Monday, November 23, 2009

Daily Journal for Tuesday 24th November 2009


TRUE FAMILY
S - Because you are Sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out "Abba" Father. So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir"
Gal 4:6-7
O - The context for this is Paul's reaffirmation that the law cannot produce righteousness and although it was given because of sin at the same time there was a promise of a "seed" given to Abraham, which was a reference to Christ. Because of Christ we have become God's children, By entering into a relationship with Him we are no longer slaves to the law, we have been set free. But astonishingly, God desires more than freedom for us, He desires that His Spirit the Spirit of his Son Jesus Christ, convicts and lives in our very hearts, so we may know awe are truly sons and daughters of God. This conviction of our Sonship is so strong (or should be), that we cry out! "Abba" Father. This is unheard of . This is radical. God wants an intimate, familial relationship with us, And more! He wants us as family,m to inherit all that is His.
A - I don't reflect upon my new position as a daughter and the inheritance that is mine nearly enough, I don't honour my parent, God himself, as my Father enough. I don't claim the full inheritance He has for me enough! I don't embrace this radical, intimate and privileged position enough!
P - Dear Father God, please forgive me for being a wild, ungrateful and so often untamable daughter. Help me to come back into deep relationship with you. Amen.
Daily Reading from Chapters Galatians 3-4.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Daily Journal for Tuesday 6th October 2009


GOD'S AMAZING GRACE
S - "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him " Luke 15:20
O - This parable is highlighting God's joy at the return of a sinner. The son spent all of his father's inheritance on wild living (prostitutes and partying). You probably couldn't get more rebellious or decadent than that! I have been told that to even ask for your share of the inheritance while your father is alive is extremely dishonouring in this culture. Its as if you are saying to your father, "I think of you as already dead!". And now the son returns - ashamedly and humbly. But! The father sees him in the distance and is filled with compassion and runs to him. I am also aware that for a man of this wealth and stature, running, was unbecoming and below his station. Only servants scurried and ran. The more wealthier you are the slower your gait. Its as if God is telling us through this parable that He will do anything, including the extension of costly grace towards us, in order to win us back towards Him. To have God thrust his arms around us and kiss us when we have sinned so deeply is radical and life changing. But the condition is, we have to want to come back!.
A - I continually forget how gracious and forgiving God really is. How often I hold on to my shame and unworthiness and think I can hide it from God when all He want is for me to turn back to Him. I want to continually be aware of my sin and repent and trun to God to recieve His forgiveness.
P - Father, help me to remember your grace and your mercy and your forgiveness in my life. How awesome and amazing is your grace to me. Thank you for being the God that you are in my life. Helps others, through me, to also know the mercy and grace that you have for them I pray. Amen.
Daily Reading Luke Chapters 15&16

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Daily Journal for Tuesday 29th September 2009

S - I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundations on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it because it was well built" Luke 6: 47-48

O - This is the secret to life. Our life in this world is meant to be built from the inside out. We are to "dig deep down"and lay the foundation on rock. Who is the rock? Jesus Christ has been referred to as "the rock"(1 Cor 10:4, and 1 Pet 2:7-8). We are to build our lives on him. The emphasis here is on us". We are to dig down deep". Jesus is the source of life and the strength of life. Our "house", our bodies, our lives can only become strong and withstand the torrents and the floods of life (which will happen) if our foundations are on Christ and on his words. But there is also one more directive. It is not enough to just "hear"Jesus' words, we must put them into action.

A - To become a woman of strength I cannot take my walk with Jesus lightly. Oh He will let me, but when hardship comes I have no guarantee of victory. No my only hope, is in Jesus alone, my rock. It is my responsibility to continue daily to dig deeply into his word and to act on it, (really to reflect deeply on it, through meditative contemplation, and follow it's directives in my life), then I will not be swayed by life's torrents. My "house" will be well built.

P - Dear Jesus, Thankyou for being my rock. Thankyou that you have given us a clear way to build our lives deeper and stronger in you. Please help me to continue to do this everyday I pray. May your strength be in me. Amen.

Daily Reading Luke Chapters 5&6

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Daily Journal for Monday 28th September 2009

THE ULTIMATE ACT

S - "I will give you all their authority and splendour, for it has been given to me, and I can give to to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours" Luke 4:6-7

O - Satan was spruiking his power to Jesus. His experience was probably true - that the world does secede power and honour to him, We don't have to look far to see how people prefer the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. But he forgets one thing - his power and authority is only on loan. The ultimate authority is God Himself. Satan's greatest downfall is pride. The belief that he is God himself and therefore can do anything. The ultimate act of pride is to believe that God Himself (in Christ), would bow down and worship him. All the kingdoms of the earth belong to God, even though for now, they have been given temporary freedom to choose their master, - God or satan.

A - It seems that we should never forget that 1) what we have is on loan from God, 2)Satan's authority over this world is temporary and given by the ultimate authority - God. 3) In Christ, who overcame satan and temptation, we have the same power and authority to overcome. 4) Satan only has this authority because human beings have been given free will and have chosen the kingdom of darkness and 5) We have the free will to choose the kingdom of light and Christ.

P- Dear Jesus, thankyou for overcoming the evil one and giving us the freedom to choose you always and therefore to have victory in your name Amen.

