Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Prevailing Prayer

On Sunday night in our meeting we spent some time praying for breakthrough in the lives of people who we are breaking our hearts over.
Sometimes our prayers are not more effective than trying to knock a wall down with an inflatable hammer.
Our prayers need to have more weight if we are to prevail and see breakthrough. Today I picked up my 24-7/SA Prayer Networdk newsletter and read again an extract from an article by Major David Taylor about the conditions for prevailing prayer.
He writes:
1. The conditions for prevailing prayer.
Catherine Booth fervently taught that there were God given conditions that we have to fulfill in order to see our prayers prevailing. This would sound rather mechanical if it were not for the deep spirituality of those conditions. The conditions she saw in Scripture included such primary truths as "abiding" in Christ, obeidence to what God has reveale, being sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading and holding on to God in faith. They are conditions of relationship with God. When a revival that swept across Ireland and America missed England and raised ridicule in the National Press for the way Christians had been praying and expecting God to move mightily, Catherine was angry and exclaimed, "I knew it was not because our God was asleep; not because his arm was shortened; not because his bowels of compassion did not yearn over sinners: not because he could not have poured out his Spirit and have given us the same glorious tiems of refreshing they had in other places. THAT WAS NOT THE REASON. There was only one reason and that was the people asked amiss. They did not understand the conditions of prevailing prayer.... The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." For Catherine Booth, prayer and holiness were inseperable."

God bless
Carol

Friday, 27 November 2009

Reflection

As usual my life has been incredibly busy. That's not a complaint. I am an activist and I will always find something to do, even if no one else makes demands upon me. As it is, knowing that I am quite a motviated person, I do get asked by others to get involved in a variety of things, some of which I should probably say no to. I am much more disciplined over this than I used to be and the important things usually to do get done, including Sabbath Rest.

However if you are at all like me, you will understand what it is to always have a longer list of things you want to do, explore, have a go at and read about that you can ever hope to do. Physical stamina and the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day mean I never get to the end of a list.

I am not really frustrated by this, just thankful to God that he has made the world such an interesting place. Sometimes people mistake my work ethic for duty, or being driven to prove something. There was a time when that was true. The Holy Spirit gloriously delivered me from that. I am however still as busy but it's because most of the time I relish life and the opportunities for service which come my way. I do not understand what it is to be bored or not to be bothered. What is that like? It must be awful, not to find prayer, the Bible, the world, people, and life fascinating.

Anyway, just so you know, sometimes the reason why there are long gaps between blogs, it's because I'm doing something else and blogging was the next thing on the list to do but didn't quite make it before the time ran out!

Bye for now. I'm off to get stuck into prep for Sunday and ..........................................

God bless

Carol

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Pray for a Day

It's Pray for a Day at Pill Corps again. Once again we have had dozens of requests for prayer, which we will bring before the Lord throughout the day.

In addition we will be praying for a list of things for our own Corps and each seeking God for his anointing and power.

Then on Saturday, it starts all over again as Lori Richards and I are responsible for setting up the prayer rooms for the Territorial Congress and will be spending most of the week-end providing prayer cover for the meetings and praying for the UKT

That's brilliant as far as I'm concerned. I can't think of many other better ways to spend a week-end.

Let's believe that God will mightily bless the Salvation Army in the UK and do much more than we can ask or imagine!

God bless

Carol

Monday, 9 November 2009

Jonathan and his armour bearer

Do you ever get the feeling that God might be asking you to look again at a particular part of his word?

Just over a week ago at Prayer School, part or our study was to look at prayer roles, one of which was armour bearer and the story used as an example was 1 Samuel 14:6-15.

Yesterday at the Remembrance Service, our local Baptist minister chose the same reading for his sermon. This morning, whilst eating my breakfast I browsed through TV channels onto one of the God channels, which was showing a preacher at the New Frontiers Conference in Brighton. He was preaching on 1 Samuel 14:6-15!!

Anyway Pill Corps, be on the alert I get the sense that this a word for us to chew over on Friday at the Prayer Day.

God bless

Carol

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Results of anointing by the Holy Spirit

"There are four great results that follow the anointing, four evidences that can neither be disputed or counterfeited:

- victory over sin
- power in service
- the fruit of the Spirit
- a burden for souls."
(Oswald J. Smith The Enduement of power)

God bless

Carol

Monday, 2 November 2009

From the cradle to.............

Tomorrow I have an interesting day. It starts off in the morning with our Toddler Group, which consists of mostly unchurched parents and their children coming for a morning of activity and chat.
Following this, Alan and I will be off up to the Secondary School for the lunch-time games club. We usually attract between 6-10 kids, some of whom are particularly vulnerable. It is a bolt hole, a place where they are offered a listening ear and where they can build up their confidence.

Then it's off to one of our soldier's houses to celebrate a "significant" birthday and having had our tea and cake we re-visit Smallcombe House to conduct a meeting with the elderly residents there as part of the Salvation Army Social Services Campaign Week.

The old slogan that the NHS provides for health needs from the cradle to the grave is also true of the gospel, except of course that it also provids for beyond the grave, for eternity. I think I am meeting with almost every age group tomorrow at some point or another.

In lots of ways tomorrow is not unusual. It's just another day in the life of an ordinary Corps but it could also be the day someone really hears the gospel for the first time, the day someone gets saved, someone returns to the Lord, someone gets filled with the Spirit. What an immense responsibility to make the most of every opportunity to share the free benefits of a gospel that can meet the needs of every unique individual I will meet tomorrow.

Thank God, he doesn't just pour out anointing for Sundays and Festivals but on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and .....................

God bless

Carol

Friday, 30 October 2009

Sanctification

I have just been over on http://www.armybarmy.com/index.html where sanctification is being discussed.

Whilst preparing for some teaching on Spiritual Growth I was led to the life of Samuel, which seemed to me to compare to the link between sanctification and growing in grace.

Samuel was born to Hannah through the grace of God, just as we have been born again spiritually through his grace.
Hannah had made a promise that if she could have a baby she would give him over to God totally for his service. It was a promise she made but she held on to the baby for a while but there came a moment when she knew she must in all conscience completely surrender him to God and take him to the temple. It was to be part of Samuel’s development, as he grew and was weaned but it involved a crisis, a moment of surrender so that Samuel was in the right place to grow as God wanted him to. Samuel was not just born of God, he was promised to God, but there was a moment when he was actually wholly set apart for God. In Christian life many promise God their total commitment, they even intend that it should be so but human ties can hold us back just as they could have Samuel, if Hannah had not let him go. However one day Hannah actually took her son and left him at the temple. He may have gone with her many times before to visit but this was different. On this day she once and for all relinquished her rights over her child and entrusted him to the priest. In the story of Samuel, it is Hannah who has to make the surrender as Samuel had no say in the matter. In our lives it is we ourselves who are called upon to relinquish the right to run our own lives and entrust them entirely to God.
The debate about who is in charge of our life is over. For Samuel it was no longer Hannah and Elkannah but Eli the Priest. For us it is no longer the world or self but Christ. Now that is settled it is time to concentrate on growing in this new life. It is our priority.
Samuel now lived at the temple but he didn’t stay two years old. Each year his mother brought him new clothes because he grew. He grew not only physically but emotionally and spiritually too. This did not mean he was immune from temptation. For Samuel even though he was in the place God wanted him to be, there was still a battle to fight as the influence of the world infiltrated the temple through Eli's sons. Samuel however, because he kept listening to God, was able to stay pure.

This experience of total surrender, continual growth and constant overcoming can be ours.

"We believe that it is the privilege of all believers to be wholly sanctified and that their whole spirit and soul and body may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

God bless

Carol

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Higgins on Promises and Faithfulness

"It has been said that we make too many promises in the Salvation Army. To which I reply: No, not one too many! The more promises we enter into with God, the better will it be for us all. Such promises are a great strength in hours of temptation. They become bulwarks to protect us from both the assaults of the Evil One and those which arise within ourselves."

Higgins cites the following things to which he believes the Salvationist should be faithful

1. To Army principles

Our methods may change because times alter and conditions become different but our principles remain the same for ever. What is truth today will be truth in a hundred years to come. What is pure today will be pure then.

2. To anti-worldliness

Worldliness is not seen in the choise of our attire only it manifests itself in a thousand and one ways. Everything that is contrary to the spirit and purpose and character of Jesus Christ we must resist with all our might.

