Thursday 30 June 2022 – Transformed week 7

Proverbs 15:22

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.

Along the journey from becoming a child to an adult I would guess that I needed to make plans and decisions in their life about thousands of things; how to get around, how to obtain and keep a job, how to pay rent, what to eat, what car to buy, the list goes on. 

In the 90’s when I became an adult, I couldn’t ask Google, so I relied on asking my friends, parents, teachers, the newspapers and even the yellow pages for information and advice on how to live life, all without the internet – Hard to imagine! Today, I feel that the internet has become a strong contender for our preference for advice and information. With the click of a button, I can learn how to do pretty much anything from fixing a washing machine to how to understand the human brain, even if it’s just theory and not always in practice.

I know I feel better equipped when I have the right advice and information from a variety of sources, including the somewhat archaic tradition of asking people (face-to-face) about their opinions and experience in person! Real people who want you to succeed, and who support you in your endeavours make a difference in every aspect of life, especially making good choices.

Dear God, thank you that in life you placed us where you want us to be and that we are surrounded by people and technology that are designed to help us manage our lives. Thank you that you do not leave us alone and that you bring people to us to guide and help us. Thank you for the gift of community and the ability to share.

Amen

Written by Susannah Ware

3 replies
  1. Sam S says:

    “With the click of a button, I can learn how to do pretty much anything from fixing a washing machine to how to understand the human brain, even…” …made up nonsense that has no basis or means of verification!
    You write really well Susannah. Great observation that the great leap forward with internet culture has broadened society’s access to information but ironically narrowed it’s capacity for wisdom. ‘Seek good counsel’ – great devotion SW!

  2. Sue Botta says:

    Proverbs 11 v 14. Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counsel lord there is victory.
    Yes wise counsel of those who are wise and walk with us is gold.

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Wednesday 29 June 2022 – Transformed week 7

Proverbs 2:6-7 (NLT)

6 For the LORD grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.

I am so grateful that as we seek God, God gives us understanding and knowledge. God shields us and brings us success. Why and how do we succeed? The next 2 verses, Proverbs 2: 8-9, enlighten us on this. 

“for he guards the course of the just

    and protects the way of his faithful ones.

Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path.”

God helps us to find every good path and we succeed in living right, fair and just lives. Lives that look like Christs. Lives that we were created for. 

 As I meditate on this passage this morning, I am reminded that God has always spoken and continues to speak today. In the beginning God spoke and there was life (Genesis 1). God declared flourishing. Jesus spoke “it is finished” and our sin was dealt with as he died for us all on the cross (John 19:30). Christ cried freedom. Acts 2 the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in many tongues and proclaimed to those from many nations around them, that God was present with them. Spirit warmly welcomed. The word of God guided God’s people (Duet 4:6, Psalm 1, 2 Tim 3:16) and continues to do so today. Truth is proclaimed. God desires us to succeed in life together. The world is full opinions and noisy with arguments, but God can and does still speak to us, as he always has. God speaks and gives us wisdom today through the Word, the Spirit and one another. So that we will succeed in understanding what is right, just and fair – every good path. 

Thankyou God for being good and just. Thank you that when we seek you, you give us wisdom and understanding. Thank you for transforming us more and more into your likeness.

Amen

Written By Ps. Zoe Stewart

3 replies
  1. Justin Ware says:

    I love the reflections you have shared Zoe, particularly your comment that the world is full of opinions and noisy with arguments, but God speaks and gives wisdom.

    Lord, may I spend more time listening to your voice, receiving your wisdom, and less time in the chatter and argument zone that the world runs on.

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Tuesday 28 June 2022 – Transformed week 7

Proverbs 3:5-6

(5) Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; (6) in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

We all have times in life when we ask, ‘am I making the right choices in life?’, or ‘am I doing what God wants me to?’. It is easy to be overwhelmed with choices, distracted by disruptions, and feel unsure of what is ahead. This passage is a reminder that when we walk with God, He will guide us so that we have firm footing and will not stumble off the path God has set before us. 

This passage notes three things to do as we walk with God. Firstly, we should trust God. We should trust with our whole heart that He is who He says He is, and that the promises in His word are true. Secondly, we should recognise that we do not have all the wisdom or resources to get through life ourselves, but instead need to learn how to rely on God. Finally, we should submit ourselves to Christ, asking for His help and wisdom in all situations and making a choice to put his word into action every day.

Lord, thank you that you have good plans for me and that you make my paths straight. Help me to not rely on myself, but to trust you with all I am, to rely on you, and to submit to you every day. Amen.

