Midweek Meditation – Wednesday 25th November 2020

Midweek Meditation – Wednesday 25th November 2020

Good morning alI, I hope that you are all well. Please find the AUDIO version of this weeks Midweek Meditation below if you should wish to take some time out to relax and listen to it. As usual, I will post the text Version on my own Facebook page for those who like to copy and pass on to others. Take care and God bless.

Audio Version

Printed Version

Have you ever taken the time to think about the kind of language you use when speaking to others?

I’m not suggesting that you would use foul or unpleasant language – I am thinking of ‘how’ you speak to others

 

Are you an ‘uplifter’ or a ‘put downer’ ?

 

Do the words you use and the way you put them over, encourage and uplift others?

 

Do they encourage positive thoughts in those around you – or put down and so encourage unhelpful and negative feelings?

 

It is perhaps something that we don’t really think about.

 

I had never given it much thought until I heard a sermon some time ago which made me think about the things I may thoughtlessly say in haste.

 

The Bible encourages us to think about the ‘use of our tongue’ and how, for all its size, it can cause immense hurt and damage or it can uplift and inspire others. See the book of James at 1:26 and 3:5.

“With the tongue we can praise God and with it we can curse men… out of the same mouth we can praise and curse. My brothers, that should not be!” James 3 : 9-10.

 

Many years ago I remember writing a particularly long and tedious letter in to BBC Radio and to my delight the Broadcaster read it out on air! I felt so embarrassed, until he said “Thank you for your extensive letter Iain Ramsden (it was about 7 pages !) – I think you  would make a considerable  writer!” –  and I have never forgotten those few encouraging words. It was Jimmy McGregor on his Radio show “McGregors’ Gathering” – do you remember it?

 

Although many may disagree with him – those few words of encouragement were just what I needed to hear and I have been ‘putting pen to paper’ ever since. (So it’s all Jimmy McGregor’s fault!).

 

I don’t know how many words we would speak in any one day (too many perhaps) but we should be conscious of the words we use and the tone of how we use them – for, consciously or not,  our words can build up or put down.

Your words may be the only words some people hear that day – let’s make them memorable, for all the right reasons.

 

Readings

Ephesians 4:29

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

 

Colossians 4 : 6

“Let your speech always be gracious…”

 

Let us Pray,

Loving, listening Lord, I know that you hear every word I say and think– may I put a guard on my tongue so that I will say only good and encouraging things that bring positive thoughts to others and honour and glory to you. Amen.

 

Something for us all to Reflect upon this week.

 

Take care and God Bless.

And please keep safe.

Online Sunday Service – 22nd November 2020

Good morning all, I hope this finds you well. Please see this weeks Sunday service below and I will, as usual, post the print version on my Facebook page for those of you who copy it and pass it on.
I hope you can make the time to find a quiet spot and relax, close your eyes and listen to the service, and I hope you will find some words of comfort for these difficult times. God bless and keep safe.

Audio Version

Printed Version

Good morning all,  How are you today? Are you coping with the renewed restrictions or are you struggling with the prolonged lockdown ?  It’s certainly not an easy time but I think that keeping our minds busy is one way of dealing with it all. Reading, writing letters, taking up an interest or learning a new skill can all pass the time rather that watching the clock as the hours drag by.

For some, lockdown  is a pain, whereas for others it is bliss, a time to chill and read a book, do the things you never seem to have to do under normal circumstances.

I suppose it’s a matter of  perspective.

I heard a story about 2 lorry drivers who were asked about their jobs. One said “It’s so boring, I just drive around delivering boxes to people I don’t know” and the other driver said “It’s a great job! I get paid to drive around the bonny countryside, meeting lots of lovely people, I wouldn’t do anything else!”.

Two people, same conditions, different way of thinking…

Next Sunday is the 1st Sunday in Advent – the first day of the new Christian Year – that period which leads up to Christmas. And for Christians it’s a time of preparation  as we  think about the coming of that wee baby boy – God’s own Son – who entered the world with the cry of a baby and was to change the world forever.

And so today is the last Sunday of the Christian calendar – is what is called “Christ the King” day.

But before we get on to thinking about that let’s join together in prayer ~

Holy, Heavenly Father of all mankind, your are our great and glorious God, maker of Heaven and Earth, the one who offers us more than we could ever imagine – or deserve. We bring you our Praise and our gratitude.

We pray that you will forgive our faults and our failings as we make our way through life, doing and saying things we later regret.  Give us a sensitive heart and mind so that we might be aware of those who are struggling or suffering things which we may know nothing about.

Bless those who are in any form of need, may they know your loving presence and strength on which they can draw in troubled times.

We pray for the lost and the lonely, the hurt and the hungry, the sick and the suffering, the homeless and those for whom happiness is a distant memory.

Bless them Father, remind them of your many promises and blessings which you give and guarantee to those who listen for your voice and follow your way.

Lord we know that you hear us when we pray to you in faith – so hear us now as we say together – the prayer which brings us together as one family – the family prayer – the lord’s prayer ~

Our Father.. Who art in heaven.. Hallowed be thy name.. Thy kingdom come.. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven….. Give us this day our daily bread.. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.. Lead us not into temptation.. But deliver us from evil .. For thine is the kingdom.. The power and the glory forever…. Amen.

In our reading this morning – we hear the voice of a King, a King with a crown of thorns,  as He exchanges words with Pilate the Roman Governor.

This King has a voice which has a quiet yet powerful authority about it – a strength that unsettles Pilate –

Let’s hear it for ourselves…

 

Our Reading is  ~

John 18 : 28 – 37  –  New Living Translation

Listen to the word of  God ~

Jesus’ Trial before Pilate

28 Jesus’ trial before Caiaphas ended in the early hours of the morning. Then he was taken to the headquarters of the Roman governor.[a] His accusers didn’t go inside because it would defile them, and they wouldn’t be allowed to celebrate the Passover. 29 So Pilate, the governor, went out to them and asked, “What is your charge against this man?”

