CHRISTIAN WORSHIP CENTRE 

Thursday 19 November 2020

1 Thess 2 v 1 to 12.


  1. Background.

Paul is writing his first letter to the church in Thessalonica. He had spent a short time there, preaching and planting. Paul had met a lot of opposition, which you can read about in Acts 17 and 18.  The church grew quickly and its good reputation spread rapidly. In chapter 1 the apostle praises the churches own fortitude and example, and encourages them to continue in the same way.

This may well be the first letter Paul wrote to the churches, and is widely dated at 51AD.


  1. Basic subject

What is this passage basically about? (This is always a good question to start with when studying any passage of scripture.)

We concluded that Paul was explaining, summarising and defending the approach of he and his companions to the people of Thessalonica, as they had preached among them.


  1. Defense of preachers and pastors

We noted that ministers of the gospel are particularly prone to attack. As we prayed later we particularly gave thanks for those who have given themselves to this work, and for their protection from a few things that are implied here. One was the subject of money. Leaders get accused of greed sometimes. They can fall into temptation as much as anyone else, so it behoves us to pray for their protection from both temptation and false accusation. 

The greater the ministry it seems, the greater the criticism it attracts. Nevertheless we encouraged one another by sharing some helpful global preaching ministries we'd enjoyed via the internet. People like Joseph Prince from Singapore, Joyce Meyer and others. Often we're not aware of their character so much as the persuasiveness of their message. How then do we discern truth from deception in this realm? The Bible itself provides our standard of truth. It is therefore good and right to be students of its truth as well as follow the teaching of these popular preachers. Having said that, by and large we had found it helpful to inform our understanding of the truth as well as our application of it to our daily lives.

In verse 3 Paul refers to impure motives that move people to preach falsely. Why are people suspicious of gospel preaching? At that time the gospel was a new faith, and therefore under close scrutiny and even fierce resistance from different groups. The opposition Paul met in Macedonia and Achaia (today's Greece) is an example. We noted that opposition to Christanity these days is, by contrast, often on the grounds of rejecting faith that is perceived as being “old hat”.


  1. Attitude of pastors and preachers

The apostle refers to his attitude as that of a mother and then of a father in verses 7 then 11. What experience have you had of that? Some in our study group had been treated harshly by their leaders, but kindly by their peers. Others were able to testify of wonderful pastoral support from both quarters. We gave thanks for all the kindness and care we had received as we prayed afterwards.


We enjoyed a fruitful and stimulating study today, and pray that those of you reading these notes are equally blessed.


Thursday 12th November

Welcome to Bible Study & Prayer

Today we will be studying 1 Thessalonians 1:6-10


VERSES 6-10


So Paul rejoices when he thinks of the Thessalonian believers.

In v5 Paul says the gospel came with the power of the Holy Spirit 

In v6  -Paul makes the comment that they received it with joy - joy is springing up out of severe suffering  and persecution….the source of this joy : the Holy Spirit who produces this fruit of the Spirit.


Another observation is that the gospel message did not terminate in Thessalonica !

>>>V6-8 

As a result of joyfully receiving the powerful word of God, the believers became imitators of Paul,Silas and Timothy , and Jesus. God's word is being put to its intended purposes


The believers imitated Paul and  the Lord..v7- ‘Now you have become an example, ( a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia  ) for all the believers to follow throughout the province of Greece-  the whole of modern- day Greece

>>>Macedonia and Achaia were  two Roman provinces into which Greece was divided


What was the impact of this strong faith demonstrated by these believers?


V8- ( anyone read from another version like TPT ?) the gospel message has sounded out, echoed like thunder far beyond the boundaries.So much so that wherever Paul and his team go, people are telling them about the remarkable, strong  faith. 


The word “rang out” or “echoed” ( from the Greek) could be rendered ‘ reverberated ‘. So it is like Paul saying the believers are relay stations receiving the gospel message but then sends it farther on its way with increased power and scope


The church was noted for its strong faith. 


POINTS TO PONDER :

What sort of reputation would you like to have as a believer or even as a church?

Do people see God's message and kind of life in us?


Of note is the strategic location of Thessalonica - located on the main trading routes for both sea and road. It was a bustling seaport city with important communication and trade links


 The believers maximised every opportunity to spread the word far and wide. What they received , they passed on to others( receivers become transmitters )


V9-10 What three verbs  describe what these believers did when they embraced Christ?

      

        they turned to God from idols.  ( repentance )

        they served the living and true God

        they wait for Jesus’ return eagerly, confidently …when He will come in glory


Three marks or prominent features of true conversion 


POINTS TO PONDER

Just wondered if you received such a letter how would you respond ? 

Would you be encouraged by knowing your faith is real and it is working?



APPLICATION 

 

What is the challenge here for us ?

These believers despite opposition and the lack of modern resources  found ways to ‘ring out the Lord’s message’.

 Let us ask God for courage and wisdom to use available opportunities and resources to share the life- changing message. SPREAD THE WORD


Let us encourage each other to be good examples, role models - LIVE THE CHANGED LIFE



Thursday 5th November 2020


WELCOME TO BIBLE STUDY AND PRAYER


Today we are studying Paul’s first letter to the church in Thessalonica 



1 THESSALONIANS 1:1-5


(Please pray before you begin)


INTRODUCTION:


Paul , together with Silas and  Timothy, established the church, a city church in Thessalonica

It is likely that this is the first letter Paul wrote to a church if not one of his earliest letters

 ( written around 50-51AD)

Paul writes to a largely Gentile church. The church consisted of Gentiles and some Jewish believers. Paul had spent some time in Thessalonica previously . While he was there he experienced some opposition from both  the secular and religious authorities 

Only months after leaving Thessalonica, Paul wrote this epistle.


So when Paul heard the news of how the church had grown despite continued opposition, he writes to encourage their hearts. This is the central theme : encouragement by the apostle Paul for the church at Thessalonica .

 He  praises them for their spiritual maturity and perseverance. He also encourages them to further growth in view of Christ’s return

The church is thriving despite persecution and trials.

First thoughts : At the very heart of the Christian faith is the claim that people can be changed.

                        There is a tendency sometimes to think that certain individuals cannot change

               As believers, we know -that individuals can be born again

                                                     - that individuals can be delivered from the kingdom of darkness      and transplanted into the kingdom of light

                                                     - that people dead in Adam can become new creations in Christ 


>> think back to how you became a Christian: who was involved?, a short or long process? Or what different ways God used to get your attention with the gospel message?


It is God who brings about such a change as part of His mission to bring salvation to all

Like the Thessalonians, we are called to be part of His mission 

                                                      

Here is a Christian church in the middle of heathen Thessalonica . Are the believers going to survive or thrive? They are a vulnerable group by human standards

Added to this is the vicious persecution from the Jews that Paul experienced.This is the kind of pressure they are under . To get a better idea, to get background information you can read Acts 17: verses 1-9 



VERSES 1-5


After Paul receives good news about the believers from Timothy whom Paul sent to encourage them, he begins his letter by reassuring them. He greets them/ imparts to them, with grace and peace

God's grace is the basis for and leads to our peace. They are in a position of grace and peace and this is to be their experience 


What do we learn about the church?


V1- the believers are the church in God and in Christ- that is how he wants them to see themselves. Not the church in troublesome and antagonistic Thessalonica.

The church in perfect security in God Himself-  This is their  unbreakable  relationship/position in Christ Jesus. This is how they should see themselves IN God the Father and IN the Lord Jesus Christ 


V2- God is looking after His church and Paul , Silas and Timothy care for them too. They are holding the believers in prayer with thanksgiving continually . Paul remembers those to whom  he witnessed and taught. He recalls their service and is so motivated to pray with thanksgiving 


“ we are always giving thanks for you and praying for you”- there is power in this kind of prayer…continual, joyful prayer for believers who we know are under pressure 

> give thanks for the Christian life of other believers when we pray for them. Why? We want God to work in and on behalf of others


V3- what the believers found in Christ is real. It is not a mere change of religion in a moment of pressure. The reality of this transformation means that they could not just give up this new-found faith

Look at three words here: faith , hope, love: ( words often found in NT together - a triad ). Three Christian virtues- faith, love and hope


How is this triad of faith, love and hope expressed.? What is it that characterises the ( spiritually young converts) new believers?


—‘ a faith that is proved by works’- what they believe, they are living out, faith is being outworked - the new life in Christ .When we share God's word with others this too is expressing our faith 


—‘ a love that is proved by labour’- they are not just saying they love, they are by their actions

 demonstrating the love…their deeds are the outworking of this love


—‘ a hope that is proved by perseverance ‘ -they had not given up! Their confidence is in the risen and reigning Saviour . So whatever the persecution, they are holding on to the certainty of salvation .This hope is enabling them to endure, to persevere in God's purposes. Endurance is inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ


>>>>In verses 4-6 we see important verses about how we are to communicate the truth to others

-preach / share in the power of the Spirit and with faith

-then demonstrate what you share / say, so your lives  become examples to others<<<<<


VV4- 5

So God chose these believers- their lives proved God's electing love .( based on God’s  foreknowledge of faith and therefore believers are secure and privileged )


How was the gospel presented to them ? In what ways did it come to them?


 The gospel had come to them with God's transforming power, according to V5.

—- with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction ( that it is true )


The gospel presented by Paul and others originated from the Father. So it's God's gospel, yet it is Christ’s gospel as a result of His atoning death, power. 


Then through the power of the Spirit, the believers are delivered from spiritual bondage

 Nothing emotional here —Plain , ordinary yet  Spirit - filled words had become dynamite to them. God had spoken, God chose  these believers - in the sense that they were chosen for privilege , opportunity ,and responsibility.These privileges and opportunities have their basis in the relationship of faith with God. Paul and the others knew that these believers were God's choice.


>>>>Latter part of v5- ‘You know how we lived among you for your sake’ - TPT says “Surely you remember how we lived our lives transparently before you to encourage you”….united with their brothers and sisters through the union with Christ. They lived among the believers, their lifestyle was an example to the believers who in turn would be examples too….


>>>Anyone wishes to share briefly if you had a similar  experience ? Was there someone who shared their life with you, their life was transparent  to you, so you saw what living this changed life looks like?


Thursday 15th October 2020


Welcome to the Bible Study and Prayer


Today's passage is from John 17:20-26

(PLEASE READ)



Introduction 


This prayer is usually known as the “High Priestly Prayer of Jesus”. These are the last hours before Jesus goes to the cross.The last hours with His disciples before He goes to the cross ends in a prayer meeting

So in those dangerous final hours as opposition closes in on Him and the cross is imminent, He prays. His arrest , trial and crucifixion are imminent 

Jesus ,as He serves as our Great High Priest makes intercession with the Father


He starts the prayer by focussing on his Father and the unity they share. V1-5

He then prays for his disciples, the apostles ,to be sanctified so they can carry out His mission V 6-19


Jesus takes the time to pray for us even on the eve of His death .With the weight of our sins pressing down on Him, He prays for us , believers 

me 


What does Jesus want for His people, the Church ? What is the content of His intercession here?

V20-22 : 

——that they all may be one—- united in faith and love. Jesus prays for our union with other believers (union- a relationship that binds people together in love and purpose)

There are some words repeated here , emphasising the need for true unity . This unity is founded in truth( God's  Word) and NOT lies or deception. Jesus does not want division in His Church  


The key to unity among believers is experiencing the glory of God that Jesus has imparted to us( as one with God through faith in Christ)


He did not say something like ‘Father in heaven make all My disciples the same…’ If this was the case then the chosen disciples would be a different bunch .


For example  some of Jesus’ disciples were Simon the political  Zealot, a tax collector, John the gentle, loving disciple and of course Peter who typically would talk before thinking

A very diverse group, so different !


The world will know that God sent Jesus without doubt by the way we get along with each other. Unity in the Church is a compelling testimony to the world

 


Verse 22- What is the standard for the unity among believers ? What is the pattern that believers are to follow? 

The unity that is reflected  between the Father and Son- the complete harmony and agreement  they have Jesus prays that believers will  have also. This is the basis for unity; our unity reflecting the triune relationship of the Godhead



COMMENT :Much of verses 22 and 23 is a repetition of verses 20 and 21( very important when themes are repeated )

——-notice that Jesus prays for unity among believers in both places. In addition this unity is based upon the unity that exists between the Father and the Son ( so a ‘ vertical and then horizontal’ unity )



This unity enables believers to be the witnesses in the world they are called to be. Unity enables the mission of God. When the world looks in they will be attracted to the gospel because of our unity

It could be that you may not need to expound any theological truth for the unity is so visible , so marked that unbelievers are attracted to the gospel message


> Yet we can disagree without having disunity

>The gospel frees us to disagree with each other with great love and graciousness as Jesus shows




———————-


Some thoughts  on the ‘glory’ 

-as seen in verse 22-‘I have given them the glory You gave Me…’Jesus has given His glorious life to enable the unity among believers 


   -as seen in verse 24:READ V24. Jesus wants all believers to know His glory in heaven

This is the end hope …it is God's heart for us “they shall be His people , God Himself will be among them”  (Revelation 21:3)


 So what is the nature of the glory the Father gave the Son?

Answer: it was the glory of the humility of the incarnation, culminating both in the glorification of the Son at the crucifixion and in the glory of his resurrected and exalted state

The earthly sufferings of our Lord  are part of His glory.Jesus’ purpose in glorifying the Father was through His incarnation, humble earthly life and ministry in addition to His death , resurrection and ascension

>>>>>It is the glory of servant hood and of sacrificial service that our Lord gave to His disciples

Believers ,like His disciples then, suffer for the sake of Christ 

——————————-



          ( Read verses 24-26)Jesus prays for INTIMACY WITH HIM


V24 Jesus desires to be with His people: ‘Father My desire is that all those You have given Me will be with Me where I am going’. It is about being in Heaven- the church’s ultimate destiny - with Him where  you can behold His glory and share in it too…be like Him

 Yet it is also about a real life- giving, ongoing ,honest relationship with God who created us. The relationship is to be close and meaningful…purposeful 


As we grow in the Lord, the glory within begins to grow -so others see the Lord and glorify Him , not us


He wants us to be near Him always because we believe in Him . We believe God sent Jesus .This is the beginning of this unique intimacy


V25- Jesus acknowledges the world opposes the things of God. As believers we accept that the Father has sent Jesus. So the church must be a loving community , reflecting Jesus’ character if unbelievers are  to begin to  believe what we believe and experience .



How does Jesus end the prayer?


V26-Jesus ends the prayer - He prays that the same love the Father has for Him will be in all believers. A deep , eternal love…it cannot be duplicated in the world 



This is the love poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, the love that enables believers to live at one with God and with one another .He desires that His people be characterised by a life of love one for the other


Intimacy with the living God is the key to vitality and fruitfulness 


How does God feel about you/ us?

Jesus has revealed truth about God to believers so that the same love God the Father has for Jesus , that same love will be in us. And the life of Jesus will be expressed in the believers’ lives


>>>This love is available to us not because we are lovable.God loves us despite the fact that we are unloveable.His is an unwavering love for us despite our selfishness, pettiness, our sinfulness 


POINT TO PONDER 

We are not made right with God because we are right on all issues

We are made right with God because of Jesus our Saviour so we are secure in our union / relationship with God.

So then any disagreement we may have is discussed with grace , and in love 



 So our unity comes out of an inward spiritual reality( intimacy ) which produces an outward harmony among other believers 

Here we see some spiritual priorities that were on our Lord’ heart as He prayed : like the glory of God, the unity of the church in the presence of a hostile world, sharing truth/ gospel  with a lost world


Application:

Question: Are Christ’s prayers being fulfilled in your life and in His Body, His Church?? 

Are we focussing on these priorities too when we pray?


 Let us open our hearts so He fills us with His life, power and love.Then let His life , power and love flow out to others as His Spirit leads

AMEN



Thursday 8th October 2020

The Faith & Hope of Abraham (2)


Before we move onto our second passage regarding Abraham, let us first consider the definitions of “Faith” found in Hebrews 11:1-3, 6. 


“Now faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things we long for. It is all the evidence required to prove what is still unseen. This testimony of faith is what previous generations were commended for. Faith empowers us to see that the universe was created and beautifully coordinated by the power of God’s words! He spoke and the invisible realm gave birth to all that is seen.”

Hebrews 11:1-3 TPT

https://www.bible.com/1849/heb.11.1-3.tpt


“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.”

Hebrews 11:1-2 NKJV

https://www.bible.com/114/heb.11.1-2.nkjv


“Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses]. For by this [kind of] faith the men of old gained [divine] approval.”

Hebrews 11:1-2 AMP

https://www.bible.com/1588/heb.11.1-2.amp


From these three different translations of Hebrews 11:1-3, how is faith defined? 


‘Faith brings our hopes into reality & becomes the foundation needed to acquire what we long for.’

‘It is all the evidence required to prove what is still unseen.’ 

‘This testimony of faith is what previous generations were commended for.’

