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Worship – Why We Worship and What it Means

According to Collins dictionary it is “to show religious devotions to love and admire”. The 1647 Westminster Catechism states “in teaching that man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” 

Human salvation consists in communion with the beneficent God.

The first commandment – say to worship the Lord God and he alone (Exodus 20.16, Deuteronomy 5.6-10 Matthew 4.10 Luke 4.8)

When the Lord called on Pharaoh to let his people go it was so that they might Worship or Serve him, (Exodus 3.13) People throughout the Bible have worshiped God in different ways – festivals, feasts, dance, song and playing their various musical instruments.

They worshiped God in the Temples, Booths or Tabernacles.

In the New testament, Christians assembled in the name of Jesus (Matthew 18.20) and so they became – church – the most characteristic thing they did was to celebrate the “Lord’s Supper. (1 Corinthians 11.17-34) 

Prayer has always been at the centre of worship together with songs, hymns, psalms and spiritual songs. Worship can be down alone or in a small group playing favourite songs, lifting one’s hands and praising God verbally as well. However, when we come together as a group of Christians – Church and worship we are entering into God’s presence.

With all the business of life and the demands on us it is important that we make an effort to go into fellowship and worship in God’s presence as “one body”. 

Bodily expression of worship can include: – 

Eyes –             Psalm 123: To you I lift up my eyes O you who are enthroned in the heavens!

Ears –               Psalm 78: I give ear of my people to my teaching, incline your ears to the words of my maker.

Mouth –           Psalm 33.3: Sing a new song

Psalm 95.1: O come let us sing to the Lord, let us make a joyful noise to the rock of salvation.

Hands –           Psalm 47.1: Clap your hands all you people shout to God with a loud song of joy.

                        Psalm 134.2: Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the Lord.

Heart –             Psalm 138.1: I give you thanks O Lord with my whole heart.

Psalm 111.1: I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart in the company of the upright in the congregation.

Knees –            Psalm 95.6: Come let us worship and bow down let us kneel before the Lord our maker.

Psalm 138.2: I bow down to your temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness.

Feet –              Psalm 123.2: Our feet are standing with your gates O Jerusalem.

Psalm 149.3: Let them praise his name with dancing.

Worship with music – many churches have worship bands. Psalm 33.2 Praise the Lord with

the lyre make melody to him with the harp of ten strings.

Today musical instruments can now include guitars, drums and various wind instruments.

Worship can also include dancing, painting, flower arranging, carpentry, acting and many

more other types of art. It is the person / persons way of giving their all – talents, gifts to

God with thanks.

Whatever part of worship we find we enjoy let us do it with all our hearts, mind and body.

 We can never praise God enough for all he has and will continue to give us.

Psalm 150 1.6 Sums up worship completely.

This hymn also celebrates the meaning of worship

For the music of creation,

for the song your Spirit sings,

for your sound’s divine expression,

burst of joy in living things:

            God, our God, the world’s composer,

            hear us, echoes of your voice –

            music is your art, your glory,

            let the human heart rejoice!

Psalms and symphonies exalt you,

drum and trumpet, string and reed,

simple melodies acclaim you,

tunes that rise from deepest need,

            hymns of longing and belonging,

            carols from a cheerful throat,

            lilt of lullaby and love song

            catching heaven in a note.

All the voices of the ages

in transcendent chorus meet,

worship lifting up the senses,

hands that praise, and dancing feet;

            over discord and division

            music speaks your joy and peace,

harmony of earth and heaven,

            song of God that cannot cease!

                        ( Shirley Erena Murray )

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Why Pray?

Why Pray?

How to Pray.

When to Pray.

What to say or not.

Types of Prayer.

It is one of the ways humans relate to God – we are dependent on God for our very existence.

It helps develop our personality. Prayer is a journey of discoveries. It requires us to trust God with our inner most thoughts and actions. Prayer is more, much more than words – it is a time for our whole being to come to God and feel his love.

Basically, prayer is simply talking to God about anything and everything – sad or happy. He knows all about each of us, but loves it when we take time to talk to him and share our lives with him. It is the “way in” to a conscious relationship with God. Prayer has been with mankind since creation – God talking daily with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It is at times part of our fundamental nature, that is instinctive.

Prayer is dangerous

The negative side is that it is a temptation to use it as a type of “wish list” asking for things for ourselves – selfish or to want Him to harm people who have hurt you.

How to Pray

How to start – there are no set rules – some people prefer to stand, others to kneel, others to sit and some even prostrate. Quietness is important as it helps one to concentrate and “switch off” so to speak to the hustle and bustle of life – that includes turning off mobile phones!