Daily Reading Luke Chapters 3&4

Monday, September 28, 2009

Daily Journal for Sunday 27th September 2009


NEVER TO FALL AWAY

S - "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too" Luke 2:34b-35

O - This prophesy over Jesus from Simeon was so true. Jesus Christ is the one name which either brings joy and celebration or offense and rejection. His name alone is able to divide, and there the scriptures say, it will even divide our hearts, our souls. Jesus Christ is able to pierce our very souls and reveal what is really inside. No wonder people find Jesus to be so threatening. If our hearts and our souls are filled with the things of this world and not of the things of God, then we are convicted. And most people do not like being convicted. It thrusts us out of our comfort zones. Here too, the scriptures are revealing prophesy for Mary as well. It is so terribly true that her own mother's heart will be pierced with grief when she has to endure watching the death of her own son.

A - God does not spare us from pain or suffering. It seems that this is not the reason that He came. He came so that we might chose righteousness and Godliness, rather than our own comfort and protection from pain. Mary was not spared this and so we should not think we will either. But God does expect us to remain firm in Him, and not fall away, but continue to rise with Him, despite our circumstances. It is truly only in Him, that we have life.

P - Thank you Jesus for showing me a better way. At times it seems like it is a harder way, when the world seems to live so casually and carefree. Help me to remember that this was not Mary's experience, or even yours. Help me to remain on track with you, and in you, always.

Amen.

Daily Reading for Luke Chapter 2

Daily Journal for Saturday 26th September 2009


S- "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her. Luke 1:38
S - It was thought that Mary was around the age of 14 when she was betrothed to Joseph. What an incredibly pure and righteous young woman Mary was. An angel tells her that she will bear the "Son of God". She has no real idea how this is to happen or the huge significance of this, but responds in total obedience. She rightly says, "I am the Lord's servant". How much fretting, anxiety and conflict could be removed from our lives if we simply were able to say, "I am the Lord's servant".
A - How simple life would be if we were truly surrendered as Mary was (whether God had significant plans or not) to His will in our lives. Imagine if we walked with Him every day in the belief that the highest purpose for our lives was to be "His servant". Imagine if we recognised that where we are right now and doing what we are doing is honouring and serving Him. Would we be more content, more intentional, more passionate. Mary was surrendered, content and passionate with what God had for her. May it be also for us. May it be also for me.
P - Dear Jesus, thank you that you bless us with your Spirit. Help us to be content with being your servants where you have placed us, in all we do, I pray. Amen.
Daily Reading Luke Chapter 1

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Daily Journal for Friday 25th September 2009

S - "Don't be alarmed", he said. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here".
Mark 16:6
O - Sometimes all we see in our life is the ordinary. Things that are familiar or expected. We go to work, we eat, we perhaps have certain activities on certain day, but all in all, mostly, our lives are predictable. And when the unpredictable happens, we panic! This is what happened to the women who went to Jesus' tomb to anoint Him. The stone was rolled away and there was a young man standing there, dressed in white and no Jesus. An angel perhaps! And they were alarmed! They had come to anoint their friend, their teacher, their son. He came from their town where they lived. And he died a shocking, brutal death in a public and humiliating way. They wanted to honour him. But he wasn't there. And now this angel says - "He is risen! He is not here". How extraordinary! He is God incarnate.
A - Oh how I am humbled to be reminded that my Jesus is an extraordinary God capable of anything in my life, if I am totally surrendered to Him. He is the risen Lord!
P - Dear Jesus, forgive me for sometimes seeing my life as too small, too ordinary, when you, the risen Christ have the extraordinary for me. Amen.
Daily Reading Mark Chapters 15&16

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Daily Journal for Thursday 24th September 2009


JESUS A FRIEND OF OUTCASTS


S - "While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head" Mark 14:3

O - This picture tells a thousand stories. Jesus is in the home of a leper. An untouchable person. But he hasn't just called to heal, he has called to enjoy the hospitality of this outcast. In fact, He was reclining at Simon's table. Very relaxed. Very comfortable and at home. Jesus dared to show the world at that time, that He came for everyone, especially for those who were ostracised. And then the woman came in. Oh women of the world. How, as a gender, we are so ostracised, so often badly treated. In all the world women are the poorest, most abused, and disempowered of the genders. But Jesus dares to show that He, God himself, shows that women are important. And this woman, out of her love and devotion to Jesus pours a years worth in wages of expensive perfume over Jesus head. Many have said that this was to fortell of His death and burial. But to me it also tells of why He came. He came to give His life for those who had no voice. For those who were outcasts.

A - When I see people who do not have the influence, the opportunities and the blessings I have, I need to remember that Jesus came and gave especially to them. And he gave also as an example to show those who do have influence and opportunity as I do, to share and give, and enjoy as much as possible.

P - Dear Jesus, what an amazing example of grace and life you are to me. Help me to be more and more like you and to love others as you do. Amen.

Daily Reading Mark Chapter 14

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Daily Journal for Wednesday 23rd September 2009

BE AWARE, BE WATCHFUL!

S - "Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that Summer is near.......Be on guard! Be Alert!...If he comes suddenly do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you I say to everyone, "Watch"!

