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Think Spot - 8th July 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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TOS.jpgTeachings of Seraphim

 
Part 6. Love for Neighbours

 

One must behave affectionately toward one’s neighbours, not showing even a hint of offense. When we turn away from a person or offend him, it is as if a rock settles on our heart. One must try to cheer the spirit of an embarrassed or dejected person with words of love.

When you see a brother sinning, cover him, as counselled by St. Isaac the Syrian: "Stretch out your vestment over the sinner and cover him."

In our relations with our neighbours we must be equally pure towards everyone in word as well as in thought; otherwise we will make our life useless. We must love others no less than ourselves, in accordance with the law of the Lord: "You shalt love your neighbour as yourself" (Luke 10:27).

But not so much that our love for others, by extending past the boundaries of moderation, diverts us from fulfilling the first and main law of love towards God, as our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught: "He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me" (Matthew 10:37).

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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Studies of Ruth

Study 5. Worship by Obedience.

Then finally, Ruth's obedience was also worship. How is this? The result of Ruth's obedience was Obed, the child fathered by Boaz as kinsman-redeemer, the one would inherit the family land and name in place of Naomi's dead husband and sons. Obed in Hebrew means "worship". Is not obedience really the outward action that derives from the inner response of faith love, and trust practised in regard to individuals and God? Jesus said "If you love me, you will obey what I command!" (John 14:15). Ruth's acts of obedience throughout this her story, are also practical acts of worship of the God she had made her own by faith. So Ruth's obedience has four factors to it: the wow factor, the witness factor, the wholeness factor and finally the worship factor!

Conclusion

Let us ask God to work in us, changing our weak attempts at obedience into acts of divine worship. We find delight in serving the Lord, instead of indulging in resentment over sinful leaders. The result will be inner freedom and release from bitterness, and also a powerful story to those in authority and to onlookers as well. Just as too Ruth's obedience of Naomi, moved Boaz and all Bethlehem, the Holy Spirit will enable us move others (Colossians 3:23-24).

While we obey others we can joyfully remember that it is God alone who is worthy of complete obedience. When our confidence in Him is reflected in our submission to others we become living stories to our trust in God's perfect plan. If we follow the example of Ruth, perhaps someone will notice our stories and find the witness, the wholeness, and the worship in our lives of obedience and praise God because of us. And, remember this from 1 Samuel 15:22 "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”

So go and be obedient to our awesome and holy God! Through obedience to Him, as revealed in Scripture, you will be growing and changing into the very likeness of Jesus Christ whom you follow. Through obedience, you will be able to enduring and be persistent in your Christian lifestyle and evangelism. So much so, that people will ask you for the reason for the hope you have and portray.

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Partakers Friday Prayers

5th July 2019

Come and join in praying for the world and yourself, offering praises to God through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit!

Order of Service

Opening prayer

Confession

Psalm 65

Prayers for Churches and Christians worldwide

Prayers for others

Silent time (Prayer for your own concerns)

Prayers for the world

Prayer of Benedict of Nursia

 

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Pulp Theology 14

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PulpTheology Book

Glimpses Into Leviticus

The book we are looking at this week is Glimpses Into Leviticus: a book of Joy. (part of the "Glimpses Into" series)

Leviticus is perhaps the most maligned, misunderstood and under-read book of the Bible today.

Andrew Bonar once said: "There is no book that contains more of the very words of God than Leviticus. It is God that is the direct speaker in almost every page; his gracious words are recorded in the form wherein they were uttered."

How are we to read this amazing book? Leviticus does have important things to tell us about God, sin, obedience and holiness. Perhaps most importantly it tells of God wanting to live with His people. Some of the words and phrases we commonly use in the English language, come straight from the book of Leviticus. Come! Let us glimpse into this marvellous book of the Bible together - Leviticus the book of joy! Why do I call it a book of joy? One reason is that it reveals a God who wants to live with His people. For other reasons, you will have to look inside and read it to discover why!

Here is what 1 Amazon reviewer said: "5 stars! A theological view of Leviticus as opposed to c]the view it is an archaic 'laundry list'. Whether you agree with some of the conclusions or not, it will help you want to delve deeper, think more deeply about this often avoided book."

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Alfie brings you a WOW Word

WOW Word - Trinity

~Today Alphy the WOWChurch Cat shares about

the WOW Word Trinity!

 

One of the problems that people tell me they have with the Christian God is the concept of God being a Trinity, asking “Why must God be a Trinity?” After all they say, the word Trinity isn’t in the Bible! And they are partly correct, insomuch as that there is no explicit Bible text using the word trinity. However, the concept is explicit throughout the Bible.

Another problem they say is that in the Old Testament part of the Bible the cry “The Lord our God is One” resonates throughout!! And yes that is true! But there are glimpses of the Trinity in the Old Testament! Such as when Bezalel was filled with the Holy Spirit, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts in Exodus 35! Such as when David cried in repentance for God not to take the Holy Spirit away from him in Psalm 51! Or when Isaiah saw the pre-incarnate Jesus in a vision in Isaiah 6 and verified by Jesus good friend John in John 12:41.

