Prayer and Healing

Now for something completely different….

I was blessed to hear the testimony via the Salvationist about how the Lord responded to prayer for the life and health of the son of Captains Paul and Paula Knight…good friends of ours. I praised God to hear such a God-honouring, God-glorifying faith-lifting story.

However, it saddens me to realise that other people don’t feel the same. Both some letters and a whole article (by Major Sylvia Dalziel) seemed to suggest in the following editions of the Salvationist that testimonies of God healing miraculously should not be included in the Salvationist because not everyone gets healed and people will be hurt to hear of stories of healing when they themselves, or their loved ones, are not healed in spite of lots of prayer.

Whilst I have compassion for those who suffer long term illness and who have to suffer loved ones suffering illness, I have to say that I can’t believe that people are not able to rejoice in another’s blessing. Healing is an emotive subject, I agree, but instead of avoiding the issue altogether because we don’t seem to have our healing prayers answered, let us instead pray all the more.

The church leader, John Wimber, who had an incredible healing ministry, is said to have prayed for hundreds and hundreds of people before he started to see people getting well. I am equally sure that there were many who didn’t get well even after God began to move through him.

God does respond to our cries for healing. In other cases, for reasons only known to His Sovereignty, He doesn’t. Thats the reality and the mystery of God. But lets not get to the stage of grudging other people their miracles.

Andrew Clark
Captain

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On Covenant…

Extra added forenote: I should say that this posting has nothing to do with the passing from officership of my good friend and brother, Captain Martin Thompson. The Army is losing a good officer and I hope you will uplift Martin and Kay in your prayers. AC

…of course, I will never resign. Thats not even in the questionning. I made a covenant with the Lord which I will never break. I believe God takes covenant seriously.

Interestingly, I was looking again at my covenant…something I do often.

CALLED BY GOD to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as an officer of The Salvation Army,

I BIND MYSELF TO HIM IN THIS SOLEMN COVENANT: to love and serve him supremely all my days, to live to win souls and make their salvation the first purpose of my life,

to care for the poor, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, love the unlovable, and befriend those who have no friends,

to maintain the doctrines and principles of The Salvation Army, and, by God’s grace, to prove myself a worthy officer.

Still called to that, God still gives grace for that. Praise his name.

Thank you…

I know many of you have been praying for us, and for that we are very grateful. Thanks too to those who have sent words of encouragement too.

I’m torn between two emotions at the moment:

ONE: this corps, its people and its mission, is worth fighting for, worth pressing on with, especially so close to breakthrough as we potentially are. We hear sounds of rain in the distance!

TWO: that I feel that I’ve got nothing more to say. More than that, I’ve no energy, nor sometimes even the will to say it.

The first is a holy emotion, its what I know my whole being longs to shout. I know some of the reasons for what is going in right now, because the Lord has graciously revealed some of them. Its all in line with what he has been saying all year. Its all prophecy coming to pass. It makes sense, and I know that the right thing is to emerge from this two weeks victorious over any scheme of the enemy and advance the salvation war at this crucial time. That is what I always do…come up fighting.

Yet the second emotion, whilst it doesn’t appear to me to be a Spirit-led response, still carries a message to my heart. I have mentioned before that I have suffered in the past from depression, mainly carried over hang-ups from my heathen past that the Lord is still working with. I often, more than not, have victory over this tool of the enemy. Amazingly though, I find myself in good company…the likes of William Booth and the prophet Elijah were themselves often victim to depression. Well meaning folks have suggested that I see the doctor, and I would if it were not for the fact that I know the Lord will and does take control of it, transforming it into something useful…holy passion. He has promised that my healing will come through ministry.

However, the alarm bells that ring are those that begin when, through the actions of Christian people and the weight of Christian ministry, the depression starts to take control. Therein lies the paradox. But lets remind ourselves that we do not fight against flesh and blood, but principalities and powers, spiritual forces of darkness in high places. The trouble is that those powers influencing our corps are severly under threat and they don’t like it. This is the real aspect of spiritual warfare.

