Thursday 28 April 2011

It's a Race to the Finish Line.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12 v1-3 are verses that are familiar to many of us and they are verses that are often read in meetings, encouraging us to keep going. The writer tells us that it is a race that we are running, that we will come up against things that hinder us and slow us down, things that try to get in the way and things that we have to persevere through.

It's a long race, not a sprint and not even a marathon, but one that starts as soon as we accept Jesus into our lives. It's marked out, there's a course that God wants us to run. There are places we need to get to so that we can complete the next stage.

Sometimes it's a race that can be really tough. Sometimes, we are left wondering why stuff has happened and why prayers weren't answered the way we wanted them to be. Surely, if we are asking God for good things, He'll let us have them?

When we are bringing things to God on a regular basis, surely He will do what we expect Him to do?

And then, the answer we get is not what we asked for. The prayers we've lifted up aren't changing the situation as we see it and the many hours we've pleaded seem to have been in vain.

But you see, God is rather Big. In fact He's bigger than everything else. This is where our prayers and ideas of what we wanted to happen, fall apart. When we pray expecting a certain answer and then we don't get it, or the answer is something we didn't expect, there's a reason for it.

It's because God is BIG. He's HUGE! He doesn't fit in any box we want to put Him into!

Thursday was a difficult day for me. During the afternoon, I received a text message, telling me that someone I'd been praying for had just passed away. I was in shock at first. This was a teenager who had a rare form of cancer that resulted in his leg being amputated. He was given the all clear and then within weeks, he'd been told that he had lung cancer.

I'd only met this guy once or twice and even then, it was when he was around 7 years old. He was the son of a workmate and had though I'd not been in contact since leaving the workplace, I'd been able to bring his dad to a celebration and pray for him and his son. 6 months after this, his son died. Hundreds of hours of prayer by many Christians and there was no miracle healing, no opportunity to pray with him or lay hands on him and no sign of a recovery.

The passage above came to me while I was pondering why he hadn't been healed. I'm sure I asked God for the right things, I'd prayed that God's will would be done in his life, that He would bring restoration and that the boy's testimony would reach many people for the good of God's kingdom. But then the Lord spoke to me. I was looking at the situation from my point of view, not Gods.

The Lord said to me that because of faithful believers who hadn't even met this boy, he'd had constant prayer and intercession poured into his life. He'd been soaked in the presence of God for the last 6 months of his life and had been lifted up into the heavens by many who shared the burden of his troubles.

This is a tough race. There are good and great times but there are also times of difficulty and sadness. Yet, if we fix our eyes on Jesus, who went through much worse than any of us will, we can begin to see what it is that we are supposed to be doing and learn from where we've been before.

I still don't know why this boy died. I still don't know why all those prayers for healing weren't answered with a 'YES', yet I know that God listened to each one of them. I know that God is sitting beside his parents in their despair, He is listening to the cries of his siblings. He hates that they've been put through this but can use a tragedy like this to benefit His kingdom.

I know that God is always good. I know that God always loves me. I know that God is still cheering me on, and that He's doing everything He can to help me. I know that one day, I'll understand why it had to happen this way.

On Friday, I'm going to the removal. I'm thankful that God has been so influential in my life over the last 6 months. I'm thankful that in God, there is always hope. I'm thankful that God has been with me all the way through this race. I'm thankful that God has used this to make me even more focused on Him. I'm thankful that in a week where we've celebrated one resurrection, I'm going to a funeral knowing that maybe, just maybe there'll be another. I'm thankful that God is renewing my mind so that I'm considering these things when I never did before. I'm thankful that there is always hope when we know Father. I'm thankful that God always knows best.

I don't want to put God in a box. It's pointless, He wouldn't fit anyway.
God is good despite the circumstances. Fix your eyes on Him and no matter what the enemy throws at you, God is good, and you will become more like Him.

Friday 22 April 2011

Good Friday

Have you ever thought about what Jesus went through on Good Friday?

Matthew 26 describes the events from verse 17, where the disciples and Jesus are partaking in the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, in preparation for the Passover Feast.

It's evening (Lets imagine that He kept similar hours to us, so around 8pm)and Jesus is sitting with His 12 closest friends, where He shares some news that probably did more to disrupt the flow of conversation than any of them could have expected.

In the middle of the meal, He declares:

"I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me."

They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, Surely not I, Lord?

Jesus replied, "The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me."

