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Archive for January 2017

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Think Spot - 30 January 2017

 

G'day! Welcome to Partakers Think Spot at the start of new week!.

Romans 1:1-5

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

Jesus is Unique

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

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

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

Prayer

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

 

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Exploring The Bible

4. New Testament

Book of 2 John (AD90-95)

 

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

Key Verses:

  • 2 John 8-11

 

John writes to remind this lady and her children (which may be code for the church and the members of the church) that their lives should be an expression of the Word of God in all areas. This expression is called love or loving one another.

 

The believers are to continue loving, abiding in God’s Commandments and pay no heed to the false teachers who deny Jesus’ incarnation. They need to be sure he was a real human person and not just a god figure.

 

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Gems in the Gospel of John

Part 85 - John 19:25
The foundation of the church

There are three strange verses in John’s account of the crucifixion that do not fit into the rest of the story. Much of it is the straight-forward account of what happened to Jesus. There are also four events mentionied because they are all direct fulfilments of prophetic statement. But then there are these three verses:
John 19:25 – 27, “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”


The obvious question to ask and try to answer is ‘why are they included?’ There seem to be two reasons: first to emphasize the importance of the disciple Jesus loved, and second to point to a particular call that all the future disciples of Jesus should follow.


John, who was probably the loved disciple, is keen to highlight the importance of his witness to the crucifixion and the resurrection that he was in a specially privileged position to bear. He was there. It seems that most, or all, of the apostles had disappeared from sight, presumably because of the risk that they would be caught and imprisoned, or worse, as followers of Jesus. A small group of women, of whom some of the most important are named in most of the gospels, had continued to stay close to the cross, reckoning they were not in the same danger. (What a terrible time that must have been, particularly for Mary the mother of Jesus.) John may have been so young that he was able to join with the group of women without too much danger.

In 19: 35 he says, “The man who saw it has given testimony”. Later we read in 21: 24, “This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.” Those words were written by somebody else who knew John really well and was most probably the person who actually wrote the gospel down as John dictated it, or compiled it from his letters and documents.

If we turn to John’s first letter, in 1 John 1: 1 – 4 we read, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched —this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.” This all emphasize s the importance of what John knew and how anxious he was that we should all understand the true significance of what he was privileged to see and be involved in.


The second reason John has included these verses in his Gospel is his desire to ensure that the church, still a young church as he wrote, should follow the example that he had been able to set. It is almost possible to say that this is the practical beginning of the church, not the spiritual beginning which was still to come after the resurrection, but the simple practical first move. One believer is to look after the mother of another.


How much this example is followed where you live will depend on your culture and how strongly and well within that culture believers carry out this part of the Christian commission. In our culture people are reasonably quick to support members of their family who have fallen into difficulty, but are nowhere near as quick to do so for those who, although fellow believers, are not part of their natural family. Perhaps yours does better.


So there is much to think about in these few verses. How firmly have we grasped the strength of the witness of John and the rest of the New Testament people and made it part of the central core of faith? And how ready are we to help other members of the Christian faith and church to whom we are not related?

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Partakers Friday Prayers!

27th January 2017

 

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!

 Today we say a series of prayers for the world, in order to lift others to the Lord God and to encourage ourselves!


Prayer Outline
Opening Prayer
Lord's Prayer
Prayer for the World
Prayer for Individuals
Prayer for the Church

 

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Issues - Words

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 Partake - Issues

Words

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G'day and welcome to Partake and our series looking at some of the issues facing Christian Disciples in the twenty first century.  Last time we looked at Materialism, and today we look at something that has the capability of affecting every person on the planet.Jesus, our Master, said in Matthew Chapter 12 "How do you suppose what you say is worth anything when you are so foul-minded? It's your heart, not the dictionary, which gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is blight on the orchard. Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation." Jesus took words extremely seriously and so must we for we are a result of our speech and we will be judged for what we say.

Words Alive!

