Online Sunday service – 21st March 2021- 5th Sunday in Lent

Good morning all, it’s a fine morning here in Renfrew, I hope it is nice wherever you are and you are keeping well. If you have time why not make a cup of tea or coffee, find a comfy seat and settle down to listen to this weeks Sunday Service.

Take care, keep safe and God bless. Iain

 

Audio Version


 

Printed Version

Online Sunday Service

21st March 2021

5th Sunday in Lent

 

Good morning folks, How are you this morning?

I hope you are well.

 

Well I have some good news – our Church is opening up on Easter Sunday !

A very appropriate day – that day of celebration, the day of Resurrection !!

 

But the down side is that I’ll not be able to

provide an AUDIO version on Sunday mornings.

 

But you will be able to see the Sunday Service online once we have all the technology in place in the Church – which we hope to have ready for Easter Sunday. But I will post the Print version for you each Sunday.

 

It’s been a year since I started posting these Services for you – and many of you have told me that you have found then helpful.

But once we are all back to ‘normal’ (whatever that may look like)  and the Churches are all open again, there may be no need for my online worship as  you will be able to go to a Church there and not only see it live but participate in it yourself!

 

It’ll be the difference between listening to a CD or going to a live Show!

 

But I’ll let you know more, once I know myself

Let us pray ~

Loving, Heavenly Father – we unite from our different locations to bring you our worship and our praise.

We come from our different lives, our different homes  – knowing that this is a special day – the Lord’s day – the day we set aside to remember your goodness – your creation – and the day that you rested from your labours.

 

You really are an amazing God – who first spun the Heavens and the Earth – into life.

You are the God who created all the elements that we need – in just the right amount – so that life in all its variety – may grow and flourish.

 

You are God of the Universe – so big – so mighty – yet you are the God who walks and talks with us each day. Who holds us in the very palm of your hand – and you watch over us as we make out way through the complex and sometimes difficult maze of life.

 

You see us stumble and fall – and you lift us up again.

You hear our profane words and you forgive us.

You listen as we ignore, reject and overlook you – as we neglect your written Word – fail to pray – harbouring dark thoughts –

Yet you continue to love us and forgive us, time and time again.

 

What a merciful God you are!

Lord – we hardly deserve such kindness, such forgiveness – and we say thank you, thank you, thank you Lord – help us to show our gratitude and appreciation – not by the words we speak – but by the lives we lead – lives full of love for you – love for each other – and a deep love for our dear Saviour, your son, Jesus Christ.

 

Hear us now we pray – as we spend a few moments in silent contemplation – in open and honest reflection of all the things for which we need your forgiveness –

Hear now – our personal and silent prayers ~

 

…..take a few moments to think about the things you may have said or done – or thought – for which you seek God’s forgiveness…………bring them to God in prayer……..

He hears your words………..

 

We bring our thoughts, our need of forgiveness – and hand them to you – praying that you will forgive us – once more – and in Jesus’ name.

 

Lord we know that you hear us when we pray to you in faith – so hear us now as we pray 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.

Our Reading for today is taken from

John 12 : 1 – 8 (N.T.)

 

If you have a Bible with you, why not read along with me. Our reading is taken from –
John 12 : 1 – 8      International Standard Version

 

Mary Anoints Jesus

Let us listen to the Word of God

“Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived in Bethany, where Lazarus lived, the man whom Jesus had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him.

Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a litre of very expensive perfume made of pure Nard and anointed Jesus’ feet.

She wiped his feet with her hair, and the house became filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, who was going to betray Him, asked, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold for 300 denarii and the money given to the poor?”

He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief.

He was in charge of the moneybag and would steal what was put into it.

Then Jesus said, “Leave her alone so she can observe the day of my burial, because you will always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.”

Amen.

 

This is the Word of the Lord thanks be to God

 

SERMON

 

It’s nice to be sociable isn’t it ?  To visit friends and have them come over – whether for a meal or meet up for a coffee and a chat.

It strengthens our friendships  – and it’s what friends do.

*

In our N.T reading this morning we hear of Jesus visiting some friends on the outskirts of Jerusalem among them were Mary, Martha – and their brother Lazarus.

It seems to be a pretty normal kind of visit – we can imagine it – a group of people – chatting, laughing – sharing a drink and a meal – but then – out of the blue – Mary does something which seems strange – to say the least – she opens a jar of mega – expensive perfume – and pours it over the head and feet of Jesus!

 

The oil was called ‘Nard oil’ and was one of the 11 oils used for the incense of the holy temple at Jerusalem.

And it was also used to anoint the bodies of those who had passed away.

And so – it was a very special oil – and a very expensive one too!

 

As Judas reminded them – it was worth a years wages !! – what would that be worth today ??

 

£25 – 30, 000 – maybe more!!!  I wish !!!

 

But this didn’t seem to matter to Mary – nor to Jesus.

“The poor will always be with you” – Jesus said to Judas in v.7  He was saying – “you can look after them anytime – but I am only here for a short time – Mary knows that and is doing a good thing !”.

 

It’s a well enough known reading which has much to say to us ~

And its cleverly crafted narrative gives us a whole series of character sketches about the main people in the story – Martha – Mary – Judas and – of course, Jesus.

*

It shows us that we can serve God in different ways – as different as we all are.

 

There is the practical Martha – busying herself – serving at the table – she loved Jesus and she showed that love by the work of her hands.

 

Many of us can – and do that too – serve God in practical ways, using our ‘God given’ gifts and skills.

 

It’s true to say that we can serve God just as faithfully in the kitchen – or cleaning God’s house as in the pulpit.

And Jesus recognises that.

 

Then there was Mary –

 

She knew what lay ahead for Jesus – He had told His disciples a week or two before that He must go to Jerusalem and die – and Mary wanted to show her great love for him while she could.

 

And Jesus knew this too – for in verse 7 Jesus says ~ “leave Mary alone! – it was intended that she save this perfume for my burial.”

 

But Mary couldn’t wait.

Another week or so – and it would all be too late – and so she acted on impulse – if she didn’t do it now – while she had the chance – she may have thought – then perhaps she wouldn’t be able to do it all.

 

Perhaps it ought to remind us – that we should not put off those things which are important – ‘strike while the iron is hot’ as the saying goes – for the opportunity to do good for someone – may not come your way again.

Perhaps St. Ignatius had this passage in mind when he wrote these words ~

 

“Teach us Lord to serve you as you deserve.

To give and not to count the cost.

To fight and not to heed the wounds.

To toil and not to seek for rest.

To labour and not to seek for any reward –

Save that, of knowing that we do your will”

 

Mary served Jesus – in her own way – she gave to Him and didn’t count the cost.

 

Was she extravagant ? – yes – but for Mary the cost didn’t enter in to it – it wasn’t about the money – it was about her love for Jesus.  That was the guide to her actions.

 

In both Martha and Mary – we see a humility and a willingness to serve Jesus – each in their own way.

 

Judas, on the other hand, was dark and difficult – a very different character altogether.

 

For Judas it was all about the money – he complained that the money would have been better spent on the poor – but of course, Judas cared little for the poor.

His great love was money – indeed verse 6 tells us that he was a thief.

And  very soon – he was to betray Jesus – for just 30 pieces of silver.

 

Love money or love God – you can’t serve both – the Bible tells us.

 

Judas loved money

Mary and Martha loved Jesus.

 

And then we see Jesus – laid back and unruffled. “stay calm” he was saying to Judas – “chill out” as we might say today – “there’s more important things in this world than money you know !”

 

But Judas remained unconvinced – just as many do today, sadly.

But Jesus could see through Mary’s wild extravagance – He could see that it wasn’t about the perfume – or the cost – it was about the action – the symbolism of being anointed – and the love that was behind it.

 

Mary wanted to do it – simply because she loved Jesus.

*

Different people – acting in different ways – when in the company of Jesus.

 

But you know the line that I like most in this passage ?

 

It’s the last sentence in verse 3 – “and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume”. 

 

The whole house was effected by Mary’s actions –

 

Perhaps like one of those calming scented candles which we might burn at home. You know – lavender and camomile or something similar – it’s gentle and soothing scent can be smelt and felt – throughout the whole house – bringing a feeling of calm and comfort  – touching our senses – as we inhale it’s beautiful fragrance.

 

And that too has a lesson for us – it tells us that the way we live and act – has an effect on those around us.

If we are loud and unpleasant – don’t be surprised of those around you act the same!

 

But if we are kind, friendly and calm – living a life if faith, then it will rub off on those who are close to you too – just like the beautiful scent as it ‘winds it’s way’ around the rooms of your house.

 

Mary’s actions have been called – “the extravagant act of love” – and – for me – it’s one of the most beautiful passages in the bible.

 

We think of the Bible as a Holy book – and so it is.

And we think of the people in it – as ‘Holy people’ – and so they are.

 

But when we take a closer look – we see that it also tells us that “Holy people” are just like you and I – flawed, with all our human imperfections – and yet able to serve God, in our own circumstances and in our own particular and individual ways – just as they did.

 

So you and I are ‘Holy people’ too – children of a loving God – our heavenly Father.

 

Each of us has a ministry – different ways of serving God in our everyday lives – and that can take many forms – as diverse as the people we are.

