Nurturing faith in between Sundays

With many people still facing uncertainty, grief or economic pressures due to the COVID pandemic, plus the devastation of floods and bushfires close to home and war overseas, we can all benefit from reading or hearing some encouraging words and experiencing a sense of God’s closeness. Nurturing our faith at home through regular devotions strengthens our relationship with Jesus and helps to open our hearts to the work of the Holy Spirit. We pray that you will be blessed by the devotional materials here and in the Church@Home resources collection online at


John 15:11
These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.


These reflections are adapted from a collection of devotions written for our LCANZ family and friends to help us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus no matter what we face. You can find these and many others on the LCA website at and you can subscribe to receive them daily via email by clicking on the link on that same page.

Feed my lambs by Neil Bergmann

Peter said to Jesus, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs’ (John 21:15).

Read John 21:1–19.

Jesus’ death and resurrection confirm for all of us that we are saved, redeemed and reconciled forever to God’s favour – not because we are good enough, not because we believe enough, not because we understand enough, but because Jesus is enough.

We know what we have been saved from – sin, death and the power of the devil. But what have we been saved for?

Given that we can be absolutely confident in God’s promise of salvation, and we know we can do nothing more to secure eternal life, how do we respond to that impossibly generous and totally undeserved gift?

Today’s reading – and indeed, much of Scripture – gives us guidance on how we might live in response to God’s love. Just as Peter denied Jesus three times, Peter declares his love for Jesus three times here. Jesus responds by telling Peter how he can live out that love – feed my lambs, tend my sheep and feed my sheep.

If Jesus died for all, then all are part of his flock, and each of us is called to feed and tend that flock. We show our love for God by loving our neighbours. Each of us will be called to exercise that love differently. For some, it will be literally feeding those without enough to eat or caring for those society has forgotten. For others, it will be providing spiritual food through proclaiming the gospel, praying and giving encouragement and comfort.

Not just as individuals but also as communities of faith, Jesus asks us, ‘Do you love me?’ We respond as Peter did, ‘Yes. Lord, you know that I love you’. As individuals and also as communities of faith, we need to pray for God’s guidance on how to live out that love in our neighbourhoods.

Lord, you know that I love you because you first loved me. Guide me to understand how you are calling me to be part of your mission to feed your lambs. Amen.

Anxious humility by Emma Strelan

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:6,7).

Read 1 Peter 5:1–7.

It’s always been a secret desire of mine to be known for my humility. One of my favourite Bible passages is Micah 6:8, ‘Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly’. I’ve wanted people to say to each other after I’ve spent time around them, ‘Wow, Emma’s such a humble person’. Of course, I’d never say I was humble – that wouldn’t be very humble of me! But after reading this passage, I wonder if I’ve had the right idea of what humility really is.

I often think that humility is a form of lowering oneself, not expecting or feeling you deserve a specific level of respect or power.

However, when I try to be humble by telling myself that I’m worthless, not good enough or not deserving, this actually leads to a lot of anxiety. The Greek word for anxiety (merimna) suggests worry ‘as when one does not know whether to do this or that’. And boy, do I have a lot of that kind of anxiety! When I put myself down in an attempt to be humble, I don’t feel I can trust my own decisions – after all, what right do I have to know what to do?

It may seem like this 1 Peter passage gives us two separate commands. However, it actually suggests giving one’s anxiety to God as a way of humbling oneself. If I were to give up my anxiety, I would feel much more secure in who I am. And that’s what humility really is – a sure understanding of who you truly are.

Humbling oneself is not necessarily the act of self-denial but pursuing an active dependence on God and entrusting your troubles to him. So maybe it’s alright to want people to say, ‘Wow, Emma’s so humble’. But not because I make myself seem lesser than I am. Rather, because of the way I trust in God and place myself under his mighty hand. And in ridding myself of anxiety, I can glorify him.

Lord, help me take an example from the way you humbled yourself. Today, I give my anxiety and fear of making decisions to you. Help me to stand firm in who I truly am – your child. Amen.



O God, early in the morning I cry to you.
Help me to pray
And to concentrate my thoughts on you.
I cannot do this alone.
In me there is darkness, but with you there is light.
I am lonely, but you do not leave me.
I am feeble in heart, but with you is strength.
I am restless, but with you is peace.
In me is bitterness, but with you is patience.
I do not understand your ways,
But You know the way for me.
Restore me to freedom,
Help me to so live now,
That I may answer before You and before me.
Lord, whatever this day may bring,
Your name be praised!

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer 1906–1945AD,
sourced from

Psalm 94:19
When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.

Blood and water testimony by Rachael Stelzer

Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life (1 John 5:12).

Read 1 John 5:4–12.

At the end of John’s first letter to the churches, he sets up a courtroom drama. On trial? Jesus’ humanity. Some had been saying that Jesus was fully God but not fully human and that his death was not a ‘real’ death. The jury? The faithful, who had heard the prosecution and now watched the elderly apostle lay out his case for Jesus, the Son of God.

Witnesses include the water and the blood and also the Spirit. In John 19, at Jesus’ crucifixion, he gave up his spirit with a loud cry. The soldiers plunged a spear into his side, and blood and water poured out. In the following verse, the narrator (John) adds, ‘He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth’. Some scholars consider this as the ‘blood and water’ testimony to which John refers in his letter.

But if that isn’t good enough for the jury, John adds, ‘we accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater …’, and what is God’s testimony? ‘God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son’ (verse 11).

And this eternal life is not some distant, future, pie-in-the-sky wish. Eternal life begins right now for the believer.

Crossing back to John 17:3, Jesus prayed to God: ‘And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent’.

Eternal life! It’s now! And it’s available to you and to me. What do we require to attain it? The Son. Whoever has the Son has life.

Dear Jesus, the water, the blood, the Spirit and the Father. All of them testify to you. Fully God and fully human. Eternal life is ours because you are alive. We praise and thank you for your love and sacrifice. Amen.

The church is shrinking by Milton Eckermann

I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you (Ezekiel 36:25).

Read Ezekiel 36:24–28.

It’s tough living in our times. There seems to be so much to offer that distracts us from the ‘cleaner living’ of the past. This appears to be the excuse readily used to explain why we have so many empty seats in our churches. Well, look at the times in today’s reading.

The people defiled everything they had been given by the way they ‘lived and acted’, and they felt God’s anger for the murders they committed in the land and the idols they worshipped. Oh, things were different then – really? God was concerned for his holy name, and the people were scattered through foreign countries. Thank God we were not living back then. But is it so different now?

So many times throughout history, people have forsaken God. Before we despair, remember our gracious and loving God then and now. It’s as though he can’t get enough of us, but that’s the depth of his love for us. He sprinkles or floods us with clean water, and he puts his Spirit in us so that we can live in his grace. We can now share all the blessings of forgiveness and salvation with others so that they can see the wonderful gifts God gives. His promise through Christ’s resurrection is that our churches will grow and not shrink. Let’s try it out and be prepared to welcome others to the joy and freedom we have in God!

Lord, thank you for taking us back despite so often straying from you and neglecting our opportunities to show your holiness. Give us strength and courage to be your witness. Amen.

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