Have you guessed what issue we will be talking about? Yes - that's right - the issue is about Words! Words matter and for the Christian disciple they are off the utmost importance as the building blocks of communication: whether by thought or through the tongue. One of the greatest sins of the twenty first century, that all Christian Disciples need to be wary of, is the use of words.  Communication, which is cynical, sarcastic, murderous and discouraging, surrounds us and we are coerced to join in, when in fact we should be standing alone against it. The twenty first century is the communications century - everything can be communicated around the world at the click of a mouse button.  What we say, think and write has the potential to be a sinful action or a sinful inaction.  Regardless of what other people say or do, we are to speak, think and write without sinning. Let those be responsible before God for their own actions and inactions - you are only responsible for yours!Words are the central means of communication regardless of our language, nationality or culture. Needless to say that every one of us has either been hurt, or has hurt others, by communicated words.  The power of the tongue in communication and speech is awesome. It has the power of life & death and those who love it will eat & bear its fruit.  The tongue is a fire, which left unguarded, can corrupt the whole body and set the whole course of life on fire. We need to watch the words we speak and control our speech, or it will control us.

A Right Use!

So what is a right use of the tongue in communicating?  We are to use our words to nourish others, encourage and lift them up.  For the tongue of the righteous is choice silver. (Prov.10:21).  Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet in the soul and healing to the bones.  We find that if we give an apt reply we will find joy and discover the goodness and healing a timely word brings!  But we are not to speak glibly and hypocritically but with truth, sincerity and love - as a mother speaks to her daughter.

Guard it!

How can we guard its use?  By asking the Holy Spirit to watch over our lips and set a guard over our mouth, according to the Psalmist in Psalm 141:3.  It is a measure of wisdom to speak words when required and with discernment.  Any fool can speak words all the time, but sometimes there is a need for silence, for even then foolish people are thought to be wise.  Frequently, we are told by the world to be quick to speak and slow to listen. But as Christian Disciples we are to do the opposite, and stand alone against it!  We are to be slow to speak and quick to listen, according to James 1:19.

Jesus' Words

Jesus' words encouraged and healed, such as to the woman caught in adultery, when he used discernment and wisdom.  He actively encouraged others gently towards paths of right living.  He spoke words lovingly to his mother.  He even spoke words of kindness whilst He hung from His cross, during his last moments before death! He is to be our guide and Master in the use of speech, thoughts and words.  That is not to say he didn't rebuke with an attitude of love, as he most certainly did on occasion to the Pharisees and other religious leaders.Matthew 5v21-22 is an example of the seriousness of words. Jesus speaking: "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell."Here Jesus equates calling somebody a fool with the physical act of murder! Murder has its beginning in anger developing into uncontrollable rage! Words, thoughts and attitudes of anger can lead the Christian Disciple to sin even more if they aren't stopped quickly. Similarly, adultery has its beginning in lustful thoughts!  The words we formulate in our minds and those that proceed via our mouths are of utmost importance to God and therefore should be of utmost importance to us!  Let the words you communicate and think about, be like those of Jesus - "full of grace".  Do not sin, either in your deeds, in your thinking and all means of communicating.

How are you doing?

How are you doing in your use of words?  Are your actions backing up your words? Are the words you use always full of grace, uplifting, encouraging and building! Sure there are times when words are to be used for rebuking in love, but always used under the control of the Holy Spirit.  The words you speak reflect your inner attitudes, your inner thoughts and your inner being.  The words you speak and communicate reflect who you are.  If the words you communicate are derogatory, inflaming and cursory then that reflects your inner thoughts and attitudes.  Control your tongue, commands James.  A person who controls their tongue can be likened to a ship with a rudder, and able to be steered to safety!  An uncontrolled tongue reflects a ship that is heading into dangerous water! Your words and all your communication have the power to bring life and encouragement but also on the contrary, has the power to bring corruption, degradation and death.  Let the Holy Spirit who lives inside you if you are a Christian Disciple; help you to use your words for the supreme glory of Jesus Christ, who after all is your Master! By doing that, you will truly be seen to be one of His disciples and be Standing Alone for Him and His majesty!  He is to have supremacy over all things in your life, including your words! Make no mistake, one of the issues facing Christians and a possible barrier to standing alone, is the use, abuse and misuse of words.

For more to think about please do read James 3vv1-11. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. Are the words I speak, words that heal and encourage, or are they also used to hurt and damage people?

Q2. When I am talking with other people, is it for gossiping, maliciousness or are they for healing, encouraging and uplifting others?

Q3. When was the last time I confessed and asked forgiveness for my sinful use, misuse and abuse of words?Thank you.

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POD - Psalm 16

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Psalm 16

1 Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.

