Thursday, 28 August 2008

Ancient Words

I use several different ways of daily Bible reading that I enter into at various times. For the most part I choose to study a book at a time, in depth, with the help of commentary and devotional reading. Last year I was really enjoyed studying the book of Hebrews, with the help of Andrew Murray. Sometimes it will take me a whole week to get through a chapter.
At other times I like to study a subject and trace a theme through the Bible, again with study helps and these days the internet.

But every few years of so I read the whole Bible in one year, using a NIV Bible that divides up the passages fro you into an OT reading, a NT reading and either a Psalm or some verses from Proverbs. Because it is so easy to get behind when I do this I rarely use commentaries to explain what the passages mean. It's not that I switch off my mind but this is a time when I just love it to immerse myself in the great Redemption story, let my heart be touched and allow God to speak to my Spirit.

And as I have done this again in this last year I have been really blessed by the way God has drawn my attention to certain verses and I believe the Spirit whispered to me, this is for you. Sometimes it has been an encouragement, sometimes good advice and sometimes it has simply been that I have identified with the writer and used his words to express my own feelings towards the Lord.

Anyway after all that preamble here are some of the verses that leapt from the pages during the last two weeks in Portugal.

Eccles 5:1-2 "Guard you steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen to him rather than offer the sacrifice of fools who do not know that they do wrong. God is in heaven and you are on earth so let your words be few."

Eccles 9:4 "Calmness can lay great errors to rest."

Song of Solomon 7:10 "I belong to my lover and his desire is for me."

Song of Solomon 8:6 Place a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm for love is as strong as death."

Psalm 101:6 "My eyes will be on the faithful in the land that they may dwell with me, he whose walk is blameless will minister to me."

2 Chronicles 16:9 "For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those hearts that are fully committed to him."

1 Corinthians 15:10 "By the grace of God I am what I am and his grace to me was not without effect."

Ancient words ever true
Changing me and changing you
We have come with open hearts
O let the ancient words impart
Holy words of faith handed down to this age
Came to us through sacrifice
O heed the faithful words of Christ
Holy words long preserved
For our walk in this world
They resound with God's own heart
O let the ancient words impart

(by Lynn DeShazo)

God bless


Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Lisbon 2008
Arrived back from a great holiday in Portugal on Monday. We stayed in Lisbon and did the whole tourist thing of lazy mornings, sight seeing and sunbathing on the beach. This in itself gave us the break we needed after a few tiring weeks. But the holiday gave us far more than that because we also experienced once again the special priviledge of being part of a world-wide Salvation Army family.

Our good friends Alberto and Maria Jose Serem are the leaders of the Portugal Command and it was great to meet up with them and we were also taken out and about on a number of occasions by Major Mendes and Arlette who were just wonderful and so kind.

(Mendes and Alan in Sintra)
In between going to tourist sites Mendes took us to the social service centres, corps halls, headquarters and to the final meeting of the first European Music Camp which was in the Algarve. I know that some of our colleague officers would think we were mad to go the Army so much on our holidays but we found it such an enriching experience to fellowship with people who are passionate for Christ and dedicated to the mission of the Army.

(The gospel choir from the Music Camp)
Pray for the Salvation Army in Portugal. It is very small. There are only 5 Corps in the country plus a number of social service and community centres, with 17 officers leading it all. There are lots of challenges but also a lot of enthusiasm, dedication and a good spirit. Pray especially for the most recent corps plant in Evora.

More stuff about the stuff I read and Bible passages that spoke whilst away over the next few days.

God bless

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Yo ho me hearties!
We just had a great pirate-themed Churches Together holiday club headed up by Pill Corps. We had 40 children attending each day and they were amazing. Families all turned up for our evening celebration too. As well as a wonderful evangelistic opportunity to share the truth that Jesus Christ is the greatest treasure of all the fellowship and teamwork was the body of Christ at its best. Below are some photos from the week.

(L-R Captain Heave Ho, Admiral Alan and Captain Yoho (Abi Roach)

Pirate Pete aka CSM Peter Brewer!

Can't wait for next year but absolutely shattered! Off on holiday tomorrow for two weeks.
God bless