 

We say that Mary was ‘extravagant’ with her love. But in a couple of week–  wee will see that Jesus was to give all He had – His very life – for Maryfor you and for me – and for all who love and accept Him into their lives.

 

Purposefully giving up your lives for others – it really doesn’t get anymore “extravagant” than that !

 

And so – the question is – how do we – you and I – respond to God’s extravagant love for us ?

 

Do we take everything for granted ?

Or do we receive them with gratitude and thanksgiving?

 

How often do we say a simple “Thank you Lord” for all the many blessings that I have in my life?

 

Or are we too busy getting on with life?

 

He doesn’t want our money – some of us have little enough of that to give.

 

He doesn’t want things of this earth – things that we put a value on.

 

All He wants – is you – the most precious thing in all the world.

All He yearns for – is your love, your praise – your worship. Your trust and your faith in Him.

 

That’s the most valuableimportant and treasured thing you can give Him – yourself.

 

Is that really too much to ask – when we think of all that He gave for you – and for me??

 

He suffered  betrayal – humiliation – pain – and death on a cross – so that when – on that final day – when you arrive at the gates of heaven and you stand, holding your breath as your life is scrutinised – you will hear those words – “enter – your sins are forgiven – my Son has paid your price!”

 

That’s what He did for us – what are we doing – for Him??  Or are we too busy??

 

Maybe we haven’t given it too much thought –

Aye – maybe it’s time we did!!

 

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.

 

 ‘THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK’

 

I’d like you to take a few moment just now to think, roughly, how many minutes, hours you spend each day – each week – looking after your appearance – you physical well-being.

Brushing your hair, applying make up (the ladies can think on that one too !) – choosing what you are going to wear – what you are going to eat – and so on.

And it’s important  that we do these things –

 

And now – take a moment to think how much time you spend each day – each week looking after your spiritual well-being – reading the bible –  time spent in prayer, communicating with God and so on.

15mins ? – 10 mins ? – 5 mins ? – less ?? – none at all !??

 

We are all made up with both physical and spiritual sides to our being – and our spiritual good health is as important – if not more –than our physical health –

 

Our bodies are for this life – our spirits, our souls are for all eternity.

 

Which do you spend more time cultivating ??…

 

Isn’t it time we all prioritised our lives – and spent more  “quality time” with God ??

 

You know that’s all He wants from you – it’s all He’s ever wanted.

Is to spend  quality time with You.

 

So here’s a thought for us to take away and think about.

 

If someone were to write a 24 hour diary of your life – a “day in the life of you” – how often would prayer feature in it ?

Mmmmmmmm ~ it’s a thought isn’t it !?

Amen.

 

Blessing

 

And now – go out in love, joy and peace –

 

Go with God’s love in your heart – and His hand on your shoulder, watching and guiding you in all you say and do..

 

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 love – and ought to love – this day and everyday.

Amen.

 

May God bless you –

         and may He Bless your loved ones too.

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

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 “Be still and know that I am God”

Psalm 46 : 10

 

Midweek Meditation – Wednesday 17th March 2021 – St Patrick’s Day

Good morning all, I hope you are well and managing to keep virus free. Things seem to be improving so perhaps it won’t be too long before we get back to some kind of ‘normality’, whatever that may be like.

I hope you find this weeks reflection helpful, relaxing and will give you some food for thought. Take care, keep safe and God bless. Iain

Audio Version

Click on the word Facebook to hear the Midweek meditation.

Printed Version

Midweek Meditation

17th March 2021

Count your Blessings…..

 

Good morning – how are you today? I hope you are well and it won’t be too long before we can all meet up again. “We live in hope” – as the saying goes.

 

Let us take a few minutes to listen to this well know passage from Scripture –

It is the Word of God.

 

John 6 : 5 – 13      New Living Translation

“ Jesus saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him.

Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?”  He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do.

Philip replied, “Even if we worked for 6 months, we still wouldn’t have enough money to feed them all!”

Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up.  “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?”

“Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said calmly.

So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000 and then there was the women and the children who were also fed.)

Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people.

Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted.

After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.”

So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the fish and the five barley loaves.”

Amen.

 

What an amazing narrative of that afternoon by the sea of Galilee.

 

But isn’t just a nice story – it’s a powerful passage telling us that God can do more than we could ever imagine, ever expect or think possible.

 

No problem, no issue, no worry, no concern, no fear, no  difficulty – nothing, is too big, too immense, that God can’t overcome it.

 

Do you have fears, worries and concerns?

Most of us do – then come to Him, talk to Him and He will give you the strength to deal with whatever it is you might be having to deal with just now.

The circumstances may not change but you will have changed – you will be stronger and better able to overcome your worries your your fears.

This passage, also and importantly, tells us that we should not focus in what we can’t do or don’t have – but on what we can do and do have.

 

When we take an inventory of our blessings, we see that we have so much to be thankful for, aye, and much more besides.

 

Why don’t you take time to it and write down a list of all your many blessings.

Family, friends, a roof over your head, food on your table and so  much more.

And I hope you will see just how blessed you are.

Do you remember the words of that old song “Count your blessings?”

“Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!”

 

Well that’s true for YOU –

And it’s true for me.

 

And it’s food for thought for us all.

Amen.

 

Let us give thanks for all our many blessings –

 

Let us pray –

Loving, living. Listening Lord, We thank you for all that you provide us with, so much more than we could ever deserve.

It is so easy for us to become despondent and downhearted, save us from becoming complacent or ungrateful, but rather, may we be thankful for what we DO have instead of focussing on the things we don’t.

 

Remind us that we may not blessed with wealth or the things that others may have – but we are rich in your love.

 

With you beside me, there is nothing I cannot

cope with.

 

Bless those who are struggling with the everyday issues of life and watch over the sad, the lonely and the bereaved we pray.

Hear our prayers Lord, for we bring them to you in in Jesus’ name.

Amen.

 

Here is a very short passage from the Book of J U D E –

And if you haven’t read this short book, let me recommend you do sometime.

It’s a lovely book with only the one chapter.

So from J U D E at verse 2 ~

May mercy, peace, and love be yours, and in abundance!”

That’s what I wish for you.

Amen.

 

May God Bless you –

And may He blessed your loved ones too.

*

I hope your week is going well –

and please – keep safe.

Online Sunday Service – 14th March 2021 – 4th Sunday in Lent – Mothers Day

SUNDAY SERVICE 14th March 2021

4th Sunday in Lent.

Good morning to you all, I hope this finds you well. Are you able to find a short while to sit and listen to this weeks Sunday Service? I hope that you are and you find that it speaks to you (literally) and gives you encouragement and food for thought.

Take care, keep safe and God bless. Iain

 

Audio Version

Printed Version

Online Sunday Service

14th March 2021

4th Sunday in Lent

“A word to the wise…”

Good morning folks,

How are you all this morning? I hope and pray that all is well with you, wherever you are.

 

Thank you for joining me on this 4th Sunday In Lent 2021.

We will be looking at matters of Faith and see that  all is not always, as it might seem.

 

Another step on the road to Easter.

 

But before that –

 

Let us hear 2 verses of that lovely hymn – with the encouraging words –

“I do not know what lies ahead

the way I cannot see,

yet one stands near to be my guide

He’ll show the way to me”

HYMN

 

Let us Pray ~

 

PRAYER –

 

Gracious God,

You are the God of the universe, of our world, and you are the God of my life.

There is also a sense where you are my Heavenly Mother too – you gave me life, you nurtured me and watched over me like a mother hen watches over her chicks.

 

Today we pray for the family of Sarah Everard

In their loss of Sarah in the most distressing of circumstances.

Watch over them, we pray, and   walk with them  through their dark time.

 

Lord, help me to live a life worthy of being your child, living a life, loving others, seeking out the lonely and the sick, the hungry and the lost.

Bless those who are suffering at this time, perhaps grieving for a loved one or distressed by circumstance.

Bless our loved ones and watch over them too, we pray.

 

And forgive each of us for our many faults and failings, for those things which burden us with guilt – which play on our minds – things we pray you will forgive us for having said, done or thought which are not in accordance with the life you would wish us to live.

 

Be with us now as we sit for a few silent moments, each with our own thoughts and prayers – each with our own personal prayer of confession.

Lord, hear our silent prayers …………

 

Forgive us Father – bless us with your mercy and your grace, we pray. – and hear us now as we come as the family of your Church, and pray together 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

 

And now we come to our reading – and if you have  Bible to hand why not read long with me ~

 

Our reading is – 1st Corinthians 1 : 18 – 25

 

Let us hear the Word of God.

 

‘God’s Power and Wisdom in Christ Jesus’

18 The teaching about the cross seems foolish to those who are lost. But to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 As the Scriptures say,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise.
I will confuse the understanding of the intelligent.”

20 So what does this say about the philosopher, the law expert, or anyone in this world who is skilled in making clever arguments? God has made the wisdom of the world look foolish. 21 This is what God in his wisdom decided: Since the world did not find him through its own wisdom, he used the message that sounds foolish to save those who believe it.

22 The Jews ask for miraculous signs, and the Greeks want wisdom. 23 But this is the message we tell everyone: Christ was killed on a cross. This message is a problem for Jews, and to other people it is nonsense. 24 But Christ is God’s power and wisdom to the people God has chosen, both Jews and Greeks. 25 Even the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom. Even the weakness of God is stronger than human strength

Amen.

