Thought for the week by Pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


 “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people." Luke 2:10

 

This word has been fulfilled. All over the world, in possibly every country, people celebrate with great joy at Christmas time. Even the unbeliever celebrates!

Think about it, there is nothing quite like it in our yearly calendar; nothing that brings warmth and happiness like Christmas. The season of good will where people give generously; where families come together and people generally put aside their differences to celebrate and be together. What happiness Christmas brings! Even as it was predicted by the angels on that starry night in the fields nearby Bethlehem.

As you continue to read through the story of the early Christians you come across this joy again and again.

Acts 8:'So there was great joy in that city.'

Here we have a whole city affected by sheer joy because of the works of God.

On another occasion we read:

Acts 15:31 'And there was great joy throughout the church that day as they read this encouraging message.'

People again are affected by the work of the Holy Spirit in the church. All through the church there was joy.

And so today, for you and I, let us also choose to experience something of that wonderful joy that is given to us, not only at Christmas time but all through the year. Let there be joy in our homes, joy in our streets, joy in our churches and joy in our cities. Let us choose to bring joy to as many as we can. Let us spread it about and share it with others. The greater our own belief the greater our joy, and the more satisfying and fulfilling will that joy be.

Let our hearts truly echo and our lives demonstrate that which the angels sang; 'great joy to all people.'

Matthew 5:16 'In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.'


Thought for the week by Pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


'Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail.' Luke 13:24

 

If we really want something worthwhile we need to work hard for it. That's what often makes it worthwhile.

 

The kingdom of God is no exception to that rule. Yes, we receive Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit and faith; no man can be born again unless by the spirit of God. But if we truly want to enter the kingdom and become part of it we need to work hard.

 

I was thinking of the different people in the Christmas story. They all had to work hard too.

 

Mary and Joseph on their long journey to Bethlehem, finding nowhere to stay, having strange visitors from distant lands and then having to flee to Egypt before the child was more than two years old. Anna and Simeon in the temple had to work hard knowing the mind of God and watching for the promised Messiah. How long had Simeon waited; he knew he would see the Christ child before his eyes closed in death. The shepherds out working hard on night shift, suddenly encountering strange supernatural powers which frightened them. Why would the angel say 'Fear not...' if it were not so. They had to leave their flocks and seek out this small infant laid in a feeding trough for animals! And then there was theseeking wise men who searched the skies for this special event, who travelled perhaps thousands of miles to visit this child, who encountered an evil king en route and had to be warned and probably disturbed in their sleep not to go back to him.

 

Each one of these had to work hard - but what a reward! Owing to the fact of their watchfulness they experienced the greatest story ever told. Their story is mingled with the Christ child's, and now, billions of people down through the generations learn of their part in the story every year.

 

Yet more than this, they encountered that eternal light that entered the world. Though the world didn't understand it, they did. They came and worshipped because they understood this was God.

 

Sadly, we don't have the same opportunity they had. This wonderful historic event has passed but we have our own present day events. If we watch with carefulness we too will have opportunity to experience this true Christmas glory; the gift of God to men. We will be given opportunities to come and worship and if we are careful something of the awe, fear and wonder will break on us too.

 

Therefore 'work hard to enter' because many this Christmas will fail. They will fail to find the true glory and silence of Light that has shone into our lives through the birth of Jesus Christ.


Thought for the week by Pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


 'The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.'

John 1:5

This is a spiritual fact! No matter how much darkness has come into the world; no matter how many other religions; no matter how much cruelty and bloodshed, nothing can extinguish the light Christ brought into the world that first Christmas.

 

How can such a small, insignificant baby born in a stable in a little village in Bethlehem have such a profound effect on the world? The reason being that He was and is the light from eternity. Nothing can ever put out that light.

 

'The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.' Isaiah 9:2

 

That light was not only in the infant child laid in a manger but He has shone His light into our lives too. Once we walked in sin and confusion, without understanding. We lived in deep darkness because we didn't know anything else.

