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Archive for July 2017

Think Spot 31 July 2017

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Think Spot - 31July 2017

 

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

Jesus is Unique

Did you know there are a group of forgotten people within the Church? A group of people, who are Christian, yet in the vast majority of cases, are generally forgotten about, marginalised and often patronised. These people want to be involved in Church, attend a Church worship service and use their gifts and talents within the Church, to the glory of God - and yet often, as I said, at best forgotten about and at worst, patronised.

I am talking about those people who are Christians, but are stuck in their home for most of the time due to debilitating illness for example. You may be one of these yourself or you will know somebody who is.

They are people, yet often are pretty much dehumanised and depersonalised. I wonder how the Church you lead or attend, helps them to play a part in the life of the Church? How does the Church give them an interactive worship service, if indeed, they do at all?

This is a growing issue for the Church as a whole. God accepts them as His children, wants them to worship Him with others, has given them gifts and talents to be used for His glory and the building up of His Kingdom. Yet, as I have said, these Christians, these people, are at best forgotten about.

If you are one of these Christians, or you know of somebody who is, then please do all you can to help them use their talents and to also take an interactive worship service to them in their own home! It can be done, because I have done it myself. Pray to God to expand your imagination and see how you can help others this way on this issue! Contact me here and I will help if I can or please do visit ICanTGoToChurch.com

 

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Exploring The Bible

24. New Testament

Gospel of Luke - AD 60-61

 

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:

  • Luke 1:3-4 / Luke 19:10

 

Luke presents Jesus as the God-Man, a saviour for the entire world. He writes primarily for Gentiles in the Roman and Greek world. He does this from a broad vantage point that is compatible with the fact that he is himself Greek.

Luke traces Jesus’ incarnation, introduction, public ministry, rejection, subsequent teaching in view of His rejection, the cross, resurrection and ascension. Even though a Gentile, Luke emphasizes the kingdom program, with Israel's place in the kingdom, but he makes it clear that the kingdom is for all people.

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Gems in the Letter of 1 John

Part 107 - 1 John 2:15-17
The World

John said, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” (2:15-17). He was addressing the society of his day. When he spoke of ‘the world’ he was referring to the human world in which he lived, as did the people over whom he had pastoral care. We would usually call that ‘our society’. Our problem in understanding what he said is, of course, that we do not live in the same society as he did. The facets of our society that people say that we may fall in love with, and should not, are: sex, money and power. Quite how those relate to John’s three facets I do not know but that does not matter because what matters to us is our society and not theirs. John has pointed us very strongly to a principle – of loving something in our world more than we do the Lord our God.


A further problem for me writing this is that you, my listeners and readers, live all round the world in many different societies. That means your situation will differ according to where you are although human nature is such that there will be many common factors wherever you are. Western society all round the world is changing rapidly and that is a further source of problem for us. Most other societies are being dragged along behind the Western developments, not least because of the Internet.

We need to be careful. It is not the case that what our parents thought and did was Christian and the oncoming culture pervading our society is not, or less so, though it often looks that way to us. We have been said to be living in a post-Christian society. That certainly looks to be true but it will still be far from as anti-Christian as the society John’s people were living in. Whatever I say here the most important thing is that we, all of us, have to work out what is God honouring in our day and generation. If we then manage, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to take that as the commands of the Lord and to follow them we shall be doing all that it is possible to do and we shall be displaying our love for the Lord. If we do not think these things out or if, having done so, we fail to follow the lines our conscience has mapped out for us we will have fallen short of the standards the Lord expects of us.

John talks about ‘the lust of the flesh’. That is referring to our sexual drive. That we all have to a greater or lesser extent. There is nothing wrong with the drive. The errors, the sins, may arise from the ways we use it. Attempts have been made to suppress it in some societies but the usual outcome is a great deal of hypocrisy with society leaders making claims about how good their society is when a great deal of the sexual behaviour has just been driven underground. The practice in some societies of delaying marriage until the man is well established is not at all helpful.

Even more than with sexuality there is difficulty over money. We all need to earn a living for our family and ourselves. That must be done. Only a very small percentage of any population can depend on the charitable giving of others for its sustenance. The critical thing is the question of ‘love’. We need sufficient money to keep us going. We do not need a vast surplus even if that will let us do many exciting and desirable things. We need a house. We do not need an enormous mansion or a second house for our holidays. We need to be good stewards of what we have and that need not include the gathering a superabundance of possessions.

Power is not so obviously sort by everybody, though it is curious how those who have no real power outside their household may act in ways that ensure they are the ones with power within the household.
There are so many ways we can demonstrate our love for some aspect of the world. And the real trouble is that, as John says, if we do so we are showing traits that do not come from the Father.

