Monday 29 February, 2016

Luke 6:24-36

24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. 25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. “Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep. 26 “Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets. Love for Enemies 27 “But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Jesus turns the tables on being a ‘nice’ person. It’s all very well to show your affection to your friends, everyone does that – love your enemies. People who want to hurt you: love them. People who wish to trample on you: love them. The haters and the back-stabbers: love them too. What’s at stake? Nothing could be more valuable: true kinship with the creator of the universe (v35). The comfortably situated, the popular, the rich and those with reputation have all been put on notice – Jesus is clear, the lifestyle of his followers is not particularly marked by these types of things. Rather Jesus-people can be observed by their indiscriminate loving of people around them.

Jesus got there first, he loves the unlovely already. Can we draft in behind God’s example and model God’s goodness, generosity, kindness, blessing and prayer for everybody we encounter? Friendship with God looks like this and is worth it every step of the way.

Holy Spirit, the love modelled by Jesus is a challenging prospect. I want to trust you today for the capacity to copy Jesus. I trust that you, Holy Spirit, will empower me. With faith I confess: ‘I love those that wish to harm me.’ Holy Spirit, thank you for the insight and wisdom as to how to make this statement a reality in the now. Holy Spirit, Thank you that I can trust your protection, just as I can trust your supply, just as I can confidently obey your word. Thank you for your arms of comfort surrounding me everyday.

Written by Sam Stewart

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Sunday 28 February, 2016

Luke 6:20-23

20 Then he looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. 22 “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. 23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.

Jesus begins to teach the disciples, which no doubt included the Apostles who had just been appointed.

He teaches them a series of sayings which go to the heart of life, wealth, food, emotional state. He moves on to describe a time of persecution insisting it is a time for rejoicing because of the forward view to heaven not the present persecution. He reminds them that prophets have always been treated poorly.

Jesus is trying to lift the eyes of the disciples off their current circumstances and things that surround them to a forward view of heaven and eternity. Encouraging them to view life from a perspective of eternity more than time.

What ensnares me to limit my view to time and not eternity? I need to lift my eyes to see life on earth from God’s perspective not simply in time.

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

2 replies
  1. Claire Moore says:

    Yes we have a future! It would have been hard for the disciples to grasp persecution was ahead because they would have felt like they were part of an incredible movement with so many people thronging to see Jesus. How much he loves us to give us the reassurance of a future with Him.
    Thank you Jesus.

  2. Stephen Fell says:

    To have the eyes for eternity and not the present is a challenge. An important and necessary prayer of mine is that Lord, you may grant me a heavenly focus.

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Saturday 27 February, 2016

Luke 6:12–19

12 Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. 13 And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: 14 Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, 15 and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot, 16 and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. 17 He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. 18 They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. 19 And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.

Wow! What power, wisdom and discernment Jesus had after spending the night with His Father in prayer. We are frequently reminded that Jesus only did what He saw His Father doing.

I am challenged by this passage to listen more to God when praying for others, so that I can pray in His will all the time. Choosing his disciples was a very big decision for Jesus. I also need to make sure I spend time with God and listen to Him before making big decisions. The more I am ‘in contact’ with God – in a conversation with Him throughout the day, the more practised I will be in hearing Him, and the easier it will be to hear Him when there are big decisions to make and people to pray for.

Written by Megan Cornell

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Friday 26 February, 2016

Luke 6:6-11

6 On another sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. 7 The scribes and the Pharisees watched him to see whether he would cure on the sabbath, so that they might find an accusation against him. 8 Even though he knew what they were thinking, he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” He got up and stood there. 9 Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to destroy it?” 10 After looking around at all of them, he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was restored. 11 But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

Jesus’ passion for people is amazing – helping the man was more important to Him than sticking to “the rules”.  When the rules got in the way He went back to God’s purpose for the instruction.  Good vs evil, healing vs not healing, work vs not work – what would God want in that situation? Jesus cared so much for the man with the deformed hand that he decided to challenge the way the authorities saw the world and help the man to do life better.

And what about the man with the deformed hand?  Can you imagine the situation?  He was in the congregation in church when Jesus was teaching.  Jesus saw him and his hand and called him to stand in front of everyone.  So imagine how that would have felt.  He could have just stayed where he was or walked out or pretended Jesus wasn’t talking to him but he did walk out and stand in front.  That was pretty brave.  He could probably feel the eyes of the Pharisees on him and Jesus – their anger and their rules.  Not the most friendly place.

