Posts Tagged ‘Bellshill Salvation Army’

dedicate ourselves to GodLast week in Refurbishment I told you that our new worship hall and refurbished building at Bellshill Salvation Army was now complete and we were returning to our building this weekend. Yesterday we had our open day when we invited friends, family and our community to come and see our new building, and share in music and fellowship with us. Well what a turnout, the place was mobbed! That’s not a complaint of course, as it was fantastic to see so  many people share with us in our new building.

So today we met for our first service/meeting in our new hall, and just like yesterday, the place was mobbed! Our first meeting in our new hall and we had to bring in extra seats! It was particularly great to see so many people who had never worshipped with us before, join with us on this special day.

From the moment the band played their first note of the day, outside the hall, to welcome everyone to worship, to the final song and prayer, it was clear we were in God’s presence. During the meeting we were encouraged to rededicate ourselves to God. I must admit to finding the emotion of the occasion a bit overwhelming having personally had a very emotional and difficult week. I was emotional because this week has been the first anniversary of my Aunt Mae passing away, and she was a true Christian who lived her whole life serving God through the Salvation Army in Rutherglen, and for me if I can rededicate my life to God and serve Him half as well as Aunt Mae did, I’ll be doing well.

Our corps at Bellshill has started a new chapter in the corps history in our new hall, and today I simply pray that as I recommitted my life to God today, He will continue to help and guide me wherever and in whatever He has planned for me.

To finish, I’d like to leave you with In Christ Alone which was my musical highlight from this morning, as it’s a personal favourite, but the words were so perfect for today,:

 

 

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fulness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied –
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine –
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

 

As you may be aware, over the last few months, I’ve published a number of blog posts entitled “Managing Grief” and in them have given a number of practical suggestion on things which may help you following a bereavement. What you may not however be aware of, is that just over a week before I posted my first “Managing Grief” blog post, my Dad had just passed away, and that just 6 weeks after Dad’s passing, my aunt (my Mum’s one remaining sister) also passed away. I have therefore felt that shared my very real experiences of managing grief, may in some small way help someone else cope with their grief a little bit better.

Last week I was out for dinner with my Mum and, as is often the case, the conversation got onto Dad and Aunt Mae, and about how difficult Mum was finding it to cope on a daily basis. At one point Mum said to me, “You seem to be dealing with it ok”, and I just responded by saying that I had my moments!

cryingMoments! A little bit of an understatement by me, as while I may look as if I’m coping well with Dad and Aunt Mae’s dead, inwardly I’m a bit of a wreck! I’ve been putting on a “brave face” with Mum ever since we were originally told they could do no more for Dad, as I knew she needed me to be strong for her. That hasn’t meant I’m strong all the time, as I definitely have my moments, normally when in the privacy of my own home…

However I certainly wasn’t in any kind of private place yesterday when thinking of Dad and Aunt Mae, my emotions got the better of me. I was in fact sitting in the middle of our band (Bellshill Salvation Army Band), in the middle of our morning service, when events and the music conspired to get the better of me!

Before I’d left the house to go the morning service I’d been reading this week’s Salvationist (a SA weekly publication), and had discovered the tribute (including photo) of my Aunt Mae was in this week’s edition…well that got me emotional before I even left the house!

During our service we sang Lord I Come To You (The Power of Your Love), which has been a very special song to me for a number of years. As I tried to sing, I just thought about those I’d lost, and so I could sing no more because of my tears…My worst nightmare had happened, falling apart in public!

It didn’t get any better as the band piece was In The Love Of Jesus, which always reminds me of my Aunt Mae (and my Gran), so again I found my tears started…I think I only managed to play the first few bars of the music before I had to stop again.

Everyone who loses a loved one has particular things which remind them most about them. You may have guessed by now, that for me, that thing is music! As a family, music has always been a huge pat of our lives and thus so much music reminds me of those I’ve lost. I also find playing in the band very difficult too (not because I don’t want to play), as I play trombone…so did Dad, and he was always the one I turned to for advice on alternative slide positions etc. I remember from a very young age, climbing up on the huge piano stool beside my Dad, to “help” him with his music compositions; I also remember as a young junior soldier, in the days when I sang solos, gathering round the piano at Gran and Aunt Mae’s to be taught my latest solo.

