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Archive for November 2012

Friday Prayers

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Partakers Friday Prayers!

30th November 2012

We pray together and when Christians pray together, from different nations, different churches and different denominations - that reveals Church unity! Come! Let us pray together! Today we are praying an ancient prayer of Ambrose of Milan (339-397AD)...

A prayer of Ambrose 339 - 397AD

O Lord, who has mercy upon all,

take away from me my sins,

and mercifully kindle in me

the fire of the Holy Spirit.

~

Take away from me the heart of stone,

and give me a heart of flesh,

a heart to love and adore You,

a heart to delight in You,

to follow and to enjoy You,

for Christ's sake...

Amen

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Watch Now:

If you are in the Bournemouth/Poole/New Forest area, why not come along! You can come for one session or stay for them all! We will be looking at: What, How, Why, Where, When; Our message; Enhancing your story; Exploring your identity; Enlarging your outlook...

If you need more information, or are thinking of coming, please do make contact! It would be great to see you there!

Where? Poulner Chapel

When? 10am to about 1pm,

Saturday 1st December 2012

Cost? Free of charge!

Come for just one session or stay for all 6!

New believer? Come and learn!

Mature believer? Come and share your experiences!

Map to Poulner Chapel,

Linford Road, Hangersley,

Ringwood, Hants BH24 1TX

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Think Spot

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Think Spot 26th November 2012

Letter to a friend

Hi there, this week I needed to write to someone who had shown interest in what they had read from my writings but ended up by saying “but I do not believe in God at this time.” My concern for this person led me to compose a letter prayerfully to try to help her come to a knowledge of the Truth. This format may be of help to you as a believer wanting to share something of your faith with a neighbour, relative or simply a friend or someone you met briefly either abroad or some distance away from your home. Or it could be part of a discussion or conversation you have with them next time you meet.

Hi there , Thanks for your previous correspondence it was most helpful to discover where you stood in relation to belief in God. May I politely ask you to look out of your window at home and see the beautiful countryside around you. Or if you are not privileged to live in the country to visit a forest or Country Park and simply have a closer look at what you see there. At this time of year there are an amazing change of colours of the leaves on different trees as they change to a golden hue.

Look above your heads and see the brilliant night sky when many stars and planets become visible on certain clear nights. Then look closely at an insect and a huge mammal are they not precisely and delicately made? Then consider your own astonishing body. Isn't it intrinsically made ? If you look at Paul's letter to the Romans in the New Testament you will see there what mans excuses are and God's answers to those various excuses. The Bible is the Book of Books to read. With God's help asked for you will then understand it. You need to ask Him as He is the author and inspirer of every word written by 40 different writers over 1600 years. The first obviously not knowing the first. This Bible (meaning library of books) contains all we need to know in relation to all matters of faith and practice including lessons on life, ourselves and God Almighty Himself. His powers of All seeing, All knowing and doing. He is all powerful.

Consider this even as you read or listen to this letter. At this very moment there is a factory working inside of you. What are you doing? You are non active in respect of this phenomenon inside of you. Who is responsible? Who is giving you the ability to breathe, hear, listen or taste, feel or walk etc. Where does the credit go? You wake up in the morning and you expect it to get light at a particular time. Who puts the 'light' on? Similarly at night when darkness descends where does it come from and who puts the 'light' out? Read Genesis, (which means beginnings) the first book in the Bible to discover the answers to those important questions. There is a verse in the bible which reads “The fool in his heart has said there is no God.? Psalm 14:1. The Bible also says when a person becomes a Christian he (or she) becomes a brand new person on the inside. It cannot just happen for it is work done by God, it is a supernatural work of God, a spiritual accomplishment.

It happened to me in 1962, God began this amazing work in me and here we are in 2012 and God is even more real to me now after serving Him as a missionary in London's difficult regions(He never let me down even once} He enabled me to help others to become Christians as I pointed them to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour. I have held pastorates in different parts of the country and taught Believers how to share their faith with others simply for 20 years. To go into their neighbourhoods and explain the gospel.

I give all the glory to God for my life. Al I have achieved through Him to change peoples lives and glorify Him. I just cannot keep quiet about the One who loved me and gave His life for me, died for my wrongs to remove punishment from me, rose from the dead, ascended into Heaven and one day is returning for me either when I die or when He returns visibly for every eye to see which He promises in the Bible.

