Tuesday 31 December, 2013

Philemon 8-16

8 Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, 9 yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus— 10 that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me. 12 I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. 13 I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. 14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary. 15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.

What do I do when someone I know gets saved? What is my roll after I have the privilege of introducing someone to Jesus? This passage is all about these things and reminds me that evangelism is all about making disciples, not just sharing the gospel and leading someone in a “sinners prayer”.

It appears that Onesimus was not a Christian when he was Philemon’s slave but was lead to Jesus while in prison with Paul (v10 and v15). And now the real work for Paul has begun. He becomes a Father to Onesimus. He writes to a former employer to help restore a relationship. Paul takes upon himself any of Onesimus’ debts. He considers Onesimus and beloved brother and of great help to the ministry.

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Am I this organised and committed in my efforts to share the gospel? Can Jesus entrust to me precious Souls because He knows I’ll care for them – disciple them – beyond simply sharing the gospel?

Dear Jesus, help me grow more and more to be someone who can “send those that don’t know You to me. I’ll care for them and disciple them. You can count on me”.



Written by Boudy vanNoppen

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Monday 30 December, 2013

Philemon 1-7

1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker— 2 also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier—and to the church that meets in your home: 3 Grace and peace to you[a] from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, 5 because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. 6 I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. 7 Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.

This is a personal letter from Paul to his friend Philemon, who hosts a home church in Colossi.  He writes because Onesimus, the escaped slave of Philemon has been with him in prison. He says that Onesimus is like a son to him and a servant of The Lord.  He wants to return him to Philemon’s household, not just as a slave but also as a brother in Christ. Essentially this letter is full of love and tact in paving the way for reconciliation between slave and master.
Philemon is commended for his kindness, faith and love for the people of God. Because of this Paul is confident to implore him to be generous.
This is a pattern which works in our relationships too. Keeping in contact, especially with our Christian friends we don’t see so often. Encouraging them by pointing out their strengths and the good things you have heard about them.  I may be old fashioned but there is something very special about receiving a personal snail mail letter. You can open it, hold it, read it slowly and keep it in a special place, where you can re-read it when you need encouragement. (I know- you can save email too!)
If someone sent me a letter which started like this, I would be open to listen to the request which followed.

Dear Lord, I need your help to get around to using my time and love and words to bless and nurture my brothers and sisters. Thank you Father for the ‘love letters’ from you that we can re-read each day. Amen.


Written by Dimity Milne

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Sunday 29 December, 2013

Colossians 4:10-18

10 My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) 11 Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews[a] among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. 13 I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14 Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. 16 After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea. 17 Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.” 18 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.

Epaphras is always wrestling in prayer for you – now that stands out to me.

Prayer is such a privilege and we get to pray for others – indeed wrestle in prayer for others.  He is praying that they stand strong in God’s will that they are fully assured and mature.  What a great prayer and I can tell that a prayer like that is a wrestle!!  Not everyone grows to maturity, not everyone understands or walks in the will of God or is fully assured of their salvation or the Lord’s return!

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I can see I need to focus my praying better from reading this – that’s my application!

Father help me to focus my praying on the things that matter to You!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Saturday 28 December, 2013

Colossians 4:7-9

7 Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. 8 I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our[b] circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. 9 He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.

Paul writes to the Colossians during his first imprisonment in Rome, and he wants the Colossians to know that he doing quite well. He sent Tychicus to let the people know not to worry. Onesimus was probably the slave mentioned in Philemon and he was probably from Colossae.

Paul describes Tychicus as faithful, so we know he was consistent in his walk with Christ.  Paul calls him a fellow servant in the Lord, he was thought of as an equal, and he was also humble and willing to serve wherever was needed.

Onesimus was a faithful and beloved brother, and he was consistent and loving also.  Paul loved those he worked with and compliments them with praise and encouragement. Paul treated his fellow workers with courtesy and respect. He shared his knowledge but always on a basis of personal equality. As a result he gained their respect and their voluntary surrender to his requests.

What does God value? He does not ask us to be popular, brilliant, or widely accepted, but he does ask us to walk humbly and be faithful in whatever He has given us to do.

Fellowship and a sense of belonging are wonderful things.  God designed us to need each other.  We are all joined together as one body.  Belonging to Christ means we operate on love.  God will equip us to bear fruit and we are all given abilities to build up the body.

Are you using your gifts for God’s glory and building up the body of Christ?  Pray and ask God to reveal where you should begin using your gift.  It’s all part of the process of becoming who God wants you to be.  

Help me Lord to walk humbly before you, and to glorify You in all I do. Amen

Written by Cathy Croft

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Friday 27 December, 2013

Colossians 4:2-6

2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

With the recent passing of Nelson Mandela, I have been reflecting on what makes a person truly great.