 

Now we can understand. The light that shone in the Christ child that wonderful Christmas night shines on, giving to us understanding and illumination and the ability to choose light over darkness; righteousness over wrong; kindness instead of cruelty; forgiveness instead of bitterness and peace in place of strife.

 

Have confidence to let that light shine through you wherever you are. Let others feel the warmth of that all encompassing love that will draw them from their deep darkness to live in the light of the Son who came for them. Remember the light within you cannot be extinguished no matter the darkness. In fact, the deeper the darkness, the greater it will shine.

 

'But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.' 1 John 4:4


Thought for the week by Pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


'And the LORD blessed the house of Obededom, and all that he had.' 1 Chronicles 13:14

Don't we all love being and feeling blessed?

I think the meaning of blessed has changed in our present day. For many of us it means to be happy or to feel special or very content with what one has in life. However, the true meaning of blessing means to be made holy, set apart to God. What we see is the happiness and contentment in a blessed life as a result of this consecration.

This man, Obededom, was very blessed.  People saw how he and all that he had thrived. The reason being that the Ark of the Covenant had come to stay in his home for three months. That meant Obededom was set apart from the people in a particular way. His farm and all that he had was holy to God. He would need to live carefully and consider what went on in his home during that time. It's not every day the Ark comes to stay!

What interests me is the very obvious blessing that came as a result of the Ark. The Ark was only there three months and yet for those three months everything was suddenly better, so much so that his neighbours, friends and in fact the whole nation recognised it. It must have been some blessing! It must have been Obededom's happiest days. When the Ark was eventually moved into its rightful place it must have been with a sense of real joy that this man looked back over those three months and thought about all that had happened for him. 

We often don't like the thought of being set apart to God but we like to be blessed. If we want true happiness it is in being set apart to God that we will find it.

This is a very important principle to learn in life. We think 'getting religion' takes us away from all the joy that life can give. It's actually the opposite! The more we 'find religion', Christ Jesus, the happier we will be.

The Ark represents the presence of God. We are no longer dependant on a physical Ark. We are dependant on the presence of God through our faith in Him. We don't need to have His presence for only three months but for a lifetime. In other words our lives can  be blessed beyond measure for the rest of our days.

So come, accept the  consecration, be set apart to God, and you will find a blessing and happiness in life that will be so evident others will notice and wish they could have it too. Even in the midst of the storms of life you will be aware of His overshadowing presence guarding and guiding you, bringing you and all that is yours to safety.


Thought for the week by Pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


'Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly ... singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.' Colossians 3:16

This was the theme of my morning sermon yesterday.

Allowing the word of Christ to dwell in us is a beautiful thought. It means to reflect on the words of Christ until they become part of you. When this happens they affect how you live, the way you think and the choices that you make. It's not an onerous task but becomes a pleasure to maintain the word within you because it brings such stability and peace. In a world that is constantly changing, no matter what circles you move in, it's good to have somewhere or something that is your base. Allowing the word of Christ to dwell in you gives you a foundation from which all life flows.

However, there is an extra challenge in this verse and it comes from the word 'richly'. The word of Christ is meant to dwell richly in our hearts. In other words it should be strong, effective, abundant, generous, plentiful or even exquisite. This is the challenge to the Christian in this busy stress filled life we live. It is also what makes it easy to be a Christian when the word is richly in our hearts. However, it takes practice to get to this point. It doesn't normally happen overnight for most of us.

First of all we need to read and absorb the word; we need to do what it says, be obedient to it; we need to hold on to it through the day perhaps even memorise it and allow it to sink in in all it's wonderful meaning.  Then we need to walk in it and enjoy it, letting it thrive within us. Allow it to be stronger than all the challenges we might face in a day.

