Thursday 31 March, 2016

Luke 11:27-28

27 While he was saying this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!” 28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”

I’ve been renovating our house for the last eight months. I was pulling out the timber work of the kitchen when I felt Jesus say “go out to Steve’s Captiva, (I was repairing my brother-in-law’s car at the time as well. Crazy huh?) do a test on the exhaust and call your workmate (who had been helping me out) with an update. You need to speak to him.”

I said “Lord, I’m kinda busy pulling out the kitchen…”

He said “B, I am a carpenter. I will help you with the kitchen. Go.”

So I downed my tools in the kitchen, got under the car, did the test, called my workmate with the update. He was just about to take his pregnant wife to have an ultrasound and was concerned due to some significant health issues they have had to face. We’d had many “God” conversations previously and so was appreciative when I offered to pray for him and his wife and baby. I followed up a few days later – Mum and baby are perfectly well.

Jesus said “…even more blessed are all who hear God and do it…”  What a blessing it was to pray for my workmate and witness God helping him.

What a blessing it is to hear God’s word and do it.

Lord, please help me to hear Your voice – whether through the Bible or in my heart – and do it every time without arguing. Thanks for the blessing that comes as a result.   Amen.

Written by Boudy VanNoppen

1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    I have always loved hearing people recount their experiences of hearing God speak. It amazes me how practical that ‘Voice’ is and how often it contains simple clear actionable verbs. In John 4:34 Jesus suggests the action of ‘doing God’s will’ is so important it is like food. I cannot speak for others but for me I have spent far to long on a diet.
    Thanks B

[comments closed]

Wednesday 30 March, 2016

Luke 11:14-26

14 Now he was casting out a demon that was mute; when the demon had gone out, the one who had been mute spoke, and the crowds were amazed. 15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” 16 Others, to test him, kept demanding from him a sign from heaven. 17 But he knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house. 18 If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? —for you say that I cast out the demons by Beelzebul. 19 Now if I cast out the demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your exorcists[a] cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20 But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his castle, his property is safe. 22 But when one stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his plunder. 23 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 24 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting place, but not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 When it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. 26 Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first.”

The Pharisees challenged Jesus authority, questioning how he was able to cast out demons accusing Jesus of being with or on Satan’s side.

He quickly put them in their place and gave a great teaching on unity and spiritual warfare.
But in this passage I have meditated on one verse, v23. I can’t help but reflect on the position of neutrality. In wars, some countries have declared themselves neutral. Which if they are geographically on the fringes fair enough but how about those in the middle and surrounded by battle? How can you stay neutral when your neighbour suffers? The problem for countries like Switzerland, they had the appearance of neutrality but if some reports are to be believed, being neutral helped the Nazis which by definition is not neutral.

It forces me to consider my own actions and at times inaction as a follower of Jesus Christ.

I can’t comfort myself by saying that I’m ok because I didn’t agree with evil, when I believe that God has positioned me to be a light for him. Not being against God is not the same as being for God. Whereas not being for God is the same as being against him.

As I a believer I can reflect on times when I haven’t stood up for God, I haven’t been the light that God has positioned me to be an have rationalised it by saying that I wasn’t working against God. As I reflect further, I recognise that God has positioned me to be his light, to be his voice in dark places.

There is no being neutral as a believer, just as there is no being neutral against God.

Lord, forgive me when I have chosen not to speak up for you, and help me to be more in tune with the Holy Spirit to seize the opportunities around me to be a light in a dark world.

Written by Andrew Martin

3 replies
[comments closed]

Tuesday 29 March, 2016

Luke‬ ‭11:5-13‬ ‬

5 And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7 And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs. 9 “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

If I am looking for a prayer formula then I am disappointed. There is NO formula. There are no rules, no procedures, no rituals that can get God to listen to me.  No! God wants me to come hat in hand, knocking on his door. What am I going to do when he answers!!!!!!????

I realise this is the whole point isn’t it. God is not like ‘the gods’, where I follow a formula, throw up some prayers and hope for the best.

God makes me come to his door… And that means meeting him, face to face. I can’t keep this relationship professional, I can’t keep it distant. I have to get up in his face, what if he asks me questions??

