google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html 2011 May

Archive for May 2011

Glimpses 51

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God is my sufficiency!

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G'day and welcome to Partake Glimpses Stories. Where we see together how Jesus is alive today, working in different peoples lives in different ways. We aim to show Jesus as being relevant to the world today, some 2000 years after He walked the earth, died  on  a Roman cross, rose again to new life from physical death and ascended back to the right hand of God the Father. Today I relate to you a story told to me by a friend of mine, Lynn, about an event which happened only this week to her in the United States of America!

Here comes the storm!

The red tornado line on the TV screen went right through our neighborhood. I've lived in tornado alley for a long time and have spent my fair share of time cowering in a bathroom in the center of the house. We Midwesterners get used to it. Today, though, the meteorologists were expressing more concern than usual, they were predicting baseball size hail, the tornado was heading straight for us, and my kids were getting nervous, so I decided to seek shelter.

By the time I made the decision, the kids got ready to go, and the dogs were packed up, we had little time. Being in emergency mode, I grabbed the basics - my wallet, keys, cell phone, iPad and my Bible. I fleetingly thought that if I had time to write I might need it but, also, if our house was damaged, I wanted to make sure my study Bible was safe.

Making a decision!

As we drove away and my daughter said, "Good bye, house," it occurred to me that it wasn't just possible, but likely, that we would lose our house. I've seen news coverage of people who have lost everything they owned, and I've known a few who have. It always makes me sad and I have grieved with friends over it. But when it became my near reality, I had to decide how I would handle it. I had to let myself feel it and figure out my response. What do my house and things mean to me? What if it's all gone when I get back?

What do I really need?

Wedding pictures, baby books, senior pictures, my Mom's Bibles ... one-of-a-kind items that can't be replaced. How would my life change if I didn't have those things? I glanced at my kids, took a deep breath, relaxed, and knew that it wouldn't. It would be fine. It wouldn't be easy, but it would be okay. I don't need stuff. Nice, but needed? My true need is God, and I have Him. He can provide and handle everything else.

Jesus gives me a reminder!

As we waited in the shelter, my son asked, "What do you think is happening to our house?" I put my arm around him, smiled confidently, and said, "I don't know, but we're going to be fine." And I meant it.

Jesus Christ said in Matthew 6:31, 33: "So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?' or ‘What shall we drink?' or ‘What shall we wear?' ... But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

Help is at hand!

As it happened, Lynn and her family returned to their house and all was pretty much the same as when they left it.  They had put God first.  Lynn, asks "How much do your things mean to you?" By this true story, we see how Jesus Christ is relevant to Lynn!  He reminder her of priorities and those verses of Scripture Matthew 6! They were safe and their possession were still theirs after the storm! What storms are you facing in your life? Be assured that Jesus Christ will help you if you ask!

You can visit Lynn's blog at http://www.lynsmith.org/blog/

If you have found this helpful, please do let us know how it has helped your own journey of faith. Thank you.

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Glimpses 50

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Wake Up O Sleeper!

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G'day and welcome to Partake Glimpses Stories. Where we see together how Jesus is alive today, working in peoples lives in different ways and is relevant to the world today, 2000 years after He walked the earth, died, rose again and ascended to the right hand of God the Father. I tell you today a story told to me by Jim Allis about one of his experiences!

Be Born Again!

One evening in a meeting, I was expounding John 3 concerning a question Nicodemus asked Jesus. "What does it means to be ‘born again?" Jesus had said "Except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God" Jesus then explains it to him . Nicodemus doesn't understand and thinks he has to return to his mothers womb in order for it to happen.

A Christian Country?

A lady who was sitting in my congregation was dozing, not because she was bored but because dying from cancer she had drugged herself before she had left her home that night.. Pain always set in when she entered the church . When I had finished preaching I walked down the aisle close to her. As I did so she grabbed my jacket and said "What do you mean we have to become Christians and be born again, isn't this a Christian country we are living in?" I replied by asking her a question. "Well, what do you think?" She replied "I suppose the way things are, murders thieving, adulteries and child abuse this can't be a Christian country and what's more I know I am not, Please will you help me?"

Jesus Knocks!

This was a cry from her heart. I was convinced of that. . A day or so later I called on her and gave her a book called "By Searching" by Isabel Khun, a godly missionary. It included an account of how she became a Christian. As I left the house Mrs D said "I am not there yet. I cannot call Jesus Lord of my life." I said I would pray for her.  A few days later her daughter rang me to say her mum had been rushed into hospital and it was 50/50 whether she would recover from the operation to remove the cancer.