Yes I am known as joyful Jim and my joy is in serving Him in telling others of Him. Finally as you share your testimony do not forget to include words like these...We will pray for you that you may too enter into this magnificent fulfilling relationship with God its mote than believing it is getting to KNOW HIM as a real living being in a day to day experience. Encourage the contact to read Mark's gospel offering to read it with them pointing out the many instances concerning those making contact with Jesus for the first time and their responses and changed their lives.

May our wonderful Lord bless you as you share the gospel either by letter, email or in a coffee shop or wherever the Lord sends you. God bless you!

Jim

Joys prayer

Dear Lord and loving heavenly Father, Please let this dear friend come to see that this change of direction in their lives is going to be for the best result possible ever in their lives. Help me to speak clearly and with conviction as I share with others this glorious good news which all must hear to help them come to a knowledge of the Truth to transform their lives. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight O Lord my Rock and Redeemer. In Jesus name Amen

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Luke Looks Back 23

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Study 23- Luke 18: 31–19: 27

Seeing and trusting

There are 4 sections in this study all of which have something to do with seeing and not seeing, understanding and not understanding or just plain hidden. The first section, Luke 18: 31–34 serves as a summary of what is to follow.

Do read Luke 18:31-34.

The disciples had a reasonable excuse for not understanding. What Jesus was saying was so strange and unexpected they could be forgiven for not understanding. But we, in all probability, have some knowledge of how things turned out so we do not have that excuse. v 34 provides a challenge to us, the readers or hearers: will we be blind or deaf, will we see or hear and understand? Blindness and sight are metaphors for no faith and faith. Have you moved from blindness to sight? Remind yourself what the effect of your blindness was and how you first knew that you were seeing or, if you are in a group, share together your journey from blindness to sight, darkness to light.

Question 1: What is the significance of the rising sequence of names given to Jesus by the blind man (named as Bartimaeus, literally ‘son of filth’, in Mk 10: 46). Those names are Jesus of Nazareth; Jesus, son of David; Lord.

Jesus of Nazareth probably meant to him the prophet with power to heal and who would have compassion on him; Jesus, son of David, meant Jesus was the Messiah; Lord that Jesus was worth following. The question and answer in 18: 41 may appear strange but begging was a profession in those days as it still is in some countries, dependant on a visible handicap and providing a good income. If the man was cured of his blindness he would have to find a job with no skills or experience to call on.

Question 2: The emphasis is not on Bartimaeus’ restored sight but his faith (18: 42, 43). What exactly did his faith consist of? What is this miracle saying to us?

The important phrase is ‘he followed Jesus’. He must have known something about Jesus or he would not have made so much noise trying to attract his attention. We, too, are not expected to start from detailed knowledge about what following Jesus means. We, too, are expected to get up (metaphorically speaking) and follow him.

Do read Luke 19: 1–10.

Zacchaeus was not only short of stature; he was a collaborator with the hated Romans. He would not dare to push his way to the front of the crowd for fear of a knife in his back. So he ran ahead! Not what an important man should do. But the crowd saw him go and mocked him so that Jesus learned his name. Jesus was intending to go straight through Jericho so that he would not have to spend time (possibly days?) being entertained with full ceremony. But he is prepared to go to Zacchaeus’ house.

Question 3: Note the significance of seeing in this account. Who does the seeing?

Everybody. Zacchaeus had to take action to see Jesus, Jesus sees him; the crowd sees what is going on and starts to mutter. The servant figure of Is 53 takes hostility meant for others on himself. Statements there like: “he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” reflect the costly love that Jesus gives to Zacchaeus?

Question 4: We read earlier in this chapter that the rich man/camel had to go through the eye of the needle! What happened to prove that Zaccheus didn’t dodge round?

The promises of repayment Zacchaeus made are far reaching. If you do the Maths on what he said you will see that if he had cheated just on one eighth of his debtors he would end up with nothing. Perhaps he is saying that he has been a good man and that he has not been cheating in the past?

Do read Luke 19: 11–27.

Luke does not use the parable of the minas to teach successful stewardship as Matthew uses it in Matt 25: 14–30 but to explain the apparent non-appearance of the Kingdom (the people thought the kingdom of God was going to appear at once 19: 11). The parable uses a well-known and well-understood situation. 73 years earlier Herod the Great, second son of the just assassinated king, made a successful journey to Rome to petition Caesar to appoint him the next king of Judea. Later, about 37 years before Luke wrote, Herod’s son Archelaus had made a similar, but unsuccessful, journey seeking the same thing. (A ‘mina’ was about 100 days wages for a working man.)

