Wednesday 21 April, 2021

Romans 15:7-13

7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. 8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed 9 and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written: “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing the praises of your name.” 10 Again, it says, “Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.” 11 And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; let all the peoples extol him.” 12 And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.” 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you (v7)

To feel welcomed by someone is an incredible gift. I’m not talking about a polite greeting but when someone expresses their desire to include you in their space. They want to bring you closer and have you join them.

Maybe you can remember a time when you were warmly welcomed to a friend’s house and they prepared a meal for you. Or perhaps you stopped by their house and they were happy to see you and gave you a hug and invited you inside. To feel welcomed is to be embraced for who you are. Feeling welcomed brings the healing power of love to a person. It has the power to encourage a crushed spirit and bring hope to a broken heart. A welcome brings life.

This is what Jesus does for you when he says “Come”. He invites you to come close. He wants to share his heart and hope with you. Then we can share it with others and bring them close too.

Lord Jesus, I am so grateful for your invitation to come. Your welcome fills my heart with hope and love. 

Written by Gab Martin

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Tuesday 20 April, 2021

Romans 15:1-6

15 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. 5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I think most of us would agree that what the apostle Paul is suggesting here is excellent practice.  As The Message version puts Verse 2, “Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”

Yes, excellent advice indeed, and wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all did this? However, as much as we may want to follow this principle, we all struggle at times because of our inherent bent towards self-centeredness.

Fortunately, we see a shift in Verse 5, as Paul turns to prayer for God’s help. “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had…” 

This shift in focus reminds us that it is only with God’s help that we can come even close to fulfilling this calling to put others before ourselves.

I am so grateful for a God that never waivers in His selfless love for us. And I am grateful that He calls us to a higher version of ourselves to live a life of service to others, just as He does. 

But more than that, I am grateful for the help that He provides for us to live in this high calling, and grace and mercy he provides when we don’t always reach the mark. 

Let us be reminded today to ask God for His help, and not fool ourselves into thinking that we can do anything of real value without Him.

Written by Shelley Witt

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  1. Justin Ware says:

    The Bible is so packed with amazing wisdom, crafted into beautiful, inspiring words.

    Even though I have read the bible from cover to cover every year for as long as I can remember, I feel like this passage has come alive for me today! I was only just reflecting on the phrase “blessed to be a blessing” this morning after reading Psalm 115 vs 12-13 earlier this morning as part of my daily Bible reading:

    “The Lord remembers us and will bless us
    He will bless his people
    He will bless those who fear the Lord
    both great and lowly”

    Lord, help me to use the amazing blessing that you pour out for me to bless those around me, especially my neighbours. May I truly live out the call “blessed to be a blessing!”

    Reply

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Monday 19 April, 2021

Romans 14:13-23

13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. 19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall. 22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

“Mum” said the baby fish to his mother. “I’ve heard of this stuff called water. Where can I find some?”

“You are in water my dear. Water is everywhere.” Said the mother fish

“Oh” said the baby fish. “Well, one day, I want to get out of the water and go to the ocean!” Said the baby fish.

“Well my dear, that will be hard. You see, you are already in the ocean”

“!?” Said the baby fish

The culture and worldview that I exist in are a bit like the water and the ocean, and I am a bit like that baby fish. It’s really hard to see what culture and worldview that I am immersed in, unless someone points it out, or unless I increase my attentiveness to why I do what I do, and be inquisitive about how those around me act.

In today’s passage, Paul writes to the Romans about some rules about food that seem distant to us, but really, Paul is addressing an issue of culture and worldview that couldn’t be more current.

As I read this, I realise how individualistic and selfish our culture and worldview can be. I am often swept up in this and I can act in a way that isn’t loving towards others in the way I speak, behave, or even in things that I neglect to do. Only when I am shown the issue of my actions, or if I spend time in prayer, thought and reflection, do I realise that I need to make a change to the way I treat other people.

If verse 19 says “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” I need to put the effort in to becoming more loving.

Lord, create in me a clean heart, a new heart that desires You and Your ways more than my own selfish desires. Help me not to conform to the pattern of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of my mind in Christ Jesus!

