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Thursday Story

People meeting Jesus

 The story of Adele from Queensland, Australia...

We continue apace into the twentieth century and hear the story of a friend of mine. Her name is Adele and she is from my home country, Australia. Come on in, and listen to her story about her own Christian journey and the relevancy of Jesus Christ to her life! Come and listen to her story of faith...

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Alfie brings you a WOW Word

 

WOW Word - Your Cross

 

Luke 9:23-26 Jesus speaking “Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

 

What is our response to this to be? As followers of Jesus Christ we are commanded to count the cost of following Him. That is how we carry our own cross for the sake of Jesus Christ. Jesus wants to be number one in the life of all those who choose to follow him! Jesus wants supremacy over everything in our lives, including family, friends, and possessions! Alas, that’s a cost too high for some! Here is one man who couldn’t give up something to follow Jesus! Let’s call him Basil. Basil runs up to Jesus and wants eternal life, wants it now and asks Jesus about how to get it. He has fully kept the commandments listed by Jesus. However!

However when Jesus said to Basil that in order to follow Him, he would have to give up all his wealth and possessions in order to have treasure in heaven and eternal life, Basil leaves disconsolate and shattered. The life of Basil, this rich young ruler, reflected a life of absorption with his own self-interest and self-importance!. It was a step too far for Basil. He wanted his riches and also everlasting life, but Jesus said he couldn’t have both. He remains the only person that we know of, who left Jesus’ presence sorrowful. That was due to Basil putting his trust in himself, his riches and wealth alone. Now riches, in and of themselves, are not necessarily wrong! But for Basil, well, he was not willing to make the sacrifice required to follow Jesus. He couldn’t count the cost of following Jesus– it was too high a price for him to pay!

What have you given up in and as a result of your decision to follow Jesus? Making sacrifices to follow Jesus is all part of the WOW factor of Jesus. Jesus demands that He is number one and supreme over everything else in your life - yourself, family, others and material goods including money and possessions. How is this done? This is done by consistently ensuring that your works and words match your lifestyle and that no hypocrisy can be found, or indeed will be found. It means standing up for God in the face of adversity. It means loving others even though they hate you.

Just a couple of examples. In the UK, we aren’t systematically persecuted. We are marginalized, ridiculed and ignored but some of our Christian family around the world who daily face death simply because they chose to follow Jesus. They are carrying their cross for Jesus! What about us in the UK? For example: if we as Christians were known by our self-sacrificial love of all others, then Jesus whom we claim to love, follow, worship, and adore would be seen.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote "When Jesus Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die. ... Discipleship is not an offer that man makes to Jesus Christ, nor is it hero worship, but intimacy with Christ." (The Cost of Discipleship). Bonnhoeffer knew that as a Christian, a person has to take up their own cross in following Jesus and count the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ.

 

Finally, let’s look at 1 John 3:16 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for others.” Jesus told us to take up our own cross if we are to follow Him as His Disciple. How is that possible? If we try to do that in our own strength and wisdom, we will fail. If we do that using the power and strength of the Holy Spirit within you, then you will succeed at following Jesus’ command. Are you as a Disciple of Jesus Christ willing to take up your cross? What a difference that would make to the community where you live! 

 

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POD - Psalm 51

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Psalm 51

For the Chief Musician. A Psalm by David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

51:1 Have mercy on me, God, according to your loving kindness.
According to the multitude of your tender mercies,
blot out my transgressions.
51:2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity.
Cleanse me from my sin.
51:3 For I know my transgressions.
My sin is constantly before me.
51:4 Against you, and you only, have I sinned,
and done that which is evil in your sight;
that you may be proved right when you speak,
and justified when you judge.

51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity.
In sin my mother conceived me.
51:6 Behold, you desire truth in the inward parts.
You teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
51:7 Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean.
Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
51:8 Let me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones which you have broken may rejoice.

51:9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all of my iniquities.
51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a right spirit within me.
51:11 Don’t throw me from your presence,
and don’t take your holy Spirit from me.

51:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation.
Uphold me with a willing spirit.
51:13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways.
Sinners shall be converted to you.
51:14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness,
O God, the God of my salvation.
My tongue shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

51:15 Lord, open my lips.
My mouth shall declare your praise.
51:16 For you don’t delight in sacrifice, or else I would give it.
You have no pleasure in burnt offering.
51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit.
A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
51:18 Do well in your good pleasure to Zion.
Build the walls of Jerusalem.
51:19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of righteousness,
in burnt offerings and in whole burnt offerings.
Then they will offer bulls on your altar.