While Mandela was not loved by all and he certainly was not without fault, there is strong evidence that he truly strived to live by the instructions delivered in Colossians 4.

Greatness is such a multifaceted thing, but if one sets out to achieve greatness without a firm foundation, it is almost certain that they will fail.

Lord, Thank you for the examples of greatness in your word and in modern times, that help us to see your word in application to such a significant extent!

Written by Justin Ware

1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    Even the disciples debated the question of greatness. Luke 9:46
    Jesus’ response is recorded in Luke 9:48!
    Thx Justin

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Thursday 26 December, 2013

Colossians 3:18-4:1

18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. 22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism. 4 Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.

God wants us to treat each other well in every situation – at work, at home, with our friends. He wants us to remember that He is there to guide our actions and our attitudes. He wants us to have His attitude to those we interact with.

God’s attitude to us is one of love and grace and peace. What a beautiful picture for us to take to heart. How would our relationships be if we took God’s ideas to heart? He is our Lord. Let’s ask Him to highlight some places in our world where we could bring more love and grace than we currently do.

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Thanks Lord that You love us so thoroughly that you want to fill our lives with grace and peace. Help us to pass that on to those You bring into our lives.

Written by Therese Manning

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Wednesday 25 December, 2013

Isaiah 9:6-7

6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

The description of the Messiah is unambiguous – powerful and inspiring.

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The names given suggest a number of things.  Divine wisdom and power, ongoing and unceasing fatherly care, the bringing of peace with all of its blessings.

When I think of a Saviour these descriptions cover all my needs.  I need a Saviour – one who doesn’t just deal with part of who I am but all that I am and hope to be.

Jesus – the child born is this Saviour.

But even more than this I take confidence from the fact that the kingdom God establishes through the Saviour, Jesus, is one of ever increasing peace and ever increasing dimension.  Jesus rule and reign – His kingdom – is not geographical but in our hearts and God’s promise is that it will always increase.

That means His transforming work in me and through me is always at work by His Word and Spirit – wow what a life of joy, of peace, of fruitfulness!!

Father, this Christmas I come to you afresh, committing my life to your Lordship.  May I follow you more dearly and nearly day-by-day!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

1 (reply)
  1. B says:

    Thanks Richard. Great to think for Jesus’ lordship is dynamic and ever increasing. Merry Christmas to you and your Family.

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Tuesday 24 December, 2013

Matthew 2:1-11

2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” 7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” 9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

I am struck by the way God orchestrates these events to not only protect Jesus, but fulfill his good plan. Jesus, a young child, and his parents, have no way of knowing this plot from Herod who was really wanting to kill Jesus. They had no way of defending or protecting themselves. They were completely vulnerable to the plot of Herod and the Jewish leaders.

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Yet God was their protector. He warned the Magi in a dream not to go back to Herod, and they obeyed the dream rather than Herod. And so Jesus and his family remained undetected. Who knows the religious views and background of these Magi. But God spoke to them in a way they understood, and they heeded his warning.

This passage reminds me of God’s goodness towards His people, and me in particular, because of His good plan and purpose for us. Romans 8:28 comes to mind. It also reminds me that God has got the big picture under control, is moving events and people into position to fulfill his good purpose (even when opposing, destructive purposes are afoot), and is orchestrating all sorts of events and people to fulfill his Gospel purpose on the earth!

Thanks God for bringing me under your good purpose, which also means your care and protection. I couldn’t be in a safer place.

Written by Ps. Rob Waugh

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Monday 23 December, 2013

Matthew 2:1-6

2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Wise men, kings, men from the east? Whatever or whoever these men were – they were watching…they were alert…they were expectant…they were on the move. We are given very little detail about them but they make it into the Christmas narrative. There is much to be learned from all those in this story. There must have been so many distractions on a journey from so far away – so many interesting alternate destinations, so many fascinating reasons to detour on this journey. But they came, they sought, they found and they worshipped the King of Kings.

Oh God there are so many distractions that can keep me from seeking you. Like these wise men – may I be single minded in seeking you – not stopping till I find you and fall to my knees in worship of the King of Kings.

Written by Ps. Linda Quinn

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Sunday 22 December, 2013

Luke 2:8-20

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

The angels visit the shepherds, the shepherds visit Jesus, the shepherds tell all, the mother treasures all the events in her heart, it’s a fascinating stream of events.

I find it invigorating that the shepherds response to the ‘terrifying’ announcement, was to seek out the cause of the story and then the shepherds after meeting Jesus tell everyone they can.  What a great response to meeting Jesus. Vs. 17 has it.

It wasn’t just that they told everyone about what they had seen and heard but they told it in such an engaging way that all who heard it from them were amazed.

Telling about our meeting with Jesus should leave others with an appetite to meet Him as well – that’s clear to me!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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