Dec 24, 2012

Spirit of Christmas 6

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The Spirit of Christmas

by Henry van Dyke

For Christmas 2012 on Partakers, we are listening to a short book, "The Spirit of Christmas" by Henry van Dyke, first published in 1905 and in the Public Domain. The original book can be downloaded by visiting the Gutenberg site

Today we listen to

Part 6 - Journeying

As he said this, the young angel rose, with arms outspread, from the green meadow of Peacefield and, passing over the bounds of Heaven, dropped swiftly as a shooting-star toward the night shadow of the Earth. The other angels followed him—a throng of dazzling forms, beautiful as a rain of jewels falling from the dark-blue sky. But the child-angel went more swiftly than the others, because of the certainty of gladness in his heart. And as the others followed him they wondered who had been favoured and chosen to receive the glad tidings.

(Hear the rest of this part of the story by either listening to the audio stream or downloading the mp3.)

Our readers have been:

  • Samantha (narrator)
  • Dave R (Archangel Michael)
  • David C (Archangel Uriel)
  • Jim A (Archangel Raphael)
  • Liz B (Child Angel)
  • Killian (group of angels)

This was our 6th and final part of this short story! Thanks for listening! Please do let us know what you thought about it by making a comment below!

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Dec 23, 2012

Spirit of Christmas 5

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The Spirit of Christmas

by Henry van Dyke

For Christmas 2012 on Partakers, we are listening to a short book, "The Spirit of Christmas" by Henry van Dyke, first published in 1905 and in the Public Domain. The original book can be downloaded by visiting the Gutenberg site!

Today we listen to

Part 5 - The Young Angel

Then from between the rounded hills, among which the brook of Brighthopes is born, appeared a young angel, a little child, with flying hair of gold, and green wreaths twined about his shoulders, and fluttering hands that played upon the air and seemed to lift him so lightly that he had no need of wings. As thistle-down, blown by the wind, dances across the water, so he came along the little stream, singing clear above the murmur of the brook.

Done All the angels rose and turned to look at him with wondering eyes. Multitudes of others came flying swiftly to the place from which the strange, new song was sounding. Rank within rank, like a garden of living flowers, they stood along the sloping banks of the brook while the child-angel floated into the midst of them, singing: "I know it, I know it, I know it! Man shall be made like God because the Son of God shall become a man."

(Hear the rest of this part of the story by either listening to the audio stream or downloading the mp3.)

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Dec 22, 2012

Spirit of Christmas 4

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The Spirit of Christmas

by Henry van Dyke

For Christmas 2012 on Partakers, we are listening to a short book, "The Spirit of Christmas" by Henry van Dyke, first published in 1905 and in the Public Domain. The original book can be downloaded by visiting the Gutenberg site.

Part 4

Raphael, the Seraph speaks up

"Who was it, to whom you were sent with counsel long ago? Was it not Balaam the son of Beor, as he was riding to meet the King of Moab? And did not even the dumb beast profit more by your instruction than the man who rode him? And who was it that was called the wisest of all men, having searched out and understood the many inventions that are found under the sun?

Was not Solomon, prince of fools and philosophers, unable by much learning to escape weariness of the flesh and despair of the spirit? Knowledge also is vanity and vexation. This I know well, because I have dwelt among people and held converse with them since the day when I was sent to instruct the first man in Eden."

(Hear the rest of this part of the story by either listening to the audio stream or downloading the mp3.)

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Dec 21, 2012

Spirit of Christmas 3

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The Spirit of Christmas

by Henry van Dyke

For Christmas 2012 on Partakers, we are listening to a short book, "The Spirit of Christmas" by Henry van Dyke, first published in 1905 and in the Public Domain. The original book can be downloaded by visiting the Gutenberg site

Today we listen to Part 3 - Uriel Speaks up!

Then another angel began to speak, and made answer to Michael. He, too, was tall and wore the look of power. But it was power of the mind rather than of the hand. His face was clear and glistening, and his eyes were lit with a steady flame which neither leaped nor fell. Of flame also were his garments, which clung about him as the fire enwraps a torch burning where there is no wind; and his great wings, reaching to a point far above his head, were like a living lamp before the altar of the Most High. By this sign I knew that it was the archangel Uriel, clearest in vision, deepest in wisdom of all the spirits that surround the throne.