 ‘Faith empowers us to see that the universe was created & beautifully co-ordinated by the power of God’s words! He spoke & the invisible realm gave birth to all that is seen,’ (Hebrews 11:1-3)The Passion Translation.


‘Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,’ Hebrews 11:1, New King James Version. 


‘Faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), & the evidence of things not seen (the conviction of their reality - faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses).’ 

‘For by this (kind of) faith the men of old gained (divine) approval,’ Hebrews 11:1-2, Amplified Version. 


“And without faith living within us it would be impossible to please God. For we come to God in faith knowing that he is real and that he rewards the faith of those who passionately seek him.”Hebrews 11:6 TPT

https://www.bible.com/1849/heb.11.6.tpt


“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”Hebrews 11:6 NIV

https://www.bible.com/111/heb.11.6.niv


“But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].”

Hebrews 11:6 AMPC

https://www.bible.com/8/heb.11.6.ampc


“And without faith living within us it would be impossible to please God,” can also be translated as “we are powerless to please God.” The Greek word “adynatos” literally means “impotent” or “powerless.” 

“For we come to God in faith knowing that He is real & that He rewards the faith of those who give all their passion & strength into seeking Him.” 

This can also be translated as “anyone who approaches God must believe in Him.” 


It is in the context of these opening verses from Hebrews chapter 11, that we continue to take into account the faith & hope of Abraham.


“Faith motivated Abraham to obey God’s call and leave the familiar to discover the territory he was destined to inherit from God. So he left with only a promise and without even knowing ahead of time where he was going, Abraham stepped out in faith. He lived by faith as an immigrant in his promised land as though it belonged to someone else. He journeyed through the land living in tents with Isaac and Jacob who were persuaded that they were also co-heirs of the same promise. His eyes of faith were set on the city with unshakable foundations, whose architect and builder is God himself. Sarah’s faith embraced God’s miracle power to conceive even though she was barren and was past the age of childbearing, for the authority of her faith rested in the One who made the promise, and she tapped into his faithfulness. In fact, so many children were subsequently fathered by this aged man of faith—one who was as good as dead, that he now has offspring as innumerable as the sand on the seashore and as the stars in the sky!”

Hebrews 11:8-12 TPT

https://www.bible.com/1849/heb.11.8-12.tpt


“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.”

Hebrews 11:8-12 NIV

https://www.bible.com/111/heb.11.8-12.niv


“[Urged on] by faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went, although he did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go. [Prompted] by faith he dwelt as a temporary resident in the land which was designated in the promise [of God, though he was like a stranger] in a strange country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs with him of the same promise. [Gen. 12:1-8.] For he was [waiting expectantly and confidently] looking forward to the city which has fixed and firm foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God. Because of faith also Sarah herself received physical power to conceive a child, even when she was long past the age for it, because she considered [God] Who had given her the promise to be reliable and trustworthy and true to His word. [Gen. 17:19; 18:11-14; 21:2.] So from one man, though he was physically as good as dead, there have sprung descendants whose number is as the stars of heaven and as countless as the innumerable sands on the seashore. [Gen. 15:5, 6; 22:17; 32:12.]”

Hebrews 11:8-12 AMPC

https://www.bible.com/8/heb.11.8-12.ampc



What lessons can we learn from the life & example of Abraham? 

(Hebrews 11:8-12)


Faith motivated him to obey God’s call. 

He left behind all that was familiar to him.

He trusted in the Word of God’s promise.

He believed in God to be faithful. (What He said, that He would do).

He stepped out in faith, even when he didn’t know where that would lead him. 

He lived a simple lifestyle in a tent. 

Even when all hope seemed to be lost, he still placed his hope in God. 

Even though many years passed by, he still believed that God would make a way where there seemed to be no way. 

His faith never wavered in God. 

In the natural, Abraham & Sarah were too old & beyond hope of having a baby, but in the supernatural they were not. 

With God all things are possible.


Characters such as Abraham & Sarah serve as examples for us & are evidence of God blessing people who put their faith & trust in Him. 

Faith is always rewarded when it is placed in God. 

 

Hope is a joyful expectation for a good outcome, & it is a catalyst for breakthroughs in our lives. It is a launching pad for dreams to be fulfilled.

It is important to cultivate this type of hope, especially when we are faced with a choice to either be hopeless or hope-filled whenever we face circumstances or situations that are difficult. 


The world we live in is filled with hopelessness, but we are to rise up as a Church as God’s ambassadors of hope. When we are filled with hope, we can help others find hope in their darkest hour. 


A Few Other Examples of Hope for Our Encouragement :- 


One portion of Scripture I love that speaks of the power of hope is found in 

Job 14:7-9, “For there is hope for a tree, when it is cut down, that it will sprout again, & its shoots will not fail. Though it’s roots grow old in the ground & its stump dies in the dry soil, at the scent of water it will put forth sprigs like a plant.” 


Job compares mankind to a tree which, even if it is cut down will sprout branches again & manifest new life. 


In our back garden, we inherited a banana tree that was shrivelled up & dying. I remember nursing it back to health & nurturing it by taking off the old brown shrivelled up leaves & watering it twice a day. 

Now it is flourishing & thriving. It has twelve big green leaves.


Isn’t that just like us? Often we can find ourselves in situations beyond our own capabilities. Like the banana tree we need the assistance from our Helper, the Holy Spirit plus also the help & care of others to enable us to get back on our feet again. Sometimes our lives might feel like that dried-up plant. In the natural it seems like all hope is lost, but all we need is a little nurture - a little hope. 


‘When hope’s dream seems to drag on & on, the delay can be depressing. But when at last your dreams come true, life’s sweetness will satisfy your soul,’ Proverbs 13:12.


‘For all the promises of God in Him are “Yes,” & in Him “Amen,” to the glory of God through us,’ 2 Corinthians 1:20. 


The 700 Club added the following quote after this Bible verse :- 

‘God has a promise for your problem.’ 


Or to quote Elisabeth Elliot : ‘Faith does not eliminate questions, but knows where to take them.’ 




Sometimes we can learn a lot from the lessons we go through in life by believing & applying the positive instead of the negative :- 


Fertility out of infertility & barrenness.

Something out of nothing. 

Flames out of sparks.

The possible out of the impossible. 

Life out of death.

Love out of hatred & fear. 

Joy out of sorrow. 

Peace out of anxiety. 

Hope out of despair. 

Promise out of uncertainty.

Fulfilment out of doubt. 

Purpose out of pain. 

Long suffering & patience out of impatience. 

Prevailing out of struggling & suffering. 

Prayer out of problems. 

Presence out of pursuit. 

Victory out of battle. 

Triumphs out of trials. 

Testimonies out of tests. 

Freedom & release out of bondage & captivity. 

Holiness & purification out of dross & impurities. 

The letter kills but the Spirit gives life. 


So let’s remember to have faith & hope in God. 

Let us continue to meet & encourage one another. 



Blessing as a Prayer :- 

“Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope!”

Romans 15:13 TPT

https://www.bible.com/1849/rom.15.13.tpt


May you always be filled with His Glorious Hope! Amen! 


Thursday 1st October 2020


The Faith & Hope of Abraham (1)

Old Testament Background :- 

We hear about Abram’s calling in Genesis 12:1-3, when God tells Abram to leave his country, that He will bless him by making him into a great nation, & that all peoples on earth will be blessed through him. 
At the age of 75, Abram obeys God & travels towards Negev. 

Then in Genesis 15:1, God again communicates with Abram in a vision. 
In verses 2-3, Abram is concerned that Sarai is childless. 
In verses 4-5, God comforts Abram by showing him the stars & telling him that just as he cannot count the stars because they are so numerous, neither will he be able to count his descendants, for exactly the same reason. 
In verse 6, because Abram believes God’s promise, he is counted as righteous by God. The whole Gospel principle of justification by faith is confirmed here. 

Moving forward to Genesis 17:1-8, Abram is now 99 years old & is promised a worldwide family for generations to come. He will become the father of many nations. God marks this by changing his name from Abram literally meaning, “the father of a great nation” to Abraham literally meaning “the father of many nations.”
In verses 15-16, Sarai’s name is changed to Sarah literally meaning “princess” & she will become not only a mother, but the mother of nations. 

In Genesis 18:9-15, Sarah laughs when she overhears Abraham being told that they will have a son in their old age. 
When asked, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” she lies about the fact that she laughed. 

In Genesis 21:1-8, as God has promised, Sarah gives birth to a son to Abraham when he is 100 years old. 
Ironically, they name him Isaac which literally means “laughter!” 

It is in this context that we will now consider two New Testament passages regarding Abraham, This week 

1. Romans 4:13-21 & next week 2. Hebrews 11:8-12


Firstly, let’s look at Romans 4:13-21


“God promised Abraham and his descendants that they would have an heir who would reign over the world. This royal promise was not fulfilled because Abraham kept all the law, but through the righteousness that was transferred by faith. For if keeping the law earns the inheritance, then faith is robbed of its power and the promise becomes useless. For the law provokes punishment, and where no law exists there cannot be a violation of the law.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭4:13-15‬ ‭TPT‬‬

“It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭4:13-15‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“For the promise to Abraham or his posterity, that he should inherit the world, did not come through [observing the commands of] the Law but through the righteousness of faith. [Gen. 17:4-6; 22:16-18.] If it is the adherents of the Law who are to be the heirs, then faith is made futile and empty of all meaning and the promise [of God] is made void (is annulled and has no power). For the Law results in [divine] wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression [of it either].”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭4:13-15‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

To whom did God initially make the promise? (Verse 13)
Abraham & his descendants. 

How was this royal promise fulfilled? (Verse 14) 
Through the righteousness that was transferred to Abraham by God through faith. 

“The promise depends on faith so that it can be experienced as a grace-gift, and now it extends to all the descendants of Abraham. This promise is not only meant for those who obey the law, but also to those who enter into the faith of Abraham, the father of us all. That’s what the Scripture means when it says: “I have made you the father of many nations.” He is our example and father, for in God’s presence he believed that God can raise the dead and call into being things that don’t even exist yet.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭4:16-17‬ ‭TPT‬‬

“Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭4:16-17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Therefore, [inheriting] the promise is the outcome of faith and depends [entirely] on faith, in order that it might be given as an act of grace (unmerited favor), to make it stable and valid and guaranteed to all his descendants–not only to the devotees and adherents of the Law, but also to those who share the faith of Abraham, who is [thus] the father of us all. As it is written, I have made you the father of many nations. [He was appointed our father] in the sight of God in Whom he believed, Who gives life to the dead and speaks of the nonexistent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed. [Gen. 17:5.]”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭4:16-17‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

What is the promise dependent on? (Verse 16)
Faith. 

How can this faith be experienced? (Verse 16) 
As a grace-gift from God (The Passion Translation) or by grace (New International Version) or given as an act of grace (unmerited favour) (Amplified Classic Version). 

To whom is the promise now made available? (Verses 16-17) 
The promise is made available to all who exercise the same faith in God’s Word & promise that Abraham did, not just to those of Jewish descent who stuck rigidly to the letter of the law. 

“He never stopped believing God’s promise, for he was made strong in his faith to father a child. And because he was mighty in faith and convinced that God had all the power needed to fulfill his promises, Abraham glorified God! Against all odds, when it looked hopeless, Abraham believed the promise and expected God to fulfill it. He took God at his word, and as a result he became the father of many nations. God’s declaration over him came to pass: “Your descendants will be so many that they will be impossible to count!” In spite of being nearly one hundred years old when the promise of having a son was made, his faith was so strong that it could not be undermined by the fact that he and Sarah were incapable of conceiving a child.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭4:18-21‬ ‭TPT‬‬

“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭4:18-21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“[For Abraham, human reason for] hope being gone, hoped in faith that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been promised, So [numberless] shall your descendants be. [Gen. 15:5.] He did not weaken in faith when he considered the [utter] impotence of his own body, which was as good as dead because he was about a hundred years old, or [when he considered] the barrenness of Sarah's [deadened] womb. [Gen. 17:17; 18:11.] No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God, Fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭4:18-21‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

Abraham had been given a promise by God that He would cause him to have an heir from his own body. Many years had come & gone & still there was no child as a result of Abraham & Sarah’s natural relationship. Abraham was still standing in faith, believing what God had said would come to pass. As he stood, against the odds, the would have been trying to attack him with thoughts of doubt, & the spirit of disbelief tried to press him to disobey God. Yet Abraham would have none of it. He continued to be steadfast. He kept praising & giving glory to God. The Bible states that as he did so, he grew strong in faith. Abraham, after sizing up his situation, (he didn’t ignore the facts), considered the utter impotence of his own body & the barrenness of Sarah’s dead womb. Although all human reason for hope was gone, he hoped in faith. 
In other words, Abraham was very positive about a very negative situation! 

Hebrews 6:19 tells us that hope is the anchor of the soul. 
Hope is the force that keeps us steady in a time of testing or trial. 
So I would encourage you today : don’t ever stop hoping! 
Put yourself in God’s miracle-working realm!
Expect a miracle in your life! 
Expect good things! 

You see, when God tells us something or asks us to do something, the faith to believe it or to do it comes with the word from God. It’s being faithful & obedient to what God has promised & to look beyond what you can see or what you feel in the natural. 
You & I can be aware of our circumstances & yet, purposely, keep our mind on something that will build us up & edify our faith. That is why Abraham stayed busy giving praise & glory to God. We glorify God when we continue to do what is right even in adverse circumstances. 

How was God’s promise outworked in the lives of Abraham & Sarah? 
(Verses 18-21) 

They were granted the desires of their hearts. 
What was impossible in the natural, became possible in the supernatural. 
Sarah gave birth to a son, Isaac, & the promise of an heir was fulfilled. 

In Summary :- 

Abraham lived with an incredible relationship with God.
He was totally immersed in faith. 
He did everything with God in mind. 
Look at what Paul writes, “Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping - Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise.” 
More than that, Paul writes that Abraham was “fully convinced that God is able to do what He promises.” 
Just like you & I, Abraham had choices to make every day.
And he chose to trust God. 
He decided to put his faith & hope in Yahweh. 
What about us?
Who are we going to trust?
Who will we hope in?
Who will we be counting on to do what He has promised?
Today, I pray that we will choose to trust God in all that we do. 
And that we put our faith & trust in Him. 

Prayer :- 

Father God, thank You for Your Power & Majesty. 
Thank You for Your Love for us. 
Today, we choose to put all our hope, trust, & faith in You. 
In Jesus’ Name. Amen! 

Thursday 24th September 2020


Welcome 

to 

BIBLE STUDY AND PRAYER




INTRODUCTION 


Today we are looking at PSALM 85 (please READ)


The inscription reads , “To the Chief Musician , A Psalm of the sons of Korah”

Korah was a Levite - Some of his  sons were warriors, others were gatekeepers and some contributed to victory in battle by praising the Lord like around the time of King Jehoshaphat 


So it is a psalm or song that was presented to the chief musician or music leader


Apart from King David, other authors of the Psalms include Moses, the Asaphite temple singers and the Korahite priests


The author is not known nor the background :

Bible scholars believe that it was written just after God's people ( Israel) returned from captivity in Babylon after seventy years.Their exile was God's punishment for their sins


Now they have been restored to their land, but their hearts are still not where they need to be

When they returned to Jerusalem,  they found the city and the temple in ruins…so they cried out for  God's mercy as we will see in v4-7

Israel still did not take God seriously and her enemies tormented her


They have returned to their land but they have not returned to the Lord their God in their hearts

God has blessed them by restoring them to their land yet spiritually they need a revival, a refreshing 


What has the Lord done? 

 The psalmist remembers the past. He looks back recalling the Lord’s mercies - they REMEMBER BLESSINGS - God's blessings 


(Verses 1-3)

He begins to praise God as he draws strength and encouragement :



V 1- God has shown favour : magnified His favour - this means He is pleased with, to take pleasure in, to be accepted or acceptable.The Lord is showing His acceptance and affection toward His people

The sons of Korah refer to the land as ‘Your land’…they tie their interest with the Lord’s interest ,a reflection of the covenant relationship ..echoes of the promise to Abraham 



       Q—what else has God done ?


V2- God has forgiven the iniquity of His people : forgiven -in the Hebrew it means to bear a burden or it also means to take away something——this is what God does : He bears the burden of Israel's guilt, takes it away

God covers all their sins as He shows forgiveness 

 the Hebrew ‘ kasah’ can be used for clothing a person to conceal his / her nakedness.The psalmist is saying that the spiritual nakedness because of sin  has been covered by God


       So sin has left them empty.God is filling up the spiritual emptiness 

       God can fill the void and empty places…as only He can


   > ‘He has covered all their sins. SELAH’. By the use of this word ‘selah’,it indicates that as this song was sung, music would be suspended at this point. This pause would effectively allow the hearer to consider and meditate on what they have just heard


V3- ‘ You set aside all your wrath’…… ‘and turned from the fierceness of Your anger’(v3)

              This fierceness suggests a sore displeasure- a fierce anger , burning anger..

