Thursday 31 July, 2014

Matthew 13:18-23

18 “Listen! Here is the meaning of the story of the farmer. 19 People hear the message about the kingdom but do not understand it. Then the evil one comes. He steals what was planted in their hearts. Those people are like the seed planted on a path. 20 Others received the seed that fell on rocky places. They are those who hear the message and at once receive it with joy. 21 But they have no roots. So they last only a short time. They quickly fall away from the faith when trouble or suffering comes because of the message. 22 Others received the seed that fell among the thorns. They are those who hear the message. But then the worries of this life and the false promises of wealth crowd it out. They keep it from producing fruit. 23 But still others received the seed that fell on good soil. They are those who hear the message and understand it. They produce a crop 100, 60 or 30 times more than the farmer planted.”

This parable is a warning to those who hear and preach the word of God.

Are we good at listening – especially for the word of God? God is always ready to speak to us and to give us understanding of his word.

What are the things that can make us ineffective and unresponsive to God’s word? Preoccupation with other things can distract us from what is important and worthwhile.  Letting our hearts and minds be consumed with material things can easily weigh us down and draw us away from our eternal treasure.   God’s word can only take hold in a receptive heart which is obedient and ready to hear what God has to say.

Some seed will fall by the way, some will fall on shallow ground and never come to maturity, and some be choked by thorns. However a harvest will come. The seed that falls on good soil, on the heart that is receptive, will reap abundant fruit. Being teachable, submitting to God’s word, and eager to learn His truth, will bring peace and joy beyond our wildest imaginations.

Lord, help me to guard the word you have planted in my heart, so that I do not doubt your goodness, and keep me from any temptation that may keep me from believing and obeying you.  Help me to be fruitful, and give me the courage to always speak our truth to others, so they would know the good news of the gospel. Amen

Written by Cathy Croft

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Wednesday 30 July, 2014

Matthew 13:1-17

13 That same day Jesus left the house and sat by the Sea of Galilee. 2 Large crowds gathered around him. So he got into a boat. He sat down in it. All the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things by using stories. He said, “A farmer went out to plant his seed. 4 He scattered the seed on the ground. Some fell on a path. Birds came and ate it up. 5 Some seed fell on rocky places, where there wasn’t much soil. The plants came up quickly, because the soil wasn’t deep. 6 When the sun came up, it burned the plants. They dried up because they had no roots. 7 Other seed fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and crowded out the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It produced a crop 100, 60 or 30 times more than what was planted. 9 Those who have ears should listen.” 10 The disciples came to him. They asked, “Why do you use stories when you speak to the people?” 11 He replied, “You have been given the chance to understand the secrets of the kingdom of heaven. It has not been given to outsiders. 12 Everyone who has that kind of knowledge will be given more. In fact, they will have very much. If anyone doesn’t have that kind of knowledge, even what little he has will be taken away from him. 13 Here is why I use stories when I speak to the people. I say, “They look, but they don’t really see. They listen, but they don’t really hear or understand. 14 “In them the words of the prophet Isaiah come true. He said, “‘You will hear but never understand. You will see but never know what you are seeing. 15 The hearts of these people have become stubborn. They can barely hear with their ears. They have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes. They might hear with their ears. They might understand with their hearts. They might turn to the Lord, and then he would heal them.’ (Isaiah 6:9,10) 16 “But blessed are your eyes because they see. And blessed are your ears because they hear. 17 What I’m about to tell you is true. Many prophets and godly people wanted to see what you see. But they didn’t see it. They wanted to hear what you hear. But they didn’t hear it.

* This passage of Scripture is about the readiness of a person’s heart to receive the word of God.
* God so desires for us to listen to him and to be fully engaged.

* The Kingdom of Heaven has secrets that not everybody understands but believers have been given insights and this is a great privilege

How often have you felt that those around you simply “don’t get” why you believe in Jesus and why the Christian faith is central to all you do? This passage of Scripture goes some way in explaining the reasons. On one level it seems a little cruel in that those who listen to God will be given even more knowledge in regards to the Kingdom of God. They already had some level of understanding and now they get more while those with hard hearts, the little they knew is taken from them. It’s the hard hearted that really need the revelation but they are not ready to receive it. They are not looking or listening to God.

