Daily Bible Reflections

Daily Bible Reflections

Tuesday 2/3/2021

By Gavin Morton

Hear God’s word to you

Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. 

Romans 1:5-10

Reflect with me on God’s word

When a colleague left my workplace a few years ago to move to Canberra he could not tell me his new employer or role – if he did he would need to kill me.  Of course he was joking … I think!

I love a good secret agent story.  Surely it is not as glamorous as Hollywood would have us imagine, but the idea of someone giving up a ‘normal’ life for the secretive double life of a spy does intrigue.  Whether it is the KGB, MI6, CIA, or ASIO, I assume the majority of spies believe that the posting they have is important to king, country or perhaps the world.

In Romans 1, Paul speaks of his posting (that’s what apostleship means) as a representative of the King of all kings and a not-at-all secret agency. Paul’s posting may not have been very important to the government of his day but his high calling from the Lord Jesus Christ was the most important of all. To bring about eternally significant change in the world by calling people from all nations to faith and obedience to Jesus. He was to go with the good news of Jesus, calling others to know, trust, serve, and belong to Him too.  Rather than not being able to share about his posting, if he didn’t share with people about his King it would mean death rather than life for those around him.

Paul is writing to his fellow gospel agents in Rome and to us today who are called to the same kind of posting. He is thankful for his fellow workers in the sacred task Jesus has called them to and for the reports of their faith and service. He is continually praying for them and longs, by God’s grace, to visit them for their encouragement.

Personally reflect on God’s word to you

  1. What does it mean to you to belong to Jesus as his special agent to the world? Is there any area which you need to surrender your will so that you can obey the will of God and his calling to belong to Him wholeheartedly (Rom 10:9)?
  1. Who do you know that serves God faithfully as a gospel worker?  What could you thank God for about them and what practical ways could you bless, support and strengthen them as they work for the gospel?

Speak to God your Father, Jesus your Saviour, & the Holy Spirit your Comforter

Wednesday 3/3/2021

By Craig Lockwood

Hear God’s word to you

 A shiggaion of David, which he sang to the LORD concerning Cush, a Benjamite.

1 LORD my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, 2 or they will tear me apart like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me. 3 LORD my God, if I have done this and there is guilt on my hands— 4 if I have repaid my ally with evil or without cause have robbed my foe— 5 then let my enemy pursue and overtake me; let him trample my life to the ground and make me sleep in the dust. 6 Arise, LORD, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God; decree justice. 7 Let the assembled peoples gather around you, while you sit enthroned over them on high. 8 Let the LORD judge the peoples. Vindicate me, LORD, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High. 9 Bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure— you, the righteous God who probes minds and hearts. 10 My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart. 11 God is a righteous judge, a God who displays his wrath every day. 12 If he does not relent, he will sharpen his sword; he will bend and string his bow. 13 He has prepared his deadly weapons; he makes ready his flaming arrows. 14 Whoever is pregnant with evil conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment. 15 Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit they have made. 16 The trouble they cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads. 17 I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High.

Psalm 7

Reflect with me on God’s word

Has someone gotten ‘under your skin’? Do they have power and an intent to harm? Perhaps not physical harm, but has someone set themselves against you – and it’s personal?  That seems to be what David is facing, significant harm, but in his case, there is a raw, physical element to it, the danger is perhaps imminent, David is seeking refuge, his enemy is seeking him, the threat is real.

This Psalm is David openly expressing his heart to God, David embraces his vulnerability rather than trying to hide from it, there is no ‘self-reliance’. David states in verses 1 & 2, ‘Lord my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, or they will tear me apart like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.

This is not the ‘modern day mindfulness’ self-help experts would suggest. David takes a bold, honest approach; firstly, seeking refuge in God, secondly valuing justice above his own personal health and wellbeing, and thirdly embracing the potential consequences of being judged by God. Placing himself in God’s hands was a proven strategy for David, because he knew God’s heart and he knew that to face God’s judgement was preferable to his enemy’s judgement.

