Strengthening our relationship with God

Even though COVID-19 restrictions have eased in Australia and New Zealand, some members are still missing out on worship with their local congregations due to being unwell or caring for those who are. However, these devotional pages are not just for those unable to get to church. We can all benefit from reading or hearing some encouraging words and experiencing a sense of God’s closeness during the week as well as at Sunday worship. Nurturing our faith at home through regular devotions strengthens our relationship with God. We pray that you will be blessed by the devotional materials here and in the Church@Home resources collection online at


John 16:22
So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.


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.

When blessings become god by Eden Bishop

Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress (Judges 10:14).

Read Judges 10:6–16.

We rely on many things to provide us with ‘blessings’. These can include our own abilities, money, family and hobbies. Yet, these things are gifts from God, not things that provide us with blessings. And, if we aren’t careful, these things can start to take over all our spare time, and we can begin to give them credit for our happiness.

The Israelites worshipped other gods, falsely believing this would lead to more blessings than simply relying on the one true God. It had quite the opposite effect, bringing suffering and misery because it cut them off from God, the one true source of all blessings. This failure becomes quite apparent in their distress: the false gods cannot save them, and they must turn to God for deliverance.

In this text, we can hear God’s exasperation with his people, just like an exasperated parent. God was the one who brought the Israelites out of Egypt and provided for them in the desert, yet the Israelites continuously turned to other gods for provision. God’s response highlights how false these other gods are – we trust them to bring us good things, so why don’t we trust them to provide deliverance? Why do we call on God only in times of distress? The false gods can’t actually save us, which reveals how they also fail to provide us with good things. It is God who blesses and delivers.

This text also highlights God’s great love for us. Despite his exasperation, he still had mercy on them and delivered the Israelites when they turned back to him. God is forgiving and truly loves his people. God wants to provide for us.

Dear Heavenly Father, we are sorry for the times we have turned to false gods, such as our possessions and hobbies, to bring us happiness. Please forgive us for failing to trust in you to provide us with blessings. Thank you for your mercy. Amen.

Holy glasses by Annie Duarte

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28).

Read Matthew 10:24–39.

Do you have the lens of eternity? A heavenly lens is just one of many gifts you receive as a Christ-follower. When you put these special glasses on, you can see things as they ought to be. As much as the Father reveals, you can see what is happening behind the scenes.

With the lens of eternity, you are given a filter for what is important. You can look at a desert and witness springs bursting forth. You can look at dry bones and see that flesh will return to them. You can carry an umbrella during a drought in faith. You can face the bitterness of death and loss with the hope of the resurrection.

This anointed lens of eternity also empowers you to sift through deception and discern what is true, what aligns with God’s word. You can see the brokenness of a heart though it is disguised in the defences of harsh language or violent behaviour. You can see the loneliness and longing buried beneath a mask of aloofness. You can see a rotten core inside of a shiny, attractive exterior.

This is the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The same holy perspective is necessary when you face opposition and adversity especially because of your faith. I have heard it said that fear is having faith in the wrong kingdom. To fear humans – and those who kill the body but not the soul – is to have more confidence in their ability to destroy than in God’s ability to save and redeem.

You are running the marathon, bound for eternity! Place your faith in the one who can actually impact eternity, the one who has won it for you – Jesus. Slip on your lenses of eternity to see things as he sees them. Don’t waste your time and energy fearing people or fretting about earthly problems when the victory has already been won.

The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Amen.



Lord Jesus, think on me,
and purge away my sin;
from earthbound passions
set me free,
and make me pure within.

Lord Jesus, think on me
by care and woe oppressed;
let me your loving servant be,
and taste your promised rest.

Lord Jesus, think on me,
amid the bitter strife;
through all my pain and misery
become my health and life.

Lord Jesus, think on me,
that, when the trial is past,
I may your radiant glory see,
and share your joy at last.

– Synesius of Cyrene, (373-414AD). Translated by Allen William Chatfield.
Sourced from

Matthew 10:30,31
Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid.

Being prepared for an unknown deadline by Pastor Steve Liersch

It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. He will dress himself to serve, make them recline at the table and wait on them (Luke 12:37).

Read Luke 12:32–40.

Recently, my wife and I went away with friends for the weekend, sharing our return time with one of our children still at home. We had discussed coming home on Monday evening, but around 2.00pm on Sunday, we received a call ‘just checking’ to see if it was Sunday or Monday we were returning as a small number of tasks hadn’t yet been completed. For example, bringing in the washing and vacuuming the floors.

Mild panic can set in when we know we haven’t achieved all that must be done by a given deadline. Distractions abound these days – especially social media time lost, not to mention TV, friends and hobbies, along with the busyness of life. Sometimes the essentials of life can be left to the last minute, and for some, this can also include giving appropriate attention to spiritual and eternal needs.

When Jesus reminds his disciples and us that we must be ready for his return, being watchful, dressed and expectant, he is forewarning us (and the world for that matter) that he will return. He wants to find us ready and waiting for the blessings he has in store for us eternally. Only God knows when that ‘deadline’ will eventuate, and so these words help prepare us to be recipients of his grace.

There’s also something wonderful in the image of Jesus dressed to serve us in heaven, blessing us with his heavenly banquet at the table he has prepared for us.

How well prepared are you to meet Jesus should this life’s deadline come tomorrow?

Heavenly Father, thank you for your willingness to give us a place in your kingdom. Help me treasure what this world can’t provide, namely your Son Jesus as our Lord, Saviour and Servant King. Prepare my life with your Spirit and word every day. Amen.

It is time that nations honour Jesus by Craig Heidenreich

And they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles (Isaiah 66:19b).

Read Isaiah 66:18–23.

I suspect that most of us reading this today are not Jews. That means you are numbered (with me) among the Gentiles referred to in this passage.

The Lord uses Isaiah to open up some new thinking for the Israelites and begin shifting their focus to his greater purpose – to ‘win the Gentiles’. God had spoken to Abraham many centuries before, saying, ‘all the nations will be blessed through you’, but the Israelites had become habitually focused on themselves.

Thank God for the prophetic insight given to Isaiah and for men like Paul who understood that the Jews were God’s chosen people – to be priests to the nations, not just to themselves.

Most of us are old enough to have seen a dramatic shift in the ethnic mix of Australia and New Zealand over the past few decades. Are we seeing an outworking of these verses in Isaiah? Are we in a time when God is choosing to declare his glory among the Gentiles? Last time I checked, God uses his people to declare his glory!

In Exodus 33, Moses asked the Lord, ‘show me your glory’, and he responded by saying, ‘I myself will make all my “goodness” pass before you’.

Perhaps we are to show the goodness of God to newcomers in our midst so that they get to see his glory. Surely the gospel is good news and unique among the messages of the world religions. People should have the opportunity to taste it.

Lord, help me lift my eyes above my own situation and show your goodness to others who have come from afar. May we come to your holy mountain together. Amen.

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