Should our eyes be open or closes, again it is up to the individual – most find it easier with their eyes closed – it helps concentration on God. Should our hands be together – again different people prefer different ways, some together, others open up ward on their laps or held raised upwards.

The most important thing is that you are spending time with God and enjoying each other’s presence.

When to Pray 

Simply, anytime, anywhere, day or night. It does not matter to God, He is a 24/7 God, 365 days a year – so no excuse. Please don’t pray only when things seem difficult, frightening or sad. Pray especially giving thanks to God for all his blessings. Do not be a fair-weather prayer.

How to begin to pray 

Again this is up to you. Some helpful starter “Dear God ..”; “Our Father ..”; “Heavenly Father..”; “Abba Father ..”; “Wonderful God”; “Dear Loving Father..”. Use whatever feels right to you.

What to Say 

Anything and everything, hoeever5 silly or trivial. It matters to God because you matter to him, you are his child and he is your Heavenly father. It says in the Bible (Matthew 11:28)“Come to me all who are heavily laden, I will give you rest”. He wants to hear your worries and concerns about your life and enjoys rejoicing with you with your successes. Some find it easier to have a guide:

A.C.T.S. = Adoration, confession, thankfulness and supplication.

How to end the prayers 

Again a few helpful ideas are a simple “Amen” or “Lord hear my prayer”.

Types of Prayers 

Meditation, praying in tongues, intercessions, public prayers, set prayers – the Lord’s Prayer, Book of Common Prayer, Grace, Blessings. 

Meditation

Individually or with a group. Important when concentration on God, never let your mind go blank – it allows the devil to enter in.

Praying in tongues

Privately or praying together. If someone speaks in tongues spontaneously at a gathering, it is only valued if it can be interpreted.

Intercessions

Usually a member of the congregation is asked to do this act during the church service. He / she is representing the congregation, saying prayers for the church, the world and leaders and events etc, for the sick and suffering, and requests and thanks for the church in which they belong.

Lord’s Prayer

Explained by Jesus in Matthew 6:5-13

Book of Common Prayer

Alas despite its title it is used less and less these days. It dates back to 1662.

Grace 

Usually said before a meal to give thanks for our food but can be said after as a thanks giving.

Blessing

Said at the end of a service as a form of farewell and encouragement when we say Goodbye to people as we leave them. It is a form of saying God Bless you.

If you are interested in learning more about praying, buy a prayer card or the Book of Common Prayer online.

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Bible Stories on the Silver Screen

Bible stories are some of the most powerful and poignant examples of life we are given. Everyone loves going to Sunday school before church because they know they will be discussing, in detail, one of those powerful and fascinating stories.

The stories of the Bible are incredibly compelling and relatable. That is why Bible stories portrayed at the box office always do so well. More than just being compelling stories of interesting and historical events, everyone knows the stories of the Bible and are excited to see how those stories will be portrayed on the big screen. Here is a list of some of the greatest Biblical movies of all time:

The Ten Commandments (1956)

Who could forget this epic tale of Moses, the son of Jewish slaves turned Egyptian prince then, turned rescuer and leader of the Jews. One certainly cannot forget the larger-than-life personalities of Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner playing Moses and Pharaoh respectively. This film set a new standard for Biblical films and became a timeless landmark for epic cinematography.

The timely release of this film was no less unforgettable. In 1956, the nations of Israel and Egypt were in a modern-day conflict called the Suez Crisis which, similar to the story portrayed in the film, concerned Egypt challenging the legitimacy of the nation of Israel by attempting to block trade access along the Suez Canal.

The Passion of the Christ (2004)

Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ is perhaps starkly different from all other the films depicting Christ that came before it. It is less a story and prompt of Christ’s teachings and more of a reminder of His suffering. While most films recount the totality of the life of Jesus, approximately 100 minutes of this 127-minute film are dedicated to the detailed events of His suffering, humiliation, and death on a cross.

While this film’s graphic nature may be hard to swallow for many viewers, it is perhaps the best that film can do at portraying the true pain and torture Jesus endured. For Christians especially, this film, more accurately than others, conveys the what they believe in the most. That Jesus, through pain and ultimately death on a cross, loved us so much that He would endure such agony.

Ben-Hur (1959)

Starring Charlton Heston, yet again, this epic blockbuster is essential to the list of great Bible movies. While not based on a specific story in the Bible, the writer of the novel Lew Wallace, took great inspiration from many well-known Bible stories about Jesus to make this timeless gem among historical fiction films.

