Mar 30, 2015

Easter 2015 - Part 1

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Easter 2015

Part 1 of 10


Today we start a series of looking at Jesus Christ and the events of Easter. We start by looking at Jesus' mission and His identity...

Luke 9:51 (NIV) "As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem."


Mission:

Luke writes in Luke 4:42-44: “At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent." And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.”

This is the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry on earth! These verses at the end of Luke 4 tell us that His mission is to preach God’s Kingdom.


Identity:

Mark 8:27-33 (NIV) "Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, ‘Who do people say I am?’

They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’

‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’

Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah.’

Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him. He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. ‘Get behind me, Satan!’ he said. ‘You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.’"


Play or download the mp3 to hear more about this fascinating man, Jesus Christ and the events of Easter!


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Mar 29, 2015

The Practice Of The Presence Of God - Brother Lawrence - 05

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The Practice Of The Presence Of God:

The Best Rule Of A Holy Life

(being Conversations and Letters of Brother Lawrence)


G’day! Welcome to Partakers! Today we continue our Sunday series, where we are reading from a book by Brother Lawrence “The Practice of the Presence of God”… This book is available for you to freely download at various websites!


Letters - Letter 1

Since you desire so earnestly that I should communicate to you the method by which I arrived at that habitual sense of GOD's Presence, which our LORD, of His mercy, has been pleased to vouchsafe to me; I must tell you, that it is with great difficulty that I am prevailed on by your importunities; and now I do it only upon the terms, that you show my letter to nobody. If I knew that you would let it be seen, all the desire that I have for your advancement would not be able to determine me to it.


The account I can give you is: Having found in many books different methods of going to GOD, and divers practices of the spiritual life, I thought this would serve rather to puzzle me, than facilitate what I sought after, which was nothing but how to become wholly GOD's. This made me resolve to give the all for the All: so after having given myself wholly to GOD, to make all the satisfaction I could for my sins, I renounced, for the love of Him, everything that was not He; and I began to live as if there was none but He and I in the world.

(The downloadable audio continues the conversation...)

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Mar 28, 2015

The Big Story - Part 8

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Big Story - Act 4 Scene 3: The Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus

with Roger Kirby



The most difficult part of the Big Story of the Bible to talk about is the Resurrection of Jesus. The big question is ‘did it really happen?’ All those of us who live in the modern Western world are in a culture that says it did not. The primary reason for this is that our culture says something is only true if it can be replicated. If an experiment carried out in the USA is true it must be possible to repeat it in Australia for it to be legitimate. And, of course, the return to life of the dead Son of God is the ultimate event that cannot be replicated. The assassination of Julius Caesar cannot be replicated either, but many national leaders have been assassinated in recent times so that is a near enough repetition for that ancient event to be accepted as having truly happened. But the resurrection of a man from death is another matter altogether. How do we get out of this problem?

Part of the answer is that this is not science but history. History never exactly repeats itself, either in the event or its description. We must not, and cannot, treat historical events in a scientific way. Also we have to challenge the underlying assumption that the possibility of replication is always necessary. We see a beautiful sunset and admire it but it can never be replicated. A person’s love for their spouse can be neither explained – why this person and not that person – but is none the less real and cannot be replicated. Many, if not most, of the good things in life that we enjoy are beyond replication. The attempt to say that the resurrection, the best attested of all ancient events, did not really happen is a philosopher’s trick to try to stop people believing. The Biblical attestation is complete and total. When Paul says: “Jesus appeared to 500 people at the same time”’ he was obviously implying “if you don’t believe me go and find one of them and ask them”! Those who say the resurrection was, and is, impossible have to explain what happened in or near Jerusalem to cause such an explosion of growth of a movement which did not exist in AD 1, but was thriving so well 100 years later that there are many non-Biblical references to it. Also why would those who had been close to Jesus have been prepared to die for an idea and his teaching if they knew them to be lies?

The resurrection of the Son of God is a fact. What did it mean? What did it achieve? Where and how does it fit into the over-all story? Two words used by computing people are useful here: verification and validation. You probably don’t know them. Let me explain.

