Prayer Dynamics

                          

LORD’S PRAYER GIVE GOD YOUR FEARS AND TEMPTATIONS
by Rick Warren

“And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one” – Matthew 6:13 (NLT)

It is not a sin to be tempted; the sin is when we give in to temptation.

Let me ask you to think about these questions –

  • In what area of your life do you need more self-control?
  • What is your greatest fear?   The fear of failure?  The fear of bad health?  The fear of a divorce?  The fear of rejection?  The fear of the future? 

Jesus says these things are the things you ought to be talking to him about. He wants you to talk to him about the areas where you’re most tempted. He wants you to talk to him about the things you most fear.

Jesus understands our fears and temptations: Our High Priest is not one who cannot feel sympathy for our weaknesses. On the contrary, we have a High Priest who was tempted in every way that we are, but did not sin. (Hebrews 4:15 TEV)

The Bible says Jesus came to earth; He walked around for 33 years; and He experienced every temptation known to man, the same ones we experience.  It is not a sin to be tempted; the sin is when we give in to temptation. 

The Bible says Jesus experienced the greatest temptations ever; yet, He didn’t give in.

And that means when you pray — “Jesus, I’m struggling in this area.  I’m just not making it here.  I keep stumbling.  I keep failing” — Jesus understands because he’s been there. He knows what it’s like.

The Bible says we can have “confidence, then, and approach God’s throne, where there is grace. There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it.” (Hebrews 4:16, TEV)

                             

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Just a Thought

                                   

                                Rev. A. Linford

DON’T YOU BELIEVE IT

“Hath God forgotten to be gracious” Psalm 77:9

The Psalmist was in deep distress. In his trouble he sought the Lord in night-long prayer. But God did not seem to be there. ”Has He forgotten to be graciously is the querulous complaint.

Don’t you believe it. God cannot deny Himself, He does not change. He is the only totally stable Being in the vast universe. The scenes of life may change, the seasons of time do change, and human nature is subject to change. But “I am the Lord, I change not” – Malachi 3:6. He cannot change, for to grow less would make Him lower than perfection, to grow greater is impossible for He is great beyond increase. He is still the same loving, just, wise and gracious God. As ever he was.

But sometimes He hides Himself to test us. If we cannot trust God in the dark, can we really trust Him in the light? Temptation would seek to obscure our vision, but faith, whether it is dark or light, summer of winter, bitter cold or boiling heat, holds firm. True faith is more than rational consent or emotional content, it is gripping God like wrestling Jacob, and not letting go. “Lay hold on eternal life”.

The Psalmist found help in remembering what God had done, and was assured that He would do it again. Rain may be unpleasant, but it fructifies the earth, so dark clouds of trouble are often fraught with blessing. “God forgotten to be gracious?” Don’t you believe it!

                            

 

 

Dave’s Snippets

                               

                               Dr. David Allen

A VISIT TO A MUSEUM

Last Saturday, with Methodist friends, we paid a visit to Englesea Brook Chapel and Museum, a few miles from Stoke – on-Trent. The old chapel houses a fine collection of memorabilia   which traces the history of the Primitive Methodists.

In 1807 two fervent Christians, William Clowes and Hugh Bourne, rather dissatisfied by   Wesleyan Methodism and after much prayer and heart-searching, organised an open-air  service on the pattern of American  Camp meetings.  Many hundreds gathered in a field in the   hillside village of Mow Cop on the border between Cheshire and Staffordshire. It was a roaring success, characterised by Gospel preaching, fervent singing and  much prayer. The original   group began to swell enormously after the first gathering; and there were many conversions and others who rededicated their lives to the Lord. 

Amazingly the Wesleyan Conference was far from being pleased by all this. Instead they   ruled that such unruly gatherings should desist immediately as they considered that such things were contrary to Methodist ethos and practice.  In a relatively short period, the hierarchy had completely forgotten that Methodism had been born by John Wesley and his followers in the fires of revival  set alight by prayer and the open-air preaching of the Gospel.

Undaunted by official censure, Clowes and Bourne carried on with the work. Primitive Methodism flourished; and through fervent singing, plain and powerful preaching, it began to eclipse some of the other Methodist branches or “connexions”.   Many areas, particularly in the North and Midlands, felt the impact. A Methodist scholar characterised the movement as “the Pentecostalism of the nineteenth century”.

The museum is well worth a visit; and it has abiding lessons. A life-size figure of a “sister” in the  full flow of preaching is arresting and reminds us of the important role preaching had; and  piped hymns emphasise how vital they were.  Also, something else took my attention: there   was a   poster advertising   a choral concert   featuring   Handel’s “Messiah”. There is, of itself, nothing   really bad; but we need to be warned that it is so easy for the main business of a church to lose focus and slip into mere entertainment. That was certainly one of the factors which weakened Primitive Methodism in the latter years of the nineteenth century. As modern Pentecostals, it is something to be very aware of. Our task is not to entertain but to evangelise; and we should not amuse people but rather confront them with the unique challenges of  Christianity in our pluralistic  society.                                          

                             

Great Stories

                                            

                                    Rev. E. Anderson

THE HUGGING JUDGE

“Don’t bug me! Hug me!