When this happens the second step will follow quite naturally. You will sing with grace in your hearts. That doesn't mean you need to sing aloud and might be better in some circumstances that you don't but you can sing within yourself. It doesn't matter what you do or how challenging your day becomes there comes a song deep within because you have made Him your foundation and strength.   You can go on singing not artificially but because His word is dwelling in you richly.

So, today and through the course of this week let us be singing, happy, confident people who are learning to allow the word of Christ to dwell in us richly.


Thought for the week by Pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


'The mountains shall bring peace to the people and the little hills, by righteousness.'

Psalm 72:3

The battle to live at peace with all men and to maintain peace within our own spiritual lives can be an ongoing one.

We can have a good Sunday at church, like many of us did yesterday. The theme of my sermon in the morning was finding peace in prayer. A number of people spoke to me or texted at the end to say how it had helped them. Yet, today is a new day, with new problems that threaten to disturb our peace. If you managed your time alone in prayer this morning good on you! If you didn't, set your alarm clock early tomorrow or spend some quality time alone with God tonight. However, there are ways to find your peace during the day when you can't be alone.

I am very fortunate to live near the hills and can see them from my home.

'The mountains shall bring peace.' One glimpse upwards away from the toil and troubles of life can be enough to give you room to breathe and find peace in the presence of God. He has given us the beauty of creation for our benefit; to help and strengthen us. Whenever you are driving in your car, or looking out your window or working hard in the office or busy in the classroom take a moment to 'look to the hills'. If you can't see them is there a patch of blue sky, an autumn tree, a shaft of sunlight, a gathering storm you can watch? Draw strength from the beauty of nature. That's why it's there. God has given us a beautiful world to appreciate and find strength to praise His name. Even if it's only a little hill you can see, let it bring righteousness to you. 

By leaning on the beauty of creation we are learning to tune into our Creator. We are being made one with Him and when that happens peace floods our hearts. No matter how busy you are, how stressful a job you have or how difficult your situation is learn to look up to the hills and find peace.

'I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help!' Psalm 121:1


Thought for the week by Pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


'The sailors rejoiced because the waves grew quiet, and he led them to the harbour they desired.' Psalm 107:30

This was one of the verses I used on Sunday morning when preaching to our church in Wendover. It really caught my eye and lived for me.

The sailors/Christians rejoiced because the rough waves/times had grown quiet. Not only that but our beloved Christ led them not to a harbour but to the harbour they wanted more than anything else.

It's a lovely picture of Christ dealing with the rough waves in our lives and leading us to Himself; the harbour of peace.

What is the desired harbour? Surely one of complete peace; of safety and security; of eternal joy and best of all nearness to Christ. When we are nearest to Him then we are at our happiest and most satisfied. A harbour of the revelation of His eternal glory and beauty.

Try catching an image with your natural eye as it brings a sense of what that desired haven could be like. Outside the haven the waves are rough and the winds strong. Inside, not a ripple on the water, calm reflections and the shining of the sun on the water causing a brilliance of light.

What will it be when we really reach our desired haven? It will be heaven. A sense of relief, the battles all over; that relentless cold wind no longer holding you back; no longer an unsteadiness under foot; no longer the sound of wind and waves persistently battering against your ears and face. Suddenly silence, calm, peace, glory and Christ.

Hold on to this thought when the storm is raging around you. Remember:

'He calmed the storm, and the waves grew silent.' Psalm 107:29

... 'and the sailors rejoiced.'


Thought for the week by Pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


'He will keep you strong to the end.'        1 Corinthians 1:8

This has been my verse all week. The 'end' can be whatever it is you are doing right now. The end of a difficult time. A time when you know you need His help in a particular way; an unusual level of endurance or perseverance. We can remind ourselves again and again that we will be kept strong right to the very end.

