Saturday 28 February, 2015

1 John 2:3-6

3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God[a] is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

I used to help people with chronic illness change poor health behaviours, including starting exercise, quitting smoking, eating more healthy and losing weight.

Often I would hear “I want to be healthy, but I just can’t get out the door to exercise and I can’t seem to quit smoking.” I myself have the same problem at times – when I say I want one thing but find myself doing something else.

John here in his letter is bringing an important truth to light – I mustn’t have this dual mindedness in me at all when it comes to the matters of the Kingdom. I need to simply be obedient to Christ if we are to be in relationship with him as Lord.

God, give me determination to be fully obedient to your word and your will.

Written by Ps. Justin Ware

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Friday 27 February, 2015

1 John 2:1-2

2 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

John writes affectionately to his readers because he wants them to know that the sacrifice of Jesus has made perfect provision for their life. The best outcome is that “they will not sin”. But to be realistic John reassures them that if and when they do sin Jesus Christ will defend them before the Father.

He emphasizes again the atoning sacrifice of Christ was for them and for the whole world. Sometimes we tend to forget that the sacrifice Christ made on Calvary was for every person on planet earth. It is when an individual responds to what Jesus has done that His sacrifice purifies [see verse 7] us from all sin.

John also states that Jesus is completely reliable to act righteously on our behalf. We can trust Him to be what He said He was – Our Saviour and our Advocate. Our sins are forgiven as we confess our sins and walk daily with Him. No one likes being in the dark do they? By believing in Jesus Christ we walk every day in the Light. So, there is no more darkness to be afraid of!

Jesus what you have done for me fills my heart with complete joy! You are the Light which guides my every step. Thank you that You have removed darkness from my life forever!

Written by Keith Bennett

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Thursday 26 February, 2015

1 John 1:5-10

5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

Verse 9 is one of those “everyone knows” kind of verses. A good Sunday School verse. I forgot that this verse starts with the word “But…”  It means I need to know verse 8 as well.

“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.”

How often have I done that. I think I’m ok. I justify my actions and decisions by saying they’re not that bad. Life sometimes get murky and grey.

I don’t want to be a dogmatic, black and white kind of Christian but when it comes to sin it’s either one or the other. I can’t be speeding and not speeding at the same time. I’m either lying or I’m telling the truth. I’m either stealing or not stealing. Sin can’t be wrong and right at the same time.

Lord help me not be a fool when it comes to sin. Help me see the right path and have the courage and conviction to take it. I can’t begin to thank you for the forgiveness and cleansing I receive through Jesus when I get it wrong.     Amen

Written by Boudy van Noppen

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Wednesday 25 February, 2015

1 John 1:1-4

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our[a] joy complete.

In this passage there is a beautiful sense of remembering Jesus, the flesh and blood Jesus the disciples knew and physically followed while He was on earth. Unlike the remembering of things that have ended, things from the past, this remembering is about stirring faith for the present and rejoicing in the goodness of God. This is not an intellectual exercise, these believers saw Jesus, touched Jesus and heard Jesus, they encountered Him physically and could remember these interactions.

What did their eyes see? Remember the miracles; the dead raised, the sick healed, the sinners saved, the condemned forgiven, the possessed set free… The peace of His countenance… The gentle eyes full of love and caring, eyes that could also glow with fierce anger in the face of injustice…

What did their ears hear? Remember the words of truth burning inside our hearts, words that stirred hope and joy, words that rung with authority, words that spoke life… The laughter… The voice commanding the wind and the waves to fall silent…

What did their hands touch? Remember His outstretched hand, clasping ours, the assurance of His grip… The hands always reaching out to others to bless or pray or raise up… Remember the scars, we could put our fingers through the pierced flesh, where once we had grasped whole hands…

My God, I was not there and I do not have the personal experience of seeing, hearing and touching Jesus in the flesh, but God I have an imagination and as I think what it would have been like for those disciples I am encouraged and reminded. He is the same Jesus I serve. The same Jesus who calls me His friend. God, please help me walk each day with an awareness of how amazing my Jesus is, and help me share that authentically with others. Thank you Jesus that you are the most loyal and faithful friend that we could ever hope to have. Amen.

Written by Beth Waugh

2 replies
  1. Richard says:

    The eyewitness accounts of Jesus are very heartening. He was no apparition, He was no conjuring of a single imagination – Jesus was a flesh and blood man that walked the earth.

    This screams at us that His life, His extraordinary life is one to follow because He is not a Superhero, the dream of a creative writer even with the amazing events of His life. In our day of Superheros there is a temptation to dismiss Jesus into their genre. But you cannot touch, hear and see Superheros. Jesus, the real flesh and blood Jesus, lived on earth, died on the cross and rose from the grave to live evermore.

