Monday, December 14, 2009

Daily Journal reading for Tuesday 15th December 2009

FINALLY - THERE IS NO OTHER
S - "To him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy - to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore. Amen !
O - This beautiful and wonderful scripture comes at the end of the book of Jude. It summarizes the work of our God through Jesus Christ, and the appropriate response to Him from us. He is the glory. We are to honour and give glory to Him. He can prevent us from falling away. Jude cautions those who do so. He is able to help us to continue in our faith. He is the one and only true God. He is our Saviour, for all time, eternally.
A - I have a God who knows me, who loves me, who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and in whom, all things are possible. i need to continually praise and honour and give glory to this amazing God. He is everything to me, and I hope, everything to you. Honour His glorious Name!
P - Father, Thank you for sending Jesus to help me remain in you. Help me to honour and give glory to you in the way that is fitting. Help me to continue to live my life in a way that honours your Name. Amen.
Daily Reading 1 John5 - Jude 25

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Daily Journal Reading for Monday 14th December 2009


TRUE LOVE
S - "God is love. whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him" 1 John 4:16b
O - Love is, as we know, the greatest and most essential of all emotions and powers. Yet love is so confusing. In all of us, it seems, we have an innate ability to need love, and to give love. But here, the scriptures are clear, that "true love" can never be experienced apart from God. God is "love". True Love. And if we live a life of love, we cannot live it apart from God. God's essential nature and character is "love". Therefore, as we live a life of love, we live a life filled with the awareness of God. Even more, this awareness of God, becomes more intimate. As we love, we live in Him, and He in us. The two, love and God, are inseparable.
A - As I live on this earth, I know my greatest challenge is to truly love God and others as God intends me to. That is, willingly, sacrificially, and intentionally. Sometimes this is hard, as essentially I am selfish; but love and selfishness can never exist together. So, this scripture, encourages me to live more intentionally a life of love, in the awareness and knowledge that as I do, I am truly loving God. Love and God are inseparable.
P - Father, help me to be more loving and to be more aware of the need to deepen my love for you and others as I live a life of love. Thankyou that your essential nature is truly love. Amen.
Daily Reading 1 John Chapters 2-4

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Daily Journal for Friday 11th of December 2009

EARNEST PRAYER!


S - Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced it's crops. James 5:17-19


O - Elijah was a great man but really he was just a human being like me, with the same limitations and opportunities as me. He us what he had to pray earnestly and God answered - rain stopped for three and a half years. What a prayer! Then he prayed again and it rained again. What bold prayers, what amazing answers.

A - I can pray. I have everything Elijah had. What enormous prayer am I praying? What am I earnestly praying for? The healthiest church in Australia? 5,000 people worshipping in our church within 10 years? That God would use my kids to greatly impact the world? That I might raise up 25 men & women for full-time Christian ministry within five years? Revival right across the region?

P - Father, I want to earnestly pray that our church would be the healthiest church in Australia and would double in size within the next two years. I will keep praying this prayer earnestly for the coming two years.

Daily Readings James 3 - 1 Peter 1

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Daily Journal for Wednesday 9th of December 2009

A REASON TO PERSEVERE!


S - Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1


O - Because of the example of the great men and women of faith who lived and died looking forward to the fulfillment of God's promises and a heavenly home, enduring hardship and suffering, we should live in the same way. We should follow their example. How? Run the race! Run it with perseverance. Run the race that God has marked out for us, the one he's called us to run. Remove all the obstacles that might get in the way and the sin that can trip you up and run.

A - Today, I look to the example of the Biblical men and women of faith. I also look to people like Spurgeon, Finney, Keith Green, my Nanny and Grandad. I also look to men and women alive today, Bill Hybels, Andy Stanley, Gayle Hill, my wife Mandy. And I run. I run, seeking to do God's will, knowing that the promises are ahead and are true no matter how challenging it may be now.

P - Father, thank-you for the hope we can have in the promises you have given us. Help me to remember the example of so many Christians as I run my race. Amen.

Daily Reading - Hebrews 11-12

Monday, December 7, 2009

Daily Journal for Tuesday 8th of December 2009

THE MOST DREADFUL THING!

S - It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:31

O - The recipients of the letter to the Hebrews were in danger of hardening their hearts, falling away, stopping meeting together and throwing away their confidence. The reason seems to be because they were facing persecution (Heb. 10:32-34). The writer explains in chapter 10 that Jesus has made it possible to be forgiven and come to God once and for all and he urges them to draw near to God.


Then the writer pens verse 31. "It is a dreadful thing." I've experienced dreadful things happening to others like tsunamis, car accidents and abuse. There's a horror and fear perhaps like when you realise your child is missing in a crowd. It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. We won't have to give an account of our lives to our mockers or persecutors, the media or our friends but we will have to give an account to God. To be unprepared, fallen away, to have thrown away your confidence - what a terrible, horrible thing! The living God will judge justly. Nothing but the blood of Jesus will save me.

A - Who is trying to shape my life? Who are I most in danger of following? It's it the desire to have more? Is it the influence of my friends, or the television's thoughts and influences? God has made a way for what is most important. Now that I have been covered with the blood of Jesus, once for all, I want to live everyday obeying, serving, loving, the God I have drawn near to in Christ. Today I live without fear, without hard hearts  - but with confidence that God is my God and Christ has taken the dreadful punishment I deserved on himself.