How do I react in unfriendly situations?  I need to remember why I am there and keep my eyes on Jesus.

Written by Therese Manning

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Thursday 25 February, 2016

Luke 6:1-5

6 One sabbath while Jesus was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked some heads of grain, rubbed them in their hands, and ate them. 2 But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful[c] on the sabbath?” 3 Jesus answered, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and gave some to his companions?” 5 Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”

Jesus, and his disciples, the good guys, getting about changing people’s lives, are taken to task over a handful of grains of wheat! According to the letter of the law as described in the scriptures, their accusers are in the position of strength – they are correct. So how does Jesus deal with them – He takes them back to the basis of their accusations – the scriptures and says [paraphrased] , “Don’t you remember the part where it says how David did the same thing?….The Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath – not the other way around!”

I need to ask: Who is accusing me and what is my response? I want my response to be: “Jesus – the son of Man, is the Lord (the boss) of me – I answer to Him. It’s easy for me to get caught up in what I’m supposed to do or what I’m expected to do, but really – what does Jesus want me to do? That’s the question I need to make sure I answer. Lord help me to hear you speaking so I follow you, not rules.

Written by Ps. Linda Quinn

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Wednesday 24 February, 2016

Luke 5:33-39

33 Then they said to him, “John’s disciples, like the disciples of the Pharisees, frequently fast and pray, but your disciples eat and drink.” 34 Jesus said to them, “You cannot make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? 35 The days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” 36 He also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and sews it on an old garment; otherwise the new will be torn, and the piece from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. 38 But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine desires new wine, but says, ‘The old is good.’”

Jesus is confronted by his critics, they take offence at his apparent lack of austerity; where is his ‘holy’ behaviour? Jesus’s “eating and drinking” is going on right under their noses: the scumbag tax collector Levi has just convened a lavish party in Jesus’s honour and he doesn’t hold back!

What we observe here is a sign of the times. Jesus’s arrival ushers in a new age, the long awaited time, what was only a dream for some – the outbreak of celebration and jubilee! The old guard will, understandably, prefer the “old wine” (v39) – but we are Jesus people, invited into his inner circle, drinking his choice vintage, joining in with Levi to rejoice: my past is forgiven! Like Levi, a new chapter of our lives dawned in that fateful moment when Jesus came to us, extended his hand and said two simple words of eternal beauty and power: “Follow me”. Now made new by salvation, Jesus pours his new wine of the Holy Spirit into our renewed lives.

Remember today God’s goodness in Jesus. Remember also that you have a reserved place at His banquet table. Yes, sometimes we do fast and pray, but the overall arch of our salvation existence is celebration in the presence of King Jesus – the heavenly party has begun!

Jesus, thank you for your open invitation. I accept today, just like every other day. I want to follow you faithfully; I want to be led by you. Thank you that you fill me with the renewing Holy Spirit – today may the joy and celebration of the new life you have given me, overflow again from the deep peace and security that is truly knowing that I have a reserved place at your banquet table.

Written by Sam Stewart

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Tuesday 23 February, 2016

Luke 5:27-32

27 After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” 28 And he got up, left everything, and followed him. 29 Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house; and there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others sitting at the table[a] with them. 30 The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 Jesus answered, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; 32 I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

Jesus goes against cultural stigmas and invites Levi a tax collector to follow him. Although Levi was rich, he was viewed as a traitor; he had made his wealth by betraying his Jewish people, heritage, and religion. Levi was probably following Jesus, because when the crowds came to listen, he could set up his booth, collect taxes and get richer. While taxing the people, Levi would have seen the miracles, and heard Jesus teach. Jesus would have noticed him & instead of telling him to leave, He said, ‘Follow Me’ He invites Levi to become one of his followers. Jesus doesn’t care that society hates Levi or that he’s a sinner, He just wants Levi to follow Him. Jesus chose the outcast, despised, and rejected – Levi certainly fit that description.

Levi leaves his tax gathering booth, all the money, rose up, and followed Jesus. He invites Jesus to a great feast in his own house, the only people he knew were outcasts like him, so they were invited. Am I prepared to befriend the socially outcast, go to their home for a meal? Will I worry what people will think about me if I mix with the outcasts of society?