It is very natural to worry or be afraid. Sometimes, despite the fact we can cope with our worries during the day, we waken in the night feeling unsure of our tomorrows. What does life hold in store for us? The endless possibilities that could go wrong. Our mind is very quick to find all the potential difficulties that lie ahead and Satan is quick to multiply all our fears and doubts too. Before we know it, problems have blown out of all proportion and we are left not knowing what to do or which way to turn.

And then we remind ourselves of God's word:

'He will keep you strong to the end.'

It suddenly doesn't matter anymore what life holds. We commit it all unto Him. His word becomes the comfort and strength of our hearts. We not only know these words at a mind level but deep in our spirits they become living warm words spoken to us by our Heavenly Father:

'I will keep you strong.' The very words bring comfort which gives us the strength we need. Strength for all our tomorrows, no matter what life throws at us! We will be able to manage; more than this, we will have the peace of God within us and about us.

'You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!' Isaiah 26:3

So, fix your mind on His thoughts and words to you and hold them fast. They will keep you close to Him and when we are close to Him we can cope with anything.


Thought for the week by Pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


 'Greet Apelles, tested and approved in Christ.' Rom 16:8

 

I read these words recently and was struck by the beauty of them: 'tested and approved.'

 

These words were spoken by Paul, the greatest apostle; the one who had known shipwreck, famine, cold, persecution and numerous other difficulties. He was looking at this younger disciple with approval, as one who had suffered trials, been found faithful and was ready for God.

 

If these words were spoken about one of us we would consider it a great honour. In fact, it's what we hope our Lord thinks about us. We've passed through the fire of affliction and been strengthened; like a polished arrow ready to be used.

 

We read on in the chapter:

 

'Greet my dear friend Persis, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord.' V12

 

Another commendation! Persis, not only a dear friend but one who has worked VERY hard. Paul is thinking of this one with great affection and admiration; appreciative of all she has done over the years.

 

Have you ever wondered what would be said of Christians today?

 

Greet W, one who has worked hard in the church for many years; or X who has doubted for many years and who has never fulfilled their call; or Y who is up and down in their consistency to God; or Z who is filled with bitterness over the difficulties that they have in their life. The list could be endless!

 

Life is no different today from what is was these many years ago. We face the same trials and tribulations as Appelles. There is as much hard work needing done in the church today as there was when Persis was around. We face the same inner battles that these people faced.

 

Have a reality check and think what Paul would say about you. I hope it would be a worthy comment. Ask God to reveal to you what He would say about you and your level of commitment to Him and to His church. Be honest! Listen to what He says to you and then set yourself, no matter how much you have failed or achieved, to do even better for Him.

 

In the Gospels we read:

 

'And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace.' Matthew 20:3

 

Don't be an idle soul. Do whatever you can for Him whether it be practical or spiritual.

 

Our Lord spoke these words:

 

“The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38 

 

That's us friend! Brother or sister in Christ today - we are called to be labourers. Therefore, set yourself the task of doing whatever God requires of you. When the difficulties come remember we are allowed to be tested that we might be approved for His mighty and glorious work.


Thought for the week by Pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


'I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him.' Psalm 62:1

 

There is no blueprint in spiritual matters. There is no subject, problem or circumstance that we deal with exactly the same way.

 

Man likes a blueprint or a pattern; something we can do again and again but the Spirit of God doesn't move that way. If we fall into a pattern or routine in our spiritual lives it becomes a ritual. Then, we are no longer dependant on the Spirit of God, but we are choosing to lean on a routine or ritual.

 

The Spirit of God is described like a breath or wind. We don't know where it comes from or whither it goes. We hear the sound of it; we feel the influence but we cannot make Him follow a pattern or participate in our church customs.

 

Hence the reason why churches are often dry and bereft of the presence of God. They have become dependant on routines and rituals instead of being led by the breath of God.

 

When we fight spiritual battles we need to adopt a flexible position. Sometimes we fight hard and pray hard whilst other times it is as if there is no access to do such and we have to wait on the move of the Spirit.