It was Judas of course, the same disciple that had objected to Jesus' anointing with perfume earlier in the week. Jesus didn't judge Judas, He still broke bread with him and fellowshipped with him even though He knew what Judas was in the process of doing. Jesus Loved Judas.

First bombshell out of the way, Jesus then said that to fulfil scripture, the disciples would be scattered, leaving Him on His own.

Peter of course, denied that this would happen, then Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him 3 times before the rooster crowed again.
I can imagine Peter being outraged at such a suggestion, and possibly being hurt at the suggestion. Jesus didn't judge Peter. He broke bread with him. Jesus loved Peter.

I'm sure the mood among the disciples had changed a bit after the meal. Jesus took them out for a walk so that He could spend time with His Father. I like to think that Jesus spent most of His day in conversation with Father. I'm sure He was an early riser, speaking to Father before anyone else. I'm sure He discussed everything in His day with Father. He has such a close relationship with Father that it's impossible to imagine Jesus in any other way.

So when the group of 12 arrived at the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was probably longing to spend some alone time with Father. He knew what was ahead of him and wanted to talk it over with the One who knew best.

The disciples were exhausted at this stage. They kept falling asleep, despite Jesus waking them up a couple of times. If they were Tired, Imagine how tired Jesus was too.

His betrayer arrived, kissed Him and handed Him over to those that considered Him an enemy.
Peter reacted and took a shot at one of the guards, chopping off his ear with his sword.
Jesus told Peter not to, and healed the man's ear. Jesus loved those who were against Him.

The disciples deserted Him and fled.

He was taken before Caiaphas and the chief priests. They found nothing against Him and had to listen to false witnesses who eventually said that Jesus claimed to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in 3 days. They asked Him if He was the Son of God. Jesus replied that it was true and the priests charged Jesus, The Son of God, the Great I AM, with blasphemy.

He didn't point out how ridiculous this charge was. He loved them.

The night wore on, Jesus spent this time in the charge of the guards who spat at Him, blind folded Him and told Him to prophesy. Jesus loved them.

Peter, during this time, denied Jesus 3 times and the rooster crowed. Peter wept bitterly. I can only imagine the depth of his despair at this time, he had denied the One who was everything to him. Jesus still loved Peter.

Night became dawn, Jesus had been awake for 24 hours by now. He'd been imprisoned, denied, betrayed, before a court and deserted by His friends since dinner.

He was then bound and sent to Pilate, who could find nothing wrong with the Sinless One. He washed his hands of the whole thing and ordered Jesus to be flogged. 39 lashes of a cat-o-nine-tails, a whip that had strands with bits of bone, nails and other jagged edges in it. This wasn't enough for the priests. They wanted Jesus to be crucified, so Pilate handed Him over.

Jesus loved Pilate.

The guards flogged Him. His back, shoulders, neck, legs and arms were sliced open by the cruel whip that was used.
They stripped Him and put a robe on Him. They stuck a crown of thorns on His head and yet Jesus didn't complain. They pretended to worship Him, spat on Him, hit Him, hurt Him, shouted insults at Him.

Jesus loved the guards.

They nailed Him to a cross. They hoisted Him up high and jolted it into the hole in the ground.
The weight of His body alone must have been agonising, yet that was a tiny part of what He was going through.
He had been betrayed, denied, abandoned, falsely accused, imprisoned, insulted, beaten, sliced open, spat at, stripped, laughed at....... Yet the hardest part was that He had been cut off from Father. Father had turned His back as it was something that Jesus had to do. Separated from the most precious part of Himself, and in that place, He had to carry every thing that was not of God from the beginning of creation until it's end. Sin, Lies, Murder, Rape, Sickness, Hatred, Greed... Everything that was not of God.
The words He spoke at His lowest time.... "Father forgive them, for they don't know what they're doing."

Jesus loved them.

Good Friday is a time to remember what Jesus went through for each of us. When Jesus was ready, He gave up His spirit. He shouted


And it was. And the life that was so abundant in Him, drained out of Him and raised many holy people from death. (Mt 27v52)

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Jesus loved His disciples. He loved Judas, Peter, Caiaphas, Pilate, the Guards, Adam, Eve, Elijah......... You.
He still loves you. He'll always love you.
He loves you so much, He died for you. You were on His mind when all this was going on. He loves you more than He loves Himself.

That's what Good Friday is all about.

