Sunday 31 January, 2021

What a warm passage of Scripture.

Paul clearly has a high regard for the people of Macedonia and doesn’t just want to ‘fly’ through.  He also has opportunity for ministry, a “great door for effective work has opened to me”.

We face decisions everyday of the week, and many times during those days.

Paul, even in the face of “many who oppose me”, is prepared to do whqt he thinks the Lord is in.  He has other opportunities, like seeing his friends in Macedonia, but chooses to stay in Ephesus because of the opportunities there.

The road of least resistance, a kind of fatalism, is very attractive.  I have more than once followed it!  I need to ensure that I follow Christ in faith, not just because the circumstances seem favourable or easy!

Father, help me to follow You faithfully, even when it is difficult and opposition awaits me.

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Saturday 30 January, 2021

Here Paul is instructing the church on regular giving towards the “relief offering” for other believers.  He encourages the church to give EACH Sunday an offering to the poor in other churches.  “Be as generous as you can”, Paul says.   I don’t believe this is a tithe but an offering to help other churches and Christians.

This year, during COVID our church has sent over $30,000 to India and Nepal to assist our churches in helping people in these nations.  Many people are day workers (so no regular and continuing salary, no sick leave, no holiday pay, etc), so if they don’t work – they don’t get any money to help feed their families.  It was wonderful to watch the churches in action (through videos).  Feeding people with meals and giving groceries.  Feeding and praying with people as they journey to their home villages.  What an opportunity to be Christ to their “neighbours”.

We are part of something so much larger than ourselves.  What a blessing to live in Australia – but what a responsibility to share with others what we have and has been entrusted to us.

Lord we ask that you would continue to bring opportunities to us whereby we can help others.  We thank you that your love is displayed in us when we give.  Lead us Lord to always be generous.

Written by Ps. Sue Botta

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Friday 29 January, 2021

Reading this passage, I am reminded of simple truths from the Bible that our human nature allows us to so easily forget or misconstrue.  Here we are told that death has no power over us, it has no sting! Indeed, death only retains any sting because of sin, and sin only retains power because of the law.

However, we have “victory because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done.” Jesus has defeated death and sin, and fulfilled the law so that we don’t have to. This scripture is such a good reminder, because it is sometimes easy to almost bypass this and try to take our salvation into our own hands. As believers, we have no reason to worry about whether our actions are good enough to make us acceptable to God – they aren’t. We come to God through the sacrifice of Jesus. These are simple biblical truths yet sometimes we confuse and stumble over them.

Our “work for the Lord” is not to appease Him or to make ourselves appear righteous in His sight – Jesus has already done that! Rather, it is an outworking of our faith in and love for Him.

Jesus, may I always be filled with gratitude and awe at your incredible love! You conquered sin and death, and made a way for us to be right with you. Help us to remember this truth and live by it each day, serving you out of love and always remaining strong in our faith. Amen.

Written by Ps. Madelaine Tarasenko

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Thursday 28 January, 2021

Don’t you love those times at school when your friend asked the teacher a dumb question and the teacher says “that’s a silly question. You should know that already” but you didn’t know the answer either? This passage is a bit like that.

I arrogantly say I know God but do I really? The wonderful thing is that God is not aloof or hard to get to know. I simply have to seek him. It will take humility and determination. I suspect the more we come to know God will depend on the tenacity with which we seek.

But just like a father playing hide and seek with his kids, God longs to ‘get found’. He longs to roll around on the ground with His kids in joy and say “let’s play again”.

Written by Boudy van Noppen

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Wednesday 27 January, 2021

This passage is part of a larger argument the apostle Paul is making to the Corinthian church to encourage them to behave in a manner appropriate with Christian beliefs.   

In verse 20 Paul reaffirms ‘Christ was indeed raised from the dead’. Then in verse 24, 25 Paul makes two astonishing statements. First, Christ now has full authority over the world and second, He is removing all the influences that oppose His authority.

When I look around me, when I watch the news on TV, when I read an online news feed or listen to the radio I am left with the question. How is this possible for Christ to be ruling in all this mess?  

The answer to this question is, ‘this cannot be seen or understood in the mind but by faith can be discerned by the heart’.  Paul’s point is, in this world people do not get resurrected from the dead but Christ was, and it’s that resurrection power that is now subduing His enemies and restoring the world back to life.  It does not appear to be logical but that does not stop it from being true.

That leaves me with the question, how should I respond?   

Verse 33 is the answer. ‘Bad company corrupts good character’.  Paul is simply saying think about who you are hanging out with!

For me, here is the simplest way to take up this challenge today.  Be more discerning about what I watch on TV, look at on the internet or how much I allow social media to influence me.

Lord, today, give me greater discernment as to when I should switch off electronic devices and spend more time with You. Amen!

Written by David Newton

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Tuesday 26 January, 2021

The central part of the gospel message is the death AND resurrection of Jesus.  His resurrection brings us hope because it means that sin and death do not separate us from God.  