Written by Ps. Andrea Molteno

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Monday 27 June 2022 – Transformed week 7

Deuteronomy 8:18a

But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth

Ultimately it is God who gives us the ability to make money.  It is not the work of our own mind or hands but God’s provision.  We need to be mindful of this as believers.

The key word here is “remember” It is easy to get swept up in the busyness of day to day work and forget to acknowledge God’s provision.  It can seem like it’s all up to us and we do indeed play a part.  However, regardless of what we do for a living or how hard we work at it, the Lord is the source of our ability to produce wealth.  It all comes from him! For this reason we need to give due honour and respect to the Lord.  We also need to maintain an attitude of gratefulness and thanks for the finances that come into our lives.   It is good to know that the Lord is the original source of wealth.  We can rely on his word.

Dear God, thank you for giving your people the ability to produce wealth.  Help me to remember this and acknowledge your provision. Amen

Written by Ps Ainslie Woods

3 replies
  1. Justin Ware says:

    As we get closer to finishing this transformed series, I’m so thankful that we are all on mission together, discipling one another and being His disciples!

  2. Sam S says:

    ‘Remembering’ – this seems to be a universal problem for all humanity, believers and all alike.

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Sunday 26 June 2022 – Transformed week 7

Proverbs 16:3 (NLT)

Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.

This is an interesting verse for me. The idea that your plans WILL definitely succeed if you commit them to the Lord is one I struggle with. So many people have things happen in their lives which send their plans off in completely unexpected directions. Sometimes that unexpected direction is good, sometimes it is devastating. I think the important things here are your definitions for success and for commit.

If you assume God means success in terms of the world’s definition (i.e. money, power, renown), then you may be disappointed. If you assume God means success on His terms, then, whatever work you do, you will have the opportunity every day to be a blessing to your employer, your customers or clients or patients, your work colleagues and everyone you may encounter.

The concept of committing your actions to the Lord means doing your work in collaboration with the Lord, inviting Him into your day, asking Him to help you design your day and to complete the tasks in the plan with love and grace. If that is how you approach each day, then the goals and plans you have will be those that bring wonder or comfort or blessing or success to those you encounter. Helping other people (and yourself) see God’s love and the wonder of the world He has created through the work you do is definitely a beautiful way to see success.

Lord thank you that you want to collaborate with us each and every day. That you are interested in all aspects of our lives and that you wish us to grow to see the world as you do. Help us to understand what you see as success. Help us to bring each and every day to you so that together we can do amazing things. Thank you that we can be a blessing to every person we encounter if we just let you help us. Amen.

Written by Therese Manning

2 replies
  1. Howard Reed says:

    “The concept of committing your actions to the Lord means doing your work in collaboration with the Lord, inviting Him into your day, asking Him to help you design your day and to complete the tasks in the plan with love and grace.” I couldn’t agree more Therese! I can testify that this is how I sought to do my work in the public service for nearly 30 years. God walked with me and I achieved SO much more than I ever would have on my own!!

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Saturday 25 June 2022 – Transformed week 6

Luke 6:38

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Read in context, this passage is about judgement. Careful what measuring stick you choose to measure others against, for the same will be used for you (a scary prospect!).

But it also applies to giving. Give with open hands and a generous measuring cup, for God gives abundantly to you. This does not mean we give to receive. It just means we can give without fear for our own needs. I cannot think of a time that I have regretted giving. But I vividly remember and regret some moments that I chose not to give. And the root of my decision in those moments was fear. Fear that I wouldn’t have enough money or time to do the things I’d been planning to do. Fear of how my act of generosity might be received. The promise in this passage removes fear. God is pleased with a generous spirit. We are to give from what He has given us. He will take care of the rest.

Lord, please give me a generous spirit. Please give me a spirit that says yes to opportunities to give with joy, thankfulness and faith. Help me give out of the knowledge that you have already given me everything.

Written by Rhiannon Mellor

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Friday 24 June 2022 – Transformed week 6

2 Corinthians 9:8

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Financial worries and concerns have considerable ability to distract my attention and cloud my vision. They lead to short sightedness in the decisions I make. Loving others becomes more risky and I am inclined to be protective of self and family.

Like a strong wind that blows away grey skies to reveal an open heaven, this verse has the potential to blow away such worries and concerns. God is clear that he does not want such concerns to limit my thinking and willingness to do good. He wants me to know there will always be enough to live generously and hospitably. He wants me to live with good works and love at the forefront of my mind, not money. It is his to be concerned with providing for all my needs and the needs of my family.