30 “We wouldn’t have handed him over to you if he weren’t a criminal!” they retorted.

31 “Then take him away and judge him by your own law,” Pilate told them.

“Only the Romans are permitted to execute someone,” the Jewish leaders replied. 32 (This fulfilled Jesus’ prediction about the way he would die.[b])

33 Then Pilate went back into his headquarters and called for Jesus to be brought to him. “Are you the king of the Jews?” he asked him.

34 Jesus replied, “Is this your own question, or did others tell you about me?”

35 “I’m not a Jew!” Pilate retorted. “Your own people and their leading priests brought you to me for trial. Why? What have you done?”

36 Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.”

37 Pilate said, “So you are a king?”

Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.”

Amen.

This is the Word of the Lord – thanks be to God

SERMON

Are you what they call a “techie”? Someone who is up to all the latest technology?

I just found out the other day that I can send a text by simply speaking in to my phone!

It’s called ‘voice recognition’ and you simply speak into the phone or computer – and it will automatically type whatever you say to it !!

I suppose it’s a kind of ‘voice – text’ which is a bit of an oxymoron!

For me it’s “high Tech” but I suppose it’s not such a new concept – there are security systems and other such “James Bond” technology which works on the same principle of ‘voice recognition’. – but it’s clever stuff though, isn’t it !

But, you know, we engage in ‘voice recognition’ every day.

 

When a friend phones us – we don’t have to say “who are you again ?”  – we know who they are – because we recognise their voice.

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God had been ‘voice activating’ – since the dawn of time!

The very first words in the Bible are -“in the beginning” and we hear how God created the world –

He simply spoke and the world came into being.

There was a power in His voice.

No prototypes – or plastic models given life with magic words as if from some Harry Potter story.

 

God spoke – and things happened.

Strong and authoritative.

Yet – also creative and loving and tender..

His son Jesus also spoke with authority too – a strong and power-filled authority – but He also spoke in love and tenderness.

God’s voice spoke the world into life – Jesus’ words speak us into new life.

Just as there was a creating power in God’s voice “in the beginning” – so there is a life-giving power in the voice of Jesus – as He heals and gives new life.

Like when He healed the blind and the lame – when He brought Lazarus back to life and performed his many other miracles – it was His voice which had the authority  – God’s authority – to heal and to bless.

Do you remember the story when Jesus cast out demons from a possessed man – “come out” Jesus said “and the demons came out – the Bible tells us – “because they knew his voice”.

Have you ever heard the voice of God ? Have you ever heard the voice of Jesus ? Some say they have.

Moses heard God’s voice from the Burning Bush.

God spoke to Solomon and told him to build a Temple.

And throughout the centuries many people have heard God speaking to them.

Indeed, a good friend of mine said that a number of years ago – while working as a nurse – she was part of a conversation where someone had said that they  were going to give up their job and go into the ministry – and she quite clearly heard a voice which said “and that’s what you must do!” – and when she looked round there was no-one else there – but clear as day she had heard a voice with an air of authority – calling her into his service.

And I’ve know her since we were in Uni  – and she is not one prone to ‘hearing voices’..

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Many people hear God speaking to them in different ways.

It may not be a firm clear voice, such as my friend heard – it may be a feeling – a wee voice of conscience – it may be through events which lead you to be sure that it’s what God wants of you.

God speaks to you – to me in many ways – but  do we take time to hear him ?

But what does He sound like – I wonder.  Strong and powerful – or gentle and tender ?? – probably both.

When He commands – He doesn’t always ask politely – “I command you to love one another” He says to us – and you get the feeling that he isn’t just asking us nicely.

No – ‘if you don’t mind and if it suits you’ – but rather – “you must love one another as I love you!”confident and commanding – but there’s still love and care in His words.

When kings speak – people listen – when kings decree – things happen, so it is with Jesus.

But he was a different kind of King – with a very different kind of kingdom ! The ‘Kingdom of God’!

No violent ‘ruling with an iron fist’ – no ‘brutal or sadistic regime’ which held the people in fear –

Jesus brings us into His Kingdome with His love..

His kingdom is one where all will live in peace and harmony – where – as the Bible tells us “the wolf and the lamb  – (the strong and the meek) – will live together in peace – where the snake and the child – (the slippery and the innocent) will live in harmony” in the Kingdom of eternal life – the Kingdom which is for all who ‘listen for the voice of God – and act upon it’.

Voices are so powerful – they can start wars – or mend a broken heart.

They can cause wounds deeper than any sword – or they can comfort and heal.

They can deceive and lie – or they can be trustworthy and truthful.

We must be careful about the words we use.

In our N.T. reading we heard the voice of worldly authority– the Roman Governor Pilate – asking Jesus in verse 33“are you the king of the Jews ?”  – we can almost hear the contempt in his voice as he looked at this bearded and disheveled prisoner who stood before him.

But instead of rising to the bait – or pleading for his life – Jesus calmly and cool-ly turns the tables on Pilate – suddenly it’s Pilate who is on trial – as Jesus answered Pilate’s question with a question of his own – “Did you think of that all on your own ?” He said “or is that just something you have heard from others !” – His voice portraying a serene and self assured confidence.

Well – He is a King after all !!

My Kingdom” he says to Pilate – “is very different from any other kingdom you’ve ever heard of before”.

And then we hear a hint of derision in Pilate’s voice when he thinks he’s caught Jesus out –  “aha ! So you are admitting to being a king after all !” And we can imagine Pilate looking smugly around the court  as if to say – “you need to get up pretty early in the morning to get one over on me !”

Little  did he know who was really in control  of this false, mockery of a trial.

Jesus – King of heaven – King of truth.

