Archive for the ‘Bellshill’ Category

Have you ever had something planned, and when the time comes for that event, you’re all good to go, but then something happens that completely changes your plans?

Well I’ve just had one of those weekends! I was meant to be going to Coventry with Bellshill Salvation Army Band, where we were leading worship there on Saturday night and Sunday morning and afternoon. I had been uncertain for a while whether I’d be well enough to go to the Coventry with the band, but decided a few weeks ago I should be well enough.

So I had to get up early on Saturday to get myself ready to go with the band. When we got up my husband mentioned he wasn’t feeling great. However it wasn’t until I had put all my stuff into my car and was almost ready to leave that I realised how unwell he was.

To cut a long story short, I realised I couldn’t go with the band. So I had to make a phone call I really hadn’t expected to have to make, at least I’d thought if I’d had to make that call, it would have been because I wasn’t well.

So what was going to be a very long and tiring weekend for me away with the band, turned out quite different for me. It was a really emotional weekend for me between my husband being unwell, plus I’d got myself worked up about going with the band as I hadn’t been 100% sure how well I would feel by the end of the weekend. I was really upset about missing the weekend, particularly as it had taken me a while to realise I’d be well enough to go, and then at the last minute, not being able to go. I prayed and prayed some more, I was struggling to cope with what was happening. Thankfully by Sunday my husband was feeling a bit better; the band had a fantastic weekend in Coventry – If you’re interested you can read reports of the weekend, and watch the meetings from our band Facebook page.

When unexpected things happen, we all react differently, and even that depends what has actually happened. After all not all unexpected events are bad ones!

So whenever you have to deal with something unexpected, pray and God will provide all you need.

When you’re alone with someone, whether you know them or not, how does it feel if there are a few minutes of complete silence when neither of you say a word?

Time is one of those strange things that although every second passes the same for each of us, one person may feel time has stood still another may feel as if it’s going by extra quickly.

Here’s a quote a came across from Henry Van Dyke which illustrates this:

Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.

In Ecclesiastes 3:11 we read:

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.

I’m sure we’ve all heard people say things such as:

  • You’ll be my friend forever
  • I’ll be eternally grateful if you could…
  • I’ll remember what you’ve done forever
  • I’ll always be there for you

I’m sure when those words are said, the person saying them has meant them. In reality though we are all human, after a period of time we often do not remember those statements that we said we’d keep forever and therefore we break them.

I’m sure we’ve also all had someone say to us that they know exactly how we feel, when we’re going though a tough time. But is it really possible for another person to truly know exactly how we feel?! I don’t know what your circumstances are at present, but here’s some words someone once said to me when I was going through a difficult time – “If you’re going through a tough or difficult time, don’t stop, just keep going“.

Tough times are temporary so no matter how difficult we may be finding life, we must always keep going. Remember, God put us on this earth for a reason, he planned out our life before we were born. And he knows what or how we’re feeling or thinking even before we know ourselves.

Sometimes it takes a brush with eternity – a crash, an illness, some shock to the system – to get you really thinking about what you want to do with your limited time here, and why you’re living on this wobbling dirt cloud in the first place. ~ Hampton Sides

Our time on this earth may be limited, but we god has planned our life out for us, we just need to follow his direction and he will stay by our side both in this life and for eternity.

2 Timothy 1:9

For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time–to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.

While we can’t always rely on others keeping promises to be there for us, or remember us forever, however God will. God’s love for us will stand the test of time and His love will last for time and eternity, all we need to do is trust Him.

I hope you enjoy listening to Bellshill Salvation Army band featuring Alex Ramsay on cornet and Chris Shanks on euphonium, playing Time and Eternity:

Then many of the Jewish leaders who heard him say these things began believing him to be the Messiah. Jesus said to them, “You are truly my disciples if you live as I tell you to, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~ John 8:31-32 TLB

This was the bible verses listed as ‘Verse of the day’ on BibleGateway.com on Monday of this week. So why am I telling you this? On Sunday at our corps (church) it was our Vision and Commitment Sunday. During which we were asked to make a new commitment to be God’s disciple, and Monday’s verse of the day fitted perfectly with the discipleship promise we made on Sunday:

N.B. Although the photo above shows I’ve not signed my commitment, I have signed a copy of this commitment.

I made a public commitment to serve God all life a number of years ago, when I was commissioned as a senior soldier at Rutherglen Salvation Army. During that service, the singing company (junior choir) sang a song which I choose as it was special to me, Lord, Thou Art Questioning.