Jesus uses parables or storytelling to stir and ready people’s hearts so that they will be in a position to see and hear God. Storytelling is such a powerful form of communication because it engages us from the outset. As a story unfolds an image is brought to mind as we try and work out the plot. The image and therefore the message sticks in one’s mind. Jesus used stories to explain God’s Kingdom because he wants to communicate with men and women. A story can bring a different perspective, the flicker of hope and the beginnings of faith. I am encouraged to share stories rather than principles or facts alone.

Dear God, help me to tell your story to those around me like Jesus did. Amen

Written by Ainslie Woods

1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    What you are saying is very interesting.
    I have heard several of the great faith preachers like Cho and even Pringle say that the language of faith is visual. The real implication of ‘faith’ is to ‘see’ something in your mind before it actually exists but to ‘know that you know’ that what you see with your mind you will eventually see with your eyes.
    My question regarding the parable is this!
    Jesus implies that if you are good soil you will see great multiplication of the seed sown but does that imply that if you don’t see great multiplication you are not good soil?

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Tuesday 29 July, 2014

Matthew 12:46-50

46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside. They wanted to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside. They want to speak to you.” 48 Jesus replied to him, “Who is my mother? And who are my brothers?” 49 Jesus pointed to his disciples. He said, “Here is my mother! Here are my brothers! 50 Anyone who does what my Father in heaven wants is my brother or sister or mother.”

While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”  Jesus didn’t say: let them in, but instead, he replied: “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”

It’s weird and sounds like Jesus was denying the relationship with his family. How could Jesus say such outrageous words in front of His disciples and crowd?

Actually, Jesus was not denying his relationship with his family, but, He was trying to bring a new relationship to the earthly world. He was paving the way for a new community of His believers — Spiritual Family.

The challenge of this passage to me is:

  1. How do I see my brothers and sisters and mothers of God’s family?
  2. What’s my relationship with my Spiritual family members?
  3. Do I care for my Spiritual family members?

Dear Lord, Thank you for choosing me as your son. So, I can be a member of God’s family and have so many brothers and sisters and mothers in the world. Help me to learn how to maintain the new relationships and love each one, just like you love me. Amen.

Written by Allen Leu


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Monday 28 July, 2014

Matthew 12:38-45

38 Some of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law came to Jesus. They said, “Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you.” 39 He answered, “Evil and unfaithful people ask for a miraculous sign! But none will be given except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 Jonah was in the stomach of a huge fish for three days and three nights. Something like that will happen to the Son of Man. He will spend three days and three nights in the grave. 41 “The men of Nineveh will stand up on judgment day with the people now living. And the Ninevites will prove that those people are guilty. The men of Nineveh turned away from their sins when Jonah preached to them. And now one who is more important than Jonah is here. 42 “The Queen of the South will stand up on judgment day with the people now living. And she will prove that they are guilty. She came from very far away to listen to Solomon’s wisdom. And now one who is more important than Solomon is here. 43 “What happens when an evil spirit comes out of a man? It goes through dry areas looking for a place to rest. But it doesn’t find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives there, it finds the house empty. The house has been swept clean and put in order. 45 Then the evil spirit goes and takes with it seven other spirits more evil than itself. They go in and live there. That man is worse off than before. That is how it will be with the evil people of today.”

The request for a sign revealed the character of that “generation’s” hearts.  Jesus had already been providing signs, and his opponents were disputing their validity (12:22–24).  All too often we ask for a sign and then ask again not convinced that what has been given is enough.  Jesus explains that his generation needs no greater sign that He is from God than his own message.  He insists that the only sign the sign-seekers would be given was the sign that God supplied the Ninevites: Jonah’s restoration after three days.  The Ninevites repented without recognizing a sign, whereas Jesus’ opponents were too hard-hearted to repent despite the many signs he had been giving them.  Jesus was greater than Jonah yet the generation were not prepared to repent.

Where am I asking God for more – is it to convince me of who He is?  God is God and I need to get with that program and stop requiring Him to prove Himself!