Born Again Now!

The day I visited the hospital I will never forget, Earlier I had read God's word for encouragement and prayed for Mrs D feeling very inadequate to know what I would say to her to comfort her in her extreme condition. Entering the ward I found her sitting in a chair beside her bed looking very pale. However there was a huge smile on her face. Excitedly she said "It's happened" she explained. "I can now call Jesus My Lord! I was reading the preface of this book you gave me and the writer explained how she was going through a deep mist but as it cleared she began to understand Jesus purpose in coming into this world". Mrs D now could understood about sin, forgiveness and her need of a righteousness not her own to cover her. Mrs D was full of joy and we praised God together.

Taken Home!

The next time I visited the hospital she was in a coma after the operation. I prayed for her aware from experience that my words would be heard in her spirit even though she couldn't respond. She went to heaven shortly afterwards. How loving and wonderful, full of mercy and compassionate our Lord is. How determined He was to quicken her through His Word before she died. "She must be born again" and she was, and she died in peace

If you have found this helpful, please do let us know how it has helped your own journey of faith. Thank you.

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Glimpses 49

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A Father's Plea!

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G'day and welcome to Partake Glimpses Stories. Where we see together how Jesus is alive today, working in peoples lives in different ways and is relevant to the world today, 2000 years after He walked the earth, died, rose again and ascended to the right hand of God the Father. I tell you today a story told to me by Jim Allis about one of his experiences!

Help Me!

A man who we will call "G" had told me that his daughter just had to get saved and healed. He then asked me to go and see her. He added "She intends going to a spiritualist; please stop her." I sought the Lord in prayer that morning and I received an assurance in my heart that He was going to heal her, but first she must hear the gospel and become a Christian.

Telling the story

Arriving at her front door she readily invited me in . I said "I know your Dad has told you the way to God; may I have ten minutes to do the same?" She agreed and listened attentively as I went to Genesis 3 and explained how sin came into the world. I moved on to the prophecies in Isaiah concerning the Messiah, and then the fulfilled prophecies in the Gospels, especially dealing with Isaiah 53 in relation to the cross and Jesus purpose in coming into the world. All this I explained is unveiled in the gospels and showed her the relevant passages.

What must I do?

She listened carefully and then said "Can I ask Him now into my heart ?" The Holy Spirit had prepared her, and she prayed and simply, sought forgiveness and asked Jesus into her heart. Then I said "I believe the Lord wants to heal you, what is wrong with you? She said "Well, it's very painful, tennis elbow" I was ignorant regarding this problem but others tell me it is extremely painful. I prayed with her and our Lord drew near and touched her and she was healed. Praise the Lord!  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever!

If you have found this helpful, please do let us know how it has helped your own journey of faith. Thank you.

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Glimpses 48

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Amazing Scenes at Oxford!

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G'day and welcome to Partake Glimpses Stories. Where we see together how Jesus is alive today, working in peoples lives in different ways and is relevant to the world today, 2000 years after He walked the earth, died, rose again and ascended to the right hand of God the Father. Today we welcome back once more, Jim Allis, an experienced pastor, relating to us a situation where God undoubtedly helped people and shows His relevancy to them. So over to you - Jim!

Stand up

Oxford is a wonderful city and famous for it's University and a certain athletic track "Iffley Road". Do you remember what happened there in the month of May 1954? The famous Roger Bannister broke the first four minute mile there, helped by Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher. I was a very keen athlete in my distant youth and was going to emulate Sir Roger Bannister as he is now officially known. A joke of course! However running became a god to me and God was given a very small place in my life, until my wonderful conversion in 1963. My life was really turned around. A number of years later in my capacity as an evangelist training churches in personal evangelism, I was invited to Oxford not to a running track but to an evangelical free church

My mission was to encourage this church and lead them in reaching out into their neighbourhood with the gospel. I was asked to speak to the church on a Sunday afternoon, to address those interested in this venture who belonged to this church.

Watching

As I spoke I was conscious of one lady who didn't appear to be enjoying my talk. She looked grim and at times totally disinterested. I tried to look elsewhere for the remainder of meeting and was very encouraged by the response as I spoke about the person God uses in evangelism, a person fully yielded to Jesus Christ. I was also the appointed speaker at the evening worship service and the church was pleasantly filled.

The church had an overhead projector and a low screen on the platform which could not be raised on this occasion. So I made the decision that we would sit to sing the hymns so that all would be able to see the words on screen. I didn't want to sing solo that night!

