January 30, 2012

Think Spot

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30th January 2012

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G’day and welcome to Partakers Thinkspot on Monday, the 3oth of January 2012. Please do feel free to download or listen to the audio mp3 file!

Recently on one of our local health walks in the countryside I was in conversation with a knowledgeable chap who had seen an interesting programme on television about birds and was bursting with interesting facts to tell me of this amazing bird called a swift. He then passed on some interesting facts about them which I want to share with you today. Swifts are amazing birds, and here are some reasons why!  We shall think about them and then learn some valuable truths from their habits.

1. After leaving the nest where they hatched, they'll keep flying non-stop for three years! Isn't that amazing?

2, They even eat, mate (at high speed in what are known as screaming parties) and they even sleep in the air while flying! they can actually 'snooze' with one side of their brain resting while the other is working, and then switch to the other side. Isn't God's creation incredible?

3. Also some of 'our' swifts migrate from Great Britain as far as South Africa for winter. How fantastically strong they are though small. In addition they are the fastest bird at level flight. (up to 70mph). Sometimes they are mistaken for a swallow. Their shape is similar

4. The parent birds gather insect snacks for their chicks, carrying as many as 1,000 at one gulp! How dependant the chicks are upon their parents to care for them.

5. Swifts also choose to live in our houses and churches - they squeeze through tiny gaps to nest inside roofs. God has indeed provided for all his creatures.

I was astounded as I was being told of the incredible abilities of some of these smallest and the youngest of these creatures who fly with amazing strength and skill, do incredible things while flying with accuracy to distant parts and have utmost confidence in their parents to supply all their needs.

In case you didn't take it all in the first time let me repeat these amazing truths. Swifts neither touch the ground or tree or building for the first three years of their lives!. They keep flying eating, mating at high speed and even sleep in the air.

Summing up they can feed from their parents who gather insect snacks for their young carrying as many as 1,000 at one gulp. The young have absolute confidence in their regular meals being supplied to them. Neither do they worry about their living accommodation as to where they live or the size of their home. They slip between very narrow gaps contentedly.

What an example for us who believe in God and want to be active with and for God. Always we want to move forward making every moment count for God with the abilities He has given to us and not giving time to consider where our next meal is coming from, where we shall live or stay overnight etc.

In our Bibles we find Jesus certainly is the best example of this kind of life.(Matthew 8:20;) "The foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head." "I must do the works of Him who sent me, while it is day said Jesus, the night comes when no one can work" Jesus never wasted a moment.

God has promised to meet all our needs as we 'fly' with Him and 'seek' to do his will. One day when Jesus was talking with a Samaritan woman which was surprising enough to his disciples for Jews had no dealings with Samaritans, they said "you must be hungry" he replied that his food was to do the will of the Father who had sent Him and to accomplish His work." (John 4:32)  He went on to say he had food the disciples knew nothing about.

As we look at these examples of God's extraordinary creation we are reminded that God is looking for a faithful people who will be diligent in service for Him. God's people should aim to be single minded in their lives putting God first in all things and desiring His will above their own in every instance. Following in His footsteps.

Jesus followed that maxim every day. He had no home to call his own but spoke of swallows, swifts and other birds having their nests but he had nowhere to lay his head. And although he never 'flew' he certainly was always on the move. He was up extremely early each day to pray for the needs of the day before going early in the morning to the temple to meet and talk with people and it wasn't to discuss the weather! He spoke of heavenly food he lived on when talking to his disciples when they were concerned about him missing a meal.

Like the swift getting through many miles in travel he must have covered a lot of ground in three years accomplishing enough to fill a library of books with his activities and the many transformed lives through his ministry. (Read John 21) The way we live our life is important but......Remember that Jesus has first to become our Saviour and only then our example.

Joy’s Prayer

Dear Lord,

It is with wonder we look at your marvellous universe full of wonderful and so varied creation. From the splendour of mountain grandeur to grassy plains that can stretch for miles and miles to the small and larger animal kingdom as well as beautiful birds that fly across your majestic skies sometimes to be seen by the naked eye full of planets stars and moons.

You are an amazing God and we do glory in your name and your mighty power and wisdom and your own incredible design of earth and sky.