Lee Shapiro is a retired judge. He is also one of the most genuinely loving people we know. At one post in his career, Lee realised that love is the greatest power there is. As a result, Lee became a hugger. He began offering everybody a hug. His colleagues dubbed him ‘the hugging judge’ (as opposed to the hanging judge, we suppose). The bumper sticker on his car reads, “Don’t bug me! Hug met”.

About six years ago Lee created what he calls his Hugger Kit. On the outside it reads “A heart for a hug”. The inside contains thirty little red embroidered hearts with stickums on the back. Lee will take out his Hugger Kit, go around to people and offer them g little red heart in exchange for a hug.

Lee has become so well known for this that he is often invited to do keynote conferences and conventions, where he shares his message of unconditional love. At a conference in San Francisco, the local news media challenged him by saying, “It is easy to give out hugs here in the conference to people who self-selected to be here. But this in would never work in the real world”.

They challenged Lee to give away some hugs on the streets of San Francisco. Followed by a television crew from the local news station, Lee went out onto the street. First he approached a woman walking by. “Hi, I’m Lee Shapiro, the hugging judge. I’m giving out these hearts in exchange for a hug”. “Sure,” she replied. “Too easy,” challenged the local commentator. Lee looked around. He saw a meter maid who was being given a hard time by the owner of a BMW to whom the was giving a ticket. He marched up to her, camera crew in tow, and said, “You look like you could use a hug. I’m the hugging judge and I’m offering you one”.She accepted.

The television commentator threw down one fina1 challenge. “Look here comes a bus. San Francisco bus drivers are the toughest, crabbiest, meanest people in the whole town. Let’s see you get him to hug you”> Lee took the the challenge.

As the bus pulled up to the curb, Lee said, ‘Hi, I’m Lee Shapiro, the hugging judge. This has got to be one of the most stressful jobs in the whole world. I’m offering hugs to people today to lighten the load a little. Would you like one?- The six-foot-two, 230-pound bus driver got out of his seat, stepped down and said, “Why not!”

Lee hugged him, gave him a heart and waved good-bye as the bus pulled out. The TV crew was speechless. Finally, the commentator said, “I have to admit, I’m very impressed.”

One day Lee’s friend Nancy Johnston showed up on his doorstep. Nancy is a professional clown and she was wearing her clown costume, makeup and all. “Lee, grab a bunch of your Hugger Kits and let’s go out to the home for the disabled”

When they arrived at the home, they started giving out balloon hats, hearts and hugs to the patients. Lee was uncomfortable. He had never before hugged people who were terminally ill, severely retarded or quadriplegic. It was definitely a stretch. But after a while it became easier, with Nancy and Lee acquiring an entourage of doctors, nurses and orderlies who followed them froth ward to ward.

After several hours they entered the last ward. These were 34 of the worst cases Lee had seen in his life. The feeling was so grim it took his heart away. But out of their commitment to share their love and to make a difference, Nancy and Lee started working their way around the room followed by the entourage of medical stall of whom by now had hearts on their collars and balloon hats on their heads.

Finally, Lee came to the last person, Leonard. Leonard was wearing a big white bib which he was drooling on. Lee looked at Leonard dribbling onto his bib and said, “Let’s got Nancy. There’s no way we can get through to this person”.  Nancy replied, “C’mon, Lee. He’s a fellow human being, too, isn’t he?” Then she placed a funny balloon hat on his head. Lee took one of his little red hearts and placed it on Leonard’s bib. He took a deep breath, leaned down and gave Leonard a hug.

All of a sudden Leonard began to squeal, “Eeeehh! Eeeeeehhl” Some of the other patients in the room began to clang things together. Lee turned to the staff for some sort of explanation only to find that every doctor, nurse and orderly was crying. Lee asked the head nurse, ”What’s going on?”

Lee will never forget what she said: ”This is the first time in 23 years we’ve ever seen Leonard smile”.

How simple it is to make a difference in the lives of others.

