Aug 4, 2015

POD - Psalm 48

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Psalm 48

A Song. A Psalm by the sons of Korah.


48:1 Great is Yahweh, and greatly to be praised, in the city of our God, in his holy mountain.

48:2 Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the north sides, the city of the great King.

48:3 God has shown himself in her citadels as a refuge.

48:4 For, behold, the kings assembled themselves, they passed by together.

48:5 They saw it, then they were amazed. They were dismayed. They hurried away.

48:6 Trembling took hold of them there, pain, as of a woman in travail.

48:7 With the east wind, you break the ships of Tarshish.

48:8 As we have heard, so we have seen, in the city of Yahweh of Armies, in the city of our God. God will establish it forever.

48:9 We have thought about your loving kindness, God, in the midst of your temple.

48:10 As is your name, God, so is your praise to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is full of righteousness.

48:11 Let Mount Zion be glad! Let the daughters of Judah rejoice, Because of your judgments.

48:12 Walk about Zion, and go around her. Number its towers.

48:13 Mark well her bulwarks. Consider her palaces, that you may tell it to the next generation.

48:14 For this God is our God forever and ever. He will be our guide even to death.

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Aug 3, 2015

Think Spot 3 August 2015

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3rd August 2015


As we know as believers in Christ we are not promised in Scripture an easy passage in life only a safe landing. As we have come through the Christmas season where for many the emphasis is on Santa Claus and not Jesus Christ, feasting rather than considering the meagre surroundings in the stable where our saviour was born, the presence of the poor shepherds who were overjoyed at seeing Jesus rather than the extravagant electronic presents being bought to satisfy many youngsters who have little understanding of the value of their gifts and a high expectancy for gifts to outdo their friends and so I could go on.

Christmas for the Believer is so different where the value is seen in God's magnificent gift to undeserving man who although having been poor spiritually is made rich in Christ for eternity. Presents come and go, wanted for a while then cast aside, but what we have in Jesus is something we appreciate for ever.

I was considering John on the Island of Patmos earlier today and his ministry of proclaiming Christ being stopped and his banishment to an Island where he would lose his usefulness as a preacher. Was he downhearted as he began a new life imprisoned on an Island? Was he feeling God had let him down? He had lived an upright life so he was not being punished by God so where was God in all this?

As I considered these things I thought "Wait a minute, John's ministry would be advanced not diminished, as he met with the risen Christ in a vision seeing Him in glory and majestic power awesome power light as well as hearing his voice proclaiming the end times.

This record of this vision would become part of the whole of Scripture Revelation to the whole world over many centuries up to our present times in which we live and for as long as it takes before Jesus returns.

So what seemed to be an end of things for John was really giving John opportunity to receive fresh instruction from God and in writing it down, God has kept it in indelible ink as it were to be a blessing to multitudes of people.

So if the way has dried up for your ministry may be God is going to show you a fresh path to take and a new ministry or a work for you to do in changed circumstances you could not alter. God is never hindered by human opposition so start the new year by believing even more in God's sovereignty in your life and that He has plans for you (Read Jeremiah 1 and see his personal interest in us)

So two things for us to do. Listen more carefully for our Lord's direction and be ready to step out in faith in what cold prove to be a life changing experience.



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Aug 2, 2015

Sermon - God Comes to Town

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God Comes To Town!

Ezekiel 1:1-4, 24-28 to 2:2

Introduction

I wonder if there anybody here that is 25 years old?  Anybody turning 25 this year?  How about those who wished they were turning 25 this year?

Imagine you are a 25 year old and being trained for the family business.  Then suddenly your enemies invade your city and take you away to a foreign land.  That's what happened to Ezekiel 5 years before this passage of Scripture, when the Babylonians, led by Nebuchadnezzar in 597BC took 3000 Jews back to Babylon.  This was the first deportation.

1. Ezekiel - who was he and how did he get there?

  • His name means "God is strong"
  • He was training to be a priest
  • Now 30 years of age, if he had been in Jerusalem, he would have been ministering in the Temple.
  • He was married to the woman who is described as the "delight of his eyes".

