Sunday 28 October 2018

What is the price for revival?

True revival is always accompanied by deep repentance and crying out to God for mercy and it is shown by transformed lives

Source: PInterest
The Hebridean Revival and the Welsh Revival had a common factor; people travailed (to engage in painful or laborious effort) in prayer. In the Welsh Revival (1904-1905), Evan Roberts who was key to it, prayed for 13 years and said that prayer for him was a greater sustenance than food. In the Hebridean Revival a group of men travailed in prayer in a barn and through the long hours of the night, three nights a week until four or five in the morning for many months. They did this despite having jobs and the demands of home. They took 2 Chronicles 7:14 to heart. ‘If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land’.

Also, two elderly women, Peggy and Christine Smith prayed through the night several times a week. One was blind, the other nearly doubled over with arthritis. God gave them Isaiah 44:3 - ‘For I will pour out water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground. I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants’. He also told them to ask Duncan Campbell, a preacher to come and speak in the churches.

What was the key factor here? The answer was an earnest desire to see people saved and for the spiritual climate to change. In addition, in all of the cases mentioned above, those involved were prepared to make the sacrifice of time prayer for many hours. In the case of the men they had to go to work the next day and be fully involved in home life. On the night before revival broke out, the men praying in the barn entered a time of personal repentance challenged by Psalm 24:3-4 ‘Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?  Who may stand in His holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart’; at 5am that morning revival started.

Source: Nancy Kay Grace
At the first meeting that Duncan Campbell held, nothing happened, however a deacon said, ‘Don't be discouraged, it's coming, I already hear the rumbling of heaven's chariot wheels. We will have another night of prayer and then we will see what God is going to do!’ So, a group of people went to a nearby cottage and began to travail in prayer. At three in the morning, God swept in and about a dozen of them were laid prostrate on the floor. As they left the cottage that morning, they found men and women desperate to find God. No one was sleeping! Three men were lying in the road, utterly convicted of their sinfulness and crying out to God for mercy. This was the start of a mighty revival where people weren't just converted in churches but where God struck them down in the fields, on the roads, on their boats: all repenting and all crying out to God to have mercy on them.

True revival is always accompanied by deep repentance and crying out to God for mercy and it is shown by transformed lives. In the Welsh Revival, the pit ponies in the mines did not respond to the miner's instructions as there was no more swearing! The jails emptied, the pubs emptied.  People's lives were utterly changed, and this was also the case in the Hebridean Revival. Revival comes through people getting together and labouring in prayer and not stopping and it is accompanied by personal repentance.  Another factor in revival is when people repent on behalf of the nation and because of the state of the church. When the Holy Spirit comes into this, there is much weeping. It is about people coming together, whatever churches they are in. It is about people setting to pray and spending much time labouring in prayer.

Father, give me the burning desire to pray for the nation and the ability to persevere in prayer until it comes. Work in me so that I have clean hands and a pure heart. Enable me to offer up the sacrifice of time.  Amen.

Author: Muriel Allen

May God bless and enrich your life

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Sunday 21 October 2018

A Solider in the Army of the Lord

If we are not prepared to get on the battleground, if we shy away from the difficulties and trials in our lives then all the world will see is the world looking back at them, they will see nothing different

Source: TeeShirtPalace
We have recently received three messages in a row at our Fellowship from three different speakers, all of who had not planned or discussed the message that God had given them with each other beforehand. The first message discussed how the battle belongs to the Lord, the second followed by considered where the battle is being fought, focusing on the World, the Flesh, the Mind and the Demonic. This article will however focus on the third message which started with the scripture in 2 Timothy 2:3 and emphasized how important it is for those who know Jesus to play their part in the army of the Lord; 'Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus’. You can listen to all three sermons on our MCF Church Website by going to the Message on-line and then 2018 message (Link)

In 2 Timothy 2:3 when referring to suffering the Apostle Paul was talking about it as a reflection of the hardship that he had endured throughout his life for the sake of the Gospel. Many commentaries tell us that Timothy was naturally timid and easily discouraged and Paul wrote this letter of encouragement to tell Timothy to 'stay strong'. How many of us regularly need to hear that message? Paul was trying to say that if we truly live for Christ then suffering is a normal part of the Christian life and he later goes on to emphasize the rewards.