 

I have recently returned from visiting a lovely church in Malta. There was a battle to fight and a victory to win but it wasn't given to me to pray along those lines. I did what this verse suggests:

'I waited quietly before God.'

He alone could open the door to the access, anointing and presence I desired. When I tried to pray my words fell to the ground and so I waited. I was certainly not disappointed when victory came!

 

The series of meetings that we were involved in got better and better. Victory, wonderful Blood bought victory was given and we entered into the heavenlies seeing lives baptised in the Spirit, deliverance for the captives and alsothe privilege of leading one into the kingdom.

This verse says:

'Our victory comes from Him'.

Not from our prayers or our travailing but from His throne. How wonderful that victory is when it comes. It is better than anything thought of or imagined.

As you walk the Way don't look for any blueprint but look for the Spirit. Wait on Him; don't rush in or look for the old methods but learn to wait for that breath of God that sorts a situation with what seems little effort on His part and sometimes none on ours.

'The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. Songs of joy and victory are sung in the camp of the godly. The strong right arm of the Lord has done glorious things!' Psalm 118:14-15


Thought for the week by pastor Diana's Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


'You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.'

Isaiah 26:3

In our busy stressful lives we often long to be at peace.

I was at the doctors some time ago and the receptionist suddenly raised her hands and cried out 'I'm so stressed'. It was in my mind to say 'You should see a Dr about that', but when I saw the look on her face, I thought my joke wouldn't have gone down very well!

Life seems to get busier all the time and we need that inner peace to keep us from getting too stressed.

This verse talks about our mind being steadfast. That means to be fixed in one particular direction. The direction we should be fixed is in maintaining a relationship with God despite all the difficulties life sends our way.

Whether it be sin or stress we need to be steadfast about maintaining our walk with God. That is of utmost importance. There is nothing greater than this: not life or death; nor job interview or career; not family member or friend. Our relationship with Him is of absolute and vital importance. Lose that and you've lost everything.

I recently read in Rutherford's letters:

'The pleasures of sin are only for a season but to be brought to Christ is like the dawning of an eternal day; it spreads the serenity of heaven over all the days of our pilgrimage.'

Wouldn't you like the 'serenity of heaven' over all your days? Then choose to have a steadfast mind and you will enjoy perfect peace. No matter what life throws at you, you will walk a level, steady path because you have made Him your goal and not life itself.

Isaiah 26:4, 7 Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. The path of the righteous is level; you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth.


Thought for the week by pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


'I will call them my people who are not my people;
And I will call her 'my loved one' who is not my loved one.'

Rom 9:25

What a lovely word for those of us who have chosen to follow Christ! How well we know that we are not by nature the people of God but because He set His love upon us we are.

As we journey through our days we can be conscious, that despite our mistakes, there is One in heaven who loves us and has set His heart upon us. Someone who calls us His loved one.

What confidence it gives in life to know that we are children of the Creator; not because of what we have done but simply because He has chosen to set His love upon us.

Words cannot express the confidence, satisfaction and sense of fulfilment this brings. To know we truly belong to our God brings great joy. No problem is insurmountable with our great God to help.

The Christian need not be the weak, anxious individual he is often depicted to be. He can be strong, joyful and an overcomer in life.

As you begin another new day with its joys and worries go with this confidence that you have a great God and a wonderful Christ to help you, encourage you and take care of you each moment.


Thought for the week by pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Romans 8:35

The list that follows these words in the book of Romans are not particularly relevant for us here in the UK. However, it is a sad thought that in many countries Christians are persecuted for their faith. Our prayers are with them.

For us at home though, I wonder what can separate us from the Love of God? My list would be very different from Paul's: The busyness of life; social media; a broken relationship.

It's a sad thought to think that many Christians allow themselves to be separated from the Love of God by the pressures of life or by the way they live. We lose a quietness and stillness in our way of life that can make us strong.