Jesus is a ‘truth speaker’  – “I am the truth” He had said earlier – and that makes those who listen for His voice – ‘truth hearers’

Jesus said in the last verse of our N.T.reading –

“everyone who is on the side of truth – listens to me.

Jesus talks the truth – Jesus is the truth – and those who listen for His voice – hear the truth.

But how many of us are “truth hearers” ?

How many of us take the time needed each day to read His words and listen for His voice?

Yes, we might spend time in prayer – and that’s good – but  how often do we just sit – open – silent – at peace – listening for God to speak to us ?  Are we too busy talking, with a list of requests – planning what we’re going to say next – to hear God’s voice?

That was Pilate’s trouble – he was too busy with is own agenda to hear that Jesus was telling him the truth – He really is a King ! – and He really has a Kingdom !!

But it all went over Pilate’s head – because he may well have been hearing –  but he certainly wasn’t listening what Jesus was saying to him.

Many in the word do the same – too busy, too ‘otherwise engaged’ to stop, take time and listen for God’s voice, God’s word.

And so they miss out on hearing His gentle words of  encouragement, comfort, inner peace and reassurance that we all need to hear.

I hope pray that you will take time – make time, to listen for God’s voice each day – and come to know all these things for yourself – and so come to know that deep, inner peace that only comes from the God of Peace – and through His son, Jesus Christ, who is the King of Peace.

That’s what I pray for you – and I pray for you  in Jesus’ name.

Amen.

And may God bless this preaching of His Holy word – and may all the glory and the praise – be His.

‘THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK’

I’d like to leave you with this short poem and it kind of sums up our message for  today, listening to God.

It’s called ‘I asked God.’

 

I asked God to take away my pride.

And God said no.

He said it was not for Him to take away

But for me to give up.

 

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole

And God said no.

He said her spirit, is whole.

Her body is only temporary.

 

I asked God to give me happiness.

And God said no.

He said He gives blessings.

Happiness is up to me.

 

I asked God to spare me pain.

And God said no.

He said suffering draws you apart from worldly care

And brings you closer to him.

 

I asked God to make my spirit grow

And he said no.

He said I must learn to grow on my own, and with others

And only then will I understand and so grow in His way.

 

Then I asked God to teach me how to live and grow in HIS way,

“Listen to my voice – hear my words” He said – “learn to love others as much as I love you.”

 

“Ahh, at last – I finally have the idea!”

Are YOU taking time, making time to listen for that still small voice that guides you along life’s journey?

God is speaking to you – aye, but are you listening?

 

Food for thought for us all.

BLESSING

Let us go out in love – joy and peace –

And may the love of Jesus go before you –

the Lord almighty watch over you –

and the Holy Spirit go with you – guiding and protecting you in all you do

And may the blessing of Almighty God – Father – Son – and Holy Spirit – be with you all – be with your families, friends, those you know and love and ought to love  – this day – and every day.

AMEN

 

Take care and May God Bless you

And your loved ones.

Have  good week – and Please – keep safe

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Be sure and look out for the Midweek ‘Meditation’ which is Posted every Wednesday Morning.

 

And can I remind those of you who aren’t too far away from Kilmacolm, that our Murray Chapel is currently opened for a time of  personal Peace and Prayer, each day from Monday to Saturday from 11am – 1pm.

All welcome.

“Be still and know that I am God”

Psalm 46 : 10

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Midweek Meditation – Wednesday 18th November 2020

Midweek Meditation

Wednesday 18th November 2020

Good morning all, please find this week’s Midweek Meditation below for those of you who may wish to take a few minutes to relax and listen . I hope you will find some words of comfort to help you through these difficult times. Take care and keep yourself, and others, safe. God bless.

Audio Version

Printed version

Good morning – thank you for joining me in  my ‘Midweek Meditation.’

Are you sitting comfortably ?  Just sit, relax and listen.

Can I ask you a question? How are you?

Are you coping with this time of lockdown – or –

Are you struggling to get through each day?

If so, then perhaps you would think about my second question ~

What do you think is the biggest social issue in our world today?

Poverty perhaps?

Drugs misuse?

Homeless-ness?

Unemployment?

There is no doubt that all these are problems in our societies today – some say they always have been.

But I would say that a major issue for many – of all ages – is that of Loneliness.

Perhaps it is more acute at this time of the Covid 19 Pandemic  – where many of us are in ‘lockdown’ for our own safety and the safety of others.

Loneliness can affect any age and from any walk of life.

Well, if that is the problem, what is the answer?

If  only it were that simple.

But perhaps it starts with us – perhaps it is we who ought to reach out to others – to break the ice.

Someone said to me recently “I’m so lonely, no-one ever calls me” to which I gently said “That’s a shame – but do you ever call them?”

Taking the first step, making the first move can often open the door  to friendship and companionship.

You can be sure that there are many who are in the same situation – feeling the same – wanting the same – someone to talk to, someone to listen.

I can absolutely assure you that there IS someone who listens – someone who is interested in you and how your life is going.

Someone who longs for you to talk to Him – to tell him how your day is going – to hear what problems you are having – what is troubling you – and whatever is on your mind.

Perhaps you have some good news that you want  share – share it with Him.

We have a great and listening God who is only a prayer away.

You may not be in the way of talking to Him each day – but you’ll be surprised just how easy it is to talk to Him.

Just close your eyes and talk to Him as you would talk to a friend. Don’t worry if your words get muddled or confused – He knows what you are trying to say.

“ A trouble shared is a trouble halved” as the saying goes  – and as the old BT advert used to say “it’s good to talk.”

If you find it awkward or hard to talk – don’t worry, the more you do it – the better you get . Don’t give up!

Find a comfy seat, think about what you want to say, write it down if that will help. Take a deep breath and go for it.

Speak slowly and with confidence – knowing that God IS hearing you. When you finish – simply say “Thank you for listening Lord. Amen.”