P - Father, thank-you. This verse gives me just a glimpse of the horror you have saved me from. You are good to me. Help me to share this good news with others so that they can be saved too. Amen.

Daily Reading - Hebrews 9-10

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Daily Journaling for Monday 7th of December 2009

JESUS SAVES, AND PRAYS!

S - Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Hebrews 7:25


O - Jesus' name means "one who saves". Jesus is able to save utterly, completely, perfectly, those who come to God through him. There is no other way - Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). But those who come to the Father through Jesus, are absolutely, emphatically, forever saved. And the reason? Not only has he paid the price for our sins and risen again so that we are completely saved, but also he intercedes for those who have come to God through him. He intercedes always, without ceasing. Right now his is interceding for us. In fact this verse he always lives to intercede for us. This is Jesus' constant stance towards us. Praying to the Father so that we who are completely saved continue on in this state, finding the strength of live each day for Him.

A - I have been saved completely! What an incredible gift of grace. There is nothing I have done to earn it. There is nothing more I need to do to keep it. Jesus has completely forever saved me. This fills me with assurance and confidence. Not in me but in Christ. I will live today with a fresh awareness that Jesus saved me completely.

Today too I am filled with wonder and awe and feel I am in a position of overwhelming grace to realise that Jesus is interceding for me. Whatever I face, Jesus is praying. Whatever challenges, Jesus is interceding. When I come to the Father, Jesus is presenting my requests.

P - Thank-you Jesus for your saving grace. Thank-you for your constant prayers. Help me to live in the truth every day that I am completely saved and you are praying for me always! Amen.

Daily Readings - Hebrews 6-8

Daily Reading for Tuesday 8th December 2009

A SACRIFICE ONCE AND FOR ALL

S - "But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice, he has made perfect forever, those who are being made holy" Hebrews 10:12-14

O - We have been studying in our small group the book of Hebrews. The title is called, "From Shadow to Reality". The Law was the shadow of the fulfillment of Christ's death and sacrifice for the sins of man. No substitute such as the blood of goats or bulls could ever really appease a Holy and righteous God. The High Priest was unable, in reality, to take away the sins of the people through obeying the requirements of the law. That is why he had to repeat the offerings. Now Jesus, who is our Great High Priest, has come, and through the death of his body, he made the ultimate sacrifice, once and for all, and overcame sin. This victory, is victory indeed. Jesus has triumphed over His and our enemies, and in the process has made us perfect.
A - I can hardly imagine, believe, or be thankful enough, for this enormous gift from God. In daily life, how little we treat sin; intentional or unintentional. Yet God went to such enormous lengths to redeem that sin, through his Son, Jesus Christ. I need to be constantly aware of the cost and the sacrifice of this. This understanding should direct my behaviour, thoughts and attitudes, so that I endeavour to try to sin as little as possible.
P - Father, Help me to be more aware of the extent of your hatred for sin, and the enormous lengths you have gone to to combat sin, through Jesus. Help me to be aware of the incredible gift I have of redemption, and to walk in your ways. Amen.
Daily Readings Hebrews 9&10

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Daily Journal for Thursday 3rd of December 2009

LETTING GOD'S GIFTS BURN BRIGHTLY

S - For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 



O - Fan into flame, Paul says, the gift of God. This may've been his spiritual gift or his calling as a pastor which was recognised when Paul laid hands on him and prayed for him. Whatever it was, Timothy was not to let the smoldering embers go out, but to breathe fresh wind onto the gift so that it ignites into flames and gets stronger. Gifts aren't given fully developed. We need to use them and become more and more skilled in using them. Timothy was to do this facing any fear with courage, having faith in God's power, showing great love and self-discipline.

A - One of the key gifts I've been given is the call from God and from the congregation to be their pastor. I must continue to fan into flame this gift. The other is the gift of preaching. Is it a hugely important gift that can easily be neglected. I must continually fan this gift into flame, so that many, many others will hear and respond to the good news of the gospel.

P - Father, I feel I have a rare responsibility. The opportunity to speak to hundreds of people each week who are coming to hear your voice. Help me to guard this gift and fan it into flame. Amen

Daily Reading - 1 Timothy 5 - 2 Timothy 1

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Daily Journaling for Wednesday 2nd of December 2009

HOW ARE YOU GROWING TODAY?

S - Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 1 Timothy 4:15

O - Paul says to Timothy, "Be diligent!" Persevere with care. Pay close attention as you keep going without giving up. He also says, "give yourself wholly" meaning be totally committed to it, giving all that you have completely to it. To what? To these matters. To what matters? To the gospel, to the preaching and teaching of God's Word, to training in godliness, to setting an example for the believers, to using the gifts God has given to us. Why? So that everyone may see your progress and in seeing this others will follow your example.


A - I must be constantly growing. As a pastor, Paul speaks to me. "Work hard!" "Grow!" He urges me to continually learn and grow in the task of being a pastor. Learn more, read more, pray more. Grow in preaching and teaching skills. Grow in my personally holiness. Grow in the example I set. Grow in the use of the gifts I've been given.

Instead of asking "How are you going?" I need to ask myself each day "How am I growing?" When it comes to my grow how could I be more diligent?

P - Father, thank you for my salvation - a gift given to me through Christ death and resurrection. Help me to be intentional today in growing. May I be so diligent that others see my progress. Amen.