How can we be effective in the kingdom of God if we lose our grasp on His strength? If we are perpetually busy in what we do and think this can indeed separate us from the Love of God.

But the verse says 'who'. The truth is, only we can separate ourselves from the Love of God. As we can open the door of our hearts to let Him in so we are the only ones who can close the door.

Sometimes, when we are not careful, it feels like that door swings shut of its own choosing and it takes will and effort to prise it open again. We become aware that our hearts have grown hard and we lack love and warmth to our Saviour. When that happens, stop in your tracks friend! Get away from the busyness of life. Wait in the quietness and silence until your thoughts stop racing and you find your heart begin to open again to that One.

Only then will you know that nothing can separate you from the Love of God.

'For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest shall ye be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength; but ye would not."' Isaiah 30:15


Thought for the week by Pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


'I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.' Ephesians 3:16-17

 

Some of us have just returned from an amazing weekend in Neath, South Wales.

 

It's been a weekend of watching the action of God; seeing lives touched, saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. We certainly found His glorious, unlimited resources empowering us and giving us inner strength. However, the part of this verse that touches me the most is this part:

 

'Then Christ will make his home in your hearts.'

 

This sums up in a few words the purpose of any work of God. That Christ may make His home in hearts. Surely this is what our Lord wants for each one, that you will let Christ make His home in your heart.

 

To make your home in something means to live there permanently. This is what He wants for every person who comes to Him.

 

If Christ makes His home within you, you will permanently abide in Christ. You will be the  fruit that remains and have the potential of producing further fruit that will remain. You will not be knocked about by circumstances in your life; disunity within your fellowship or by sin within your heart. You will learn to be a strong, consistent Christian who can become a pillar in your church and local community.

 

Over our weekend we met lots of very nice people. People who were touched by the power of the Holy Spirit in many different ways but whose lives had been robbed by the cruelty of the  enemy. Our prayer is that Christ will take up permanent residence within them. Each one might learn to let His will dominate their lives, His peace control their emotions and that His word will strengthen them and establish them in Christ. Then, as children of God, Satan will no longer rob them of what is rightfully theirs.

 

Hopefully, one day we will meet again and they will be stronger and closer to God as a result of His permanent residency within them.

 

He is sending each one of you out to bear fruit.  Pray that as you learn to be consistent in God so you will bring others into that same place of consistency. Then they too will learn to be empowered by His inner strength on a daily basis and Christ will make His home in their hearts. 

 

'You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit.' John 15:16


Thought for the week by pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


'And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone.'
1 Kings 20:40

When life gets too busy we can become stressed and can lose our inner peace. The difficulty within the church, any church, is there are very few who do so much. Often one of the tricks of the enemy is to make us so busy we have no time to pray and be quiet.

When that happens we discover, like this servant, that Christ has gone or so it appears to us. Then we become downcast and discouraged and feel as if we have failed Him when in fact we started with good intentions. The busy Christian becomes ineffective and empty.

There is only one way to sort this problem and that is never allow yourself to become so busy you don't have time for some thinking, praying quiet time alone with God.

He understands the pressures of life, the jobs that need to get done and our lack of ability to sit still for too long. He is able in 5 minutes or even 5 seconds to do what He can do in 5 hours! He can breathe within you or upon you and fill you with Himself.

Set time aside to be with Him all through the day. Sometimes it's a momentary glance upwards, a longing gaze over a peaceful country scene, a quiet reflection within of a moment when He spoke to you. It is enough to hold on to that presence throughout the day and keep the link with Him.

He said 'abide in Me'. That means that whatever we do and however we do it we must do it with a consciousness of His presence and peace within ourselves. When we begin to lose that or find ourself ruffled with circumstances it's time to quieten ourselves again and to look up once more. Take a deep breath, find the strength of His presence and carry on.

