Archive for July 2016

Prayer of Trust

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A Prayer Of Trust - Psalm 62

Psalm 62

1 My soul rests in God alone. My salvation is from him.
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress-- I will never be greatly shaken.
3 How long will you assault a man, would all of you throw him down, Like a leaning wall, like a tottering fence?
4 They fully intend to throw him down from his lofty place. They delight in lies. They bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly.

Selah.

5 My soul, wait in silence for God alone, for my expectation is from him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress. I will not be shaken.
7 With God is my salvation and my honor. The rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.
8 Trust in him at all times, you people. Pour out your heart before him. God is a refuge for us.

Selah.

9 Surely men of low degree are just a breath, and men of high degree are a lie. In the balances they will go up. They are together lighter than a breath.
10 Don't trust in oppression. Don't become vain in robbery. If riches increase, don't set your heart on them.
11 God has spoken once; twice I have heard this, that power belongs to God.
12 Also to you, Lord, belongs loving kindness, for you reward every man according to his work.

Introduction

I wonder what you trust in? We all know that you can't trust the London Underground, unless you are trusting them not to be on time. And you can trust the bus, but only to come in a group of twos or threes after you've waited for them for half an hour. You can't even trust modern technology! The latest computers used to do your work, more often than not will break down just when you need them most. Then you have to trust your computer manager to fix the problem for you. And you can't even trust him to fix the problem because some part is broken, so you have to call out the repair person to come and replace the part that is broken. And wouldn't you know it? He's had to go to the doctor, because he's got some problem with his knees and has had to go have emergency surgery, and all the other repair people are far too busy to fix your computer so that you can get the urgent report out to prove to your boss, that he can trust you!

Trust in the world today, is a missing ingredient. The one thing that most people today will say they trust in, is themselves. The world says to trust yourself, don't rely on anything else. The world says that all other things are totally unreliable and the only object you can trust is yourself, because you know what you can do, and you should only ask for help if your really desperate for it.

It is like a refreshing breath of clean air, that we come to Psalm 62. Living in a world which cynically says trust only yourself, Psalm 62 reflects like a mirror the thoughts of God to our minds and hearts. When God says "Trust me!" - he is totally trustworthy.
This man, King David knew that God was like that. Through out his life, except for when he sinned, he trusted in God. David trusted God when he hid in the mountains and caves from Saul, Absalom and all others that were after him. Psalm 62 tells us that David's only hope, honour, refuge, rest and salvation was in God. This Psalm contains phrases that can be found in other Psalms such as Psalm 18 or even in 2 Samuel 22:1-51 where David sung and prayed when he was in trouble and need rescuing. In these 12 verses of Psalm 62, we can see the things that David trusted in God for throughout his life.

David trusted in God for his salvation (both physically and spiritually) (vs. 1-2, 5-7). He did not trust in anything or anyone else (vs. 3-4, 9-10) and knew that God would show His justice and mercy to both himself and his enemies (vs. 11-12). We know from the book of 1 Chronicles that Jeduthun was one of the Chief musicians appointed by David to lead the music (1 Chronicles 16:41; 25:1-3). We don't know exactly when Psalm 62 was written, but it was probably written while he was under extreme pressure as indicated in v.3). However it seems to impress upon us that David is growing in confidence as he writes the thoughts of his heart, and the secret of finding rest and trust in God alone. It has the style of being written in a great hurry; of a prayer waiting for God to answer and of a conviction that grows renewed, firmer and ever deeper. David goes progressively from trusting God for his life; to trusting God to show mercy and justice to him and his enemies.

Psalm 62 can be divided into 3 topics, all based on trust, with 2 positives and 1 negative..
1. God's trustworthy salvation.
2. Not trusting in ungodly desires and objects.
3. God's trustworthy justice and mercy.

In each section, there are some questions for you to meditate upon and answer. Then you can share with your spouse or a close friend and pray over any issues together.

1. Gods trustworthy salvation. (vs. 1-2; 5-8)

Q1. From where does David's salvation, rest, refuge, hope and honour come from? Why do you think that David attributes these to God, and how can we be seen to be doing these same things?
Q2. Why do you think that David thought of God as his rock of salvation? Do you think that as David had hidden in rocks and caves from enemies that this would have been on his mind when he wrote these words? We know today that Jesus Christ is the rock of salvation, but why do you think that God can be described and trusted as a rock of salvation?


