Archive for the ‘church’ Category

Enduring love

Posted: October 6, 2019 in belief, church, life, love, music, religion, words
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When you go to church out of habit, but find for yourself that God really does care about you, you realise that God really does love you.

You are love
Here in this place of worship
You draw me close again
All of my weakness is laid here
You cover them all in your strength

God has always loved us, and has promised to love us forever. That’s why we should never doubt Him because His love endures forever.

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…

How are you at remembering significant dates in your life?

We all have significant dates in our lives that we mark each year because they were times of great happiness or celebration or because when they happened, they caused us great sadness.

I’ve found myself thinking a lot about significant dates that have changed my life, probably because in the last few weeks I’ve had a few of those dates, and there are others in the coming weeks also

  • Early August was my birthday..
  • Then just a couple of weeks ago my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.
  • The end of last week marked 4 years since my Mum died.
  • And amazingly, in a few weeks time, that will be one year since I had life saving heart surgery to fix one of the issues I’ve lived with all my life.

Yes, I’ve marked, or will mark each of those significant dates I’ve just mentioned, in some way. But do I pay as much attention to those significant dates in my Christian journey?

I have to be honest and say, the only exact date I can remember in my Christian journey, is the day I made my decision to become senior soldier as it was on my 18th birthday! I was really disappointed that I couldn’t remember the date I first knelt at the mercy seat or the date I was enrolled as a senior soldier, both at Rutherglen Salvation Army. So much so that I found myself last week looking for the Articles of War I signed on the day I was made a senior soldier, and I found it, and that anniversary is in just a few weeks!

We each celebrate or mark the important dates in our life and many of us shared those anniversaries with our friends on social media. So my question to each of you tonight is, do you put the same importance into celebrating or marking the significant dates in your Christian life as you do, other life events?

Do you remember the date on which you first gave my heart to Jesus?

Or the exact date you were enrolled as a senior soldier?

Romans 1:1 (The Passion Translation)

Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvellous mercies? I encourage you to surrender yourselves to God to be his sacred, living sacrifices. And live in holiness, experiencing all that delights his heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship.

God has promised to love us always and that in itself is a reason to celebrate isn’t it. I believe I’m one of the fortunate ones as I’ve had that significant moment in my lives I accepted God into my life, and promised to serve Him until the end. So I will mark those important dates in my life, but I will also celebrate God’s love for me each day. After all I hadn’t accepted God into my heart, who knows where I would be today! And where else would I want to be on a Wednesday night, than at band practice! 🙂

 

Here’s a favourite piece of mine which features the tune associated with there words which for me, sum up one of the most significant moments in my Christian life

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.

Perfect church

Posted: August 25, 2019 in church, faith, life, quotes, religion
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Is there such a thing as a perfect church?

I believe there is no such thing as a perfect church – Why? Well every one of us is imperfect, so how can a church be perfect as long as there are imperfect people attending it!

The day we find the perfect church, it becomes imperfect the moment we join it. – Charles Spurgeon

There may be no such thing as a “perfect church”, but each of us can find a church where we feel “at home” and feel we can grow in our faith. I hope you’ve found your church “home” – If not I hope you find it soon – You will know when you’ve found it!

I was listening again to the the song We Believe by Newsboys, and one phrase in the song really stuck with me this time

So, let our faith be more than anthems
Greater than the songs we sing

It got me thinking about my faith, and the reason I attend church. In the Salvation Army we can at times put a lot of our focus on our musical sections (both our junior and adult bands and choirs). This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as our musical sections can most definitely make a huge contribution to our worship through their music.

I personally find the music provided by our musical sections, as well as the congregational songs used in  worship often bring me closer to God, and being able to be part of that music making is a great privilege for me, as I believe this how God wants me to contribute to worship.

What the words of this Newsboys song reminded me was that I must never let the music or music making be the reason I worship. Worship must be first and foremost about praising God and learning more about Him. Yes, we can praise God through our music making, but that should not be the main reason we go to church. Our faith must definitely be more than anthems, more than the music.

For many, their gifts can be obvious – great public speakers, fantastic singer, inspirational teacher, Great musician, to name but a few examples. However for many of us, our gifts from God, our spiritual gifts may be less obvious, and in fact may we may not even know what our spiritual gifts are.

Every Christian has a dominant spiritual gift and many possess more than one. Spiritual gifts are not rewards, are not natural talents, are not a place of service, are not an age-group ministry, and are not a specialty ministry. They express themselves through various ministries which, in turn, accomplish a variety of results. Spiritual gifts are tools for building the church. They are a source of joy in your Christian life and influence your motives. A spiritual gift is a divine calling with a divine responsibility, because what God has gifted you to do, He has called you to do, and what He has called you to do, He has gifted you to do.

If you don’t already what your spiritual gifts are, how do you find out?

There are a number of surveys, tests you can do that will help you identify your gifts, just search for “spiritual gifts test” and you’ll find various online tests you can take which will help you identify your gifts.

