google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html 2015 May

Archive for May 2015

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The Practice Of The Presence Of God:

The Best Rule Of A Holy Life

(being Conversations and Letters of Brother Lawrence)


G’day! Welcome to Partakers! Today we continue our Sunday series, where we are reading from a book by Brother Lawrence “The Practice of the Presence of God”… This book is available for you to freely download at various websites!


Letters - Letter 8


Concerning wandering thoughts in prayer.

You tell me nothing new: you are not the only one that is troubled with wandering thoughts. Our mind is extremely roving; but as the will is mistress of all our faculties, she must recall them, and carry them to GOD, as their last end. When the mind, for want of being sufficiently reduced by recollection, at our first engaging in devotion, has contracted certain bad habits of wandering and dissipation, they are difficult to overcome, and commonly draw us, even against our wills, to the things of the earth.

I believe one remedy for this is, to confess our faults, and to humble ourselves before GOD. I do not advise you to use multiplicity of words in prayer; many words and long discourses being often the occasions of wandering: hold yourself in prayer before GOD, like a dumb or paralytic beggar at a rich man's gate: let it be your business to keep your mind in the presence of the LORD. If it sometimes wander, and withdraw itself from Him, do not much disquiet yourself for that; trouble and disquiet serve rather to distract the mind, than to re-collect it; the will must bring it back in tranquillity; if you persevere in this manner, GOD will have pity on you.

One way to re-collect the mind easily in the time of prayer, and preserve it more in tranquillity, is not to let it wander too far at other times: you should keep it strictly in the presence of GOD; and being accustomed to think of Him often, you will find it easy to keep your mind calm in the time of prayer, or at least to recall it from its wanderings. I have told you already at large, in my former letters, of the advantages we may draw from this practice of the presence of GOD: let us set about it seriously and pray for one another.


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The normal (Christian) journey of faith
Chapter 3: Early Days


What happens in the early days of our life with Christ? Or – what should happen? It is a common experience to feel a sense of great elation, of walking on tiptoe, of being almost outside ourselves, and all that is good and wonderful. But I can think of one difficult and dangerous thing that happens and two things that we should deliberately set out to try and make sure they happen – if at all possible.

The difficult thing, which is a common experience, is to be a particular target of the devil’s attacks. We can see this in the experience of Jesus. He was not converted; he did not have to start to follow himself! He was God and could be no closer to the Father than he already was. But he did have an occasion when this became clear, not only to him, but to all that knew him. I refer of course to the great event which was his baptism by John. Matthew records that: Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

All of which is very good and exciting – just like our experience when the hand of God touches us for the first time. But when we read on we discover that Jesus was immediately led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil and had a very uncomfortable 40 days being tempted to use his powers to relieve his own discomfort, to demonstrate to others the huge abilities he had and to short circuit the whole uncomfortable experience that lay in front of him.
Our temptations may be quite different from his though we too in our own small way may be tempted to show off to other people the wonderful things that have happened to us.

We need to be careful and, hopefully, be well advised by other Christians and be swift to accept that advice. That is the immediate possible, or even probable, downside of setting out to follow Jesus.

There are two positive things we should do if at all possible as soon as we can. The first, which I have already hinted at, is to seek the company of other Christians who are now, in a new and more powerful way your brothers and sisters. That means joining a church fellowship as soon as possible. Not necessarily in the formal sense, but certainly in the practical sense. You are now a member of the family of God. You have been adopted into his family. It is a strange member of a family who never goes near it. Unless you are in a very isolated or dangerous situation be careful to seek out the people of God in your locality as soon as possible. I well remember a fellow, when we were in a Muslim country, who was hesitantly lurking at the back of our church as if he did not belong. Fortunately my wife saw how he was behaving and approached him. The first thing we did was ask him to chose a new Christian name by which he could be known amongst us to avoid any unnecessary conflict with his family and other people of the majority religion in that country. He was a very new convert who had been contacted by someone on the phone as he worked at a night time call centre and come to faith in Jesus. So it may not be possible for everyone who reads these notes to openly associate with a Christian fellowship. I am sure the Lord will understand that.

