Food for the Soul
Food for the Soul
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
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
11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring! 13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the part of the dough offered as first-fruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. 22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
In this passage Paul is continuing the theme of the special place God has for his people, Israel. No matter that they had rejected Jesus and therefore the gospel of salvation, Paul’s vision was “that all Israel will be saved” – 11v26. God has not moved onto Plan B, that being his church made up of non Jews, rather he longs for the return of his chosen people.
God never gives up on anyone – anyone. His forgiveness is available to all who confess and trust in Him. The parables told by Jesus about the faithfulness and forgiveness of God have always really spoken to me. The lost sheep and the lost son shout out that God never gives up on me.
This passage reminds me that my God is a God of forgiveness and faithfulness, who loving welcomes me back when I go my own way, not his way.
Dear Lord Jesus, some of your people Israel have been pruned off the tree which is your church. Lord I pray they will be grafted back in, to bring completeness to your church, and joy to your heart. Bless Israel today. Amen
Written by Claire Moore
11 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”? 4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. 7 What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, 8 as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that could not see and ears that could not hear, to this very day.” 9 And David says: “May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them. 10 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever.”
I am struck by the phrase “a remnant chosen by grace.” To me, it speaks clearly of God’s chief criteria for choosing us for Himself – His grace. In other words, it is nothing about me that draws Gods attention to me, but rather His grace that has drawn me into relationship with Him. It is not how morally good I am, how impressive I am, how much I have achieved, how faithful I have been…it is nothing in me that has caused God to choose me. It is His grace shown me, given to me, that is the ongoing necessary and sufficient criteria of our relationship.
I am freshly drawn into the beauty, simplicity, and power of this Good News I believe and hold so dear to. If it is all of grace, then my efforts in this life are in no way able to change His choosing of me – grace has chosen me. Quite simply, my efforts in this life are the outworking of His gracious choosing of me. So my criteria for setting a wise, moral and good life course changes profoundly – I have God’s full attention, by grace, so I am not setting the course ahead to gain or keep His attention. Instead, my criteria is framed by asking God this question – with your gracious eye already upon me, how do you want this grace you have given me to be outworked, in honour of you and in order to bless others?
Jesus, let me hear your voice clearly as I ask you this powerful question. Amen.
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh
14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” 16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. 18 But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did: “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” 19 Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says, “I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.” 20 And Isaiah boldly says, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.” 21 But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”
As I ready today’s passage, I am reminded afresh of the importance of having the message of the Gospel fresh on my lips, with my heart on my sleeve, and my legs ready to move me to wherever I need to be to bring the message of hope that takes people out of the kingdom of darkness.
God is mighty to save, but I need to be the hands and feet of Christ to minister to the lost.
Plus I need to ensure I’m supporting those who are called to do the work of the Gospel. Administratively, with verbal encouragement and with finances.
Lord, thank You that You have made the importance of getting the Gospel message out in to the world. I pray that you will make me bolder and more effective in following your call.
Written by Ps Justin Ware
5 Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: “The person who does these things will live by them.” 6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
I can hear Paul’s passion – and frustration. It’s like he is pleading with the Jewish Leaders in the church in Rome “Guys, you are made right with God only by faith – not by keeping the law. You’re saved by faith, not by works. It’s always been by faith”. He even quotes some Old Testament scriptures to bring his point home. For some reason they weren’t getting it. They wanted to do something to earn their place in God’s heaven.
Fast forward to 2021…are we doing the same thing? Am I truly believing and trusting God that his acceptance of me, his gift of forgiveness and a clean slate, is given purely as a gift when I call out to Jesus- by faith? V13. Have I truly grasped the reality that this is for everyone? The wonder of the message about Jesus is that if anyone calls out to God and says “please help me. I can’t get myself into heaven. I need Jesus to do it for me”, He will do it.
Jesus, thanks for paying for my eternity with you on the cross – where you died in my place. Please help me accept that this is all the payment that is required. I can’t add anything to it – I don’t need to. My faith is no longer on myself to save me – I see now that I can’t. My faith is completely on you.
Written by Boudy Van Noppen
30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33 As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 10 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
In this passage, Paul talks about the righteousness God offers us simply by us believing that Jesus is the Son of God and came and died as a sacrifice in our place. But unfortunately, sometimes, we can overcomplicate things by relying on our own efforts to please God.