Verification is the process that checks a computer program does what it should do, that is, that it fits the specification. Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, the Son of Man (of Daniel’s prophecy), and the Son of God. So far he had only his good works, his healings, his exorcisms, his miracles and his words to back up that claim. His return from death 3 days later, as they counted, 2 days as we count, verified all his claims. He was the Messiah, he did fulfil prophecy, he was the representative figure of the nation that Daniel talked about; he was in some mysterious yet definite way the embodiment of the Lord God walking on this earth.

Validation is the process that shows that a computer system works, it is useful, it does what it was intended that it should do. Paul says in the last verse of Romans 4 that “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification”. The first part is easy to understand – Jesus died to redeem us from the guilt, penalty and power of sin. But “raised for our justification” is not so easy. If we translate it “raised to make us righteous”, which is legitimate for justification and righteous come from the same Greek word family, different though they are in English, things become easier. If Jesus had not been raised there would have been no continuing life force available for his people. The last verse of the next chapter says that Jesus died that “grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The resurrection of Jesus has brought eternal life, the life of the Ages, to his people, life that depends on the Spirit that is the possession of all those who belong to Christ. As Romans 8: 9 says “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ” . Because Jesus rose from the dead this story does not end here: there is still another Act to go: the story of the Church, including the story of you and me.

The final part of the story of Jesus on this earth is his Ascension. Only Luke tells us of it, twice, most fully in Acts 1: 9, 10 “After he said this, he was taken up before their – the apostles - very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” In so doing Luke was pointing out that Jesus had gone to sit at the right hand of the Majesty on high thus having all power and all authority. Matthew says the same thing more directly in his last chapter as John does in his second last chapter when he reports Thomas calling Jesus “my Lord and my God”. (The end of Mark’s Gospel is probably lost.)

So what?


We live in the power of the resurrection interpreted to us by the Holy Spirit. We are servants/slaves of the Lord of Creation. Paul says in his letter to the Colossian church: “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation”. The resurrection is the promise to us that death is not the end. There is something more to come. The Jews always expected a resurrection at the end of time. The surprise to them was that one man was raised ahead of time as the first fruits; the first fruits promised an agricultural community that the rest of the harvest would shortly come.

We may not be agricultural people living in the country but the same is true for us, town and city dwellers though we may be. Christ has risen; one day – so shall we. Yippee!



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Mar 27, 2015

Friday Prayers 27 March 2015

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Partakers Friday Prayers!

27 March 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!

A prayer of Bonaventure


Lord Jesus,
as God’s Spirit came down and rested upon you,
may the same Spirit rest upon and be within us.

O Yahweh,
Grant us the gift of understanding,
by which your precepts may enlighten our minds.

O Jehovah,
Grant us counsel, by which we may follow in your footsteps
on the path of righteousness.

O Great God,
grant us courage,
by which we may ward off the Enemy’s attacks.

O Sovereign God,
grant us knowledge,
by which we can distinguish good from evil.

O Merciful God,
grant us piety,
by which we may acquire compassionate hearts.

O Holy God,
grant us fear,
by which we may draw back from evil and submit to what is good.

O Ineffable God made known through Jesus,
grant us wisdom,
that we may taste fully the life-giving sweetness of your love.

For we ask this O God our Father,
In the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us
Through the Son who died and rose again!

Amen.

Based on a Prayer of Bonaventure 1221–1274

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Mar 26, 2015

Partakers - Book 1 - Alphy & the Lord’s Prayer

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What's It All About, Alphy?

Alphy the WOWChurch Cat has a new book out! Alphy the WOWChurch Cat is on an adventure! In this book, his adventures take Alphy to explore the Lord's Prayer - perhaps the most misunderstood prayer of all!! What will he find? You will have to read to find out! Come and discover with him!Check the preview video out and the Amazon links...

  • 40 pages.
  • Full colour illustrations.
  • UK Price is £4.99
  • USA price is $9.99!

Every purchase helps me out and I also put a percentage to good causes close to my heart !
Click on the appropriate image below!

Click here to buy my books on Amazon USA!Click here to buy my books on Amazon USA!Click here to buy my books on Amazon UK

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Let me know what you think!
 Alphy!

 

Mar 25, 2015

Way of Wisdom - 25 March 2015

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Way of Wisdom

with Regina Sanders

Passover and Easter!



