Number One

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If you did a time and energy audit of the past week, what might it say about your priorities? Who determines the pattern of each day? Bring your thoughts to God in prayer.

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Bible passage Matthew 10:32–42

 32"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.

 34"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
   " 'a man against his father,
      a daughter against her mother,
   a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law -
    36a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'

 37"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

 40"He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. 41Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward. 42And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward."

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Audio Bible passage

The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).

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Bold statements
The claims Jesus makes in this passage are extraordinary. The relativists of today might pronounce them outrageous!

He claims a unique status before God (v 32) that has implications for all people who hear him, or hear about him (vs 32,33,40). He claims immense influence on earth and in heaven (vs 32–34). He expects people to recognise who he is, to welcome him (v 40), to make him the most important priority in their lives (v 37), to even be prepared to face death for him (v 38).

Faith-filled acceptance
The disciples had witnessed Jesus’ authority over disease, evil spirits and nature. If Jesus is their long-awaited, God-appointed Messiah-King, surely only the highest level of commitment and devotion would be fitting (vs 37–39).

The disciples took Jesus’ words to heart (see 26:33–35). But they let him down (26:56). We all do. Jesus did not reject them. Through his death he proved his love for them and us, through his resurrection he proved his authority over all things (see Matthew 28:16–20), and through the coming of the Spirit he proved his ongoing commitment to them and us. The disciples responded with changed lives and priorities (Acts 2). How will you respond?


‘Keep your eyes upon Jesus, let nobody else take his place, and in every hour he will give you power till at last you have run the great race’ (Elim chorus).

Penny Boshoff

Deeper Bible study

‘“Take up thy cross,” the Saviour said, / “if thou wouldst my disciple be; / deny thyself, the world forsake, / and humbly follow after me”.’ (Charles William Everest, 1814–77)

Reading Jesus’ words in the peace and safety of Australia, I know this description of Christian life seems alien. These graphic descriptions of the cost of witness sound like another world. That is why we should take these stern words as a call to re-examine our own comfortable Christianity and ask whether we have made God in our own image. Have we refashioned the Christian faith to our own tastes and inclinations? Is it possible that we have so changed our priorities that what we practise is no longer the Christian faith? Where do our new priorities lie? Do our corporate structures matter more than our witness in the world? Are we more concerned for our church’s comfortable lifestyle than for a suffering humanity in need of the knowledge of Jesus?

Matthew has given a full account of Jesus’ teaching on the cost of discipleship in a hostile world. It must have been important for the life of his late first-century community, struggling to maintain faith against increasing opposition. It is no coincidence that in this passage Matthew first mentions the cross. To take up our cross and follow Jesus (v 38) is what we all must do and what the church must be seen to do. That is what the Christian life is: bearing witness to God’s saving grace to us in Jesus; living as if the end time is near, with a deep concern for mission in God’s world; letting go of material possessions and the fear of what others might say or do to us; placing loyalty to Christ above all other loyalties, even loyalties of home and family; living a life of non-resistance to violence; trusting fully in God and in God’s future for us.

John Harris

To do

Focus on verse 42. Aim to do at least one random act of kindness for someone today. Every time you have a drink of water let it be a reminder to act.

‘Spin the sword’ meditation

Think about the challenging words of Jesus – that he didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword – by reflecting on this meditation by Helen Paynter.


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  • David Chipchase | Friday, 09 February 2018

    Lisa, my daughter-in-law to be, is a Jewess and seems to be taking her Jewish faith more seriously. She is a hospital resident doctor and faces exams on Monday 19 Feb. She is stressed by the thought of them. Could I please have your prayer support as she prepares for and sits the exam? Thank you.

  • Rachael Hampton | Friday, 09 February 2018

    Glad to pray for Lisa, David. Indeed Enyobi, persecution from those we expect to love and. care for us has another whole level of pain, as you, and many Muslim believers have found. May you know deeply that you have already overcome these people because the greater One lives in you, and in that freedom find grace to forgive. May we never forget to pray for those who experience the truth of Jesus’ words, and be prepared ourselves to bear gladly the cost of openly confessing Him as our Saviour and Lord.