3. To fighting for the Salvation of the world

I am afraid the idea has sometimes got abroad that Officers are intended to be like parsons and preach sermons whole the people they are supposed to lead in fighting do nothing. What sort of military warfare would that be in which the fighting was left entirely to the officers, the very persons who are on the spot to lead their soldiers in fighting?

4. To the penitent form

We must be true to the principles of demanding from sinners a public acknowledgement of their need of salvation and urging them to come out and declare before all men their determination to give up sin and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

5. To the government of the Army

That government has proved itself to be strong and effective by securing and developing great forces of thousands of men and women who are willing to be directed by those place in authority over them.

6. To the Gospel

I urge you to be faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ. In your hands are to a great extent the eternal destinies of men and women.

7. To our duties

Bear in mind that the Army has given us opportunities we should never have had elsewhere. It has place us on a platform where we can influence men and women for God. Surely then it has a claim upon our service and devotion which must take first place. If we are going to have satisfaction at the end of life's journey, we must so live that we shall be ab le to look back with full assurance that all our duty has been faithfully performed.

Is he right?

What do you think?

More tomorrow

God bless

Carol

Monday, 26 October 2009

Storm Pilot
Whilst at Officers Councils a few days ago I bought the book 1929 by John Larsson. What a fascinating read. I have been in the Army all my life and although I had of course heard about how Bramwell Booth had been removed from office I had no idea of the intrigue or the drama involved.
One of the central figures during this whole episode of SA history is Edward Higgins, a person I knew nothing about, before I read this book and was known as the Storm- Pilot. He comes across in the book as a man of integrity and wisdom. On returning home I have fished out a book by him that I have never read called Stewards of God, which is a collection of papers specially compiled for the help and guidance of Corps Officers of the Salvation Army.
So I will include some gems of wisdom from the Storm Pilot over the next few blogs, which I think are good advice for all Christians, not just officers.
Higgins on Opportunity

"Our opportunities like time itself are forever on the wing and unless we are alert to the fact we shall become conscious of most of them only when they are gone forever. Therefore look out for them! Try to meet them! Strive for them!
All opportunities are not alike, nor are all equally productive. Yet all Salvation Army officers have many wonderful opportunities presented to them. The important thing is to cultivate that clearness of vision which will enable you to see them. What is seen by some officers as a great opporutnity appears as nothing to others whose perspective is wrong.

Somebody has said, "Failure is blindness to the strategic element in time; success depends upon readiness and instant action hwen the opportune moment arrives." James Watt was not the first man who had seen steam lift the lid of a kettle but he was the first to see the possibilities latent in the fact and to allow his mind to develop the idea until he evolved an engine which improved upon later by George Stephenson was the beginning of transportation by the power of steam. When we realise that we are stewards of every opportunity placed in our hands and for which we shall be held eternally responsible we shall look on this matter with more serious eyes."

More tomorrow
God bless
Carol

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Ask the Lord of the Harvest

I have been to see my good friend Dawnecia (the Rev) who is the leader of Peacemakers Prayer Patrol. (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0KZH/is_4_18/ai_n15378950/ )

Pill Corps is starting out as a Prayer Shield for this great ministry and personally I hope to go out on some more Prayer Patrol's very soon. In the meantime Dawnecia was sharing with me how she is avoiding the Police at the moment, not because she has done anything wrong but because they keep asking her to take Prayer Patrol into more and more areas. However she is stretched to the limit as even some of the existing prayer patrols are struggling to recruit more team members. I felt really saddened that the growing acceptance that prayer makes a difference to communities among secular agencies is not being met by an army of intercessors from the Church. It is almost as if the unchurched believe in prayer more that the Christians.

Now don't get me wrong, I know that many people don't get involved in the particular ministries that I think are priority because they are already heavily involved in the ministry that God has called them into. We are not great advocates of a corps having a huge programme but I understand the heart behind an article William Booth wrote called "buried forces"

He wrote, "Is it any wonder that the interests of the Kingdom of Heaven should make such slow progress, in view of the small amount of energy, time, ability, wealth and other forces expended upon them compared with the enormous attention that is given to earthly enterprises?"

So what should we do? Well we can advertise, we can preach sermons to make people feel guilty enough to help out, we can as William advised, "study how you can roll the old chariot along faster" or we could first take the advice of Jesus. "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."

So we're going to take the Lord at his word and we're going to ask him. It sort of dawned on me that God is not going to honour our recruitment drives, our attempts to motivate people to mobilise if we don't first obey his command to ask him for workers.

So we are going to start now individually but will come together with others at the end of November for a intense prayer night

What about you? Will you pray for harvesters where you are? It will be interesting to see who God sends our way.

God bless

Carol

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Ughhh

I have just walked back from the hall along the path by the river having to avoid piles of for want of a better word "dog pooh"
I hope you know that I am annoyed and irritated. I am thinking of writing to the council, to my MP and Gordon Brown. Woe betide any dog owner I see who isn't armed with a poop scoop and a plastic bag. Do I sound like "outraged from Tunbridge Wells"?

What a subject for what you thought was a spiritual blog, that is supposed to encourage you in your Christian walk! Well I am coming to that, just give me a minute before you turn to someone's more pleasant deliberations.

I have noticed that the above problem gets much worse at this time of year, as the nights get darker earlier. Speaking to one responsible dog owner I was reliably informed that this has always been the case because there are less people around on a dark evening to see the offenders. Although the mess will be evident in the morning as the children walk to school, the culprits will be long gone and no one will know who was responsible.

Now that is a problem that is much wider that this subject. I have heard Laurance Singlehurst say on many occasions that "everything in this fallen world has a tendency to swing to rot." and he says can never assume that once we have taught or educated people in true Christian values that they will not revert to worldly ones. There is a need to constantly shine light on our attitudes and values because without the light, like irresponsible dog owners we will let good attutides and good practice go.

Paul knew this and wrote, "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed to the light becomes visible for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said "Wake up O Sleeper and rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you." (Eph 5:11-14)

And John wrote, "
God is light in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness we lie and od not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son purifies us from all sin." (1 John 1:6-7

As usual when we get angry about other people's misdeeds the Holy Spirit turns the tables. Why do we not get outraged about some of our own attitudes that we allow to flourish because we think no one sees? The truth is of course that God sees the attitude and other people have to live with the offending behaviour that results from them.

I still might write to the council though!

God bless

Carol

Friday, 9 October 2009

What are we hoping for?



The introduction to the book the Cloud of Unknowing, which I mentioned in my last blog suggests that meditation should have the purpose of:



Instructing the mind

Moving the will

Warming the heart.



It occurred to me that these three tests would be good to apply to a lot of areas of our spiritual life. What are we hoping for when we have our "quiet time"? How do we judge whether a meeting has been a "good" one or not? Often we make our assessment upon whether we were entertained, felt comfortable, liked the songs and were able to see the people we wanted to see.



I will never forget listening to a tape by Father Ian Petit, who cautioned people listening to him not to judge whether what he had to say was good or not on the basis on whether they enjoyed it but on the basis of whether they went away changed into better people.



It seems to me that we would cover a lot of ground if we come away from our gatherings together knowing that we understand God's word more and how to apply it to our lives. However there is always the danger of our experience becoming clinical head knowledge if our hearts are not inspired and stirred up with love for God. Yet even this is incomplete is we do not also determined to put into practice what we have heard. If we only ever think and feel and don't act we will continue to go around in circles, living with the same old habits, fears and issues.



I reckon sometimes I need one more than the others but my prayer is that I will be open for the Holy Spirit to sort that out. As a leader I want to be aware of the need to help people to come away from anything I might have a hand in delivering or facilitating experience those things in some measure.



What do you think?



God bless



Carol



PS Sorry to those who have heard me going on about this all week !!

Monday, 5 October 2009

Back to my books

I have a lot of books and I didn't realise how much I missed their availability until they had to be packed away in boxes for 4 months. Well now they are all neatly back on their shelves and there to hand to delve into any time I want to. Bliss.

On Saturday I picked up the Cloud of Unknowing, which is by an unknown 14th century writer. It's a work of its time and pre-reformation but it still has some golden nuggets of wisdom in it regarding a deeper relationship with God.

"Look forward, not backward. See what you still lack, not what you have already; for that is the quickest way of getting and keeping humility. Your whole life now must be one of longing, if your are to achieve perfection. And this longing must be in the depth of your will, put there by God, with your consent. But a word of warning, he is a jealous lover, and will brook no rival; he will not work in your will if he has not sole charge; he does not ask for help, he asks for you. His will is that you should look at him and let him have his way. You must however guard your spiritual windows and doorways against the enemy's attackes. If you are willing to do this, you need only lay hold upon God humbly in prayer and he will soon help you. Lay hold of him then and see how you fare. God is ready when you are and is waiting for you."