    So what… this extraordinary man therefore bears following. He bears listening to today. He bears honouring as our Lord and Saviour. This real Jesus, the flesh and blood Jesus did all that is claimed of Him in the Gospels and is all that He claims to be. This should result in joy for us – because to find Jesus is to find life, to follow Jesus is to experience the destiny He has chosen for us.

    Father, help me always to honour and obey you in your reality not in my imagining!

  2. Justin Ware says:

    What is it that will make my joy complete? Certainly, I know some of the things that make me happy: Things like spending time with my loved ones, sharing stories with mates, playing with my young kids, starting new projects or hobbies, listening to great music or watching a good movie. Then there are the things that are satifying: Seeing a challenging task through to completion, deepening my knowledge and understanding of a topic, writing a song that really expresses something deep, fixing something up that was broken or finally finishing a long-term project.

    But finding true joy that is not fleeting and not dependent on continually re-achieving goals or re-experiencing moments- that is something I really need.

    This verse makes it clear to me that I can have this true joy simply by sharing my fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and being a witness to the life and divinity of Jesus, who was with God since the beginning of time.

    Lord, thank you that your word is plain regarding where I need to go to find true joy. God, help me to not only seek that joy but to hold on to it amidst the business of life, so that it will not be drowned out by all the distractions and temptations that I face day to day.

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Tuesday 24 February, 2015

John 21:20-25

20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” 22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” 23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” 24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true. 25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

Peter shows interest in knowing the future of the disciples, specifically questioning Jesus about John. Jesus responds, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” (vs 22a).

However I find Jesus’ second response key in how Peter should be living his life. Jesus says, “As for you, follow Me” (vs 22b). This simple command shifts Peter’s concern from the future of others, to the direction of fixing his eyes on Jesus.

In order to take hold of our church vision, “In your going, make disciples”, I am reminded that making disciples and caring for others starts with following Jesus. From allowing Jesus to lead me, I am then able to understand and activate His will in my life.

God, I thank You that despite my weaknesses and faults, You promise to lead me when I follow You. Please help me to fix my eyes on You each day, and fulfill the will You have for my life. Amen.

Written by Laura Samperi

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Monday 23 February, 2015

John 21:15-19

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

In John 21:7, Peters immediate reaction to seeing Jesus (since being crucified) is to run – or in this case, to swim to Him. I love this. I love Peters’ heart for Jesus.

Before this, Peter messed up, he doubted. He was a coward. But he loved Jesus, and more importantly, Jesus still loved him. Peter truly believed in Him.

In this passage, Jesus asked him three times if he really loved him. Peters’ response? “Lord you know everything, you know I love you”. Jesus knew that Peter loved Him and believed in Him, so He told Peter, “Follow me!”.

I don’t think you can intentionally follow someone. It is a decision that is made daily, or in my case, a few times a day! When Jesus said “follow me!” I don’t think it was just a polite request – Jesus is saying this as a commandment. I feel, He is telling us to choose to follow him and to take care of his people (“feed my lambs…”, “Take care of my Sheep…”).

A question that stirs in me is, am I an authentic believer? In seasons of need, through uncertainty, when it’s hard to believe in the promises of the gospel, do I intentionally choose to follow Jesus? I desperately need to look at my life and question, am I Biblically and personally following Jesus? If I love Jesus, prepared to run (‘or jump out of a boat’) to Him wholeheartedly, am I prepared to truly follow him? There is a cost that accompanies stepping out of the casual, comfortable, cultural Christianity, but it’s worth it, Jesus is worth it. I believe there is so much more to following Him than the monotonous spirituality. There is an indescribable joy to be found, deep satisfaction to be felt and an internal purpose to be fulfilled in dying to old selves, taking care of His people, following and living for Him.

Lord God, Thank you for your continual love and grace towards us. Thank you for dying for us and giving us your Holy Spirit. You know everything, you know we love you Jesus, so help us to know what it means to truly follow you, as you commanded Peter and help us to know how to take care of your children.    Amen.

Written by Sophie Stewart

1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    What I find interesting is v17. Many polite Christians say Jesus does not say things to us that hurt our feelings but this is blatantly wrong. Peter was deeply hurt by something Jesus had said. The Greek word is ‘lupeó’.

    Strong’s Concordance

    3076 lypéō (from 3077 /lýpē, “deep grief”) – to experience deep, emotional pain (sadness), i.e. severe sorrow (grief). 3076 (lypéō) is very intense and hence even used of the pain of childbirth (see Gen 3:16, LXX). See 3077 (lypē).

    People often testify of great personal growth that comes from these types of experiences. The key to a positive outcome is always found in how we respond!!