I preached that night on the famous words of Peter and John in the book of Acts "Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have I give thee. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk"

It was well listened to and following the address I had chosen such a well known final hymn, I suggested we all stood to sing the last hymn to "Stand up for Jesus". Following the benediction I went to stand at the door to shake hands as all visiting preachers do and suddenly there appeared to be some kind of excitement!

What's it all about?" I enquired. A deacon approached me and said they had been praying for the healing of a certain lady who could not walk to church. He then said excitedly "Tonight during the service she was healed!"

Healed

I was then taken to the lady. It was the same lady who I had seen in the afternoon who had looked so bored, and so disinterested. She no longer looked bored, but a broad smile was now on her face. "It was when you preached the words from the Bible "Rise up and walk" she said. "I felt strength coming into my legs and it was wonderful and frightening. Then I heard a voice saying, "You must stand up during the last hymn" but I thought we are not standing for the hymns tonight, I am afraid. Imagine how I felt when you said we should all rise for the last hymn. But I did, and strength came into my legs and I am healed." I went to a further meeting of praise in a house that evening and I saw her getting into the minibus like a two year old.

Wonderful Jesus!

Isn't our Lord wonderful.? Yes He knew we would stand for that last hymn. I had not invited any person to the front for prayer. I had simply preached from Acts 3:6ff and in Romans 10:17; we read "Faith comes through hearing and hearing by the ‘Word ' of God" The Greek for Word is ‘Rhema' meaning "the living active Word" God's Word came alive for this lady and together with The Holy Spirit beautifully healed this lady. As we have seen God speaks to us today in a variety of situations. Our part? To listen, recognise His voice and respond for His glory and praise

If you have found this helpful, please do let us know how it has helped your own journey of faith. Thank you.

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Glimpses 47

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Malcolm Muggeridge

Pursued Into the Light of Christ!

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G'day and welcome to Partake Glimpses Stories. Where we see together how Jesus is alive today, working in different peoples lives in different ways. We aim to show Jesus as being relevant to the world today, some 2000 years after He walked the earth, died  on  a Roman cross, rose again to new life from physical death and ascended back to the right hand of God the Father.

Today, once more we take a step back to recent history, into the 20th century, and a very brief glimpse at the Christianity of a well-known Christian.  Today its Malcolm Muggeridge, who was, by his own volition and renown, a determined sceptic and vocal non-believer. We will look at some of what this man said about Jesus Christ of Nazareth.  In doing so, I will be taking short excerpts from two of his books "Conversion: A Spiritual Journey" and "Jesus Rediscovered" which should still be available to purchase.

Malcolm Muggeridge was born on in England on 24 March 1903 and died on 14 November 1990.  He was educated at Cambridge University and graduated with in Natural Sciences.   During World War II, he was a soldier and a spy. He was an English journalist, author and media personality. In is earlier years, he was renowned as a drinker, heavy smoker, and womaniser! After his conversion to Christ, he became a leader protesting against the commercial exploitation of sex and violence.

We begin with Malcolm Muggeridge asking an important question!

Page 41 "Jesus Rediscovered" Is there a God? Well, is there? I would be very happy to answer with an emphatic negative. Temperamentally, it would suit me well enough to settle for what this world offers, and to write off as wishful thinking, or just the self-importance of the human species, any notion of a divine purpose and a divinity to entertain and execute it. I have never wanted a God, or feared a God, or felt under any necessity to invent one. Unfortunately, I am driven to the conclusion that God wants me. God comes padding after me like a Hound of Heaven. His shadow falls over all my little picnics in the sunshine, chilling the air; draining the viands of their flavour; talk of its sparkle, desire of its zest. God takes a hand as history's compère...  Under God's eye, tiny hoarded glories fall into dust - a little fame, some money ... "Oh Mr M! How wonderful you are!" There is no escape. Even so, one twists and turns.

And his story of God pursuing him continues, culminating in Malcolm Muggeridge becoming a Christian but not knowing at what specific time it occurred because for him it was a process.  One person, or light, instrumental in this conversion process was Mother Theresa of Calcutta!

