Thursday 29 December 2011

Acts: Part 1 of 3

This is the first of 3 blogs that have been written by Declan Doran. All 3 are based around the book of Acts. Parts 2 and 3 will be posted over the next few days. Enjoy!

The Book of Acts in the bible starts with a storm and ends with a storm, and all in between it speaks of how the Kingdom of God “violently” took root across the face of the world at that time. Now that I have just finished reading this amazing book of the bible it reminds me of the verse in Zechariah 2:5 “and I myself will be a wall of fire around it,' declares the Lord, 'and I will be its glory within”. This a book full of the fire of the spirit and glory within.

The book starts with a violent wind at Pentecost in Acts 2:2. It introduces as Paul himself says in 1 Timothy 1:13 “a violent blasphemer and persecutor” in Acts 8-9. It tells us of a violent earthquake in Acts16:26. It is followed by violent disputes one recorded in Acts 23:10 and then ends with a violent storm in Acts 27:18. Just a tiny background on violent men in Matthews’s gospel adds to the picture of immense excitement and hope that the gospel spells out for mankind. In Matthew 8:28 there was a violent man in the hands of the evil one and all were afraid of this man, Jesus encountered this man in the countryside and the man’s life was changed forever, it’s interesting that it was then Jesus that the people feared. In Matthew 11:12 we are told that from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been violently advancing, and violent men lay hold of it, the word violent in this verse is also translated as “forceful” and therefore could read the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing and forceful men lay hold of it. And lastly as way of an introduction the one violent act that displayed hope for you and me is spelled out in Matthew 28:2 “There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it”. There for the world to see the tomb where Jesus was buried lay open and empty, the Christ had risen as Jesus Christ himself said he would and death itself was defeated.
Have you ever wondered where the violence above that the scriptures speak of has gone? Has our Christian culture lost sight somewhat of the “violence” spoken of above and run with a line “meek and mild”. Grace and love are two words that describe correctly attributes of our faith but “violence” and “power” were also attributes of the first Christians. Early believers gave their all, today so many of the western church give so little of themselves. I include myself in the “so many”. When I point my finger at others the funny thing is my finger turns back and points at me. I have a sense that today like back then God is looking for men and women who will stand like in Ezekiel 22:30 “I looked for one who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap, on behalf of the land so that I would not have to destroy it, but I found none”. I wish I could write differently and say that I can stand in the gap, but I can’t. In recent years I’m growing tired of playing “church” of playing “Christianity”, I’m not saying I’m tired of what I experience in my church, I’m saying within the wall of my being I’m tired of not “being in Christ”

Most of the years since I came to believe Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour, I have not managed to lay hold of the Kingdom of God, in fact for me the Kingdom of God has been stuck in the clouds, up there and not down here. In the past three years I’ve been battling in my mind accepting what God has been saying to me about who I am and the authority he has given me in his Kingdom here on earth. I’m not saying I’m special or anything at all, who I am and the authority he has given me is no different than that which you are and the authority you hold in this same Kingdom of God on earth if you are “in Christ”. My God is a gracious God and he answers the cry of a broken heart (Psalm 3:4) and reveals himself to those who fully seek him (2 Chronicles 16:9). Over these last three years I have been engaging in a painful process of moving my beliefs down that small journey from my head to my heart. As my world (my intellect / my need to have everything figured out in my mind) is being torn apart by Gods and His Word, I have noticed the kingdom of God is also being lowered from the clouds to the earth. I would like to ask “could there be a connection” but I’m unable to ask it like that, I can only say it as follows “there is a connection”.

Now back to the book of Acts and this book of the bible more than any other has been speaking to me powerfully this past few years. The word “violent” has been prominent as I read along and the last two chapters of this book has excited me much more than the two first chapters and this probably surprises you as the first two chapters are noted as major landmark chapters throughout the church down the years. Acts 1 & 2 tells you what’s available to you and me once you have accepted Jesus work on the cross. Acts 27 & 28 tells you how to engage this Kingdom of God. Put another way the cross of Christ opens the door, Acts 1 & 2 tells us what’s on the other side when we step through the cross, Acts 27 & 28 tells us how to grasp hold of it. All this is held together through the Holy Spirit who enables. I want to share with you what God has spoken to me as I read these last two chapters and it has encouraged me greatly to press on into our amazing God and to journey in Him and pull heaven down onto earth. Yes I mean pull it because it’s not Gods plan to force it on us on the earth, we have to want it and contend for it. Then and only then is God pleased to give his Kingdom to us here on earth as it is in Heaven.

Declan D

Monday 12 December 2011

My Parable- Reinhard Bonnke.

Reinhard Bonnke posted this on Facebook over the weekend and I wanted to share it with those who haven't read it yet.

This is how my parable begins. Let me call him John. John had a double story house, five plus five rooms. One day there was a gentle knock on the front door. When John opened it, there was the Lord Jesus. “Please come in”, John pleaded, “I will give you the best room in my house – it is upstairs. Well, Jesus is a gentleman and said “thank you”.

The next morning someone hammered against the front door. When John opened it who was there? The devil. “No” shouted John, “I don’t want you here” But the devil said “I’m already in” – and a big fight started. Satan poured filthy temptation on him, it was horrible. By the evening John somehow got the victory and threw the devil out. Then he said “wait a minute”. I gave Jesus the best room in the house, why didn’t he come to my rescue?” Jesus said to John “Look, you gave me one of the ten rooms…” John was on his knees and said “I can see my mistake. Sorry, Lord. Let’s make 50/50.” Jesus is a gentleman and accepted.

The next day was a repeat of the day before. Somehow the devil got in and out and John was totally exhausted. “Why didn’t Jesus come to my rescue today? I need to go and ask.” The Lord said “My son, why don’t you give me all 10 rooms and then, instead of me staying with you, you stay with me?” John broke down. He pulled the key of the front-door from his pocket and handed it to Jesus. Now, he had given it all.

The next morning, it was still dark, when someone was knocking at the front door so hard that the whole building shook. John jumped frightened and shaken out of bed crying “O, it’s the devil again”, when suddenly he heard footsteps – but this time inside the house. Jesus was marching in majesty and power towards the front door. He had the key. It now was His duty to answer the door. John was wondering what would happen and stood right behind Jesus when the Lord opened the door wide. Who was it? The devil of course. But when the devil saw Jesus standing in the door he bowed low, very low indeed, and said “Sorry Sir, I knocked on the wrong door!”

Some have given 9 rooms to Jesus and on the door of room number 10 they have written “Strictly Private”. It is there where they have their secret sins and live their double life. But Jesus cannot be cheated. C’mon. Let’s sing it together from the bottom of our hearts “Unto Jesus I surrender, unto Him I freely give….I surrender ALL, unto thee my God and Savior, I surrender all.” With all my love, REINHARD BONNKE.

Posted by Roger C.

Saturday 3 December 2011

And you too must testify to these things....

The resurrection of Christ changes things permanently and it brings a Joy that cannot be removed by the World's assaults.

Quite often prayer requests come through on "Everyone at Trinity" and often then, we get encouraging responses of-- 'God really does...' --when things go or get answered in a way that pleases us or seems to be in line with what we have asked. But what about those times when God seems to say "NO" or "NOT YET" or "MY WAYS ARE NOT YOUR WAYS" ? Or what if it seems that God is silent? What do we say when we are disappointed in outcomes?

Today in a place of disappointment I share my declarations to our Holy Father:

"God, in every circumstance you are good. You really are a loving God. You are more than enough. Thank you that regardless of "outcomes," in prayer I get to come close to you and exchange thoughts/feelings and experience intimacy of relationship with you. I thank you that you want me at your feet. You want to spend time with me. Time spent with you is never wasted time.

How marvelous! How wonderful is my Saviour's love for me!
I cry out HOLY! HOLY! HOLY! is the Lamb of God who was slain but lives forevermore!
I cannot always change my circumstances, but like Moses, when I 'come into your presence' I am changed.

PEACE that passes understanding--you really do give it!
News of great JOY--I find it in you and in your word; you fill me with Joy in the Spirit.
I will Praise you among the nations--The only Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. EMMANUEL!

I am 'the disciple that Jesus loves' and even in earthly trials I testify to these truths.
To 'Everyone@Trinity', I encourage you in every circumstance, Seek His face. In every outcome, God is Good.


