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Partakers Friday Prayers

25 September 2020

For the Persecuted  Church Worldwide

 

We are praying  together today for the Persecuted Church worldwide. When Christians pray together, from different nations, different churches and different denominations - that reveals Church unity! Come! Let us pray together!

 

Prayers for the Persecuted Church

Sovereign God, we worship you and acknowledge that you know all of those who suffer in your name because they follow you. We remember those who are imprisoned for their faith and ask that they would join with the Apostle Paul to see that even though they remain captive, their chains have furthered the gospel, not frustrated it. May they inspire and embolden their fellow believers to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
Amen

God of all comfort, for those who are tortured both in body and mind, give them the grace to endure and to see their suffering as part of following in Christ’s footsteps. Merciful God, for those asked to pay the ultimate price; who are martyred because of their love for you, may they truly know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.
Amen

Father God, for those who are widowed and orphaned may they know the comfort that comes from your promised presence even when they walk through the valley. May they be strengthened by your Spirit, enabling them to rejoice with the psalmist as they proclaim that the LORD will not abandon them in death.
Amen

Heavenly Father, we ask that you would make us ever mindful of our brothers and sisters around the world who need us to stand with them as they suffer in your name. Teach us what it means to overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony; we pray that we would not love our lives so much as to shrink from death.

Amen

We ask these things O Father, through the name of Your Son, Jesus

and in the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us.
Amen

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Sermon - A Prayer of Anger

A Prayer of Anger - Psalm 94

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I believe that I would be right in saying that most of us here have prayed. Whether in joy and happiness; or in sadness and grief; in need or in want; in praise or in worship or in confessing sin, or in other ways we have prayed. But how many of us have prayed in anger, following the example of the writer of Psalm 94. Have any of us prayed out of anger to a God who is a judge? Have we cried out in anger to a God who punishes evil? By anger I do not mean that short burst of temper when something happens to us against our will. The kind of anger that rises when somebody does something against you, and you retaliate against them.

No, the type of anger I am talking about is the anger we should feel inside us that occurs when we see injustice being done; when we see sin being done to assist in the systematic abuse of other people. The sort of anger that the church should have felt in Germany during the 2nd World War when the creatures of the Nazi regime held mock trials of so-called criminals such people as Dietrich Bonhoeffer for opposing the ungodly views of the state.

The type of anger we should feel when we face today on our television screens when we see the pictures of the innocent victims of war in Sudan, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Iraq or any region where people abuse people for the sake of their own power and glory. The sort of anger that should make us cry tears of sadness and humility when faced with the utter poverty of the families living on the streets in the cities of the world such as New Delhi, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paolo. George Bernard Shaw once described poverty as the greatest of crimes.

That deep seated anger that should be amongst us as Christians when we see the oppressed and the poor being used and abused by those who are in positions of power to help them. We are all quite comfortable with the God of Psalm 93, the God of majesty, strength and magnificence who is from everlasting to everlasting. The God who is mightier than the greatest seas! The God whose glorious holiness covers his house eternally!

Yet something, somehow, makes us uncomfortable about praying to God for justice. Perhaps our view of God is too small. For sure our God is a God of mercy but he is also a God of justice. Our God is a God of love, but He is also a God of wrath. His written word affirms all these things.

So the writer of the Psalm calls and prays to God for justice to be done. That He, the judging God might be glorified. Has the writer made this up? No, because God has described Himself as Judge and Avenger (Genesis 18:25; Deut 32:35). How many of us here, have prayed for justice to be done? Perhaps we should pray on occasion for burden of injustice to be lifted off the poor and oppressed peoples of this world. But, before we go any further on this thought, let us consider together 3 things about Psalm 94.

1. Whom is the writer praying to (Vs. 1-3)?

The obvious answer to this question is God. But what sort of God is He? Let's look at all the various descriptions given to us about God in this Psalm. A God who avenges (v. 1). To avenge is to seek revenge on behalf of somebody else. Here God is asked to avenge for the poor and innocent against the wicked and guilty people A God who judges (v. 2). To judge is to decide which is right and which is wrong.

Here God is asked to judge the wicked and guilty people for their wrong doing. A God who created and creates (v. 9), disciplines (vs. 10, 12); teaches (vs. 10, 12). A God who knows all things (v. 11) through omniscience. A God who relieves (vs. 13), assists (vs. 14, 17, 18), loves (vs. 18) and supports (vs. 18). He is a God who consoles (vs. 19), and who is incorruptible (vs. 20). A God who is strong and dependable (vs. 22) and a God who is a refuge (vs. 22). But he is also a God who repays and destroys (vs. 23) evil men for their wickedness. Is your vision of God still too small?

