Thursday 2 August, 2012

Luke 11:14–26

14 Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. 15 But some of them said, “By Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.” 16 Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven. 17 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. 18 If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebul. 19 Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 20 But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. 22 But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder. 23 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 24 “When an evil spirit comes out of anyone, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.”

This passage is about Jesus’ authority. Is he casting out demons by Satan’s authority or God’s?

Jesus soundly refutes the argument that he is casting out demons by Satan’s power, but then presents them with an alternative. If he is doing it by the “finger of God”, then the kingdom of God has come upon them. He is issuing a challenge, demanding a response. No response, or sitting on the fence, means that they are against him – “whoever is not with me is against me”. This theme continues in vv 24 – 26. A demon cast out, but not replaced, is able to return to the void left behind. However, if this space is filled with the Holy Spirit instead the demon is unable to return. Again, a response is required.

I had two thoughts about this passage. One is a reminder that Jesus is always in authority, and is more powerful than Satan. He has “overpowered the strong man”. Secondly, he requires a response from us. Do I read scripture and not let it affect or change me in any way, or am I always looking to grow because of what I read?

“Thank you Lord, that you have won the victory. Thank you for the scriptures you gave us. Help me to grow day by day as I read them.”

Written by Megan Cornell

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Wednesday 1 August, 2012

Luke 11:5-13

5 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7 And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity[a] he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. 9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; those who seek find; and to those who knock, the door will be opened. 11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[b] a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

In these verses from Luke 11, Jesus is speaking about the power of prayer & how we should never stop praying.  We need to keep asking, knocking and seeking – not giving up until we hear from God.

My 4th Great-Grandfather came to Australia on the first fleet (he stole a book because he wanted to become a lawyer) and although branded a convict, God used these circumstances to change a heritage and generations to come.  Once in Australia, he was found to be of good character & a man of integrity – and was given a position in the police force.  He married a wonderful woman, and I've read that together they prayed for their family & for the generations to come, “that they would know God and walk in a relationship with Him.” I fe

el blessed to have this heritage of prayer over me…

26-years ago I prayed a similar prayer over my newborn nephew – that he would grow to know God and call Jesus his Lord and Saviour.  In January this year, he & his wife prayed a prayer of salvation together and in February they were water-baptised.  My prayer has been fulfilled – I just needed to be persistent and not give up!  My great-nephew, born in April, has come into a family of salvation and now a new prayer begins…

Whatever you are praying for don't give up!  We have a wonderful Father in Heaven who desires to give us good gifts, as this scripture refers to.  No prayer or thought is too big for Him…

Written by Ps. Mandy Miller

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Tuesday 31 July, 2012

Luke 11:1-4

11 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 2 He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread. 4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’”

One of Jesus disciples noted the way in which Jesus prayed.  He may not have heard what was said but he knew Jesus had a special and deep relationship with his heavenly Father.  The disciple also wanted to pray like this, hungry for a relationship with God.  Jesus was willing to give him some direction.

The Lord’s prayer is a very well known piece of Scripture outlining and prioritising what we should include in our prayers.

It is interesting to note the order of items in the Lord’s prayer.  Revering God’s holy name is first and then God’s will on earth.  Our needs come in about half way!  Reading this today has given me fresh perspective on honouring his name and praying his will on earth. At the same time it reminds me to bring God my own needs and to ask for forgiveness regularly.

Written by Ainslie Woods

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Monday 30 July, 2012

Luke 10:38-42

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Martha and Mary offered hospitality to their friend Jesus.  Martha is busy preparing the food while Mary sat listening to Jesus as he talked. Martha is grumpy that she’s left with all the work. Upset, Martha asks Jesus if He doesn’t care that she is doing all the work, she presumes to tell Jesus what to do.  Jesus answers by saying she is distracted and worried by many things, but there is need of only one thing which Mary has chosen, Mary was letting Jesus tell her what to do.

Martha saying my sister has left me to do all the work, could suggest that Mary had previously joined Martha in caring for Jesus. Both sat before Jesus, though it appears that Martha felt that feeding Jesus was more important than waiting upon His word. I’m certain Martha loved Jesus and felt her service to Him came from what she felt was important.  Mary was also breaking the rules of the time where study, listening at Jesus feet, was reserved for only males. Martha was not just asking for help, she was demanding that Mary keep to the traditional way of behaving. Martha thought serving was the right way to serve Jesus.  Jesus wasn’t saying that Martha’s servant heart was unimportant. He was saying that being a disciple, learning His ways, is even more important.

Are there opposing forces pulling at our lives?   How do we put the important things first?  Are our acts of caring, responses of loving God and our neighbours? As I sit at the feet of Jesus, I pray I hear what the right priorities are for my life and those around me.

Written by Cathy Croft

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Sunday 29 July, 2012

Luke 10:25-37

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

I think the moral of this interaction with Jesus should be “never try and test Jesus, He’ll give you a royal smack-down of challenging truth.”

Such a great parable of Jesus, with everyday application and implication.

A man who gets attacked and robbed finds himself in sudden, unforseen, and desperate need. And the Samaritan man – unlike the other two smugly sanitised and aloof religious figures – gets alongside him straight away to help him. On his way doing what was probably a normal travel route, he discovers someone in sudden, unforseen, and desperate need, and he moves straight into action to help.

