Monday, November 23, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
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
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
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.
Daily Reading for Luke Chapter 2
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 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
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.
Daily Reading for Mark Chapters 12&13
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
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
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
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
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
Sunday, September 13, 2009
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.
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
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
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
Monday, September 7, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
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.
S - "Jesus went throughout
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
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.
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
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
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.