I have found the music and words of a particular song going through my mind constantly for the last few days.

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.

Tune: St. Margaret

I’ve found myself thinking a lot about my Mum in these last few days, so I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that this song has being going round my head. Just as God promised to love me unconditionally, so I am reminded that Mum and Dad always loved me.

It is because of the love and guidance I received as a youngster that I came to believe in God, and having grown up in the Salvation Army, I ultimately gave him my all when I was enrolled as a senior soldier of Rutherglen Salvation Army when a teenager.

Yes, that was a while ago now, and yes I’ve questioned and doubted God on many occasions, however God has never let me go, and has always stayed by my side and guided and strengthened me, even when at the time, it didn’t feel like it.

O Joy, that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be.

Don’t ever let go of God, because He will never let go of you!

Ever walked into a church you don’t usually attend, where you don’t know anyone?

How did the people there make you feel? Did they welcome you, or did they treat you as if you were an outsider?

Now think about your own church, and how those in your church, including you, treat those who come to your church for the first time. If a person walks into your church smartly dressed and well-presented are they treat the same as when a drunk or homeless person comes in?

Imagine being treated like this

The congregation parted like the Red Sea
when that old drunk stumbled in down the aisle and took a seat
right in the middle of “Amazing Grace”
He could feel the judgment they were passin’
Thought to himself, “ain’t that just like a bunch of baptists”,
he’d rather be on the street than in this place
with tears on his face

I pray that I will never judge someone because of their outward looks, good or bad, but welcome every person into God’s house when they want to enter. We don’t know what others are going through, but God does. He brings people to His church when they are their lowest, in greatest need, so it’s our responsibility as Christians, to welcome them, just as Jesus would.

The song Somebody like me by The Martins, from which the above lyrics are an excerpt, is a great song, and a remind that someone like us needs to step up, and reach out to everyone who seeks shelter, or solace in God’s house.

The congregation parted like the Red Sea
when that old drunk stumbled in down the aisle and took a seat
right in the middle of “Amazing Grace”
He could feel the judgment they were passin’
Thought to himself, “ain’t that just like a bunch of baptists”,
he’d rather be on the street than in this place
with tears on his face

Chorus

You’d think somebody would put their arm around him
You’d think somebody would hit a knee
Pull him in, say a prayer, that’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout right there
You’d think somebody would practice what they’re preaching
Well I wonder who that somebody could be
Probably somebody like me

Well he’s got problems nobody wants a part of
When he got up and slipped, nobody stood up
They don’t wanna make a scene, they let him walk out of there
Ooh, without a prayer

Chorus

You’d think somebody would do something different
You’d think somebody would go against the grain
Be the one to run him down
Bring him back and turn him around
You’d think somebody would want to make a difference
Well I wonder who that somebody could be
Probably somebody like me

Oh, can I get a witness (somebody, somebody), Ooh, Ooh

I read this on a friends Facebook timeline, and it really hit home to me. I wonder how many people go to their church simply because it’s the church they’ve always gone to, or it’s the one their friends go to?

So consider these statements…

If Jesus isnt preached in your church…
If there is no opportunity for people to respond to Him in your church worship services…
If the major thing isnt HIM…
If the Bible is compromised or watered down…

It might be the time to find a new church. 😳😩

Or at least challenge the one you are in

There are a lot of things that matter in this world. But the thing that matters most, is getting people connected to Jesus Christ and saved for eternity by Him. Everything else is secondary to that, so if found when you read the above statements that your conclusion was “at least challenge the [church] you are in”, then maybe the church you attend is not the right church for you.

Just because you’ve always done something or gone to the same place, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.

Pentecost is the festival where Christians celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is celebrated on the seventh Sunday after Easter. It commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus while they were in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Weeks.

Pentecost is regarded as the birthday of the Christian church, as well as the start of the church’s mission in the world. And that is why we celebrate Pentecost today!

Act 2:1-4 and 17-21 (The Passion Translation)

On the day Pentecost was being fulfilled, all the disciples were gathered in one place. Suddenly they heard the sound of a violent blast of wind rushing into the house from out of the heavenly realm. The roar of the wind was so overpowering it was all anyone could bear! Then all at once a pillar of fire appeared before their eyes. It separated into tongues of fire that engulfed each one of them. They were all filled and equipped with the Holy Spirit and were inspired to speak in tongues—empowered by the Spirit to speak in languages they had never learned!

God said, ‘This is what I will do in the last days—I will pour out my Spirit on everybody and cause your sons and daughters to prophesy, and your young men will see visions, and your old men will experience dreams from God. The Holy Spirit will come upon all my servants, men and women alike, and they will prophesy. I will reveal startling signs and wonders in the sky above and mighty miracles on the earth below. Blood and fire and pillars of clouds will appear. For the sun will be turned dar  and the moon blood-red before that great and awesome appearance of the day of the Lord. But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

As we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit today, I challenge you to renew God’s presence in your life today.

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.