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Everyone is a disciple to something that influences us, and is part of our environment. Who are you a disciple of?A disciple of Jesus is someone who loves, trusts, obeys, and is becoming more like Jesus.There is nodiscipleship without community. As part of the body, we are to encourage one another using the gifts God has given us. This is more than…
 
To understand Christ’s authority, look at the cross. His authority is self-sacrificial and humble, giving rest to the weary. He has come to give us eternal life and rest to the weary, freedom from sin, and Satan, and death. Instead of living our own truth and submitting to our own authority, let us fall down and submit to the kingship of Jesus, who…
 
The first Christmas is historical fact. Some of the first witnesses of Jesus’ birth were pagan magicians, shunned characters that a religious Jew would not have put into their story if it weren’t true. The first Christmas, though predicted by prophets, was still unexpected. He was born in a poor town, slept in a manger, hung out with tax collectors…
 
As Josiah dusts off the book of the law, he realises that Israel has been at war with God. Showing true repentance, Josiah tears his clothes and made a covenant with God, steering an entire nation away from idolatry and back to God, even reinstituting the Passover which hasn’t been kept since the judges. His efforts were so great that Josiah was ca…
 
Jehu was anointed by God to strike down Ahab, the former king who did more evil than any king before him, committing atrocious idolatry with his wife Jezebel. Jehu, directly and indirectly, slaughtered the entire house of Ahab and Jezebel, and all the worshippers of Baal. Idolatry angers God and incurs his righteous wrath. Like Jehu, our world want…
 
Every king of Israel was ranked and measured against one criteria: their faithfulness to God. All that mattered was whether they lived to lead others to God, and to please God, not their military success, riches, geographical expansion, or political influence. Every bad king fell away from the correct worship of Yahweh and to idolatry, which was th…
 
Wisdom without worship is worthless, and kings rise and fall when they lose sight of the wisdom of God, take pride in themselves, and seek to build Eden on Earth through money, sex, and power. Solomon, made king at the age of 12 with the death of his father David, was offered anything by God, and he chose to ask for wisdom. This led him to become r…
 
A mondegreen is a misunderstanding or misinterpreting of a section of a song. In a similar way, many of us have misunderstood the figure of Zaccheus, seeing him as a short man who climbed a tree to see Jesus. Yet, Zaccheus was a rich tax collector, stealing from the poor and giving to the rich. His riches meant that he was corrupt, and had gotten a…
 
When will the cost be too great for you to follow Jesus? Despite having kept the commandments since youth, the rich young ruler had one thing he lacked: giving up his all to follow Jesus. After he walked away saddened, the disciples were shocked and said: ‘who then can be saved?’ To which Jesus says: ‘What is impossible with man is possible with Go…
 
For twelve long years, the bleeding woman was outside looking in. For twelve long years, she was touched by no one. When she reached out by faith to touch Jesus, in hopes of healing, Jesus calls her his daughter, and says that her faith has healed her so she can find shalom. That is, the full restoration of peace with each other and peace with God.…
 
Chaos is the disruption of God’s good design, and the forefront of the darkness in the spiritual realm that is over the world. The forces of evil in the spiritual realm knew that Jesus came to overthrow chaos and the power of darkness. Darkness is also self-destructive, and in the same way that Legion was cast into the herd of pigs and drowned in a…
 
The woman who wiped Jesus’ feet with her hair and tears was a ‘woman of the city’ known to be a sinner and prostitute. Her alabaster flask was her appeal, and once the flask is broken to pour the ointment there is no turning back. Furthermore, a Jewish woman wouldn’t reveal her hair until her wedding night, yet here she was breaking her flask and u…
 
Widows were the most vulnerable of society. When Jesus saw a widow had lost her only son, Jesus had compassion on her, without her even asking for help. He then raises her son from the dead, unafraid of becoming polluted by being near a dead body because Jesus is the source of life.God is never too busy for us, nor is he unable to do the extraordin…
 
The law mandated that the unclean had to live in isolation outside of society, and if they ever came across another person they were to shout their shame and say: “Unclean! Unclean!” Lepers, wherever they went, were unclean outcasts who no one dared approach, lest they too become unclean. Yet, in Luke 5, we see the leper approaching Jesus, bowing f…
 
Jesus, like Moses, is in the desert at the edge of the Jordan river. Where Israel spent 40 years there because they failed to be faithful, Jesus spent 40 days in the desert and persevered. In the desert, Jesus relived the story of Israel and rewrote the ending. The devil wanted to offer Jesus the crown without the cross, to give Jesus the glory wit…
 
