Reflection on Luke 19:28-40

Scripture

They replied, “The Lord needs it.”

Observation

It is the day celebrated by the church as Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week and of the events of Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Jesus sends two disciples ahead with instructions to bring a colt that they will find in the next village. If anyone challenged them, they are to say, “The Lord needs it.”

So they bring the colt, and Jesus mounts it to ride into Jerusalem. The whole crowd of Jesus’ disciples shout praises to Him along the road.

The Pharisees don’t like this so they tell Him to keep His disciples quiet. But Jesus replies, “If they keep quiet the stones will cry out!”

Application

Jesus told His disciples that if anyone queried their taking of the donkey, they were simply to say, “The Lord needs it.”

It is enough for a christian, when faced with a need to say, “The Lord needs it.”

This is not to justify stealing cars in Jesus’ name, just because we are lacking transport.

If the Holy Spirit tells us to meet a need then we should do it without thinking.

This includes:

  • our possessions
  • our money
  • our time
  • our energy
  • our prayers

Whatever we have that the Lord needs we should give it up instantly.

We like to remember that God provides for us in our times of need. There are many testimonies about God’s provision. Rarely do we recall that God usually uses someone to bless us in those times.

Following Jesus means that He owns us and all that we have. Everything we own- including life itself- is a gift from the Lord anyway.

What is the Lord needing from me today?

Prayer

Holy Spirit, please release generosity in my heart so that when you say, “The Lord needs it,” I respond with joy. Amen.

Reflection on Philippians 2:5-11

Scripture

And every tongue [will] confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Observation

Jesus Christ is God but He did not hold on to that position. Rather He gave up all His privileges and all His glory to be come a human being- a man of humble status. He lived as God’s servant all the way to the cross.

Because He humbled Himself, God raised Him to the place of highest honour and gave Him the name above all names.

At the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Application

Jesus became a human being and lived for the glory of God. He died a horrifying death on the cross for our salvation. Because of this, He is honoured by the Father.

The day will come when Jesus is recognised as Lord by every person, every angel, every demon, every authority and power. For some, this confession comes willingly and joyfully. For others it is reluctant and begrudgingly.

On Palm Sunday, when the Pharisees tried to stop the street party, Jesus aid, “If the people stop praising me then the rocks will praise me.”

The whole of creation is involved in this wonderful song of praise to God. It is only sinful people who refuse to join in. But one day this will be changed, and every part of creation- the unseen and the seen- will honour Jesus.

What a privilege it is to be a part of this, to be amongst the forerunners in this anthem of praise.

In just over a week’s time we celebrate the mystery of Easter. This shows God’s great love for us in defeating sin on Good Friday and death on Easter Sunday. Let us always live in praise for these great victories.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, every tongue will confess you are Lord. You are the true King and the only Lord. Help me to make my life a constant hymn of praise. Amen.

Reflection on Philippians 3:1-14


Scripture

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in death, and so, somehow, to attain the resurrection from the dead.

Observation

Paul tells us to rejoice in the Lord. We must also be on the lookout for those who infiltrate the church with false doctrines, and who would try to seduce us back to religious deeds.

Paul was a “Pharisee of Pharisees”, as righteous as as anyone could be in the Jewish religion. But he counts it all as loss compared with the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ.

Now he pursues Christ, giving everything up for the sake of following Him. He has not yet reached the goal, but forgetting all that is past, He presses on towards the prize Christ called him to.

Application

Paul is passionate, some would say obsessed, about knowing Christ. His whole life was dedicated to this purpose. He was pressing on towards the goal, letting nothing hold him back.

Paul wanted to know the power of Christ’s resurrection. This is the new life power, giving birth to salvation in all who would turn to Christ in humble repentance.

Paul also wanted to know the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings. He was not afraid to take up his cross for the sake of the gospel. Whether he lived or died, it was all to the glory of God.

Christians have a huge advantage over our opponents. If we have died to ourselves and learn to see our lives form the perspective of eternity, then there is nothing that the world can take away from us, no suffering that can cause us to stumble.

When we do that, having poured out our lives to serving our Lord, then we attain the resurrection of the dead. We will hear the Lord’s approval, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

Prayer

Lord teach me the power of the resurrection and the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings. May I embrace both as they come my way. Amen.

Reflection on Isaiah 43:14-21


Scripture

For I am about to do something new

See, I have already begun!

Do you not see it?

I will make a path through the wilderness

I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

Observation

The Lord promises to send an army against Babylon. The Babylonians will flee in their ships, but Israel will cross the wilderness to go home.

The Lord brought His people out of Egypt through the Red Sea. He made a dry path and then frowned the Egyptian army.

This is nothing! He is doing a new thing. He will make a path through the wilderness and create rivers in the wasteland.

Application

God was about to do something new. He is the God of new things. We get caught up in the old things, and it is important to remember God’s past deeds, but we do not have to live there.

The Israelites escaped when God made a dry path through the wet place. Now He promises to provide a wet path through the desert.

We need to be looking constantly for the “new thing” God is doing in our lives or else we will miss it.

If we need a dry path to take us to His promise, then He will make a dry path. If we need places of refreshment to bring us home, then He will provide them.

With God, the “new thing” is always the thing needed now that allows us to get to the place He has called us to.

Whether it is parting the sea or watering the desert, He will provide the new miracles for today.