The reason that God had allowed His people to be taken into exile was because of their wickedness, utter disobedience and the dishonouring of His holy name.  We know from other Old Testament passages that the people of Israel at the time, reacted in four different ways:

  • There were those blaming the sins of their parents for their predicament and were totally pessimistic about life and everything.
  • Others had abandoned their God, and given over to worshipping the Babylonian gods
  • Some were false optimists saying, be happy it will be fine.  We will soon be back in Jerusalem and God will be nice to us again.  So just continue living as you are!
  • Finally some were truly repentant of their own sins and yet had abandoned hope that God would rescue them.

This is the first of five visions that Ezekiel has.  This vision is similar to that found in Revelation 1 where John writes while in exile on Patmos.  It is also similar to that portrayed by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4v16 when God will return again, Jesus will come to judge the antichrist and his followers (Revelation 16v12-16, 19v11-16), bind Satan (Revelation 20v1-3) and judge the nations (Matthew 25v31-46; Joel 3v11-17).



When people find out that I am a Christian, some say "Oh I don't believe in a God or Gods".  I generally ask them "What kind of God don't you believe in?"  They then go on to describe what sort of God they don't believe in and they are generally surprised when I agree with them that I don't believe in the kind of God who they describe as being remote, impersonal, judgemental and delighting in the suffering He or she has probably caused.

And I think Ezekiel at this time was out having his picnic at the river and maybe starting to think through all the things that had occurred leaving him in exile. Possibly he was starting to question God and then he sees what appears to be a storm approaching at speed. He just stands there, looking at it approach him. 

I don't know about you, but if that had been me, I would have run in the opposite direction as fast as I could!  But he just stands there and looks. Amazing.  So what was this vision and what does it tell us today, some 2500 years later!

It is very easy with this passage to just concentrate on the cherubim angels, which is what the strange creatures are that Ezekiel describes in v4 to v24.  You only have to go to your local bookstore and find a plethora of books on angels and so called angel worship. 

But that would be stop at verse 24 and not proceed further.  We would then miss out on the God these angels are worshipping and obeying.

However in order to satisfy any curiosity you may have about these cherubim, for that is what these creatures are, let me explain what the faces mean: .

  • They each have four faces and each face is symbolic of a characteristic of a cherubim..
  • The human face is to the front. This is to show that mankind is the pinnacle of creation. This shows the cherubim as being intelligent.
  • The lion face is to the right and this reflects that the lion is the king of the wild animals. This shows the cherubim as being they are very strong and powerful.
  • The ox face is to the left and this shows that the ox is the best of the animals that farmers keep. This shows the cherubim as being strong and patient.
  • The eagle face is at the back for the eagle is the leader among the birds of the air. This shows the cherubim as being extremely quick.

2. How does Ezekiel describe this vision of God?

Ezekiel's first impression is the hearing of a voice from above the expanse over their heads. This voice came from a figure on the throne (v26).  This figure was like that of a man.  This should come as no surprise because mankind is made in the image of God. In the Old Testament, whenever God wanted to talk to man He took on the shape of a man such as when He appeared to Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 3).  This is what is called a theophany, which is an appearance of God in visible form, temporary and not necessarily material.

Ezekiel describes what he saw as "the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord" (v28).  For he knew that nobody could actually see God and live, such is the nature of God's holiness and glory.

Sometimes, even in the evangelical church, we like to put God in a box.  God must act only in this way or in this manner.    Perhaps Ezekiel was thinking like that.  Thinking that God is far away in the Temple of Jerusalem and has abandoned his chosen people.

We can see from this passage that God is holy, universal, mission-minded and personal.

3. Holy God

This is seen in the fire, light and radiance described in v27.  Because God is Holy, He is full of glory and majesty.

However, it is not without some difficulty that we try to define what holiness is. Here are some of the things holiness is:

  • Holiness is what separates God from all His creation.  For God alone is holy and full of glory.  Exodus 15v2 "Who is like you, O God, glorious in holiness!"  Or Isaiah 60v25 "To whom will you liken me, or shall I be equal?" says the Holy One.
  • Holiness is also a moral attribute of God, of purity and freedom from the stain of sin.  Habakkuk 1v13 "of purer eyes than to behold evil and cannot look upon sin.
  • Holiness is still more than that! It is in fact the sum of all His attributes!
  • Perfect holiness, while to us is inconceivable, has been revealed.  Revealed in the sinless man, Jesus Christ.