Written by Ps Justin Ware

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Sunday 18 April, 2021

Romans 14:1-12

14 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. 5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” 12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

Judging. I dare say we are all guilty of doing this .. and here specifically in areas of faith v1. But I am thinking of where these areas of judgement come from; pride, legalism, neither of which comes from love. Paul tells us that individual conscience is where these matters lay as there is only one judge – God – and we’ll all stand before him one day.

Understanding that my actions and words will be before the Father, who has seen and heard them all, no hiding, leaves me very vulnerable. And so, Paul is calling us to rise above, to understand each other as no one is right or wrong in these matters of faith but all are accountable before God. So out of love, let’s build each other, encourage each other so that we all grow in Christ.

Lord I ask your forgiveness where I have judged another believer’s faith, only you can know this. Holy Spirit help me to be one who builds rather than one who criticises. Continue to build your heart into my life. Amen

Written by Suzie Hodgson


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Saturday 17 April, 2021

Romans 13:8-14

8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law. 11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

Paul is again exhorting the Church in Rome, teaching that love is the fulfillment of the law. He is instructing on what to do, and then why it should be done, since salvation is nearing.


But the components of this passage that I am drawn to are “putting on the armour of light”, and “clothing oneself with the Lord Jesus Christ”. Armour is for protection. Clothes can too, but can also be a reflection of our taste, our role, our status, and Paul is encouraging us to infuse this with Christ.


These instructions require action and intention. They require decisions, they require choices, they require submission, they require discipline, they require sacrifice of the desires of our sinful nature. And by taking these actions, Christ protects us and empowers us in His light to resist, to overcome, and to reflect Him.


Lord, help me to always be actively submitting to your ways and to be clothed in You. In a world that taunts and tempts, may I shine your light, with love for all and to draw others to yourself. Amen.

Written by Steve Fell

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Friday 16 April, 2021

Romans 13:1-7

13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour.

I think at times Australians struggle with authority.  Maybe foundations from the convict heritage makes us suspicious and questioning.  At times we find ourselves questioning authority or possibly rebelling against authority.  Even children, so quickly learn the word “NO”.  Why is this?

I believe that it is good to “test” things.  I believe that God wants us to ask for wisdom and insight into peoples’ motives and it is ok to question.  However, if those in authority are there caring and governing us with the right motives it is good for us to honour them.  God has designed people to lead and others to follow. 

God’s way is “servant leadership”.  Politicians are known as “public servants”.   They are there to serve the people.  Pastors and leaders are there also to serve the people.  We are all to be servants.  Ultimately, we will one day stand before Jesus and give an account of our lives and the motives behind what we have done.  Our model is Jesus.  He encourages us to obey, to do what is right and good leadership will honour us.  Jesus was the “servant King”.  He showed us what it was to be in leadership, and He modelled servanthood and sacrifice.  Do you want to be a leader?  It all begins with servanthood.  Doing what a leader asks you to (as per the Bible) with a cheerful heart.  Be sacrificial and honour will come.

Lord, help us to serve you with the right heart.  We want to be like you.  We thank you for modelling to us servanthood and sacrifice.  Help us to model that to others.  Amen

Written by Ps. Sue Botta

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  1. Justin Ware says:

    If Paul could encourage the first century followers of Jesus to follow the decrees and be under the authority of the corrupt Roman authorities, I recon the same rules should apply to my situation.

    If you are reading this, I wonder what situations would potentially fall outside these instructions? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Thursday 15 April, 2021

Romans 12:9-21

9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

What an amazing series of bullet point accurate life advice.

Starting with the inner life to love one another; to devotion to our brothers and sisters in Christ; to the manner of our service to God – enthusiastic; to not giving up in difficult times; to welcoming guests and speaking blessing the list goes on as Paul gives us bullet point after bullet point of life giving practices.  This is a veritable list of how to live life in Christ to achieve the summation in verse 21 – “Never let evil defeat you, but defeat evil with good.”  Each and every one of these practices releases us to fulfil this last bullet point – defeat evil with good.

All too often we forget we’re in a battle between good and evil, light and dark.  This battle is won in a variety of ways – in prayer, speaking truth over error, loving not accusing or condemning, and living out this list of best practices – because to live them out is to choose to walk in the opposite spirit!

If I am committed to ensure evil doesn’t win over me then I need to live out these ‘opposite spirit’ practices to combat the influences of the world in my world.

Father empower me to live as you choose me to with Romans 12:9-21 to guide my steps.