"I hold not the same thought," Uriel proclaimed...

(Hear the rest of this part of the story by either listening to the audio stream or downloading the mp3.)

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Dec 20, 2012

Spirit of Christmas 2

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The Spirit of Christmas

by Henry van Dyke

For Christmas 2012 on Partakers, we are listening to a short book, "The Spirit of Christmas" by Henry van Dyke, first published in 1905 and in the Public Domain. The original book can be downloaded by visiting the Gutenberg site

Today we listen to Part 2 - the Archangel Michael speaks out!

2. Michael

"The Earth is full of oppression and unrighteousness! The Earth is tormented with injustice, and the great misery that I have seen among people is that the evil hand is often stronger than the good hand and can beat it down.

“Am I not Michael, the tallest and most powerful of all the Great King’s angels. Listen! My voice is deep and strong! Look! Here is my shining armour and this long two-handed sword hanging over my shoulder.” Yes, I am Michael, the mightiest one among the warriors of the King, and the executor of the divine judgments upon the unjust.”

(Hear the rest of this part of the story by either listening to the audio stream or downloading the mp3.)

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Dec 19, 2012

Spirit of Christmas 1

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The Spirit of Christmas

by Henry van Dyke

For Christmas 2012 on Partakers, we are listening to a short book, "The Spirit of Christmas" by Henry van Dyke, first published in 1905 and in the Public Domain. The original book can be download by visiting the Gutenberg site

Today we listen to the Introduction!

It was the hour of rest in the Country Beyond the Stars. All the silver bells that swing with the turning of the great ring of light which lies around that land were softly chiming; and the sound of their commotion went down like dew upon the golden ways of the city, and the long alleys of blossoming trees, and the meadows of asphodel, and the curving shores of the River of Life. (Hear the rest of this part of the story by listening to the audio.)

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Jan 1, 2012

Jesus and You 6

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Jesus and me!

G' day welcome to Partakers and the last planned in this little series, Jesus and you, where we looked at some people in the Gospel record, who met Jesus and how he changed their life and perceptions. Today its Jesus and me!

Almost everybody has an opinion of the man Jesus Christ! Countless millions worship him today and down through history! People sometimes ask me "Who is my Jesus?"

"Who is my Jesus?"

My Jesus Christ, is the man who splits history BC & AD! The man who we claim is the messiah and saviour as spoken about by the prophets of old and written about by those who met Him...

My Jesus Christ, the man who healed the sick, fought for justice, did many great deeds, filled with compassion, driven on by joy and in constant conversation with God the Father.

My Jesus Christ, is the man who claimed to be God and was God! Jesus who emptied Himself, made Himself nothing, so as to take on human form. Jesus Christ, fully human and yet fully God.

My Jesus Christ, is the most amazing man who ever lived, born of a woman, in a humble stable. Jesus Christ, the man born to die that he may come back alive and give all people a chance to live forever.

My Jesus Christ, is the man who died on a grubby Roman cross, pierced, battered, bruised and scarred. Jesus Christ, the God-man who died physically. Jesus Christ, buried within and sealed into a cold empty tomb.

My Jesus Christ, is the man who conquered death, came back alive as witnessed by uncountable others. Jesus Christ who defeated the sting of sin, so that humanity may choose to live forever!

My Jesus Christ, whose very death and resurrection we celebrate at Easter, who ascended to the right hand of God the Father. This Jesus Christ, who with the Father, sent the Holy Spirit to transform into His own image, all who choose to follow Him.

My Jesus Christ, who covers His followers in His own robe of righteousness so that they would be acceptable to God the Father.

Jesus Christ, coming again soon in glory to judge humanity and claim those who follow Him. Jesus Christ who calls to you and I "Come and follow!"

That is my Jesus Christ! But, you may be asking yourself, why are you a Christian and identify yourself as such?

Why am I a Christian?

The Apostle John, writing in 1 John 5:9-12 - "We accept man's testimony, but God's testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life."

I am a Christian not because of anything I have done! No, nothing I could do or have done would have made me a Christian. Rather, it is because He first chased me, and because He first loved me. Jesus himself said "I came to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19v10). God was chasing me and following my every path.