Jack Canfield – Mark V. Hansen

                                  

 

 

Wisdom’s Ways

                                       

                                      Rev. A. Linford

Rev. A. Linford, before his decease, was recognized as a good, great and interesting Bible teacher in the Assemblies of God Fellowship for many years. He was a well-loved Bible College lecturer and writer that bequeathed a tremendous amount of Biblical material in his generation. What a legacy he has left to be researched and brought forth to refresh our day! We shall be using such on this site: His writings from the book of Proverbs and also his Editorials that he wrote for the Redemption Tidings when he was its editor. I trust you will enjoy and appreciate

 DEFYING AUTHORITY

“An evil man seekers only rebellion” – Proverbs 17: 11

Wherever men meet and mingle, the rule of law is essential to peace prosperity and progress. Man as parent, partner or patriot must submit to some agreed form of direction, some applied authority, some ”aboveness”. Whether it be the rule of the road or the reign of a ruler, submission is safety and rebellion is ruin. While we must obey God above all – cf Acts 4:19, for conscience is our final arbiter, yet submission to “the higher powers, even ungodly governments, is ordained by Scripture – Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:13-16). Bad government, if religious freedom is allowed, it is better than no government. Anarchy spells disaster in all spheres.

The rebellious man creates disruption: He defies authority, plots against lawful rule, angers leaders and disrupts society. The young defy their parents, the labourer opposes his employer, the pew rises up against the pulpit – what a sign of decadence when lawful pursuits and pleasures are disturbed! The real trouble with the rebel is that he is at war with himself, his heart is a raging inferno of unresolved conflicts. He avenges his frustrations on society. He is proud: and like Satan, aspires to disreputable heights and (for other) unacceptable honours. Ultimately rebellion can become an open defiance of the Divine Kingship. Sin is rebellion against God. It cannot go unpunished, for God is Judge.

The rebellious man courts disaster: The ”cruel messenger” dispatched by the lawful authority, brings evil tidings of punishment. No society can afford to permit anarchy. And so the policing of the populace, the exercise of preventive measures and the application of severe sanctions on law- breakers is necessary for civilized existence in any state. And God is not behind in punishing evil. “The way of the ungodly shall perish” – Psalm 1:6. Far better it is to repent of one’s evil ways, turn to God for pardon – and truly live – Isaiah 55:6,7.

PRAYER’.

Curb the rebel in me, O Lord, by daily ministries of grace.

                               

Sermons of Note

                                          

                                    Rev. E. Anderson               

CHOICE EXPERIENCES

Reading

Text

Introduction

EXPERIENCES:  Christ desires and designs, as reflected in the life of Peter, is that we should know Him in so many ways. It was essential that He discover the wonder, worth and wealth of Christ as the Son of God and Son of Man and be lifted up into the knowledge of His purposes and procedures. This was not all to occur in a short span and space of time but would take quite a period and a lot of input. He was going to be an individual that would have many encounters and experiences that would prepare him for the role that Christ had in mind. In reviewing and meditating on what is recorded of him we are left with the distinct impression that so much occurred and made him a remarkable person of note in Christendom.

CHOICE: What happened in relation to Him is seen to be choice and precious and unforgettable as far as he was concerned. Nothing happened by chance or accident but was all part of the divine plan for his life and work. He may have been the type of individual that was impetuous, eager and impassioned but it was to be turned into that which would benefit the Church of Jesus Christ and bring glory to Him. He may have been somewhat headlong and precipitous at times, but many choice and memorable experiences were registered in his life as a consequence. There were some exclusive and excellent incidences that adorned his life that have blessed and benefited the whole of Christendom.  He had some prime moments in his pilgrimage that serve that were to be used to teach the whole body of Christ. So many feel indebted to this man who witnessed and experienced so much and sense that they too may know something similar in divine workings of the Lord in their affairs.

When you ponder what is stated concerning him there is rich legacy and treasury of information that gives room for a tremendous amount of study, reflection and inspiration. As Christ and the Holy Spirit met him and brought transformation and radical renewal in order to raise a worthy leader, so today, the same applies to all who would be met and used by God.

1/. THE INITIAL CALL OF GOD MUST HAVE BEEN A MEMORABLE  EVENT – John 1: 35-42; Mark 1: 16-18                                                     

There are two events recorded concerning Peter re-his call and the impact that Christ made upon him as Christ encountered him in a personal and powerful manner.

  •    His brother is used in the initial introduction to Christ – John 1: 35-42. They reflect different factors but both were vital to this man who was to make his mark in the cause of Christianity
  •     His brother is used in the initial introduction to Christ – John 1: 35-42. This was quite a moment of spiritual arousal for this rugged fisherman. Andrew was immediately impressed and impacted by John the Baptist and Christ and as a result goes to share his discovery with his brother. There was a great amount of talk abroad at that time about the coming Messiah in Israel and he was interested. He was awakened to the point that he would make further inquiry and investigation and when he did so discovered that this unique person knew a lot about him. The Lord knew his name and his forbear and could predict what he would become – “Thou art Simon the son of Jona: you will be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, a stone” – v42. The Lord would impress this upon him right from the start.
  •    Christ moves on into his scene to issue the divine summons – Mark 1: 16-18.The Lord was to effect a greater move within him that would make him into a follower/disciple and ultimately an apostle for Him. Whilst busily employed in seeking their natural livelihood the Lord lays hold of them in a dynamic and arresting fashion and again prophesies into his life of faith. – “ Come after Me, and I will make you to become fishers of men” – v17. He would become the big fisherman that no one would ever forget and his work would be of lasting note and worth. It was now time for a major shift to take place that would require a tremendous step.

