Justice in an unjust society 5

Each person alike is created in God’s context.  To do good to the other is to show love to God in whose image he or she is created.


James 1:22-27

22  But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24  For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25  But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

26  If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27  Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Observation and reflection questions

  1. Summarise verses 22-25 in one short sentence.
  2. What is the “perfect law of liberty” which James refers to? (hint: mirror… Matthew 22:39)
  3. What does this “perfect law” have to do with visiting orphans and widows? (verse 27)
  4. How do you understand the relationship between passivity and self-deception in this context? (verse 22)

Personal reflection and application questions

  1. When it comes to “love your neighbour as you love yourself”, are you in the danger of “being a hearer and not a doer”? Why would you say so?
  2. If you were a homeless person, an orphan or a widow, what would you like others to do to you? Make a list.
  3. Do you know any widows, orphans or homeless people that are struggling? Or which orphanages, homeless shelters or old age homes are in your vicinity? Make a list. (Google it?)
  4. From your list above (point 2), what can you do to show love to one of these groups of people? When will you do it?


Thank God for his love, and pray that you would be able to show his love to others – especially to those less prosperous and less powerful than yourself today.

How leaders can grow in the skill to confront in love

Leadership results in confrontation because it demands change. How do you confront someone in love? 

Look at this helpful video where Kobus Meyer shares how to confront someone in love 


2 Samuel 12:1-13

Then the Lord sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: “There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor.The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. And a traveller came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”

So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die!And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.”

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon. 10 Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ 11 Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbour, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.’”

13 So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”

And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.

Observation and reflection questions

Context: This is the account when of Nathan the prophet confronted King David after he impregnated Bathsheba and arranged the execution of her husband Uriah.

  1. By what means did Nathan confront the king with the message from the Lord? (verses 1-4)
  2. In your opinion, why did the prophet decide to confront David in that way?
  3. Why would Nathan use the analogy of the “beloved lamb” in confronting David?
  4. After David reacted to the story, how did the prophet confront the king? (verse 7)
  5. What was David’s response to the confrontation and prophetic word? (verse 13)
  6. How did Nathan respond to the King’s confession? (verse 13) Why was this necessary?

Personal reflection and application

Nathan was a wise prophet in that he used a parable of a beloved lamb in confronting the Shepherd-King in this sensitive situation.  He knew that the analogy will speak to the king’s heart, bringing conviction to truth as he delivered the Lord’s message.

  1. Think of a recent confrontation. What makes confrontation difficult for you? Why?
  2. Consider someone you need to confront about something, or someone with whom you have regular conflicts.
  • What is important or precious to the person? What moves the person’s heart?
  • Using Nathan’s method of creating context of this situation, what example or scenario can you sketch to illustrate the truth and gravity of the situation to him or her?
  • As a reflective exercise only: make up a parable similar to Nathan’s (above) to highlight some need for change in this person’s life. What will bring out the needed response?


Pray for wisdom to speak lovingly to the heart, and boldness to confront the person in truth.


Leaders must grow in the skill to confront in love

Leaders lead, teach and train, and therefore need to confront and correct in love. This is uncomfortable and needs to be done in truth and sensitivity.  Can you grow in this skill?

In this short video Kobus Meyer shares wisdom on how to confront people in a loving and truthful way.


1 Corinthians 1:2-13

2  Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: 3  Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

4  I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 5  That in every thing you are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 6  Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7  So that you come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8  Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9  God is faithful, by whom you were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

10  Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11  For it has been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 12  Now this I say, that every one of you said, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.  13  Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

Observation and reflection questions

  1. To whom was this letter written?
  2. Directly after naming the recipients, what does Paul do in this letter? [verse 3]
  3. We learn a lot about the congregation through Paul’s praise of them. What does Paul praise about this congregation?
  4. According to this portion of the letter, what is the reason Paul mentions for writing this letter? [hint: verses 10-13]
  5. In light of this stated purpose let’s re-evaluate the structure in the opening of the letter. Summarize the intent of each of the following portions and state why Paul does it, taking into account the sensitive nature of the letter.
  • Verses 2
  • Verse 3
  • Verses 4-8
  • Verse 9
  • Verse 10-11
  • Verse 12-13
  1. By starting the letter with affirmation, thanks and praise, how does it help in confronting errors within the congregation?
  2. Note Paul’s use of the question in the sensitive topic. What benefits does the use of a question have in confrontation over a statement? (verse 13)

Personal reflection and application

Paul was a skilled communicator who did not shy away from confrontation or conflict, but embraced the use of sincere affirmation, thanks and praise as well as questions aimed at introspection, calling for change.