2. Why is the writer praying (Vs. 4-7)?

The writer js praying because he has seen the wickedness of mankind and has a deep inner anger against the brutality and evil deeds of the wicked. These people may not be foreigners, since many Jewish leaders were also brutal, for example the evil King Manasseh or the cynics of Isaiah (Is. 5: 18ff).

What sort of things are these evil people doing, and what sort of people are they? Arrogant and boastful (vs. 4), crushing (vs, 5), oppressing (vs. 5), slaying widows and foreigners (vs. 6) murdering orphans (vs. 6). The people who do this sort of thing are the object of the writer's anger. They are not only content to do evil deeds, but also add hard speeches, boasting, threatening and insulting the saints of God. The insults are used so often that they become a natural part of the language.

That is the idea behind the phrase "pour out" in vs. 4. Words often wound more than swords, they are as hard to the heart as stones are to the flesh; and they are poured out by the ungodly against the godly. According to verse 4, they even talk to themselves, and of themselves, in spiritual arrogance, as if they were doing some good deed in crushing the poor and killing the widows, orphans and foreigners.


Their error is that they believe that God cannot see their doings, and even if He could see, He wouldn't do anything about it any way. These evil people, who grind the people of God with oppression, crush them with contempt claim that God cannot see them, and so therefore reason that there is nothing to stop them from doing their evil works.
There is no limit to the pride and arrogance of these wicked people, as they have lost their senses (vs. 8 ) and lost all common sense. It is natural for them to boast, just as it is natural for godly men to practice humility.
The God of Jacob heard him and led him throughout his life and said concerning Jacob "Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm", yet these proud and arrogant people proclaim boldly that God neither sees nor knows what we do.
It is true that those whom God will destroy, He leaves to the madness of their corrupt hearts.

What is God going to do? In verse 14, is the answer to verse 5. The Lord has not rejected his own people. He has not forsaken those who are his. To do this, would go against God's very nature. As his inheritance, God has marked out all those who are his saints. God takes a peculiar interest in their well being and delights in them; He has an eternal covenant with them. I will be your God, and you will be my people. Will God not defend his people?

In verse 14, we have the answer!! The Lord will not withdraw His love or leave people totally on their own against the evil persecutors. For a little while, He may leave them with the design to benefit them, yet he will never utterly destroy them. He will discipline His people, but never destroy them.

In vs. 15, the great Judge will come, the reign of righteousness will begin, justice will be done and then all the godly will rejoice. The vehicle of right will be driven down the streets of evil, and all those upright in heart will follow it in joyous procession. Are we as the people of God today, following the path of righteousness or are we trampling somehow on the poor and oppressed? Are we keeping silent when we should be speaking out? Some governments of this world, have for sometime been using their power to oppress, but the cry of this prayer will bring back righteousness to the throne of government, and then every upright heart will proclaim loudly with joy!

3. What is the writer praying (vs.8-23)

a) Help!!!! (vs 16-19). The writer is praying for God to judge injustice, and avenge the oppressed (vs. 2). But not only that, as he is also crying out for help (vs. 16). Who is going to rise up against the evildoers? He obviously needs help, and his friends are not there for him, so he calls out to God for help! The soul is safest and at rest, after calling all others to assist and no one comes, when total trust for help is upon God.

Today the church sees error and evil coming into her, and faithful godly leaders seem to be a minimum, and fewer still are bold enough to stand up and defy the enemies of truth. Our great hope is that the God of the Bible is with us, and He will call out his champions to defend Him. Are you one of God's champions? Is your foot slipping, are you feeling weak at this moment in time and need help?

Take courage, we feel our weakness, and see our danger, and in fear and trembling we cry out. Our inbred sin is dragging us down and we need help. God, in His supreme mercy and love, helps us and our joy is that His mercy endures forever, and is always available to help us in times of danger to support us. From my sinful and proud thoughts, my thoughts of sorrow, my cares, my conflicts, I will hurry to the Lord. This is a cry of the writer, yet are we the same? The Lord alone is consoling, and yet not only consoling but delighting in me.

How sweet are the comforts of God the Comforter, the Holy Spirit? Who without feeling joy, can think about eternal love, trustworthy promises, the coming to earth of the Redeemer in Jesus Christ, the risen Saviour and his next coming again. The little world within us, that is full of confusion and strife becomes calm when we rely upon Jesus to say "Peace be with you!"

b) Can a corrupt throne be allied with you? God enters into no promises with those governments who are corrupt, and He gives no help to unrighteous laws. No assistance does He give. They might legalize robbery and violence and then say in defense, it is the law of the land, yet it is still evil and wicked. No injustice is permanent, for God will not set His seal upon it, nor have any fellowship with it, and therefore one day it will fall. An example of this was the slaughter of the Jews during the 2nd World War. The German church in general, allied itself along with the laws and decrees of Hitler, and changed its theology to that of white supremacy. We all know that the plans of the Nazis failed.