Daily Reading - 1 Timothy 1-4

Monday, November 30, 2009

Daily Journaling for Tuesday 1st of December 2009

GIVE IT OVER TO GOD

S - God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7


O - God is just! He does see when people do evil things. He does notice the violence of war, exploitation of children, the agony of hunger caused by brutal leadership. God is just! He does notice those who trouble me. When people hurt, criticise unfairly, lash out or even willfully try to harm me, God sees. More than that - he will payback trouble on them. They will be judged for the pain and hurt caused. It may not happen now but when Christ comes in all his blazing glory - it will happen.

A - God is just! Therefore, I can leave the issue of "putting things right" when I am troubled by others, in God's hands. "Vengeance is mine" says the Lord. All that energy that I could spend on trying to make sure that I am not unfairly treated can be thrown into working for God and his glory. I can rest assured that God will judge fairly.

This verse is also a challenges to me. How I treat people is seen by God and he'll judge justly. I must always seek to treat others with respect and love.

P - Father, what a good thing it is to know that you are just. You are pure, right, holy. There is no wrong, sin, unfairness in you. I give all my troubles over to your care. Amen.

Daily Readings 1 Thess 5 - 2 Thess 3

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Daily Journal for Wednesday 26th November 2009


SEALED BY THE SPIRIT

S - Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession - to the praise of his glory" Ephesians 1:13b-14

O - Jesus not only died for us but he also was raised from the dead. He not only substituted himself for our sins, but he didn't leave us alone. He gave us His Spirit. This Spirit is "sealed" in us, like a deposit which "guarantees" our inheritance (eternal glory). Can we really grasp the full extent of the majesty, the wonder, the awe and the grace of such a blessing.

A - Every day I want to live my life to the fullest surrender to Him, who has given me, and us, so much. I am alive because of the Spirit that is already in me. But I also want to continue to focus on the fact that I have eternal life with Jesus. This life starts now and continues forever. Praise God!

P- Father how can I thank you enough that you have given us such a gift as the Holy Spirit to come and dwell within us. Help us to honour and deepen our relationship with your Spirit I pray. Amen.

Daily Readings Chapters Galatians 5 to Ephesians 1

Monday, November 23, 2009

Daily Journaling for Tuesday 24th of November 2009

A FAMILY OF FAITH

S - You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26

O - Paul was reminding the Galatians who they were. They were already son and daughters of God. Not slaves but sons. Not those who must slavishly obey a harsh and demanding owner but those who have been adopted by a loving Father whose love is not based on works but on relationship. How did this happen? Simple - through faith in Christ! (see Rom 10:13 & John 1:12)



A - I have put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ. I therefore can agree with certainty that I am God's child - his son. I am accepted not by works but by a loving Father, through faith in Jesus Christ. I will today delight in knowing that I am loved. That this love is not dependent o my actions. I will give, serve, and obey my Father who loves, confident of his unconditional love and the relationship I have with him through faith.

P - Father, thank-you for the privilege of being your Son, of being able to call you "Abba," "Pappa," "Daddy." Thank-you for Jesus. Thank-you that through faith in him I am part of this new family - your beautiful bride - the Church - all one in Christ. Amen

Daily Reading - Galatians 3-4

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Daily Journal for Thursday 19th of November 2009

BAD COMPANY CORRUPTS GOOD CHARACTER

S - Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." 1 Corinthians 15:33

O - Bad company corrupts good character. Being in the presence of people with questionable morals or behaviour, hanging around with them for long periods of time, becoming a companion to somebody who is bad, will have an affect. It will corrupt the godly values that lead to good character.

The fact that most people don't believe this and become friends with whoever is available, is why Paul begins this verse with a strong warning - "Do not be misled." Often our desire to be loved or accepted over-rules our judgement and we follow people who can hurt us, control us and lead us in the opposite direction to where we want to go.

On yesterday's news a group of three men were jailed for beating many people on random attacked over a number of weeks. On one occasion, while one was beating a defenseless man with a baseball bat, the other stopped him and took the bat off. "You're not doing it right" he said and then gave the man the blows which cracked his skull leaving him almost dead.


A - If I feel that God wants me to grow in godly character, it just doesn't make sense to become companions with people who have no desire for that. It would be like going north along the Hume Highway to get to Melbourne! No matter how much I want to get there and no matter how fast I drive, I wont get there. I've started heading in the wrong direction.

I can love these people, show kindness and hospitality to them, and spend time getting to know and help them. But those I am one with, those I hang with, those I give permission to shape and nurture me, I want to be good company not bad.

That's why I need to choose my friends wisely, not marry someone who doesn't know and love Jesus, take seriously my role as a father by lovingly shaping my kids and by having godly character myself and creating a home environment that helps this to happen. That's why I need to be careful about the time I spend and the content I view on television. That's why selecting leaders in the church is so important. They influence others. They must be people who people have great confidence in, not in their skills alone but in their character.

P - God, help me be a man of good, godly character. Help me gather around me a group of people who will help to fan into flame, godly character and not corrupt it. Amen.

Daily Readings 1 Corinthians 14-16

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Daily Journal for Wednesday 18th November 2009

LOVE

S - "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres"
1 Cor 13: 4-7

O - This description of love is so complete, so radical and confronting. Here we have the what and the how of love, as well as the outcomes of love. What love should be? - patient and kind. How does it achieve this? By not boasting, being proud, rude, self-seeking, easily angered, keeping no record of wrongs, not delighting in evil, but rejoicing in truth. The outcomes of love should be, protection, trust, hope and perseverance in love, and love alone.

