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And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. Luke 22:19-20
Lord, help me to remember, that my freedom and my eternity and my life were purchased by your body and blood, by your death i have life, by your punishment i have forgiveness.
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.” Romans 5:1
THEREFORE, SINCE we are justified (acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). Romans 5:1 AMP
Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. Ephesians 3:12
In Whom, because of our faith in Him, we dare to have the boldness (courage and confidence) of free access (an unreserved approach to God with freedom and without fear). Ephesians 3:12 AMP
“He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” Ephesians 1:7
In Him we have redemption (deliverance and salvation) through His blood, the remission (forgiveness) of our offenses (shortcomings and trespasses), in accordance with the riches and the generosity of His gracious favour. Ephesians 1:7 AMP
God himself was pleased to live fully in his Son. And God was pleased for him to make peace by sacrificing his blood on the cross, so that all beings in heaven and on earth would be brought back to God. You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent. Colossians 1:19-22
*** more communion thoughts
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." Luke 2:8-14
what a night that would have been.
the angels came and heralded the birth of the messiah, the saviour they were all waiting for, to simple, probably uneducated shepherds.
the angelic host came and sung concert for shepherds.
shepherds huddling around a fire, talking about their day, watching their flocks by night. unwashed and rugged, working the land, working with the sheep. low in social class, overlooked, rejected. their testimony was regarded as false and worthless. they were unwanted in the synagogue. working class. ordinary people.
and God chose them to be one of the first to know that their Messiah was here! alive! born! revealed!
why did God choose these men? what was it about them that created this opportunity? i don’t believe it was just random.
perhaps it was because they would protect the Son of God and his identity, not seeking personal gain or their 15 minutes of fame.
perhaps it is because they were men of simple real faith and expectation, instead of the religious men of their day who exalted God with their lips but denied Him with their hearts.
perhaps it is because God has a heart for shepherds… abraham, isaac and jacob were shepherds, as were king david… and his Son, the Good Shepherd…
God intentionally bypassed the religious and the rich and the noble, and choose to reveal His Son to the outcasts and the ignoble. the rejected and ignored.
in a way it turns things on its head. God didn’t some to the religious or the spiritually obvious. He drew near to ordinary men. Ordinary men out doing their manual labour jobs. The least expected. And God draws near to us too. He isn’t reserved away for the elite or the rich or the personality plus people. He draws near to ordinary people, with ordinary lives, in the dirt and darkness of life and reveals the splendour of His reality and love and grace.
When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us." When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. Luke 2:15-18
the shepherds had this amazing encounter with an angelic choir – and then they went, and put their faith into action, by finding the child they sung of.
They responded in faith. they went and found Jesus. they responded with action, they went into Bethlehem to find their messiah. they left their sheep at night and went to find the baby the angels sung praises to. they interrupted their lives to go and find Jesus.
what did they do next?
go back to the fireside for a cup of coffee?
out to McD’s for a big mac after a big day?
home to bed?
no they went out and they spread the word. they told people. they overflowed with excitement. they couldn’t contain it.
The shepherd’s response to this amazing experience – the angels, the worship, the saviour – was to worship God, to praise Him for what He had done, what He had done unexpectedly for an undeserving people.
how often do we take for granted the amazing things that God has done and is doing in our lives and the lives of those around us. i want to have the same enthusiasm and gratefulness that the shepherds had. i want to let my life be a witness to the reality and love and grace of God.
there is a well known saying: God doesn’t need your ability, He needs your availability!
the shepherds were available to God. and faithful to the revelation they were given.
they were not limited by the people’s perception of who they were, or their own insecurities (i’m JUST A shepherd) – but they went out and they found the messiah and then they went and told the good news.
i wondered how their lives changed, from that point on. if they looked out for evidence of Jesus growing up, if they were there for the sermon on the mount, if they followed him in His ministry. did they recognise Him as the promised saviour? did they live out a more faithful devoted life?
How awesome: the first people told about the salvation of God arriving are the shepherds. Many of them raised lambs which would be used in sacrifices at the temple for people’s sins. And now here is the Saviour of the world: the Lamb of God, for all people. He would take their place. No more need for innocent lambs to be sacrificed. And they became the first prophet-preachers to tell others the saying which they heard, spreading peace, good will toward men. youversion note
Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. Luke 1:8-11
i love this. by LOT Zechariah was chosen to minister in this special role. by CHANCE.
but with God there is no lots or chance – He determines our steps and promotes us to positions of privilege and revelation at the moments He orchestrates and organises. This was no accidental choosing of a priest, it was a divine appointment by God, a divine moment of encounter for Zechariah and his wife and future family.
