google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html 2020 May

Archive for May 2020

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Psalm 66 - A Prayer of True Joy

 

Tonight we are to study Psalm 66, which is a prayer of joy. The reason for this is, because where ever hope can be found, there is always joy. This is particularly true of the Christian life. As christians, our great hope is knowing that through the Lord Jesus Christ we will have salvation. Salvation is freedom. Freedom from injustice, freedom from sin. It is freedom from our prison of looking after our self, to a new life of entrance into self-forgetful worship & service to God. It is freedom from the limits of pain, decay, death, and entrance into a new world of life, immortality, beauty and joy without end. That is the hope of the Christian, and that is why we can have joy as Christians. But joy, is not just for the future. Joy is also for the present, for the here and now. But, what is joy, and what place should joy take in our life today. But first we will look at Psalm 66, and see where joy fitted into the life of the Psalmist.

1. Psalm 66 and joy

a. Joy and the Earth (vs. 1-4) Listen again from another translation to that beginning! " Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! Sing to the glory of his name! Offer glory and praise! ". The majority of scribes and leaders of Israel normally only gave praise to God silently and in meditation. This was of course acceptable to God. But here among a great number of peoples the whole earth is encouraged to shout with great joy to God. This also was acceptable to God, and it is quite natural for great crowds of people to shout in harmony. If praise is to be widespread, it must be vocal; joyful sounds stir the soul and cause great thanksgiving spread throughout the people. God is to be praised with both the voice and the heart.

Oh, great joy when all the earth will worship God in joyful harmony. One day, all the earth will sing the praises of God, in every language. The whole earth, everyone, is encouraged to sing of the glory and power of God. The psalmist encourages the worshippers to turn their praises to God. The honour of God should be the focus of our praises. It is our glory to give God glory. We turn in joy and admiration to a God who one day will cause all the earth to fear and tremble before him. One day all the earth will bow down to worship God. For those who are enemies of God, who have never believed in him, they too will be forced into submitting worship to Him They are forced to worship Him out of His power and submission, not because they choose to. But their worship will not be like the saints. The worship of the saints, of those who truly believe in Him, will be of truth, love and pure joy and service. The joy of the earth will be to praise God.

b. Joy and the nation of Israel (vs. 5-12). After the selah, possibly a brief pause in the song, the psalmist now exhorts joy because of what God has done for Israel. He has done mighty works for his people the nation of Israel. Did not God start the nation from Genesis 12 and Abraham? Did not God lead His people out of the Egyptian exile by parting the Red Sea with His mighty hand so that his people could walk to freedom? Does not God rule forever by his mighty power? God watched over that nation of Israel, making covenants with Abraham, Moses and David promising that He will be their God and they will be His people. The people of Israel were people of joy, because they could look and see what God had done for them, and have a sure hope of what He will do for them in the future. God took Israel through hard trials and exiles.

The psalmist here continues to encourage the people to loud praise and joyful noise of God because silver and gold do not become pure without some refining, without being put through fire. God kept the feet of Israel from slipping, even though they turned their back on him. God always kept a remnant of believers for himself. In Israel, God sent them into exile to their enemies for punishment of their rebellion against him, but finally He led them into the promised land, flowing with milk and honey (v 12). That is why Israel could have joy, because of the hope they had in their God.

c. Joy and the psalmist (vs. 13 -20) The psalmist's joy starts with a sacrifice. Something that cost him. A sacrifice of vows and burnt offerings. What he said he would do, he will do. He gave God promises, and he wants to fulfil his promises before God. Because of his great joy, the psalmist tells others of the source of his joy. He gives testimony to the love of God: how he confessed his sins to God, and how God had listened to him and answered his prayers. The Psalmist told the people to come and hear his story. Listen to what God has done for me. They had all seen God's work, but they also needed to hear that He was a gracious god, So the joy of the psalmist involves sacrifice, testimony and praise,

2. Applying it to ourselves.

As we have just seen the psalmist's joy involved sacrifice, testimony and praise, So how can we apply these things to ourselves.

a. Sacrifice - As christians we should always give our best to God. The psalmist never presents a starving goat to God as a sacrifice, but well fed animals (v 15) of the best fields, Of all we have, whether small or large, we are actively encouraged to give God the best of it. It was not a waste to burn the fat upon the altar of God, nor to pour out the precious ointment upon the head of Jesus. Sacrifices show our heart love to God. Making sacrifices, shows gratitude to God in action, Joy comes from giving to God.