Friday 15 April 2011

Men ! get back in the Race!

Thanks to Tony who sent this out earlier this week.

I was really challenged by Joe Kerrigans message 'The race', and since then I feel I must share this familiar scripture ,while it is for everyone I feel that at this time it is for the Men in Church.

Hebrews 12

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Witnesses tell of something that they have seen but there are also witnesses who watch what is happening. ! Wow isn’t that amazing!

Anyone who has ever competed in Cross County running knows that the course is marked out with various markers along the way & it's far from easy , up hills, downhill, through muck , water ! if they were not there you would get lost along the way but as Believers’ the course is already marked out (verse 1 And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us) In the 100 metre sprint a runner will only look at the finishing tape ahead and will not Look to the left or right. No distractions, no hindrances , just fixed eyes. (fixing our eyes on JESUS ) He is the one willing us on! To keep running , to keep going even if we stumble and fall as He has already run the course right up to the cross .

We all feel at times Weary and lose heart and want to give up ,I know that I have but we need to Persevere and for those who have thought lately about giving up , so the word to you is get back in the race.!

Be blessed and have a great day!


Thursday 7 April 2011

Isaiah 62 – A Prayer and Prophetic Declaration for our Land 

This prayer for our land was sent in today.
Read it and pray it into existence.
1  For Dublin’s sake I will not keep silent, for Ireland’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. 
2 The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; Ireland you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow. 
3 You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. 
4 Dublin No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate Ireland. But you will be called My Delight and your land My Bride; for the LORD will take delight in you, and you Ireland will be married. 
5 As a young man marries a young woman, so will your builder marry you; 
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.
6 Ireland post watchmen on your walls, never be silent day or night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, 
7 and give him no rest till he once again establishes the Church of St Patrick and makes her the praise of the earth. 
8 If you obey Him, The LORD has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm. “Ireland never again will I give your grain as food for your enemies, 
and never again will your enemy drink the new wine for which you Dublin have toiled; 
9 but Dublin, you who harvest it will eat it and praise the LORD, and you Ireland who gather the grapes will drink it in the courts of my sanctuary.”
10 Dublin pass through, pass through the gates! Prepare the way for the people. Ireland build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones. Raise the Triune God as a banner for the nations, as you did before.
11 The LORD has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: “Say to the Daughter of Dublin, ‘See, your Savior comes! See, his reward is with him, and his work accompanies him.” 
12 Ireland will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the LORD; and Dublin will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted.
Our God’s name is “I AM” and he is waiting for us to step into Psalm 2:8 “Ask of me and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession” ie the great commission, Psalm 24 tells us of the generation that can ascend the hill of the lord. Are we that generation, the “I AM generation”.
Look how Jonathan co-laboured with the great “I AM”
There is a few amazing verses in 1 Samuel 14 that when we grasp their significance our view of who we are in God will be transformed forever. Here Jonathan the son of King Saul with his one companion broke rank and risked everything (he did not tell his father) and decided to attack a Philistine out-post. He said perhaps / maybe God will help, but underlying his words was a belief that he held that “nothing can hinder the Lord from saving”. But just look at verses 8 and 9, “If they say ‘wait till we come to you’, we will stay. But if they say ‘come up to us’ we will go up because that will be our sign that the Lord has given them into our hands’. God didn’t speak to Jonathan and give him this vital information, Jonathan said to God, here’s the plan and declared the two possible outcomes. Jonathan gave God the parameters to work within (You can just imagine God and all the angels looking down and watching intently the play out of this scenario, and God just say “Look at my boy, watch him, just watch don’t miss it, watch, watch). God then steps in and calls the outcome and in verse 12 God calls the two boys up by having the Philistines shout to Jonathan come up. Jonathan’s bravery, courage and risk taking even when his life was at stake is amazing. Jonathan stood on his declaration. Not only did Jonathan’s action defeat the Philistine out-post but it caused those of the people of God who had joined with the enemy, to down tools and uniform and come home and return to the Israelites.
Jonathan’s ability to take risk reminds me of Esther step of faith with her words “If I perish I perish” when she broke rank and procedure in dealing with the king, God gave her an amazing victory.
If we step out in faith and declare the outcome, then 2 Cor 2:14 is ours “we are always led in triumphal procession in Christ”.
Pray Isaiah 62 and declare these words for our nation. Bless this city, we are going to see God do amazing things here with our very own eyes. I AM will fight for us.
“What we hold in our eye we will hold in our hand”.