God bless

Carol

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Back home, back to normal?

We moved back into our quarters properly on Monday. We are not yet organised and the grass out of the front window, needs major attention but we are back!!!

Back to normal? Well, that's a hard one, in one sense because no one week is the same as another for a Corps officer. However, before we moved I had put in place a framework to my day to day life that I found worked for me. Proximity to the hall and the village, access to the internet and having my house in order also helped to maximize my energies and time. Whilst being out of our quarters and living an hours drive away it has at times felt like I have had my wings clipped.

Although I have maintained my prayer life, the level of study I have been able to do has not been what I have been used to. Also my wider vision has been narrowed whilst out of our appointment. It has been hard enough to keep the local scene going and my involvement in Prayer Patrol, connection to the prayer networks I belong to and writing about the things I am passionate about on this blog have all been curtailed. So forget change being as good as a rest, normal routine sounds just fantastic.

God bless

Carol

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Lack of blogs

Apologies for lack of blogs.

Moving back to quarters, doing all the usual stuff and Annual Appeal..........................

Hoping life gets back to its old routine very soon.

God bless

Carol

Friday, 11 September 2009

The Last 25

We're back in Blighty after a great holiday and so my last 25 thank you's may have a bit of a French flavour.

1. Patisseries

2. The wildness of the ocean

3. Maps

4. Managing to make myself understood despite my terrible French.

5. The gift of a home from home for ten days

6. Being able to get up late without a guilty conscience

7. Going away and coming home across the sea without Alan being seasick!

8. Our Corps prayer room

9. Intercessors

10. That in the love of Jesus is perfect rest

11. Piano lessons when I was a child so that now I can use a keyboard to help me to worship.

12. Silence and noise. We need stillness in our noisy world but I do love really loud music.

13. Which brings me to the Wellingtonian March. It always stirs something in me, especially the
end to which as cadets we always sang My Jesus I love thee. It is best played really loud!!!

14. Access to the throne room of God, anywhere.

15. That we can relate to God as Father, Son and Spirit. There is a completeness in him. God
lacks nothing.

16. The joy of praying with others and sensing the Spirit's presence in the midst.

17. That when we act on our convictions God doesn't let us down.

18. New things beginning - old things restored.

19. Comfortable shoes

20. Brave Christians who stand up for Jesus against incredible persecution.

21. Peacemakers

22. A word in season

23. Quirky things. - Like this morning I saw a notice outside a garden centre that said, "Massive plant sale." Now it may just be my brain but I immediately imagined some poor gardener struggling to his car groaning under the wait of a twenty foot high geranium rather than what I think they meant to convey which, was that they had lots and lots of plants for sale.

24. Fascinating things. I read a great book on holiday called "Attention all Shipping." It is a book
in which the author visits all the areas covered by the Shipping Forecast.

25. Progress on the house. The man was putting the fence up this morning, which means I hope that the inside is finished!! Will find out later.

God bless

Carol

14.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Still saying thank you

I am still compiling my list of 100 thank you's. It is taking me some time to get round to it because we are still not back in our quarters and have no internet access for blogging where we stay. I am trying to "rejoice in the Lord always" about the length of time it is taking to complete the work on the house. In spite of some frustration there is still a lot to say thank you for.

Here are the next 25

1. Thoughtful people

2.The ability to hear

3. The gifts of the Spirit

4. Kindness

5. Ducks

6. Seeing a kingfisher, outside my window. (wow)

7. Storytellers

8. Salvation Army Sundays

9. The fact that God has a plan

10. Marizpan (I love it)

11. For Bethel experiences (I have been studying the life of Jacob)

12. That God is an inspiring teacher

13. Hope

14. The international Salvation Army. Hayley travelled to the USA on Tuesday to begin a year of study. She was met by Salvationists, who were overwhemingly kind. It is amazing to be part of such a huge family.

15. My sister in laws sense of humour.

16. Digital radio

17. Vinegar ( I have discovered just how brilliant it is at getting rid of limescale.)

18. You tube

19. The Alpha Course

20. Teamwork

21. A vote

22. Knowing God's strength is made perfect in weakness

23. Getting into fresh sheets

24. Pat Grindon's soup (delicious)

25. A sense of achievement


God bless.

Carol

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Weekly Update

This blog is turning into a weekly thing due to being away from home and sheer busyness.

So anyway here is the latest from Pill.

Showstoppers Holiday Club.

We have had a fantastic week yet again this year. Leaders and helpers all working hard and about 50 children each day. As usual it has been exhausting but amazing.
Pictures can be found at www.pillcorps.blogspot.com Tonight the children return for the Celebration Evening with their parents and we are hoping some will also come on Sunday.

Quarters

The on going saga of our quarters refurbishment continues. After some delays we moved out at the beginning of June, whilst renovations on the house were done, expecting that this would take about a month. We now expect to return at the end of August. We have been very comfortable in the flat at Smallcombe House and of we love Bath, our home town, but we will be glad to get back into our own home and our own community.

Holiday
Next week we are having some time off. We will hang about Bath, travel up to Yorkshire to see some friends and London to stay with Katie. I'm really looking forward to the rest.

USA
Hayley is counting down the days now until she leaves for her big adventure to the USA. She is off to Michigan University to study history for a year. We think that we have ticked all the boxes on the tick list. Hope so anyway.

God bless

Carol

Thursday, 30 July 2009

The Next 25 Thank you's (a week late)

1. Umbrella's Can we have any more rain this summer?

2. The schools have broken up and there is much less traffic on the road at 8 am

3. That there is always some good news

4. Choice

5. Moses. I was reading his story in the car this morning. What a reluctant hero! God was so
patient with him. I trust he is as patient with me.

6. Fun and good food at the Toddler Team celebration last night.

7. The good ladies of our Home League, who have been so understanding and open to the idea
of expanding into a Cameo Club.

8. Growing up in a family that communicated with one another naturally.

9. The healing of people I know who have been ill

10. Colour

11. Andrew Murray. No, not the tennis player. The other one. Still don't know? He was a Christian writer, who wrote hundreds of devotional books and pamphlets. He's old fashioned but so often hits the nail on the head.

12. Preaching on "Do not commit adultery" on Sunday and getting out of the hall alive!

13. Some progress on the refurbishment of our quarters.

14. Enthusiastic people.

15. Nice surprises

16. The promise that God will provide

17. Ducks

18. Tweezers (Ladies who are my age will know why they are essential!!)

19 Being able to play the piano enough to find it a vehicle through which I can worship.

20. That no one in our congregation plays the violin or the bagpipes!

21. Our SA hall, which is so adaptable.

22. God co-incidences.

23. Mess (well I acutally hate mess, but I'm trying to be positive in the midst of chaos)

24. Change.

25. Another day.

That's it. More when I have time.


God bless

Carol

Thursday, 23 July 2009

100 Thank You's 25 at a time

Here are 25 things I am thankful for today. They are not in any particular order, just as they come to mind.

I got to know about Jesus at a very young age

A Christian heritage

The Holy Spirit liberating me from fear

Alan and the fact that we have been married for 30 years in September

Katie and Hayley and the fact I not only love them but I like them too

The Salvation Army and the privilege of being an officer

Books. I love books, starting with the Bible of course but I like all kinds of books.

Bookcases. I have hundreds of books and without bookcases we would live in chaos.

That Alan can drive a car and doesn't mind that I won't even contemplate learning.

The internet

Lessons learned

That in the life of a Corps officer, no day is exactly the same.

Health

Tea God is good all the time but he is especially wonderful for inventing tea.

Songs and singing

Bath and Baths. I am a very privileged person to have grown up in the beautiful city of Bath and am temporarily living there again. I also love a good soak in a hot bath, with a book and a cup of tea. Heaven!

A side variety of friends and family

A new family at the corps on Sunday

Bright ideas

The chances I have had to travel to other countries

Memories

Glasses I am as blind as a bat without them.

Freedom

Seeing seeds sown for the Kingdom, bear fruit

Faithful saints


That's my thank you's for today. What are yours?

God bless

Carol

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Call to Repentance

Just a quick blog to suggest a look at Andrew Bale's blog http://www.beyondthebrook.blogspot.com regarding the statement to come out of the recent International Conference of Leaders. I have added my own thoughts to the comments.

