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.