Many Christians used to think the solution was to withdraw from the world into a monastery, or a nunnery or some small Christian group. That is not the teaching of the New Testament. Living in the world may be tough, but it is what we are to do. Jesus, in John 17, says ‘we are still in the world’, ‘we are not of the world’, ‘we have been sent into the world’ and he prays that ‘we may be protected from the evil one’.

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Friday Prayers

28 July 2017

 

 A prayer of John Wycliffe

A prayer for the presence of Jesus

Luke 24:29 - But they urged him strongly, ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them.

My Lord, from here on never leave me,
but stay and dwell with me;
for your presence is my only comfort and consolation,
just as your absence is my only sorrow.
O Holy Spirit, come into my heart,
and draw me so near to God,
that the things of the world may be as nothing to me.
Inflame my heart with your love,
and there let it burn without ceasing.
Come, I pray, for you are my true joy,
my only desire,
and my sweetest love.
Amen.

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A Simple Way To Pray
Martin Luther

Study 6

 

The sixth petition. "And lead us not into temptation."

Say: "O dear Lord, Father and God, keep us fit and alert, eager and diligent in Your word and service, so that we do not become complacent, lazy, and slothful as though we had already achieved everything.

In that way the fearful devil cannot fall upon us, surprise us, and deprive us of Your precious word or stir up strife and factions among us and lead us into other sin and disgrace, both spiritually and physically.

Rather grant us wisdom and strength through Your spirit that we may valiantly resist him and gain the victory. Amen."

 

(‘A Simple Way To Pray by Martin Luther’: Prayer, the Lord's Prayer, the 10 Commandments, and the Creed - A Letter to His Barber, Master Peter Beskendorf, Spring 1535. The ebook or PDF is widely available to download for free online.)


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POD - Psalm 137

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Psalm 137

 

 

1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down.

Yes, we wept, when we remembered Zion.

2 On the willows in the midst of it,

We hung up our harps.

3 For there, those who led us captive asked us for songs.

Those who tormented us demanded songs of joy:

"Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"

4 How can we sing Yahweh's song in a foreign land?

5 If I forget you, Jerusalem,

Let my right hand forget its skill.

6 Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth,

If I don't remember you;

If I don't prefer Jerusalem above my chief joy.

7 Remember, Yahweh, against the children of Edom,

The day of Jerusalem; Who said,

"Raze it! Raze it even to its foundation!"

8 Daughter of Babylon,

doomed to destruction,

He will be happy who rewards you,

As you have served us.

9 Happy shall he be,

Who takes and dashes your

little ones against the rock.

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Think Spot 24 July 2017

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Think Spot - 24 July 2017

 

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

Romans 1:1-5

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

Jesus is Unique

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

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

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

Prayer

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

 

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Exploring The Bible

24. New Testament

Gospel of John - A.D. 80-90

 

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:

  • John 1:1-5
  • John 20:28-31

 John was writing his Gospel sometime after the other three writers, probably about AD 90. He had built up a considerable fellowship of disciples for whom he was now writing, so he is more concerned with the meaning of what happened than the facts behind the events. He presents the person and work of Jesus Christ in such a way that everyone should believe in Him as the Son of God, the Messiah, the Saviour of the world.

John’s argument portrays Jesus as the God-Man. John records miracles and messages that affirm both Jesus’ deity and humanity. He builds his record around Jesus’ public ministry, private ministry, the cross, and the resurrection. The result is a Gospel worthy of much careful thought and meditation.

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Gems in the 1 John

Part 106 - 1 John 2:12-14
Who was left out?


Now for something completely different! John was writing for his age and generation so his 6 reasons for writing are all directed to males. I am sure that had he been writing in the 21st century instead of the 1st he would have directed some of his comments to females as well. Otherwise more than half his listeners and readers would have switched off! All we can do is try to help him out. I have done so by writing 6 paragraphs that he might have written in our day and generation – so different in many ways from his and even the one that the older ones amongst us grew up in.


This time, therefore, you have more to do than just read what I have written. Your tasks are these:
1. Do you agree?
2. Which would you accept into a modern scripture?
3. Can you think of any better ones that you think should be included?

Here are my efforts:
I am writing to you, mothers and grandmothers, because you are the basic foundations of your families and play such a huge role in its success or failure.
I am writing to you older women, because you tend to be the prayer warriors who support your local churches most.
I am writing to you single women, because on you falls the greatest pressure of our rapidly changing cultures, particularly in relation to sexual behaviour, the development of relationships and the new family structures that are emerging.
I am writing to you single women, because you have such an important role in society in relating to children and the ill as teachers and nurses and in your personal skills in the workplace.
I am writing to you school girls, because you have such a difficult time resisting the onward and downward march of modern cultures
I am writing to you school girls, because you have to decide what of the wisdom of the ages you should keep in the face of so many developments in sexual behaviour, celebrity based culture and communication technology.