4. Universal God

He is universal, not just in presence but in absolute sovereign power and knowledge.  In this vision of Ezekiel's, you can feel the power and presence of God.  It must have been quite a sight!  God's presence and power are seen in the throne!  This is the climax of the vision and it seems it is only now that Ezekiel realizes what he is looking at!  He collapses face down!


Omnipresent
- God is wholly present everywhere.  God fills the universe in all it's parts without division Psalm 139:7-12; Jeremiah 23:23-24.   God was not only in the Temple in Jerusalem, but God was also in Babylon!


Omnipotent
- God has power to do all things that are the object of power.  With God all things are possible Luke 1:37. He is El Shaddai or God Almighty. Jerermiah 32:17-18 Nothing is too hard for you. Omnipotence is an essential to God.  If God were not all-powerful then He would not be God and not be worthy of worship.

This is the God who created the universe with His eternal and infinite power!  This God bids his angels to obey and they do!  Just as he is fully present everywhere, He is also all powerful and unlimited in power. This is the God who parted the Red Sea to allow the Israelites to escape the Egyptians army.  This is the God who stopped the sun during Joshua's time.  This is the God who made iron to swim by Elisha's hands.  His power is evident in that the visible works of creation are His handiwork.  He made everything around us, out of nothing!  That is power.  He not only created it, but He sustains it and gives it life!

All things are possible with God and nothing impossible.  But there are of course things God cannot do.  He cannot do anything contrary to His own nature.  He cannot for instance declare something infinite if it is finite.



Omniscient
- God has perfect knowledge of all things  - actual, past, present, future and possible.

O Lord, you have searched me and you know me, You know when I sit and when I rise...You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways (Ps. 139:1-2a & 3).

He knows all things, past, present, and future, and therefore he knows all that we do (which includes the remembrance of all that we have done), all that we think (and the record of those thoughts), and all that we say.



The Baptist Confession of 1689, describes God as: "The Lord our God is but one only living and true God; whose subsistence is in and of himself, infinite in being and perfection...", that God is in "every way infinite" and that His knowledge is "infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to him contingent or uncertain."

God knows all things, and is able to accomplish all of his most holy will.

Israel had forgotten these things about their God:  He is not confined to just the Temple in Jerusalem.  He is all-powerful and able to do all things according to His will. He is all knowing and can see even the hidden sins of His people.  That is why they were in exile in Babylon, because they had not given God the honour due His name.  They had sinned and actively disobeyed Him and the following chapters, God reveals through the visions, words and actions of Ezekiel, just how wicked Israel had become!



Mission minded God

He is on a mission. He came to Ezekiel to call him and use him as His spokesperson or prophet to those who were in exile.  Ever since Genesis 3 and the fall of man, God has been on a mission to bring and call people back to Himself.  That was the purpose of the nation of Israel, to be a light to all nations of the goodness and glory of God!  That was purpose when God, who is outside of time and space, entered human history taking on human flesh and restricted Himself in a human body as the man we know as Jesus Christ.  Jesus whole mission was one of calling people back to life in God.



Personal God.

God is personal!  He speaks and commands with authority (2v1)!  So often in the church today, God is seen as a father figure or as wanting to be friends.  These things are true, yet of themselves, they are not a full picture and sometimes the stress laid on this approach tends to bring God as a person down to the same level we are - weak, feeble and pitiable.  As we have seen here, God is full of divine majesty and wonder.  Yes God is personal, but He is also great.  Remember that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom!

Jimmy Bakker, the disgraced US televangelists was interviewed in jail, and was asked the question "When did you stop loving the Lord?"

To which he replied, "I never stopped loving him.  But I did stop fearing him!"

5. What does all this mean?

We have seen through the vision of Ezekiel that God is holy, all-powerful, mission-minded and personal.  Israel had forgotten these things and was now in exile because of it. What does this mean for us, as God's people today, some 2,500 years after Ezekiel?  When you go back to work or to college or where ever you interact with others, what does all this mean?

We are to actively worship our God.  By worship I mean living a life worthy of God 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Worship is not just singing songs on a Sunday but is a whole life devoted in obedience to the God we serve.

Borne out of this worship and obedience, we also are on a mission.  We are to honour the name of this all powerful God by living entirely for Him.  That is what evangelism is, and we are all called to do the work of an evangelist, just as Ezekiel was called to speak God's word to people.