Lord my God, if I have done this and there is guilt on my hands – 4 if I have repaid my ally with evil or without cause have robbed my foe – 5 then let my enemy pursue and overtake me; let him trample my life to the ground and make me sleep in the dust

The call for God to vindicate David is repeated in verse 8; David is sincere in wanting to be found innocent in God’s eyes, not just for his actions, but for his heart and mind! Imagine a judge who can ‘see’ heart and mind! One who knows not just actions, but intentions, the whole complexity of who you are as a person in intimate, clear detail. Why would David take this risk, why should we take this risk? The answer is here, David describes God as:

  • a ‘shield’ (verse 10) for the upright of heart (hence the importance of being judged truly)
  • a ‘sharp sword’ (verse 12) for unleashing judgement and 
  • a ‘bow’ (verse 12) being prepared for action (hence bending the bow to set the string) 

God the Judge, who divines the heart and soul, from whom no one can hide the truth, has been called on by David to judge and execute judgement. However, the start of this psalm has David claiming God as his refuge (verse 1); God as his shield (verse 10) and finishes by acknowledging God is Righteous, and Most High. Justice will be served, and it will be truly just, so David worships as knowing WHO God is and worshiping Him in spirit and in truth is our highest calling. While enemies may seek to harm us, God as Refuge, Judge, Shield, Sword and Bow means those enemies have no true power, and will face true justice.

Personally reflect on God’s word to you

  1. What is your reaction to a threat or perceived threat, and what can you learn from Psalm 7 about a godly response?
  2. What would have to change in how you react, in your attitude and intentions if you were to share your vulnerability with God, seeking him as your refuge?
  3. Do the visual analogies of God as refuge, shield, sword, bow and judge help you seek to thoughtfully, faithfully respond, instead of react, and how can you develop that level of trust in God?

Speak to God your Father, Jesus your Saviour, & the Holy Spirit your Comforter

Thursday 4/3/2021

By Noel Kluge

Hear God’s word to you

I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles. I am obligated both to Greeks and Non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome. 

Romans 1:11-15

Reflect with me on God’s word

Have you ever wished that you could say or do something that would make a real difference in the faith of another person? Perhaps it’s a family member who is almost at the point of receiving Jesus and you’re desperately searching for the right way to explain the gospel. Or a friend who is doubting their faith and you’re racking your brain for the right answers to their questions. 

In our reading the apostle Paul is longing to be with the Roman Christians. He writes, ‘I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong.’ (v.11) It is not clear what Paul means by spiritual gift in this context, but the purpose of sharing this gift is to strengthen the faith of the Roman Christians. Verse 12 goes on to say that the spiritual benefit of this gift will be mutually encouraging to everyone. In some way the strengthening of the individual’s faith will stimulate and encourage spiritual growth in others. Paul’s desire to have a harvest among them (v.13b) indicates this spiritual growth will not just be among the believers but also unbelievers. This is why Paul is so eager to visit them. 

The strength and vitality of our faith is very important and it’s not something we attend to individually but collectively. Healthy church communities look for ways to strengthen and encourage each other’s faith. We all benefit when someone grows in their faith. And it’s not just those in the faith community but those we reach with the gospel.

Personally reflect on God’s word to you

  1. If the apostle Paul were to impart a spiritual gift to strengthen you, what do think (or hope) it would be?
  1. How aware are you of the spiritual health of others in your community group/church? If you feel rather unaware, how could you grow in this?
  1. How could you encourage someone in their faith journey this week? 

Speak to God your Father, Jesus your Saviour, & the Holy Spirit your Comforter

Friday 5/3/2021

By Jayne Barbour

Hear God’s word to you

LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! 

You have set your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. 

LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 8

Reflect with me on God’s word

The most striking feature of Psalm 8 is its description of man and his place in creation. The psalm does not begin by talking about man but celebrates the surpassing majesty of God. As David speaks of the glory of God, he recognised that the covenant name of God (LORD) was not just for Israel but the whole world. The greatness of God is evident by his power and glory in creation, both on earth and in the heavens and that this glory can be seen even in infants and children. As we look up at a starry sky or the wings of a butterfly or a gliding bird or a beautiful sunset we consider his greatness in a vast, wonderful universe.