Father help me to honour You and take You at Your Word – for You are Almighty, All loving, All wisdom…

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

2 replies
  1. David Newton says:

    I always thought that Jesus’ reference to Jonah was an allegory for his own impeding death-burial-resurrection!

    At the risk of being branded as having a lack of faith I have wrestled with the question of ‘why does God stay hidden?’.

    Between the time of Jesus and now the entire world has benefited from the a tremendous advancement in our understanding of the universe through science and technology. Science cannot disprove the existence of God however unlike the statement made in Romans 1:20 I thought science should have revealed far more evidence of God than it has.

    It seems to me that God has obfuscated himself and I cannot understand why!! It’s is not an accusation, it is a question!

  2. Richard says:


    Love it!!

    Interestingly I have always had the view that God has done enough – especially for the seeker. Those not seeking don’t care to know those seeking He has promised will find Him.

    I think science has greatly reminded us of design in the Universe and humanity etc. and thus alluded to God – but the scientist’s faith language denies His reality and existence so we don’t often see God from their perspective.

    Love your thoughts,


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Sunday 27 July, 2014

Matthew 12:22-37

22 A man controlled by demons was brought to Jesus. The man was blind and could not speak. Jesus healed him. Then the man could speak and see. 23 All the people were amazed. They said, “Could this be the Son of David?” 24 The Pharisees heard this. So they said, “This fellow drives out demons by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of demons.” 25 Jesus knew what they were thinking. So he said to them, “Every kingdom that fights against itself will be destroyed. Every city or family that is divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he fights against himself. Then how can his kingdom stand? 27 You say I drive out demons by the power of Beelzebub. Then by whose power do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But suppose I drive out demons by the Spirit of God. Then God’s kingdom has come to you. 29 “Or think about this. How can you enter a strong man’s house and just take what the man owns? You must first tie him up. Then you can rob his house. 30 “Anyone who is not with me is against me. Anyone who does not gather sheep with me scatters them. 31 So here is what I tell you. Every sin and every evil word spoken against God will be forgiven. But speaking evil things against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven. But anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. A person like that won’t be forgiven either now or in days to come. 33 “If you make a tree good, its fruit will be good. If you make a tree bad, its fruit will be bad. You can tell a tree by its fruit. 34 “You nest of poisonous snakes! How can you who are evil say anything good? Your mouths say everything that is in your hearts. 35 A good man says good things. These come from the good that is put away inside him. An evil man says evil things. These come from the evil that is put away inside him. 36 But here is what I tell you. On judgment day, people will have to account for every careless word they have spoken. 37 By your words you will be found guilty or not guilty.”

There’s so many thoughts here. So much detail. The standout for me is how passionate Jesus is about the Holy Spirit v31-32.

He says in effect “you can say what you like about me but don’t you dare say a word against the Holy Spirit!” And just to make sure we know He’s serious He says “you won’t be forgiven” if you blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. That’s heavy duty!

It makes me think – why?

The Holy Spirit is like a dove. He is “the comforter”. He is the revealer of truth about Jesus. He is the giver of gifts, convicts me of sin in such a gentle way and He makes me holy. We could worship Him yet I feel He would deflect all the glory to Jesus anyway.  He is more wonderful than words could describe. And reading how Jesus defends Him makes me love Him even more.

Glory and praise and honour to You Holy Spirit! You are more wonderful than words can express. Please “forever stay with me”. Amen

Written by Boudy van Noppen

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Saturday 26 July, 2014

Matthew 12:9-21

9 Going on from that place, Jesus went into their synagogue. 10 A man with a weak and twisted hand was there. The Pharisees were trying to find fault with Jesus. So they asked him, “Does the Law allow us to heal on the Sabbath day?” 11 He said to them, “What if one of your sheep falls into a pit on the Sabbath? Won’t you take hold of it and lift it out? 12 A man is worth more than sheep! So the Law allows us to do good on the Sabbath day.” 13 Then Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out. It was as good as new, just as good as the other hand. 14 But the Pharisees went out and planned how to kill Jesus. 15 Jesus knew all about the Pharisees’ plans. So he left that place. Many followed him, and he healed all their sick people. 16 But he warned them not to tell who he was. 17 This was to make what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah come true. It says, 18 “Here is my servant. I have chosen him. He is the one I love. I am very pleased with him. I will put my Spirit on him. He will announce to the nations that everything will be made right. 19 He will not argue or cry out. No one will hear his voice in the streets. 20 He will not break a bent twig. He will not put out a dimly burning flame. He will make everything right. 21 The nations will put their hope in him.” (Isaiah 42:1–4)

