Archive for August, 2011

We live in a world full were every time we put on the television or radio, all we hear about is war, famine, murder, homelessness, etc. It’s depressing isn’t it?

We live in a world full of negatives, despair, insanity…we live in a world that doesn’t know God!

Great Is The Darkness That Covers The Earth
Oppression, Injustice And Pain
Nations Are Slipping In Hopeless Despair
Though Many Have Come In Your Name
Watching While Sanity Dies
Touched By The Madness And Lies

Chorus:
Come Lord Jesus, Come Lord Jesus
Pour Out Your Spirit We Pray
Come Lord Jesus, Come Lord Jesus
Pour Out Your Spirit On Us Today

May Now Your Church Rise With Power And Love
This Glorious Gospel Proclaim
In Every Nation Salvation Will Come
To Those Who Believe In Your Name
Help Us Bring Light To This World
That We Might Speed Your Return

Great Celebrations On That Final Day
When Out Of The Heavens You Come
Darkness Will Vanish, All Sorrow Will End
And Rulers Will Bow At Your Throne
Our Great Commission Complete
Then Face To Face We Shall Meet

As Christians it’s our responsibility to help the world find God again.

We must pray for each other; We must pray for our friendships, our families, our neighbours; We must pray for our national and international political leaders; We must pray for our church leaders.

Our world is in darkness, so let all pray and get this world into the light of God’s love!

Galatians 5:24-25 (New Living Translation)

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

This bible passage fits in very well both with what I said in yesterday’s blog post One Life, and also with my thoughts for today…

Since last Thursday I’ve found myself spending a lot of time contemplating where I am in my spiritual journey…Has my life stagnated, or am I more eager than ever to learn more about God, and pull the whole of my life into His hands?

My spiritual life has definitely not stagnated in the last few years, but has grown in strength during some very difficult times in my life. Though having said that, I was in the depths of despair for a long time, I thought God had deserted me…but unsurprisingly, He proved to me that He was there, He had always been there, and He always would be there for me.

But have I really nailed all my sins to the cross and left them there? Have I really given Him my whole life?

Truthfully, my answer must be “no”. However I believe God has helped me recognised this fact so that I can move forward in my relationship with Him by giving everything I have to Him.

How about you, have you nailed all your sinful passions and desires to the cross and left them there? Are you living every part of your life for Jesus, and Jesus alone?

Now is the time for you, and me, to start anew, and give our all to God.

I pray you will find blessing and inspiration to take your all to the cross, as you listen to the following song, To Thy Cross I Come, Lord by The International Staff Songsters of The Salvation Army:

Last Thursday night was a bit of an odd one for me, as for the first time since I transferred from Rutherglen Salvation Army to Bellshill Salvation Army, I was back at Rutherglen corps playing in Bellshill Band – I have been back at Rutherglen a number of times since I transferred, but just as a visitor, although I have still played in Rutherglen Band when I’ve been there!

Bellshill Band were on duty at Rutherglen for the welcome and installation meeting of the new West of Scotland Divisional Commanders Catherine and Russell Wyles.

I was already fighting some emotions during the meeting, simply because it was my first time back at Rutherglen in a different band, when the Divisional Youth Chorus sang one of my favourite songs, One Life To Live – I ask that you to listen to the audio below and follow the words…

One live to live
Oh may I live for thee
Give me your spirit
And I shall be free
Free from desire
My own way to pursue
Free to obey your will
My whole life through
 
I live within a whole full of confusion
Where happiness is nothing but illusion
Attractions that deceive
In what can I believe
I’m tossed about by every wind that blows
 
One live to live
Oh may I live for thee
Give me your spirit
And I shall be free
Free from desire
My own way to pursue
Free to obey your will
My whole life through
 
I live when I receive your holy spirit
A promise that you said I would inherit
You’ve planned it from the start
I give to you my heart
And now my spirit really can be free
 
One live to live
Oh may I live for thee
Give me your spirit
And I shall be free
Free from desire
My own way to pursue
Free to obey your will
My whole life through

 

Well this was just about the tipping point for my emotions, as it brought back floods of memories about my Christian experiences in both the junior and senior sections at Rutherglen Salvation Army, as our Singing Company (junior choir) used to sing One Life To Live when I was both a member and the accompanist.

Although it may seem I was focusing on the past, through the message from our new Divisional Commander I found myself looking forward and wondering am I really doing all I can to live my life for God, to show that I am free to obey His will throughout my whole life…

To answer this question truthfully is difficult, but I must be honest with God, and say “no” so far I haven’t been doing all I can to live my life for God. So now is the time to start living for God.

How about you, are you living your life to the full, for God?