Anyone who knows Jesus is automatically drafted into the army the moment they give their heart to the Lord and whether we choose to fight or not, we are in the army. God wants the soldiers in His army to be active soldiers, He wants all of us to contribute, so when we read the words from 2 Timothy 2:3 'Join me in suffering', we are also being challenged to ‘join  in sacrifice’ and no matter what the consequences to stand by Jesus’s side even if it means suffering, ridicule or persecution. It's fair to say, we aren't going to suffer if we stay in the background, but what impact is Christ's army going to have if we all do that? Even though we know we will win the ultimate battle; Proverbs 21:32 ‘The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the LORD’, we are still likely to be defeated in our earthly battles if we are not alert and ready to play our part in the army. So, let us not be lazy soldiers, let us not be missing in action, let us not be complacent, let us not be deserters (back sliders), instead, let us take our place in the ranks of the army and stand on God's Word, with God's Authority and with God's Protection because we need to acknowledge that we always are on the battleground.

Source: PInterest
Know this; an enemy has declared war on the Lord's army and is looking for anyway to disrupt and destroy; 1 Peter 5:8 ‘Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour’.  We need to be vigilant and alert and diligent in the army of the Lord. The battle cannot be won on our own because to be victorious we must accept that the battle belongs to the Lord. We must hand it over to Him; 2 Chronicles 20:15 '….... This is what the LORD says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's'.

The greatest warriors fight on their knees before they try to stand on their feet. Consequently, the greatest weapons needed for our battles can be found on our knees. We need to pray and seek the Lord and hand it all over to Him rather than running blindly into battle with our own earthly weapons. We need to spend more time on our knees waging war with the spiritual weapons that God has made available for us. 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 'For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds’. Therefore, the weapons of a Christian Solider are not guns, artillery etc, they are not harsh words or slander, they are not raised voices or tit for tat, these are worldly weapons. Our weapons are spiritual. Our weapons are the manifestation of Christ in us, because without the blood of the lamb and the Word of our testimony, there is no Victory. Isaiah 54:17 tells us 'no weapon forged against you will prevail' - this is because the Lord is fighting our battles and the spiritual weapons that He gives us are far more powerful than anything that the world could throw at us. We can stand on the rock and say (as in the worship song below); ‘I will not be moved, and we can say of the Lord, you are my Shield, my Strength, my Portion, Deliverer, my Shelter, Strong Tower, my very present help in times of need’.

As Christians we are not immune to the struggles and troubles of this World, however if we go through these trials and battles using our spiritual weapons rather than deal with them in a worldly manner then non-believers will have the opportunity to see the presence of God in our lives. They will see the one who walks with us in our trial and the one who keeps us where nobody else could, the one who preserves us when we should be perishing because of the circumstances around us. Do you think that maybe the only way people will see Jesus in this world is to see us going through what they know they could not go through themselves? They see a difference in us than those of the world. If we are not prepared to get on the battleground, if we shy away from the difficulties and trials in our lives then all the world will see is the world looking back at them, they will see nothing different. But we are Soldiers in the Heavenly army! We are royal warriors, we are in the army of the God!!!!!! We have an inner power of God that they do not have. Let Christ within us become visible if we will trust and obey Him.

We live in a generation where many do not inquire of the Lord and do not read their bible and will not listen to what we have to say but they will see a strength in us as we go through our trials, a strength that they will not have for themselves and that will draw their attention, seeing that we have something different, something that they will start to want for themselves. Therefore, it is so important for us to win those battles/trials that we are in now, to win those victories.  We must stand firm. We must not let our battles defeat us, we are Soldiers in the Army of God!  God does not give any assurances that the life of a Christian soldier will be easy but let us focus on the victory that has already been won rather than the battle. Take comfort in the fact that the battle is temporary, but the victory is eternal. Praise God.

To conclude; below is a poem by an unknown author which captures the essence of being a Solider in the Army of God.  Be blessed.