The MESSAGE version puts it like this :’You cooled Your hot, righteous anger’.The burning of

God's anger has ceased

Now God has no cause to be angry with Israel's sin. It is as if they had never sinned


Q - as you reflect on the greatness of God in your life , what is one thing God has done that encourages your faith?



(Verses 4-7) 

The Psalmist now begins to look at his world, looks within his own heart. He cries out to God for he does not like what he sees: THEY REQUEST BLESSINGS


What is the psalmist praying? 


V4- ‘Restore us( KJV- “Turn us”) again- put away your displeasure ‘ …and bring us back to loving You, God our Saviour .They are seeking renewal, restoration 

God's anger was provoked because of Israel's unfaithfulness to her covenant relationship/ responsibilities 

‘Will You be angry with us forever ? >>> will You stay mad at us forever? remain angry throughout  future generations? Is there any hope that God will forgive them? Any relief ?…this suffering seems like forever


>>>>V4-5 the psalmist prays here :  God, You have turned aside Your wrath , now turn us ,change our hearts , remove those things that ignited Your anger in the first place



>>>>V6- the psalmist is asking God for a  revival, to bring life again. Give us a fresh start ,O God.Return us to Your purposes as You renew us

 Why? 

 So that His people can rejoice in Him again…the people  can rejoice because once again they have experienced God's grace


Initially ,they got into trouble because they had turned away from the Lord.Their lives have become empty.They realised only the true and living God can bring  fulfilment  in their lives, can truly bless them…not idols.


This is good because only God who shows favour, forgives and sets aside His wrath because of His mercy can bring revival.. God remembers His people and responds to His people graciously 


V 7- He is asking God to show His mercy and grant salvation . He is crying out to God for mercy , salvation and revival. He needs God's help. This is an acknowledgment that we have sinned and deserve the wrath of God. His unfailing love- loving kindness is shown and so we benefit from His grace 


>>>POINT TO PONDER: Without God's help , we will often fail to do the right thing . So we must cry out to the Lord for the help we need.


(Verses 8-13)They RECEIVE BLESSINGS 


Q- what is the Lord saying to His people?


V8 starts with ‘I will listen to what God the Lord will speak…For He will speak peace’, He promises peace. Listening involves waiting for God to work

The psalmist has prayed and now he is expecting God to answer- so he is listening. Confidence in the Lord to answer is evident


BUT… ( end of v8) ‘do not turn back to folly’…the sons of Korah warns

             God had been angry because the folly to which they had fallen was idolatry 


    Caution: peace and prosperity can sometimes dull our sense of the need for God and the salvation He offers


   FOLLY means foolishness - following the desires and devices of their own heart rather than watching for and doing the will of their God


V 9-RATHER  as they fear ( awe inspiring reverence, not a fearful terror)  God, His salvation would be near and God's glory would dwell in the land. Deliverance for those who fear God. 


Q- What is the aim of this salvation? God's glory will live in the land, with His people.

>>>How wonderful for a nation to have God's glory live in their land

As you bow before God , His glory hovers over you and by extension their land


God's glory—His presence , His appearance that reveals God's majesty to humans



Can you name some blessings as mentioned in these last 6 verses?

        ( relevant to your life )

>>>>>>>In verses 8-13 the blessings expected ..each verse:  peace from God, salvation to those who fear God, mercy  and truth, righteousness , what is good, increase/ harvest or prosperity , and they would follow in His footsteps, in a righteous  way of life<<<<<<<



(Verses 10-13)

V10-11 The psalmist contemplates God’s wonders, on Who He is and what He has done.He  sees God's blessings as His glory dwells in the land:



From v10, what are the four virtues mentioned?


V10- It can also read ( from the Hebrew) as ‘ Mercy and truth meet together.Righteousness and peace have kissed each other’


Four major characteristics of God are joined in pairs….like four people meeting together and embracing each other …in one accord , of one mind—-unity. Some wonderful imagery of what Jesus has done!

           Mercy- loving kindness, faithfulness , love

           Truth- that which is real or dependable…opposite of false

          Righteousness - life lived according to God's will

Peace-(shalom)not only a greeting, but comes out of a trust in God to prosper you, a       prosperity that comes out of thankful spirit. 

It involves the kind of security that comes from 

the faith that God loves you and will provide 

God is with Israel and blessing His people….this is the picture 




NOTE:: The word ‘righteousness’ is repeated three times in v10, 11 and13

What does it suggest ? 

     ——-living right before God , having  a right relationship with Him ….this leads to His blessings 


>>>>This can be found in Jesus. We see a picture of this as Jesus went to the cross: 

The fact is - we deserve the wrath of God… 

Mercy - truth met mercy we so desperately need …at the cross of Jesus…for mercy and truth are both in Jesus

So too God's righteousness draws close to kiss us with peace everlasting…at the cross of Jesus

Righteousness ( right standing with God),and peace are the gifts the believer receives by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ 


…v11 ‘ righteousness shall look down from heaven’- the justice of God , the righteous One looks down from heaven  and  sees us clothed with Christ's righteousness 


God is pleased as His people become faithful to Him as He restores them.Harmony between God and His people. Jesus prayed for unity.


He took the punishment for all our sins…so- v12 we can live in the good of what He has done:

( echoes of Genesis 1- everything God made was very good’)

Even the land will yield its harvest….fruitfulness, abundance !


He is looking toward a sure hope for the future 


V12-the psalmist believes that God's people will enjoy blessings yet again.God provides what is good because of their  obedience. God is the source of genuine prosperity for His people 


V13-  God is leading the way, He is making a path for  living a righteous life

If we would follow the Lord and start living right we would be blessed and used much more than we want to be blessed and used


Application : 

Seek renewal, revival ; ask God to revive you so you serve Him joyfully and not out of duty

Allow God to do in you only what He can do , so listen to what He is saying to you



Song - God of Revival ( by Brian and Jenn Johnson )




Thursday 10th September 2020


Today we are  continuing with the theme of Prayer.

The passage we will be looking at is :-

2 CHRONICLES 20:1-19


Introduction: 

Second Chronicles was written sometime after exiles began returning from Babylon. The author is uncertain 

(some Bible experts think Ezra is the main writer)


In this chapter, King Jehoshaphat is ruling.He is one of the good, God -fearing  kings like his father Asa. (‘After this’…..) He  has just made some reforms in the hope that the nation will return to serving the true God and not idols.

He learns of an impending attack now. 

This was a significant threat with the people of Moab, Ammon and others forming a coalition to attack.

V2 ‘a vast army, a great multitude is coming against you,’ some men told King Jehoshaphat. Definitely a crisis looms. 

V3 -4 : the king is initially alarmed but soon demonstrates confidence in his God. He gathers the nation to seek God together. He does not mobilise his army - nor does he react angrily to God. Something like this he could have said: ‘this is not fair , God. I am obeying You and now there is  more trouble for me!’

This is the ‘natural’ response  for many typically 


The king here feared the LORD- he is  more in awe of the power and majesty of God than the destructive force of the enemies 


Q : what would be your reaction to a crisis, when a problem hits ? Would it be trying in yourself to get a resolution or turning to the One you know you can depend on ?


V4 - The people gathers together to SEEK the Lord- pray and fast. The king resolves to enquire of the Lord , not depend on his military power. The king calls a prayer meeting 


Q : Meaning of ‘seek’ : has the basic sense of worship but also to discover God's will


So while they want to see an answer to this crisis, they are finding out God's will as they seek Him


Jehoshaphat’s Prayer


The king's response is an example that we can follow when we encounter problems 

We see here that God is not their last resort - the first action they take is to pray 


VERSES 5-12


Acknowledgment that God is in control (even in the problems you face)


V6

 recognition of God's  attributes- ‘You are the God  of our fathers’, speaks of a special relationship ,recognition of the power of God over heaven and all “kingdoms of the nations”….including the ones that are trying to wipe them out.

“You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against You”


V7      

Jehoshaphat recalls God's great work in the past for His people : so if God took care of His people ,did mighty things then, He can do mighty things now in their time of need…in their crisis .

He reminds God of His covenant to hear the prayers of His people ( nearly a direct reference from the dedication of Solomon’s temple: 2 Chronicles 6:28-30)


Q : who or what do you focus on when encountering a problem?


It is easy to focus on the problem rather than on God who is able to solve the problem 

The king here does differently - he has a massive problem but he also knows that his great  God could deal with this matter….after all He is the Ruler of all the earth!


Like Jehoshaphat we are to focus on the greatness of God which leads us to trust Him


V8-9

Jehoshaphat reminds God of His promises:


the promise to give the land to Abraham -God drove out the inhabitants of the land ,gave it to His people as a permanent possession…… to the descendants of Abraham as an inheritance.

The people have settled down and built a temple to honour the Lord their God.

They can come before God's presence. They can cry out to Him for His help  so that He will hear and deliver them when they are distressed, when they face disaster or famine, etc.


Our prayers are to be based on the promises of God.We can also sense a kind of ‘ focussed faith’ as the king prays- “Didn't you say this God?”… he is believing that God is able to do what He promises


Q : How often do we use/ claim  God's promises when we pray?

          We have to claim the promises- His promises are like cheques waiting for us to cash them       in . God's promises are for His people 


Q: Can you give one example of a Bible promise?

When troubles overwhelm- we say ‘Greater is He that is in you, than he who is in the world’


V10-11

Jehoshaphat shows that he has knowledge and understanding of God's  Word and His promises 

He prays in accordance with God's Word .

Earlier on we mentioned some of  God's attributes-v6, actions -v7. 


The king reminds God that Israel had obeyed God by not wiping out these very people who are now invading the land !

The land that God assigned to them, ‘ now the Ammonites,Moabites and men from Mount Seir are coming…..to drive us out of the allotted land’.These enemies have decided to form a coalition to attack the people 


King Jehoshaphat uses the words of God, the scriptures to pray in the dire situation they are facing. The truth of God's Word will bring deliverance


They need God's help…they are in dire straits 


V12

Acknowledge that you need help ( that the problem is beyond your control)


“You are our God, won’t you judge / punish them? (TLB- says won't you ‘stop them’)

We have no way to protect ourselves against this mighty army.We don't know what to do, but we are looking to You.”

 ….we won't stand a chance when this army attacks, 

      we don't know what to do,

      We are looking for your help, LORD…

The king Jehoshaphat admits that he does not have the answer. This is humbling before God. 


Q: What do you think  the phrase ‘our eyes are upon you’ indicates?


Their only answer is ‘trust in God’- focus on Him…It’s like they are saying : ‘Lord if help is going to come, it must come from You. So we look to to You-we believe it will come from you’

That His power and His goodness would protect the people.We are looking to You for help. He is expecting God to answer


He is taking his eyes off the problem and looking to God


Q :How does the king's response here(V12) resembles your response ? admitting your need for help ….is this something that makes you humble before God?


  POINT TO PONDER- God's strength is made perfect in our weakness. By thinking we are strong ,we are not depending on God. We are implying that God is not strong to take care of our problems. When we admit that we are needy, God receives the glory

God's Answer to Jehoshaphat’s prayer


VERSES 13-17

Then after praying, “ all the men of Judah were standing before the LORD along with their infants, wives  and children”


>>>>A good practice : you pray and cry out to God , claiming His promises- then you wait to hear from Him. He speaks! 


Here God tells them how their problems would be resolved


Q: How did God speak to King Jehoshaphat and the assembly?


V14- From this gathering of people, the Spirit of the LORD came upon , yet another ‘J’ name, Jahaziel. This is the typical Old Testament way that God spoke . He sent a prophet to tell someone what God needed them to hear


READ VERSES 14-17

Here we see that answers to prayer come as God speaks into the situation 


Q: What is the first thing ( v15- )God tells the people as He speaks into their situation?

      (Through the prophet) “ Don't be afraid, or dismayed at this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's. It’s God's battle. 


He communicates his care for them, do not worry, He will deliver them

 God comforts them- in their crisis they are hoping God is hearing them

        The Lord is fighting for you


V16- God gives further instructions : “Go down against them tomorrow”

         God discloses the plans of the enemies with the people


V17-“You will not have to fight this battle…take up your positions; stand firm(still)  and see the incredible rescue operation( the victory)  God will perform for you…don't be afraid, don't fear or be discouraged! Go out there to face them ,for the Lord is with you !” Just stand there and watch the Lord save you! You are not alone, with God we will prevail !

      

Q : is this too easy to do?   ——“are we really to follow these  instructions?” 


this is the ‘faith in action’ part where we align ourselves with God's will and obey Him. We  partner with God  as we step out in faith and obedience to the Lord’s commands


Q : how did they respond to God's answer?


In verses 18-19 They began to praise God

They fell down in worship before the Lord

They praised the Lord with a very loud voice

The worship team led the army as they sang: “Give thanks to the Lord , for His love endures forever”( v21,b)

They are praising God, a faith praise, before they see the victory.

Faith pleases God and provokes Him into action 


As you read on (as homework), you will see that the people sing and worship God, the Lord

This  brings confusion to their enemies (fighting among themselves) and so a spectacular victory unfolds for King Jehoshaphat 


Application questions to consider:


What does the battle look like for you …the coronavirus , health , relationship issue?

Where does prayer fit in with your particular situation?

When God speaks to your heart by His Spirit, what do you do? Are you ready to obey?


Amen.

Song : 'God, I look to You' by Jenn Johnson



 

Thursday 3rd September 2020,

Ephesians 3:14-21

REQUESTS & REMINDERS

1.REQUESTS

“Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God! So I kneel humbly in awe before the Father of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah, the perfect Father of every father and child in heaven and on the earth. And I pray that he would unveil within you the unlimited riches of his glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with his divine might and explosive power. Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:14-19‬ ‭TPT‬‬

https://www.bible.com/1849/eph.3.14-19.tpt


“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:14-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Who is it that Paul prays to? (Verses 14-16).

It is the Father Paul prays to, the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ & the whole family of Christian believers whom He has redeemed. We have such great expectations that we can come before God as our Father who has given every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Paul prays, in submission to the Lord Jesus Christ, that as believers we will be strengthened by the Spirit inwardly, & know Christ’s indwelling in our hearts. He asks for stability in our Christian life & an understanding, with all Christians, of the immensity of the love, fullness & will of God.

It is important to note how essential it is for God to do a heart work in us. Everything must flow out of hearts filled with love for God & others, & from understanding the immensity of His love. The glorious riches are the heavenly blessings given to every believer. The power of the Holy Spirit is one of those blessings, as promised by Jesus. The power of the Spirit & His love is released through believers’ faith. This love is so immense that it is impossible to understand. We can only express this love in our lives because God has expressed such love for us. John emphasises this in his first letter in chapter four verse nineteen, where he says, ‘We love because He first loved us.’ To be filled with this love is to be filled with God Himself.

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:16-19‬ ‭NIV‬‬

What are the great themes or requests mentioned in Paul’s prayer? (Verses 16-19)

Strengthened by The Spirit’s indwelling 

The Spirit’s power comes to us not so much in fits & starts, but by Christ taking up residence in our hearts. And, though Christ’s Spirit already indwells every believer, Paul prays for His powerful presence to become increasingly real as we exercise faith in Him. 

Know Christ’s surpassing love 

Already we are floundering! How can we know infinite love?! Whether we think of the depths of His love that reached us, the breadth of His love stretching our to all His people, or whatever dimension we choose to explore - the more we see, the more we realise it’s is beyond our human comprehension. 

Filled with God’s fullness

To be holy, to be perfect, as He is holy & perfect. To be filled to overflowing with the same perfect characteristics that fill God Himself! Not to become as God, since we are finite & He is infinite, but to be so filled with God’s likeness that we have no room for anything else. 


2.REMINDERS 

“Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you. Now we offer up to God all the glorious praise that rises from every church in every generation through Jesus Christ—and all that will yet be manifest through time and eternity. Amen!”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:20-21‬ ‭TPT‬‬

https://www.bible.com/1849/eph.3.20-21.tpt


“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:20-21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

What are the ‘Reminders’ Paul sets out before us? 

(Verses 20-21).


Paul reminds us that God is able to answer our prayers ‘exceedingly abundantly’ above our expectations. God acts with the power of the resurrection & of the Holy Spirit, whose power is experienced in each of us as Christians & is limitless. Paul wants God to be glorified forever in the Church. 

Through the power God has placed in believers, He is able to do works that are beyond anything they would ask for, or imagine that He could do through them. He desires to see such power released in His children, so that His glory will be seen in the Church.

David & I both felt strongly about praying for people again this week & I was drawn to this prayer of Paul’s, as the foundation on which to base our prayers. So let’s use this time wisely, to pray for one another. 

Another thing that we believe is becoming more evident in these times in which we are now living is the similarity to that of the Early Church. Therefore, we believe it to be of the utmost importance to consider the following passage of Scripture:- 

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭2:42-47‬ ‭NIV‬‬

With that in mind, we felt strongly about sharing in Holy Communion this morning. 
I’ll now hand over to David to lead us in this part of our meeting. 