In these days of political correctness, will the outcast listen to me & come to a place of knowing they are sick and in need of a doctor. I don’t need to convince them, the Holy Spirit will do that, I just need to be a place where they can see Gods love, grace, mercy and forgiveness.

Written by Cathy Croft

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Monday 22 February, 2016

Luke 5:17-26

17 One day, while he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting near by (they had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem); and the power of the Lord was with him to heal. 18 Just then some men came, carrying a paralyzed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; 19 but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus. 20 When he saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” 21 Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, “Who is this who is speaking blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 22 When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? 24 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the one who was paralyzed—“I say to you, stand up and take your bed and go to your home.” 25 Immediately he stood up before them, took what he had been lying on, and went to his home, glorifying God. 26 Amazement seized all of them, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen strange things today.”

Jesus is teaching, inside a large group of religious people were gathered. In fact it seems that there was a larger than normal group there. Luke records that the power of God was present to heal in a stronger than normal manner. Is this a reference to the gift of healing?

Some men had a friend on a stretcher and they wanted to see him healed. Unable to get in via the door, they go to the roof and make a hole and lower him down to Jesus. Now this is an act of desperation! It shows the great love the men had for the paralysed guy, and how strong their expectation and faith in Jesus was. Jesus sees their faith. What did He see? He saw them carry this guy onto the roof, make a hole, and lower Him down. He sees their faith and perseverance.

Jesus, clearly realizing one assumes, that the man needs healing, and that the friends had brought him to be healed doesn’t go there. He says, “Your sins are forgiven”. Now the expectations of the man and his friends are dashed, and Jesus has managed to insight the displeasure of the religious men. A classic lose, lose!

The religious guys claim He is blaspheming, knowing that God alone can forgive sins. Jesus however had not created a lose lose. He knew what their response would be and used it as an object lesson to show who He was, the Son of Man. It was a question of authority, and to show that He had the authority He healed the man.

The man now gets what he came for, his healing, and leaves rejoicing. The crowd saw a miracle, and more, great authority, and they too praised God.

So it is clear that God’s power to heal can be ‘more present’ at some times to heal then others. It’s clear that faith can be seen and Jesus responded to that faith. It is clear that authority to forgive was seen as the domain of God and Jesus equated Himself with God.

I need to be more aware of when Jesus is present to heal and to ensure my faith can be seen!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Sunday 21 February, 2016

Luke 5:12-16

12 Once, when he was in one of the cities, there was a man covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.” 13 Then Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do choose. Be made clean.” Immediately the leprosy left him. 14 And he ordered him to tell no one. “Go,” he said, “and show yourself to the priest, and, as Moses commanded, make an offering for your cleansing, for a testimony to them.” 15 But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. 16 But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray.

It doesn’t matter how many times I read this passage, I always stumble over Jesus’ reply to the man with leprosy. The man asks, “Lord if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus has the power to heal, to provide, to comfort… But how often do we fail to ask, under the impression somehow that He is unwilling to involve Himself in our daily lives? I need to meditate on Jesus’ words, let them ring in my ears, “I am willing.”

Written by Beth Waugh

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Saturday 20 February, 2016

Luke 5:1-11

5 Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, 2 he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” 11 When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

These 11 verses tell us about when Jesus met His first group of disciples – a group of fisherman.

The verses that have struck me are 4 – 6.  Jesus asks Peter to go deeper and then he will definitely catch fish – even though he had been fishing all night without catching anything…  Peter isn’t keen at first as he is obviously tired, but follows Jesus request.  The outcome = nets full of fish!!

For me, there have been times when I get caught up in disappointment, distractions, sickness, the world, … things that take my eyes off Jesus.  What if at these times, I chose to “go deeper” with Jesus, to trust His voice – what if a mighty breakthrough was waiting on the other side of the disappointment?  My”net full of fish” outcome.

There are times where I need to take myself out of my comfort zone and push further into the deep with Jesus, where I can’t stand, but I can rely on HIM!  He knows the next part of my plan A & that’s the road I want to travel on – even when I can’t see what’s coming up.  Scary but exciting, giving Jesus the control!

Written by Ps. Mandy Miller

1 (reply)
  1. Andrew Mellor says:

    Amen Mandy! I love this imagery because it captures so well the reality of following Jesus: it doesn’t make sense Jesus, but if you say so… And sure enough, he is always right

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