google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html 2015 February

Archive for February 2015

The Big Story - Part 4

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Big Story - Act 3 - Scene 2 - the LORD reveals himself

with Roger Kirby

The next major action in the Biblical story is the return from Egypt of all the descendants of Jacob/Israel 400 years after Joseph took them there. What are most interesting are not the details of their history but the way in which God, the LORD, reveals himself to them. He does this in 3 ways:

  1. he tells them his name;
  2. he carries out many overt acts demonstrating the power of his activity on their behalf;
  3. he stations himself in the middle of his people to travel with them. That is knowledge, action and presence.



1. Knowledge. When Moses, seeking authority for what he had just been commanded to do, asks what God’s name is he gets 3 answers. In Exodus 3: 13 – 15 we read: “Moses said to God, ‘Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name? ’ Then what shall I tell them?’.

God said to Moses,

  1. “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites:
  2. ‘I am has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites,
  3. ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers —the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob —has sent me to you’”.

The third one identifies him as the same God of their ancestors hundreds of years earlier. The first one, perhaps given undue prominence in English Bibles by being printed in capitals is difficult to understand. The important one is the second one; I AM, as this is the one that Jesus used to declare his own status, as we shall see later. Disclosing his name like this was a major step forward in the relationship between the Lord and his people.

2. Actions. The sequence of miraculous events carried out in Egypt through Moses as the human agent, established the uniqueness, the power and the authority of the Lord beyond question. (One example is in Exodus 7: 8 – 13) “The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Perform a miracle, ’ then say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,’ and it will become a snake.” So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said”. These demonstrations of miraculous powers were then followed by the two miraculous events that constituted redemption out of Egypt: the passing over of the first born sons of Israel while those of Egypt died on one terrible night and the crossing of the Red Sea and the destruction of the pursuing Egyptians.

3. Presence. Perhaps easily overlooked is the statement of Exodus 13: 18 – 22. “So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle. After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people”.

This developed into the formal structure of the ‘tent of meeting’. Exodus 40: 34 – 38: “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels”.

The Israelites were instructed to camp by their tribes in a square round the tent (Numbers 2: 1 – 2) “The Lord said to Moses and Aaron: “The Israelites are to camp around the tent of meeting some distance from it, each of them under their standard and holding the banners of their family”. This symbolically indicated the centrality of the Lord amongst his people, Israel.

Thus were established 2 apparently contradictory facts about the Lord: unlike all the gods (=idols) of the surrounding nations. He was invisible and he was the God with whom they could have the closest of relationships – no distant, silent, unknowable God was the Lord.

So we read in Deuteronomy 7:7–11 “The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. But those who hate him he will repay to their face by destruction; he will not be slow to repay to their face those who hate him. Therefore, take care to follow the commands, decrees and laws I give you today”.

And above all there is the Shema, Deuteronomy 6: 4, 5, “Hear, O Israel:The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength”, words which the faithful Israelites were later taught to say as their declaration of faith every day.

Note that I am not listing the giving of the Law on Sinai as a major part of the Big Story. The people of Israel did not become the Lord’s people by keeping the Law; they kept the Law because they were the Lord’s people.

So what?


The sequence is exactly the same for us though it must be updated in the light of the story of Jesus. First we need some knowledge of God. There is plenty to be heard and read about him on this website though it is better by far to read it for yourself directly from the Bible, if you have one. Second, we need to experience the action of the Lord on our lives. This is when the Holy Spirit comes to us and turns us round to walk in the Lord’s way. The immediate results in our own lives may not be very obvious, but then what was going on in Egypt probably wasn’t very obvious to the ordinary, average Israelite, who had been making bricks without straw, until they actually crossed the Red Sea and saw the Egyptians drowned. Third, we need to recognize that from the moment of our redemption the Lord, Christ, the Spirit, is at the very centre of our lives. From then on ‘your life is hidden with Christ in God’, or as one paraphrase puts it ‘Christ is the secret centre of your life’!

The presence of the Lord in the middle of his people was of fundamental importance for them. Be sure that the presence of the Lord in the middle of your life is of fundamental importance for you!


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Partakers Friday Prayers!

27th February 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!


