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Archive for July 2011

Who is God?

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Who/what is God?

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I have had people say to me, I believe in God’s existance but I don’t need to study the Bible to know Him! But belief in His existence is not enough! Even satan and his demons believe in God’s existence! It is only through the Bible we can study God and His relationship with the universe. All we can know about God is not contained in the Bible, but the Bible contains all we can know about God during our earthly life! That is because God is infinite and beyond our limitations of space and time! Yet the God we as Christian disciples follow and worship, is knowable through the Bible. This means that God is a personal God and not a remote being. That is a key to studying Him! He wants to be known and has given us the Bible in order for us to do so.

How can we know about God?

In the Bible, what we know of God are the fundamental qualities or powers of His being. The Bible elucidates statements about God, by God, through which we try and understand God, using our finite minds. The Bible reveals God to us! God is spirit, yet a personal and infinite being (John 4:24). He is one in substance, nature and being and incapable of division (Deuteronomy 6v4). Yet He is three coequal people, or the Trinity! It is through the Bible we discover what pleases, angers, offends, or gives joy Him!

The words revealed in the Bible describe His attributes! The fact we are able to take hold and understand this about an infinite God is evidence that God desires to be known by humans! So what are some of the attributes of God? There are two different kinds of attributes: natural and moral.

1. Natural Attributes

a. Transcendent - God's self-existence apart from and independent of creation. This reflects God’s majesty and greatness. Romans 11:33; 1Chronicles 29:11; 1Kings 8:27

b. Immanent/Omnipresent - God is wholly present everywhere. God fills the universe in all it's parts without division Psalm 139:7-12; Jerermiah 23:23-24

c. Omnipotent - God has power to do all things that are the object of power. With God all things are possible Luke 1:37. He is El Shaddai or God Almighty. Jerermiah 32:17-18 Nothing is too hard for you.

d. Omniscient - God has perfect knowledge of all things - actual, past, present, future and possible. 1 John 3:20 God knows all things; Psalm 47:5 Infinite understanding.

e. Infinite - God has no limits. He has an internal and a qualitative absence of limitation. Boundless activity - Romans 11:33; 1Timothy1:16; Psalm 147:5

f. Immutable - God is unchangeable. Malachi 3:6 - I AM God and I change not; Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

g. Eternal - God is without beginning or end. He is the alpha and omega. God is outside of time - time is in God, and He is free from the succession of time. God lives in the eternal present - past, present and future, are NOW for God - He is the I AM YAHWEH Exodus 3:14. From everlasting to everlasting you are God. 1 Timothy1:17; Psalm 102:7

h. Spirit God is a free personal Spirit

· God is not material. He is invisible and indestructible. John 4:24; 1Timothy1:17; 1Timothy6:15-16

· God is Life Jn 14:6. Energy & activity!

· God has Personality. Self-consciousness & communicative!

2. Moral Attributes

a. Goodness - absolute perfection. Seeking creations' welfare.

  • Love - God is love 1 John 4:8-10. God communicates and gives of Himself.
  • Grace - God gives us what we do not deserve. God's riches at Christ’s expense Ephesians 2:7; The unmerited goodness of God John 1:16.
  • Mercy - God does not give us what we deserve. The goodness of God to those in distress - tenderness & compassion (Ephesians 2:3-5)
  • Long-suffering - God is slow to anger. God longs to forgive (Exodus 34:6-7)
  • Truth - John 14:6 The revelation source and foundation of all truth is God/Jesus

b. Holiness - moral excellence and perfection of God. Separation from sin. What God is!! Heb 7:26 "Be holy, for I am Holy".

c. Righteousness - Holiness in action. God's actions conform to His Holiness. Justice deals with the ab­sence of righteousness. Sin must be dealt with – (Genesis 18:25 & Psalm 89:14)

Why do we study this God?

There are at least 4 reasons!

a) Avoids confusion! As we study God, we come to know truths about Him and are able to discern what are true and false facts about Him! "Truth combats error" Satan distorts scripture to put people off the truth.

b) Truth develops character 2 Peter 1:3-9 - The strongest Christian disciples are those with a good growing knowledge of biblical truth. Since study increases our knowledge of God, it increases the possibilities of love, growth and service of the Christian disciple. We study it to put it into practice! What we believe about God, affects our behaviour! James 1:22 says "We must be doers of the Word not just hearers of this is to be effective."

c) We are commanded to grow in our knowledge of God - 2 Timothy 4:2-4

d) This God is to be worshipped and part of our service and submission to this God, is that worship is given to Him alone (Deuteronomy 5v6-9). As humans we are created in His image, and as Christian disciples we were bought at a price when Jesus died on the cross and we accepted Him as our Lord and saviour. He is due our worship and reverence! It is on worship that I hope to discuss next time!

One of the best books regarding getting to know God is the appropriately titled “Knowing God” by JI Packer - it’s a thoroughly modern and readable classic! For more to think about, please do read for yourself 2 Peter 1:3-9. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. From my knowledge of God, what do I find comforting?