Queston 5: What would be the likely outcome for a servant of the would-be king if (a) the petitioner who would be king was successful, (b) he was unsuccessful?

By their actions the servants would demonstrate their allegiance or otherwise to the man seeking to be king. Their future livelihoods, or possibly their lives, would be dependant on having chosen the right option. The last phrase of v 15 should perhaps read ‘how much trading have you done’ effectively asking how conspicuous have you been while I was away when it was known that you supported me. If I win, you win. If I lose, you lose.

Question 6: How was this relevant to the developing situation as Jesus travelled to Jerusalem? How is it relevant to us?

If he was indeed the Messiah he claimed to be and they showed their loyalty by open declaration of their support of him they would gain. If he wasn’t, they would be in a very dangerous situation. At least that was the way it looked. Things did not quite work out in that straightforward way. He was indeed the Messiah but they were still in a dangerous situation, humanly speaking. But in the vast story of human history they became very important. The comment of the third servant in 19: 21 must have been meant as a complement! He must have been suggesting that his master was something like a warlord in a country with much internal fighting going on!

Question 7: How can this and the master’s reply (v 21, 22) be related to Jesus, or to God?

Ps 18: 25, 26 relates to this sort of situation. It says of God ‘To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.’ It suggest that, at least in part, our understanding of God will depend on our general attitudes.

Question 8: The final comment in 19: 27 ‘But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them — bring them here and kill them in front of me. is realistic in the Judaean kingship, or warlord, scenario. How can it possibly be related to Jesus, or God?

This is another unfinished story. We are told what the enemies deserved, not what actually happened to them. Compare what we deserve and what we actually get from the Lord. After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. So says 19: 28, finally bringing to an end the long account of the journey of Jesus to Jerusalem and introducing the last phase of Luke’s account of Jesus’ life, death and victory.

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Aspects of Covenantal Love

(Song of Solomon 8:5-7)

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Introduction

Two weeks ago, we started this journey together at Song of Solomon 2:3-14 and Life under the Apple Tree. We saw together that Jesus, the tremendous lover, wants to hear the voice of His people and to be their king. Then last week, we continued the journey, looking at Song of Solomon 5:9 - 6:9. There we saw together that Jesus is the best of the best and that Jesus is altogether lovely in every aspect - his birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection, ascension, exultation, holiness, glorification, grace, protection, tenderness, power, wisdom, vengeance, judgment, redemption and pardon! Altogether: lovely and glorious.

There are 3 main ways to interpret this book. Firstly as a story about the joys of biblical love between a man and woman. That bit even I can see. Some would say that it was erotic, but as a white Australian male, I just don't see it! Secondly, the earliest commentators and readers saw it as an allegory about God's love for His people Israel, particularly with their coming Messiah in mind. The third way shows that this Song of Songs speaks not only on a physical level about the importance of human love and intimacy between a man and a woman, but also the intimacy that exists, blossoms and grows between a person and Jesus Christ. Martin Luther called it the "noblest of all songs". Historically this book has been interpreted in 3 ways

We move on tonight, to perhaps, what could be considered the key verses of this book. The couple have now entered a covenantal relationship - a relationship committed to one another. So please do open your bibles and turn to page XXX and let us read the Song of Solomon 8v5-7.These three verses are the key verses of the Song of Solomon or the Song of Songs as other people call it. As the couple, the Lover and the Beloved, have now entered into a Covenant of love, we are, tonight, going to look at 4 Dimensions of Covenantal Love. A Covenant is a contract - a promise. Throughout Old Testament history, God had made covenants with people - people such as Adam, Noah, Abraham and Moses. The original readers and commentators would have known that and understood that. With that insight, we are going to ask together 4 questions about Covenant Love - Who? When? Why? How?

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Think Spot

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Think Spot 19th November 2012

Possessed by Christ

What a thought!! isn’t it amazing?