2 O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee;

3 But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight.

4 Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.

5 The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.

6 The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.

7 I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.

8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.

10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

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Think Spot

23rd January 2017

 

We now enter a new week! Last Monday we thought about trusting God in all circumstances! One of the natural outcomes of trusting God is joy - often an unspeakable joy that bubbles within you! A joy resulting from overcoming all that life throws at you, and overcoming those hurdles! It involves taking a daily commitment to follow Jesus Christ and not just a one off. It takes commitment, not comfort, to throw off hindrances and barriers. True joy results from being willing to allow the Holy Spirit to work in you, transforming you into the image of Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God the Father.

All of these things being done daily in your life lead to what I am convinced is the key to the reality of a successful Christian life - that key being joy. As you grow closer to Jesus, living in peace, trust and obedience, then your spiritual life will be your natural life and your natural life be your spiritual life! Your joy will abound and shine a light giving people a reason to ask "Where do you get all your joyous hope from?". You will then be able to· share Jesus as your source of joy. A joy that is anticipatory, expectant and true! Joy comes from putting Jesus first, others next and then yourself! Go practise it this week!

You can show this joy by singing, laughing, smiling, shouting praises to God, lifting hands in worship', and crying, but that is only the external part of joy. True joy also incorporates an internal joy. Real joy is when you can believe in: the mountain top when you are in your deepest valley. Abundant joy is being surrounded by darkness and still believing in 'the light'. Anticipatory joy is when amidst total confusion you still believe God has a plan of love for you. It was this type of joy that Jesus had, when in the garden praying, the night before he was betrayed, when full of mixed emotions and anguish he said "Not my will, but yours, Father!"

As sons and daughters of God, we have many reasons to be full of joy. Yet how often we forget! Here are some reasons for joy!

  • Psalm 51v8 & 12 - Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me-now let me rejoice. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.
  • Jeremiah 15v16 - When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God of Heaven's Armies.
  • Luke 15v8-10 "Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won't she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbours and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.' In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God's angels when even one sinner repents."
  • 1 Peter 1v8-9 - You love Jesus Christ even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.

Do you desire to be' overflowing with joy today and this week? Go into this week with a joy that is anticipating and expectant! Do you need to hand over to Jesus a particular area of your life' where Jesus does not fully reign and have control? I pray that the Father will reveal more of Himself to you, as you daily seek His face, overcoming all hindrances to living a successful and joyful-Christian life. May the Holy Spirit who lives within you, if you are a Christian, continue to transform you into the image of the Son Jesus Christ, and all to the praise and glory of God the Father. Amen.

 

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Exploring The Bible

3. New Testament

Book of 3 John (AD90-95)

 

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

Key Verses:

  • 3 John 3-4

 

John writes a personal letter to Gaius commending his faithful response to Jesus as shown by his treatment of other believers. In doing so, Gaius exhibits faithfulness, generosity and love.

 

John condemns Diotrephes for being faithless, arrogant and contrary, whilst commending Demetrius. Finally, John writes to inform Gaius that he hopes to travel and meet him.

 

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Gems in the Gospel of John

Part 84 - John 19:23-24
The Witness of Four Prophecies

John’s account of the crucifixion is thin in the extreme. He says very little about what actually happened and what he does say is mainly centred round prophecies from the Old Testament. There are four of them, giving witness to what happened and the truthfulness of the account. We have:
1. John 19:23 - 24 where we read: “When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.
‘Let’s not tear it,’ they said to one another. ‘Let’s decide by lot who will get it.’ This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said, ‘They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.’”
This is a quotation from Psalm 22: 18. Many people have seen this as a reference to the unity of the church as Jesus wished it to be. Sadly there are now many pieces of that original garment floating around the world.


2. John 19:28 - 30 where we read, “Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” Jesus became very thirsty - very natural given his circumstances. Two references from the Psalms, 22: 15 and 69: 21 are here fulfilled. They are, “My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death” and “They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.”. Jesus told the woman at the well “whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” But he did thirst - that we might never thirst, spiritually speaking of course, not practically.

