Sunday 3 December 2023

Luke 9:24-27

24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? 26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

27 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”

What does a “sold out for Jesus” life looks like?  What does it look like to not live for ourselves?

I think it is a life that has boundaries, however, is known by key “fruit”.

  • Being loving and caring.
  • Choosing to be joyful.
  • Finding His peace in the midst of challenge.
  • Being patient and expectant.
  • Having Kind words and actions (let arguments go through to the keeper).
  • Choosing what is good – for you and others.
  • Faithfulness- be dependable.
  • Self-control: having good boundaries.

How does this work itself out?

  • Believe the best of others with wisdom.
  • Be generous with time, money and talents.
  • Be aware of the pitfalls and schemes of the enemy.
  • Worship, pray, read the word, deeply connect with others and be in Community regularly.

Lord, help us become more like you and live like you.  Help us to walk in rhythm to your Holy Spirit.  Help us to deeply engage and connect with others.  Jesus, shine through me.

In Jesus name.  Amen

Written by Ps. Sue Botta

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Saturday 2 December 2023

Luke 9:23-27

23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? 26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

27 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”

This passage is so rich with images.  Crosses, and life, denying ourselves and saving ourselves.  It is clear that the life we have in Christ is a life sold to Him, given to Him and He now owns us.  We are no longer free agents, not that we ever were as we were slaves previously to sin, our lives are hidden in Christ.  Now we live a life conformed to the cross, choosing daily to live as Jesus would have us live – not by our whim or emotion, not by our preference or arrogance – but a life devoted to Jesus and His cause and kingdom!

Father, give me the courage to live as You would have me to live.

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Friday 1 December 2023

Luke 9:18-22

18 Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”

19 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”

20 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.”

21 Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. 22 And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

This is a pivotal moment in Jesus’s training of the disciples.  They have walked closely with Him, heard Him teach the crowds and speak to them privately. Now it is time for their final exam.

He asks, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”. It’s interesting to hear their thoughts on this, but their answers are not what is important to Jesus.

There is really only one question that matters to Jesus – “Who do you say that I am?”

This is a question that each one of us must face. What is your confession regarding the identity of Jesus Christ? The multitudes have differing opinions – and in this instance the speculations are actually quite positive but still fall short of understanding the true identity of Jesus.

It’s interesting to note that Jesus does not seek to proclaim Himself openly. He draws from the disciples their confession, rather than putting it into their mouth.

Jesus does not force His way into our lives. Knowledge of His true nature rests on revelation and faith.

Just last night I was speaking with someone who is genuinely still trying to figure out if Jesus is the true revelation of God. In the past I would have felt anxious to try and convince that person about who Jesus is, but I have come to realise that this is not Jesus’s way. He gently and patiently waits for us receive this revelation and respond with faith.

Lord, thank You for how kindly and patiently You interact with us. I pray for those in my world who have not yet had the revelation of who Jesus is, that their eyes will be opened to see the truth and respond in faith. Declaring you as my Lord and Saviour is the best decision that I have ever made.

Written by Shelley Witt

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Thursday 30 November 2023

Luke 9:10-17

10 When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, 11 but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.

12 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.”

13 He replied, “You give them something to eat.”

They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” 14 (About five thousand men were there.)

But he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 The disciples did so, and everyone sat down. 16 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. 17 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.

I can relate to feeding people- it’s what I love to do! I wish I could have seen the look on the disciples faces when Jesus said, ‘you feed them’. But of course, there is more to this passage than that. The disciples had just been ‘on mission’ seeing God heal people and evangelising. No doubt they were tired and wanted to debrief with Jesus. But this is a timely reminder that God is ‘on’ 24/7. There was no private space, no green room, just crowds of hungry people- both spiritually and physically. Jesus shows us that God understands that meeting physical needs will speak to the spirit as well. God revealed himself to be the God of the miraculous and the abundant. God shows us there is no time that is too ‘inconvenient’ for him. Everyone there would have remembered the great feed. Perhaps only the disciples saw the miracle of provision here, and if they didn’t get the message then 12 baskets of leftovers would drive the message home. So, two questions: am I prepared to invite the Presence and Power of God into all parts of my life- convenient and inconvenient, planned and unplanned? And am I expecting God to turn up miraculously or do my expectations limit my and other’s experience of God? Of course, for the miracle to occur there was a step of trust and obedience required- they had to start handing out food not knowing what would happen. Do I position myself likewise- always prepared to trust God and share His generosity with others?

