27th September 2020 - Desire

Introduction

Today throughout the Salvation Army world there is a call to stand together in prayer and to be allies in the fight against human trafficking & modern slavery; to corporately cry out for justice and freedom. We are being called to activate our collective voice to say that we believe that a world without modern slavery is possible.

We are going to spend some moments to begin with, praying into this situation and considering the part that we can play in this fight……


Prayer

John 10:10 tells us…

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My (Jesus’) purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

God ‘s desire is that all humanity experiences life to the fullest; lives full of love, justice and freedom.

God of freedom, justice and truth we know that Your desire is that all creation may know life in all it’s fullness. We join together in prayer as we lift to you men, women, boys and girls who are victims and survivors of human trafficking and modern slavery. We pray for their protection and safety. We pray also that they may know healing and justice. We want an end to the violence and greed that led to their exploitation.

We pray also for those involved in trafficking people; that they may come into a knowledge of your transforming love.

We ask that you show us the ways in which our desire for comfort and convenience is feeding into this industry and help us to change our ways. Help us to never treat others as commodities but to rather see others as You see them.

Make us instruments of Your love, justice and truth and use us to bring freedom to others we pray.

Help us to desire the things You desire and to align our hearts with Yours.

Amen


Song - To be in Your presence

Psalm 42


For the director of music. A maskil[c] of the Sons of Korah.

1 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’ 4 These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One[d] with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.

5 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.

6 My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon – from Mount Mizar. 7 Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.

8 By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life.

9 I say to God my Rock, ‘Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?’ 10 My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’

11 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.


Band Message

PSALM 42

As I sit to write some thoughts today the sun is shining, the sky is blue, there’s not even a hint of a cloud as I look out of my window. We’ve had so many beautiful sunny days this summer and it just seems to be continuing but yet, I can see signs that summer is slowly beginning to slip away and we are entering into my favourite season of the year; Autumn.

In the novel ‘Anne of Green Gables’ L M Montgomery writes, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers”. I can identify with that feeling. There is so much about this season that I could wax lyrical about. I love to see the leaves as they change on the trees, the deep russets, bright reds, burnt oranges, golden yellows. I like the crisp, fresh mornings and the low harvest moons. I enjoy walking over the fallen leaves (apart from when they are very wet and slippy!) and ‘going cheggying’* in the woods (*chestnut picking).

I came across the following quote this week. “Delicious Autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns”. (George Eliot)

That thought not only made me smile, but it made me catch my breath a little. I love the thought of that…… not the being a bird part but seeking successive autumns. I could do that, well I could in what we may term ‘normal times’, if I had the money and if I had the time and if I enjoyed flights……Ok, perhaps not! However, I could understand something of the desire behind that statement. It really resonated with me.

As I thought about those words my heart & mind were taken to other familiar words……

As a deer longs for streams of water so my soul longs for you O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and stand before him? (Psalm 42:1-2)

In those words we also sense a real desire; a deep need of the Psalmist to know God, to know that God had not abandoned him as others would have him believe.

The Psalmist longs for a past time to be restored. It’s understood that this was written whilst in exile and we see, as we move through the Psalm, that the writer (possibly David) longs for the day when he can go back to how things used to be. He recalls past days, happier days, days when he could go to the appointed place and appear before God. He looks back to the days when he could go with the multitudes to the house of God; the days when they could sing and shout their praises.

He longs for God’s presence and he recalls how he experienced that presence in communal worship. In ancient Israel, the tabernacle or temple was the place where God and His people would meet. All the Psalmist wanted was to connect again with God and His people at that place.

Perhaps we can identify a little with the Psalmist today. As we have moved through this time of pandemic, many of us have experienced our emotions being up and down. The longer is continues, the more we are feeling the loss of certain things. There is something very special about meeting with the people of God and worshipping together. Although many have found creative ways to try and maintain a connection, we recognise that it is just not the same as it once was and we are feeling the loss.