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If, on the other hand, you know someone else who is lonely, why not give them a call, send them a card to let them know that you are think about them – it will be a small gesture on our part – but you can be absolutely sure that it will mean a whole lot more to them.

“Jesus says –

“I will always be with you – always.

I will never fail nor forsake you, never”

How comforting to us – especially to those of us who struggle each day – we are NOT alone – our God is always with us…

Let us pray –

Loving God, I pray for all who are lonely, all who feel isolated and alone. I pray too fore those who may have family and friends nearby but feel  on their own.

Remind them that you are always with us, no matter where we are – you keep us in your sight – and you love and value each one of us.

Grant them your peace and enhance their lives with companionship and friendship.

Guide us to seek out those in need of help and support, so that we might show them the love of your son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Here’s something for us all to think about –

Do we, you and I, know someone who is lonely or troubled?

Is there something we can do to help them through this difficult time?

Will you look for someone to help this week’

I pray that you will.

Something for us all to think about.

Amen.

Take care, God Bless – have a good week –

and please……. take care.

Online Sunday Service – 15th November 2020

 

Good morning folks, I hope all is well with you – or at the least, as well as you can be at this challenging time.

Audio Version

Click on the word Facebook to be taken to the Facebook page where you can listen to this service.

 

Printed Version

Good morning folks, I hope all is well with you – or at the least, as well as you can be at this challenging time.

Prior to last Sunday which was, of course, Remembrance Sunday, we had just finished a series of the “I AM” sayings of Jesus and they were, and still are, ways in which Jesus shows just who He was and what His “Mission Earth” was.

It was not to bring people to church but to bring people to God.

‘This is how God is” Jesus says – “see me, see how I am, how I love and care for people – that’s God’s way – and that how God wants you to be.”

And He didn’t just talk about God almighty power – but He showed them through  Miracles, Healings and much more.

Today we look at ‘priorities’, Gods and ours – but before that, let us share a prayer –

Let us Pray ~

 

Loving Lord,

we come to worship you, setting aside this short time

to spend in your company, committing ourselves to learning more about you and your ways.

You are our amazing God  and offer each of us a new, life-changing  beginning, yet so often we prefer to hold on to our old familiar ways.

And so we pray that in your mercy you will forgive us, cleanse us, restore and renew us.

Open our hearts to your renewing touch, open our eyes to your amazing grace, and so help us to see our faults and correct them so we might live more truly as your people, living good and wholesome lives as you intended.

Hear our concerns Lord, and hear our personal prayer of confession  for the things that we have said, done and thought – things that we are not proud of – things we pray you will forgive us for – in Jesus’ name……… so be with us Lord – as bring these things to you – in  the peace of our silence……………………

Listening Lord – as undeserving as we are – we pray that you will forgive us and bless us with your mercy and your Grace.

Lord we know that you hear us when we pray to you in faith – so hear us now as we say together – the prayer which brings us together as one family – the traditional version of the family prayer – the Lord’s prayer ~

 

Our Father..

Who art in heaven.. Hallowed be thy name..

Thy kingdom come..

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…..

Give us this day our daily bread..

And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors..

Lead us not into temptation.. But deliver us from evil .

For thine is the kingdom..

The power and the glory forever….

Amen.

 

Our Reading this morning is taken from the Gospel of Mark – the shortest of the 4 Gospels.

Although it is second in order in the New Testament – it was written before Mathew, Luke and John – and if you are looking to read the Bible but don’t know where to start – then I would recommend reading the Book of Mark to you.

In our Reading this morning – we hear Jesus talking about the great Temple in Jerusalem – “ perhaps it is a beautiful building” – He says – “ but you’re forgetting all the people outside – what are you actually doing to help them ?  – you’re too tied up with your precious temple – to be concerned about showing the love of God to those who so badly need it !” – and then He prophesied the Temples’ destruction.

Let’s read Gods’ Word together now ~

 

Mark 13 : 1 – 7  – from the New International Version

The Destruction of the Temple

As Jesus was leaving the Temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”

“Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the Temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.”

Amen.

 

This is the Word of the Lord – thanks be to God

 

SERMON

 

Have you read the book or seen the film ~ the Lord of the Rings ?

It’s a gripping trilogy by J R Tolkein – which revolves around an enchanted golden ring which draws people to it and enslaves them in to its mysterious power – and corrupts all who seek to possess it.

There’s a slippery character called gollum – once a friendly hobbit – who is now completely under it’s spell and his whole life revolves around finding the ring and feeling it’s power once again.

For gollum – and others – the ring is more important than friends and relationships – more valuable than life itself.

He calls the ring “my precious” and is at the very centre of his every thought.

It’s pure fantasy of course – but it reminds us of the things that have a hold over us.

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For the Jewish people the Temple was central to every aspect of their lives.

It was magnificently built, facing the east – and the roof was covered in gold leaf so that when the morning sun struck it’s first rays on the temple – people had to turn their eyes away – as you would if you were looking at God himself.

There’s no doubt – the temple was a great and wonderful structure – a tribute to man’s ingenuity and faith – for it was built to the glory of God.

But it was more than just a building – their whole lives revolved around it.

It held great spiritual value –– and was the place where God lived – or so they believed .

So, for many reasons –the great temple of Jerusalem was, to the Jewish people, the most important and wonderful building ever constructed.

To be fair, no-one who saw it for themselves could fail to be impressed.   And as we heard in our bible reading  how it’s beauty had seduced even the disciples – “Look teacher” they said to Jesus “ what a magnificent building !!”

But as Jesus looked at the temple – it’s wonderful craftsmanship – it’s gold leaf shimmering in the sunlight – yes – it’s magnificence could not be denied – but

He could also see what it had become, and its power to mislead their faith.