What is evangelism?
Evangelism is showing and telling others of God's message of reconciliation to all people of all time.  It is not forcing people to adopt Church standards (1 Corinthians 5v12) and nor is it simply a message of join the church as a symbol of good works (Ephesians 2vv8-10).  This gospel says that everybody has sinned against God (Isaiah 53v6; Romans 3vv10-11); nobody can earn their reconciliation with God (Ephesians 2v9); that God sent His Son Jesus to be born, crucified and resurrected so that salvation can be had for all people of all time (John 3v16; 1 Timothy 1v15); and that it is by acquiescing to God by faith in Jesus alone that people are saved (John 5v24; Acts 16v31).



Why evangelize?
The prime motivation for evangelism is out of gratitude for what God has done, in that we love because He loved us first.  Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5v14, "For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died."  As His servants we are to tell and live of God's reconciling message

As I said before, we are all to do the work of an evangelist, following the example of Timothy (2 Timothy 4v5). Scripture dictates several reasons for members of His church to share their faith.  Jesus commands us to tell others of God's reconciling message.  In the last words of Jesus' earthly ministry, His church was commanded to be witnesses for Him (Acts 1v8).  Evangelism is an expression of love for God, through obeying His commands (John 14v15).

So we worship with a life of obedience, which is an act of witness to the Great God we serve and live for, telling others about Him.  We also teach and speak His word.  The authority of the Bible is what we read and teach.

6. We speak God's word.

The Bible is the Word of God, and is the instrument of the Holy Spirit to bring people to faith (Ephesians 1v13) and ongoing sanctification (Ephesians 5v26).  Paul writes that all of it is "God Breathed" (2 Timothy 3v16), in that it is inspired by God and has its origins in God.  It is not just the ideas, but also the words that are inspired by God (1 Corinthians 2v13).

The Bible is capable of being understood by all God's people.  God the Holy Spirit enlightens Christians minds, so that they can understand spiritual truths (1 Corinthians 2vv10-16).  Through interacting with the Bible, the church teaches, rebukes, corrects and trains people for the purpose of righteousness (2 Timothy 3v16).  By interacting with the Bible, Christians keep from sinning (Psalm 119v11), are comforted (Psalm 119v52), have their minds focused on God (Psalm 43v3) and are sustained in a daily spiritual life (Deuteronomy 8v3). 

The church also interacts with Bible, as the Bible is a link to the apostles and prophets, who are the foundation of the church (Ephesians 2v20).

There are five main ways in which members of the Church can interact with the Bible. Public reading of Scripture was regular in Israel and in the early church (Nehemiah 8v3).  Presently due to high literacy, Scripture can easily be read in private as well as corporately. Memorization of the Bible was commended to "lay up His words in your heart" (Job 22v22).  By reading and memorizing the Bible, meditating on it helps understand the implications of life's occurrences and God's blessings (Joshua 1v8). 

These three interactions lead to a fourth, obedience.  By obeying the Bible, the Christian learns to obey God, because it is His authoritative word (Deuteronomy 31v12)

The teaching of the Bible receives the main emphasis in the New Testament, such as at the Church's birth and Peter's address to the crowd (Acts 2).  After they were dispersed due to persecution, the Apostles continued preaching and teaching (Acts 8v4).  Luke gives thirteen different words for preaching, and over thirty are used in the entire New Testament.

Conclusion

I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel like I am in exile.  I don't mean as an Australian living in England, the mother country! Although sometimes it does feel like I am in exile!  We are living in a country, which despite its Christian heritage, evangelical non-compromising Christians are being increasingly marginalized by a society, which decrees that, all religions or none are equal, and that to declare otherwise is simply arrogance and divisive.  How are we to react?

When you are faced with a crisis or some trouble, how do you react?  Are you like the ancient Israelites that Ezekiel was sent to?  Do you trust in the holy, all-powerful, all knowing, personal God or do you trust in other things?

  • God is coming again!
  • Be Holy and be obedient!
  • Live a life worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
  • Trust fully in the God of your salvation
  • Go tell somebody!

Finally, if you need prayer for something related to what I have said today, then find somebody to pray for you.  And if you cant find somebody to pray for you, then come and find me.