In contrast, we can consider the relative smallness and insignificance of man and ponder why such a great God would be mindful of us lowly beings. However, in his kindness he is mindful of us; He considers what we do, He can number the hairs on our head and hears our prayers. David recognised that God made man a “little lower than the angels”, shown in the way that man was given dominion over his creation and we have a relationship with God even in our earthly bodies, as the angels do. David did not say that man was “a little higher than the beasts,” but makes us look upward, not downward. Even if many think of mankind as more animal than angelic, our destiny is to be one day crowned with a glory and honour. 

For me personally, this has helped me reflect in awe on God’s creation, power and glory, as I feel humbled I consider how minute I am in this universe. Despite this, I am reminded that we are not insignificant to God, that what we do, the way we treat others, the way we look after his creation, and the way we worship him and serve him does matter. However, God does not just leave us to get on with these things, but He also cares for us deeply as demonstrated by the loving act of sending Jesus.

Personally reflect on God’s word to you

  1. When do you feel in awe of God’s power, greatness or creation?
  1. When do you feel humbled in God’s presence?
  1. How do you reconcile this humility and awe with the fact that God made us a “little lower than the angels”

Speak to God your Father, Jesus your Saviour, & the Holy Spirit your Comforter

Saturday 6/3/2021

By Ian Lockwood

Hear God’s word to you

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” 

Romans 1:16-17

Reflect with me on God’s word

It’s hard to imagine the apostle Paul ever being “ashamed” of the gospel isn’t it? He never was. He was very much the opposite. He was always daring, never withdrawing as if the news he carried about Jesus and the salvation He had won for all people was an embarrassment to have to share. His journeys through the ancient empire of Rome are a testament to his boldness brought about by the conviction that the gospel is the only message that can save people from an awful destiny without God and without hope.

In verse 1 of chapter 1 Paul talks of the promise of the gospel to come as announced by the prophets of old. Now he talks about the power of the gospel. What does it take to clean up a person’s soul? Get rid of the guilt and shame built up from all the wrongs that have never been righted? A lot of power, more than we can generate ourselves, more than all our good deeds or works could manufacture. No matter what we do the scales will always be tilted against us. But the gospel; the good news that Jesus died to take our punishment for all those wrongs has the power of God behind it to tip the scales the other way, so that God may declare us righteous in His sight, and then accept us into His Kingdom.

Our part in this is to “trust” to have faith that God will do what He has promised. No-one can make themselves right with God any other way. We must “live by faith”; we must place our hand in the hand of God and walk with Him. He has the power to give us “life”.

Personally reflect on God’s word to you

  1. Do you know what it means to struggle through life with all its disappointments?
  1. Can you identify with the apostle’s idea that the gospel is powered by God Himself?
  1. Is there a family member or friend to whom you would like to speak of this but feel like you cannot? How does God prompt you with these verses?

Speak to God your Father, Jesus your Saviour, & the Holy Spirit your Comforter

Monday 8/3/2021

By Stephen George

Hear God’s word to you

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. 

Romans 1:18-20

Reflect with me on God’s word

Why is it that someone can hear about Jesus, see the clear evidence that he lived, died and rose again, but then reject him? Why is it that someone can understand the many things that point to God’s existence, but then refuse to serve him. Evidence like:

  • The ridiculous odds against the world being the result of only blind, natural forces
  • The objective existence of things like beauty & morality 
  • The remarkable fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy
  • The eye witness accounts of those willing to die for their claims
  • The historical evidence from both written sources and archaeology

How can this be?

The truth is every single one of us suffers from the same problem. Since the Fall, we are all those who actively suppress the truth about God. We blame God, for not making himself clearer, but the truth is, we are not even true to what we do know about God!

Just by looking at the world we can see that there must be a maker of the world and he must be eternally powerful. But do any of us live true even to this knowledge? Does anyone live perfectly as if this is God’s world? Does anyone live perfectly as if their lives belong fully to God? Does anyone live in full submission to God’s power & authority? All people, no matter how much, or how little they know about God, prefer to embrace the delusion that they are in charge, and God is not. That they are free to live as they please. Which means not one of us is without excuse, no matter how much we do or don’t know about God. The sad truth is that our minds are bent toward suppressing the truth. So don’t be surprised to see people doing just that: suppressing the truth about God. And don’t be surprised to find this inbuilt tendency even in yourself. Until Jesus returns, we will never fully escape this tendency to suppress the truth about God.