The People came to worship the building

Instead of the God to whom it was built.

 “Yes, it is magnificent” – Jesus said – “but God doesn’t live in a building – He lives in us and in our relationship with him and with each other”.

He then makes an amazing statement – He prophesies the destruction of the Temple.

“You may not believe this ” He was saying “ but one day –all this will just be a pile of rubble” – and in less than 50 years – His prophecy came true – when the Romans – under the ruler ‘Titus’ – completely  destroyed Jerusalem and the “precious” temple.

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As it lay in ruins – the Romans even prized apart the massive marble stones to collect the gold leaf that had melted from the roof when the temple was set on fire.

Tragedy – desolation – disaster – the temple had been destroyed – and all it’s ancient treasures had been carried away.

But as bad as all that was – there was another  problem.

If God did live in the temple  – and it was no longer there – does that mean that God was no longer there either ??  “Where was our God now??”  They said.     Had God deserted them too ?

This had been Jesus’ point.

God  can’t be contained by stones and mortar – He was saying – God lives in the hearts of those who love him – He lives in you and me – when we take Him into our hearts and minds..

You see – it’s tempting to place too much emphasis on the physical things of this world – we all do it at times – but in so doing – we can be distracted from the spiritual things.

That too was Jesus’ point.

Mankind loves grand buildings, impressive and magnificent Temples.

Whereas God loves you.

 

We are impressed by pomp, ceremony and grandeur.

Whereas God is impressed by the good things that you do for those in need.

It’s a matter of priorities.  God’s and ours –

We prioritize the things of this world like new cars, bigger homes, money, rank,   position, standing and status.

God prioritizes people – you and I.

“man sees the outward appearance – God sees what’s in our heart” (1st Samuel 16 : 7).

And like that glorious Temple – we will not stand  forever – but our souls will – when we prioritize God in to our lives, through his son, Jesus Christ – who in turn urges us to prioritize the sad, the lonely and the hungry and all who are in need of comfort.

At the end of the day, quite literally – you will have to decide what your priorities are – we all will.

What will you build your life upon?

Things of this world – or things of God’s kingdom.

Which is more “precious” to you?

One will only last for a limited number of years – while the other will last in to all eternity.

Long or short term thinking?   The choice is yours to make.

I hope and pray that you will choose wisely – for it will greatly free hymnsbless your life here – and hereafter.

And I pray for you in the name of God’s only Son, our only hope, Jesus Christ.

Amen.

And may God bless this preaching of His holy Word – and may all the glory and the praise – be His.

 

Let us pray

 

Loving Lord, we come to thank you for this world, which you created for us. But aware that it is far from perfect – and that it is us, your children, who have made it so.  You made the world to live in peace, harmony and unity – but our own agenda’s have corrupted and spoiled it.

We pray for all who are enduring life rather than enjoying it – for those caught up in wars and conflict – for those who barely have enough to exist on while others have more than enough.

We pray for the families who are hurting, perhaps because of a broken relationship or bereavement –

for families who, because of their busy schedules, fail to know the joy of spending quality time together.

We pray too for all whose faith is weak and uncertain – perhaps someone reading  (or listening to) this today – someone who wants a good and strong faith – but have questions and doubts. They may doubt themselves – doubt the whole Christian message – but long for the love and warmth which Jesus brings to others.

Give them a mind to spend time in prayer and read Scripture for themselves – and so better come to know you and your ways…… and come to know the wonderful love of Jesus for themselves.

We pray for all who have lost loved ones and ask that you draw close to them in their difficult time. May we know the deep love and comfort which can only come from a true belief in you – through your son Jesus Christ.

Loving Lord, we bring before you, in prayer, our own families. We pray that you will watch over them – whether they be nearby or far from home – watch over them and keep them safe.

Be with us now Listening Lord, as we sit for a few silent moments, each with our own thoughts, each with our own prayer- for those we know and love – be with us Lord, in the peace of our silence……………………

Hear our prayers Lord, for we bring them to you in the name of the one who walks with us, talks with us – the one who is there in our dark times as well as the good – our dear, sweet Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Amen.

 

‘THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK’

 

Can anyone tell me what a pair of trainers – a bottle of wine and a character from ‘the Lord of the Rings’ have in common ? –  well – they all have a child named after them.

There’s a report just out which says that parents are calling their children some funny names these days.

Apparently names such as Reebok –Chardonnay’ and Gandalf are becoming commonplace (poor things !). There’s  even a wee boy named ‘Superman’ somewhere in Britain – and baby girl called ‘Cherry Blossom’ ! (What a shame !).

They say that a name can say a lot about a person – (perhaps poor wee Cherry Blossom’ will out-shine  all her classmates !)…………..

So here’s something you might like to take away and think about ~

How would you like to make name a for yourself that people will talk about ?

Wouldn’t it be nice if you got a name for sharing God’s love with everyone you meet !?

So that when your name is spoken – people will say – “oh yes. That was that lovely lady who cared so much for other people –she was a Christian you know!!” – or  –

oh yes, he was a lovely ‘gentle-man’ man wasn’t he? –and always shared his faith with others.”

So here’s a thought for all of us –

Will people say something like that about you ??

Well, don’t worry it’s not too late – they can – and they will – if you take your faith seriously – and follow the way – live  God’s way.

It’s never too late !!

Now – that is something to think about –

Don’t you think ??

AMEN.

 

BLESSING

 

Whoever you are,

wherever you go,

Whatever your strengths,

whatever your weaknesses,

Be assured that God will be with you, to hold, and to heal, to guide and to bless.

Go, then, in peace – assured of his love.

And may the blessing of Almighty God – Father – Son – and Holy Spirit – be with you all – may He be with your families and friends and all who you know and love – and ought to love – this day and everyday.

 

AMEN

Take care and May God Bless you

And your loved ones.