O - The one hope the world has is the return of Christ. But when he returns, the scriptures say he will return in power (Mt 24:30). And so now Mark follows up this glorious hope with a clear caution. Be Alert! Be Watchful! It is interesting that the fig tree is used yet again. But this time, we are told that in order to understand the times, we need to be "tender". Could this possibly mean, that we need to remain softened to the gospel and Jesus, and not, as He has told us so often throughout the gospels, "hard of heart". It is clear, we need to be on guard. So much of our Christian life is surreptitiously eroded by the world's influence, and so we are told that it is our responsibility to remain alert to the things of God, and be watchful.

A - It encourages me to not fall for the persuasions of the world. They are mightily persuasive, and often appealing; beauty, wealth, material goals, secularism, good times etc. While God wants me to be in the world, he also expects me to be apart of it. This äpartness" is so important, otherwise I would not be able to discern truth, and discern the times.

p _ Father, help me to stay alert and to discern your purposes and will, for me, so that I may continue to be your presence in this world, until your Son returns again in glory and power.
Amen.


Daily Reading for Mark Chapters 12&13

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Daily Journal for Tuesday 22nd September 2009


WARNING TO BE FRUITFUL!
S - "Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again."
O - A fig tree lives to produce fruit. In the middle east the fig fruit was highly regarded. The fig has a fleshy fruit and inside, beautiful sweet seeded pulp. As a tree, it should have realised it's position as a favoured tree! Here it seems, that Jesus was expecting it to bear it's bounty, despite the fact that it wasn't fruit season. This could mean one of two things. Either Jesus knew it had the potential to bear fruit despite the season, or it was a tree that was incapable of bearing fruit. Either way, the pronouncement from Jesus, is clear. It was given no more opportunity to bear fruit again. In fact, later on, the disicples noticed, the same tree was withering from its roots (vs 20). It seems that a tree it useless unless it bears fruit, and this bearing of fruit is expected, despite the seasons.
A - Could the fig tree also represent us! Does Jesus expect us to bear fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control), despite the seasons of our lives. I think so. In fact, it is often only in the out of season times (defficulties, conflict, hard times), that the Life of Jesus, causes us to go deeper and deeper with Him, and therefore, produces the fruit He so desires. And a sobering thought. For those who don't bear fruit (no matter what the season), we will surely wither spiritually.
P - Dear Jesus, please help me to remain in you and continue to develop the fruit of the Spirit, no matter what the season. Stay close to me Jesus as I remain in you. Amen.
Daily Reading Mark Chapters 10&11

Daily Journal for Monday 21st September 2009

SALT IN US!
S - "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other"
Mark 9:50
O - Salt is something that preserves. It has been used for thousands of years as the key preserving agent for food. People can't live without food, and in ages gone past, it follows, that people couldn't therefore live without salt. But here the Bible is saying that it is possible to lose the preserving aspect of the preserver itself. Once it is lost, you cannot make the preserving agent function as it is supposed to you again. Jesus, then takes this truth and applies it to us! He sees us as preserving agents in this world. Our own human bodies, who know and trust Jesus, are the depost for the essential Jesus. You know salt can go off through humidity and staleness. "Have salt in yourselves". Have Jesus', the essential preserver, in us, always. Never, ever, let Him go. If we allow His life within us to become contaminated with other agents such as familiarity, laziness, new teachings, lukewarmness, pride, conflict, we will certainly lose our preserving role in this world. This is also linked to unity, and a peaceful, undivided heart (and be at peace with each other). So we must be alert and increase the life of Jesus in us.
A - It is so very easy to let the life of Jesus diminish or lose its potency, when you are not daily opening yourself up to His truth, through prayer and His word. The world, which is opposit to the preserving truth's of Jesus, wants desperately to dampen, and heaven help us, destroy the Life within. How essential it is to keep that Life potent and alive within us.
P - Father, please help me to continue to walk with you everyday, allowing your light and truth to continue to sharpen and shape me. Help me to be the preserver in life you designed us all to be. Amen.
Daily Reading For Monday Mark Chapter 9

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Daily Journal for Tuesday 22nd September 2009

A Shocking View of Greatness
S - "Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant" Mark 10:43
O - Everyone wants to be noticed. Everyone wants to be told they are great. How shocking it is to understand that Jesus taught us a totally opposite way to achieve greatness. To be great, we have to become "small". We have to not be noticed! In fact, we actually have to kill off pride, and humble ourselves and serve others. I truly believe that this is a totally shocking view of greatness. It is not as the world sees it. Yet I understand it. I understand that when you help others, something inside happens to you that confirms the truth of this principle. You know its right. You know that God is honoured. You know that God is pleased. And this is the key to greatness. Pleasing and obeying God, dying to self, and having His life enlarged in yours, through following His principles, is a key to life and greatness.
A - That I could learn to have the joy of serving others daily. That I would throw off the desire to be noticed, and instead respond in obedience to God daily. In that process I know that joy becomes overwhelming in my life, and this creates a true sense of fullness.
P - Dear Jesus, help me to continue to have a joy which delights in obeying you and serving others. May the world continue to know you through the acts of mercy and love I can show to others I pray. Thankyou for the amazing example of your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, who modelled perfect servanthood. Amen.
Daily Reading Mark Chapters 10&11

LEST WE FORGET


S- "Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don't you remember?" Mark 8:17b -18

O - These scriptures are sandwiched between a story of Jesus healing a physically deaf man, the second miracle of feeding 4,000 with loaves and fish, and the healing of a physically blind man. So many direct examples of who Jesus is, His divinity, His power, and His compassion. Yet, despite all that has happened and all that is to happen, the disciples still don't get it. Its almost as if Jesus' heart is breaking! Perhaps it is indicative of the future response to who Jesus is for millennia to come. Today, we still don't see, still don't hear, and still don't remember, the precious Son of God. Even for those of us who know Him, we forget, we fail to see, and we fail to hear, all that He has for us. We forget that He is present with us in every aspect of our lives. We forget His divinity, we forget His power, we forget His compassion. We harden our hearts, so we fail to see and fail to hear.

