Think Spot

7Jan

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Think Spot 7th January 2013

Jesus Christ always the Winner

“I will build My Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18)

Jesus spoke these words sometime before his crucifixion. He knew what was going to happen to Him for both He and His Father had planned His journey to earth and His incredible entry into the world through a virgin named Mary. Because of the purpose of His mission He knew the hostility which waited for Him and He knew that intense volume of hatred towards Him would rear its ugly head like a monster with every step he took. He also knew the personal battles with Satan that would take place. Satan knew his own end would come through Jesus Christ The Son of God.

“If you are the Son of God change these stones into bread”. Satan was tempting Jesus in order that He fail in His mission. One small slip and Christ's mission would have failed and our hope of Heaven would have vanished into thin air as they say.

The question is “Could Jesus Christ have failed?” Our knowledge of God the Father, Jesus Christ His Son and The power of The Holy Spirit lead us to believe that mission could not fail. How could a creature created by God have the final word?

Jesus Christ , the Co- Creator, was never caught out even once by the devil's activity for God alone knows all things. He alone had planned the end well in advance from the very beginning, well before man or woman went off track.. He had the solution all worked out as to how man could be restored so that God could heal the backslider and bring them back to a healthy restored relationship and fellowship with Himself.

Over the Christmas period is it possible that you have let your guard down through getting involved into the materialistic side of Christmas with its social pursuits that otherwise you would have normally steered clear of. “Its only a bit of fun” they said but it led you astray. If you have erred and fallen from the planned path God had for you, be assured God knew it would happen and is eager for you to return to Him like the prodigal son. (Luke 15)

We do stumble and fall but we have God's rich assurance of forgiveness if we return to Him. Our faults whatever they may be, if we fully admit our foolishness, He will restore us to where we should be. We do not point the finger at you but simply point you to One who does sympathizes with us having been tempted in all ways like us. He is ready to forgive. God has everything in place for a return to Him from failure. (Remember Peter when he denied the Lord?)

But never take God's forgiveness for granted by living any kind of life style and presuming His forgiveness. If we really are Born Again, born from above, we shall feel the pain of letting God down and remain uncomfortable until we return to God with sorrow over our sin.

Adam received a summons after his backsliding but then he heard of God's sufficiency for him reflected in the clothing he received through the death of an animal. God's wonderful gift of grace. Clothed in Christ's righteousness we are safe for eternity and in His righteousness we are a constant threat to Satan but our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is always the Winner! We also can win in Christ as we look to Him for His strength in the day of battle. We are saved, by grace we are strengthened, by grace we are safely preserved for Heaven by His amazing grace. Hallelujah!!

Have a great week in Christ!

Joys prayer

Gracious God and loving Heavenly Father,

As we begin a new year with you we praise you Lord for the many promises you have for us to take hold of and apply to our every day lives. Forgive us for our mistakes last year when at times we foolishly let the guard down and our minds were invaded with thoughts we knew were wrong but allowed them to control us. You warned us not to allow room for the devil to come in and we felt awful when we let You down.

Humbly we thank You for your promise of forgiveness if we confess and forsake those sins that so easily seem to grab an easy hold. You have power to cleanse us and give us the desire to be more like You each day.

You have promised protection for us. You know the strength of the enemy and you have overcome the evil One.. Help us to remember to ask for your heavenly armour to protect us on every part of our spiritual bodies and to seek positively to please you in every place we find ourselves each day. We love you Lord!

Amen

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Think Spot

14Jan

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Think Spot 14th January 2013

Fervent Prayer

In James chapter five there are several verses related to prayer. James is writing about the kind of praying that produces results and he gives an excellent example of an illustration of fervent prayer in the life of Elijah the Old Testament prophet. In chapter 5:17; James is talking of the fervent prayer of a righteous man who we read about in the Old Testament in the Books of Kings. Elijah the prophet was living an upright righteous life when he prayed for the cessation of rain and then for the necessity of rain in a time of famine. On both occasion the Lord answered positively. This morning I simply want to draw your attention to the words fervent and righteous. You may like to read the accounts in 1 Kings 17 through 18 to pick up the details.