Be confident and assured that God has your life in His hands, just as He had Zechariah.
“Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:30-33
we often read the bible with sanitised eyes. we know the Christmas story. we know about the angel Gabriel. we know away in a manger.
but the reality was that this news would have rocked Mary’s world.
she would be pregnant. and unwed.
shamed. rejected. shunned.
would Joseph stick by her? her mother? her friends?
what would people think?
what would she do?
but her response is one of faith and trust.
God had chosen her for one of the most amazing missions on the planet, ever.
to carry His Son to term, birth Him and raise Him, love Him, nurture Him, provide for Him.
Mary found favour with God. God chose her for this immense amazing task. And He would be with her.
and we see how God outworked His favour in her life…
nothing is impossible for Him
with Him all things are possible
He replied, As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there. They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. Luke 22:10-13
when you read the above passage in luke it may seem COOL that it all played out as Jesus said. that in order to find the upper room for the passover, and later the room where the Holy Spirit came into like a rushing wind on the day of Pentecost, they had to follow a man carrying a jar of water. simple. ordinary. but in those days it was not the custom of men to carry water jars. that was women’s work. sometimes in order to position ourselves for God to use us we have to humble ourselves and be obedient – even to the point of losing our reputation or looking “ridiculous”. did the man feel a nudge to get the water? did his master feel led by the Holy Spirit to send his servant out for such a task? we don’t hear the backstory. but we see one man, obedient, humble, ordinary, been used by God for a divine appointment. in that room, that the man led him to, was the last supper. where the disciples hid. where jesus appeared and revealed Himself alive. where pentecost happened. destinies changed in that room. the church was born. history made. and it all begun with one man carrying a water jar.
what is your water jar moment?
is there something God is leading you to do – that may seem ordinary – but that He has planned for extraordinary outcomes?
"Extraordinary moves of God begin with ordinary acts of obedience." – Steven Furtick
totally loving multigrain toast at the moment. is delish uber hot with melted butter!
elevation church somewhere in america has just finished a brilliant series called TREATMENT, which i might of totally loved last week too. very challenging and practical and fixing our eyes on God preaching – good for moving on and not being restricted by our feelings and wrong emotions…
had totally forgotten how much i love this song by Jesus Culture until it shuffled onto my nano on sunday as i was praying and preparing to preach. there is just one word to describe… holy… it encapsulates so many more words into it, wraps it up into majesty and declares the goodness and greatness of God.
totally love Jesus. i’m reading in LUKE at the moment and loving how real he makes Jesus. and how good Jesus is. better than we can imagine i think. and i love how Jesus changes lives. He heals. He sets the captives free. He gives beauty for ashes. He restores. He rebuilds. He ignites. He loves. He gives grace to the humble. amazed and in awe of Jesus.
and as always. i love Jesus with all i am and all my heart and all my soul and all my days. For His glory and the building of His kingdom and the rescue of the lost.
“be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning.” Luke 12:35
i always like to be dressed appropriately. there is nothing worse than turning up somewhere and you haven’t clicked with the dress code. to casual for the party. too overdressed for the chillaxin. or you’re at the supermarket and you see someone in their pjs. yes, really.
here in LUKE we’re given instructions by Jesus to be dressed READY FOR SERVICE
dressed ready for ACTION
dressed ready to DO IT
dressed ready to MOVE and GO and BE as God calls
some people take forever to get dressed. my younger sister, who is now a hairdresser, used to take forever to get ready. i had to make sure i was in the bathroom first or i’d be late. she’d primp and preen and, well, i was never one of those types of girls, so i’m really a bit clueless as to WHAT she was doing. with God we want to be dressed and ready. ready to go and ready to do. though He is full of grace i’m not sure He would appreciate the “just give me 5 minutes more” shout out that comes from the other side of the closed door… esp when we’ve been given time to prepare and instructions to follow. dont waste your life in unpreparedness.
which reminds me of an awesome quote i read today: The level of hunger we have for a desired outcome determines what sacrifices and changes we need to make, to reach this outcome. @mrsbrownkiwi
to be ready and dressed for service we need to be transformed and changed. we need to agree with God’s heart and His Word, not just in thought but in deed and outworking. the level of hunger we have to know God and serve Him will determine the cost we pay and the change we make. but oh it is so worth it! HE is worth it. the passage goes with a parable about a master returning home to find His servants dressed and ready and prepared for Him. He rewards them with great blessings. and the consequences for not been dressed… yikes.