Why am I a Christian? It is because of the events at Christmas and Easter that I am a Christian! The dual events, in harmony, when God entered this world as a human baby and took all the necessary steps so that all people could have the choice to be His people or not. In my more smug moments I used to congratulate myself for being a Christian. How proud I was that I, Dave, was a Christian and that God was a jolly lucky God that I had decided to follow Him. It was during one of my less self-deluded moments, that I examined myself and I found God pricking my conscience and correcting me, and I read the New Testament "For the Son of Man came, not to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many" (Mark10v45).

Jesus calls you!

If you would not call yourself a Christian today, and this Jesus appeals to you, this Jesus who speaks with authority, and you want to become a Christian there are three simple steps to follow.

Firstly, admit that you have done wrong against God and His ways.

Secondly, believe and trust in Jesus.  Call on Him, receive, trust, obey and worship Him, recognizing Him for who He is and what He has done.

Lastly, confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.   Once sin has been confessed, and Jesus is believed in and trusted as Saviour, then you are a Christian. Now you are ready as Peter writes in the Bible, "to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18). Christian discipleship is a lifetime commitment!  Welcome to the family of God. It isnt just becoming a convert but rather a life long follower wanting to be more like Jesus Christ in what we call being a disciple. God has chosen you; Jesus has paid for you and has put His mark within you through His Spirit (Ephesians 1:1-13).

Finally, I ask again, who do you say this Jesus is? But further, what are you going to do with this Jesus and let Him do to you? Thank you.

Again, I ask, who do you say Jesus is? But further, what are you going to do with this Jesus and let Him do to you?

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Dec 31, 2011

Jesus and You 5

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John meets the Risen Jesus

G' day welcome to Partakers and back to this little series, Jesus and you, looking at some people that met Jesus and how he changed their life and perceptions.

Today we move from the earthly Jesus to the ascended Jesus. Jesus, who meets somebody very special and close to him!

Today our reading is from Revelation 1:12-20!

I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

Jesus has made an appearance to his close friend and disciple, John! Jesus is now the resurrected and ascended King of Kings and Lord of Lords! In Revelation 2 and 3, this Jesus sends messages to seven groups of people who have taken Him up on that offer of salvation!: the first century churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. Here Jesus tells the churches to keep doing, stop doing and be blessed!

But first, lets look at Jesus, Himself!

Jesus description

Jesus holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. Jesus who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again! Jesus, who has the sharp, double-edged sword, is the Son of God and whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. Jesus Christ, who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars! Jesus Christ, who is holy and true and holds the key of David. Jesus Christ, who opens what no one can shut and shuts what no one else can open. Jesus Christ, who is the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.

Keep doing!

To these 7 churches, of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, Jesus praises them individually and separately! They are to continue doing such things as working hard for the Gospel, remaining faithful, not tolerating evil, not being seduced by false teachers, for persevering and enduring hardship and not growing weary. Jesus praises them for being faithful through suffering, poverty and persecution for His sake. Jesus praises them for remaining true to Him and for not renouncing their faith! Jesus, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, being ever gracious to His followers.

Stop doing

But He also rebukes them and commands that they stop doing certain things! They are to stop listening to various false teachers and prophets, being swayed by their clever and seductive words and actions. He rebukes because they have forgotten that they are to love Jesus above all and they have forsaken him. In his rebuke, Jesus commands that they repent, that is to ask Him for forgiveness and be willing to turn away from the false teachers, false prophets and false way of living.

Be blessed!

To all those who persevere, overcome and are victorious, Jesus will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. To all those who overcome and are victorious, they wont be hurt by the second death. To all those who overcome and are victorious, Jesus will give the victor’s crown! Those who overcome and are victorious, will be given authority over the nations! To those who overcome and are victorious, they will be in the temple of God, never to leave it! Jesus will do the most extraordinary thing, of writing on them the name of God, the city of God and His new name! To those who overcome and are victorious, their name will be in the book of life, and Jesus will acknowledge them before God the Father and his angels. Then finally, for those who overcome and are victorious, they will sit with their Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, on His throne, just as He was victorious and sat down with His Father on his throne. That’s you and me if we hold out to the end!