Written by Ps. Richard Botta


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Wednesday 14 April, 2021

Romans 12:3-8

3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

As bodies are my business, I feel I should have some profound thoughts on us working cohesively as a Body of Faith. But what I am thinking of is the grace that is needed by other parts of the body when one part breaks down. If I break my ankle then other parts of me must work harder (arms and shoulders for crutches, the other leg and my vestibular system for balance) until things are better. Those parts extend ‘grace’ to my ankle for as long as is needed.

Where can I extend grace towards my brothers and sisters in Christ? How can I help another to be the very best person that God created them to be? Where is God calling me to extend grace today? It is too easy to be judgmental or offended when we perceive someone not ‘pulling their weight’. When our human bodies break down there are systems in place to help us recover. If our spiritual bodies have a problem then I want to be part of the solution for that too. Paul says it is ‘by grace’, he doesn’t say it’s easy!!

Thank you God that you saw fit to save a sinner like me. Help me to use the abilities and gifts you have given me to be a blessing to others and the church. Help me Lord to have a heart of Grace, not a spirit of judgement. In Jesus Name. Amen

Written by Christine Knight

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  1. Matt says:

    Observation – each role has a purpose and the body lacks when a role is not filled. It needs all parts aligned working together to be most effective. Each role belongs to each other and struggles without the other core parts. E.g. the hand may get all the fame etc for its uses and effectiveness but without the elbow behind it and the shoulder behind the elbow it is nothing. Help me to realise the cohesive nature of the body and it’s inter reliance.
    Application – where is the body lacking and what skills does the body need? Am I the person to fill that gap or is it someone else?
    Prayer – help me to know where I’m called in the body of Christ and God build up the body to become more effective in its purpose.

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Tuesday 13 April, 2021

Romans 12:1-2

12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

There is so much in these two verses. One thing that struck me was how significant my mind is in this process of transformation from a life trying to please the world (generally unsuccessfully) to a life that does please God. It begins with the Spirit renewing my mind. Not only does this allow me to recognise God’s “good, pleasing and perfect will” but also to embrace it.

The difference between a normal, dead sacrifice and a living sacrifice is that the dead one has no choice. A living one can get up and wander off whenever it chooses. Making myself a living sacrifice involves a continual choice to give myself to God. My mind and my will are essential. The word that the NIV translates as “true and proper” is “logikos” (which comes into English as “logic”). It means both “genuine” and “true” but also “rational”. My mind is an active participant in this worship which is “holy and pleasing to God”.

In the following verses, Paul will spell out what this renewed mind and transformed life look like, and it begins with how we think about ourselves. The result of sound judgement is that I use faith (in God and what he is doing) to measure myself. My mind and my faith go hand in glove.

Jesus says the greatest commandment is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Matthew 12:30) When I give myself to God, I choose with my mind as well as my heart and soul to give my whole self because I love him. The Spirit and I work in partnership to renew my thinking and transform my life to be a pleasing response to what Jesus did to rescue me.

Written by David Cornell

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  1. Florence says:

    Dear Lord Jesus,
    Help me by your holy spirit, what you want i be, and use me for your glory, amen

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Monday 12 April, 2021

Romans 11:25-36

25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. 27 And this is[b] my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” 28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. 30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. 32 For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. 33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counsellor?” 35 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?” 36 For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

“I want you to understand this mystery….” Ok, I’m intrigued. What is this mystery that Paul wants me to understand? Whatever it is, at least Paul says I can understand it.

So, Paul says, once we were the rebels, now we are not. Once Israel were not the rebels, now they are, and this benefits us but God still loves them. Ok, unless you know the bible and the history of Israel and God’s plan of salvation for all mankind, this talk of rebels can be confusing.

But Paul then says something that makes perfect sense, he says how it is impossible for us to understand God’s decisions. Sometimes, honestly, God is hard to understand. That’s why we must live by faith, and trust him always.

Who knows the thoughts of the Lord? Who knows enough to give God advice? (no one). For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. That’s all I need to understand. Yes, it’s a mystery still. But in my doubt, confusion and questions, ALL is intended for his glory, not mine. Remember the opening words of the Purpose Driven Life, it’s not about me. It is about God.

Lord, teach me to live by faith, to trust your ways and plans for my life.

Written by Andrew Martin

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