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The Journal

The Holy Spirit brings joy

Dear Friends,

As we continue to look at the Christmas story and the events surrounding the birth of Jesus we are struck by the abundant praise and joy. In 1:58 Elizabeth and her friends and relatives share the joy of the birth of their child. People’s spirits have been lifted because God is at work in their midst. They are not sure what God will do with John but no doubt God has a plan – 1:66. The key driver of all this praise and joy is the work of the Holy Spirit. We saw this with Elizabeth in 1:41-45. The Holy Spirit at work in our lives brings joy and praise. Of course this is a unique event with the birth of John and Jesus but Ephesians 5:18 encourages us ALL to keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit (that is the sense of the Greek). The Holy Spirit is especially active at key salvation points in God’s plan but in the New Testament we are informed that in the last days God will pour out His Spirit on all people – Acts 2:17-18. We cannot know God and follow Him without the work of the Holy Spirit. That is why Jesus says that we must be born again in John 3. It is interesting that in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 that Paul expects that we will be joyful always and this is linked to prayer and not putting out the Spirit’s fire. Ask the Lord to fill you daily with His Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God will remind You of Jesus and will grow God’s character in your lives, especially joy and love. 

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The work of the Spirit reveals Jesus

Dear Friends,

As we continue to look at the Christmas story and the events surrounding the birth of Jesus we are struck by the abundant praise and joy. In 1:58 Elizabeth and her friends and relatives share the joy of the birth of their child. People’s spirits have been lifted because God is at work in their midst. They are not sure what God will do with John but no doubt God has a plan – 1:66.  The key driver of all this praise and joy is the work of the Holy Spirit. We saw this with Elizabeth in 1:41-45. The Holy Spirit at work in our lives brings joy and praise. Of course this is a unique event with the birth of John and Jesus but Ephesians 5:18 encourages us ALL to keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit (that is the sense of the Greek).  The Holy Spirit is especially active at key salvation points in God’s plan but in the New Testament we are informed that in the last days God will pour out His Spirit on all people – Acts 2:17-18. We cannot know God and follow Him without the work of the Holy Spirit. That is why Jesus says that we must be born again in John 3.  It is interesting that in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 that Paul expects that we will be joyful always and this is linked to prayer and not putting out the Spirit’s fire. Ask the Lord to fill you daily with His Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God will remind You of Jesus and will grow God’s character in your lives, especially joy and love. 

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The Cross of Jesus is His glory

Dear Friends,

Today is the final sermon in our series on prayer. We are looking at John 17:1-26.  Jesus is about to go to the cross to die for our sins and so in this prayer He reveals His concerns and priorities for His own mission in the world and that of His disciples. In fact this prayer teaches deep truths about God and His purposes for us. 

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The Holy Spirit brings joy at Christmas

Dear Friends,

The lead up to the birth of Jesus is alive with the sound of praise. There is great joy experienced by both Elizabeth and Mary. Elizabeth is full of praise because she sees God’s kindness in allowing her to come in contact with the mother of the Lord and Mary is full of praise because God has granted her the privilege of carrying Jesus in her womb.  God is also kind to Mary by providing Elizabeth to share the good news of the coming of the Saviour of the world – 1:36,43. When Mary reaches Elizabeth’s house and greets Elizabeth she is filled with the Holy Spirit and this brings understanding that Mary has the Christ child. We cannot underestimate how important it was for Mary to be able to share with Elizabeth.  This story reminds us that good news is for sharing and this is the basis of our joy as we celebrate together what Christ has done.   Christian joy is not based on how we feel but is based on the facts and truth of what God has done in sending the Saviour of the world to us.   As we mature in Christ we learn to rejoice and praise God for what He has done in dying for our sin. This is not to deny pain and difficulties but we recognize that God has entered this world to deal with sin. His death on the Cross brings forgiveness but Mary’s song also reminds us that God will scatter the proud and lift up the humble. So often in life we can struggle with events where there is great injustice and even evil but Mary’s song says that at the last God will reverse this and His justice will be done. One of the great requirements of faith is the willingness to be patient and wait for God’s timing. We must trust God that when injustice seems to reign there will come a day when it is dealt with totally and finally and that will be accomplished at the second coming of Jesus. In the meantime we must choose to wait patiently and give the Lord our burdens. We cannot carry pain and hurt and fear ourselves and that is why the Word of God says cast all your cares on the Lord for He cares for you.      1 Peter 5:7.  