 

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

 

SERMON

 

WELL – TODAY IS THE 4TH SUNDAY ON OUR JOURNEY OF LENT – AND, OF COURSE IT’S MOTHER’S DAY.

 

A DAY WHEN MOTHERS ALL OVER THE WORLD GET COLD TEA AND LUMPY TOAST BREAKFAST!

PERHAPS A WEE BUNCH  OF FLOWERS AND HAND MADE CARD.

 

DON’T WORRY IF YOU DIDN’T GET THAT,

NEITHER DID I !!

 

AND THE WHOLE IDEA OF A HOME MADE CARD IS LOVELY ISN’T IT?

..MADE WITH LOVE..

 

AN UNSOPHISTICATED  – UNASSUMING – STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART, KIND OF LOVE.

 

*

THAT’S THE KIND OF LOVE THAT WE OUGHT TO  HAVE FOR GOD, FOR OTHERS, AND FOR OURSELVES.

 

AYE, BUT DO WE?

 

LET ME EXPLAIN,  BUT FIRST I’D LIKE  ASK YOU A QUESTION  –

 

ARE YOU INTELLIGENT?
WELL, I SUPPOSE MOST OF US WOULD SAY ‘YES’ TO THAT. WE MANAGED TO GET OURSELVES UP AND DRESSED THIS MORNING – WE HAVE OUR CLOTHES ON THE RIGHT WAY ROUND WITHOUT HELP.

 

except for me of course who managed to get my collar on back to front!  J

 

BUT YES – WE’RE PRETTY SMART I SUPPOSE.

 

BUT HERE’S ANOTHER QUESTION – “YOU MAY BE INTELLIGENT – AYE – BUT ARE YOU WISE!?”

 

I’m prompted to ask you that question – AS WE HEARD IN OUR READING JUST NOW – GOD SAID  –

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise.
I will confuse the understanding of the intelligent.”

 

SO MAYBE THEY’RE NOT THE SAME THING.

 

MANY INTELLIGENT PEOPLE SEEM TO THINK THAT BELIEVING in god, jesus and having a faith – is complete madness.

“how can you believe all that stuff?” they ask.

 

why would anyone want to die on a cross for others? it doesn’t make sense – to them.

WHAT ABOUT THIS ~

 

A SCIENTIST CALLED FRANCIS CRICK – SPENT MANY YEARS OF RESEARCH TRYING TO LOCATE JUST WHERE  – IN OUR BODIES – THE SOUL WAS LOCATED….

EVENTUALLY, CLAIMED to have ‘FOUND THE SOURCE OF THE SOUL’.

 

BUT IT WASN’T IN SOME ‘SPIRITUAL OR SACRED’ PLACE – BUT IN A SYSTEM OF ELECTRIC IMPULSES AND CONNECTIONS IN THE BRAIN !!

 

of course – for those of us with a faith, the soul is much more than a system of electric impulses and TWITCHING nerve ends.

 

IT iS A PRECIOUS AND SPECIAL INNER PRESENCE, PLACED WITHIN EACH ONE OF US BY GOD’s holy spirit – AND IT SHAPES HOW WE LIVE OUR LIVES – AND HOW GOD INTERACTS WITH US DAY BY DAY.

 

BUT SAYING THAT THE SOUL CAN BE EXPLAINED IN PURELY PHYSICAL TERMS Is like saying that a cathedral is JUST a pile of stones, WOOD and glass.

It’s true, but is too simplistic.

 

THERE’S A STORY THAT A MAN HAD ASKED TWO SEPARATE BUILDERS WORKING ON  St PAULS’ CATHEDRAL WHAT  THEY WERE DOING.

 

ONE SAID “WELL, IT’S QUITE SIMPLE REALLY, I BUILD ONE STONE BLOCK ON TOP OF ANOTHER ALL DAY UNTIL THE JOB IS DONE”…….. THE OTHER SAID – “WHAT AM I DOING? – I AM BUILDING A WONDERFUL PLACE OF WORSHIP

TO THE GLORY OF GOD!!’.

 

SAME THING – DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES…

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I DON’T NOW ABOUT YOU  – BUT I DON’T MUCH MIND WHERE THE SOUL IS – IN MY HEAD OR IN MY HEART – PERHAPS BOTH – BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS THAT I HAVE A SOUL –

 

BECAUSE IT IS THE VERY ESSENCE OF WHO AND WHAT WE ARE –

 

ONE OF GOD’S CHILDREN – made in his image with his spirit inside me – TOTALLY LOVED AND COMPLETELY SAFE…

 

IT’S ALL I NEED TO KNOW…. NO HEAVY THEOLOGY NEEDED – JUST A FIRM BELIEF IN GOD’S LOVE FOR ME – AND FOR EACH OF US….

 

…PAUSE…

 

INTELLIGENCE – AS WE UNDERSTAND IT – HAS NO BEARING ON OUR SPIRITUAL AWARENESS AND UNDERSTANDING – OR COMMON SENSE FOR THAT MATTER…….

 

BEING ABLE TO FINISH THE TIMES CROSSWORD IN 2 MINUTES DOESN’T mean THAT YOU CAN BOIL AND EGG!

 

AN ABILITY TO UNDERSTAND EINSTEIN’S SPECIAL THEORY OF RELATIVITY, AND HOW IT IMPACTS OUR EVERYDAY LIVES – IS NO GUARANTEE THAT YOU CAN MAKE A PIECE OF TOAST WITHOUT BURNING IT!

 

AND SO WE SEE – INTELLIGENCE AND WISDOM DO NOT NECESSARILY GO HAND-IN-HAND.

*

SOME SCHOLARLY PEOPLE  LIKE TO PUT THINGS INTO NEAT LITTLE PIGEON HOLES IN ORDER TO ANALYzE and so UNDERSTAND THEM.

 

PERHAPS THAT’S WHY THE RELIGIOUS AND CIVIC LEADERS OF THE DAY – FAILED TO UNDERSTAND JESUS – HE WOULDN’T FIT INTO ANY OF  THEIR PIGEON HOLES – HE WAS ‘OUT-WITH’ THEIR UNDERSTANDING.

THEY COULDN’T UNDERSTAND WHO AND WHAT HE REALLY WAS – AND IS….

AND IT COULD BE SAID THAT NOTHING MUCH HAS CHANGED SINCE THOSE EARLY DAYS.

 

MANY PEOPLE STILL DON’T UNDERSTAND WHO JESUS WAS – AND IS.

 

MANY STILL LOOK WITH SCORN ON THE THINGS OF JESUS –

WITH PUZZLEMENT WHEN YOU MENTION GOD OR ETERNITY.

 

PEOPLE WITH NO UNDERSTANDING – NO SPIRITUAL AWARENESS – STILL LOOK AT THE crucifixion and the events leading up to it, AND AFTER – THINK THE WHOLE THING IS COMPLETE MADNESS.

 

BUT TO THOSE WHO HAVE A FAITH IN HIM – IT MAKES ALL THE SENSE IN THE WORLD.

 

EVEN IF WE DON’T FULLY GRASP ALL ITS implicationS – WE DO KNOW That it DEMONSTRATES THE SUPREME LOVE THAT GOD HAS FOR US.

“FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD” SCRIPTURE TELLS US – “THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY SON, THAT WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM SHALL NOT PERISH BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE…”  THAT’S IT.

 

THAT IS WHAT THE CROSS WAS AND IS – ALL ABOUT… A GOD WHO LOVES US SO MUCH THAT HE WOULD ALLOW HIS SON TO DIE IN SUCH A WAY – SURELY SHOWS A LOVE THAT IS BEYOND ANYTHING WE COULD EVER UNDERSTAND – AND THAT’S THE KEY TO THIS WHOLE BUSINESS – LOVE.

 

BUT IT “DOESN’T COMPUTE” – IN A NON RELIGIOUS MIND…..THERE IS NO PIGEON HOLE FOR THIS KIND OF KIND OF LOVE.

 

JESUS WAS OVERFLOWING WITH LOVE – AND HE WANTS US TO BE THE SAME – “LOVE OTHERS AS I LOVE YOU” HE URGES US, AYE,  EVEN OUR ENEMIES – HOW ‘INTELLIGENT’ IS THAT ? – SOME ASK.

and HOW DOES THAT SQUARE IN A WORLD WHERE HUMILITY IS SEEN AS A SIGN OF VULNERABILITY – AND A WILLINGNESS TO HELP AND TO SERVE OTHERS AS SOMEHOW STRANGE  OR EVEN ECCENTRIC??

 

IT MAY NOT BE THE “MODERN” WAY – BUT IT’S GOD’S WAY – AND IT SHOULD BE OUR WAY TOO.

 

EVERYTHING JESUS DID – EVERYTHING HE ENDURED – WAS BECAUSE OF HIS GREAT LOVE FOR US – FOR YOU – and FOR ME.

 

he endured the most painful, humiliating, degrading and agonising death so that no person on earth – who goes through the absolute worst aGOnY, HUMILIATION OR torment possible – can say that JESUS doesn’t understand their pain.

