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Friday Prayers

 

 CS Lewis...

Today on Partakers we are praying a prayer based on the poem "Love is as hard as nails" by CS Lewis. Come on in, download the mp3 and pray with us!

Love ‘s as warm as tears,
Love is tears:
Pressure within the brain,
Tension at the throat,
Deluge, weeks of rain,
Haystacks afloat,
Featureless seas between
Hedges, where once was green.

Love’s as fierce as fire,
Love is fire:
All sorts – internal heat
Clinkered with greed and pride,
Lyric desire, sharp-sweet,
Laughing, even when denied,
And that empyreal flame
Whence all loves came.

Love’s as fresh as spring,
Love is spring:
Bird-song hung in the air,
Cool smells in a wood,
Whispering ‘Dare! Dare!
To sap, to blood,
Telling ‘Ease, safety, rest,
Are good; not best.’

Love’s as hard as nails,
Love is nails:
Blunt, thick, hammered through
The medial nerves of One
Who, having made us, knew
The thing he had done,
Seeing (with all that is)
Our cross, and his.

Amen

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Thursday Story

People meeting Jesus

 The story of Greg from Scotland...

We continue apace into the twentieth century and hear the story of a friend of mine. His name is Greg and he is from Scotland. Let's look together at how and why he started his Christian journey and the relevancy of Jesus Christ to his life! Come and listen to his story of faith...

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WOW Word - Prayer

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Prayer

I wonder what you think prayer is and how much of it you have experienced? Is your vision and experience of prayer too small? Let us find out together, a small part of prayer!

Relationship

Prayer is to be at the centre of the relationship between God and the Christian. It is the major interaction and fellowship between God and humans, and of humans communicating with God, both in talking and listening. Prayer is allowing God to be consciously in to all aspects of Christian’s life and enjoying God’s companionship. John Calvin, said that part of praying was asking for “what we have learned to be available” in God’s love and of His being the infinitesimal good giver. He goes on to say our “only security” is achieved by calling on the Father for His providence out of His infinite mercy. Prayer is ultimately what humans were made for: conversing with God. Regardless of status or maturity or any other man-made barrier, God is always accessible, through prayer, to all those seeking Him with a contrite heart and a humble spirit. This dynamic relationship enables the Christian to engage in prayer that is both personal and relational. All prayer consists of a desire or longing to know God better, and that is to be the prime motivation: to know God better and more intimately.

Function

Prayer’s function is to a constant yearning for God’s assistance! It is to be a strengthening of desire towards eternal happiness, holiness and worship and knowledge of God. God Himself assists us as we pray! Did you know that? He does this by correcting and strengthening the yearning we express. Prayers express desires and thoughts in a contributory way to the journey of the Christian.

Words

Prayer emits our words from ourselves to the God we seek to know, as a response to His reaching out to us. Through prayer, God is able to comprehend the Christian regardless of language, grammar or oratory skill as long as the Christian approaches with a correct attitude.

Intimacy

Words however, are not just to be a mental action but also an emotive act, conveying emotions and feeling. Prayer is to convey deep emotions to God, regardless of our language skills. The words spoken in prayer portray our innermost feeling to Him. Because God is personal, He values language and expects His people to talk to Him. Prayer is intimacy with God! If for some reason, the Christian is unable to convey their words in prayer, then Romans 8:26, intimates that the Holy Spirit intercedes. Prayer epitomises the Father-child relationship symbolized in the Christian’s relationship with God. It further symbolizes the freedom and peace in prayer, advocated by Jesus to communicate His deepest desires, as in the Lords Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) and in John 17.

Don’t just have your prayer time in the morning or evening and leave it at that. Pray throughout the day as well, asking God for His assistance as you go about your daily life in an attitude of prayer! Go! Pray!

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POD - Psalm 116

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Psalm 116

1-6 I love God because he listened to me,

listened as I begged for mercy.

He listened so intently

as I laid out my case before him.

Death stared me in the face,

hell was hard on my heels.

Up against it, I didn't know which way to turn;

then I called out to God for help:

"Please, God!" I cried out.

"Save my life!"

God is gracious—it is he who makes things right,

our most compassionate God.

God takes the side of the helpless;

when I was at the end of my rope, he saved me.

 

7-8 I said to myself, "Relax and rest.

God has showered you with blessings.

Soul, you've been rescued from death;

Eye, you've been rescued from tears;

And you, Foot, were kept from stumbling."

 

9-11 I'm striding in the presence of God,

alive in the land of the living!

I stayed faithful, though bedeviled,

and despite a ton of bad luck,

Despite giving up on the human race,

saying, "They're all liars and cheats."

