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Partakers Christmas Thought

29 November 2021

Prayers of the Church

In the podcast today we continue celebrating Advent and Christmas with some prayer! We are praying together prayers from the Orthodox Liturgy Feast of the Nativity, a hymn from the 6th century, of Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) & of Robert Louis Stevenson (19th Century). Come and listen with an attitude of prayer, and make them your prayers!

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Partakers Bible Thought

26 November 2021

Rachel’s Story

14 After Jacob had stayed with him for a whole month, 15 Laban said to him, ‘Just because you are a relative of mine, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be.’
16 Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the elder one was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful. 18 Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, ‘I’ll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel.’
19 Laban said, ‘It’s better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay here with me.’ 20 So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.
21 Then Jacob said to Laban, ‘Give me my wife. My time is completed, and I want to make love to her.’
22 So Laban brought together all the people of the place and gave a feast. 23 But when evening came, he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and Jacob made love to her. 24 And Laban gave his servant Zilpah to his daughter as her attendant.
25 When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, ‘What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn’t I? Why have you deceived me?’
26 Laban replied, ‘It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the elder one. 27 Finish this daughter’s bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work.’
28 And Jacob did so. He finished the week with Leah, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. 29 Laban gave his servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her attendant. 30 Jacob made love to Rachel also, and his love for Rachel was greater than his love for Leah. And he worked for Laban another seven years.
(Genesis 29:14-30)

The story of Rachel is like that of a soap opera! Rachel had a fairly complicated family structure. Rachel's sister Rebekah was Jacob's mother. Rebekah trained Jacob to scheme in order to gain his father's blessing and promised him that she would take the results of the deceitful act upon herself. Rachel became Jacob's wife, but only after Laban had tricked him into marrying Leah, the older daughter first. We can wonder if Rachel encouraged Jacob in his trickery, or if she was influenced by him to think first of herself at the expense of others. Whether his mother and/or his wife influenced Jacob, or indeed if he influenced them, both Rebekah and Rachel serve as examples of the outcome of sinful deceit and discontent.

In the podcast today we will look briefly at the story of Rachel and discover together more about her and how she overcame many things against her. We delve into her story and see three things that epitomise why she is part of salvation history in the leadup to the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Please do listen or download the mp3 podcast to find out more about Rachel, a woman of faith, and what we can learn from her as we live as a Christian in the 21st century.

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Partakers Bible Thought

25 November 2021

Thanks to God for Ruth

16 But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.’ 18 When Naomi realised that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. (Ruth 1:16-18)

The book of Ruth is a cameo story of love, devotion and redemption set in the black days of the Judges. It tells the story of a pagan woman giving up everything to cling to the people of Israel and to God Himself and it shows her faithfulness when the nation was faithless.

Today we are going to learn about Ruth and her obedience. Indeed elsewhere in Scripture it says that obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). The story of Ruth celebrates the gentle beauty of love and loyalty between individuals, and it shows the positive power of obedience to God for both personal fulfilment and wider blessing. By committing herself to Naomi, as well as to Naomi's God, Ruth found satisfaction in service. Instead of losing her identity by her voluntary and complete submission, Ruth's place in Israel and history is confirmed.

In the podcast today we will look briefly at four aspects of the obedience of Ruth, that we living as Christians today would be wise to copy as we seek to follow this God with obedient lives that are worthy of Him.. Please do listen or download the mp3 podcast to find out more about this aspect of living as a Christian in the 21st century.

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