 

have you lost someone close ? – god knows how you feel – he WATCHED his only son DIE.

 

have you ever been betrayedlet down, by those you thought loved you? – jesus knows all about betrayAL!

 

have you had to endure physical pain and suffering? – jesus knows all about that too! – nails driven into his hands and feet – hoisted up and left to die in agony – he knows all about pain alright!!

 

but he endured all that – so that you and i may have the promise of forgiveness – and the HOPE of a glorious life after WE HAVE ‘PASSED ON’ FROM THIS ONE.

 

MANY WITHOUT FAITH WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND THAT – BUT JESUS DID – AND IT’S FROM HIM THAT WE GATHER OUR STRENGTH AND OUR ABILITY TO ENDURE AND BEAR OUR CROSSES  AS WE TRAVEL THROUGH THIS JOURNEY OF LIFE.

the last line of our reading from paul’s letter to the church in corinth says – “for the foolishness of god – is wiser than mans wisdom – and the weakness of god – is stronger than mans strength”

 

so even WHEN WE ARE AT OUR STRONGEST AND HAVE THE MOST BRILLIANT MIND – WE DON’T EVEN COME CLOSE TO GOD AT HIS WEAKEST.

 

JESUS CALLS US TO love as A child loves – with aN UNSOPHISTICATED  – UNASSUMING – STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART, KIND OF LOVE.

UNCLUTTERED BY HEAVY AND HIGHBROW THEORY.

JUST KNOW THAT you HAVE A SAVIOUR WHO HOLDS yoU IN THE PALM OF HIS HAND.

 

WHO IS THERE WITH YOU IN YOUR DARKEST, SLEEPLESS NIGHTS.

 

WHO SITS ON THE HOSPITAL BED AND GIVES YOU COMFORT AND HOPE.

 

HE IS THERE AS WE STRUGGLE WITH LOSS AND SADNESS, guilt and shame – hE TAKES THESE THINGS FROM US – WHEN WE HAND THEM OVER TO HIM IN HEARTFELT PRAYER.

JUST AS HE’S THERE BESIDE YOU AS YOU TRAVEL THIS ROAD OF LIFE – JUST AS HE WILL BE WAITING THERE FOR YOU – TO TAKES YOUR HAND LEAD YOU THROUGH THE VEIL.

 

HE IS YOUR PARTNER IN THE DANCE OF LIFE… HOLDING YOU… LEADING YOU….. GUIDING YOU…

in life’s twists and turns….

 

WHAT A WONDERFUL GOD WE HAVE!!!

 

THERE FOR EACH one of US – yesterDAY, TODAY, TOMORROW AND FOR ALL TIME – BOTH HeRE AND HEREafter –

yes, it really is that simple.

 

AND It’S PROMISED TO YOU

 

AND in jesus’ precious name..

 

AMEN.

 

AND MAY GOD BLESS THE PREACHING OF HIS WORD, AND MAY ALL THE GLORY AND THE PRAISE – BE HIS.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

 

One fine day four people were flying in a small, four passenger plane: a pilot, a minister, a teenager and man who had just won an award for being the “Smartest Man in the World.”

As they were flying along, the pilot turned to the passengers and said, “I’ve got some bad news, and I’ve got some worse news. The bad news is, we’re out of fuel. The plane’s going down and we’re gonna crash. The worse news is, I only have three parachutes on board.”

This meant, of course, that someone would have to go down with the plane.

The pilot continued. “I have a wife and three children at home. I have many responsibilities. I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to take one of the para­chutes.”

With that, he grabbed one of the chutes and jumped out of the plane.

The man was next to speak. “I’m the Smartest Man in the World,” he said. “I might be the one who comes up with a cure for cancer or solves the world’s economic problems. Everyone is counting on me!” And with that – the Smartest Man in the World grabbed the second parachute and jumped.

 

The minister then spoke up and said to the teenager “Son, you take the last parachute. I’ve made my peace with God, and I’m willing to go down with the plane. Now take the last parachute and go.”

“Chill out, Rev” said the teenager. “The Smartest Man in the World just jumped out of the plane with my lunch bag !!”

 

Being smart and being wise aren’t necessarily the same thing!

 

Now do you see what I mean?

 

Mmmmmmm – food for thought for all of us as we take a look at ourselves on our journey to the Cross in this time of Lent.

 

Benediction / Blessing

 

And now –

 

Go – and may God make you strong in faith and hope and love.

 

Live faithfully – walk humbly –

 

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

 

amen.

 

May God bless you –

and may He Bless your loved ones too.

Have a good week  – and please – keep safe.

 

*

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

*

“Be still and know that I am God”

Psalm 46 : 10

Midweek Meditation – Wednesday 10th March 2021

Good morning all. I hope you are well this morning and not too busy to find a few minutes to sit and listen listen to today’s short reflection. We are considering the importance of ‘Angels’ , so why not find a comfy seat, relax and listen to my thoughts. I hope you find them helpful and thought provoking.

Take care, keep safe and God bless. Iain.

Audio Version

Printed Version

Midweek Meditation

10th March 2021

Be an Angel….

Good morning all, thank you for joining me for our Midweek Meditation for Wednesday 10th March.

I hope this finds you well and lockdown isn’t being to harsh for you. It’s not an easy time for us but we’ll  get through it of that I am sure.  As the saying goes “keep strong and keep the faith” – well, we can only do our best.

 

Has anyone ever said to you “Be an Angel will you…” as they ask you to help them out with something ?

You know, the Bible has lots to say about Angels.

We see that these messengers from God have been bringing good, and sometimes not such good news to people throughout the ages.

They have been involved in the everyday events of life throughout the Old and the New Testaments.

And you know,

Angels are still involved in  our everyday lives today – it’s just that we don’t always see them – helping, guiding, encouraging and watching over us.

We all know someone who we would call an ‘angel.’

A kind, caring person who puts the needs of other before their own. Someone who is always there for us, or perhaps a stranger who helps us in time of trouble.

 

The Preacher John Wesley, wrote, “We should imitate them in all holiness; ordering our lives to the prayer our Lord himself has taught us to pray; entreating us to do His will on earth, as the Angels do in heaven.”

Being a messenger of the love and care of God to someone who is struggling, is one of the roles of Angels that we are to imitate.

 

During lockdown we have seen many ‘angels’ helping others. Although they wouldn’t see themselves as Angels I’m sure.

But there are many men, women and children all doing their part in helping those in need.

And it is inspirational to see good people doing good things for others.

But for as many that are helping, there are even more who are still in need of help in one way or another.

Hopefully it won’t belong now, and we will all be able to meet up once more – but until then, there are still many who need an Angel to help them through these tough times.

From something as simple as a phone call, writing a letter or make a wee card, befriending an elderly person or someone living alone – to providing food, clothing or picking up shopping for a friend or a neighbour who is struggling at this time.

There are people, not far from where you live, who are in need of a caring angel.

Are you an Angel to someone? You can be, any of us can.

So, if you are not already helping someone in need, and are able to – why not  seek out who and where in your community help is needed.

It’s your opportunity to be an Angel to others.

Imagine – you – an Angel !

An Angel – blessed by God.

I bet you never thought of yourself as that!

But the Bible tell us – “everything is possible with God.”

And in Jesus’ name.

Amen.

 

‘Let’s listen to the words of God `

Psalm 91:11

11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.

And

 

Psalm 103 : 21

Bless the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, all who do his will.

 

Galatians 6:2 

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Philippians 2:4 

You should not only look to your own interests but each of you, to the interests of the others.

Now, that’s food for thought for us all isn’t it?

Amen.

Let us Pray ~

Holy, heavenly Father, Thank you for watching over me and my family at this time, you are such a loving and caring God.

You love us all, each one, and you want us to love others in the same way, by being kind and caring; by watching out for them and tending to those in need.

“You say, ‘Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger…’ may these not be just words to us but an incentive for us to seek our those who are still in need – and do as you wish us to do – help them, care for them.

And may we not forget that there, but for the Grace of you our Gracious God – go I”

Lord, hear our prayer – for we pray in the precious name of Jesus Christ, your only Son, our only Hope.

Amen.

 

Take care – and may God bless you –

And may He bless your loved ones too.

*

I hope your week is going well – and please, keep safe.

Online Sunday Service – 7th March 2021- 3rd Sunday in Lent

Good morning, how are you this morning? I hope all is well with you. Do you have a short while to sit and listen to this weeks service? I hope you do and that you will find it both helpful and thought provoking. I will be posting the PRINT version on my own Facebook Page for those of you who like to pass it on to others. Please take care, keep safe and God bless. Iain

Audio Version

Printed Version

Online Sunday Service

7th March 2021

3rd Sunday in Lent

Good morning, welcome to our Sunday Service for the 7th March 2021 – and thank you for joining me on this 3rd Sunday in Lent, as we continue our journey towards Easter.

 

How are you this morning? I hope you are keeping well and life is being kind to you.

 

Before we continue with our service – let us pray ~

 

PRAYER

Gracious God, Heavenly father,

What a dependable, consistent and faithful God you are – if only we were so devoted to you – as  you are devoted to us!

 

You are the amazing God of the Universe,  yet you are the God, the Father of each and every one of us.

Bless us,  bless our loved ones too, keep us all safe under your ever watchful eye, we pray.