My second positive suggestion is perhaps even more difficult for some readers and hearers of these notes to do anything about. It is that, if possible, you should buy a good study Bible. There are many available in English these days. Some of them are general; others are specific being study Bibles for men or women with particular interests or teenagers etc. In the early days of a Christian life it is probably best to have a general study Bible so that you can slowly learn how the whole scripture fits together and have the more difficult words, phrases and ideas explained to you. Thus you will gain a good knowledge of Scripture without having to work too hard at it. (It will even give you something to read if the sermon gets too boring!) A good study Bible is the best way to start to learn what God says and will say to us. It is his word, his written word and enormously valuable. Through it you will encounter the living Word which is Jesus.

So three things: beware the devil’s interest in you; join up with a local fellowship of God’s people, particularly one which will enable you to talk with other people about your experiences and the scripture and learn from them; if possible equip yourself with what Paul called the sword of the Spirit that you may learn to fight well against the many temptations of life, to rejoice in the many promises that the Lord gives us in his Word and, above all, come to be in a living relationship to the living Word, the Lord Jesus.

So what?

This time there is no separate thing to do here. Those are three important things to do. If you asked someone else what you should do as a young believer you would probably get a different set of priorities. Never mind. Go to these – and the Lord will bless you.

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Partakers Friday Prayers!

29 May 2015


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!



In The Name of The Father , Son, and Holy Spirit,
Lord, deprive me not of Your heavenly and eternal blessings.

Lord, deliver me from everlasting torments.
Lord, if I have sinned in word or deed, in mind or spirit, forgive me.
Lord, deliver me from all distress, ignorance, forgetfulness, laziness and stony hardness of heart.
Lord, deliver me from all temptations and spiritual abandonment.
Lord, enlighten my heart which has been darkened by evil desire.
Lord, being human, I sin; but You, being God, have mercy on me.
Lord, take heed of the weakness of my soul,
and help me with Your grace that Your holy name may be glorified in me.

Lord Jesus Christ,
inscribe the name of Your servant in the book of life,
granting me a blessed end.
Lord my God, I have done nothing good;
yet by Your compassion help me to make a new beginning.
Lord, refresh my heart with the dew of Your grace.
Lord, God of heaven and earth, remember me,
who am sinful, wretched, evil and impure, in Your kingdom,
according to Your steadfast love.

Lord, receive me in repentance and do not forsake me.
Lord, put me not to the test.
Lord, grant me good thoughts.
Lord, grant me tears of repentance,
remembrance of death and contrition.
Lord, grant me sincere confession of my thought.
Lord, grant me humility, deliverance from my own will and obedience.
Lord, grant me patience, forbearance and meekness.
Lord, implant in me Your holy fear, the source of all blessings.

Lord, enable me to love You with all my soul,
my mind and my heart; and my neighbour as myself.
Lord, protect me from evil people and demons,
from impure passions and all unseemly things.
Lord, as you commanded;
Lord, as You know all things;
Lord as You desire I desire Your goodness;
let Your will be done in me. Lord, l
et Your will, not mine,
for You are blessed forever.
Amen.

A prayer of John Chyrsostom

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The Internet and me

by Jackie


Dave has asked me to write and record some podcasts, starting with a general one on how the internet helps me in my faith. That’s a really great question, but at first I didn’t know where to start! I have a number of health problems which keep me largely housebound. Thanks to the Internet though, I am part of WOWChurch, where we have church services and prayer meetings on Facebook, and I even help lead services when I am well enough.



Though I am part of a traditional church set up, many weeks I am unable to attend due to either illness, disability or lack of energy. Many of my friends in wowchurch (started by Dave) have a similar predicament to me but for many different reasons, including being hurt by other Christians and/or churches in the past, mental health issues such as anxiety or depression, or lack of safe, affordable transport or myriad other reasons. Unfortunately, in my case, being unable to get to church, or even to leave the house for days or weeks increased my feelings of isolation and loneliness, and of bring ‘different’ to others my age.


Thanks to the internet, though I can listen to podcasts and therefore still access biblically based resources. (The Partakers ones are especially helpful!) including ‘Monday Think Spot and Tuesday's reading of the Psalms, or I can read daily devotionals. Some of my favourite are written by Joni-Eareckson-Tada, Christian author, speaker, and artist, who has been serving Jesus faithfully for years despite some of the most severe disability you can think of. Other sites I use include Bible Gateway, to look up bible verses, which is much easier for me than trying to hold a traditional bible without dropping it, and I can keep in touch with fellow Christians through social media including those in the Church I go to, all from my smartphone, even while confined to bed. This is of course providing I don’t do something silly like lock myself out of my phone, as I did recently!

