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!    

Daily Journaling for Wednesday 30th of September 2009

Saving Faith

S - Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace." Luke 7:50

O - The woman had lived a sinful life. She came to Jesus with perfume and tears. She loved Jesus. She was forgiven of her many sins. Others despised her. Thought it was terrible that she touch Jesus. They were forgiven little for they saw themselves as having little to be forgiven for. Jesus says that the difference between to two was faith. Her faith saved her was what Jesus said. It seemed that both had sinned only one realized it and came to Jesus.

A - Faith saves. My own faith that acknowledges my many sins and believes that Jesus can forgive them is what causes me to come to him. The realization that Jesus has forgiven my sin and given me new life causes me to love greatly Jesus my saviour. I will praise Jesus and thank him today for forgiving me. I will seek to express my love to Jesus today because I believe by faith that I am fully forgiven!

P - Thanks Father for sending Jesus. You have forgiven me and I am very thankful. Today I accept by faith your love and forgiveness. Amen.

Daily Readings Luke 7

Daily Journaling for Tuesday 29th of September 2009

S - "Do to others as you would have them do to you." Luke 6:31

O - This verse is so well known. It makes such sense too. Here Jesus teaches us what we all know deep down we should do. I hate to be treated badly. I want to be appreciated, respected, loved, listened to. That's what I want so that's what I should do to others. This is the heart of what it means to be a servant. To think of the other person's needs and what they would want you to do to them and to then do those things, actually honours the other. Do this shows that I value them and see them as a person of worth, made in God's image. This thought reminds me of Philippians 2:4-5 'Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.' This was just what Jesus himself did by leaving heaven, suffering and dying for us so we could be forgiven and really live.

A - How can I serve others more? I'm 40 years old. What will I give the rest of my life to? I will I love God and love others, while seeking to lead a church where God transforms lives. I will preach so that those who hear and respond thrive! These things are what I would love done to me. In my family I will love my wife how I know she would love to be loved, and my kids I will spend time thinking how I can treat them how I would have loved to be treated as a kid. I'll spend time intentionally thinking about specific changes I can make as a result of this verse today.

P - Thanks God, for your Word which constantly challenges me to live differently. Give me the strength, courage and wisdom to do to others as I would have them do to me. Amen.

Daily Readings Luke 5-6

Monday, September 28, 2009

Daily Journal for Monday 28th of September 2009

Preaching the Good News

S - But he said, "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent." And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea. Luke 4:43-44

O - Jesus said, "I must preach." The way he communicated the message was through preaching. The content of his preaching? The good news of the kingdom of God. That God had acted by sending his Son and whoever believes in him, becomes part of his kingdom, for eternity. This news was to be preaching in many regions. He kept on preaching and preaching. That's why he was sent!

A - What an example for me. I am called to preach. It's the most important task I have to do as a pastor (apart from loving God and my family). I must preach good news! I must preach so that everyone can know about the kingdom of God and respond. This week as I preach AM & PM services I will devote myself afresh to giving my best to these messages for God's glory so that lives might be transformed.

P - Thank-you God for calling me to proclaim your good news. Help me to remember the absolute importance of this call and to give it due priority this week. Amen.

Today's Readings Luke 3-4

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

Daily Journal for Thursday 24th September 2009

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. Perhaps the most ostracised group of people in the world. Certainly the most poorest, most abused, and most disempowered of the genders. But Jesus dares to show that He, God himself, thinks women are special and are important. And so allows her, this outrageous woman, to show extravagant love to Him. 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 foretell 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 take particular notice of those who don't.
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

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Daily Journal for Wednesday 23rd September 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. Amen.
Daily Reading for Mark Chapters 12&13

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Daily Journal for Tuesday 22nd September 2009

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 realized 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 disciples 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 (difficulties, 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

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Daily Journal for Monday 20th September 2009

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

Daily Journal for Sunday 20th September 2009


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

Daily Journal for Saturday 19th September 2009

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

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Daily Journal for Friday 18th of September 2009

If I Just Touch Him

S - When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed." Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. Mark 5:27-29

O - She believed that if she touched Jesus she'd be healed. She touched his cloak, and she was healed. She knew it. She could feel it. She was full of faith and Jesus was willing.