If we practice this presence of God we will find our spiritual lives grow strong and rich. Wisdom becomes our friend for suddenly we know what we ought to do and nothing catches us completely off guard. We become a trusted servant of the King and despite the fact we are busy we shall never turn and discover that He has gone.

'Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength.' Isaiah 41:1


Thought for week by Pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


'So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.' Romans 9:16

 

We have just returned from a fabulous meeting in Dublin where we saw 30-40 people (almost half the company) come for prayer. Seven people were baptised in the Holy Spirit and one lad came to Christ.

 

The following morning I read this verse. It made me feel incredibly humbled. It's not simply because we planned these meetings (willeth); or because our Irish friends put in so much energy (runneth) but because God showed us mercy. His grace and favour were upon us.

 

I read on and came across these words:

 

'As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.' Romans 9:25

 

Again, a wonderful word that spoke so deeply to me. He has called our Irish friends His people, who once didn't belong to Him. He has called me His beloved when once I wasn't loved. What an amazing God we have.

 

Whatever you do, no matter how busy you are, never forget to come back to Him at the end of it all. He's there waiting. It may be that you're exhausted or have so much on your plate but He is waiting. Waiting to give you that special intimate word that will strike a beautiful chord of worship in your heart.

 

How often we miss out on these special moments with our Lord because we only come when we have a need, a request or a crisis to bring to Him.

 

He is worthy of our time and thoughts. There is nothing better than returning to the Master at the end of it all.

 

'And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.'

Luke 10:17

 

So come, tired and weary Christian. Come with gratitude in your heart for all that the Lord has done in your life. Come and spend time with Him, and let Him speak tenderly to you.


Thought for the week by Pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


 'And when He had called the people unto Him with His disciples also, He said unto them, “Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.' Mark 8:34


I don't think there could be a clearer explanation of what is asked of a christian. If we would truly come to know Him we must deny ourselves the right to our own opinions and passions. We must choose to follow in His footsteps living simply and truthfully as He did. We must not entertain any lies, lust or anger in our hearts. These must be crucified. We must choose to nail our reactions to our own personal inner cross and instead choose to put on Christ. In other words our reactions should mirror His.


Even in the face of hatred and slander Christ never reacted. We read: “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb before his shearer is dumb, so opened He not His mouth." Acts 8:32


This was a truly remarkable act of self denial especially for One who could have called twelve legions of angels to help Him.


Other harsh words were hailed at Him: 'Save thyself and come down from the cross!' Mark 15:30


These harsh words, filled with hatred, were shouted at Christ as He hung on the Cross; a hatred that came from the enemy of our souls. He did all in his power to destroy Christ because he despised Him. The Cross which was meant to destroy Christ became His chariot and our access to eternity.


And now, Satan hates not only the Christ but the cross too. He hates when a Christian truly picks up the cross and follows Christ because it's then that we become truly effective. If the enemy can cause us to slip out from under its heavy, painful load then he keeps us away from accessing true fellowship and power with the Son of God. Satan presents his case so logically to us: what is being asked of us is so unreasonable. He would have us 'Save ourselves and come down from the cross!'

And how easy it is to listen. Our own flesh feels the same!


It takes a true godly individual to cling to their own personal cross and truly deny themselves, to allow every wrong reaction to die that Christ might live within us.


In my personal readings I have come across a beautiful quote from Samuel Rutherford:


'Give not away your crosses for nothing.'


Let not your logical mind, your friends, family or the enemy of souls take away your cross. It is your highest  privilege to carry your cross for Christ. Let our following of Christ be real. Let us, like Samuel Rutherford who was exiled for his faith, cry: 'Thanks to God for crosses!'


Thought for the week by pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


'But God also arranged for a worm! The next morning at dawn the worm ate through the stem of the plant so that it withered away.'

Jonah 4:7


Sometimes circumstances can be very puzzling or even worse distressing. It seems so in this situation.

First, God provides Jonah with a leafy plant, a place of delightful shade from the scorching heat. Next, God removes the comfort of that shade and leaves Jonah in difficulties again.