A - When I am confronted by this beautiful and amazing description of love, I am humbled and ashamed. So often my love pales into insignificance to this description. How I am challenged to be better at loving. I know i need all the strength that the Holy Spirit can give me in order to enable me to love as God intended.

P - Dear Jesus, please help me, by your Spirit to love more deeply and selflessly every day I pray.

Amen.

Daily Readings from 1 Corinthians Chapters 12 to 14

Monday, November 16, 2009

Daily Journal for Tuesday 17th November 2009

STANDING FIRM
S - "So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it"
1 Cor 10:12-13
O - Paul has just finished telling us about the Jews who wandered in the desert for 40 years and died, as they were tempted by idols, immorality and grumbling. I don't think anything in all of mankind has changed. We are still tempted by these things every day. But the scripture here gives a warning and an encouragement. The warning is to not take your faith for granted. To remain standing firm. This is the first part of a familiar scripture to which, the second is often only quoted. God is faithful. He will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear. He will provide a way out for us, but we must stand firm in Him first.
A- How often I am tempted, especially in the area of grumbling. I grumble when I am tired, when I am hurt, when I am taken for granted. Yet I fail to see so often the blessings that God has given me. On Sunday we had an amazing service of Thanksgiving to God, and it reminds us that He is our rock, and that we have so much to be thankful for. Praise God that He is thankful.
P - Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for being tempted in so many ways. Help me to remain faithful and steadfast in you so that when I am tempted, I am reminded of the strength and support I have in you and the faith to overcome. Amen.
Daily Readings from 1 Corinthians Chapters 10&11

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Daily Journal for Friday 13th November 2009


OUR LIVES ARE NOT ABOUT FOOD AND DRINK
S - For the Kingdom of God is not about eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men" Romans 14:17-18
O - Eating and drinking are a joy and one of the most wonderful ways in life to celebrate and connect with people.
As you sit with someone over a meal, you seem to be better able to share and experience real intimacy. It truly is a joy. However, here, Paul has been writing in the context of individual deeply held beliefs about abstaining from certain foods which may be clean or unclean to the person you are with. He is not saying that food and drink in and of themselves is bad, they are not, but he is saying that for some people, the eating or drinking of certain foods and liquids may offend a person's deeply held held belief. In this case, we should be careful what we eat or drink in front of others. He then goes on to say, that in God's Kingdom, eating and drinking is secondary to righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
A - Wow! These thoughts are so revolutionary, as today we live in a world saturated and almost obsessed with food and wine. In many ways these have become symbols of sophistication, wealth and prestige. I was with some refugees this week, and they find it hard to not pray for "daily bread" every day in a real way. Their friend said, "You don't have to pray for this here in Australia". They have learned to live in extreme faith. Our abundance has caused us to lose sight of the important things in the Kingdom of God. Righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
P - Dear Lord Jesus, help us as Western Christians to understand, that although we have so much, we also have so little. Help us to truly honour the important things in life, the things of the Spirit. Help us also to be more generous and to give more our of the abundance we have. Amen.
Daily Readings from Romans Chapters 14-15

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Daily Journal For Wednesday 11th November 2009

HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF GOOD NEWS

S - "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? And how can they preach unless unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"

O - Paul has been talking about the fact that the Good News has become known to the Gentiles as well as the Jews; that God is sovereign, and He desires that all people everywhere would know about Jesus Christ. Then, he says this amazing thing: "How will anyone know about Him, if people do not speak and go!. Previously he said that it is with our mouths we confess, and with our hearts we believe. Why should this amazing news be kept to just ourselves.

A - When I stop and really think about his, I am humbled and convicted. I have the most amazing God who loves me so much and cares deeply for me. I understand what true life is because of Jesus. I understand that there is nothing better in life than to be empowered by His Spirit, and to serve Him. I know that that is truly "New Life". Why should this amazing truth be kept secret? I am convicted in how very irregularly I proclaim the message to others.

P - Dear Jesus forgive me for not speaking out more about you and the life we have in you. Lord Jesus, help me to be a person who takes every opportunity to speak out about your greatness I pray. Amen.

Daily Reading Romans Chapters 9 to 11.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Daily Journal for Wednesday 4th November 2009

THE CHILL OF GRACE

S - "And now compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." Acts 20:22-24

O - There is a spiritual beauty in winter in the Alpine area where we live. We go there many times during the season. There is a quietness, a silence, a majesty, an awe, and and unpredictability that makes the season and the area, at once glorious, and also terrifying. Paul was miraculously saved by the grace of Jesus Christ. But because of his persecution of the believers, earlier, in Acts, Jesus says that "I will show him how much he will suffer for my name" Chapter 9:16 . Grace was costly for Jesus. It seems that if we are prepared to truly follow Jesus, compelled even, there are no guarantees of what life will bring. Paul's life was not easy. There was a "chill factor", to the incredible warmth of grace that Christ showed to him. Paul was forgiven and saved for all eternity to be with Jesus, but his life on earth was not easy. Yes, it was full of glory, but also at times, terrifying hardship. The Gospel of Grace is dangerous, powerful and unpredictable. Incredible that God allows incomplete and broken vessels like ourselves, to handle and be responsible for it.

O - How easy it is to fall into the rhythm of taking grace for granted; believing we understand it's power to save in ways that are appealing and not too confronting for others. Yet grace is completely confronting. It is completely dangerous. I think the scriptures here are saying that there are consequences to being a recipient of the Gospel of Grace. It can be dangerous in your own life, because Christ expects you to respond to it, by sharing it with others in ways which might be inconvenient and uncomfortable. It can also be dangerous and chilling, when we see others receive this grace, when we don't think they deserve it either. Either way, there is an extreme "chill" factor to grace, which we need to "factor" into our thinking. And there is a greater need for us to be prepared to be like Paul, and persevere with the gospel of grace, no matter what the cost.

P - Dear Jesus, Help us all to understand more completely your deeper meaning of grace to us. Help us to be prepared to follow you, no matter what the cost, no matter how hard or uncomfortable it may be. Amen.

Daily Reading Chapters 20&21

Monday, November 2, 2009

Daily Journal for Tuesday 3rd November 2009


PLAYING WITH FIRE
S - Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, "In the name of the Lord Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out!" Seven sons of Sceva a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you? Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding".
O - The name of Jesus is so powerful that both light and darkness respond to it in extreme ways. These Jews were more than likely unbelievers but working in Jesus name. It seems as if they were having success, driving out demons. But, then they cam to a man with a demon who didn't recognize to whom they belonged. It's incredible to think that when we belong to Jesus the demons also recognize and know us. This must be a truth for all believers. These men were playing with fire. They were working in Jesus' name (which was so powerful) yet were not covered by His name. (because of their lack of personal commitment to Him). As a result - they were beaten and overcome.
A - This is a timely reminder of the power of Jesus, and the authority he has given to us as His children. In His name, mighty miracles can be accomplished by ordinary people like me. As a believer even the demons know who Gayle Hill is! As a daughter of the King, and as I remain in him, I am open to claiming the authority I have "in Him". This authority extends to invoking demons to flee "in His name". But it is also a timely reminder of the real power that is at work in the heavenlies, light and darkness.
P - Dear Jesus, help us all to become more aware of the your powerful name in fighting the enemy. Help us to remain deeply within you so we are protected in this battle - in your Holy name, I pray. Amen.
Daily Reading from Acts Chapters 18&19

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Daily Journal for Wednesday 28th October 2009

A STIFF NECKED PEOPLE
S - You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers. You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him - you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it". Acts 7:51-55
O - The context for this outburst came from an amazing man - Stephen - chosen by the twelve disciples of Jesus to tend to the care of the widows of the followers of Jesus. He was said to be full of faith and the Holy Spirit. Stephen seemed to have an extraordinary close relationship with Jesus, as at one time, after being interrorgated by the Sanhedrin, his face was like that of an angel. He explained to the Pharisees and Sanhedrin, the entire story of the Old Testament in relation to the coming of Moses and the giving of the Law. As you read, you are drawn into this, and hear and see God's plan for redemption. The Pharisees and Sanhedrin would have known this story well, and been pleased with the knowledge of Stephen. The story was predictable and expected. Then, BANG! Stephen, one so full of grace and angelic disposition, levels this tirade at the religious leaders. He is essentially accusing them of murder. They are stiff-necked and refuse to hear truth, as their hearts are hardened. Here there is no sweetening of the truth. As a result, they stone him.
A - How often our own walk with Christ seems to flow in predictability and the known. How very rarely do we step out into a place of danger and risk, and really tell the truth. The truth that people are really going to hell if they don't follow Jesus. That we all have blood on our hands, because of our unregenerated hearts when we refuse to hear the message of the Gospel of Christ. That before we came to Christ, we too, were guilty of murder; murdering through lack of faith and disbelief, the Righteous One.
P - Dear Heavenly Father, Help me to be more bold in explaining to people, the whole truth of the message of salvation. That there is grace, but there is also a sobering truth to your message. Help us to become people who are not frightened by men, but to see you, and speak your message, I pray. Amen.
Daily Readings from Acts 6&7

Monday, October 26, 2009

Daily Journal for Tuesday 27th October 2009

POWERFUL PRAYER

S - "Now Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus" Acts 4:29-30

O - This prayer is remarkable in the context of what was happening. Peter and John had been preaching, teaching and healing in public in Jerusalem. Many thousands had come to give their lives to Christ. They had been brought in to face the Sanhedrin and it was noted, that "they had been with Jesus". They were warned not to preach or teach again. Fearing a reprisal against them, the Sanhedrin released Peter and John. Upon returning to their fellow believers they all praised God and then prayed this prayer. The threats of death did not stop them from speaking. The threats of imprisonment did not stop them from speaking. They prayed for more power to perform God's purposes not their own. And the prayer was bold and full of faith. It was a prayer to create change. They also understood fully the source and purpose of this empowerment.

A - That we would pray with greater faith and expectation and for God's purposes more than our own. That we would pray every day to believe that more and more people would come into the kingdom of light and know Jesus. Perhaps we would see (know we would!) greater miracles.

P - Dear Heavenly Father, forgive us for not having an enlarged faith to believe in the power and the miraculous. Enlarge our faith, I pray and help us to hunger for the things of God rather than for our own needs. Amen.