It can be tempting to have a relationship with God based on our own efforts because it’s easy to measure: if I do good things, then I know that God will love me / accept me / forgive me.
But when this happens, we’re on a slippery slope or unsteady ground. We never can tell just how much good we have to do in order for God to be pleased with us or to love us more. And living this way, we’ll keep “bumping up” against Jesus who offers a different way to God – by believing and trusting in Him. When we do, we will never be put to shame (v33). What a beautiful promise of God that is.
Father, may we keep surrendering to Your way of righteous by continually placing our trust and faith in Jesus instead of our own actions.
Written by Gab Martin
19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? 22 What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? 25 As he says in Hosea: “I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,” 26 and, “In the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’” 27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved. 28 For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality." 29 It is just as Isaiah said previously: “Unless the Lord Almighty had left us descendants, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah.”
In this passage Paul addresses an age old question – if everything in this life is controlled by God and His choosing, then how can we be blamed for anything we do. If God is in control, does it even matter what I choose to do?
Paul replies that is it arrogant of us to think that we know better than God. We may think it’s impossible for God to be in control of everything and at the same time to say that we are responsible for our choices. But just because we don’t understand how that can work, doesn’t mean it’s not possible.
I like how the Message Bible puts it – “Who do you think you are to question God?”
Our 2-year-old grandson is currently challenging pretty much every directive that the adults in his life give him. He doesn’t want to do what he is told, even though the restrictions that we place on him are because we know certain things that he doesn’t.
How much greater is the disparity between what God knows and what we know? When I challenge God it not only shows my arrogance, but it also shows incredible ignorance to think that I might know better than He does.
God is the potter, and we are the clay. I may not always understand His ways, but there are no safer hands to place myself in.
Written by Shelley Witt
9 I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen. 6 It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 8 In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. 9 For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.” 10 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” 14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”[g] 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
This is not exactly the easiest passage of scripture to understand, the workings of Gods’ sovereignty and man’s free will. Theologians have debated this for centuries. So, what can I take from it?
Many years ago, I remember having a conversation where I told the person I was a Christian but not one of those ‘born again’ ones (Jn 3:1-7). Clearly, I understood there was a difference but not the true meaning. I see the same in this passage … Paul is explaining the dynamic of faith and there is an exchange in our hearts that needs to take place.
It was another several years before I made that exchange and was ‘born again’. Was it my will or Gods sovereignty, I’m not going to know this side of heaven and regardless, I am forever grateful it happened.
I sincerely pray today that you have also made that exchange, and by faith have accepted Jesus as your Lord and saviour.
Written by Suzie Hodgson
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This passage is a familiar and amazing statement of our faith. We have been rescued at a great cost – Christ death for us – so there is no way God will abandon us now. His love continues and nothing that happens will stop him loving us.
This means he is not responsible for bad events or situations we encounter in life but he loves us even though we are struggling. An easy life is not guaranteed for Christians, as if our faith was like magic warding off hard times. The guarantee is that God will still love us, just like when he rescued us by having Jesus die on the cross. That demonstration of his love shows us how much he loves us – v 32. So we rest secure in his love even when troubles come. Peterson in The Message version puts it this way – “None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us” v37. Not fazed? Wow that brings it home! You could say not panicked, not trying to second guess God, not blaming him or getting angry, not knocked off course from following Him by things which happen. Don’t be robbed of the blessing of God’s love in Jesus even when it all seems to be going pear shaped. He didn’t rescue us for that.
“As your love in wave after wave, crashes over me, crashes over me, You are for us, you are not against us…you make me Brave”
Dear Jesus, I love you. I thank you for dying for me. You showed me the heavenly Father’s love, which never stops, like the waves at the beach. You will be with me no matter what happens. I cant thank you enough. Amen
Written by Claire Moore
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
This passage of scripture makes me want to breathe a sigh of relief. God’s Spirit helps us in our weakness when we don’t know how to pray. This applies to me so often!
I find it very comforting to know that I don’t need to have all the right words to pray. Have you ever felt like you are not a very ‘good prayer’? I certainly have! But this reminds me that I can just come to God and He will help me in my weakness. As it says here, even wordless groaning can be interpreted by Him!
Then God promises that He will meet me in my weakness and He will work things out for the best when I trust Him. Very comforting and very simple. Lord, help me to take you at your word and rest in this!