But the promise here from the Son of God, is that Father God loves to give good gifts, he loves to be involved in our lives in the very best ways. But he doesn’t do text messaging, Facebook or email… It’s come and knock on the door… Or nothing..

God! Thank you for being a face to face Father, desiring to be in our lives, looking to give us the very best.  Amen

Written by Andrew Mellor

1 (reply)
[comments closed]

Monday 28 March, 2016

Luke 11:1-4

11 He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2 He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.”

The Lord’s Prayer. Perhaps the most well known passage in the Bible and so often quoted that it can become rote words. But thinking past the familiarity, it is an insider lesson from Jesus on how to talk to God-so amazing!

Jesus starts with the invitation to address God as “Father”, and I just can’t go past that. If I were to attempt to front up and claim this level of familiarity with President Obama it would seem audacious and unacceptable. Yet we are invited here to address the Almighty God of the universe in such a warm and intimate way.

This is so beautiful, so privileged, so humbling. God has adopted me as His child and given me everything, every inheritance that goes along with being His daughter. Mind boggling. Deeply grateful.

Written by Shelley Witt

[comments closed]

Sunday 27 March, 2016

Luke 10:38-42

38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. 40 But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; 42 there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Martha, Mary and Lazarus were good friends of Jesus, and Martha opened her home to Jesus as it is written. I believe from this passage that Martha had the gift of hospitality, and also cared about being well prepared for her Guest. We can easily overlook the fact that Martha was busy in serving Jesus by having much to do in preparation. She cared in what she was doing. Meanwhile, Mary is sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to Him.

We then see Martha express some frustration by commenting to Jesus as to why Mary was not assisting her. Notice this was directed at Jesus, and not to Mary.

Martha’s frustration is typical of those who diligently serve with good intent, but forget to also sit at Jesus’ feet. The Martha spirit says, if the work is done, is not that all? The Mary spirit asks whether Jesus is well pleased or not?

This important passage reminds me, that God loves us “doing”, but also loves us “being” . . . being in His presence, and enjoying an intimacy with Him. The stopping and being with Him, then empowers us more in the doing.

Father, thank you that as our loving God, You desire so much for me to stop and sit at your feet, to be “still and know that You are God”. Amen

Written by Steve Fell

[comments closed]

Saturday 26 March, 2016

Luke 10:25-37

25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 27 He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.” 29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

I think the moral of this interaction with Jesus should be “never try and test Jesus, He’ll give you a royal smack-down of challenging truth.”

Such a great parable of Jesus, with everyday application and implication.

A man who gets attacked and robbed finds himself in sudden, unforseen, and desperate need. And the Samaritan man – unlike the other two smugly sanitised and aloof religious figures – gets alongside him straight away to help him. On his way doing what was probably a normal travel route, he discovers someone in sudden, unforseen, and desperate need, and he moves straight into action to help.

This is love for ones neighbour. Costly, inconvenient, but wonderfully dignifying.

It is a tragic state of affairs when human beings intentionally avoid the desperate need that is right in front of them. But truth be told, I find myself, without the right kind of heart focus, quickly spiralling into an intentionally avoidant lifestyle.

Here, Jesus calls me to a life of love that dignifies. Love that costs, for certain. But love that dignifies, and heals. This is the right kind of heart focus for my day to day life.

As I go about my normal daily business, as the Samaritan man was, Jesus teaches me to keep my eyes out for opportunity to love my desperate neighbour in such a way that restores their dignity, and brings them healing.

I may not find a bloodied robbery victim. But I may find a desperate divorced mum. I may find a stretched and stressed work colleague. I may find a hurting and confused teenager. Maybe my “bandages, oil and wine” are instead a coffee, a listening ear, an offer of heartfelt and ongoing prayer and presence.

This is still love that dignifies the desperate. That heals the hapless. God, help me live each day with this as my heart focus.

Written by Ps. Rob Waugh

1 (reply)
[comments closed]

Friday 25 March, 2016

Luke 10:21-24

21 At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” 23 Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

God wants to turn things upside down because He values all of us not just the powerful.  He speaks to those who are willing to listen.  How cool that the disciples got to see and hear Jesus.  They got to ask questions, they got to hear the answers.  How do you think they felt?  Do you think they realised and appreciated the special position they were in?  I am sure if I had been there I would have potentially missed how amazing the situation was.