2/. THE WONDERFUL, INSTANTANEOUS HEALING OF HIS MOTHER-IN-LAW OF A FEVER THAT POSSESSED HER – Mark 1: 29-31

There is the revelation that Peter and his household was of hospitable character. He was ready to take Christ and His disciples home with him to cater for their physical needs despite the problem that existed in the home. Excuse could have been made that it was not convenient at that time to perform such a gracious act but this was not even considered.

  • The temperature of this woman was sky high with a fever – v 30. There was no question about it: this woman was really poorly and in a very low physical condition. The Living Bible puts it: she “was sick in bed with a high fever.” She looked to be in a really hopeless mess in need of real care and attention. It would be last place you would take somebody out for a meal with such a crisis situation prevailing! 
  • There was the readiness to inform Christ straight-away about the problem – v30. The immediate thing they felt they must to do was to inform Christ without any sense of embarrassment. It was the best and wisest course of action to be adopted. They felt impelled to share the difficulty with Christ and leave it with Him.
  • Christ responded immediately with a remarkable healing touch v31. He needed no further imploration or direction but took the matter up immediately and went to her bedside with purposeful intent to banish the high fever. He performed a simple operation by taking her by the hand and raising her up and the evil thing left her. It was a memorable moment that must have lived with Peter. 
  • She quickly showed she was healed by preparing a meal – v31. The woman immediately shows her gratitude by preparing a meal for all. She proved and showed she was healed by doing her best for the Lord and the others gathered on this occasion. Living Bible “she got up and prepared dinner for them.”  It was one of those meals that no one was likely to forget because of the miracle that occurred

3/. THE INSPIRED REVELATION THAT WAS COMMUNICATED REGARDING CHRIST’S IDENTITY – Matthew 16

He was uniquely privileged to have a divine comprehension of Christ when others around were simply giving their own opinions and judgements concerning Him. Quite a lot of talk was occurring in all quarters with regard to this extraordinary man who was doing some amazing things and speaking such inspiring words. At that time, the atmosphere was electric in the advent of this individual that was creating such a stir and commotion on every hand. It was needful that definite convictions should be formed and expressed and Peter was to be the person that would be used to voice the absolute truth.

  • The disciples were chosen in order to become people who would possess a clear testimony concerning Him because they were to be foundation factors in the commencement of Christendom – v15. One of the reasons why Christ had selected these individuals was that they might have some special and significant experiences with regard to Himself that would create and develop a true knowledge and assurance within them. They, above all, had to become fully persuaded so that later they could and would be sure and true witnesses on a much wider front. Something bigger was envisaged for them as they were to be His associates and heralds that would trumpet the truth regarding Him.
  • In response to a relevant question by Christ,  Peter  is quick in his reply with a dynamic, brief and truthful witness – v16. Possibly the greatest utterance that ever proceeded from his lips was this admission and confession. What better or bigger thing could he ever speak in relation to the best person he had ever encountered and known! As a consequence of being with and seeing and hearing this unique man he could not make any other testimony.
  • Peter was to be made aware of the fact that what he had uttered was not something he had quickly formulated in his own mind but was a distinct communication from the Father – v17. For a brief but blessed moment his whole inward being is quickened and his mind is opened up by God to perfectly comprehend the identity of the One standing before him. He was not reliant upon any surmising or supposition of his own mind in this crucial consideration but was divinely wrought upon so that he clearly and absolutely knew and could speak with certainty. Not only had the revelation come from a true source, he was left with indisputable proof in his own mind and heart by all he had witnessed all the time he had been with Christ. He must have felt immensely good as he made this memorable statement.
  • The importance of that declaration is taken up by the Lord and revealed to be the basis of His kingdom and its success and that Peter would play a leading role in the matter – vv17-18. Christ elaborates and extends what this is to mean for the future in relation to His kingdom and of the authoritative role that Peter and others will possess in their mission and ministry for Him. They will not be the underdogs but top-dogs with all the divine right to execute on behalf of Christ. They would be able to look back on this instance in their experience, especially Peter, when Christ conferred on them power and prerogative to loose and bind on His behalf. This was to be no small or meagre enterprise but a mighty, all-powerful manifestation of the spiritual and supernatural dictating the scene. No evil would be able to withstand the march of progress of Christ and His Church.