We praise and delight ourselves in your goodness to us and especially for Jesus our Saviour Lord and Friend.

Thank you Lord for the privilege of living in your world and for all its benefits.

We love and adore You

Amen.

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January 29, 2012

Glimpses 54

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Glimpses 54 - Roger and Margaret

This is the story of how God took two ordinary people in the last years of their working life, into a situation which was challenging, rewarding and exciting! You can listen to this story below!

For the next 6 months, every Sunday, Roger will be sharing with us some studies he has prepared in the early life of Jesus of Nazareth, as recorded in Luke 1-9. We have titled this series "Luke Looks Back" and it will be starting Sunday February 5th 2012. Thank you

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January 26, 2012

Why I am a Christian

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Why I am a Christian?

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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."

Why Is It So?

I am sure you have all heard kids in the supermarket yelling out "Why?" to their parents. We all have, I am sure, questions we want to know the answer to. Why? The question I am often asked is "You are a Christian. Why is it so?" My father, was and remained throughout his life a convinced agnostic and in the few conversations we had about religion and Christianity, he could never understand why it was, that I could not just admit that I would never know if God existed or not, far less a God who was personally interested in me. My reply as ever, was that the very question "Why is it so?" needed to be answered, in order for me to be satisfied.

Why I am a Christian?

Now I could say that at the age of 12, we moved to a town on the coast of Australia, and was invited along to a local youth group and several weeks later, gave my life to Christ and became a Christian. Of course that is partly true. I can't even claim to be a Christian because I was raised in a Christian country. Australia was and is probably the second most secular country on this planet. Sure Australia has its moral base grounded in historic Christianity, but for the latter part of its history, Australia has been thoroughly secular and non-religious. Even if I had been raised in a country such as England, with Christian parents, that would also, only be partly true and I could have rejected Christianity as many people do. The reason that I am a Christian is not because I chased God, but rather He chased me. Unknown to me at the time, God was chasing me and following my every path with the urgency of a lover after the beloved, just as described in the Song of Songs (Song of Songs 2:2-14).

God had been pursuing me

This piece of poetic Scripture speaks about the love that God has for his people, and the energy He puts in to calling his people to Himself. He is always reaching out, for all to return to His arms. As for me, it wasn't until I was a 12 year old that I heard that I needed to accept Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. Before that I didn't know I had to do anything with this Jesus. Jesus was only a curse word for me at the time. That or was just someone or something that the RE teachers bored me with at school.

We are primarily Christians, not because we come to church services or just happened to have been born in a supposedly Christian country. We are primarily Christians, because God first chased and harried us into His arms. We are Christians, if you are one, because God first loved you. And as a tremendous lover, He beckons and calls people all the time to respond to His call, and back to Him. How does He chase us with His love? He chases each person differently, just as each Christian testimony is different.

Take for instance the Apostle Paul in Acts 8 & 9. God chased him through Paul's mind and his religious upbringing and education. Paul had known about God from his childhood. Paul was a righteous Pharisee who saw persecuting these ‘Christians' as his religious duty, so that he may somehow find favour with God. As Paul was gloating over the death of the martyr Stephen, God was pursuing Him, probably raising doubts in Paul's mind as to why Stephen would say at the point of death "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit and forgive them for what they do" (Acts 7:54-60). Surely doubts must have been raised in Paul's mind as he approved of this death (Acts 8:1). Paul was also wrestling with his conscience. Externally he was a righteous man, a Pharisee of Pharisees. Yet when he internally examined himself and his heart, he found himself failing regarding covetousness, which is the last of the Ten Commandments. Then finally, Jesus himself makes a sudden and dramatic appearance before Paul and confronts him directly, "Why are you kicking against me? Why are you rejecting my advances?" (Acts 9) Paul's conversion to Christianity is often described as being sudden. But the only thing sudden about his conversion was this climatic appearance of Jesus.

Just as that was true of Paul, it is true of me, just as it is true of all those who profess to call themselves a Christian Disciple. I am a Christian Disciple not because of anything I have done, but rather because He first chased me, and because He first loved me. Jesus himself said "I came to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10).

If you are a Christian today, it is not because of anything you have done. It is because of the events at Christmas and Easter that you are a Christian, 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, 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 give His life as a ransom for many" (Mark10:45).

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