Wednesday 31 March, 2021

Romans 8:1-8

8 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

No condemnation – wow.  In a world where cancel culture runs rife, where condemnation is common – where intolerance seems almost a national sport – under the guise of tolerance (I know that seems silly but our culture has largely redefined tolerance to mean agreement yet you don’t need to tolerate someone you are in agreement with – tolerance is based in respectful disagreement) – no condemnation – seems almost utopian!

Yet Paul makes this bold, outrageous claim!

No accusing voice – no place for accusation – for those in Christ.  Those in Christ stand in His righteousness not some mustered up goodness that we hope will pacify an angry God – nothing based on our best or worst effort, indeed on any effort of ours – but based on Christ and His perfect sacrifice and life!

Accusation – condemnation comes to nought and therefore I am free – free to live for Christ, free to honour Him, free to serve Him.

No condemnation – I’ll take that and live in its freedom to the honour of my King the One who sets me free – Jesus.

Father, help me to live in the liberty of no condemnation – free to honour and serve Jesus in all I am and do!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Tuesday 30 March, 2021

Romans 7:14-25

14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

The struggle of the flesh vs the struggle of the heart is real!! Apparently, it’s not just me – Paul also knew this struggle. I am neither just a body (the flesh) or just a soul – and it seems there is frequently friction between the two. We see examples of spiritual self-sabotage all the time, when poor choices are made, temptation wins over good sense.

But I want to do better. Unless I acknowledge my own struggle, I am helpless to make better choices around my thoughts and actions. Vs 25 hints at a solution – through Christ Jesus it is possible to reconcile (not compromise) and overcome. The power of the Holy Spirit – not the power of me!! This is why it is so important every day to be renewed by the Spirit. This tug of war will last for as long as I have breath, but the power of God lasts for Eternity. When Jesus said ‘it is finished’ I believe this was what He was referring to. He understands my humanity but also the sovereign power of God. Today Lord let me choose your way!

Mighty Heavenly Father, I thank you for the power of the Cross over my life. Lord help me recognise the struggle of my flesh versus my will every day. I am sorry for the times when get it wrong. I ask to be filled with your Spirit and help me to make good choices that will glorify you. 

Written by Christine Knight

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Monday 29 March, 2021

Romans 7:7-13

7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”[a] 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. 9 Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. 13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.

In the permissive world we live in it seems that anything can be justified – it’s not trendy to ‘judge’ the actions of others. But it is my own actions I need to be concerned with. Without the ‘Gold Standard’ laid out by the law then I am free to do whatever I want without guilt. However I am called by God to live another way. It’s always a choice to do the right thing, it’s not our default setting. In fact the wrong thing can often seem so much more appealing!

The law is like an electric fence – it’s there to keep us safe from what lies beyond it, and if you push against it you are going to feel pain. I have to be responsible for my actions, try to make good choices and own up to my mistakes when I make them. The law is there to show me how much I need Jesus. Real freedom comes when we understand how much Jesus has done for us, sparing us from the condemnation that comes from failing to live up to the law.

Lord Jesus thank you so much for the freedom we find in you. Thank you that you set me free from condemnation. Lord help me to love you with all of my being and help me to love others just like you love me. Forgive me Father for the times when I get things wrong. Thank you Lord that your grace is more than enough. Amen

Written by Christine Knight

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Sunday 28 March, 2021

Romans 7:1-6

7 Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? 2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. 3 So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man. 4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5 For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

The believer is effectively dead to the Law through the crucifixion of Jesus.  Our relationship to the law and the sin it produces is completely severed.  Believers are no longer trapped under the Law which comprised of rules that human beings are simply not able to keep. Rather believers have entered a new relationship with Jesus who was raised from the dead.  This new relationship with Jesus brings forth different fruit to that of life under the Law of Moses.

Thinking and reflecting on the above truth can be immensely freeing! Believers are no longer harnessed to life under the law but joined to life with a resurrected Jesus. Believers are free to live a new life in the freedom of God.  This new way of life will bear much fruit for God whereas the law brought out our sinful nature. The fruit of the spirit is love, goodness, patience, gentleness, self-control, peace, faithfulness and joy.  Our relationship with Jesus changes our very make up and what our life produces.

Thank you, Lord that Jesus, put the law to death on the cross and his resurrection brought about a new way of life for us. Amen

Written by Ainslie Woods

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Saturday 27th March, 2021 – Catching more than Fish

Matthew 4:18-20 (TPT)

18 As he was walking by the shore of Lake Galilee, Jesus noticed two fishermen who were brothers. One was nicknamed Keefa (later called Peter), and the other was Andrew, his brother. Watching as they were casting their nets into the water, 19 Jesus called out to them and said, “Come and follow me, and I will transform you into men who catch people for God.” 20 Immediately they dropped their nets and left everything behind to follow Jesus.