God bless

Carol

Friday, 10 July 2009

More musings on the road.

We have travelled along a lot of different roads in the last week. Last Saturday we were in dashing up the M4 to witness the Commissioning of our good friend Tracey Bale. I haven't been to this event for a while but it is a bit of a nostalgic road for me, as it was at a Commissioning, when I was 11 years old that my dream of becoming an officer myself was born. And now when I go to Commissioning I meet up with session mates and we are discussing plans to have a 30 year reunion and I am so grateful and amazed at God's faithfulness in making dreams realities.

On Tuesday, we took a different route to the hall. Instead of facing the urban traffic for some of the way at least we went through what could be described as "quintessential English countryside." It was a reminder of how some of the things that I think are so important and huge are part of a very much wider scheme of things. My life, my thoughts are sometimes such "urban chaos" but God sees a bigger picture all the time. It sounds a bit trite but the song that went through my mind was;

As the varied way of life we journey
Come the plains and then the mountainside
Come the days of joy when birds are singing
And the world is fair and sweet and wide;
Then a deeper joy comes, overfilling
From the everlasting throne of love
And all other joy is but an echo
From the ever-blessed heights above.


God bless

Carol

Thursday, 2 July 2009

On the road

Reading
Since having to travel in to the Corps each day I have managed to finish New Love, (Thinking aloud about practical holiness), by Shaw Clifton and other guest writers. There is something good in each chapter but I liked this from Jo Noland

"Where is God's perfection? It is found in our personal and corporate response to others. It is not holiness constrained; it is holiness released. It is not holiness "from" the world; it is holiness taken into the world. It is not holiness controlled; it is holiness directed. It is holiness portable, adaptable and all inclusive."

Looking
I have also decided that during my journey I would ask the Lord to use what I see out of the window to speak. Here is one example.

Most mornings we pass a car washing business. This firm specialises in handwashing and drying the customers car with a in a few minutes. To do this uses 8-10 men all working together, each with an appointed task. Apart from the obvious analogies of each person playing their part and the idea that the individuals matter and that it a persons needs are often met not just by one person but by a community of people, the thing that struck me most about this team was their readiness.
One morning there was no car in the bay being washed, but the men were still there, buckets, sponges, etc to hand. No one had wandered off because they were bored and neither were they distracted by other jobs. They seemed, to me at least sure of what they were on site for and stayed on duty.

O that this same readiness and focus was seen among Christians. We are so easily distracted and often so unprepared that when people do come to have their lives cleaned up, we struggle to find the resources to help them. I will never forget, a lady I was called in by the military army to help. She said that she had called Churches and gone to churches many times for help in the past but whenever she approached them, they were either shut, or the phone was answered by the cleaner, who had no other connection to the place. In the end she turned to New Age groups who always opened the door to her and offered her something. She came to realise that what they offered was empty but how sad that the Church was not ready to receive her.

Listening
The CD "A New Hallelujah" by Micheal W Smith has kept my perspective, despite the traffic lights, slow drivers and road works!


God bless

Carol

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Change

Life is really busy, with just loads of ministry. I am not complaining. Much of what is happening is a result of asking God to open doors of opportunity and a lot of stuff is with the unchurched, which I love.

I am just conscious of carving out time to spend in prayer. Living away from Pill at the moment and at the same time extra responsbilities coming our way has meant that the prayer routines that we had in place have gone out of the window.

However change also brings new experiences and new blessings. The flat we are staying in overlooks a pond and garden. I have to admit I'm not a wildlife fan really but I have become quite fascinated by the antics of the resident duck population, the squirrels and by the badgers that visit in the evening. I think the only time I have seen badgers this close is when they have been dead in the road. It's great to seem them alive. Anyway the contrast of the scene outside of my window to the mayhem of my days, seems to still my spirit and ushers me into the presence of God.

In addition most days we now have an hour's journey from Bath to Pill each morning and I am redeeming the time by reading, praying and listening to worship CD's. The return journey is usually less busy and quicker but another opportunity to pray and read the word. I leave the driving to Alan and he is having to work out his own new prayer routines. More time at the hall means opportunity to use the prayer room.

So, although at first I felt a bit robbed of a comfortable way of enjoying my devotional life, I am now finding the changes a blessing.

God is good

Love and prayers

Carol

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Prayer Cover

Last Saturday was what is known in our village as Pill Rag,which is I suppose a small scale carnival. Sadly although this is really meant to be a family event, in recent years binge and under age drinking have been an unwelcome feature. Also visiting groups of young people from other areas intent on causing trouble has led to fights with our village youth.

Concerned about this we decided to prayer walk the route of the carnival, pray outside the local pubs and pray around the site of the main activities prior to the event. On the Saturday evening from 8pm -10pm we went out and "prayer patrolled" the village, talking with the organiser, local people, the police and watching out for some of the young people we know. It felt right to be visible and available but also we rejoice because we believe our prayers and our presence contributed to the fact that this years Rag, apart from a few minor scuffles was peaceful.

God bless

Carol

Ps I apologise for the lack of blogs but I only have easy access to the internet when I am at the hall. We are at present out of our quarters whilst it undergoes major refurbishment.
The fact that we are living at a Salvation Army Care Home has nothing to do with the fact that Alan will be 50 this year!!!!!!! I also hasten to add that we are staying a very nice staff flat and that our friend Ena, who is the manager has been great in making us feel welcome.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

New Things

This blog is really an update on the new things that I blogged were about to happen at Pill and which have now begun.

On Friday I went on my first night-time prayer patrol in Bristol. As on the day-time patrol people were only to willing to be prayed for. We had what I can only describe as some interesting "spiritual warfare" encounters. However the team were not phased by this and actually the strange events confirmed the rightness of what we were doing. We also met some really lost souls, with whom it was a privilege to share the love of God. I am praising God because I know there was a time in my life when I would not have dared to go out on the streets in this way. Now it is such a joy.

This morning we held our first session of Alpha. There were 7 of us in the group and I get the feeling that this is going to be a good one. We are from a wide variety of backgrounds and experience but there is a hunger to know more about what being a Christian means.

From this Alan and I went immediately to the Secondary School for our first Open Door session. Given that this must be one of the hottest days of the year so far, we did not really expect that any young person would want to spend their lunch hour indoors but we had 8 kids turn up. Afterwards their teacher said they were some of the most vulnerable kids in the school. Even at the first session they are beginning to open up to us so we are excited about the future of this venture.

I just want to add that the new things do not mean that the day to day things that we always do week in week out are overlooked or are unimportant.

"Whatever you do, whether in word or indeed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the Father through him." Col 3:17

Thursday, 28 May 2009

God's Messengers

On 28th May 1982 the God's Messengers session were commissioned as Salvation Army officers.
This means that today we have been officers for 27 years.

Officership has not always been easy but I have never wanted to do anything else with my life and I still love the opportunities it opens up for me to serve the Lord. Most of the time it is a fantastic adventure.

What would be really good is for there to be a widescale revival in the UK before we retire. So if you're listening Lord, that's in the next 15 years. However anytime now would be even more wonderful!

According to our sessional song, God's Messengers must speak the word, live the truth and love the lost. I'm still up for that. Trust my fellow Messengers are too!

God bless

Carol

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Do what the Lord says and don't disobey.

In February 2007, whilst I was on my way to Ethiopia, my husband Alan phoned me with the the news that our new appointment was to be the Corps Officers at Pill Corps near Bristol. Although at that moment many miles apart we both felt a sense that God was definitely in this. I travelled on to Addis Adaba and whilst attending a Pastors Conference there God asked me a question, "Are there still slaves in Bristol?"

I know that this was connected with the Human Trafficking campaign that the Army was involved in. Visiting women in Ethiopian prisons and meeting a woman whose daughter was living in a forced labour situation meant that from now on the human trafficking issue was related to people I had met, embraced and prayed with. I knew the answer to the question that God asked was a definite yes, although I also knew that the slavery encountered in the city of Bristol would take many forms and would include lack of emotional and spiritual freedom.

Sharing something of this conviction with Rev Kingsley Armstrong I was invited to accompany him to Cote D'Ivoire to visit a church that had a special ministry to people caught up in prostitution. It was an amazing time. A never to be forgotten experience was walking to labyrinth of alleyways, in the area where many prostitutes work and live. Although it was day time and the sun was shining it was a desperate place. I thought my heart was going to break in two. Later in worship that night God spoke to me again. He said he had brought me to Abidjan and I had walked the streets in that city and my heart had filled with compassion. Did I have the same compassion for people in the slavery of sin in my own city and was I willing to walk the streets there like I had in Africa? Of course I answered yes.