Q2. From my knowledge of God, what do I find disturbing?

Q3. How has my knowledge of God grown and affected my behaviour since I became a Christian disciple?

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Partakers Friday Prayers

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Order of Service

1. General Opening prayer

2. Time for your own praise

3. Thanks for the life of John Stott

4. Prayers for the world

5. Prayers for church services worldwide

6. Prayers for others

7. Time for prayers for your own concerns

8. Benediction

General Opening Prayer

Father, as we commence, let our hearts and minds be right before you.  We thank for your Son Jesus. It's in His name we offer you these praises, prayers and petitions in the power of the Holy Spirit who lives inside those who are your children. Amen

Time of Praise

Now there will be a short time where you can offer praise and thanks to God for things that are on your own mind and heart.

If for some reason, words are failing you, then pray this simple praise prayer based on an ancient song

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;

Praise Him, all creatures here below;

Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Thanks be to God! Alleluia! Christ has risen!

Thanksgiving for John Stott

We now have a time of giving thanks to God for the life and witness of one of His great servants of our time, John Stott, who died on July 27th.

Father we thank you for the work you have done through John Stott. We thank you that he was a role model for church leaders everywhere. We thank you that he though now physically dead, is also more alive then ever before, as he is in your presence. Thank you for his legacy and his witness as a truly humble servant of you. Father, raise up new leaders of this calibre throughout your worldwide church, we pray!  Amen!

Prayers for the World!

Now we pray for this world.

We especially lift to you the country of Norway in the aftermath of the horrendous attacks there last week.  Father, be the strength for those who are grieving, particularly in the memorial services that are being conducted. Father, we pray that those in despair will be helped and where there is darkness there will be light.

May justice and peace come to places where injustice, strife and conflict currently dominate! Where there is chaos, bring order. Where there is hatred, may love be sown.  We pray that in areas of need following natural disasters, that aid will get through and infrastructure rebuilt. Amen!

For churches and Christians worldwide

We now pray for church services around the world this weekend.

Our Father God, we lift before you all those who are preaching, leading, serving and participating in church services around the world this weekend, we ask that the Holy Spirit would guide their minds and that the worship will be in Spirit and in truth, that the Word as it is faithfully preached.

For those in countries where to meet other Christians is illegal or not condoned by the government, we ask that you continue to strengthen, guide, grow and uplift them. Let them know through Your Spirit, the Spirit that lives within all believers that we are praying for them.

Amen!

Prayers for others

We come now to praying for the needs of individuals.

We thank you that, Lynn, is healing well after her recent fall, and we pray that that continues. We also lift her grandson, Zachary, to you after he recently had a bike accident. Help his body to heal and please help the medical staff as he receives regular treatment.

We also lift to you Daniel who is aged, has the onset of dementia and will soon need 24 hours care. This means him losing his home and his independence. We also, Father, pray for his partner, Margaret and ease her distress and give them both comfort.

We bring before you now, Father, Ray. He is currently going through chemotherapy and we pray also that he may have comfort and ask that you will help the medical staff in this treatment.

We bring Jan before you, who is recovering from a relationship break-up. Ease her heart and mind, and may the Holy Spirit give her comfort and counsel. May she find rest in you.

We lift to you all those desiring partners and families, particularly BT. Help them in their loneliness and give counsel on how to handle the current situation.

Finally, Father, we lift before you, all those facing challenging situations: such as confinement at home, geographical isolation, lack of employment, health issues, and financial pressures.  O Father, please meet their needs in what ever challenging situation is being faced, and we put ourselves in your hands to help meet those needs where we can.

We ask these things, our Father God, in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Your own petitions

Now there will be a short time of prayer where you can give to God things that are on your own mind and heart.

If for some reason, words are failing you, then pray this short prayer based on Psalm 40 "O God, Help and deliver me from this pit for I am poor and needy!"

Father, we pray that your love will take over our lives! We also pray that we would follow you faithfully, live lives obediently and give praise to you alone in all circumstances we face together.

Lord in your mercy, hear these prayers of your children.  Amen

Benediction

And now, as we close, may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Thank you for joining us on Partakers Friday Prayers. If you would like to post a prayer request in the comments below, either named or anonymous, we will pray for you.

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WISE - Give

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Giving!

Every person has in differing quantities time, possessions and money. These things in and of themselves are not evil. The whole Christian community is one that is to reflect the Holy Trinity. The Church is to be a community where the strongest members support the weakest members. This applies not only to the local church, but also to the universal Church and therefore has a national and international context as well. Too often, even as Christian Disciples we are found turning a blind eye to the suffering of others where the bare necessities of life are in sparse existence. Too often we gather possessions and people, instead of giving up our time and money generously to help the poor and needy of both our world and local communities.

Financial giving is important and necessary - its a sign of your commitment to Jesus Christ.. Paul writing to the Corinthians commands that giving be done whole-heartedly and cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9v7). For the Christian Disciple, it is not so much how much is given, but how much is left after giving. God looks beyond the amount that is given to the motive behind the giving. All our money and possessions belong to God anyway, so giving is to be in response to this. Giving is to be done out of love for God. Paul offers in 1 Corinthians 16v2 a three-point system for giving: regularly, methodically and proportionately.