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Humility opens the way for blessing

Dear Friends,

The lead up to the birth of Jesus is alive with the sound of praise. There is great joy experienced by both Elizabeth and Mary. Elizabeth is full of praise because she sees God’s kindness in allowing her to come in contact with the mother of the Lord and Mary is full of praise because God has granted her the privilege of carrying Jesus in her womb. God is also kind to Mary by providing Elizabeth to share the good news of the coming of the Saviour of the world – 1:36,43. When Mary reaches Elizabeth’s house and greets Elizabeth she is filled with the Holy Spirit and this brings understanding that Mary has the Christ child. We cannot underestimate how important it was for Mary to be able to share with Elizabeth. This story reminds us that good news is for sharing and this is the basis of our joy as we celebrate together what Christhasdone. Christianjoyisnotbasedonhowwefeelbutis based on the facts and truth of what God has done in sending the Saviouroftheworldtous. AswematureinChristwelearnto rejoice and praise God for what He has done in dying for our sin. This is not to deny pain and difficulties but we recognize that God has entered this world to deal with sin. His death on the Cross brings forgiveness but Mary’s song also reminds us that God will scatter the proud and lift up the humble. So often in life we can struggle with events where there is great injustice and even evil but Mary’s song says that at the last God will reverse this and His justice will be done. One of the great requirements of faith is the willingness to be patient and wait for God’s timing. We must trust God that when injustice seems to reign there will come a day when it is dealt with totally and finally and that will be accomplished at the second coming of Jesus. In the meantime we must choose to wait patiently and give the Lord our burdens. We cannot carry pain and hurt and fear ourselves and that is why the Word of God says cast all your cares on the Lord for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7.

As you read the Bible we see that what Jesus did on the Cross in dying for our sins is unique. Only the Lord could do this. But Jesus does encourage us that nevertheless the Lord set us n example to follow. We can’t die for other people’s sins but we can show love sacrificially. In John 13:34 Jesus says that we should love others as he has loved us. He has loved us sacrificially and this has resulted in Him denying Himself. Further in Philippians 3:17 Paul says to follow his example and model. Now Mary is unique in carrying the Lord but I do believe that Luke presents her as example to follow. We see this in Luke 1:45 because Elizabeth comments on Mary’s obedience by saying that anyone will be blessed who trusts that the Lord will accomplish what He has said. So Mary is a wonderful example to emulate in trusting God’s Word and not allowing fear to dominate our lives. Mary is also a wonderful example who received great blessing because she humbled herself – 1:48. Humility is not a feeling but a decision to see God’s power and realize our smallness. Humility is putting our confidence in Jesus and not in ourselves.

God’s richest blessing Rev David O’Mara (minister@allsouls.net.au) - Facebook All Souls Leichhardt (Thank God for our people - pictures – Andrew/Lucy, Nina/Sue, Doug/Di, Clarie/Jenny)

 

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The Church

Dear Friends,

In Matthew’s Gospel the word church is used in 18:17 and in 16:18. In the Greek the word for church is “ecclesia” meaning a gathered community. A church is not a physical building but a community of people who gather around Jesus. 

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Prayer

Our church has just held our second monthly prayer meeting. We are doing a series on prayer for 6 weeks during our morning service so that we can grow in prayer together as a church.  

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The power of prayer and the joy of fellowship

Dear Friends,

We thank the Lord for a wonderful week in which we have seen God bless our church with 2 great opportunities for witness. Ben and Courtney were married on Saturday 7 Nov because they wanted a Christian marriage where Jesus was at the centre of their lives. Then on Sunday 8 Nov Lisa and her daughter Hope were baptized to follow Jesus. Lisa gave a powerful testimony about how she has decided to follow Jesus and leave her old life. It was such a joy to see one of Lisa’s older daughters there being encouraged by the witness of her mother who has made a stand for Jesus and her faith. 

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