  1. Why is conflict and confrontation necessary?
  2. How do you feel about confrontation and conflict?
  3. Consider someone you need to confront about something, or someone with whom you have regular conflicts.
  • Reflect and write down what is good and praiseworthy about the person.
  • Consider the pressing issue or last conflict situation. How can you address this matter in a non-confrontational question so that (a) you affirm the value of the person and your relationship and (b) your perspective of the situation?


Pray about your attitude regarding conflict, and ask God that you will be able to speak the truth in love and not fear to stand of for what is right.

The Character of a leader: how to grow in compassion

‘Compassionate people are geniuses in the art of living, more necessary to the dignity, security and joy of humanity than the discoverers of knowledge’ – Albert Einstein
Look at this short inspirational video about how leaders can – and should – grow in compassion (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uY6hQzQJwfo).


Luke 7:36-47

36  One of the Pharisees asked [Jesus] to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37  And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38  and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.

39  Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40  And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” 41  “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42  When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43  Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

44  Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45  You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46  You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47  Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven–for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

Observation and reflection questions

  1. Give brief answers to better understand the universal lesson in this account:
    • What were the Pharisees known for? And can you see it displayed in this story?
    • How is this woman described in this account?
  2. Picture the scene where Jesus and the other guests reclined next to the table for dinner, then this woman came in sobbing, washing Jesus’ feet with her tears, drying it with her long black hair, and finally rubbing it with fragrant perfume.
    • Why did she cry? Why would she make such a public scene (knowing she is not welcome in this “righteous Pharisee’s” house!)? Why did she pour expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet?
    • What bothered the Pharisees about this scene? Why were they troubled’ by Jesus (lack of) response?
    • Why was Jesus not bothered by her presence?
    • Why was Jesus not bothered by her display of affection?
    • What as Jesus’ response to Simon [and the other pharsisees?] [hint: note the emphasis in the initial phrase “do you see this woman”].
    • What was Jesus response to her?

Personal reflection and Application

Where the Pharisees saw an immoral sinner, an uninvited prostitute coming to disrupt their holy gathering, Jesus saw a repentant, broken worshipper.  Jesus looked not at her past or her clothing or lifestyle – he intently looked at her, until compassion welled up and mercy flowed from his heart.  And that’s how we grow in compassion – by intently into the eyes of someone until we can see how similar we are.

  1. Recall one or two instances in your life where you received compassion and mercy from someone in your time of need.
    • How did compassion happen?
    • How did compassion make you feel?
    • How did you respond to the compassion?
    • How did that instance of compassion affect your life?
  2. Memorize this phrase from Psalm 86:15 You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion; you are gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.” Keep this phrase in your mouth and heart today as you interact with every person today – see where compassion can well up in your heart and kindness can be sown.


Pray that God open your eyes to see how he sees people, and for his compassion to flood you heart.



The Character of a leader: Compassion

“Love is not a feeling – it’s an act of the will.” Or is it?

Allow this short introductory video to give you a wider scope to the importance of compassion in the leader’s character before we reflect on today’s Scripture reading (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Va0FKnFSkjE).


Matthew 9:35-10:1

35  And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.  36  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38  therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”  10:1  And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.

Observation and reflection questions

  1. Reflect on the text by answering the following questions briefly:
    • What is the context of this text? I.e. what was Jesus busy with at the offset of this text? (verse 35)
    • What did Jesus notice during his itinerant ministry? Say this in everyday language. (verse 36)
    • What did this observation caused Jesus to feel? (verse 36)
    • How did Jesus respond to his disciples? (verse 37-38)
    • How did Jesus respond to the need? (10:1)
  2. What then was Jesus’ motive for the instruction and commissioning of his disciples?
  3. As you reflect on the text try to visualize the events. How and why was Jesus’ heart moved with compassion?  What allowed him to notice the need in the towns and synagogues?
    • Based on this observation, what is necessary for one’s heart to fill with compassion for people?