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Aug 1, 2015

The Normal Christian Journey of Faith - Part 12

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The normal (Christian) journey of faith


Chapter 12: Having A Good Worldview


The time has come to ask the awkward question: what sort of a Christian are you? In particular have you slipped in to being a one and six Christian – that is a Christian of a certain sort one day (Sunday) every week and another sort of Christian the other six days of the week. The word ‘worldview’ has become associated with challenging that type of thinking. As the very word suggests it refers to the way someone, you or I, thinks about the surrounding world. We all to a greater or lesser extent ask certain questions, including: how do we fit into this immediately surrounding world?

The challenge to the Christians in the very early days of the church was to say, “Jesus is Lord”. That meant not only that he was Lord of the Christian and the church, but that he was Lord of all the world, including the Roman Empire of which Caesar thought he was Lord. That was a very dangerous thing to say – but they said it. And that awkward question is still around.

The fundamental problem that tends to lie behind that question is this: am I, are you, as a Christian any different from other people who are not; except on Sunday when we go to church, teach in the Sunday School etc. and they do not? The question challenges us at 2 levels. The lower one is this: Does the fact that we are Christian affect the way we operate at work, in the home, at our leisure? Does it affect the level of honesty with which we operate? How we complete our expenses form? How much we avoid taxation? How much we take out of the company cupboard to use for our own private purposes? What sort of reputation do we have amongst our workmates? (In one job I had I followed a Christian that I kept on hearing about. He seemed to have succeeded in annoying everybody with his witnessing. What he did I do not know but it can scarcely have been a Christ-honoiring attitude. We are told we should be in the world but not of the world. He seemed to have been against the world!) If our faith does not affect these things we need to do some serious thinking about what should happen and then make the necessary changes.

All those things are at the lower level. They are all good and worthy questions but they are all add-ons to the deepest core of what we think, and say and do. We need to move on to the higher-level challenge. Here, of course, I have some considerable difficulties in saying anything that will apply to everybody that reads or hears this from whichever part of the world and whatever sort of culture they come. It seems to me there are two particular sorts of situation you may find yourself in. If you live in large parts of the world such as most of Asia, and parts of Africa and South America there will usually be no doubt of your answer to the question ‘am I any different from the neighbors’. You are - because you are Christian and they follow some other well-defined and strong religion. There is not a great deal I can usefully say directly to you. Hopefully you will gather something of value as I go on to talk to the other sort of people – those who live in those parts of the world where that distinction is much less clear cut because their world has been Christianized. Things are much more difficult in most of Europe, the USA, and other parts of the world where Christianity provides, or provided, the dominant culture. Because of the philosophical developments I mentioned in an earlier study these parts of the world are steadily becoming more secular, less Christian, less any other religion dependant, and are drifting slowly downhill.

We should not do our workday job, merely adding to it our life as a Christian as a somewhat separate thing. Our faith should so permeate our lives that we do our jobs in a Christian way. That is all very well to say to you if you happen to be a High School English teacher. What you say to the class, the way you behave, your views on the things you have to study with your class, should clearly be different from the work of the Marxist in the next classroom. If, however, you are a mechanical digger driver working on a building site it is very hard to see how you can operate your machine any differently from the Marxist in the next machine! You should be careful how you operate it; you should not swear at lunch break time etc., but those are things extra to your actual work behavior. It is not possible to do anything significantly different.

I wrestled with this problem myself as a Mathematics lecturer. 2+2 really does equal 4 whoever you. There was no obvious way my teaching of Mathematics was any different from that of the guy in the next lecture room. It is here that the world-view question becomes really important. Because we believe Christ is Lord – not just of us, but of all the world – we must acknowledge his Lordship in everything we are involved in. All I can do here is point out that there is a potential problem and exhort you to be aware of it and to think carefully about how you act in your work environment. Christ is Lord of all, not just the church, and our behaviour should reflect that fact at all times and in all places.

So What?


Here are some questions you need to ask yourself and work out what the honest answers are:
  1. In what ways does the fact that Christ is Lord of all affect my everyday work?
  2. In what ways should that fact affect my work that it does not?
  3. If there is a discrepancy between those 2 answers – how should I change what I do to bring my answer to 1) closer to that to 2)?



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Jul 31, 2015

Friday Prayers 30 July 2015

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Partakers Friday Prayers!