 

12-19 What can I give back to God

for the blessings he's poured out on me?

I'll lift high the cup of salvation—a toast to God!

I'll pray in the name of God;

I'll complete what I promised God I'd do,

and I'll do it together with his people.

When they arrive at the gates of death,

God welcomes those who love him.

Oh, God, here I am, your servant,

your faithful servant: set me free for your service!

I'm ready to offer the thanksgiving sacrifice

and pray in the name of God.

I'll complete what I promised God I'd do,

and I'll do it in company with his people,

In the place of worship, in God's house,

in Jerusalem, God's city.

Hallelujah!

 

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Think Spot - 4 February 2019

 

Last Monday we looked at serving God where ever you are with a clear conscience. How did you get on with doing it?

Today we look at a follow on from that to meekness. What is meekness? Isn’t meekness, merely weakness? That’s what we are told often enough by people outside the church! Yet meekness is not weakness! Meekness is giving up our personal rights to God alone!

A meek person is one who claims no personal rights of their own, and who is willing to yield all possessions and personal rights to God. A meek person sees these things as being loaned by God for His work and glory. Being meek in all situations takes a strong character, for example Moses (Numbers 12:1-3).

Giving up your rights and all you own to God alone, is talked about often in the Bible. Some of the results of giving up your rights to God can be found in: - Psalm 22:26; Psalm 25:9; Psalm 37:8-11; Psalm 149:4 Isaiah 29:19; Matthew 11:28-30. (1.15)

As followers of Jesus you and I need to give up our own rights and possessions to Him because:

  • You and I belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)#
  • We are instructed to be meek by Jesus (Luke 9:23)
  • It follows the example. of the New Testament church (Acts 5:32)

When we insist on our own personal rights and those rights are violated, the main consequences are anger and anxiety. They occur when we try to control or change something God never intended us to change or control. When we react and resist, we deny God His right to do what; He wants to do. When we get angry and when we worry, these are signs that there are rights God wants us to yield to Him.

How do you yield rights and possessions over to God?

Firstly, identify them! Check where in your life anger and or anxiety exist. Then ask the Holy Spirit to work on your heart, prayerfully considering each area, yielding all to Jesus. When you do that, God becomes responsible for those areas.

Secondly, expect God to test His rights. Having handed them to God, He may allow situations to occur which will deny you these rights, to see if that right was really given to Him. It may be necessary to once again yield that right to Jesus. As you respond to each test, meekness develops.

Go into this week, knowing that God is at work in you! You are to be His servants and you are not your own! You were bought at a price by God! Through the meekness of Jesus Christ’ work on the cross.

Father I pray that as we give our personal rights to you, that you give us strength to overcome with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives within us as your children. We ask this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ! Amen!

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Investigating Jesus

Investigating Jesus Part 17
Who did Jesus teach?


The Gospel writers attributed Jesus as a teacher (Mark 5:35; John 7:15) despite his lack of formal requirements usually attained by rabbis. The Gospel writers also refer to Him as a prophet (Luke 7:16; John 6:14), and he was recognized as such by people (Mark 6:15; Mark 8:28). There were three main groups of people that Jesus interacted with and taught.

The Crowds: When Jesus taught large gatherings of people, it was always based on evidential facts and it was always as Luke described “good news” (Luke 4:18), because God gave it to Jesus. Crowds recognized that Jesus had a confident manner of speaking (Mark 1:22). It must be noted that in the presence of crowds, Jesus didn’t actively reveal who he was (Mark 1:44; Mark 3:11-12; Mark 9:9).

The Disciples: Many of Jesus’ recorded teachings were to his disciples, but also amid crowds, such as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1; Matthew 7:28). However, on more precise requirements of discipleship, or about Himself or the future of God’s Kingdom, Jesus usually only taught his disciples concerning his true identity, even though they failed to grasp it (Mark 8:27-33).

The Religious Leaders: Because of Jesus’ popularity and the activities he was involved with; the religious leaders soon took notice of Him. In all ways, Jesus respected the Law of Moses and Moses authority (Mark 1:22). However, Jesus also gave his own unique interpretation of the Law and the Teachings. So much o, that this attracted the opposition of the religious leaders who had taught a different interpretation. An example of this is in Jesus interpretation of the Sabbath (Mark 2:23-38); the healings he performed (John 5:1-18); fasting and ritual cleanliness (Mark 7:1-5) and for consorting with sinners (Luke 7:34).
Jesus criticised the religious leaders for amongst other things: their lack of compassion and the weighty burdens they placed upon others (Matthew 23; Mark 12:38-40; Luke 11:37-54) These burdens and weights, which were put upon people by the religious leaders, were used as a measure of control over those people and also for the gain of the religious leaders and authorities. Alas today in the 21st century when we see even within the Church today, signs of such spiritual abuse. I know because I have met and counselled people who have been affected by abusive Church leadership.