Monday 21 November 2011

made in God's image

For over a year now, there's been a passage in the Bible that has been constantly in the back of my mind. I have regularly found myself going back to read the passage of scripture that these verses are contained in.
The passage is easy to find, it's in the first chapter of the first book of the Bible, and the verses are 26 and 27:

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[b] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. NKJV

God made mankind in His own image. What's the significance of this?
You are the pinnacle of God's creation. You were created to rule over the earth, to be an ambassador of God to the planet, to display Him and model what He is like. Only after mankind was created;

31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. NKJV

God Himself said that mankind was very good. He didn't say this about any of the other parts of creation. The sun, the trees, whales, elephants, lions, eagles, Saturn, the Milky Way, none of these were deemed by God to be as good as His creation of man. How could they? They weren't created to contain the nature of God inside them.

What does it mean that man was created in God's image? I believe this means that man was created to exist in a similar relationship to the one that God exists in.

When Adam was first created, he had a fantastic relationship with God. He opened his eyes for the first time to look directly into the face of his Creator. He was involved in the creation process- God allowed man to name all the animals and creatures. When Adam spoke, a lion became a lion and a lamb was named a lamb. (Ch2 v 19,20)
Adam got to walk in the garden of Eden with God in the evenings. What an amazing time it must have been!

Then God makes a statement:

18 And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” NKJV

God saw that Adam was alone. There was something missing from Adam's relationship.
How or why could this be? Adam had a great relationship with God so surely he couldn't have been alone?
Adam was made in God's image. This is why God saw that he was alone. Adam was existing in a Father-Son relationship, yet he was created to be like God.
So God saw what was missing and created a helper for Adam. Eve was created and Adam now existed in a full, trinity relationship with God.
The word for Eve is "Helper"(an equal, a companion), just like the word Jesus used when He said He was going to send a Helper to the disciples.

When Eve arrived, Adam was able to exist in a Father, Son and Helper relationship, similar to the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In Ecclesiastes 4v12, it says:

12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.NIV

Man was created to be in God's image, so when Eve arrived, it allowed Adam to fulfill what God had proclaimed over him.

God saw a need Adam had, one that Adam knew nothing about, and gave him more. God is in the business of upgrades, of giving more than we ask for or even imagine.

What does this mean for us? We know from Genesis 3 that the relationship went sour- Adam and Eve wanted what they weren't supposed to have, and that Adam and Eve rejected what God had for them, yet there is fantastic news. We are in a better position than Adam and Eve were before they sinned. Adam and Eve existed in a world without sin, everything was innocent. They got to see God and walk with Him, fellowship with Him and spend time with Him.

However, they never got to experience all that God had for them. They never saw God's redemption power, they never got to witness and perform miracles. They never saw illness healed or people saved. They never knew death defeated, they never got to experience all the good stuff that God has for us right now.

When Adam and Eve sinned, God's plans for the earth took off. It's almost like He said "Because the enemy has tried to ruin my work, I'm going to give even more to my people. I'm going to upgrade their relationship with me, I'm going to bless them in ways they never would have experienced, I'm going to show them how good I am."

God is in the business of upgrades. He is the only one who can give you everything and still have everything to give you. He has so much more for you. Ask Him today to bring you into a place of upgrade. Ask Him to give you the gifts He is desiring to give to you. Ask Him to give you the relationship that He knows you can have with Him. You are made in God's image, everything that is within Him is available for you.

Adam was probably quite satisfied with the relationship he had with God before Eve was created, yet God wanted to give him more. That's God's nature. He wants you to have more than you ask for, He is incredibly generous. Don't settle for the relationship you have with God, He has so much more to give you than you will ever know!

And when you've done that, ask Him for an upgrade!

Roger C.

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Sunday Morning Worship Pictures

Lionel has sent out the pictures that he shared on Sunday morning during the worship time.

During worship time I saw a series of pictures.

Firstly of a large square building with a roof prominent in the picture, with a type of red Spanish roll tile. At the corners of the building were large down-pipes, and at the foot of each were large water butts, to capture the rainwater.

I then saw in the distance large dark clouds of a type recognisable pregnant/heavy with rain.

I then saw a huge rainfall pouring on to the roof, quickly filling the 4 empty water butts, and that then there were many other water butts being filled at the house corners by extension from the foot of the down-pipe (not from the other main butt).

I felt that the water clouds represented a visiting rainfall from heaven of the presence of the Holy Spirit at a time during this season, which flowed over the roof and into the 4 corner butts, and such was the downfall that there was a filling for many other butts. There was not a clamouring to get to the corner positioning, but there was an eagerness to be there and to be in position.

I was shaken after I had seen this event, and spoke it out into the silence of worship. It causes me to be expectant.

Lionel Mackey

Friday 30 September 2011

Paul knew what he was saying.....

...... When he wrote to the Thessalonians
"in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. " 1 Thess 5v18, (NKJV).

This is not a random statement that Paul made, hoping that the Thessalonians and eventually, all who read his letter, would read and think that it's a nice concept.

Giving thanks is what is at the core of our relationships with God. If we want to experience what it's like to have a deep, intimate relationship with God, we have to learn to give thanks. We have to learn to thank Him in every aspect of our lives.
Giving thanks to God is the most basic form of worship. We don't even have to sing to give thanks, we only have to say the words.

It's a difficult verse to fulfil as often, we don't want to give thanks. There are many times when we have a desire to thank God, yet there are times when it's the last thing we want to do. This is when giving thanks is the most important thing we can do. Why? because God is glorified whenever we give thanks to Him.

Psalm 22v3,(NKJV) says :

"But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel."

When we give thanks, we release praise to God. God dwells in our praise of Him, so when we praise God, it releases activity in the heavenly realms that allows Him to come into our situation. God becomes more glorified as we praise Him. His light grows stronger, His glory becomes more intense and the darkness flees.

There are circumstances that may make us think things are so bleak that there is nothing to thank God for. When times are tough, we delve into our testimony, we give thanks to God for what He has done before. We give thanks that He is providing every breath we breathe. We give thanks to Him because He is God. He is I Am. We give thanks to Him because He is God. We don't need a reason, it should become quite easy too.

We were created in God's image so therefore, the very nature of God exists in us. We were made to worship Him, so giving thanks to Him is something we are good at.

Have you ever stopped to think that you are better at giving thanks, at praising and worshipping God than you are at sinning?

Being made to Worship God is what we were made for.
Imagine you are a carpenter's saw. You are made with a purpose, cutting wood cleanly and accurately. If you are then used to bang nails into the same piece of wood, you aren't going to be very good at it.

Thanking God is what we were made for. Being in a close, intimate relationship with God is where it's at. That's fulfilling the purpose God set out for us. It's what God's will was when He created Adam all those years ago. Adam lived, for a time, in perfect relationship with the Father, that was what God intended for mankind. It's the relationship Jesus modelled when He walked the earth, absolute, perfect deep intimate relationship with the Father. It's the relationship that God desires to have with each of us.

God is abundantly glorified when we fulfil our potential in Him. Doing this on it's own is giving glory to God. Jesus set the example of giving thanks when He prayed over the 5 loaves and 2 fish (you can read it here). He gave thanks and the blessing occurred.
He gave thanks and God was glorified. He gave thanks and God's will was released into the situation. He gave thanks and the miracle happened. He gave thanks, because He loved His Father and wanted Him to be the one who got the glory, the honour and the majesty.

So try to give thanks to God. Then when you've tried, try harder. Then keep doing it and you will find that you are suddenly giving thanks to God and your perception of your circumstances changes. Your worries, your concerns and your qualms will all seem to matter a bit less. Your experience of God will become more and you will realise that there is nothing, that God cannot change, there is no situation that He can't turn around and be glorified in. You will realise that you are actually praising Him, despite your circumstances.

You are giving thanks in all circumstances.

Roger C.

Saturday 17 September 2011

When Giants Are Standing In Front Of You

Last month, I posted a blog about the A Heart like David and the Heart of God, and it's been on my heart to write another blog about David.

David is a character that I've long admired because of the heart he had for his God. When David was still a young lad, only in his teens, he was holding down two jobs. One of these was holding the responsibility of looking after the flock of sheep that his father owned, the other was holding the responsibility of looking after the wellbeing of the king of Israel, ministering to the heart of Saul 1 Sam 16v14ff (NIV).

