Archive for the ‘Salvation Army’ Category

After seeing the photo I shared in yesterday’s blog post (Faith of a child), I have found myself looking at the bible for instances where the ‘faith of a child’ is mentioned or inferred. So I want to share a few of these with you over the next few days.

Matthew 19:14 (TPT)

Jesus overheard them and said, “I want little children to come to me, so never interfere with them when they want to come, for heaven’s kingdom realm is composed of beloved ones like these! Listen to this truth: No one will enter the kingdom realm of heaven unless he becomes like one of these!”

This is a bible verse I’m sure we’ve all heard a number of times, so I hope you still realise how important it is. The disciples scolded the people who tried to bring children to Christ, claiming Jesus didn’t want to be bothered. It seems the disciples never actually asked Jesus if he was ok to see the children, before scolding those who brought them. I wonder what made them think Jesus wouldn’t want to welcome the children?

Jesus was always willing to welcome anyone who wanted to come to him. We must we welcoming to those who want to seek God, so let’s make sure our church is open and welcoming to all who come through the door, regardless of their need, their background or indeed their past.

Have you ever wondered how God feels when we treat others the way he expects and wants us to? I guess he would feel just the same way we would when we see someone we know or love reaching out in kindness to another person.

In Philippians 2:1-2 (TPT) we find out how God feels:

Look at how much encouragement you’ve found in your relationship with the Anointed One! You are filled to overflowing with his comforting love. You have experienced a deepening friendship with the Holy Spirit and have felt his tender affection and mercy. So I’m asking you, my friends, that you be joined together in perfect unity—with one heart, one passion, and united in one love. Walk together with one harmonious purpose and you will fill my heart with unbounded joy.

Just as we would be filled with joy to see someone we know showing love and kindness to another person, so God would be filled with joy.

It’s great to know that things that even we do, make God happy isn’t it? So let’s not disappoint Him, let’s make sure we keep on trying to live in harmony with one another, showing love and kindness without question, or expecting anything in return.

In the last couple of days I’ve been talking about how we need to shine our light in this dark world. In order for a light to shine, it needs to get its power or energy from somewhere, so where do we get our energy from to shine our light?

The answer can be found in John 8:12:

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

To make sure we have the power/energy to shine our light we must trust God. When we follow Him, he will give us the strength and guidance to shine our light.

Make sure you have the power to shine your light, so trust God and in return He will give you the light of life.

Here’s one of my favourite Salvation Army band pieces called The Light of the World (Dean Goffin). It features the hymn tune Aurelia which in this piece of music we associate with the following words:

O Jesus, Thou art standing, outside the fast closed door,
In lowly patience waiting to pass the threshold o’er:
Shame on us, Christian brothers, His Name and sign who bear,
O shame, thrice shame upon us, to keep Him standing there!

O Jesus, Thou art knocking; and lo, that hand is scarred,
And thorns Thy brow encircle, and tears Thy face have marred:
O love that passeth knowledge, so patiently to wait!
O sin that hath no equal, so fast to bar the gate!

O Jesus, Thou art pleading in accents meek and low,
“I died for you, My children, and will you treat Me so?”
O Lord, with shame and sorrow we open now the door;
Dear Saviour, enter, enter, and leave us nevermore.

God is always watching over us, and looking out for us, but rather than just wandering or faltering maybe we need to take the initiative sometime, and approach him when we’re struggling.

God alone can calm our fears and give us peace, because only he can take away all our problems and worries. So let God give you rest.

Yesterday in The Same God I challenged you to think about your church and whether everyone in it is actually serving the same God. Today follows on from that, as I want to look at our responsibility to the other in our church. In Acts 20:28 in The Message translation, we read:

Now it’s up to you. Be on your toes—both for yourselves and your congregation of sheep. The Holy Spirit has put you in charge of these people—God’s people they are—to guard and protect them. God himself thought they were worth dying for.

We may not be the ones in charge of our church, but we do still have a responsibility to care for those who are part of our church.