A - Jesus still heals today. I must believe it. But there is sickness all around. He doesn't always even though he's able. I must not get discouraged when he does not heal. But accept that there are unknowns about the 'why' Jesus heals one and not another. I must continue in steady faith - Jesus heals!

P - Father, a dear man died this week. We longed for you to heal him. It's been a real tragedy. Help me to keep believing in your mighty healing power even when you choose not to heal some I pray for. Amen.

Daily Reading - Mark 4-5

Daily Journal for Thursday 17th of September 2009

What Gets Jesus Angry?

S - He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, "Stretch our your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus. Mark 3:5-6

O - Jesus gets angry! He gets deeply distressed. The words here describe an intense feeling of deep anger and anxiousness. What makes him feel this way? Stubborn hearts. The hearts of those who search for reasons to accuse and judge people for minor issues when the actions they are doing are very good. Legalism, judgemental attitudes, looking down on others and making finger-pointing accusations, all make Jesus very mad.

So what's Jesus' response? He does the 'very good' anyway. He heals even though he knows he's going to get opposed and hated more. He will not be dictated to and intimidated by those who claim superiority because of their legalistic behaviour.

Their response? They make plans to kill him.

A - Jesus models to me that I must do what's right even if people criticise or judge me for it. It is always right to preach your Word, to reach lost people, to show love, to care for the poor, to help those unfairly treated. If I get opposed for do what God wants, I must not be concerned or pull back. I must do it anyway!

P - Lord, may I live my life today before an audience of one. I want to please you and you alone. Help me stand firm on you word no matter what. Amen

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Daily Journaling for Wednesday 16th September 2009

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

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Daily Journaling for Monday 14th September 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 who are 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 everlasting life. Amen.
Daily Reading - Matthew 26

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Daily Journaling for Sunday 13th 2009

Loving the Least

S - "The king will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:40

O - Jesus says in this parable, that whenever I feed the hungry, give a drink to the thirsty, welcome a stranger, clothe the needy care for the sick, and visit those in prison, I've done it for Jesus. How I treat the needy and the least of these is how God will treat me.
A - As we care for a couple of children in the third world, I'm challenged too to think of those in pain and suffering here in our church family. How I care, how we as a church care for those struggling is so important. I am also challenged to help those in our community, suffering domestic violence, job loss, financial pressure.
P - Father, help me to always remember that those in need are made in your image. My genuine love for you will be seen in my care for them. Help me love. Amen.

Daily Reading - Matthew 25

Daily Journaling for Saturday 12th of September 2009

Jesus is Coming - Suddenly

S - "...and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man." Matthew 24:39

O - Yesterday I listened to George Bush's speech the day the 9/11 attacks occurred. It came suddenly. No-one expected it. You wish someone had noticed. If only someone had been able to prevent them. The Tsunami that occurred on December 26th 2004, off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, happened without warning. We all wish that some-one had known and could have warned the people so that they could move to the high ground.

Noah knew and he built a boat but the people ignored him. They were marrying and eating and drinking as though they had so much life ahead to enjoy yet as Noah and his family got in the ark they didn't know it but they were about to die.

This passage says that such an event will happen. Many will be surprised like then. They'll be caught out. So the Bible says to keep watch, to be ready.

A - People need to know that Jesus will return. They should be warned and encouraged to get ready. The big difference between this event and the other tragedies is that those who trust in Jesus will be safe. Those who don't will be caught out and will face judgement.

My whole life's purpose is to help people come to know and trust in Jesus. How am I do in that? How can I be more effective? In light of the fact that it could be any time am I urgent in my prayers, in my sharing?