And Please – keep safe

 *

Be sure and look out for the Midweek ‘Meditation’ which is Posted every Wednesday Morning.

*

And can I remind those of you who aren’t too far away from Kilmacolm, that our Murray Chapel is currently opened for a time of  personal Peace and Prayer, each day from Monday to Saturday from 11am – 1pm.

All welcome.

“Be still and know that I am God”

Psalm 46 : 10

 *

Midweek Meditation – Wednesday 11th November 2020

Wednesday 11th November 2020

Midweek Meditation

 Audio Version

Printed Version

Good morning all – How are you today ?  I hope you are coping with it all – such a difficult time for so many. But be sure that we WILL get through it – it’s what we do in tough times. We struggle, yes, but we  also grit our teeth and get on with it. And should we find ourselves struggling – then it is no shame to ask for help. None of us is infallible – we all need help at some time or another.

*

Today, of course is Remembrance Day – 11th November – the day we Remember those who faced the ultimate struggle – that of life  and death – in war and conflict around the world.

From the Trenches to the desert – from the jungle to the Sea and in the air ; Europe, Middle East, Far East and pretty much all points in between there have been wars, conflicts, confrontations –  skirmishes, encounters, engagements – all resulting in injury,  death and devastation for so many.

It’s a horrible and depressing thought but it’s the stark reality of war.

But today we do not glorify war – but rather, we remember and pay tribute to those who  paid the price, made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

And we cannot thank and praise them enough.

But what of those who came home?

How do they cope with  the memories, the flashbacks and the images which play in their heads like an old movie on a continuous loop – night after night?

Thankfully there are many organizations now who offer counselling and  care to Veterans – such as Combat Stress, Help for Hero’s and many more – all doing great work.

Many, myself included,  get spiritual support from our faith and God’s Words to us – as we find it in the Bible.

Listen to these verses – and these are only a few of encouraging verses there for us.

 

Joshua 1:v9

 

Have I not told you? Be strong and have strength of heart! Do not be afraid or lose faith. For the Lord your God is with you anywhere you go.”

 

Philippians 4:v13

I can do all things because Christ gives me the strength.”

 

Romans 8:v18

1”Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.”

 

2nd  Corinthians 4:v’s 16-18

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”

And ~

1st  Peter 5:v7

Cast all your anxiety on God, because He cares for you.”

 

As God’s love for us, God’s Word to us – brings comfort to those in combat  – it is also a great comfort to us, in our troubles, our fears and our anxieties – in all our Spikes and lock downs.

 

I’d like to read a Poem, written  by –

 

Dr Tim Chester – Pastor of Grace Church in Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire ~

And let it be our Prayer ~

 

“O Lord, we look upon the past,
rememb’ring those who went before
who heard the call and bore for us
the brutal, bloody face of war.

We think of them and think of you,
who came to earth as one of us,
to share our pain and bear our wounds,
and make the final sacrifice.

O Lord, we look around today
and see a world in conflict still.
We pray for those who strive for peace,
who stand for truth or lives rebuild.
We weep with those whose hearts are scarred,
whose way is tough, whose hope is weak.
To refugees whose homes are lost,
God of comfort – comfort speak.

O Lord, we look ahead in hope
to see the dawning of the day
when swords are beaten into ploughs
and every tear is wiped away;

When wounds are healed and fear dispelled
and all who trust in you arise;
when Christ, the Prince of Peace, has come,
and all His glory, fills the skies!”

Amen.

*

Put your trust and your faith in the Great God of  Peace, Love and Hope – and you can be absolutely sure that He will not fail you.

Jesus says to us “I will always be with you – I will never fail or forsake you, never.”

Comforting words for troubled times…

Now, the 11th day of the 11th Month,  let us take a few moments in silent tribute  for those “who gave their tomorrow, that we might have our today: –

……….short time of silence…………

As we remember today those gave their lives for us – let us  also Remember that God’s own son, Jesus Christ,  gave his life for you for me…

“Greater love has no-one, than this – to lay down one’s life for their friends…”

Amen.

Why not take some time this week to Reflect upon the many Blessings that God has so lovingly and so faithfully, given to you over the years…?…

Take care and may God bless You and your loved ones.

And please – keep safe.

 

*

 

 

 

Online Sunday Service – 8th November 2020 – Remembrance Sunday

8th November 2020

REMEMBRANCE DAY SERVICE

 

Good morning,

I hope you and yours are all safe and well on this Remembrance Sunday.

Today  is the day when we remember the horrors of war – the lives lost and the loved ones who didn’t return home and give thanks for those who defend us and keep us safe

So, let us begin our service of Remembrance –

Audio Version

 

Written Version

Let us join together in prayer –

Almighty God,

we come this day to remember and learn – to remember the lessons of the past:

the cost of war, the price of peace, the scope of human depravity, the extent of human self sacrifice.

Help us to learn those lessons – to live and work for peace, to fight only what is evil and corrupt.

To serve and not to count the cost, to give our all in the cause of a better world.

Almighty God,

we come to remember all you have done -your creative acts, your mighty deeds throughout history – your dealings with your people, your gift of Christ, your love experienced daily in our lives.

 

As we remember and give thanks for all those who made the final sacrifice that we might enjoy freedom.

Remind us too of the sacrifice that your own son made, that we might have life and in all it’s fullness.

 

Remind us that you know the pain of losing a son at the hands of corrupt and evil men.

And we give you thanks that because of your great love for us – you accepted that pain and loss – for our sakes.

 

Forgive us that so often – and so easily we forget.

 

We fail to remember your transforming power; we fail to remember you in the good times as well as the bad; we fail to count our many blessings, and to recognise your hand at work in every moment of our lives.

 

Almighty God,

through all things you remember us – help us to remember you!

 

Remind us of all we owe  you – lest we forget.

