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Archive for June, 2017

Friday Prayers 30 June 2017

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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!

Lord, because you have made me,
I owe you the whole of my love;
because you have redeemed me, I owe you the whole of myself;
because you have promised so much, I owe you my whole being.
Moreover, I owe you as much more love than myself as you are greater than I,
for whom you gave yourself and to whom you promised yourself.

I pray you, Lord,
make me taste by love what I taste by knowledge;
let me know by love what I know by understanding.
I owe you more than my whole self,
but I have no more,
and by myself I cannot render the whole of it to you.
Draw me to you, Lord, in the fullness of your love.
I am wholly yours by creation;
make me all yours, too, in love.
Amen

(A prayer of Anselm 1033-1109)

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Think Spot 26 June 2017

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Think Spot 26 June 2017

 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

Isn’t it great to be a believer? Or maybe yesterday’s meetings at Church were not much of an inspiration to you as you begin a new week? You just didn’t get much from the services yesterday. You listened but other thought you allowed to crowd in. Concerns for certain family members, friends or neighbours. So you have not started the week with gusto. Even your morning quiet time today didn’t go well. Your prayer life hit rock bottom. Your prayers, you thought didn’t get any higher than the ceiling. You had to not only drag yourself out of bed but also through your devotions. “Is this what the Christian life is all about?” you ask yourself. Am I not meant to be a joyful triumphant Christian?

Our minds are fertile ground and must be guarded and guided. They are open to all kinds of infiltrations and our part is to guard our minds and put useful good healthy thoughts in. The key is to ask ourselves the question “What would Jesus have me do?” “What can I do for His Kingdom and name sake?” “Is there someone today I could meet up with and encourage? Someone to offer financial help to? Someone who needs my sympathy? Someone who needs a car lift to hospital? We need to take our minds off of our own needs and focus on others and their needs.

Minds can soak up all kinds of useless stuff if we let them. Jesus took time to prepare himself for each day. He began with several hours in prayer. Maybe we should see Him as our example as well as reading a good Christian biography, including a commentary on a passage from the Bible each morning and pray it in. If we did we might have a much better day. It’s our relationship with Jesus that will determine our state of mind throughout the day. Think on these things .Have a great day and a great week!

Dear Lord, take care of my mind and do not allow those awful thoughts to continue in my mind. Help me think upon good useful thoughts that are sweet and helpful to building others up which will glorify God. I am sorry for allowing such rubbish to fill my mind. Instead, fill my mind with thoughts such as “How would Jesus think about this situation where I have anger, jealousy or even hatred. The truth is I want to be like You Lord.” In Jesus name.
Amen!

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Exploring the Bible -21. New Testment – 1 Corinthians

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Exploring The Bible

21. New Testament

1 Corinthians – A.D. 55

 

G’day and welcome to our series, “Exploring the Bible” This is also the title of our latest book available on Amazon by clicking here or visiting PulpTheology.com

Key Verses:

  • 1 Corinthians 1:30
  • 1 Corinthians 10:12-13

 

The established church in Corinth had been taught by Paul, but had not learned its lessons very well! Paul had a vested interest in them because of this. Members of the church were living sinful lives and this was expressed in many forms.

Paul wrote to correct them. In doing so, he shows great love and a truly pastoral heart. On his way through his argument to them Paul expounds great themes such as love and the resurrection.

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Gems in the Letter of 1 John – Part 102

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Gems in the Letter of 1 John

Part 102 – 1 John 2:2
The sacrifice on the Cross


The second of these so important verses says: ‘. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.’

There is, in the original an even more important and difficult word to translate here than we had in the last verse. It is, in the Greek, ‘hilasmos’. The NIV, and also the NRSV, have chosen to translate it as ‘atoning sacrifice’, which is a very neutral choice, as we still have to work out what that means! Other versions are often bolder. Some have ‘propitiation’ (that is: an action which turns aside the wrath of an angry God, NASB, ESV, HCSB). Many have argued that should be ‘expiation’ (that is: an action which deals with a persons sins which are preventing their approach to a holy God). Other less difficult words are used in some other translations: ‘the means by which our sins are forgiven (GNB)’, or ‘ the sacrifice that takes away our sins” (CEV, JB). As if all that is not enough none of these are the basic meaning with which the word is used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament that most of these New Testament writers used. That basic meaning is ‘mercy seat’, referring to the gold covered lid of the covenant box which was placed in the deepest and most holy part of the tabernacle and then of the temple. At either side of the lid were two cherubim who spread their wings over the centre of the seat thus creating a kind of cavity. Moses was specifically told that that was where the Lord would be when he met with him and from where he would be given further instructions as to how he was to proceed. Thus in Exodus 25: 22 we read, ‘There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the covenant law, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.’ The great significance of that is that it was then considered to be the place where the Lord God was – in a very special way.

If we then realise that this is the image we are being given of Jesus and his work it is not only about the great sacrifice Jesus had made on the cross but also a clear indication that it was in him that God came to earth and communicated with mankind.

This marvellous verse is telling us that it is in and through Jesus, the advocate with the Father, of the previous verse that we – yes – you and me – have contact with the Father God! In a real way that has to come before and with the work of atonement that Jesus effected through his death on the Cross. It came from the moment Jesus came to earth.

