Thursday, February 25, 2010

Daily Journal for Friday 26th of February 2010

Just Doing My Job

S - "So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'" Luke 17:10

O - Jesus instructs his followers to do their duty, to be faithful in service, obedient to the instructions given, and trustworthy in getting everything done - and then don't ask for a medal! Why? Because you've really only done what everyone should do. Don't think you should be fussed over for doing what you're asked.

A - The fact that today, many people don't do what they say, don't finish a job, don't turn up on time, don't stay till knock off time, should not make me think that just because I actually do those things I deserve recognition because of it.

So many people have a misplaced justice streak. "I have done all of this and that is the thanks I get?" Many who have felt unloved or not valued in their family of origin can grow up getting hurt or upset when people don't appreciate them enough. Often the reason they try to do a good job is so that people will love and value them.

The key is that I am to do a great job whether I am thanked or not. If I recognize that ultimately I'm working for God and his glory I can know he sees and notices even if no-one else does. Just doing what you've been asked with excellence should be my desire no matter who I am working for!

P - Father, as I do many tasks today, help me to do them joyfully and with excellence. Holy Spirit, prompt me to do what my employer requires to the best of my ability regardless of the thanks or absence of thanks. And in all this may you be glorified. Amen.

Daily Reading - Luke 17

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Daily Journal for Thursday 25th of February 2010

How to Use Wealth Best

"I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings." Luke 16:9

- Jesus had just told a story about a manager who had acted shrewdly because his time was running out for him in his role. So he acted in a way that leverage his relationships and win him friends so that after he had gone people would think well of his and maybe even help him if he was down. He used was he could shrewdly for his advantage.

Jesus says that people of the world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than people of the light. Just like the shrewd manager - we are facing a final day when our lives end. Time is running out. Instead of hanging on to our resources as though there is no end, we can use it to help others in need, those in debt, those really struggling. They will be helped greatly and when we do die we will enter into eternal dwellings and many people we meet will be very thankful to us. The greatest way we can help others is to leverage our resources so that people are helped and ultimately come to know Jesus. This way they will enter eternal dwellings in heaven too and be forever grateful.

A - How am I using my wealth? Building it up or investing it for eternity in people's lives? Am I using it to help others or saving it for my comfort? I love how our church is helping people in need. I heard two stories yesterday, one family gave their car away to a person who needed one and a small group took it upon themselves to help buy groceries and provide money for petrol for a mother and son in need. I want to do that kind of thing more often too!

P - Father, help me to be wise - even shrewd with the way I use my resources so that others are helped and become my friend and friends with Jesus! Amen.

Daily Reading - Luke 16

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Daily Journal for Wednesday 24th of February 2010

Everything I Have Is Yours

S - " 'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.' " Luke 15:31

O - The older brother had been 'slaving away' for years, never disobeying his father's orders. In his mind the father had never given him anything. Yet the father's response is, 'everything I have is yours.' How could the son have gotten it so wrong? Instead of not giving him anything he had given him everything. He was slaving to get the father's stuff when the father had longed for him to know that he was his much loved son and because of that there's nothing that he had to slave for - it was already his.

A - 'See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called Children of God!' (1 John 3:1). Jesus told the story in Luke 15 as a warning to the Pharisees who judged others and tried to control God by doing good and demanding blessings from him. I must never get mixed up in my motives. My acts of kindness are not to be done to earn God's favour, but rather, because God has shown me favour, not to gain God's stuff but because God has given me everything in him. I have received the Father's love, grace and mercy through Jesus death and resurrection. The Holy Spirit empowers, strengthens, and lives in me. I have everything! Today I will delight in serving my generous Father!

P - Thank-you Father. You have loved me and given me a glorious inheritance. Receive my service that flows from my knowing and experiencing your lavish love! Amen.

Daily Reading - Luke 15

Monday, February 22, 2010

Daily Journal Tuesday 23rd of February 2010

Counting the Cost

'Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won't you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, "This person began to build but wasn't able to finish." ' Luke 14:28-30

O - There's a cost to being Jesus' disciple. Like building a tower I have to estimate the cost. "Jesus doesn't want people to make a blind naive commitment to him" (Notes in TNIV Study Bible). This would be like saying "I want to build but I can't afford to pay." So many people begin to follow Jesus mistakenly thinking that it's not going to cost them in any way. What could go wrong? How can it be anything but sunshine be ahead? The problem is that when tough times actually come (and they do come) the way we respond has a great deal to do with whether or not we have counted the cost. If we have, these times, often, are the very events and struggles that build strength in our lives and help us stand firm for the long term.