Today's Scripture readings are from the letters of the Apostle John, one of Jesus' close friends...

1 John 5:2-3, "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome."

2 John 1: 5-6, "Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it."




To hear how Regina is helping you today from these Scriptures, please do download the mp3 using the links below or play the audio file! Come on in! Then please do make a comment to Regina using the comments section below...



Please join me next week for The Way of Wisdom with Regina Sanders. God bless you!

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Mar 24, 2015

POD - Psalm 2

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Psalm 2

This Psalm speaks of the glories of the Messiah to come! It speaks of Jesus, who we know to be the Messiah that the Psalmist is speaking about!

1 Why do the nations rage, and the peoples plot a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth take a stand, and the rulers take counsel together, against Yahweh, and against his Anointed, saying,


e“Let’s break their bonds apart, and cast their cords from us.
4 He who sits in the heavens will laugh. The Lord will have them in derision.

5 Then he will speak to them in his anger, and terrify them in his wrath:


6 “Yet I have set my King on my holy hill of Zion.”


7 I will tell of the decree. Yahweh said to me, “You are my son. Today I have become your father.
8 Ask of me, and I will give the nations for your inheritance, the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession.

9 You shall break them with a rod of iron. You shall dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
10 Now therefore be wise, you kings. Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
11 Serve Yahweh with fear, and rejoice with trembling.


12 Give sincere homage to the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath will soon be kindled. Blessed are all those who take refuge in him.

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Mar 23, 2015

Think Spot 23 March 2015

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Think Spot - 23rd March 2015

G’day and welcome to Partake! Welcome also to Monday and our Think Spot together!

Last Monday we looked at serving God where ever you are with a clear conscience. How did you get on with doing it?

This week we look at a follow on from that to meekness. What is meekness? Isn’t meekness, merely weakness? That’s what we are told often enough by people outside the church! Yet meekness is not weakness! Meekness is giving up our personal rights to God alone!

A meek person is one who claims no personal rights of their own, and who is willing to yield all possessions and personal rights to God. A meek person sees these things as being loaned by God for His work and glory. Being meek in all situations takes a strong character, for example Moses (Numbers 12:1-3).

Giving up your rights and all you own to God alone, is talked about often in the Bible. Some of the results of giving up your rights to God can be found in: - Psalm 22:26; Psalm 25:9; Psalm 37:8-11; Psalm 149:4 Isaiah 29:19; Matthew 11:28-30. (1.15)

As followers of Jesus you and I need to give up our own rights and possessions to Him because:

  • You and I belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)#

  • We are instructed to be meek by Jesus (Luke 9:23)
  • It follows the example. of the New Testament church (Acts 5:32)

When we insist on our own personal rights and those rights are violated, the main consequences are anger and anxiety. They occur when we try to control or change something God never intended us to change or control. When we react and resist, we deny God His right to do what; He wants to do. When we get angry and when we worry, these are signs that there are rights God wants us to yield to Him.

How do you yield rights and possessions over to God?

Firstly, identify them! Check where in your life anger and or anxiety exist. Then ask the Holy Spirit to work on your heart, prayerfully considering each area, yielding all to Jesus. When you do that, God becomes responsible for those areas.

Secondly, expect God to test His rights. Having handed them to God, He may allow situations to occur which will deny you these rights, to see if that right was really given to Him. It may be necessary to once again yield that right to Jesus. As you respond to each test, meekness develops.

Go into this week, knowing that God is at work in you! You are to be His servants and you are not your own! You were bought at a price by God! Through the meekness of Jesus Christ’ work on the cross.

Father I pray that as we give our personal rights to you, that you give us strength to overcome with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives within us as your children. We ask this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ! Amen!



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Mar 22, 2015

Sermon - Chocolate Christians

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Sermon - How not to be a Chocolate Christian

Have you ever noticed that chocolate melts under pressure & heat? If you haven't, take a piece of chocolate and hold it between your fingers! It will soon melt! If you are a Christian, you need to be active in your local church so that you don't melt under pressure and you will remain firm in your faith! Otherwise you will be a chocolate Christian who easily gives up under the stress and pressure of every day life!

At a church local to where you live, you are needed regardless of who you are!