For me, this two weeks is a needed oasis to allow the Holy Spirit the time to take control again. A week past Friday, I, like Elijah, sat under the broom tree and told the Lord I’d had enough…a point which the Lord used to begin whispering his secrets to my ears. I need to be able to see things more and more from a spiritual perspective…to see what lies beneath.

My fault in all of this has been in allowing it to happen. For four months now I have been almost debilitated by this depression, not being able to do anything other than what I must. I haven’t been able to play with my children, be a proper husband to my wife nor be the officer that I know that God has called me to be.

So, what is next for us? Well, right now I need to go through the process of allowing the Lord to restore that which has been lost or stolen. I’d love to be getting back to work next Monday, please pray for that, but more than that, I’d love to be returning full of the Lord’s strength and annointing…if that will take more than a week I need to be brave enough to say that I need more time, especially right now as we are getting underway with our Christmas operation. The temptation is to leap right in, because I love Christmas and the opportunities it brings.

The scripture that I must quote is as follows: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” – 2 Cor 4:7-12

Interestingly, these verses were prayed over us at Roots by our good Armybarmy friend, Stephen. They speak to us, at this time, about the need to return for God’s glory, proving indeed that it is He that works in us, and not that of ourselves.

So…we wait on the Lord.

in Jesus
Andrew

Endure hardship like a good soldier…

There are many who are interested in the cause of Christ, and who are pleased to see it prosper in their corps, their church, their city, their country. But there are few who bear the burden of the world upon their souls day and night, who make His cause in every clime their very own, and who, like Eli, would die if the ark of God were taken; who feel it an awful shame and a consuming sorrow, if victory is not continually won in His name.

– Samuel Logan Brengle
I suppose I’m going through a season of ‘awful shame and a consuming sorrow’ because there are many parts of our corps life where we are seeing much less than ‘victory…continually won in His name.’ And, I suppose I got to the point where I could not carry the burden alone much longer and had to share it.

Right now, I’m on compassionate leave. That alone dissappoints me, but it is necessary for the moment. Suppose you could say I’m almost consumed to the point of despair but yet the Lord is sufficient. I’m not about to get into details of what is defeating our corps right now, but just going to say that this officer’s heart and motivation is sorely troubled. Yet, we don’t lose hope.

Confident that the Lord will do His will over these next, few weeks of leave and that he’ll refresh, invigorate, restore, renew, revitalise, regenerate…all those things, not just for us, but for our corps too.

I was reading scripture today, and I’ve been assured that its all going according to plan…don’t ask me the plan, its not for me to know! Its a difficult plan, but the Lord is gracious and compassionate.

Our call is to endure hardness like a good soldier of Jesus Christ. That is what we do.

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

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

Psalm 63

A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah.
1 O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.

2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.

3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.

4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.

5 My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

6 On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.

7 Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.

8 My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

9 They who seek my life will be destroyed;
they will go down to the depths of the earth.

10 They will be given over to the sword
and become food for jackals.

11 But the king will rejoice in God;
all who swear by God’s name will praise him,
while the mouths of liars will be silenced.

Psalm 30

A psalm. A song. For the dedication of the temple. Of David.
1 I will exalt you, O LORD,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.

2 O LORD my God, I called to you for help
and you healed me.

3 O LORD, you brought me up from the grave;
you spared me from going down into the pit.

4 Sing to the LORD, you saints of his;
praise his holy name.

5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may remain for a night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

6 When I felt secure, I said,
“I will never be shaken.”

7 O LORD, when you favored me,
you made my mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.

8 To you, O LORD, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:

9 “What gain is there in my destruction,
in my going down into the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?

10 Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me;
O LORD, be my help.”

11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

12 that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.

Psalm 3

A psalm of David. When he fled from his son Absalom.
1 O LORD, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!