It is pretty hard to imagine someone actually being resistant to Jesus healing someone, just because of rules around what can happen on a certain day of the week, but I wonder if we are almost like the Pharisees sometimes. OK, so maybe we do accept that Jesus is our saviour, but then we limit our expectations of him, and put rules in place around how much of our lives He can speak into.

In the whole chapter of Matthew 12, Jesus is showing the disciples and Pharisees that they were right in seeing that the Sabbath was sacred, but He was trying to highlight that they had gotten the point of this sacredness all wrong! Similar to the Pharisees, there are things in my life that I have made “sacred” that I have a series of rules and routines around, and I get annoyed when I cant do them “properly.” For me a big one is my daily Bible reading – I get annoyed at myself if I fall behind the targets I have set that will help me achieve my goals and I don’t like being interrupted when I am reading. While its great that I want to spend time in the word, I sometimes miss the point when I make it about goals and targets.

Dear Lord, please help me to see how I am Pharisaical in my attitudes and behaviours, especially when it is really subtle. Help me to become more like Your son Jesus. Amen

Written by Ps. Justin Ware

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Friday 25 July, 2014

Matthew 12:1-8

12 One Sabbath day Jesus walked through the grainfields. His disciples were hungry. So they began to break off some heads of grain and eat them. 2 The Pharisees saw this. They said to Jesus, “Look! It is against the Law to do this on the Sabbath. But your disciples are doing it anyway!” 3 Jesus answered, “Haven’t you read about what David did? He and his men were hungry. 4 So he entered the house of God. He and his men ate the holy bread. Only priests were allowed to eat it. 5 Haven’t you read the Law? It tells how every Sabbath day the priests in the temple have to do their work on that day. But they are not considered guilty. 6 “I tell you that one who is more important than the temple is here. 7 Scripture says, ‘I want mercy and not sacrifice.’ (Hosea 6:6) You don’t know what those words mean. If you did, you would not bring charges against those who are not guilty. 8 The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath day.”

I read this passage and I see Jesus challenging the efforts of man to set up a religious system that makes some people (those who run the system) feel good, and causes everyone else to walk around feeling condemned and therefore guilty. I don’t see Jesus here being a rebel and a lawbreaker, but rather teaching mankind what true freedom is. The Jesus kind of freedom is freedom from our prideful but bitterly disappointing efforts at proving ourselves worthy of God’s love, acceptance, and in this case, provision of something to eat.

Jesus has come to set me free from all my vain efforts to prove myself worthy of God’s love, acceptance and provision. God never made me to need to prove myself worthy. Sin, on the other hand, will work me up into such a state where I have to prove myself before God and anyone else around me that I am worthy of God’s love, acceptance, and provision. Jesus calms my raging sin-storm within, kills my sin-inspired and bitter disappointment, and renews me in love, acceptance and provision that I have not had to work for. I simply believe he truly does love, accept, and provide for me, and position myself each day to walk in nothing less. Thanks be to God!

God, I ask that you would reveal to me where I am allowing sin to work me up into efforts that will never cause me to receive your wonderful love, acceptance and provision. Lord, I repent of such sinful attitudes and their associated efforts, and come to you in thankful worship accepting what you do in me through Jesus alone. May you receive all the Glory for this wonderful work of freedom you are doing in me. Amen.

Written by Ps. Rob Waugh

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Thursday 24 July, 2014

Matthew 11:25-29

25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father. You are Lord of heaven and earth. You have hidden these things from the wise and educated. But you have shown them to little children. 26 Yes, Father. This is what you wanted. 27 “My Father has given all things to me. The Father is the only one who knows the Son. And the only ones who know the Father are the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to make him known. 28 “Come to me, all of you who are tired and are carrying heavy loads. I will give you rest. 29 Become my servants and learn from me. I am gentle and free of pride. You will find rest for your souls.