The apostle Paul wrote “You are not your own! You were bought with a price therefore glorify God in your body and spirit which belong to Him.” …“For me to live is Christ” “Christ lives in me” … How marvellous is that? As I meditated on this fact this morning I was suddenly made aware of being filled with such joy that was inexpressible but so, so, real as the truth of those words hit home to my spirit. For me? How very close is that? He is living in me!. When I go anywhere or do anything he is with me! No longer with but in me!!

What joy may flood your heart too as you grasp and experience this truth. Not only Rivers of living water flowing out from me but He is resident inside of me! Again, Ephesians 2 explains that “we are seated in the heavenly places with Christ. Jesus” Isn’t that an astonishing statement too?

Jesus promised to all his disciples, of which you are one, if you are a born again Christian. “He that is with you shall be in you” The Spirit of Christ living the life of Christ inside of us, right? Doesn’t that make a difference as you face that forthcoming operation? Does that not make you feel different as you submit to Jesus Christ afresh for the umpteenth time having failed miserably before? Doesn’t that make a difference as you come to your daily devotions and looking up the portion for the day previously thinking nothing will jump out at you, but today things will be different! Doesn’t that make a difference as you pray for opportunities to share your faith this day having previously shrunk back when the opportunity arrives with all kinds of doubts?

Expectancy is the key word. “Only believe and you will see!” The Lord wants us to go everywhere gossiping the gospel. There are so many people who have not heard the Good news which has transformed your life and mine. They may have a spattering of knowledge about God but usually they are so lacking in knowledge about Jesus Christ and you have the knowledge and hopefully now with Christ's fresh evidence that He is in you encouraging you to speak out for Him with Him directing your words. Everywhere you go, carrying a tract and the gospel that has transformed your life in your mind and heart and ready to share. All He requires of you to be successful is your heart felt desire to be obedient in every area of your life for you to be full to overflowing with His Spirit.

The proof will be when you step out of the boat into the water and keeping your heart aware He is living within (keeping as it were your eyes fixed upon Him) He may not be walking in water ahead of you but He is walking as it were within you. He is with you to bless your daily conversations when you speak of him to others. He will give you so many opportunities and you will be amazed. Remember every moment you are on the winning side.  Excite people with your testimony of how you find Him operating in your life daily and making such a difference to you. Speak of Him as a real, living Being living close to you. He is of course

When you speak to anyone remember you have the Lord of the Universe inside you. They have nothing in comparison. They need Him in their lives. Be brave and see what Jesus will do through you. Remember “Christ is in you the hope of glory.” I conclude with an up to date experience I had today. On this occasion it was concerning someone I sat with at a table in town and drinking coffee. He had missed his bus back home and because of his failing health (he has inoperable cancer) I offered to take him home in my car. As we drew up to his home he said he does think a lot about God now as he is drawing near to his heavenly home and said he has memorised a comforting prayer written in the common prayer book used in the Church of England. He repeated it to me and as he expressed each word slowly, because.(recently he had a stroke) He then quoted some words from hymns by Charles Wesley and Toplady. I encouraged him as he spoke of the closeness he wants to find in the Lord now that he may be called home at any time. I drew his attention to some of the promises I have shared with you earlier including, “Christ in you the hope of glory” He listened and then I prayed with Him that each day now he may wait in expectancy for the Lord to move him to glory and that he may be ready and that it might be an easy exit from this world to the next.

He thanked me for the prayer then I offered the one booklet I had with me called “My Presence shall go with you” which is one of many I distribute and make available for others to use in their daily walk of witness with the Lord. Again he thanked me and said “I didn’t know you wrote booklets like this but I am sure that one is meant for me.” I said I prayed each day that the Lord would lead me to whoever He wants me to communicate with to share the glorious gospel. The booklet I gave him “My Presence shall go with you” contained a fair amount of personal testimony. He knows his life is in God's hands and he is contented in God. He still witnesses at 90 years of age and has three people coming to his home to talk to next Sunday. Then he said, “ Jim, I really believe it was God's will for us to meet today and for you to bring me...... home …....”

Joys prayer

Dear Lord and loving heavenly Father, we admit our fears to you and ask You for holy boldness and love in our hearts for people we meet today. Help us to open our mouths and speak forth clearly the truth about You. Help us to be witnesses to people who You have already planned for us to meet . Make us even more aware that Christ is living within us and that as we offer ourselves afresh to you each day we may be able at the close of each day to say “I feel great to have been a witness for Jesus today”. In Jesus name, Amen

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