Saturday, 28 April 2012

Get used to the unexpected

It's been a while since I put anything on here. Not sure why really, as a fair amount has been going on. I started a new job just over a week ago. It brings something of a conclusion to what has been the most bizarre and tough journey I think I've ever been on. 8 months ago, if you told me I was going to go through unemployment, disappointment, confusion and generally being a bit pissed off with God at regular intervals - to then end up back at a job I left over 2 years ago - I'm sure I wouldn't have believed you. But that's pretty much how it panned out - and I wouldn't have changed how it unfolded I don't think (with the incredibly helpful benefit of hindsight!). When God needs to teach you a lesson or two, not only can you be sure that He'll teach it to you until it has been thoroughly learnt, but He'll also take you down avenues you never imagined He would. Sometimes it's like sitting on a rollercoaster, sometimes it's like sitting in traffic for hours. I'm not sure which is more painful. So with MANY prayers prayed, many doors closed, I now find myself sitting back at my old desk, working in a great team for a really innovative company. It feels like it has been a long round trip to get back here, but it's pretty darn clear that this is where He needed me to be. I'm really looking forward to seeing how He uses me in this place.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Just a quick story for you - if you believe in this stuff, it'll encourage you. If you don't already, it should prompt some fairly significant thoughts.

As a Christian, I believe that God still speaks to people today. This morning I believed that I heard Him say to me that a person (wearing green) was in our church meeting, with pain to their left knee. 

I had planned to share this at the end of the meeting, in the hope that that person would respond and we could pray for it.

But He (God) beat me to it. A man approached me and asked for prayer for his left knee! Regardless of what I had been anticipating, you can imagine my surprise! 

I prayed together with the guy. Nothing happened - no significant improvements. So we persisted for a bit longer. 

After a few minutes I suggested that he test the knee by moving it around and generally using it in ways that might have usually been uncomfortable. 

The pain was totally gone. His response was: "It feels weird because I'm used to feeling pain there, and now it's completely gone!"

You might think that God doesn't exist; that miracles don't happen and that there's no way He speaks to people. 

Well... what do you make of this then?? Not only did I picture the scene, but it then happened as I'd seen it and then the man walked away, completely healed. 

He was also wearing a green shirt by the way.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Prophecies realised. Friend betrayed. Soldiers respond. Jesus surrenders. Back whipped. Face punched. Beard torn. Stripped naked. Crowd mock. Leaders sneer. Thorns crowned. Cross carried. Followers cried. Calvary climbed. Extremities nailed. Tree impaled. Criminals surround. Mocking continues. Hours pass. Separation experienced. Lungs empty. Hell endured. Body wrapped. Tomb filled. Tomb sealed. Tomb guarded. Days pass. Stone rolled. Cave empty. Angels revealed. Followers gasp. Guards faint. Death defeated. Life given. Jesus returns. Propehecies fulfilled. 

Army equipped. 

History changed. 

Friday, 6 April 2012

It's Friday. But Sunday is coming.

There are two days in the whole of history which change the course of the story forever. Today is one of them. 

I can't even imagine what it was like to be brutally tortured by a group of professionally trained soldiers. Most people think of Eastertime as Bank holidays, Daffodils, hot cross buns and cute lambs leaping around in fields at the start of Spring. But there was once a day in the midst of all that which didn't look so cute. That day saw a man, who had been tempted and tried all his life by the world, finally get beaten, whipped, kicked, stripped naked and publicly nailed to a tree. That man had never sinned, despite the temptation to and despite the world around him who continued to. 

You're probably thinking one of two things: A) I believe that, thank you God, or B) I think that's nonsense, what do you keep bangin' on about it for!?

For the B people, the reason I keep going on about it is because Jesus actually did die for you and because God actually does love you. Not like a bumper sticker slogan 'He loves you'. But a genuine, life-giving, mind-altering, always-forgiving, gracious love for you. 

Today marks the most significant day of our lives. Some realise it, some do not. Don't let the significance of today pass you by without giving it some thought. The symbol of the cross is the most recognised and often displayed symbol in history and throughout the world today. But it's not just a piece of jewellery or a choice of tattoo. It's where your life changed forever. 

'All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. But after he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. So that whoever will believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.' 

(Romans 3v23, Isaiah 53v11, John 3 v16)

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Do you ever find yourself caught knee-deep in the trials of this life? Somewhere between a rock and a hard place without any clear path to continue down...

I'd imagine Jesus knows exactly what you're going through. Right about now, 1,982 years ago, He was probably curled up in a Roman holding cell somewhere underneath the streets of Jerusalem, having already received the beating of a lifetime at the hands of some of history's most cruel and effective guards. As He dipped in and out of consciousness, struggling to breathe and remain focussed on His Father, I reckon He probably found Himself up against a trial like no other.

If you ever find yourself limping through a particularly tough situation, don't miss the opportunity to lean upon a Saviour who knows all about incredibly difficult circumstances.

I was encouraged today by reading these words from Psalm 121. I'd imagine that this was a truth that Jesus still would have been sure of, even in the most difficult of moments:

'I lift up my eyes to the mountains - where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip - he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you — the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm — he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.'

In the hours that followed, Jesus made a choice: to continue resolutely under the will of His Father, despite the knowledge of the crucifixion that awaited Him. It's common to think about Jesus once he was on the cross, but to consider what went through His mind between the first beating and that final nailing, is incredible.

'The Lord WILL watch over your coming and going, both now and forevermore.'

When you're between a rock and a hard place, stay faithful and keep going until the fruit comes - He did.