Resources for your time with God

Introduced during a time of COVID-related church closures and restrictions, our devotional pages under the Church@home banner have been very popular with many readers. But spending time with God throughout the week isn’t only a blessing when we can’t get to church on a Sunday. It’s an important boost for our faith every week. Therefore, you’ll continue to find support for your devotional life on these pages – and the LCANZ has plenty of other resources which we’ll highlight for your information, too.

– Lisa


The cross is our sign of hope by Kimberley Pfeiffer

Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14b).

Read Isaiah 7:10–25.

I recently heard a Christian woman speak about a period of great suffering in her life, where she prayed for and received a very tangible sign of hope from God amid her despair. In today’s reading, we find how common it is in Scripture for God to give signs to his people in their suffering to remind them of his faithfulness. God commanded Isaiah to go to King Ahaz and urge him to remain steady in faith because war was about to erupt around him. God offered Ahaz a sign. He said it could be as big or small as he liked, but King Ahaz didn’t take God up on his offer. He said, ‘I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test’. Although King Ahaz sounds a bit stoic and slightly pious to ‘not put God to the test’, his sentiment was not a good way to respond to God. Why? Because King Ahaz didn’t want to accept God’s sign and depend fully on God. If he did, he would be required to wait in hope for that sign to be fulfilled.

Even though Ahaz lacked faith, this story reminds us of God’s character. God cannot be anything other than faithful and merciful; his graciousness is not dependent on how fickle his people are. Even when they didn’t want to receive his mercy, God overarched their story so that his name could be magnified and proclaimed on all the earth (Romans 9:17). Despite King Ahaz’s hard heart, God gave his people a sign so shocking that when it came to pass, it couldn’t be counted as anything but a miracle from God. What was this sign? ‘Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel.’

As Christians living in these end times, we know God has already redeemed us through his Son, who was born of the virgin, as Isaiah prophesied. Like King Ahaz, our faith can grow weak when we do not trust completely in God. Our hope is found by way of the cross. Through Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection, he has won for us new life in him. We have hope in our own sufferings because, by our own crosses, we are encouraged because we know that through it, God is with us and for us and will be to the very end of the age.

Merciful God, grant us the faith to trust in your promises and cling to you in hope. Help us along life’s way, especially when we are suffering. Grow our faith in you so we can remain firmly grafted in your love now and in eternity. Through Christ, our Lord, Amen.

All the obstacles removed by Pastor Matt Bishop

With a scorching wind [the Lord] will sweep his hand over the Euphrates River. He will break it up into seven streams so that anyone can cross over in sandals (Isaiah 11:15).

Read Isaiah 11:10–16.

What a wet, wet year we had in 2022. John 1:16 proclaims grace upon grace. In Australia, last year was about flood upon flood. If you are a victim of these floods, you can be assured that you have been prayed for many times across the Lutheran Church of Australia and New Zealand. Many government and community agencies are offering practical help. Hopefully, you have been able to access this. No doubt, you have faced or will face many obstacles in recovery. Yet things just take time, not least in a fully employed economy still recovering from COVID interruptions.

God’s word knows a fair bit about obstacles. Isaiah 11 is a chapter on the restoration and removal of these obstacles. It may not be directly talking about the floods, but as with all God’s words, it’s not irrelevant to the practical, and we best not only spiritualise it.

The early part of Isaiah 11 speaks of the branch coming from the stump of Jesse and paints a beautiful picture of peace: lions sitting with yearlings and the cobra not striking the child. But that picture of peace needs to be operationalised. And so, the branch, Jesus, goes about removing the obstacles. It’s picture language of drying up a sea that divides and separating a river into seven shallow, small streams (verse 15). A highway to transport us, rather than rough ground (verse 16).

The seven streams are the corollary of the seven gifts of the Spirit in Isaiah 11:2,3. These gifts at work in your own life are how Christ removes the obstacles. And they flow from the spiritual realms into the practical – even to filling out insurance claims and undertaking site works, as tedious as that is! The Lord is with us in all things.

Lord, in mercy, keep your seven gifts of the Spirit from the flood of baptism flowing in our lives: wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, reverence of you and delight in the reverence of you. Rebuild the lives of all affected in Australia by floods this year and last year, use your church to assist in both spirit and practice. Amen.