b. Testimony, - Giving our testimony to people should cause us to have great joy. Telling people what God has done for us, should cause everyone of us to have even greater joy than we have already. Telling others of God's mercy, grace and love is all part of our joy. When we lead someone to Jesus for the very first time, not only do they feel great joy and peace in their heart, but we feel great joy inside of us. The joy of God bubbles up inside of us and demands that we praise our God the Father.

c. Praise, - Praising God lifts our heart, soul and spirit when we are feeling down. The whole earth one day will praise Him and have great joy; the nation of Israel praised Him for the things He had done for them and had given them much joy, The psalmist praised God, and there was great joy in his heart. He had many reasons to praise God, God listened to His prayers, took his sacrifices and worship, forgave him when he had confessed his sins, God had not withheld his love from him. Surely the praise of God's people causes great joy to be spread amongst them. Now that is all very well you may be thinking, but just what is joy? Is joy happiness, or is it more? Here are what some people have said of joy.

"We are all strings in the concert of God's joy" - Leon Bloy.

"The joy that Jesus gives is the result of our being at one with Him" - Oswald Chambers.

Many people, including some Christians confuse joy with happiness, however there is a vast difference. As C.S. Lewis once wrote: "Joy is never in our power, and pleasure is. I doubt whether anyone who has tasted joy would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasure in the world." As humans we only feel happiness or pleasure depending on our circumstances, while joy is always separate from our circumstances. Happiness is a surface emotional response to good things; while joy is a deep-down heartfelt response that endures whether good or bad things happen to us. The world says happiness is looking out for number one and negotiating your personal good in all you do.

The greatest good is their own happiness, however the happiness doesn't last long so the search for happiness continues in its circle. Joy however, is the result of sacrificial love. It is for the good of others, not for ourselves, which is to be our judge of joy. When we give away our will, for the sake of others, we receive the joy that Jesus desired for us. Happiness and joy are radically different.

In his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis described his pursuit of joy. He tried to find it in humanism, communism, eroticism, and lots of other human philosophies and searches. But they only led him to places where joy had already been. He did not find joy for himself until he realised that joy would come only as a result of putting Christ first in his life. Joy, unlike happiness, is never an end in itself. It is only as we make Christ our overwhelming first priority that joy, almost without our knowing it, comes. If we seek joy, we will lose it, because it cannot be caught. People of the world seeks happiness not joy. Joy is given only by Christ and serving him.

Hebrews 12:2 says, "Let us fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Jesus had the endurance to go through the pain and suffering because he had the end in view. He was affirming his purpose for the redemption of the world, and so he never lost sight of the joy that was set before him. Joy would come to him out of suffering because he gave himself for the redemption of mankind. Jesus prayed that his disciples would have joy: "I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they (his disciples) may have the full measure of my joy within them." (John 17:13).

The joy of Christ is transferred to us as we go about the task of serving him in this world. Joy is the second fruit of the Spirit. Joy is to be a quality about us just as it was a quality of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, sometimes we don't feel as if joy is part of us. We begin to ask ourselves if we have lost the joy of our Christian lives. We look around at the world we live in and see all the misery and injustices; we see the waste of human life in cancer and HIV Aids, and we don't feel very joyful. But when we do that, we are confusing happiness and joy. If we have lost the joy of our Christian life, we need to put back into perspective what God is calling us to do and consider if Christ is still truly first in our lives.

Joy is Jesus Over Yourself. We can never truly lose joy, but we can misplace it if our priorities get out of line. Joy is not something to be worked at or toward. It is not a goal to be reached, nor is it an end in itself. Joy is the result of our relationship with Christ. A relationship of Jesus Over Yourself. Joy was sacrifice, testimony and praise to the Psalmist. It is for us too in the last days before His coming again.

As this is now the night before Easter week, let us end with that comment from the writer to the book of Hebrews in regards to Jesus and joy. "Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." As E. Underhill said: "This is the secret and meaning of joy, We shall no longer strive for our own way; but commit ourselves, to God's way, submit to His will, and in doing so find joy and peace, -. Go out with joy, today!

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Developing Intimacy With God

6. The Bible Helps Equip You To Serve God

One of the main ways that the Bible helps you, is by equipping you for active service! There are at least four ways, in which the Bible does this in your Christian life!

Firstly, the Bible also equips you for doing battle with Satan and resisting temptation. Paul likened this believers’ spiritual armour to that used by Roman foot soldiers (Ephesians 6:11-17). In Paul’s pen-picture here, the Bible is compared to a soldier’s sword. A sword is not only used to defend, but also used to attack. Jesus defended Himself from satan’s attack by using Scripture to show the devil how wrong he was (Matthew 4:3-4).