31st July 2015

We pray together and when Christians pray together, from different nations, different churches and different denominations - that reveals Church unity! Come! Let us pray together!


Prayers for the Persecuted Church



Sovereign God, we worship you and acknowledge that you know all of those who suffer in your name because they follow you. We remember those who are imprisoned for their faith and ask that they would join with the Apostle Paul to see that even though they remain captive, their chains have furthered the gospel, not frustrated it. May they inspire and embolden their fellow believers to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. Amen

God of all comfort, for those who are tortured both in body and mind, give them the grace to endure and to see their suffering as part of following in Christ’s footsteps. Merciful God, for those asked to pay the ultimate price; who are martyred because of their love for you, may they truly know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. Amen

Father God, for those who are widowed and orphaned may they know the comfort that comes from your promised presence even when they walk through the valley. May they be strengthened by your Spirit, enabling them to rejoice with the psalmist as they proclaim that the LORD will not abandon them in death. Amen

Heavenly Father, we ask that you would make us ever mindful of our brothers and sisters around the world who need us to stand with them as they suffer in your name. Teach us what it means to overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony; we pray that we would not love our lives so much as to shrink from death.

We ask these things O Father, through the name of Your Son, Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us. Amen


 


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Jul 30, 2015

Issues - Dealing with Doubt

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Issues - Dealing With Doubt


Jeremiah in Lamentations 5v20-22 writes “Why do you always forget us? Why do you forsake us so long? Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may return; renew our days as of old unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure.”

Living the Christian Life

When you became a Christian, you started an exciting journey in the Christian life. Success in the Christian life is not an accident, but rather it is a direct result of living in harmony with the basic principles of life set forth in the Bible. The Christian life is not a matter of expecting spiritual maturity to occur overnight. The Bible lays down standards and principles of living which we need to follow with God’s strength, if we are to continue living at peace with God, our fellow men, and ourselves. We need to know what God expects of us and what guidelines He has given us to achieve this quality of life. As we apply the principles and guidelines of Bible to our lives, we are transformed into the likeness of Christ – which is the journey we are on (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3v18).


Jesus said ‘I have come to bring them life in all its fullness’ (John 10:10). This is achieved as we allow Jesus Christ to live this life through us so that we start to think and respond like He does, to the people and circumstances around us. We need to learn how to see circumstances and people from God’s perspective, rather than reacting on the basis of feelings. When we respond to circumstances on the basis of our feelings that is when conflict, stress, tension and depression enter. When we respond to circumstances by looking from God’s perspective, it builds and shows a transformed character as we become more like Jesus.


When Doubt Sets In

However, it is a very rare person indeed who has not suffered some form of doubt, and asking questions similar to that of Jeremiah in the passage of Lamentations I read earlier. By doubt, I do not mean as in doubting God’s very existence, but rather doubting some aspect of the Christian life such as assurance of salvation, any of the other of God’s promises or doubting an attribute of God such as His innate sovereignty or His infinite goodness.

When your doubt arises concerning God’s assured promise of salvation of you; that usually occurs after engaging in wilful sin or having lost a spiritual battle. Doubting God’s sovereignty will usually occur after experiencing a great personal tragedy or of reading about an international disaster. When this occurs, it is important to have faith. Have faith in your knowledge of Scripture, and to trust in its authority as God’s Word. When we sin, not only do we forget who we are as His children, but we also doubt what God has said is true in the Bible. The Christian Disciple leans to believe and trust God regardless of circumstances however divergent the experience is or was.


Origins of Doubt

The originator of a lot of doubt in the life of a Christian Disciple is Satan, just as it was for Adam in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3v1). Remember that Satan roams the earth like a devouring lion in order to stop Christian Disciples trusting in God and their testimony about God’s goodness (1 Peter 5v8).

Another source of doubt is the world we live in, with its own moral codes and perceived wisdom contrary to that of God expressed in the Bible. Whereas the Christian Disciple gains wisdom from God through having the indwelling Holy Spirit and reading the Bible, the world often has wisdom that is contrary. One only has to look at the perceived wisdom of atheistic scientific materialism countering the Christian arguments.