P - Lord, help me be ready when you return, and help me be found feeding your servants and helping those who don't know the good news of the gospel. Amen

Daily Reading - Matthew 24

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Daily Journaling for Friday 11th of September 2009

Humble Yourself

S - "The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." Matthew 23:11-12

O - Jesus spoke against teachers of the law and Pharisees because they didn't serve. They didn't practice what they preached, they placed heavy burdens on people, they acted so people could see them, they loved being given places of importance and being seen and noticed. They found pleasure in being called "Rabbi" and "father" and "teacher." They loved to feel important. They didn't serve and they didn't humble themselves.

A - I am so thankful that I am called simply, Jonathan. I think Baptists are good at honoring their leaders but not putting them on a pedestal. Not "priest," "reverend," "father," just plain old Jonathan. Of course I am called a pastor but that is more describing my role not a name to address me by. I don't wear a robe. I am not the only one who can preside over communion, read the scriptures or preach. In fact my role is to teach, lead and empower others to serve God. My role is to serve! I must remember this and always seek to simply humble myself and serve.

P - Lord, thank-you for the joy of serving you today! May I practice what I preach and serve wholeheartedly. Amen.

Daily Readings Matthew 22-23

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Daily Journaling for Thursday 10th September 20009


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 over the 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 ll 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 recognize and respect the Son of the Landowner. And they do recognize Him. That 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, so very few do.

A - Oh how my hearts 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 me, and redeem me. Amen.

Daily Reading; Matthew 20-21

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Daily Journaling for Wednesday 9th of September 2009

First Will Be Last

S - "But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first." Matthew 19:30

O - There is a reward coming for those who have put God first over money, family, and power. There is a time coming when those who have sacrificed will be given a hundred times as much and eternal life. But, and it's a bug but - many who are first will be last. There's many surprises in store. I see in these two chapters the need to come to Christ as a child, to treat children or those without power with love and respect, to no hinder their growth, to forgive and forgive again and again, to take seriously the commitment to love in marriage even when it's hard, and to put God first not money.  These are what it means to be last. We come surrendered to God, as a child. Not like pious religious people who think that they can earn their way to God.

A - God wants me to be last, to come as a child. I need to always remember that God is sovereign and I am not! He is Lord, and I am a helpless child. Any good in me is because God is good. Today I will seek to see others as those who are precious. I will serve the vulnerable, forgive, love, and live as last. Starting this morning and right up to tonight with my family help me serve with loving thankfulness.

P - Father, you have forgiven me an enormous debt. I am so thankful. Today help me live as your thankful child, dependent on you, and doing your bidding. Amen.

Daily Reading - Matthew 18-19

Monday, September 7, 2009

Daily Journaling for Tuesday 8th of September 2009

Two Worlds 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

Daily Journaling for Monday 7th of September 2009

Balance and Boundaries

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 insolitude I pray. Amen

Daily Reading - Matthew 14-15

Daily Journal for Sunday 6th of September 2009

 Hearing and Understanding

S - "But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."Matthew 13:23

O - Hearing God's word and understanding it leads to growth like a seed in good soil. The benefits of reading, understanding and responding to God's word are much greater than would first appear. What initially doesn't seem to make a great difference, springs up as an unusually productive harvest.

A - As I read God's word and slow down to listen and hear what God is saying to me there will be growth. As I seek to understand what I am applying to my life there will be growth. I will keep reading the Bible each and every day. I will keep applying it to my life, being soft, good soil for a harvest.

P - Father, thank-you for your word, the Bible. Thank-you for speaking to me as I slow down to listen. Lord, I will make time each day. Bring in my life a harvest for your glory. In Jesus name, Amen.