Failure to give back to God's work what He has given the Christian Disciple in the first place, robs God (Malachi 3v8). The reason it robs is because the giving cannot be used to support those who are working for God. As a result of giving, the Christian Disciple will be blessed (Malachi 3v10) and have their needs satisfied (Philippians 4v19).

Remember in the Old Testament, Widows were important to God, because justice is important to God. God is a God of justice and mercy. In the Old Testament, under the Law of Moses, God commanded provision for those who were widows, oppressed or uncared for. The Apostles would have known about God caring for the widows and in Jesus teaching about justice for the poor and the oppressed. We know this because if you remember from Acts 2 and 4, people were selling and sharing possessions and ensuring that people within the Christian community were being looked after and cared for. This included making sure that everyone got fed, particularly those who had no family to care for them. And its not just for those in the church - but all in the community where you live.

The New Testament church made sure that giving was done and that the poor, the oppressed, the lonely and the widows were taken care of. People working fulltime for the Lord were given recompense by others for their efforts.   People gave. Paul in Romans 12v6-8 places giving as a spiritual gift? I wonder how many people have asked for that gift? Perhaps its the least asked for gift, after all its not one of the supposedly spectacular ones!

How is your giving? How does your church give and care for those in need, in your community? The get out clause as it were these days, is that it would not be good stewardship to give to that person or that cause. After all, they say, “Didnt Jesus say in Matthew 7v6 ;Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you'". Of course when they say that they are totally missing both the point and context of what Jesus actually meant. God gave everything so that you and I may life and life in abundance. So by giving, you are reflecting that. This very day, start giving generously, just as God gave and gives generously, and gave His Son as a ransom for sin.

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Worship Wednesday

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Worship Wednesday

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Order of Service

G'day and welcome to Partakers Wednesday Worship on the 27th of July, 2011.

Thanksgiving and Joy

O Almighty God, great and wonderful are you!

We praise you God the Father that you cares for us!

We praise you God the Son, Jesus Christ, that you are our saviour and mediator!

We praise you God the Holy Spirit, that you lives inside us as a deposit and seal of our salvation!

We praise you Father, Son and Holy Spirit that You are the very givers of life!

We come now to worship you!

Amen

Old Testament reading

Psalm 40v16-17:

Our LORD, let your worshipers rejoice and be glad.

They love you for saving them, so let them always say,

"The LORD is wonderful!"

17I am poor and needy, but, LORD God, you care about me,

and you come to my rescue. Please hurry and help."

New Testament Readings.

Luke 6v38 - "Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back-given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity."

Luke 12v33-34 - "Be generous. Give to the poor. Get yourselves a bank that can't go bankrupt, a bank in heaven far from bankrobbers, safe from embezzlers, a bank you can bank on. It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.

Song

Be thou my vision - Julie McMinn

How is your vision of Jesus Christ?

I wonder how your vision of Jesus Christ is? Practically everybody is comfortable with Jesus as a baby. Almost everybody is comfortable with Jesus as a great moral teacher. Just as they are with the Jesus hanging on a cross as the death of a tragic want-to-be hero. Most Christians are comfortable with the Jesus who rose from the dead to new life and then ascended back to the right hand of God the Father. Most Christians are comfortable with the hope that Jesus will come again and that they will be with Him forever.

But if that's your vision of Jesus Christ, the most outstanding man in all of history, then I would suggest that your vision of Jesus is too small, too pre-packaged and preconceived! Let me ask a few questions and see how you respond to them!

  • Are you comfortable with the Jesus that also demands you die to self and live to, and for, Him alone?
  • Are you comfortable with the Jesus who demands that the poor, oppressed and the lonely are taken care of by you?
  • Are you comfortable with the Jesus who is going to call you to account for every word you have spoken or thought and not spoken when you had the opportunity?
  • Are you comfortable with the Jesus who is going to call you to account for every opportunity you have taken in His name or missed taking in His name?
  • Are you comfortable with the Jesus who calls you to serve Him alone and commands that you serve others as part of your service of Him?
  • Are you comfortable with the Jesus who calls you to give, keep giving and trust in Him to supply your needs?

How did you get on? How is your commitment to Jesus Christ? When Jesus Christ called you to follow Him, He called you to follow Him wholeheartedly and committed to only Him.  How is your vision of Jesus Christ now?

Jesus Christ calls people to be totally committed to himself. Perhaps the greatest indicator of your commitment to Jesus Christ is in your giving? How is your giving? Jesus talked about giving quite a lot, as indicated by our readings in Luke 6 and 12.  God gave everything so that you may have life and life in abundance. Not for its own sake, but for the sake of Jesus Christ. So by giving generously, you are reflecting that God has given abundantly to you.  And a further suggestion is that you don't make a big show of your giving but do it quietly and secretly if you can, so that all the glory goes to God and Him alone.