A - Let it be that we never forget. That we open our eyes and our ears to our Lord every and take in all that He has to offer us.

P - Dear Lord Jesus, may you help me, and my friends who know you, to be always open to the opportunities that you bring to speak of you, to model you, and to tell others about you, so that we and the world, never forgets. Amen.

Daily Reading for Mark Chapters 8&9

Getting Rid of Division


S - If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand"...In fact, no-one can enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house" Mark
O - I was speaking on relationships and the Life Cycle in Sydney this weekend. What I learned is that the church has an incredible mandate to help educate, influence and transform individuals and families to become more Christlike, and therefore more healthy and moral. Neither families or individuals themselves will endure if they are divided. With families, division occurs primarily through conflict in relationships. In individuals the conflict occurs within the inner self. If shame, anger, bitterness, envy, pride, lust, and fear are allowed to dominate then, then that person will not stand. Jesus gives us a divine plan for recovery.
1. Identify the problem to be rid of
2. Bind up, tie up, or deal with it
3. Then get rid of it.
Families and individuals have to be open to this process and then recovery will occur.
A - I can think of nothing more exciting than to serve the family of God and to encourage unity and wholeness. But first I know I have to open myself continuously to the Holy Spirit's refining work in my life to create wholeness instead of division.
P - Lord help me to continue to be open to your Spirit so that I can be used by you, and not be the cause of division in my own life or in the life of others'. Amen
Daily Reading for Mark Chapters 2&3

The Secret To A Full and Victorious Life

S - "Consider carefully what you hear he continued, "With the measure you use it will be measured to you - and even more. "Whoever has will be given more and whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him" Mark 4:24-25

O - This scripture speaks to me of people I have observed over the years who take delight in gossiping or denigrating other people. The sad thing is that the more they do this the more they become isolated, embittered and miserable themselves. Its as if the measure they measure out to others comes back to them four fold. In contrast, I have met beautiful, encouraging and positive people who seem to experience a four fold blessing of love and grace in their own life despite circumstances. These people are far from isolated and can rely on a wealth of friends and meaningful relationships.

A - How significant it is to refuse to hear gossip and negatives and instead always be encouraging and giving to others. It is the secret to a full and victorious life.

P - Father in heaven, may you help me to always close my ears to gossip and to have my heart enlarged by you so that I can be a blessing to others in your Holy Name. Amen.

Daily Reading for Friday Septemeber 18th Mark 4-5

God Will Always Overcome!



S - "You are my own dear Son. I am pleased with you. At once, the Spirit made him go into the desert" Mark 1:11b - 12a

O - Isn't it interesting that somehow when we experience a deep encounter with God, either in prayer, contemplation, or through reading His Word, there is often an accompanying challenge. When we look back, we realise that God has been preparing us, strengthening us, for what we cannot see, but for which we are so grateful for His empowerment. Jesus has just been baptized, and God spoke powerfully from heaven and said, "you are my own dear Son, I am pleased with you". Such wonderful praise and affirmation. Then the scriptures tell us, "At once," the Spirit made him go into the desert. Often we too experience a desert event fairly soon after a healing, or a deeper commitment to Jesus, or a breakthrough in our spiritual walk. The enemies' plans seem so predictable. But we have to remember that as we remain in Jesus, we will overcome any temptation or desert experience, just as Jesus did.

A - In my walk with God, I need to remember that the enemy is always prowling around ready to devour. His attacks will always seem unexpected, yet I should remind myself that he is predictable, and a pertinent time is when I have had a particularly deep or richer experience of God. I also must remember that Jesus overcame and that I too will, as I remain in Him.

P - Heavenly Father, please help me to remain alert, to you alone, and to always trust you in every circumstance. Amen

Daily Reading Matthew 28 - Mark 1

Familiarity Breeds Contempt.


S - "Where did this man get these things?"" they asked. "Whats this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles. Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son, and the brother of Jesus, Joses, Judas and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him". Mark 6:2-4

O - There is so much contrast in this scripture. The acknowledgement by the crowd that Jesus was incredibility wise and incredibly powerful. But Jesus was also only a carpenter. The crowd also knew his family and lineage. Many 0f them would have known him personally. His familiarity bred contempt and incredulity. It was almost as if they were saying, "What right does he have to do these things and say these things?" The people's hearts were hardened. There was conflict between what they saw and heard from Jesus, and what they knew of him. Hardened, prideful hearts could not afford to honour and praise Him. It is too threatening. Familiarity breeds contempt.

A - Oh how much I have to watch my judgements of others. How I need to assign honour when people do well, even if they are familiar to me. How I need to watch I don't become threatened or take offense at the success of others when this may highlight my lack of success.

P - Father, forgive me for the times I have harboured a competitive spirit or taken offense at the success of those I know and love. Help me to always encourage I pray. Amen.
Daily Reading Mark 6&7

Monday, September 14, 2009

Children in Need

S - And all the people yelled back, "We will take responsibility for his death - we and our children" Matthew 27:25
O - This is a mob reaction, A fervour of hate, mockery and ridicule against the Son of God. Only a few days earlier the same crowd was welcoming Jesus as King, with palm branches. Now they were prepared to take responsibility for his death. Even worse, they apportioned their guilt to their children as well. Almost like a badge of honour. There is such a sharp contrast between Our Saviour who is God himself, the Creator, who is being mocked and then killed, with the crowd, who are the created, doing the killing. They do not understand the condemnation they are heping on themselves and their children when they acknowledge they are responsible for the death of God. Has anything changed? Today, parents take responsibility for the death of God by not believing - and condemn their children also, by not encouraging them to believe.
O - How important it is to always tend to your faith and to always pray for, model and encourage your children to know and love Jesus. May it never be, that my faith dies; for if it does, I have nothing left to witness to my children.
P - Lord, whenever my walk becomes dispassionate help me to re-orient my life back towards you. Help me to remember that my children, no matter what age, are always watching and taking note of my faith. Help me to maintain my faith and to encourage my children. Amen

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Greed and Pride


S - "What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?"
Matthew 26:15
O- This verse strikes at the very heart of man, that is, our greed and our pride. "What are you willing to give me? The first danger to watch out for in our lives is greed. Judas was prepared to sell his friend and his soul for coins. Even after three years of constant companionship with Jesus, this man chose greed over loyalty. The lure of money was too much. No wonder the scriptures say you cannot serve God and money. The second danger which men and women fall into is pride. "if I hand him over to you?" The pride that says we are all we need. We are the ones in control of our lives. We decide what to do, when to do it, and why. God is irrelevant. Considering His will for us is irrelevant. Judas was under the false assumption that Jesus was unaware of the plans to kill him. But there was a bigger picture which Judas knew nothing about. God had a plan, and it was that sin and death could be defeated once and for all through the death of Jesus. God knew Judas' heart (full of greed and pride) and therefore allowed him to be used in a plan which reversed evil, for good.
A- There is always a caution to check my heart and to keep greed and pride at bay. I don't think I necessarily have a problem with greed, but I know I do at times with pride. I do not want to be deceived that these two dangers do not exist in my heart.
P -Search my heart Lord, and see if there is any offending way within me, and lead me into the path of ever lasting life. Amen.

Falling Asleep


S - "The bridegroom was a long time in coming and they all became drowsy and fell asleep" Matthew 25:5

O - Oh how easy it seems for us Christians to lose our passion, our fervour for Jesus! I was with my sister-in-law this weekend and she was reflecting on her life and the Christians she has known who have "become drowsy" or even, "fallen asleep" (not meaning death). Many, no longer attend church because of conflict with people that has never been resolved. Others just got distracted or too busy. Oh what a warning, a caution, from Jesus, to never get drowsy in our walk, or fall asleep.

A - I know there are times when Jesus and the Christian life seems demanding and the "easier" path of distractions and other priorities crowd in. But I must always keep my faith and fervour alive by focusing my life on Christ and maintaining a love for His Word.

P - Heavenly Father help me to always keep you as a priority in my life. I love you dearly. Amen.

The Nations will Mourn




S - "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn" Matthew 24:30

O - All throughout Chapter 24 Our Lord is warning us to stay centred "in Him". To stand firm "in Him". Many people have deceived the masses with philosophies and beliefs which exclude God. And most have fallen for that lie and lived independently from Him. But God is taking us into His confidence by warning us ahead of time - that the end of time will come and Our Lord will return again. On that day when Jesus appears again all the nations of the earth will mourn. All will come to understand - too late- the truth, that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and He is the way, the truth and the life. I must be prepared for his return.

A - Reflecting on Christ's return causes me to focus my present walk in the true reality - that Jesus is all there is to know, and I need to remain in Him and be prepared spiritually, behaviourally, and in my thought life - so that when he returns, He is pleased.

P - Dear Jesus, help me to remain alert and faithful to you I pray. Amen



Thursday, September 10, 2009

What does my house look like?



S - "Look your house is left to you desolate" Mathew 23:38

O - Jesus is addressing the crowds and the disciples and speaking about the teachers of the law and the Pharisees. These were the people who had the ultimate influence and power and assumed their place in heaven (possibly the most prominent place). The whole context of Chapter 23 is a litany of oppressive behaviour from the Pharisees towards the masses, while they themselves fail to live Godly inner lives. Inside, they are hypocrites! "Look your house is left to you desolate"! Jesus always looks at the inner person. These words speak of an inner desolation of character and conduct. Internally, the Pharisees were desolate - there was nothing Godly or alive in their inner beings. Outwardly their Godliness was all show. What a caution, and a reminder for our inner lives to remain committed and transformed to God.