3. John 19:31–33 - Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have their legs broken and the bodies taken down. In John 19: 31 – 33 we read, “The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.” It sounds incredibly cruel but breaking the legs of those being crucified speeded death as they were then no longer able to push themselves up to get some air into their lungs. They would suffocate relatively quickly - what a horrid thought. Because Jesus was already dead, having given up his spirit, as he was able to do because of who he was, they did not break his legs. Thus Psalm 34: 19, 20, “The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.” It also places Jesus alongside the Passover lambs of whom it is said Exodus 12: 46, “Do not break any of the bones.”.


4. In John 19:34 we read that “one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. It was not usual for a soldier to stick his spear into a crucified man as one did here. The result, the flow of water and blood, or possibly body fluids and blood, has caused much argument as to its meaning. Perhaps the most likely is that it referred back as does 1 John 5: 7, “there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood”. This is one of John’s many references to both water and blood as signifiers of the spiritual life that would flow from Jesus. They reflect many Old Testament places where the same equation is made.
 
We have here an astonishing web of references to prophecies. Let us never forget that their whole purpose is to witness to what happened on that hill outside Jerusalem. John makes his purpose crystal clear. He says, 19:35-36. “ The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows, or quite possibly someone else writing all this down for him knows, that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled:”
Hold tight to the reality of our Saviour’s cruel death – for you, for me.
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Partakers Friday Prayers!

20th January 2017

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!

 Today we pray this prayer to encourage ourselves and others!


Tell, tongue, the mystery
of the glorious Body
and of the precious Blood,
which, for the price of the world,
the fruit of a noble Womb,
the King of the Nations flowed forth.

Given to us, born for us,
from the untouched Virgin,
and dwelt in the world
after the seed of the Word had been scattered.
His inhabiting ended the delays with wonderful order.

On the night of the Last Supper,
reclining with His brethren,
once the Law had been fully observed
with the prescribed foods,
as food to the crowd of Twelve
He gives Himself with His hands.

The Word as Flesh makes true bread
into flesh by a word
and the wine becomes the Blood of Christ.
And if sense is deficient
to strengthen a sincere heart
Faith alone suffices.

Therefore, the great Sacrament
we reverence, prostrate:
and the old Covenant
cedes to a new rite.
Faith stands forth as substitute
for defect of the senses.

To Begetter and Begotten
be praise and jubilation,
health, honour, strength also
and blessing.

To the One who proceeds from Both
be praise as well.
Amen,

Alleluia.
;

 

A prayer of Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)

 

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Materialism

1 John 2:15-17, the Apostle John writing: "Don't love the world's ways. Don't love the world's goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world-wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important-has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out-but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity. "

I wonder what you think is quite possibly one of the greatest challenges to the Christian Disciple standing alone and being faithful to God in the twenty first century?  I want to propose to you that this threat is the temptation of materialism, or to be materialistic.  This is where following Jesus' command to follow Him, take up the cross for ourselves becomes practical.  This is where loving God and loving others becomes difficult.  Materialism grips both the Church community and also Christian Disciples if it is allowed.  Eschewing and casting off materialism will see Christian Disciples who are radical by the very society, which we are trying to win for Jesus.

What is materialism?

Every person has in differing quantities: possessions and money.  These things, in and of themselves, are not evil.  It is however our reaction and attitudes toward them that causes us to be seduced in this area.  Materialism is a reliance on possessions, money people or even the church, as our ultimate objects of trust, instead of God.  The Apostle John writing in 1 John 2v16 gives a very accurate picture of materialism: "lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life." That, brother and sisters, is materialism!

A Particular Sin

If there were to be a particular sin that marks our generation, especially in the West, then it would be this sin of materialism and the worship of money, objects and people. Every day hundreds of thousands of people die from lack of food, water, clothing and shelter.  For each of us in the West, these things are taken for granted.  When we feel like a change of house or location, we just move. 

The whole Christian community is one that reflects the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Spirit.  The Church is to be a community where the strongest members support the weakest members.  Where one member of the Christian community suffers and hurts, the whole Christian community suffers and hurts! This applies not only to the local church in a local community context, but also to the universal Church and therefore has a national and international context as well. 

Too often as Christians we are found turning a blind eye to the suffering of others where the bare necessities of life are in sparse existence.  Too often we gather possessions and people, instead of giving up our time and money generously to help the poor and needy of both our local and global communities.  When one member of the universal body of Christ is hurting, the whole body hurts!

So what?