We have disagreements with others, and there will always be those who, no matter what, will never be our favourite people! However God considers us all equal, as he thought we were all worth dying for…not just one or two of us, but every single one of us. If God can love each if us that much, surely we can rise above any personal felling or opinions, and just love and care for one another!

As I lay in bed the other night a John Gowans and John Larsson chorus which I don’t think I have heard for a while, came into my mind:

We’re all seeking the same Saviour,
We’re all seeking the self-same Lord.
We’re all claiming the same cleansing,
We’re all finding our peace restored.

I’m sure we’ve all come across churches where it can seem as if everyone pulling in different directions with different aims and objectives. When that happens, those within the church are definitely not serving the same God. I will go further than that and say that if they are not seeking and serving the same God, are they even serving God at all?

We’re only human, so disagreements are natural, but when they happen in our church we really should know better shouldn’t we?

So I leave you with this, is everyone in your church seeking the same Saviour and serving the self-same Lord? If the answer to that is ‘No’, it’s time to put past disagreements and difference behind you, dismantle those cliques and let your church become an inclusive place where everyone and anyone can come and feel welcome and without fear of judgement or exclusion. Because if we’re all serving the self-same Lord, isn’t that what He would expect of us?

I mentioned in yesterday’s blog that the following song is quite special to me:

O Love that will 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.

O Light that foll’west all my way,
I yield my flick’ring torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

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.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

It’s a song that reminds me that no matter how I feel, or what I’m going through, God is with me. It makes me feel like God is surrounding me with his love, holding me close so no harm can come to me, protecting me, just like a mother or father would do with their child.

yesterday I shared a new setting for this song, but today I share with you one of my favourite Salvation Army band pieces, William Himes’ Procession To Covenant by Regent Hall Salvation Army band.

We all get tired sometimes, we all need to rest, but do we ever really take the time to have the kind of rest we need?

Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

The only rest that can truly calm our hearts and minds, is the kind of rest we can get from God. To receive that we must first give him all our worries, all our problems – He will then give us true peace.

Come to me by The Pasadena Tabernacle Songsters:

These days, when we look at this world, it can cause us to feel sad, depressed, shocked, maybe even terrified, because let’s be honest, there is a lot of bad, or evilness around these days.

Psalm 27:13 (NLT)
Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.

We need to be positive, God is here with us in they world, and with his help I believe, we can change this world from one where evil is to the fore, to one where love overcomes evil.

Man seems to have been fascinated by the future for a long time, we just need to look back at the numerous movies that have been made over the years, all set in a world imagined to be ‘the future’.

  • 1984
  • 2001: A space odyssey
  • Alien
  • Avatar
  • Bill and Ted’s excellent adventure
  • I, Robot
  • Intersellar
  • Lost in space
  • Planet of the apes
  • Etc…

Some of those films were set in a time that is actually now in the past. E.g. 1984. I think it’s fair to say the film version of the future has never really turned out to be particularly accurate, has it!

I know a few people who visit psychics to find out a little of what their future holds for them. I don’t know about you, but I know I wouldn’t want to know what lies ahead for me.

At a member of the Salvation Army, a Salvationist, I made promises to God to serve him not just today and tomorrow, but in our future days. I always seem to end up with the words of a particular song going through my mind when I think about the promises I’ve made to God.

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.

This song doesn’t just remind me my promises, but as it was a special song to some of my family, it remind me that they made those same promises to God, and they did keep them in their future, right ‘to the end’.

Our future is not just about us keep our promises to God, but Him also keeping his promises to us, as that’s where we get our reassurance that no matter what we face God is with us:

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Isaiah 41:10 

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

As you’ve probably gathered I’ve been thinking a lot about the future, and have prayed  that I will stay true to God no matter what the future holds for me. There will be times of great joy ahead, but also some challenging times too, but I know I can face them with confidence if I remember these words:

There is a name I call in times of trouble
There is a song that comforts in the night
There is a voice that calms the storm that rages
He is Jesus, Jesus
—JESUS—