Jesus’ bold invitation is so forthright – “Come and follow me, and I will transform you into men who catch people for God.”  Peter and Andrew were good at catching fish – it was their trade.  They knew the tides, the impact of the prevailing winds, the kinds of fish they were likely to catch.  Their fathers and grandfathers had been in the family business.  This was second nature.  I’m sure Jesus’ invitation came both as a surprise and a challenge.  I can imagine the conversation – What – you want me to give up my livelihood to do what?  Men are on the land not in the sea – and I’ve spent a lot of money resourcing and learning my trade.  After all we’re the fishermen – you’re a carpenter!

Jesus’ challenge was to learn new skills, to follow Him in His mission, not simply maintain the status quo.  To make a difference for people in eternity not simply time.  It must have been compelling – because they left their nets.

As I write this I hear the Lord upsetting my status quo – I hear Him saying ‘What will it take you follow Him and fish for men’.  I hear this for each of us reading this blog and I sense to ask you – what will you do to fish for men?

I love how Jesus makes plain He will skill us for the task – and that skilling is in following Him.  It is not a set of instructional YouTubes, it is in hearing His heart, listening well to the people He has already placed us among, loving them, sharing life with them.  I have been reading Sam Chan’s excellent book “How to Talk about Jesus – Without Being that Guy” it is inspiring, but more importantly down to earth and practical.  It will help you join Jesus in His mission of seeking and saving the lost.

As we complete these fourteen days of devotions on Evangelism I pray you have begun to see a heart change to join Jesus more readily and more effectively in His mission – the mission that cost Him His life to give us ours! Father God – send Your Spirit that we may experience Christ’s love so compelling that we can do nothing else than join Him in His mission and Your Spirit to embolden us to overcome any fears or prejudices that hold us back.  Amen

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Friday 26 March, 2021 – Good News – Glorious News

Colossians 1:19-23 (TPT)

19 For God is satisfied to have all his fullness dwelling in Christ. 20 And by the blood of his cross, everything in heaven and earth is brought back to himself—back to its original intent, restored to innocence again! 21–22 Even though you were once distant from him, living in the shadows of your evil thoughts and actions, he reconnected you back to himself. He released his supernatural peace to you through the sacrifice of his own body as the sin-payment on your behalf so that you would dwell in his presence. And now there is nothing between you and Father God, for he sees you as holy, flawless, and restored, 23 if indeed you continue to advance in faith, assured of a firm foundation to grow upon. Never be shaken from the hope of the gospel you have believed in. And this is the glorious news I preach all over the world.

Is the Gospel ‘Glorious’ news?  Or is it just ‘OK’ or even ‘ho-hum’ news?  That depends on how much you think you need its message.  It would be Glorious to win the lottery if you needed the money.  But would Bill Gates think it is ‘Glorious’ to win $1 million?  Probably not.

Things that strike us as Glorious tend to be sudden, massive (to us) and unexpected.

For Paul, the Glorious News is that God has restored us back to innocence, removed the barrier between Himself and us, and given us supernatural peace.  All of this came at no cost to Paul.  The cost was borne God Himself.

Paul admits he had lost his innocence, was isolated from God, and had no peace.  That is certainly how I felt when I had the Glorious News explained to me.  I felt like I’d been released from a dark prison into the light of day.  I felt like a had a second chance.

How many people around us outwardly look ok, but inwardly are feeling that same loss of innocence, lack of peace and isolation from God?  We have Glorious News!  The King of the Universe wants to restore their innocence, bring them close to Him and give them supernatural peace.

Paul says to never lose the hope of the gospel we have believed in.  If we keep that hope fresh in our minds, we can easily show it to others.

God, please remind me how I felt the day I first heard The Glorious News, so I can show it to someone else.

Written by Paul Fleming

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Thursday 25 March, 2021 – The Best is Yet to Come

2 Corinthians 5:17 (TPT)

17 Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new creation. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new.

Indeed, everything is made fresh and new!

When I came to faith in Jesus, as a young adult, it was quite a significant and overwhelming experience.

Overwhelming in the nicest possible way.

I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit, through an incredibly tangible peace which I had never experienced before. Unfortunately it only lasted about a week, but it was long enough for me to realise that I was made “anew” and I could never go back to being the “old me” I was before my encounter.