A - I need to tend constantly to my inner life. To ensure that my character, my thoughts, my will, my love and my attitudes are being constantly shaped and enriched by God's word and the holy Spirit. I never want my inner life to become desolate.

P - Dear Jesus, help me to remain open and growing to become more and more like you. Help me to keep dying to self so that the fullness of your life can reside in me. Amen.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Disrespect for the Son

S - Last of all, he sent his son to them. "They will respect my son." he said. Matthew 21:37

O - Such a clear and heartbreaking parable of how much our heavenly Father has tried the over centuries, through His prophets, to let His children know and understand the following; who He is, how much He has given to us, and the respect and honour that He deserves. Yet, each time, his servants were killed or thrown out of the vineyard. In other words, rejected. Until God sends Himself. God sends His Son. Of course people will respect and honour Him! Of course they will finally listen and hear the truth that they are not in charge of themselves or that this is not their property. It belongs, as all things do, to the true "landowner", the one who made everything. It is only through grace that they have been given such honour themselves. Surely they will recognise and respect the Son of the Landowner. And they do recognise Him. This is the problem. They know who He is. They know He is the Son. But because their hearts are dark, and sinful and full of pride (even though everything they have has been loaned to them), they kill the Son. "They will respect my son". These words are still today (perhaps even more so), so full of hope, yet, in reality, so rejected. Rejected in mainstream life, rejected through the media (watch any TV show and see how Jesus' name is used, how Christians are depicted, how the Church is depicted). The Son of God is to be respected, yet, in reality, only so very few do.

A - Oh how my heart breaks to know that our precious Lord was rejected 2,000 years ago, and continues to be rejected so badly today. What a God that He should love me so much, yet also entrust His world to my kind, who with hearts more often than most, are turned against Him. Let it never be, that i would reject the Son of God, ever!

P- Dear Jesus, help me to always love you, honour you and respect you and never turn from you. Help me to always see you for who you are; the Son of God, sent to rescue and redeem me. Amen.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Attitude Towards The Vulnerable


S - "Some children were brought to Jesus so he could lay hands in them and pray for them. The disciples told them not to bother him" Matthew19:13



O - All through this chapter we see Our Lord instructing us as to how to treat others, particularly those who are the most vulnerable in society (women, and making it more difficult to divorce, and children). Both these groups in Old Testament times, and also today, (perhaps not so much in our developed nations), are the poorest and most vulnerable still. Jesus, unearths a common and deep prejudice against the most vulnerable. They are not to bother him! It seems as if even in Jesus' day, children were often seen as unwanted interruptions to adult endeavours. But radically, Jesus responds with a reply and an action. In the next two verses He says "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these". And then he put his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left. Matthew 19:13 . What a contrast to the disciples' attitude! Jesus was not only highlighting the importance of children, he was also highlighting how our attitude should be towards them, as well as our attitude towards faith in him. These little children had a guileless faith, and that is how our faith should be. This is in contrast to the Pharisees who were sophisticated and the disciples who were prejudiced. Jesus was "bothered" by those who were less sophisticated, and was "bothered" by the vulnerable. Jesus even "blessed" the children's attitude by laying hands on them. How significant and important he made them feel!


A - I am reminded that not everyone has had the same opportunities, education, family life, and influence that I have. As an educated adult woman, I have been given great privileges; yet Jesus does not really care about that. What he cares about is how I treat those who are more vulnerable than I, and how I trust him. My faith and attitude should be as accepting as little children.
P - Dear Jesus, help me to remain open, accepting, and childlike in my faith. Help me to be a blessings to others who are more vulnerable than I. I love you Jesus. Amen

Monday, September 7, 2009

Two World's Collide


S - This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him !"Matthew 17:5b
O - These words came right from the heavenlies - through a cloud - interjecting through the babble of Peter as he was still speaking to Jesus about making 3 shelters, one for Jesus, one for Moses and one for Elijah. Jesus, it is presumed, still transfigured - His face shining like the sun and his clothes as white as light. Peter maybe can't cope. So he gets very practical, very earthly. Here we have the clearest example of two world's colliding - the heavenly and the earthly, the spiritual and the flesh. God interjects! God overrules ! God asserts his power and authority and in doing so, confirms Jesus' authority. He is the Son of God and God loves Him and God is pleased with Him. Wow! There can be no doubt and no arguments for Christ's divinity. Here Joseph's son, the earthly man, was revealed for who he really is, the heavenly man. And amidst the earthliness and distractedness of earthly man God interjects with his clear command - Listen to Him! Heaven and its mysteries are available to us if we would just LISTEN!
A - How distracted I get, How often I forget the reality that this earthly existence with its worries, cares, needs, practicalities, tasks and challenges are only one dimension of our lives. The supernatural, transcendent and heavenly are so much more a reality. And this reality and its mysteries, its wisdom, its instruction are available to me , to us, if only we would LISTEN!
P - Oh Father God, dear heavenly Jesus, forgive us for the earthly that is so much a part of our lives and help us to attune our ears more and more to the reality of your world in our lives I pray. Amen.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Balance and Boundaries