Download the audio using the link below and listen to this weeks WOW Word Trinity!

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POD - Psalm 43

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Psalm 43

1 Vindicate me, God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation.

Oh, deliver me from deceitful and wicked men.

2 For you are the God of my strength.

Why have you rejected me?

Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

3 Oh, send out your light and your truth.

Let them lead me.

Let them bring me to your holy hill,

To your tents.

4 Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my exceeding joy.

I will praise you on the harp, God, my God.

5 Why are you in despair, my soul?

Why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God!

For I shall still praise him: my Savior, my helper, and my God

 

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Think Spot - 1st July 2019

We have the start of a new week! Its Monday! How and in what circumstances are you trusting God? How did Jesus Christ trust in the Father? Jesus knew that the Father was going to bring Him back to life after his death on the cross. Jesus trusted the Father in this area of His life, just as he did in all aspects of his life. How are you doing? Do you have concerns and areas of your life where you need an assurance that God the Father will help you?

Here are some simple steps which may help you maintain a trust in God.

  1. Pray, casting all anxiety on God. He cares for you because you are His personal concern (The great apostle Peter, one of Jesus' closest friends wrote this in 1 Peter 5:7 "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.")
  2. Accept and thank God that His peace has filled that area (Another great apostle, Paul, wrote this in Philippians 4v7 says "Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.")
  3. Learn to be content whatever your circumstances are, resting in God (Paul goes on in Philippians 4v11-12 "Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.")
  4. Allow the Spirit to control your mind for life and peace (and again from the pen of the apostle Paul, this time in Romans 8v6 "So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.")
  5. Trust God to fulfil your every need (Matthew records these words of Jesus in Matthew 6v32-33 "but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." )
  6. Obey and follow God's commands to love God and love others (Jesus is recorded in Matthew 22v37-40 "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.' The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.")
  7. Finally, be prepared to be obedient to the Father, in supplying the needs of others you meet and therefore showing you love God and other people! One way to show you are trusting and loving God is to be the answer to the prayers of somebody else and showing that love to them! Ask God to show you, how you can help somebody else in need this week and showing your love.

Go in peace this Monday, into this week, knowing God is worthy of your trust! God will take care of you, but not always in the way you expect! Expect Him to allow circumstances and situations to arise where you are to trust Him fully! He will help you if you ask! After all, He knows you better than anybody! And don't be afraid to help somebody else because by doing that, you show you are loving and trusting in God!

Father, I pray that You would help us to trust in You and that You would supply our needs, calm our concerns and help us to love You and others more fully. I ask this through the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit who lives inside all those who have peace with you. Amen

 

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TOS.jpgTeachings of Seraphim

 
Part 5. Love for God

 

He who has acquired perfect love for God goes through this life as if he did not exist. For he considers himself a stranger to all that is visible and awaits with patience that which is unseen. He is completely transformed into love for God and has abandoned all worldly attachments.

He who truly loves God considers himself a wanderer and newcomer on earth, for in him is a striving towards God in soul and mind, which contemplates Him alone.

As for care of the soul, a person in his body is like a lighted candle. The candle must burn out, and a person must die. But as our soul is immortal, so our cares should be directed more toward the soul than the body: "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:26)" for which, as is known, nothing in the world can serve as ransom? If the soul alone is worth more than all the world and the worldly kingdom, then the Kingdom of Heaven is incomparably more precious. We consider the soul as most precious for the reason stated by Macarius the Great, that God did not desire to bond and unite His spiritual essence with any visible creation except man, whom He loves more than any of His creations.

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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Studies of Ruth

Study 4 - Wholeness in obedience

Let's start with a question. How did Ruth's obedience come to have such a tremendous impact on those around her? It all started with a personal commitment, a permanent decision that brought her peace and provided her with direction for all that followed. On the border of Moab, Ruth had told Naomi of her commitment (Ruth 1:16-17) as we read earlier. Ruth's commitment was absolute.

Rather than constraining her, this new commitment gave her new purpose and opportunity to develop her character. When they arrived in Bethlehem, Ruth volunteered to pick up the leftover grain (Ruth 2:2). When she returned to Naomi, Ruth shared her grain with Naomi and told her about her day.

Then it was Naomi who sensed God's direction and gave Ruth detailed instructions as to how to approach Boaz, which Ruth obeyed perfectly (Ruth 3:1-6). Ruth 4:17 indicates that after Ruth's future and family were secure, Naomi was included in the household redeemed by Boaz, for when the neighbours noticed how much she cared for Obed they said "Naomi has a son." Truly the deepest love, trust and respect were at the centre of Ruth's & Naomi's relationship, bringing both of them mutual fulfilment.

As Ruth obeyed Naomi, so she obeyed Boaz, both at their first meeting and later at the threshing floor. She won both the admiration of Naomi and Boaz as much by the quickness of her unquestioning responses as by her completeness in carrying out commands. Ruth won respect because she offered her respect in the form of obedience. Her obedience was total and complete. Not through coercion, but by love and adoration.

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