Written by Shelley Witt
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
Hope is something we all need. The Passion translation defines it this way:
But hope means that we must trust and wait for what is still unseen. For why would we need to hope for something we already have? So because our hope is set on what is yet to be seen, we patiently keep on waiting for its fulfillment.
God has promised to love us beyond imagining, to be with us always but this can be something we struggle to remember, to hope for, when we are in the midst of difficult times. Waiting is difficult – waiting for hard times to end, waiting for something longed for to come to pass. However, knowing who God is and what He has promised to each of us can lay that foundation of hope in our lives that is strong and able to withstand the winds that blow in our lives.
Believing that God is trustworthy and that He promises to be there with us always is what builds that base. As the passage notes, these ideas are not something we have proof of – they are things unseen and we need to find for ourselves what is it that God says or does in the Bible (or in the lives of those around us) that helps us to make that leap of faith – to build that foundation of hope.
LORD teach us how to hope, how to trust. Lead us to Your words that will help each of us grab a hold of the hope we can have in You. For each of us the words we need to focus on may be different, but You know us well and You know what will help each of us to build that firm foundation of hope in You in the midst of whatever is going on. We invite You to lead us to those words Lord. Thank You. Amen
Written by Therese Manning
9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life[a] because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of[b] his Spirit who lives in you. 12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[c] And by him we cry, “Abba,[d] Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
When we give our lives to Jesus the transfer of what Kingdom we belong to, occurs. We are transferred from being away from God to being embraced by God. We now belong.
We receive His Spirit, The Holy Spirit in this “transaction”, however it requires us to leave behind habits and be willing to be transformed.
What I find extraordinary is that the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you and I, if we call Jesus our Lord and Saviour. HIS POWER lives in you and in me. Is anything impossible? Is any miracle impossible? Is any situation not able to be changed? All is possible with Jesus.
However, living in Christ requires us to “put to death our sinful nature”. We need to make decisions which is followed by our actions. Our life becomes transformed and therefore people should be able to see the difference in our actions, our behaviour, etc..
I always remember a saying “WE ARE NOT Human Beings having a Spiritual Experience – WE ARE a SPIRITUAL BEING having a Human Experience.”
Lord, help us to be transformed by your Holy Spirit and truly live in a way that shows others our “supernatural” life from You. Amen
Written by Ps. Sue Botta
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Matthew 28:18-20 (TPT)
18 Then Jesus came close to them and said, “All the authority of the universe has been given to me. 19 Now go in my authority and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 20 And teach them to faithfully follow all that I have commanded you. And never forget that I am with you every day, even to the completion of this age.”
Jesus was crucified, buried and risen; he asks the disciples to meet him in Galilee. In Matthew 28, v19 (TPT) Jesus commands his disciples- “Now go in my authority and make disciples of all nations”. He continues – “baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. And teach them to faithfully follow all that I have commanded you” (including this command to “go!”).
This may seem like a hard ask for the first disciples – they were oppressed by the Romans and religious leaders; and perhaps for current day believers also — until we look at the words around this great commission to “go”. First, all authority is with Jesus and He says (TPT) “now go in MY authority”. Then Jesus says, “never forget that I am with you every day”, other translations say, “I am with you always”.
The first step in making disciples is introducing the person to a relationship with Jesus. In my experience when stepping out with a “go” opportunity, not everyone I talk to about Jesus jumps at the idea of getting to know Him personally, and I am OK with that. Jesus will be there with me, and Jesus will be there with the next Christian that talks to that same person on their journey.
In January we were on holiday at the beach. The lady beside us lost her car key. Her spare key was 150km away. We looked and looked in the sand but could not find it. After an hour she gave up and left, distraught, I said to her that I would pray that she gets the key and she said thanks. My next prayer was obvious – I prayed in tongues and then prayed: “Jesus, you know where the key is, please show me”. He did, I found the key, then found the distraught lady in the beach car park, reminded her that I said I would pray, gave her the key and said –“I am not sure if you believe in Jesus, but after what just happened you may want to consider doing an Alpha course to look into it a bit further”. I don’t know what the lady did next, or what Jesus did next on this lady’s journey.
Thank you Jesus for your assurance, if I see a “go” opportunity at the beach or anywhere or any time, may I remember Your words:- “I am with you always”.
