Wednesday 10 April, 2019

John 14:28-31

28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me. “Come now; let us leave.

What is striking to me in this passage is how Jesus frames His and the Father’s works in the world. Jesus foretells His going to be with the Father that we, His disciples, may believe. The prince of the world (the devil) comes so that the world may learn about Jesus’ loving devotion to the Father.

Jesus is declaring here that no matter whether it’s His own activity or the enemies activity, God can and does use it all to help us believe in and know Him. God truly does make everything work together for our good, especially the good of our faith in Him. It’s quite humbling really – God is constantly at work to help us believe Him.

Praise you Jesus, that as Lord, you are at work to help us know you and understand you, even when it is evil coming into the picture!

Written by Ps. Rob Waugh

1 (reply)
[comments closed]

Tuesday 9 April, 2019

John 14:15-27

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” 22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. 25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

It should come as no surprise to me that God knew there are times in every one of our lives when we feel very, very alone. Not only does God know and understand this but he has a plan. I know that I may feel alone at times – facing big decisions I am not sure how to make or circumstances that are far beyond my control. But my feelings and the reality and constancy of relationship with God are two different things. Jesus says the Holy Spirit is in me, God in me, leading guiding and comforting me. Knowing this takes me beyond being trapped by feelings. The feelings are real but so is the presence of God in my life. Thank you Jesus that I can trust in you and know you are always with me.

Heavenly Father thank you for the Holy Spirit in my life. Thank you that I am never alone. Thank you for your great love for me. Help me to always bring Glory to your name.  In Jesus name, Amen

Written by Christine Knight

[comments closed]

Monday 8 April, 2019

John 14:1-14

14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” 9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

I love the way Jesus begins and ends this passage with encouraging instructions, and in the middle tells us why we can believe in what He says.

I don’t think there is anyone in existence who has not been troubled by something or needed something that is beyond them – I know that I certainly have. And often I allow myself to be overwhelmed by these troubles and needs. It almost seems too good to be true to simply bring these troubles and needs to Jesus and expect Him to actually do anything about them. Yet Jesus explains that He carries the very authority and heart of God – He is not only able to help, but He is eager to.

So often my first response to fear, worry, trouble or need is to try and find a solution, when I could be bringing these to Jesus instead and trusting Him to sort them out on my behalf. While we have responsibility to do our best & take the steps we can – in the authority of God that He has given us – we can trust that when we bring what we need to Jesus, He is on the case. Admittedly His response may not look like what we have pictured, however we can trust that He is at work for our good. He is the way, truth and life for each of us – He will not leave us where we are but will meet us where we are at in order to bring glory to God.

Thank you Jesus that you are willing and able to hear our prayers & to meet our needs. Thank you that because you are in control and you are good, we can bring our troubles to you & trust that you are working on our behalf, bringing glory to God.

 

Written by Ps. Madelaine Tarasenko

[comments closed]

Sunday 7 April, 2019

John 13:36-38

36 Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” 37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!

How much better does Jesus know us than we know ourselves? We try and do what we think is the right thing, at least we say we do but when it comes to the crunch how connected are we to what God wants us to do. Jesus knew Peter’s fragility. He knows ours too. Even though we have moments where we do the wrong thing or the not helpful thing, God can still use us. Jesus was right, Peter had a moment of bad choice. It was a pretty big moment but still a moment. God still used Peter throughout his life. God wants us to know we have a chance with Him. He knows our fragility, He knows our distractions, He understands we don’t always react well to challenges. He is also willing to forgive us every time we return to Him.

Lord God, thank you that you forgave Peter even in the midst of a very poor choice and that you do that for us too. Help us to believe you when you say you give us second chance (or many chances). Thank you that you want us to be part of your plans, thank you that you place us in community and that you want us to bring your love to those around us. Help us do that every day. Amen

Written by Therese Manning

[comments closed]

Saturday 6 April, 2019

John 13:31-35

31 When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once. 33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

I find this a challenging scripture: “For when you demonstrate the same love I have for you” I have heard this said – “Jesus died for you and for me; our role (as a Christian) is to lay our lives down for our community and for others”.

To demonstrate that WE love; like CHRIST loves us.

What it tells me is that my life is “on show” – my actions, my responses and my voice should look like Christ.

Sacrificial love is something that many of us find hard at times.

We are called to give up our time, sometimes our convenience, our personal desires, our money, and lay these down for others.

Which reminds me of the scripture “If anyone would come after me, let him/her deny himself/herself and take up your cross daily”. (Luke 9 v 23)

It is something that is not easy at times and is not commonly encouraged in the ‘world’.  In a world that biases itself towards selfishness we have to be people who ‘swim’ in the other direction.  In a world that biases itself towards hate, we have to be an expression of love.  It is not easy to swim upstream; it requires effort.

Lord help me to demonstrate you better.  Help me with my actions, my responses and my voice to reflect you.  Lord at times I struggle, but you can give me strength in all things. Thank you for the opportunities you desire to bring across my path, to let me be a demonstration of your love and grace towards me.

Written by Ps. Sue Botta

[comments closed]

Friday 5 April, 2019

John 13:18-30

18 “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’ 19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. 20 Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.” 21 After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.” 22 His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. 23 One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. 24 Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.” 25 Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” 28 But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.

To betray the Son of the living God is such an incredibly evil thing to do. To betray someone you have been following for years is cruel. Judas certainly gets a bad rap, and rightfully so!

This morning as I have reflected on this scripture, I put myself in the story. When I put myself in Judas’ shoes, I considered the notion of what it is to betray Jesus.