4/.    THE STAGGERING GATHERING OF FISH IN RESPONSE TO THE LOANING OF THE BOAT TO CHRIST – Luke 5

This must have been a notable and choice event that would never be forgotten but always create a sense of wonder, gender faith in them and be a source of testimony. Would they always be thinking of this remarkable experience in the course of their ministry as they reflected on what had seen Christ perform?

  • It occurred at a time when there had been huge disappointment when the disciples had laboured all night and caught nothing in their fishing expedition – v5. They were very hard working men and must have felt frustrated at the failure of the previous night. Not to have caught one fish must have been rather astonishing as they knew how and where to fish. That night would stick in their memories for all the toil and with nothing to show for it. This kind of expedition was bad for business!
  • There was the readiness to loan the boat to Christ so that He could conduct some teaching ministry to the people – vv2, 3. As Christ came on to the scene they were washing their nets ready for the next night’s enterprise. They were getting rid of the rubbish that had been gathered in the hope that next time they would have a better showing for their labour. Little did they realise that they were being set up for! Christ comes and seeks permission for the use of the boat and they were happy to do so. At least the boat could be of some service to Him and the people! In an inspired manner He taught the fisher folk and they must have been strangely and spiritually blessed. The fishing took second place as He gave them some illuminated address that was appropriate to their need. He was doing them all a great power for good as He ably expounded God and the things of God.
  • The call came for an immediate expression of faith and there was a willingness to respond – vv4, 5. The Lord desired to pay for His use of the boat and did it in grand style. He was to leave them with the knowledge that He was quite up to ministering to the body as well as the soul. He could provide naturally as well as spiritually. Having been inspired by His person and teaching there was a real will to carry out the command in the expectation of Christ. His promise was for a draught’ and that meant an extraordinary amount.
  • The incredible thing took place in contrast to the fruitless labour of the night before – vv6, 7. What these fishermen and their folk required was fish and He would oblige in extravagant and abundant fashion. The night before every fish kept away from the nets that were out, but suddenly in the day, all wanted to get into them. The boats became loaded and they had never had known such a haul. It was all because of the command of Christ. Would the sight of those fish in those boats ever be lost from memory?
  • It led Peter again to an amazing confession that expressed his own state but exalted the quality of Christ the Lord and subsequently led to the abandonment of their business – vv8-11. This whole event magnified Christ in Peter’s eyes, disclosing His worth and his own wretchedness. It looked as if they were poles apart but Christ was to use this encounter and event to cause him to surrender completely to Him in life and service. The promise and prophecy of Christ was for something greater within his future. This sight of the multitude of fish would be nothing in comparison to what he would witness later down the line with regard to men. Pentecost was on the horizon where people would be gathered and caught for Christ and His kingdom – Acts 2.

5/. THE UNIQUE DISCLOSURE OF CHRIST IN DIVINE GLORY ON THE MOUNT OF TRANSFIGURATION – Matthew 17: 1-13

Christ had so much more to make known to him that would be radical and so inspiring and unforgettable. This incident and experience would underline more than anything the veracity of the affirmation he had previously made concerning the One he was following. He was to be given such a disclosure with another two of his friends that would seal forever the truth about His person and deity.

  • There was an apparent selectiveness on this occasion on the part of Christ on who He took with Him for this unveiling –v1. These three were evidently singled out to participate in a choice, divine experience that would outlast everything. They were men and messengers of Christ from whom a great deal would be required of them in the future and it was needful that they be bolstered with revelation of a heavenly nature. They were the kind of men that Christ could trust and would fulfil His expectations. Established in their beings was the utter and perfect certitude as to Christ and His mission.
  • An extraordinary transformation to took place with regard to Him that distinguished Him in an incredible fashion – v2. It was already known that Christ was rather a special and distinctive individual. So much had taken place that assured them of that, but this was extra-special. This was something that went beyond the norm. When they saw the miraculous transfiguration it became evident that this was not something external, it was the glory of the inward expressing its real quality and potential. No other person has ever been so graced and glorified! The Christ was portrayed in all of His effulgence and splendour and they became privy to that personal disclosure. Locked up his memory box was the knowledge of this sight of Christ.
  •    It was added to by the presence of two famous and fabulous figures of Old Testament magnitude – vv3, 4. They were to be made aware of the fact that these two, major prophets really had existed and now they were present in complete support of Christ. Never did they consider in their personal experience, that they would be given this outstanding privilege of beholding these men who had played an important role in the history of Israel.
  •    There was the added witness with a voice from heaven identifying the grandeur of Christ – v5. The message that came underlined the position of the One they were following and gave true testimony as to His worth in the eyes of Father-God. This only served to add to the occasion and gave reliable confirmation to Him who was to achieve so much for God and Man. They were left with a clear message: “hear ye Him.”
  • That scene definitely registered in the mind and experience of Peter – 2 Peter 1: 16-18. The later writings of this great disciple and apostle of Christ leaves no doubt whatsoever of the reality of the event and the impact made upon him. This would super-impose itself within his being and would forever indelibly inscribe Christ’s supreme majesty.

