google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html 2019 July

Archive for July 2019

WOW Word 06 - Words

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Words!

Today's WOW Word is about Words! Words have power! Did you know that? Here is what Solomon said about them...

Proverbs 15:1 “A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire”

Proverbs 15:4 “Kind words heal and help! Cutting words wound and maim”

Proverbs 15:23 “Congenial conversation—what a pleasure! The right word at the right time—beautiful! “

Proverbs 15:26 “GOD can't stand evil scheming, but he puts words of grace and beauty on display.”

 

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POD - Psalms 39

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Psalm 39

For the Chief Musician. For Jeduthun.

A Psalm by David.

1 I said, "I will watch my ways, so that I don’t sin with my tongue. I will keep my mouth with a bridle while the wicked is before me.”
2 I was mute with silence. I held my peace, even from good. My sorrow was stirred.
3 My heart was hot within me. While I meditated, the fire burned: I spoke with my tongue:
4 "Yahweh, show me my end, what is the measure of my days. Let me know how frail I am.
5 Behold, you have made my days handbreadths. My lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely every man stands as a breath.”

Selah.

6 "Surely every man walks like a shadow. Surely they busy themselves in vain. He heaps up, and doesn’t know who shall gather.
7 Now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you.
8 Deliver me from all my transgressions. Don’t make me the reproach of the foolish.
9 I was mute. I didn’t open my mouth, because you did it.
10 Remove your scourge away from me. I am overcome by the blow of your hand.
11 When you rebuke and correct man for iniquity, You consume his wealth like a moth. Surely every man is but a breath.” Selah.
12 "Hear my prayer, Yahweh, and give ear to my cry. Don’t be silent at my tears. For I am a stranger with you, a foreigner, as all my fathers were.
13 Oh spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go away, and exist no more.”

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Think Spot 29 July 2019

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Think Spot - 29th July, 2019

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 4:15-16

"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! 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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TOS.jpgTeachings of Seraphim

 
Part 9. Penitence

 

One desiring salvation must always have a heart inclined towards penitence and contrition: "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise" (Psalm 51:19). With such a contrite spirit a person can avoid without trouble all the artful tricks of the devil, whose efforts are all directed towards disturbing the spirit of a person.

By this disturbance he sows tares (i.e., weeds), according to the words of the Gospel: "Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? From where then did the weeds come? He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this’" (Matthew 13:27-28).

But when a person struggles to have a meek heart and to keep peace in his thoughts, then are all the wiles of the enemy powerless; for, where there is peace of thought, God Himself resides: "In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion" (Psalm 76:2). We offend the greatness of God with our sinning throughout our entire lives, and so must always humbly ask the Lord forgiveness for our sins.

An excerpt from the teachings of Seraphim of Sarov of the 18th & 19th centuries. He was one of the most renowned Russian saints in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Seraphim extended the monastic teachings of contemplation, theoria and self-denial to the layperson.

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So Great A Salvation 03

TOS.jpgSo Great A Salvation

 
Part 3 - The Christian is Declared Clean

However. There is a problem with the words ‘justified’ and ‘righteous’ in English. They sound so different but translate as two words which are very similar, because they share the same root in Greek. We could replace ‘justified’ with ‘righteousified’, and know what it meant better, if only there was such a word in English!

So we are justified (or ‘’righteousified’) – treated as though we are righteous in the eyes of God (Romans 3:24,26). We receive the gift of righteousness and so will reign in life (Romans 5: 17) and the list of the Christian Disciples sins is nailed to the cross of Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:13-14).

Sanctification

Then there is sanctification or cleansing of which there are 3 stages.

We have been sanctified and made holy (Hebrews 10:10) by the death of Jesus Christ and we are washed clean (1 Corinthians 6:11). As a result, we are challenged to become increasingly sanctified. (2 Corinthians 7:1). We are also being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18) and conformed to His likeness (Romans 8:29-30). We are to be living sacrifices, transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1-2). This holiness is the pursuit of moral excellence, not just obeying the law, and is by necessity a high standard (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8) because we have to do with a Holy God. We are sanctified and cleansed and we are to go on being sanctified and cleansed. We will only be fully and completely holy and pure before the Lord when we join him in the new heavens and the new earth (Philippians 3: 20-21)

In principle, we are saints, and God has already declared all Christian Disciples sanctified. We have been set apart - separated from sin, therefore we have been made holy (Hebrews 10:10) and we are washed and sanctified (1 Corinthians 6:11). In practice, as growing Christian Disciples, we should be perfecting holiness, being careful to avoid the contamination of sin (2 Corinthians 7:1). Christian Disciples are to work hard at the process of becoming Christ-like (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Colossians 3: 1-4). That is done by renewing our minds in order to transform our character (Romans 12:1-2). The standard all Christian Disciples are to attain and maintain is as Peter says: “Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16)

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Partakers Friday Prayers

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!

