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Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well (Luke 12:25,31).

Read Luke 12:13–31 Are you a member of the 4 am club? Perhaps you haven’t heard of it. The club is for those members who regularly wake up around 4 am and begin to, well they say, think of things they need to sort out. In other words, they wake up not by choice but are woken by the worries of this world.

What do people do when they wake up during the night worrying? They either try to get back to sleep – which, if you have ever woken during the night, you will know the more you try to get back to sleep, the more you can’t – or they worry, trying to sort everything out in their life in the space of a few hours.

What if people wake because God has called them to wake? Not to worry, but to pray?

When God woke Samuel by calling his name, Samuel didn’t realise God wanted to talk with him (1 Samuel 3). What if when you wake up in the middle of the night, God wants to speak to you? What if God is calling you to give him all of your worries?

You see, God cares so much that he sent his only Son Jesus to die on the cross for sin, your sin and mine, so as we believe in him, we are forgiven, have eternal life and are saved from sin, eternal death and the power of the devil. God cares so much that he wants to hear about your concerns and worries and to wrap you in his love.

Jesus asks us this: ‘Who of you can add a single day to your life by worrying? Since you cannot do this why do you worry about the rest?’ If we can’t do that simple thing, to add an hour to our life, which God can – of course – then why do we worry about all things we have no control over?

When you begin to worry, stop, pray, and know that as you seek the kingdom or as you call on Jesus first, all other things will be sorted out. You have the word of the Lord on that.

Lord, I worry so much about the things I cannot change, and then I worry about how I should have changed them if I could. Help me to stop and be in you by your word of promise that you are always with me. Fill me with your love and peace as I look to you first, knowing that everything I need for this life and the next is mine already in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Pastor Mark lives with his two daughters aged 11 and 8 in Redcliffe, just north of Brisbane. He is currently a pastor in the LCANZ and is passionate about sharing Jesus’ love with those around him. Pastor Mark loves to travel with his family to see the wonders of God’s creation and meet people who share their stories of what God has done for them.

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Rejected

by Tatiana Overduin

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The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone (Luke 20:17b).

Read Luke 20:9–19

Have you felt rejected? Of course you have. Who hasn’t? It’s within our human nature to experience this type of emotion, from micro-rejections to full-blown macro-rejections. But how could these occurrences possibly compare to what Jesus suffered? Jesus was rejected by the very people he came to save. Have you ever experienced rejection because of your faith in Jesus Christ?

Many martyrs throughout history, until modern times, have felt rejection – and even death – for the sake of the gospel. Jesus warns us that we as his followers, will encounter rejection.

Many biblical texts point to this truth, but two come to mind. In John 15:21, Jesus says, ‘They will do this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me’. Here, Jesus refers to a rejection of himself as well as a rejection of God the Father – the ‘one who sent him’.

In Matthew 10:22, Jesus says, ‘You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved’.

It could be easy to become frightened or worried about how it’s humanly possible to ‘stand firm to the end’, and so, we immediately recognise we cannot. Only with God’s help can we endure rejection or even hatred from others, especially for our faith in Jesus. So, this is what we do – we receive. Jesus is the Cornerstone; all things are grounded solidly in him, and God promises to be with us when we seek him in all and for all things.

‘For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’ (Romans 10:13).

Dear God, we give thanks for all that you give us. Forgive us for not recognising you right beside us: holding us in the palm of your hand all through the suffering and rejection of life. Have mercy and forgive us, Lord, when we fear or fail to testify to your message of salvation by standing firm in our Lord Jesus Christ. We ask that you fill us with your Holy Spirit, Lord, to not despair during difficult times but empower us in faith. We make these requests in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.

Tatiana is married to Jim, and they live at Largs North, a seaside location in Adelaide. They have two adult children and six grandchildren who are a wonderful blessing to them. Tatiana teaches full-time in English, History and Religion teacher; she gained a Bachelor of Arts in Theology from Australian Lutheran College in 1996 and, in her spare time, she enjoys knitting, gardening, singing for church, writing and swimming. Her home congregation is Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Adelaide.

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Authority

by Tatiana Overduin

Click here to download your printable verse to carry with you today.