6/.  THE REMARKABLE INCIDENT IN THE CATCHING OF THE FISH WITH THE PIECE OF MONEY TO PAY THE TAXES – Matthew 17: 25-27

This is rather an amazing event that again showed the outstanding capacities of Jesus Christ and must have added to the wonder that Peter had already tasted concerning Him. It was just a natural incident that had to do with financial matters, the paying of tribute money. It was not something that was overlooked by Him but in it He demonstrated tremendous wisdom and discernment.

  • It was the Lord who spoke to Peter over the issue making him aware of the fact that He knew that he had been approached about the paying of tribute money – v25. The Lord saved Peter from any embarrassment over the matter by bringing up the issue thus proving He was totally conversant with all that was taking place. He was intent on dealing with a factor of this nature.
  • He expressed the fact that there was no need for them to perform this seeming financial duty in a reasonable argument – v26. Everything was evidently thought through by Him thus indicating how in touch He was with a thing of this order. Because of His natural and national status, along with His disciples they were exempt. He could have rightly refused to pay anything. The disciple would note and learn in this exercise how the Lord was up to these particular intrusions into daily affairs.
  • The Lord then directed Peter into a unique task in order to pay the demands –  v27. But Christ manifested a different spirit and attitude and revealed a unique way to foot this bill and requirement. One could assumed there was nothing in the kitty but there was a divine option open to Him that was rather remarkable. What a thing for a fisherman to discover this source of payment!

(7). THE AWFUL EXPERIENCE WHEN HE DENIED THE CHRIST IN THE TIME OF GREAT CRISIS – Luke 22: 31-34, 54-62

Many would not regard this as a choice experience but this was an incident and experience that must have taught this disciple a great deal that he had not been particularly aware of and needed to know if he was to move forward with Christ for his great calling and ministry. Out of this crucial exercise was something major that would not only benefit and bless him but touch countless other people.

  • It commences with Christ having special insight with regard to him and of the fact of His personal intercession on his behalf – vv31-32. Neither Christ’s own death and Peter’s denial took Christ by surprise. Just as it was needful for Him to go to the cross, so it was essential for this man to pass through this tough exercise. Behind the whole ordeal both for Himself and His servant was the activity of the evil one. The Cross had been chosen for Him and this cross experience was selected for His follower. It was to be an unforgettable experience of a salutary order.
  • It then proceeds to Peter making a bold affirmation of his commitment to Christ whatever the cost – v33. Instead of listening and taking heed to the solemn and true words spoken by His Master, he blurts out of his total abandonment to Christ even though it meant death. One would have thought that after such a serious time at the Passover feast that he would have been on his guard but this was not so. Whatever the future held, even if it meant suffering and martyrdom, he was prepared to stand by and with Christ. There is little doubt that he meant it but he was not conscious of the weakness in his own being. Elsewhere his statement is even more bolder – “Though all men be offended because of thee,  yet I will never be offended” – Matthew 26: 33.
  • The Lord reveals that there will come the moment of abject failure when there will be a threefold denial  of Him – v34. Whilst Christ must have been moved by his admission  He was not deluded but unveils the fact that there will come a period when Christ will be seemingly negated by him on three occasions and in such a short period of time and at a crucial hour in Christ’s own experience. This statement would be really put to the test and Peter would be found wanting.
  • There came the actual fulfilment of Christ’s prophecy and the terrible sense of sorrow felt by the disciple –vv54-62. Events would prove that Christ was absolutely right and that Peter would pass through the deepest trough of his life. It was to prove to be a tough and rough time over the next few days as the great wrestling took place in his life. It was no short ordeal and much hung in the balance with respect to his future. He would have to learn and know that he was under a divine calling and not a mere human career. Out of this episode came the removal of the old nature and self.

Illustration Charles Colson had one of the most high profile careers in America. He had    access to power and influence, yet he landed in prison. He thought his career was over-and in a way he was right. But his calling was just beginning. He was called to preach to prisoners just like him. He reflects: ‘The real legacy of my life was my biggest failure-that I was an ex-convict. My great humiliation-being sent to prison-was the beginning of God’s greatest use of my life; He chose the one experience in which I could not glory, for His glory.’

8/. THE AMAZING MANIFESTATION OF THE RESURRECTED CHRIST WITH A RENEWED COMMISSION FOR HIM FOLLOWING HIS AWFUL FAILURE – John 21

In spite of the horrid abysmal let-down and failure, the Lord had not forgotten or written him off and out. In no way was He going to allow this individual to finish up in depression and a total wash out. The Lord had ways and means by which He could and would re-instate this disciple and put a real cutting edge on his life again. He would not end up on the scrap heap a hopeless mess. 