Daily Reading plan Acts Chapters 4&5

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Daily Journaling for Monday 26th October 2009

THE WONDER OF GOD

S - " - we hear them declare the wonders of God in our own tongues!" Acts 2: 11b

O - Tongues of fire had just descended on the followers who were gathered in together in Jerusalem. The day of Pentecost had arrived. The followers were all from Galilee. Yet strangely, as they spoke, they spoke in languages from every country and tribe. The wider crowd of pilgrims who had gathered at Jerusalem heard them and were amazed because they were speaking in their different languages. Such a miracle of God. In fact, the book of Acts chronicles so many miracles performed, this time, not by Jesus, but by his Holy Spirit through his disciples. Even with all the excitement and marvel at the miraculous, it all comes down to one thing, - praising the wonders of God. Raising people from the dead, healing those who are crippled, speaking in strange languages, becoming emboldened through the Holy Spirit; these are all important, but fade into insignificance, in comparison to praise and worship of our amazing God.

A - Many times I think we get distracted, even in church, how the sermon went, what is our strategic plan, how many people attended the services, what needs are there that we have to provide for in the church etc, and we forget the one very important thing. Like Mary, sitting at Jesus' feet, we forget that we are here primarily, to worship and praise our amazing God.

P - Dear Lord of Heaven, Father God, you are a wondrous and amazing God, and we are in awe of you. Thankyou for your majesty and glory and beauty. Amen

Daily Reading from Acts, Chapters 2&3

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Daily Journaling for Thursday 22nd October 2009

DON'T YOU SEE ME? DON'T YOU KNOW ME? DON'T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?
S - "Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, "Show us the Father?" Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?"

O - Jesus was preparing for his death. The death that would bring about redemption for the whole of mankind. He had spent the last three years with Philip. Philip had witnessed the faith, the miracles, the teaching, the healing, the wonder. This was Jesus' time of need. The need to be fully known. And those closest to him were still unable to fully know Him. That He was the complete representation of God, in fact, that He was God, incarnate. All this time, didn't Philip realise who was really with him. Who was eating with him, who was sleeping with him, who was intimate and involved and concerned with every aspect of his life! Even now, at this time, Philip had failed to see the real Jesus, failed to see that He was God, and failed to see his daily presence in his life.

A - How often must Jesus ask these questions of us. Don't you see me? Don't you know me? Don't you know who I am? Even when he is intimately involved and concerned with every aspect of our lives, how often do we acknowledge, or even allow, his presence, which is God himself, to journey with us; to comfort us, to empower us, to perfect us, to challenge us, to.........

P- Dear Jesus, please forgive me for so often causing you to ask these questions of me. I am also like Philip, a child of yours, yet, who so often, lives my life independently from you. Please help me to acknowledge your divinity, you majesty, and your life in my life daily, I pray. Amen.

Daily Readings John Chapters 14


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Daily Journaling for Wednesday 21st October 2009

GOD'S GLORY

S - "Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? "Father, save me from this hour? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!" John 12:27-28

O - Jesus had just finished telling us that we must die to self (a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies), in order to produce a harvest. This is the expectation of a servant of God. Now he applies this teaching to himself. But here, he is talking literally about his physical death ( and possibly his spiritual death, which was the separation from God). How comforting to know that he too, experienced trouble and consternation when considering what lay ahead. Here Jesus has almost a "mini talking to himself " time., wrestling with his humanity and his divinity. But as expected, chooses to continue to obey and fulfil his purposes. And his purpose was not about his life (the seed dies), but his Father's glory.

A - The path to service and surrender to God is not always easy. There is often a huge cost.
The cost of family, friends, rejection, being misunderstood etc. But if we follow Jesus' example, there is a most wonderful result. The God of glory is glorified! Jesus' name is honoured! And others who shun Christ, might just sit up and listen when they see God in us.

P - Lord help me to take this daily challenge of choosing to die to my needs and my wants, and instead to make your purposes my delight and focus I pray. Amen.

Daily Readings John Chapters 12&13

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Daily Journaling for Thursday 15th October 2009


THE SCRIPTURES SPEAK

S - "You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life"
John 5:39-40

O - The Pharisees and the scribes were well read and learned men. They knew the Scriptures and the law. The whole of the Old Covenant with the Mosaic Law foreshadowed the New Covenant of Grace through Jesus Christ. These men would have understood that the Messiah was yet to come. Earlier in our readings we see how the disciples immediately left their careers, family and life to follow Jesus, the Messiah. Simple fishermen were able to understand who Jesus was. They were not able to read the Scriptures. They heard them through the priests, who diligently studied the Scriptures. Here, Jesus challenges those who had advantage and access to truth but were completely blind to his divinity. Not only blind, but rebellious (you refuse to come to me). In contrast, simple men, who were unable to read the Scriptures for themselves were able to see who Jesus was.

A - So often we have so much in our modern era to know Jesus more deeply. We have the Holy Spirit. We have organised religion. We have Bibles and Scriptures in abundance and in every conceivable translation. We can read. We go on to study further through books, commentary's and other resources. We can even read this blog and others like it. We have so much. Yet, are we like the Pharisees, who at times refuse to "come to Jesus", to surrender completely, to make him Lord as well as Saviour of our lives and to live our lives in obedience to his will. Sometimes I wonder if the abundance knowledge about Jesus, leaves little time for real communion with Jesus. This is something we have to watch.