Prayer of Abandonment - Thomas Merton


My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please You
does in fact please You.
And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And I know that if I do this
You will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore I will trust You always
though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear,
for You are ever with me,
and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.
Amen


From Thoughts In Solitude by Thomas Merton


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Way of Wisdom

with Regina Sanders

Perspective and Praise


Welcome to The Way of Wisdom. I am Regina Sanders your host and I am so honored that you have decided to be with me today. Today's Scripture comes from Revelation 5:11, "I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands."


As The New York Times recently concluded, we live in "the age of big data." This reflects the growing capacity and speed of computers and the growing importance of the internet. Data now is exploding, more than doubling every two years. In his recent book on big data, Christopher Surdak explains that the world's yearly data traffic will reach 1.3 zettabytes by the year 2016. ("If a zettabyte of data was burned onto data CDs, the resulting stack of CDs would be 4.1 million kilometers high.")


Today, computers "talk" to each other, exchanging information. This (theoretically) can make life easier and better, but also raises serious concerns about privacy. More about our lives can be known, and possibly misused. When overwhelmed with these statistics, believers should remember that we serve a God who is much bigger than any computer or data. We see His bigness in Revelation where we see a picture of the vastness of Heaven and a great celebration. How many were there? "Myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands." As far as John's eye could see, there were living creatures and angels.


This provides important perspectives for our lives. First, when we praise God, we are adding our voice to this myriad of myriads. We also need to realize that all of these people went through the struggles of life. They clearly realize that God is greater than any person, organization, or computer. He alone is worthy of praise. This vastness reminds us that God already knows everything about our lives. Even better, He loves us, and we can trust Him.


Today, praise and worship God the Father, and give Him thanks. Praise and worship Jesus, for He is worthy. Join the vast throngs of Heaven. Right now!


Please pray with me this Prayer: Father, I praise and worship You. Thank You that You know everything about my life. Help me to be pleasing in Your sight. I trust You! In Jesus name.
Amen.


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Think Spot - 23rd February 2015

Someone watches over me

In 600 BC a tyrant ruled that land we know as Iraq. His name was Nebuchadnezzar. He built a huge golden idol of himself and commanded all the people to bow down to it. Three young men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused and were thrown into a fiery furnace. You can read about that in Daniel 3 of the bible!

What we do know from this story is that the three young men survived. The tyrant Nebuchadnezzar didn’t survive as he was sent mad and lived like a donkey and his successor was killed; the writing was on the wall!

We all face trying times but the Good News is that there is always someone who watches out for us no matter what the situation. God is sovereign. That is: He is in control although we may not always see or understand that at the time. For those who put their trust in Him He promises to be with them and protect them. The apostle John puts it this way: “you, dear children have & will overcome because the one who is with you is greater than the one who is in the world” 1 John4:4.

If times are hard for you, or for somebody you love, remember God does care and loves us so much that He died for each of us. That’s what Easter is all about. Go into this week knowing that God loves you. God cares for you. God wants you to be His child.

The REALLY GOOD NEWS is tyrants and their idols come tumbling down but God’s LOVE endures for ever. Have a WOW week!

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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 start a 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!

Brother Lawrence was alive in the 1600s and this book of his details about how a person can benefit from the steady and soothing connection with God and to God. We have much to learn in the 21st century from this 17th century brother in Christ and that is what we hope each of us will gain from these conversations and letters recorded for us.

Brother Lawrence gives open advice and we will see his passion for spiritual concerns as he went about his work in the monastery - in the kitchens and as a cobbler. In these recordings, we see how he rejoices in the mundane duties, his persistent prayer life and was well known for his kindness, sympathy and willingness to help all others. So with that said, let us start with this fascinating book!

Conversations - First Conversation


  • Conversion and precious employment.
  • Satisfaction in God's presence.
  • Faith our duty.
  • Resignation the fruit of watchfulness.

THE first time I saw Brother Lawrence was upon the 3rd of August, 1666. He told me that GOD had done him a singular favor, in his conversion at the age of eighteen. (The audio continues the conversation...)

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Big Story - Part 3

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Big Story - Act 3 - Scene 1 - Israel - Abraham

with Roger Kirby

All right – I know I have got it wrong! Abraham came before Israel, but he was part, the first part, of the story in which Israel was the major player so I stick by my heading.