I’ve committed to be God’s disciple every day and in all I do, have you?

Here’s a beautiful band arrangement of that song. I’ve listed the words of the song below also so you can follow them.

Lord, thou art questioning: Lovest thou me?

Yea, Lord, thou knowest, my answer must be;

But since love’s value is proved by love’s test,

Jesus, I’ll give thee the dearest and best.

Chorus

All in my heart, Lord, thou canst read;

Master, thou knowest I love thee indeed.

Ask what thou wilt my devotion to test,

I will surrender the dearest and best.

How couldst thou smile on me if, in my heart,

I were unwilling from treasures to part?

Since my redemption cost thee such a price,

Utmost surrender alone will suffice.

Down at thy feet all my fears I let go,

Back on thy strength all my weakness I throw;

Lord, in my life thou shalt have thine own way,

Speak but the word, and thy child will obey.

In this last week, what have you been doing at 9am each morning?

Well like (hopefully) many others from Bellshill Salvation Army, I have spent a few minutes in prayer at 9am each morning, asking God to give both myself and my corps family, guidance in the coming days.

The last few weeks in our church, we’ve really experienced God’s presence in our meetings. God is alive and working in our lives of everyone who is part of our worship. During last Sunday’s meeting were asked to pray at 9am each morning for God’s guidance, as God told us in Exodus 6:1 “Now go and see what I will do”.

Please pray for Bellshill Salvation Army in these coming days, as we’ve been deeply challenged by God in these last weeks, and are ready to respond to God’s guidance.

Monday this week was my first day at work this year! So after a couple of weeks off, it’s been a bit of a shock to the system having to get up and into work early again – I’m not a morning person, never have been never will be, so getting up early is not my thing at all.

It’s been a bit strange now it’s half way through January, just saying happy new year to work colleagues this week, as the new year seems ages ago now.

At the start of a new year many make new year resolutions. How many of you made any resolutions? Are you still keeping all of them or have some already failed?

I do not usually make any new year resolutions as I found in the past that I set myself unrealistic goals or targets which I never achieve. This year was no different, but while I was off I found the words of the song In This Quiet Moment, which the our songsters used as the call to worship on Sunday, going through my mind much of time. The more this song went round in my head the more I realised I have been guilty of just fitting God in around my other activities:

In this quiet moment, still, before your throne,

Conscious of your presence, knowing I am known,

In this quiet moment, set my spirit free,

In this quiet moment, make a better me.

Maybe that’s the problem, I haven’t had “quiet moments” in God’s presence. We’re all so busy these days, rushing about from one thing to another, that our time with God can almost get lost in amongst our other activities.

Do we do that with our other relationships and other activities? Do we put aside specific time to spend with our family and friends, to practice any musical instruments we play, to work on our hobbies?

Just as we must take time to work on our relationships with one another if we want them to grow and last, we must work on our relationship with God.

In this quiet moment…

Just as it tells us in Philippians 4:6-7 (The message) our relationship with God will grow when we spend quiet time with Him no matter how we may be feeling by reading the bible and praying:

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life.

In this quiet moment…

So far this year, I have managed to stopped just “fitting God in” around other things, and have been able to set aside time each day for devotions.

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. (Thessalonians 5:16-18 – The message)

How about you, are you just “fitting God in” to your busy schedule or are you fitting everything else around your time with God?

It’s my turn to provide the devotions at our band practice tonight, so I thought I’d share will you what I will be sharing with the band tonight…

 

I don’t know about you, but I always feel my turn to do the devotions seems to come round extra quick. So me being the organised person I am, I did my usual and checked back to see firstly when I last was responsible for the devotions and secondly what I spoke about. I was surprised to find that it is almost a year to the day since I last did the devotions!

I usually find when I’m preparing these kinds of things that my thoughts are all over the place with lots of things coming into my mind but nothing feeling quite right until the very last minute. This time however, having realised it was almost a year exactly since I last did the devotions for the practice, it really set off my train of thought around “looking back” and “memories”.past-and-future

Over this last year, and particular these last couple of weeks, I’ve found myself thinking about precious moments spent with family who are no longer with here or looking back at countless things which I’d long ago forgotten about but a photo or item has triggered a memory.

People often say we shouldn’t look back because it’s in the past and we can’t change it, but what about all those precious moments we’d never recall or recount to others if we simply put them to one side and never think about them?

Where would that leave our faith if we never looked back?

What about the cross and what it stands for? Surely as Christians we must never forget the cross, in other words we need to look back and remember the reason Christ died on the cross for us?