However, it didn’t just stop there. I was also aware of a new sense of freedom in my life. Not that I was a slave or a prisoner to anything awful in my life – I was just an ordinary sort of bloke.

But I became aware that my fear of death, and the unknown oblivion that it held for me, was gone – and replaced with a confidence, an assurance, that my life was important to God!

In fact, nobody had to say anything to me because I now knew, I had this assurance in my heart which convicted me that there is ‘Life after Death’ and that with Jesus He has prepared for me a home and a future, and for all those who place their trust in Jesus as Lord.

This gave me a whole new outlook on life!

I had a freedom, an excitement, a hope that “The Best is yet to Come”!

Now its been over thirty years since that day. There have been many wonderful times of blessings, and some protracted seasons of being in the wilderness and feeling far from God. Times where I just can’t find the answers, or just to know how to make the next move… However, in both my heart and my mind, I have never lost the assurance that there is a Hope for the future, that He will never leave me and that the Best, is still yet, to Come!

Written by John Tomc

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Wednesday 24 March, 2021 – Lay it All on the Table

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (TPT)

14 For it is Christ’s love that fuels our passion and motivates us, because we are absolutely convinced that he has given his life for all of us. This means all died with him, 15 so that those who live should no longer live self-absorbed lives but lives that are poured out for him—the one who died for us and now lives again.

Our text today highlights the love and sacrifice of Christ in that by dying for us He has also saved us from a life without purpose.

Christ died for all, everyone who has ever lived, who is currently living and all who will live in the future – His sacrifice leaves no one out. He has saved us from an eternity of separation from Him, separation from everything good.

So what is my part in this?

As Christ has died for me, He calls me to die to myself…my own plans and ambition, my desire for material possessions and comfort.

He called me to lay it all on the table before Him and instead gives me back a new heart that is ‘fuelled by passion’, to change my thinking for His, to look out for others rather than myself.

He makes this possible…I cannot die to my selfishness unless He gives me the heart.

And the point of this is…
Of course God wants to grow us in character but primarily our actions impact others, hopefully drawing them to Christ.

Often the process is long, walking with people, being involved in their lives, rather than applying a band aid to a gaping wound; God provides healing in a multitude of small actions, that one day results in a change of heart.

Sometimes there is a long delay between acts of kindness and the turning of a heart to Christ….but no kindness in the name of Jesus is wasted. God remembers and uses them all to His purpose, anything as simple as a cup of water.

The starting place (for me) is prayer.

There is no other option as I am fully convinced that I cannot do anything worthwhile in my own strength. I simply cannot do what only the Holy Spirit can.

Giving in prayer is perhaps the greatest act we can do on behalf of others and sometimes the only thing God calls me to do.

It does not burden me when I walk with Him – in fact, when I am in step with Him the walk is satisfying and inevitably fruitful. My treasure is in heaven and I experience the truth that it is so much more blessed to give than receive.

Written by Lainy Samperi

2 replies
  1. Richard says:

    Christ’s love fuels our passion and motivates us.

    Fuel – the store of energy that powers an activity or device

    What a different thought that love is a fuel.

    What fuels me? Guilt, fear, love, influence, power, insecurity, Christ’s love?

    For Christ’s love to fuel me I must be convinced He has given His life for all and He has. We now live lives that are not self absorbed but others centred, Christ centred.

    Father, I pray You would fill me with Your love every day that it would be my motivation at all times.

  2. Matt says:

    Two observations:
    1. No longer live self absorbed lives – this jumped out off the page as I’ve been thinking about selfishness and how I find it constantly infused in our lives. The thought in my head is how do we truly become selfless? I may not have the full answer yet but a component hides in this passage – having Christ’s love as our motivation and passion. Perhaps an application question we can ask ourselves is: How is Christ’s love going to be my motivation today?
    2. The one who died for us now lives again – through us, Christ still lives. What a powerful idea but a challenging one. We are now his hands and feet. We are now the embodiment of Christ today. Reflect on this question: how am I embodying Christ today?

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Tuesday 23 March, 2021 – Rely on God’s Power

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (TPT)

2 My brothers and sisters, when I first came to proclaim to you the secrets of God, I refused to come as an expert, trying to impress you with my eloquent speech and lofty wisdom. 2 For while I was with you I was determined to be consumed with one topic—Jesus, the crucified Messiah. 3 I stood before you feeling inadequate, filled with reverence for God, and trembling under the sense of the importance of my words. 4 The message I preached and how I preached it was not an attempt to sway you with persuasive arguments but to prove to you the almighty power of God’s Holy Spirit. 5 For God intended that your faith not be established on man’s wisdom but by trusting in his almighty power.