2. Dont trust in other things for hope, salvation, honour, refuge or rest (vs. 3-4, 9-10)


Q3. What do the ungodly take delight in and why? What is suggested that godly people do not desire?
Q4. Is it only the ungodly who are hypocrites (v. 4). How can Christians be hypocritical, and if so, is it because of lack of trust in God?

3. Trust in Gods justice and mercy (vs. 11-12).

Q5. At first glance, v. 12 suggests God's justice, but is it also about God's mercy? How can justice and mercy be combined like that? (Refer to Romans 2:6)Q6. How is God strong and loving towards you today?Finally, if you are not a Christian and after hearing this would like to become one, then it is very easy.If you want to turn to God there is no need for delay. He is ready and willing to take you as His own right now. You only have to ask Him to forgive you and to give you help on the journey ahead. It is a partnership between God and yourself - a relationship. The act of deciding to change course in mid-life, is what is called conversion, or deciding to be a Christian. When you place your faith in Jesus, becoming utterly dependent upon Him, you turn to God. You don't need to do or change anything to become a follower of Jesus!

However, once you have made that decision, you leave behind your spiritual isolation and rebellion against Him. As you live each day, becoming more involved with Jesus day by day, you will find yourself changing. You will stop doing those things that separated you from Him. You will find yourself doing things that please Jesus and develop your relationship with Him. How do you develop this relationship? Sin, or what alienates you from God, controls your rebellion against Him in your attitudes and your activities. God asks that you accept his guidance and management of your life. His point of view and His strength become your point of view and your source of strength. You turn your mind, will and heart to Him for all you do.

If you want to become a Christian there are three simple steps to follow: Firstly, admit that you have done wrong against God and His ways. Secondly, believe and trust in Jesus Christ. Call on Him, receive, trust, obey and worship Him, recognizing Him for who He is and what He has done. Lastly, confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.

Once sin has been confessed, and Jesus is believed in and trusted as Saviour, then you are a Christian. Now you are ready as Peter writes in the Bible, "to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3v18). Welcome to the family of God. God has chosen you; Jesus has paid for you and He has put His mark within you through His Spirit. Like King David and countless people today, you are trusting only in God for your salvation!


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Gems in the Gospel of John

Part 40 - John 9:39
Who can see?


This verse is one of the most remarkable things Jesus ever said. Here it is, ““For judgement I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”

It is very reminiscent of the episode in the book of Numbers (Ch. 23) where Balaam and his donkey encounter the angel of God with a drawn sword in his hand barring the way. The joke in that story is that the famous Seer could not see what his donkey could see. We may well ask of this comment of Jesus – who could not see, and who could see? Who, in John’s mind and therefore in his selection of stories about things Jesus said, is it that cannot see?

The answer, I think, is not that obvious. There are two basic reasons why people start to follow Jesus. One, the one preachers like the most, is that someone comes under conviction of sin, deep moral sin, and turns with a leap of faith to the Savior on the cross who died for our sins. What the preachers often forget is that a jump of faith from next to no knowledge of things spiritual is rare; more commonly the people who react to that sort of call to repentance and thus to conversion have a background in Sunday School or regular church attendance that has brought them to that point.

The second reason folk come to faith is from a general feeling that there must be a better way to live than the one they have been living and that following Jesus promises to be that better way. That is why this previously blind guy came to faith. There is no hint of him being conscious of sin, or being in any way sinful beyond the usual average sort of sinfulness we are all guilty of. He comes into contact with Jesus and clearly is not only healed of his blindness but deeply attracted to this guy who has healed him, even before he knows who he is.

And this is the common position of most of the people John tells us stories about. Nicodemus was exploring what this new teacher was saying, presumably from a feeling of inadequacy he had about the standard teaching of the spiritual leaders in Jerusalem; the woman by the well seems to have been happily living with her rather unethical lifestyle until she met the man who seemed to be pointing her to something better; only in the story of the cripple by the pool of Siloam is there any hint of sin – when Jesus tells him to go and sin no more.