Thursday 20th August 2020

 

Welcome to the Bible Study on Paul's letter to the Philippians 

 

Today we are coming to the end of this precious letter as we consider Philippians  4 ,verses 10-23

 

Last week we saw

> Paul addressing the issue of relationships - whatever the rights and wrongs were,Paul s concern was to get the quarrel sorted out

He tells the believers that they are to rejoice IN the Lord ALWAYS. And if the Lord is the object of our attention and love , we will soon get on with one another..being Christ -like to one another 

 

>Paul showing that God's peace is the replacement for worry - the realty of knowing the God of peace is in command.The ROUTE to this peace is prayer.( WORRY >>>>PRAYER>>>>PEACE )

 

>Paul saying to believers that we are not only responsible for what we do and say , but what we fill our minds with also. Paul prompts us to compare our thought -habits with V8

 

The believers knew how to live , they just needed to do it.  Not just knowing, but doing

 

Theses verses are like a Thank You note.Here we see the occasion which prompts the writing of this letter. The preacher Paul expresses thanks to these precious and dear believers who have supported him and continues to do so

 

VERSES 10-23

Paul is greatly encouraged with the gift he received from the believers.

Perhaps when he received this love gift from Epaphroditus, Paul was thrilled. 

( I can imagine Epaph knocking on Paul's prison door with this love gift from the church)

 

 

 

Read V 10-14 : 

 

Paul  rejoices greatly in the Lord: 

 

V 10-What is it that causes Paul to rejoice?

 

Certainly Paul is not ungrateful for their sacrificial givingbut he had learned the same attitude as Timothy as in Philippians 2:21 ( as he recommended Timothy to the Philippians)not looking after his own interests but the things that are most important to the Lord Jesus Christ 

 

His own comfort was not important to Him.

Knowing the love and concern of the believers- they now had opportunity to demonstrate this.

Yet Paul's joy is focused on THE LORD and not his own circumstances!

 

V 11 So Paul is in lockdown, shut away in prison yet content

Content regardless of the circumstances to which I find myself

 

“ the secret of being content” -the importance of being content, of overcoming all things .v11-12:  Greek meaning? From the word autarkes’ …has the idea of a positive, inward self- sufficiency which comes through the indwelling power of Christ : entirely God -produced. 

 

So he is satisfied in Christ; his joy did not depend on relief from his physical discomfort 

>>Only in Christ we are  fully satisfied and whole

 

Can we all say that we can identify with Paul's words here? Have we learned contentment?

 

We can so easily pick up attitudes of the world - attitudes that fluctuate with good weather, financial status, TV programmes

Or when the train, plane or bus is cancelled are we still content or do we begin to complain, .react like unbelievers?

 

V13- I can do everything through Him who gives me strength”….Paul had discovered that he is able to do everything through trusting IN the One who always gives him strength

As we grow in Christ, we understand the nature of God more so truth is revealed, secrets are revealed

So even when we feel capable, we are still allowing His strength in our lives

The secret to his contentment is full dependence on Christ.not on himself

He can prevail , he is able because of the strengthening power of Christ

 

So Pauls eyes are on Christ.not on what possessions he needs, not on his reputation. He is setting his mind on lovely and pure things , things that are praiseworthy as in v8 . so he is learning contentment 

 

Is this, v13,  a declaration we can make in the circumstances / struggles that we face?

 

You can be content - because Christs grace strengthens you to rejoice in the Lord always

 

There is no cannot” in Christ .Faith in Jesus makes the seemingly impossible possible for the believer

 

V 14- Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.

 

 

Read v 15-19

Their gift to Paul was a source of blessing for themselves 

 

V15-16 Paul gives a brief history of their giving- he reminds them 

            that they only helped him when he departed from Macedonia - they shared in the cost involved

               that they sent, again and again the support he needed when he was in Thessalonica 

 

              The believers were sowing into the ministry financially . They were of a  kind , supportive and generous spirit (Proverbs 11:25)

 

(Reference to Acts 16 with Lydia ,the dealer in purple cloth)

 

 

V 17 b, 18

 

Paul is not asking for more money.He is prays that because they have been so generous MORE WILL BE GIVEN TO THEM:

        “ but I am looking for what may be credited to your account” 

 

          (NKJV version) - but I seek the  gift that abounds/ overflows to your account

 

V 17- What is Paul expecting for the Philippians because of their gift?

         Why is Paul really pleased with this gift?

 

So Paul is content , but thrilled over what the gift would do FOR THE GIVER!

The fruit of their generosity , Paul is hoping that this will bring an abundant reward to them

-  that more will be credited to their heavenly account!

 

Their sowing will bring great benefits- abounds- this word speaks of increase, growth and abundance

 

V 18-He is also thrilled over what pleasure the gift had brought THE LORD

 

Paul confirms receipt of the gift. How does Paul describe/ view this gift he has received ?

Your gifts are a sweet offering, an acceptable sacrifice that pleases God

TPT - as a sweet sacrifice, perfumed with the fragrance of your faithfulness, which is so pleasing to God!

 

When you give whether via PayPal , debit card or similar or even via church offering..this is worship to God- part of the way we engage with God

 

So this is what fills Paul up and  makes him overflow with joy!

 

If that is not enough, Paul continues in his letter:

V19- a favourite verse about God's provision.maybe you have this on your fridge or wall at home

 

 “ And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches IN Christ Jesus” What a promise!  No limits to God's riches

This happens as we draw on the glorious riches God has given us through our unity with Christ Jesus.

The God of verse 19- Paul knew the God of verse 19’ cares for these believers 

 

(Additional reference: 2 Corinthians 9 verses 6-15)

 

(The context here is in their faithful giving) As they remain faithful in giving , they can claim this promise .All their needs put together can never drain the infinite resources of  the God they know, Jehovah Jireh- the Lord will provide !

 

They will reap according to what they have sown

 

For us giving opens up the way, it opens up our faith to receive from God everything He wishes to give us.

>>>> the matter of giving and receiving -as we give , we shall receive; as we receive, we should give from that wealth

 

 

 

CONCLUDING REMARKS

 

What is the right response to this?

Praise to God

V20- To our God and Father be glory for ever and everAmen .for all eternity glory belongs to God

Why give glory ?  Another reason- Even in Paul's lockdown there are believers/ saints around him ‘ especially the converts from Caesars household

?? Maybe some of the officials have been saved at this point or they are relatives of others in Philippi 

 

 

Paul gives some final greetings in verses 21-23( READ)

Probably written personally by Paul in his own handwriting in the original manuscript 

The greetings are for every single saint ( in the Greek it's singular)

 

He sends greetings to all- no favourites. he shows love and concern to all the saints

 

Final benediction :as we come to the end of this letter, this study… I pray that 

 

V23- The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.Amen

 

Live for His glory by His grace” in all circumstances, lockdown or no lockdown

    AMEN

 



Christian Worship Centre

 

BIBLE STUDY


Living in Harmony with One Another


“My dear and precious friends, whom I deeply love, you have truly become my glorious joy and crown of reward. Now arise in the fullness of your union with our Lord. And I plead with Euodia and Syntyche to settle their disagreement and be restored with one mind in our Lord. I would like my dear friend and burden-bearer to help resolve this issue, for both women have diligently labored with me for the prize and helped in spreading the revelation of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my coworkers. All of their names are written in the Book of Life. Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let joy overflow, for you are united with the Anointed One! Let gentleness be seen in every relationship, for our Lord is ever near. Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ. So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always. Follow the example of all that we have imparted to you and the God of peace will be with you in all things.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:1-9‬ ‭TPT‬‬.

“My dear and precious friends, whom I deeply love, you have truly become my glorious joy and crown of reward. Now arise in the fullness of your union with our Lord. And I plead with Euodia and Syntyche to settle their disagreement and be restored with one mind in our Lord. I would like my dear friend and burden-bearer to help resolve this issue, for both women have diligently labored with me for the prize and helped in spreading the revelation of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my coworkers. All of their names are written in the Book of Life.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:1-3‬ ‭TPT‬‬

In every Church, there is often found conflict in relationships. Paul seeks to encourage these two dear women to resolve all their disagreements. Their names give us a clue. “Euodia” literally means “a fair journey.” 
“Syntyche” means “an accident.” So verse two could be translated in this manner, ‘Along our fair journey we may collide with another, but God always has grace for restoration.’ 
It is believed that “Syzgos” was one of the Pastors of the Church of Philippi. 
His name means “burden-bearer.” So verse three could be interpreted in this way, “I also request, dear burden-bearer, to help these women. Clement was one of the men who led the Church in Philippi. His name means “mild” or “merciful.” 

How is it possible to Live in Harmony with One Another? 

(Verses 1-3) 

Because we live in union with the Lord, & should follow His example.
Because we are in union with the Lord, we should live in harmony & agree as much as possible. 
By settling disagreements & being restored with one mind in the Lord. 
By working together, as co-workers for the sake of advancing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 
It’s not about our own individual preferences or tastes, but working & serving together for God’s glory & not purely to make us feel good or achieved something special on our own. 
Notice that all of these co-workers of Paul have their names written in the Book of Life, so they all know Jesus as their own personal Lord & Saviour. 

How is this practically worked out? (Verses 4-7). 

“Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let joy overflow, for you are united with the Anointed One! Let gentleness be seen in every relationship, for our Lord is ever near. Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:4-7‬ ‭TPT‬‬

The emphasis starts in verse four on always rejoicing in the Lord - then He is able to change adverse circumstances. Remember how Paul & Silas were miraculously released from prison when praising the Lord (an account of this can be found in Acts 16:16-40), so the Apostle Paul knows firsthand how praise can release God’s supernatural power into a situation. When we resent our circumstances, it seems God does little to help us; but when we start to rejoice in the Lord & to praise Him, He moves to change things on our behalf. 
Note before it doesn’t say be happy always, because happiness is dependent on what happens to us. Joy is a much deeper concept & can only be found in the Lord. 
By rejoicing in the Lord always. 
By our gentleness being evident to all. 
By following the example of Jesus, even though He exercised such power & authority, Jesus had a gentle spirit (Matthew 11:29). 
Because the Lord is coming again soon. 
By not being worried or anxious about anything. 
By praying about everything. 
By giving our prayer requests to God.
By thanking God & being grateful to Him. 
Those who pray with faith will pray with thanksgiving, because they believe that they have received that for which they pray ( see Mark 11:24).
By knowing the peace that passes all understanding guarding our hearts & our minds in Christ Jesus. The concept is like the guards outside of Buckingham Palace in London, England, as sentries posted to protect the life of the Queen from any intruders. 
To live close to Jesus is to live in peace. God’s Peace that is a positive quality only He can give, different from the world’s peace - which would be defined by an absence of war, conflict or noise. This supernatural peace was Jesus’ parting gift to His disciples.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
‭‭John‬ ‭14:27‬ ‭NIV‬‬

How does God’s Peace affect our thoughts? (Verses 8-9). 


“So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always. Follow the example of all that we have imparted to you and the God of peace will be with you in all things.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:8-9‬ ‭TPT‬‬

To live in that peace that passes understanding, it is essential to put God’s Word into practice. It is not enough simply to study the Scriptures, we must apply them to our everyday lives. 
How we think must have an impact on the way we behave. 
Not just on a Sunday, but everyday of the week! 
Whatever you give your attention to & focus on will become greater or magnified in your life. Sometimes trials, challenges & storms are sent to distract us & get our attention off the truth of the Word of God. We then get so focused on what is going on in the natural that we lose sight of Who God is & what He has promised in His Word. When we continually focus on the challenges & storms they begin to appear bigger & bigger to the point where they are insurmountable. Scientists have proven that when we constantly think about something either good or bad we are wiring our brains to remember these things & set these memories like a default button. Remember in comparison to the challenges, trials, & storms of life they are very small compared to the size of God & the power of His Word. It might be time for you to stop & reassess what you have been focusing on. What are you spending your time thinking about? 
God wants you focusing on Him & His Word, so instead of your heart & mindset becoming problem-centred they become Christ-centred. 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:1-2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:8-9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The acronym THINK helps us with these things. Before we speak, we should consider four things in particular :- 

Is it True?
Is it Helpful? 
Is it Inspiring?
Is it Necessary?
Is it Kind? 

Www.peak313.com offers this good example :- 
‘Thought check (based on Philippians 4:8).
Is what I’m thinking about ...
True?
Noble?
Just?
Pure? 
Lovely?
Of good report?
Virtuous?
Praiseworthy?

If no, STOP & think about something else.
Train your thoughts. 
Scriptures to meditate on :- 
Romans 8:1-8
Romans 12:1-2
Philippians 4:8
2 Corinthians 10:1-5
Colossians 3:1-3.’ 

What is achieved by focusing on Scripture? 
We are not condemned. 
We are set free from the law of sin & death. 
When our minds are controlled by the Holy Spirit, we know true life & peace (total well-being, wholeness). 
We are not conformed to the patterns of this world. 
We are transformed by the renewing of our minds. 
We can focus on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous & praiseworthy. 
We can use the weapons we have have been given by God to demolish strongholds. 
We can set our minds on things above.
We have the mind of Christ. 

The Apostle Paul writes the following verse to his son in the faith, Timothy :- 

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”
‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
‭‭II Timothy‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Elisabeth Elliot once said this, ‘Fear arises when we imagine that everything depends on us.’ 

Two Scriptures for us to declare over ourselves, as we close this morning’s 
Bible Study :- 
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
‭‭II Timothy‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬



Setting the context for our passage today


“My passion is to be consumed with him and not clinging to my own “righteousness” based in keeping the written Law. My “righteousness” will be his, based on the faithfulness of Jesus Christ—the very righteousness that comes from God. And I continually long to know the wonders of Jesus more fully and to experience the overflowing power of his resurrection working in me. I will be one with him in his sufferings and I will be one with him in his death. Only then will I be able to experience complete oneness with him in his resurrection from the realm of death.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:9-11‬ ‭TPT‬‬

“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:7-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

To consider everything a loss compared to knowing Christ & being clothed in His righteousness.
To know Christ in such an intimate way that we can identify with Him in His sufferings & become like Him in His death. 

I recently read some testimonies from the ‘Foxes Book of Martyrs,’ & can see how they totally could relate to and/or identify with Jesus in His sufferings & death. Now they are with Him sharing in His Glory. 
I wonder how we would react in such circumstances? 
I truly believe that if Jesus brings us to it then He will also bring us through it. He would give us the enabling & equipping power by His Holy Spirit to sustain us & keep us strong even through torture, martyrdom & death. 
We will touch on that more in two weekstime, when we consider Philippians chapter 4 verse 13, ‘I can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength.’

Pressing On, Persevering, Pushing Forward. 

Pursuing with Passion until I reach the Purpose that Christ has called me to fulfil 

“I admit that I haven’t yet acquired the absolute fullness that I’m pursuing, but I run with passion into his abundance so that I may reach the purpose that Jesus Christ has called me to fulfill and wants me to discover. I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this; however I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead. I run straight for the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Jesus. So let all who are fully mature have this same passion, and if anyone is not yet gripped by these desires, God will reveal it to them. And let us all advance together to reach this victory-prize, following one path with one passion. My beloved friends, imitate my walk with God and follow all those who walk according to the way of life we modeled before you. For there are many who live by different standards. As I’ve warned you many times (I weep as I write these words), they are enemies of the cross of the Anointed One and doom awaits them. Their god has possessed them and made them mute. Their boast is in their shameful lifestyles and their minds are in the dirt. But we are a colony of heaven on earth as we cling tightly to our life-giver, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our humble bodies and transfigure us into the identical likeness of his glorified body. And using his matchless power, he continually subdues everything to himself.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:12-21‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Can someone please read out Philippians 3:12-14?

How do we press on? (Verses 12-14)

“I admit that I haven’t yet acquired the absolute fullness that I’m pursuing, but I run with passion into his abundance so that I may reach the purpose that Jesus Christ has called me to fulfill and wants me to discover. I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this; however I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead. I run straight for the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Jesus.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:12-14‬ ‭TPT‬‬

This is essential truth for every Christian to live by. 
As great as Paul’s ministry has been, he knows that he has not yet taken hold of everything for which Christ Jesus took hold of him. But he forgets the past, keeps his focus on Jesus & what lies ahead, so that he can continue to receive what he needs for the present, & ultimately receive the prize of his heavenly reward (Verses 20-21). 
By forgetting the past. 
By running with passion, perseverance & purpose.

How is this accomplished? (Verses 12-14)

By relying on the strength of Jesus, not trying to strive to do things in our own strength. 
The prize is the reward, the crown, that Jesus will give to those who have proved faithful. 
(See 1 Corinthians 9:24 & Revelation 2:10; 22:12). 