Jesus speaks to each of us today too – if we are willing to listen and want His help.  Do we understand how amazing that is?  That the creator of the universe wants to help us live life well.  I know there are lots of times I forget.  I want to get better each day at appreciating the opportunity of interacting with Jesus.

Thank you Lord that you are available to all of us and help me to really engage in that relationship more each day.

Written by Therese Manning

2 replies
  1. Claire Moore says:

    Thanks Therese. Being chosen by God to know him and his Son is such a privilege. Still remember that moment of revelation years ago – that I could know Him, not just about HIm. Yes he is still speaking, directing my path.

[comments closed]

Thursday 24 March, 2016

Luke 10:1-20

10 After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2 He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3 Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. 4 Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. 5 Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ 6 And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. 7 Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. 8 Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; 9 cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town. 13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But at the judgment it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades. 16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.” 17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” 18 He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. 19 See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Jesus sends some of his disciples on a short term mission. It’s interesting that Luke says nothing about what happened on the mission, but focussed entirely on the lessons they learned and the joy that resulted.

This mission was partly about what these disciples would do in the towns they went to, but mostly about what God would do in these disciples. They didn’t do anything that Jesus hadn’t already been doing. But God did something special in these disciples’ lives.

This pattern seems to be repeated over and over. I grow and am blessed beyond what I deserve simply by walking with my God where He goes, and taking my part in the things He’s doing.

Not everyone was chosen for this mission. Not the 12. “Seventy two other disciples”. We don’t even know their names. Undoubtedly Jesus would have done it better. Perhaps the 12 would have done it better. But Jesus chose these disciples. His authority was enough to achieve great things. His purpose in sending them was to achieve great things in their lives.

We are all called to be witnesses but God calls some to be evangelists: some for one mission, some for another; some for a short period of time, others for longer. Some are chosen to go (the 72), others take part by providing a home and food for them (v7).

I’m called to do my part, not someone else’s. And whatever part He calls me to will be a source of Joy if I walk faithfully in it.

Written by David Cornell

[comments closed]

Wednesday 23 March, 2016

Luke 9:57-62

57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 But Jesus[a] said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

I love the way Jesus uses imagery to help us understand – to make things clear. There is no doubt in this passage that Jesus is making very clear that following Him means everything else is secondary.

The final image about putting your hand to the plough and not looking back strikes me as I read. If I’m ploughing a field (with an ox!) I have one hand on the plough and my other hand on my ox. I look ahead to keep the plough on its path. If I look behind… I stray from the path. What’s behind me is not important to this task.

There are so many distractions every day – if I don’t have clarity about where I’m headed – they take my focus and I stray from the path God has for me – to follow Him, to carry His presence and to bring His Kingdom here on earth. Not looking back – that takes commitment, and single-minded focus – this is what I’m here for!

Lord – help me stay focussed on You and Your kingdom, aware of the distractions and willing to keep choosing to keep my eyes on You. Help me be quick to recognise what is important and what is not. Thank you Holy Spirit for patiently teaching me!

Written by Ps. Linda Quinn

1 (reply)
  1. Claire Moore says:

    Following Jesus may not be comfortable, what society expects or without challenge. He is the example for us – he obeyed God to death, against expectation of others, authority and to his own personal suffering. God’s kingdom is what Jesus is about. Thanks for reminding me that’s my focus too!

[comments closed]

Tuesday 22 March, 2016

Luke 9:51-56

51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; 53 but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54 When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” 55 But he turned and rebuked them. 56 Then[b] they went on to another village.

“Resolutely…” What a great word!

In that one word is my eternity. In that one word is my peace, my forgiveness for sin, my salvation and my hope. In that one word is friendship with God and the immeasurable comfort of my Friend, the Holy Spirit.

In that one word is how Jesus feels about me.

That one word is forever and will never change.

“Resolutely” (his face was set) means Jesus is saying “B’s salvation is at hand – I won’t meander, I won’t take my time or shy away. This is my chance to save him and I will get to the cross in Jerusalem as quickly as I can because HE IS WORTH IT”

“Resolutely” shows definitively and forever how God feels about us. Oh may He be praised forever and ever! Amen

Written by Boudy VanNoppen

[comments closed]