Amazingly God’s original plan had not worked out. God had created a perfect world, so perfect that he said it was ‘very good’. Into it he had put a man and a woman and, because they were made in his, God’s, image they had the power of self-will and decision making. And it had all gone wrong. Mankind was unable to relate to God because God was holy and pure and they were neither. What could God do about it – working within his self imposed limits that it would be done through human beings?

What God chose to do was to take a man from whom would come a family, and from that family a nation, and give him the responsibility to turn it all around and make it work. That man was Abraham.

In the same way that God later said he did not chose Abraham’s descendants because of anything in them but simply because ‘the Lord loved them’. I think we must assume there was nothing special about Abraham. We will never know when or why the Lord spoke to him and compelled him to persuade his father to take his whole family out from one of the best and most comfortable cities of the ancient world, Ur of the Chaldees, and trek over a thousand miles to a small hill country area.

The promise the Lord gave to Abraham is of fundamental importance to the whole Biblical story and to the whole world, up to and beyond our present day.

Here it is, from Genesis 12: 1 - 3: “Go …. to the land I will show you.

I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed hrough you.

Here we have

  1. a promise of land,
  2. a promise of many descendants,
  3. a promise of great blessing through him,
  4. a warning that the world will be divided into those who are blessed and those who are cursed through him.

I think, before going any further, I should list what has happened as a result of those 4 ideas. The detail will get filled in as we go through these studies.

  1. the land is no longer Israel. Paul said that ‘Abraham would be heir of the worlds”. Romans 4:13.
  2. the many descendants are not just national Israel, indeed not really national Israel much at all now but us! Paul said: If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:29.
  3. the great blessing has come through Jesus Christ: his life, death and resurrection.
  4. Paul updated the warning when he said in Romans 1: 18, 19: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.”

So all these things said to Abraham more than 3000 years ago are still important today.

But, in fact, it is more than a promise. If you buy a book from a friend you promise to pay. But if you buy a house from a friend something more than a promise is needed. You are into the world of lawyers, legal documents, and a covenant – an unbreakable agreement between the two of you. And the Lord sealed a covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15: “The Lord said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.” Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away. As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram”.

That describes what we would think a very curious procedure, but it was the way they did covenants in those days. It was the way a high king made an agreement, a covenant, with a lesser king. The high king would protect the lesser king from other high kings. The lesser king would provide fighting men to form part of the high king’s army when he needed it – perhaps to defend another lesser king from another high king. The situation between the Lord and Abraham was sufficiently similar for the procedure to be applied.

The fundamental statement on which Abraham and eventually the whole Biblical story is centered is Genesis 15: 6. “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” Paul uses it in Romans 4: 9 when he says: “we have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness.” Here faith/faithfulness/believing loyalty is established as the necessary and only prerequisite for a relationship with the Lord God. All other subsequent attempts to add various activities and actions in worship and living are just plain wrong.

The story unfolds with many ups and downs through the lives of Abraham, his son Isaac, his grandson Jacob who had the 12 sons who began the 12 tribes of Israel, and his great-grandson Joseph who, with the best of intentions, moved the whole 12 families down to Egypt. The return from Egypt, some 400 years later, the Exodus as it s called, is the next major event in the Biblical story.

So what?

Abraham is the great paradigm of faith (A paradigm, pronounced paradime, is not just an example of something or even a good example. It is the one outstanding example that all others should copy. So Jesus gave his disciples the parable of the Sower and the Seed as the one great paradigm of how all the rest of the parables should be understood.)

The first outstanding thing Abraham did was to make a journey, a huge journey, particularly huge for a city boy, through wild country, difficult country past bandits galore. He didn’t get it all right. We read in Genesis 12 that he failed to stop in the hill country he was to be given when he should have done. He kept going, eventually reaching Egypt and big trouble.

The writer to the Hebrews says: “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”

We too have a journey to make – the journey of faith. We too won’t get it all right; we will make mistakes. But if we walk in step with the Spirit of Jesus we shall get there.

The second outstanding thing Abraham did was to obey the instruction from the Lord to take his only son, on whom all the promise of descendants rested, to the hill of sacrifice where he was only stopped at the last minute from killing him as a sacrifice (something far outside what we would ever consider possible). That was a huge test and we may well hope that nothing like that will ever come our way. But to go back to the journey idea – some preachers make it sound as though all that matters is being born again. But we are born to a new life, not to a static state of eternal babyhood. The beginning matters, as a wedding matters, but it is the marriage that determines what the real outcome is. Not for nothing is the Christian life called the Way in the book of Acts; Jesus said follow me; he describes himself as the shepherd who leads where the sheep are to follow. What is the Way you are going?

