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From Salvationist 14 July 2018

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A NEW RAIN

Lieut-Colonel David Kelly urges us to get ready for a downpour

HIDDEN at the conclusion of the story of Elijah’s battle with Ahab and the Prophets of Baal on the top of Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18) is a great epilogue we ought not to miss.

The land had endured a long drought, and it was thought that God’s dramatic victory in that setting would soon open the door to a new hope for the future. So certain was Elijah that things were changing, he told Ahab to get ready, because he heard ‘the sound of a heavy rain’.

Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, and told his servant: ‘Go and look toward the sea.’

‘There is nothing there,’ the servant said.

Seven times Elijah sent his servant to go back and look. The seventh time the servant finally saw something that to him seemed unremarkable: ‘A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.’

Elijah understood immediately that the cloud a size of a man’s hand was soon to rain down on Israel like they’d not seen in a very long time. It didn’t just rain – it poured!

Surveys tell us that the weather is by far the most frequent topic of conversation in the UK; it’s discussed two to three times more than any other topic. I wonder if we could challenge ourselves to focus less on the climate and more on the spiritual forecast for this great territory.

There is a powerful spiritual rain headed for The Salvation Army in the UK and the Republic of Ireland; the signs are all around us if we look. (Note that Elijah’s servant needed to be reminded to pay attention to the small clouds, and we sometimes need to be reminded too!)

The Lenten material Let’s Rebuild Together resonated around the territory. The Encounter prayer gathering weekend was remarkable in both attendance and engagement. Corps all across the territory are talking about new expressions of mission and lives being transformed. The TIDE focus this year on Discipleship has engaged corps, institutions and small groups in a deep and meaningful way.

All across the territory there are clouds ‘the size of a man’s hand’ forming around us.

Perhaps the challenges of the past few years have forced a reliance upon God that we have not always possessed. Perhaps there is a new focus on what God has in store for the Army in the next generation. Whatever the reason, we can sense a new spiritual rain ready to fall.

Are there clouds of spiritual renewal forming in your corps, and a new rain ready to fall?

Are there signs that God is ready to do above and beyond anything we could ask or imagine?

Is there a new spiritual forecast for this territory that reminds us that God is ready to do a new thing, to grow a new thing, to create a new thing?

Better get your wellies ready; God is about to make it pour!

What’s happening where you are?

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LIEUT-COLONEL KELLY IS  SECRETARY FOR COMMUNICATIONS, THQ

 

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