Lord Jesus, help me to keep an open and soft heart. Help me to minister to those around me with love and grace. Help me to give you space for the miraculous so that others might experience your great love too. In your mighty name I pray. Amen

Written by Christine Knight

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Wednesday 29 November 2023

Luke 9:7-9

7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, 8 others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. 9 But Herod said, “I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?” And he tried to see him.

In this passage we discover that Herod Antipas, the ruler of the region, hears about the ministry of Jesus and the disciples. He didn’t have an explanation for the events, and according to the passage those around him didn’t seem to be able to explain what was happening either. It would seem that Herod was mostly curious about what was occurring in his territory. In Luke 23:8 it says that Herod was pleased when Jesus was brought before him, as he wanted to see Jesus and he wanted Jesus to perform a sign.

What strikes me about this passage is the way that people sit up and take notice when God moves in power. I am made hungry by this passage, that God would use me to move in power in the lives of those around me, whether it be provision, wisdom or a miraculous healing. It’s hard to argue with an event. God may you show me and teach me to live a life that impacts those around me and draws people to you.

Written by Beth Waugh

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Tuesday 28 November 2023

Luke 9:1-6

1 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3 He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. 5 If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.

Jesus gives very specific instructions to his disciples as they step out to undertake his ministry for the first time. The mode of operation is radical: lightweight, high-speed, dependant on hospitality and the Holy Spirit. Also, it is very direct: if you are rejected, just walk away. If you and the message are accepted, don’t hop around looking for the best deal (like an Airbnb), just go with what you get given, until you are done in that place.

This was the beginning of Jesus’ Church evangelistic operations – operations that have continued in the same Spirit and power until now, 2000 years later. Whilst this passage’s particular techniques are very specialised and not commonly recommended, the style and spirit present in this instruction is still the same and we can use it in our daily lives. For example: If people reject you or the message of Jesus, no need to fuss, turn around and leave them be. Similarly, wherever you go, be reliant on the Holy Spirit to open doors and provide for you. Also, whomever accepts and listens, particularly the first to listen, don’t abandon them and trade up when someone more popular or approachable comes along. This is actionable: don’t ‘hotel shop’ when sharing the good news with people, don’t take rejection personally, don’t think you can artificially gear up for sharing the good news, just go!

Jesus, I want to speak your good news to the world. I will listen to your Spirit’s voice for guidance, I will trust in your spirit to open doors, and I will accept whoever listens. For your glory! Amen.

Written by Sam Stewart

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Monday 27 November 2023

Luke 8:40-55

40 Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. 41 Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house 42 because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.

As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. 43 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”

46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”

47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

49 While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher anymore.”

50 Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.”

51 When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52 Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.”

53 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” 55 Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat.

Two very different women are helped by Jesus. The contrast between the two shows us Jesus’ loving care for both, but also his preference for the most vulnerable in society. It also reveals to us (as it did to the disciples and peoples who were with him at the time) that Jesus is God and powerful and able to accomplish miracles of incredible healing and resurrection.

The first woman had been sick with bleeding for 12 years. In the culture of her day and age she would have been outcast due to her sickness. People who were bleeding were unclean and unable to enter the temple, the place around which community revolved. You get the idea that she was alone and desperately poor – out alone seeking help, no family member has come to seek out help for her! She has heard of Jesus and the miracles he has been performing and she determinedly pushes in to touch him.  Jesus heals her, it would seem, without even consciously intending too. It appears to tell us that Jesus heals her from his very being. It is simply his nature to heal those around him who are hurting and vulnerable, and who have sought help from him wholeheartedly (have faith in him). This is so beautiful! It is a keen reminder that Jesus is the embodiment of love and goodness.