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Partakers Friday Prayers!

20th February 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 St Patrick

Almighty God,
Today we desire to worship You and want to live for you alone.
May Your strength steer us,
Your power uphold us,
Your wisdom guide us,
Your eyes control our vision,
Your ear govern our hearing,
Your word counsel our speech & thought,
Your hand protect us,
Your pathway be before us,
Your shield be our shelter.


May Your angels guard us from ambush of devils,
from vice's allurements and traps of the flesh,
from all who wish ill,
whether distant or close,
alone or in hosts.


Today we put on a terrible strength,
invoking the Trinity,
confessing the Three,
with faith in the One who is our Maker:
Father, Son and Spirit.
Amen

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Way of Wisdom

with Regina Sanders


Four Keys To Recognizing The Problems You Were Created To Solve

Welcome to The Way of Wisdom with Regina Sanders. I am Regina Sanders your host and I am so honored that you have decided to be with me today. I want to jump right in. Today we are going to discuss four keys to recognizing the problem that you were created to solve. Did you realize that you were created to solve a problem for someone? Well, you were! Everything is created to solve a problem. Computers solve a problem for being able to retrieve information. If you are blessed to have one in your home and have internet access then you have the whole world right there at your finger tips. It solves a problem for you. An ink pen solves a problem...you are able to communicate the old fashioned way; write a letter, write down notes, make a list. So I want to discuss with you four keys to recognizing the problem that you are created to solve.

The problem that infuriates you the most is often the problem that God has assigned you to solve. Anger is a passion. Anger is energy requiring an appropriate focus. Anger is always a necessary ingredient for uncommon change. What angers you is a clue to an existing problem God intends for you to solve. It is a signal from God to correct something that grieves Him. People often say, "Oh, we're not supposed to be angry." God created us with that emotion. He just did, and it is how we use it. You don't allow anger to sit there and fester and become a root of bitterness but you use it to promote life in the kingdom of God. Jesus was angry. He said, "Be angry but sin not. He came into the temple, the synagogue, and they had it set up like a marketplace He overturned the moneychangers and He told them to honor His father's house. It is about honor.

What you love the most is a clue to the problem you are gifted to solve. Do you love computers? That is where your wisdom will be. Do you love children? You probably possess an innate, intuitive ability to communicate and aid children. What do you love? What you love is going to be a clue to the problem that you are to solve. I love people and I have experienced such massive grief in my life having lost two children. There is nothing like burying your child. It is a hard thing...part of my passion is for parents who have lost children; but you see grief doesn't just surround us when we lose a loved one; we are encompassed with grief when our pets pass away or get lost, we are encompassed with grief when we lose a job, when our favorite car dies and it seems like there is no money we are encompassed with grief.

So grief is one area that God has called me to. That is a problem I can solve, because we can get stuck in grief. God has called me to help people walk through the journey of grief because King David said in the 23rd Psalm, "I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..." He didn't say he stopped, he didn't visit. He didn't linger and he certainly didn't set up residency, but he walked through it; and when he reached the other side his cup overflowed with joy! And that is my calling, to help people move through this process of grief.

What grieves your heart continually is a clue to a problem God wants you to solve. When you see television programs that make you weep for starving children that is a clue that God is linking you to something. I recently listened to Lisa Bevere give an interview and she has a wonderful book and study guide out "Lioness Awakening", and it is through this vision that God gave her that part of her ministry was birthed. She recalls sitting and reading a magazine about the trafficking of young women, selling them into slavery, and imprisoning them, and God placed it on her heart and opened the door, gave her a window of opportunity to be a part of rescuing these young women. He will put you there. What makes you weep? That's a sign, that's a clue to a problem you are to solve.

Your dominate gift is often a clue to the problem you are created to solve. Are you gifted with numbers? Do you work with children, administration and organization, music? Your gift is the bridge to the problem you are created to solve. You were created to solve a specific problem on the earth. You can't solve everybody's problem. You are not called to everybody, everywhere; but you are called to a specific geography; to a specific people, to solve their problems. In your job, you are there because your boss needs you.