In 1st Century Israel, Rome controlled Israel through tyranny. It is a time where Israel felt isolated and hoped for redemption and freedom from political oppression. Simeon was ‘a righteous man who waited for the consolation of Israel’ and didn’t die until he saw the Messiah. Oppression through sin, brokenness, and evil isn’t just out there — it’s…
 
True worship is about approaching God on his terms. Anything apart from that is false religion. The institution of the tabernacle is a microcosm of creation, and of God’s will regarding offerings. The willing of heart (God’s people) bring the resources and the wise of heart (builders) make it happen. God wants us to use our gifts to bring beauty in…
 
In a tent outside of town, God’s presence dwells away from his people as a reminder of what could have been had they not disobeyed in idolatry and their stiff-neck ness. How often do we forget that the prize of heaven is the presence of God? On the mountain, God reveals himself to be firstly merciful, abounding in love, and slow to anger. He is not…
 
Israel’s priests are the mediators between the holy God and a sinful people, representing God to the people and the people to God. They were to stand before the Lord for the people: offering gifts and sacrifices for sins, helping those who are ignorant or astray, teaching the people, and interceding in prayer. In their consecration, the priest put …
 
The tabernacle is the sanctuary of God’s holiness, the place of his absolute morality, perfection, glory, and goodness. As such, because of sin, no one could enter his presence without specific boundaries and rules in place. Even the outer sanctuary was designed to separate the people from God. The sanctuary of our king is full of blue (like the se…
 
We are always ready to accept the terms and conditions for any company we use, but whenever we hear about God’s terms and conditions we become hesitant. Making the terms and conditions a religion is a problem, but wanting a relationship with God without accepting the terms and conditions is like telling your loved one you love them but don’t want t…
 
When we read the Bible, we must remember we are travelling to a foreign country and be good travellers. We must understand the context of the time (the ancient near-east 3500 years ago), and then we can see that God was indeed showing mercy to the vulnerable and oppressed. By Exodus 20, the Israelites were rescued from their slavery in Egypt and gi…
 
Like us, Israel doubted, disobeyed, and were divided. The ten commandments ultimately reveal the heart and holiness of God, as well as the chief goal of our life.The idols we bow down to are never static, and your religion is what you do in your solitude. We are to give our all to God and see the disconnect between what we know, and what we do. Man…
 
Salvation is more than what we’ve been saved from, but what we’ve been saved to. In Jesus, we are loved and adored by God. Yet we are also called to be holy as God is holy. Clearing our debt is not God’s highest aim, it is to make us like Jesus. Before the foundation of the world, God predestined us to be conformed into the image of his son. Lastly…
 
Exodus 18 speaks of a reunion, redemption, and a revelation. Like Jethro, we were not part of God’s people, but now we are brought to reunion with him, through redemption found in the one who prays and intercedes on our behalf to God. For Jethro that was Moses, but for us it is the greater Moses: Jesus Christ the Son of God. The revelation in the d…
 
When the Israelites grumbled, God heard them and answered their cries, but later on they forgot his grace and grumbled again. How often have you complained the moment things don’t go your way, even after God has revealed his faithfulness and grace? Such is our capricious and grumbling nature. When you are anxious, look at the past and remember God’…
 
When the Israelites saw the Egyptians coming, they reframed the past and rebuked Moses for bringing them out to die. In rebuking Moses, God’s representative, they also rebuke God. Though free, they still lived as slaves and couldn't see what they were saved from. When we set our lives on anything but God, we remain slaves. And there is judgment for…
 
God has brought judgement against the gods of Egypt, and now he is facing against the supreme Son of Ra, the upholder of order and destroyer of chaos. On the night when Death passed over the land, every household needed to offer a sacrifice: their firstborn son, or the blood of a spotless, perfect, lamb. To satisfy God's judgement against sin, and …
 
Pharaoh wanted a world without God, so God uncreated Pharaoh’s world, by using the plagues to demonstrate his superiority over the gods of Egypt. Moreover, the Nile had been the place Egypt drowned Jewish babies, so God stopped it from being a source of life; the Egyptians used brick kilns to oppress the Israelites slaves, and from the same kilns c…
 
God empowers the weak, hardens the proud, and defeats the strong. Moses had anger issues, pride, and didn’t take God seriously for most of his life. After murdering an Egyptian who was hurting an Israelite, Moses spent 40 years running away from his problems. Still, God made Moses like God to Pharaoh — empowering Moses as his divine representative …
 