I returned determined to do this but seemed to come across obstacles. Last summer I met Rev Dawnecia Palmer, who heads up Peacemakers Prayer Patrol and this initiative combined my two passions of reaching out with compassion and prayer. There were such a frustrating series of delays that I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to be able to obey what I really felt God had laid upon my heart to do.

Anyway, hallelujah! Last Friday I went out on my first Prayer Patrol on the streets of Bristol with Dawnecia. Prayer Patrol seeks to reduce crime and build better and safer communities through changing the spiritual atmosphere with prayer. This involves walking the streets at strategic times and praying with people that you meet. The results of the intiative have been absolutley amazing so much so that the organization has won awards from the Police.

We went out on a bright afternoon, for a maximum of 30 minutes and in that time talked with about a dozen people and had significant prayer time with three of them. Dawnecia was particularly excited that we had a conversation with a Rastafarian guy, who had always refused to speak to her before. It was just amazing how open people were to receive prayer. I am going on a night shift this week, when more people will be about.

But the great thing was to feel that I was doing what God had told me to do. I do not know what it will lead to but almost a year to the day God told me to walk the streets of my city I have done it, with his help.

Doing the will of God, doing the will of God
The best thing I know in this world below
Is doing the will of God.

God bless

Carol

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Taking back what was stolen from us

A few weeks ago at the Fulness Retreat I sensed the Spirit say that one of the things he wants to re-release in the Salvation Army is extempore and vocal prayer.
As I was waiting upon the Lord I had a picture in my mind of lots of individuals on their own in their prayer closets all praying faithfully. I felt assured that there is a lot more Salvationist praying going on than we know about. However I also felt that the Spirit was saying that these prayers need to be released into vocal public prayer.

As I have been processing this it occurs to me that this again is all part of the same call to the Salvationists to have confidence in our identity. Prayers that are not reliant on prayer books or the eloquent and uttered by anyone who felt led something that characterised our worship and was envied by many other churches.

I have a growing conviction that there has been a gagging of public prayer in the UK SA that has become a spiritual stronghold over many of our corps. I believe that in some quarters the enemy has stolen our freedom in prayer. I am on a mission to get it back.

We have all been in those meetings when prayer has been asked for and there has been that restless awkward silence, whilst everyone waits for the usual volunteers to let everyone else off the hook. When at last, they wearily get to their feet because they can bear the silence no longer, the sigh of relief from everyone else is much louder than the words of prayer uttered.

More and more, in the Army we are reading prayers from the screen, praying silently and writing things down on bits of paper to avoid the agony of the silence and to try to involve the silent majority in the prayer time. That’s Ok, there is a place for those things but we must not retreat to them because people are afraid to express their heart.

I have never liked the awkward silence and have always been frustrated by it. But of late it has become a real burden. When there is a delay in people responding to the call for prayer and you know it is not just about people becoming still enough to be led by the Spirit, I want to cry. I feel a sense of sorrow that we can’t find our voices to pray in front of one another.

Anyway in the light of this I have been praying about my own corps, which is freer than many in this area but I also know that there are many who are frustrated at their nervousness about praying in public. Anyway having prayed, shared something of my heart on this and promised that we will not railroad anyone or embarrass anyone into praying out loud we have seen some release. At least 8 people prayed aloud on Sunday morning and others in the evening meeting. I am praying for even more freedom.

I have a growing conviction that if we find our voices to pray before one another we will find our voices to proclaim salvation to the world.

God bless

Carol

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Alarm Call

It feels like there is a lot going on in Pill Corps at present. We are launching out into new mission and prayer strategies in the corps and in the division. In the wider local church, we have been re-structuring our council of Churches and welcome two new ministers into the village. Alan is getting nearer to taking on a role in Police Chaplaincy.

Despite the fact that I have been an officer for a lot of years and been involved in planting new corps I was travelling home in the car yesterday after a fairly stressful day and realised that I have been particularly dense during the last week about spiritual warfare. By now I ought to know that Satan particularly does not like any new advances against his kingdom and will let you know that. He will seek to undermine confidence, accuse, distract, confuse and try to divide.

He won a couple of skirmishes yesterday but not the battle or the war because thankfully the Holy Spirit woke me up just in time. Anyway, Pill Corps and anyone else who is on the offensive, this is an officical Red Alert. Get your armour on.

God bless

Carol

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Open Doors

The door of ministry is swinging two ways at the moment. On the one hand we have been seeing a number of people coming through our doors and returning to the Salvation Army and our Corps community, after many years absence. Could it be that all that praying for the prodigals is having an affect? I think so and we should remember to give the Lord the praise.

It is a joy to embrace people back into fellowship and we are aware of the task that is ours of helping them grow and work our their discipleship with us.


On the other hand faithful prayer has opened doors to new ministry and it feels at Pill at the moment that we are just on the threshold of walking through them into the new things God wants us to be involved in. There are four particular doors of opportunity.



1. Alpha
Relationships prayed about in cell groups and others built through vibrant Parent and Toddler group mean that we have decided that our we need to do an Alpha Course sooner rather than later. We hope to begin in early June.

2. Youth
As well as our youth activities at the corps developing, albeit slowly in the last few months we have been given a wonderful opportunity to get involved at the local secondary school. Among other things the headteacher has asked if would like to do hold a drop-in once a week at lunch times and get involved with young people with issues around inclusion.


3. Peacemakers Prayer Patrol
Last week we have the visit of Rev Dawnecia Palmer, who heads up a prayer initiative that
aims to change the atmosphere of our towns and cities through a Christian presence on the streets and through prayer. The initiative has been successful in reducing crime to such an extent that Peacemakers Prayer Patrol is now emerging in cities all over the UK. I am going for a days training in a couple of weeks and we are looking at how our Corps could become a prayer shield for those patrolling the streets of Bristol.

4. Police Chaplaincy
Alan has been asked to consider becoming a Police Chaplain at Portishead and maybe for a couple of other Police departments in our area. The official stuff has to be waded through and training undertaken but this should start happening in the next few months.



Revelation 3:7
"See I have place before you an open door that no-one can shut. I know you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name."


We continue with the rhythm of prayer that is established, believing that this is essential is we are to make the most of the opportunities opening up before us. Prayer in cell groups, Early Bird Prayer meeting, Prayer Walking, our Permanent Prayer room, prayer lists and regular Pray for a Day events all continue. A number of folk are also attending Prayer School, where a number of Bristol Corps are coming together to learn about prayer and develop a prayer team for our area. Open doors to mission come through the open window towards God in prayer.

God bless

Carol

Friday, 8 May 2009

Persistence

"I know of almost nothing that makes one feel his own helplessness more than when a sight is given lof the approaching fate of so many around us, and it is as if nothing avails to awaken or save them. Our only hope is to place ourselves persistently at His feet who is mighty to save and to wait on him for the fire of his zeal and love to burn within us."

Andrew Murray (The Holiest of All)

God save us from our inconsistency in prayer. At Pill Corps we are endeavouring to build in a rhythmn of prayer that is the pulse beneath all our activity. I keep banging on at the moment that we must not be event focussed, i.e we pull out the stops for something when it is hightlighted but we forget it as soon as the "next thing" grabs our attention.

I was listening to the radio this morning to a discussion about the sales of organic foods in the UK. One speaker said that one of the reasons sales are struggling for this type of product is not that people don't believe that it is better but that for a time it was fashionable to eat organic but now in the light of the economic situation it is more fashionable to be frugal.

Too many Christians are spiritually fashionable. It is not that they think a counter to culture lifestyle is wrong but it is more fashionable to use "the lets show the world that Christian's aren't weird" method of evangelism. It's not that they think spiritual warfare isn't real any more but it is more fashionable to talk about social justice. It's not that they think making a committment to a people or a place is wrong but it is more fashionable to be led to where the action is.

Don't get me wrong I do believe that God works seasonally. There are times when he leads us to experience certain things for a season and once the season is over we will concentrate on another aspect of our faith. The difference is that he decides, not fashion. I do not believe however that prayer, feeding on his word, or holiness or being a witness for Christ are ever seasonal.

Sorry didn't mean to rant

God bless

Carol

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Words of encouragement to a Crusader for Christ.