So why am I telling you all this? It was the 21st of February Dad died and the 3rd April my Aunt Mae passed away, i.e. a few months ago, but I still miss them loads, particularly my Dad…and that ok! God knows we’re hurting, and knows it will take us time to grieve. Likewise our friends and other family members also don’t expect us to get over the loss of a loved one in week or two. Therefore, don’t be afraid to admit to yourself and to others that you are still finding it difficult coping with the death of your loved one, months or even years later!

Finally I’d just like to say a huge thanks to those at Bellshill Salvation Army who have been particularly supportive in these last few weeks and months (you know who you are), I have appreciated your support more than you can imagine, thank you.

The title of this blog post is the motto of the Salvation Army band I play in, Bellshill Salvation Army band.

Pro Causa Optima means For the Right Reason.

It’s funny how some things work, as in the last few weeks, I’ve had conversations with a number of people, in various situations and circumstances, where we ended up discussing the decisions and actions taken by other individuals, and whether in fact they were being taken for the right reasons, or simply to try to enhance their own reputation.

This in turn has got me thinking about me, and got me asking myself not for the first time, “Do I blog to get recognition for myself or to spread God‘s message?” and “Do I look after the band’s website for my own glory, or to promote the band, or to promote God’s message through the band and the website?“.

Some tough questions which, if I’m honest, I haven’t always done either of those things for the right reason. However, I do pray regularly that whatever and wherever God needs me, I will do it for His honour and glory, and not for my own selfish reasons.

How about you, is there anything in your life that you may not be doing for the right reason? If there is, take it to God, He can help you refocus your efforts on Him.

As the title of this post suggests, it’s been another difficult few days for me.

It all started on Thursday with my Mum going into hospital for an exploratory procedure. But I’m pleased to say, all turned out to be fine, with no problems found.

Then on Thursday night I went to my first band practice for a while, at Bellshill Salvation Army. I was quite stressed about going back to the band, not because I thought the folks there wouldn’t welcome me back or be supportive, but simply because I am still struggling emotionally following the death of my Dad and my Aunt Mae earlier this year.

Dad at our weddingMusic has always been a huge part of my life, with music always been played in the house from as early as I can remember. Dad was always composing and arranging music (or “decomposing” music as he used to say!), and sitting at the piano trying out various bits and pieces of his compositions. I remember even when I was very young, I always climbed up onto my Dad’s knee at the piano to “help” him. So much so that when I was 6 I started piano lessons, despite the piano teacher not normally taking pupils until they were at least 7, but as I was extra keen an exception was made.

Then a few years later I was given a trombone by our YP band leader (at Rutherglen Salvation Army), and after being shown how to hold it and blow into and the 7 slide positions, I was off and running with my trombone. Needless to say I had a lot of questions, and Dad was there to help from that day on until his dementia meant he was unable to, as he was a trombone player of well renown in the jazz and big band scene in the west of Scotland.

So taking all that into account, band practices, and trombone playing as such a huge reminder of me of my Dad, as he was always there to help when I was looking to some alternative slide positions for some bit of music, or helping choosing a new mouthpiece etc…

I coped not to badly at the band practice until we went to practice Guardian of My Soul, and the words of the last section of this were read out…

O Jesus I have promised
To serve thee to the end…

Aunt MaeThese words, although not necessarily favourite words of my Aunt Mae, they were words which reminded me so much of her, as she was a lifelong Salvationist, and even in her final days when her dementia meant she wasn’t the person we knew and loved, she still always talked about the Army and how she’d held various positions for many years – even the nurses and carers at her nursing home talked about how she was always telling them about the Salvation Army!. She truly did serve God, her Saviour, all her days.

So when we started to play that piece of music, my emotions got the better of me and my tears streamed down my face…I was just glad everyone was playing as I really didn’t want anyone to notice how upset I was. Crying in public is one of my worst nightmares, and it was no different that night!

So onto today, Sunday, my first meeting at Bellshill for a while, and again I was stressed, as I knew the band were playing Guardian of My Soul and I knew how that had affected me on Thursday, and there would be even more folk there to witness me getting upset, if it were to happen again…

musicYes, the music got to me again, as Guardian of My Soul got my tears flowing again, however this time I just tried to play through it (not sure how successful that decision was though!).