The Pharisees that Jesus was implicitly condemning thought that all that mattered was being morally good. Tales were told by some Rabbis that there were different types of Pharisees: some walked with exaggerated humility, some were so anxious not to look at a woman they kept their heads bowed and ended up walking into walls, some were only seeking material rewards, some were frightened of punishment and so on.

Jesus said, “For judgement I came into this world,” implying that it was, and is, his very presence in the world that led to an automatic judgement through people’s reaction to him.

Of course, not everyone in the world has met Jesus or heard about him. How those people will be treated in the final judgement is not all that clear in the Bible, partly at least because we cannot tell to what extent all the frequent talk about hell fire and other undesirable ends is metaphor and which is to be taken as real actual fact. But it is no concern of ours how, and who, will be judged in that sort of way. Our job is to be concerned about ourselves. What really matters is that we should follow Jesus, ourselves, now. We have been blind, now we see.

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Partakers Friday Prayers!

29th September 2016

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 for all those grieving, regardless of the reason. Come! Let us pray...

A prayer for those grieving

Father God,

be the strength for all those

who are grieving and mourning

the loss of loved ones.

~

Father God,

we pray that those in despair

will be helped and

where there is darkness

there will be light.

~

Amen


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A Simple Way To Pray
Martin Luther

Study 6


The sixth petition. "And lead us not into temptation."



Say: "O dear Lord, Father and God, keep us fit and alert, eager and diligent in Your word and service, so that we do not become complacent, lazy, and slothful as though we had already achieved everything.

In that way the fearful devil cannot fall upon us, surprise us, and deprive us of Your precious word or stir up strife and factions among us and lead us into other sin and disgrace, both spiritually and physically.

Rather grant us wisdom and strength through Your spirit that we may valiantly resist him and gain the victory. Amen."

(‘A Simple Way To Pray by Martin Luther’: Prayer, the Lord's Prayer, the 10 Commandments, and the Creed - A Letter to His Barber, Master Peter Beskendorf, Spring 1535. The ebook or PDF is widely available to download for free online.)


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POD - Psalm 40

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Psalm 40

For the Chief Musician. A Psalm by David.

40:1 I waited patiently for Yahweh.
He turned to me, and heard my cry.
40:2 He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay.
He set my feet on a rock,
and gave me a firm place to stand.
40:3 He has put a new song in my mouth,
even praise to our God.
Many shall see it, and fear,
and shall trust in Yahweh.
40:4 Blessed is the man who makes Yahweh his trust,
and doesn’t respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

40:5 Many, Yahweh, my God,
are the wonderful works which you have done,
and your thoughts which are toward us.
They can’t be declared back to you.
If I would declare and speak of them,
they are more than can be numbered.
40:6 Sacrifice and offering you didn’t desire.
You have opened my ears.
You have not required burnt offering and sin offering.
40:7 Then I said, “Behold, I have come.
It is written about me in the book in the scroll.
40:8 I delight to do your will, my God.
Yes, your law is within my heart.”

40:9 I have proclaimed glad news of righteousness in the great assembly.
Behold, I will not seal my lips,
Yahweh, you know.
40:10 I have not hidden your righteousness within my heart.
I have declared your faithfulness and your salvation.
I have not concealed your loving kindness
and your truth from the great assembly.
40:11 Don’t withhold your tender mercies from me, Yahweh.
Let your loving kindness and your truth continually preserve me.
40:12 For innumerable evils have surrounded me.
My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up.
They are more than the hairs of my head.
My heart has failed me.

40:13 Be pleased, Yahweh, to deliver me.
Hurry to help me, Yahweh.
40:14 Let them be disappointed and confounded together
who seek after my soul to destroy it.
Let them be turned backward and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt.
40:15 Let them be desolate by reason of their shame that tell me, “Aha! Aha!”
40:16 Let all those who seek you rejoice and be glad in you.
Let such as love your salvation say continually, “Let Yahweh be exalted!”
40:17 But I am poor and needy.
May the Lord think about me.
You are my help and my deliverer.
Don’t delay, my God.

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Think Spot 25 July 2016

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Think Spot - 25th July 2016

Matthew 11:28-30 "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 simply 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! He remains the only person in all of human history who 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.

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