Can someone please read out Philippians 3:15-16

Why do we press on? (Verses 15-16)

To win the victory-prize for which God has called us heavenwards in Christ Jesus. 
Through the anointing & enabling of Jesus. 
“So let all who are fully mature have this same passion, and if anyone is not yet gripped by these desires, God will reveal it to them. And let us all advance together to reach this victory-prize, following one path with one passion.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:15-16‬ ‭TPT‬‬
To become more mature in the faith. To deepen our passion for Jesus. 
To advance together to reach the victory-prize, following one path with one passion. Remember that Jesus told His disciples in John 14:6, “I am The Way, The Truth & The Life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Mature believers will follow Paul’s example. Those who keep raking over the past show their spiritual immaturity & need the Lord’s correction : to fix their eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2). 
Maturity does not mean that we have ‘arrived.’ Just the opposite! It is the mature believer who who has the same mindset as Paul - Who looks on life as a serious race, not just a leisurely stroll. Maturity means single-minded determination to press on to the arrival point, our ultimate destination & state of perfection in heaven. 

Can someone please read out Philippians 3:17-19?

Imitating the godly example of Christian Leaders keeps us on the right track. 

Why do we need to do that? (Verses 17-19)

“My beloved friends, imitate my walk with God and follow all those who walk according to the way of life we modeled before you. For there are many who live by different standards. As I’ve warned you many times (I weep as I write these words), they are enemies of the cross of the Anointed One and doom awaits them. Their god has possessed them and made them mute. Their boast is in their shameful lifestyles and their minds are in the dirt.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:17-19‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Who are the many who live by different standards that Paul is describing here? 
People who have their minds fixed on earthly things. And an earthly mind results in an earthly lifestyle. They don’t live for Jesus, but for their ‘belly’ - that is to say for their own desires. They take delight or glory not in Christ but in conversation, company, & entertainment they ought to be ashamed of. 

So we need to follow godly examples & ultimately Jesus, so that we don’t

slip back into the standards of behaviour that we used to follow when we were blinded by the god of this age, the devil. 

2 Corinthians 4:1-6 reminds us of this quite clearly as well, 
“Now, it’s because of God’s mercy that we have been entrusted with the privilege of this new covenant ministry. And we will not quit or faint with weariness. We reject every shameful cover-up and refuse to resort to cunning trickery or distorting the Word of God. Instead, we open up our souls to you by presenting the truth to everyone’s conscience in the sight and presence of God. Even if our gospel message is veiled, it is only veiled to those who are perishing, for their minds have been blinded by the god of this age, leaving them in unbelief. Their blindness keeps them from seeing the dayspring light of the wonderful news of the glory of Jesus Christ, who is the divine image of God. We don’t preach ourselves, but rather the lordship of Jesus Christ, for we are your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let brilliant light shine out of darkness,” is the one who has cascaded his light into us—the brilliant dawning light of the glorious knowledge of God as we gaze into the face of Jesus Christ.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:1-6‬ ‭TPT‬‬
The importance here is not to preach for our own benefit, but rather for the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We are your servants for Jesus’ sake. 

Can someone please read out Philippians 3:20-21?

So then, how are we to live in light of Philippians 3:20-21

“But we are a colony of heaven on earth as we cling tightly to our life-giver, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our humble bodies and transfigure us into the identical likeness of his glorified body. And using his matchless power, he continually subdues everything to himself.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:20-21‬ ‭TPT‬‬
As citizens of heaven, not of this world. 
By Christ transforming us more & more into His likeness. 
As a people of hope, we as Christians are looking ahead to the fulfilment of God’s purposes, eager, meanwhile, to live as His witnesses here on earth & also bearing in mind that we are citizens of His Kingdom - the Kingdom of heaven. 


Thursday 30th July 2020

 

We are continuing our study on Paul's letter to the Philippians 

 

Today we are looking at PHILIPPIANS 3:1-11

(Please read first )

 

Brief Review: 

Paul writes from a Roman prison.He is experiencing his own lockdown.

Yet despite being a prisoner, this letter is full of joy and thanksgiving.He is not allowing his current circumstances to dictate his mood

 

Is it really a ‘ lockdown’?

 

For in chapter 1, he says that because of his circumstances the gospel is not hindered .In fact his imprisonment has helped the gospel to advance

In chapter 2, he encourages us to let the mindset of Christ become our motivation in the way we live. Jesus is our perfect Example 

 

Now in chapter 3, Paul encourages the believers ‘ to rejoice IN the Lord!’ Nothing else!

 

VERSES 1-3

Paul reminds the believers that they are not to limit their joy or fail to rejoice in the wonderful experience of knowing our Lord Jesus. Stay joyful, not because of your negative circumstances BUT because the Lord is greater than those circumstances 

 

V2-3

How does Paul describe the group of false teachers that were threatening the church?

- dogs, evil workers , mutilators of the flesh

 

These are false teachers( Judaizers) with self- centred attitudes.They were a constant  menace, wanting Gentile believers  to be circumcised.

 

>>Their aim: to draw people away from the truth 

 

V 3

How does Paul describe true believers in Christ?

-we are of  the circumcision : truly circumcised by the Spirit working in our hearts…. “heart circumcision”

-we worship by the Spirit of God ,and our glory is IN Christ .We worship in the power and freedom of the Holy Spirit 

- we put no confidence in the flesh : we worship NOT in what we can accomplish in our own strength; our confidence is in the finished work on the cross…what Jesus has done

 

>>Paul’s aim : for believers to know they are to live in the freedom of the Spirit made possible through the liberating work of Jesus on the cross 

 

NOTE:

The false teachers were emphasising that physical circumcision was necessary to please God. This is serious for they were adding to Jesus’ great work. 

Paul uses strong language as he challenges this false teaching.

Only Jesus can save.By adding to the gospel message, they were leading people to damnation and despair

 

VERSES 4-6

Paul begins to share some ‘qualifications’ about himself. He says that if it would be justifiable for anyone to put confidence in these outward physical rituals/ accomplishments ,then he would be the first to qualify.

 

What are some of these ‘ impressive accomplishments’?

-circumcised on the 8th day: a genuine Jew

-belongs to the people of Israel: a direct descendant of Jacob

-of the tribe of Benjamin: the son of Rachel , Jacob’s beloved wife

- a Hebrew of the Hebrews: both parents are Jews….following the customs 

- like a good Pharisee, he kept the law religiously 

- full of zeal in the way he persecuted the church 

- righteousness which is in the law, faultless: he was not perfect but diligent in fulfilling the requirements of the law , for example, animal sacrifices

 

Paul’s background: he had every reason to be proud. He speaks as a Jew but one who lives by faith in Jesus and not bound by legalistic practices 

> Hence he encourages the Philippian believers to ‘rejoice IN the Lord’ ALONE

 

>>Only Jesus can free us not only  from the things that harm us BUT also free us from  being successful like Paul

 

QUESTION: Today circumcision may not be an issue.What are some things today that people are seeking to add to the gospel?

 

VERSES 7-11

 

Paul sees how useless his accomplishments are in seeking favour from God.

V7-8 he considers all His achievements a ‘loss  for Christ’- all the prestige and social standing are not worth what he has in knowing Jesus

 

How does Paul consider these things? V8, latter part

Rubbish - this is literally ‘dung’, good for nothing , to be discarded 

 

POINT TO PONDER

Do we place confidence in our achievements?

When you compare your achievements to the knowledge of Jesus, do you consider it rubbish?

The response you give will help you to see whether you are the ‘true circumcision of God’

 

> We are to rejoice in knowing Jesus , not in our achievements/ accomplishments 

 

V9: How do you gain Christ?

by having an intimate relationship with Him

by having Christ’s righteousness through faith- Christ Himself becomes your righteousness.Because of what Jesus has done , we are declared righteous before a holy God

 

VERSES 10-11

What does it mean ‘to know Christ’?

     to get acquainted with Him, not just a theoretical knowledge.It is knowing Christ intimately, personally. So this is relationship and as God by His Spirit works ,you are getting to know Him increasingly 

This is a daily experience- to experience Christ daily , continuously in our lives

       to experience the overflowing power of His resurrection working in you

       to live in His ‘freeing power’ here  even in suffering and keeping your sights on being with Him forever. This is our future hope

 

APPLICATION 

This is Paul's goal. What is your goal ? 

 

Question to ask yourself: What am I still valuing that I need to regard as rubbish as throw on the ‘dung heap’?

Church Meeting Thursday 23rd July

Stephen and Heather Miller shared with us the work they have been doing with Hospice Africa Uganda over the past six years helping with a 5-week medical training in palliative care each year. They have been asked to continue helping with this training in another part of Africa. Plans for them to move there next year are moving forward and they will also be serving there by helping teach English as a foreign language. They would very much value prayer for themselves and their family as they prepare to go for two years’ service.

****

Many thanks for your support. It was a privilege and encouragement to share with you all on Thursday.

Love Stephen and Heather


CHRISTIAN WORSHIP CENTRE 
BIBLE STUDY 
for
Thursday 16th July 2020

Notes from the study on Philippians 2: 12-30

INTRODUCTION 

Paul continues with the theme of Christian conduct. Believers in Christ are called to live according to the gospel message
Because of the relationship with Jesus - our union with Him- we are to conduct our lives in such a way that we live for Him

We note from the poem of 2:6-11 what magnificent work God ,through Christ, has done in our lives. Now we are to follow this path...Jesus being our perfect Example 

How should believers live out the Christian life?
V12 - obedience to the Lord is top priority : this happens whether leaders are present or not..as Paul emphasises here. He is desiring that the Philippian believers follow his instructions as though he is present with them 
- continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling 
What does this mean?
-living as those who are saved 
-living as those who fear the Lord with reverence and awe 
-living for Him so you dread the idea of ever denying Him too

Take responsibility of keeping the relationship with God and others healthy

It’s a ‘working out’ of what God ‘works in’ 
you. It is about continuing to make the new life in Jesus fully manifested through our lives

>> This is often difficult in our selves. It seems beyond us. We can only succeed by the help of His Spirit who is working in us

How can this be achieved?
V13- God Himself is at work within you
We work at Christlikeness because God is at work in us
This great truth is so reassuring for in ourselves we will fail !
⁃ So God is helping us to do what is good in His eyes. And through doing His will we remain at peace with God

Verses 14-16
There may have been some disagreement in the church at Philippi that prompts Paul to address issues of grumbling and arguing 

As Paul considers Jesus’ perfect example, he is saying that murmuring/arguing has no place in Christ-like living

Complaining and arguing?? This is not God working in us ... this is not God being sovereign in our lives
>>> It’s better to talk it through and find solutions rather than have a ‘go’ at someone about something 

(>> The world is not interested in another bunch of complainers and moaners)

What happens when everything is done without complaining or arguing?
V15-...’so that’ the believers become blameless and pure children of God

Paul uses the imagery of ‘shining like stars’ to describe what the believers are to be like
The city of Philippi was in great darkness 
Paul is saying the believers are to shine like the stars in the universe with the light of Christ in the midst of spiritual darkness 

>>How does this resonate with your Christian witness today?

POINT TO PONDER : How can I expect to be a good witness to people around if I am a critical, proud,selfish member of my church?
Look at Paul’s attitude as in verses 17-18

Verses 17-18
Paul is full of hope and demonstrates a positive attitude in the face of possible martyrdom . 
He longs for this beloved church to be humble like Christ and shining the light of Christ 
When such fruit is produced, he would count his labour for them a great joy. 
He would be rejoicing and he wants these believers to rejoice with him.
( remember Paul is in lockdown- in prison in Rome. Yet his letter is one of joy !)

Verses 19-30
Here there are two examples of gospel living :
Timothy and Epaphroditus 
Here we see examples of true spirituality in actual relationships....working, living and getting on with people 

Firstly the character description of Timothy:

What are some words/ phrases Paul uses to describe Timothy?

Cares genuinely- V20 : he has the welfare, care and compassion for the believers.
( Paul is interested in sending someone who is not just a good teacher or a worker of miracles BUT someone who never stops caring)

Pleases Christ- V21 : he has a heart for Christ so he has a heart for the people 

Serves well-V22 : his experience in serving is known to Paul first-hand . He regards Paul as his spiritual father... so they had a close relationship 
Timothy has the mind of Christ (V5)

Secondly, the character description of Epaphroditus:

What are some words/phrases in Paul’s description of Epaphroditus?
Brother, fellow- worker ,fellow-soldier,messenger (apostle)

Paul is showing warm appreciation for Epaphroditus 
He is Paul’s brother because of the relationship with God the Father 
He is a gospel worker and Paul sees him as being wounded in the service of the gospel 
He ,as messenger to Paul ,ministered to Paul’s needs, journeying some 800 miles to bring Paul’s gift
Epaphroditus may not have had any teaching abilities or particular ‘gifts’. Yet to Paul, he was Paul’s equal

In all of this, true spirituality is demonstrated : caring and loving one another and relating to others as Christ relates to us
Paul says to honour and esteem servants of God for by so doing we are honouring God

Application:
Is there any reason why the description of Timothy and Epaphroditus could not be used of you?
What is one thing you can do this week to begin to change this?
Consider chapter 2 , verses 3-5 as you think about this:
⁃ a sincere/ genuine concern for the condition of others
⁃ seeking first the things of Christ 
⁃ willingness to serve others...even if to the point of death

We are to have ‘the mind of Christ ‘





Bible Study July 9th 2020

led by Anne Perretto

HUMILITY, SERVICE AND OBEDIENCE

Philippians 2: 1-11 (NIV)

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and in purpose. but in humility consider others better than

yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,

but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—

even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place

and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.

This chapter begins with “if” and “then” affermations. Usually these types of phrases are either true or untrue.
For example: “
If the world is flat then we would at some point fall over the edge.” This is obviously untrue.

However, Paul here lists the advantages we have in Christ - Encouragement from being united with Christ, Comfort from his love, Fellowship with the Spirit, Tenderness and Compassion. These affermations are completely true. So his “then” phrase is: V.2“ then make my joy complete by being like-minded”
It's almost as if he's saying “Please do it for me”.
The Greek word for “like-minded” is phroneo, which means to think/feel/focus your thoughts. It can be rendered as ”thinking the same way” (which does not necessarily mean thinking the same things). As we saw in chapter 1, unity is NOT uniformity. We must

be in agreement on basic Christian principles such as salvation through grace alone, but in other non-basic topics, there is room for different ways of seeing things.

“ having the same love” The Greek word for love here is AGAPE, not Philos. Agape love is ONLY giving whilst not looking for anything in return.
Philos, which is often used for friendship, implies giving 
and taking. Agape love doesn't look for payback. It always has to do with the wellbeing of the other person.

“being one in spirit “ In another version this is translated as “being of one accord”. Sympsychos here is made up of sym – with – and psyche - breath or life or the breath of life or soul.
Paul is calling these Philippian Christians to live in such unity that they share life and soul with each other.

“and in purpose” or “of one mind”. The Greek in this phrase has the word “hen” which implies being single minded.
Paul wants the Philippian believers to focus on LOVING and SERVING one another, in the same way as Christ did (see v.5)

After this Paul talks about two things that believers are NOT to have:
V3 “ Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit”

“Selfish ambition” is “eritheia”. This word was used to speak of partisan, unprincipled electioneering. The person who is guilty of “eritheia” is not only selfish, but probably doesn't care who he/she hurts on the way to their goal. It describes an ugliness of spirit that is likely to produce strife and injury, leaving victims in its wake.

“Vain conceit” - “kenodoxian” - comes from two words: Kenos, meaning empty, vain, devoid of truth. “Doxa” is most often used to speak of the glory of the Lord, but can be used for the glory of human achievement, or the honours that accompany such an achievement. So it's meaning is empty glory or vain glory; glory that has no basis in fact.

Both of these two attributes are “all about me”. These attitudes should not exist in our churches. Unfortunately they do. As a Christian, my number one priority should be to make sure that

“selfish ambition” and “vain conceit” do not exist in my life. V.3 but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” What is humility?

The Greek word tapeinos means “of low degree”.
When Paul calls us to be humble he is calling us to emulate Christ, who had every reason to be full of pride (humanly speaking) but who instead pursued humility with a purpose.

“better than yourselves”. The word for “better” here is hyperechontas, which combines “hyper” meaning above, with “echo” meaning to be. So Paul is saying that we are to consider others as being excellent or superior to us – a prize winner. Unfortunately we have the tendency to very quickly put people in categories: winners or losers.
Paul is telling us not to do that. We may consider tramps or drug addicts as losers, but they too were created in the image of God, and God loves them just as much as God loves me.
Jesus tells us to call people “neighbours” instead of losers, and to love them as I love myself.
Luke 10:27 (NIV) “ He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.”

V.4“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
What does this mean practically” How can I look to the interests of others – and not just my own?

We didn't deserve it but Christ put us and our condition above his own welfare. Now Paul calls us to do the same thing in our relationships with other people.

V.5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Here we have the word “phroneite” again. Basically we can

substitute the word “attitude” with “mindset”.

Without adopting Christ's attitude or mindset, we can never accomplish what Christ wants us to do: to be united in mind, love and accord (v.2).

IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT ME! WE ARE TO PUT OTHER PEOPLE AND THEIR INTERESTS BEFORE OURSELVES AND OUR OWN INTERESTS.

V.6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,

This verse clearly states that Jesus is God through the word “nature”. John chapter 1 confirms this. However, Jesus didn't cling on to his position (equality with God)

V.7 but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a 
servant, being made in human likeness.