One final source of doubt, is the spiritual immaturity of the Christian Disciple. Doubting prayer works is often down to being double minded (James 1v8). Elsewhere Paul writes that doubt arises because of not knowing the basic doctrines of God (Ephesians 4v14). This source of doubt is only defeated through experience and having a maturing, disciplined life of obedience through prayer, studying the Bible and allowing the Holy Spirit to transform. In doing these things, the relationship between God and a Christian Disciple is nurtured and growing.


Overcoming Doubt

Confess – Confess your doubt as sin to God, and He will listen and cleanse you (1 John 1:9). If doubts persist, try talking to somebody whom you trust and confessed to them of your doubts, and they may well be able to help you (James 5v16).

Salvation – have assurance of salvation. Be assured and let your mind be controlled by the Holy Spirit, so that you are not led astray. Your salvation rests in nothing apart from God’s promises and Jesus’ righteousness! Test yourself as Paul exhorts in 2 Corinthians 13v5.

Righteousness - live a righteous life. Live the truth! When we started as a Christian Disciple, before God we were given the righteousness of Jesus! But that righteousness needs to be lived out in the lives of Christian Disciples. Living right helps overcome any doubts!

Faith – show total trust in God for your life. The faith we have is a defensive weapon against the mistruths the doubts that enter our minds. By maintaining our trust in God’s promises and God’s power, doubts are extinguished.

Bible - read and study God’s Word so as to know, understand and live truth. Our lives are to be controlled by truth as revealed in Bible. When we know truth so well, we can recognize the lies that we are told! The Word of God, the Bible, is there to be studied diligently so that by trusting in the Holy Spirit to lead and reveal it to us, we get to know God and His promises! We are to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus according to 2 Peter 3v18 and that is only achieved through studying the Bible! Then when we hear that nagging little voice that says “God didn’t say that”, we can say “Oh yes, He did!!”

Prayer – talk to God. This is how we are energized! Fighting doubt in our own power is useless! Ask Him to help you overcome your doubts, and He will help you! When we talk to God, we strengthen our relationship with Him! When we ask other Christian Disciples to pray for us, the Church unity is strengthened! When we see God answer prayer, our faith is matured and doubts are easily cast aside.

For more to think about please do ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. Read Hebrews 6v1-9. What does this tell me of the link between maturity overcoming doubt?

Q2. Read 2 Corinthians 13v5. What comfort can I gain from knowing I have salvation as a means to overcome doubt?

Q3. Read 1 John 4v1-3. How can “testing the spirits” help me overcome any lingering doubts?


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Jul 29, 2015

Wednesday WOW Worship - 29 July 2015

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Worship Wednesday

Order of Service

Opening Prayer

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

We praise you and give you glory:

We bless you for calling us to be your holy people.

Amen!

Continuing on, we now have a song.
Today it is

Abigail Miller, singing Lord, I Must Be Yours!



Visit her at: http://www.abigailmiller.com/

(Song originally downloaded at http://www.godlychristianmusic.com)


Bible Talk

The Apostle Paul writing in Philippians 2:3-4 "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

The Apostle Peter writing in 1 Peter 5:5-6 "All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time."

Those verses probably highlight what those who call themselves the Lord's people are to be and do! Humility! Looking to others first!

Contrast those values to those of the twenty first century society. A society where the prevalent attitude is: "There are no other people. The order is 'me, me and more me! I am far more important and higher than anyone else!'" This is individualism, an individualism where the individual's importance is placed higher than all others! Individualism, which is imbued with self-reliance and personal independence. Even when help and compassion are offered, so often there are strings attached and hoops to be jumped through: "If you do this, we will do this for you." That's the view in 21st century Western countries such as the USA, UK and Australia. Sadly, it is not just within society that this exists, but also within the church and amongst Christians.

How opposite is that view, compared to the view of Peter and Paul in the Bible reading! It is as if we are denying the basic rule of compassion and mercy, which dictates that we, as Christians, are to be serving others, because they are also humans created in the image of God, loved by God and so should be loved unconditionally by those who proclaim to be God's people - the Church. Denying that basic need to others is pure unadulterated selfishness and places others below our own selves.

Individualism within the church, lends itself to hypocritical behaviour and attitudes, which are inconsistent with Scripture and behaviour. Individualism, where you as an individual are placed at the front of the queue, is not loving others and not considering others higher than yourself. It certainly could not be construed as serving other people to always place your own desires above all others. There is an old acronym JOY - Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last. So as we live our lives, let us be determined to be counter-cultural, love and serve others, being willing to listen to them and giving them practical support when we can.

