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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Blessed Hope

28 September 2016

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!

Theme: Spirit Divine

Topic: Blessed Hope

Reading: Jeremiah 32:1-3A, 6-15
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of King Zedekiah of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar. 2At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and the prophet Jeremiah was confined in the court of the guard that was in the palace of the king of Judah, 3where King Zedekiah of Judah had confined him. 6 Jeremiah said, The word of the Lord came to me: 7Hanamel son of your uncle Shallum is going to come to you and say, ‘Buy my field that is at Anathoth, for the right of redemption by purchase is yours.’ 8Then my cousin Hanamel came to me in the court of the guard, in accordance with the word of the Lord, and said to me, ‘Buy my field that is at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, for the right of possession and redemption is yours; buy it for yourself.’ Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord. 9 And I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel, and weighed out the money to him, seventeen shekels of silver. 10I signed the deed, sealed it, got witnesses, and weighed the money on scales. 11Then I took the sealed deed of purchase, containing the terms and conditions, and the open copy; 12and I gave the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah son of Mahseiah, in the presence of my cousin Hanamel, in the presence of the witnesses who signed the deed of purchase, and in the presence of all the Judeans who were sitting in the court of the guard.13In their presence I charged Baruch, saying, 14Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these deeds, both this sealed deed of purchase and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware jar, in order that they may last for a long time. 15For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.

As we live a life of faith in Jesus Christ, we should not forget that we are part of two kingdoms - Christendom and earthly kingdom.  Both kingdoms are for the most part at not in agreement with each other.  The tension that exists in the philosophies and ideologies that characterize both kingdoms tend to push us towards spiritual imbalance.  One of the themes that help keep us grounded in our faith in Jesus Christ is the blessed hope we have.  Blessed hope simply means that Christ will come again as He promised in Scripture.  However, we should not be so caught up with the expectation of His coming in glory that we forget/neglect His commandment to love and live for Him here on earth.  We cannot be so heavenly conscious that we become spiritually ineffective in our world, and vice versa.  To believe in blessed hope means living and loving in the present age, just as Christ commanded us to.

1) What is your understanding of blessed hope?
Matthew 24:36-44
‘But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, 39and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. 42Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what dayyour Lord is coming. 43But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.44Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.

Ephesians 1:3-14
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,4just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. 5He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will,6to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace 8that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight 9he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, 12so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. 13In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; 14this is the pledge of our inheritance towards redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.

Titus 2:11-15
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, 12training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, 13while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. 14He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds. 15 Declare these things; exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one look down on you.

2) What are the lessons for us in Luke 16:19-31 regarding blessed hope?
Luke 16:19-31
‘There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. 24He called out, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.” 25But Abraham said, “Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.” 27He said, “Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— 28for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.” 29Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.” 30He said, “No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” 31He said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” 

3) Discuss some of the challenges to having the blessed hope.  How do we overcome them? 
Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16
Refrain: I will protect you, and bring you to honour.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, abides under the shadow of the Almighty. He shall say to the Lord, "You are my refuge and my stronghold, my God in whom I put my trust." R He shall deliver you from the snare of the hunter and from the deadly pestilence. He shall cover you with his pinions, and you shall find refuge under his wings; his faithfulness shall be a shield and buckler. R You shall not be afraid of any terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day; Of the plague that stalks in the darkness, nor of the sickness that lays waste at mid-day. R Because he is bound to me in love, therefore will I deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my Name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; I am with him in trouble; I will rescue him and bring him to honour. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation. R

1 Timothy 6:6-19
Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment;7for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; 8but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 9But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. 11 But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15which he will bring about at the right time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. 16It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honour and eternal dominion. Amen. 17 As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share,19thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.

2 Peter 3:1-5, 13-18
This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you; in them I am trying to arouse your sincere intention by reminding you 2that you should remember the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets, and the commandment of the Lord and Saviour spoken through your apostles.3First of all you must understand this, that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and indulging their own lusts 4and saying, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since our ancestors died, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation!’ 5They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means of water, 13But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home. 14 Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; 15and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him, 16speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. 17You therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, beware that you are not carried away with the error of the lawless and lose your own stability. 18But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.


To believe in blessed hope means living and loving in the present age, just as Christ commanded us to.

Closing Prayer (Collect for Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost)

Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered by your Holy Spirit into one, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Look up to Jesus

21 September 2016

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: Abide with Me

Theme: Spirit Divine

Topic: Look up to Jesus

Reading: Jeremiah 8:18-22, 9:1
My joy is gone, grief is upon me, my heart is sick. 19 Hark, the cry of my poor people from far and wide in the land: ‘Is the Lord not in Zion? Is her King not in her?’ (‘Why have they provoked me to anger with their images, with their foreign idols?’) 20 ‘The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.’ 21 For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt, I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me. 22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of my poor people not been restored? 9O that my head were a spring of water, and my eyes a fountain of tears, so that I might weep day and night for the slain of my poor people!

We all go through tough times.  How we act during such times determines to a reasonable extent the effects of such seasons in our lives and of those around us.  There are several examples in Scripture of individuals who went through perilous times- Abraham, Joseph, Jacob, Moses, David, Job, Daniel and the apostles to name a few.  These spiritual giants trusted God through the tough and uncertain times, and He delivered them.  We know that God uses tough times to mould our character and get us ready for His assignments for us.  We may not understand why we go through certain difficulties or why some expectations take longer than we anticipated.  However, if we fix our eyes on our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and persevere, God will surely use everything we go through to our advantage, and to the glory of His Holy name.

