Sunday, January 31, 2010

Daily Journal for Monday 1st of February 2010

How to Be A Disciple

S - Then he (Jesus) called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." TNIV Mark 8:34

O - There was a crowd which means there were lots of people. There was a call that Jesus made to them, "Come follow me!" There was a cost - it cost everything. Deny yourself means to cease making yourself the object of your life and actions. To take up your cross was to live as someone condemned to death and required to carry the beam of their own cross to the place of execution. Following Jesus required total surrender. Not everyone was willing!

A - How hard we find it to deny ourselves. I find it difficult to let go and surrender to God. How hard it is to die to self and to do whatever the Father says. The Pharisees had turned faith into rules to earn God's approval. As a pastor, help me to never try to control you or tell you what to do! I want to spend all of today remembering, that I am your servant. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Jesus you live in me.

P - Father, I want to do your bidding. What ever you ask of me I will do. I want to serve you, be your disciple and follow you, today, tomorrow, and for all of my days. Amen

Daily Reading - Mark 8

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Book Review

Finding Purpose Beyond Our Pain by Paul Meier, MD & David L. Henderson, MD

At 14 years old I was told that I was failing every subject and that I would need to find a new school. After the first year of Bible College I opened a report card that revealed I had failed three out of my five first year subjects. Looking back, what I learnt from those experiences I wouldn’t change for anything.

In life we will face pain – it’s inevitable. But what if rather than seeking to avoid pain at all costs we actually sought to discover a purpose in the pain we face and use it for good. This book helps you do just that. Drs. Meier and Henderson address the major causes of pain in our lives. Injustice, rejection, loneliness, loss, discipline, failure and death are the universal experiences we all face which cause us pain.

I gained a greater understanding of the responses of those I meet with in pastoral ministry. The content comes from a rich Biblical basis and I was able to grasp the teaching and apply it to my own setting. There were many illustrations from the lives of real clients which I found compelling.

This book offers hope to those who are trying to make sense of pain. I would gladly recommend it to those wanting to grow in the midst of pain and discover God’s purpose beyond your pain.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Daily Journal for Thursday 28th of January 2010

Jesus is Here!

S - He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. Mark 4:39

O - Jesus speaks and a furious squall becomes completely calm. In the stillness of the calm, while everything was so completely still, Jesus asks, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" and the disciples ask who is this? Jesus is Lord! He is in control. In the middle of the storm he is the one to look to. I must have faith.

A - There are times in my life where the storms rage. I can so often look at the waves, complain about the winds, worry about the rain. How much energy I would save by just taking it to Jesus. Christ is Lord! He is in control. He left the empty tomb. He conquered sin and death. Today I will ask for Jesus' help in my storms. Today I will trust him with the future with faith.

P - Father, I do have faith. I have faith in Jesus. I trust you Jesus. I look to you in the storms of life. Amen.

Daily Reading - Mark 4

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Daily Journal for Wednesday 27th of January 2010

Being in God's Family

S - Then Jesus looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother."  Mark 3:34-35

O - Jesus here points to those around him - those seated, listening to every word, those ready to obey - and says, "Here are my mother and my brothers!" He explains that those who do God's will are in the same family, God's family. In John 15:14 Jesus said, "You are my friends if you do what I command." God is building a family. A family that will last forever. Those who accept the words of Jesus and obey are part of God's family, and this family are more significant eternally than even our own families here on earth.

A - My family are those who love and obey Jesus. How can I love, encourage and build up God's family today? Who do I know that is standing for God in obedience, trusting him, living the Christian life, that I could encourage? So many young people are taking significant steps of faith in their lives. So many older people are making faith-filled decisions. Today I will give thanks for those who are in my spiritual family and seek to encourage those I see doing God's will.

P - Father, thank-you for saving me. I am your child. Today I will celebrate and acknowledge that each person I meet who loves and obeys you is part of your family and part of my family. Amen.

Daily Reading - Mark 3

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Daily Journal for Friday 22nd of January 2010

Really Loving Others

S - 'For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'                                                       Matthew 25:35-36

O - Jesus is teaching what it will be like when the Son of Man returns. He will reward people for the things they have done and the people's response will be, "When did we do that?" "We didn't know!" It will be the things we didn't do for a reward - things that flow out of a heart that has been changed by God. Things that love and serve others, the least. That's what we'll be rewarded for!