Written by Andrew Wilson
Matthew 5:13-16 (TPT)
13 “Your lives are like salt among the people. But if you, like salt, become bland, how can your ‘saltiness’ be restored? Flavorless salt is good for nothing[a] and will be thrown out and trampled on by others. 14 “Your lives light up the world. Let others see your light from a distance, for how can you hide a city that stands on a hilltop? 15 And who would light a lamp and then hide it in an obscure place? Instead, it’s placed where everyone in the house can benefit from its light. 16 So don’t hide your light![d] Let it shine brightly before others, so that the commendable things you do will shine as light upon them, and then they will give their praise to your Father in heaven.”
One of my favourite meals is hot fish and chips with chicken salt. However, when the chips aren’t seasoned right, it’s quite a letdown. The distinct flavour is missing, and the chips which are still hot and crunchy just seem to be missing something essential.
In my observation of this passage, Jesus comments that our ‘lives are like salt among the people’. As followers of Christ in this society, we bring something noticeably different to the standard way of living. My mind jumps to the fruits of the Spirit, that through the work of the Holy Spirit we live as people characterised by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These characteristics set us apart, giving us our ‘salty-ness’, and by living these out it makes the work of God attractive to those around us. How cool is that!
But Jesus also issues us a warning, that ‘flavourless salt is good for nothing’. It’s a blunt explanation that if our lives are shaped by disobedience to God and ignorance to the work of the Holy Spirit, this will result in our being ‘thrown out and trampled by others’. In response to this, I’ve begun to ask God to soften my heart so that I would be easily shaped by the Holy Spirit, and to also make me aware of the opportunities to be ‘salty’. I’m reminded of I Corinthians 11:1 which says, ‘Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ’. Let’s strive to live as Christ did, and live a life shaped by the Holy Spirit. By living in this way, we can be sure that those that surround us will see our Godly ‘salty-ness’ and even be led to follow in Christ’s footsteps too.
Written by Andrew Molteno
Proverbs 11:30 (TPT)
30 But a life lived loving God bears lasting fruit, for the one who is truly wise wins souls
In 1855, preacher Joseph M. Scriven wrote a poem to comfort his mother called ‘What a friend we have in Jesus’. It was later composed into a well-known hymn sung by Aretha Franklin and many others.
The poem illustrates the depth of relationship and daily interactions we can expect to have with Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, as believers. Through trails, tribulations, moment of weakness, grief, joy, celebrations, accomplishments, victories, friendships, charity and love – God is there to guide us, comfort us, sustain us and equip us. The poem paints a picture of a life shaped by companionship and compassion.
When it comes to evangelism, we can often make the mistake of focusing on our role as ‘tellers’ or ‘proclaimers’ and forget to focus on how much God longs to be with people, all people, not just Christians. We can forget how He sees, knows, and cares for them and wants to be walking with them. We can forget how much He deeply desires to be their friend and can quite easily solve their problems, not to mention wipe away their sin.
Proverbs 11:30 gives us two keys. The first part of the verse inspires us to be loving God and to be walking with Him. Like Moses, to be His friend and to know Him (Ex. 33:11). Once we’re doing this, we intrinsically understand that it is selfish to keep this perfect love to ourselves. In 2 Cor. 5:14 we read “the love of Christ compels us”. This is the foundation of our motivation. We appreciate the immense value we have in our own relationship with God and we understand how important this is for others – not just in eternity, but now.
Where we need wisdom, is to understand individually how to help each person to begin to reach out to God for themselves. We know that “whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13). The good news is, we’re confident that God is already at work in this person revealing Himself to them. As Christians, our lives are on display as friends of God. It’s our opportunity to continue to develop our friendship with God so that our lives remain fruitful and fulfilled. Once we truly know God, we know that He loves all people. We know that He has incredible compassion for the lost and a desperate longing to help the poor. The gift of salvation is friendship with God, as well as forgiveness, atonement, redemption, reconciliation, sanctification and so on. On understanding this we continue to look for ways we can help people to reach out to Him and to know His love. Why not ask God to give you eyes to see what He sees. For Him to open the understanding of your heart and for you to get a sense of what other people’s lives are like without Him and the difference it will make when they do know Him.
Written by Tara Cheesman
1 Corinthians 9:16 (TPT)
16 For you see, even though I proclaim the good news, I can’t take the credit for my labours, for I am compelled to fulfil my duty by completing this work. It would be agony to me if I did not constantly preach the gospel!