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Think Spot - 16 April 2018

 

G'day! Welcome to Partakers and the start of new week!.

Romans 1:1-5

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God-  the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures  regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David,  and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name's sake.

Jesus is Unique

The man of history who we know as Jesus Christ is unique - totally and completely unique! Never before and never to be repeated again - ever! Jesus Christ is the standout person from all of history! He is embedded resolutely in human history. In all of human history, Jesus Christ is incomparable!

Yet in human form, we read that during his earthly ministry he had no physical beauty that would draw people naturally to himself. We read that Jesus' body on the cross was disfigured and tortured beyond that of human likeness. His perfect life, His salvation work on the cross and His subsequent rising from the dead, is what makes Jesus Christ unique - a once and for all lifetime Messiah or Saviour for the entire world! 

This great God of creation, stepping into His creation as a human, with the purpose of reconciling the world back to Himself! WOW!! Jesus' uniqueness meaning I can have an active and dynamic relationship with God. As you go into this week may your relationship with God be active and dynamic! Go and thank Jesus Christ for his uniqueness which allows this to occur.

Prayer

Father, we thank you for Jesus Christ your Son! We thank you that because of Him, we can enter into a dynamic and active relationship with you! We ask this prayer and give you praise, through your Son and in the power of the Holy Spirit who lives inside all those who are following! Amen!

 

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Exploring The Bible

56. Old Testament

1 Kings

 

G'day and welcome to our series, "Exploring the Bible" This is also the title of our latest book available on Amazon by clicking here or visiting PulpTheology.com

Key Verses:

1 Kings 9:4–5
1 Kings 11:11

The first half of 1 Kings tells about the nation of Israel under the leadership of Solomon. Under Solomon’s leadership, Israel rises to the peak of her size and glory. It is Solomon who builds the temple, consequently giving the Lord God a place in Jerusalem where he will dwell in a special way. Solomon soon gains a divided heart following his pagan wives, which eventually leads to Israel being divided into Israel and Judah.

The second part of the book goes on to tell about these two nations and their kings. Nearly all the time they are a disobedient people, rebelling against God’s prophets and His laws.

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Gems in the book of Revelation

Part 139 - Revelation 7:9-17
The worshipping crowd

John sees a great crowd of the people of God, but he has a problem: are they ordered and countable or are there far too many of them for that? He doesn’t know so he describes them both ways.

If they can be counted how many are there? He chooses a number and since he has to describe them he does it in terms of the ancient people of God: the twelve tribes of Israel though he is no longer really drawing a line between Jew and Gentile. And how many are there? He has to choose a number. So he is careful to pick a number: 144,000, which is neither too many or too few. He will not have known how many followers of Jesus there were as he wrote. So he picks a stylised number made up of products of 10 and 12. Two twelves and three tens multiplied together will give him what he wants. That must have been at least two or three times as many as the number of followers of Jesus there were then. So, allowing for the rapidly increasing churches it is a number that means that no one who heard it would need to despair of being one of the chosen ones. But it is not such as enormous number that his hearers might think that they were automatically alright then and need do no more to get their seal on their forehead. Such a number will not do today; there are far too many of us now. At least one more 12 and 5 more 10s to take it up to over 17 billion would now be needed to get a small multiple of the known number of Christians now in the world.

So perhaps John’s second picture of an uncountable number in a great multitude is the better one. And we, you and I, are somewhere in that throng. If our eyesight in heaven is much the same as it is here on earth we wont even be able to see the throne and the Lamb because as comparatively late comers we shall be so much on the edge of the throng. But we shall still get the white robe that will signify that we are counted as pure, forgiven through the blood of the Lamb and thus partaking in his victory. Even if we are not very good singers here on earth - no matter - this praise and worship is to be spoken! Even if our voices are now old and shaky we shall then have ‘loud voices’ rejoicing in the fact that we have been saved. We shall hear the praises of the elders and the living creatures and, although it does not say this will happen, no doubt picking up the gist of what they are saying and joining in.

When John asks who are eligible to be in this great throng he is told that they are “those who have come out of the great tribulation”. All sorts of fanciful theories about what the great tribulation is, or will be, have been proposed. We don’t need to worry about it; in a throng so big there is bound to be room for little you and little me! WOW and hooray.

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