Now I am pretty confident that I have never betrayed anyone to persecution or death, but I do sin – through my thoughts, and through words I say, through things I do and even when I don’t do what I should. My reflection this morning reminded me of the seriousness of these sins.

It’s tempting for me to become self-righteous and feel like I have the “Christian Life” all together. After all, the sins I do commit aren’t that bad. Are they?

I feel like this passage has shown me that every one of those sins, as small as they might seem, is like me walking away from Christ to collect my 30 pieces of silver.

Heavy.

But there is hope! God has made a way! I don’t need to continue walking away, separating myself from Christ for eternity. No matter how regularly I fail, how serious my failures. Even though I have betrayal on my hands, He is ready to welcome me back with open arms.

Written by Ps. Justin Ware

[comments closed]

Thursday 4 April, 2019

John 13:12-17

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

What a historically and eternally significant moment we read about here. Jesus and the disciples are looking back and celebrating how God saved the Hebrews from Egyptian slavery. Jesus is looking to the near future where He will be sacrificed to save all who believe in Him from sin and death.

In this highly important moment, Jesus washes the disciples’ feet. He cleanses them physically, when He’s about to cleanse them spiritually. But I love how everyday this is, how human the need to have our dirty feet washed. Jesus is not spouting lofty ideas, divorced from our skin and bone existence. No, He takes off His outer robe, wraps a towel around His waist and washes the dirty, smelly feet of those who follow Him.

As Jesus was preparing to face the agony of the cross, He was still focused on His mission of teaching His disciples God’s way of selfless love and servanthood. If Jesus could love others in this moment, then I am challenged to do the same, no matter what my circumstances are.

Jesus, please help me to receive your love for me, your willingness to wash my dirty feet and be near to those dirty parts of my inner world that need cleansing. Fill me with your love for others, that I too would folllow your example and wash the dirty feet of those around me. Amen.

Written by Ps. Beth Waugh

[comments closed]

Wednesday 3 April, 2019

John 13:1-11

13 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” 9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” 10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

Peter objects to having his feet washed by His Master and Teacher Jesus because it was such a lowly job. Peter does not understand that Jesus was demonstrating His servant leadership and was asking His disciples to serve each other in this way also. So when Peter objects, Jesus explains that if not, then Peter shall have no part of Him. Peter doesn’t yet understand that Jesus is referring to holiness, not hygiene (Message Bible). So of course, Peter who is all in with Jesus says please wash all of me. Jesus said it is not necessary since Peter has already had a bath and only needs his feet washed. Is Jesus now talking about hygiene? Jesus seems to be talking on different levels all at once.

So while Jesus is demonstrating how he wants his disciples to love and serve one another, I think he is also referring to forgiveness. As David wrote in Psalm 51:7 “wash me and I will be clean”. After we have done the wrong thing, sin makes us feel dirty and unclean. As Christians, when we sin this can be a hard thing to deal with. Personally, when I have sinned, I feel that I have gone back to being fully immersed in sin, as though I was not a Christian anymore. That I am back to where I was before I received Jesus for forgiveness and salvation. But the truth is when I first received Christ, I have “had a bath” and have been made totally clean. When I sin as a Christian, I just need to come to Jesus again and have my “feet washed” and I am totally clean again.

Lord Jesus, I thank you that you allow me to come and have my feet washed. You allow me to come whenever I need to, to be made clean. Thank you for demonstrating your love to me in this way.

Written by Gab Martin

[comments closed]

Tuesday 2 April, 2019

John 12:44-50

44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. 47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

Verse 47 is just so good…

If I hear Jesus’ words, and don’t follow them, he doesn’t judge me. He’s come to save me – not judge me.

But He has every right to judge me. He made me. He made everything. I’ve destroyed His creation – I’ve rejected Him. I’ve said to Him “I’m the boss of me! I know what’s best for me! Get out!” Yet He still extends His hand of acceptance and forgiveness to me. Why? How can this be possible? This is mercy that I can’t wrap my head around.

The problem though, is time. The time is coming when there will be no more time. When that happens there is a Judge – His verdict will be based on what I’ve decided to do with Jesus’ words. Whether I’ve accepted them or rejected them.

The question is time. What will I do right now? Will I run the gauntlet of time and hope I’ll choose to follow Jesus at the very end? (And forfeit the amazing life He had planned for me all along?) Or will I soften my heart today (see Duet 30:19) and say “ok Jesus”?

Jesus, I’m done with rejecting you. I am amazed at your mercy and patience with me. I choose to follow you today.

Amen

Written by Boudy Van Noppen

[comments closed]

Monday 1 April, 2019

John 12:37-43

37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: “Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: 40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn—and I would heal them.” 41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him. 42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.

Jesus performed many miracles, but this did not in itself make believers of the people who saw the miracles. Sometimes I’ve thought, if only people could only see a miracle surely then they would believe in Jesus. Clearly this is not the case both then and now.

It’s also possible to read this passage and come to the conclusion that it was God who blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts so that they couldn’t believe.

But as we see throughout the whole bible, God gives people over to the hardness of their hearts – He is not the cause of it.

This is what stands out to me today: If I continually close my eyes to the truth in any one area, there comes a time when I become so closed off that I simply cannot see the truth.

I have experienced in my own life – sometimes it takes a huge ‘wake-up call’ event to open my eyes to my own hardness of heart and to face the truth about myself.

Pride, fear of what others think of me…”for they loved human praise more than praise from God”,  these are the things that lead to hard hearts and blind eyes.

God, help us to humble ourselves this day to see your truth, free from the fear of man, and to live honestly before You.

Written by Shelley Witt

[comments closed]