Personally reflect on God’s word to you

  1. How does God feel about the way we humans suppress the truth about him?
  1. How do we try to excuse ourselves from being accountable to God?
  1. How have you noticed the tendency to suppress the truth about God in others? In yourself?

Speak to God your Father, Jesus your Saviour, & the Holy Spirit your Comforter

Tuesday 9/3/2021

By Darren Oster

Hear God’s word to you

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. 

Romans 1:21-23

Reflect with me on God’s word

In his book, The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins suggests that, ‘Biology is the study of complicated things that have the appearance of having been designed with a purpose.’ Yesterday we saw that God has made his invisible qualities to be clearly seen through ‘what has been made, so that people are without excuse.’

So Dawkins is spot on when he suggests that the universe has ‘the appearance of having been designed with a purpose.’ And yet despite being raised as a Christian, he has turned his back on God, neither glorifying him as God nor giving thanks to him.

Our passage today could almost provide a commentary on our Australian culture. The last couple of decades have seen an unprecedented rejection of the church and Christianity, often couched in the idea that we have ‘grown up’ and no longer need to believe in God.

And we claim to be wise! Artificial intelligence, driverless cars, information at our fingertips anywhere in the world through mobile phones and tablets and 5G networks, we have built our societies to such a degree that surely God has become irrelevant.

But in today’s reading, Paul rejects this idea. Proverbs 9:10 tells us that ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’, and so a society which turns their back on God or tries to reason Him away, Paul says, has instead become futile and foolish. Notice the downward path that Paul lays out for those who reject God. They instead turn to the worship of images that look like a human, then birds, then animals, then to reptiles.

And yet the truth remains clearly seen in God’s creation, if only we care to look. The universe has indeed been designed with a purpose, and that purpose is Sola Deo Gloria: for the glory of God alone.

With the truth of God’s purpose in view, let’s finish with another quote from Dawkins: ‘If something is true, no amount of wishful thinking will change it.’ To this, Mr. Dawkins, I heartily agree!

Personally reflect on God’s word to you

  1. Spend some time giving thanks to God for who he is and what he has done.
  1. Are there any areas in your life where human wisdom has taken the place of God’s glory?

Speak to God your Father, Jesus your Saviour, & the Holy Spirit your Comforter

Wednesday 10/3/2021

By Sharon Lockwood

Hear God’s word to you

For the director of music. To the tune of “The Death of the Son.” A psalm of David.

1 I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. 2 I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High. 3 My enemies turn back; they stumble and perish before you. 4 For you have upheld my right and my cause, sitting enthroned as the righteous judge. 5 You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked; you have blotted out their name for ever and ever. 6 Endless ruin has overtaken my enemies, you have uprooted their cities; even the memory of them has perished. 7 The LORD reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment. 8 He rules the world in righteousness and judges the peoples with equity. 9 The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 10 Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. 11 Sing the praises of the LORD, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what he has done. 12 For he who avenges blood remembers; he does not ignore the cries of the afflicted. 13 LORD, see how my enemies persecute me! Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death, 14 that I may declare your praises in the gates of Daughter Zion, and there rejoice in your salvation. 15 The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug; their feet are caught in the net they have hidden. 16 The LORD is known by his acts of justice; the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands. 17 The wicked go down to the realm of the dead, all the nations that forget God. 18 But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish. 19 Arise, LORD, do not let mortals triumph; let the nations be judged in your presence. 20 Strike them with terror, LORD; let the nations know they are only mortal.

Psalm 9

Reflect with me on God’s word

Psalm 9 is one of a number of acrostic psalms, where each line begins with a successive letter of the twenty-two letters in the Hebrew alphabet. 

Written by David and probably originally combined with Psalm 10, it begins with him enthusiastically praising God and proclaiming his wonderful deeds. The four “I wills” emphasize David’s whole hearted allegiance to the one he recognizes as the ultimate ruler and judge over the earth.