Daily Readings - Matthew 13

Friday, September 4, 2009

Daily Journal for Saturday 5th of September 2009

Words Matter

S - But I tell you that men will have to give an account on the day of judgement for every careless word they have spoken. Matthew 12:36

O - Words matter. They matter so much to God that we'll have to give an account for every word that we've carelessly spoken. That's going to take some serious time in my case! Fortunately I know that Jesus died to forgive me and that I have no condemnation in Christ. I think that if there is judgement still for Christians it will be seeing my careless words and then rejoicing in Christ's forgiveness. I'll be declared guilty but forgiven - punishment paid in full by Jesus.

A - Words matter. I must be careful how I speak today. I will use my words to build up, to say sorry, and to make promises I will keep. I will use my words for good not evil. Today I will live with the heightened awareness that God hears each word I speak and they matter.

P - Father, thank-you that I can speak words. Help me speak words for good today. Amen

Daily Readings - Matthew 12

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Daily Journal for Friday 4th of September 2009

Share What You Learn

S - "What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the rooftops." Matthew 10:27.

O - Jesus was teaching his disciples, preparing them for ministry. He was teaching them about who he was. What they learnt from him they were to proclaim, what they knew about Jesus they were to share. They weren't to be afraid even of those who could kill them. Rather they were to be bold, proclaiming it for all to hear.

A - God is still speaking to his disciples today. I am one of them. What Jesus says to me through his word, I am to share. I will help others by taking the truth of who Jesus is, to share the wisdom I learn from his word, and letting others know what he's taught me. I must not accept what so many say, "Keep quiet, that's your opinion, keep your views to yourself." I will simply share. I must not just loudly and rudely shower people with words. I am just to tell them what you are really teaching me about you.

P - Father, thank-you for speaking to me. Help me listen well, put it into practice and encourage others as I share who you are! Amen.

Daily Reading - Matthew 10-11

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Daily Journal for Thursday 3rd of September 2009


S - "For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me - and they praised God, who had given such authority to men" Matthew 8:9;9:8b

O - This Centurion Solider would have had many men to lead and also leaders he would have reported to as well. It seems as if he really knew his position within the whole cause of furthering the Roman Empire's kingdom.

God is incredible that He should "gift" authority to us all, but in this gifting there is a recognition that there will be others with greater authority - to which we acknowledge and honour and there will be those who will have to recognise that perhaps we have greater authority and responsibility than they. The challenge is understanding our rightful position and embracing it and honouring those with greater authority and serving those with less. At the same time praising God as together we work for one cause and that is to further God's kingdom.

A - I need to keep before me the tension and balance of joy and challenge as I continue to honour those with greater authority in my life 0 and also rejoice in the challenge of continually serving those to whom I have greater authority over (and to actually accept the authority that God has given me!), so as the kingdom of God is built up. How important it is to never move beyond your rightful position and take advantage of this.

P - Dear Jesus, what an awesome thing it is that you would give such authority to man. Teach me and correct me when I either don't embrace this authority as you give - or use it in ways that usurp its influence. Amen

Daily Reading - Matthew 8-9

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Daily Journal for Wednesday 2nd of September 2009

Hearing and Doing

S - "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock." Matthew 7:24

O - Wise people build their house on a firm foundation. When the rain and winds come and beat against the house it does not fall. Wise people hear the words of Jesus, the words of God in the pages of Scripture and actually do what it says. They stand firm on God's word. When hard times and testing comes, they don't fall.

A - I must hear the words of Jesus! Reading God's word and reflecting on it needs to be a continued daily habit. This is crucial if I am to stand in the tough times, in the hard times. But more than this, I need to do what it says. I need to respond with my mind and my feet! I feel challenged today to actually help more and more people hear your words and put them into practice. In the way others have helped me, I want to help others hear your word and act everyday.

Today I will spend time specifically thinking about how I can, how we as a church can, help people hear & do more and more.

P - Father, thank-you for your Word. You have helped me stand through so many tough, difficult and stormy times. I promise never to let your word depart from my hearing. I will also seek to act on whatever you tell me to do by you grace. Amen.

Daily Reading -Matthew 6-7