Or take for example South Africa, which up until recently had a policy of separating whites and others. For a long time the mainstream Church held as its theology that this was true. Since then, the walls of apartheid have fallen, and the church has confessed this sin to God. No evil regime lasts very long. The unrighteous join together, in order to attack the righteous. The guilty join each other to attack the innocent. No crime is too great for them.

Yet there is good news. Let the ungodly join together, the Psalmist is not afraid, but sweetly sings that the rock upon which he stands his the Jehovah God, Yahweh who is his fortress and refuge. Firm is the rock of God's love, and in Him we go for shelter. He is indeed a tremendous lover. As if in answer to his own question of verse 16, "Who will rise up for me against the wicked and evildoers", the final verse gives us an answer. The natural result of oppression, against the innocent, the poor, or the righteous is the total destruction of the ungodly. The great God who is judge, will repay their sins, and destroy their wickedness. While the bread and food they have stolen is in their mouth, God's wrath will slay them. God himself, visibly and noticeably, visits them and reveals His own power to them. 

So now what can we say in conclusion.

Firstly, our vision of God should not be too small. We need to acknowledge him as a great lover, but also as a terrifying Judge. Remember, it is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31). To quote John Stott - "God is not at odds with himself, however much it may appear to us that he is. He is 'the God of Peace', of inner tranquility not turmoil. True we may find it difficult to hold in our minds simultaneously the images of God as the Judge who must punish evil-doers and of the Lover who must find a way to forgive them. Yet he is both, and at the same time."

Secondly, can we rightly pray, in the light of the New Testament, for the vengeance of God to come down against the ungodly? No, we cannot, for then we would be no better than those who do not know Him. The vengeance of God has already come down upon one man. One day his judgment will fall, and it is from this terrible event that this man is our deliverer. This man, the Lord Jesus Christ when He died on the cross, for you and me and all our enemies, took upon Himself the full vengeance of God. He took the anger of God upon himself, so that no-one may face the judgment of God without first having the opportunity to turn to Jesus in repentance of sins. We should be praying for the governments of this world that abuse the widows, orphans and innocents of today, that they will see their errors and turn away from them. And not only that, we should pray that the members of these governments will turn to God in awe and wonder to worship Him. One day all men and women will be called upon before God to give an account of themselves to Him. If they do not know this Jesus as their Saviour, then God will cast them from His holy presence. We should also pray that godly men and women will become members of the governments of the world to help protect the innocent and the righteous, that leaders will be raised up, who know God personally to stop the abuse of the innocent.

Thirdly, even in the face of abuse and persecution, we should turn to the living God for comfort and help in our circumstances. Too often we rely on ourselves or others for strength in times of trouble. It is God alone who can help us, and it is God alone who will destroy the evil in the world. The judgment of evil, according to Psalms, is a time for universal rejoicing. Ps. 67:4; 96:12-13; Ps. 35:24. Let us rejoice together when good overcomes evil in this world.

Finally, let us pray and cry out in anger against the suffering and evil in this world. And not only pray about it, but do something about it. We, as Christians, should be as light and salt to the world of darkness and evil. What will you and I do about being light and salt to a world where the innocent suffer, the widows and orphans are abandoned and murdered?

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Friday Prayers 11 September 2020

Today on Partakers, we are continue our prayers specifically regarding the Corona Virus Pandemic which is affecting us all globally... Come and pray with us! One of our prayers is:

O God, we pray into this situation regarding the Corona Virus pandemic.
O God our Father, help and heal all those who have this virus
and give wisdom to those working on a vaccine or cure.

We are bereft of the number of people suffering from this,
yet we know you are in control.
We trust in you and we worship you alone. Amen

Father, from your twin wellsprings of grace and mercy,
hear these cries of our hearts and take the burdens we carry...

Amen…

 

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Think Spot 7 September 2020

 
What we say, as well as what we don’t say, as Christians is very important. The Bible is very clear on that.
 

1 Peter 2:1 “Therefore rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind.”

James 4:11-12 “Brothers do not slander one another...who are you to judge your neighbour?” The definition of slander is words falsely spoken that damage the reputation of another or an abusive attack on a person's character or good name or to attack the good name and reputation of someone.So next time you go to say anything negative about someone or to criticise their actions, think again, you might be disobeying God and breaking a command.