 

Bless too, those who are struggling with life, more especially at this time of lockdown.

And bless those who are fighting to eradicate this awful virus.

 

Encourage us to seek out those in need, always looking to help others where we can.

 

Lord, we know that we don’t always live our lives as we ought to – when bad things happen we don’t always turn to you for help. When good things happen we rarely give you our thanks.

 

Forgive us Father – bless us with your mercy and your grace, we pray. – and hear us now as we come as the family of your Church, and pray together 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 readings this morning is  Luke 13 : 6 – 9

 

If you have a Bible with you why not read along with me –

As we read –

 

Luke 13 : 6 – 9      New Living Translation

‘The Parable of the Fig Tree’

 

Let us hear the word of God –

 

Then Jesus told this story: “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’

“The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance.

Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’”

Amen.

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

SERMON

 

I read somewhere that we are now officially in Spring – so let’s hope it warms us before too long.

 

The gardeners among us  will be looking forward to getting out into the garden and tidying up in preparation for spring.

I have to say that I am not a gardener but, like most of us, I do like to see a bonnie garden.

 

And I am aware, of course,  that the fruit, the flowers, all the bonnie colours don’t just appear – they take preparation, hard work, dedication and need to be  tended with love and care.

 

I remember many years ago we had an apple tree in our garden, it’s fruit was small and tasteless – and the tree, to my untrained eye, had seen better days.

I was seriously  contemplating cutting it down but a friend of mine told me to hang on and he would come round one weekend and take a look at it.

 

So, he duly turned up with his van full of gardening tools and had a good look at the tree.

 

“Aye, it’s in a poor state” he told me, “but let me see what I can do first.”

 

So I left him to it and when I came back later it looked like  new tree! Branches had been lopped off, the green lichen on it’s bark had been cleaned off, the whole area around the foot of the tree had been cleaned up and sprayed with nutrients and all in all it was like a different tree.

Of course it was the same tree – but it had been given a new lease of life.

We didn’t have any apples that first year but the following year saw an bumper harvest of delicious apples, which went on to be used for jam, jelly and frozen for apple crumbles another tasty puddings.

 

It was quite obvious that years of neglect had reduced the tree and it’s fruit to a poor reflection of what it could and should have been.

Some care and attention gave it a new life, bearing good fruit.

 

And that’s true for many of us, isn’t it?

 

As the years pass, we are busy getting on with life, maybe looking after others – it’s easy for us to neglect ourselves.

 

We don’t do it on purpose – but the years slip by and before we know it, our life has become stale and humdrum.

 

And that can also be true of our Faith too.

 

We forget to pray, we can’t  find the time to read our Bible, we’re “too busy” to go to church.

And so, Physically and Spiritually we can slowly be weary, become jaded and lack lustre.

 

God want’s better for us – and so Jesus gives us the ‘parable of the Fig Tree’ which we heard in our  reading from Luke’s Gospel earlier.

 

In His story about the fig tree – we see that it wasn’t flourishing to its full potential.

 

But the gardener (Jesus) gave the ‘fig tree’ – (you and I) – another chance, do you see the analogy?

 

In verse 7 we heard that for all the tending and care it had received – it hadn’t produced good fruit and the owner said – “cut it down – why waste good soil” – but in verse 8 –  Jesus the kind gardener said –  “give it another chance ! – I’ll look after it and then if it doesn’t come good – well – then you can cut it down.”

 

Our God is a God of second chances.

*

That’s why He gives us chance after chance after chance – opportunity after opportunity to make good – to turn away from the way we are – to the way He always wanted us to be. The way we were supposed to be – the way we were created to be.

 

*

It’s a challenging text, and it is the recommended texts for today – the 3rd Sunday in Lent.

 

I’ve seen a critique of this passage which said that this it was put there to make us feel guilty.

“It leads us to face the unpleasant things about ourselves that we’d rather not have to admit to” it suggested.

But I disagree.

 

I see the ‘Parable of the Fig tree’ as a good and positive lesson for us.

 

Warning us, yes, but also offering us yet another chance to mend our ways. Giving us an opportunity to take stock – to look at ourselves and see our faults and failings – and make a positive change for the better.

 

That’s what God want’s for you.

That you live life to the full, for your own joy and pleasure – but also so that others will see,  through you, a good, productive and thankful life.

 

It’s so easy for us to let thing slide – more especially in this time of extended lockdown – but let’s use this time to recharge, revive and reinvigorate our lives.

I’m not suggesting you should run a marathon or climb a mountain, many have health issues which restrict what we can physically do, but exercising our bodies and our minds gives us the boost that many of us need to enjoy a more fulfilled, healthy  and productive life.

 

Think about changing your daily routine, eating and sleeping habits. Exercise more, read more.

 

Exercise your mind by setting yourself a challenge to take the time to read the Bible more.

Read about the exploits of Jesus. Read the book of Mark. It’s the shortest of the Gospels.

 

And don’t worry – I won’t be asking questions next week! J

 

You can find Bible stories online, many of them are well known but have deeper meanings, why not set about exploring these stories.

Scratch the surface and you’ll find there is an amazing  treasure of fascinating and interesting things to discover and learn.

Take the story of David and Goliath for example – a great favourite with children. But it tells us that no matter how small, how weak we might be, with Faith in God, and through HIS strength, we can do amazing things, things we never thought we could do.

 

And there is so much to exercise the ‘grey cells’ – if you look for it.

 

Strengthen you body – strengthen your brain – strengthen your faith.

 

God gave his Son that we might have the very best of life, here and hereafter.

 

And He wants us to be the best we can be.

And so – at this time of Lent – of preparation – leads us to take a good, honest look at ourselves and ask – “am I bearing good fruit ? – am I doing good things – in my life ??

 

“Am I doing all I can to live my God-given life to its full potential?

 

“Am I doing all I can to glorify God in my life?

 – or am I too busy ‘doing my own thing’ to be able to do good things for God”.

 

Perhaps it will lead us to ask of ourselves – “am I the person God wants me to be ?   –   am I the person I want to be ??”

 

It’s never too late –

Don’t keep putting it off –

Think about it – pray about it –

Open your heart and your mind and ask, pray  for help.

 

And you know – in the whole scheme of things – both here – and in all eternity – it really doesn’t get any more important than this – because the way we live this life – determines the way we will live the next.

 

Now that is something for us to think about ……….don’t you think??

 

I pray that you will

 

And I pray for each and every one of you – in Jesus’ holy 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’

 

A man was walking through the countryside when he noticed a young man standing at attention in a field.

 

In the afternoon, the walker came back along the same path and noticed that the man was still there.

Being curious, he approached and asked what the young man was doing.

“I’m practising for when I win the Nobel Prize,” the man replied.

 

“Ok, but how can standing our here help you win the Noble prize?” asked the visitor.

 

“Well,” said the young man, “one of the criteria is to be – outstanding in your chosen field.” J

 

Are you “outstanding in your field” ? – Are you good at what you do?

 

If you’re not then don’t beat yourself up.

 

But God wants you to be the best you can be.

God made you to be special, unique and precious to Him.

 

So instead of giving  something up for Lent, let’s resolve to ‘take something up” – undertake to “be the very  best that you can be.”

 

Now that IS a challenge to us all – something for us to think about – and Jesus’ name.

Amen.

 

Can I remind you that next Sunday, the 4th Sunday in Lent and is also Mother’s day here in the U.K.    Just giving you a heads up..

 

Benediction / Blessing

 

And now –

 

Go – and may God make you strong in faith and hope and love.

 

Live faithfully – walk humbly –

 

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

 

amen.

 

May God bless you –

         and may He bless your loved ones too.

Have a good week  – and please – keep safe.

*

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

Have  good week – and Please – keep safe

*

 “Be still and know that I am God”

Psalm 46 : 10

Midweek Meditation – Wednesday 3rd March 2021

MIDWEEK MEDITATION 3rd March 2021

Good morning all, how are this morning, I hope all is well with you, or at least, as well as it can be under the present circumstances. Do you have a few minutes to sit and listen to this weeks Meditation? I hope that you do and it will give you something to think about as well as finding some words of comfort. Take care, keep safe and God bless. Iain

Audio Version

Printed Version

 

Midweek Meditation

3rd March 2021

“What if…?”

 

Good morning, How are you?

I hope you are well.

 

and

Thank you for taking the time to join me for this weeks Midweek Meditation for the 3rd March 2021.

 

A few weeks ago I asked if you were a worrier.

Well, today I am asking you if you are a “What if?” person.

 

Do you think things like – what if lockdown continues? How will I cope? What if my job is in danger? What if my health fails? What if something happens  to someone close to me?

 

Worrying about things which are out-with our control doesn’t help, in fact it makes matters a whole worse as our anxiety can turn in to an irrational fear.

 

Instead of wondering, “what if?”,  trust God that whatever your future holds, He will enable you to handle it when the time comes. Wherever you are going, God has already been there and paved the way for you.

 

Trusting in God isn’t a one time decision, calling upon Him only when you need Him.

It’s a decision you make for life and trust in Him everyday.

 

We may have looked at some of the things other people go through, and said to ourselves, “I could never go through that with the graciousness and courage I have seen them display.”