“Heavenly Father, my abundant provider. Fill my heart with faith and trust in your Word, that I will boldly believe in you to provide for all the good you have put in my heart to do. Let generosity be the evidence of my faith in your endless provision – blow away the clouds of financial concern that gather in my mind. Amen.”

Written by Andrew Mellor

2 replies
  1. Sam S says:

    “Financial worries and concerns have considerable ability to distract my attention and cloud my vision. They lead to short sightedness in the decisions I make. Loving others becomes more risky and I am inclined to be protective of self and family.” – hit the nail on the head. Thanks for the devotional Andrew.

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Thursday 23 June 2022 – Transformed week 6

Hebrews 13:5

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

How’s my heart?

What struck me about this verse is that the writer does not give the antidote for the love of money as “God will provide”. No. Instead he points to the promise of God never to leave or forsake me. My riches are in relationship with Him.

This doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be financial struggles, which at times seem insurmountable.

Rather it is a question of perspective – of having an eternal perspective. My contentment, that ability to keep going in all circumstances, is not based on what I earn or have. It is based on God’s promise to never leave me or forsake me. He will never abandon me, change his mind about me or find me “too hard.” He wants relationship with me.

Loving money can capture my heart. That place that only God should have, that place of honour and worship which can be swamped by my chasing after money. Even my identity, which should be in Him, can be shaped by my love for wealth. It consumes my thoughts, plans and time.

How’s my heart? I need to regularly have a heart “check up.” Will it show I am resting in what I have earnt or in the riches God promises me? What priority does my relationship with him really have in my life?

Dear Lord Jesus, I know sometimes my heart beats for riches, for what I can gain. I am sorry for pushing you aside in that pursuit. Please check my heart and speak to me by your Spirit to give me that eternal perspective again, that you are all I will ever need. And that’s forever. Amen.

Written by Claire Moore

3 replies
  1. Sam S says:

    ‘Because God said: I won’t leave you; not: I will compensate you’ – great observation Claire, good devotion for today.

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Wednesday 22 June 2022 – Transformed week 6

Proverbs 3:9-10

(9) Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; (10) then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.

What are you wealthy in? Our minds instantly go to the bank balance. To be honest the area of giving often takes some work once we become followers of Jesus. There are other areas where we have wealth and where God can be honoured but the principle of this passage is speaking of honouring God with the first of the finances (crops) that we receive. Money can have such a stranglehold over our lives, especially now as costs are rising.

Giving has become second nature to me now but it wasn’t always like that. It has been and is a discipline. Incorporating giving to God first and the work of His church, into my life, I have seen this principle in these verses outworked. I have always had enough with definite times of overflowing. God knows that the generous spirit being formed within us by giving to Him first, will bring us freedom, broaden our lives and transform us as we refocus our lives toward Him, His church, His people, to build something eternal, instead of just for ourselves. Jesus speaks about this in Matt 6:19-20 – about not storing things up for this life but for eternity.

Lord as you transform our hearts toward you, continue to grow a generous giving spirit, considering you first well before ourselves. You know Lord what we need, help us to see through your eyes and the gift of Jesus that you have given us. Amen

Written by Suzie Hodgson

4 replies
  1. Justin Ware says:

    Thanks for your encouragement this morning Suzie!

    The concept of an agrarian society with no formal social welfare system giving away their first crop scares the life out of me.

    “But what if there is flood or hail or blight or plague after I have given to the Lord?”

    “Have faith. Your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim with new wine”

    The faith shown by the Israelites in their finances is inspiring to me.

    Lord, help me to have this kind of faith in the way I give.

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Tuesday 21 June 2022 – Transformed week 6

Malachi 3:10

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.

I have been reminded recently about honouring God. The family were noisy and everyone was hungry, and I said a quick, flippant grace instead of taking time to truly be thankful. The next day I felt convicted about my lack of honour towards God.

The book of Malachi is about Israel not honouring God in their actions, including their giving. They were bringing substandard tithes to the temple. Malachi shows them that their giving shows disregard for God rather than respect towards him, and he urges them to fix their ways. Their lack of honour is breaking their covenant with God.

Like the Israelites we can honour God with our giving. Unfortunately, these days, the notion of ‘give so you will get’ is common. Malachi shows us that generosity and respect towards God should be our focus in our giving, reflecting a heart of worship, rather than a transaction aiming to receive. It seems that the phrase “it’s all about our hearts” can apply in so many different situations, including tithing.

“Lord, help me to be generous in my giving, but more importantly, help me to have my heart right before you. May my giving show generosity, respect and honour towards you always.”

Written by Megan Cornell

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