truly nothing to be afraid of nor worry about, because you know the end from the beginning.

Written by Ps. Rob Waugh

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Saturday 22 September, 2012

Luke 21:1-4

21 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

Jesus watches an offering, something I am unlikely ever to do.  His review is interesting.  He is clearly not commenting on the amount the people give, but the proportion.  More than that the widow’s contribution Jesus says was more than the combined value of all the rich people had given.

Jesus explanation is clear, the rich people had given a small portion of their surplus, the widow had given everything she had.

When you do not have much it is as difficult to give as when you have much.  It is never easy to ‘give it all’.  The rich person giving it all wonders what someone in authority will do with the offering.  The poor person wonders whether their gift will even make a difference.

Clearly the heart is the issue.

I love the heart of this widow.  I need to emulate her in her generosity.  It is really quite challenging.  I have never given everything I have.  I have given generously, and continue to do so, and I need to engage my heart in my giving, more than my head as it can become a steel trap to my generosity.

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Friday 21 September, 2012

Luke 20:45-47

45 While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, 46 “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 47 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”

In this passage Jesus delivers two warnings: one to the teachers of the law, and one to his disciples. He challenges the behaviour of the teachers of the law; he shows them to be religious imposters, not serving God but serving themselves. At the same time Jesus warns his disciples not to follow the example of the teachers, for it will lead to punishment. There are two clear applications of this for my life: does my example led people toward God or away from Him? Am I being careful about whose example I am following? Are the people that I’m watching, listening to, reading about, drawing my inspiration from – spending my time on – living and modelling the kind of life that I want to live?

 

Written by Beth Waugh

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