 

Hear our prayer Lord, and hear us we pray together – the family prayer – the Lord’s prayer –

Our Father, who is in heaven,


bless-ed be your name;


your kingdom come;


your will be done;


May it be on earth, as it is in heaven.


Give us this day our daily needs.

 

And help us to forgive others, 

 

As you forgive us.

 

Keep us from falling in to temptation;


and deliver us from evil.


For yours is the kingdom,


the power and all the glory,


for ever.

Amen.

 

Our reading for today is taken from Pauls letter to the early Church in Rome and it reminds us that God is always faithful to those who are faithful to Him .

 

Let’s read God’s word together –

Hear the Word of God ~

Romans 8:31-39    from the New International Version

More Than Conquerors

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?33 

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?

It is God who justifies.

34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also mediating for us.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36    For it is written:~

“For your sake we face death all day long;
are we to be considered as sheep to be slaughtered?”

 

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, nothing –

nothing ! will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Amen.

 

This is the Word of the Lord – thanks be to God

 

SERMON

 

I wonder – how is your memory?

 

Is it quite good and you remember all the important things you have to do?

 

Or are you pretty hopeless at remembering things?

 

I suppose some things are not so important and so it’s not a big deal if you forget them.

 

But there are things –  things that are so it’s important  that we must not forget.

 

This time of year is a time for remembering –

 

Remember, remember the 5th of November!

 

And more importantly – Remembrance or Armistice day.

Today – a day which we set aside to give our thanks, pay our respects and Remember those who paid the ultimate price for the safety and freedom of others.

 

“They died – that we may live”   is a true saying.

 

It’s an emotional day for many – remembering family, friends, good pals and others who went out but didn’t make it back – so sad.

 

Of course, our fond memories are just not limited to one day a year – but this is the day we, as a Nation,  stop, take time and give thanks for all that they mean to us – and all they have done for us.

 

And it’s right that we do that.

 

We are not glorifying war – but remembering those who fell and are now silent – not just in the 2 great wars but in the many wars and conflicts since.

 

Lives lost – hearts broken.

 

Yes, it’s important that we remember.

*

But it’s also important that we learn from it all – that it wasn’t all in vain.

 

Someone once asked the question – “What is the purpose of War?”

 

I suppose one answer might be- “To bring about Peace”

 

And yet here we are – 2020  and still men, women and children are dying – still, young ones are being orphaned..

 

And I wonder if God is watching us – shaking His head and saying to Himself – “When will they ever learn ? – did nothing Jesus say  sink in ??”!!

*

And it raises serious moral issues for us – as Christians trying to follow God’s way – trying to shed his light – in a dark and troubled world.

 

For example –

 

How can we – ‘love our enemies’ – when his name is ……TALIBAN OR TERRORIST………..

 

How can we – ‘pray for those who hurt us’ – when it’s our friends and families that are in danger – and how can we – ‘turn the other cheek’ ??

 

Well the answer – is…… “with great difficulty ! – and with Prayer”……

 

The very first verse of the New Testament reading puts that very question to us – “what then shall we say about all this !?”

 

And it always amazes me – although it shouldn’t – how relevant God’s word – the Bible – is to our everyday lives..

 

Paul puts the question – and then proceeds to give us the answer –when he says – in effect –  “ When you have God with you  – do not fear those who are against you!”

 

These few words tell us that God is the ultimate source of all comfort – He is in control.

 

And if we have Him – Paul is saying – then our future is not in the hands of “wicked and evil men” – or at the whim of the changing fortunes of this world –

 

our destiny’s are in the hands of a loving, caring, understanding God – we are in safe hands – God’s hands……. And it doesn’t get any safer than that !!

 

I was reading the story of a World War 1 soldier who’s notebook was found among the mud at a battle scene.

 

He had written  that he and his comrades had been told that today was the day of the ‘big push’ – they were about to climb out of the trenches and charge across ‘no man’s land’ and attack the enemy lines –

 

In his journal for that last day he had written this quotation from the bible – “We are indeed – like ‘lambs to the slaughter.’

And then he wrote –– “the Chaplain read from the good book  to us this morning” – “ we are more than conquers, through Him who loves us.”

 

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life – neither angels or demons – neither the present nor the future – nor any powers – neither height nor depth – nor anything else in all creation  – will be able to separate us from the love of God – that is in Christ Jesus – our Lord.

 

“This gives us great comfort” – the young soldier wrote –  “for we know that whatever happens – we will be safe  – one way or another – in the hands of the Lord” –

and then with the words – “nothing – not even death – can separate us from the love of God ringing in his ears –  he went over the top into a hail of bullets…

 

Safe in life – safe in Death..

 

I pray that on this day of Remembrance – you will remember  that the God of love, loves you very much – and that there’s nothing in this life – or the next – nothing in all creation – which can separate you from the love of God – which is in Jesus Christ our lord.

 

How comforting, how reassuring –

And I pray that our great God of Peace will lead us to work for peace in our world – in our communities and in our lives – and may He fill your hearts with Hope and Peace all the days of your life – and beyond – and in Jesus precious name.

 

Amen.

And may God bless this preaching of his Holy Word – and may all the glory and the praise – be His.

 

 

Please relax – stand if you are able – or remain as you are more comfortable as we come to our –

 ‘act of remembrance’

 

 

 

– ‘They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;

– Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

 

– At the going down of the sun – and in the morning,

 

All – we will remember them.

 

Let us take 1 minutes of silent remembrance ~

*

 

TIME OF SILENCE  -…….. (1 Minute)……. –

 

 

After the 1 minute’s silence ~

 

And when you go home – tell them of us and say –

 

For your tomorrow – we gave our today…

 

 

Amen.

 

Please be seated…

 

Let us Pray –

Dear Lord, as we come to you in all your majesty, to praise and glorify your name – we look to your son – Jesus Christ – to show us the true meaning of compassion, understanding and how to live in peace and harmony with all mankind.