But even before we got to the band piece, my tears had started, as the YP Band played I’m In His Hands, and the words associated with this song, touched me just as they do every time I hear them, but they were the reminder I needed that whatever the future holds, I am in His hands.

Even one of the congregational songs from this morning got me, as it reminded me of the band’s Easter Tour of 2003, as just after we returned from this tour I took unwell, and although I’m much improved now, my health continues to cause me some problems. Before we left for our tour we joined in singing, Lord If Your Presence , and again this morning as we sang these words in the knowledge that for the next 9 months, Bellshill Salvation Army will be without a home of their own, as we will be worshipping in the Bellshill Cultural Centre while our halls are refurbished and a new worship hall built.

Even as we played the final march in our hall, Celebration, I was reminded of Dad again as I remember asking him about one of the parts in this piece when I was playing a different part than I was today.

Many thanks to all who offered words of support to me both on Thursday night at band practice and also this morning either before or after our morning service, I really have appreciated the love and support shown to me (and my family) during what has been a particularly difficult time for us.

In conclusion, I’d just like to share with you the words of the song I mentioned earlier

I’m in his hands, I’m in His hands;
Whate’er the future holds
I’m in His hands.
The days I cannot see
Have all been planned for me;
His way is best, you see;
I’m in His hands

 

lonelinessHave you ever had a day when you feel lonely?

Have you ever had a day when you feel sad?

Have you ever had a day when all your close friends don’t seem to want to know?

I’m sure we’ve all had days when we could answer YES to all the above questions. But have you stopped to remember that even in days like these, you are not on your own because God is there for you, and He cares for you.

One of my favourite song from our Salvation Army songbook is the song Someone Cares (John Gowans), so please take a few moments to listen to the cornet solo of the same name played here by Yvonne Ferguson (Bellshill) and follow the words:

Do you sometimes feel that no one truly knows you,
And that no one understands or really cares?
Through his people, God himself is close beside you,
And through them he plans to answer all your prayers.
 
Someone cares, someone cares,
Someone knows your deepest need, your burden shares;
Someone cares, someone cares,
God himself will hear the whisper of your prayers.
 
Ours is not a distant God, remote, unfeeling,
Who is careless of our loneliness and pain,
Through the ministry of men he gives his healing,
In their dedicated hands brings hope again.
 
Someone cares, someone cares,
Someone knows your deepest need, your burden shares;
Someone cares, someone cares,
God himself will hear the whisper of your prayers.

Beautiful words, meaningful words, and words I can completely relate to, as I know someone does care about me.

Do you believe someone cares about you?

Hold onto the words of the above song as God does care about you and me.

Jesus knocking on doorWe’ve all heard many times over the years how Mary and Joseph tried to find somewhere to stay in Bethlehem, but were constantly told there was no room.

Is Christ knocking on your door today, asking to be let in?

No matter whether we are worrying about something or someone, sick or ill, or mourning the death of a loved one, God loves us and will always have room for us in His heart. Therefore let’s make room in our hearts and time in our busy days, to let Christ into our heart’s this Christmas.

Who Is He? by Bellshill Band of the Salvation Army:

Who is He in yonder stall,
At whose feet the shepherds fall?
 
‘Tis the Lord! oh wondrous story!
‘Tis the Lord! the King of glory!    
At His feet we humbly fall,      
Crown Him! crown Him, Lord of all!
 
Who is He in deep distress,
Fasting in the wilderness?
 
Who is He the people bless
For His words of gentleness?
 
Who is He to whom they bring
All the sick and sorrowing?
 
Who is He that stands and weeps
At the grave where Lazarus sleeps?
 
Who is He the gathering throng
Greet with loud triumphant song?
 
Lo! at midnight, who is He
Prays in dark Gethsemane?
 
Who is He on yonder tree
Dies in grief and agony?
 
Who is He who from the grave
Comes to succor, help, and save?
 
Who is He who from His throne
Rules through all the worlds alone?

Imagine what Christmas would be like if there was no Christ

Imagine what your life would be like without Christ…

I’ve imagined it and I don’t like what I see – A world without Christ we would be a world without hope.

So don’t live your life without hope this Christmas, let Christ be part of your Christmas this year and put the true spirit of Christmas back in our festivities this year!