The psalm’s most comforting verses must be 9 and 10:

The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 

Those who know your name trust in you, for you LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Yet, even after this declaration of faith, in verse 13, David reveals how vulnerable he is feeling. Maybe his understanding of God’s power has also made him more sensitive to the fragility of his own life in comparison. This is wisdom the people of the nations are obviously lacking!

Regarding the other nations, this is a confronting passage. I went back in Israel’s history to try to put things in context and landed on Deuteronomy 4:34 and 39:

Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?

Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.

In Psalm 9 God is still leading Israel, through confrontations with other nations, to make himself known; showing he is the God above all gods and delivering righteous judgement on people who are serving oppressive powers in opposition to him.

Taking on the people God had rescued to represent him was like waging war with the Most High, himself, so these nations must soon realize they are only mortals.

Personally reflect on God’s word to you

  1. As a poet, David seems to easily find words to express how he feels – but is there something more that motivates him to declare praises of God?
  1. Can you recall a time when it was most clear to you that God was working from his throne to care for you?

Speak to God your Father, Jesus your Saviour, & the Holy Spirit your Comforter

Thursday 11/3/2021

By Epi Richardson

Hear God’s word to you

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. 

Romans 1:24-27

Reflect with me on God’s word

This section of the letter starts with a ‘therefore’, so have a quick glance over Monday and Tuesday’s passages again starting from verse 18. 

In the letter to the Romans Paul says of humanity that although we know God as creator, we have exchanged the glory of God for mere images of created things. We have suppressed the truth about God even though he has clearly revealed himself as creator.  Paul diagnoses the problem with humanity in this section of the passage to be that people have exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worship and serve created things rather than the creator. The Romans have chosen to worship each other and have acted out shameful lusts for the same sex.  The wording in verse 27 is quite provocative and intense. People were inflamed with lust for each other and completely addicted to sin. Something so innate such as sexual desire has been warped and not expressed as God intended. It has consumed the people, becoming their god. 

Some questions that I have been grappling with when reading this passage are why does God give the people over to their sinful desires and why do we humans exchange the truth about God for a lie when God has revealed himself as our creator?  

Here we are reminded of the truth about ourselves. God is not a controlling tyrant and we are not his puppets. God has given the Romans what they wanted. And we, like the Romans, don’t want God. We suppress the truth about God so we don’t have to confront the truth; that there is a God who, as creator, has authority over our lives. The lies about God become the truth we live by. 

This passage reminds us of the state of our hearts and that we really do need Jesus as our saviour!

Personally reflect on God’s word to you

  1. Are there any ‘created things’ that have become like your god? 
  1. What are some truths about Jesus that you can remember this week? List some and pray that God will help you remember these truths and live by them. 

Speak to God your Father, Jesus your Saviour, & the Holy Spirit your Comforter

Friday 12/3/2021

By Val Smyth

Hear God’s word to you

Why, LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? 2 In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises. 3 He boasts about the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the LORD. 4 In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. 5 His ways are always prosperous; your laws are rejected by him; he sneers at all his enemies. 6 He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.” He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.” 7 His mouth is full of lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue. 8 He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent. His eyes watch in secret for his victims; 9 like a lion in cover he lies in wait. He lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net. 10 His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength. 11 He says to himself, “God will never notice; he covers his face and never sees.” 12 Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless. 13 Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, “He won’t call me to account”? 14 But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. 15 Break the arm of the wicked man; call the evildoer to account for his wickedness that would not otherwise be found out. 16 The LORD is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. 17 You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, 18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.

Psalm 10

Reflect with me on God’s word

Psalm 10 stuck me as so reflective of the world we live in today. All around us are people who seem to succeed at everything they do and indeed often boast about it to others.  Many are greedy and proud and think nothing bad will ever happen to them. That can be very hard to take when we are going through tough times ourselves and it hurts to hear others bragging, and it can make us feel that God does not care.

 David, the writer of Psalm 10 is clearly feeling like this himself and yet note, he still keeps praying and asking for God’s help. He does not give up. It’s especially when times are tough in our lives that we need to keep praying and bringing our troubles to Him. 