I was looking through some boxes the other day and came across my Mum's autograph book, which she took with her to the Crusaders Session at the Training College in 1940 and was still using as a young Lieutenant serving in London during the Blitz.

In it some older and wiser officers wrote their words of encouragement and advice, (not necessarily original but endorsed by them) in those challenging days. They still hold true.

Aim high!
Low aims are greater crimes than failures.
(Colonel James)

"Set thy heart towards the highway."
(Minnie Carpenter)

"The secret of the victorious life is to say Yes to God - and to keep on saying it."
(General George Carpenter)

And I'll sign off tonight with the words that Albert Osborne contributed to the collection...

For the cross
The colours
And the Kingdom!

Carol

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Salvation Army Don't hide!

We have been at the Fulness Retreat held in Birmingham. It was a call to pray and to fast. The Holy Spirit moved among us and a good work of prayer was undertaken. During the retreat we were asked to seek the Lord about what he wants to say to the Salvation Army. It was reassuring when people reported back that the major themes were that he wants us to focus on holiness and that he doesn't want us to be ashamed of our particular calling. Anyway this is what I sensed God was saying to me about the Salvation Army.

Salvation Army. Don't hide, don't hide. You are not an underground Church. Be a city set on a hill. Declare like Paul that you are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.

Pray in secret but raise an audible voice in prayer.

Reveal to the world what is truly on your heart for it. Be honest that our true mission is the salvation of souls. You are about salvation not rehabilitation. Do not hide behind a lable of good works.

Be publicaly humble and repentant.

God bless

Carol

Sunday, 3 May 2009

More joy in heaven!

Sorry about the lack of blogs. Life has been very hectic and in need of a break we have been enjoying a time of rest and renewal in Yorkshire and at the Fulness Prayer Retreat in Birmingham.

We returned home to a pile of post and among them was a very precious letter. During my time as a volunteer Prison Chaplain I was privileged to meet with hundreds of young prisoners and speak into their lives. One of the intitiatives begun in my time there were Chapel groups where we tried to get the lads thinking about the meaning of life, God and their future. One lad who came back in 2001/02 was Shane.

For a number of years, although we marvelled at the interest lads took in the gospel, we didn't see many get saved. Sometimes there was however a glimmer of hope. I wrote in my prayer diary thanking God that he was so interested in the message and that the gold nuggets of truth he had received among all the other information and experience. I prayed that God would gather them together and enlarge it so that he could grasp enough truth to transform everything and that one day people would be drawn to him like a gold rush.

A few weeks ago I opened a copy of Alpha News to a middle page spread telling the testimony of Shane, who had become a Christian on an Alpha Course in prison. I made some enquiries and made contact and today I received a letter from Shane.

He asks if I remember coming to his cell, sitting on his bed and praying and goes on to say, "You see God does listen to all Christians. I guess God listened to you and I'm a Christian and you know even more that he listens to you. All of the Christians who pray but think they don't do anything this is great proof that just because you don't see it happen doesn't mean he doesn't listen."

I am rejoicing with heaven for Shane but it is also a personal encouragement. The SA plant that we began and gave me the opportunity to visit the prison has not survived and you can imagine that this has been painful for us. However the promise of Isaiah 55:11 was given to us on several occasions. "So if my word that goes out from my mouth it will not return to me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." Shane is part of that glorious return.

Will you be encouraged too? Keep on believing and obeying.

God bless

Carol

Friday, 17 April 2009

Easter Sunday 2009
Love has won!
Sunrise Service 6am

Christ the Lord is risen today Hallelujah
(The sun hasn't quite made it yet!)
And we are raised with him
Death is dead
Love has won
Christ has conquered
And we shall reign with him
For he lives
Christ is risen from the dead!
(Stuart Townend)
God bless
Carol

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Easter people.

Easter celebrations at Pill Corps were very inspiring, with a sense of awe at what Jesus has done for us all resting over our worship together, particularly on Good Friday. Hopefully some pictures tomorrow.

Our Easter celebrations seemed to me to infuse our fellowship with a new breath of life at a time when for some it has seemed a long winter of routine with not many breaks. We have also had a number of people suffer from ill health and some bereavements to cope with. Easter put back our perspective and gives us the impetus for the days ahead.

We began our early morning Sunrise service with the words, "We are an Easter people and hallelujah is our name!" As I blogged after our holiness week-end it is easy to tick another week-end off. We did holiness and now we have done Easter. However we are an Easter people, able to rely on Jesus risen presence in the most mundane of tasks or the most difficult circumstance.

We celebrated Easter, now we need to as Brengle put it to be a people of "Resurrection, life and power!"

If only we can harness the openness, the enthusiasm and the comradeship felt at Easter and translate it into holy living and passionate committed mission we could have revival!


God bless

Carol

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Yippee

"There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner that repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance."

I just heard last night that there has been another convert at the prison where I used to work. This time its not a prisoner but an influential prison officer whom my prison fellowship friends have been praying for ever since he arrived. If the joy in heaven is anything like mine, then they are having a great party up there.
This is soooooooooooooo good I can't stop smiling.

God bless

Carol

Saturday, 28 March 2009

My 10 prayers for today

1. Put People First March in London. We can't attend but our Hayley will be there.

2. The 150+ people who attended a funeral we conducted this week, many of whom do not know Jesus. The deceased was not a believer. It was a challenge to offer both comfort and the truth. I pray that someone will have been stirred up to think about eternal matters.

3. Jon who volunteered to pray at Quest group.

4. For the Corps outreach at Coffee morning and High St War Cry sales.

5. Our meetings tomorrow. am 1 John 4-5 Moving in the power of God and pm The prayer of
Jesus John 17

6. For an officer colleague who is ill.

7. Prostitutes in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire and prisoners in Ethiopia.

8. Revival in the Salvation Army.

9. Alan's unsaved family.

10. The town of Portishead.

O God Maker of the earth and heaven
Given to a world in need
Act now in Your power to deliver
O Lord God hear our prayers.

Father look upon your troubled children
Save them in their darkest hour
Strengthen them to speak Your name with courage
O Lord God hear our prayers

Oh make known to all that you are mighty to save
Lord how long must they wait?

Guard them when they suffer persecution
Grant them the grace to stand
Faithful unto their testimony
O Lord God hear our prayers

(Keith Getty and Jason Mandryk copyright 2002 Kingsway's Thankyou Music/MCPS)

God bless

Carol

Thursday, 26 March 2009

An upside down world.

As a teenager I remember listening to the testimony of former witch Doreen Irvine. One thing that has stuck in my mind was that she said her involvement in the occult brought her to a place where she had a completely inverted idea of what was evil and what was good. The way that she viewed the world was upside down. Evil was good and good was evil.

Doreen was heavily into extreme occult practices but I am increasingly concerned that more and more ordinary people are being persuaded that into an inverted view of what is good and what is evil.

This morning I listened to a news report about the results of a survey which showed that some psychologists still tried to help people with homosexual tendencies to overcome them. The "so called" expert response to this was shock and horror. The man I heard being interviewed said he thought such a practice was immoral.

I am not convinced that someone can be counselled out of homosexuality, nor am I unaware that there are many complex issues around this subject but I know people who have been set free from homosexuality, through the power of Christ and have moved into happy and stable heterosexual marriages.

It seems that it is not now the person who helps a terminally ill person to commit suicide who is deemed immoral but the person who continues to call such a practice murder.

On the day that it has been announced in the UK that abortion groups will be allowed to advertise on TV it is often those who call for abstinance from pre-marital sex that are deemed the bad guys. A pastor I know was told by a local doctor that his church was responsible for the teenage pregnancy of one of their young people because they had unrealistically taught that it was wrong for 14 year olds to have sex. He was told they youth team should have been advising instead about contraception.

John Smeaton of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children said, "There is plenty of evidence to show that the more you promote easy access to birth control among young people, the higher the pregnancy rate, the higher the abortion rate."

The world does not need turning upside down. It needs to be turned the right way up.

God bless

Carol

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Holiness and Prayer

Our Day of prayer and our Holiness Week-end have come and gone. There were many blessings and we thank God for his presence and his power in our midst. It is however easy in our action packed lives to move quickly on to the next thing. It's March, we've done Commitment Sunday, we've done Self Denial, a Family Service, we've done a Sunday morning series on the Ten Commandments and now we've done prayer and holiness. We push on to Easter.