Next episode, we will start looking at what Jesus taught about Himself and who he said that he was.

 

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Highlights in Hebrews
Highlights in Hebrews
(with Roger Kirby)

Part 25 - Hebrews 10:11–18 Jesus sat down
We are holy!

Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest, Jesus, had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”

Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.

Our writer likes to make sure we have heard and understood what he has said. So he repeats himself. Here he repeatstwo things in particular he has already said: that Jesus sat down and that the covenant had been renewed in its new form.

These days a great many people sit down to work and only stand up when it is finished. It was the other way round for them. Nearly everybody stood up most of the time when they were working. It was only at the end of the day, when the work was done, that they were able to sit down. Jesus sat down at the right hand of God - the place of privilege - because his work was done and would never need to be done again 10:12. Unlike the previous sacrifices carried out in the temple every day his sacrifice was complete, perfect, finished. The sacrifices of animals had been but small tokens of the repentance of the person sacrificing and the forgiveness received from God in response to that repentance. The sacrifice of Jesus, the very Son of God himself, had been so far more effective than those it would never need to be repeated. In fact, how could it possibly be repeated? Any further sacrifice could only be the tiniest reflection of what Jesus had accomplished, not really worth the bother!

The sign of the new covenant, the new way in which God was choosing to deal with people, was not to be a sacrifice but a memorial of that one great sacrifice. The sacrifice could not be repeated; only our memory of it could be, and should be, repeated. So Luke says: “he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. (Luke 22:19-20).

Sadly it is not always the case that this is how our memory of him is presented. If we call people ‘priests’ we need something for them to do so we invent altars and a sacrifice for them to do on it. There is no beginning hint that that is the right thing to do here in the New Testament and, in particular, in this book of Hebrews.

If you belong to one of the churches where this is the way things are thought about it may not be possible for you to withdraw. If so then you have to attend that sort of service but you need to say to yourself very clearly every time that what you are doing is remembering that great moment of sacrifice when Christ cried ‘it is finished’, a moment never to be repeated, only remembered.
And that is true for all of us.
What is the effect? We are made holy, made acceptable to appear before the Lord God now and at the end of days.

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Partakers Friday Prayers!

1st February 2019

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 pray this prayer to encourage ourselves and others!


Tell, tongue, the mystery
of the glorious Body
and of the precious Blood,
which, for the price of the world,
the fruit of a noble Womb,
the King of the Nations flowed forth.

Given to us, born for us,
from the untouched Virgin,
and dwelt in the world
after the seed of the Word had been scattered.
His inhabiting ended the delays with wonderful order.

On the night of the Last Supper,
reclining with His brethren,
once the Law had been fully observed
with the prescribed foods,
as food to the crowd of Twelve
He gives Himself with His hands.

The Word as Flesh makes true bread
into flesh by a word
and the wine becomes the Blood of Christ.
And if sense is deficient
to strengthen a sincere heart
Faith alone suffices.

Therefore, the great Sacrament
we reverence, prostrate:
and the old Covenant
cedes to a new rite.
Faith stands forth as substitute
for defect of the senses.

To Begetter and Begotten
be praise and jubilation,
health, honour, strength also
and blessing.

To the One who proceeds from Both
be praise as well.
Amen,

Alleluia.
;

 

A prayer of Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)

 

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Why I am a Christian!

 

The Apostle John, writing in 1 John 5:9-12 - "We accept man's testimony, but God's testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life."


Why Is It So?


A testimony is an assertion offering firsthand authentication of a fact. For the Christian Disciple, classically it is generally expressed as how they became a Christian Disciple.

But I think it is more than just how, and should expressly include why you are a Christian Disciple. I wonder what is your testimony about how you became a Christian Disciple? When was the last time you thanked our God for your testimony? Have you even thought about your testimony of how you became a Christian Disciple?

I am sure you have all heard kids in the supermarket yelling out "Why?" to their parents. We all have, I am sure, questions we want to know the answer to. Why? The question I am often asked is "You are a Christian. Why is it so?"

My father, was and remained throughout his life a convinced agnostic and in the few conversations we had about religion and Christianity, he could never understand why it was, that I could not just admit that I would never know if God existed or not, far less a God who was personally interested in me. My reply as ever, was that the very question "Why is it so?" needed to be answered, in order for me to be satisfied.