Giving generously is not just financial. It could be an email, a smile, a touch, a kind word or a phone call.  These things too are valuable to the recipient, particularly the lonely and oppressed. Go and give what you can. We are to give generously, but not just to those we like. Just as we are not to love only those we like and get on with. We are commanded to love everybody, particularly our enemies, and give to those in need.

Imagine the impact for the spread of Jesus Christ, if Christians and churches gave like that in their communities! Many people speak that prayer we read from the Old Testament - Psalm 40-v17 - crying out to God for help. It may well be, that you can be God's arms and legs for that person, crying it out to God in prayer.  Ask God to expand your imagination to give and then be prepared to follow it and give to others. May your vision of Jesus Christ be enhanced through your imaginative giving!

Lord, in your mercy, expand our imagination to give to all others generously what we can, to be your arms and legs and to be the answer to the cries of somebody else. Amen.

Benediction

Lets close in prayer, with these ancient words:

May the love of God the Father, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, evermore. Amen

See you next time on Partakers! www.partakers.co.uk and if you have prayer requests, visit www.facewall.co.uk, post your request and we will pray for you.

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Think Spot

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Think Spot - 25th July 2011

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G'day! Welcome to Partakers Think Spot at the start of new week on Monday the 25th July 2011!

God's love in the Bible is seen as unfailing, everlasting, intimate, sacrificial, unbreakable, all-conquering, personal, great, immeasurable and all-knowing. This is seen supremely in the Cross of Jesus Christ, when He died for the sins of the world. Supreme love overcoming all that is not love. Even when great acts of evil are committed in the world, such as the slaughter of innocents in Oslo Norway this past week, love is all around. Love continues despite such acts.

How are Christians to respond to this love of God?

The apostle John writes in 1 John 4v15-16 - If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

Our motivation as Christians is to love and to be love. This is a love, which is sacrificial and self-less. It is tough love which is of service to other people.

Loving and serving others, are the primary ways of showing you love God! It is easiest to love your friends. But Jesus commanded that his followers also love their enemies (Matthew 5:43-45)! Now that is very radical and can be difficult! We see constantly in the media and elsewhere, that regards our enemies, we are to be confrontational or at best to just ignore them!

Love and serve everyone

How is it possible to love our enemies? It is only with the help of God and His abundant grace towards us! We depend on the Holy Spirit who lives inside all Christians to empower and guide! To only love those who love you is what is expected by people everywhere as normal behaviour. But as a Christian, you are to do more! You are to be seen to love more than other people. You don't have to like others as friends, but you do have to love them as fellow human beings!

Go!

Go into this week, being prepared to show your love of Jesus Christ, remaining close to Him and serving other people generously with abundant grace-filled love!  By loving and serving others, you become God's arms and legs in a physical world.  One of the greatest limitations you face in loving and serving other people is a severe lack of imagination! So as you go into this week, ask God to expand your imagination to love and serve; as well as asking for the opportunities to do them. Loving and serving are hallmarks of an authentic Christian life.  Love continues even amidst chaos and turmoil all around. Go and be part of the continuing of love.  Thank you.

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Daniel 8

Worlds In Conflict

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We come tonight to a very interesting passage of Scripture. From Chapter 2 to 7, we have had a wide angled panoramic view, and now from Chapter 8 to 12 we zoom in on specific areas which were previously covered in Chapters 2 to 7. In Chapter 7, we have seen that the prophet Daniel had a dream of 4 animals, which were a winged lion, a bear, a winged leopard and a beast.

Father as we come to look at this part of your Written Word the Bible, speak through me so that You alone will be honoured and glorified. I pray and that we may leave here knowing we have met with you and heard from you. Amen.

Introduction

Here in Chapter 8, we look at the bear, which here is described as a ram, and a winged leopard that is described as a goat. Unlike his previous two visions which occurred at night, this one occurs during the day. Daniel was transported in the Spirit to Susa, a major city of the Babylon & Persian empires. He sat down beside the Ulai canal, nine hundred feet wide and connected two large rivers so that boats could easily pass from one to the other. Spiritually seated by the river, he lifted up his eyes. He saw a ram, a male sheep, that had two horns, and as he watched, one of its horns became larger than the other. We can be in no doubt that this ram is symbolic of the Medo-Persian Empire, because it is told to us in verse 20. The horn that grew large was the Persian empire, which gradually took over from the Medes. The king of Persia also carried the image of a ram in front of him whenever he went into battle. It is natural for rams to be aggressive and to butt. The ram here goes in every direction, but east. Historically we know that the Medo-Persian empire did not gain much territory to the East. Suddenly - the dream changes.

Coming in from the West, races a male goat that is travelling so fast that its feet do not touch the ground. Verse 21 tells us that this is the Greek Empire, and the horn is its 'first king' Alexander the Great. In actual fact he named one of his sons, Alexander Goat. The feet not touching the ground signified the speed with which Alexander won battles over a vast area from Africa to India. The goat in verse 6 collides with the ram, breaks the rams' horns and humiliates it, crushing and destroying it. This reflects how the Medo-Persian Empire fell to the Greeks.