Here we read that Jesus made himself NOTHING and became a SERVANT in human form.

V.8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself
and became 
obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Galatians 3:13 says: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the
law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” (or tree).
Jesus became a curse for me so that I can be free from the curse of the law. What an amazing Saviour.

The three words used to describe Jesus in this passage:

Humility Servant Obedient

are not part of our 21st century vocabulary, but Paul expects the Philippian believers to have and develop these qualities in their lives. Obviously they can't do it alone, but with Christ's help they can.

Neither can we do it alone, but Jesus is always willing to help us, especially if we want to become more like Him. Are we willing to at least start?

V.9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,

In Jewish culture, people considered a person's name to be more than a simple label to identify that person. They believed that something of the person's identity was tied up in the name . That the name expressed something of the person's essential character. From this verse we can see that they also assumed that a name – or at least some names – possessed something of the power of the one who bore that name.

Maybe it is easier for us to understand this principle if we talk about a person's reputation.
So God exalted Jesus because of his 
humilityservanthood and obedience, and gave him “the name that is above every name.”

V.10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

All of God's creatures – whether human or angelic - will bow their knee before him – whether they love Christ or not!

V.11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

God the Father has exalted His Son, Jesus Christ, over all creation. Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord; the whole point of this being that God the Father will be glorified by the whole of His creation.

So as we live our Christian lives day by day, let us try to live in humility, with a servant's heart, and in obedience to God and His word, following the perfect example that Jesus gave us.




BIBLE STUDY 02/07/2020

Led by Anne Peretto

STAND FIRM IN THE ONE SPIRIT

Philippians 1:27-30 (NIV)
27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved —and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.”

V.27

“Whatever happens”....
Paul here is referring to what we were reading last week in Philippians 1:21-26: that is, whether he goes to be with the Lord, or still lives on, either as a prisoner in Rome or else reunited physically with the church in Philippi, the Philippian believers must “conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” The most commonly used Greek word for “conduct” in the N.T. is “peripatein” which literally means “to walk about”.
Here, however, Paul uses the word “politeuesthal” which means “to live as citizens of”....
We have already seen that at the time of writing this epistle it was thought that Paul was under house arrest in Rome. Philippi was a Roman colony, which meant that everything there was run in the Roman way. Being a Roman citizen brought many privileges, but also many responsibilities. So the Philippian church would understand what Paul meant here when he was talking about their conducting themselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. They were Roman citizens, but as Christians were also “citizens of heaven”.
Philippians 3:20 says that “our citizenship is in heaven”. Thus as Christians they had many priviliges but also many responsibilities.

What priviliges do we have as born again Christians?
Here are a few (I'm sure you can think of other ones too):

Eternal life
God doesn't treat us as we deserve to be treated. Peace with God
The Holy Spirit dwells within us
We have authority in Christ over satan

What are our responsibilities as born again Christians?

Obedience to the Word of God
To allow the Fruit of the Spirit as in Galatians 5:22-23 to develop fully in our lives
Give good testimony to those who we come into contact with who aren't born again.
Matthew 7: 12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

“ Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit”

Paul's desire is that the Philippian church members will conduct themselves as citizens of heaven so that whether he will be reunited with them physically or only hears about their progress, he will know that they are standing firm in the one Spirit.

What is Paul referring to here about “standing firm in the one Spirit”?
He wants the brothers and sisters to live in UNITY.
Unity is NOT uniformity.

He wants the church to be united in love and be in agreement on basic doctrine,
“contending as one man for the faith of the gospel”
Here we have another reference to Roman customs. This time Roman warfare. When Roman footsoldiers advanced in battle each one had his own large shield in front of him, and they marched forward shoulder to shoulder. This “united front” was extremely useful against the enemy.

Why? Because the enemy uses the tactic of “Divide and conquer” to defeat the church.
Mark 3:24 says: “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.”

So we know that as a church we MUST be united, otherwise we will not make any headway against the enemy and will not grow.

V.28

“without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.” The Greek word for frightened used here - ptyromenoi – refers to horses when they have been startled. They will usually run away and if there are a lot of them can stampede. Paul here is encouraging the Philippians not to “stampede” or run away but to stand fast.

Why?

“This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God.”

If whoever is persecuting us can make us be afraid, then they have great power over us. If we refuse to succumb to fear, then our persecutors have lost their hold on us.
Saying it is much easier than doing it, but in the Bible we are told 365 times not to be afraid. Our wonderful God knows that as humans we have the tendency to fear, so He encourages us to overcome our fears in Him, every single day of the year.

Fear can paralyze the believer, but as J.John said this morning in his brief meditation, FEAR is simply “False Expectations Appearing Real”.
A line from a Hillsong song sums it up like this:

“I'm no longer a slave to fear - I am a child of God.”

V.29

“ For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him”
Paul is telling us that we are greatly privileged because we have been allowed to believe in Christ – AMEN!! - and also to suffer for him. (Can I hear anyone saying Amen to that?)

We don't like the word “suffer” or “suffering”.
We say “Make me more like Jesus, Lord – but don't let me suffer”. In what ways is it possible for a Christian to suffer for Jesus?

The Persecuted Church
Family members often don't approve of our choice of living for Jesus.

The lady working for B.A.who had to go to court in order to be able to wear a cross on her uniform.

Why does Paul say it's a privilege to suffer for Christ?

Philippians 3:10 says “ I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his
sufferings, becoming like him in his death"

In some way suffering brings us into fellowship with Jesus Christ. Many people who have been tortured for Christ's sake have testified that they felt the presence of Jesus with them while they were being beaten. This is FELLOWSHIP. How amazing!

V.30

since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

Paul here is saying that the Philippian church is going through the same struggle he had and still has.
Was that referring to his being in prison or having to give an account of his life to others?

Whatever it was, for Paul, suffering for Christ was a privilege which united him with the brothers and sisters of the Philippian church. This is FELLOWSHIP.

There is an Italian proverb: “Mal comune, mezzo gaudio”

which literally translated means: “a shared negative situation is almost a source of joy”.
Why? 
Because we are not alone. There are others who are going through the same things as we are. Knowing that someone understands how we are feeling in our situation is a great comfort to us. We are living in UNITY and FELLOWSHIP both with Jesus and our brothers and sisters in the church.

As Jesus prayed in John 17:20-23:
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also

be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”



Bible Study at Playa Blanca. 25th June 2020

Led by Christine Phillips 

Philippians ch 1 vs 12 - 26

These are wonderful verses, which illuminate Paul's total commitment to glorifying Jesus, no matter what circumstances he is in.

Vs12-14
Last time Paul was in prison in Philippi, he was released after a miraculous earthquake opened all the prison doors and  their chains. The jailer and his household were converted. Lidia opened her heart to Jesus, and the new church was started. Acts 16 vs 11-40. No such dramatic events were happening this time. 
Paul was under house arrest, probably in Rome. Paul was writing to reassure the Philippians that he was still in the centre of God's will and God's power was still with him.
He had witnessed to the palace guard who were in their thousands, his own guard changing every four hours for two years!
He wrote the NT books of Ephesians, Colossians and Philippians whilst in prison.

Have you any times in your life when you thought you were not doing anything for God? Perhaps through illness or in lockdown???  What is God doing during these times? 
God never wastes our time.

Paul brought glory to God in the worst of circumstances.  It was not easy for him, but he was determined to be fruitful.
The Philippians saw that Paul had JOY in the midst of trial.
That God would take care of him in all circumstances. 
That God could still use him, even in prison.
They were encouraged! 
How can we be fruitful in the hard times?

Vs15-18
Preachers were being motivated to preach from selfish ambition, to be better than Paul.  Paul did not retaliate, but rejoiced that the gospel was being preached. 

WHAT DOES IT MATTER if Paul is in prison as long as Christ is made known.
WHAT DOES IT MATTER if others preach out of a desire to hurt Paul as  long as the gospel is proclaimed.
WHAT DOES IT MATTER if Paul lives or dies as long as Christ is exalted.
As we grow in Christ our needs for
Comfort
Approval
Life itself
Should diminish. Our need should be to see Christ exalted.

Vs19-26
Paul was confident in God even in his awful surroundings  because;
1. He believed the Lord is always in control of his life. He was still in the centre of God's will. Do we doubt God when things are going wrong?
2. He got strength and encouragement from the fact that the Philippians were praying for him. Have you got friends who are committed to pray for you in hard times? Do you commit to anyone in this way?
3. He received a supply of the Spirit of  Christ through their prayer, which met his needs.
4. Paul believed God would not cause him to be ashamed or turn against him. God was not punishing him. He was in the centre of His will.
5. He knew he may not be released and may die.  He was pleased to die for Christ if it brought glory to Him. He was totally surrendered to God's will. 

We are not to tell God how He can glorify Himself in our lives. Paul left that up to God. 

Bible Study, Thursday 18th June 2020
Thanks to Christine Phillips  for leading this.
Philippians ch1 vs 9 - 11

Paul's Prayer for the Philippians

Introduction 
This book is often called the book of JOY, as joy is mentioned 14 times.
Joy is;  a settled state of mind 
              Characterised by peace
              A confident way of looking at life, that is rooted in faith.
NOT EMOTION
A LIFESTYLE
Stable,  peace filled and full of faith.
Nothing can take it away eg no lockdown
                                                   No trouble
                                                   No loss
                                                   No nothing!
How did Paul do it?
How can we do it?

By loving God and loving each other.

Paul shows us how in his prayer for the Philippians.

Five Ways in which Love Grows.

1. "That your love may abound in KNOWLEDGE." Vs 9
       The more intimately we know  God the more we love others.  Try to see how God sees  people eg 1Samuel 7 vs 5, choosing David. God doesn't look on the outward appearance,  but at the heart.
God is working in all of us, loves us, accepts us as we are, and is bringing us to completion.
1Corinthians 13 vs4 - 7, love is patient, kind, does not boast, not proud, or rude, or self seeking, not angry, keeps no record of wrongs. None of us are perfect,  but let's keep loving each other, as Gos loves us.

2. Love with DISCERNMENT or depth of insight, ie the ability to make good and moral decisions. God's  moral choice is to lift us out of sin not condemn us.

3. Approve what is EXCELLENT. 
There are many good things in life, but few excellent  things . Paul wants us to search for the higher things that really deserve our attention.
ie loving God and loving each other.
We have to really 'lean into GOD' to discover how to forgive those who have hurt or offended us. To learn how to encourage and build up our church in unity .

4. Paul wants us to be BLAMELESS, not stumbling through life, but motivated by love in all we do.
Also to make sure we are not causing others to stumble, but try to keep others strong in their faith journey.

5. Paul calls us to be RIGHTEOUS. To abide in Christ (John ch 15, vs 4-6) 
This is the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.

Do you see others as GOD SEES THEM? As people that He is working on?

Are you secure in yourself so that you can be used to build others up?

Does your prayer life include praying for others?

This makes for right relationships,  produces a strong fellowship,  which results in JOY!
---------------------------


Thursday 11th June 2020


CHRISTIAN WORSHIP CENTRE 


BIBLE STUDY 


Welcome All to the new series we are starting today 


This is on  THE BOOK OF PHILIPPIANS 


INTRODUCTION: 

Paul writes this letter to the Philippians when imprisoned in Rome.This was around AD 61. About ten years earlier Paul the apostle had helped to establish this church

Despite being a prisoner in Rome , this letter is one full of joy and thanksgiving .In his ‘lockdown’ circumstances in which he finds himself, he is not allowing his current situation to dictate his mood.

He shows us in this letter how we are to live as believers  even when we are in lockdown - whatever that may look like personally or corporately as the Church.


The city of Philippi was a Roman colony ; the people proud of their Roman citizenship.It was a leading city of Macedonia and was a key route between the east and Rome itself 


The  church was the first church of Europe and was a great source of joy to Paul. He has a close relationship with these believers. They are very supportive of His ministry to them and he is grateful for the gifts received from them


In this letter Paul encourages, inspires his readers to keep their trust in Jesus despite their circumstances. They face the threat of danger: opposition to the gospel and false teaching

He also desires for them to be the people of prayer and witness they are called to be for God's glory 


>>HOMEWORK: I encourage you to read  more about how this church started in Acts 16- a church starting in a house !


Verse1

From the start of this letter, Paul identifies himself as a ‘servant’- the title of apostle which he uses in other letters is not used here . He is joined with Timothy- God gives companions so they can test the call of God together 

The tone of the letter is personal from the way Paul's begins to write


Question : How does Paul describe the believers? To whom is the letter addressed?


Saints, overseers, deacons - All servants 


Saints - those whom God has set apart to be His children, those who live for Him


Overseers, pastors/ deacons- those whom God has placed in authority to serve in His Name; those who are in leadership and ministry among the believers 


***deacons-  a servant/ leader: this carries the literal meaning of “to kick up dust” It has the idea of somebody who is so passionate as a servant and wants to see things done.So as they run down the street to fulfill their service or mission, they are ‘kicking up dust’


> How can we emulate  being such a passionate servant about advancing God's Kingdom here on earth?


Verse2

Greeting/ blessing: grace and peace. This is favour and total well -being from God who is our Father. He is gracious to us , giving us what we don't deserve . As the Prince of Peace ,Jesus gives His total abundance and well- being to us

Verses 3-5

Question: When does he give thanks for the believers?

Every time he remembers them , when he thinks of them. This is like tonic to Paul- he remembers these believers, and it always has the same effect: he lifts his heart to praise to God


Question: how does Paul pray? 

With all joy and thankfulness - he is exuberant, attitude of praise, of gratitude 

Discuss further: consider the ‘ woe is me ‘ kind of prayers that we sometimes hear


Paul makes a choice not to be controlled by negative circumstances.He remembers their partnership in the gospel( Acts 16). He is reflecting on how it all started about ten years ago.. households becoming part of the Church then


Verse 6

Question: What is it that Paul is confident about?

that God will complete the GOOD work that He has started.This has echoes of Genesis 1 where God saw everything that He created and He declared it was GOOD. This is the language Paul uses here 

The new creation life within  them  is started by Jesus like in our lives too as believers.Paul notes that they are growing in grace and describes this as ‘good’


>> It is God who is doing the work in us , not ourselves- just not possible

Paul's words reverberate even today to all those who love Jesus and want to live for Him

This is something we can declare over our lives that God will complete what He started in us.There is no unfinished work with God


Verses7-8

It's all about mutual love here. He has love for them - he has them in his heart, they have love for him- they have him in his heart. “I have a place in my heart for you”

He is seeing their servant heart full of a pure and blameless love


Consider: Paul is in lockdown, shut away some 800 miles from these believers.He hears about their spiritual growth and overflows with excitement and joy? He longs to see them yet he does not complain about fellowship 

They are socially distant yet the love for the gospel brings then together.Their focus is the gospel of Christ ( if they shift from this then they might begin complaining about ‘lack of fellowship’)

Fellowship in the gospel brings us together


Paul is rejoicing even in prison as he thinks about what God is yet to do with the believers 


POINTS TO PONDER

> Declare over your life that the Lord who has begun the glorious work of grace will faithfully continue the process of maturing you, completing it when Christ returns 

>Be a people with a praise attitude - cultivate the healthy habit of thanksgiving: it's all part of allowing the work of maturity to develop in your life. AMEN



Join us next Thursday as we continue on this journey of joy.

 Visit the website churchlanzarote.com and stay informed of changes



CHRISTIAN WORSHIP CENTRE 


THURSDAY JUNE 4th 2020


Welcome All 

to our 

Bible Study 

for Thursday  4th June 2020


The topic we are studying today is The Power of the Holy Spirit

This is the final part in our three -part series, the trilogy,  of The Holy Spirit


Just to recap : the first week we studied The Person of the Holy Spirit 

the second week we studied The Purpose of the Holy Spirit 


This week, we look at the The Power of the Holy Spirit 


( please pray before you begin this study; let God by His Spirit guide you)


THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT 


What is this power? 


It comes from the Greek word ‘ dunamis’ which is translated ‘power’ ,as in Acts 1:8

And this has more to do with with power or ability than authority


So it's the enabling power which the Spirit gives to believers. This way believers can carry on the work Jesus left them to do, not in their own strength, but with this Spirit-filled transforming power


The Holy Spirit equips and empowers believers so that the reign and reality of God is revealed through believers in this world. Believers live in this world to express His glory




>>In the Old Testament :


The Spirit’s power :

enables people to serve God- God gives a heart  of flesh so we walk in His ways -Ezekiel 36:26-27

prompts prophecy and vision, like God saying that He will pour out His Spirit on all - Joel 2:28-29;

is seen in creation; His breath gives life - Genesis 1:2; Job 33:4

is demonstrated in the lives of God's servants - Micah 3:8 says, “I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord


Are there any other  Bible references you can think of? 


Was the Spirit's power only evident in ‘special’ people?




How was the Spirit seen in Jesus’ life? What Bible references can you think of ?