Why I am a Christian?

Now I could say that at the age of 12, we moved to a town on the coast of Australia, and was invited along to a local youth group and several weeks later, gave my life to Christ and became a Christian. Of course that is partly true. I can't even claim to be a Christian because I was raised in a Christian country. Australia was and is probably the second most secular country on this planet. Sure Australia has its moral base grounded in historic Christianity, but for the latter part of its history, Australia has been thoroughly secular and non-religious. Even if I had been raised in a country such as England, with Christian parents, that would also, only be partly true and I could have rejected Christianity as many people do. The reason that I am a Christian is not because I chased God, but rather He chased me. Unknown to me at the time, God was chasing me and following my every path with the urgency of a lover after the beloved, just as described in the Song of Songs 2:2-14.


God had been pursuing me

This piece of poetic Scripture speaks about the love that God has for his people, and the energy He puts in to calling his people to Himself. He is always reaching out, for all to return to His arms. As for me, it wasn't until I was a 12 year old that I heard that I needed to accept Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. Before that I didn't know I had to do anything with this Jesus. Jesus was only a curse word for me at the time. That or was just someone or something that the RE teachers bored me with at school.

We are primarily Christians, not because we come to church services or just happened to have been born in a supposedly Christian country. We are primarily Christians, because God first chased and harried us into His arms. We are Christians, if you are one, because God first loved you. And as a tremendous lover, He beckons and calls people all the time to respond to His call, and back to Him. How does He chase us with His love?

God chases each person differently, just as each Christian testimony is different. Take for instance the Apostle Paul in Acts 8 & 9. God chased him through Paul's mind and his religious upbringing and education. Paul had known about God from his childhood. Paul was a righteous Pharisee who saw persecuting these ‘Christians' as his religious duty, so that he may somehow find favour with God. As Paul was gloating over the death of the martyr Stephen, God was pursuing Him, probably raising doubts in Paul's mind as to why Stephen would say at the point of death "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit and forgive them for what they do" (Acts 7:54-60). Surely doubts must have been raised in Paul's mind as he approved of this death (Acts 8v1).

Paul was also wrestling with his conscience. Externally he was a righteous man, a Pharisee of Pharisees. Yet when he internally examined himself and his heart, he found himself failing regarding covetousness, which is the last of the Ten Commandments. Then finally, Jesus himself makes a sudden and dramatic appearance before Paul and confronts him directly, "Why are you kicking against me? Why are you rejecting my advances?" (Acts 9) Paul's conversion to Christianity is often described as being sudden. But the only thing sudden about his conversion was this climatic appearance of Jesus.

Just as that was true of Paul, it is true of me, just as it is true of all those who profess to call themselves a Christian Disciple. I am a Christian Disciple not because of anything I have done, but rather because He first chased me, and because He first loved me. Jesus himself said "I came to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10).

If you are a Christian today, it is not because of anything you have done. It is because of the events at Christmas and Easter that you are a Christian, when God entered this world as a human baby and took all the necessary steps so that all people could have the choice to be His people or not. In my more smug moments I used to congratulate myself for being a Christian. How proud I was that I, was a Christian and that God was a jolly lucky God that I had decided to follow Him. It was during one of my less self-deluded moments, that I examined myself and I found God pricking my conscience and correcting me, and I read the New Testament "For the Son of Man came, not to be served but to give His life as a ransom for many" (Mark10:45).

 

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Alfie brings you a WOW Word

WOW Word - God of Judement

~Today Alphy the WOWChurch Cat shares about

the WOW Word - God of Judgment!

 

We have all at some point liked to think of God as being only about love and never judging. People say “It will be alright in the end, because the love of God conquers all.” Well, remember also, that love involves judging. God is the judge of all the earth, the writer of Hebrews reminds us (Hebrews 12:23). This judgment has several aspects to it:

Unbiased

God shows no favoritism (Romans 2:11). God is eternally just and righteous. It is a reflection of His mercy, that nobody can claim God is unfair.

Unavoidable

Jesus Christ will judge the whole world with justice (Acts 17:31). Everybody is destined to die once and after that to face judgment (Hebrews 9:27). What is common to everybody, is a universal sinfulness (Romans 2:1). What is in the murderer or the thief is in everybody, everywhere and all the time. That is rebelliousness against God and that is sin and it must be judged. Judgement will be before the Great White Throne of Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15).