 

When I look back over my own life and remember some of the things God has brought me through, I think, How did I ever get through all that?

It was because God’s grace and power gave me the strength to see me through.

 

And He will always do the same thing for you if you ask Him to.

 

We may not know the future, but if we know the One who holds the future in His hands, we can look forward to it without fear.

 

I know it can be easier said than done – but  always remember ~

 

If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.

Trust in Him.

 

And the next time you are tempted to look at a situation and think “what if?” or “I could never go through something like that” remember a time when God saw you through tough times – and you will get you through them again, He will be by your side, giving you strength and support, that’s His promise to those who trust un Him.

 

Open your mind, open your heart and close your eyes in prayer.

He hears your every word.

And in Jesus’ name.

Amen.

 

Listen to these readings –

 

Psalm 55 : 22

“Cast all your cares on the Lord”

 

Psalm 77:11–12  “I will earnestly recall the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will earnestly remember the wonders You performed for our fathers of old. I will meditate also upon all Your works and consider all Your mighty deeds.”

 

Nahum 1 : 7 “He cares for those who trust in him”

And

 

1st Peter 5 : 7 –  reiterates the words of the Psalmist-

“Cast all your cares on Him, because He loves you.”

 

Let us Pray,

Loving, listening Lord God, We thank you for watching over us and for helping us through our ups and down of life.

Help us to be faithful to you just as your are always faithful to us.

Give us the certainty, the strength and the assurance that whatever life throws at us, you will be there for us and with us – all because you love us so much.

 

Help us to be a support to others, and may we all pull together in difficult times, as the brothers and sisters that we are – for we are all your children., made in your image.

How blessed we are Lord, thank you so much.

Amen.

 

I hope that you can find that deep peace of God that is there for each of us.

 

What is it they say? “seek an you shall find”

And the you will know a calm, a tranquillity and a serenity that will change your life forever.

 

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

*

Do you wonder “what if” all this is all true?

 

Let me absolutely assure you that it is.

I wouldn’t be telling you if it wasn’t.

And that’s a promise I make to you.

 

Why not take a few moments out of your day to sit with me for a short while and relax as we listen to the soothing music.

 

Close your eyes – take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds and slowly breath out – do that a few times and relax your whole body.

 

You can do that at any time you feel yourself getting stressed.

 

Take care and God Bless.

 

I hope your week is going well –

And please – keep safe.

Online Sunday Service – 28th February 2021- Second Sunday in Lent

Sunday Service 28.2.21

2nd Sunday in Lent.

Good morning folks, how are you this morning? I hope that you are safe and well. Have you the time to sit and listen to today’s service ? I hope that you have and you will find a quiet, comfy spot and relax and see what it is saying to you today.

I wish you and your family every blessing. Take care. Iain

Audio Version

Printed Version

 

Online Sunday Service

28th February 2021

2nd Sunday in Lent 

 

Good morning, and welcome to our Sunday Service for the 28th February 2021.

 

I hope you are keeping well.

 

Well, here we are – the 2nd Sunday in Lent and continuing our journey towards Easter –

 

But before that – let us pray ~

 

Loving Living, Almighty God –

as we sit in our various homes, we unite our hearts and minds to bring you our worship and to give you our thanks for all your goodness to us.

 

Lord we know that you love us – yet we wonder why you should love us so.

So often our faith is weak – our belief in you is fragile as we experience dark and difficult times.

We don’t automatically turn to you when trouble comes to us – no more do we give you our heartfelt thanks when happy times are here.

Forgive us Lord.

 

Help us to worship you with the open-ness and simple humility of a child – for we are your children.

 

Loving God, in your grace, hear our prayer  – and forgive us we ask – cleanse and renew us, we pray.

 

And now Lord, we ask that you hear our silent prayers as we gather all these thoughts together – bringing them humbly to you now – in the peace of our silence……and we take a few moments to bring our own prayers to God………

 

Forgiving Lord, we ask for your forgiveness, your mercy and your grace.

 

Loving God, we know that you hear us when we pray in faith – hear us now then, as we pray together as your family here in this place – 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.

 

We have 2 readings this morning –

 

Psalm 16 : 9 – 11  &   John 3 : 1 – 3

 

If you have a Bible with you why not read along with me –

Let us hear the word of God.

Psalm 16 : 9 – 11     Contemporary English Version

9”With all my heart,
I will celebrate,
and I can safely rest.

10 I am your chosen one.
You won’t leave me in the grave
or let my body decay.
11 You have shown me
the path to life,
and you make me glad
by being near to me.
Sitting at your right side
I will always be joyful.”

 

And-

 

John 3 : 1 – 3   New International Version

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

 

“Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

Amen.

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

 

SERMON

 

Well, here we are – the second Sunday in Lent – that time of thoughtful preparation –

 

We are – if you like – journeying together on the road to the cross.

 

And this ‘journeying time’ is a time to look at all that – but also a time for us too take a good look at ourselves.

 

Today

 

I am going to ask you to look at your own faith.

*

And to fo that we are going to look at an encounter between a man called Nicodemus and Jesus.

 

 

Nicodemus was a Pharisee who had heard about Jesus – and almost certainly seen him, perhaps even seen him perform one of his many miracles.

 

As you will have just heard,

He came to Jesus under cover of dark, perhaps so that he wouldn’t been seen by his fellow Pharisees – or prying eyes and gossiping tongues – to speak to Jesus about things which were troubling him.

 

He was a brave man.

 

He risked the wrath of his fellow pharisees to find Jesus and to question him.

 

He was swithering  – that’s a good Scottish word – to swither – to wonder – to dither – to be undecided.

 

He would have been steeped i his own faith – the jewish tradition.

He was a prominent leader of the local Sanhedrin or religious ruling council.

 

So he was no fool –  you don’t get to be one of those without being very knowledgeable  and dedicated to studying the ancient texts and laws.

 

So what was it about Jesus that drew Nicodemus to him?

 

The Pharisees had denounced Jesus as a heretic – calling himself the Son of God – the long awaited Saviour but how could he be, they said, he was just a man from Galilee !?

But Nicodemus wasn’t so sure.  He could see there was “something” about Jesus – something he couldn’t quite put his finger on.

 

Yes, the Jewish people believed there would be a Saviour, come from god to save them – but they weren’t convinced that this wandering ”holy man” as they saw him – didn’t fit their bill – didn’t come up to their expectations.

 

But nicodemus wasn’t so certain – or at least he was open to persuasion.

 

“There must be more to life than this

I’ll go and he see Him” he would have thought ”I’ll size him up, hear what He has to say about all this ‘Son of God’ business and the miracles – and then there’s the ‘eternal life thing’ and ‘being born again’ too.

 

Then I will make up my own mind.”

 

And that is just what he did.

 

He had asked Jesus what he had to do to gain eternal life.

 

“It’s all pretty straightforward really” Jesus said “you have to re-set your life.

 

Put all those old thoughts, old ways, old ideas behind you – and start again,

Begin a new way of thinking and living.”

 

But Nicodemus didn’t much like the sound of that.

Begin again?

But I have spent  my life getting to where I am now – and to throw that all away.

 

“Aye”, said Jesus, “but you can’t go forward with all that baggage holding you back” !

 

“Oh dear, what to do” Nicodemus thought

 

And so he said to Jesus – “I’ll go away and think about it.”

*

You know, there is a sense that Nicodemus characterizes many in the world today.

 

They want all the benefits without the commitment.

The prize without buying a ticket.

 

But as we know – it’s not like that in the real world.

If we want something of meaning, of importance and of value, then we have to get up, go out and get it.

 

As the old saying goes “hard work isn’t easy!”

 

But for some, those words “hard work” can cause a chill to run down their spines.

And instead of doing what needs to be done – they walk away to “think about it’ and that’s the end of the story.

 

But that wasn’t the case with Nicodemus – for we hear later that he defended Jesus at his trial – and later, with Joseph of Arimithea, they successfully  petitioned to take Jesus from the cross and give him a decent burial

 

And so when he “went away to think about the words of Jesus” – instead of  forgetting all about them – he must have weighed it all up – and chose to be a follower of Christ.

 

There are those today who are searching – seeking, wondering if there more to life as we know it.

And the answer is and emphatic ‘yes there is!

 

A refreshing new view of the world and your life – and a promise that there is a place reserved for you – a place  of eternal peace and joy.

 

But how do we get  there ? That was the question Nicodemus asked Jesus.

 

Well, we’ve all heard the saying ~

“ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find;

 

Knock and the door 

Will be opened to you.

 

If you are serious about finding out more about this man who gave up his life for you – and to be his follower like million have over the centuries –

Here’s what you have to do ~

 

  1. We have to search, seek, ask questions, read scriptures – google names and places in order to find out more.
  2. And when you see that the evidence is stacked up in favour of Jesus – accept him and ask him to come into your life.
  3. Become a full time Christian , not a part time observer from the touch line.

4.get baptised, if you aren’t already.

  1. 5. And the resolve to live your life according to the values and principles of Jesus. And
  2. 6. Then live your life in the knowledge that all the promises and blessing pledged by God, are all there for you.

 

Like Nicodemus – are you open to persuasion?

 

It doesn’t mean that you will stop enjoying life – it mean that you are free to enjoy life so much more, with  a deep, inner peace.