Pages 14-15 "Conversion" - There was a happening when we were in Calcutta with Mother Theresa making the film Something Beautiful for God, which might well have provided an occasion for a conversion. The Home for Dying Destitutes where Mother Theresa's Missionaries of Charity, take down-and-outs from the streets of Calcutta... Mother Theresa is, in herself, a living conversion; it is impossible to be with her, to listen to her, to observe what she is doing and how she is doing it, without being in some degree converted. Her total dedication to Christ, her insistence that all our fellow human beings must be treated and helped and loved as though they were Christ, her simple presentation of the Gospel and joy in receiving the sacraments, is quite irresistible. There is no book I've ever read, or discourse I've ever heard, or service I've ever attended, no human relationship or transcendental experience, which has brought me nearer to Christ, or made me more aware of what the Incarnation signifies for us and requires of us.

And so this arch-sceptic and non-believer turns to Jesus Christ of Nazareth as God! God had indeed been pursuing him and using people such as Mother Theresa of Calcutta to bring Malcolm Muggeridge to a living faith in Jesus Christ! What was this man's view of Christianity now?

Pages 109-110  "Jesus Rediscovered" - I see Christianity as a very bright light; particularly bright now because the surrounding darkness is so deep and dense; a brightness that holds my gaze inexorably, so that even if I want to - and I do sometimes want to - I can't detach it. Christ said he was the light of the world, and told us to let our light shine before men. To partake of this light, to keep it in one's eye, is Heaven; to be cut off from it is Hell... Away from the light, one is imprisoned in the tiny, desolate dungeon of one's ego; when the light breaks in, suddenly one is liberated, reborn.

Powerful words from this convert, even with a brief glimpse at what he had to say! And what is the relevancy of this Christianity to the world today, this Christianity which Malcolm Muggeridge once cast off as nonsensical and controlling drivel?

Page 63 "Conversion" - What we continue to call the western civilisation, after all, began with Christian revelation, not the theory of evolution... Jesus of Nazareth was its founding father, not Charles Darwin; it was Paul of Tarsus who first carried its message to Europe, not Karl Marx or even Lenin. Jesus, by dying on the Cross, abolished death wishing; dying became thenceforth life's glory and fulfilment. So when Jesus called on His followers to die in order to live, He created a tidal wave of joy and hope on which they have ridden two thousand years.

This was all part of the journey of faith for Malcolm Muggeridge, former sceptic and unbeliever who turned to Christ when he realised that God was pursuing him and using lights such as Mother Theresa to bring Malcolm to faith.  Today, you go be a light to somebody's path to faith and show the relevancy of Jesus Christ to all you meet on every day you live.  And if you are not yet a believer in Jesus Christ, be assured He is also pursuing you, calling you to be in a dynamic relationship with Him. He calls you by name and no matter how much you twist and turn, you can deny Him, but you cant escape Him!  Thank you.

Muggeridge, M., Jesus Rediscovered, Collins Fount Paperbacks, London: 1982
Muggeridge, M., Conversion: A Spiritual Journey, Collins, London: 1988

If you have found this helpful, please do let us know how it has helped your own journey of faith. Thank you.

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Interview with Carol!

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G’day and welcome to Partake Glimpses Stories. Where we see together how Jesus is alive today, working in peoples lives in different ways and is relevant to the world today, 2000 years after He walked the earth, died, rose again and ascended to the right hand of God the Father. Today I interview somebody, asking them about their life as a Christian in the 21st century!

  • What is your favourite piece of Christian worship?
  • What verse from the bible speaks to you the most?
  • Who in Church history are you most encouraged by?
  • What is the most compelling aspect of Jesus for you?

If you have found this helpful, please do let us know how it has helped your own journey of faith. Thank you.

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Glimpses 45

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Interview with Sheena

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G’day and welcome to Partake Glimpses Stories. Where we see together how Jesus is alive today, working in peoples lives in different ways and is relevant to the world today, 2000 years after He walked the earth, died, rose again and ascended to the right hand of God the Father. Today I interview somebody, asking them 6 questions about their life as a Christian in the 21st century!

If you have found this helpful, please do let us know how it has helped your own journey of faith. Thank you.

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Prayer of Joy - Psalm 66

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Psalm 66 - A Prayer of Joy

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Tonight we are to study Psalm 66, which is a prayer of joy. The reason for this is, because where ever hope can be found, there is always joy. This is particularly true of the Christian life. As christians, our great hope is knowing that through the Lord Jesus Christ we will have salvation. Salvation is freedom. Freedom from injustice, freedom from sin. It is freedom from our prison of looking after our self, to a new life of entrance into self-forgetful worship & service to God. It is freedom from the limits of pain, decay, death, and entrance into a new world of life, immortality, beauty and joy without end. That is the hope of the Christian, and that is why we can have joy as Christians. But joy, is not just for the future. Joy is also for the present, for the here and now. But, what is joy, and what place should joy take in our life today. But first we will look at Psalm 66, and see where joy fitted into the life of the Psalmist.