But we are ashamed to confess that deep within us, we harbour feelings of resentment, dislike and intolerance of those who are not of our own kind –

Forgive us Lord – pardon and deliver us from these thoughts – for they are against your will.

 

Keep us in life eternal, confirm and strengthen us in all goodness, through Jesus Christ.

 

Today we especially remember those who lived and died in the service of others…. those who perished at sea, on land or in the air….. so that others might have freedom from evil and oppression……… we owe them so much and commend them to you….

 

We remember those who came back and carry the scars of war, who lost sight, limbs or reason : and those who lost their faith in that great time of trial.

 

Bless those who have enduring memories of war – and bless our young people that they might never have such memories, never know such horrors – never see the depths of cruelty to which men and women can sink.

 

Grant that their generation – and generations to follow –  may be faithful soldiers and servants of Jesus Christ – the one combats and overcomes all evil.

 

Grant that the people of the world may do your will, live in your spirit, through Jesus Christ in whom none are dead, but are alive forever.

 

Hear our prayer, dear Lord , and hear too – our silent prayers as we sit for a few moments, each with our own thoughts – each with our own prayers…………….take a few moments to think of someone you know that you would like top pray for today ……. Whisper their name – the Lord hears your words…………………………

 

Be with them all dear Lord, for we bring them to you in the name of the Prince of Peace – Jesus Christ, your son, our Saviour.

 

Amen.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

 

I’d like to leave you with a “Poem for Remembrance”

 

It’s a sad poem – yet very relevant in our world today – and in our own lives ~

 

It’s called –

 “The Inquisitive mind of a Child”

Author unknown

 

Why are they selling Poppies mummy

Selling poppies in town today?

The poppies child, are flowers of love,

For the men who marched away.

 

But why have they chosen a poppy, mummy

Why not a beautiful Rose?

Because, my child, men fought and died,

In the fields where the poppies grow.

 

But why are the poppies so red, mummy

Why are the poppies so red?

Red is the colour of blood, my child

The blood our soldiers shed.

 

But the heart of the poppy if black mummy,

Why does it have to be black?

Black, my child, is the symbol of grief.

For the men who never came back.

 

But why, mummy are you crying so?

Your tears are giving you pain.

My tears are my fears for you , my child,

 

For the world is forgetting again…

 

 

Mmmm food for thought for us all.

Amen.

 

BLESSING

 

And now – go in love- go in peace –

Go in the strength of the Lord –

 

Remembering those who sacrificed their lives

That we might have life  – and in all it’s fullness –

 

And may the blessing of Almighty God, Father Son and Holy Spirit – be with you , may He be with your families, friends and and all whom you love – and ought to love…

This day and for evermore.

 

AMEN

 

Take care and May God Bless you

And your loved ones.

 

And we close our service with that lovely hymn

“Make me a channel of your of peace”

The Prayer of St Francis.

(Audio Version only)

 

And Please – keep safe

*

Be sure and look out for the Midweek ‘Meditation’ which is Posted every Wednesday Morning.

*

And can I remind those of you who aren’t too far away from Kilmacolm, that our Murray Chapel is currently opened for a time of  personal Peace and Prayer, each day from Monday to Saturday from 11am – 1pm.

All welcome.

 

“Be still and know that I am God”

Psalm 46 : 10

 

*

Remembrance Sunday Events

Good morning all.

 

It is with great disappointed to have inform you know that due to current restrictions we are unable to hold the usual Remembrance Service at the Memorial on Sunday 8th November.

It had been our intention to hold a short Wreath Laying Ceremony  and I have been holding off  on a final decision until we had the very latest edict from the Government for as we know it can change from day by day.

The latest announcement forbids groups to gather both inside and outside (see below) – and so we have no option but to comply.

If we were to go ahead we cannot be sure of how many people might attend and observing safe distancing  would be challenging.

As some of you may know, my wife and I are in the recovering stages from testing positive for the Coronavirus – and I can assure you that it is not something to be taken lightly.

And so, with all this in mind – I am sad that we cannot pay our respects for the fallen in our usual way but that doesn’t  lessen our appreciation and heartfelt thanks for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Alternatives have been suggest by the Royal British Legion and Poppy Scotland  – which I have copied below for your information.

Every best wish and Blessings to you all – and please keep safe and well.

God Bless.

Rev Iain Ramsden

(Locum Minister at Kilmacolm Old Kirk)

 

REMEMBRANCE EVENTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY CANCELLED DUE TO COVID

The annual national Remembrance events that were scheduled to take place in Edinburgh on Remembrance Sunday (8th November 2020) and Armistice Day (11th November 2020) will not be open to the public following confirmation of Coronavirus guidelines by the Scottish Government yesterday.

Under the Scottish Government Strategic Framework outdoor standing events are not permitted in areas placed in Levels 1 to 4, (we are in level 3) which means that traditional remembrance services and parades at outdoor war memorials must be cancelled. Services held in places of worship can proceed if undertaken in line with Government guidelines but will be limited in size.

However, Legion Scotland and Poppy Scotland are encouraging alternative arrangements to be made for marking remembrance this year. The public are being encouraged to take to their doorsteps at 11am on Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day to mark the two-minute silence. The BBC will televise proceedings from the Cenotaph in London on the 8th November and both charities will be broadcasting a virtual service of remembrance on November 11th.

Royal British Legion & Poppy Scotland.

Foodbank Donations And Blythswood Boxes

FOODBANK DONATION and BLYTHSWOOD BOXES

There is a box in the foyer of the church to receive donations for the Foodbank.

Please leave any items in the box in the foyer between 11 am and 1 pm each day when the church is open for private prayer.

There is also to be a Blythswood Boxes collection – please complete your box and hand it in to the church by the end of 6th November.

Further information from Helen Cook for both these items.