Posts Tagged ‘Holiness’

Faith to believe

Posted: November 18, 2019 in belief, bible, depression, faith, life, religion, stress, trust, words
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Light is used to symbolise God, faith or holiness throughout scripture.

The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1 (NIV)

This bible verse is all about faith. Faith to believe that God will look after us, no matter what problems or circumstances we may face.

Do you trust God to look out for you in every situation? If not, maybe your faith isn’t as strong as you think it is. I encourage you to put your faith and trust firmly in God, because he alone can guide and strengthen you.

Why do we do the things we do
How can we sing when there seems no reason to
How do we smile when there’s not much to smile about
When the world is down who are we to stand and shout
They wonder why we do the things we do

These are questions I’ve often pondered. Questions which really only have one answer…

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. ~ John 3:16 (The message)

 

It’s all because of this
It’s all because of this
We’ve tasted love, tasted hope, tasted holiness

These last few days in Outward Appearance and Within Minutes I’ve spoken about how whether we mean to or not, we all judge others within minutes of first meeting them.

Today I want to come at our appearance from another angle…is there a particular way Christians should look?

SA uniformI know for those of us who are members of the Salvation Army and wear uniform, yes, we do have a look that lets others we are Christians…but this only applies when we’re wearing our uniform! What about the rest of the time?

For Salvationists, I.e. members of the Salvation Army, when they are not wearing their uniform, can others tell they are Christians by their actions alone?

For me, a Salvationist who wears uniform, I pray that whether I am wearing my Salvation Army uniform or not, my actions and my words show others I am a Christian. I am not just a Sunday Christian, and I hope you aren’t either, therefore I pray that no matter where we are, and what we are wearing we act and speak in a way that shows those we’re with that we a followers of God.

I was reminded again at the weekend of the song One Life To Live, that I used to sing (and latterly play the accompaniment for) when I was in Singing Company (junior choir) at Rutherglen Salvation Army.

It’s the first line of this song I want to consider today

One life to live, oh may I live for Thee

Yes, we all know it’s true that we just have this one chance at life on this earth. However that doesn’t stop us taking so many things of life for granted, until we don’t have it. e.g. Our health, a job, our family, a roof over our head and food on the table etc. So this is why I felt a gently remember is the order of the day today.

We only get one chance at life, so make the most of it, but please don’t forget that it was God who has given you life. So whatever you do in your life, make sure you live your life for God!

Following on from yesterday’s blog post, The Foundation #1, I want to consider how we make sure God is the foundation of all we do. The quote I used yesterday, actually answers this question:

Time with God should be the foundation for everything else in your life.

Yes, time with God. i.e. prayer. is how we ensure God is our cornerstone, our rock, our everything. Fitting in with my blog post today, here’s the International Staff Songsters of the Salvation Army singing Cornerstone:

Memories_of_the_pastThe other day I was flicking through my Salvation Army songbook, and out fell a small card with the following words on the front:

The kind and special things you do –

your caring thoughtful way

reflect much more of His great love

than words could ever say.

On the back of the card were the words, “Thank you” and the signature of someone who was a very close friend to me for many years, but sadly they passed away a few years ago. I may have forgotten this card with these beautiful words, that they have given me, but I certainly have never forgotten them. I still to this day feel privileged to have been their friend, and I hope that I was as good a friend to them as they were to me.

Memories of friends and family who are no longer with us are important, but just as important is making sure that we continue to be the person God’s needs us to be to others today, and every day.

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

 

Your career makes a living but your calling makes your life.

So today’s question for you is twofold:

  1. Is your career fulfilling your ambitions?
  2. Have you accepted your calling?

As far as my first question is concerned, many find themselves falling into a particular job or career simply because of circumstances, i.e. It was the only job they could get, while others may have following a childhood dream, or through their academic achievements found certain opportunities opened for them.

Now my second question is for me the more interesting one, as in order to accept your calling, you have to first listen to God as He directs you , and then choose to accept the plan He has for your life.

It may be difficult to change your career, particularly given the current economic climate and lack of job opportunities at present. However it is never too late to say, “Yes”, to God’s calling. So whether you’ve been swithering for a short time, or ignoring God for years, it’s not too late to accept God’s calling now, today!

I hope you enjoy listening to the International Staff Songsters of the Salvation Army singing Christ Calls, as the message in this song, reinforces what I’ve written in this blog post:

Have you ever been robbed? I’m pleased to say that I personally have never been robbed in a monetary sense…however there have certainly been a few tennis matches that I’ve played in in the past where I’ve definitely felt robbed due to some dodgy line calls!

But in a spiritual sense, have you robbed yourself of God‘s faithfulness?

Don’t let the problems you perceive rob you from God’s promise that you hold. God is faithful!

Just the other week I got myself all worked up and annoyed about something I heard someone say because I thought their comments were directed at me. The following day, during a conversation with someone else about something completely different I discussed the comments I’d had thought were directed at me, were in fact a statement by the person about themself! How foolish I felt, but also thankful that I have kept my feelings and anger to myself instead of “going off on one”!

Just as I proved the other week that we can often “see” problems where there are none, so we can often to that when it come to doing God’s will. Don’t ever forget God will be with you and support you in all you do for Him.

Here’s the International Staff Songsters of the Salvation Army singing I Confess My Trust:

Is Sunday really a day of rest?

For those of us who attend the Salvation Army and particularly those who take part in the band or choir, I certainly wouldn’t say Sunday is a day of physical rest as we spend much time rushing about between meetings/Sunday school/practices that we barely get a chance to relax during the day.

However if we’re talking about spiritual rest, then yes, Sunday really should be a day of rest. It should be a day when we can spend time focusing on God and his message for us. Where we get food for though and strength to face the week ahead and all the challenges that will bring.

Having said that, that doesn’t mean that we cannot, or should not have times like these during the rest of our week. However due to the pressures and stresses of life these days, the weekends can often be the one time of the week when we can relax and have quality time with both our family and our God.

Let’s make sure we make Sunday our day of spiritual rest, so that we can receive food for thoughts and spiritual inspiration for the week ahead.

Please listen here to the International Staff Songsters of the Salvation Army singing Rest: