google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html 2017 August

Archive for August 2017

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A Simple Way To Pray
Martin Luther

Study 11

 

The Ten Commandments


The Third Commandment:
"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." I learn from this, first of all, that the sabbath day has not been instituted for the sake of being idle or indulging in worldly pleasures, but in order that we may keep it holy. However, it is not sanctified by our works and actions our works are not holy-but by the word of God, which alone is wholly pure and sacred and which sanctifies everything that comes in contact with it, be it time, place, person, labor, rest, etc. According to St. Paul, who says that every creature is consecrated by word and prayer, I Timothy 4, our works are consecrated through the word. I realize therefore that on the Sabbath I must, above all, hear and contemplate God's word. Thereafter I should give thanks in my own words, praise God for all his benefits, and pray for myself and for the whole world. He who so conducts himself on the Sabbath day keeps it holy. He who fails to do so is worse than the person who works on the Sabbath.

Second, I thank God in this Commandment for his great and beautiful goodness and grace which he has given us in the preaching of his word. And he has instructed us to make use of it, especially on the sabbath day, for the meditation of the human heart can never exhaust such a treasure. His word is the only light in the darkness of this life, a word of life, consolation, and supreme blessedness. Where this precious and saving word is absent, nothing remains but a fearsome and terrifying darkness, error and faction, death and every calamity, and the tyranny of the devil himself, as we can see with our own eyes every day.

Third, I confess and acknowledge great sin and wicked ingratitude on my part because all my life I have made disgraceful use of the sabbath and have thereby despised his precious and dear word in a wretched way. I have been too lazy, listless, and uninterested to listen to it, let alone to have desired it sincerely or to have been grateful for it. I have let my dear God proclaim his word to me in vain, have dismissed the noble treasure, and have trampled it underfoot. He has tolerated this in his great and divine mercy and has not ceased in his fatherly, divine love and faithfulness to keep on preaching to me and calling me to the salvation of my soul. For this I repent and ask for grace and forgiveness.

Fourth, I pray for myself and for the whole world that the gracious Father may preserve us in his holy word and not withdraw it from us because of our sin, ingratitude, and laziness. May he preserve us from factious spirits and false teachers, and may he send faithful and honest laborers into his harvest, that is, devout pastors and preachers. May he grant us grace humbly to hear, accept, and honor their words as his own words and to offer our sincere thanks and praise.


 

(‘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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WOW Word 57 - Sin

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Alfie brings you a WOW Word

WOW Word - Sin

~Today Alphy the WOWChurch Cat shares about

the WOW Word - Sin!

 

I wonder if you have ever played tennis and went to hit the ball but missed.  Or you actually hit the ball and it went outside the court!  Or perhaps you are a golfer, and one day you went to putt the ball in the hole, and you missed! The tennis player who hit the ball out of court or the golfer who missed the hole can be both be said to have committed a sin, because they missed!  And that is what a sin, in biblical terms, is:  it is missing the mark that God has set.

Big and Little Sins

And everybody, particularly in the West, including those who would not call themselves Christians, has some idea of sin.  They generally call doing things like telling lies or speeding in the car, “little sins” because everybody does those, they say!  And of course, only a tiny minority of people commit the real big sins, such as murdering other people or robbing banks!  So to most people’s minds, there are degrees of sins, depending on how many people actually do that kind of sin.

Sin actually is...

So what actually is the biblical definition of sin?  Sin is the lack of conformity, , to the Moral Law of God, either in deeds, attitudes, or state. Do you remember Jesus saying the two greatest commands were to love God and love others? Any breakage of those two commandments is sin, whether by a lot or a little. There are two kinds of sin. Firstly there are the sins, which are active disobedience, or the sins of commission. These are where God’s commands are actively broken! Secondly there are the passive kinds, which are sins of omission. These occur when people are not doing, as they ought to do (James 4:17)!

Stop! Confess! Live!

Everybody, including Christian Disciples, sin in one of those two ways!  Of course Christian Disciples have accepted Jesus Christ and have had their sins forgiven.  But Christian Disciples, still sin!  But as a Christian Disciple, you are to take God’s view of sin! You cannot claim to be without sin, because as 1 John 1 says, you would be living in self-delusion and making God out to be a liar! So, when you realise you have sinned, be quick to confess it, so that your relationship with Jesus Christ remains at peak intimacy! For as 1 John 1v9 says, “Jesus is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Jesus wants us to have complete fellowship with him, and by confessing sin; your fellowship with Him is made richer, more intimate and stronger.

Thank you

 

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POD - Psalm 129

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Psalm 129

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.

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From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me.
Let all Israel repeat this:
From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me,
but they have never defeated me.
My back is covered with cuts, as if a farmer had plowed long furrows.
But the Lord is good; he has cut me free from the ropes of the ungodly.
May all who hate Jerusalem be turned back in shameful defeat.
May they be as useless as grass on a rooftop,
turning yellow when only half grown,
ignored by the harvester, despised by the binder.
And may those who pass by refuse to give them this blessing:
"The Lord bless you; we bless you in the Lord's name."

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Think Spot - 28th August 2017

Charlotte Bronte - “Life appears to me to be too short to be spent in nursing animosity, or registering wrong.