1. Psalm 66 and joy

a. Joy and the Earth (vs. 1-4) Listen again from another translation to that beginning! " Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! Sing to the glory of his name! Offer glory and praise! ". The majority of scribes and leaders of Israel normally only gave praise to God silently and in meditation. This was of course acceptable to God. But here among a great number of peoples the whole earth is encouraged to shout with great joy to God. This also was acceptable to God, and it is quite natural for great crowds of people to shout in harmony. If praise is to be widespread, it must be vocal; joyful sounds stir the soul and cause great thanksgiving spread throughout the people.

God is to be praised with both the voice and the heart. Oh, great joy when all the earth will worship God in joyful harmony. One day, all the earth will sing the praises of God, in every language. The whole earth, everyone, is encouraged to sing of the glory and power of God. The psalmist encourages the worshipers to turn their praises to God. The honour of God should be the focus of our praises. It is our glory to give God glory. We turn in joy and admiration to a God who one day will cause all the earth to fear and tremble before him. One day all the earth will bow down to worship God. For those who are enemies of God, who have never believed in him, they too will be forced into submitting worship to Him They are forced to worship Him out of His power and submission, not because they choose to. But their worship will not be like the saints. The worship of the saints, of those who truly believe in Him, will be of truth, love and pure joy and service. The joy of the earth will be to praise God.

b. Joy and the nation of Israel (vs. 5-12). After the selah, possibly a brief pause in the song, the psalmist now exhorts joy because of what God has done for Israel. He has done mighty works for his people the nation of Israel. Did not God start the nation from Genesis 12 and Abraham? Did not God lead His people out of the Egyptian exile by parting the Red Sea with His mighty hand so that his people could walk to freedom? Does not God rule forever by his mighty power? God watched over that nation of Israel, making covenants with Abraham, Moses and David promising that He will be their God and they will be His people.

The people of Israel were people of joy, because they could look and see what God had done for them, and have a sure hope of what He will do for them in the future. God took Israel through hard trials and exiles. The psalmist here continues to encourage the people to loud praise and joyful noise of God because silver and gold do not become pure without some refining, without being put through fire. God kept the feet of Israel from slipping, even though they turned their back on him. God always kept a remnant of believers for himself. In Israel, God sent them into exile to their enemies for punishment of their rebellion against him, but finally He led them into the promised land, flowing with milk and honey (v 12). That is why Israel could have joy, because of the hope they had in their God.

c. Joy and the psalmist (vs. 13 -20) The psalmist's joy starts with a sacrifice. Something that cost him. A sacrifice of vows and burnt offerings. What he said he would do, he will do. He gave God promises, and he wants to fulfil his promises before God. Because of his great joy, the psalmist tells others of the source of his joy. He gives testimony to the love of God: how he confessed his sins to God, and how God had listened to him and answered his prayers. The Psalmist told the people to come and hear his story. Listen to what God has done for me. They had all seen God's work, but they also needed to hear that He was a gracious god, So the joy of the psalmist involves sacrifice, testimony and praise,

2. Applying it to ourselves.

As we have just seen the psalmist's joy involved sacrifice, testimony and praise, So how can we apply these things to ourselves,

a. Sacrifice - As christians we should always give our best to God. The psalmist never presents a starving goat to God as a sacrifice, but well fed animals (v 15) of the best fields, Of all we have, whether small or large, we are actively encouraged to give God the best of it. It was not a waste to burn the fat upon the altar of God, nor to pour out the precious ointment upon the head of Jesus. Sacrifices show our heart love to God. Making sacrifices, shows gratitude to God in action, Joy comes from giving to God.

b. Testimony, - Giving our testimony to people should cause us to have great joy. Telling people what God has done for us, should cause everyone of us to have even greater joy than we have already. Telling others of God's mercy, grace and love is all part of our joy. When we lead someone to Jesus for the very first time, not only do they feel great joy and peace in their heart, but we feel great joy inside of us. The joy of God bubbles up inside of us and demands that we praise our God the Father.

c. Praise, - Praising God lifts our heart, soul and spirit when we are feeling down. The whole earth one day will praise Him and have great joy; the nation of Israel praised Him for the things He had done for them and had given them much joy, The psalmist praised God, and there was great joy in his heart. He had many reasons to praise God, God listened to His prayers, took his sacrifices and worship, forgave him when he had confessed his sins, God had not withheld his love from him. Surely the praise of God's people causes great joy to be spread amongst them.