So for such a young man, there was a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. David had to juggle both of these tasks while not letting either of his masters down, he also knew at this stage that he was going to be the next king of Israel, even if nobody outside his family knew this yet.

You can read about it in 1 Sam 17. His 3 eldest brothers- Eliab (The tall one who looked kingly), Abinadab and Shammah had all joined the Israelite army, to fight for Saul and David had been given the job of bringing their food out to them, while they sat on the frontline, facing the Philistines.

David's dad, Jesse, called him in one day and gave him a bag of grain, 10 loaves of bread and 10 cheeses to take to the battlefield. The grain and bread was for his brothers, the cheese was for the commander of the unit. I'm not sure why Jesse wanted David to bring food to the commander, but I suspect it had something to do with the commander 'looking after' Jesse's eldest sons.

When David arrived at the battleground, he saw that there was no fighting, yet this man (if that's what you could call him!) stood, taunting the Israelites morning and evening. Goliath was massive. The head of his spear weighed the same as 7 bags of sugar. His armour weighed more than most men. He stood almost 10 feet tall. He was big, he was mean and he was taunting the army of Israel, morning and evening. When they prayed to their God.

David, as we know, had a very special relationship with God. He loved Him dearly, he wrote many songs of worship and praise to his God. He had spent many days and nights in God's Presence, writing, singing and worshipping Him. So when he found out that Goliath had been taunting the Israelites for 40 days,  morning and evening, David was angry.
When I say angry, I mean that David had a righteous anger burning inside of him. Goliath was interrupting the time that was sacred to the Israelites. They prayed morning and evening to God and this man was disturbing the time they had set aside to be with God.
Goliath was interrupting the time that David loved.
Goliath was proposing that Israel send a champion out to fight for them, to prevent any further bloodshed. Israel needed a champion and it's champion wasn't coming out into the open. Why?

Israel had a champion who was terrified of men. He was very tall and very handsome. He was the king of Israel, he was Saul. If you go back to 1 Samuel 9 (NIV), you will see that even though Saul was a very tall and kingly looking man, he was hiding from the people when Samuel tried to find him.
When Goliath challenged Israel, Saul was afraid and didn't stand up for his people. Of course, this could have been because he was the king and didn't want to fight as that was his prerogative. But when it came down to it, the biggest man in Israel was afraid to fight the biggest man in Philistine. So there was a stand off for 40 days.

David immediately volunteered to do the job. He had found out that Saul's daughter would be given in marriage to the man who killed Goliath and the thought may have crossed his mind that this was his way into his anointing, but the reward didn't affect David's decision. He didn't like what he saw and he was going to do something about it.

Just think for a minute. The well being of the nation of Israel rested on the result of this battle and Saul decided to send a teenager out to represent him.
Maybe this was his madness kicking in, maybe it was the 40 days of taunting. Maybe God was stepping in after 40 days, something He does all through the bible. Whatever the reason, God arrived on the battlefield when David turned up and the odds were suddenly overturned drastically in Israel's favour.

There are a number of significant things about how David fought Goliath.

Firstly, David wasn't afraid. He had fought and killed bears and lions while he tended his flock, so a tall man (who didn't have claws or sharp teeth) wouldn't be any challenge. He was building on the testimony that he had. God had given him the ability to slay beasts before, so David knew He would be with him as he fought this next beast.
David stood on the word of his testimony.

Secondly, David fought Goliath on his terms. Saul offered his own weapons and armour but David decided he wasn't going to use them. David wasn't going to try and defeat Goliath by fighting him with the weapons he was given by another man.
David was going to fight Goliath by fighting him with the weapons God gave him. He was going into a fight on his terms and he knew he would win.

Thirdly, David didn't take any of the usual weapons of war with him. He took his sling and his staff and went to the stream, where he picked up 5 smooth stones. The stones were around the size of a baseball, and someone like David, would have been able to aim accurately at a target with his sling and hit it with a stone, traveling at around 100mph. (Imagine if you were standing on the baseline at Wimbledon with Rafael Nadal serving stones at you, they wouldn't be as fast as what David could do).
David didn't take 5 stones because he thought he was going to miss, he knew that God would be with him, and God never misses! Apparently Goliath had 4 brothers, so I'm assuming that this is where the 4 stones were readied for.
A notable thing is that he took his staff. The one thing that a shepherd carried when he was tending his flock was his staff, and as David stood in front of the Philistines, defending his flock, he was doing so as one who knew what it was like to face a fierce enemy, who was willing to stand up to one who wanted to harm his flock. He wasn't going to let him hurt even one.

Finally, David told Goliath in no uncertain terms that Goliath was not fighting a boy, but he was going to be defeated because God was on his side. Despite his size and apparent military advantage over David, David knew that when God is on your side, you are automatically stronger than anything the enemy throws at you.
David knew that Goliath was outnumbered because when God is on your side, it's the biggest advantage of all.

David ran into battle. His brothers (specifically Eliab, the one whose heart was not right before God- coincidence? No!)tried to put him off fighting Goliath. Saul tried to tell him how to fight Goliath. His God enabled him to fight Goliath. His God enabled him to defeat Goliath. His God was glorified because David stood on the testimony he had, the love he had for his God and the love he had for his flock.

There are times in life when we come up against a monster, something that seems way beyond what we can cope with. Circumstances look too big to deal with and the outcome seems to be set out in front of us. These are the times when we step into where God wants us to be. These are the times where we move into the anointing that God has given us. These are opportunities for us to say "I've been in a similar situation before. I know God can help me now too".

These are the times to step into our inheritance, to be the anointed royalty that God has made us. To defeat the enemy that stands in front of us, taunting us that he's too big, trying to come between us and our relationship with our God. These are the times that prepare us to be warriors.

Stand on the Word of God. Believe Him and trust Him to come through for you when there's a giant in front of you. God + you outnumbers and is greater than anything the enemy can throw against you. Use the gifts He's given you. Stand on the word of your testimony and go into the battle, knowing you are victorious.

Roger C.

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Love Never Fails

This is a word that was shared with us this week by Kay. There is nothing added to it or taken away from it, so read on and be blessed:

Grace and peace to all the genuine true brothers,
In Jesus Christ....
You know to whom I am speaking.
I love you my little children...with an everlasting love.....
Fear not....
Because you know you are redeemed...
Your lives are hid in me...the great I am...
I know the hurt....and disappointment.. you are feeling at this time..
But don’t you remember
I am the one that is in control....
and i will bring my purposes to fruition.
I am the healer of hearts and binder of wounds,
and everything hidden in the darkness...I will bring into the light.
I have talked to you on many occasions....
Reminding you, that all quarrelling.....bitterness......and......anger....
Rise from your own selfish ambition that hides within you..........
I know the secrets of every heart.......
You have all made mistakes.....
Otherwise I would not have had to die upon a filthy cross.....
and become a curse

There is nothing more I can give you....
I gave you myself.....
Jesus crucified naked.

As this world looks on.....and the love and respect and repentance of the church,
I plead with you my beloved children......
Don’t give the devil one more step into the church.
Be strong,
Don’t be afraid to humble yourselves,
There is great freedom comes when you admit you have made a mistake.
Please don’t stand for anyone else’s cause except mine..
Let the tears flow...
and reach out the hand of forgiveness to those who may have hurt you.
I have entrusted myself to you,....
Will you trust yourself to me ....
Your heavenly Father...

Word from Kay Dockery 22/08/2011

Wednesday 10 August 2011

A Heart like David and the Heart of God

If you decide to read the Bible from the beginning to the end, almost a quarter of the way into it, a young boy is introduced to us. He is David and he is the most famous king that Israel ever had.

Samuel, the prophet has been told by God that the king God put in place, is no longer the man to rule over His people and that he has to find this family in Bethlehem, and anoint one of the sons. I'll let Samuel tell you the story as it happened:

1 The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”
2 But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”

The LORD said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’ 3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”

4 Samuel did what the LORD said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?”

5 Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD.”

7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The LORD has not chosen this one either.” 9 Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the LORD chosen this one.” 10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The LORD has not chosen these.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”

Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”

12 So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.

Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”

13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.