P - Dear Jesus, help me to always see you in the reading of your word. May it never be, that I read the Scriptures for personal ends other than to know you more deeply I pray. Amen.

Daily Reading John Chapter 5

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Daily Journaling for Wednesday 14th October 2009


GOD'S LOVE FOR THE WORLD
S -For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life"
John 3:16
O - We have heard these words so many times. Most Christians can recite them. They have the potential to be the words that just roll off our lips, and yet they are some of the most majestic words ever spoken. In these words, we have the summary of God's character (God is love), who that love is expressed to (the world and all things, including us, in it), the way that love is expressed (by giving us His Son), how that love is accepted (by believing in Jesus), and the outcome of accepting that love ( we will not perish, but have eternal life)
A - If I truly understand all that God is, all that he has done for me, all that I need to do for him, and all that he has for me in the future, I am truly a blessed person, and nothing that I worry about or concern myself about is really of any significance. I am with Jesus now, and will be with him forever. I think of those who don't know God's love, and this makes me more determined to let others know so that they too, will live with this greatest hope and life.
P - Dear God, thankyou so very, very much for loving us to very very deeply. Thankyou for sending your Son so that we can live with you forever. Amen
Daily Reading John Chapters 3&4

Daily Journaling for Tuesday 13th October 2009


THE WORD BECAME FLESH
S - The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth" John 1: 14
O - John has told us that God sent his Son, Jesus Christ as the living Word to us. This Word, which in a sense we feed on, became "flesh". That is, God himself, became fully like us. He lived for a while among us. The God of heaven, the one who made the universe, set stars into space and created the world, stooped to become fully us, and yet remain fully God. "He lived among us"! That is such an extraordinary understanding. Jesus Christ understands what it is like to be us in our ordinary, everyday life. And as a result, grace, (which is undeserved favour and love from God) and truth became our inheritance. The theologian, Donald Barnhouse said, love that goes up, is worship, love that goes out, is compassion, but love that stoops, that is grace.
A- When I think of the marvellous plan that God had, in sending his Son, Jesus Christ to earth for us, and of his amazing grace and truth, which is constantly available to us, I am overwhelmed with awe and gratitude. What other god would do this? Only one that loves so deeply that he would stoop so low to show us how much he loves us. We need to remember this fact above all. God is a God that loves us so much that he would become like us to proclaim that love.
P - Dear heavenly Father, thankyou so much for sending Jesus, he is everything to me and to so many who believe. Oh, if only the world would understand the gift and treasure we have in Jesus. Help me, help us, to continue to value Jesus' gift to us in himself, and to continue to let the world hear and see this gift in your Holy Name. Amen
Daily Reading for John Chapters 1&2

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Daily Journal for Monday 12th October 2009

S- "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen" Luke 24:5b

O - What amazing and deeply assuring words. To all intents, the people that loved Jesus were heartbroken, as he had died. The women were going to the tomb to prepare his body. But her was not there! The tomb was empty. He had gone and instead there were two angels there who spoke to them. Oh Jesus, you overcame death. You defeated death. You died and you rose. This means everything to those who believe in you. This means that we too will never die, but will be with you forever in all eternity. There is nothing more deeply assuring and wonderful. It is also true, that even now, as we live, we are living for you. Those who do not know you, do not realise that they too, are dead. Dead, spiritually.

A- This weekend has been so sad at the loss of Brian McGorlick. But, we also know that we have this deep assurance that he has gone to be with his saviour, Jesus Christ. I cannot believe that just last Tuesday was the last time I saw him, and he is now looking directly at Jesus. In heaven, raised to new life.

P - Dear Jesus, what an awesome and incredible hope we have, that in you, we have eternal life. Thankyou for this gift which gives so much hope and life. Amen.

Daily Reading From Luke Chapter 24

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Daily Journaling for Thursday 8th of October 2009

Lost People Matter

 - "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." Luke 19:10


O - Jesus came to save the lost. Zacchaeus was lost. Caught up in his money and the vastness of it. Yet he wanted to see Jesus. The people heard Jesus say that he must stay at Zac's house and witnessed Zac's glad welcome of Jesus and they thought Jesus was making an error in judgment. "He has gone to be the guest of a sinner" they muttered. But this was no mistake for Jesus came to do exactly this - save the lost. And those who seek Jesus can be found!

A - Jesus still wants to save the lost! He is still wanting his followers to go into all the world and make disciples, to be salt and light. He still wants his church to be a city on a hill for a world lost in darkness. Lost people mattered to Jesus. They still matter to God. They must matter to me too. I will give a book to a friend and do an act of kindness for another today because I want them to be saved because they matter.

P - Lord, help me care and love lost people the way you do and may I be a part of your seeking and saving them. Amen.

Daily Readings Luke 19-20

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Daily Journaling for Wednesday 7th of October 2009


Faith for the Impossible

S - The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you. Luke 17:5-6


O - The disciples found Jesus' teaching about causing little ones to sin and forgiving those who sin against them continually too hard. Their cry was spot on - "Increase our faith!" What is often lacking in my life and in the life of many Christians and Christian churches is a lack of faith. God has asked us to live in obedience to him and sometimes it seems impossible. But with an increase in our faith that God can do anything we can fulfill his commands.

We don't need much faith, even with just a little God can do a lot. Even with a small amount God can do the impossible like uprooting trees and changing lives.