Powerful is the description of prayer here and we learn that much is achieved by it. Three valuable truths we may learn here concerning prayer.

1. Faith - Elijah we are told did not stop praying in the time of intense famine for the requirement of rain even when there was so visible evidence that his prayer would be answered. But It was laid on his heart by God, we believe, and so he persevered through all the doubts that might come into his mind to prevent him praying . He might well have thought “This is unreasonable it hasn’t rained for 3 years and six months what chance is there of it happening now?.” Have you felt like that about unanswered prayer for someone or something that hasn't happened for many years? Praying for a relatives conversion, a job that just hasn't come into sight? An illness that has persisted ? A money problem that just will not go away.? Relationships broken you cannot understand. Faith is VITAL in prayer.

2. Necessary -Elijah was praying for something needful, something God had promised in His Word. What was that promise? If God's people would stop worshipping idols and turn away from them and worship the One true God Jehovah the promise was that the rain would come. I know of someone who prayed for a relatives conversion for over 40 years, daily and consistently they prayed earnestly over those years. The circumstances in which the prayer was answered were painful but it happened!! God had heard the fervent prayer begun 40 years previously and now was answered. The promise in the Bible believed and acted upon was what? “God is not willing that anyone perish but that all come to repentance and faith in Christ Jesus.”

3. Consistency - Elijah watched for the answer and at the appointed time 3 years and six months to the day the rain came “The fervent prayer of a righteous man was powerful” But be warned. The Bible clearly teaches us that if we harbour unrighteous sin in our hearts the Lord will not even hear us let alone answer us. Prayer is powerful but we must not take God for granted. So be encouraged and pray on.

Joys Prayer

Gracious God and loving heavenly Father,

We come to You the Almighty God and thank You so much for the relationship we may have with You because of your amazing grace!

Sins forgiven and a home in Heaven to look forward to and for now a constant fellowship we may enjoy working with You in your plans and purposes for our lives. Prayer is the method you have arranged for us to keep in contact with you and to follow you.

Prayer we admit is never easy especially when we do not feel like it especially when circumstances are seemingly against the answers and doubts attack our faith.

We look at the circumstances rather than straight at God. Forgive us for our fears and unnecessary unbelief.

Help us to be diligent in prayer with righteous living and with the constant desire to please You. Help us to search for your promises and pray according to them.

In Jesus name

Amen

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Think Spot

21Jan

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Think Spot 21st January 2013

“The God of all comfort”

Last Wednesday, in the city of London, we saw and heard on our T V screens the report of an experienced helicopter pilot who because of fog was diverting to an air pad which took him over the Thames near Waterloo and Vauxhall Station where he collided with the top of a very high crane which resulted in his death and one other passer by on the ground. As the helicopter crashed to the ground, a horrific fireball, stretching for at least a hundred metres which amazingly didn't cause an even worse disaster. Our heartfelt sympathies are with the pilots partner, and his two children who are absolutely shocked. Something no one ever expected to happen. He was experienced, top of his profession but he sadly died. Also the passer by who just happened to be there also died. How the relatives need our prayers.

I will never forget an equally devastating fire that also took place in London, in Peckham Rye some while ago but still most vivid in my memory. It destroyed a prefabricated building one intense winter when an oil burner was accidentally knocked over in the bathroom and a small girl who was visiting her Grandad was burned to death in that fire. I knew her family and as the minister of the Mission where she attended I knew it was necessary for me to visit her parents and family and express my sympathy and any words of comfort I could help them with. The night before I had arranged in my diary to visit I was in prayer before our Lord seeking His guidance. I was crying out to God for help. During that night He brought to my mind some words that Hudson Taylor, missionary to China spoke when he said “You never know the strength of God until you have to. Its not our feeble hold upon him but His mighty grasp upon us.” The apostle Paul wrote “When I am weak then I am strong” Why? Because when we recognise our weakness we are forced to lean upon and trust Him.