Again, I ask, who do you say Jesus is? But further, what are you going to do with this Jesus and let Him do to you?

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Dec 29, 2011

Jesus and You 4

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Adulterous Woman

G' day welcome to Partakers and back to this little series, Jesus and you, looking at some people that met Jesus and how he changed their life and perceptions.

John 8:1-11

Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

"Teacher," they said to Jesus, "this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?"

They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, "All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!" Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, "Where are your accusers? Didn't even one of them condemn you?"

"No, Lord," she said.

And Jesus said, "Neither do I. Go and sin no more."

Jesus, as all Rabbis and teachers did, was at the temple teaching and talking with people. It was also part of the role of the rabbi/teachers to ascertain what to do in certain difficult moral and legal situations. As part of this role, the Pharisees dragged in an unknown woman charged with adultery. Likewise with the Samaritan woman, we don't know this woman's name either!

The Pharisees were laying a trap for Jesus. If Jesus said to stone the woman, then the Romans could arrest Jesus, for it was Roman law that any death must be conducted by them and not by others. If Jesus says to release the woman, then the Pharisees would say that Jesus is contravening Scripture and the Law of Moses. So what does Jesus do? He writes in the dirt (John 8v6). We don't know what He wrote, but from the Greek word for write, we understand that He was seemingly writing a report and that when in he says in John 8v7 "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.", He is in fact saying "If any one of you is without this sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."

So if any of the Pharisees had not committed adultery, whether in the mind or the actual physical act, then they could have stoned her. As it was, they left one by one, the oldest first (John 8v9). He must have also been indignant at the way the Pharisees who were hypocrites were quick to condemn others, so maybe Jesus was reminding them of Jeremiah 17v13: "O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the LORD, the spring of living water."

So instead of passing judgement on the woman and also by eluding the trap of the Pharisees, Jesus passed judgement on the judges. Jesus having forgiven the woman of her sin, then charges her to leave her life of sin (John 8 v11). This reminds us that with the forgiveness of sin, comes a responsibility to live a life worthy of Jesus and to pursue righteousness.

Jesus showed His compassion and forgiveness on the outcasts of their society. Jesus showed mercy and forgiveness and loved them.

There is no room in Christianity for actions and attitudes that defy Jesus' ever-reaching and all-encompassing forgiveness and love. His Gospel, as he always shows, is for all people everywhere, regardless of gender, race, age, culture or social status.

Again, I ask, who do you say Jesus is? But further, what are you going to do with this Jesus and let Him do to you?

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Dec 26, 2011

Jesus and You 1

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1. Rich Young Ruler

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We have seen this month of December, what the prophets of old had to say about the coming Messiah, that the man Jesus claimed to be this Messiah figure and a close look at the Nativity of His birth. However, what of Jesus' life and his interaction with others? For the next week, we will look at some people that met Jesus and how he changed their life and perceptions.

Reading from Mark 10:17-22: As Jesus started on his way; a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good-except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honour your father and mother.'"

"Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy."

Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!"

This story is in the three synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke. Luke describes him as a wealthy ruler (Luke 18v18-27). Matthew describes him as a young man (Matthew 19v16-26). In Mark's account, he is simply a man (Mark 10v17-22). Put altogether that makes him a rich young ruler. He runs up to Jesus and falls on his knees before him. He wants eternal life, wants it now and so asks Jesus about it. When he calls Jesus a good teacher, Jesus responds "No one is good-except God alone."

Now Jesus could have been correcting the young man, but more likely Jesus was asking: "Do you know what you are saying and how close to the truth about me you are?" This young man had fully kept the commandments listed by Jesus (Mark 10v19). However when Jesus said to the young ruler that in order to follow Him, he would have to give up all his wealth in order to have treasure in heaven and eternal life, the man left disconsolate.

That was a step too far for the rich young ruler. He wanted his riches and also eternal life but Jesus said he couldn't have both. He remains the only man who left Jesus' presence sorrowful, and that due to putting his trust in his riches and wealth alone. Now riches are not necessarily wrong but they do make trusting fully in God very difficult (Mark 10v23).

I ask, who do you say this Jesus is? But further, what are you going to do with this Jesus and let Him do to you?

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