Transformed by the Word: The least of these
By Lyn Wake | Wycliffe Today Christmas Edition 2023 |
‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ Matthew 25:40 (NLT).
Who are the ‘least of these’? According to this parable in Matthew 25, it includes people who are hungry and thirsty. The homeless strangers. The naked, sick and imprisoned. You get the idea. In this passage, Jesus revealed God’s heart for those who feel forgotten and insignificant. Jesus taught his followers the eternal consequences of how we relate to those who live in the margins of society. How we treat the least of these truly matters.
Wycliffe Australia members have a heart for reaching out to people all over the world who feel the pain of marginalisation. In partnership with Jesus and his family, we address the needs of overlooked people groups and languages. We seek to bring equal opportunities for every person to encounter Jesus through translated Scriptures.
Throughout the Bible, the least of these also includes widows, orphans, refugees, grieving parents, outcasts, those who are misunderstood because they look and feel different. The list goes on. We have all experienced moments of being ‘the least of these’ in one way or another!
Thankfully, the gospel proclaims Jesus as the righteous king who continues to deliver and transform every person who recognises their poverty of spirit without him. Jesus came for the least of these. He still comes for you and for me, with an all-inclusive invitation that meets us where we are. Thank God that exclusive margins do not exist within his glorious kingdom! The ‘least of these’ are never forgotten or insignificant but forever loved and important to him.
Be Transformed by the Word as you engage with Matthew 25.
Reflection: How can you join Jesus in blessing the ‘least of these’ in this season of your life?
Prayer: Father, thank you for meeting me in the areas of my life where I feel misunderstood and overlooked. May your Spirit lead me to places where I can bless those who feel forgotten and alone. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.
Feature image by Heather Pubols
This is my story, this is my song
By Lyn Wake | Wycliffe Today Winter 2023 |
He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. – Psalm 40:3a (NLT)
Fanny Crosby had a significant story to tell, and she told it prolifically through the writing of more than 8,000 worship songs! Fanny was blind from infanthood, yet grateful to God for spiritual sight. An American poet, hymnist and mission worker, Fanny was known as the ‘Queen of Gospel Song Writers’. Many of her songs still resound more than a century after she faithfully walked the earth. One in particular is embedded in my spirit. Perhaps you can sing along with me:
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.
This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Saviour all the day long,
This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Saviour, all the day long.
What is your story? What is your song? Perhaps you are in a season of sorrow, unsure of how your story will unfold. You may even be heading towards the last chapter of your story on earth. But friends, when our stories are united with Christ and woven together with his, we always have an extraordinarily precious life song to sing!
When my story felt like it was totally falling apart, God kindly showed me how he was integrating everything into its rightful place within his-story. Priceless promises from Psalm 40 assured me how he was going to transform cruel circumstances into an unimaginable redemption story. My life song is not over, and neither is yours. May our life stories sing in harmony with God’s glories – now and forevermore!
For reflection: How can I be more attuned and attentive to the life stories of others?
Be transformed by the Word as you engage with: Psalm 40
Prayer: Lord of all our stories, I want my life to sing that you are mine! Whatever chapter I am experiencing, may I be given the grace to sing your praises all day long. Amen.
Diamonds in the rough
Transformed by the Word Devotion
By Lyn Wake | Wycliffe Today Spring 2021
I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure. Psalm 119:162 (NLT)
When the excited young woman showed me her engagement ring, the earthy-brown rock, set in a delicate band of gold, was unexpected. But then she explained the significance this uncut, unpolished diamond held for her and her future husband. They had decided to reject the sparkle and instead represent the treasure hidden beneath the rough surface.
As we celebrate the diamond anniversary of AuSIL this year, it may be a good time to also consider the intrinsic value of gems that really do last forever. Much like raw diamonds, there are priceless jewels in God’s Word, always there for us to uncover if we become ‘spiritual miners’.
As spiritual miners, we need to be people of God who are never content to just stumble upon the odd surface-treasure, here and there. First, we need to know what true gems look like so we won’t be fooled by counterfeits. Then we need to dig deep to uncover the incredible treasures available in God’s Word.