Now that is all very well you may be thinking, but just what is joy? Is joy happiness, or is it more? Here are what some people have said of joy. "We are all strings in the concert of God's joy" - Leon Bloy. "The joy that Jesus gives is the result of our being at one with Him" - Oswald Chambers. Many people, including some Christians confuse joy with happiness, however there is a vast difference. As C.S. Lewis once wrote: "Joy is never in our power, and pleasure is. I doubt whether anyone who has tasted joy would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasure in the world."

As humans we only feel happiness or pleasure depending on our circumstances, while joy is always separate from our circumstances. Happiness is a surface emotional response to good things; while joy is a deep-down heartfelt response that endures whether good or bad things happen to us. The world says happiness is looking out for number one and negotiating your personal good in all you do. The greatest good is their own happiness, however the happiness doesn't last long so the search for happiness continues in its circle.

Joy however, is the result of sacrificial love. It is for the good of others, not for ourselves, which is to be our judge of joy. When we give away our will, for the sake of others, we receive the joy that Jesus desired for us. Happiness and joy are radically different. In his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis described his pursuit of joy. He tried to find it in humanism, communism, eroticism, and lots of other human philosophies and searches. But they only led him to places where joy had already been. He did not find joy for himself until he realised that joy would come only as a result of putting Christ first in his life. Joy, unlike happiness, is never an end in itself. It is only as we make Christ our overwhelming first priority that joy, almost without our knowing it, comes. If we seek joy, we will lose it, because it cannot be caught. People of the world seeks happiness not joy. Joy is given only by Christ and serving him. Hebrews 12:2 says, "Let us fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Jesus had the endurance to go through the pain and suffering because he had the end in view. He was affirming his purpose for the redemption of the world, and so he never lost sight of the joy that was set before him. Joy would come to him out of suffering because he gave himself for the redemption of mankind.

Jesus prayed that his disciples would have joy: "I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they (his disciples) may have the full measure of my joy within them." (John 17:13). The joy of Christ is transferred to us as we go about the task of serving him in this world. Joy is the second fruit of the Spirit. Joy is to be a quality about us just as it was a quality of the Lord Jesus Christ.

However, sometimes we don't feel as if joy is part of us. We begin to ask ourselves if we have lost the joy of our Christian lives. We look around at the world we live in and see all the misery and injustices; we see the waste of human life in cancer and HIV Aids, and we don't feel very joyful. But when we do that, we are confusing happiness and joy. If we have lost the joy of our Christian life, we need to put back into perspective what God is calling us to do and consider if Christ is still truly first in our lives. Joy is Jesus Over Yourself. We can never truly lose joy, but we can misplace it if our priorities get out of line. Joy is not something to be worked at or toward. It is not a goal to be reached, nor is it an end in itself. Joy is the result of our relationship with Christ. A relationship of Jesus Over Yourself. Joy was sacrifice, testimony and praise to the Psalmist. It is for us too in the last days before His coming again.

As this is now the night before Easter week, let us end with that comment from the writer to the book of Hebrews in regards to Jesus and joy. "Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." As E. Underhill said: "This is the secret and meaning of joy, We shall no longer strive for our own way; but commit ourselves, to God's way, submit to His will, and in doing so find joy and peace, -.

Go out with joy, today!

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Glimpses 44

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Angie's Journey Begins!

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G'day and welcome to Partake Glimpses Stories. Where we see together how Jesus is alive today, working in peoples lives in different ways and is relevant to the world today, 2000 years after He walked the earth, died, rose again and ascended to the right hand of God the Father. Today, I want to tell you about Angie, a lady I know, and about her journey to faith in Jesus Christ.  It was told to me and I now tell you.

Early church memories

The oldest of 3 sisters, I was packed off to Sunday school in a Wesleyan chapel over the road from where we lived to giving our parents a rest each Sunday morning, or so it seemed. There I learnt about Jesus, his parables and the people of the Old Testament. Though we moved away, the memories stayed with me. I never forgot them and Jesus was always special to me, although I didn't understand the reason until much later.

First contact!

Life moved on as it always does for everyone. My holiday romance, Jim, and I married and we had 2 children. Our extended family started talking about how they knew Jesus personally. Our son, then only 14, after going to church with his cousin, came home saying he'd become a Christian. We wondered what was going on. After 3 months of our son's pleading we agreed to go to a barbeque which was part of their church outreach. Arriving an hour early as our son got the time wrong, we watched as the folks set everything up, and  thought how genuine they were.