A - Who do I know who is hungry, thirsty, a stranger, needing clothes, sick or in prison? Those that come to mind now I will write down and put in my diary for the coming week to visit or call or give to. I'll seek to show God's love to these people in the coming week.

P - Father, help me show your love to people so that they realise that they are precious to you. Help me really love people like you do. Amen.

Daily Readings - Matthew 25

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Daily Journal for Thursday 21st of January 2010

Being Good With What You're Given

S - "So who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns."                                                           Matthew 24:45-46

O - Jesus was addressing those who were living in an environment where the religious leaders were not feeding their people. They were not living what they were preaching. They were laying a heavy burden on the people (see Matt 23). Jesus was saying to those religious leaders, there is a master God and you are his servants. If you are a leader of others be faithful and wise. Why? The master is returning! Little did they know that they were talking to the Master!

A - I am a leader of God's people. I live in a time when there are a many leaders who try in many ways to be famous, or become rich, or gain recognition. This passage challenges me to feed the people. For me today that means to complete the administration task I have so that I can get stuck into the study of God's Word so that Sunday's message is clear, practical and God-breathed. I must use my time effectively today and everyday so that when Jesus returns I am found to be faithfully caring for his servants.

P - Father, while the people of Haiti suffer so terribly, may I use this day, this time, where I am, free to work, think and live life to the full, for your glory and for the benefit of your precious servants. Amen.

Daily Reading - Matthew 24

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Daily Journal for Thursday 7th of January 2010

Friends Indeed

Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, "Take heart son; your sins are forgiven." Matthew 9:2

O - Community is so important. In this verse it meant the difference between forgiveness and healing for a paralyzed man. That some men brought him was a feat in itself. People who were physically challenged in Jesus day would have found it extra difficult to find community. The looks, the stares, the likely need to beg would all put this man on the outer. Yet a group of men cared more about him than his disability. They saw a person. They saw a person of value and carried him to Jesus.

A - Today so many people can feel worthless, left-out, on their own. Whether it is a physical disability or a feeling of not being attractive, or a fear of rejection, feeling of loneliness or any other barrier, a small group of people who will look past the external can help enormously. Small group of people who will accept you for who you are, love you without judgement and help lead you to Jesus are better than 1,000 friends on Facebook!

This year I will intentionally help support and our Samll Group Ministry Leader facilitate the growth of small groups in our church. I will seek to enable the small group of staff who meet together each week to be a place where we can help love and led each other closer to Jesus. I will continue to meet with my two mentors who help me journey with Christ. I will also seek to help lead others this year by intentionally mentoring two or three younger men preparing for future ministry.

P - Father God, thank-you for community. Thanks for small groups who love us in spite of what we might see as obstacles and who help lead us to your feet. Amen.

Daily Reading - Matthew 9

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Daily Journal for Wednesday 6th of January 2010

Demons Flee!

S - When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: "He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases." Matthew 8:16-17

O - Jesus drove out the spirits so simply - with a word. And Jesus healed all the sick. Jesus is Lord - the demons knew it. Even the effects of sin and living in a fallen world are easily made right in the presence of Christ. Jesus is Lord!

A - As we lift up the name of Jesus by surrendering to him, worshipping him as Lord and Master, crowning him King in our lives, Satan and his demons must flee. No need for a big song and dance, but we should expect people who have been engaged in witchcraft and the occult to be set free.

P - Thanks Father God that you are sovereign. Lord Jesus, have your way in my life and in the lives of people in our church. Set them free by your power. In Jesus name, Amen.

Daily Reading - Matthew 8

Monday, January 4, 2010

Daily Journal for Tuesday 5th of January 2010

Persistent Prayer

S - "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Matthew  7:7

O - Ask, seek and knock are all Greek present imperatives which means "ask continually" "seek and keep seeking" "Knock and continue to knock." What this verse is teaching is that we are to persist in prayer. The promise that goes with it is that it will be given, I will find, the door will be opened. God rewards persistent prayer! My Pa knelt at 82 years of age and wept as he was baptised. Gran had been praying for him since they first became friends and more than 60 years later Pa's resistance gave way.

A - I am praying for the healthiest church in Australia. I long that we would read God's Word, pray, worship, love, serve, grow and share our faith with joy. I pray that for my marriage and for my children - that we would be able to thrive while firmly grounded on the Rock.

P - Father, you are my Rock. I pray that you would hear and answer my prayer. I pray that your church in Wodonga would grow in health as right across our family we become more and more like your Son, Jesus. Amen.

Daily Reading - Matthew 7