One of the best things about keeping in touch with friends, and often people also involved in WOWChurch is I can use it to encourage other people so I am helping to make a difference to their lives too. Talking to others about what’s going on in their lives allows for the influence of different perspectives which allows my own sense of perspective to deepen. This includes both those in a similar situation, and those facing entirely different circumstances to myself.

This is so important because it helps me to see life in a more positive way, to learn from people who have had completely different experiences to me. and also allows feelings of isolation to lift a little. Often the effects of this honest kind of friendship run deeper. Seeing others’ faith blossom has encouraged me to grow in my own faith, being determined to be disciplined about regular bible reading and prayer. My friendships with people I have met online do not stop there however… they have the potential to last into eternity. The wonderful thing is I know for certain that one day I will meet friends face-to-face in heaven (if not before!).


A word of warning is necessary though. It is important that we regulate our use of the internet, even though for helpful purposes, and do not neglect 'alone time with God’ spent in personal bible study and prayer. Solitude is vital, as it helps us learn to talk to God, away from distractions, to come away from noise and busyness and to rest, fully refreshed and ready to serve others again.


I once shared my testimony via a podcast, a couple of years ago now. (The link is here - ) An updated version of it should be available later this month. We’re calling the series “Jackie and Joy.”

Jackie


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Way of Wisdom

with Regina Sanders

A Heart Of Service



Do you have service in your heart? Do you have a heart of service? When someone mentions serving another what emotion does the question evoke in you? Did you realize that service is found 132 times in 116 verses in the KJV Bible? And the word “servant” is found 491 times in 452 verses in the KJV.

Today I want to focus on just one of those many verses.



Mark 9:35 And he sat down and called the twelve, and said unto them, if man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.



With the words “servant” and “service” being found so frequently in Scripture it has to make us realize that this is something that is very important to God. During creation week when He created man, He created Adam, before He created Adam, with each thing that He created He said, “It is good. It is good.” But when He created Adam, although it was good that He created Adam, He said. “It is not good for man to be alone.”

So, that tells us right there that we have to have connections with other people. Our health tells us that we have to have connections with other people. Some of the most depressed people are shut-ins who can’t get out to be with other people, who have limited interaction with other people. And so, it is important for us to not just be self-serving but to be serving to others.



I am reading a book, “Thou Shall Prosper” by Rabbi Daniel Lapin, and he has so much wisdom in this book that it is just profound, and I would like to make a couple of quotes from this book, if I may. One is, “If you cannot wrap yourself around the notion that other humans are worthy of your committed service and that you are not diminished but are instead elevated by providing that service, you will never excel at what you do. There is nothing shameful in being a servant or a people who serve.

Only humans worship God and only humans serve their fellow humans. Not out of blind animal instinct but out of love, altruism, and a commitment to an idea just like those firefighters on September 11, 2001. Giving of one’s self to another is at the core of what it means to be human.” And it’s at the core of everything you do; your quest for career success, your quest for ministerial success is all the core of giving service to another!



As I close today, I would just like to ask you, where do you stand with serving others? Do you have a lot of friends? Do you offer your services to them? Maybe you’re in business and you provide a service for your customers. Or you’re in a church that you do some work for...there are a lot of avenues that we can serve others, even telephone ministry is providing service to another. It’s giving them a call letting them know that you are thinking about them. For some it’s easy, they just have a servant’s heart so it’s easy for them to give of themselves to another. For others it’s not so easy. But it’s something that we work for because we know that it is something that delights God.


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POD - Psalm 98

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Psalm 98

1 Oh, sing to the LORD a new song!
For He has done marvelous things;
His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.
2 The LORD has made known His salvation;
His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations.

3 He has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
4 Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth;
Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.

5 Sing to the LORD with the harp,
With the harp and the sound of a psalm,
6 With trumpets and the sound of a horn;
Shout joyfully before the LORD, the King.

7 Let the sea roar, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell in it;
8 Let the rivers clap their hands;
Let the hills be joyful together
9 before the LORD,
For He is coming to judge the earth.
With righteousness He shall judge the world,
And the peoples with equity.

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