>>In Jesus’ life and ministry, the Spirit's  power :-


 is involved in His conception - Luke 1:35


is enabling teaching and ministry : like when Jesus goes back to Galilee in the power of the Spirit  in Luke 4:14, or as in Acts 10:38 where it says God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and ‘He went around doing good and healing all…’


raises Jesus from the dead - Romans 8:11



What are some ways in which the Spirit empowers the Church?




>> In the Church, the Holy Spirit enables the mission in many ways :-


 For example :- 

 in witness - Acts 6:10, Stephen’s words were anointed far exceeding human reason and argument


 in preaching and sharing the message, Paul wants to demonstrate the Spirit's power -  

1 Corinthians 2:4


 God using Paul to perform signs, wonders and miracles and ‘these are all the result of the power of God's Spirit,’ Romans 15:18-19


the Church receives strength and spiritual energy through the Spirit's power - Ephesians 3:16; 

Romans 8:26



>> In the life of the believer the Spirit’s power : -


builds Christian character : 2 Timothy 1:7 says ….’(God) has given us a spirit of power and of love and of sound judgment and self - control.’ It makes you better than you


leads you into a life of holiness :  Galatians 5:16 says, ‘walk in the ways of the Spirit ..so you will not gratify what your self-life desires’


produces the fruit of the Spirit : Galatians 5:22-23


    


According to Acts 1:8, what happens when believers receive this power and ability?


-by this experience, believers become Jesus’ witnesses. This filling of the Spirit transforms believers giving them a boldness for the sharing of the gospel and a clear sense of what  God's mission is



Closing comments :-


We are helpless attempting to do God's work WITHOUT God's power


The power of the Spirit is for every believer. We testify about God by the way we live, our Christ -like character and not just words. So ‘in our Jerusalem’ meaning at home, we are to express His power firstly. Then we can we spread the good news to other parts of the world


POINTS TO PONDER :-


During this time of lockdown, allow the Spirit to enable you to tell others about Jesus, particularly to family members/ relatives?


When we stay connected to the Spirit, we will find we are conforming more to His will and purpose 




PRAYER TO END

Today I am asking the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ to impart to you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation of who He is and what He has done for you. I pray this so that you will come to know Him better, that you will have a deepening intimacy with Him


I also pray for your heart to be filled with light, flooded with light by the Holy Spirit so that you will cherish the hope to which He has called you. I pray that you will know the purpose He wants to see fulfilled in your life

May God grant you out of His glorious riches to be strengthened and be spiritually energised with power by His Spirit …for the glory of Jesus, Amen


Two songs to add: There is a Redeemer

                               Fresh Outpouring 



Please stay well and safe. Visit the website churchlanzarote.com and stay informed about some changes






Welcome to All 

to our 

BIBLE STUDY for 

Thursday 28th May 2020


Today we continue our short series on ‘The Holy Spirit’


TOPIC : THE PURPOSE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT 


The main passage we shall focus on is John 16:7-15.


(Please read this passage and pray before you begin)


Jesus continues to teach His disciples before going to the cross in less than twenty four hours. 

He teaches them about abiding in the true Vine, that opposition and rejection are inevitable and that the disciples are His witnesses


Here in John 16:7-15, Jesus explains the role and ministry of the Holy Spirit. The disciples are  worried and anxious. Sadness has taken over, their hearts are filled with sorrow and sadness now that Jesus is not going to be with them. He is going away. They are thinking life will not be the same. 

Their focus seems to be more about  ‘why is not God doing what I want’.  Rather, their focus should be more along the lines of  ‘what God is doing’ by Jesus returning to heaven. 


They will need someone to sustain and  keep them and ‘be there’ for them


>V7- What are Jesus’ words to them? 

…. “it is for your own good that I am now going away…for unless I leave you, the Counsellor cannot come to you. But when I return to the Father, I will send Him to you.”


So the Spirit that would live in them would only be given when Jesus had returned to heaven

( Last week we spent some time studying the Ascension of Christ …you might remember?)


>>Do you think that you can handle life on your own? 

Or who are you dependent on? 


We are dependent on God by His Spirit - the Helper, the Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor is the One we are to be in close fellowship with. He is the One who will keep our focus on what Jesus has said and done. 

The Holy Spirit helps believers and His help is beneficial to us. The Spirit is for our good.


While Jesus was physically present with His disciples, He could only be in one place at a time. Now the Holy Spirit is with us constantly …. “who will remain with You forever,” John 14:16.



There are three aspects of the Spirit’s work in this passage : -


-convicting the world : verses 8-11

-helping/ guiding the believers : verses 12-13

-glorifying  Christ : verses 14-15


Verses 8-11 describe the wider ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit convicts the world : -


>What does it mean to ‘convict’?

 To refute or prove wrong, giving a sense of guilt and shame in our hearts and so leads to repentance. 


> Can you name any examples of where we see conviction?  ( apart from yourself! )


 -the teachers of the law and Pharisees bring a  woman caught in adultery to Jesus—John 8:9


     -Saul of Tarsus ,before he becomes Paul , the apostle—Acts 9:5


> Still in Verses 8-11, of what will the Holy Spirit convict the world?


                            Of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. 


> Why convict of sin? 


Because the world, the people refuse to believe in Jesus and His message. People are to be made aware of the true nature of sin, the ‘bad news of sin’ before they can embrace the Good News as they believe in Him.

Unbelief causes us not to respond to God's love. Because of the Spirit’s activity, people come to see their need of God, the sin that separates them from a Holy God. Then they become born again.


> Why convict of righteousness? Of a godly character ?


 Because Jesus’ righteousness is proven.He is going back to the Father, so He is ascended as Lord. He is the perfect standard of godly, holy, and right living. 

God teaches in His Word that our ‘righteousness’ is not sufficient- it cannot reconcile us to a holy God. Our works of selfish righteousness do not set us free. Rather they condemn us.

It is only in Christ’s righteousness that we are made completely free by the Spirit 


> Why convict of judgment? Of the certainty of judgment ? 


Because the prince of this world, Satan now stands judged and condemned. At the Cross, Jesus showed His awesome power by rising from the grave.This is Satan’s death blow! The ruler of this dark world has already received his sentence. 


The world adopts wrong standards of judgment and values. God is the standard for judgment. 


The Holy Spirit reveals what is sinful and what is right in God's eyes. He will warn of the judgment that is to come.


Verses 12-13

The Holy Spirit guides believers:- 


Jesus is saying here that He has more things to tell or teach His disciples.Yet He realises that they are not able to grasp or handle all of these things. Not yet anyway.


>So what does Jesus say to them? Read v13


It is through the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ followers will receive the complete revelation of the truth.


This will not be His own message, but what He hears from the Father and the Son.The Spirit of Truth will reveal prophetically to the disciples what is to come (in the future).


>How can this take place?


The Holy Spirit takes things revealed in God's Word and shows or declares them to the believer.

So we are to have receptive hearts, to follow truth because we know Jesus ,unlike the unbeliever.


Jesus spoke only the words of His Father with the authority of His Father.Similarly the Spirit of Truth speaks the words of the Father and Son. 


>>So too we should aim to speak only what God would have us to say…His words - they are life changing. 


Verses 14-15

The Spirit glorifies Christ: this is the aim of the Spirit’s work - to promote the Glory of Christ 


>How is Christ to be glorified?


When the Spirit takes the truths of Jesus and reveals them to His followers.

Everything about Jesus will be declared by the Spirit. 

So the Spirit will keep pointing us to Jesus. Jesus is central to the life of the believer who is 

Spirit-filled and who is growing in the Lord. The believer is enlightened by the Spirit and so Jesus is glorified through the believer’s fruitful Christian living. 

This way we are believing what He says and desire to obey His commands out of love for Him. 


Closing comments :- 


Verse 15 - Jesus says that everything He has the Spirit will take and reveal to us in our experiences.This is an amazing truth .By faith you are to appropriate what is yours in God, in Christ. 


For the believer: spiritual growth will be evident resulting in fruitfulness. 


For the Church: we will grow in Jesus’ mission, outreach and caring for one another.


The Holy Spirit is our Advocate in difficult and dark times like when we face opposition to our faith. The Spirit comes alongside us helping us to be “strong in the Lord” as we remain faithful to Jesus, our Saviour and Lord.


Points to ponder :-


  • God does not expect you to live a godly, holy life in your own power. 
  • What can you do to allow the Spirit to work in you?
  • How can you serve God, so that Christ is glorified in and through your life?


PRAYER TO END

“Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me

Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me

Melt me, mould me

Fill me, and use me”


Jesus, for the glory of Your name we pray, Amen


PLEASE NOTE: Next week we shall be studying The Power Of The Holy Spirit


BIBLE STUDY

for 

THURSDAY 21st MAY 2020

(Ascension Day)


TOPIC: THE HOLY SPIRIT 


Today we begin a  short series of studies on The Holy Spirit

Over the  the next few weeks we will study this very important and timely topic.


The aim: to grow together spiritually ,becoming Christ-like and increasingly dependent on Jesus. 


We will  be looking at various scripture references that will help us understand 

-The person,

          -The purpose ,and 

                          -The power of the Holy Spirit 



( please pray before you begin where you are)


This week we are studying: THE PERSON OF THE HOLY SPIRIT 


>Who is the Holy Spirit?


The characteristics or attributes of the Holy Spirit  are those of God. The titles that are used to describe Him identify Him as part of the triune nature of the divine being: “ One  God exists eternally in three persons namely Father , Son  and the Holy Spirit”


There is  complete unity and diversity. One common nature is shared, ‘the sameness of the Godhood’, yet the Father , the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinguishable - John 16:14-15


>Is the Spirit a ‘thing’ or a  ‘force’ ?


The Holy Spirit is not impersonal but a real person with His own personality. So we refer to Him as ‘He’ and not ‘it’.So He , the Holy Spirit is involved in personal relationships


>What are those relationships..can you name one ?


Relationships: Firstly, with the Father and the Son -2 Corinthians 13:14, Jude 20-21

                        Secondly , in relationship with Christians -Acts 15:28


             Further, the Holy Spirit can be treated in personal ways , as for example in Acts 5:3

             The Spirit can experience emotion and pain - Ephesians 4:30


>>The Spirit lives within believers in Christ.This means believers are never out of God's presence. 


How can we avoid grieving or hurting Him by our words and actions?




Descriptions of the Holy Spirit 


The Spirit may appear in symbolic form and all that He does may be described with the use of metaphors ( figure of speech where you apply  a word or phrase to an object or action yet it is not literally applicable to it)


>What are some of these descriptions for the Holy 

Spirit ?


The fire - Luke 3:16-17 , Acts 2:3-4


The dove - Luke 3:22


The wind or breath -  Ezekiel 37: 9-14 , Acts 2:2


_____Are there any more that you can can remember?______



The oil of anointing - Isaiah 61


Water - Isaiah 44:3 , 1 Corinthians 12:13


A guide or shepherd - Isaiah 63:14


The power of God - Luke 1:35, Luke 24:49


God's gift - Acts 10:45



Comment: 

Jesus did not say much about the Holy Spirit until the Last Supper. His crucifixion was imminent. Despite this ,He took the time to explain to His disciples that the Holy  Spirit  who had been working with them, would soon come to live within them. 

He was preparing the disciples to receive the precious gift of the Spirit, this third Person of the God head (the Trinity)




The Ascension of Jesus (which we commemorate today !)


>Why did Jesus ascend ,return to heaven ?


In John 14 :16-17 ,Jesus said, “ when I return to heaven I will ask the Father to replace Me with another Counsellor exactly like Me, who will remain with you forever. He is the Spirit of Truth …who lives with you and soon will be in you…” The Spirit will make His home in you and live inside you

V25-26 , Jesus says “I have told you all these things while I am with you. The Father will send you the Counsellor,-the Helper , the Holy Spirit in My Name. When He comes, He will teach you all you need to know and will remind you of everything I have already taught you”.


In Acts 1, after Jesus tells His disciples to wait until they have received the gift of the Holy Spirit as promised, He ascends ‘ until a cloud hid Him from their sight’.


The Spirit by His very nature will help and guide believers how to relate Jesus’ words / teaching to their present lives. Jesus’ ascension made way for the arrival of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (so assuming the ministry of Jesus Christ)


 


Like Jesus, the Holy Spirit would be another Counsellor. He would be their teacher and would remind them of everything Jesus had taught them


The Counsellor is the gift of the exalted, ascended  Christ -John 16:7 Jesus says if He goes away, He will send the Holy Spirit to His followers


>>What would the Holy Spirit do as Counsellor?


  • comforts, He is our Comforter (from the Greek word ‘ Parakletos’) - John 14:16-17
  • reassures believers that they are God's children - Romans 8:16
  • strengthens the church…helping us in our weakness, interceding on our behalf- Romans 8:26



>>What would the Holy Spirit do as Teacher?


As teacher,  the Spirit of truth instructed God's people in the Old Testament and Jesus’ disciples in the New Testament. Revelation of the truth of God to believers continues by the Spirit 


So the Spirit:

-instructs believers , testifying to truth of Jesus’ teaching-1 John 5:6-8

-teaches disciples what to say when there is persecution - Acts 6:10

- teaches the churches … ‘hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches’ - Revelation 2:7

 


Points to ponder


> How will your understanding of the Person and activity of the Holy Spirit impact your life as a child of God?


>The Spirit points us to Jesus, always. This happens so that we might believe what Jesus says and in love obey what He commands





PRAYER TO END: 

Heavenly Father, today we thank You for all that you are doing in our lives through the activity of the Holy Spirit 

We thank You for the relationship we have with You where You live in us by Your Spirit and we live in You

We pray that we will continue to grow in Christ -like character  and by the Spirit our hearts will be stirred and ready for what You want to do in our lives

You are not divorced from our needs and struggles Lord. We thank You that we can cast all our care upon You for You care for us. We praise You our loving ,merciful and gracious God.

For the glory of Your name we pray, Amen



————Please note: Next week we will be studying ‘ The Purpose of the Holy Spirit’—————




Christian Worship Centre 

BIBLE STUDY

for 

THURSDAY 14th MAY 2020


TOPIC : TRUE WORSHIP OF GOD


Welcome Friends, Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus, to today's Bible Study

The topic is  on True Worship.


An understanding of what worship is all about helps the individual believer to live a life pleasing to the Lord. There are many scripture references, both from  the Old Testament and from the New Testament in this study today 

I encourage you read them all as we study today. God’s people worshipped in the Old Testament and in the New Testament God is still the object of worship


(WHAT) What is Worship?


Definition of worship: expressing to God the praise, honour and glory of which He is worthy, not only with our lips but in our lives


  • the word comes from the old word ‘ worthship’ which is worthiness or merit, being worthy or deserving.It is a term used for the reverent devotion or honour paid


So to worship God is literally to give Him what He is worth , or is worthy to receive. We worship God because HE IS GOD.This worship is filled with thanksgiving for all He is and what He has done for us and has given us in Christ Jesus 


(WHO) Who are we to worship?

God, and God alone. God alone is worthy of worship.-1 CHRONICLES 16:25, PSALM 96:4-5 (read)

No other God is to be worshipped, only the LORD God… He is “above all gods”.

 


(HOW) How do we worship?

Worship to God must be spiritual and real.- JOHN 4:23-24 


As He speaks to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, Jesus says that “ a time is coming , in fact it is already come, when those who worship in a true way will worship the Father in the power of His Spirit and in the truth of His Word.

These are the kind of worshippers that the Father wants. God is Spirit.This is why those who worship Him must do so in Spirit and truth.” 


The Spirit enables us to worship so our worship can be acceptable to God


This means the Father wants real worshippers. Worshippers who are worshipping from the heart, a right heart , sincere  and not just going through a routine like a performer..It is not about where we worship, it's about our heart attitude. 

This is true worship.It involves all of our being: heart ,soul and mind. Worship is the expression of holiness from a heart that loves and embraces God passionately 


>>>> Since God seeks true worshippers who worship Him in spirit and in truth, do you think becoming such a worshipper should be your priority ?




(WHY)

Why is worship important to the  life of the believer?

The reason we exist is to worship God for Who He is and what He has done

> It is a  divine command

- REVELATION 14:7 “Fear God and give Him glory,….Worship Him who created heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” Reverence God, worship the Creator …

--PSALM 150: 6 - “ Let everyone  everywhere, who has breath  praise the Lord.( hallelujah!)”



>We are to be a worshipping people

        -ISAIAH 43:21 : “The people whom I formed for Myself, will make known My praise”


        -1 PETER 2:9 : “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light…”



(WHEN)


When we worship , what are we responding to?


    We are responding to:


-God's love : EXODUS 4:31(read)


-God’s holy presence : 1 CHRONICLES 16:29 (. …. bring an offering and come before Him, worship the Lord in the splendour of His holiness)


-God’s greatness :PSALM 95 verses 1-3 ( O come , let us sing joyfully,…shout joyfully…for the Lord is great and a great King…”)


-God’s works/ deeds : 

DANIEL 3:28 (“ Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who has sent His angel and rescued His servants who believed in, trusted in and relied on Him…”. )


ACTS 3:8 (..and with a leap he stood up and began to walk…..walking and leaping and praising God..”)