2 Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”
Selah

3 But you are a shield around me, O LORD;
you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.

4 To the LORD I cry aloud,
and he answers me from his holy hill.
Selah

5 I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.

6 I will not fear the tens of thousands
drawn up against me on every side.

7 Arise, O LORD!
Deliver me, O my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.

8 From the LORD comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.
Selah

Psalm 52

1 Why do you boast of evil, you mighty man?
Why do you boast all day long,
you who are a disgrace in the eyes of God?

2 Your tongue plots destruction;
it is like a sharpened razor,
you who practice deceit.

3 You love evil rather than good,
falsehood rather than speaking the truth.
Selah

4 You love every harmful word,
O you deceitful tongue!

5 Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin:
He will snatch you up and tear you from your tent;
he will uproot you from the land of the living.
Selah

6 The righteous will see and fear;
they will laugh at him, saying,

7 “Here now is the man
who did not make God his stronghold
but trusted in his great wealth
and grew strong by destroying others!”

8 But I am like an olive tree
flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
for ever and ever.

9 I will praise you forever for what you have done;
in your name I will hope, for your name is good.
I will praise you in the presence of your saints.

Incidentally….

Yeah, so I really applaud this Street Pastor thing…the church gettin back on the street is always good. As I said in my last post, if we’re not doing our God ordained role, He’ll raise someone else to do it.

I’ve seen this happen before so many times, especially during our time in London and encounters with The Jesus Army. Now I know that some people have issues with the Jesus Army, but then people had issues with The Army! When I attended a few Jesus Army meetings in during 2003-2004 when I was at training college, entering their meetings were like entering Primitive Salvation Army gatherings: pumping worship, passionate preaching, charismatic, a collection of all sorts of people, free food and drinks for everyone who had come in off the street and, of course, uniform.

By uniform, I don’t mean shirt and tie, tunic and the like. I mean combat uniform.

More than that, these people were very visable outside their meeting places. Every Saturday night…in fact most evenings, the Jesus Army could be found singing, evangelising, giving away their evangelistic newspaper ‘The Street Paper’, talking wiht people on the Jesus Bus and generally being out there on the streets of Central London.

As part of our recent corps review, one of the things we talked about were street patrols. We just gotta get out there, reclaim our birthright, do God’s work, BE The Salvation Army. Yup.

Andrew

Street Pastors

The following is taken from the Avon and Somerset Police Headquarters Website, which is in our corps district. Observation: when the Salvation Army stops doing its God ordained job, He will raise someone else up to do it!

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This new force is being recruited to take to the streets of Weston-super-Mare with the primary aim of working with young people.

Street Pastors form part of a nationwide inter-denominational church response to urban problems, including binge drinking and anti social behaviour.

The pastors wear a distinctive uniform and engage with young people and have already had considerable success with drops in crime, where the teams have been working in other parts of the country.

The Weston-super-Mare project will be the first street pastor scheme to be launched in a police force in the South West.

Weston-super-Mare police sector deputy, Sergeant Dave Holtby said: “Each project is run by a local co-ordinator with support from local churches in partnership with ourselves, the local authority and other statutory agencies. A street pastor is normally a church leader, minister or member of a church with a concern for their society – in particular young people who feel they are being excluded and marginalised, but not exclusively so. They are willing to engage with people – whether it is on the streets, in the pubs and clubs, or at parties.

“To be a street pastor you need to be over 18 (there is no upper age limit), a church member and able to commit to a 12-session training course. This includes subjects such as counselling skills, drugs awareness, sociology, knowing your community, role and responsibility and street safety,” explained PS Holtby.

Street pastor teams will consist of four people drawn from a current volunteer list of 27, each of which will work one night a month, usually between 10pm and 4am.

Their work on the streets will involve them engaging with people on the streets. While they will concentrate on young people, they will make themselves equally available to and offer appropriate help to, people from all walks of life, whatever their race, colour, creed or background.

“The ethos of street pastors is not to preach at people but to support and help them in whatever way they can,” added PS Holtby.

The commissioning service of the new street pastors is to take place on Saturday October 28 at 10.30am at Emmanuel Church, Oxford Street in Weston-super-Mare. The service is to be taken by the Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Rt Rev Peter Price.