Dear Salvationist, we need more of THIS…

Holiness is certainly vital in our army.
Caring for the less fortunate, the orphan, the widow; equally important.
Having a deep desire to serve the Lord is also a requirement to this Salvation that is ours, yet there is something more…something else that is needed.

William Booth declared it as a young man years before he and Catherine began the Christian Mission. There is an action that all of us should seriously consider before attempting to win the world for Jesus.
Yes, we must certainly get on with it, and never waver, but THIS is a vital component to actually succeeding in the Lord’s name.

What is ‘THIS’, you ask?


Not Just Words:
We can say many things in our lives and in our ministries and at times these utterings only remain just that – words. For instance, (perhaps this might sound a bit harsh, please know I do not mean it to be) we as an Army can say that we are practicing sacramental living and nothing could be further from the truth…or perhaps we do not even know what it means to live a sacramental life.

Hence, the notion of consecration in our lives needs to take place.
Have we offered the Lord “all there is of me”, or are these simply utterances full of sound and fury signifying nothing but mere words?

Are we making our hearts, minds and souls spaces of the sacred and divine, or is the act of consecration foreign to our faith and practice?
What Consecration isn’t:
Consecration isn’t a magic ‘holiness’ pill that will suddenly end our uncertainties, dry up our faithlessness, and cause thousands to attend our church services. Consecration is not simply a ceremony or ritual to perform either, such as many of the old pharisaic practices of old. Consecration is not a ‘one and done’ type of event either.

What Consecration is:
Consecration is a moment of conviction that is driven by our ability to listen to the Holy Spirit. Consecration is an act and not a ritual. Consecration is God breathing into our very hearts and souls and we, the faithful servant, being moved into awe and action. Consecration is a catalyst for deeper spiritual change that brings us closer to reflecting the very image of Christ. Consecration removes the ‘doing’ of the Christian life, and replaces it with ‘being’ a Christ-follower. From this transformative act, the outpouring response is a world impacted by Christ in us.

We will still face difficult days.
We will still find opposition.
We will experience pain, heartache and tears…
BUT, when we remain in a state of ‘Being’ rather than ‘Doing’ – our identity dies and with it the new life and identity of Christ can be seen in us.

How does this happen?
Consecration will occur when:
We get serious of being Holy men and women.
We put down childish things that distract us and instead focus on Kingdom building.
We stop clamoring for the praise of others and start running after the presence of God every moment.
We hunger for more of His words as we read and consume the Bible, the writings of other Christ-followers who can take our faith deeper.

The act of consecration is to devote our lives fully to the Lord. As we do so we find true peace, hope and love. Consecrating our lives will me that we do so over and over again, often times fighting our old, sinful selves as we surrender more and more of our hearts and lives. Thus we at times will come to places of reconsecration, where we rededicate, renew, and revive our faith with a fresh indwelling of God’s presence. This certainly doesn’t mean that God has drifted from us so much so that we have to find Him, No! Actually the opposite occurs – we drift from God and it is His still small voice which calls to us and implores us to find renewal through reconsecration of our hearts, souls and minds.

Undoubtedly, Holiness and Consecration walk side by side.
We cannot have one without the other within this mainframe of our marred world. That which was meant to be Holy needs to first be consecrated to God. When we consecrate our lives to God, or reconsecrate it we are aligning our souls into the image of Christ once more. We, in essence are saying, “Here I am Lord, send me!”

Questions to Ponder:
Do you, dear Salvationist need to return to the cleansing waters of consecration? Have you drifted away from the firm foundation? The Holy Spirit is calling to all of us to find Him again. We are being called to rededicate our lives to Him if we have wandered away. He is calling us to a deeper faith, a more substantial existence…but we must be willing to give up those things which hinder us and hold us back.

“Take My Life and let it be”

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated Lord to Thee
Take my moments and my days
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my voice and let me sing
Always only for my King
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee

Take my love my Lord I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store
Take myself and I will be
Ever only all for Thee

-Frances Ridley Havergal | Henri Abraham Cesar Malan

Something more for our Army to Ponder today.

Dear Salvation Army, 5 Healthy Habits For Healthy Salvationists

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”     -Mark Twain

How do you become a quality soldier of Christ?
How do you find out why you were born and how to become the very best “You“?
Perhaps you became a Soldier of this Army and wondered to yourself “what next?
Perhaps there have been those in your life (in the corps, in your family, in the Army in general) who have truly paved the way for you to strive and have set certain quality standards for you to emulate.

Without a doubt we have witnessed negative examples too, but let us focus today upon 5 healthy habits for healthy salvationists.  These are obviously transferable and not singularly exclusive to the Salvation Army experience.  Certainly I could have easily called this “5 Healthy Habits for Healthy Christians”…but for the sake of continuity and for the sake of a majority of this Salvation Army readership, I will leave it the way it is…you’re welcome.  😉

5 Healthy Habits for Healthy Salvationists


1) Become a Reader (Challenge Yourself!)
I still recall a certain Commissioner whose first question would always be “So what are you reading?”
This was asked to prompt critical thinking and to communicate the importance of reading.
No matter if you are a fast reader (my wife) or you are a rather slow reader (myself), reading challenging material is rather important to developing healthy habits in our lives.

