Archive for March 2017

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Partakers Friday Prayers

31 March 2017

for the Persecuted Church Worldwide

 

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!

 

Prayers for the Persecuted Church

Sovereign God, we worship you and acknowledge that you know all of those who suffer in your name because they follow you. We remember those who are imprisoned for their faith and ask that they would join with the Apostle Paul to see that even though they remain captive, their chains have furthered the gospel, not frustrated it. May they inspire and embolden their fellow believers to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. Amen

God of all comfort, for those who are tortured both in body and mind, give them the grace to endure and to see their suffering as part of following in Christ’s footsteps. Merciful God, for those asked to pay the ultimate price; who are martyred because of their love for you, may they truly know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. Amen

Father God, for those who are widowed and orphaned may they know the comfort that comes from your promised presence even when they walk through the valley. May they be strengthened by your Spirit, enabling them to rejoice with the psalmist as they proclaim that the LORD will not abandon them in death. Amen

Heavenly Father, we ask that you would make us ever mindful of our brothers and sisters around the world who need us to stand with them as they suffer in your name. Teach us what it means to overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony; we pray that we would not love our lives so much as to shrink from death.

We ask these things O Father, through the name of Your Son, Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us.
Amen

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WOW Word - God of Love

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WOW Word 33

God of Love

 

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

1 John 4:16 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.

We live in a world that is in love with love. Love, according to some people, is what makes the world go around. In the Bible, God’s love is revealed. The Apostle John in 1 John 4 does not simply say that God loves, but rather that God is love.

How is God love? How is God's love revealed today? How is that relevant to you?

Play or download the audio below to hear Alphy the WOWChurch cat explain more and how this affects you as a Christian in the 21st century!

 

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Issues - Troubles

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 Partake - Issues

Times of Trouble

 

Paul writing in 2 Corinthians 4v16- 18 "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

I wonder if sometimes you feel just like giving up, throwing it all away and just be buried by whatever is burdening you.  I guess, almost everyone has felt like that at one time or another.  Maybe its because you are undergoing troubles or suffering - physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. Whatever it is, as a Christian you are to persevere. We persevere, because we are not alone in our troubles.  Also, if we think about it, in the light of eternity, the time of endurance through these troubles, is but the blink of an eye! Wow!

Persevere!

How are you and I to respond to suffering and other troubles?  Naturally, we either treat them too flippantly or far too seriously.  The response that God wants His followers to have is to be exercised by it.  When we undergo any suffering or trouble, we are to commit it to God, endure it and understand that He is faithful and that it will eventuate in His glory and for our own good (Romans 8v28; 1 Peter 4v18).  We are to be joyful when enduring suffering (James 1v2).  Now I admit, that that can be pretty hard to do, but we are not left alone.  The Holy Spirit indwells us if we are His followers and as one of His names suggests, as the Comforter, He provides comfort during the difficult times. So, just as He perseveres, so are we!

Perseverance in relation to God and His work is the continuous operation of the Holy Spirit in your life as a believer. It is a work of divine grace that is begun in your heart, which is continued and brought to completion.

As a Christian, you will never perish, and nobody or nothing can snatch them out of His hand (John 10v27-29). You have eternal life and you will not be condemned, passed from death to life (John 5v24). God, who began a good work in you, will carry it on to completion (Philippians 1v6). You are shielded by God's power (1 Peter 1v15). Nothing can separate you from God/Christ's love (Romans 8v38-39).

God's whole purpose for you is to transform you into the image of Jesus Christ. His purpose for you is to make you holy. This is where perseverance for you as a Christian comes in.  He may well, as we have seen, use some form of temporal suffering in order to achieve it, but in the light of eternity, it will not be for long!

You are to keep your eyes focussed on Jesus Christ, carry your cross daily and be willing to obey Him. You are to run the race with eyes fixed ahead, forgetting what is past and not looking back at what in the past had entangled us.  And yes it is hard to forget, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, it is possible! 

As a Christian, persevere in your relationship with God. Obey Him and follow Him. Ask questions humbly of Him and expect Him to answer, particularly if you don't understand something. Persevere in your prayers, your relationships with God and with other people. God will persevere with you, turning you gradually into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. God will not abandon you, but you are free to abandon Him. If you did abandon Him, He would still continue to call you back to Himself. So if He perseveres, so must we! But why do we persevere?

 

Character

Character results from persevering! As a Christian you are to be transformed and developed, working on improving your service and being transformed in the image of Jesus Christ.  That is God's ultimate purpose for you! But in order to do that, we need to find out what needs to be developed! These characteristics will help you to measure how much the Holy Spirit has been free to develop your character.

1. Persistence & Endurance - Persistence & endurance is developing staying power, to hold courageously under fire. In other words - bulldog tenacity. Things like criticism, circumstances, opposition & problems can stop you cold, if you allow them.. The problem is that we sometimes think the Christian life is a sprint race.  When in fact it is a marathon, where a second wind of the long hard grind is necessary. What is it that stops you? The size of a person is determined by what it takes to stop him or her. Winners are people who have formed the habit of doing things that failures hate to do. Don't let anything stop you!

2. Resistance - This is not resistance to ideas but resistance to opposition. Criticism is the occupational hazard for leaders (1 Peter 2v20-24). Discouragement is a cancer of the Spirit. Be resistant to discouragement and hyper-criticism. Let the Holy Spirit encourage you!

3. Servanthood - Matthew 20v26-28 "Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave." The first shall be last and the last shall be first. Priority is be given to service. An essential part of developing character, is serving. If Jesus, as King, could be a humble servant, in that He came to earth as a member of His own creation, then you and I can also be identified as humble servants..