In looking back at the cross it should give us inspiration for the future, knowing that if we keep our focus on Him we have fulfilled his plans for us.

Why shouldn’t we look back, as if we don’t, how will we remind ourselves how much of a sacrifice God gave for us at Calvary?

Without the cross where would we be?

Without the cross would we have any future?

Lots of questions which I asked of myself, and this in turn made me think of various people in my family who are no longer with us, but who trusted God and remained faithful to Him right to the end. This in turn reminded me of song which really sums us their faith and my hope for the future:

O Jesus I have promised

To serve thee to the end

Be thou forever near me

My Master and my friend

I shall not fear the battle

If thou art by my side

Nor wander from the pathway

If thou wilt be my guide.

Each of us here have made promises to serve God all our lives. Tonight I challenge you to always remember the cross, Remember why we’re here in Bellshill serving God as part of this band, keep focused on the cross, and serving Him until the end?

Let me leave the words of 1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV) with you:

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

 

Today, as a follow-up to yesterday’s post, Creatures of Habit, I want to think about where we sit in more detail. That might sound odd, but believe me, where people sit can be a huge issue sometimes!

Have you noticed how, just as I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post, how some people always sit in the same seat, and are completely thrown when for some reason their “normal” is not available to them?

Have you noticed how some people crave particular seats, either because they feel it shows their status – maybe because it means they’ve got their own office at work – or because they feel it would show how much they have improved or how capable they are – maybe in a club or a band where they crave the “top seat”?

isolated chairNow for me there’s one place where what seat you sit in really should not matter, and that is church. Whether you are part of the congregation, the choir or music group, surely “your seat” should be one of the least important things about your church time, not the reason you are upset or annoyed?

Personally I am just happy to be able to attend church regularly, and feel privileged to play in our band (Bellshill Salvation Army Band), and therefore where I sit in church, or in that band, or what musical part I play, makes no difference to me, as I’m just happy to be able to be part of it.

Some focus on where “their seat” is in church, rather than where God is in their life and where they are in God’s plan for them, and that really saddens me.

Last night I was at Hamilton Salvation Army with Bellshill Band and I and after the ladies voices sang In This Very Room I shared the following thoughts before the band played one of my favourite pieces Procession to Covenant.

In this very room there’s quite enough love for one like me.

In this very room there’s quite enough love for all the world.

Who or what do you think about when someone mentions the word love?

Do you think about romance, dating, marriage or those closest to you – your husband/wife, children, your parents or your siblings – Maybe you think about close friends or your church family or maybe past relationships which have broken down or family or friends who have passed away.

When you love someone you never want to let them go, or say a final farewell to them. God is no different to that as he never wants to let us go, even when we turn away from him. Even when we’re facing difficult events in our lives, God promises to hold us and love us forever.

O love that wilt not let me go,

I rest my weary soul in thee;

I give thee back the life I owe,

that in thine ocean depths its flow

may richer, fuller be.

The writer of these words George Matheson, born in 1842, wrote these words when he faced a very dark time in his life. Matheson began losing his eyesight from an early age, and by the time he was 17 was almost completely blind. Despite this he was ordained as a minister in the church of Scotland and hoped to become a writer of biblical theology, but because of his failing eye sight he was never able to fully achieve all he had hoped to. He suffered further when engaged to be married, as his fiancée suddenly broke off their engagement citing his illness (his blindness) as the reason for the breakup. Despite feeling abandoned by his fiancée, Matheson was able to go on and become a successful preacher thanks to the care and support provided by his sister.

Unfortunately, further heartbreak came his way later in his life when his carer and helper, his sister got married, leaving him feeling abandoned once again. It was then, on the night of his sister’s wedding, Matheson tells of being alone in his home and then feeling as if the words of the beautiful and intensely moving hymn, O Love that will not let me go being dictated to him by God.

The words of the song assure us right from the start that no matter what the circumstance of life we find ourselves coping with – we are held by a Love that will not let me go – a love in which our weary souls can rest.

God will not let us go, least of all when we are suffering because God knows what that means – and the Cross is there to prove it. In the search for healing or resolutions to life’s problems, we do not always find an immediate cure for an illness or an immediate sense of purpose which moves us out of despair. However in those times we must hold onto faith and hope because when we seek His strength we findreassurance that our lives will become richer and fuller, through his healing.