A - When I face difficulties, when I experience temptations, when I grow weary, I want to remember the great foundations that have been laid and all that God has done in my life in the past. But more than that. I want to remember that being Jesus' disciple is costly and that tough times are expected (in fact essential) in building a strong tower. I will see them as just part of the cost of following Jesus.

P - Father, you gave your Son so that I could be your disciple. It cost you greatly. May I live with great thanks and with eyes fixed on you as I build my life on you.

Daily Reading - Luke 14

Monday, February 15, 2010

Daily Journal Tuesday 16th of February 2010

Love that Flows from Forgiveness

S - "Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven - as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little." Luke 7:47

O - The way this woman expressed her great love for Jesus was evidence to Jesus and to all that she had received forgiveness and had truly experienced what it means to no longer be condemned but be completely clean. This happened when she put her faith in Jesus (v 50), the only one who can forgive us of our sin.

A - Is my life filled with thankfulness, praise and overwhelming joy for what God has done for me? When I am not so thankful is usually when I have forgotten the  incredible grace and undeserved favour I, a sinner, have received from Jesus. Today I want my life to be seen by all as filled with love for the one who saved me.

P - Father, thank you for sending Jesus. Thank you for saving me, for forgiving me. I want to live for you in response to your love. Amen.

Daily Reading - Luke 7

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Daily Journal for Monday 15th of February 2010

The Strength that Comes From Obedience

S - (Jesus said) "As for those who come to me and hear my words and put them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundations on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it because it was well built." Luke 6:47-48

O - Those who hear Jesus' words and put them into practice, begin to live the kind of life that is unshakeable in the storm. Why? Because when their lives are hit with grief, illness, disappointment or mishap they are living right with God, they know he's in control and they trust him.

A - As a pastor, these words are a great challenge to me. I read, study and meditate on God's word every day. I preach and teach from God's Word. I am blessed to know what it says. I must always seek to do what it says. The more I do the stronger I will stand during the tough time which will certainly come. What do I need to do today in obedience to Gods Word?

P - Father, thank-you for the Bible. Help me obey it today in all I do. Amen

Daily Readings - Luke 6

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Daily Journal for Wednesday 10th of February 2010

Growing Strong In Spirit

S - And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel. Luke 1:80

O - John the Baptist was prayed for by his parents even before he was conceived. These loving, godly parents and their influence on John must have shaped his early years. He lived in the wilderness, perhaps after his parents (who were already old), died. That experience too must have shaped him. But in all these circumstances this phrase stands out to me, "the child grew and became strong in spirit." He could have grew and became wicked but he didn't. Influences and circumstances can make it easier or harder but in the end John had to choose to live for God and grow strong in spirit.

A - As a father, I too have an enormous opportunity to influence my children. I will either be a great influence or an influence that makes growing strong in spirit difficult. This is the same in regards to my influence with young men and women in the church.

I need to live today in a way that will help and not hinder the young "John the Baptists" around me, but rather influence them so help them grow 'strong in spirit.'

P - Father, I pray for my children, for the youth in our church, for the young adults. Help my influence to be one of great encouragement so that they may not be hindered in growing strong in spirit.

Daily Reading - Luke 1

Monday, February 8, 2010

Daily Journal for Tuesday 9th of February 2010

Not Control - Worship!

Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, "Who will roll away the stone from the entrance of the tomb?" Mark 16:2-3

O - They were worried about a real problem. They wanted to anoint Jesus' body but there was a stone. The stone was big and heavy, they were not strong enough to move it. Who would help them move the stone? Nothing could have prepared them for what they found.

A - The tomb was empty! Christ has risen! And important for me, Jesus is coming again. He will return. I know I will be surprised. I know I won't be completely ready for the amazement of what lies ahead and what I witness.

I am reminded today that problems might not be as big as I anticipated when God is involved.
I am reminded that God can answer any prayer and turn a situation around completely.
I am reminded that the one true God is a God of surprises!
I am reminded that I cannot control God therefore I will simply worship him.

P - Thank-you Father for empty tombs, for miracles, for wonderful surprises. I'm keeping my eyes wide open today to what you might do. Amen.

Daily Reading - Mark 16

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Daily Journal for Monday 8th of February 2010

Why Have You Forsaken Me?