-the fear of God: 

HEBREWS 12:28 ( Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, and offer to God pleasing service and acceptable worship with reverence and awe.” Offer God the purest worship as we lay down our lives in absolute surrender, filled with awe.)



Are there hindrances to true worship? 


We can say the right words and just have ‘a form of worshipfulness’ without any ‘realness’.This 

can happen when 


1-we have a  wrong relationship to God , 

( EZEKIEL 33:31 says ‘ So they come as though they are sincere and sit before you listening. But they have no intention of doing what I tell them to do; they talk very sweetly about loving the Lord, expressing loving devotion but their heart goes after their own gain.”  (Read MATTHEW 15: 7-9)


2- we have a wrong relationship with others 

(MATTHEW 5:23-24 says “So then , if you are presenting a gift before the altar in the temple and suddenly you remember a quarrel  or grievance you have with a fellow believer, leave your gift there in front of the altar and go at once to apologise with the one who is offended.Then ,after you have reconciled, come to the altar and present your gift.”)



>>Therefore there is need for examination of our hearts so that where there hindrances to worship  we can seek actively to remove them



Concluding comments:


In worship our ‘ presentation of worship’ is offered TO Him for His glory and pleasure. He is the focus , the aim being to GIVE Him praise and thanks. It is not to see what “I can GET” out of it.

It is about giving not getting.


It is centred on the Lord, not on ourselves or our feelings

It is a way of life so it is not confined to church services or meetings or special daily times only


In the book of Revelation, we are given some insight into the worship that goes on continually in heaven.This is the worship that is to be expressed in our lives daily. When we are worshipping here on earth we are joining in with the continual worship taking place in heaven


Scripture references include Revelation 4:9-11 and Revelation 19:5-8 (please read loudly)


The Holy Spirit enables us to focus on God the Father and the Lord Jesus reigning together in glory and triumph .Focussing on Him, raises you above your negative situation or problem for you are focussing on the One who is so much greater than the circumstances you face



Application 


POINTS TO PONDER:

What is one thing you can change in your current lifestyle to make truly worshipping God priority?

(Maybe you can write down some reflections and review in one week )


Consider having consistent, daily and ‘protected’ worship time with your Lord and Saviour. Spiritual growth will follow.Remember you are in a relationship with the Lord,and not doing a religious routine


In worship times, decree and declare truths about God and about what God's Word says about your identity in Christ



Since worship will be our never -ending activity in heaven , let us engage in true worship now

It will be our greatest joy in heaven.  Practise worshipping God in this life so you are ready for an eternity of worship in His presence !


Romans 12:1 says “Beloved friends , what should be our response to God's marvellous mercies?

I encourage you to surrender yourselves to God to be His sacred , living sacrifices. And live in holiness, experiencing all that delights His heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship.”(TPT)

Surrendering ourselves to God…..this is our worship to Him. As we  surrender of our lives to God unreservedly, Jesus’ life , power and love will be expressed  and radiate through us as we serve one another 



PRAYER TO CLOSE


Father we praise You today .You are the Holy and Almighty God.You are the God of grace ,the God of all comfort, and the God of love. Thank You for loving us with an everlasting love


Forgive us Lord when we have not given You the honour and praise that is due to Your name.

Thank You that in Your unfailing mercy ,You forgive us through the cleansing blood of Jesus


So we return to You, O Lord .By your Holy Spirit renew, revive and restore us so that we live our lives in continual worship to You, so that we live pleasing and holy lives radiating the character of Christ in our words and actions 

This we pray for the glory of Your name and the good of Your kingdom, Amen

Song to use for reflection : heart of worship



Bible Study for 7th May 2020

Winning the Battle for Your Mind (3)
“Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice! [Ps. 37:4.] Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord is near [He is coming soon]. Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God's peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]. Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:4-9‬ ‭AMPC‬‬
https://www.bible.com/8/php.4.4-9.ampc

What positive things can we focus our minds on from this passage?

To rejoice in the Lord always. Joy is not based on our circumstances.
Whereas, happiness depends on what happens.
Having an unselfish, considerate, forbearing spirit.
The fact that the Lord is coming again soon.
To delight ourselves in the Lord.
To gladden our hearts in Him.
Through prayer & petition God gives us His peace which passes all understanding & is ours through our personal relationship of knowing Jesus Christ as Lord & Saviour.
(That peace is like a garrison or as secure as the Beefeater guards posted as sentries at Buckingham Palace, protecting the Queen of England).
Jesus is the Prince of Peace.

What negative things are mentioned in this passage?
Fretting
Being anxious
How can they be resolved/overcome?
Through prayer & petition, resulting in peace.
Peace or ‘Shalom’ meaning total well-being, wholeness, peace that passes all understanding.
Www.peak313.com offers this good example :-
‘Thought check (based on Philippians 4:8).
Is what I’m thinking about ...
True?
Noble?
Just?
Pure?
Lovely?
Of good report?
Virtuous?
Praiseworthy?

If no, STOP & think about something else.
Train your thoughts.
Scriptures to meditate on :-
Romans 8:1-8
Romans 12:1-2
Philippians 4:8
2 Corinthians 10:1-5
Colossians 3:1-3.’

What is achieved by focusing on Scripture?
We are not condemned.
We are set free from the law of sin & death.
When our minds are controlled by the Holy Spirit, we know true life & peace (total well-being, wholeness).
We are not conformed to the patterns of this world.
We are transformed by the renewing of our minds.
We can focus on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous & praiseworthy.
We can use the weapons we have have been given by God to demolish strongholds.
We can set our minds on things above.
We have the mind of Christ.

Another enemy to our mind which we need to engage in constant combat or battle against is ‘fear.’
The Apostle Paul writes the following verse to his son in the faith, Timothy :-

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”
‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭AMPC‬‬
https://www.bible.com/8/2ti.1.7.ampc

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
‭‭II Timothy‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
https://www.bible.com/114/2ti.1.7.nkjv

Elisabeth Elliot once said this, ‘Fear arises when we imagine that everything depends on us.’
A useful acronym for FEAR, we heard mentioned many times when we were at Kingdom Faith Training College, Roffey was this :-
‘False
Expectations
Appearing
Real.’

How does fear adversely affect us?
Fear would try to paralyse us.
Fear would try to make us timid.
Fear would try to make us believe that the worst case scenario imaginable will happen to us personally.

Or we could choose an alternative, more positive acronym. The one based on FAITH :-
‘Forsaking
All
I
Trust
Him.’

What does this faith look like in practice?
The Holy Spirit gives us His power.
The Holy Spirit gives us His love.
The Holy Spirit gives us a sound or well-balanced mind. A mind that is calm, disciplined & self-controlled.

In summary :-
With God’s help we can train our thinking.
We do not have to live in fear.
We can live in faith.
The Holy Spirit enables us to live empowered, in His love & with a sound, well-balanced mind.
That means we can have minds that are calm, disciplined & self-controlled.

Two Scriptures for us to declare over ourselves, as we close this morning’s
Bible Study :-
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
‭‭II Timothy‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
https://www.bible.com/114/2ti.1.7.nkjv


“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
https://www.bible.com/114/php.4.8.nkjv

Bible Study for 30th April 2020

Bible Study: For the next two Thursdays the topic 'Winning The Battle For Your Mind' continues. So look out for this as Pastor Rachel leads this relevant study.


Winning the Battle for Your Mind (2)

“THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. [John 3:18.]”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:1‬ ‭AMPC‬‬
https://www.bible.com/8/rom.8.1.ampc
Don’t receive condemnation when you have setbacks or bad days.
Each of us will fail at times, as we are all human!
The devil will try his hardest to stop you in this area of renewing your mind.
He knows that he is no longer in control, when you choose right thoughts & reject wrong thoughts.
Note Before : There is a difference between conviction of sin & condemnation.
Conviction of sin comes from the Holy Spirit & will guide you into all truth.
Condemnation will make you feel like a failure & result in you feeling guilty, this comes from the devil.
When you do fail, it does not mean that you are a failure.
Satan again is trying to bring you down.
The sons of Korah were well aware of this & mention it in Psalm 42 :-
“Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, my Help and my God. O my God, my life is cast down upon me [and I find the burden more than I can bear]; therefore will I [earnestly] remember You from the land of the Jordan [River] and the [summits of Mount] Hermon, from the little mountain Mizar. [Roaring] deep calls to [roaring] deep at the thunder of Your waterspouts; all Your breakers and Your rolling waves have gone over me. Yet the Lord will command His loving-kindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me, a prayer to the God of my life.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭42:5-8‬ ‭AMPC‬‬
https://www.bible.com/8/psa.42.5-8.ampc
What can we learn from this Psalm of the sons of Korah?
How did they handle discouragement?
When they were feeling discouraged they remembered God. So can we.
They praised God. So can we.
They remember how God had helped them previously. So can we.
This gave them hope in difficult times. So it should also give us hope.
They remembered the command of the loving-kindness of God in the daytime. So can we.
God’s Song was with them during the night, like a prayer to them.
His Song can also be with us during the night like a prayer to us.
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you. In every prayer of mine I always make my entreaty and petition for you all with joy (delight). [I thank my God] for your fellowship (your sympathetic cooperation and contributions and partnership) in advancing the good news (the Gospel) from the first day [you heard it] until now. And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:3-6‬ ‭AMPC‬‬
https://www.bible.com/8/php.1.3-6.ampc
The Apostle Paul wrote the letter to the Philippians, while he was isolated in prison. Often it is called the letter or epistle of ‘joy.’
How can someone in isolation & in prison know the joy of Jesus?
Paul thanks God when he remembers the Philippian believers.
We should remember each other & give thanks to God for each other too.
What can we do in our own time of isolation, due to the Lockdown because of the Coronavirus?
We can also thank God that we can support & encourage each other through our prayers & texts for one another in our own time of isolation.
We can encourage our hearts through the reading, sharing & teaching, preaching of Scripture.
Why is Paul thankful for the Philippian believers?
Because they co-operated & partnered with him in the sharing & spreading of the Gospel.
We also partner & work together to share the Gospel.
God began a good work in them & would carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
God has begun a good work in each one of us too. He will fulfil His promises & purposes in our lives too. What He has said, that He will do!
“Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭AMPC‬‬
https://www.bible.com/8/rom.12.2.ampc
How can our minds be transformed to God’s way of thinking?
Our thinking needs to change & this results in new ideals & attitudes.
How is it possible for us to prove what the good, acceptable, perfect will of God is for us?
Jesus has made this transformation possible by His death & resurrection.
When we trust in Him as our Lord & Saviour, He helps us to accomplish this.
I’m often reminded of an illustration that I heard about a caterpillar.
A caterpillar is earthbound & crawls about on the ground.
(I have fond recollections as a young child of reading the book
‘The very hungry caterpillar’ - but that’s beside the point!)
Until the caterpillar dies to self it cannot change. It will always be earthbound.
Yet its destiny is to fly in the sky.
Therefore it has to go into a chrysalis for a period of time & later break out of this mould before it becomes a butterfly. Then it has wings & can fly in the sky. Its destination has changed. It is no longer earthbound. It is now heaven bound or homeward bound (but not like in the song by Simon & Garfunkel!)
Someone has likened it to Jesus when He lived on earth (earthbound for a while), died & was buried (like in a chrysalis), & broke & defeated the powers of death & hell through His resurrection. Then He ascended into heaven (like emerging transformed like a butterfly in some ways, heavenbound).
When we become Christians we are then heavenbound.
We are citizens of heaven. Heaven is our true home & one day we will go there to be with Jesus if we have accepted Him as Lord & Saviour here while we are citizens on earth.
In summary :-
We can be convicted of sin & this is from the Holy Spirit.
We are not condemned, as this is from the devil.
We can fail at times, but we are not failures.
We can remember God’s faithfulness & loving-kindness to us.
Therefore, we can continue to have hope.
We can have joy because of Jesus, even in times of isolation & lockdown.
We can give thanks to God for each other.
We continue to partner together in sharing the Gospel.
We can know Jesus as our own personal Lord & Savior.
We can be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
We can be assured that our destiny/our citizenship is in heaven.

Our closing prayer :-
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you. In every prayer of mine I always make my entreaty and petition for you all with joy (delight). [I thank my God] for your fellowship (your sympathetic cooperation and contributions and partnership) in advancing the good news (the Gospel) from the first day [you heard it] until now. And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:3-6‬ ‭AMPC‬‬
https://www.bible.com/8/php.1.3-6.ampc


Bible Study for 23rd April 2020

Welcome to our Thursday Bible Study, friends, brothers & sisters of the Christian Worship Centre, Playa Blanca.  
Over the course of the next three weeks, we will be looking at the subject/theme :-
‘Winning the Battle for Your Mind.’ 
We will explore various Scriptures & see how they can make a positive impact on the way that we think & how this affects our attitudes, habits & lifestyle or behavioural patterns. 

Winning the Battle for Your Mind (1)

‘For the weapons of our warfare are not physical (weapons of flesh & blood), but they are mighty before God for the overthrow & destruction of strongholds, (inasmuch as we) refute arguments & theories & reasonings & every proud & lofty thing that sets itself up against the (true) knowledge of God; & we lead every thought captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One),’ 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (Amp.)

Through careful strategy & cunning deceit, Satan attempts to set up ‘strongholds’ in our mind. A stronghold is an area in which we are held like a prisoner or captive in prison due to a certain way of thinking.
In this passage the Apostle Paul tells us that we have the weapons that we need to overcome Satan’s strongholds.

So what weapons do we readily have at our disposal, in order to overcome Satan’s ‘strongholds’?

First of all, a weapon which Paul clearly defines for us is :-
That we must know the Word of God well enough to be able to compare what is in our mind with what is in the mind of God; and thoughts that attempt to exalt themselves above the Word of God we are to cast down & bring into the captivity of Jesus Christ.

Other ‘weapons’ we can effectively make use of are :-

The Word of God received through preaching, teaching, private & public Bible Study.

Two other weapons available for us to use are praise & prayer.
A good example of both of these can be found in 2 Chronicles 20,
which I recommend that you look through in greater detail to
carefully consider & study its content later on today.
Another verses to consider relating to the impact of prayer is
2 Chronicles 7:14.

The mind is the starting block where everything begins - whether negative or positive thoughts - are formulated.
Romans 8:5 makes it clear, ‘For those who are according to the flesh & are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on & pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit & are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on & seek those things which gratify the Holy Spirit.’

So what is most dominant in your thinking & in mine?
Negative thinking? or Positive thinking?

Let me briefly give a personal example, to help us understand this in more detail :-

Several years ago, I studied & gained a Counselling Certificate in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Basically how you think affects the way in which you behave. It can be summed up by the following pattern :-

If you think negatively, it can become a negative attitude, then that negative attitude becomes a negative habit & then that negative habit becomes a negative lifestyle! This results in speaking negative words over yourself & others. Then bad things may start to happen & it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom & gloom. It’s like you set yourself up to fail!

Whereas, if you think positively, it can become a positive attitude, then that positive attitude becomes a positive habit & then that positive attitude becomes a positive lifestyle. You speak positive words over yourself & others. Your actions &/or behaviour becomes positive as well.

The Apostle Paul especially talks about this in his letter to the Philippians,
“For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]. Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:8-9‬ ‭AMPC‬‬
https://www.bible.com/8/php.4.8-9.ampc

How can you do this on an every-day basis?
By encouraging your hearts & minds with Scripture.
By encouraging one another.
By using positive words that edify & lift up, rather than negative words that tear down & destroy.


Jesus said, “If you abide in My Word (hold fast to My teachings & live in accordance with them), you are truly My disciples. And you will know the Truth, & the Truth will set you free,” John 8:31-32.

Jesus Himself is The Way, The Truth, & The Life
(John 14:6, tells us this fact).

‘For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin, no matter how it comes or where it leads) has overtaken you & laid hold on you that is not common to man (that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance & that is not adjusted & adapted & belonging to the human experience, & such a man can bear). But God is faithful (to His Word & to His compassionate nature), & He (can be trusted) not to let you be tempted & tried & assayed beyond your ability & strength of resistance & power to endure, but with the temptation He will (always) also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable & strong & powerful to bear up under it patiently,’ 1 Corinthians 10:13.

So what is God doing throughout this process?
God doesn’t abandon us & leave us helpless.
God is faithful to us & is there with us.
He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear, but with every temptation He will also provide the way out &/or the means of escape.
God is building up our resilience levels & prompting us to listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit who will lead us into all truth.

In summary :-
So remember to think about what you are thinking about!
Fill your minds with Scripture.
Fill your mouths with Scripture & speak positive words over yourself & others.
This will take time, as positive thinking & habits don’t just happen overnight!
Be encouraged & learn Scriptures to build yourselves & others up.

A closing Scripture to encourage your hearts & minds :-

“THEREFORE, SINCE we are justified (acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God's favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God. Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:1-5‬ ‭AMPC‬‬
https://www.bible.com/8/rom.5.1-5.ampc