Remember Me by Laura Story

This is the body that was torn for us
This is the blood that was spilt
Points to the pain you endured for us
Points to the shame, the blame, the guilt

Father, Son and Holy Spirit come
Move our hearts to remember

This is the Lamb who was slain for us
So we the church may enter in
 So bitter sweet when we think of You
The One who bore our curse, our sin

Sometimes I wonder how I’ve managed to go through a whole day without thinking about what God has done for me. How about you, do you take time out every day to think about what God has done for you?

Not only does it amaze me when I don’t think about what God’s done for me, it also shames me. After all Jesus shed His blood for me, and suffered a horrendous death, just so I could be free to be me!

I have vowed to take time out each day to thank God for all He’s done for me, and all He continues to do for me, will you promise to do the same?

Been very aware recently about just how much of an influence negative people can have on my outlook on life.

No matter how much I try to distance myself from the negativity that seems to be going on around me, I have still found my spirits being brought down. So much so that I end up feeling negative and saying and doing things which if I were feeling more positive I would never have done.

Life really is too short to be negative about the people and the events that affect out lives. There are so many great things around us, and so many great people and places to see and talk t,o that it really isn’t worth focusing on the negatives.

Life will be more enjoyable for you and those around you if we refrain from being negative, so let’s all be positive!

I’ve always found this a really strange saying:

Wrong place, wrong time

Even when I was much younger I remember it always confused me how you could be in the wrong place at the wrong time as surely you were just in the right place but maybe at the wrong time, indeed in the wrong place at just the right time!

Doesn’t God tells us that He always places us just where He needs us?

I’m reminded of a chorus of a song from our Salvation Army songbook which says:

Just where he needs me, my Lord has placed me,
Just where he needs me, there would I be!
And since he found me, by love he’s bound me
To serve him joyfully.

Maybe we just need to remind ourselves sometimes that wherever we find ourselves, God has put us there for a reason!

A few weeks ago, one of my friends sent me an email which contained the following – I hope they bless and inspire you as much as they did me:

When I say that ‘I am a Christian‘ I am not shouting that ‘I am clean living.’
I’m whispering ‘I was lost, but now I’m found and forgiven.’

When I say ‘I am a Christian’ I don’t speak of this with pride.
I’m confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not trying to be strong.
I’m professing that I’m weak and need His strength to carry on.

When I say ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not bragging of success.
I’m admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.

When I say ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not claiming to be perfect.
My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.

When I say ‘I am a Christian’ I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name. 

When I say ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not holier than thou, I’m just a simple sinner who received God’s good grace, somehow!

Be Blessed, Be a Blessing!

I’ve spoken a lot about blessings, but do you know what are they?

Here’s some dictionary definitions:

  • A short prayer said before or after a meal; grace.
  • Something promoting or contributing to happiness, well-being, or prosperity; a boon.
  • Approbation; approval: This plan has my blessing.
  • the act of invoking divine protection or aid
  • the bestowal of a divine gift or favour

However the best description I’ve ever heard for blessing is “presents from God” – Isn’t that lovely? It always reminds me that the blessings we receive are always very personal. i.e. What may be a blessing to one, may not be for the person next to them, but God knows us each individually and knows our needs better than we know them ourselves.

1 Corinthians 9:22-23 (New Living Translation)

When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.

So when do we receive our “presents from God”? On special occasions like our birthday, Christmas, or Easter perhaps? Well let me tell you, God can give us presents at any time! Whenever God gives you presents I can assure you that it will be at a time you need them most, and it will be the best present you could have received at that time.

Here’s the International Staff Band of the Salvation Army playing Blessing and Honour:

Do you or anyone you know, wear a necklace with a cross on it?

Do you wear it because of what it signifies or just because you like it?

If someone asked you why you were wearing a cross, what would your response be?

I’m not ashamed of my religion, I’m proud of it, while at the same time being humbled by the full significance of the cross.

How easy it is to wear a symbol of your religion, but how simple it is to wear on a daily basis without even thinking about its significance.

I realised today that I often put on my cross without even thinking about what it stands for, and that shocked me. How can I ever forget what Jesus did for me at the cross!

I pray that every time I pick out my necklace with a cross from my jewellery box, I will not just quickly put it round my neck, but will take a few moments to thank God for sending Jesus to die on the cross, just so I could be forgiven of all my sins.

I’ve found myself doing a lot of counting recently…not because I’ve been doing loads of sums or anything, but simply to try and stop me from disagreeing with/arguing with certain people!

I don’t know about you, but there are definitely certain people who, regardless of what they say, or how they say it, just seem to wind me up the wrong way! So it’s no great surprise that it’s been some of these folk that have caused me to do a lot of counting in the last few weeks.

The thing is, the very fact that I have recognised that these specific folk wind me up the wrong way, should really have helped me to try and be more understanding towards them. However I feel it ain’t working very well, because I seem to be having to count more and more rather than less!

I’ve prayed for understanding and patience with these folk, but so far I’m still struggling. I am however confident that God will help me, and He will answer my prayers, maybe not today, or tomorrow or even in a way I expect, but He will answer them!