It is right that at different times of the year we focus on different things. I believe that there are seasons spiritually just as there are in nature. However we need to be careful that we don't compartmentalise our lives. The reality is that as disciples of Jesus, our commitment, our giving, our mission, our service, our study of the word are every day things done in the context of holiness and prayer. We can't do holiness and prayer for a week-end and move on.
Without them everything we do becomes simply performance and dead religion.

Hence I'm giving notice that holiness and prayer are still on the agenda for Pill Corps for the unforseeable future.

Do I hear an amen anywhere?

God bless

Carol

Friday, 6 March 2009

The Inner Life by Mrs Bramwell Booth

"Take heed concerning the secret inner life- in this lies the only surety against heart breaking personal failure. Strive for a strengthening and deepening of your spiritual life. There could be no outward manifestation of life in speech, sight, movement but for the hidden activity of beating heart, breathing lungs, guiding brain. Prayer links our life to him the giver of all life.

How about the hidden life in you, this prayer behind shut doors? What are you saying to yourself about it now? Have you confidence before God? Have you constant access to him in prayer? There is to be that in your experience which is between you and God only. Oh, if you are confessing yourself a weakling in prayer, have faith that the Holy Spirit will help you pray; (Romans 8:26)

We cannot live to please God without secret prayer; no indeed we cannot: and so the Devil will induce us to wear the cloak of religion whilst living and working without communion with God. He is securely binding some of our people with the chains of prayerlessness, enticing them to be content with empty service and to allow the hidden, secret life to starve and die, that he may brand them for himself. How satisfied he will be if he succeeds in inclining you to let your outward service in the Army swallow up the life of your soul ! Be on the watch for this snare. Guard against allowing that which is good in itself to take the place of this all important duty of secret prayer.

If you pray you cease to sin; if you sin you cease to pray"

God bless

Carol

Thursday, 5 March 2009

The connection of prayer to mission and holiness according to Mrs Bramwell Booth

The following is taken from Powers of Salvation Army Officers by Mrs Bramwell Booth.

"No matter how much we may labour, our toil will be unblessed by God if it is not hallowed by prayer; but when we express our desires and hopes to him in secret he delights to reward us openly. Those whose yearning for the salvation of souls moves them to plead with God that souls shall be saved, shall have the open reward. He has promised!

Those who hunger after holiness of character, desiring to have the witness that all their ways please God, let them but commune with him and they will have their sure reward in power to live the holy life; power to be meek and humble; power to keep their temper; power to be the sort of person whom others will find sympathetic and kind, witholding the hasty answer. Their reward will be seen most markedly in their holiness, their likeness to the character of God in a glorious overcoming of temptation. "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above. (Col 3:1)"

God bless

Carol

Friday, 27 February 2009

In the War
Well I have to admit it was a bit demoralising to be asked by a 7 year old lad at Jam Club, "Carol were you in the World War?"
Now I know I have grey hair but really! Of course everyone age 20 and above is old to him. Well that's what I am telling myself anyway. I laughed and told him that I was born a long time after World War 2.
Of course the reality is that I am engaged in a World-wide spiritual war all the time. It is interesting that his comment should come when it did because earlier in the week we had a few hand to hand combat situations with the devil to deal with.
I was also encouraged by my daily reading by FB Meyer where he comments on the disciples return to Jesus from their mission and expressing their delight to him that "Lord, even the submit to us in your name." (Luke 10:18)

FB Meyer writes:
"The Christ nature within you becomes the dominant, triumphant power to which all power must ultimately yield. Dare to use it. Be sure to rely not on numbers or organisation but on the name of Jesus , used not as a charm but as representing his living and ascended might."

In the scheme of things Pill is a small out of the way village that most people have never heard of so I was really encouraged by his final paragraph. I hope you will be too, wherever you are.
"The success of these disciples over a few demons in the villages and towns of Israel reacted on the balance of power in the heavenlies, so there is no victory won anywhere by any lonely disciple or handful of disciples that does not react on the entire battle field."

The fight where you are matters.
The fight where you are can be won because heaven's authority is just as real where you are as it is for those who stand on the world's stage.

Keep fighting.

God bless

Carol




Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Singing Salvation Songs

It's been a day of singing today. This afternoon a number of us from Pill attended the funeral/celebration for Captain Muriel Sims. There is nothing quite like O boundless salvation to make your heart soar and something faith building about watching the coffin of a faithful servant of Christ exit the hall to the strains of "Sweeping through the gates of the new Jerusalem, washed in the blood of the Lamb."

Later members of my cell group were leading some worship songs at a divisional meeting, singing of a desire that Jesus be the centre of their lives and then telling him directly in song, "You are my strength when I am weak, you are the treasure that I seek, you are my all in all."

More songs were to follow, "Knowing you Jesus, knowing you there is no greater thing and All that once I thought most worthy, all of which I once did boast, in thy light seems poor and passing tis thyself I covet most and finally a song we sang at our Commissioning, "Unto thee O Saviour king.

Phew I need a cup of tea!

But don't you just love Salvation Songs in whatever style they come? They have built me up in my faith and in my spirit today.

Thank you Lord


God bless

Carol

Friday, 20 February 2009

More from FB Meyer

"The Lord Jesus became like us in his low estate that we should become like him in his glory. There must ever be the limitation of the creature as compared with him by whom all things were made. But in our measure there shall be the same perfect beauty - his beauty upon us for a mountain lake may as perfectly reflect the wide blue heaven an ocean."

God bless

Carol

Monday, 16 February 2009

Rejoice and have faith for greater things

We had a lovely Sunday yesterday. We had cause to rejoice over a number of things.
It was great to enrol Tyler Gibbons as a Junior Soldier.
There were also some unchurched people in the meeting whom we have been praying for.
Brian was thanking God that his health has been good during the winter, a time when he is particulalry vulnerable to infection.

Praise the Lord!
We ended the meeting with the song Greater Things, singing with passion, tambourines playing and flags waving. Alan led us in worship in the evening and talked about how we must take steps to create an atmosphere of faith.
I spent a couple of hours in prayer last night. The Sunday before this I had asked our evening congregation to seek the Lord about what season we are in as a corps. During my prayer time I kept coming back to the thoughts about faith during the day. This is a time to exercise active faith. By that I mean not just a vague belief that things might get a bit better if we pray a bit more but faith to step out, take a few risks and enter some new territory.

Are we up for it?

Greater things
Give us faith, O Lord we pray
Faith for greater things

God bless
Carol

Friday, 13 February 2009

Moving

We are moving..............

No not our appointment. Don't be silly!

We are moving in the power of God

Hope you are too!

God bless

Carol

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Expectations and Listening

We have just got back from Corps Council and my head is buzzing with what seems like hundreds of date and details. I do believe that we have an exciting year ahead and that we have a good balance of events that support mission, discipleship and prayer.

Coming up quite soon is our Holiness week-end led by Major Samuel Edgar. (7th/8th March if you are near enoughto come.) We recently emailed the Major with our aims for the event. We said that "The idea of the week-end is to re-enforce our holiness tradition, be challenged and inspired by holiness preaching and above all to encourage all who come to embrace the experience and practice holiness."

So not much really!!

I know that we are expecting a lot. We long for people to come not just to hear good teaching and be blessed but that their lives might be impacted forever by putting into practice what they hear. That's Ok isn't it? Our God is big enough!

The other thing is that I am aware of at the moment is the danger of just hearing the word of God but not listening on the level that I need to in order to really tune in to what he is saying to me and to the Corps.

I was conscious the other day of sitting before the computer about to prepare for something and my immediate thought was, " I have nothing to say."
Now those people that know me, know that that is rubbish. I always have something to say and I can come up with some kind of message because I have been an officer for a long time. I can churn it out. But I can't settle for that. What I really meant was that I had nothing fresh, nothing that I felt was being prompted by the Spirit. That scared me. I went on immediate red alert and made time to be still and wait. God spoke.

God bless

Carol

Monday, 9 February 2009

Faith

I am still reading FB Meyer each day. Here is what he has to say on faith.

"Let us not worry about the greatness or smallness of our faith; the main point is as whether it is directed towards the living Saviour. There are many issues to which these words may apply.
(You say):
"If Jesus can save me from the power of sin!"
(I say)
If you can believe, he can.
(You say)
"If Jesus can deliver out of a mesh of temptation and perplexity."
(I say)
If you can believe , he will.
(You say)
"If Jesus can revive his work mightily to the upbuilding of his Church and the ingathering of the lost."
(I say)
No, Jesus can revive his work if you can believe for it.