'And it came to pass, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, so that he grew faint and wished in himself to die, and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”'

Jonah 4:8

What does this story tell us? It tells me that God will never allow circumstances to get too difficult; that at the point we can no longer cope, He will provide a way out, or ease our distress in some way. However, it also tells me that God whilst providing a leafy shade, a rest along the way, does not mean that we take our ease for ever in such a place. Too many of us would just grow comfortable. We've found an oasis in our desert, somewhere where life can just become easier, maybe even too easy. The Lord who watches over us will cause these easy circumstances to change to move us on to the next part of our journey. He never wants His children to become slothful or lazy, to become self centred and at ease for too long.

Therefore, He sends along a worm. It's incredible! Our God who has numbered the hairs on our head, who knows the sparrow that falls to the ground, can send along a worm to change our lives. This could have been something as simple as a caterpillar! Imagine life being transformed by a caterpillar! Surely our Christianity is more stable than that!

God allows our circumstances to change to teach us to become increasingly dependant on Him. As we mature in the things of God, we learn to rely less and less on leafy plants and more and more on the Rock of Ages. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Don't let your boat be rocked today by every passing flurry of wind or every caterpillar that passes by! Rather learn to steer a straight course by leaning on the Master's words and following His perfect example.


Thought for the week by pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


'And the Lord God arranged for a leafy plant to grow there, and soon it spread its broad leaves over Jonah’s head, shading him from the sun. This eased his discomfort, and Jonah was very grateful for the plant.'

Jonah 4:6

We forget how our Lord cares for the small details surrounding our lives. Often, we don't hand all the small things over to Him because we think they are too small to bother Him.

This was a small thing God did. It was too hot for Jonah so God provided a leafy plant. It was not just any plant: it was the right plant. It was one that would give enough shade to ease Jonah's discomfort.

It's actually quite a remarkable story. How often have we been too hot, too cold, too overwhelmed, too stressed, too depressed or too irritable to deal with something. Let your Lord, the One who has counted the very hairs on your head, send you a leafy plant to cover your head from the sun and ease your discomfort.

He might not choose to change circumstances for you but He will help in the midst of them.

Our duty is to accept the leafy shade and let it bring the relief and ease we need for the next part of the journey.


Thought for the week by pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


'And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, for glory and for beauty... It shall have the two shoulder pieces.'
Exodus 28:2,7

These verses are from the Old Testament and describe the garments the high priest wore when he went into the temple to offer sacrifices. They talk about the stones that were set on the shoulders of the high priest. A later verse describes it like this:

'Take two onyx stones, and engrave on them the names of the tribes of Israel. Six names will be on each stone, arranged in the order of the births of the original sons of Israel.' Exodus 28:9-10

The names of the children of Israel were to be engraved on the stones before they were placed on the shoulders of the high priest. And then:

'Fasten the two stones on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod as a reminder that Aaron represents the people of Israel. Aaron will carry these names on his shoulders as a constant reminder whenever he goes before the Lord.' Exodus 28:12

The names were fastened onto the shoulders of the high priest and he took them everywhere.

Have you taken Christ to be your Saviour? Then you are engraved and fastened on His shoulders. Your name is engraved not only in the palms of His hands but you are carried on His shoulders. Lean all your weight on Him. You cannot carry yourself.

'And when he has found it, (the lost sheep) he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders.' Luke 15:5

I'm sure you can see the link. You and I carried on His shoulders. Not only our names engraved on the stones on His shoulders and borne into the presence of the Almighty God but more than this, He carries us, each one, from wherever we've been and whatever we are into the presence of His Father.

For many a weary, tired traveller this is a wonderful thought to think we are carried on His shoulders.

Make it your thought today. He is as near as that! You are lying on His shoulders. Your name is written on Him. He will carry you into the presence of God. He will do all things well.