    Thanks Sophie

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Sunday 22 February, 2015

John 21:1-14

21 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee.[a] It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. 5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. 6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. 7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

With the help of hindsight, it is easy to consider the disciples pretty ignorant and foolish in light of verse 4. Jesus was standing on the shore, literally calling out to them, and yet they didn’t recognise Him. As we can see, as they listened and obeyed, ultimately He had the answer not only to their fishing woes, but the answer to the bigger picture – what were their lives all about.

If I’m honest, too many times Jesus has been calling out to me and I haven’t recognised Him. I’ve kept looking for answers in and of myself, and unlike the disciples, I’ve ignored His good advice when told to throw the net “on the right side of the boat”. Whatever my circumstance and whatever my trouble, the answer is found in Christ. I need to be continually and intentionally on the look out for Him, with my ears and heart wide open to what He’s saying.

Lord, help me to see You in the midst of my life. Help me to hear Your voice, both when it’s a shout and when it’s a whisper. Let me be fully surrendered to You. Help me to become a man who always finds his answers in You.

Written by Matt Samperi

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Saturday 21 February, 2015

John 20:19-31

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. 21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” 24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Jesus says “Blessed are those who believe without seeing”. He’s talking about me. And I am blessed.

I’m blessed that John chose these things so carefully and wrote them in his book to help me believe.

I’m blessed that even the sceptic of the group, Thomas, saw and believed. This wasn’t the disciples believing what they wanted to be true. Thomas saw and touched the evidence. His doubt makes it easier for me to believe.

I’m blessed that Jesus didn’t say “Too bad Thomas isn’t here. He misses out”. Instead he comes to them again, especially for Thomas. He doesn’t chastise Thomas for his lack of faith. He meets Thomas where he is. He makes it easy for him to believe.

Sometimes I fall into thinking if I’m not in the right place at the right time, if I don’t have enough faith, if I don’t think of the right words, then I’ll miss out. But Jesus came looking for me. He meets me where I am too, and he makes it easy for me to believe.

I’m blessed by Jesus gentleness to the other disciples.

They are hiding behind locked doors though they already know he is alive. But he doesn’t say “you faithless disciples”. Instead he addresses their fears: he gives them his peace. More than just a greeting – this is profound, cosmically significant, bought with his life peace with the God of creation. And then he gives it again. And he gives it to me too, especially when I am fearful.

He gives the Holy Spirit to them and sends them out. Though the door stays locked he doesn’t criticise them. He lets them wait until the Spirit shows himself with power at Pentecost before they actually go out. I’m blessed that he shows the same gentleness with me. I’m blessed that they did go out and tell about Jesus. I’m blessed by that enormous network of faithful people passing the good news on, until finally it comes to me. I’m blessed that he gives me the Holy Spirit too.

I’m so blessed!

Written by David Cornell

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Friday 20 February, 2015

John 20:11-18

11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Mary has stayed at the empty tomb grieving after Peter & John depart. 3 things happen.

  • Mary sees and speaks to 2 angels
  • Mary sees and speaks to Jesus
  • Jesus tells Mary to go & tell his disciples

There are way too many questions I have for this passage and no answers, though what has captured me is Jesus meeting Mary. We know Jesus’ timing is perfect. She stayed. Was it the act of her staying? What if the disciples had stayed a little longer and not gone home, would they too have seen the angels and Jesus? Or did Jesus specifically want to meet Mary in the midst of her grief?

This is not specifically what this passage is about, but I got 3 things from it.

  • Though others may leave, Jesus will be there for me in times of sadness & grief
  • I can hold onto Him
  • He has a job for me to do.

Lord this has been an unexpected revelation to me in this passage, your heart for Mary, your care, kindness and love which is the same for me. Thank you.

Written by Suzie Hodgson



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Thursday 19 February, 2015

John 20:1-10

20 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” 3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

What strikes me most about this scripture is the words “until then they still hadn’t understood the scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead.”. Peter and John were the closest friends Jesus had, they got to spend quality time with Him and witness the miracles He did. They heard Him explain about the resurrection in Jn 16:16-20. But they still needed it to HAPPEN before they understood.
How many times as humans do we have trouble understanding, trusting, being patient. I am going to keep this passage in mind for the times when I am afraid and confused to remind me that Jesus speaks the truth to us and his promises will be honoured. Like the disciples our mourning will be turned to great joy because we have the promised Holy Spirit of God in us. He came because Jesus walked out of his tomb.
Faithful God help us to trust in your words and to have faith in the unfathomable. Not to question your power, but to live with joy knowing that you have overcome. Holy Spirit please give us all the understanding we need to be the person you made us to be. Amen.

Written by Dimity Milne

1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    I know exactly how you feel Dimity but to be far on us all there are very few instances in the Bible where ‘even with prophecy’ the people of God could predict God’s next move.
    Apart from a specific ‘gift of faith’ for something faith is primarily about trusting in the goodness of God in spite of what our eyes are telling us to the contrary.
    A good place to build faith is the current Sermon series on Faith.

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