S - And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" (which means "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?). Mark 15:33

O - Jesus had been nailed to the cross at 9am and at 12 noon darkness came over the land. At 3pm he cried out in a loud voice just before he died. The pain of his cry shows the depth of what Jesus was experiencing. Not only was the pain excruciating, but the guilt, the shame, the dirt and filth of all the sin of the world on this sinless Son of God was overwhelming. The holy God could not look on the Son, Jesus expressed the pain of feeling that God had forsaken him, left him on his own. God the Father whom Jesus the Son was one with, felt so far away, God had turned his face away from the Son and now Jesus experienced the pain of being cut off. 

But what in fact was the hardest moments, were in fact what makes Jesus the Saviour of the world. God knew what Jesus was accomplishing and out of despair came forgiveness, reconciliation and everlasting life for all who would look to Jesus. 

A - Sometime I don't know why I experience the things in life that I do. Sometimes the suffering around me and in this world seems to make us wonder why God doesn't step in and change the circumstances. God can seem so distant. But he knows what is going on. He can take the most difficult, despairing circumstances and turn them into reasons for hope. I must remember that I see only part of the story and for the parts I don't see I will trust that God knows what is going on. Even when I feel forsaken, God has promised never to leave me.  I can trust he is in control. 

P - Father, help me live my life surrendered to you and your will. For times when I don't understand help me to remember that you know and you are with me even if I feel you are far away. Thank-you for Jesus death and resurrection and for the forgiveness, hope and new life it has brought to my life! Amen.

Daily Reading - Mark 15

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Daily Journal for Thursday 4th of February 2010

Prayer not Exploitation!

S - And as he taught them, he said, "Is it not written: 'My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it 'a den of robbers.' Mark 11:17

O - God's heart is that all people would hear the gospel and be given opportunity to respond. Black, white, red, brown, yellow, all people are welcomed to the house of God! The church is diverse - old and young, rich and poor, new believers and mature Christ followers. But it is the forgiveness and grace of our God and the call to live in a prayerful communion with him that unites us. People who don't know God can think that it is about works, religion, power and the use of the house of God for their own ends. Control, manipulation or exploitation was never God's desire for his church. In fact Jesus shows disdain for what was supposed to be a diverse community worshiping and praying to God. He overthrows table, stopped people carrying goods through the temple. God hates it when leaders misuse power to control.

A - I must remember that the church is God's. He has called people from every nation, forgiven them, shown them his love, grace and mercy. As a pastor, my role is to help people know, love and pray to the Father, to model it in my own life and to never use or abuse or control people in the process. It's God's house not mine. It's diverse. It's for prayer not exploitation. Prayer is deep, joyful, free communication with God, through the Holy Spirit and in Jesus name.

P - Father, I pray for our church. That our leaders would be servants of you. That we would serve diligently yet not think that gives us a right to claim the church as ours. That we would never seek to control, exploit, bully or abuse but rather love, encourage and model the joy of participating with God's people in the practice of prayer! Amen.

Daily Reading - Mark 11

Monday, February 1, 2010

Daily Journal for Tuesday 2nd of February 2010

Jesus says "Stop setting limits on me!"

S - "If you can?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for one who believes." Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" Mark 9:23-24

O - Since childhood a father had helplessly watched his own son suffer. He had witnessed the demon seizing his son, he had felt inadequate and overwhelmed as the boy convulsed, being thrown toward a fire, or into water, trying to kill him. To a desperate father who had faced the problem every day, Jesus' questioning of the man's willingness to believe might seem harsh. But Jesus is calling him to have faith that God can do anything - even heal his son. By saying, "Everything is possible for one who believes," Jesus is showing him that the question is not whether Jesus could heal (he could), but rather, does the father have the faith to believe it? The TNIV Study Bible adds, "A person who truly believes will set no limits on what God can do." The father's response is beautiful! "I do believe," (ie 'I have a little faith, just a small mustard seed sized kind of faith). "Help me overcome my unbelief." That was enough!

- Jesus wants me to have faith, to believe, to not set limits on what he can do because everything is possible. I have needs. I have longings. So many people I know would find life so much more manageable if they were healed from their sickness and oppression. I believe that I need to increase my faith in my prayers for these people. I need Jesus to help me overcome my unbelief.

P - Father, I believe you can do anything but I believe it only a little. Grow my faith, help me keep praying, help me overcome my doubts.

Daily Reading - Mark 9