Thursday 4 Nov 2021

November 4: Luke 15:8-10
Key Verse: Luke 15:8
Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?
This parable has always puzzled me a bit – why did Jesus use a parable about a person who would go searching for a coin. I know silver coins back then were worth a bit more than our coins nowadays, but we could look at it as being a tenth of a week's wages or something like that. Let's expand on that a bit more – what happens when you are in a bit of a bind? You probably tell someone about it in the hope of getting some sort of help, or sympathy!
We would then go about searching high and low for the money we have lost so we can at least get by for the week like we would normally do. If we do find the money, we may well tell the people we told about losing it in the first place. If those people knew how much we depended on that money, they would be sad and happy when we lost and found the money.
Sometimes we have to put things in the light of some worldly example or possession so we can begin to understand how much we mean to God. Each time one of us wanders off or is lost, God becomes upset and goes on the ‘hunt’ for us. The hunt is going to be a bit different that looking for lost money because we are the ones who have to do the turn-around. God does indeed search for us, but we are the ones who need to respond to the calling so we can be found.
Just think how much easier life would be if the possessions we lost called out to us to be found! Just think how wonderful it is for God when we do call out to Him to be found!
Points to Ponder:
Would you like your possession to call out to you when you go looking for them?
Will you call out to God when you have an issue?

Wednesday 3 Nov 2021

November 3: Romans 13:8-10
Key Verse: Romans 13:10
Love does no harm to a neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.
As the apostle continues to expand on how Christians should behave to the Romans, he also explains the evolution of love. Jesus taught the disciples how important love was, not just toward God and your friends and family, but toward those we do not think of loving in our normal discourse of life.
After explaining how the Romans should continue to obey the law and the governing authorities (something we do second guess when we don’t agree with the governing bodies) he explains the only debt people should owe is to return the love Christ has showed us by loving others because this is what Jesus commanded!
A reminder of the commandments from the Old Testament is talked about because the Jews would have taught these commandments as being the centre of their lives. Jesus did not come to overturn these laws, but to expand on them in ways which we like to think makes sense nowadays, but which did not come naturally to the Jews. Because of their differing lifestyles from the more liberal Romans, the Jews could keep their private lives because they could blame the Romans for their liberal lives.
What Christ teaches us, however, is to uphold the love for one another as being the logical conclusion of the law of the Torah (The Old Testament scriptures) If we love each other as Christ commanded, then we will live up to the Torah as well as going a bit further like Jesus did during His mission on earth. He came to show us how important love is in our lives; to love God with everything and to love the people around us just as much as we love ourselves.
Points to Ponder:
How many Old Testament commandments do you remember?
How many of those are a logical conclusion of loving others?

Tuesday 2 Nov 2021

November 2: Romans 12:4-8
Key Verse: Romans 12:7
if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;
Before I went to school, I can remember wanting to be a train driver when I grew up. In primary school, that changed to a pilot – because my Dad was a pilot. As I went through high school it changed to wanting to design aeroplanes which probably came from me designing, building and flying my own model planes; but it was the things like designing a new aerofoil (the shape of the wing) so my gliders could glide further than others. When I got to university and went through all the training to be a plane designer, I could not get a job after qualifying – so I looked elsewhere for work.
That is how I ended up programming computers for a living, which led me back to church and finally into youth work for church and charities. If I had listened to some people as I grew up, I would have gone into teaching and been in youth work a whole lot earlier than I did – but it is often the whole journey in life which prepares us for the work God wants us to do and not just being in the right place at the right time!
God has created us all differently. Each of us has different ways of thinking, behaving and living which makes for a more complete community. If we were all the same, our communities would suffer and probably fall apart; but because we are very different, we can work with others or for others and become a better and stronger community.
God just wants us to do what we do well. He wants us to love our neighbours and Him and be able to do whatever we end up doing well. If we can share God with those around us as we do our jobs, all the better. If others can see we love God through the way we work, even better still! Encourage others to find God in everything they do...
Points to Ponder:
What do you do, or want to do, for a living?
Do the people around you know you are a Christian through the way you work?

Monday 1 Nov 2021

November 1: John 11:32-37
Key Verse: John 11:33
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.
What goes through your mind when you read this story? What went through your mind when you read it for the first time? Did you wonder why Jesus had not hurried and saved Mary’s brother if He knew what would happen? Do you wonder why Mary got so upset? This story should provoke emotions deep within you!
Mary had had to say goodbye to her brother even though she had already called for Jesus – messengers had probably already been back to her to report Jesus was delayed – not because He had some other urgent thing to do, but because He simply said so!
What was going through Jesus' mind when He got there – what was He feeling? The only thing we know is He was upset enough to cry openly. People saw how upset He was... But what was He upset about. We can speculate and we can come up with stories based on what we know about Jesus, but we cannot know exactly why!
I like to think He was upset at what was unfolding around Him. He could see how upset others were. He could see how upset Mary was with Him. He could see people beginning to doubt. All of these things are valid and all would upset Jesus, maybe even enough to cry out loud. But put them all together and we begin to understand why Jesus was upset.
Points to Ponder:
Do you always try to not upset God?
Are you doing something little which may add to upsetting God a little?