This is love for ones neighbour. Costly, inconvenient, but wonderfully dignifying.

It is a tragic state of affairs when human beings intentionally avoid the desperate need that is right in front of them. But truth be told, I find myself, without the right kind of heart focus, quickly spiralling into an intentionally a

voidant lifestyle.

Here, Jesus calls me to a life of love that dignifies. Love that costs, for certain. But love that dignifies, and heals. This is the right kind of heart focus for my day to day life.

As I go about my normal daily business, as the Samaritan man was, Jesus teaches me to keep my eyes out for opportunity to love my desperate neighbour in such a way that restores their dignity, and brings them healing.

I may not find a bloodied robbery victim. But I may find a desperate divorced mum. I may find a stretched and stressed work colleague. I may find a hurting and confused teenager. Maybe my “bandages, oil and wine” are instead a coffee, a listening ear, an offer of heartfelt and ongoing prayer and presence.

This is still love that dignifies the desperate. That heals the hapless. God, help me live each day with this as my heart focus.

Written by Ps. Rob Waugh

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Saturday 28 July, 2012

Luke 10:21-24

21 At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. 22 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” 23 Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

God wants to turn things upside down because He values all of us not just the powerful.  He speaks to those who are willing to listen.  How cool that the disciples got to see and hear Jesus.  They got to ask questions, they got to hear the answers.  How do you think they felt?  Do you think they realised and appreciated the special position they were in?  I am sure if I had been there I would have potentially missed how amazing the situation was.

Jesus speaks to each of us today too – if we are willing to listen and want His help.  Do we understand how amazing that is?  That the creator of the universe wants to help us live life well.  I know there are lots of times I forget.  I want to get better each day at appreciating the opportunity of interacting with Jesus.

Thank you Lord that you are available to all of us and help me to really engage in that relationship more each day.

Written by Therese Manning

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Friday 27 July, 2012

Luke 10:1-20

10 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. 5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 If the head of the house loves peace, your peace will rest on that house; if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for workers deserve their wages. Do not move around from house to house. 8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town. 13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. 16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.” 17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” 18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Jesus sends out not just the 12 but a larger group of his disciples, to all the towns and villages he intends to go.  Again they were to proclaim ‘the kingdom of God has come near’ which includes curing the sick.  He prepares them for the fact that not all will listen to them even though the people actually see ‘deeds of power’ performed.

Jesus is very straight forward in telling us that eternity will not be a pleasant place for those who see the miraculous & yet still do not repent & believe in Him.

Jesus’ heart for us is completely revealed here …  It’s all about our relationship with Him for eternity …  As amazing as it is to see people healed and set free, the main the thing is that our names are “written in heaven”.

Jesus is always more concerned about our relationship with Him.  Heavenly Father help me never to loose sight of that.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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Thursday 26 July, 2012

Luke 9:57-62

When people tell Jesus of their intention to follow Him, He asks the level of their devotion.

The statement of undying devotion is called into question by Jesus and He cuts to the core of their devotion.

I’ll follow you wherever you go…

I have no where even to lay my head is Jesus’ reply.

I’ll follow but let me attend to the family affairs now that my father has died, meaning a delay of months most likely, is a protest of devotion without ability or real intention to fulfill it.

Let me say goodbye could result in being convinced not to go anyway.

Jesus calls for a radical, complete, uncompromising commitment.

So where is it that I give a compromised commitment?  Where do I need to have ‘no holds barred’?

Father help me to follow Your Son without reservation and with total devotion.

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Wednesday 25 July, 2012

Luke 9:51-56

51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village.

Although Chapter 9 is only about a third of the way through Luke’s account of Jesus’ life, we see a subtle but dramatic turn in the story here. We see Jesus turn his face resolutely towards Jerusalem. It is impossible to even conceive how hard it was for Jesus to know that he was heading to Jerusalem to give his live and take the punishment for all sins.

In this section of scripture, we see that Jesus’ resolution to do what he was called to do has an impact on those around him: When the people of the Samaritan town see that he is headed resolutely to Jerusalem, this causes some negativity towards him. Jesus’ response to this and to his disciples’ negativity was also motivated by his single minded, goal driven attitude: He comes back to his purpose for being here and uses this to avoid being pulled into a needless conflict over unimportant issues.

I need to make sure that I clearly know God’s calling and purpose for my life, but more than this, I need to make sure that the purpose that he has called me for effects all aspects of my life and that I don’t get side tracked. I need to continue to press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus has taken hold of me.

Written by Justin Ware

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Tuesday 24 July, 2012

Luke 9:49-50

49 “Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.” 50 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”

Someone was casting out demons using Jesus’ name. The disciples were concerned, so it seemed, for Jesus’ reputation and that of the disciples.

Jesus response was straightforward if someone is not against you they are for you.

Jesus is clearly not concerned about His reputation like the disciples, nor a sense of exclusivity.

I need to stay comfortable with people ‘having a go’. They may not do it ‘right’ but I need to stay relaxed if people are furthering the work of the Kingdom.

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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