The film is still considered one of the quintessential epics and was redone in 2016 starring big names like Morgan Freeman – banking renewed success on the popularity of the 1959 original. While the remake may not have been as popular, do not be deterred. The original is a must see for all film lovers.

The Prince of Egypt (1998)

In this animated version of Moses rescuing Israel from the clutches of Egyptian rule, we see yet another example of epic actors and actresses portraying larger-than-life characters. With the likes of Ralph Fiennes, Patrick Stewart, Sandra Bullock, Val Kilmer, Helen Mirren, and Jeff Goldblum to name a few, this film aims to please both children and adults.

The Prince of Egypt is one of the most successful Bible-based films of all time when adjusted for ticket inflation. The film grossed $101.4 million at the box office in its first week. The film is also a must see for film goers who love musicals. The Prince of Egypt won the 1999 Academy Award for Best Original Song.

The Robe (1953)

Much like the film Ben-Hur, The Robe focuses on fringe characters from Biblical stories. Taking place primarily after the death and resurrection of Christ, The Robe chronicles the life of a Roman centurion named Marcellus who, in a game of dice during Jesus’ crucifixion, acquires the robe of Jesus.

For its day, this film was quite sobering and shows scenes from Jesus death as well as the torture of one of the main characters. This film was also one of the highest earning Biblical movies of all time – taking in $36 million in 1953, or about $531 million when adjusted today. The Robe does a fantastic job at portraying life in the Roman Empire shortly after the death of Jesus. It was perhaps one of the first films to focus on the impact Jesus had on the life of outlying characters.

Noah (2014)

Starring Russel Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, and Emma Watson, this film is guaranteed to at least be interesting. While the film makers have taken creative license in this rendition of the story of the epic flood, the film stays true to the essence of the original story found in Genesis and has some of the best scenes in a Biblical film.

High quality graphics in these modern times are a must and this movie delivers. With superb battle scenes and even the intricate detail of the Arc, this film is perfect for all the CGI nerds and Bible story lovers alike. Especially when it comes to Biblical films, good graphics can make or break experiencing what we have always imagined the flood or parting the Red Sea would have looked like.

Buy Bibles Online 

Whether it is David and Goliath or Moses parting the Red Sea, these movies have a Disney-like familiarity to them. And, like most movies based on a book, the book tends to be better. After all, the book offers the story in more intimate detail. Just like Disney, Bible stories have prolifically made their way onto the silver screen. Reading these stories will not only be exciting, but as with all texts in the Bible, they are sure to bring edification to our lives and the lives of our loved ones. Buy a Bible online today and become part of the timeless epic stories found in these great films.

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9 Great Bible Stories to Read to Your Children

The Bible is huge and has some admittedly odd and even gruesome stories. It can be hard enough to know where to begin and what to focus on for ourselves, much less for our children. That is why we want to suggest what we believe to be 7 great Bible stories to read to your children. This will give you a good place to start and hopefully give you the encouragement and confidence you need to explore further afterward.

In the New Testament, in the second letter from Paul to his young disciple and partner in the gospel, Timothy, Paul writes:

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realise what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT

And many of us are also familiar with Christ’s own declaration that “People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

These truths are not only relevant to adults, though. If God’s Word is so foundational, and so important for teaching us what is true, what is right, and helping us follow after God in an increasingly confusing, chaotic and dark world, should we not also be reading it with our children and teaching them to dig deep into God’s Word on their own?

Now we know this can be a slightly intimidating charge. The Bible is huge and has some admittedly odd and even gruesome stories. It can be hard enough to know where to begin and what to focus on for ourselves, much less for our children.

That is why we want to suggest what we believe to be 7 great Bible stories to read to your children. This will give you a good place to start and hopefully give you the encouragement and confidence you need to explore further afterward.

Creation – Genesis 1-2

There is no better way to start teaching your children about God and sharing the Bible with them than beginning at the very start with the Creation story. This is where children will learn the “why” of our existence.

They will see God’s orderliness, perfection, and His delight in His creation as you read with them each step as God created the world and then man in His own image. They will see that the world and man was made perfect and that mankind had a perfect and fulfilled relationship with God and with creation.

It is important for children (and for us) to understand the perfection and joy with which the world began. The rest of the Bible is about how this was lost and how God pursues mankind to redeem them and fallen creation.

The Fall – Genesis 3

Next in chronological order and importance is the story of the fall of Adam and Eve from perfection and relationship with God into sin and a broken relationship with God, creation, and each other.

Through reading this story with your children, they will learn that Adam and Even chose to believe the serpent, Satan, rather than God, and their pride led them to disobey God’s only command. Their sin resulted in its consequences: separation from God and death.