There is a problem that he needs you to solve. Do your best, give your all, solve that problem with everything you've got; with minimal supervision. Allow him to see it. If he says, "Boy, I sure would like to have a glass of orange juice but we don't have any in the building..." be the first one to say, 'I'll be right back. I am going to get that orange juice for you. Do you want pulp in it or you want non-pulp?" Solve his problem and he will recognize you. Solve the problems that God has created you to solve and He will recognize and honor you. He qualifies you for the position that He has put you in.

Look at Joseph. Joseph had a dream as a child and he told it to his father and he was so happy. Then he told it to his brothers, and again, Joseph was so happy; but his father and brothers weren't happy! In fact, his brothers plotted to kill him! But one of them had mercy and a little fear of the Lord, and said, "We do not want his blood on our hands! We can't kill him! We will sell him! Let's sell him into slavery. Throw him in this pit until these Ishmaelites come by and we will sell him." And that is what they did. They sold him.

The Ishmaelites then sold him to the Egyptians. He landed in Potiphar's house, where he was over everything. God's favor was upon him. He was waiting for his dream, but he was in preparation. Preparation don't always feel good, but that is where he was. He supervised Potiphar's whole household, and had access to everything except Potiphar's wife. And when he refused her because he would not dishonor God and he would not dishonor Potiphar, then he was thrown in prison. Thrown in prison for choosing the right thing, making the right decision; but God's favor was upon him in that prison; and he was the supervisor over the prison. He solved a problem for the baker and the chief cup bearer. He interpreted their dreams and he asked them to remember him when they got out.

But you know, they forgot him for a long time, but then Pharaoh had a problem. He had a dream and nobody could tell him what it meant...he had a problem...and that is when they remembered, "Hey, you know what? When you threw me in jail...remember that way back when you threw me in jail? Well, I had this dream and I didn't know what it meant but there was one there and he told me what it meant. You should go get him. He is still there!" And what did Joseph do? Joseph prepared to go before the royalty. He bathed, changed his garments, and he shaved off his facial hair because Egyptians didn't like that. He prepared to go before the royalty.

He, with God's help, was able to tell Pharaoh what these dreams meant. He became second in command under Pharaoh. His father and his brothers bowed before him as he gave them grain in the famine. He prepared a place for them. His dream was finally fulfilled. It took 19 years. You know, when you pray for something and it don't happen immediately...don't get discouraged. Don't think, "Well, God said no..."maybe He's not saying no, but, "Wait! Let Me qualify you, and prepare you to walk in what I have called you." That is what He did with Joseph for 19 years! Keep your dream ever before you. That is what Joseph did, and he prepared each step of the way. And each step of the way in his preparation he was solving problems for somebody; whether it was Potiphar, somebody in the prison, or Pharaoh, or his own family; he was that problem solver. And you have that same design in you!

That's right, you, you are the next Joseph! Who are you called to? What problem are you called to solve? If you are not sure, i encourage you to dig deep into God's word. Stay ever present before Holy Spirit and ask! "Lord what problem is it that you want me to solve?" And be a willing vessel and tell him, "I am here. If there is anything I can do, use me." He will!

I thank you for being with me today. I want to close with prayer and I want to encourage you to come back and be with me next week in The Way of Wisdom with Regina Sanders. Father, God, I thank you for the message that you've brought forth today. I pray that it speaks life into everyone that listens to it. Father I thank you for Brother Dave who made this syndication possible, and I ask you to keep your hand upon him,anoint him, place your heavenly anointing upon him. Bless him. Let your favor rest upon him in everything that he does for the furtherance of your kingdom, God for his heart is to let the world know that you love them...that is his heart and I thank you for him. I thank you for each one that took the time to listen to this syndication this morning, and I pray that it spoke abundant life into them and that it was a guiding tool in helping them see what problems you have called for them to solve. I just thank you, Father, I just thank you for your love, for your hand which anoints us, provides for us, protects us and covers us. I thank you, Father. I thank you that you place us in the cleft of the rock, in the arms of Jesus, for our safety and our protection; and that you pour your mercy and your grace upon us. In Jesus name I pray! Amen.