Perhaps this is you?

  • Interested observer but not a committed Christian
  • Not bothered
  • Not good enough
  • Just want to be left alone
  • Don't know how to be involved
  • Don't know why being involved is important
  • Too busy

But why should you be involved?

Why? You have talents to be used!!

When Jesus said to His apostles "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." (John 14v12), it was through the promised Holy Spirit (John 14v17), and the impartation of Spiritual Gifts that His words were fulfilled.

The reason that the Holy Spirit imparts spiritual gifts to Christians is so that the body of Christ is built up (Ephesians 4v12), for the common good of the church (1Corinthians 12v7, 14v12) and "so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 4v12).

These three reasons signify that God wants Christians to be active in service and not still like stagnant water. That is why we have been given gifts and if these gifts are not used for God's purposes, then they are utterly useless and meaningless. And the gifts are not just the supposedly spectacular gifts but also the supposedly mundane! Cleaning is as much a spiritual gift as preaching is!



As we are not to neglect our gifts, or let other Christians neglect their gifts, we are to fan the gifts into flame (2 Timothy1v6). Much like blowing on embers and stirring them up will restart the flames of a fire! To do this, as Christians, we are to employ the gifts faithfully and by asking God to continue their development, strengthening and for opportunities to use them! Seek gifts that build up others, commands Paul (1 Corinthians 14v1-12). Ask God faithfully for gifts that give opportunity for service to God and others!

Why? We are dependent on each other

As Christians, we are dependent upon each other, just as one part of the human body has dependence on another part. That is why we serve each other and use the gifts generously given by God. As all Christians have gifts, we have a responsibility to discover and develop them (1 Timothy 4v14)! God has called Christians and equipped them with spiritual gifts, and they are not to be neglected! You are a member of the body of Jesus Christ the church! If you are not being active that means the Church body is affected aversely! Its like a part of your body failing to do as it should!

Why? Improve your serve!

They are opportunities for Christians to serve other people. Some gifts like teaching, helping or leadership quite possibly are enhancements of natural abilities whilst others like faith, healing and miracles are from the Spirit's empowerment alone.

In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), Jesus intimates that those who follow Him, will be judged according to all that they have been given stewardship of! This includes things such as Spiritual Gifts (1 Corinthians 12v1-10), acts of service (Galatians 5v13) and material possessions (2 Corinthians 9v6-8)! These are used to accomplish three other items of Stewardship: mission, message and people.

Why? To follow Jesus

The Christian life is not to be static or inactive - it was never meant to be! The Christian life is to be dynamic! It is to be active. The word servant is key in Scripture. It is used at least 500 times in its various derivatives. When a Christian serves, God's honour is released. This is done because service shows the beauty and glory of Jesus Christ to those being served and to those watching. That is to be our motive for service. Serving is never to be about what you and I can get out of it. When that is the motive, God is not glorified. God's glory, honour and supremacy are to be the goal of a Christian's life. Spiritual growth comes from serving rather than being served. This is because what ever is given in service of God and others, your faith grows and Jesus Christ gives back even more.

Jesus speaking in Matthew 25v15-30 tells of the rewards for faithful service and the penalties for being faithless. Serving others is a sign that you are trusting in and having faith in God. It's a visible aspect of your invisible faith. Service is the outward expression of your inner beliefs. Serving is an outward expression of your inner faith - an external working out of your inner salvation. Serving God and others is the mark of a spiritually mature (or spiritually maturing) Christian and through service, the greatest servant of all, Jesus Christ, is reflected in our lives. "For Jesus Christ, came to serve and give his very life for others" (Mark 10v45). As Christians we are to be as Jesus Christ (Romans 8v28; Philippians 2v5) and to serve. Yet if we are honest, we sometimes feel incapable, just as Moses did (Exodus 3). When the church is built up, unity will inevitably prevail and be built up.

GO!

So if you find you are currently inactive in your local church, then please go and make yourself available to serve there! Ask your pastor or church leader how you can help out! By doing so, and submitting yourself to the Holy Spirit who indwells you, the lives of other people could be changed for God's greater glory because of your acts of service and worship.