 

If you are serious – it will happen, ask him and  God will make it happen.

 

If you are only half hearted – then why not go away and think about it – weigh it up for yourself.

It’s in your hands.

 

That’s what Nicodemus did – he went away to think it over – and look what happened to him –

He became a follower of Christ and found a new life,

A new, better way to live here

And the promise of life everlasting hereafter.

 

And that can be true for you

 

And that’s an absolute promise, made to you,

And in Jesus name.

Amen.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

 

At the end of their first date, a young man walks his girlfriend home. Emboldened by the night, he decides to try for that important first kiss. With an air of confidence, he leans with his hand against the wall and, smiling, he says to her, “Darling, how about a goodnight kiss?”

Horrified, she replies, “Are you mad? My parents will see us!”

“Oh, come on! Who’s gonna see us at this hour?”

“No, please. Can you imagine if we get caught?”

“Oh, come on, there’s nobody around, they’re all sleeping!”

“No way. It’s just too risky!”

“Oh, please, please, I like you so much!!”

“No, no, and no. I like you too, but I just can’t!”

“Oh yes you can. Please?”

“NO, no. I just can’t.”

“Pleeeeease…?”

Just then, the porch light goes on, and the girl’s sister shows up in her pyjamas, hair dishevelled, and says in a sleepy voice:

“Dad says to go ahead and give him a kiss. Or I can do it. Or if need be, he’ll come down himself and do it.

But for goodness’ sake – tell him to take his hand off the intercom button!”

 

We have a Father – who hears everything we say too !

 

When we know that, it changes the things we say and the things we do ~ it changes the way we look at ourselves, at others and at God.

Those who hear God’s voice – and see the glory of Jesus – are changed forever – talk regularly to God, through Jesus, and You will be transformed too … and you can be absolutely sure – the Father IS listening !!

 

Will you talk to Him and ask Him to come in to your life?

For your own sake I pray that you will.

 

Isn’t that something for us all to think about as we walk together towards the Cross……….

Amen.

 

Benediction / Blessing

 

And now –

 

Go – and may God make you strong in faith and hope and love.

 

Live faithfully – walk humbly –

 

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

 

amen

 

May God bless you –

and may He your loved ones too.

*

Have a good week  – and please – keep safe.

*

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

 

Have  good week – and Please – keep safe

*

“Be still and know that I am God”

Psalm 46 : 10

Midweek Meditation – Wednesday 24th February 2021

Good morning all, How are you this morning? I hope you are well and can find a few minutes to relax and listen to this weeks Midweek Meditation. Take good care of yourself, keep safe and God bless. Iain

Audio Version

Please click on the word Facebook to start the video.

Printed Version

Midweek Meditation

24th February 2021

Be more childish!

Good morning all, How are you this morning?

Thank you for joining me for our Midweek Meditation for the 24th February 2021. And I hope this finds you well.

 

Have you ever been accused of being ‘childish’?

Well, I say “accused” like it was a bad thing.

But, you know, the Bible tells us that  being childish can also be a good thing, indeed it’s essential.

 

Children are straightforward, down-to-earth, love to laugh, open to learning, forgiving and trusting.   Isn’t that how we should be?

The problem is that as they grow into adulthood the world teaches them to be wary, fearful and suspicious. How sad.

As children they are open and honest. They will play with other children no matter their colour or which  ‘side of the tracks’ they come from. They don’t care which political party their parents vote for, neither do they worry about the 101 things that we get uptight about.

A good lesson for us.

In Matthew’s Gospel we hear Jesus saying to a crowd of adults Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”  (Matthew 18:3).

He is telling us to lighten up. Be more open and less tied up with things that are not that important.

Of course we have to be careful, even sensible at times, but let’s learn from our children how to live and how to laugh.

But also allow others to be who they are.

It’s okay if they don’t agree with our way of thinking; it’s alright if they have different ideas to us, we are all God’s children.

Their friendships are more important than all of that.

We are all made in His own image under the skin.

So let us love, respect and enjoy others just as children do.

Will it be easy – No.

Will it be worth it – absolutely!

 

Living, loving and respecting others, even tho’ they be different to us – is the first step to feeling  free-er and happier in life. It is also the first step on the road to peace and tranquillity of God’s eternal Kingdom of Heaven.

 

“Unless you change and become like children” Jesus tells us “you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Good advice for us all.

Amen.

Let us pray,

Loving God, we thank you for our families, friends and those who make life good for us – they really are a blessing to us. Help us to show our appreciation for all that they mean to us, and may we tell them often how much we love them and care for them.

Bless our children and may we learn from them the importance of loving and respecting others, even if they have different ideas and values from us.

We are all your children which makes others our brothers and sisters. How blessed we are to have such a diverse and colourful family. Thank you, our living. Loving God,

Amen.

 

Take care and may God bless you –

and may He bless your loved ones too.

 

And can I suggest that you stay where you are for a short while, take a deep breath and exhale slowly –  and listen to this relaxing music and think about those words of Jesus – and see how you might implement them into

your own life………

 

He knows what’s best for us – aye, but do we take heed of his wise words?

Well, that’s in our own hands…….

 

Something for us all to reflect upon……

Amen.

 

I hope your week is going well –

And please – keep safe.

*

 

Online Sunday Service – 21st February 2021 – First Sunday in Lent

Good morning folks, I hope this finds you well. Here is this weeks’ Service which was written and read for the Congregation of Kilmacolm Parish Church where I am currently the Locum Minister. The service gets sent out to a number of groups in the hope that others will find it helpful and encourage you in your Christian journey. This week we are thinking ahead to Easter and the journey that Christ made on his road to the cross. I hope it give you some food for thought as we travel towards Easter during this time of Lent.

Take care, keep safe and God bless. Iain.

Audio Version

Printed Version

21st February 2021

ONLINE SUNDAY SERVICE

1st Sunday in Lent

 

Good morning folks, Welcome to our Online Sunday Service for the 21st February 2021.

How are you today?  I hope all these restrictions aren’t getting you down too much – things seem to be improving and some say that there is a wee light at the end of the tunnel.  We’ve managed this far, so let’s hang on for a wee while yet.

Well, today is the first Sunday in Lent – only 6 weeks to Easter !

It is a time of reflection and preparation – as we look ahead to Easter and all that it means.

.

But before all that, let us pray ~

 

PRAYER –

Lord, we come to you acknowledging your greatness,  celebrating your love, to thank you for your mercy, and all your goodness to us.

We come to focus our minds upon you, not that we might turn aside from the world or forget its needs, but so that we might return to our daily lives with a greater vision of your purpose, a deeper sense of your presence around us, and a firmer resolve to serve you in the place where you have put us.

Lord, we are painfully aware of our shallowness – our talk of love and faith and commitment to you and your ways – yet our failure to live up our words.

We can ‘talk a good talk’ but so often we struggle to ‘walk the walk’ of faith in our everyday lives.

Bless our loved ones, we pray – and bless those who are struggling with life but have no-one to pray for them – no-one to help them.

Forgive us for failing to appreciate your mercy, for forgetting your countless blessings.

forgive us for the things we regret having said, done and thought over the past week – and hear us now as we sit for a few moments – thinking about them – and silently confess them to you – Lord, be with us in the peace of our silence –

Forgive us we pray – 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 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 for this morning is taken from Luke’s Gospel at Chapter 4 : 1 – 13.

Where we hear how Jesus finds himself in the desert facing the ordeal of what is often called “the Temptations”.

And no – that’s not an American Motown band!

Let’s hear how Jesus dealt with them – and see what we can learn from Him

Let’s hear it for ourselves ~

And if you have a Bible to hand, why not read it along with me?  Luke 4 : 1 – 13.
 This week I am reading from New Living Translation

‘The Temptation of Jesus’

Let us hear the word of God ~

“Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness,where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry.

Then the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, why not turn this stone into a loaf of bread.”

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.’

Then the devil took him up and revealed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. “I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them,” the devil said, “because they are mine to give to anyone I please. I will give it all to you if you will worship me.”

Jesus replied, “The Scriptures say,

‘You must worship the Lord your God
and serve only him.’

Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! 10 For the Scriptures say,

‘He will order his angels to protect and guard you.
11 And they will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’

12 Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’

13 When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him, until the next opportunity came.”

Amen.

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

 

SERMON

As I said just now – today is the beginning of Lent – and we hear of Jesus  in a wild, unforgiving place – being tested – being tempted.

As my dear Highland grandmother used to say when having to choose between right and wrong – “aye, it’s a terrible thing is the temptation !”

Luckily most of  us don’t have too many temptations to deal with on a daily basis – or if we do – then they’re not, by and large, life threatening. It’s usually something like – “will I take the chocolate cake or the dry

R y v i t a!?” Mmmmmm…

But the temptations Jesus faced in the desert had the most momentous repercussions.

Indeed – it’s true to say that the lives of each one of us – you and I – rested in the hands of Jesus – during those 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness.

Had He given in to temptation – our lives would be very different today.

Somebody once said that “it’s not what we go through that ultimately matters – but how we go through it”.

And so, on this first Sunday in Lent – we think about how Jesus was tested – and how He reacted – and it leads us to think how we – you and I – react, when put to the test.