Then we read that the goat, at the height of its power, was broken by the unseen hand of God. Alexander the Great became inflated with pride at the speed and number of battle victories, but his arrogance was short lived and he died at the age of 32. The goat, Alexander, was replaced by 4 horns. These historically are - Macedonia under Cassander; Thrace and Asia Minor under Lysimachus; Syria under Seleucus; and Egypt under Ptolemy. Again, history has followed what Scripture said would happen.

In verse 9, Daniel notices that 'Out of one of them came a little horn.' From a small beginning it grew to great power, and its power stretched south and east, and then into the 'Beautiful Land' of Canaan. There is no doubt that this refers to that horrible man of history, Antiochus Epiphanes. He, as predicted, came from the Seleucid section and took Egypt with an immense army, following that by taking Elymais and Armenia. Then he invaded Canaan. This man, the little horn referred to, arose as the great persecutor of God's people.

Things to Learn!

There were 5 main things that we learn about his rule from this passage -

1. v10/24 No justice. He persecuted the Jews. Stars being either leading Jews or authorities.

2. v11/12a No righteousness. He exalted himself higher than the Prince of Peace, and blasphemed God by holding idolatrous sacrifices in the temple.

3. v12b/25 No truth. He attacked truth consistently and practised deception. He would often wait until he had someone's trust before turning upon them.

4. v12b No peace. Evil prospered

5. v25 No mercy. He was struck down by the invisible hand of God. It is documented that he fell ill in a small town in Egypt, and while on his sick bed, wrote to the Jews saying that he himself would become a Jew if only God would save him. God showed him no mercy, for the evil that he had performed on God's people and the attacks upon God Himself.

In verse 14, we are told that it would last about 2300 evenings and mornings until the sanctuary will be made holy again. Some scholars say that this is about 6.25 years. Antiochus Epiphanes rule lasted from 171 to 165 BC. Other teachers say that this is about 3.5 years. The temple was used for heathen sacrifice for the last 3.5 years of Antiochus Epiphanes life. The end of time referred to in verses 17 - 19, could refer to 2 things. Firstly, it could refer to the end of Antiochus Epiphanes reign of terror over the Jews, when the Jews could expect the Messiah to come and end God's indignation with the Jews. Secondly, it could mean the period of the Gentiles, which is from Nebuchadnezzar's reign to the 2nd coming of Jesus.

Applying it to ourselves!

Whichever theory is correct, there are still applications that apply to our lives today.

Firstly, rampant evil and not peace will rule on earth until Jesus comes again. We look around the world and we see conflicts and wars everywhere - Iraq, Afghanistan, throughout Africa & Asia. There will be always people like Antiochus Epiphanes. People like Hitler and the slaughter of the Jews in the 1930's & 1940's; or Idi Amin in Uganda; or Pol Pot and the Khemer Rouge in Cambodia/Kampuchea; Stalin and the former USSR Communist bloc; Ceacescu and Romania. The submission to the state or government of all citizens, being forced to accept government decrees. There will also always be the limitation of freedom to worship.

I can still see the remains in the mass graves in the destruction of Cambodia coming from my television screen, where even to think any kind of individual thought was suppressed and all books were destroyed. Or the pictures of the desecration of the millions of Jews during the 2nd World War. Or how about the persecution of religious peoples under the regimes in China, Romania and the former USSR. And here in England, or the USA or even Australia, the threats to us and our Christianity are probably more subtle. We see the media laughing at well-known Christians for their Christian stance, whenever they are in the spotlight. In many countries around the globe, where Christianity is illegal, suppressed or forced to fit into the confines of Government thinking.

The attacks upon us here in the West are not so direct, but much more subtle. Frogs, when placed in a pot of cold water do not feel the subtle rise in the water temperature when the pot is placed on a stove with a low heat. Let us not be frogs. One day we are going to be attacked because we are Christians, and to think otherwise is clearly unbiblical.

Secondly, what do we do when it comes. It is natural for us when persecution hits us to ask why, but our reaction should probably be like the 2nd angel and ask "How long?" We shouldn't be surprised when persecution comes to us, and be like the Romanians who also asked, not why, but How long?

Thirdly, notice that the people who commit such atrocities, and are great powers here on earth, are described as 'little horns' and are just that, little. Little in comparison to our awesome God. He is the invisible hand, who merely sweeps them away with one quick brush of his 'invisible hand'. Is this not a God worthy of our praise and worship? These men could only harm the flesh, not the soul. Their power was brittle, like the horns on the goat and ram, and broken by the hand of God. Where is Hitler now? Dead and buried. Where is Stalin? Dust in the frozen ground. Where is Antiochus Epiphanes now? Dust blown in the wind. Where is Alexander the Great? Dust spread across the deserts he so easily conquered. All these men are dead, but where is our God? Alive forevermore!

