Original Documents

Click below to see readings for the week:

Read Luke 3:15-17 and 21-22

Thursday

Read Luke 3:15-17 and 21-22

15 People's hopes began to rise, and they began to wonder whether John perhaps might be the Messiah. 16 So John said to all of them, “I baptize you with water, but someone is coming who is much greater than I am. I am not good enough even to untie his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 He has his winnowing shovel with him, to thresh out all the grain and gather the wheat into his barn; but he will burn the chaff in a fire that never goes out.”

21 After all the people had been baptized, Jesus also was baptized. While he was praying, heaven was opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit came down upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my own dear Son. I am pleased with you.”

Good News Translation (GNT)
Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Think

Jesus is identified as the one who will purify the people.  John's picture is much more violent than the reality which Jesus' brought - Jesus purifies us gently in order for us to grow and bear fruit.

Pray

Lord there is much in me that is chaff - purify me; cleanse me - teach me to bear your fruit.


Read Acts 8:14-17

Wednesday

Read Acts 8:14-17

14 The apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had received the word of God, so they sent Peter and John to them. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the believers that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For the Holy Spirit had not yet come down on any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Good News Translation (GNT)
Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Think

For the Holy Spirit to be received by the people from Samaria was a big deal; and it happened when Peter and John placed their hands on them.  When Peter and John connected physically with these people who would otherwise be considered rejected and outside of the household of God.

Pray

Lord teach me to reach out and show other people your love.


Read Isaiah 43:1-7

Tuesday

Read Isaiah 43:1-7

43 Israel, the Lord who created you says,

   “Do not be afraid—I will save you.
   I have called you by name—you are mine.
2 When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you;
   your troubles will not overwhelm you.
When you pass through fire, you will not be burned;
   the hard trials that come will not hurt you.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
   the holy God of Israel, who saves you.
I will give up Egypt to set you free;
   I will give up Ethiopia[a] and Seba.
4 I will give up whole nations to save your life,
   because you are precious to me
   and because I love you and give you honor.
5 Do not be afraid—I am with you!

“From the distant east and the farthest west
   I will bring your people home.
6 I will tell the north to let them go
   and the south not to hold them back.
Let my people return from distant lands,
   from every part of the world.
7 They are my own people,
   and I created them to bring me glory.”

Footnotes:
Isaiah 43:3 Hebrew Cush: Cush is the ancient name of the extensive territory south of the First Cataract of the Nile River. This region was called Ethiopia in Graeco-Roman times, and included within its borders most of modern Sudan and some of present-day Ethiopia (Abyssinia).
Good News Translation (GNT)
Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Think

Do you truly believe that God longs to protect you and bless you?  Why do you doubt his love for you?

Pray

Listen to God who calls you by name and says to you:
“Do not be afraid—I will save you.
   I have called you by name—you are mine.
2 When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you;
   your troubles will not overwhelm you.
When you pass through fire, you will not be burned;
   the hard trials that come will not hurt you.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
   the holy God of Israel, who saves you.
Isaiah 43:1-3


Read Psalm 29

Monday

Read Psalm 29

Praise the Lord, you heavenly beings;
   praise his glory and power.
2 Praise the Lord's glorious name;
   bow down before the Holy One when he appears.[b]

3 The voice of the Lord is heard on the seas;
   the glorious God thunders,
   and his voice echoes over the ocean.
4 The voice of the Lord is heard
   in all its might and majesty.

5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars,
   even the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes the mountains of Lebanon jump like calves
   and makes Mount Hermon leap like a young bull.

7 The voice of the Lord makes the lightning flash.
8 His voice makes the desert shake;
   he shakes the desert of Kadesh.
9 The Lord's voice shakes the oaks[c]
   and strips the leaves from the trees
   while everyone in his Temple shouts, “Glory to God!”

10 The Lord rules over the deep waters;
   he rules as king forever.
11 The Lord gives strength to his people
   and blesses them with peace.

Footnotes:
Psalm 29:1 HEBREW TITLE: A psalm by David.
Psalm 29:2 when he appears; or in garments of worship; or in his beautiful Temple.
Psalm 29:9 Probable text shakes the oaks; Hebrew makes the deer give birth.
Good News Translation (GNT)
Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Think

The Lord gives strength to his people and blesses them with peace.

Pray

Prayerfully receive this Gaelic blessing:
Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the infinite peace to you.

And remember that the Lord God is Lord of all of these things.


Read Luke 3:15-17 and 21-22

Friday

Read Luke 3:15-17 and 21-22

15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with[a] water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with[b] the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Footnotes:
Luke 3:16 Or in
Luke 3:16 Or in

New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Think

To be baptized with fire is to be cleansed of our sin and filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Pray

Lord - immerse me in the power and grace of your Holy Spirit so I might serve you as I should.

Read Matthew 2:1-12

Thursday

Read Matthew 2:1-12

2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
   are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
   who will shepherd my people Israel.’[b]”

7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Footnotes:
Matthew 2:1 Traditionally wise men
Matthew 2:6 Micah 5:2,4
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Think

The Magi made a significant decision - instead of paying attention to the offer made by a rich and powerful King they followed the message they received in their dream.

Pray

Lord help me not to follow the instructions of the rich and powerful - but to pay attention to the way that you lead and guide my heart.


Read Ephesians 3:1-12

Wednesday

Read Ephesians 3:1-12

3 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—

2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Think

Verse 10 strikes me - "His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms..."  As a minister when I read 'through the church' I automatically think that this is the responsibility of those higher than me - bishops / superintendents etc.  But the church is you and me.

Pray

Lord - may our church community be strengthened in unity and sharing so that we would make known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms the beauty and truth of your gospel.