i hate coming home to a dark house. i love driving up when i’ve been out late to see the front door light on. i’m hopeless at seeing in the dark, i must of not eaten enough carrots when i was a child… lamps, unlike electricity, need to be topped up with oil. constantly. its like when i have the fire on. if i dont add more wood the fire dies and then i get cold. our hearts are like a lamp. we need to have a constant supply of oil, a constant supply of fuel, to keep burning. what is the burning? for me, i think it is our heart of love for God. love keeps us motivated in the best way to serve God and know Him and walk according to His ways. if we love Him we obey Him, john the apostle says several times. love draws us near to Jesus. love draws us into His presence. love makes the cost of change and transformation seem like no burden at all. love is the fire of our hearts. love is the passion and devotion of our soul.
so how do we be dressed and ready and how do we keep our lamps burning bright?
read the Word
spend time with God
be connected at a good church
keep it real
keep it fresh
make the choices FOR God
allow Him to change us
keep falling in love with God
find the fuel that keeps YOUR fire burning
be involved in your church or community
cultivate faithfulness and devotion and love
are you dressed and ready for service? is the fire going and stoked?
the good news is that right now we can make a change… we can make a choice to be prepared and get dressed and we can add wood to the fire, oil to the lamps… God’s grace is amazing, leaves me breathless and in awe. God is ever faithful and ever extending that hand of mercy and ever calling us forward into change and relationship. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16) Start new, start fresh, start today.
our Father, in heaven… help us to know you as Father…
When Jesus had finished praying, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his followers to pray.”
2So Jesus told them, “Pray in this way:
`Father, help us
to honor your name.
Come and set up
3Give us each day
the food we need.
4Forgive our sins,
as we forgive everyone
who has done wrong to us.
And keep us
from being tempted.’ “
when you read it, when you speak it, what Jesus prayed is really very simple, honest, real. It doesn sound overly spiritual, its not filled with repetition or flowerly language. Jesus SPEAKS to His Father. He prays. He communicates. He shares His hearts and His needs.
In the same way we should learn from Jesus – that prayer isnt about sounding spiritual or impressive – but its about connecting and communicating with our Father. prayer isnt about formula and catch phrases. its about conversation its about relationship and bringing honour and glory to His name, its about sharing our needs and our fears and our weaknesses with Him and worshiping Him.
what a privaledge it is that we can come and pray and seek God and call Him our Father – personal and near and close and loving. .
Luke 9:1-6 Jesus called together his twelve apostles and gave them complete power over all demons and diseases. 2Then he sent them to tell about God’s kingdom and to heal the sick. 3He told them, “Don’t take anything with you! Don’t take a walking stick or a traveling bag or food or money or even a change of clothes. 4When you are welcomed into a home, stay there until you leave that town. 5If people won’t welcome you, leave the town and shake the dust from your feet as a warning to them.” 6The apostles left and went from village to village, telling the good news and healing people everywhere.
firstly COMPLTE POWER
- not partial, not a little bit, not a portion of power….
complete power – supernatural authority!
Jesus gave them complete power and then he SENT them to do something with that power!
he instructed them to take nothing with them – only take the power he gave them with them – not to take their own agenda, status, qualifications. the only qualification they had to minister was the power of God.
the power is of God – not ourselves!
We are like clay jars in which this treasure is stored. The real power comes from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7
Luke 6:12 About that time Jesus went off to a mountain to pray, and he spent the whole night there.
Again Jesus went and prayed. I know he made some big decisions and called the disciples after this time but i always wonder what he prayed for and how he prayed )
Luke 6:17 Jesus and his apostles went down from the mountain and came to some flat, level ground. Many other disciples were there to meet him. Large crowds of people from all over Judea, Jerusalem, and the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon were there too.
Be a mountain climber. Dont be content to dwell in the flat level ground – where it may be easier, more accessible. it’s worth the climb to scale the mountains. the disciples went up as disciples but came down as a apostles. mountain climbing may be difficult but it is worth it!
on the flip side:
go where you are called. some disciples are called to go up the mountain but other disciples were called to remain behind to minister to the large crowds. go where Jesus calls you. that is your place.