The reality is, most treasures are so precious that they lie deeply hidden and protected in the recesses of suffering. Perhaps in this season you feel trapped in a dark place. If you do, please remember you are not alone. Keep crawling, searching and digging with all the strength God has given you. There are wonderful diamonds in the rough to discover in black crevices. Remember: there is light at the end of the tunnel and God’s Word is the moment-by-moment lamp you need to illuminate your way.
God’s truth-declaring Word is the ultimate diamond mine and treasure map. One day, we will surely delight in the dazzling heavenly treasures God has planned for us. But even these will pale in comparison when at last we are face to face with Jesus—the greatest treasure of all.
Be transformed by the Word as you engage with:
Isaiah 45:1-13 & Psalm 119:121-168.
Eyes on the prize!
By Lyn Wake | Wycliffe Today June 2020 |
What motivates and enables our members around the world to keep persevering through problems, pressures and yes, pandemics? The secret is out … they have their eyes on ‘the prize’! When the Apostle Paul wrote to the early believers about running for the ‘prize’, what did he have in mind?
- The prize is a place: Jesus promised to prepare a place for us in paradise. Then, after his return, he will create a whole new heaven and earth for us! (John 14:1-4; Luke 23:43 and Revelation 21:1)
- The prize is a party: Jesus’ wedding parable teaches us that everyone is invited to share in the Father’s friendship, feasting and festivities forever! (Matthew 22:1-4 & Revelation 19:6-9)
- The prize is a presence: the indwelling of the Holy Spirit now, and the not yet experienced promise of God dwelling in the midst of his people, is the glorious prize offered to all who believe! (John 14:15-17 & Revelation 21:3)
- The prize is eternal pleasure: I imagine the pleasure God will receive as he bestows the crown of life upon his beloved for their faithful perseverance. What great pleasure it will be for us when we are finally together as one family! (James 1:12 & Revelation 22:4)
- The prize is a person: Jesus Christ himself! There may be many ‘good’ prizes to aim for in this life, but he alone is worth it all! (Colossians 1)
We need more perseverance than we naturally possess to win the prize.
Perseverance is an essential quality of faith and a gift from God. Paul and the New Testament writers used the Greek word hupomeno to convey what faith requires: steadfastly remaining when others have departed, boldly bearing up under pressure, patiently enduring through suffering, and continuing on with vibrant hope.
Friends, if there ever was a time we needed a good dose of hupomeno, it is now! Through every painful predicament life can bring, Jesus provides the model, motivation and means for us to persevere. So until he comes, eyes on the prize!
How can we fix our eyes more firmly on Jesus and experience God-given perseverance by the gift of his Spirit?
Be transformed by the Word by engaging with:
Psalm 84 and Hebrews 12:1-12
Transformed by the Word
Celebrating the language of friendship
By Lyn Wake | Wycliffe Today October 2019
Wycliffe Australia has a vision ‘to see disciples of Jesus growing through the Scriptures available in a language that speaks to their hearts’, just as John described in his vision of heaven:
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. (Revelation 7:9 NIV)
Every nation! Every tribe! Every diverse people group! Every one of those languages represented, all worshipping Jesus in unity before God’s throne forever. While our minds cannot yet perceive what that wonderful fellowship will look like, we can begin to build and celebrate ‘forever friendships’ right now!
Recently, our Ministry Adventure Discovery (MAD) team spent time with Indigenous brothers and sisters in the Northern Territory. In this place where Australian culture and language can be ‘worlds apart’, the language of true friendship broke down barriers like nothing else could. The mutual love and respect of simply ‘doing life together’, spoke a language that all understood.
The willingness to learn from and honour each other as equals, does not come naturally— it is only made possible through the transformational gift of God’s Word speaking to us in our own languages.
God offers us friendship with him, and with each other, through his son, Jesus. As we are transformed by the Word, we engage with each other on a whole new level of Jesus-centred friendship.
How can you begin to build and celebrate forever friendships with those who will be gathered around the throne of God with you?
Be transformed by the Word by reading John 15:1-17 and Revelation 7