Though a harsh story, it is vital for children to understand the fall and its consequences. It will help them understand what the rest of the Bible is about – their need for salvation and God’s loving pursuit of humankind and His provision of salvation ultimately through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Understanding the Fall will also help children understand the darkness, brokenness and chaos of the world around them, which they will begin to see more and more as they grow. The Fall has led to a world history full of humanity’s errors and pain as seen in war, sickness, and all kinds of cruel and devastating actions.

Noah’s Flood – Genesis 6-9

Many years after creation people forgot about God. They no longer wanted to hear stories about Him. People became wicked. God decided that He would destroy the world and the people and start over. Instead of creating everything from nothing like He did before, He was going to use just a few people to rebuild the world. All the people who trusted in Him would live. The others would die.

God asked Noah to build a large boat called an ark. God brought animals to Noah to put into the ark. Noah preached to the people that they too could be saved if they would believe in God. Sadly, the only people on the ark when it started to rain were the people in Noah’s family. Eight people were saved from the flood.

The Bible says that it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. All the people and animals outside the ark died. When the water finally dried up, Noah and his family let the animals go to begin having baby animals. Instead of creating all the animals again, this is the way God filled the earth with people and animals the second time.

David and Goliath – 1 Samuel 17

The people of Israel were fighting the Philistines. The two armies faced each other for battle. One man from the Philistine army stepped forward to challenge anyone from the Israelite army to fight him. This man was a giant named Goliath. He was over 9 feet tall! A young boy named David heard Goliath mocking God and the Israelites (the people of God). David stood up for God and His people. David took five stones from the river and attacked Goliath with only a slingshot and his faith in God. One rock is all it took for David to kill Goliath. After Goliath fell David cut his head off with Goliath’s own sword.

The Rescue of Israel from Egypt – Exodus 5:1 – 14:31

The Old Testament is full of so many stories of God’s power and faithfulness to individuals and people who do not really deserve it and who would be unlikely heroes.

But few stories so well demonstrate God’s power as well as His plan to rescue mankind through His own effort and provision than the story of the Exodus of Israel.

In this story, children will see how God’s power was supreme over the gods of Egypt, how God gives opportunities to those who do not know Him to turn to Him, God’s faithfulness to do what He says, and a foreshadowing of Christ’s sacrifice for humanity’s sins through the Passover lamb.

The Birth of Christ – Matthew 1-2:23; Luke 1:26-45 and 2:1-40

A pinnacle moment of the Gospel, and ultimately what the whole Old Testament is leading up to, is of course the birth of Jesus Christ, God’s Son and the way to salvation that God gives to mankind.

Children will see how the birth of Christ perfectly upholds the Old Testament prophecies about God’s Messiah, which were given even hundreds and thousands of years before it came about. They will see how God humbled himself by becoming a baby born in the humblest of circumstances, revealing God’s love and faithfulness to mankind.

The Feeding of the Five Thousand – Matthew 14:13-21 and John 6:1-15

The Feeding of the Five Thousand is a great story where children will get to see Jesus’ ability to heal all illnesses, His love and compassion for a hurting people, as well as His ability to take what little is offered by His servants and use it to provide abundantly more than is needed.

Children will get to see that even if they only have a small amount to offer to God, He can use it to accomplish great things in their lives and the lives of others.

The Easter Story – Luke 22:7 – 24:53

The true climax of the entire Bible and the history of the world – Christ’s trial, crucifixion and resurrection from the dead.

This story will show children that God was faithful to keep His promise to provide a way to be healed from sin and have a right relationship with God again. It will show them that God loved mankind so much that He Himself was willing to suffer and die in mankind’s place, to take their deserved punishment on Himself.

But it will also show them that He is so powerful and so perfect that Death could not hold Him back as Jesus rises again from the dead in three days and comforts His followers and leaves them with His peace and a new assignment to share the good news of salvation with the world.

The Coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost – Acts 2:1-39

Another important element of the Gospel story is that, though Jesus ascended into heaven, He did not leave His followers alone. He promised to send His Holy Spirit to live inside each believer to empower them to follow Christ’s example and to teach others about Jesus.

The coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost will help children see that when they believe in Jesus for salvation, He comes to live inside of them through the Holy Spirit, who will be their comforter, their teacher, and the One to give them strength to do what is right and to tell others about Him.

Buy a Children’s Bible Online Today

These stories are certain to enrich and capture your child’s heart and mind. If you are wanting to share these stories with your child or children, but are needing a reliable place to start, buy a children’s bible online today to begin your special journey.

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