  • Christ showed that He had a genuine vested interest in Peter right from the moment of His resurrection – Mark 16: 7. He was not going to allow Peter off the hook or permit Satan to gain any advantage whatsoever. It was a message that Peter had to hear immediately and sense that things were not finished as far as Christ was concerned. Although he may have given up on himself this was not the case with Christ.
  • He goes to further seek him out as Peter returns to the career of fishing taking others with him  – John 21: 1-3. Even though Christ was risen and had put some appearances, things had not been really sorted out. In a gradual and caring manner and procedure He makes His approaches and demonstrates a divine attitude. He knew where they were in more ways than one and was sufficiently equipped to meet the present situation. He would be there to handle the issue in a very wise and productive way.
  • It was another night of hard toil without any catch that must have reminded them of a previous occasion; and then another great draught that could only remind them of Christ – vv3-7. The fishing expedition was not turning out to be a success and the hours at it was rather frustrating. It looked as if this was going to finish up a miserable night’s toil! They had much to muse on during that time and must have been rather grateful for the morning light and what was to happen. The Lord appears with His sure word of command which they responded to and what a haul!
  • There was the kind provision of Christ and then the challenging word to Peter that he would never forget – vv9-19. These men would be ready for a meal and Christ had fully catered for them in generous fashion. That meal would not be forgotten! Then came the gracious but challenging words of Christ to Peter that gave him the opportunity of renewing his commitment from quite a different attitude. Christ knew that he loved him but was drawing it out in the best possible way that would result in Peter’s radical conversion and regeneration.

CONCLUSION

  • Many choice experiences are purposed by Christ for each one of His people and servants and they must be ready for them.
  • He seeks to create and developed a relationship from which He can educate through varying events and episodes in life.
  • There are many things to be added to so that life and ministry becomes more  enriched ever  and made a blessing to countless others.

See it further reflected in Peter as he blossoms out in wider service and influence:

(1)     the amazing ministry performed on an historic day resulting in such a work of grace – Acts 2

(2)     the wonderful miracle that occurred that turned into a tremendous witness – Acts 3

(3)     the powerful influence exerted in bring healing through the passing of his shadow – Acts 5: 12-16

(4)     the outstanding work wrought in the raising of a choice believer from the dead – Acts 9: 36-43

(5) the opening up of the Christian gospel on a much wider front by the means of divine revelation – Acts 10

(6) the supreme intervention of God to rescue him from the threat of death – Acts 12

                                

 

Sermon Starters

                               

                              Rev. E. Anderson

This is a simple outline for you to think about and meditate on. The introduction, main thoughts and conclusion need further material to be added. It is an outline for you to expand, develop more fully and fill in to spiritual profit and inspiration.

SERVING THE LORD

Reading   Colossians 3

Text        v17

Introduction

The Christian believer serves the greatest Master and is involved in the greatest causes and enterprises.

The consciousness and conviction should deeply exist in th Being that one has been called to serve.

It must be regarded as an honour and privilege to be called into Christian service and ministry.

Certain factors must characterize the service.

1/. WE MUST SERVE HUMBLY

Pride and arrogance must not be tolerated and there must be the putting on of the apron of humility in the serving of others. Although Christ was the greatest yet He served in a very lowly manner. Christ came to serve and not to be waited on and the same goes for us, too – Matthew 20:28.

2/.  WE MUST SERVE FAITHFULLY

A marked consistency should characterize servant and servant, showing fidelity to God and people at all times. Moses was termed ‘a faithful servant’ – Hebrews 3:2 and we should follow the example set.

3/. WE MUST SERVE GRACEFULLY

A distinctive feature in which service is conducted is with grace and charm that is attractive. It is not simply what is done but the way in which it is carried out that matters. Doing things in a becoming manner adds dignity and influence to the serve. See the way Onesiphorus served Paul in prison – 2 Timothy 1: 16-18.

4/.  WE MUST SERVE SACRIFICIALLY

Serving the Lord can be a very costly business. Sometimes He lays claim to things that are regarded as high value and requires that we devote them to His kingdom for the well-being of others. There must be the will to surrender them in sacrifice to bless others and further His cause – Barnabas Acts 4:36, 37.

5/. WE MUST SERVE HAPPILY

It speaks of “with good will doing service unto the Lord and not to men” – One should be supremely happy doing both the small aand big things for the Lord on behalf of others. No one should serve out of ill-will and out of pressure.

6/. WE MUST SERVE BELIEVINGLY

Divine faith and assurance must predominate the service. One believe in the One who directs the ministry and having faith in what is being performed will work to greatest good. Serving with purpose that what is wrought will yield positive results.

CONCLUSION

Serving the Lord must be with total commitment.