Fourthly, we bow the knee not to a rampaging ram or a galloping goat, but to the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who is our horn of Salvation. When all other horns have come and gone, we still have our horn of salvation in Him. When all the rams and goats have crossed the stage of history, God has His Lamb (Rev 5:12-13). All through the Bible, and all history as we know it, there have been dominions and powers that have lasted only a short passage of time. The kingdom of Jesus, however, is not a passing fad or temporary kingdom but an everlasting one with Jesus Himself as the Lamb and Horn of Salvation. That is why we can take Jesus into our place of work and study and into our cities with power. Even if all our friends and family reject Jesus, we should still identify with Him. All other powers are simply passing in the wind. No other power will prevail, and His peace will rule upon earth. All that harms His people will come to nothing, and we will live forever with Jesus as our Horn of Salvation.

Fifthly and lastly, we need to deal with the 'little horns' of sin within our lives. Horns, throughout the Bible and history have been symbolic of power. Whatever sins are hidden in our hearts, we need to get rid of them and repent of them. For the longer any individual sin is within us, the more power it tries to control us with, if we do not hand it over to the Lord in prayer and action. The less we repent of sins, the less we grow in spiritual maturity and personal holiness. Let each one of us destroy the power of the 'little horns' of sin, by repenting and turning away from them, and allowing our Horn of salvation, destroy them by continuing to hand them over to Him.

Conclusion!

You may not be yet a follower, so I would urge you most strongly to accept His call upon you. You may not get another chance. This Jesus Christ said he was coming back again. Not as a baby next time, but in full glory, power and majesty. He will be coming back to gather those who are in relationship with Him and to wipe the tears of suffering and joy from their eyes. Those who are found not to be in relationship with Him will spend eternity without Him. He gives each of us, innumerable opportunities to enter into relationship with Him. This Jesus wants to connect with you in an intimate, spiritual relationship - His eyes wander the earth looking for those willing to submit themselves to His authority. If that is you, then please do see Pastor Adam, one of the leaders or the person that brought you here tonight, to find out how you can start this relationship with the Living God, Jesus Christ. He calls you by name.

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Jesus of the Scars

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A response to the attacks in Oslo on July 23rd, 2011

Jesus of the Scars

Edward Shillito (1872-1948),

Free Church minister in England during World War I:

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If we have never sought, we seek You now;

Your eyes burn through the dark, our only stars;

We must have sight of thorn-pricks on your brow,

We must have You, O Jesus of the Scars.

The heavens frighten us; they are too calm;

In all the universe we have no place.

Our wounds are hurting us; where is the balm?

Lord Jesus, by Your Scars, we claim Your grace.

If, when the doors are shut, You draw near,

Only reveal those hands, that side of Yours;

We know to-day what wounds are, have no fear,

Show us Your Scars, we know the countersign.

The other gods were strong; but You were weak;

They rode, but You did stumble to a throne;

But to our wounds only God's wounds can speak,

And not a god has wounds, but You alone.

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Prayers for Oslo

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Following the horrific attacks in Oslo, I offer you this video with short prayer and time of silence to help you with your prayers for the scenes in that city.

If during the time for your own prayers, you cant think of anything to say, simply say this simple prayer:

"O God, help those people in Oslo in their moment of need. Amen"

Thank you.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayers! Amen.

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Partakers Friday Prayers

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Order of Service

Welcome to Partakers Friday Prayers on Friday the 22nd of July, 2011. Let us pray together!

Father, as we commence, let our hearts and minds be right before you.  May your everlasting mercy, grace and love be shown in hearing these petitions! We thank you that you are interested in every facet of every person. We thank you for sending your Son Jesus into the world so that we can have access to you through Him. It's in His name we offer you these praises and petitions in the power of the Holy Spirit who lives inside those who are your children. Amen!

Your own prayers

Now there will be a short time of prayer where you can give to God things that are on your own mind and heart.

If for some reason, words are failing you, then pray this short prayer based on Psalm 40 "O God, Help and deliver me from this pit for I am poor and needy!"

Time of silence

Father, we pray that your love will take over our lives! We also pray that we would follow you faithfully, live lives obediently and give praise to you alone in all circumstances we face together! Lord in your mercy, hear these prayers of your children.  Amen

Prayers for individuals

We lift these dear ones to you, Father, who are in need of a healing touch and to be held in Your arms of compassion:

We bring before you these grieving families and we pray You will give comfort in their grief and as funeral services are prepared.

The family of Annette's mother

The family of John

The family of Gladys

We lift to you these people who are unwell at this time and ask for a healing touch from you and for You to help the medical teams:

Claire, Eileen, Geraldine, Kath, Maureen, Hannah, Elsie. Chris and Genevieve.  you may provide a healing touch and guide the hands of the medical staff treating them.

We lift to you Kathy who is recovering from surgery. Be with her and her family as they support her! Give them an assurance of your presence and help the medical staff treating her.