When Samuel knew that Saul was to be replaced as king, he did what many leaders would do. He looked back at previous experience of anointing a king and decided to do the same. After all, Saul looked like a king, he looked like a champion;

2 Kish had a son named Saul, as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else. 1 Sam 9 v2 (NIV)

So the obvious thing was to pick the man with the same characteristics and follow the same route.
So he arrived in Bethlehem, a small town where the arrival of "The Prophet" would have been front page news on the Bethlehem Times, and he went to the house of Jesse. Panic broke out as the towns people worried why this man of God had decided to move in for a few days, but God told Samuel to take a heifer and tell the people they were making a sacrifice.

There was a collective sigh of relief among the local elders, and maybe a hint of apprehension in Jesse when he discovered it was his family that Samuel wanted to sacrifice with.

So Samuel told Jesse to get the family ready, to consecrate and to clean themselves up, to make themselves presentable before the Lord, and they did so.
That evening, Samuel started the process, and thinking back to his last ordination, He saw Eliab and realised that this tall man looked kingly, and must be the man for the job. No sooner had he thought this than God spoke to him clearly:

"Looks aren't everything. Don't be impressed with his looks and stature. I've already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart." 1 Sam 16v7 MSG

Eliab wasn't the one for the job as God knew his heart wasn't right before Him. We see this in ch 17, Eliab is the one to verbally attack David as he goes to fight Goliath. Eliab didn't know God's heart, and as a result, his heart wasn't like God's.

Samuel went through the 7 sons that Jesse had presented to him and none of them were the one God wanted. Knowing that God is never wrong, Samuel wanted to know if that was it. Jesse replied that there was his youngest, minding the sheep. Samuel refused to go any further unless the son was brought before him.

Now at this stage, David is estimated to be between 10 and 13 years old. He spent every day minding the sheep, being on his own and writing songs. He learned in this time that his God was there with him. He learned that his God was interested in him and he learned that he could sing, write songs, worship and praise Him. He was learning what it was like to have a quiet time with God.

Getting back to the story then, David was obviously not invited to the sacrifice with Samuel. He wasn't presented to Samuel in the beginning because Samuel would have known when he came to David that he was to be king. David wasn't considered to be important enough to be there. He wasn't considered to be part of the family.
The argument here is that somebody had to mind the sheep. That's true, but David himself hints at why this may have been the case:

"Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me."
Psalm 51v5 NKJV

David says he was conceived in sin, was he only a half brother? Did he have an different mother? Was he not considered to be part of the family because of this?

Jesse himself refers to David as "....the runt. But he's out tending the sheep." 1 Sam 16v7 MSG

Whatever the reason is, David wasn't invited to the party, yet the party wasn't going to happen until he arrived.
Psalm 118 v 22-23 says:

"The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
the LORD has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes."

This verse was used to refer to Jesus in the new testament, yet could have easily been written about David.

Yet when he arrived, Samuel knew immediately that this young man was to be king. He was accepted by God, anointed by Samuel and filled with the Spirit of the Lord.
Have you noticed that something's missing?

David wasn't consecrated, and hadn't gone through any necessary rituals before coming to the sacrifice. The reason for this is because his heart was right with God.

David was used to being in the Presence of God and so was able to walk straight in to the place of anointing. Once this happened,

"The Spirit of God entered David like a rush of wind, God vitally empowering him for the rest of his life." 1 Sam 16v13 MSG

His heart was right, he was anointed and he was empowered for the rest of his life. He was to become king. He was to become the greatest of all his brothers, a champion of his country, yet he was to remain a man whose heart was like God's.

David went on to become a great king because he grew up in the presence of the King of Kings. He learned how to be a king from the One who led by perfect example. Spending time in Gods presence has an infectious way of rubbing off on us. It improves us, it challenges us, it makes us aware of the places we haven't invited Him into. It creates a hunger for more of Him, a hunger that only He can satisfy.

David knew this. David tried this and David applied this to his life. Are you hungry for the heart of God?

Roger C

Thursday 28 July 2011


This is an excerpt from the book Calvary Road

THOUSANDS of years ago, in the most beautiful Garden the world has ever known, lived a man and a woman. Formed in the likeness of their Creator, they lived solely to reveal Him to His creation and to each other and thus to glorify Him every moment of the day. Humbly they accepted the position of a creature with the Creator - that of complete submission and yieldedness to His will. Because they always submitted their wills to His, because they lived for Him and not for themselves, they were also completely submitted to each other. Thus in that first home in that beautiful garden, there was absolute harmony, peace, love and oneness not only with God, but with each other.
Then one day, the harmony was shattered, for the serpent stole into that God-centred home, and with him, sin. And now, because they had lost their peace and fellowship with God, they lost it with each other. No longer did they live for God - they each lived for themselves. They were each their own gods now, and because they no longer lived for God, they no longer lived for each other. Instead of peace, harmony, love and oneness - there was now discord and hate - in other words, SIN!

It was into the home that sin first came. It is in the home that we sin more than perhaps anywhere else, and it is to the home that revival first needs to come. Revival is desperately needed in the church - in the country - in the world, but a revived church with unrevived homes would be sheer hypocrisy. It is the hardest place, the most costly, but the most necessary place to begin.
Before we go on, let us remind ourselves again of what revival really is. It simply means new life, in hearts where the spiritual life has ebbed - but not a new life of self-effort or self-initiated activity. It is not man's life, but God's life, the life of Jesus filling us and flowing through us. That Life is manifested in fellowship and oneness with those with whom we live - nothing between us and God, and nothing between us and others. The home is the place before all others where this should be experienced.
How different is the experience of so many of us professing Christians in our homes - little irritations, frayed tempers, selfishness and resentments; and even where there is nothing very definitely wrong between us, just not that complete oneness and fellowship that ought to characterise Christians living together. All the things that come between us and others, come between us and God and spoil our fellowship with Him, so that our hearts are not overflowing with the Divine Life.

Now what at bottom is wrong with our homes? When we talk about homes, we mean the relationship which exists between a husband and wife, a parent and child, a brother and sister, or between any others who, through various circumstances, are compelled to live together.
The first thing that is wrong with so many families is that they are not really open with one another. We live so largely behind drawn blinds. The others do not know us for what we really are, and we do not intend that they should. Even those living in the most intimate relationships with us do not know what goes on inside - our difficulties, battles, failures, nor what the Lord Jesus has to cleanse us from so frequently. This lack of transparency and openness is ever the result of sin. The first effect of the first sin was to make Adam and Eve hide from God behind the trees of the Garden. They who had been so transparent with God and with one another were then hiding from God, because of sin; and if they hid from God you can be quite sure that they soon began to hide from one another. There were reactions and thoughts in Adam's heart that Eve was never allowed to know and there were like things hidden in Eve's heart too. And so it has been ever since. Having something to hide from God, we hide it, too, from one another. Behind that wall of reserve, which acts like a mask, we cover our real selves. Sometimes we hide in the most extraordinary way behind an assumed jocular manner. We are afraid to be serious because we do not want others to get too close and see us as we really are, and so we keep up a game of bluff. We are not real with one another, and no one can have fellowship with an unreal person, and so oneness and close fellowship are impossible in the home. This is what the Scripture calls "walking in darkness" - for the darkness is anything which hides.

The second thing that is wrong with our homes is our failure really to love one another. "Well," says somebody, "that could never be said of our home, for no one could love one another more than my husband and I love each other!" But wait a minute! It depends on what you mean by love. Love is not just a sentimental feeling, nor even strong passion. The famous passage in 1 Corinthians 13 tells us what real love is, and if we test ourselves by it we may find that after all we are hardly loving one another at all, and our behaviour is all in the opposite direction - and the opposite of love is hate! Let us look at some of the things that that passage tells us about love.
'Love is long suffering (patient) and is kind;
Love envieth not (is not jealous);
Love vaunteth not itself (does not boast),
is not puffed up (is not conceited);
Love does not behave itself unseemly (is not rude),
seeketh not her own (is not selfish),
is not easily provoked (does not get irritated),
thinketh no evil (does not entertain unkind thoughts of another).'
How do we stand up to those tests in our homes? So often we act in the very opposite way. We are often impatient with one another and even unkind in the way we answer back or react. How much envy, too, there can be in a home. A husband and wife can envy the other their gifts, even their spiritual progress. Parents may be envious of their children, and how often is there not bitter envy between brothers and sisters. Also "not behaving unseemly," that is, courtesy, what about that? Courtesy is just love in little things, but it is in the little things that we trip up. We think we can "let up" at home.
How "puffed up," that is, conceited, we so often are! Conceit comes out in all sorts of ways. We think we know best, we want our way and we nag or boss the other one; and nagging or bossing leads on to the tendency to despise the other one. Our very attitude of superiority sets us up above them. Then, when at the bottom of our hearts we despise someone, we blame them for everything - and yet we think we love.
Then what about "seeking not our own," that is, not being selfish? Many times a day we put our wishes and interests before those of the other one. How "easily provoked" we are! How quick to be irritated by something in the other. How often we allow the unkind thought, the resentful feeling over something the other has done or left undone! Yet we profess there are no failures in love in our homes. These things happen every day and we think nothing of them. They are all of them the opposite of love, and the opposite of love is hate. Impatience is hate, envy is hate, conceit and self-will are hate, and so are selfishness, irritability and resentment! And hate is SIN. "He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in the darkness even until now." What tensions, barriers and discord it all causes, and fellowship with both God and the other is made impossible.