In Israel’s first wilderness experience, the Lord provided manna every morning. It was fresh every day because, as the prophet Jeremiah wrote centuries later, “Your mercies are fresh every morning.”

Let us seek God for today’s grace, not clinging any more to last year’s miracle.

Prayer

Lord, you are constantly doing “new things” in my life. Help me to carefully listen to your Holy Spirit for today’s “new thing.” Amen.

Ann Voskamp” How to Give up “Devotions” & Look God in the Eye (Or: How to Walk 130 Miles with God for Lent)

A very powerful message from Ann Voskamp about the power of the Bible.

When you first meet this guy named Joshua, you’d never know that he’s been in the mouth of a lion.What do you say to a man who’s walked out of the mouth of a lion? Only to give his entire life to the Lion and the Lamb?

You’d never have the faintest idea that lion teeth slammed down on his waist while he was just a kid sleeping out in the wilderness with his herd of goats.

Clenched between the incisors and canine teeth of the lion, Joshua found himself dragged into the bush, braced to be ripped apart for a pulpy nocturnal feast for the beast.

And in the split second that the lion dropped the mangled boy to get a better grip, the kid’s barking dog lunged in between the lion and the boy, growling and snarling, holding the lion at bay until near-by goat herders snapped awake and dragged the barely-alive Joshua out of the lion’s deadly reach.

Esther Havens for The Seed Company
Esther Havens for The Seed Company
Esther Havens for The Seed Company
Esther Havens for The Seed Company
Esther Havens for The Seed Company
Esther Havens for The Seed Company
Esther Havens for The Seed Company

The boy lived to become a scarred man. What do you say to a man who’s walked out of the mouth of a lion? Only to give his entire life to the Lion and the Lamb?

“Why?” I ask Joshua standing there in the wilderness, holding the reins of a camel. “Why — give your entire adult life, nearly the last three decades of your life, to translating the Bible into the language of your people?”

Joshua leans forward. “It is like giving them a weapon.” He points to a tree where women in these stacking rings of glorious, rattling beads are gathered under its branches.

“One of those women told me said “Now you have given us a weapon that we can use. Which is God’s Word. It’s like you have given us a spear that we can use to fight a spiritual warfare.”

Because you have to beat back your lion attacks, because “your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Joshua holds up a Bible.How would everything in this tilting world stand stronger if the Word of God laid more open for us than closed?

“This is — powerful. The weapon is God’s Word. Now, we can be equipped. But the problem is now — we need the other bigger part of the weapon. The Old Testament. We also need the Old Testament.”

Read the rest of this article here

Reflection on 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Two young businessmen shaking hands


Scripture

For God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting their sins against them. And he gave us this message of reconciliation.

Observation

Paul says he has stopped judging other people by human standards, because he once judged Christ this way. Now he knows that anyone who is in Christ is a new person with a new life.

This is God’s gift. God reconciled the world to Himself in Christ. And He has given us the message of reconciliation, making us ambassadors for Christ.

Application

In Christ, God reconciled the world to Himself. God took the first step in bringing us back to Him. He sent Jesus into the world to become our Saviour.

We were the ones who needed reconciling to God, not the other way around. God’s love for us never faltered even when we our sinful desires took us far away from Him.

God is still in this process of reconciliation. His grace never stops calling people to come back and enjoy Him. Nobody is too far away to escape God’s love, except through the hardness of their own heart.

It is not just about Jesus and me. God has given us the message of reconciliation. We have been given the task of showing the world that God is for them and not against them. It is like a good virus that spreads from person to person changing sinners into saints as they receive the message.

Now we are ambassadors for Christ. We live in a country that is not our own, for our true citizenship is in heaven. We live as representatives of the kingdom of God, advocating, speaking and acting on behalf of Christ.

Prayer

Thank you Lord for calling me back into fellowship with you. As your ambassador, I am tasked with representing you in the world. Please equip me and empower me to do this well. Amen.

Reflection on Luke 13:1-9


Scripture

“No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish too.”

Observation

Jesus learns that Pilate has murdered some Galileans as they were offering sacrifices in the Temple. He tells the crowd that they did not die because they were more sinful than others. No, everyone must repent or they too will perish.

He then tells a parable about a barren fig tree. The landowner tells the gardener to cut it down because it is a waste of space. But the gardener suggests they give it another chance. They can leave it in the ground, give it extra attention and more fertiliser, then if it still fails to produce they can cut it down.

Application

A week ago a man entered two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand and went on an evil killing spree that has shocked both New Zealand and its neighbour Australia.

Many things have been said and written, some of them helpful and others not so helpful. Some have demanded tougher gun laws, others have pointed out the hypocrisy of the media that gloss over Islamic terrorism while obsessing over this incident.

Jesus says that it is not important to think about whether any particular group of people is more sinful than others, or who is more worthy of judgement.

We must all repent, every one of us, and turn away from our sins. Otherwise we too will perish.

These events come as warnings to us, reminders that we too will die and face God.

It doesn’t matter whether we are less sinful than others whom we might want to judge. What matters is our own relationship with Jesus.

Turn away from your sins today and ask Jesus to forgive you. Make Him Lord of your life, seeking to follow Him in all you do.

Prayer

Today, Lord, I give up on judging who is the worst sinner. I recognise the sin in my life and I ask you to take it away. I choose to follow Jesus, and I ask for your grace to do that. Amen.