Pharaoh had many opportunities to do the right thing, but he didn’t so his arrogance had cost him his dynasty. God did not force Pharaoh to harden his heart, but rather used Pharaoh’s pride and already hardened heart to enact his plan of redemption. When Moses and Aaron politely but firmly ask that Pharaoh lets Israel go, he sabotages his own econo…
 
After years in the Midian desert, decades from failed attempts at delivering his Hebrew brethren from injustice, Moses is being called by God to become an instrument of deliverance. Moses rightly notes his own inadequacy for the mission, his concerns mounting up to doubting the very Lord commissioning him. Here we are reminded afresh of God’s excee…
 
Down by the river, a baby boy is placed in a basket to escape genocide mandated by the Egyptian Pharaoh of the time. Yet Pharaoh's daughter snatches this baby from the jaw of death and adopts him into the royal family, naming him Moses. An adult Moses stands up for Hebrew slaves by killing the Egyptian, consequently having to flee from Pharaoh to M…
 
The journey to the promised land wasn’t easy. Joseph died and the new Pharaoh that ruled over Egypt didn’t know Joseph and felt threatened by the Israelites, ruthlessly enslaving them to seal his power. Even today, slavery and oppression are still rampant. There are 21 million victims of human trafficking, mostly young girls who are also sexually e…
 
Death by crucifixion was excruciating. After six minutes, the victim can barely breath and for the next few hours their limbs dislocate and their lungs suffer through plural effusion. Not only that, but crucifixion was so despised that when a hgh ranking Roman actor mimed the action of the cross in a play, he received threats of death by crucifixio…
 
Death is humanity’s greatest enemy, but there is one more powerful than death, who has conquered the grave: Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In the midst of sorrow, Easter proclaims joy. In the midst of despair, Easter proclaims hope. In Jesus we find our answer, and we find our hope. Mary Magdalene, who was oppressed by seven demons before knowing Je…
 
Jesus ends his sermon on the mount with a warning about false belief. True belief is about putting what we hear to practice, but we can still do the right things in the wrong way. Jesus warns that many who have even prophesied, cast out demons, and done many miracles will not enter the kingdom of heaven. It's a harsh and confronting warning. How ca…
 
The human heart believes it has the right to defend our actions and prosecute the actions of others. Yet, all have turned away from God and are worthy of judgement because of their sin. We need a righteousness outside of our own, and that is only found in Jesus who died a substitutionary death for us.Jesus then quickly pivots back to his original p…
 
Treasure is more than what's in our wallet, but what's always on our heart. Even those who love money love it for what it can give, not for the money itself. Jesus is saying that money, acceptance, fame, anything else we desire on earth is temporary. We cannot take anything to the grave. How do we find meaning and purpose here on earth? We find con…
 
How you pray is shaped by who you pray to, and Jesus teaches us to pray as children to God our father.When we hallow his name, we acknowledge his name as sacred and worthy of worship. When we pray for his kingdom and will, we pray for restoration, salvation, healing, and peace to spread throughout the world, and in our hearts. When we ask for daily…
 
Jesus spoke with greater authority than the Pharisees and scribes who were seen as the pinnacle of righteousness and biblical knowledge. He rebuked falsehood, deceit, anger, and lust, to give us laws surrounding relationships because he wants us to live a life of truth.Instead of embracing sin, we put sin to death. Instead of harbouring bitterness,…
 
Jesus didn’t come to abolish the law, but to fulfil every letter. The Old Testament shows us we cannot live up to the law and God’s standard, but Jesus having fulfilled the law transforms us to live like him. Righteousness means being made right with God, and this is required to enter heaven. The Pharisees thought their self-righteousness made them…
 
The world tells us we can believe whatever we want so long as we keep it to ourselves. Yet, Jesus says we are to be the salt and light of the world, a city on a hill that cannot be hidden. We are designed for impact, and we are not powerless in the world we live in. If we are to follow Jesus, we are to be salt and light. Like salt, we are to draw g…
 
The kingdom of heaven is a compelling one. The word repeated throughout the beatitudes is ‘blessed’, or makarios. To the Greeks, this meant inner contentment and joy so great that philosophers like Aristotle were convinced only the gods could truly enjoy it. The kingdom of heaven is radically counter-cultural. The world celebrates sin, but Jesus ca…
 
Amidst suffering and turmoil in our own lives and the world around us, the story of Habbakuk encourages us to wrestle with God. We all have a deep-down longing for justice, so we when cry out to God for justice we are recognising God as the just creator, with power to bring justice and mercy. We should trust that judgement will come on the wicked. …
 
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