Many people nurse a guilty conscience owing to holding onto animosity or wrongs done to them or having done wrong things to others. As a consequence, their life is filled with turmoil and bitterness. You may well be like that – I don’t know!
What I do know is that your conscience is the faculty which is sensitive to right and wrong, and judges your actions and attitudes. Everybody has a conscience and all are sensitive to spiritual truths, whether they are immediately aware of it or not.

According to the Bible, a clear conscience is essential for inner peace and joy, confidence in prayer, good health, effective service, .right relation-ships, effective witnessing, making right decisions, and victory in spiritual battle. A clear conscience is the inner joy and peace of spirit which results from having all personal wrongs made right with those whom a person had offended - either God or someone else.

However- many Christians carry around guilty consciences due mainly to unconfessed sins, affecting relationships with God, other people and themselves. If left unchecked, a conscience which is guilty, slowly grows 'dead', cold and silent. That is until such time that the guilt has been assuaged and put right.

If at the moment you are burdened by a guilty conscience, ask the Holy Spirit to show you clearly what is affecting your conscience. Then decide, at any cost, to clear it up in the power of the same Spirit. He will help you! Pray to the Father and ask forgiveness, (1 John 1:9), and fully accept His love and forgiveness. If there is anyone else involved, then you will also need to ask for their forgiveness (Matthew 5:23-24).

Ask the Father to help you go, and the Spirit will help you, because one of the hardest things in the world to say is: “I was wrong! Please forgive me." Your conscience can be cleansed because of what Jesus did on the cross!

Hebrews 9:14 “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

Go into this week, ready to serve the living God, being confident that the Holy Spirit living within you, empowers you, is transforming you and desires that your conscience be clear. He will help you overcome if you ask!

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Exploring The Bible

29. Old Testament

Zechariah - 520-470BC

 

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:

  • Zechariah 8:3
  • Zechariah 9:9

 

Zechariah preached 520 - 518 BC. in Jerusalem while the Temple was being built, and 480 - 470 BC after the Temple’s completion. He encouraged the people to finish the Temple, for one day the glory of the Messiah would fill it.

(As it would when baby Jesus was taken there.) The people then hurry to build, for the Messiah is coming, and coming soon!

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Gems in the Letter of 1 John

Part 110 - 1 John 3:11
Love

JG 111 1 John 3:11 Love! Some time ago I suggested that John was very fond of taking an idea and batting it backwards and forwards rather like a tennis player with a ball. Never is that more true than here in these chapters 3 and 4 where he talks about love. In 3: 11 he says we should ‘love one another’. At 3: 1 he talked about ‘the Father lavishing love upon us.’ Very nice – but what do they mean? Unfortunately the word ‘love’ in the English language is a very slippery word to pin down. It certainly doesn’t mean the love that hundreds and thousands of pop singers are always on about with a tinge of sexuality involved somewhere. What do they mean?

The other day I was sitting watching some small birds called sparrows enjoying some seeds we had given them. British sparrows, if you do not know them, are about the most uninteresting little birds there are. They are only brown, different shades of brown, with an odd dash of black. Their idea of a song is very quaint. They just chirp endlessly, thinking they are making an interesting noise – they aren’t, well possibly interesting to other sparrows, but no one else. And we spend good money to buy seed for them in the winter - why? I suppose we feel sorry for them and that we should do something for them, just out of the goodness of our hearts.

Much of this is what God does in the way he treats us. Why should he? He is, after all, even further above us than we are above sparrows. Yet he cares for us; he feeds us; he makes sure we have enough to eat, to keep us going. Can we say he loves us? Yes! Amazingly we can. Very fortunately for us he made us in his own image so he has an interest in us and feels a responsibility for us surpassing that for any other creatures on earth.

What does he do for us that we do not do for the sparrows? The sparrows will chirp endlessly away until they get too cold and fall over or fall prey to a hawk and that is the end of them. We are given many abilities to do something more than just chirp away. We know where there is a doctor who can give us the medicines we need to keep us well and happy. We are told, and understand, that there are different ways of living. The sparrows do not understand that we are being good to them - we understand that there is a Creator God who has been wonderfully good to us. We have the power and ability to choose a different way of life. We can commit ourselves to following him who provides many good things for us. We can understand that there is a whole great created world out there into which we can fit. We can sing and express our joy in ways far beyond a sparrows chirping though we have never done anything that has made it inevitable that we should be so wonderfully granted the gifts of grace.

Is this love? Perhaps, in some ways, what I see in our back garden is an analogy of some part of what the love is like that the Bible talks about so much. Can you think of a better analogy of how God loves us and therefore of how we are to love each other?

In some ways it is easier to think about what the love of God to us is than to think of how we are to love to each other. We are to ‘love’ all those who are loved by God, our brothers and sisters, the members of the fellowship we find ourselves in, even when they can be a difficult lot sometimes! How can we define what the Bible means when it demands that we must love them? We have to do so in a way that is reasonable, that is beyond what might be expected of us in the normal attitudes of our general culture and society and that will enable us to feel satisfied that we are obeying the repeated commands such as ‘let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth’ as it says in 3: 18? And so that we may ‘have confidence before God because we keep his commands and do what pleases him’ as we read in 3: 22.

My suggestion is that we must always act before them with positive attitudes. We must never show any hint of a negative attitude to them, both the ones we find easy to be friends to and those we do not. If we act positively always and never negatively then we shall ‘set our hearts at rest in his presence’ and ‘we will have confidence before God’ as 3: 19 and 21 say we should.

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