Now the question is, do I want new life, revival, in my home? I have got to challenge my heart about this. Am I prepared to continue in this state or am I really hungry for new life, His life, in my home? For not unless I am really hungry will I be willing to take the necessary steps. The first step I must take is to call sin, sin (my sin, not the other person's) and go with it to the Cross, and trust the Lord Jesus there and then to cleanse me from it.
As we bow the neck at the Cross, His self-forgetful love for the others, His long-suffering and forbearance flow into our hearts. The precious Blood cleanses us from the unlove and ill-will and the Holy Spirit fills us with the very nature of Jesus. 1 Corinthians 13 is nothing less than the nature of Jesus, and it is all gift to us, for His nature is ours, if He is ours. This blessed process can happen every single time the beginnings of sin and unlove creep in, for the cleansing fountain of Blood is available to us all the time.
All this will commit us very definitely to walking the Way of the Cross in our homes. Again and again we will see places where we must yield up our rights, as Jesus yielded up His for us. We shall have to see that the thing in us that reacts so sharply to another's selfishness and pride, is simply our own selfishness and pride, which we are unwilling to sacrifice. We shall have to accept another's ways and doings as God's will for us and meekly bend the neck to all God's providences. That does not mean that we must accept another's selfishness as God's will for them - far from it - but only as God's will for us. As far as the other is concerned, God will probably want to use us, if we are broken, to help him see his need.
Certainly, if we are a parent we shall often need to correct our child with firmness. But none of this is to be from selfish motives, but only out of love for the other and a longing for their good. Our own convenience and rights must all the time be yielded. Only so will the love of the Lord Jesus be able to fill us and express itself through us.
When we have been broken at Calvary, we must be willing to put things right with the others – sometimes even with the children. This is, so often, the test of our brokenness. Brokenness is the opposite of hardness. Hardness says, "It's your fault!" Brokenness, however, says, "It's my fault!" What a different atmosphere will begin to prevail in our homes when they hear us say that. Let us remember that at the Cross there is only room for one at a time. We cannot say, "I was wrong, but you were wrong too. You must come as well!" No, you must go alone, saying, "I'm wrong." God will work in the other more through your brokenness than through anything else you can do or say.
We may, however, have to wait - perhaps a long time. But that should only give us to feel more with God, for, as someone has said, "He too has had to wait a long time since His great attempt to put things right with man nineteen hundred years ago, although there was no wrong on His side." But God will surely answer our prayer and bring the other to Calvary too. There we shall be one; there the middle wall of partition between us will be broken down; there we shall be able to walk in the light, in true transparency, with Jesus and with one another, loving each other with a pure heart fervently. Sin is almost the only thing we have in common with everyone else, and so at the feet of Jesus where sin is cleansed is the only place where we can be one.
Real oneness conjures up for us the picture of two or more sinners together at Calvary.

Sent in by Phyllis Cromer

This can be downloaded in PDF format from Christian Issues

© 1950 Roy Hession Book Trust, England

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Our Father,

I heard someone recently say that the most famous verse in the Bible is John 3:16. I started to think about this and realised that this isn't exactly right, certainly not for Irish people.

I reckon the most well known Bible verse (or verses) in Ireland are the words Jesus spoke when His disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray. This passage of scripture from Matthew 6, is referred to in Irish culture as "The Our Father", and is often associated with confession; "He gave me 3 Our Fathers and 4 Hail Marys" or a similar phrase was what many people associate the words of Jesus with.

It is a prayer that for most people, can be reeled off in seconds, without a thought and yet what is contained in these few lines is spiritual dynamite, it is how Jesus taught His disciples to pray.

Two thousand years ago, in Israel, Jewish children were brought up in a culture where they aimed to emulate their teachers. The best students in the synagogue were encouraged to listen and understand their teachers, the pharisees and the priests. They learned by doing things the way they had always been done and not questioning these methods. The most intelligent students would continue to learn as they grew older and spend their youth watching and copying their teachers so that they would become like them. Knowing this is important to understanding the disciple's request for Jesus to teach them how to pray (Luke 11 v 1). They wanted to be like Jesus.

There are many versions of the prayer, but for this, I'm going to use the one I'm most familiar with- the King James Version.

9After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11Give us this day our daily bread.

12And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Matthew 6 v 9-13, KJV.

Lets go through it as Jesus prayed it.

He starts off by addressing God directly.

"Our Father which art in heaven".
He's your dad as much as mine Jesus is saying. He's the head of our family and He dwells in heaven, you can talk to Him the same way I do, in fact, this is how I want you to talk to Him.

"Hallowed be thy name".
Your name, Father, is Holy. Your name is above all other names and is worthy of our prayers. You are the Almighty God.

"Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done".
I want Your Kingdom to come, and I want Your Will to be done. I want what you want, to happen. I want what you have, to happen.

"in earth, as it is in heaven".
One of the reasons I like the King James Version here is the way this line is phrased. Most if not, all of the other versions of the Bible I looked at say "on earth, as it is in heaven" but the KJV uses the word "in". The significance of this, to me is that Jesus is inviting God's Kingdom to come and His Will to be done in the earth as opposed to it being done on the earth. It's possessive, it's inside, it's not just something to exist outside of us.
Jesus is actually telling us to ask God to do in the earth, what He does in heaven. Jesus is asking God to come and reign supreme in the earth, as He does in heaven. He is asking God to bring heaven into the earth.
This has the potential to be one of the most loaded lines in the whole Bible. If we really believe what we pray, then what we are asking God for here is an earth that is without pain, an earth that is without suffering, an earth that is without sickness, an earth that is exploding with the love and presence of God in such a substantial way that these things, which are not of God, simply can't exist. The Light of God is so bright that darkness just isn't around.

"Give us this day our daily bread"
I had been wondering what was the significance of this line for a long time. I'm a Christian over 30 years and I always thought it was about providing our needs. It is, but there's more to it than that. God is a God of abundance. God is a God who cares for the birds and God is a God who cares for you.
"Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?"Matt 6v26

So, asking God for our daily bread is asking God for what we need. God, being gloriously abundant in nature, loves to look after us and has a wonderful track record of providing our needs. He gives us what we need, when we need it, and then some.

"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us," Ephesians 3v20.

You ask God for something, He gives us what we need and more. He fed the Israelites in the desert abundantly, He gave them more than they needed and if they took too much, it wasn't of use anymore. Jesus is telling us that we don't need to be greedy, we can trust God to look after us. His name is Jehovah Jireh, He is our provider.

"And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors"
Next we are asking God to forgive us our debts, trespasses or sins. Jesus prayed this knowing that we needed to pray it. Jesus didn't pray it for Himself- He was and is perfect and without sin, yet He encourages us to do it while we are forgiving others. Don't hold a grudge He's saying, God doesn't hold a grudge against you. He's talking about embracing the identity God has given us, not the old one that we love to cling on to.

"And lead us not into temptation"
This line has troubled me to be honest. Why would Jesus put this into a prayer? Why would He tell us to ask God to not lead us into temptation? If God is good, then why would He do that?
I had to look at other translations to get my head around this, most are similarly worded, but The Message puts it differently:
"Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil."
So according to the Message, it's Jesus asking God to help us to stay alert to what is in front of, or around us. We are asking God to help us stay away from temptation and to not yield to it.
Remember Jesus was tempted in the desert when He was there for 40 days, and He was without sin.
Being tempted is something that will happen, but we can try to stay away from temptation and this is why Jesus is encouraging us to pray in this way.