Note that this also explains why John says it was ‘for the whole world’. This is not saying that everyone will be saved but that a new era of human life opened up as Jesus lived and died. From that moment on the ‘mercy seat’ became available for all mankind. Before that only a few very special people, mainly Jews, had had any possibility of approaching and communicating with God. Now the way was open for all peoples, all nations, all races, everyone in the community you live in, your neighbours, YOU and me, to approach and communicate with the Lord God. The only qualification was, and is, active belief and trust in Jesus. Wow!

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Think Spot 19 June 2017

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Think Spot 19 June 2016

Here we are Monday again. Are you pleased? Are you ready for a new day at the office, or at college or in the factory or at a desk? You are a Christian right? So what are you thinking as you resume where you left off last week?


Did you pray before you left home? Great for that’s the best way to start off. You spent a little time with the Lord in His Word and have sought his leading through the day. That is also commendable. Have you sought protection from the Lord also? Have you realised there is someone who is anxious that you don’t triumph in Christ today. That of course is satan. He is someone who wants to safeguard his territory and his prisoners – those who are already under his control.

So look at this day as an exciting day with all kinds of great prospects. If you are walking and talking with God you couldn’t be in better company or stronger. He will be your shield and refuge a very present help in time of trouble. He is at your right hand and will be in control as you yield yourself confidently to His direction through the day. Ok a lot of routine stuff but do it as well as you can and cheerfully. But you don’t know my boss?

No but God does and he has you there in that place for a reason never doubt. You may not see anything terrific happen today no miracles but you are a light shining for Jesus and will make an impact upon someones day today as you come into contact just your presence in the same room. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify God in Heaven.

Trust in the Lord and be not afraid. Watch your behaviour and enjoy God’s presence with you. You are in the centre of his will and its going to be a great Monday. Our confidence is in the Lord.

Psalm 23 reads “He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake”

Believe and act upon those words spoken by David and at the end of day you may well be able to also say with him “My cup runs over”

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Exploring the Bible – 20. New Testament – 2 Corinthians

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Exploring The Bible

20. New Testament

2 Corinthians – AD 55-56

 

G’day and welcome to our series, “Exploring the Bible” This is also the title of our latest book available on Amazon by clicking here or visiting PulpTheology.com

Key Verses:

  • 2 Corinthians 4:5-6 / 2 Corinthians 5:17

 

The church in Corinth had not taken well to the direction Paul has given it in previous letters. Second Corinthians deals with the alienation between Paul and the Corinthians, its effect upon both parties and Paul’s hope for reconciliation.

Paul presents his authority, message, suffering, disappointments, responsibilities, blessings, and hope. He weaves the threads of the letter together so that the Corinthians are encouraged to grow in Christ.

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Gems in the Letter of 1 John – Part 101

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Gems in the Letter of 1 John

Part 101 – 1 John 2:1
Our Advocate


We come now to two very important verses in the thinking of John. He is deeply concerned about the people in his fellowship. I will call them the ‘In’ group. They are being got at by the ‘Out’ group, who are people who have left the fellowship. They are mentioned most clearly in 2: 19 where John says, ‘ they went out from us’. We do not know with absolute certainty what happened but by far the most likely thing is that they had become Gnostic in their thinking. They had decided that there were special things they knew that made them superior to the In group. For them belief in Jesus and following his teaching was no longer enough. Their religion was therefore very similar to that of many of the other small religious groups common in those days. That would probably have had the advantage of making them much safer physically because they would not have appeared to the authorities to be as dangerously different as the Christians seemed to be.

The Out group were trying to persuade members of the In group to join them. In the eyes of John what the Out folk were teaching was so far adrift from what Jesus had taught, and the main line of the early church were teaching, that they were idolatrous and therefore very sinful. So we get the two verses 2:1,2: ‘My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.’

Here, in the first of these two verses, we get the word that appeared several times in the farewell message of Jesus in chapters 14 – 16 of John’s gospel that was translated in the NIV as ‘advocate’ and in several different ways, including ‘counselor’ and ‘helper’ in other versions,. There is much less problem here. An ‘advocate’ is ‘one who speaks on behalf of another’ or ‘one called alongside to help’ and that is the more straightforward meaning here.

Bur there is a problem: in what sense can we say that Jesus was alongside to help these people and indeed, can be alongside to help us today? The answer lies in the whole purpose of the ascension of Jesus after his death and resurrection. He did not go back to heaven to do nothing. Of course it is quite impossible to describe precisely what goes on in heaven in earthly terms so we get slightly different pictures of what he is doing in the books of Hebrews and Romans. The writer to the Hebrews has a static picture of what Jesus is doing. He says Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Lord God, establishing by his presence there the eternal validity of his sacrifice on the cross. He is sitting there as the Great High Priest, much superior to all human high priests in the effectiveness and eternal duration of his sacrifice on the cross. We see that in Hebrews chapters 4 – 10 and particularly in 9: 11 – 15 where he says: ‘But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 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! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.’

And the writer to the Hebrews sums up the effect for us by saying in 7: 25, ‘Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.’

Paul has a more dynamic picture when he says in Romans 8:26, ‘ In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.’ He refers to the Holy Spirit rather than Jesus but, of course, the two pictures are more or less interchangeable in this context.

When we talk about our prayer life some people even boast about how extensive and effective their prayers are, but all that fades into insignificance before what the Lord is doing for us. He is praying for you and me, talking about us with his Father, in heaven right now. He is continuously reminding the Father about us, our strengths and weaknesses, our triumphs and our failures – known as sins (not that the Father has a bad memory, but how else can I emphasize what he is doing?). Why he can do that so effectively we are told in the next verse – but that is for next time.

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