I am a Solider (Unknown Author)

I am a soldier in the army of my God.
The Lord Jesus Christ is my Commanding Officer.
The Holy Scripture is my code of conduct.
Faith, prayer and the Word are my weapons of warfare.
I have been taught by the Holy Spirit, trained by experience, tried by adversity and tested by fire.

I am a volunteer in this army, and I am enlisted for eternity.
I will not get out, sell out, be talked out or pushed out.
I am faithful, reliable, capable and dependable.

If my God needs me, I am there. I am a soldier.
I am not a baby. I do not need to be pampered, petted,
primed up, pumped up, picked up, or pepped up. I am a soldier.

No one has to call me, remind me, write me, visit me,
 entice me or lure me.

I am a soldier. I am not a wimp. I am in place, saluting my King, obeying His orders, praising His name and building His kingdom!

No one has to send me flowers, gifts, food, cards or candy, or give me handouts. I do not need to be cuddled, cradled, cared for or catered to.

I am committed. I cannot have my feelings hurt bad enough to turn me around. I cannot be discouraged enough to turn me aside. I cannot lose enough to cause me to quit.

When Jesus called me into this army, I had nothing. If I end up with nothing, I will still come out ahead. I will win. My God has and will continue to supply all of my needs.

I am more than a conqueror. I will always triumph. I can do all things through Christ. The devil cannot defeat me. People cannot disillusion me. Weather cannot weary me. Sickness cannot stop me. Battles cannot beat me. Money cannot buy me. Governments cannot silence me, and hell cannot handle me. I am a soldier.

Even death cannot destroy me. For when my Commander calls me from His battlefield, He will promote me to captain and then allow me to rule with Him.

I am a soldier in the army, and I’m marching claiming victory. I will not give up. I will not turn around. I am a soldier, marching heaven-bound.

Here I Stand! Will you stand with me?

Author: Anonymous

May God bless and enrich your life   

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Sunday 14 October 2018

Listening for God’s Instructions

May we always be open to hear God’s instructions and to then be obedient to His will.

Source: PInterest
When I wake up each day I have no idea what God has got planned for my day, what I will be doing, who I am going to meet or correspond with or indeed why I will be doing these things. The first thing I do each morning is read my Bible, then I pray and hand myself over to God and ask Him to use me as His vessel. Then the day begins and things start to unfold. Some days can be hectic and chaotic where I am rushing around trying to do many things, some days unexpected things happen that take me in different directions, some days appear to be routine and relatively mundane and some days are just joyous. It is only at the end of each day that I can reflect on what has happened and try to see what God has been using me for that day. One thing I know is that as a Child of God, He has planned everything, in fact each day was ordained before I was even in my mother’s womb; Psalm 139:16 ‘Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be’. Knowing that I am a Child of God and that I am used by God through the Holy Spirit to do His work is truly amazing. 

I can do nothing on my own, I have no special powers and there is nothing particularly special about me, I would say I am your normal, average type of person who you would walk past in the street without so much as a second glance. This however is not how God sees me. God’s Word tells me that He sees me as ‘the apple of His eye’ (Deuteronomy 32:10), it tells me that in Christ Jesus I am His Child (Galatians 3:26) and in fact to all those who know Jesus, in 1 Peter 2:9 we are told; ‘you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession’. Wow, we are chosen and we are God’s special possession, think about that for a moment..... If we know Jesus, God does not see us or judge us as the World does and conversely through the Power of the Holy Spirit He can use us so that the World can see Him in us. Therefore, every moment of our day is an opportunity for God to show Himself to the World through us and we need to be vigilant so that we do not miss these opportunities during our day.

I can think of one example of where God has used me over the last six months that demonstrates how amazing He really is. About six months ago my wife asked her cousins if there was anything we could do to help, as their elderly father (my wife’s uncle) had recently been admitted to hospital. The diagnosis was not good and a few months later we discovered that the family had been given a life expectancy of twelve months as a best-case scenario. The cousins asked my wife if she would mind visiting their father, initially in hospital and later in different care homes, as this would lighten the load for them and mean that they could have a day off from visiting each week. Although this was my wife’s uncle the relationship was very distant, as they had not had a great deal of interaction over the past 30 to 40 years apart from seeing each other and exchanging the usual pleasantries at the odd wedding, funeral of family event. My relationship with the uncle was even more distant as I wasn’t even a blood relative.