Here’s Bellshill Band of the Salvation Army playing The Spirit of Christmas:

 

Ever wondered how your life would have turned out if you’d made a different choice at a particular point in your life?

Is there any point in even considering what your life would have been like if you’d made different choices at some point, because it’s now all in the past and can can therefore not be changed.

Yes, we need to learn from the wrong decisions we’ve made in the past, but don’t dwell on them too much or they will hold us back from achieving what we capable of. We all make wrong choices in our lives, but it’s how we react and cope with those mistakes that shape us into the people we become.

At the end of the day, all we can do is ask God to show us the right path for our lives, and then trust Him to actually go the direction He has chosen for us.

God’s path is always the right path for us, so trust His directions.

Isaiah 41:13 (NIV)

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Here’s Bellshill Band of the Salvation Army playing The Path of Glory:

I’m sure you will have heard this phrase many times:

Home is where the heart is

But what does that actually mean? Well here’s a great definition I came across a few days ago:

When I walk into my home I feel peace. I feel I am in the most safe environment that I could be in. There are no worries or problems within the walls of my home. It is the one place that I can truly be me. My family is here and love and comfort surrounds me. I am in my world where everything around is me. To know that this is the place where my family and myself have established together and that we all have our special space within our home and spaces where we can come together is why our home is where our hearts are.

How does that definition sound to you?

For me I still think of myself as having three homes…no we’re not really really rich and got two secret hideaways!

My current home is definitely here with my hubby of seventeen years. Just as the above definition says, my home is where my family (hubby) is and love and comfort surrounds me. What more could I ask for?!

So I have my current home with hubby, but a very close run second home to me is still my Mum and Dad’s house where I lived from aged 10 until I got married. Mum and Dad still live in that house and so again, just like the above definition says, it’s a place where my family are and we love and comfort one another. Once again, what more could I ask for?!

Finally, my third “home”…This one’s a bit different because it’s not a place I’ve every lived and is unlikely to ever be one where I would live, however it is still “home” to me. Confused? Let me explain…

I’m sure you’ve probably heard the expression “spiritual home”, well that’s what my third home is, it’s my spiritual home!

So where is my spiritual home? It’s not as you might think, my current church and place of worship. No, it’s Rutherglen Salvation Army, the corps I grew up in, and worshipped there until 2002 when I transferred to Bellshill Salvation Army. Does that surprise you? In some ways it still surprises me, however when I think about how much I learned as a Christian and all I participated in at Rutherglen, it shouldn’t really surprise me…I became a junior soldier, later a senior soldier of the Salvation Army there; I was a member of both the junior and senior bands and choirs; I was a member of the Corps Cadets; I was the YP Record Sargeant for many years; I was singing company and then songster accompanist; I was deputy songster leader and then songster leader; but most importantly I learned and grew as a Christian and Salvationist.

My Mum’s side of the family were some of the founding members of Rutherglen Salvation Army, I have a heritage at Rutherglen, my past, present and future were moulded there…Rutherglen Salvation Army is most definitely my spiritual home.

Take a few minutes out to consider the place or places you consider to be home, and why. These places have moulded you and made you the person you are today.

I thank God for allowing me to lucky enough to have three places I can call home.

Home by Nichole Nordeman

Bright are the stars that shine in somebody else’s sky
Green is the grass that grows some place different
More possibilities, more than You offered me
More than I care to see from a distance

I was certain that the truth would be
In a place that kept eluding me
But every stone turned and unturned again
Would only serve to prove
That I never had to move to find You

And You will always be
The only love I’ll ever know, home
And You have made for me
The only place I’ll ever go, home

God, for the shameless pride
The times when I rolled my eyes
To laugh at simplicity, show me mercy
Knowing what I know now it’s hard to imagine how
I could feel anything but unworthy

And the mystery of Your love for me
Is not as hidden as it seemed to be
Should have known then when You said to me
‘Seek and you will find’
It was right here all the time

And You will always be
The only love I’ll ever know, home
And You have made for me
The only place I’ll ever go, home

I believe in the quest and the journey
I believe that the answers come in time
And where we begin is where we arrive

And You will always be
The only love I’ll ever know, home
And You have made for me
The only place I’ll ever go, home