Half Night of Prayer PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mark Dommel   
Friday, 28 November 2008

Half Night of Prayer Format

This Prayer meeting format was designed for those not accustomed to praying and meditating for extended periods of time.  The corporate nature of the evening can help others become more comfortable with spending extended periods of time in the presence of the Lord. 
The same basic format is followed each hour, with a different prayer emphasis each hour.

  • •·    First 15 minutes - Corporate Worship
  • •·    Second 15 minutes - Corporate prayer for specific topic
  • •·    Last 30 minutes - Individual prayer
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 03 December 2008 )
 
To Advance the Kingdom of God PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mark Dommel   
Thursday, 25 February 2010
To Advance the Kingdom of God

Matthew 11:12 -- {NIV}
From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.

Matthew 11:12 -- {NKJV}
And from the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.


I find the terminology in Matthew 11:12 interesting.  Whether you read from the New International Version or the New King James Version we see a message that many of us find just a bit too uncomfortable for our taste.

When we read the words, “forcefully advancing” and “forceful men lay hold” or “suffers violence” and “the violent take it by force,” we conjure up images of forceful, violent men using force and violence to advance the Kingdom of God.  These are not the images many of us were raised with in regards to Christianity.  As a matter of fact, many of us were never taught anything at all regarding the advancing of the Kingdom of God.  What we were taught is that this Kingdom is one of love, peace, care, compassion, and mercy.  How are we to reconcile these two images?  Can they both be true?  Can they coexist with our thinking and our belief system, or does one have to be true and the other false?  Yes, they can.  It is not just about being violent or forceful.  It is also about being passionate and desperate in our desire to advance the Kingdom of God so that others may experience the same relationship with Jesus - the Christ that we experience.

Let’s take a look at these words.  What do they mean and why were they used?  Matthew Henry says that word “violence” denotes “a strength, and vigour, and earnestness of desire and endeavour, in those who followed John's ministry,” and that “It shows us also, what fervency and zeal are required of all those who design to make heaven of their religion. ”
Concerning the word violence, he says, “They who will have an interest in the great salvation are carried out towards it with a strong desire, will have it upon any terms, and not think them hard, nor quit their hold without a blessing, Gen. xxxii. 26. They who will make their calling and election sure must give diligence. The kingdom of heaven was never intended to indulge the ease of triflers, but to be the rest of them that labour.”

If we replace the New King James language with the New International language it does not, in any way, alter what Henry said.  The words are interchangeable  and therefore Henry’s commentary is valid for either version.

This would make sense in that the Kingdom is not for the faint of heart or for those looking for an easy road.  It is for those who are willing to do whatever is necessary, and be whatever is necessary in order to advance and grow God’s Kingdom here on earth.

But I also believe that we can look at this passage from the standpoint of spiritual warfare.  Satan is willing, able, and has no qualms or reservations concerning the use of violence and force in war against the Kingdom of Heaven and its citizens.
That we are to meet Satan’s violent and forceful attempts to destroy God’s Kingdom with even greater violence and force is evident when we read several New Testament passages.

The words of Jesus from Luke 10:17-19 -- {NIV}
“I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.  I have given you the authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”


The words of the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 -- {NIV}
“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.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the Kingdom of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.”


Finally; the words of God through the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:10-13 -- {NIV}
“Finally, be strong in the Lord. And in His mighty power, put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces in the heavenly realms.  Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”


When we read such things as, “trample on snakes and scorpions” -- “overcome all the power of the enemy” -- “wage war” -- “demolish strongholds, arguments and ever pretension” -- “put on the full armor of God“ -- “take your stand” -- “struggle” -- and  “stand your ground” -- we should understand that to go to war against Satan and his kingdom will demand the meeting of violence with violence and force with force.

It will take spiritually violent and forceful men and women who are citizens of the Kingdom of God and who are will willing to use spiritual violence and force to continue advancing His Kingdom in the face of all opposition.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 25 February 2010 )
 
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