Yet, believing this comes by faith. We weren’t there when Jesus died on the cross, nor did we see Him after His resurrection. But we do have the bible to read so that we can decide for ourselves whether we believe it to be true or not.

Yet believing this will be tested.  

I remember the time before my father passed away. While Dad was the one dying, I too was faced with what I believed about life after death and who I believed God to be. I remember wrestling in prayer, saying, “I place all my hope in You Lord Jesus. If it’s not You, well then I don’t know who else there is because there is no one else who speaks life to me or knows me like You do. It is You or nothing – there is no one else”.

Yet as difficult as this was, it has made me more certain than ever that God is real and that Jesus did rise from the dead. It is more than being certain. I know.

But it isn’t me who has formed this inner “knowing” within me. It is God Himself. By taking the step of faith to believe Jesus did rise from the dead, He makes it certain within me. He gives me that assurance. He turns my faith into substance.

If you don’t have that “knowing” yet, you can. It’s a step of faith you have to take with Jesus for yourself.  Just ask Him now.

Written by Gab Martin

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Monday 25 January, 2021

I love how Paul wants to be clear that the resurrection is rock-bottom reality for the Christian.  It isn’t a strange idea that he’s dreamed up himself.  He and all the others tell the same story.  This was the message that Paul announced wherever he went, and it was this message that carried God’s power and brought people, by the Spirit, into a living knowledge and love of Jesus, into the kingdom of God.  The only point in being a Christian at all is if this message continues to be the solid ground on which you stand.

The players in this story are Jesus and His shameful death, His burial, His resurrection on the third day, the people who saw him—Cephas, the Twelve, five hundred at once, James (Jesus’ own brother).  Now that is a cohort of witnesses – and if this were to be prosecuted in a court of law today on the basis of the number of witnesses alone this is a compelling story – let alone it is true!!!

Father may we rest on the power of the resurrection in our lives – knowing that it is true beyond argument and powerful beyond imagining!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Sunday 24 January, 2021

Noise! No one likes to be sitting in a place where everyone is talking but it’s so noisy you can’t hear what is being said.  Paul is bringing this point to the Corinthian church as it seems their worship meetings are for the most part a lot of noise.

Paul is expecting that messages from God through tongues, prophecy, songs, teaching etc, will be apart of the meeting but its to be done in such a way that all benefit, all are built up and encouraged.  It’s not a time to be trying to ‘out-do’ each other or a time to ‘have-a-chat’ (as some of the women seem to be doing), but it’s a time to worship God and grow each other in our faith.

I believe this passage has made its mark on church history.  Thankfully, I’ve never been in a chaotic church service.  I love it when words of knowledge, prophecy, tongues & interpretation, a song, come in our worship services – it confirms to me that the God I worship is personal, caring, encouraging and He longs to strengthen, give courage and show love to His people.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you are a God of harmony, peace, order & above all you want a dynamic relationship with each one of us.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

1 (reply)
  1. Kim Fleming says:

    I’ve never thought of it like that Suz, Txs for your pearls of wisdom! I too am grateful that our church services are orderly!

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Saturday 23 January, 2021

Ok I’ll admit it – I don’t get what Paul is driving at in this passage. On one hand he’s saying speaking in tongues is a sign for unbelievers and then he says they’ll think you’re crazy. Paul says that prophecy is for believers but then says unbelievers will be convicted of sin, fall on their knees and worship. Paul, what are you talking about?!

But it’s dawned on me…tongues is a powerful supernatural gift – given by the Holy Spirit. People may think it sounds crazy but will be unable to deny the powerful effects. 

And a gift meant for believers (prophecy) can have a powerful impact on unbelievers. We may think prophetic words are for the church’s ears only but those yet saved need to be cut to the heart too, exposing and relieving only what God could know. Then they can receive His mercy and love and forgiveness and cleansing and peace and joy and hope. 

Thanks Lord, for these powerful gifts of your Spirit – tongues and prophecy. Help me please to learn how to use them to help others receive your massive love.   Amen. 

Written by Boudy Van Noppen

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Friday 22 January, 2021

I am struck by the opening and closing sentences of these verses.  The opener encourages us to seek after love while the closing words inspire us to use our spiritual gifts to strengthen the whole church.  In between these statements the apostle Paul directs us to desire the spiritual gift of prophecy because it builds up the entire church.

There can never be enough encouragement! We all need to be built up and the gift of prophecy accomplishes this. Life is often tough and it’s easy to be worn down.  A prophetic word at the right time can lift our spirits and keep us on track.  That’s why Paul places so much importance on this spiritual gift – everyone needs it at one time or another as does the local church.  We are encouraged to ask God for this gift.  Don’t hold back!

Dear Lord, we thank you for the gift of prophecy. Holy Spirit please enable me to speak your truth and build your people. Amen

Written by Ps. Ainslie Woods

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