  • Roger Hall | Saturday, 10 February 2018

    I woke up to a weather forecast which made me angry, and I let the Lord know. I did apologise, He showed His great love by reminding me what He has brought me through since I made my appearance on this planet, a month early and with no toenails! But seriously showing me that Jesus must always increase and I must decrease! Everything I ever was and am is nothing, and my 1 becomes 2. (Just to explain the 2 represents j kneeling with head bowed

  • Roger Hall | Saturday, 10 February 2018

    Premature touch because You know it's the 1 turning into 2!

  • Sara Ward | Saturday, 10 February 2018

    I’m just catching up over the last couple of days, and would like to thank you for your prayers over my situation. It means great deal to know that I don’t face things alone. DAVID, your daughter in law is in my prayers as she prepares for her exam. May she know God’s peace during this time. RUTH, that’s such good news! RACHAEL, I discovered Joyce Meyer sometime ago, and I’ve found her teachings very helpful given my own circumstances, but like you OAKLEY, I too have wondered about the affluence. During one of her teachings she talked about money and said that, as I’ve heard others say too, that the trouble starts when we begin to love money more than anything else. It’s influence is very insidious, and what we are given we are to hold lightly - as custodians. In an increasingly money orientated world and all that accompanies that, it's very easy to feel conflicted - especially when it’s very close to home. Wishing you all a blessed and peaceful day.

  • Angela Munday | Saturday, 10 February 2018

    Make we make Jesus and His teaching our priority each and every day. He knows us individually and speaks to us one to one; it is why all our comments are so varied...wonderfully assorted. Jesus says in verse 36, "Your enemies will be right in your own household!" The disciples were warned, as we are, that like Judas, those we regard as trusted friends will deceive and harm us....this is so true! DAVID - Praying for Lisa and that she will feel relaxed and confident as she takes her exams; her hard work will be rewarded. Good to hear from you SARA and may your day be blessed and peaceful too.

  • Sara Ward | Saturday, 10 February 2018

    You are so right ANGELA. God bless.

  • Roger Hall | Saturday, 10 February 2018

    " Even in your own household." I live on my own, but I am not unaware that opposition to Jesus surfaces same as everyone else. I am not immune, and so my home and circumstances can also speak to me. I explained earlier my grumpiness! Just because the stairs go round a corner, I found myself giving thanks that I only got torn muscles, and was introduced to so many kind and loving people who operated a taxi service while I wasn't able to drive. Jesus. Wonderful, always turns things on there heads. Amazing, the Grace!.

  • Oakley Bookworm | Saturday, 10 February 2018

    Giving a cup of water...what about a chalice of communion wine? Some of you will have already read that yesterday the CofE made a step closer to union with UK Methodists. Methodists accepting Bishops and episcopy will not be easy - Anglicans, especially AngloCatholics, receiving communion for current (not Bishop ordained) Methodist clergy will not be easy. As someone who worships in both churches, I am filled with joy and reserve. Please remember these two denominations in your prayers.

  • Sandra Laythorpe | Saturday, 10 February 2018

    Oakley, Christians can be mixed up together. When I was an army nurse I received communion bread from an Anglican padre and the wine from an RC padre.

  • Lynda Spencer | Saturday, 10 February 2018

    I like that picture, ROGER, of 1 becoming 2! I'll remember and use that! Praying for LISA.

  • Pete White | Saturday, 10 February 2018

    Praying for you, Lisa.

  • David Chipchase | Saturday, 10 February 2018

    Thank you all for supporting Lisa.

  • David Chipchase | Saturday, 10 February 2018

    Picking up John Harris's comment "living a life of non-resistance to violence". How far do we take this? My home being invaded and my family assaulted, the violence of ISIS or Hitler, what seems to be the attempted genocide of the Rohingya, Boko Haram and the list could go on. Advice please.

  • Enyobi Chukwunonso | Saturday, 10 February 2018

    Can somebody throw more light on this statement by John Harris "living a life of non-resistance to violence; trusting fully in God and in God’s future for us". Here in Nigeria, I think it's very wise to resist violence, violence against Christians, it's always around the conner. Most of our Bishops moves around with Police... DAVID, happy to hear from you, be rest assured that I will pray for Lisa, and God will answer. Good to hear from you Ma, HAMPTON.

  • Roxanne Macaulay | Saturday, 10 February 2018

    Trusting and believing God to live by faith.

  • Barbara Sabin | Saturday, 10 February 2018

    You're my friend And You are my brother Even though You are a King I love You more than any other So much more than anything

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