The Apostle James powerfully shows how a small thing such as the tongue is able to cause much damage. He says that the tongue is a world of evil that corrupts the whole person ...and is itself set on fire by hell (James 3:3-8).

Christians are very good at gossiping but disguising it as prayerful concern. We pass on a juicy bit of information about someone and then ask the person to pray about the situation. As Christians we should not pass on any information about anyone else unless the person concerned has asked us to. It is not our place to do so even if it is for prayer.

However, sometimes it is also what we don’t say that causes problems. We stay silent when in fact we do need to give that word of love, encouragement, rebuke or kindness. Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook can be fabulous sites if used properly. How often to we stay silent when we should say something kind? We get a message from a friend and we don't reply to it.  How often do we say something when we should stay silent instead of slandering, complaining, gossiping or bickering?

Prayer

Now, a prayer to help you into this new week. Father, we thank you for words. We thank you that we can communicate words of life to other people. Help us to use words wisely as we interact, communicate and deal with other people, especially our loved ones and work colleagues. May the Holy Spirit, guide, rebuke and counsel, as we use the amazing gift of words to us, as we seeks to live a life worthy of Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

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Friday Prayers 4 September 2020

Today on Partakers, we are continue our prayers specifically regarding the CoronaVirus Pandemic which is affecting us all globally... Come and pray with us! One of our prayers is:

O God, we pray into this situation regarding the CoronaVirus pandemic.
O God our Father, help and heal all those who have this virus
and give wisdom to those working on a vaccine or cure.

We are bereft of the number of people suffering from this,
yet we know you are in control.
We trust in you and we worship you alone. Amen

Father, from your twin wellsprings of grace and mercy,
hear these cries of our hearts and take the burdens we carry...

Amen…

 

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Wednesday Wisdom

Proverbs 31

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1 The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.

2 What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?
3 Give not your strength to women, nor your ways to that which destroys kings.
4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
5 unless they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.

6 Give strong drink to him that is ready to perish, and wine to those that be of heavy hearts.
7 Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
8 Open your mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband does safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool, and flax, and works willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she brings her food from afar.

15 She rises also while it is yet night, and gives meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considers a field, and buys it: with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds her loins with strength, and strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good: her candle goes not out by night.
19 She lays her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretches out her hand to the poor; yes, she reaches forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes fine linen, and sells it; and delivers girdles to the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household, and eats not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but You excels them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

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That’s it for today! Come back every day to Partakers Podcasts to hear something to encourage and uplift you as a Christian disciple, regardless of where you are in the world. You can also purchase our books via Amazon at Pulptheology.com

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Think Spot – 31st August 2020


God has made us able ministers of the new Covenant; not of the letter, but of the Spirit: for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:6.

The "letter" is the whole law of Moses, or the doctrine of the ten commandments, which teach how we should obey God, honour parents, love our neighbours, and the like— the very best doctrine to be found in all books, sermons and schools. There is another message, which Paul terms the "ministration of a new covenant or of the Spirit." This doctrine does not teach what works are required of man; but it makes known to him what God would do for him and bestow upon him, indeed what he has already done ; he has given his Son Christ for us ; because, for our disobedience to the law, which no man fulfils, we were under God's wrath and condemnation. Christ made satisfaction for our sins, effected a reconciliation with God and gave to us his own righteousness. This doctrine is revealed through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit works in the hearts of them who hear and accept the doctrine. Therefore this ministration is termed the ministration "of the Spirit."

It is of design that the apostle does not term the two dispensations "law" and "gospel," but names them according to the respective effects produced. For it is impossible to keep the law without Christ, though man may, for the sake of honour or property, or from fear of punishment, feign outward holiness. The heart which does not discern God's grace in Christ cannot turn to God, nor trust in him ; it cannot love his commandments and delight in them, but rather resists them.

Therefore, God would have his gospel message unceasingly urged as the means of awakening man's heart to discern his state and recall the grace and lovingkindness of God, with the result that the power of the Holy Spirit is increased constantly. No influence of the law, no work of man is present here. The force is a new and heavenly one — the power of the Holy Spirit. He impresses upon the heart Christ and his works, making it a true book which does not consist in tracing mere letters and words, but in true life and action.

(An excerpt taken from "Devotional Readings From Luther's Works For Every Day Of The Year" By Rev. John Sander, L.H.D.) in the Public Domain.

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Partakers Friday Prayers

28 August 2020

For the Persecuted  Church Worldwide

 

We are praying  together today for the Persecuted Church worldwide. When Christians pray together, from different nations, different churches and different denominations - that reveals Church unity! Come! Let us pray together!