We bring before you now, Lynn, who requires healing after falling and injuring her face/nose, arm and other parts of her body.  We also bring her brother before you who may need to have both kidneys removed, without getting a transplant. As well as her co-worker who may have to go on dialysis.

We also bring before you Beverly that she may be healed of long-term injuries and that you would guide and provide for her as she ministers to others.

We lift our brother Richard to you who is just coming out of a time of depression. Lord, please lift his heart and let him know the presence of you, Almighty God, with him.

We pray also for Terry Hanford who has Parkinson disease. This week, has been quite an ordeal for him and we lift him to you. Give him comfort, Lord, encourage him and let him also know that your Spirit is there with Him

Father, we also lift before you, all those facing challenging situations: such as confinement at home, geographical isolation, lack of employment, health issues, and financial pressures.  O Father, please meet their needs in what ever challenging situation is being faced, and we put ourselves in your hands to help meet those needs where we can.

We ask these things, our Father God, in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen!

The World!

Father God, we lift to you once again the people affected by the famine in the Horn of Africa.  Help those people Father, in ways which only You can achieve. Fire the imagination of people to solve these ongoing problems. Enlighten people to give generously, to share and to be looking to the interests of others.  Father, tear down the barricades being put in place by Muslim insurgents and that aid being offered will get through.

May justice and peace come to places where injustice, strife and conflict currently dominate! Where there is chaos, bring order and where there is hatred, may love be sown.  We pray that in areas of need following natural disasters, that aid will get through and infrastructure rebuilt. Amen!

For churches and Christians

Our Father God, we lift before you all those who are preaching, leading and participating in church services around the world this weekend, we ask that the Holy Spirit would guide their minds and that the worship will be in Spirit and in truth, that the Word as it is faithfully preached.

For those in countries where to meet other Christians is illegal or not condoned by the government, we ask that you continue to strengthen, guide and uplift them. Let them know through Your Spirit, the Spirit that lives within all believers that we are praying for them. Amen!

Benediction

Now as we close, may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Thank you for joining us on Partakers Friday Prayers. If you would like to post a prayer request in the comments below, either named or anonymous, we will pray for you.

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Glimpses 55

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Testimony of healing and providence

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A testimony of God's healing power in the life of a man called Chris! God's hand is clearly evident on this man's life.

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Worship Wednesday

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Worship Wednesday

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Order of Service

G'day and welcome to Partakers Wednesday Worship on the 20th of July, 2011.  Lets start today with a song "Your Love O Lord"

Thanksgiving and Joy

O God, great and wonderful,

Are you, O Lord!

Who is like You?

None can compare to You

For you are beauty in holiness and majesty.

As we come now to worship you now,

we acknowledge you are the Almighty One.

We thank you that we can worship you!

Amen

Bible Readings

Our Old Testament reading today is taken from Psalm 89. Our reader today is Richard, so over to you, Richard!

Psalm 89v1-2, 5-8

1 I will sing of the LORD's great love forever;

with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known

through all generations.

2 I will declare that your love stands firm forever,

that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.

5 The heavens praise your wonders, LORD,

your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones.

6 For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD?

Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings?

7 In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared;

he is more awesome than all who surround him.

8 Who is like you, LORD God Almighty?

You, LORD, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you.

Our New Testament reading is from Revelation 11:16-17

16 And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying:

"We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,

the One who is and who was,

because you have taken your great power

and have begun to reign.

Bible Talk

Throughout the Bible, God is called Almighty. For example, in our Old Testament reading from Psalm 89v8 we read "Who is like you, LORD God Almighty? You, LORD, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you. "

But how is God, almighty? God being Almighty, can be summed up in 3 words.

Omnipresent -God is Almighty, in that He is wholly present everywhere. He fills the universe in all its parts without division (Psalm 139v7-12; Jeremiah 23v23-24). For example in Ezekiel 1, Israel is in exile in Babylon and they thought God was left in the Temple in Jerusalem. Yet God appears to Ezekiel in order to show that God was also in Babylon with His people! He is also present within all those who are Christians, because God the Holy Spirit lives within them!

Omnipotent -God is Almighty, in that He has unlimited power to do all things that are the object of power. With Almighty God nothing is impossible. But we have to take those verses from the Bible and read them in context. That is because there are things God cannot do. He cannot do anything that is contrary to His own nature. For instance, He cannot declare something infinite if that something is finite. Or because God is holy and cant look upon sin, God cannot therefore sin. If it was possible for God to sin, He would case to be God Almighty and therefore need His own saviour, which is certainly impossible and untenable! Omnipotence is an essential quality of God for if God were not all-powerful then He would not be God and would not be worthy of worship. He has amazing power! God created the universe with His eternal and infinite power! God made everything out of nothing and He sustains it and gives all of it life!

Omniscient - God is Almighty, in that He is has perfect knowledge of all things. The Psalmist writes: "O Lord, you have searched me and you know me, You know when I sit and when I rise...You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways" (Ps. 139:1-2a & 3). God knows all things, past, present, and future and all possible circumstances, solutions and outcomes. Therefore He knows all that we do (which includes the remembrance of all that we have done), all that we think (and the record of those thoughts), and all that we do say and all that we could say.