Declan D.

Monday 4 April 2011

Sometimes, God does things just because He loves you!

I was at the prayer event in the basement last Tuesday night and I can honestly say, I have never been in a company of believers who were so intent on seeking God for what He wants.

It was a time of inspiration and intercession, a time of leaping into the heavenly places and grabbing onto the hem of the garment.

It was a time of the 'Re'- Release, Restoration, Renewal and Renovation.
God loves making all things new. He even said so in His 'Re' book: Revelation 21 vs 3-5.

I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: "Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They're his people, he's their God. He'll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone." The Enthroned continued, "Look! I'm making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate."
From The Message

It was a time of revelation for me. Over the following 12 hours, I experienced some amazing and unusual things.

The following morning, I hit the snooze button and had a God encounter. In a dream, God brought me clearly along a road that was going in one direction. All the arrows would only let me go this way and when I reached the end of the road, it turned left towards a dirt path.
I was in the company of a dear friend who was travelling with me.
We reached the end of this path and stood, looking at a large castle which was overshadowed by the sun shining through the trees. The leaves of which were the green that only comes in spring, bright and new.
Looking down, there was a huge inlet of water, like a lough.
The water was still and suddenly, we were standing among others and a large wave came up and soaked us all.
I woke up and found myself asking God what it was about.
He told me He was bringing me and my friend in a certain direction and when we arrived, we would know that we were in the place of great blessing.

I thanked the Lord for this, a dream that lasted mere minutes as I was wide awake 7 minutes after hitting the snooze button!

The Lord then gave me a word for someone in the congregation. I shared it and God Released Healing as a result. Someone who had been ill the previous day was much better.

The morning continued, a dental appointment (made because of a very sensitive tooth)and a meeting for which I needed my camera. I couldn't find it anywhere so I asked God.

"Look upstairs" He replied.
I said OK and followed His instructions. I looked but didn't see it, said so and went to go back down the stairs. My foot was on the second step when the Lord said "I told you to look upstairs!".
I turned around and went back into the room I'd just been in. There was the camera, in the middle of the shelf at eye level. Whether it was there all along or not, I haven't a clue, but I didn't see it the first time I searched.

I went to the Dentists and noticed on the way that even though I'd not mentioned that my tooth was sore, It had stopped hurting. I was poking it and everything at this stage and it was fine. I had only said to the Lord that I needed Him to help me get to the meeting in time, I hadn't even mentioned healing.

The dentist checked out the (previously)sore tooth and said he could see nothing wrong with it.
I thanked the Lord, got out of the dentists early and got to the meeting early.

There are times when we worry, yet God knows what we are going through and tells us not to in Philippians 4v6:

Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
From The Message

When we yield to Him, He does things for us that we haven't asked and He blesses us in ways we could never have imagined.

6 months ago, God told me He has a shape. It's a shape that will only fit in first place in my life. When God is put first, everything else fits in better.

This is why He said in Matthew 6v33:

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
From the NASB

This is the verse we've been clinging to during this time of prayer and fasting.

Go on, give it a try, put God first and watch as He adds all these things that He has promised you. He has this amazing ability to never ever disappoint you.

Roger C.

Released from Despair to Destiny

Some of you will have read this email already but it's worth posting again.


My response to reading Niamh’s email “Word of Encouragement” was just tears and tears and a trip back memory lane to a place about 6 years ago of brokenness and despair in my life that I’ve almost forgotten at this point. The sense of “lost and failure etc” in my life was crippling and destroying me so much that I was unable to share this burden even with my wife. 6 years on I live a different story, but I feel compelled to write what I’m about to write and tell you of my pain and now.

Through knocks picked up in life from all spheres known to me, extended family, work and church life. Invisible to all, I came to a point of brokenness (my exterior face intact but becoming stale inside and withdrawing from all , shutting down and hardening). All 3 spheres of my life were nonfunctional, painful and a lie and I became more and more despairing. This span of my life ran from mid 90’s to approx 2005 and in this period I never notice all this creep up on me, I pulled back from everything and everyone and become isolated and exceedingly lonely. I became afraid of what I was thinking of doing when driving to work, this fear was growing and growing, the only reason anyone of you saw me in church was for my immediate families’ sake during this time. I was coming closer and closer to breaking point and the only thing holding me from going over the edge was love for my immediate family. I now know it was God holding me but then God was not in the equation though I became a believer in 1985. At this point in 2005 I did the only thing I could think of doing with the only person I felt I could speak with. I rang Paul Mooney and called over to see him. After spending time with both Paul and Emma I drove back home not really knowing in my head if I was capable of making it home. I persuaded them I was ok but believe me I was petrified.