Personal reflection and Application

Jesus leadership was always motivated by compassion – love that wells up in our hearts and stirs up to fulfill a need.  To read more about compassion as the motive of Jesus’ ministry, read this article What is Love?. (https://walklikejesus.net/2015/04/02/what-is-love/)

  1. Consider the condition of your heart. Have your heart grown harder or softer for people in the last six months?
    • How do you measure it?
    • Why did it grow harder or softer?
  2. Recall one instance in your life where you were moved with compassion to do something for someone or a community. When and where was this? Who did you feel for?  What was the need and how did you respond?
    • WHY did you feel for him/ her/ them?
  3. Consider the people you lead (such as your small group or family or people at work). Reflect on one or two of them: their past, their current situation and struggles, their ambitions.
    • In which way can you identify with his/her past?
    • In which way can you identify with his/her current situation and struggles?
    • In which way can you identify with his/her ambitions?
    • Can you understand what they feel? Can you how you are quite alike?
    • Now pray for him/ her from your heart and afterward send a message of encouragement.


Thank God for the compassion he has on you and kindness he extends towards you. Pray that the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all” (1 Thessalonians 3:11).



The Love of God 6 – ready to forgive

The aim of this devotional is to reflect on God’s loving nature, which makes him “ready to forgive”.


Psalms 86:1-7 [A Prayer of David]

1  Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.

2  Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you–you are my God.

3  Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day.

4  Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.

5  For you, O Lord, are good and ready to forgive, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.

6  Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace.

7  In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me.



Note: In this Psalm David give a reason for every petition he prays or every phrase of praise – it is meant as an encouragement and a teaching.

  1. Complete this Table by filling in the reasons or motivation (in your own words) why David petitions God for help in his troubles:
86:1   For audience with the LORD.  
86:2a   For preservation.  
86:2b   For temporal salvation.  
86:3   For gracious consideration.  
86:4   For joy and gladness.  
86:5 [following the previous petitions]  
86:6   For audience with the Lord.  
86:7   For help in the day of his trouble.  

(table from the Believer’s Bible Commentary)

  1. Focus on verse 5: “For you, O Lord, are good and ready to forgive, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.”
    1. What do you learn about God’s character and nature in this line?
    2. Consider the Lord’s “steadfast love”, “goodness” and “readiness to forgive”
      1. What do you understand under each of these phrases?
      2. How does the Psalmist see the link between these characteristics?
    3. David wrote this Psalm. Can you think of a particular time in his life when He relied on God’s “steadfast love… ready to forgive”?

Personal reflection and prayer

  1. When you become aware of your character failures or your tendency to sin, do you tend to
    1. Shy away from God or godly people?
    2. Go confidently to God in prayer alone?
    3. Pray with a godly friend or small group/ Bible study group?
  2. What do you think the Psalmist did when he became aware of his sinfulness? And why?
  3. Mediate prayerfully on verse 5: “For you, O Lord, are good and ready to forgive, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.”
    1. Are there sins you need to confess to God? He is “ready to forgive!”
    2. Ask that the Lord to reveal afresh his “steadfast love” to you!

Repentance 5 – a New Day

The aim of this devotional study is to consider God’s way for a fresh start, a clean slate – each new day.

This short song will greatly add to your devotional time study today. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnOFh9WFe6k]


Lamentations 3:20-23, 40-42a

20  My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. 21  But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: 22  The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23  they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!

40  Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD! 41  Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven: 42  “We have transgressed and rebelled [against You].”

Observations and identification

  1. Notice two related movements of the prophet Jeremiah in these two portions quoted:.
    1. Describe the first change (v20-23).
    2. What caused this shift?
    3. Describe the second change (v40-42a).
    4. What caused this shift?
  2. The prophet calls the nation to “examine [their] ways and return to the Lord!”
    1. What do you understand from “lifting” both “hearts” and “hands” to the Lord?
  3. Identify the following elements of repentance in this Text by identifying the verse and phrase that reveals that aspect of the truth:
    1. “Godly sorrow produces to repentance” (2 Corinthians 5:7)
    2. “It is the goodness of the Lord that leads us to repentance” (Roman 2:4)
    3. Repentance requires taking responsibility for your own sins.
    4. Repentance requires turning away from your sinful ways.
    5. Repentance requires turning towards the Lord.
    6. Repentance requires confession of sins.

Prayer and Personal Reflection

Pray slowly and repetitively through this portion of Psalm 24, allowing the Lord to search your heart and hands. As the Holy Spirit reveals confess and repent of your transgressions and sins.

“3  Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? 4  He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully. 5  He shall receive blessing from the LORD, And righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6  This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face.”

Discipleship 7 – marks of discipleship

The aim of this devotional study to reflect on the marks of a true disciple .