My wife and I started visiting her uncle, each week, usually on a Sunday evening. The first few visits were a little strange as it was clear that with his illness added to the distant relationship that he struggled to know who we actually were, however, slowly we noticed that he started to look forward to our visits. Communication was difficult as my wife’s uncle’s hearing wasn’t the best and I can remember numerous occasions when he turned around to me and shouted; ‘what did she say’, in response to something my wife had said.  When we arrived each visit, my wife’s uncle always got me to do something for him, which was to clean his teeth, give him a shave, feed him or take him to the toilet. I was always happy to help him, and I think that he always felt that he was doing me the favor by giving me something to do!

As the weeks went on my wife’s uncle’s condition started to deteriorate and he was in and out of hospital as well as having to go from a residential care home to a medical care home. One time we visited him in hospital after he had suffered a fall at one of his care homes. When we arrived, I did the usual round of jobs he asked me to do and then after a few moments he asked me to take him for a walk. I remember thinking to myself ‘how is this going to work?’, as by this point he was very immobile. I slowly managed to help him to the edge of his bed, put his slippers on him and then eased him up onto his walking frame. He then proceeded to shuffle down the ward with me at his side. I had no idea where he was going but he kept on walking. I think he was just glad to get out of bed for a few minutes and he was determined to make the most of it. Very slowly he kept on shuffling along and at one point it crossed my mind that he was trying to escape and that all of a sudden, I had been promoted to chairman of the escape committee! We eventually arrived at the nursing station which was at the front of the adjoining ward when one of the nurses noticed and said ‘hello Seamus’ in a loud voice. He slowly turned around to see the nurse smiling at him, he then put his thumb up and gave the most amazing smile. His eyes lit up when he smiled, and this is something that has stuck with me ever since. I have recently been reflecting on this and Matthew 6:22 came to mind ‘The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light’. My wife’s uncle may have been coming to the end of his earthly life, his health was failing, and he was struggling to communicate, yet in this one instance his smile and his eyes illuminated the whole room. This was a clear example, that our bodies may fail but our spirits will never die and how God can make His Spirit visible in us, even in the latter days of our earthly life; Psalm 73:26 ‘My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever’. It was a real privilege to see God at work and all because my wife and I were obedient to His Will when started visiting her uncle in hospital.

Proverb 8:33 tells us ‘Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it’. May we always be open to hear God’s instructions and to then, crucially,  be obedient to His Will.  In the busy lives we lead it is easy for us to miss the opportunities that God puts in front of us. I am so pleased that I did not miss the opportunity to spend just a short amount of time with my wife’s uncle. It was clear looking back that God was asking us to be his arms and feet in this situation, and to bless this man in his latter days. Conversely, through our obedience we were also mightily blessed. We will never know what God has got planned for us if we don’t take time to be with Him and to find out what He wants.

One final observation; we also do not know how God will work in a wider context. What is awesome is that an Elder from our Fellowship serves as a hospital chaplain in the very hospital where my wife’s uncle was taken. He used to visit my wife’s uncle on a regular basis and he also spend time with members of the family as they visited. It was no coincidence that God placed this Elder in this hospital at this time to bring His Presence into this situation. The family members talk about the Elder with real adoration and who knows what God’s plans are for them in the future as a result of the Elder’s obedience to serve.

Who does God want to use you to bless today? How does God want to use you today? Take a little time to ponder these questions.

God bless.