                                

Messages of Note

                               

                             Rev. Tim Robertson

GRACE TO MAKE GRACE

I’ve just been reading Psalm 18 where David writes in verse 35 ….

‘You stoop down to make me great.’

That word ‘stoop’ literally means ‘grace’ – ‘You grace down to make me great.’

Wow! The God of all Grace reaches down in kindness, grace and undeserved favour and puts something of his greatness in us in order that we might know who we are and achieve that which we are called to do.

 Recently I went to see ‘Clash of the Titans’ – a great movie based on Greek mythology. Perseus, a humble fisherman hates the gods for causing his families tragic death. Unbeknown to him he had been fathered by Zeus and destined to save the people from the giant Krakon.

As the realisation dawns of who he is and his destiny, Perseus fights against it, but the people need him to get over his identity crisis and save them.

Perseus agrees but is determined to do it in his own strength despite possessing divine power and gifts.

The captain of the army finally challenges him as they go off to battle ……………..

‘There’s a God in you – bring it!’

Today, ‘His grace is sufficient for you, His power is made perfect in your weakness.’

Paul writes ‘Instead, I struggle with all His energy that so powerfully works in me.’

For David, the result of God stooping down to make him great included …

  • Advancing against a troop – v29
  • scaling a wall -v29
  • armed with strength – v32
  • way made perfect  – v32
  • able to stand firm in precarious places  – v33
  • hands trained for battle  – v34
  • a bow of bronze and a shield of victory  – v34/35
  • God’s right hand sustaining him – v35
  • a broad path beneath him  – v36
  • pursuing and overtaking enemies  – v37
  • deliverance  – v43

‘Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.’  Whether it be The Krakon, Medusa or our enemy the devil, tough circumstances, intimidating giants, disappointments, stubborn church councils or sinful habits, whatever the battle ……..

There’s a God in you – bring Him!

                               

Points to Ponder

                                   

                               Rev. E. Anderson

I AM READING MORE AND DUSTING LESS

My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister’s bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package. “This,” he said, “is not a slip. This is lingerie.” He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip.

It was exquisite; silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached. “Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion.”

He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician. His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me.

“Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you’re alive is a special occasion.”

I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to California from the Midwestern town where my sister’s family lives. I thought about all the things that she hadn’t seen or heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were special. I’m still thinking about his words, and they’ve changed my life.

I’m reading more and dusting less.

I’m sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I’m spending more time with my family and friends and less time in committee meetings. Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experience to savor, not endure. I’m trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them. I’m not “saving” anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event–such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom.

I wear my good blazer to the market if I feel like it. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries without wincing. I’m not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends. “Someday” and “one of these days” are losing their grip on my vocabulary.

If it’s worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now. I’m not sure what my sister would have done had she known that she wouldn’t be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted. I think she would have called family members and a few close friends. She might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think she would have gone out for a Chinese dinner, her favorite food.

I’m guessing–

I’ll never know. It’s those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew that my hours were limited. Angry because I put off seeing good friends whom I was going to get in touch with–someday. Angry because I hadn’t written certain letters that I intended to write–one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn’t tell my husband and daughter often enough how much I truly love them. I’m trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath truly is…a gift from God.

                                

llustrations that Light up Life

                                          

                                    Rev. E. Anderson

LORD, I’M COMING HOME

“God…devises ways to bring us back…” – 2 Samuel 14:14nlt

Adoniram Judson’s father, a Congregational minister, hoped and prayed that his son would follow in his footsteps, but Adoniram had other ideas. He considered the ministry a waste of time and talent. A self-avowed atheist, he graduated from Providence College (now Brown University), where he met Ernest Jacobi Eames, a fellow atheist who reinforced his beliefs.

Judson traveled the country living what he called ‘a wild, reckless life’s One night he stopped at an inn where the only vacant room was next door to a dying man. ‘I’ll take it’ he told the innkeeper. ‘Death has no terrors for me. I’m an atheist’ All night long he heard the sick man next door groaning and thought, ‘I should go to him, but what can I say!?’ By the next morning the man was dead. ‘Do you know who he was?’ Judson asked the innkeeper. He replied, “A graduate of Providence College. A young man about your age, called Ernest Eames’. With the words, ‘Dead! Lost! Lost!’ ringing in his ears, Judson returned home and surrendered his life to Christ

As America’s first commissioned foreign missionary he saw the Bible translated into Burmese and thousands of souls won to Christ. This entry from his diary says it all: ‘In these deserts let me labour; on these mountains let me tell; How he died-the blessed Saviour, to redeem a world fron hell. The Bible says, ‘God . . . devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him’.  Can you feel a divine tug at your heart? Isn’t it time you stopped running, turned around and said, ‘Lord, I’m coming home’?  

                                 

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