What a beautiful invitation Jesus gives us. If you are weary, if you are carrying heavy burdens, if you aren’t at your best, don’t run from me thinking you aren’t good enough. No! Come to me. Come with the bags under your eyes, come with your stooped back, come with your empty tank and let me restore you.

He knows what it is to be weary, He knows what it is to carry heavy burdens, and He longs to give us rest. Will we take up His invitation and enjoy His rest? Or will we struggle on in willful independence, missing out on the gift of rest He so desires to give us?

God, please help me to put aside my willful independence and come to you. Help me recognise and respond to your invitation when I find myself weary and burdened. Thank you Jesus that you care about my rest. Amen.

Written by Beth Waugh

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Wednesday 23 June, 2014

Matthew 11:20-24

20 Jesus began to speak against the cities where he had done most of his miracles. The people there had not turned away from their sins. So he said, 21 “How terrible it will be for you, Korazin! How terrible for you, Bethsaida! Suppose the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon. They would have turned away from their sins long ago. They would have put on black clothes. They would have sat down in ashes. 22 But I tell you this. On judgment day it will be easier for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23 “And what about you, Capernaum? Will you be lifted up to heaven? No! You will go down to the place of the dead. Suppose the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom. It would still be here today. 24 But I tell you this. On judgment day it will be easier for Sodom than for you.”

What an indictment, God’s wrath. Their Hardness of heart, Indifference, refusal to change and repent. Their attitude toward God was unforgivable.

We must be very careful in our attitude when God does some things never seen before. God is God and He can do anything, we must believe He has a purpose in all. These towns saw many miracles and still were unmoved. Signs, wonders and miracles are to bring us closer to God. To Glorify and worship His Magnificence.

Lord may we be ready to experience all you have planned for our eyes and lives. Ready to let these times bring us closer to You. Amen

Written by Joan Bennett

2 replies
  1. David Newton says:

    “We must be very careful in our attitude when God does some things never seen before.”
    This is a great piece of wisdom and catches out many Christians. It has to be the quote of the day!

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Tuesday 22 July, 2014

Matthew 11:7-19

7 As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John. He said, “What did you go out into the desert to see? Tall grass waving in the wind? 8 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No. People who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. 9 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 He is the one written about in Scripture. It says, “‘I will send my messenger ahead of you. He will prepare your way for you.’ (Malachi 3:1) 11 “What I’m about to tell you is true. No one more important than John the Baptist has ever been born. But the least important person in the kingdom of heaven is more important than he is. 12 Since the days of John the Baptist, the kingdom of heaven has been advancing with force. And forceful people are taking hold of it. 13 All the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John came. 14 If you are willing to accept it, John is the Elijah who was supposed to come. 15 Those who have ears should listen. 16 “What can I compare today’s people to? They are like children sitting in the market places and calling out to others. They say, 17 “‘We played the flute for you. But you didn’t dance. We sang a funeral song. But you didn’t become sad.’ 18 When John came, he didn’t eat or drink as you do. And people say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 But when the Son of Man came, he ate and drank as you do. And people say, ‘This fellow is always eating and drinking far too much. He’s a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.”’ Those who act wisely prove that wisdom is right.”

In this passage Jesus gives an amazing public affirmation of John. He identifies him as one who was greater than any other prophet because he was the most immediate forerunner of the Messiah to whom all other prophets pointed. Jesus also refers to two Old Testament prophets – [Isaiah and Malachi] – and declares that John was the Elijah who was to come [see Malachi 4:4,5], and that his role was to announce the arrival of the Messiah.

As great as John the Baptist was, he was the least in the Kingdom of God which Jesus came to bring into being. For us it is inconceivable that we should be greater than John in this Kingdom. But it is so, because Jesus declared it to be so. What a great privilege it is to be a participant in this Kingdom, to enjoy the benefits and blessings which are guaranteed by the King Himself.

We honour you Sovereign King by receiving daily the blessings/benefits as part of Your Kingdom. Through the Holy Spirit, grant that we will continue to appropriate all that You have for us by faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Written by Keith Bennett

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