Archive for the ‘Scotland’ Category

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.

While writing yesterday’s blog post A Reason To Live, I Googled “A reason to live” – Here’s the results I got

It got wondering how many people have Googled exactly the same thing as me, but who have Googled that phrase because they are in dire need as they are considering suicide.

I then found the report for the Samaritans in Scotland in 2018 – Samaritans_Scotland_Impact_Report_2018

It is sober reading – So many lives lost to suicide, so many people in desperate need to someone to listen to them, and understand how they feel. What really touched me most was this statement

Research by Samaritans found that nearly 2 in 3 Scots have first-hand experience of suicide – whether through their own experience of suicidal thoughts or from supporting someone with suicidal feelings or the loss of a friend or family member.

That’s some statistic isn’t it! In a room of 6 people, 4 of them will have been affected by a suicide or considered suicide themselves. Multiplying that out, 400 out of every 600 people will have been affected by a suicide or considered suicide. I certainly wasn’t aware suicide affected so many lives.

I’m not quoting these figures to you just for affect but to highlight the scale of the problem.

The good news is suicide is preventable, and we can all help. So I encourage you to reach out to a friend, a neighbour, a family member who seems to be struggling with life, and just ask them if they are ok – Remember just because someone says they’re ok doesn’t mean they really are, so trust yourself when you feel there is something wrong – Just be there for someone when they are at their lowest point, and support them.

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!

I must admit, after writing yesterday’s blog post in the middle of last week, I’ve struggled to get any inspiration for today’s or the rest of this week’s blog posts…that is until yesterday!

Yesterday morning at church, we were treated to a beautiful vocal solo by Olwyn Mathie which reminded us that even when it seems to constantly raining in our lives, God is with us, and will soon turn our rain to sunshine.

Last week was not only a week of very wet and rainy weather for us, but also one where I felt that the rain in my life was never going to end. So Olwyn’s solo was the reminder I needed, that even when life is tough, the sunshine is not far away when we trust God.

I pray that whatever difficulties you may be facing just now, you too will be reminded that God is always with us and so the sunshine is not far away when we trust Him.

Let the Holy Spirit come over you now
As the healing rain falls from the clouds
There is nothing you can do to deserve it
You don’t have to earn His love
Let the rain fall from above
Merciful rain falls over the children
Merciful rain falls over the children
Merciful rain falls over the children of God
Over the children of God
Merciful rain falls
See the Holy Dove descending over you now
Feel the Living Water cleansing your soul
In the name of Jesus you have been forgiven
You have been redeemed forever
Fix your eyes on Heaven

I’ve done a few Word Associations with you, and today, as the title of this post suggests, this word association is all about New Year and what it means to each of us. So as usual I’m going to throw some words at you and I want you to note down the first word that comes into your mind when you read each word.

So here goes…

  1. Hogmanay
  2. Resolution
  3. End
  4. January
  5. Holidays
  6. Shortbread
  7. Ceilidh
  8. Christmas tree
  9. Food
  10. Work

So how did you get on with those words? Did you find it easy? Did your answers surprise you or were they just as you expected?

Well here’s my responses to my questions:

  1. 31 December
  2. Broken
  3. New start
  4. Winter
  5. Over
  6. Scotland
  7. Social
  8. Away
  9. Fat
  10. Sad

Were any of your answers the same as mine? Did any of my answers confuse you? Did any of your own answers confuse you?

I’ve said in previous word association posts that I find I get a bit stressed when I’m doing them as I put a lot of pressure on myself not to over think my answers! Are you relaxed when you do them or do you find it stressful too?

I still believe that when we respond with the first words that come into our minds, our answers tell us a lot about our emotional state, and what’s important to us at that particular point in time.

Bearing all this in mind, review your answers, does my theory hold true?

I chose some words we probably all associate with New Year as well as some that I suspect if you’re not Scottish, you won’t understand (including some of my answers), maybe it’s time to find out a bit more about our Scottish New Year traditions!

Within the space of a week, there have been three significant fires in or around Glasgow (there may have been others, but these are the ones I’m aware of).

The most recent was at a Land Rover car dealership in Motherwell. This fire was thought to have been started deliberately, and has been estimated to have cause about £850,000 of damage.

Just the day before that there was a fire in Hamilton in a disused hotel, the Hamilton Town Hotel. This building was due to be demolished to make way for a new £7m hotel.

And final, last Friday night, the fire which I’m sure you are all aware of, the second fire in the space of four years at the internationally renowned Glasgow School of Art (GSA). The fire this time was much worse, and in fact spread to nearby buildings, including the Campus nightclub and O2 ABC music venue.

At the time of the fire last week, the Mackintosh library (an A-listed building), was being restored in a project estimated to be costing £35m, was due to reopen next year.

Thankfully in each of these recent fires, no-one has been injured. However when it comes to the impact of the fire on the surrounding area and community, the fire at GSA has by far had the greatest impact. Many have expressed deep sadness, and used words such as ‘devastating’ and ‘shocking’, to describe this latest fire.

We still don’t know what caused this latest fire at GSA, and it’s also unclear whether any of the building will need to be demolished, or whether it’s going to be possible to save it.

GSA has been an iconic part of Glasgow for so many years, that for those of us who consider Glasgow to be home, it seems hard to contemplate our city without those beautiful buildings anymore. So let’s hope that once again, GSA can be rebuilt from the embers, and come back restored to its former beauty once again.

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—

We all have things which annoy us, some trivial, some quite serious. So today I want to share with you some of the trivial things that annoy me…they’re listed in no particular order:

  1. People who treat you like a child just because you’re younger than them.
  2. Those who park on double-yellow lines just to save themselves have to walk a few extra meters to the nearest parking space.
  3. When less qualified or experienced individuals thinks they know better than you, even although you’ve been there and done something many times before.
  4. When the weather forecasters say we’re going to have fantastic dry warm weather, but then discover they’re actually talking about the south of England, and our weather is actually going to be the complete opposite!
  5. Individuals who drop litter rather than put it in a litter bin that’s only a few meters away.

Do any of these annoyances sound familiar to you?

Yes, all the above things annoy me, but most of time I manage to stay quiet when they happen and just observe and say or do nothing as I know it’s just me being me!

 

Severe weather warning.

Snow, snow, and then some more snow.

Strong winds, and more snow.

Staying indoors where it’s warm and cosy until we need more food.

Shops have run out of bread, milk and most other fresh products. So glad that we bought bread the previous day.

So when’s all this snow going to stop, so we can get back to normal.

Snow has stopped falling now, but it’s still white out.

Stalactites hanging from the windows and roof. Suddenly falling to the ground making us jump at the noise.

Still it’s cold outside, and still white.

Snow’s nice to look out on when in the house but not so nice when you’re stuck somewhere in traffic.

So stay safe out there on the roads and hopefully the snow will be gone soon.

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.