Sometime later Niamh Kenny was teaching in church and a verse she shared “today if you hear my voice, do not harden your heart” penetrated in a way that I had not experienced for years. Sometime later I got involved in cell and a short time later I ended up cell leader. I lasted in this role 4 / 6 months, during this period all I could hear were the words “liar and hypocrite” and I ran from this position. I tried attending cell after this and after a short period I had enough of this. I just hated it, and the intimacy of my sense of rejection, failure as a believer was taking its toll again. At the start of attending cell again after being a leader I noticed I was having dreams that I just knew were from God but I was terrified of sharing any of this with anyone for fear of being labeled. When the XL Prophecy school came around maybe 2 years ago something within me said I should go along. My answer was easy, NO WAY and I didn’t. The second class came up a number of months later I said yes to going but the week before I was wanted to cancel but didn’t and amazingly my life has changed significantly since then.

One or two things of significance for me at this point are as follows. Many spoke words to me but two in particular kicked a process off. Aine Darling spoke a word to me “sadness” and Paul Rothwell spoke “frustration” and these words started a process of change within me (life changing words). At the end of one of these meetings I was paired with Paul for prayer. Well poor Paul, I told him that I was so close to walking away from church that if I were to tell him how recent this was I might scare him. He prayed for me and had a picture for me with the word “Worship” over it like a banner (my horrors of horrors this word “worship”). To cut a long story short the following Sunday morning in church, I saw Jesus beckon with his finger calling me to come to him and I heard him sing to me “Come away, come away with me my love”. As I was sobbing in my chair I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me to get up and share this and I did in tears. As I was sharing it Jesus asked me to dance with him, to my amazement I said yes and the only way I knew how was ask my wife to dance right now during our Sunday meeting. A few short days later Lynda Butcher gave me a Jesus Culture worship CD to listen to and I just could not understand how she could be so stupid giving me something she knew I did not like, well when I listened, God broke my heart and turned it around and today one year later the rest is history.

I have been on pilgrimage (Psalm 84) for the past year, and a few days ago I read Psalm 8:2 “From the lips of children and infants, you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to SILENCE the foe and avenger”, somehow for years I read his word and missed Him, today my enemy is silent. To my utter amazement God has restored my heart and captivated me and set me on a path from despair to destiny. I am one of those “even those” that Niamh spoke about, and today I stand a transformed child of God, and God has been telling me He has no limits and if I let him he will transform me that I have none either.

God will do so for You.
A grateful child
Declan D.

Sunday 3 April 2011

A Word Of Encouragement

Some of you will have read this already. Thanks to Niamh for sending it out last Wednesday.

Good morning.
I think that God would like me to share something with those of you who feel like giving up on God, on church, or even on life, due to disappointments, frustrations, doubt, unbelief or whatever.

It often seems to those of us who feel that way or have in the past, that we are alone, that we are the only ones to feel that way, and as a result we want to withdraw from other people in the body. This is a trap and a snare that will only hurt you more and prolong this period for you.
There are many believers who go through these feelings on occasion or regularly, sometimes for a specific reason or for no apparent reason at all. Even those whom you think would never feel that way, because they are leaders, or jolly people, or mature believers, can suffer in this way. It can be for a short time or for a longer season and it may even come, go and come back again, like the seasons.

I would encourage you to keep talking to God about how you feel. Use the psalms that express doubt, fear, anger to God to help you keep talking to him. And try not to let shame, fear, doubt or pride stop you from asking others to pray with you and for you through this period. Some may not understand how to pray with you, or understand your feelings but I think most of us can handle it and the rest of us need to learn to handle it!

Psalm 40
I waited patiently for the Lord, he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet upon a rock and gave me a firm place to stand......
Do not withhold your mercy from me, O Lord; may your love and your truth always protect me. For troubles without number surround me, my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs on my head, and my heart fails within me.....
Yet I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me; You are my help and my deliverer; O my God, do not delay.
Psalm 88, 77, 73, 69 etc

Niamh Kenny