My friend, if you don't know Jesus, if you don't have a personal relationship with him, then I ask you, will you make that decision today? Romans 10:9 teaches us that if we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus, and we believe in our heart that God raised him from the dead, then we are saved. So, will you pray this prayer with me today? Dear Jesus, I believe that you died for me and you rose again on the third day. I confess that I am a sinner. I need your love and forgiveness. Come into my heart,forgive my sins, I receive your eternal life. Confirm your love by giving me peace, joy, and a supernatural love for others. Amen. Friend, if you prayed this prayer, you made this decision today, write into us, let us know so that we can celebrate with you; because you are the prodigal son or daughter returning to the loving arms of your father and he is preparing a great celebration for you...a great feast, and I want to rejoice with you, and brother Dave wants to rejoice with you, so let us know. If you don't have a church we will do everything we can to help you get in contact with a church so you can be connected with other believers...and I just thank God for you! God bless you! Have a good day!

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POD - Psalm 95

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Psalm 95

(read by Carol)

95:1 Oh come, let's sing to Yahweh.
Let's shout aloud to the rock of our salvation!

95:2 Let's come before his presence with thanksgiving.
Let's extol him with songs!

95:3 For Yahweh is a great God,
a great King above all gods.

95:4 In his hand are the deep places of the earth.
The heights of the mountains are also his.

95:5 The sea is his, and he made it.
His hands formed the dry land.

95:6 Oh come, let's worship and bow down.
Let's kneel before Yahweh, our Maker,

95:7 for he is our God.
We are the people of his pasture, and the sheep in his care.
Today, oh that you would hear his voice!

95:8 Don't harden your heart,
as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the wilderness,

95:9 when your fathers tempted me, tested me,
and saw my work.

95:10 Forty long years I was grieved with that generation,
and said, "It is a people that errs in their heart. They have not known my ways."

95:11 Therefore I swore in my wrath,
"They won't enter into my rest."

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Think Spot - 16th February 2015

G'day! Welcome to Partakers Think Spot at the start of a new week - a new week given to you by God! WOW!

Obedient Life

As a Christian you are to be a little Jesus! In your local communities, wherever you happen to live, work, study or be! You are to live a life of obedience, of and to, Jesus Christ! For you are being transformed by the Holy Spirit who lives inside you! You are to be totally and willingly obedient to Him! Obedience, not out of some kind of slavish duty or ritual, but obedience borne from willing loving God and loving others.

Imagine

People will know you are a follower of Jesus, if you are obedient to Him, practically showing love to all! Imagine the community where you are transformed for Jesus Christ! Imagine your community filled with people seeking to know about our Jesus, because you and other Christians were sacrificing their time and possessions! Imagine the communities you are involved with wanting to give Jesus the glory and honour in every aspect of life!

Transformation

Transformed communities of people devoted to Jesus and experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit in bringing people back to God the Father! Loving God and loving each other as He commanded would help do this in your local community!

Be Obedient! Be bold! Be strong! Be courageous!

But you need to be obedient to Jesus Christ in both small and large things.

Jesus said in John 14:21 "Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them."

You will face pressure to disobey Him, even sometimes from those within your church. But if He has commanded you to do something for Him, you are to obey Him. It is far better to obey God and disappoint people than to obey people and disobey God.

Go into this week, lovingly willing to be obedient to God! Trust in Him and ask Him for the strength to be lovingly obedient to Him. He will help as you ask! It can sometimes be very difficult to be obedient to God, particularly as some people, even other Christians, will try to get you to disobey. Be strong in the Lord! Be bold! Be courageous! Need help? Then ask somebody to pray with you! Then be prepared for opportunities to be lovingly obedient to Jesus – in small and big things!

Prayer

A Prayer to help you this week.

Father, help us to live obediently to you. May the Holy Spirit encourage us as we seek to live worthily of Jesus Christ, in obedience to Him. Father, it is in His name we pray in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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The Big Story - Part 2

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Big Story - Act 2 - The Fall

with Roger Kirby


Question: what has been your biggest disappointment, the moment when something really special you had planned, or made, or hoped for did not work out and your dreams came crashing to the ground?



It seems rather extraordinary but that seems to be what happened to God, the Designer and Creator of all that is. He had planned and built the perfect world for Adam and Eve and their descendants, put them in the most perfect garden ever, and they – the two of them – had immediately spoiled it and brought the whole scheme crashing to the ground. I know we say God knows everything including the future but in the introduction to the story of the Flood we read that the LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth and his heart was deeply troubled. God was disappointed – whatever the systematic theologians may say are his attributes.