As Christian Disciples living in the world of the twenty first century, where wealth is seen as a sign of success, the cult of celebrity is rife and where family, morals, ethics, community and God have taken a back seat, how should a Christian Disciple respond to materialism? 

A lot of Churches measure their success solely by the number of members in the congregations or by how much money goes into the offering pot each week.  However, not just good things grow.  Islam measures its success on the so-called growth in those who would consider themselves a Muslim.  It is probably the fastest growing religion in Australia.  However, every gardener will tell you that even weeds grow! So counting numbers is not the best way to measure success.

The measure of a successful Christian Disciple can be seen in thee verses from 1 John 2:15-17. The Apostle John writing: "Don't love the world's ways. Don't love the world's goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world-wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important-has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out-but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity. "

Also in Matthew 22v37-40: where Jesus is saying: "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them."

Action Stations!

By doing these two things, we show we trust in God and not in anything or anybody else.  By exhibiting these commands, we cast off materialism and any thought of materialism from our lives. By doing those two things, both as a Church and as individual Christian Disciples, society will see we are neither dangerous nor deluded. 

To Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and their aficionados who think all religion is pure evil, based on delusion and that religion has never done a good thing in history to benefit humanity, it will help show the folly and irrationality of their thinking. If Church communities and Christian Disciples make radical steps such as eschewing materialism, both in being and making Disciples, I think the Church and Christian Disciples would no longer be seen as evil, deluded and irrelevant.  Rather they would be seen as a thriving community of people, resulting in Jesus being glorified and holy transformation sought.  After all, Jesus is to be the master of those who would call themselves a Christian Disciple and the Head of the Church.

As Christian Disciples, and the church as a whole, you and I are to eschew materialism, cast it off and live a life worthy of our God, living in total obedience to Him and reflected in the love we display for both our local and global communities.

For more to think about, please do read for yourself Matthew 22:37-40.  Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them.  Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1 - As a Christian Disciple, in what ways am I being seduced by materialism and the gathering of possessions, people and power?

Q2 - What things can I do, not do or give up in order to aid the weakest members of my community - local, national and global?

Q3 - How can I better use my "passion, prayer and intelligence" this week for the glory and honour of God? 

 

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Monday Think Spot

16 January 2017

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I had this little voice inside me repeatedly saying “Trust me… Be at peace with yourself.” The Holy Spirit was ministering to me amidst the turmoil despite my often not wanting to hear that! Matthew 5:9 records Jesus speaking these words “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.

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All over the world, the majority of people share a common desire for peace! But what is peace? The peace the world wants varies from the peace which we as Christian know to be true. The world sees peace as the absence of conflict and people being generally ‘nice’ to one another. Peace in the Christian context goes further, saying peace is perfect harmony with God, perfect harmony with other people, with circumstances and with self. While we are to aim for peace in all those areas, perfect peace in all those areas will not come until Jesus Christ comes again, and takes Christians to be with Him.

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However, that doesn't give us as Christians a mandate to sit around not doing what we can for peace. Unsurprisingly the Bible has a lot to say about peace! Jesus commanded us to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9) because our God is a God of peace (1 Thessalonians 5:23), and the Kingdom of God to which we belong is about peace in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Peace is to be our business! In a world full of peaceless-turmoil, such as conflicts between nations, conflicts between neighbours, conflicts even within families and conflicts within and between churches, Christians are to be peacemakers!

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If you are a Christian, you have peace with God because Jesus Christ is your peace between God and yourself (Ephesians 2:13-18)! More than that, we are to be at peace with others! Now this can be hard! We are commanded to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9, James 3:17-18), living at peace with everyone (Romans 12:17-20) and do everything possible which leads to peace and mutual encouragement (Romans 14:13-19).~

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Go in peace this Monday, into this week, knowing that the God of peace lives inside you if you are one of His children! Go dispense this peace as God’s peacemaker where you go! You can be the peacemaker in your place of work, where you live, where you visit, where you socialize and even where you shop or play sport! If you are struggling to be a peacemaker in a difficult circumstance then ask this Holy Spirit who lives inside you to help you! He will help you if you ask! If you would not consider yourself a Christian and at peace with God, then ask Him to help you become one!

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Father, we pray that this week we will do all we can as your followers to be peacemakers, to do all we can for peace and to make peace where ever we go and make a difference in world in conflict. We ask this through the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit who lives inside all those who have peace with you. Amen!

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