So what?

So God is Almighty in presence, power and knowledge and He is mighty to save. As we seek to live holy lives, let us remember that whatever we do, Almighty God is watching. Watching not to condemn us, but watching in order to love us as any good father does to his children. And save us, He does! Jesus Christ, being the Son of God will do an amazing thing to all those who have taken up His free offer of salvation. And because we are saved, the Spirit lives within us! Almighty God who is amazing! And yet this amazing and almighty God, who has us as children, can do something like this.

We read that in Revelation 21v3-5:

"Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death' or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." 5 He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

Revelation 21v4, isn't that just the most amazing verse with a great big WOW factor? Picture it! Jesus Christ taking your face in His scarred hands and He will wipe away your tears - tears of suffering and tears of joy.  God is Almighty! Almighty in presence, power and knowledge. Yet this Almighty God, is full of mercy and grace, and when time on earth comes to an end, He will wipe away the tears of His children. Amazing and Almighty God.

Prayers

Lets speak to this Almighty God now. Let's pray!

Lord, again we lift to you all those affected by the drought in the Horn of Africa.  Hear their cries! Help the aid agencies and national governments to assist these people quickly! Stoke up the imagination of people who can help those in need and find solutions to these ongoing problems. Help those who are richf financially to give generously. Where there is conflict and strife, Almighty God, bring peace. Where there is great need, Almighty Father, bring supply and solutions. Where there is injustice, bring justice.

I bring before you now, Kathy, the mother of a dear friend. Lord, you know her situation! You know the worries of the medical staff and family concerning her. We pray for quick healing and assure her of your love for her. We ask this in Jesus Name, Amen!

Hymn / Song

Open my eyes - Steve Gooden

Benediction

Lets close in prayer, with these ancient words:

May the love of God the Father, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, evermore. Amen

See you next time on Partakers! www.partakers.co.uk and if you have prayer requests, visit www.facewall.co.uk, post your request and we will pray for you.

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Think Spot

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Think Spot - 18th July 2011

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G’day and welcome to Partake! Welcome also to Monday and our Think Spot together!

G'day! Welcome to Partakers Think Spot at the start of new week on Monday the 18th July 2011!

Matthew 11v28-30 records these words of Jesus Christ. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Are not those amazing words? Not just anybody could say them. If the person who said them couldn't actually fulfil that promise, that would be one of the biggest hoaxes in all of history. But Jesus Christ is no hoax and he is able to fulfil those words and live up to the promises he makes. He is totally trustworthy.

We don't like to ask for help.  We are trained as children to be independent and not to rely on anybody else for anything ever.  But this is contrary to what Jesus is about.  To rely fully on ourselves for all things is to walk by sight and commit the sin of pride. To rely on Jesus and ask Him for help in all things is to walk by faith and with humility. True independence and freedom comes from being dependent on Jesus Christ and not being held back by anything or anyone else, such as family and our own wealth and possessions.

How are you doing at the start of this new week? Maybe you are feeling desolation and regret caused by decisions made sometime in your past. Give them up willingly to Jesus and don't keep trying to take it back like a security blanket!

Are you feeling abandoned and lonely? Let Jesus encompass you in an embrace of compassion and let the Holy Spirit comfort and counsel you..

Or perhaps are you feeling tired, burnt out and burdened?. Let Jesus give you the strength to endure! Give the burden to Jesus and let Him take the weight for you.

Maybe you need to make a major decision and don't know what to do. Seek the wisdom of Jesus in making that decision. He will help if you ask. That's all part of Jesus being Jesus.

It may well be that you are being overwhelmingly tempted to sin against God, another person or even yourself? You cant resist for too long if you do it in your own strength, because you will eventually succumb to it. But if you ask God to help you overcome the temptation, He will do it - if you allow Him control and use your own self-control! After all, self-control is one of the evidences of the Holy Spirit working in you!

We all get those feelings of regret, desolation, abandonment, loneliness, despair, burdened and temptation. Feelings are important, because they are part of the human experience and if we didn't have them, we would be merely mindless androids. But feelings can also be very misleading.  As Christians, we have to take it by faith that Jesus is there for us through those times. Because you are lonely, doesn't mean you are alone.  Because you are tempted, doesn't meant that you have already committed the sin. Take it by faith that Jesus is answering desperate cries for help and is helping you. Take a few seconds now in this short silence to hand over these things to Jesus and ask him to help you.

Or it may just be that you are starting the week and you are feeling great and enjoying your dynamic relationship with God! Then keep going and letting Jesus be your strength, your wisdom and your help.  But don't keep it to yourself - that would be selfish! Go to others you know who are in need, helping them where you can with an encouraging word or helping to supply their need. Be the practical and imaginative answer to their prayers.

Go into this new week, confident that Jesus is able to help you in every situation you face. Ask him to come to you, and He will - just as He has done for countless millions. Thank you.

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