God knows what’s going on in the hearts of those who do not love Him. He knows they do not depend on Him and the wealth and success they have today will not last them for eternity. He also knows our hearts and understands what we are going through and we can take courage that when we know the Lord, we do not face anything alone. We are kidding ourselves if we think life will not have problems. That is like building a house on the sand. Life is a journey and it’s a marathon, not a sprint. God understands how tough life can be. When we know Christ, we walk by faith and not by sight- and God is with us – he never leaves us. He is here right now and will be always. Yes, there can be what seem like delays between our prayer requests and the answers, but God is true to His word, He does not desert us – ever.   

David begins the Psalm with despair, but he ends confident that God truly will reign as our Lord and King forever.

Personally reflect on God’s word to you

  1. What is encouraging to you in this Psalm?
  1. We all face tough stuff at times. Do you bring these things to the Lord or do you try to solve them yourself? Who do you rely on?

Speak to God your Father, Jesus your Saviour, & the Holy Spirit your Comforter

Saturday 13/3/2021

By Sally Oster

Hear God’s word to you

Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. 

Romans 1:28-32

Reflect with me on God’s word

There are certain movies I just can’t watch, certain books I just can’t read. The horror of how incredibly evil humans can be to other humans is too much for me and I avoid the trauma of it. Today’s passage is a bit like that. It’s assault after assault as we read this long list of vices, documenting the most wretched depths of what humanity is without God. God “gave them over” (verse 28) means he removed his restraint, allowing people to do what they tragically want. If your inclination is to skip these verses and move on to something more uplifting, in some respects you’ve had the desired response. We should feel revolted and sick. What is described is people living in a way that denies God’s beautiful and good intent for humanity. It contradicts what being made in the image of God should look like. It is the opposite of what it is to be human. It is base and inhuman.

With a list of sins like this it is natural to exclude ourselves and justify our sins as insignificant. Paul goes on to address such thinking in the chapters ahead saying, 

‘As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;”’ (Romans 3:10a). 

Although there are films I just can’t stomach, there’s plenty of media I watch that celebrate many of the things Paul lists. We can think, ‘I’d never do such a thing’, but our passive viewing unwittingly condones it and individually, nationally, culturally it moves us to deeper depravity. 

A reading like today’s, reminds us afresh of the terrible effects of sin. We might ask why God would allow such behaviour. What hope is there? A reading like today’s, reminds us afresh of the desperate need for the Saviour, Jesus Christ, who not only makes forgiveness possible, but reestablishes the right order and functioning of all creation. As the theologian R. Kent Hughes says, ‘He (God) gives mankind up so that in their despair they might give themselves to his grace.’ 

Personally reflect on God’s word to you

  1. In what ways can today’s passage reminded you of God’s love?
  1. What situations burden your heart that you can bring to God in prayer, asking for his grace to triumph?

Speak to God your Father, Jesus your Saviour, & the Holy Spirit your Comforter

Monday 15/3/2021

By Neptune Tang

Hear God’s word to you

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 

Romans 2:1-3

Reflect with me on God’s word

In the previous chapter, Paul wrote about people who had rejected God and how God allowed the natural consequences of their disobedience to take hold. They are listed as idolaters, depraved, wicked, greedy and without love. This is a pretty serious list of offences. But before his readers have too much time to start thinking about how good they are in comparison, Paul issues this warning here against judging others.

There is a place for righteous judgement in calling out injustice and standing for truth. Paul does this himself in the previous chapter. However, the warning here is to avoid falling into the trap of self-righteous judgement. People often overestimate their own ability and goodness compared to others. For instance, one study showed that 65% of participants thought themselves smarter than average. Likewise, a study of prisoners, the majority of whom had been jailed for acts of violence or robbery, found that most of these prisoners rated themselves as above average in kindness, trustworthiness and honesty compared to the average person in the community.

The problem however is not just that we tend to be poor judges, but we naturally use a flawed standard. God is holy and the standard he requires is perfection, a standard that none of us can meet. Only Jesus was able to live a life of perfect obedience to God and to take the punishment we deserve in his death on the cross. Paul reminds his readers that God’s grace is received through faith in Christ and that it is by faith that we are accepted as righteous by God (Romans 1:4-5, 1:16-17).