In this passage, Paul tells us it is not how eloquently we speak or our superior knowledge that enables us to reach out to others and share our faith in Jesus Christ, it is the power of the Holy Spirit.

If Paul felt totally inadequate and afraid when addressing the Corinthians, one might wonder how we will fare?  I must confess that I am terrible at quoting Scriptures and have a great respect and admiration for Christians who can quote the right Scripture at the right time.  Don’t get me wrong, I can share the stories and messages, just not always able to tell you exactly where to find them in the Bible.  The importance of spending time in the Word cannot be overstated.  However, we have all probably met someone who can rattle off great lengths of Scripture but the message of Jesus’ love for them has not reached their hearts.

Paul’s tactic was not to give long glossy speeches and sprout the latest philosophical arguments.  He made the decision to keep his message plain and simple – the message of Jesus and his life; and his ultimate sacrifice, made in love for us.  Paul teaches us that Jesus must be in the forefront of our message of faith to others.

To be able to share our faith and lead another to a life with Christ is an honour and a privilege.  Too often we rely on our own wisdom and confidence – or lack thereof – and simply do nothing or totally get it wrong.  As such, we can be encouraged by Paul’s message to not rest on our wisdom but on God’s power.  A power that is active in ourselves and in the lives of others. 

Another’s response to a life of faith is a response to God’s power, we simply need to start the conversation.

Lord, may we have the confidence to act on the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and share with others our testimony, our faith in Jesus.  I give thanks we do not have to rely on our wisdom alone but can trust in your almighty power.  Amen.

Written by Sue Lavery

1 (reply)
  1. Justin Ware says:

    Paul knew beyond doubt that the thing that people needed to know about, experience and live out from his teaching, was the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. It is through this pivotal truth that all else in Christianity hangs. Too often, I bury my life and my testimony in tangental or tertiary truth, but I need to come back, time and time again to the great exchange: Where Christ took upon himself my sin and the death that I deserved, so that I can live and share the life that he attained and experience the freedom from sin that he achieved.

    Thank You Lord for the love of the cross and for the victory of the resurrection!

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Monday 22 March, 2021 – Empowered by the Spirit

Acts 1:4-8 (TPT)

4 and shared meals with them. Jesus instructed them, “Don’t leave Jerusalem, but wait here until you receive the gift I told you about, the gift the Father has promised. 5 For John baptized you in water, but in a few days from now you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit!” 6 Every time they were gathered together, they asked Jesus, “Lord, is it the time now for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” 7 He answered, “The Father is the one who sets the fixed dates and the times of their fulfillment. You are not permitted to know the timing of all that he has prepared by his own authority. 8 But I promise you this—the Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will be filled with power. And you will be my messengers to Jerusalem, throughout Judea, the distant provinces—even to the remotest places on earth!”

As I read this passage, I am reminded that before Peter and the disciples took the good news of Jesus to their community, their nation and far beyond, a few essential things occurred. 

Firstly, Peter and the disciples were convinced that Jesus was the Son of God and the hope for the world.  After Jesus death he appeared to them many times and proved his resurrection to them by many signs, over an extended period.  Jesus overcame death, he proved undoubtable that he was God, and because of this his message of hope was real and powerful.  

Secondly, the disciples related with the resurrected Jesus. They sat with him, they spoke together and shared meals. He was the same Jesus before and after resurrection – the Jesus who relates, who invites and who includes people – and who commands them to do the same.  

Finally, the disciples did what Jesus commanded in this passage – they waited for the promised Holy Spirit to come and infill them and empower them to be witnesses. Further on in Acts we see the results. They are filled by the Holy Spirit and they begin to share the good news. Peter and the disciples share the gospel with great anointing and authority, they are guided by the spirit towards people and they (like Jesus) open up the gospel to whole groups of people who had previously been forgotten or overlooked (the gentiles, women, the poor, and minorities), their words of invitation are accompanied with miraculous acts of healing, deliverance, freedom and restoration.  

When I read this passage, I am reminded that I too am filled with the same Holy Spirit to be a messenger to all people. That I not only speak the message but that I, because the Holy Spirit lives in me, embody the message. I am challenged to live the gospel. To see people as Jesus does, to love and care for them, to listen to people and to speak of the hope of Jesus, and to minister in the power of the Holy Spirit.   Jesus fill me again with your Holy Spirit. Help me to be your messenger of hope, love and restoration to all those around me. I ask especially that you would give me eyes to see and ears to hear those who are lonely or feel forgotten, as you did. Amen

Written by Ps. Zoe Stewart

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