To receive the LCA daily devotion each morning in your inbox, go to and select Daily Devotions from the Churchwide list after entering your email address. These can also be printed off from the LCA website at


Week Sunday readings
1–4 FEB

(SUN 29 JAN)

Micah 6:1–8 Psalm 15 1 Corinthians 1:18–31 Matthew 5:1–12
5–11 FEB Isaiah 58:1–9a (9b–12) Psalm 112:1–9 (10) 1 Cor 2:1–12 (13–16) Matthew 5:13–20
12–18 FEB Deuteronomy 30:15–20 Psalm 119:1–8


1 Corinthians 3:1–9 Matthew 5:21–37
19–25 FEB Exodus 24:12–18 Psalm 2 or 99


2 Peter 1:16–21 Matthew 17:1–9
26 FEB –
Genesis 2:15–17; 3:1–7 Psalm 32


Romans 5:12–19 Matthew 4:1–11
5–11 MAR Genesis 12:1–4a Psalm 121


Romans 4:1-5,13–17 John 3:1–17
12–18 MAR Exodus 17:1–7 Psalm 95


Romans 5:1–11 John 4:5–42
19–25 MAR 1 Samuel 16:1–13 Psalm 23


Ephesians 5:8–14 John 9:1–41
26 MAR –
Ezekiel 37:1–14 Psalm 130


Romans 8:6–11 John 11:1–45

For more prayer and devotional resources, including a listing of daily Bible readings for each day of the church year, go to 

Lutheran Tract Mission also provides the readings in a booklet, which can be accessed electronically at or as a printed booklet through the LTM office (phone 08 8360 7222) for a donation of 20c per copy. 


1–4 FEB – Those affected by floods and those assisting them

5–11 FEB – Delegates of the LCANZ’s General Synod and the Young Adult Forum consultants

12–18 FEB – Next week’s online Festival of Learning, run by ALC

19–25 FEB – That Lent, which starts this week, will be a time of prayer, reflection and repentance

26 FEB – 4 MAR – Nurses and other medical staff as they care for the sick and injured

5–11 MAR – Those who serve on the LCANZ’s commissions on worship, social and bioethical questions, and theology and inter-church relations

12–18 MAR – People whose homes have been hit by war, famine or other crises and those who work to deliver aid and relief

19–25 MAR – People who volunteer their time and talents in their churches and communities

26 MAR – 1 APR – Genuine reconciliation between First Nations Australians and New Zealanders and other citizens of the two countries


The foundation of our hope

by Richard Fox 

Many people are looking for hope to cope with, deal with and
be set free from the things happening in their lives that may
make them feel despondent, that they have no hope.

Serving in ministry at Messages of Hope, we are contacted by many people who ask, each in their way, ‘Where is hope for me?’

Faith in God and what he has done and is doing for us is the sure foundation for our hope as Christians. The sure hope that truly helps is that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Saviour.

But often people who need hope aren’t looking for faith in Jesus Christ because they are unaware that he is the source of the true hope they seek. I pray that many people will hear about and believe in the sure hope of Jesus Christ.

Some people might use the word ‘hope’ in place of the word ‘wish’. For example,

I wish it would rain. Or I wish it would stop raining. However, hope is so much more than what we wish for and is fundamental to who we are and how we approach life. If we don’t have hope, we can despair. Hope is a way forward. And there is only one true hope that can fill that need.

What do you hope for? You might like to list what you wish
and hope for and pray about them to God.

The next question to consider is ‘where do you put your hope?’

On a Messages of Hope program entitled ‘3 dollars in the bank’, a woman named Kerry shares her battle with hopelessness. ‘I remember sitting at church one day thinking, “What do I do?”’, she says. ‘I’ve got no job, I had an awful marriage breakdown and a nasty divorce, and I remembered my dad saying to me, “Leave it up to God”. I was sitting in church looking at the crucifix up on the wall thinking, “What am I going to do?”, and then I just thought, “You know what? That’s what I’m going to do. I’m just going to let go and just leave it up to God”.’

Hope is where God leads us through the trials we face in life.

Read Romans 5:3–5, particularly noting verse 4.
How does God bring good things out of difficult situations?

Hope comes from God. And we know from Scripture and often learn from experience that placing our hope in him can bring many blessings.

Read Isaiah 40:31.

What happens for those who ‘hope in the Lord’?

There is a song based on Psalm 62, otherwise known as ‘My soul finds rest in God alone’, which contains the lyrics: ‘The fields of hope in which I sow are harvested in heaven.’

Read Psalm 62.

In verse 5, the psalmist speaks about where our hope
comes from. In the following verse, the reason for this
hope is explained. Why can we be hopeful?

You may like to use Psalm 62 as a regular prayer, for this week, month or even throughout the year.

Hope is not something just for us personally. God calls us to share the hope we have in him with others.

Read 1 Peter 3:15.

What does this verse tell us about our calling
as Christians? And how does Peter suggest
we live out this calling? Name two attributes
he asks of us as we share the hope of Jesus.

Whom do you know who is looking for hope
to deal with what is happening in their life?

We are like beggars, telling other beggars, where to find food. And not just physical food, but the Bread of Life, who gives us hope. Jesus Christ.

To conclude, pray Romans 15:13.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as
you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Pastor Richard Fox is the director of Lutheran Media. You can watch, listen to or read Messages of Hope at or

Kerry’s story is at           

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