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.