It’s natural to feel discouraged. The Psalmist felt that way. In fact he battled with more than discouragement. He was deeply sad. In verse 3 we read how tears were his only food. I’m not sure whether he meant that literally or he was simply describing that place where he felt at such a loss that he couldn’t eat. Verse 4 tells us, His heart was breaking as he remembered how it used to be. His despondency; the loss of hope that he felt was very real.

However, as we move through the Psalm we see how, instead of staying in that place where he felt all was lost and little hope remained, he gave himself a good talking to. Instead of surrendering completely to his feelings, he challenged his own soul.

The Psalmist moved beyond remembering the things of worship; the gathering together where he experienced the presence of God to remembering God himself. He chose to focus his attention on the source of life and hope. He moved beyond his feelings to trusting and hoping in in God.

Though there were reasons to be discouraged he reminded himself that there were more reasons to be hopeful. He determined himself to hold on to hope. God was still God and he chose to place his hope in Him and to praise Him once again. He recognised God’s love for him and even though his circumstances had changed; even though he couldn’t do that which he wanted to do, that which he longed for, he recognised that God was with him and the worship that he had been so used to experiencing with others alongside him, now welled up within him even in that difficult place.

As a deer longs for streams of water so my soul longs for you O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and stand before him?

I was challenged when those words first came to my mind. Do I still long to be in God’s presence in the way I once did? To know that God is with me in way that is more than a head knowledge but a heart experience? Do I hanker after time when I can share in the intimacy of a relationship with Him?

As I read through that Psalm, I was challenged more to consider whether I sometimes put the “things” of worship above the “subject” of worship. Do I put my preferences in how I worship and the traditions I’ve become accustomed to above God himself? I challenge you to consider these questions also.

The beautiful season of Autumn reminds me that there are so many things that change and that sometimes it’s absolutely the right time to let go of things. It also reminds me that times of change can be the most beautiful times.

God’s Word reminds me that God never changes. He is still God. He is the rock, the island of safety in the storm and my circumstances cannot and do not change who He is.

We may not be able to physically join together in worship. We don’t know when we will or what that will look like but let’s not let the feelings we are experiencing get in the way of who God is. Let us make Him the first and foremost in our lives and let us place our hope for whatever the future holds in Him.

Pause to reflect….

Song When the music fades

Song Be still my soul

Benediction

THIS, this is the God we adore, Our faithful, unchangeable Friend; Whose love is as great as his power, And neither knows measure nor end. 'Tis Jesus, the First and the Last, Whose Spirit shall guide us safe home; We'll praise him for all that is past, And trust him for all that's to come.


Thank you for reading

Prepared by Major Rachel Price

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We have now been able to set up a scheme which will enable you to give in an offering online.  Below  there is a QR code – a square with ‘Givt’ in the middle and black and white squiggles all over it – and when you download the ‘Givt’ app onto your phone or other device you will be able to make a contribution, of whatever amount, to the Corps simply by showing you phone or device  to the QR icon.

Here’s what to do :

  1.  Download the app named ‘Givt’ from the Apple ‘App Store’ or ‘Google Play’ on your phone or tablet etc.

  2. Wait for an email from ‘Givt’ which will give you instructions as to how to proceed further

  3. Follow the emailed instructions to register on to the system.

  4. Then when you want to make a donation you simply allow your phone or device to read the QR icon below and enter the amount you want to give – and you’re done!

The amount will be given anonymously and will be taken from your account not less than 8 days and not more than 11 days from when you made the donation.  The Bank details are safe and secure and 100% of the gift is given to LWH Corps. 

Please note that the donation is not instead of your cartridge, - it simply takes the place of your normal ‘Sunday Offering Plate’ gift. Your giving is very important  to the Corps and greatly appreciated. 

At this time when we are unable to meet as we used to, we have lost the Offering revenue, so this a great way to keep on supporting the Corps in these difficult times.

That’s all there is to it – but If you want clarification on any point please do not hesitate to contact me.

God bless

Laurence


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