7th September 2009
S - "After he had dismissed them, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone"
Matthew 14:23
O - Jesus had just spent a full day with large crowd healing the sick. This was immediately after he had heard the news that John the Baptist had been beheaded. There had been no time to grieve. No time to process anything. No time for reflection or for restoration. It seems like now Jesus needed time for himself. He was tired. He also knew when to serve and when to rest. He "dismissed" them, even if perhaps there was more to do. But Jesus seems to know his boundaries. He knew what he needed for refreshment. He went up into the hills (nature seems to always refresh) by himself to pray. These words are so important. After being immersed with people he needed restorative time with his Father on his own. He was also there for some time as evening came and he was still there alone. What a wonderful example to me as to how to keep serving people - even when it seems so full and busy! There is the need for balance and boundaries in solitude, prayer and nature.
A - On my day off I need to be ruthless in ensuring it is not fulled with busyness and people, but with a balance of solitude, rest and nature. This has always restored me, and if Jesus' models this, I must take notice and follow.
P - Dear Jesus, please help me to be more ruthless in balancing my time and providing that boundary of space for extended communion with you in solitude I pray. Amen

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Finding True Worth


S- "and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" Matthew 10:38-39
O - It seems from this scripture that our worth is aligned to the degree we embrace the cross. Here Jesus says we must take our cross (which acknowledges our personal sin and our personal redemption) and "follow" Jesus. Therefore as I walk through life I must keep before me my Saviour - not deviate from the path that he leads me in - this is to follow. But I must also have the consciousness of the death and life of Jesus as it is superimposed in my life. There is a sense of abandoning my life and having his superimposed in mine instead which gives the experience of true life. The "sinful" parts to be surrendered and at the cross, which is a good kind of loss. Only then will I find true life.
A - I need to be more intentional and conscious of the centrality of the cross in my life -
surrendering through confession of my own personal sin, daily, which is the part I want to "lose", so I can continue to experience the resurrected life of Christ in me. This is where I find true worth and value.
P - Help me to be more conscious of the parts of me, dear Jesus, which offend and block the true way to life in you. Amen

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Radical Perspective


S - "In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets" Matthew 7:12

O - Its so easy to overlook the significance and the startling reality of this scripture. In everything. These words are a directive to cause me to be considerate of the "other", at all times, in all places, in every task, in every action, thought and attitude. In truth, the person I am most concerned about at all times - in everything is me!. If i am totally honest it is "I" who is most precious. It is "I" who I perceive through the lens of my feelings, my experience, my assessments, my comfort. What a radical perspective - that if I were to take that indulgent preciousness I have about myself, and consider others in the same way - in everything - what a difference this world would be. What a world! No wonder Jesus Christ is so radical.

A - To become more aware of my thought life and perspective when I am with others. How are they feeling? What are they experiencing? How can I serve them better?

P - Jesus, help me to continue to die to self and be more and more aware of other people and their lives. Amen.

JESUS’ INFLUENCE – JESUS’ FOCUS


S - "Jesus went throughout Galilee teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people” Matthew 4:23


O – It amazes me first from this scripture that Jesus spent most of his public ministry in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali which is north and west of the Sea of Galilee. This was not the “hub” of political or social life for the Jews. This was more like a regional centre (like Albury / Wodonga on the Hume Weir) – Jesus went “throughout” this area. It strikes me that the local church’s influence in our area is significant and can have eternal consequences if we follow Jesus’ model – he didn’t hanker for greener pastures, he gave his all for his local area.


Focus – 3 fold ministry


Teaching - (in the synagogue)


Preaching - Outdoors to the people


Healing - Every disease and sickness among the people


It seems as if Jesus’ ministry was a ministry of Grace and Truth. Jesus gained credibility because He cared for the people. He entered their world. He was one of them, a local. He was not some big shot who just rode into town and performed some impressive feat and then moved out. His focus on healing was just as significant as his focus on preaching and teaching. This comforts me and reassures me. These three focuses in ministry work hand in hand. You cannot tell someone about the love of Jesus until they have experienced His love from his people.


A – I am going to keep before me Jesus’ influence and focus. I am going to continue to pray for and love this town and the people in it. I am going to continue to exert my influence for Jesus in as many places locally as I can. I am reminded to not minimize or find inconvenient people’s hurts and problems when they present themselves to me.


P – Dear Jesus, Thankyou for your model of your influence and your focus. It is so clear what you call us to do. Help me to love, encourage and speak your truth to those I encounter in my sphere of influence. Amen.


Daily Readings - Matthew 4-5

A CLEANER RECEPTACLE

S –because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit; he will save His people from their sins; and they will call him , Immanuel – which means, “God with us.” Matthew 1:20b;21b; 23


O – It seems inconceivable that the God of the universe desires to be conceived within human beings (conceived within Mary, and now God is with us!). This is the greatest news and story ever told. No other philosophy, no other faith, no other religion has their God becoming so small, so intimate, so humbled, so emptied. God with us! God within us! He came to us in this way because He knew we would be lost without his closeness, his protection and freedom from the shocking and terrible bondage of sin. I have seen what this does in my life and other people’s lives and it is worse than death. His number one reason for coming was to save us from that terrible death. This is what it says here. God was conceived within Mary and by inference, and from other scriptures (Christ in us). we know we have a pathway to freedom and life abundant through confession of sins. Through His spirit living in us!