The danger in the self-righteous judgment of others is that it shows a blindness to our own brokenness. It also shows a neglect for the abundant grace that God has shown in providing Christ’s sacrifice so that we can be rescued from the consequences of our disobedience to God. To tally up our righteousness against others also misses the point that we all fall far short of God’s standard.

Personally reflect on God’s word to you

  1. If you have trusted Jesus, think of all the ways you have fallen short of God’s standard and yet been forgiven.
  1. Who are the people that you tend to have a judgmental attitude towards? This could be someone you come across in your study or work, a family member, someone you tend to disagree vigorously with or someone you actively choose to avoid. How does God challenge you to see them instead?

Speak to God your Father, Jesus your Saviour, & the Holy Spirit your Comforter

Tuesday 16/3/2021

By Bryan Robertson

Hear God’s word to you

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 

Romans 2:4-5

Reflect with me on God’s word

As a parent of school-aged children, I am frequently challenged in figuring out how much patience to show my children when they are misbehaving. Depending on my mood, I find myself either coming down on them with fire and brimstone at the merest squabble, or more often, ignoring their undesirable behaviours in the hope that they will “self-regulate”. The worst thing is that with both approaches I am usually more interested in defending my own agenda, than trying to grow them in their relationship with God, or me! 

The Bible is consistent in its portrayal of a God that is patient with us. Peter writes, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”. (2 Peter 3:9)

God is amazingly patient with us, and his patience is not passivity. It is designed to bring us back into relationship with him. In the verses above both Paul and Peter tell us that the key to enjoying this relationship is repentance. In verse 5 of Romans 2 we receive a warning about the consequences of having an unrepentant heart. We often recoil at words like “wrath” and “judgement”, but perhaps that’s because we lose sight of how greatly God wants us to avoid this outcome. Ezekiel writes, “Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?” (Ezekiel 18:23).

God loves us and wants a relationship with us, and of course we see no clearer evidence of this than when we look at what Jesus has done for us. He patiently endured the cross, receiving God’s wrath and judgement, so that we would never have to taste them.

Personally reflect on God’s word to you

  1. How is God showing patience to you, right now?  
  1. In what areas of your life is your heart stubborn or unrepentant?

Speak to God your Father, Jesus your Saviour, & the Holy Spirit your Comforter

Wednesday 17/3/2021

By Daryll Pain

Hear God’s word to you

 For the director of music. Of David. 

In the LORD I take refuge. How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain. For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart. When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD is on his heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; his eyes examine them. The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion. On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot. For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face.

Psalm 11

Reflect with me on God’s word

The book of Samuel that we worked through in the last two years relates many occasions when David faced mortal peril: First as a courageous and God fearing shepherd boy (slaying lions and bears to protect his flock); then as a youth slaying Goliath with a sling before King Saul and the Israelite army; then fleeing the persecution of a demented King Saul; leading Israel as a soldier; and later as the king himself against warring neighbour nations; and later still as he was being pursued even by his own son. David was no stranger to imminent death at the hands of the wicked!  

David states in verse 1 that he takes “refuge in the LORD” so he is confident that he does not need to heed the advice to flee from the attacks (arrows) of the wicked, who think their attacks on the righteous are not seen by God. David does not panic or worry about his safety or wellbeing, but wonders what he can do to avoid being destroyed. 

David recalls, “The LORD is in his holy temple”, “on his heavenly throne” and observing closely (examining) everyone on earth. The words imply that nothing is missed. David does not have to do anything other than choose the LORD as his refuge.  The LORD examines, in the sense of testing or “weighing” the acts of the upright (righteous), but it is clear that the LORD hates with a passion the wicked, those who love violence, declaring “On the wicked he will rain fiery coals, burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot”.

David concludes by declaring in verse 7 his trust that the LORD is righteous, loving justice, and so the upright will “see his face”, meaning a close personal relationship in the presence of his saviour (refuge), contrasting with the fiery hell which is the destiny of the wicked referred to in verse 6.

Personally reflect on God’s word to you

  1. What characterises David’s relationship with God?
  1. What is the ultimate result of this relationship, despite its failures? 
  1. Is this result the promise of the Abrahamic covenant?

Speak to God your Father, Jesus your Saviour, & the Holy Spirit your Comforter