In the context of the passage, it is clear that Paul has an inner conviction to preach the gospel. You can hear the burden and the urgency of his expression ‘it would be agony to me if I did not constantly preach the gospel!’.
How many of us live with this urgency and weightiness of the gospel’s importance? How often is sharing the gospel snuffed out by our busyness, our insecurity about what others might think about us and our own ambivalence to the gospel in the individualistic society that we live in?
Paul’s conviction to preach the gospel came from a life transforming encounter with Jesus. During this encounter, Paul received a revelation of Jesus’ Lordship – think bright lights and a voice from heaven, literally. (Acts 9:1-9).
Paul obviously had a powerful testimony of being saved by Jesus. He writes on many occasions of his testimony, ‘even though I was once a blasphemer, a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy’ (1 Timothy 1:13).
Now I realise that not all of us might have a radical conversion story like Paul, but each of us have a unique and distinct testimony of how God has saved us from our sin and made us into a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Take some time to reflect on your walk with Jesus.
What do you find compelling about Jesus and His Kingdom?
What do you love about Jesus?
How has Jesus changed the way you live?
As we take the time to consider the way that Jesus has changed the way we live and the way we see the world, the gospel will naturally flow out of us. Lord Jesus, draw to our minds your saving grace and goodness in our lives. Strengthen our inner conviction about your Lordship and your kingdom and reveal yourself to others through our words and actions. Amen.
Written by Sam Liu
Romans 10:14-15 (TPT)
14 But how can people call on him for help if they’ve not yet believed? And how can they believe in one they’ve not yet heard of? And how can they hear the message of life if there is no one there to proclaim it? 15 And how can the message be proclaimed if messengers have yet to be sent? That’s why the Scriptures say: How welcome is the arrival of those proclaiming the joyful news of peace and of good things to come!
I don’t know about you, but whenever I think about sharing my faith with my friends and family, I get really intimidated. The questions start spinning around in my head like:
What if they don’t like what I have to say?
What if I make things weird?
What if they think I’m being annoying, obnoxious, or even worse, judgemental?!
These questions, I’ve come to realise have actually caused me to undervalue the work that Christ has done in my life. These questions have meant I have missed opportunities to share what Jesus has done in my life with my friends and family out of fear of judgement and rejection.
When writing to the Roman church, Paul had a few questions of his own about sharing the Good News. But instead of questions that paralyse us with fear, these questions remind us why we shouldn’t shy away from sharing the Good News of Jesus. Paul’s questioning here shows us that other people need to hear about Jesus to be able to believe in Him and then consequently cry out to Him as Lord. “Faith comes from hearing the message” (Romans 10:17).
The truth is that Jesus has decided that you and I were worthy of the job of pointing others to Him, He has sent us (The Great Commission – Matthew 28:18-20) and given us our testimony as a way for us to share. How crazy and wonderful is that?! He would choose us, imperfect people, to reveal His perfect love to the people in our world.
Even though the thought of sharing my faith may seem daunting at times, it is one of my biggest hopes that my family and friends would know Jesus, that they would experience God’s love and forgiveness and have eternal life. My prayer is that God would continue to embolden me because nothing breaks my heart more than the thought of my family and friends missing out on eternal life.
When communicated with the love and grace that Christ has shown you, there is incredible power in your story. God has done magnificent things in your life, and He wants your story on display for others to see, so that others can also be transformed by His love and grace. This work of evangelism is not solo work, we can trust that the Holy Spirit will give us the right words to say.
I encourage you today to spend some time reflecting on what Jesus has done in your life, think about ways how you would share it and pray for an opportunity to do so.
God, thank you for your grace, for saving me and for adopting me into your family.
I’m sorry for letting my fear scare me out of opportunities to share your gospel.
Father, Please give me the boldness to share my story with love and kindness to those in my life who don’t know you yet. Give me eyes to see the opportunities You are giving me to share my testimony. May my friends and family follow You.
Written by Caitlin van Noppen
Phone: +61 2 9875 0300
PO Box 2744,
Carlingford NSW 2118
7:00pm – Fridays in school term, for years 6-12
Carlingford High School Hall,
547 North Rocks Rd, Carlingford
NSW, Australia 2118
9.30AM Service: ONSITE & ONLINE
5.30PM Service ONSITE at:
Carlingford High School Hall,
547 North Rocks Rd, Carlingford
NSW, Australia 2118