 

Prayers for the Persecuted Church

Sovereign God, we worship you and acknowledge that you know all of those who suffer in your name because they follow you. We remember those who are imprisoned for their faith and ask that they would join with the Apostle Paul to see that even though they remain captive, their chains have furthered the gospel, not frustrated it. May they inspire and embolden their fellow believers to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
Amen

God of all comfort, for those who are tortured both in body and mind, give them the grace to endure and to see their suffering as part of following in Christ’s footsteps. Merciful God, for those asked to pay the ultimate price; who are martyred because of their love for you, may they truly know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.
Amen

Father God, for those who are widowed and orphaned may they know the comfort that comes from your promised presence even when they walk through the valley. May they be strengthened by your Spirit, enabling them to rejoice with the psalmist as they proclaim that the LORD will not abandon them in death.
Amen

Heavenly Father, we ask that you would make us ever mindful of our brothers and sisters around the world who need us to stand with them as they suffer in your name. Teach us what it means to overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony; we pray that we would not love our lives so much as to shrink from death.

Amen

We ask these things O Father, through the name of Your Son, Jesus

and in the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us.
Amen

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Wednesday Wisdom

Proverbs 30

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1 The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spoke to Ithiel, even to Ithiel and Ucal,
2 Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.
3 I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.
4 Who has ascended up into heaven, or descended? who has gathered the wind in his fists? who has bound the waters in a garment? who has established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if You can tell?
5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield to them that put their trust in him.
6 Add You not to his words, unless he reprove you, and You be found a liar.

7 Two things have I required of you; deny me them not before I die:
8 Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:
9 unless I be full, and deny you, and say, Who is the Lord? or unless I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.
10 Accuse not a servant to his master, unless he curse you, and You be found guilty.
11 There is a generation that curses their father, and does not bless their mother.
12 There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.
13 There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up.
14 There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.
15 The horseleach has two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yes, four things say not, It is enough:
16 The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that says not, It is enough.
17 The eye that mocks at his father, and despises to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.

18 There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yes, four which I know not:
19 The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.
20 Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eats, and wipes her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.
21 For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear:
22 For a servant when he reigns; and a fool when he is filled with meat;
23 For an odious woman when she is married; and a handmaid that is heir to her mistress.

24 There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:
25 The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;
26 The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks;
27 The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands;
28 The spider takes hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces.

29 There be three things which go well, yes, four are comely in going:
30 A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turns not away for any;
31 A greyhound; a he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up.
32 If You have done foolishly in lifting up yourself, or if You have thought evil, lay your hand upon your mouth.
33 Surely the churning of milk brings forth butter, and the wringing of the nose brings forth blood: so the forcing of wrath brings forth strife.

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Think Spot – 24th August 2020

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Romans 8:14.

Like ourselves, Paul had to deal with two classes of people, the true and the false Christians. There is not so much danger from the adversaries of the doctrine; their opposition is so open that we can readily beware of them. But since the devil sows his seed among us who are called Christians and boast of the gospel, it behoves us to take heed of those who claim to be Christians. It is easy enough to boast of God and of Christ and of the Spirit. But whether such boasting has any foundation depends on whether or not the Spirit so works and rules in us as to subdue and mortify sin. For where the Spirit is, there assuredly he is not idle, nor powerless. He proves his presence by ruling and directing man and prevailing on him to obey and follow his promptings.

To be "led by the Spirit of God" means to be given a heart which gladly hears God's Word and believes that in Christ it has grace and the forgiveness of sins ; a heart which confesses and proves its faith before the world ; a heart which seeks, above all things, the glory of God, and endeavours to live without giving offense, to serve others and to be obedient, patient, pure and chaste, mild and gentle; a heart which, though at times overtaken in a fault, and may stumble, soon rises again by repentance and ceases to sin. All these things the Holy Spirit teaches one if he hears and receives the Word, and does not wilfully resist the Spirit.

The devil, who is also a spirit, persuades the hearts of the worldlings ; but it soon becomes evident that his work is not that of a good or divine spirit. For he leads men to do the reverse of that which the Spirit of God leads them to do ; they find no pleasure in hearing and obeying God's Word, but despise God, and become proud and haughty, avaricious, unmerciful. Let every one therefore take heed that he deceive not himself. For there are many who claim to be Christians and are not. We perceive this from the fact that not all are led by the Spirit of God.

(An excerpt taken from "Devotional Readings From Luther's Works For Every Day Of The Year" By Rev. John Sander, L.H.D.) in the Public Domain.

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