Universal

Judgment of unbelievers: Those who do not profess Jesus, as God, will be judged according to their sinfulness. They are already guilty, because they didn’t take up the offer of salvation through Grace during their earthly life. These people will be cast into the lake of fire with satan and his angels (Revelation 20:15; Matthew 25:41). This punishment is eternal (Matthew 25:46). Judgment of Christian Disciples: And that is not all.

 

Judgment of believers: Those who are believers, Christian disciples, and are actively engaged in a relationship with Jesus Christ, will also be judged. Does that surprise you? While these people have accepted God’s free offer and are declared righteous by faith, they will be judged according to the things they have done with, and in, their faith. Belief and faith are to be supported by good works (Romans 14:10-12; 2 Corinthians 5:10).

As a Christian Disciple, you will not be judged for sin - this has been judged (Isaiah 53:4-6; again I find that odd since it is quoting from before the event, which raises all sorts of questions about scripture. Why not Romans 6:21? Peter 2:24), and you have salvation on that basis. This judgment is not for your salvation but for your crown, your rewards (2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 5:4). As a Christian Disciple, you will be asked to give an account of yourself (Romans 14:10), and you will be judged according to what you have done (2 Corinthians 5:10). The quality of your work will be tested (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). Your motives will be exposed – either you did things for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 4:4-5) which is acceptable, or you did them for some other reasons which are not.

As a Christian Disciple, you will give account of the opportunities and abilities entrusted to you (Matthew 25:14-30). Rewards may be gained or lost (1 Corinthians 3:14-15). These rewards are described as:

  • an incorruptible crown (1 Corinthians 9:25)
  • a crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4)
  • a crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8)
  • a crown of rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19)
  • a crown of life (James 1:12)

So, go this day. Go this week. Go tell somebody of the crown waiting for them, if only they are willing to enter into a living and dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ. Remember - do all you do, for God’s glory and not your own.

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POD - Psalm 46

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Psalm 46

For the Chief Musician. By the sons of Korah.

According to Alamoth.

 

46:1 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
46:2 Therefore we won't be afraid, though the earth changes,
though the mountains are shaken into the heart of the seas;
46:3 though its waters roar and are troubled,
though the mountains tremble with their swelling.

Selah

46:4 There is a river, the streams of which make the city of God glad,
the holy place of the tents of the Most High.
46:5 God is in her midst.
She shall not be moved.
God will help her at dawn.
46:6 The nations raged. The kingdoms were moved.
He lifted his voice, and the earth melted.
46:7 Yahweh of Armies is with us.
The God of Jacob is our refuge.

Selah

46:8 Come, see Yahweh's works,
what desolations he has made in the earth.
46:9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth.
He breaks the bow, and shatters the spear.
He burns the chariots in the fire.
46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations.
I will be exalted in the earth."
46:11 Yahweh of Armies is with us.
The God of Jacob is our refuge.

Selah

 

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Think Spot - 28th January 2019

Charlotte Bronte - “Life appears to me to be too short to be spent in nursing animosity, or registering wrong.

 
Many people nurse a guilty conscience owing to holding onto animosity or wrongs done to them or having done wrong things to others. As a consequence, their life is filled with turmoil and bitterness. You may well be like that – I don’t know!
What I do know is that your conscience is the faculty which is sensitive to right and wrong, and judges your actions and attitudes. Everybody has a conscience and all are sensitive to spiritual truths, whether they are immediately aware of it or not.

According to the Bible, a clear conscience is essential for inner peace and joy, confidence in prayer, good health, effective service, .right relation-ships, effective witnessing, making right decisions, and victory in spiritual battle. A clear conscience is the inner joy and peace of spirit which results from having all personal wrongs made right with those whom a person had offended - either God or someone else.

However- many Christians carry around guilty consciences due mainly to unconfessed sins, affecting relationships with God, other people and themselves. If left unchecked, a conscience which is guilty, slowly grows 'dead', cold and silent. That is until such time that the guilt has been assuaged and put right.

If at the moment you are burdened by a guilty conscience, ask the Holy Spirit to show you clearly what is affecting your conscience. Then decide, at any cost, to clear it up in the power of the same Spirit. He will help you! Pray to the Father and ask forgiveness, (1 John 1:9), and fully accept His love and forgiveness. If there is anyone else involved, then you will also need to ask for their forgiveness (Matthew 5:23-24).

Ask the Father to help you go, and the Spirit will help you, because one of the hardest things in the world to say is: “I was wrong! Please forgive me." Your conscience can be cleansed because of what Jesus did on the cross!

Hebrews 9:14 “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
Go into this week, ready to serve the living God, being confident that the Holy Spirit living within you, empowers you, is transforming you and desires that your conscience be clear. He will help you overcome if you ask!

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