Secondly, is that the Bible equips, and is useful for, evangelism and pointing others to Jesus Christ. In Acts 8 we read that the Ethiopian was puzzled by Isaiah 53. It was in explaining about that, that Philip could talk to him about Jesus Christ and bring him to faith. (It is also thought by some that he was responsible for starting the Christian church in Ethiopia which continues to this day).

Thirdly, the Bible equips you as a Christian to use your spiritual gifts. Paul talked often about them and one list is in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. A spiritual gift is an ability given by the Holy Spirit, to you the believer, so that the church is encouraged and God is glorified. Your spiritual maturity derives from building Bible knowledge, which in turn helps you use your talents in the best way possible to serve God and other people.

Finally, the Bible equips you in order that you may give counsel to others seeking help. An example is seen in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 where Paul urges Timothy to use Scripture when teaching others.

As you read your Bible regularly, ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate it to you! You will start growing in spiritual maturity. As you do, and as you use these methods living the Christian life, you will grow into spiritual maturity.

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Partakers Friday Prayers

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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PulpTheology Book

"Developing Intimacy With God"

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G’day! The book this week is "Developing Intimacy With God: A Little Book of 95 Prayers". Inside this little book, there is something for you to learn afresh or be reminded about, regardless of who you are.

Prayer is to be a sign of intimacy with God as it develops our relationship with Him. Prayer I have discovered, is to be an ongoing conversation with God.

Prayer is how we are energized and invigorated as we strengthen our relationship with Him. God is personal and He loves to hear us and talk to us. Prayers are not just the unprompted and spontaneous variety, but also the written form. Jesus Himself would have said scripted prayers as part of 1st century Jewish worship. In this little book, we have some prayers from the Bible as well as from the Church down through history. They are prayers which I have used in my own life - both personally and corporately.

This book is also as a way to celebrate that moment in time, when on 31 October 1517, Martin Luther, started what we know now as the European Reformation, when he nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Wittenberg Castle. Therefore, in this little book, to celebrate that momentous act in Church History, there are 95 prayers – prayers from Moses through to Martin Luther and onto to John Stott of our own century. Come, Church! Let's pray together!

Whether you have not started the Christian journey yet, you are just starting your journey as a Christian, or have been a Christian for a while, you can either learn afresh or be reminded about the prayer and your Devotional Life. Come on in!

"Developing Intimacy With God: A Little Book of 95 Prayers" available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle with ISBN: 978-1512136838
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You can purchase this book at Amazon USA on this link:

You can purchase this book at Amazon UK on this link:

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Wednesday Wisdom

Proverbs 17

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G’day! Welcome to Partakers and to Wednesday Wisdom, where we are listening to what the Bible has to say through the Wisdom literature of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. Come on in!

Today we are listening and learning from Proverbs 17.

1 Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than a house full of sacrifices with strife.
2 A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causes shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren.
3 The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the Lord tries the hearts.
4 A wicked doer gives heed to false lips; and a liar gives ear to a naughty tongue.
5 Whoso mocks the poor reproaches his Maker: and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished.
6 Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.
7 Excellent speech becomes not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.
8 A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that has it: where ever it turns, it prospers.
9 He that covers a transgression seeks love; but he that repeats a matter separates very friends.
10 A reproof enters more into a wise man than a hundred stripes into a fool.
11 An evil man seeks only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him.
12 Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.
13 Whoso rewards evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.
14 The beginning of strife is as when one lets out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.
15 He that justifies the wicked, and he that condemns the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord.
16 Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he has no heart to it?
17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
18 A man void of understanding strikes hands, and becomes surety in the presence of his friend.
19 He loves transgression that loves strife: and he that exalts his gate seeks destruction.
20 He that has a perverse heart finds no good: and he that has a perverse tongue falls into mischief.
21 He that brings a fool does it to his sorrow: and the father of a fool has no joy.
22 A merry heart does good like a medicine: but a broken spirit dries the bones.
23 A wicked man takes a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment.
24 Wisdom is before him that has understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.
25 A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him.
26 Also to punish the just is not good, nor to strike princes for equity.
27 He that has knowledge spares his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.
28 Even a fool, when he holds his peace, is counted wise: and he that shuts his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

That’s it for today! Come back every day to Partakers Podcasts to hear something to encourage and uplift you as a Christian disciple, regardless of where you are in the world. You can also purchase our books via Amazon at Pulptheology.com

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POD - Psalm 119

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Psalm 119

Often we hear the Psalms one by one, but today we offer you the chance to hear a group of Psalms read as a collection!