Well? What do you make of it? Where else is there a great need to write to women and girls? Where else are the main difficulties they face in life, perhaps different ones from those us guys have to cope with?

Think, pray and learn.

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Friday Prayers

21 July 2017

 

 A prayer of John Wycliffe

A prayer for grace

James 3:17 - But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.


Lord, give me grace to hold righteousness in all things,
that I may lead a clean and blessed life, and wisely flee evil.
Help me to understand the treacherous deceit of the devil,
so that I may not be fooled by any of his lies.
Make me mild, peaceable, considerate, and self-controlled,
so that I may act sincerely for the good of others.
And make me steadfast and strong.
Finally, Lord, let me be quiet in words,
so that I may not speak foolishly, but only what is appropriate.
Amen

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A Simple Way To Pray
Martin Luther

Study 5

 

The fifth petition. "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

Say: "O dear Lord, God and Father, enter not into judgment against us because no man living is justified before You. Do not count it against us as a sin that we are so unthankful for thine ineffable goodness, spiritual and physical, or that we stray into sin many times every day, more often than we can know or recognize. Do not look upon how good or how wicked we have been but only upon the infinite compassion which You have bestowed upon us in Christ, Your dear Son.

Grant forgiveness also to those who have harmed or wronged us, as we forgive them from our hearts. They inflict the greatest injury upon themselves by arousing Your anger in their actions toward us. We are not helped by their ruin; we would much rather that they be saved with us. Amen."
(Anyone who feels unable to forgive, let him ask for grace so that he can forgive; but that belongs in a sermon.)

 

(‘A Simple Way To Pray by Martin Luther’: Prayer, the Lord's Prayer, the 10 Commandments, and the Creed - A Letter to His Barber, Master Peter Beskendorf, Spring 1535. The ebook or PDF is widely available to download for free online.)


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POD - Psalm 104

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Psalm 104

 

 

1 Let all that I am praise the Lord.

O Lord my God, how great you are!

You are robed with honor and majesty.

2 You are dressed in a robe of light.

You stretch out the starry curtain of the heavens;

3 you lay out the rafters of your home in the rain clouds.

You make the clouds your chariot;

you ride upon the wings of the wind.

4 The winds are your messengers;

flames of fire are your servants.

5 You placed the world on its foundation

so it would never be moved.


6 You clothed the earth with floods of water,

water that covered even the mountains.

7 At your command, the water fled;

at the sound of your thunder, it hurried away.

8 Mountains rose and valleys sank to the levels you decreed.

9 Then you set a firm boundary for the seas,

so they would never again cover the earth.

10 You make springs pour water into the ravines,

so streams gush down from the mountains.


11 They provide water for all the animals,

and the wild donkeys quench their thirst.

12 The birds nest beside the streams

and sing among the branches of the trees.

13 You send rain on the mountains from your heavenly home,

and you fill the earth with the fruit of your labor.

14 You cause grass to grow for the livestock and plants for people to use.

You allow them to produce food from the earth-

15 wine to make them glad,

olive oil to soothe their skin,

and bread to give them strength.


16 The trees of the Lord are well cared for -

the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.

17 There the birds make their nests,

and the storks make their homes in the cypresses.

18 High in the mountains live the wild goats,

and the rocks form a refuge for the hyraxes.

19 You made the moon to mark the seasons,

and the sun knows when to set.

20 You send the darkness, and it becomes night,

when all the forest animals prowl about.


21 Then the young lions roar for their prey,

stalking the food provided by God.

22 At dawn they slink back into their dens to rest.

23 Then people go off to their work,

where they labor until evening.

24 O Lord, what a variety of things you have made!

In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures.

25 Here is the ocean, vast and wide,

teeming with life of every kind,

both large and small.


26 See the ships sailing along, and Leviathan,

which you made to play in the sea.

27 They all depend on you to give them food as they need it.

28 When you supply it, they gather it.

You open your hand to feed them,

and they are richly satisfied.

29 But if you turn away from them, they panic.

When you take away their breath,

they die and turn again to dust.

30 When you give them your breath,

life is created,

and you renew the face of the earth.


31 May the glory of the Lord continue forever!

The Lord takes pleasure in all he has made!

32 The earth trembles at his glance;

the mountains smoke at his touch.

33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live.

I will praise my God to my last breath!

34 May all my thoughts be pleasing to him,

for I rejoice in the Lord.

35 Let all sinners vanish from the face of the earth;

let the wicked disappear forever.

Let all that I am praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord!

 

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