The next morning, I arrived on that doorstep trembling but trusting God completely. I felt weak in every way. I hadn’t slept well but when the door opened instead of the little girls mother saying “Where was your God when this happened?” Or “Why didn't He stop it occurring?” She quietly asked me into her little home and she listened as I expressed our Mission family's sympathy and said we would do anything which was needed. I asked if I might pray there and then. She allowed me to pray for her grieving family. This lovely, sweet, beautiful little girl was the close friend of my small son so she was well known to both me and my family. So there was more comforting to give at home also. Many of you have been through similar circumstances with either your own family suffering or close friends and you will relate straight away to this tragic event and agree that you never know until its needed what strength God can give to you.

J C Ryle, Bishop of Liverpool said “God never promised us an easy journey in this life only a safe landing” .

“The Lord is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we could ever ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20;)

Yes even beyond our comprehension.

Joys Prayer

Gracious God and loving heavenly Father,

We come to you the God of all comfort and remember as we read the Bible of the comfort and compassion that Jesus showed to bereaved people. His deep concern for those whose family members suffered death suddenly. We pray for the family of the pilot of the helicopter who died in London last Wednesday. A partner and two children left behind we know are heartbroken. They were a lovely family and now depleted they need your comfort and strength.

We pray for those who know them who will attempt to bring comfort to them. Especially for the friends from their schools who know them to help in whatever way they can. We all do feel helpless when tragedy strikes and do not know how to deal with our own or others emotions. Help us Lord to realise You have all the answers and we ask that we might be Christ-like in any help we give to needy cases in bereavement.

Thank you that we can look to you as our refuge and strength a very present help in time of trouble. In Jesus Name, Amen

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Think Spot

28Jan

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Think Spot

28th January 2013

An interesting picture of the power of preaching I believe, is found in Revelation 1 where we see a picture of The Lord Jesus Christ, who is The Word of God in all His glory, powerfully speaking in a vision to John the apostle on the island of Patmos. John describes Jesus Christ in this way, “His voice was like the sound of rushing waters”. He then describes the powerful effect of what he heard. He likened it to a sharp double edged sword in Christ's mouth . He then sees in this same vision seven stars are held in Jesus Christ's hand . ~

Now if the seven stars referred to are those who are leaders of the seven churches addressed by Jesus Christ in the next few chapters and preach the Word, they are in Christ's hands and surely Christ's words are to come from their mouths. Consider what that would mean for today’s churches. What powerful preaching would come from those who preach with Christ controlling their lives and mouths. ~

In Romans 10 we read that preaching is a vital necessity and those called to preach are sent and empowered by God. It is a very special calling. So is it not a fair question to ask why is so much preaching today lame and ineffective? Why do the listeners becomes bored ? Why is preaching spoken of as if it should only have a small part in the service? Some even say out of date. Powerful preaching is so necessary today.

~

So if there is a scarcity of powerful preaching today why isn’t more attention given to this desperate need? Because, we know Its amazing, powerful affect can be shattering to Satan's domain. It is meant to do just that. This positive, powerful preaching builds magnificently the Kingdom of God, and God's people grow strong and are more affective witnesses through its direct work into their lives. ~

How much time does the average preacher spend in the presence of God praying over his message and in preparing that Word from God? John Wesley said “the preacher should spend five hours out of every twenty four in study and in prayer for his preaching.” Why that amount of time? Because of its importance to find the precise meaning of words to be preached and to be applied to the hearers. To seek earnestly the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Our Lord blesses immensely the church which gives their minister's time preparing and preaching while others may perform other of his tasks. The church has many parts and gifts to compliment their pastor's ministry. (1 Corinthians 12-14) ~

Are you exercising your gifts to help your minister? I ask you, where is the ardent christian today who is eager to give themselves completely to live for Christ, dying to self whose soul is thirsts for the living God. When you gather to worship, are you looking eagerly to hear the words God wants you to hear in the sermon? Are you looking to be fed, strengthened and equipped to serve Christ where ever you go, and being an effective witness for Jesus Christ to those who don't know Him? ~ Pray for your preachers and be willing to be obedient to God as He speaks through them. And if you are a preacher, then please do take the time to often be in His Word, praying for Him to speak through you so that the church may be built up.

Joy's Prayer

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