 

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Psalm 119

א Aleph

1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the Lord.
2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart –
3 they do no wrong but follow his ways.
4 You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!
6 Then I would not be put to shame
when I consider all your commands.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart
as I learn your righteous laws.
8 I will obey your decrees;
do not utterly forsake me.

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Think Spot 25 May 2020

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Think Spot – 25 May 2020


The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:26.

Note well this text, how Christ here binds the Holy Spirit to his Word, and fixes his limit and measure, so that the Spirit may not go further than his Word. He shall remind you of everything which I have said, publishing it further through you. Thereby he shows that in the future nothing else shall be taught in all Christendom through the Holy Spirit than what the apostles had heard from Christ, but which they did not understand until the Holy Spirit had taught them.

So the teaching may always proceed from the mouth of Christ, then be transmitted from one mouth to another, and yet always remain the Word of Christ. The Holy Spirit is thus the schoolmaster who teaches these things and brings them to remembrance. It is shown here that this Word precedes, or must be spoken beforehand, and afterwards the Holy Spirit works through the Word. One must not reverse the order and dream of a Holy Spirit who works without the Word and before the Word, but one who comes with and through the Word and goes no further than the Word goes.

The example of the apostles shows also how Christ rules his Church in her weakness; the Holy Spirit does not dwell in Christians at all times, nor so soon as they have heard the Word does he come with such power and effectiveness as to enable them to believe it all and rightly to understand and grasp it. Although the apostles are so far advanced as to hear Christ's Word willingly and to have begun to believe, yet even they cannot take these words of comfort to heart until the Holy Spirit teaches them after the departure of Christ.

So it is at present. We hear God's Word, which is in fact the preaching of the Holy Spirit, who is at all times present with it, but it does not always reach the heart at once and is accepted by faith; even in those who are moved by the Holy Spirit and gladly receive the Word, it does not at once bear fruit. Therefore it must come to this : in need and danger we look about and sigh for comfort; then the Holy Spirit can perform his office of teaching the heart and bringing to remembrance the Word preached.

(An excerpt taken from "Devotional Readings From Luther's Works For Every Day Of The Year" By Rev. John Sander, L.H.D.) in the Public Domain.

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Colossians 3v1-4

“Remember Who You Are!”

Today, our sermon comes from Paul's letter to the city of Colossae! It has relevance to us today and our Christian lives.

 

If then you were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, our life, is revealed, then you will also be revealed with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)

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Developing Intimacy With God

5. Keys To Understanding The Bible

You may well be asking a particular question by now. Just how does God the Holy Spirit illuminate the Bible to you. What is it that the Holy Spirit uses to help make the Bible easier to understand?

The answer is prayer. Pray and ask that the Holy Spirit will help you as you read. That is a major part of his role in your life as a believer. He will use the Bible to enlighten and illuminate your mind, heart and will as you seek to be obedient to the Lord.

Remember the Bible is inerrant and infallible. That is, it does not mislead in matters of faith and practice. It does not contain errors or mistakes in its original form. It is the Bible that God intended us to have. God speaks through it so it is totally trustworthy. That statement strictly speaking, only applies to the original manuscripts and languages. Because of that, we are to maintain the Bible as our final authority over all things. We can do this because if any part of the Bible appears to contradict another part, there must be a meaning in the contradiction - even if we find it difficult!

The Bible is a balanced and unified message from a God who does not change. By reading the Bible regularly, you will be see how it holds together. I would recommend reading it daily, perhaps first thing in the morning to help your day start off well. As you read, it is a good practise to always ask yourself questions about the Bible passage you are reading. Use a good set of daily devotional studies! There are many available for you and your own taste. Use a Bible you can read easily. There are many translations available to suit your taste and style of reading.

Finally, expect to be changed when reading the Bible with an obedient heart, mind and will. The Bible is God’s Written Word because it is active, and God will not cease transforming you into the image of Jesus the Living Word.
 

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Friday Prayers 22nd May 2020

Today on Partakers, we are praying specifically into the CoronaVirus Pandemic which is affecting us all globally... Come and pray with us!

One of the prayers we are praying is:

O God, we pray into this situation regarding the CoronaVirus pandemic.
O God our Father, help and heal all those who have this virus
and give wisdom to those working on a vaccine or cure.

We are bereft of the number of people suffering from this,
yet we know you are in control.
We trust in you and we worship you alone. Amen

Father, from your twin wellsprings of grace and mercy,
hear these cries of our hearts and take the burdens we carry...

Amen…

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