"but deliver us from evil;"
Keep us safe from the works of the enemy. Protect us from his works and keep holding onto us.

"For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen"
The final part of the prayer in the KJV isn't regularly included in church or public prayers, it's a statement of who God is, it's praise of and onto Him, it's Jesus encouraging us to praise the Father by reminding us of how wonderful He is. Father, it's your kingdom, your power and your glory and it's beyond comparison. It goes on for all eternity. So be it.

Praying the "Our Father" is speaking the words that came out of Jesus' mouth. It's something that we are privileged to have because we can speak God's word into our situations and know that we are praying according to His will, asking Him for what He knows is best for us. It may be a prayer that is recited in many circumstances, but it is one that reflects the character of God and what is on His heart for us.
The next time you read or pray it, take a moment and thank God that He loves you enough to give you the words to speak to Him when you are speechless.

Roger C.

Monday 18 July 2011


Life is something that goes on for most of us at a rate that we are reasonably satisfied with, with everything we can keep in control, put safely away in a box that's kept on a shelf, ready to be accessed when we need it.

Our career is something we like to keep on track, whether it is as a doctor, a baker, a florist or a shopkeeper. We go into work and have our days planned out ahead of us.

10.00 Meeting with a customer.
11.00 Catch up on billing.
12.00 Reorder supplies.
13.00 Lunchtime.
14.00 Call the office in London.

Our routine is set out and when we are in it, we are reasonably happy. No surprises, no interruptions, no catastrophic events, nothing to knock us out of our comfort zone.

Then it happens. Redundancy. Illness. Family crisis. A Detour. Something that occurs to inconvenience us. Sometimes we bring it on ourselves, sometimes it's a complete shock. A Detour isn't usually what we want to happen, yet it is often one of the best things that can happen to us.
When we ask God to change things in us, He listens. When we ask Him to give us patience, He gives us the opportunity to learn it. When we ask Him to teach us how to love, He gives us people who in the flesh, we find it difficult to get along with. When we ask God to bring us closer to Him, He takes us to a place where we have to learn to trust Him.

The Israelites in the old testament were faced with such a situation. They had been taken out of Egypt by a series of miracles and then were faced with the wilderness, the desert and an opportunity to trust the God that had never let them down before, yet they didn't.
They decided to complain. They decided that the best option was to have a go at Moses, to say it was his fault that they had no decent food. After all, they had loads of choice vegetables and meat in Egypt didn't they? In the desert, they had nothing, they even went through a period where they'd no water. They complained about it.
Funny how they knew God had brought them into the desert, yet they didn't trust Him to provide for them there or bring them safely out the other side.

They complained. God provided for their needs and they complained. They had all the water they wanted in Egypt too. In the desert, they had their very best rose tinted glasses on.
Even though it was so much better in Egypt, they forgot that they had been slaves. Their parents and children were slaves too. Even their grandparents were slaves, but it was so much better in Egypt wasn't it?

They wanted food, so God gave them 'Manna', a kind of flakey thing that fell with the dew every night and was so called because they didn't know what it was, hence the name 'Manna' which means 'What is it?'
It was nutritious, free and abundant, yet they complained. The had a fresh miracle literally on their doorstep every day but still, they complained.

The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” Numbers 11:5, NIV

They wanted meat. They had meat in Egypt, all sorts of meat. They wanted meat in the wilderness, so God decided to give them meat. He gave them meat that spread for a day in each direction, an incredible provision of meat, quail in such amounts that it covered the ground of the camp.
In fact, God gave them quail to teach them. They asked for it and they got it. They were sick of quail. So they complained again.

Why is this relevant to us now? Every time they complained and moaned about where they were, how bad things were, and that they had nothing, God provided. God was constantly providing miracle after miracle, saying "I am worthy of your trust, you need to learn to depend on me."

Exodus tells us of incidents of water being bitter, water being needed and food being needed and each time God provided, yet the Israelites refused to trust in Him.

They complained. They refused to learn to trust God and they paid for it. A few years into their period in the wilderness, Moses sent 12 men to spy in Canaan, to look at the promised land. 10 gave bad reports, saying they couldn't defeat the giants that lived there, that they hadn't a hope of getting to the promised land. Joshua and Caleb gave good reports, saying there was an abundance of fruit, vines and it flowed with milk and honey (Numbers 13:27), and that they could defeat these enemies.
The people decided to believe the reports of 10 men instead of the testimony of the Lord God, the one who had brought them out of Egypt, sent plagues on the Egyptians, allowed them to leave their captors laden down with gold and jewelry and had then parted the sea to allow them to cross on dry land.

Their choice at this stage was critical. They believed man instead of the Lord and as a result, spent another 37 years in the wilderness.

What had started off as a detour turned into a disaster for them all because of their attitude and reaction to the situation. They trusted man and not God. They lost out.

Contrast this with the story of Joseph in Genesis 37. He was sold into slavery by his brothers, (a major detour in anyone's life it has to be said) and yet he trusted God. He rose to the top of his master's house as he trusted God. A second detour happened, his loyalty to his master got him imprisoned, yet he still trusted God. He was given responsibility by the warden, who trusted him so much that he let him go about business his own way:

The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. Genesis 39:23, NIV

He was left in prison for a few more years when suddenly, Pharaoh called on him and he became the Prime Minister of Egypt, all because he trusted God.

When we are faced with a detour, we can complain about it, moan about it, prolong it and wallow in it or we can trust God in it. We may not like it, but we can know without any doubt that God is working through the situation to bring us into a closer relationship with Him, and our attitude in the situation will determine how quickly we get to that place.
He could be using it to show us the things we listen to instead of Him, the things we trust before Him, the things we believe about Him.

A detour rarely happens when we want it to, yet it can be the most incredible experience we will ever go through. For many of us, we are going through a detour in our church lives. Some of us are looking forward to it. Some of us are not looking forward to it. Some of us are waiting to see what happens.
Wherever you are at this time, trust God. Seek Him. Ask Him what He is doing in this time. Talk to Him about His plans and where you fit in to them. Listen to Him say to you "I am worthy of your trust, you need to learn to depend on me."

Roger C.

Monday 27 June 2011

So, what's a Prodigal?

This was the question I asked myself the other week when I woke with an urging to read Luke 15. I couldn't even remember what was in Luke 15, but knew I needed to read it. Luke 15, is all about lost stuff: a sheep, a coin and a son. In each parable that Jesus speaks, He tells us that that which was lost comes back and there's great rejoicing.

However, it was the third parable in the chapter that really got me thinking. Here it is in full:

11 Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. 14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.
17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’
20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring[b] out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.
25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’
28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’
31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”


We know the story. The young son wants his inheritance straight away and goes off, spends it all, loses it all, ends up so depressed and low that he is envious of the food that the pigs are eating. He then comes to his senses, and realises that the least of his father's servants is treated better than he is, they all have clean clothes, good food and a roof over their heads.

He makes the decision to return home and beg for a job, hoping that he can get some empathy from the one he turned his back on. This is where we realise that Jesus is showing us what our Father in Heaven is really like.
The son makes his way back home and has a speech ready, but as soon as his father sees him, his father "ran and fell on his neck and kissed him."
In the time when Jesus walked on earth, a man running like this was simply unheard of. Men of wealth and title never ran. Ever. They were graceful, wore long robes and walked everywhere.
For the father to run, he was doing something that was out of character. He was so overjoyed that he picked up his robe and ran (note that he didn't jog, he ran, he was bursting with excitement!) towards his son.
To put it in a modern context, imagine if the Pope was to arrive somewhere and suddenly see a long lost friend in the distance, and he started to run towards the friend, such was his delight at seeing them again.

That's the sort of reaction the father had to the lost, prodigal son. He was undignified in his joy for his son who had returned.
He threw a party for him. He killed the fattened calf and gave him a robe and a ring, accepting him into the family again.

This is what God thinks of you. He is undignified in His love and delight, when you make a move towards Him, He runs with open arms, kisses you and embraces you as His son or daughter.

The great thing about this parable is that Jesus tells us the reward for those who don't stray, who stay in the family and do the Father's will. They receive the full inheritance of the Father, not a portion, the full amount.

So the message here is that God is so overjoyed in love for you, that He is undignified in His joyous response when you have been away from Him, and unmatched in generosity when you stay with Him.