Don’t just read fiction.
I love fiction, it spurs on my creative side and I can easily become immersed in the characters of a good novel…BUT there are numerous quality spiritual writers out there who can challenge us and shake our preconceived understanding of God, the Universe and the world in which we live.  If we only reside in the comfortable fiction section of the bookstore or library, we will limit the opportunities for personal growth and further spiritual understanding.

Do seek out challenging writers of various topics – not just Christian writers.
Do read the works of certain writers that you might fundamentally disagree with.  When we simply refuse to read books from certain writers, speakers and thinkers just because of what others have said about them, we may miss out on some critical thinking/development and real teaching moments.  Reading these challenging pieces doesn’t mean you have to always agree with them, but refusing to read these works could limit you and prove just how closed minded and small your ideology is.  I don’t mean to insult anyone here, but I have heard people speak from uninformed – closed minded perspectives.  They sound like fools regurgitating bits of information that others have spouted and rather than discovering it for themselves rely on others to formulate their opinions.  When we challenge our understanding of God, even by reading controversial books, we begin to formulate our very own personal spiritual understanding of God.  This is vital as we mature in the faith.  Challenging traditional and even contemporary views by reading books from various authors from a wide spectrum of thought can help us to better define our love relationship with the Most High.  I will caution you though, in the same breath, to be on the lookout for crackpots, charlatans and heresies for they do certainly exist.

2) Ask The Hard Questions hard questions
When we become “readers” we in turn begin to develop and formulate difficult questions that we ourselves cannot answer.  Do not shy away from such conversations of faith.  Also do not be afraid to ask these questions to those with whom you know to be more mature in the faith.  It is not wrong to ask such questions.  It helps us to grow and become healthier followers of Christ.  When we refuse to step up to such challenges, we could very well be limiting the possibility of growth that could occur in such ventures of spiritual exploration.

Understand too that  pillars of our faith have walked these paths before us.  These “saints” of Christendom did ask the difficult questions.  These “saints” of Christendom did not bypass such important defining ventures of faith.  Do not be afraid to ask and to seek out that which currently is unknowable to you.

accountability23) Accountability, Mentors & Sharpening
In order to possess the healthy habits of reading and asking the difficult questions as a Salvationist, there is also the crucial need for accountability and mentors which help us to sharpen and hone ourselves into spiritual maturity.  It is understandable that maintaining a consistent accountability partner or mentor can be daunting and sometimes impossible, but strive to continue to seek out these people in your life.  Sometimes these individuals will change over time as people move in and out of our lives.  We NEED the assistance of fellow believers to spur us onward in becoming healthy Christ-followers.  Here within this vulnerable yet safe environment the difficult questions can be asked, the spiritual “check-ups” can take place.  Some people are more determined than others to possess these kinds of relationships and so they actively seek them out.  Others are more reticent to ask because of fear of rejection or making the wrong choice for accountability and mentor.  Be aware that such relationships will give us tools we ourselves do not personally or currently possess, after all, a solitary piece of steel cannot sharpen itself can it?

4) Exercise & Healthy Eating
(here goes…I hope I don’t step on anyone’s toes…)healthy-life
What we put into our bodies in regards to nourishment matters!
We cannot feast every day on junk foods, carbonated drinks and fast-food.  These may momentarily satisfy our cravings and sometimes aide us in times of stress, but they WILL lead to health issues.  How we treat our bodies and what we eat can determine how long we have on this earth to be effective Soldiers of God!  It may sound kind of funny, but realistically if we have surrendered our ENTIRE life to the Lord, this includes our eating habits and our daily activity schedules.  One could argue that our physical bodies are secondary to our spiritual conditions but I believe that these are interconnect and not mutually exclusive.  What we do with our bodies can have a lasting impact on our spiritual journeys as well.  To simply limit our existence within the spiritual realm while discarding our physical condition seems foolhardy and wrong.

A healthy soldier is also concerned about the upkeep of their bodies as well.
It may not always be the first priority, but it should be a close second as we become conscientious of our active and inactive lives as well as the foods that we eat.  Discipline shouldn’t be exclusively utilized within our spiritual path and completely vacant within our physical well-being.

5) Develop A Disciplined Personal Prayer And Devotional Life devotions
A Healthy Soldier is not only a reader; questioner; involved in some measure of accountability and in possession of some form of healthy physical attributes, but they should also seek to develop a disciplined personal prayer and devotional life.  There are many ways to do this.  Do not think that just because one soldier reads THAT devotional book that everyone must follow suit.

Do not underestimate the gravity of a healthy prayer life!
Also do not underestimate the need for a healthy devotional life either.
These two forms of spiritual discipline can become dry and drab if we do not change our study/focus habits up from time to time.  Without a healthy prayer life, we are essentially placing limits on our interconnected relationship with the Father.

SUGGESTIONS: Find a simple, yet profound daily devotional if this helps you to develop the discipline of spiritual study.  This is not the same as the first suggestion of “Become a Reader”, this is in addition to “digging deeper”.  There are numerous spiritual classics that can be used in tandem with the Word of God.  Even some contemporary devotionals can help to “feed” and “nourish” the soul.  Seek these out, and purposely take times of the day to pray for yourself and others.
These are just five suggestions to developing healthy habits for healthy Soldiers.
This is not an exhaustive list and understandably there are many more ways to become a healthier soldier.
Consider these today!

Something more for our Army to ponder today!
To God be the glory!

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