Adam and Eve were the first to get it wrong and therefore most at fault. Genesis 3: 1 – 11 says: “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die. ’” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”


When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”



So Paul says: sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people. But that is not the end of the problem. We have 3 more accounts of the sinful nature of people in the next 8 chapters. First: Cain and Lamech commit murder. Second: things get so universally bad that God sends the great Flood. Third: mankind, again in the plural, get so above themselves God has to organize the confusion of languages at Babel. Not a good set of stories!



But we need to start at the beginning. The story of Adam is important for many reasons. The one I would highlight as very significant but often overlooked is the fact that we are being told humankind started in just one place with just one person. Men and women did not become spiritual beings made in the image of God through the slow evolution and development of many people. No. Only one person, Adam, was created as a true fully human being. Because he was male there was a problem! In most ancient stories of the beginning of humanity the first person was female, which made things much easier because then others could be born from that first person. But Adam was male so Eve was made from his side. That is realistic because the human world is a male dominated world simply because men tend to be stronger than women. We may not like that – particularly if we are female – but that is the way it is. Only with Jesus, the way he treated women, and the early church, and the way they gave women an equal status with men, do we begin to see the raising of women towards equality with men. Then in the last few decades with the increasing sophistication of modern machinery needing brains and skills of dexterity rather than strength, women have started to equal men in their work place skills – but that is another story!



When Paul said “all have sinned” he made the most accurate statement ever of the nature of men and women. Sin and evil cover this world of ours as we can see from any daily newspaper or TV news bulletin. Some try to say mankind is getting better and better but there have been more terrible wars and more ghastly treatments of man by man in the last 100 years than ever before.



The Bible story continues with the murder of Abel by Cain. “Am I my brother’s keeper” asked Cain thinking the answer was “no”. Jesus pointed out that the much better answer is “yes” by telling the story of the Good Samaritan.



To emphasize that the problem was, and is, a worldwide problem we have the story of the Flood in Genesis chapters 6 to 8. Although, like Creation, that is much argued over, the message of the story is quite clear: sin and evil are a world wide problem and yet God has promised never again to deal with it on a worldwide basis. Our world will only come to an end when it is replaced by the new heavens and the new earth. Paul says: “the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.”



The fourth and final story of the descent of the human world into the mess of sin and evil that became its standard state is the story of Babel. The multiplication of languages is depicted in this striking image. Biblically the reversal of this commenced at Pentecost when we read in Acts 2 : “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.



Now there were staying in Jerusalem God- fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they said we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”



Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd:“Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:



“‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women,

I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.”



Practically, on a world wide view not much changed – until now – leading to our present dependence on the World Wide Web and the consequent dominance of the English language.


So what?



We live in surprising and exciting days. Babel is not, and never will be, completely reversed. But in our lifetimes one language, English, has become more widely understood than any other ever has been since Babel. More people speak Mandarin or Spanish as their first language – their mother tongue as we call it – than do English. But the effect of the Internet has been that more people can now understand or even speak English than have ever been able to do so with any other language.



A good example of that is what you are listening to or watching right now. Dave Roberts is one of those who have caught the vision of what is possible today, in English, through his Partakers site. Make sure that you make the most of these opportunities. If your mother tongue is not English you may struggle a bit to follow all he, and we, say or write. Persevere – use a dictionary if we get above ourselves and use unusual words. Sorry!



Just one question – who do you share it with? It doesn’t matter if your translation is not perfect. Make the most of it you can. Turn it into the language of those of your friends who have less English than you have. Share the glorious news of the Good news of Jesus as much as you can and the LORD will bless your every word. WOW.



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Partakers Friday Prayers!

13th February 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 Anselm

Lord, because you have made me,

I owe you the whole of my love;

because you have redeemed me,

I owe you the whole of myself;

because you have promised so much,

I owe you my whole being.

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Moreover, I owe you as much more love

than myself as you are greater than I,

for whom you gave yourself and to whom you promised yourself.

I pray you, Lord,

make me taste by love what I taste by knowledge;

let me know by love what I know by understanding.

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I owe you more than my whole self,

but I have no more,

and by myself I cannot render the whole of it to you.

Draw me to you, Lord, in the fullness of your love.

I am wholly yours by creation;

make me all yours, too, in love.

(Anselm 1033-1109)

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