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Mar 21, 2015

The Big Story - Part 7

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Big Story - Act 4 Scene 2: The death of Jesus

with Roger Kirby


And so we come to the pivotal moment of history. It is hard to know what to write about it. In all probability anyone and everyone who listens to this, or reads it, will know the details of what happened and if I am telling the story of the Bible this is perhaps not the best place to go into the detail of what the death of the Son of God on the Cross meant. What I am going to do, therefore, is try to relate the great event to all that has happened in the Great Story so far.

We started with Creation. The fundamental point of Genesis chapter 1 is that men and women are made in the image of God and therefore are uniquely endowed with conscience and insight into all that surrounds them and happens to them. If we are made in the image of God then it follows that it is possible for God to walk this earth in the form of a man, as indeed he did in Jesus, the embodiment of God in human form. He died as the Son of God and as a human being.

Next came the Fall, when mankind started to show their persistent tendency to disobey God and to fail to live well with each other. Jesus did not sin. The writer to the Hebrews says: “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tempted as we are —yet without sin.” Jesus died, falsely accused of plotting to destroy the temple, committing blasphemy and threatening insurrection against Rome. None of those things were true – at least in the way those who heard him interpreted them. This was the pivotal moment when the Fall was reversed – at least in potential.

The commission and promise given to Abraham were designed to begin the process of calling the whole world, all mankind, back to obedience to God the Lord. The great commission then moved on to his family and then the 12 tribes of Israel.

They were redeemed out of Egypt to show the power of redemption and to set them on the long and difficult path of obedience to the Lord that they had in their midst as they travelled through the wilderness.

But they failed. They began to fail at the very beginning, in the episode when they worshipped the golden calf as their saviour from Egypt - and from there it was all downhill. Eventually the visible presence of the Lord in the centre of the nation had to be removed from them. It could get no worse. All they were left with was the promise of a man, a Messiah, anointed of God, who would, they thought, restore them as a kingdom and a nation.

But when the Messiah, Jesus, came he had quite other purposes and plans. They did not recognize him, largely because those purposes and plans were so very different from those they expected him to have. He was not a warrior leader. He did not challenge the hated Romans. He was a peaceful bringer of healing, who taught the value of peacefulness, calm, good inter personal relationships and love; all these things were part of the Kingdom he was introducing; all would only be attained by submission to the Lord God and to himself. He taught that the way up to communion with the Lord God was down to service and faithfulness.

All this strange and entirely unexpected mixture of attributes came together in the person of the prophet from Galilee, Jesus. The move back to God away from the primeval sin of mankind had started with one man, Abraham. It had continued through, first, one family – that of Jacob/Israel, then 12 tribes, the nation of Israel. But they had all failed miserably through many centuries to carry out Abraham’s great commission so it came back down onto the shoulders of just one man, the perfect, obedient Israelite, Jesus. Only he could atone for both the original Fall and the consequent failure of all men and women to live in true obedience to the One and Only Lord God.

This was the Glory of the Cross. That was the deepest depths of degradation, but in it we see the Son of God, God himself, lifted up for all the world to see, to follow and obey.

Ever since mankind has struggled to express the full meaning of what happened there. Two main ideas have dominated: atonement and victory. Atonement is to make a satisfactory payment for something done wrong, in this case a sacrifice. It makes what was separated ‘at one’ (as the word suggests), in this case to bring together the sinner and his Lord in spite of the fact that one is sinful and the other pure and holy. Victory, expressed in the Latin tag ‘Christus victor’, represents the idea that at the Cross Jesus conquered all that was against mankind. This could only be in potential as sin is clearly still rampant in the world; and in potential as the final victory for the believer will only be achieved on death and entry into the life after death.

So what? We live in the shadow of the Cross. A very old hymn says:
“What language shall I borrow
To thank Thee, dearest Friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow,
Thy pity without end?"

It is hard to think of a better way of putting it than that. Another hymn says:
“In the cross of Christ I glory,
towering o'er the wrecks of time;”


And we can do no better than that - Glorying in the Cross. An amazing thing to do. Funny how many people wear a miniature of a scaffold round their necks and churches put a replica high on their building! But that is part of ‘the way up, is down’. As we do that glorying we shall find that our hearts and minds are strangely warmed. Thank you – Jesus, Lord and Saviour.


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