We think how when Jesus was under pressure He turned to God’s word – the Bible – for help and support.

It was the first and most obvious thing for Him to do – answer each temptation with a quote from God’s word – the Bible.

Sadly, for many today – it’s the last thing they think about doing !

But if we call ourselves followers of Christ –then we should turn to His word – the Bible. for help and guidance.

It has more adventure than ‘Lord of the Rings’ – more romance than any ‘Mills and Boons book’ – more passion than ‘Romeo and Juliet’ – and for sheer drama and excitement – ‘Harry Potter’ hasn’t got a look in !

Yet how many “Christians” actually read it ?

How many haven’t even got a Bible in the family home !?

A Christian – without a bible – whatever next?

*

It was God’s word that helped Jesus through that difficult time – and it’s God’s word that will help each one of us too – through the trials of life.

*

The more “senior” of you here this morning – will remember those little biblical verses – those catchy choruses that we learned in Sunday school, and we can still remember today.

You know ones like – “and the lord loves me – I’m as happy a can be – my cup is full and running over !”

With all the actions.

So simple – so ‘childish’ we might think – but in that unpretentious wee chorus – we learn that God loves us very much – and that we should be happy because he blesses us beyond all our deserving – and so much more beside !!

They may seem childish – but they remain – somewhere in the deep recesses of our memory bank – to be recalled in difficult times – to give us comfort and reassurance in those dark times.  They lift our spirits and help us to ‘pick ourselves up and get going’ again.

God has a lot to say about making decisions – He’s made a few in his time – and He shares his advice with us – with you – here in His Word.

When you are desolate and in pain – do you turn to the Bible for words of comfort ? – they’re there – but do we draw from that divine resource ?

He offers us a vast resource of advice, support, guidance, help and hope, but it lies untapped by so many people.

For example ~

When we have relationship problems – is the first thing we do to turn to the bible to see what God has to say about love and respect ?  His word gives us advice on what makes a good relationship – see 1st Cornithians Chapter 13 v1 – 13 for details.

(Perhaps you might like to pause or rewind this video if you want to take a note of these readings so you can look them up later?).

When we feel unsure and lack confidence – do we open those holy pages  – at 2nd Corinthians v9 – and read how God’s grace is sufficient for us – how His strength is made stronger in our weakness ?

When we feel downtrodden and insecure

Do we read for ourselves how the meek will inherit the earth – Matthew 5 v 5 .

And how bless-ed are the poor in spirit – Matthew 5 v 3.

When we feel that God has forsaken us – do we turn to Hebrews 13:5 to hear that He has promised that He will ‘never leave nor forsake you’ ?

Or when we feel afraid of the future – do we read in the very next verse – Hebrews 13 : 6“so we say with confidence, the Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

When we feel worried – how often do we turn to the Gospel of Matthew and read God’s promise – “do not worry – for I am with you always.” Matthew 28:20.

When we are bereaved or worried about death – do we read those wonderful words in Paul’s letter to the Roman church  – “I tell you – nothing in all creation – nothing –

can ever separate us from the love of God – not even death”.   Romans 8 : 31 – 39

When we feel that life is getting to much – when we are over burdened with worries and concerns – how often do we draw comfort from the words of Jesus when he says to us – “come to me all who are weary – hand your burdens over to me – and I will take them and give you peace and rest?”  Matthew 11 : 28 – 30

And when we face temptation – do we read Pauls’ letter to the Hebrews  at Hebrews 2:18 – where he writes – “because He (Jesus) suffered when He was tempted – He is able to help those (you and I) who are also being tempted” ?

This Sunday in Lent calls us to reflect on all this.

To reflect on His word and seek His will, so that our faith and our lives – become all the stronger – so that when temptations squares up to us – we will have the strength to square up to them – gaining God’s strength – in our weakness.

*

Aye – temptation – it’s an awful thing right enough!

Do you struggle with difficult issues ?

I know I do – we all do – and maybe our first thought isn’t to pray or look in the Bible for help – maybe it should be and I hope and pray that it will be and so tap into the greatest source of power, positive energy, help and comfort the world has ever known.

These things there, waiting for you – if you will open your mind, open your heart to the great God of the universe.

Aye, but will you? I pray that you will.

And I pray for you 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.

‘THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK’

Our ‘thought for the week’ this week is in the form of a Poem – a Poem about Prayer – and it’s called ~

The Difference a Prayer makes

I got up early one morning

And rushed right into the day;

I had so much to accomplish

That i didn‘t have time to pray.

Problems just tumbled about me,

And heavier came each task.

“why doesn‘t God help me?”! Wondered.

He answered, “you didn’t ask”

I wanted to see joy and beauty,

But the day toiled on, gray and bleak,

I wondered why God didn’t show me.

He said, “but you didn’t seek

I tried to come into God’s presence;

I used all my keys at the lock.

God gently and lovingly chided,

‘my child, but you didn’t knock”

I woke up early this morning,

And paused before starting the day,

I had so much to accomplish

That I had to take time to pray.

Taking time, MAKING time to pray for help, comfort and calm changes your whole outlook on the day.

Believe me, I know. For years I didn’t know about the power of prayer – and now I pray each morning for help and support and calm through the day – and what a difference it makes.

In our busyness it’s Tempting to overlook prayer – so why not try a simple prayer for yourself? Stick with it, persevere and you will find out for yourself.

What have you got to lose? Nothing.

What have you got to gain? A whole knew way of seeing the world – of seeing your life.

And please – don’t be tempted to think otherwise.

Now that IS good for thought!

 

AMEN.

 

BLESSING

May you know God’s love in your heart – and His hand on your shoulder, watching and guiding you in all you say and do..

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

 

May God bless you and

may He bless your loved ones too.

Have a good week  – and please – keep safe.

*

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

Have  good week – and Please – keep safe

*

“Be still and know that I am God”

Psalm 46 : 10

 

Midweek Meditation – Wednesday 17th February 2021

Good morning folks, how are you this morning? I hope all is well with you and you are managing to cope with the restrictions as best as you can. Our Reflection today looks at how sensitive we are to being criticised, so why not find a soft seat and take a few minutes to read it through. Take care, keep safe and God bless. Iain

Audio Version

Printed Version

17th February 2021

Midweek Meditation

 

 

Good morning, welcome to our Midweek Meditation.

I hope you are as well as can be and you are managing to keep warm in this wintery cold spell.

 

How are you with criticism?   Do you see it as helpful and constructive? Or does it get under your skin and bother you for ages as you keep replaying their words in your head?

It is something that we all experience at some time or another and it can seriously damage our self esteem and feeling of self worth, if we let it.

There are those who love us when things are going well, but are quick to criticise us when one little thing goes wrong.

When I was a Divinity student at University, I can well remember a more experienced Minister telling me that I would have to grow a ‘thick skin’ if I were to ‘survive’ the Ministry.  I soon learned what he meant.

Most Ministers would agree that even  if 99 people were to say how much they enjoyed the Service – but just one person complained about something – rather than focus on the positivity of the 99, we spent the next week or so beating ourselves up on the one negative remark.

Human nature perhaps, or maybe we are just thin skinned but maybe that is no bad thing either.

The Apostle Paul was no stranger to criticism but he said that it didn’t bother him because he knew he was answerable only to God.

Listen to what he said in 1st Corinthians 4 : 3 – 5

I couldn’t care less if I’m judged by you or by any human court; I don’t even judge myself. I’m not aware of anything against me, but that doesn’t make me innocent, because the Lord is the one who judges me.

So don’t judge anything before the right time—wait until the Lord comes. He will bring things that are hidden in the dark to light, and he will make people’s motivations public. Then there will be recognition for each person from God.”

It seems to me that he is saying “I know I’m not innocent, but there is no-one who is innocent and therefore they are not in a position to judge me. Only God can judge me.

The day will come when we will all be judged and those who criticise us will be judged too and then everything will come out,”

He knew he was in God’s hands and that in the end, he would stand before God and give an account of himself and his life. He would not stand before any human to be judged.

When someone criticizes you remember that you do far more good than the small criticisms they level against you. Remember that they aren’t perfect either.

Remember too that you have a great God who thinks you are the ‘bees knees.’

In Isaiah 4 : 4 God says to us ~

 

“You are precious in my eyes, and honoured, and I love you.”

And if He is happy with you – that’s good enough for us.

 

Here are a couple of Readings which should help us –

 

Psalm 50:6    New King James Version

Let the heavens declare His righteousness,
For God Himself is Judge

 

Isaiah 33:22    New King James Version

22 “For the Lord alone is our Judge”

 

And remember –

Jesus said “blessed are those who are persecuted for you will be greatly blessed in heaven.”

 Matthew 5 : 11 – 12

 

Amen.

 

 

Let us Pray –

Listening. Loving Lord –  we thank you for being with us every moment of every day. Guard us against judging others or criticizing their ways if they do or say things which we may not agree with. Remind us that only you are the great judge.

Strengthen us when cruel or unkind words are spoken against us; lift us up when others try to put us down – and keep us ever mindful of your great and enduring love for us.

 

How blessed we are  – thank you Lord.

Amen.

 

I hope your week is going well – and

May God bless you – and may he bless your loved ones too.

 

Take care, God Bless and please – keep safe.