This Sunday, we are having a Celebration in the Exchange. How excited are you that you are going to meet a God who is undignified in His love and joy for you? are you going out of habit? are you going out of expectation? are you going to be undignified?

In 2 Samuel 6 v 14, David danced before God with great abandon when the Ark of the Covenant was returned to the city. King David danced in the Presence of God.

If God is so delighted to see you that He's undignified in His response, and King David was so delighted to see God that he danced undignified before God, are you ready to dance undignified before God?

Oh, in answer to the title, a Prodigal is "A person who spends money in a recklessly extravagant way." So when you blow it all, every thing you have, every chance you think you've been given, God is delighted when you turn to Him. He is undignified and He welcomes you back with great joy.

Monday 20 June 2011

Cast your burdens

Good morning all, a word of encouragement from Papa.

I was wrestling and worrying over the usual kind of stuff that clouds the mind (work, health, money "insert your worry here") and I asked the Father to help we unwind the tangle of thoughts.

I was feeling a little unworthy of approaching the throne because well I'm a bit sloppy at the edges so I asked for the burning coal to touch my lips, accepting the grace & mercy provided through the sacrifice of Jesus and relying on the promise of his word - I chose to draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having my heart sprinkled to cleanse me from a guilty conscience.

The answer I got was really quite simple which I suppose is often the case but potentially transforming if applied. I sensed the Father stand beside me smiling, he put is arm around my shoulders and as we walked a little he nuzzled His fist into my head laughing saying 'don't worry about these things, I'll look after this stuff. You focus on pursuing me' Basically seek first the kingdom of God.....and all these things will be added unto you.

So, the word is, don't focus on the darkness, pursue the light and this will chase off the darkness. Love casts out fear etc. Don't expend your energies trying to avoid and fight, the battle belongs to the Lord. Cast your burdens onto Him and focus on the good, he will tackle the enemy/our worries on our behalf. Avoiding evil isn't enough because it leaves a vacuum which can be occupied by 7 other evils - we need to pursue good.

I hope you find this of practical value. Peace, peace in your inmost being.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Thanks to Gerry K for sending this out over the weekend.

Friday 17 June 2011

Living your life backwards

A wise man once said that you should live your life backwards. You should write what you want your obituary to be and then live your life so that you can achieve it.

There's a grave in Mt. Jerome cemetery that faces the entrance to the crematorium. This grave contains the remains of a man named Gideon Ouseley, who died in 1839.
While waiting outside the crematorium a few months ago, I noticed his grave and the obituary that was written on it. I'd never heard about this man but, obviously there was something amazing about the life he lived if his peers and relatives deemed it appropriate to leave this memory of him. My heart leapt when I read what was written:

Gideon Ouseley
Departed this life May 14 1839
In the 78 year of his age
He was a zealous laborious and self denying minister of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ throughout the United Kingdom, and during nearly half a century, he was ceaselessly engaged in his masters work
In Ireland especially in it's towns and villages, fairs and markets
Regardless of personal ease fearless of danger
Uninfluenced by the policy of those who are prudent in their own sight
He persuasively called on men to repent and believe the gospel

There was something amazing about the relationship this man had with his Lord. He was an unconventional preacher. He once stopped at a funeral and translated it word for word, from latin into Irish, so that the people at the funeral could for the first time understand what was being preached. He told them to "listen to this" when there was something he felt the Lord was speaking specifically to them.
Afterwards, the priest said he must be an angel because no man could do what he had just done. Men and women were added to the kingdom because of this.

Gideon preached all over Ireland and was accompanied by a man named Charles Graham. At one time, they visited Kilmore, where men of God had gone before including John Wesley, yet they didn't refer to the past.
In Gideon's biography, it is said that they "were so full of their own spiritual and soul saving work that the only utterance of theirs, recorded by Dr. Coke, referred to the present, not to the historic past. Graham writes: 'The Lord be praised, this country is all on fire. Travelling preachers, local preachers, leaders and hearers are flaming with the glory of God'".

This is but one incident of what happened in Gideon's life. In Jeremiah 29, The Lord God said:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.[b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

When you think about what is going to happen in your life, what you want to achieve and what you want to be remembered for, why not ask God what His plans are? He knows you better than you know yourself. He knows that there are things that He created you for, that can't be accomplished by anyone else. He knows that He made you who you are for a reason, and that part of that reason is that you are much better at being you than anyone else!

Gideon Ouseley led thousands to Christ, and they were all over the island of Ireland. Galway, Cork, Drogheda, Enniskillen, Dublin were just some of the places he ministered and many people of different class and culture were influenced by his teachings.

Lets seek God for the plans He's made for us. I want to be able to say "The Lord be praised, this country is all on fire" Just like Charles Graham did. When we go after what God is giving us, we can know that we are going to have an influence over this land that will go on for generations. Gideon Ouseley has been preaching from beyond the grave for 172 years now, just because of his obituary!

So the question is; dare to be a Gideon?

If you want to read more about Gideon Ouseley, his biography, "Gideon Ouseley: The Wonderful Irish Missionary" can be downloaded here in various formats free of charge.

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Jacob's Dream

Last Sunday's Celebration was an occasion where God decided that He wanted to do something different in Trinity. We had a guest speaker, Noel Kenny, from Liberty Church in Dublin 8, and Noel spoke from Genesis, focusing on Jacob.
I've learned that there are no such things as coincidences when God is involved so I wasn't surprised at Noel's topic, as I'd been learning about Jacob earlier in the week. Reading from verse 10:

10 Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. 12 Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
13 And behold, the LORD stood above it and said: “I am the LORD God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. 14 Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”
16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!”
18 Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. 19 And he called the name of that place Bethel;[a] but the name of that city had been Luz previously. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God. 22 And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”


We learn about Jacob's dream. In this dream, he sees a ladder reaching up to heaven, with angels ascending and descending on it, and the Lord standing at the top. The Lord spoke and Jacob named the place Bethel when he woke, because it is the house of God.

There are a number of things to consider from this:

Firstly, Jacob was asleep when he had his encounter with God. So often, we try to make time for God in our lives by moving things around, by giving Him a few minutes in the morning or talking to Him on the bus on the way to work, or even making sure we have our 'quiet time' every day. It's great that we do this, but I love it that God decided when to talk to Jacob and He did it in his sleep. There were no distractions, just the two of them. Jacob probably didn't expect this at all but many Christians will admit that the times when God caught them off guard were the most intimate and special times they've ever had.

Secondly, there were angels ascending and descending on this ladder. Jacob was in a place where God was not only talking to him but God was working, His angels were descending to Jacob with new missions and tasks, words and blessings, wisdom, encouragement and whatever else God wanted Jacob to have. The angels were also ascending back into heaven, something they only do when their task has been completed. They were doing their work in Jacob and then returning to the Father for a new mission.

Thirdly, God spoke using the name He reserved for those whom He had an exceptionally close relationship with in the old testament: "I am". Jacob knew that this was definitely God and not a fancy dream he was having as a result of eating too much cheese before he slept. Jacob also knew how much God treasured him, as he was given the same promise that Abraham, his grandfather, had been given: His descendants would be like dust and spread in all four directions.

After all this, God then told Jacob that He would be with him wherever he went and that He would keep Jacob. God had told Jacob that he was safe and that nobody was going to harm him. When God tells you He's going to keep you, you know you are in a place of exceptional blessing. (Anyone reading this who knows God as their saviour, has been given this promise too!).

When Jacob awoke, he had a sudden realisation that:
“Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!”
It's funny how we sometimes realise that the Omnipotent, Omnipresent God is in the same place as us! Jacob decided to name the place 'Bethel' which literally means 'House of God', and he built a pillar using the rock that had been his pillow which he then anointed with oil.

Isn't it interesting that Jacob used his pillow as a pillar? He knew that the place where his head was at was where God had met him. His head had been free of distractions when he had his encounter with God. The place where he had this encounter was given a new name, but here's the question:

Was it the physical place which had been called Luz that received the name of Bethel or was it also representative of Jacob himself?

In Paul's first letter to the Corinthians he says in chapter 6:
"19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body[c] and in your spirit, which are God’s."


Since Jesus died for us and opened up a new line of communication between us and the Father, we have become the temple of the Holy Spirit. We are the house of God. We are constantly in a place of intimacy where God is sending His angels on missions in each of our lives. He is providing us with each of the tools we need to complete the tasks that are ahead of us and has ensured that we have full, uninterrupted access to Him at all times.