Who gave you this authority? (Luke 20:2b)

Read Luke 20:1–8

So far this week, our readings have built on a foundation of God’s truth, and today’s devotion reiterates this message established in God’s word.

Jesus is questioned by the chief priests, teachers of the law and elders about the authority of his words and actions. And in response, Jesus refers to another part of his story, John. John was born for a purpose and chosen by God to prepare the way for him, for Jesus as Saviour. Here, Jesus consults events that have already occurred, through John’s experience, who was also part of God’s truth about the way of life to Jesus.

As the prophet Isaiah proclaimed: ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God’ (Isaiah 40:3).

We, too, can trust in the Bible, God’s holy word, given to us as a gift for our very existence to verify ‘the truth’. Here, Scripture is referenced against Scripture to test the truth.

Jesus is the Truth. Jesus is the Word. Jesus said: ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth’ (Mathew 28:18).

The Bible continues to be a guide for us today: to take reassurance in what and who the truth is.

So, when we are tempted to be swayed by ‘all kinds of truths and authorities’ in this world, we can continue to lean on and rest in Jesus’ truth and authority.

And just as the chief priests, teachers of the law and elders could not confirm an answer in response to Jesus’ authority and the truth, we can have faith in his power and peace.

‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased’ (Luke 2:14).

Holy Triune God, the authority over all things in heaven and on earth. Help us to become faithful to your word, the truth. We pray that we can continue to develop our dependence on your word of truth to share your message of hope with others. May we continually seek to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, who comforts and reassures us through your word. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Tatiana is married to Jim, and they live at Largs North, a seaside location in Adelaide. They have two adult children and six grandchildren who are a wonderful blessing to them. Tatiana teaches full-time in English, History and Religion; she gained a Bachelor of Arts in Theology from Australian Lutheran College in 1996 and, in her spare time, she enjoys knitting, gardening, singing for church, writing and swimming. Her home congregation is Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Adelaide.

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Prayer

by Tatiana Overduin

Click here to download your printable verse to carry with you today.

It is written, my house shall be a house of prayer (Luke 19:46a).

Read Luke 19:41–48

Our devotion text for today highlights three main points. Firstly, Jesus’ sorrow regarding the state of Jerusalem and the apparent lack of peace. Secondly, the suffering that is to come upon the people. And, thirdly, the sacredness of peaceful prayer in the temple.

Jesus is weeping, the second time an account of such deep sorrow being felt by the Son of Man. As he rides on the colt, in his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Jesus is weeping over a city full of people: people who, on this day, spread their cloaks as he processes into the city, shouting, ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’ (Luke 19:38). But he also knows that beyond this time, the people will soon betray him, reject him and shout, ‘Crucify him’. (Jesus is weeping over them.)

Every day, Jesus was teaching at the temple, and he saw what was happening. He made it clear that the temple was a house of prayer (verse 46), and there was no room in this place for business transactions. As we live our lives and journey in this world, we often get caught up in the ‘everyday business’ of our lives. It’s easy to forget that Jesus is also king over our finances, work matters and other ‘business’ activities.

We can remember to ask him in prayer for all that we need. In the gospel story, Jesus speaks with his disciples about paying the temple tax. He instructs them to, ‘Go to the sea and cast a hook; take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a coin; take that and give it to them for you and me’ (Matthew 17:23–27). All worries relating to life can be taken to God in prayer.

As it is written in the gospel, ‘For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I with them’ (Matthew 18:20). We are reminded that prayer is a gift to us – a way to unburden all our cares and worries to God. May this assurance be close to hearts in all matters.

God of love and truth, please teach us to pray. Lord remind us that you are there with us when we gather in prayer. Teach us to be grateful and to praise you at all times. Help us to seek you when we worry or doubt and to acknowledge prayer as a gift of communicating with you, Lord. Lord, save us from our disbelief. In your holy name, we pray. Amen.

Tatiana is married to Jim, and they live at Largs North, a seaside location in Adelaide. They have two adult children and six grandchildren who are a wonderful blessing to them. Tatiana teaches full-time in English, History, and Religion; she gained a Bachelor of Arts in Theology from Australian Lutheran College in 1996 and, in her spare time, she enjoys knitting, gardening, singing for church, writing and swimming. Her home congregation is Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Adelaide.

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