A – I need to think more intentionally and appreciate more wondrously of how intimate God is - He is in me! And He has made a way for me to live – not bound down by sin. To live truly free in every moment because I can continue to confess my sins and know that He is in me! (Immanuel). I need to be a cleaner receptacle for His spirit like Mary. I need to walk more intentionally measuring my days in the knowledge that my Saviour, my God is ever present residing in me.


P – Oh loving Jesus help me to have a more intimate ever present knowledge of your life within me. Help this body to become more and more a cleaner receptacle of your Holy Spirit I pray. Amen.


Daily Readings - Matthew 1-3

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Seeking Righteousness


"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them..........For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven...........But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be give to you as well" Matthew 5:17,20, 6:33
O - It seems harsh at first when Jesus tells us that our righteousness must surpass those who are our teachers and leaders spiritually. But as I reflected upon this, I realised that this this is true "life". When I allow my carnal nature to rule ( and sometimes I do), I know that it is always at a cost. I feel terrible later. I grieve that particular action, or thought or attitude, it always leads to a certain death of self that is not the surrender that Christ meant for us. Instead of my bad nature being "killed off", when I act unrighteously, I know instantly it is my "good" nature that is dying. This is not what I want. Jesus is right. And later on He tells us that that by seeking the things that He is concerned about gives us the life that we really need. These words are in the context of Chapter 5 & 6 of Matthew, which are words of life, which teach us about how to live life. The Sermon on the Mount are the greatest words ever uttered, in terms of instructions for living and Jesus gives us the standard he expects from these instructions. We need to "seek" righteousness constantly. And he has given us help to do this.
A - Last night, there were some actions I undertook which I knew were not pleasing to Jesus. This morning I repented , and undertook some actions which I knew were pleasing to Jesus. How different I felt! It really is true that when we seek the things He wants for our lives and his mission here on earth we benefit. How I want to keep living my life in more and more ways that will please Him.
P - Dear Jesus, Thank you so much for the amazing sermon you gave us to help us live life to the full in the way that you intend for us. Please help me to do this more and more in my life. I cannot do it on my own, but with your guidance, and your word to instruct me, and your free gift of forgiveness when I fail, it just might be possible. Help me to seek your kingdom first in my life.
Amen.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Developing Spiritual Eyes

S - "Away from me Satan.....Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near"
Matthew 4:10,17

O - Jesus had fasted for forty days and forty nights. I have never fasted for this long (2 days has been my limit, or for a day over a longer period of weeks, in one case, for a year), but I understand people who have, have almost forsaken everything in order to give God the priority. I would understand that the spiritual life would become clearer, more tangible and the true reality when we have fasted for such a long time. It was in this context that Jesus met with satan. And satan uses his age old trick - he tempts Jesus (just like he did with Eve in the garden). He doesn't have to get physical with Jesus, or destroy Him, he merely goes for Jesus' pride. This is my biggest danger. Being unaware of motives and actions that really come from pride rather than from total surrender and obedience to God. But Jesus resists!. He resists by,

1. Clearly understanding the devil's ploy

2. Stating clearly for him to "Push Off!" Jesus knows our own hearts as well - when later on He takes up John the Baptist's cry and says, "Repent - for the kingdom of heaven is near". Here was the King of heaven, the King of glory, there before them - If only we had spiritual eyes to see, both the enemy - and his ways, and the King - and his victory and nearness in our lives.

A- I need to be more aware of how the enemy wants to "undo" me by appealing to my pride. I need to keep guarding my heart and see life with "spiritual eyes" and the pitfalls of the enemy, and possibilities of Jesus in my spiritual life - I need to see Jesus more!

P - Oh loving Lord Jesus. What an incredible model you are to us! Help me to develop spiritual eyes that cause me to understand the enemies ploys in my life, and in particular the way he appeals to my pride. Kill off the pride that entangles me and causes me to stumble, I pray. Help me to live more for you and to see only you, your majesty, your glory, your face. In your holy name I pray.

Amen.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Keeping Humble

S "Produce fruit in keeping with repentance..."At that moment heaven was opened and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him, and a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased" Matthew 3:8, 16b-17

O It is such a contrast to see how the Pharisees approached John. They seem to need a caution from John perhaps their motives were not congruent with what they were allowing him to do - that is to be baptised for their sins. Previously in Matthew the scriptures said that "People were coming from everywhere". Perhaps they thought they had better do the same thing - but God judges the heart. It is the heart that is supreme.So John cautions them that it is the fruit of their repentance that needs to be demonstrated. In contrast, Jesus, who is God, allows John to baptise him and we see heaven open and it must have been a wondrous majestic sight and God is well pleased. Jesus' heart was right in humility and reverence. What a paradox - that God himself saw the need to humble himself in order to be God - and man saw no such need to humble himself because he thought he was God. Nothing has changed since The Fall.

A To watch my heart. To make sure I never get so proud that I don't need to be at the throne of mercy and grace daily. To watch that I don't start to believe that I am God , or that I start to live independently from Him, believing my status, my gifts, my skills, my talents etc are sufficient.

P Oh God, How I need you to stop me from falling into the same trap as the Pharisees. To believe that I am all sufficient. I desire to develop the fruits of repentance and not pride. To keep humble. I want you to be well pleased with me because of the state of my heart. Oh Jesus, I pray. Help me in this. Amen

Daily Readings - Matthew 2:13-3:17