Wednesday 1 Jul 2020

July 1: Matthew 13:47-50

Key Verse: Matthew 13:48
When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away.

Devotion:
I wonder what the people thought of Jesus when He compared them to various things, from animals to plants and more! I’m sure there were quite a few people who could not quite get their heads round what Jesus was saying at times – but each time this happened, He would sense it and offer some sort of explanation if it was required. I think the disciples got this one quite quickly because many were from a fishing background and understood what happens to the catch when it is sorted…

This may sound a bit harsh to us nowadays because we are so insulated from the reality of where food comes from and what is required to deliver that food from the source to our plates, or freezers! Jesus wanted them to understand the gravity and finality of what was going to happen, so He used their own lives to describe it.

When the gospel message goes out to the world, it does not get selected for the few who know Jesus at the time, it goes out to everyone who is near at the time. Some of those people are not going to want to hear it whilst others don’t know they need to hear it. The net goes down and scoops up everyone who is there at the time. But not everyone is going to be selected from that net load because some will still not believe and some will still not want to know.

When it is time for the net to get drawn in, when it is time for Jesus to come back to take us home, there are going to be people who are caught up in the net but do not believe or do not understand. Jesus has the task of sorting out the fish on that final day and He will go about His task with due diligence, without bending the rules and without making exceptions just because we kick off a bit!

Points to Ponder:
Have you told the people near you about Jesus?

Do they know it will be time soon for Him to return?

Tuesday 30 Jun 2020

June 30: John 21:15-19

Key Verse: John 21:16
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

Devotion:
How often does your loyalty get called into question? If you are like me then it is probably quite often because I seem to do silly things without thinking of the consequences and end up  upsetting people without wanting to. But there are a couple of things these verses remind us of...

I think the first one is that our actions are going to have consequences. No matter how careful we are about doing things, there will always be someone who does not agree with the way we do things and points it out at some stage. Whether this is good or bad is going to depend on what we are doing! But, as Jesus was reminding Simon Peter here, so He reminds us every day as well. We say one thing, but are we following what we say up with what we do – are our actions the same as what we say they should be?

Jesus knows our hearts and knows what we are capable of. He asks us to stretch ourselves when we do things for Him, but He knows we are capable of doing those things before He asks – we may not think so… He has carefully selected each one of us for the things He has planned because He knows what has to be done. If we are going to be the ones saying ‘here I am, use me’ then we need to live up to that!

The second thing we are reminded of here is our own commitment to Jesus. We may say we believe. We may say we care. We may say we love… but how much of that bears fruit in our lives? How much of what we say does happen? Jesus made sure each promise which came out of His mouth came to pass and He continues to live up to those promises. He did not say “I promise to...” but simply spoke the words and we can take those words as promises. Why can’t we be more like that in our lives? Why can’t we just tell the truth and mean what we say?

Points to Ponder:
Do you bend the truth sometimes?

Do you know God sees the actual truth all the time?

Monday 29 Jun 2020

June 29: Ezekiel 34:11-16

Key Verse: Ezekiel 34:16
I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.

Devotion:
In the Western world we have all seen the results of people rejecting bad authority, fighting for justice and generally doing things their own way; there is a whole lot of chaos, disruption and even danger for the people involved just because they got carried away with their own thoughts and wants instead of sticking to the way of justice. Now I am not saying we need to obey our governments words if they are wrong, and believe me we have seen our fair share of governmental blunders this year… We need to strive toward real justice and real authority.

God continues to keep His promises! We read about some of those promises given to the prophets of old and I am personally amazed at how these continue to come true no matter what we get up to in our minds and hearts. Christ promised to be our Good Shepherd and we have seen how He can do this when people listen to His instructions. Sheep will listen to the shepherd because they have learned that is where the safety is… mankind doesn’t seem to get that!

In this passage our Lord promises to look for us in all the wrong places we get into, to rescue us from those dark times, deep pits and general confusion. He promises to watch over us and keep us safe. He promises to give us rest and a richer experience if we follow Him, just as sheep would follow a shepherd.

One of the aspects we often look over are the snippets we can draw from these prophets as they interpreted the word of God for us. One thing which caught my eye was how we are promised our own land, just as God delivered the Israelites into a new land, we too are promised a new land where we will be able to live in true justice and peace. I look forward to that day; in the mean time we work toward that goal!

Points to Ponder:
Do you expects things to be done for you?

Or will you work hard to help the Shepherd?

Sunday 28 Jun 2020

June 28: John 9:13-23

Key Verse: John 9:16
Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.

Devotion:
Jesus did cause quite a stir wherever He went, not just because He was performing miracles or because He was telling people the truth about God, but because He was doing so when and where the help was required. Too many times we get caught up in the when and where and lose focus on the what and the whom for. Jesus was always focused on the whom for and He was willing to do what it took when it was required!

Now, if we were to do things more in the way Jesus did them, we too would find a barrage of people willing to speak up against us because we dare to do what is right! People are too entrenched in the ways of their lives and lose focus on who they are serving; and yes, as Christians we too are guilty of this because we get too caught up in what our church should look like instead!

One other thing we tend to lose focus on when we focus on our church or our own lives is what Jesus can do! The Pharisees refused to believe Jesus was the Messiah and limited Him to being a prophet, this would give Him authority to do some things, but He would have to keep within their laws – something Jesus was not willing to do. We need to free ourselves from the restrictions of what we think should happen and allow Christ to show us what can happen when we give Him the proper authority due!

When we impose our ways and our limits, we are also imposing limits on the people we are trying to free. When we limit Jesus in ways we can understand, we are limiting the faith of the people around us to what we can explain in human limitations. God is not limited by what we can understand! We need to change to expect more from God so the people around us can see more of what God can do!

Points to Ponder:
Do you limit your belief?

Will you free your faith to grow to Jesus’ proportions instead?