1 John 2:3-11

3  And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.

4  Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5  but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6  whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

7  Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 8  At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.  9  Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.  10  Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.  11  But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

Observations and reflections

  1. What are the two marks of a true disciple John mentions in this text?
  2. Regarding OBEDIENCE:
    1. In which three ways does John express a disciple’s obedience to Jesus? [hint: v3, v5, v6]
    2. Note the progression. What do you understand in each of these three phrases?
    3. How do you interpret verse 4 above in the light of John’s writing in the previous chapter? “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8-9)
  3. Regarding LOVE:
    1. What “Old Command” is John writing about? And why does he call it “Old”? (v 7)
    2. List the contrast and explain in your own words the difference between true disciples and false disciples in verses 9-11.

Application and Prayer

  1. Spend a while in prayerful reflection, asking the Lord if there is any command you have been ignoring / neglecting.
    1. Ask for grace and commit to obey it
    2. Send a message to a Christian friend about it now asking to keep you accountable!
  2. Spend a while in prayerful reflection, asking the Lord if there is any Christian brother/ sister with whom you are at odds with or who has something against you.
    1. Pray about that now, confess forgiveness and ask for God’s love to fill your heart. [pray until you experience it]
    2. Then send a message to the person to arrange a meeting for reconciliation.
  3. Pray that the Lord will fill your heart with pure love and readiness for obedience.

Discipleship 3 – the mark of a discipleship

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the mark of a disciple.


John 13:34-35

34  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

35  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Observations and reflections

  1. What is the ultimate mark of the disciple of Jesus?
  2. According to Jesus’ command to love
    1. Who are the recipients of this love?
    2. What is the measure or standard of this love?
    3. To whom should this love be visible?
    4. How will this love be known? What does this suggest of the nature of this love
  3. What do you make of the phrase “love … as I have loved you?” [hint: when Jesus said this he had not yet been crucified… – so how did the first disciples understand this?]


According to this command of Jesus, his disciples will be recognized by an outward demonstration of love in the same way he had demonstrated his love towards them.

  1. What is your picture of the ultimate disciple of Jesus? How does this compare with Jesus’ ultimate “mark of the disciple”?
  2. Consider your own relationships with the church and small group.
    1. If an unbeliever were to visit your small group or church – would they see love among one another?
    2. What can you tell of your small group or church that would tell unbelievers of your love within the small group?
    3. What can you do to demonstrate love within your small group and church?

Pray  that God will help you grow in love and demonstrate love the believers in your life.

The ministry of Encouragement 1

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the importance and necessity of encouragement.


Hebrews 10:19-25

19  Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20  by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21  and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22  let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

23  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

24  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Observation and reflection

Context: The main aim of the letter of Hebrews is to show that Jesus is superior to all and therefore the only qualified savior of the human race, thereby discouraging fearful Christians from turning to various other “mediators” between man and God amidst the rising persecution.  Today’s text is the turning point in the letter to the Hebrews, moving from right thinking (orthodoxy) to right practice (orthopraxis) or the logical consequence from the right thinking.

  1. The author summarizes the main message in his letter at the beginning of his exhortation. Say it in your own words (v19-21).
  2. The author then motivates three responses to this belief about Jesus – what does he motivate the readers to do? (hint: “Let us…”)
  3. What appears to be a main reason why the author encouraged the believers to meet together (in spite of the fear of being exposed as a Christian believer!)? (v23-25)
  4. In light of the context, what would the recipients of this letter “encourage one another” to do?
  5. Why would the author refer to “the Day drawing near” in the context of this letter? (hint: “the Day” refers to the day when Christ returns to judge the living and the dead)


Note: The New Testament are full of references of people who started their walk of faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord but because of fear of persecution or love for earthly pleasures turned away from Jesus.  You possibly know of a few people who do not serve God the way they used to, and also a few people who are disillusioned about their faith in God for various reasons.

  1. In a few sentences review your faith in God through Jesus. (hint: What did Jesus come to do for us? Why did he become man and why did he die?)
  2. In a few sentences review your hope in Christ. (hint: What does God eternally promise us in Christ Jesus?)
  3. Having read these verses above, what could you say to someone who is about to “give up one Christianity” or who asks you “what is the point”? How would you encourage them to hold on to faith and hope in Christ?
  4. Having read these verses above, how you motivate someone who is slack on attending Christian fellowship? From these verses, why would you say is it important to “not neglect coming together”?


Pray for a friend who is going through a rough time and send him an encouraging message – perhaps a word the Lord drops in your spirit.