Author: Anonymous

May God bless and enrich your life
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Sunday 7 October 2018


Loving words started to sink in and I looked at life in a different way, a way that says to me ‘you are not alone, you have never been on your own’. This is when I realised that Jesus was there all along

Source: Spreadshirt
I chose the title for this article because life has a tendency to throw curve balls at you from all directions. The first blog I wrote, just under a year ago, was a testimony from my baptism. In the article I told my tormentors that they no longer had a hold on me, which I still stand by now, however, sometimes the demons come back to haunt me. On these occasions I am the one losing, I let them win because that is what I have always done, until I hear a voice in me that tells me I am better than that and makes me realize how far I have come. When I got baptised I did not feel any different, I still felt like the lost and very lonely little girl that I always was. Now I understand where I really was then, I was in the midst of grieving for my father but life carried on as it always does. The little girl in me was crying and roaming lost in the mist. I got swept up in this stream of life, rolling with what ever happened, frightened of losing people, like I lost my father, to the point where I pushed the person I love to the point of backing off and becoming friends, due to me being frightened of losing everything.

It is just over a year ago now that my father passed away and I feel very different, I still miss him very much but my heart hurts less and I know he is safe and I will see him again. I have gone on a journey, a journey that I am still very much on, in discovering the Lord. The more I travel on this path the more I truly believe He is my Rock, and these things had to happen and there will be a reason for it, but I do not need to know right now. However, me being me wanted to know why, and a fork in my path developed and the Lord watched me take the wrong turn, the path that I took, took me back to my dark place where I saw no point in anything anymore. I walked through each day doing the things I thought needed to be done. Everyone had backed off so I thought, here I was on my own with the exception of my mum who was also not in a good place missing her husband of 46 years.

I felt alone, like being put in the middle of a desert and there is nothing for miles and miles, just me. My worst fear had come true, or so I thought. Until Inie, Tina, Jo, Jan, Julie and Shelley (women from the church I attend) showed me that there is more to my story than I could ever see. Loving words they said started to sink in and I looked at life in a different way, a way that says to me; ‘you are not alone, you have never been on your own’. This is when I realised that Jesus was there all along, putting who I regarded as people from church, but now are friends, good friends, on my path in different ways and different stages of my life. To show me; ‘look at who is around you, look what they are doing, they are there with you caring and welcoming’. Then I firmly knew I will never be alone. Last Sunday whilst listening to the sermon at church, I started to think as the Pastor asked; ‘when was the last time you told people about Jesus?’, I suddenly realised; ‘I have found Him personally, I have found my Father, My Rock’; Psalm 18:2 ‘The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold’.

Source: Twitter
When I first started going to church I always sat at the back where I felt safe, where I could see everyone and hoped not many people could see me. Being at the back was my home for many a month watching and listening. Until one day I got invited to do the computer/projector at the front of church, the little girl in me was shouting at me; 'No, you cannot do this, please no'. I knew I could not do this, but Inie, Shelley and Julie knew different and did not let me think about it. On church days, up the front I would go and I listened and learned. Today I now do the words with pleasure as I know that this is in Jesus's plan for me and I also know He is with me every time I do the computer. John 12:26 ‘Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me’.

My friend Jan gave me a book to read (Redeeming Love) and it is based on the book of Hosea in the Bible. The book can also be seen as a love story, but as I read it, I could not stop thinking that in some way this represents me. Like I said at the beginning; life regularly throws curve balls at you and reading the book made me think of what I have lived and put myself through and all of the dark times and losses, also about life in general and how I have survived it. I know that the voice in my head fighting the demons with me, is the Lord Jesus, who has been with me through thick and thin, rough and smooth, and I never knew it until now when I have a sense of the Lord and what He can do. Psalm 86:7 ‘When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me’. He has proven to me that He is there and He will not desert me; Deuteronomy 31:6 ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you’.

I was recently invited to have tea and a chat with another church friend, Tina, and whilst I was there Tina said something that has stayed with me ever since. Tina said that she and her husband Gary had prayed for me and the situation I was in at the time, and the Lord replied by asking Tina to tell me that this situation happened for a reason, and that this is what had brought me to Him. Wow!! this stuck firm with me, again confirmed that I am not on my own.

So now whatever life throws at me I know that the Lord is with me and my friends are his disciples who I can have a caring relationship with, just like I can with Him; Psalm 121:7 ‘The LORD will keep you from all harm-- he will watch over your life’.

God bless.

Author: Vicki Long

May God bless and enrich your life   

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