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Gratitude (2)


LETTERS TO THE ARMY

September 2010

PASTORAL LETTERS FROM THE OFFICE OF THE GENERAL TO SALVATIONISTS ACROSS THE WORLD

This is the twenty-first in a series of Pastoral Letters from the General to every Salvationist across the world.

The Pastoral Letters are intended to be distributed unchanged and entire to all Salvationists and may be shared also with others interested in the sacred purposes for which God raised up The Salvation Army.

INTRODUCTION

Greetings in the Name of Jesus Christ.

This comes to all Salvationists with my strong, ongoing affection in Christ for you, and with my prayers for your effectiveness in the sacred calling that God, in his supreme wisdom, has placed upon the peoples known as Salvationists.

It has been laid upon my heart that I am to take a step of obedience under God by reaching out to you all through Pastoral Letters written from time to time. I write therefore in order to obey the One who has created us all, and with a longing that what is written will affirm, encourage and inspire you.

The themes for these occasional Pastoral Letters continue to be the themes God reveals. His holy will is made known in many ways. I pledge myself to be mindful that his will is often revealed through interaction with members of the Body and not only or always in the seclusion of the place of prayer.

It is my deep hope that each Pastoral Letter will be read wherever Salvationists are to be found, whether in private or in public settings. The chosen themes may prompt discussion, prayer and - as appropriate - action.

Shaw Clifton

General


PASTORAL LETTER TWENTY-ONE

GRATITUDE (2)

Dear Fellow Salvationists,

Once more it is my great honour and privilege to be in touch with you through a Pastoral Letter.

Commissioner Helen Clifton joins me in sending greetings to you just where you are, thanking God for your fidelity to the gospel and for your service in his great Army of Salvation.

I am writing this Letter from my office in our home because recently I have undergone further surgery, this time for a heart bypass procedure. This took place unexpectedly six weeks ago and I thank God that I am making good progress and am able to keep up with all official matters through the kindness of the Chief of the Staff who meets me in our home regularly to discuss key matters of business and policy and also through the great help of my personal staff at International Headquarters.

Commissioner Helen Clifton is taking wonderful care of me but is also facing her own health challenges at this time. So your prayers are very, very precious to us both and to our family.

The theme of this Letter, as with Pastoral Letter 20, is gratitude. It is a theme that can never be exhausted. It is a natural theme for us at this time for we feel indebted to so many for loving support. Many of you have sent messages of prayer and encouragement. These have blessed and helped us so much.

I want to record heartfelt thanks to Almighty God for his unfailing love to us all. You will know of those times when you have experienced the loving closeness of our Heavenly Father. Sometimes he is so near to us that we can almost reach out and touch him. May you each be drawn closer and closer to God in this wonderful way.

We praise and thank God because he is able to save us from our sin and from the overarching rule of self and selfish ambition. Acts 4:12 tells us that there is no other name by which we can be saved. God the Father has given us Jesus, God the Son, to be our only Saviour. Our hearts fill up again with gratitude.

We have still further cause to be glad and grateful to God. He alone can make us holy. He alone can purify us and sanctify us through and through. In the words of the old chorus, not only is he 'able to save', but he is 'able to keep' - to keep us pure and victorious day by day from falling to temptation. Our part is to consecrate ourselves to God without reserve. He then does his part in cleansing us through and through, again and again.

In closing this Letter, I salute you and thank God for you. I commend each of you - just where you live and serve - to the infinite care of the Father, to the safe and loving hands of Jesus, and to the cleansing and enabling power of the Holy Spirit.

Yours in Sacred Service,

Shaw Clifton

General

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