Jesus is being hurried to an important household to attend to a Roman soldier’s daughter. But social status is not what concerns him. He stops when he feels the power go from him to heal the lady. He seeks her out and makes an example of her. His seeking out of the lady and making her an example of faith to others reveals the upside-down nature of the Kingdom of God that Jesus has come to pronounce. Jesus’ preference for this hurting lady does not lessen his ability to care for Jarius’ daughter. Luke records this miracle with such tenderness and kindness – Jesus simply calls her back to life and instructs them to feed her

Jesus, we thank you that you are loving and powerful! We thank you that you announced your upside-down kingdom here on earth. Help us your people to live with your priorities and preference the care of the vulnerable around us. Empower us to reveal your love and goodness today. Amen

Written by Ps. Zoe Stewart

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Sunday 26 November 2023

Luke 8:26-39

26 They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. 27 When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” 29 For Jesus had commanded the impure spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.

30 Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. 31 And they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.

32 A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. 33 When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

34 When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, 35 and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 36 Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. 37 Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.

38 The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.

This passage is a demonstration of the ultimate authority Jesus has. Legion was afraid of Jesus due to the presence of God in their midst, that Jesus would command them to come out of the man. The man’s deliverance resulted in such an evident change, and when Jesus sent him away, he followed Jesus’ instructions and “told all over town how much Jesus had done for him”.

This passage reminds us that salvation is something that only Jesus can do – He is the one who delivers each of us from sin and death. Romans 5:10 reminds us; “For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”.

Thank you, Lord, that while we were still sinners, Jesus died for us. Thank you that we are reconciled to you, that we have peace with God through the work of Jesus. Amen.

Written by Ps. Andrea Molteno

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  1. Justin James Ware says:

    Luke is such a master narrator of the narrative of Jesus’ life. In this chapter, we see Jesus calming the wind and waves (showing that he had power over nature) then this passage where he casts out, not one, but a multitude of demons (showing his power over the spiritual realm) and then he raises a dead girl (showing his power over death) and heals a sick woman (showing his power over sickness). Luke also highlights that all these people, who were thought of as “second class” citizens in Jesus’ day, are seen and valued by God.

    One thing that caught my eye today from your blog Andrea, is that Jesus tells the formerly possessed man to go and tell how much God had done for him. This is the first time in the book of Luke that Jesus actually instructs someone to tell others what had happened. (up until this point he told them all to keep it quiet).

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Saturday 25 November 2023

Luke 8:22-25

22 One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. 23 As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.

24 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”

He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25 “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.

In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

The disciples were on the lake with Jesus when they were caught in a life threatening storm.  Jesus rebuked the storm, it stopped and the disciples were filled with a sense of complete awe and wonder regarding Jesus authority over the natural elements. After the storm had eased Jesus asked his disciples, “Where is your faith?”

It’s always interesting when Jesus asks a question!  It is a rather hard hitting question to ask a believer too.  It could be said that the disciples showed their faith when they woke Jesus up to get him to do something about the imminent peril they faced.  I think it is important to acknowledge they knew who to go to in times of trouble – Jesus! So what was Jesus getting at “Where is your faith?”  Thinking about this today I go back to the fact that it was Jesus who said, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake” and they obeyed.  They headed in the direction the Lord wanted them to go but it was not smooth sailing.  If things get difficult it does not mean you are not fulfilling God’s will.  In other words don’t let circumstances put you off your path but rather trust that the Lord will bring you through, somehow, some way.  He is faithful, kind and can be trusted.

Dear Lord thank you that your words can calm storms in my world and bring peace.  Help me to trust you as I follow you.  Amen

Written by Ps. Ainslie Woods

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Friday 24 November 2023

Luke 8:19-21

19 Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. 20 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.”

21 He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

This passage makes it sound like Jesus was too focused on the teaching He was providing to care about His family visiting. I don’t think that is what He was saying. I think He was trying to remind us we are all connected. We are all part of one big family. God’s family. Jesus paid attention to everyone around Him. It is easy to pay attention to the people you like and not notice others; to disconnect from someone because someone more important has arrived. How do we look after each other well? By caring for all those around us – paying attention to all, listening to all, treating everyone like family. Jesus’ love was for all of us and for each of us. Let’s join in sharing that love throughout God’s family.

Dear Lord Thank you so much for the love you showed through Jesus dying on the cross for our salvation. Thank you that this love is for each of us and for all of us. Help us to feel that love and to then share that love each and every day to all those we encounter. Amen.

Written by Therese Manning

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