4. Consistent Example - Modelling is the greatest unconscious form of learning what we know. As Paul writes in Philippians 3v17 - 4v9 "Follow me as I follow Christ". Whether you like it or not, people are following you, but are you following Christ closely? Those who are following and watching you, do not do what you tell them to do, but do what you do!

5. Self-mastery - You need to be unencumbered by the things that weigh you down. This is the danger of an affluent society. (Hebrews 12:1-2) "Travel light". You need to decide what is good and what is evil. The real decision is between that which is good, that which is better and which is better or best. Choose the best!!

6. Virile Private Life - Two things to keep in balance are involvement & isolation. You cannot do enough for others if you are constantly in the company of others. You also need time alone but not as a complete hermit!

7. Confidence - The number one problem in our culture today, is a lack of confidence. Paul said in Philippians 4v13: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". For you as Christian Disciple, self-confidence is Christ-confidence - this is not egotism. Say to your self "I can't lose. I can only make mistakes". Confidence is spawned by the ability to say no. The New Testament is the doctrine of moderation in all things. You don't have to do everything you are capable of achieving.

8. Teachability - You are to be teachable because you have an unlimited ceiling of being taught. A key part of your being a Christian Disciple is a willingness to be taught by other people, even if you are in a teaching role!

9. Positive Attitude - A danger in becoming negative, is that a root of bitterness sets up. The greatest therapy is that of thanksgiving & prayer. God says you can do it. Satan says you can't do it.

10. Your capacity to believe God - What is there in your life that you are trusting in God for that He alone can do? (2 Corinthians 4v7) In your life, Jesus is to have the supremacy and glory over all things!

Whatever you are going through - persevere and develop character. Allow yourself to be transformed daily by God the Holy Spirit into the image of God the Son in obedience to the will of God the Father.

For more to think about please do ask your self 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. After reading 2 Timothy 2v11-13, what motivates me to endure and persevere?

Q2. After reading Philippians 3v17, how can I follow Jesus Christ more closely?

Q3. After reading 2 Corinthians 4:7, what is there in my life that where I show trust in God for that which He alone can do?

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Psalm Tuesday - Psalm 37

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Psalm 37

37:1 Don't fret because of evildoers, neither be envious against those who work unrighteousness.
37:2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither like the green herb.
37:3 Trust in Yahweh, and do good. Dwell in the land, and enjoy safe pasture.
37:4 Also delight yourself in Yahweh, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
37:5 Commit your way to Yahweh. Trust also in him, and he will do this:
37:6 he will make your righteousness go forth as the light, and your justice as the noon day sun.
37:7 Rest in Yahweh, and wait patiently for him. Don't fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who makes wicked plots happen.
37:8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath. Don't fret, it leads only to evildoing.

37:9 For evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for Yahweh shall inherit the land.
37:10 For yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more.
Yes, though you look for his place, he isn't there.
37:11 But the humble shall inherit the land, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
37:12 The wicked plots against the just, and gnashes at him with his teeth.
37:13 The Lord will laugh at him, for he sees that his day is coming.
37:14 The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, to kill those who are upright in the way.
37:15 Their sword shall enter into their own heart. Their bows shall be broken.
37:16 Better is a little that the righteous has, than the abundance of many wicked.

37:17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but Yahweh upholds the righteous.
37:18 Yahweh knows the days of the perfect. Their inheritance shall be forever.
37:19 They shall not be disappointed in the time of evil. In the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
37:20 But the wicked shall perish. The enemies of Yahweh shall be like the beauty of the fields. They will vanish- vanish like smoke.
37:21 The wicked borrow, and don't pay back, but the righteous give generously.
37:22 For such as are blessed by him shall inherit the land. Those who are cursed by him shall be cut off.
37:23 A man's goings are established by Yahweh. He delights in his way.
37:24 Though he stumble, he shall not fall, for Yahweh holds him up with his hand.

37:25 I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his children begging for bread.
37:26 All day long he deals graciously, and lends. His seed is blessed.
37:27 Depart from evil, and do good. Live securely forever.
37:28 For Yahweh loves justice, and doesn't forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
37:29 The righteous shall inherit the land, and live in it forever.
37:30 The mouth of the righteous talks of wisdom. His tongue speaks justice.
37:31 The law of his God is in his heart. None of his steps shall slide.
37:32 The wicked watches the righteous, and seeks to kill him.

37:33 Yahweh will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.
37:34 Wait for Yahweh, and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land. When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.
37:35 I have seen the wicked in great power, spreading himself like a green tree in its native soil.
37:36 But he passed away, and behold, he was not. Yes, I sought him, but he could not be found.
37:37 Mark the perfect man, and see the upright, for there is a future for the man of peace.
37:38 As for transgressors, they shall be destroyed together. The future of the wicked shall be cut off.
37:39 But the salvation of the righteous is from Yahweh. He is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
37:40 Yahweh helps them, and rescues them. He rescues them from the wicked, and saves them, Because they have taken refuge in him.

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Think Spot 27 March 2017

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Think Spot - 27th March 2017

 

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

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 this past week in parts of the world where terrorism and genocide are rife, 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!

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 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.

 

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Exploring The Bible

11. New Testament

Titus (AD62-64)

 

G'day and welcome to our series, "Exploring the Bible" This is also the title of our latest book available on Amazon by clicking here or visiting PulpTheology.com

Key Verses:

  • Titus 2:11-13 & Titus 3:4-8

 

Titus, another close friend, colleague and student of Paul, is the pastor of a church on Crete. Paul instructs him to teach and organize the believers with authority. He is to emphasize three areas - local church organization and function, doctrinal instruction, and the use of doctrine in everyday life.

Paul commands and expects that their behaviour will be exemplary due to the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This will ensure relationships within the church are good and godly.

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