A Prayer of Martin Luther

Behold, Lord,
I am an empty vessel that needs to be filled.
My Lord, fill it.
I am weak in the faith;
strengthen me.
I am cold in love;
warm me and make me fervent,
that my love may go out to my neighbour.
I do not have a strong and firm faith;
at times, I doubt and am unable to trust You altogether.

O Lord, help me.
Strengthen my faith and trust in you.
In You I have sealed the treasure of all I have.
I am poor;
you are rich and came to be merciful to the poor.
I am a sinner;
you are upright.
With me, there is an abundance of sin;
in You is the fullness of righteousness.
Therefore, I will remain with you,
of whom I can receive,
but to whom I may not give.

Amen

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Pulp Theology 17

PulpTheology Book

Scriptural Delights

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The author of this majestic Psalm 119 builds up within it metaphors about his relationship with God - treasures of delight. The Psalmist takes great delight explaining his relationship with God. A relationship which is sweetly intimate and dynamic. Have you ever noticed how the curiosity of birds, including Magpies, gets them to dig around exploring and then sing with delight upon finding what to their minds is treasure!

We can do the same with Scripture. Psalm 119, which is the delightful colossus of the Psalms, lends itself to much discovery and exploration. Alas, because of its length, a lot of people are put off reading it, let alone studying it. However Psalm 119 has a vibrant beauty and depth all of its own. It offers many pearls of wisdom to Christians living in the 21st century. Come! Let us explore together, the treasures of this magnificent piece of Scripture - Psalm 119.

"Scriptural Delights: Exploring Psalm 119" available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle with ISBN: 978-1507624203

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POD - Psalms 139

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Psalm 139

 

For the choir director: A psalm of David.

 

1 O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.

2 You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I'm far away.

3 You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.

4 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.

5 You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!

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7 I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!

8If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the deepest hell, you are there.

9 If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans,

10 even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.

11 I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night-

12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.

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13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-how well I know it.

15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!

18 I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!

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19 O God, if only you would destroy the wicked! Get out of my life, you murderers!

20 They blaspheme you; your enemies misuse your name.

21 O Lord, shouldn't I hate those who hate you? Shouldn't I despise those who oppose you?

22 Yes, I hate them with total hatred, for your enemies are my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

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Think Spot 22 July 2019

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Think Spot - 22nd July 2019

 

Matthew 11:28-30 records these words of Jesus Christ. "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 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 and he 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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TOS.jpgTeachings of Seraphim

 
Part 8. Non-Judgment and Forgiveness

 

It is not right to judge anyone, even if you have seen someone sinning and wallowing in the violations of God’s laws with your own eyes, as is said in the word of God: "Judge not, that you not be judged" (Mt. 7:1). "Who are you that you judge another man’s servant? to his own master he stands or falls. Yea, he shall be held up: for God is able to make him stand" (Rom. 14:4). It is much better always to bring to memory the words of the apostle: "Wherefore let him who thinks he stands take heed incase he falls" (1 Cor. 10:12).

One must not harbor anger or hatred towards a person that is hostile toward us. On the contrary, one must love him and do as much good as possible towards him, following the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ: "Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you" (Mt. 5:44). If then we will try to fulfill all this to the extent of our power, we can hope that God’s light will begin to shine in our hearts, lighting our path to the heavenly Jerusalem.

Why do we judge our neighbors? Because we are not trying to get to know ourselves. Someone busy trying to understand himself has no time to notice the shortcomings of others. Judge yourself — and you will stop judging others. Judge a poor deed, but do not judge the doer.

It is necessary to consider yourself the most sinful of all, and to forgive your neighbor every poor deed. One must hate only the devil, who tempted him. It can happen that someone might appear to be doing something bad to us, but in reality, because of the doer's good intentions, it is a good deed. Besides, the door of penitence is always open, and it is not known who will enter it sooner — you, "the judge," or the one judged by you.

An excerpt from the teachings of Seraphim of Sarov of the 18th & 19th centuries. He was one of the most renowned Russian saints in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Seraphim extended the monastic teachings of contemplation, theoria and self-denial to the layperson.

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