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16th August 2015
Moses prayed what Spurgeon called the greatest petition that man ever asked of God: “Now show me your glory.” (Exodus 33:18)
God is everywhere – the Psalmist says there’s nowhere we can flee from God’s presence (Psalm 139) – so what does it mean when Moses says that if God’s presence doesn’t go with them, they won’t go? God is everywhere, but in the Bible His presence means His manifest presence to bless.
Moses argues with God. Prayer is claiming the promises of God back to Him, pressing into all that He has for us. Prayer is rooted in God’s promises – He has already given us the reasons why He should answer.
Are you crying out, like Moses, for God’s manifest presence? God’s response to Moses asking to see His glory is to reveal His name. Biblically someone’s name reveals the deepest insight into their character – God’s name is who He really is. And what is His name? Is it holiness? Power? Justice? No, first and foremost it is that He is good. That is the glory of God.
The whole essence of the Christian faith is understanding that God is good and God is in control. He’s not just good – He’s not like a cosmic Santa who wants to be nice to you but doesn’t have the ability to bless you because you’ve been naughty. And He’s not just sovereign – just someone who is just powerful and in control but without being good.
Whatever you’re going through, God wants you to know that He is good and He is in control. God’s glory is His goodness and His sovereignty.
Jesus is the fulfillment of the glory of God. John writes of Jesus: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
This means that Christians – those who the Bible describes as “in Christ” – are connected to the glorious One and His glory is in us. This isn’t just the case when we’re in church meetings, but all of the time! We carry about with us the glory of God; we are glory-carriers. The Bible describes us as “jars of clay” on the outside, but indwelt with glory!
This is who we are! We need to be more aware of our identity in Christ. Culture tells us to find our identity by finding out who we are. For the Christian, we find out our identity by finding out who we are in Him! The trouble is that we look at the outside and see the jars of clay, the cracked pot. But the reality is that we need to see the glory of God in one another.
All we need to know is that God is good and God is in control and we will find that He gives us opportunities to show His glory – to show His goodness and mercy and love and compassion and kindness to others.
People will criticise us for some of the things we believe and some of the things we do, but Peter writes: “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day that he visits us… For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people…” (1 Peter 2:12, 15)
We don’t get into heaven by being good – that’s by grace – but we are called to be good. We’re called to acts of mercy and kindness and goodness as we carry God’s glory to those around us all through the week.
Posted by Jeremy Simpkins
29th September 2012
The story of Jonah is usually associated with the 'whale' or "great fish" (1:17), even though the fish is mentioned in only three verses and is just a bit-player in the drama! As Campbell Morgan said: "Men have looked so hard at the great fish that they have failed to see the GREAT GOD!"
In fact, the book of Jonah gives us a fascinating insight into one of the 'mega-themes' of the Bible: God's sovereignty. Is God in total control or are our responses decisive in events? Are God's sovereignty and human responsibility incompatible? I believe both are true.
Jonah's statement in 1:9 reveals something of God's sovereignty to us: He is the God of heaven, who created all things and is sovereign over the universe. We see his sovereignty in action in several places: God sent the storm (1:4); he commanded the fish (2:10); he provided a vine (4:6). Even events that seem to occur by human decision or action, or seem providential, have the hand of God behind them (see 1:7 and 1:15, for example).
God acts both naturally and supernaturally. Can God cause a fish to swallow a man? Of course he can! He created nature in the first place, so he can work both in nature and above nature. Jonah experienced both.
The sovereign God – ruler over all – is also gracious and compassionate. As we read the story of Jonah, we see God's salvation at work towards Jonah himself, the sailors and the Ninevites. God's compassion extents far beyond Jonah's, and is for all he has created. When the Ninevites turned to God, he relented (3:10), which in the original Hebrew means 'to breathe heavily' – the sense is that God sighs with relief that they have sought his mercy!
Our great God, the sovereign God, is a missionary God, far more committed to reaching 'outsiders' than his people are! Let's allow the love of God into our hearts to reorientate our attitudes to the thousands of people in Hastings, St Leonards, Bexhill and beyond!
Reading: Jonah 1:9 and 4:2
Question: Do you have God's heart for the people in our town?
Next prayer meetings: Tomorrow, 7am at THC and 7pm at Centre Stage, Bexhill
Posted by John Groves
9th October 2011
Unseasonal heatwave! Hottest start to October ever! We English do have an unusual relationship with the weather – it's almost as if we love to hate it. I'm no geographer but I understand the recent warm spell was been caused by the jet stream flowing to the north of us and drawing warm air up from the south. But what forces the jet stream to move and what influences those forces is beyond me. And because it seems so random, is perhaps why we react so strongly. Our weather, it seems, is never quite right for us.
There are times, I think, when we can treat God's plans and purposes the same way. We don't like what's happening to us or what we're experiencing. And often we don't see the forces that are influencing us, or our circumstances. Maybe at the moment you're feeling a bit weary of praying, you don't have any money and you're hungry!
Let's not be English in our response to God and his ways – we are now citizens of a different kingdom. Maybe we should try basking in the sun and singing in the rain and we'll learn to enjoy the impact of the jet stream of God's sovereignty!
Reading: Phillippians 4:11-13
Next Prayer Meeting: Today at 7am and 6.30pm
Posted by Kevin Rose
1st October 2011
The whole question of prayer can be puzzling! After all isn't God almighty? Is He not absolutely independent of everything outside Himself? Does He not determine everything after the counsel of His own will?
So how can prayer influence God? Is it possible He can be moved by prayer to do something He otherwise would not do? Isn't the only real benefit of prayer simply the influence it exerts on us?
Certainly these are reasonable, logical, if a bit cynical questions AND YET… amazingly, Jesus, the Son of God, points us in a different direction!
Jesus talked a lot about prayer and encouraged His disciples to pray. Many of His teachings contain startling promises to encourage us to believe prayer is very effective.
Jesus taught us to persevere and persist in prayer until the end is achieved. Jesus Himself prayed a lot! There are 21 recorded incidents of Jesus praying. If nothing else this should tell us prayer IS important; it does make a difference; it is worth the effort!
Prayer is not an empty exercise. It is part of God's sovereign plan that redeemed men and women have the power to influence life – their lives; their family's life; their church's life; their city's life; their nation's life – through their prayers!
Reading: Luke 18:1-8
Next Prayer Meeting: Tuesday at 12.30pm
John Groves will be speaking at King's Church Hastings tonight at 7pm and tomorrow at 10am and 7pm, with worship lead by Phatfish.
Posted by John Groves