Do you want that faith? It may be had this way. Look away from difficulty and temptation to Jesus; consider him; feed your faith on its native food of promise; familiarise yourself with fellowship with the promises; study what he has done for others: thus you will believe. For every thought of your little faith take ten thoughts of his faithfulness.


God bless

Carol

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Steps to Holiness

Andrew Bale has downloaded William Booth's "Ladder to Holiness" and it is on his blog at
http://beyondthebrook.blogspot.com/

It reminded me of something I have written out at the back of my Bible. I'm not sure where it originated.

7 Steps to Holiness

Aspire John 7:37

Acknowledge Psalm 51:3 Romans 7:24

Abandon Psalm 66:18

Abdicate Romans 12:1

Ask Luke 11:3

Appropriate 1 John 5:14-15

Act John 14:17-18

We have been shown the way. Let's do it!

God bless

Carol

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Children
Make way for them -Become like them -Welcome them - Bless them
(Jam Club Kids in the Prayer Room)
Jesus said: "Unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. The greatest in the kingdom of heaven is the one who humbles himself and becomes like this child. And whoever welcomes in my name one such child as this, welcomes me."

God bless
Carol

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

The Blessing of Fellowship

We're back home after a week away, into which we packed an amazing variety of things and received so many blessings. We might not be the wealthiest people in the world financially but in terms of friendship and fellowship Alan and I must be billionaires.

In the last week we have been able to meet up with colleague officers and share fellowship at Retreat. We don't always agree with one another, sometimes we frustrate one another but as well as debate and discussion there was time to share one another's burdens and encourage each other.

We have been able to spend precious time with Katie and Chris in London and Hayley in Colchester. I am biased but our girls are great and we love being with them. We were leading meetings at Colchester Mount Zion and it was a real privilege to join in their worship, preach the word and instantly connect with the officers John and Pauline O'Driscoll, whose love for the Lord and their people is so transparent. And now we're back and the blessings continue as we re-join our own community here in Pill. It's good to go away and its good to come home.

People who say that they can be a Christian and not go to Church must be mad. They are missing so much. I know that relationships in the Church and in Corps can drive you loopy but the benefits far outway the hassle. Today I am thankful to God for the richness of being a member of God's family.

God bless

Carol

Monday, 26 January 2009

A week in the life of.................

Whilst last week saw the momentous inauguration of Presiden Obama, whilst the whole world watch last week for us was one of those weeks that would be good to do as "a typical week in the life of a Salvation Army officer. It was just the usual stuff with the exception of a "real Army" funeral of one of our soldiers.

In this week between us we preached, led worship, we met with officers in fellowship, did books, visited Toddler group, attended a community forum, pastoral phone calls and visits, met in prayer, led a cell group, did the Home League, sorted out some building issues and averted a crisis. Kid's Club, youth cell and youth drop in, selling the War Cry, Coffee Morning, preparation for a lot of the above and a day off.

I write all this not to prove that we have been busy and earning our crust. I learned a long time ago the danger of being driven by activity, that is why our day off is in the weekly announcements. A good friend reminded me a long time ago that Sabbath Rest is a command not an option, if we have time. What I want to say is that this list of activities could have be exhilaerating, exhausting, enjoyable or an endurance test to get through and it wouldn't have mattered a jot if God wasn't in the midst.

However I want to praise God because in this typical week there were just so many times when a a song expressed true worship, when an action became ministry, a conversation became witness and a funny little prayer room became holy ground. And it is the gracious Holy Spirit who did it. I get the feeling that what is sown and tended in ordinary weeks like this are what contribute most to those exciting times of harvest.

Having said all that this coming week isn't typical at all. We're off to Officers Retreat followed by specially at Colchester.

God bless

Carol

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Holiness and the Songbook

Breathe in this could be a long one.

Also before you read any further this is not a blog about worship songs versus songbook songs. I am fed up with that discussion. This is a blog about changing attitudes towards holiness as revealed in the reprints of the SA songbook.

Under the title The life of holiness, the current SA songbook (1986) has the following contents listed,
Challenge
Consecration and service
Praise and thanksgiving

The previous songbook (1955) under the same title lists the contents as:
The call to holiness
Seeking holiness
Consecration and service
Holiness enjoyed.

We have the 1930 edition and an even earlier edition than that and under the life of holiness the following contents are listed
The call to holiness
Seeking holiness
Consecration
Faith and trust
The Holy Spirit
Holiness enjoyed.

Somewhere over the years the direct call to be holy has become just a challenge for the adventurous. We no longer seek holiness as an experience to claim. Crisis has become process rather than crisis and process. Consecration is still there with the addition of service. That's Ok I suppose but there is a danger here. It is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that service is consecration. I believe it is impossible to be fully consecrated to God and not serve him and others but it is perfectly possible to serve without our hearts and lives belonging totally to God.

What about faith and trust? There is still a section in the songbook with this title but it now comes under the Salvation Soldier section which gives the idea that faith and trust are needed in order to keep going in the battle. That is absolutely true but faith and trust are also bound up with living the life of holiness. The old songbooks put faith and trust under holiness, and the ability to stay firm and true in the fight under comfort and guidance.

FB Meyer, gets it right when he says, "There are three steps to this blessed state, wholeness of the soul. First we must believe that it is attainable, for we will never feel morally bound to do, attempt or choose what we do not believe to be within our reach, Second we must consecrate our selves to God. We must resolve to break off from every known sin and we must believe that God does accept the consecration we have made and will do what he has promised by infilling us with the Holy Spirit and working in us that which is pleasing in his sight."

As for holiness enjoyed? Well we do have praise and thanksgiving and actually most of the songs are the same. So am I going to complain? Well yes I am because the songs express a holiness enjoyed and if they do why not say so? Giving the title praise and thanksgiving could cover a million subjects and I feel that the title reveals a nervousness about declaring an experience of the blessing of holiness. Either that or we kept the songs in for nostalgia sake.

What to do?

Well the old songbooks reflected what God was doing in their day. They were songs written in response to preaching, teaching and experience. So I am not advocating a petition to re-instate the 1900 edition of the Songbook but praying for the day when God's people are hearing a clear call to holiness, are seeking it, consecrating themselves, believing for it and enjoying it. Then I believe the Salvation Army, Kingsway, Mayhew and the rest will all have to include holiness sections in their musical publications for the new songs that will be written out of the expectation and the experience that is all around.

God bless

Carol

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

No offence

"Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me." Matthew 11:6

FB Meyer has this to say about this verse,

John the Baptist was tempted to take offence with Christ first because of his long delay in asserting himself as the promised Messiah and secondly because of his apparent indifference to his own welfare. .......................
But the Lord made no attempt to emancipate his servant (John) and he seems to be unmindful of our sore straits. All he did for John was to send him materials on which his faith should feed and rise to a stronger, nobler growth. Jesus does not attempt to apologise or to explain he only asks our trust and promises blessedness to those who do not stumble at life's mysteries."

Wise words

God bless

Carol

Friday, 9 January 2009

Pray for a Day

No, we are not advocating that we only pray for a day as a novelty but we have put aside a number of days when Pill Corps Prayer Room will be open for prayer from 9 am -9pm. Today is the first one of 2009. It is an opportunity to simply spend time with the Lord but we have decided to focus our intercession on the needs of our local community and the persecuted church. However we will need to be ready to be led by the Spirit throughout the day.



I am reading daily from the writings of FB Meyer. Here is what he has to say about prayer which is very good advice.

" We can only believe for a thing when we are in such union with God that his thought and purpose can freely flow into us, suggesting what we should pray for, and leading us ot that point in which there is perfect sympathy and understanding between us and the Divine mind. Faith is always the product of such a frame as this. Be sure that you are on the line of God's purpose. Wait for him until the impulses of nature have subsided, and the soul is hushed and still. Then the Spirit will lead you to ask what is in the will of God to give and you will know instantly that the Spirit intercedes within, according to the will of God."

God bless

Carol

Thursday, 8 January 2009

In the secret of his presence

I am using a little volume of daily readings by FB Meyer. In the hectic and often public life of Christian service I need his reminder of Christ's words from Matthew 6:18

"And your FAther who sees what is done in secret will reward you."

Meyer goes on to say,

"It is impossible to perform our religious duties before men without insensibly considering what impression we are producing and how far their estimation of us is being enhanced. And in so far as we seek these things the stream is contaminated with mud and silt and becomes turbid. We have just as much religious life as we show to God in secret, just that, no less, no more. Whatever is not wrought between you and God with no record but his eyes is chaff which the wind drives away."


God bless

Carol