1) What is your understanding of tough times? 
Job 2:7-13
So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and inflicted loathsome sores on Job from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.8Job took a potsherd with which to scrape himself, and sat among the ashes. 9 Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still persist in your integrity? CurseGod, and die.’ 10But he said to her, ‘You speak as any foolish woman would speak. Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips. 11 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all these troubles that had come upon him, each of them set out from his home—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They met together to go and console and comfort him. 12When they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him, and they raised their voices and wept aloud; they tore their robes and threw dust in the air upon their heads. 13They sat with him on the ground for seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great. 

Romans 4:18-25, 5:1-5
Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become ‘the father of many nations’, according to what was said, ‘So numerous shall your descendants be.’ 19He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22Therefore his faith ‘was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ 23Now the words, ‘it was reckoned to him’, were written not for his sake alone, 24but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification. 5Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Hebrews 12:4-9
In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as children—
‘My child, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
   or lose heart when you are punished by him; 
6 for the Lord disciplines those whom he loves,
   and chastises every child whom he accepts.’ 
7Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline? 8If you do not have that discipline in which all children share, then you are illegitimate and not his children. 9Moreover, we had human parents to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not be even more willing to be subject to the Father of spirits and live?

2) What are the lessons for us in Luke 16:1-13 regarding looking up to Jesus? 
Luke 16:1-13
Then Jesus said to the disciples, ‘There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. 2So he summoned him and said to him, “What is this that I hear about you? Give me an account of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.” 3Then the manager said to himself, “What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg.4I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.” 5So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, “How much do you owe my master?” 6He answered, “A hundred jugs of olive oil.” He said to him, “Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.” 7Then he asked another, “And how much do you owe?” He replied, “A hundred containers of wheat.” He said to him, “Take your bill and make it eighty.” 8And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. 9And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes. 10 ‘Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. 11If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? 13No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.’

3) Discuss some of the challenges to looking up to Jesus during tough times.  
     How do we overcome them? 
Psalm 79:1-9
1      O God, the heathen have come into your inheritance;
        they have profaned your holy temple; *
they have made Jerusalem a heap of rubble.
2      They have given the bodies of your servants
        as food for the birds of the air, *
and the flesh of your faithful ones to the beasts
of the field.
3      They have shed their blood like water
        on every side of Jerusalem, *
and there was no one to bury them.
4      We have become a reproach to our neighbours, *
an object of scorn and derision to those around us.
5      How long will you be angry, O Lord? *
will your fury blaze like fire for ever?
6      Pour out your wrath upon the heathen
        who have not known you *
and upon the kingdoms that have not
called upon your name.
7      For they have devoured Jacob *
and made his dwelling a ruin.
8      Remember not our past sins;
        let your compassion be swift to meet us; *
for we have been brought very low.
9      Help us, O God our Saviour, for the glory of your name; *
deliver us and forgive us our sins, for your name’s sake.

1 Timothy 2:1-7
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings should be made for everyone, 2for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. 3This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, 4who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, 6   who gave himself a ransom for all —this was attested at the right time. 7For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Hebrews 11:1-2, 32-40, 12:1-3
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. 32 And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. 36Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented— 38of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
39 Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40since God had provided something better so that they would not, without us, be made perfect.
12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,2looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.


As we fix our eyes on our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and persevere, God will surely use everything we go through to our advantage, and to the glory of His Holy name.

Closing Prayer (Collect for Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost)

Almighty God, you have created the heavens and the earth, and ourselves in your image. Teach us to discern your hand in all your works and to serve you with reverence and thanksgiving; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Hope Amidst the Storm

St Pauls Church Charlottetown PEI 
The Lords Table: Bible study/Prayer meeting 
(Every Wednesday 6-7 pm at the Chapel) 
14 September 2016
Opening Prayer/Worship                            Hymn: Immortal, invisible, God only wise
Theme: Spirit Divine                                       Topic: Hope Amidst the Storm
Reading: Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28
We live in a world where good and evil co-exist.  It is clear that we all go through seasons of joy and pain in our lives; no one has exclusivity to one or the other.  What particularly helps followers of Jesus Christ during challenging times is our hope in Christ.  The truth is that God knows what we are going through; nothing takes Him by surprise.  Not only does the Lord know about our pain, He promised to go through them with us, and to turn the pain to our gain.  This does not mean that the Lord enjoys seeing His children suffer rather he delights in rescuing us from trouble.  As long as we are in this world we will have trouble; but our confidence is that God we see us through it all.  Similarly, we all go through spiritual ups and downs; but as we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, the Holy Spirit empowers us to keep growing in the Lord.


1. What should be our attitude during stormy times in our lives?  Matthew 5:43-48; Philippians 2:14-18, 4:4-9; Hebrews 12:1-12.
2. What are the lessons for us in Luke 15:1-10 regarding having hope amidst the storms of life?  Luke 15:1-10.
3. Discuss some of the challenges to having hope during the storms of life. How do we overcome them? Psalm 14:1-7; Isaiah 41:8-10, 13-16; 1 Timothy 1:12-17.

Not only does the Lord know about our pain, He promised to go through them with us, and to turn the pain to our gain.  

Closing Prayer (Collect for Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost)
Almighty God, you call your Church to witness that in Christ we are reconciled to you.  Help us so to proclaim the good news of your love, that all who hear it may turn to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.