A - I need my faith increased. We had a funeral a few weeks back and I got a number of text messages and emails before the service from people saying "I am praying for you." I heard yesterday how two people sat down in their seats in the packed church and said to each other "We need to pray." And they prayed throughout the service. You can imagine what happened. God used the service to touch many people and change lives!

I need faith to believe that this Sunday as we meet together, God wants to change lives. I need to pray like the persistent widow, with a faith that can move mountains that God would transform hearts. I need to prepare and act in faith and believe that God wants to do the impossible because with God all things are possible.

P - Father, you made the heavens and earth - nothing is impossible. Transform hearts and lives in our city, in our church, for your glory I pray. Amen.

Daily Readings Luke 17-18

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

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Daily Journaling for Monday October 5th 2009


S - Then Jesus said, "What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew, became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches" Luke 13: 18-19
O - Jesus was talking about the kingdom of God when He was referring it to the mustard seed. The kingdom of God starts out very small. It is important to remember this, especially as the world seems to totally ignore the message of Christ. But, it grows! We are led to believe that when this tree or vine eventually becomes full grown, it becomes one of the largest trees known. Then the birds of the air rest in its branches. The kingdom has all the potential to become a haven for those seeking refuge, for those finding food, for those requiring a home.
A - As I ready myself today for counselling at Mustard Seed Counselling and Care, I too, am aware that we have started small, opening one day per week. Yet, already God has blessed this small endeavour. Many lives have been touched by His Spirit. On Thursdays, Robin's group for women from Betty's Place has become a refuge and a home. Mary helps many who are seeking guidance and nourishment. Praise God that He has given us such a wonderful encouragement from His Word to inspire. The kingdom of God will grow here on earth despite humble and small beginnings.
P - Dear Jesus, thank you so much for the wonderful gift of life you give us through trusting in you and trusting in your Word, and sharing the great adventure of kingdom building together.
Amen.
Daily Reading Luke Chapters 13 &14

Friday, October 2, 2009

Daily Journaling for Saturday 3rd of October 2009


Workers Needed!

S - He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." Luke 10:2


O - Jesus says that the fields are ready to harvest and the harvest is plentiful. There are so many people who are ready to hear and respond to the Good News. But there's one big problem - not enough workers! There's few around. Not enough to reap the harvest. So what's the solution? Ask the Lord of the harvest to get the workers and get them out into the field so that the harvest can be brought in.

A - I believe Jesus' words are true for today. There are people all around who are ready to hear and respond to the gospel. The problem is that there are so few who have a genuine relationship with Jesus and are willing to share this with others. There are so few who will go. I must pray to God to raise up a workforce that will go and diligently share the Good News, reap the harvest and bring joy to the Lord of the harvest!

P - Father, send out workers I pray. I want to be one. Send out so many more that our city, our region is filled with workers, reaping a harvest, Amen.

Daily Readings - Luke 10-11

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Daily Journaling for Friday 2nd of October 2009


Taking up Your Cross

S - "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." Luke 9:23


O - This verse is spoken to those who would follow Jesus and this includes anyone for anyone can follow Jesus. Just like the "whoever" in John 3:16 the "anyone" means the invitation is open. But the cost is great. They must deny themselves putting Christ first and themselves as willing servant doing his bidding. And they must take up their cross daily, by dying to self (the old way of living) and living the new life that the cross has brought (new life in Christ).

A - I am a follower of Jesus! Today I will remember my the cost of being a follower means dying to self and living the new life won through the cross.

P - As I spend today preparing for Sunday's messages help me to live surrendered and obedient to you Lord Jesus. Amen.

Daily Readings - Luke 9

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Daily Journaling for Thursday 1st of October 2009


Box Breaking Jesus

S - In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water and they obey him." Luke 8:25


O - Jesus was so much more than a moral teacher. His incredible power caused people to gasp in fear and amazement. He is God with skin on. He speaks and winds cease, waves turn to ripples. Jesus is not tame. He will not fit in a box. He's one like no other. He is God.

A - I must not assume that you can't do anything. If you can stop winds and waves, then you can move mountains. I must have faith that if you are willing, nothing is impossible. I'll pray for radical life change this Sunday AM & PM and believe that you can do it!

P - Lord, you can do anything, yet I cannot box you into my agenda. Please change lives completely this Sunday through the preaching of your Word, the love of the people of God, and your Holy Spirit's power. Move people to wholeheartedly follow you. Amen.

Daily Reading - Luke 8

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fearless by Max Lucado


Fear can overwhelm us!

It has paralysed me on many occasions.

The fear of being insignificant, disappointing God or facing death, can overwhelm us. With the presence of violence, uncertainty and a world that constantly warns us of the worst case scenarios, fear will be always waiting for us to let it overtake our lives. That’s why ‘Fearless’ is such a helpful book. Max Lucado addresses these fears while giving clear practical help in overcoming them. The end result is the real possibility of a life free of fear.

Fearless is full of real situations that I could relate to. There were phrases so well put that I wrote them down to remember them. The stories were told in a compelling way that gripped and engaged me.

Each chapter the author introduced a new type of fear and then led the reader through a Biblical passage that showed how we can respond to that fear. As a teacher Max Lucado has depth. As a story teller he paints pictures with vivid colour. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and constantly felt God speaking and challenging me.

I would highly recommend this great book!