God is no longer standing at the top of the ladder. He came down the ladder and did everything He could possibly do to enable us to have a perfect relationship with Him. He doesn't need to speak from on high any more, now He can whisper. He isn't far away any more, now He dwells inside us. He goes everywhere we go. He does the same for us as He did for Jacob. He wants you to know that He's with you, like He was with Jacob, for keeps.

Monday 23 May 2011

Power in The Word

The Bible is full of miracles, it is bursting at the seams with what God has done, what He is going to do and what He is capable of doing.
It is often referred to as "The Word of God", but this is an inaccurate description of what it is. It is less than a tiny percentage of what God is actually capable of, of what He has said and of who He is.
Besides, John 1:1 is one of the most loaded verses in the Bible:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. NKJV

If the Bible is the Word of God, then why does it say that the Word was God, in other words, Jesus?

I think the reason for this is that we don't value Jesus highly enough. He is the one that said we would do greater things than He did (John 14v12) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. NKJV

If these are the words of The Word, then they must be the truth!

In Trinity, we've been praying for many people and have seen them healed. In the last 8 months, we have seen scalded hands completely healed, legs healed, shoulders healed, necks healed, other hands healed, sciatic nerve pain, repetitive strain injury in the arm, knee pain, this list goes on. There have been reports of successful surgeries and dramatic improvements after prayer intervention.
When Jesus said we would do greater things than He did, He meant it. He knew that He was giving us His Holy Spirit to enable us to go into situations that we otherwise would have run away from. God loves it when we take risks. Gideon took a risk and defeated a whole army without even having to fight.

We have had a few prayer requests over the last year and more, for friends and family who have been ill and needed prayer.

Ruth's nephew David has been very sick with chrones disease and we have been lifting him up in prayer. He's lost two of his closest friends in the last fortnight- we need to stand in the gap for him. God is working in David's life and situation. God is easily able to heal him and is willing us into the fight.

Many people prayed for Rory, a 15 year old who had an aggressive cancer in his hip who had his leg amputated. He was given the all clear and then got lung cancer. He passed away last month.

We can all give examples of situations like these, some very personal and still painful.

When we come up against situations like these, the enemy wants to tell us that our faith wasn't big enough, that we prayed the wrong prayers, that we didn't pray enough, that prayer doesn't work. The reason he does this is because he knows that this is the crucial part of the battle. He realises that this is where we either sink or swim, give up or go on.

Our reaction to a setback determines our action in the future.

When Rory died, it gave some of us a new determination to go after sickness and the enemy. He is a defeated enemy, he is weaker than we can be strong. We have an infinite God with us and we are fighting a Finite enemy.

Sickness is not something that God gives us. God created a perfect world and sickness only came into it when sin entered it. God is Good. He is able to use situations like these to His glory. When I attended the removal for Rory, the Lord told me Rory was safe with Him now. This is the difference our prayer makes. We stand in the gap for those who can't. We fight for those who are weak, and our victories inspire us onto new victories against bigger enemies.

When Jesus told the parable of the talents in Matthew 25 NKJV, He wasn't just talking about gifts like financial management, singing or baking! He was teaching us about how He trusts us with what He's given us and then gives us more.

We've seen people healed of what we would call 'small things', but our reaction to this determines what God gives us the next time. Don't trivialise the healing of a sore leg. Give glory to God for it, it's made a difference to the person who was in pain! If we use the talents as God has intended, He will give us more. God knows what we are capable of handling and won't give us more than that. It's not just the healing we have to be ready for, it's the reaction of others, people who need a healing in their family when we know we are needed somewhere else- how do we make a decision like that? God will enable us at the time He knows is best, we need to keep chasing Him and seeking Him and giving glory to Him.
We are going to see incredible miracles happen in front of us, it is part of the amazing journey God is bringing us on. We just need to trust God and do what He wants.

And remember, no matter what happens, give thanks. Only one leper gave thanks when Jesus healed 10. Be that one person every time, because God deserves it.

Sunday 8 May 2011

A New Take On The Bible

I'm not a fan of working the night shift.
There comes a stage when you get so tired, you start to feel a bit barmy. You wonder what you’re doing and realise you’ve been staring at the same thing for the last 10 minutes when you were actually supposed to be working.

Usually, that’s sometime after 3am. That’s when it happened. There was a bit of a storm brewing when He told us to go on ahead. I’d have happily caught my night’s sleep in someone’s house but He had other plans. So we all got into the boat and started the journey.
Jesus said He wanted to talk to God. It’s amazing how much of His day is spent talking to God. He does it all the time. Funny thing is, we don’t feel left out by it, it’s like He spends the right amount of time with each of us too.
Anyway, I was on lookout and it was rough. It was windy and the waves were coming over the edge of the boat at times. So I was staring into the distance when I realised that 2 things had happened. I’d been looking at the same spot seeing nothing for ages, and then there was some sort of thing moving across the water.

Now, I’ve been a fisherman for a long time and I’ve seen some whoppers, but this…….. This was different. It wasn’t swimming. I don’t think it was anyway. It looked like a ghost and I called one of the lads to see it. We watched it for a bit and realised it definitely wasn’t a fish and it certainly wasn’t swimming. That’s when we started panicking. This thing was staying over the water and looked to be hovering on the surface. Then this voice came from the direction of the ghost.

“Don’t be afraid, it’s Me!”

Now, I’ve seen some outrageous stuff that this guy has done, but in fairness, how was He managing to walk on the water? I got to get myself a bit of this action. I’ve seen Him make blind people see, deaf people hear and lame people walk and what He did for Jairus’ daughter was incredible. I know……

“Lord if it’s really you, tell me to walk over to you!”.

When He said “Come!” I nearly fell out of the boat! The lads looked at me as if I was mad. Thomas went to grab my arm to get me to think but before I knew it, I’d swung my legs over the edge and……
…. That’s weird. I really can’t describe it to you. The best way would be to say it was like walking on jelly, but that hasn’t been invented yet. My feet were wet but I wasn’t sinking. Jesus smiled at me and I started slowly walking on the water.

I was walking on the water.

I was walking on the water.

I was walking on the……………….. Waves are getting a bit rough. That one looks like it’s going to get me, and I’m a bit unstable in this wind, what’s that swimming over there? Looks big, maybe it’s a……. I’m sinking! Jesus I’m sinking! "HELP!"

Before I’d finished the word, He had grabbed me by the arm and pulled me up. Smiling, He said “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” and before I knew it, we were in the boat again.

It was only then that I noticed Jesus was putting His sandals on. “It’s water” He said. “Of course you’ll get a little bit wet” and He laughed. And at that instant, the wind died down, the sea became calm and we, well all we could do was admire Him and worship Him.

This guy was way beyond anyone I’ve ever met.
I mean after this got out, people were just touching his clothes and getting healed. What was happening was growing and to be honest, it was great fun. This guy, He was the best company and we had the greatest times friends have ever had together. Everybody was healed. Everybody.
I’m even amazed thinking about it now.

Matthew 14 v 22-36

Changing your perspective on a story in the Bible can bring it to life in a completely new way. I've never thought about what was going on in Peter's mind that night until earlier on this week. I've never really considered his reaction when he saw Jesus walking towards him, or when he started to sink. I'd forgotten that it was a rough night too, Jesus didn't walk on a still lake, there were waves, there was wind and it was choppy. It was the waves that caused Peter to take his eyes off Jesus, circumstances started to get the better of him.

He suddenly realised that what he was doing wasn't 'natural'. He was doing something extraordinary and was out of his comfort zone, but as soon as he called out to Jesus, He grabbed Peter. He saved him, something He was always in the process of doing, being there when we needed Him most. In fact, He is always there for us when we need Him.
When Jesus spoke to His disciples, it was always in love. When Jesus said "You of little faith", was He smiling? Was He slagging the disciples? Having a bit of a laugh with them? I don't think the nature of Jesus is to scold when we get things wrong. I think He loves us and is excited that we are closer to getting it right the next time!

Jesus is The Encourager. He is your greatest supporter. He is the one who focuses on building you up. He loves you and is completely in your corner.

Next time circumstances seem to be getting too much, call Him and He'll be with you before you've even finished the word. That's love, that's Jesus.