Think time

Now a time, where I put before you a couple of questions for you to ponder and think about, before we continue in prayer. Perhaps you could write them down for later.

Q1. In what areas of my life do I usually put myself before other people and sin against them?
Q2. What impact could I make on my church and local community if I was more willing to serve and practically love others, rather than be served and supported by them?

Prayer Time!

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Jul 28, 2015

POD - Psalm 108

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Psalm 108


1-2 I'm ready, God, so ready,

ready from head to toe.


Ready to sing,

ready to raise a God-song:


"Wake, soul! Wake, lute!

Wake up, you sleepyhead sun!"


3-6
I'm thanking you, God, out in the streets,


singing your praises in town and country.


The deeper your love, the higher it goes;


every cloud's a flag to your faithfulness.


Soar high in the skies, O God!


Cover the whole earth with your glory!


And for the sake of the one you love so much,
reach down and help me-answer me!



7-9
That's when God spoke in holy splendor:
 "Brimming over with joy,

I make a present of Shechem,
I hand out Succoth Valley as a gift.


Gilead's in my pocket,

to say nothing of Manasseh.
Ephraim's my hard hat,

Judah my hammer.
Moab's a scrub bucket-

I mop the floor with Moab,

Spit on Edom,
rain fireworks all over Philistia."



10-11
Who will take me to the thick of the fight?
Who'll show me the road to Edom?


You aren't giving up on us, are you, God?

refusing to go out with our troops?


12-13
Give us help for the hard task;

human help is worthless.
In God we'll do our very best;

he'll flatten the opposition for good.

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Jul 27, 2015

40 Days of Color

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40 Days of Color



The latest Partakers Publication - 40 Days of Color...

A devotional life is important for Christians. A time each day spent learning more about God and developing their relationship with Him. Most of the ways for the doing that are word-based. However an increasing number of people learn and engage more easily with the use of images. This is where this book can help you if that is you. Coloring-in for adults is a fun, relaxing way to engage your innate creativity with your devotional life. Whether just starting a daily devotional life or you want a different way to refresh your daily time with God. Consider it Messy Church for your devotions!

Come inside with Alphy the WOWChurch Cat to see how these daily coloring-in devotionals can stimulate your imagination and develop your relationship with God! It is great for adults but also fabulous for family devotions, spending quality time having fun in this simple way while thinking about God.

Over the 40 Days of Color, we cover Jesus' I AM statements, the Lord's Prayer, the Spiritual Armor and the Fruit of the Spirit.




You can buy on Amazon.co.uk (£5) -  Amazon.com ($10) or at davegroberts.com -

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~

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Jul 26, 2015

God, the Church and the Internet

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God, the Church and the Internet

  • Can God interact on the internet?
  • Who?
  • What?
  • Why?
  • How!
  • John 17:13-19
  • Romans 12:3-8


Preached at Poulner Baptist Chapel, 1st February 2015...

Symptomatic of human history has been the development of different technologies. Each generation seems to have had a great leap forward in some way! Think of the wheel, the printing press, the wireless, the combustion engine and the silicon chip! One of the developments that I am sure that you have noticed is the internet. Everything is on the internet now it seems – increasingly so at a government & banking level! Everybody here has used it – either directly or indirectly. The internet is here. It isn’t going to go away and it will continue to develop and expand.

Likewise, the church is here too. It also isn’t going to go away (at least at a universal level) and it also will develop and expand. So let’s tonight look at what this internet is, why the Church should be using it and lastly how the church can use it for the glory of God. By using it, I do mean more than just a website with the latest information, events and sermons on it!

Before we continue, however, I must warn you, that alas, I have to talk about what I do – much as I don’t like to talk about myself! That is probably the best place to start as we can then quickly move on! In the last 7 years I have had about 4 million individual folk from around the world visit my website to read. There have been close to a million listeners of the audio and video. During 2014 I probably had communication with about a million people, either directly or indirectly. The world is my parish. If I can do it, anybody can! And those numbers are small compared to some folk!

To hear more please do use the link below to download the mp3 to hear. Thank you

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