One young man there told us his story. He was the eldest of 6 children, he hadn't had an easy life and explained how his life had been changed by Jesus Christ. That he no longer fought in the street and had the love of God for people. It made us curious enough to decide go to that church the following Sunday.

Jesus begins to get a grip on me!

That Sunday afternoon Jim had a nap, our daughter was visiting with friends and I was ironing. Our son pleaded to watch a video he'd borrowed from church. In this video, actors depicted to us the story of Jesus from the gospel of Luke. I could feel myself getting secretly angry while watching the film to begin with as I ironed clothes. By the end of the film the iron was off and I sat with my son in front of the screen as they crucified Jesus and it hurt. I couldn't understand why they had to do that. It didn't make sense. It never had made sense to me.

That evening we went to church, arrived a little late and we settled ourselves near the back of the church.  We viewed a lively congregation and joined in smiling at each other as they worshiped with a real genuineness. This was not church, as we knew it. This was alive and exciting!

Jesus did it for me!

The speaker gave a message, ending with a request for all to bow their heads so those wanting to know Jesus could raise their hands. Jim and I looked at each other as we gritted our teeth. No way were we going to raise our hands! Then the meeting was over. I found myself asking the woman next to me why, if Jesus died 2000 years ago, was it anything to do with me. She gently explained that Jesus is central to history - that before him, folks looked forward in faith and those living after him look back in faith. He is therefore, pivotal to everything.

At that moment something happened to me - something terrible and wonderful - almost unexplainable. In my mind the video portraying Jesus' life, that I had watched that afternoon came back to me. It replayed in my mind, showing me yet again what and how Jesus had suffered. For the first time realisation came to me that this Jesus had been beaten and suffered - for me. He'd been spat on, mocked and humiliated. He'd had a crown of thorns pressed down on His head, He'd had nails driven through his hands and His feet. That He had been crucified just for me! The woman in front of me realised from my reaction that something was going on and led me to a quieter place.

My Christian journey begins!

It hit me then that the Jesus I had always known from childhood, had really and truly died for me and it wasn't just a story of fiction. He was who He claimed to be and had something to say about how I lived my life.

Worst of all, I knew I'd never thanked Him or said I was sorry. I asked what I had to do to get to know him and was led in a simple prayer of repentance and faith. I walked out of that place with the biggest smile on my face! That smile lasted for 2 weeks, having found my answer! I had committed my life to this Jesus Christ.

The family follows too!

My husband, Jim says he saw something different in the people at that church and the change it had made in me. He knew there had to be more to life. So, on his own, a few days later, late into the night, he got on his knees before God and committed his life to Jesus Christ too.

The following Sunday there we were again unchurched, not fully understanding everything, but eager to learn. A few weeks later our 12 year old daughter made her choice to follow Jesus too!

That was in 1992 and here we are 19 years later. So much has happened since then and that's a story in it's self.  God has been faithful in so many ways. Both children are now grown up, married to Christians and raising their own families in the Christian faith.  Yes my love of the Saviour just keeps on growing. I have much to thank God for.

If you have found the story of Angie helpful, please do let us know how it has helped your own journey of faith. Thank you!

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Glimpses 43

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Entrance to the Kingdom

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G'day and welcome to Partake Glimpses Stories. Where we see together how Jesus is alive today, working in peoples lives in different ways and is relevant to the world today, 2000 years after He walked the earth, died, rose again and ascended to the right hand of God the Father. Today we welcome back once more, Jim Allis, an experienced pastor, relating to us a situation where God undoubtedly helped people and shows His relevancy to them. So over to you - Jim!

Born Again?

One Tuesday evening in a meeting , I was preaching John 3 concerning a question Nicodemus asked Jesus . "What does it means to be ‘born again?" Jesus had said "Except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God" Jesus then explains it to him . Nicodemus doesn't understand and thinks he has to return to his mothers womb in order for it to happen.

A lady who was sitting in my congregation was dozing, not because she was bored but because dying from cancer she had drugged herself before she had left her home that night.. Pain always set in when she entered the church . When I had finished preaching I walked down the aisle close to her. As I did so she grabbed my jacket and said "What do you mean we have to become Christians and be born again, isn't this a Christian country we are living in?" I replied by asking her a question. "Well, what do you think?" She replied " I suppose the way things are, murders thieving, adulteries and child abuse this can't be a Christian country and what's more I know I am not, Please will you help me?" This was a cry from her heart. I was convinced of that.