Jeremiah 31 (NIV)

God told them, “I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love! And so now I’ll start over with you and build you up again

O love that wilt not let me go…

It’s my turn to provide the devotions at our band practice tonight, so I thought I’d share will you what I will be sharing with the band – I have shared some of this in a previous post a few weeks ago.

 

Children play, they fall and scrape their knees, they cry, they get cleaned up, put a plaster on their cuts, and then they carry on soon forgetting they recently fell and hurt themselves.

If only every problem in life was solved as easily as that when we get older!

They say we get wiser as we get older, but do we really? Why is not as easy to pick ourselves up and carry on when we get older? Older and wiser…or older and more analytical of everything that happens, and, dare I say, less forgiving too?

We may fall many times in life sometimes because of what we’ve done, sometimes because of what others have said or done, and sometimes they just happen as part of life. What do we do when we fall or feel broken?

I often listen to music while I’m working, although it’s normally just a background noise that I don’t pay much attention to, but a couple of weeks ago I found myself stopping and listening to one particular song, as the words caught my attention. Since then, I’ve found myself listening to this song quite often, as it has given me the reminder I needed:

Hear my prayer at night
Let the morning find me alive
For I am tired and weakened by the fall
Let the earth bear witness to my cry
 
Mercy weep over me
Let Your tears wash me clean
Majesty, be merciful with me
For my eyes have seen Holy

These words reminded me that although I may feel battered and bruised by life as so much of it is far from perfect, God is perfect, He still loves me and forgives me and picks me up when I fall.

Psalm 40:1-2 NIV

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

Are you needing a reminder that God still loves you, forgives you and will lift you up when you fall?

Tonight it is my turn to do the devotions in our band practice, so I thought I’d share with you the devotions I will be sharing with the band tonight:

When David texted me a few days ago to ask if I’d do the devotions tonight, I said yes, and then immediately thought to myself, when am I going to find the time prepare anything? After reassuring myself I’d find time, it made me realise just how much I’ve been thinking about time recently, as not only did Lynda and Chris speak about time a few weeks ago but I’ve also had several reminders in the last while of how quickly time passes, as well as some things which have made it feel like time has stood still.

By the time we get to the end of this year, we will have had 3 weddings in our family this year. Two of these weddings have taken place in the last couple of months, one was for a cousins and the other, another cousin’s oldest daughter, and that made me feel old as I she was the first of the next generation of our family to be getting married. While that made me feel old, it’s nothing compared to how I’ll feel in December when we attend the final family wedding of the year – The wee girl who was our flower girl at our wedding 20 years ago gets married then, and that really makes me feel old!

The fact that Sandy and I will have been married 20 years next Wednesday, makes me wonder where all these years have gone, even though sometimes is seems time has speeded by and it’s just a few years ago since we got married. Having said that there are times when it seems the clock has stopped and it feels like we’ve been married for 40 years and not just 20!

Sometimes we can feel as if we have no time because we have so much to do. This has certainly been the case for me in the last 9 weeks with my Mum’s being in hospital. However for my Mum it has felt as though time is going by very slowly. In the last 2 or 3 weeks is that Mum has said to me several times that it doesn’t feel like she’s been in hospital for 7 or 8 weeks – it just feels like3 or 4 weeks to her! How differently we sometimes see time, as to me it seems she’s been in hospital for at least twice as long as she actually has been! I guess it’s down to how busy we are how long some things feels – as Mum’s obviously not doing much in hospital, unlike myself who’s been working, taking care of Mum’s house as well as doing her washing etc, organising adaptations to be fitted in the house, as well as visiting her almost every day.

So as you can see there’s been a few time related things going on for me just now but, during this time, have had made time for God? If I’m honest probably not as much as I should, however having learned from past experiences when I’ve tried to go it alone without Him, I do know I will not get through these busy and potentially difficult days without Him.

Our time is in God’s hands, He knows exactly the number of days He’s planned for each one of us, and no matter what we do, we cannot increase or decrease that number, because it’s already part of His divine plan for us.

In His time, in His time
He makes all things beautiful in His time
Lord, please show me everyday
As You’re teaching me Your way
That You do just what You say
In Your time
 
In Your time, in Your time
You make all things beautiful in Your time
Lord, my life to You I bring
May each song I have to sing
Be to You a lovely thing
In Your time

So each day as each 1,440 minutes go by, whether you’re watching the second hand go slowly round minute after minute, or whether you’re wondering where all those minutes have gone, it’s worth reminding yourself that everything you face in life is part of God’s plan for you, so put your trust in Him because He will make everything beautiful in His time.