Home visit!

A day or so later I called on her and gave her a book called "By Searching" by Isabel Khun, a godly missionary. It included an account of how she became a Christian.  As I left the house, Mrs D said "I am not there yet. I cannot call Jesus Lord of my life." I said I would pray for her. A few days later her daughter rang me to say her mum had been rushed into hospital and it was 50/50 whether she would recover from the operation to remove the cancer.

Born Again with New Life!

The day I visited the hospital I will never forget, Earlier I had read God's word for encouragement and prayed for Mrs D feeling very inadequate to know what I would say to her to comfort her in her extreme condition. Entering the ward I found her sitting in a chair beside her bed looking very pale. However there was a huge smile on her face. Excitedly she said "It's happened" she explained. " I can now call Jesus My Lord! I was reading the preface of this book you gave me and the writer explained how she was going through a deep mist but as it cleared she began to understand Jesus purpose in coming into this world".

Mrs D now could understood about sin, forgiveness and her need of a righteousness not her own to cover her. Mrs D was full of joy and we praised God together.

Dead yet Alive!

The next time I visited the hospital she was in a coma after the operation. I prayed for her aware from experience that my words would be heard in her spirit even though she couldn't respond . She went to heaven shortly afterwards. How loving and wonderful , full of mercy and compassionate our Lord is. How determined He was to quicken her through His Word before she died. "She must be born again" and she was, and she died in peace

If you have found this helpful, please do let us know how it has helped your own journey of faith. Thank you.

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Glimpses 42

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Ann meets Jesus!

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G'day and welcome to Partake Glimpses Stories. Where we see together how Jesus is alive today, working in peoples lives in different ways and is relevant to the world today, 2000 years after He walked the earth, died, rose again and ascended to the right hand of God the Father. Today we welcome back once more, Jim Allis, an experienced pastor, relating to us a situation where God undoubtedly helped people and shows His relevancy to them. So over to you - Jim!

Hello there! My name is Jim and I have seen Jesus alive in many situations in my life where God without a shadow of a doubt has entered peoples lives and transformed them.  Here is one of those encounters!

Separated from God!

One person close to me in my family, is my sister Ann. As a child she went to confirmation classes but there was nothing to confirm. She didn't know God. Later in her married life she found herself in tragic circumstances when her husband died an alcoholic.

Her attitude became embittered and she was not slow to blaspheme God's Holy Name. Whenever I visited her she was not responsive to my pleas for her to seek Christ until another terrible thing happened.

She had contracted MS which is bad enough and left her staggering about on a stick. Her face had become wizened and she had difficulty in walking. Her troubles multiplied as she sought drugs to relieve her pain but God listens to our prayers, doesn't He? I was converted when I was 27 and from that day on I prayed for my sister to come to Christ. Over 45 years I prayed for her without any sign or desire of a seeking after God!

Until...

Less than a year ago, she was driving her car to a school where my niece attends to pick her up. As she was approaching the school she lapsed into unconsciousness, the car swerved into the path of oncoming traffic and a direct hit caused the air bag to fly out at her and fracture several ribs and lacerate her liver. Ligaments in one of her legs were torn and she was admitted to hospital straight away and placed in intensive care.

I visited the hospital a considerable journey from my home and arriving made my way to see her. The sight I saw was pitiful and frightening to a brother who loved his sister very much. On a morphine drip to counteract pain which was intense and almost constant it was difficult to communicate. She was in a life threatening situation. I felt so helpless. I prayed over her and from that day on prayer from myself and friends was intensified.

A change!

Slowly she was released to a less intensive ward and finally after many weeks she was allowed home. Meanwhile a verse of scripture had been given to me from a friend for her. "You are fair my love there is no spot in you" With not a little fear of rejection I passed on this verse to my sister. She thought it meant her body would be healed. I saw the spiritual side of it and knew it was primarily to do with her sin sick soul.

A further wonderful day arrived when Ann's life was turned around and she is now a firm believer and with incredible courage and hidden strengths makes her way to church up a steep hill each Sunday and is a soul winner for Jesus now as she takes member of her closer family with her. To pray with her on the phone is a treat as she has no inhibitions and joins with me in prayer enthusiastically. Is Jesus alive" I will say He is. So never give up in prayer, God is faithful.

If you have found this helpful, please do let us know how it has helped your own journey of faith. Thank you.

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