Thought for the week by Pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


'Treasure in jars of clay.' 2 Corinth 4:7

'Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.' 2 Corinth 4:16

There is so much emphasis put on healthy living, good diet and exercise these days that we can almost lose sight of the importance of the renewal of the inner life. This is even more important as it is our inner life that invigorates our outer bodies. If we lose the inner renewal of our mind and spirit we lose the joy of living. We might be able to slow down the decaying process of our bodies but how much more important it is to tune into the energies of the eternal Godhead and renew the treasure within our jar of clay.

Renewed by the Spirit of God; renewed daily by this 'all-surpassing power'. A power that goes beyond all your expectations. A power within you to overcome, to have joy when you're hard pressed, perplexed or persecuted. Joy within because you are renewed daily within your spirit.

Moses was so renewed within that his face shone. He was made radiant! He found food for his soul in the presence of God. We must feed our soul as well as our natural bodies. If you eat rubbish you'll be unhealthy. If you feed on spiritual rubbish you'll be unhealthy spiritually but if you feed on Christ you'll achieve an eternal glory.

How do we do this? By fixing our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is not seen is eternal. (V18)

Therefore take care of the treasure within you. It is more important than life itself. May you find your spirit, soul and mind renewed daily by His presence as you fix your eyes on things eternal. God bless.


Thought for the week by Pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


'Thy kingdom come.' Matt 6:10

These are words that we have heard so often before and yet do we understand the depth of their meaning?

'Thy kingdom come' means basically that we are looking for Christ to come and reign. When a king takes over a kingdom he expects that nation to follow his rules and give their loyalty to him. In the same way as we pray 'thy kingdom come' we are accepting the kingship of Christ, His laws and rules and we are expected to give our loyalty and allegiance to Him. I love the thought of praying 'thy kingdom come' in my home, in my life, in my job, in my classroom and wherever I go. I love the thought of the kingdom of God being all round me everywhere. Let heaven come on earth.  Let there be peace, light, love and liberty in our hearts as we choose to allow the kingdom of God to be established in our lives. Let the presence of God within that kingdom affect every member of my household, every colleague I work with in fact everyone I meet. That kingdom is full of light. You can't help but feel happiness when it's around you. It's like heaven on earth.

When the kingdom of God comes within us, our hearts are filled with all forms of godliness. All the things we want to do, but can't do by ourselves, we can when the kingdom has come. We find new strength, new patience, new kindness new levels of tolerance in situations, new understanding, new wisdom in dealing with others and new thoughtfulness. It opens up our minds and hearts so we are no longer narrow and blinkered as if we were the only ones that were right. We are able to see things from other's points of view. We are able to do this because the kingdom has come within us and given us light. We no longer need to hang on to our tiny view point because now we can see from His.

When the kingdom is come we are made complete. Our searching is over for we have found our home in the well beloved of our souls, Jesus Christ.


Thought for the week by pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


 

'To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.'

Rev 2:7

Eating fruit from the tree of life in paradise sounds like the most idyllic holiday possible.

 

So often we save our pennies all through the bleak winter months in order to have that fortnight in the sun to relax and recharge our batteries. How often we do without, so that we can save up. We have a lovely time away but when we come home and return to work within a few days our holiday feelings have all disappeared.

 

One day we will be in the Paradise of God. It won't be for two weeks and then back to the grind, but for all eternity. One day we'll be in the warmth of His Son all the time. We'll no longer be tired or weary or stressed but content, happy, at home and relaxed and, more than this, full of praise to our God who has done all things well.

 

Meanwhile, in the same way we work hard for our holidays we must work hard for the kingdom of God. The Bible says:

 

'So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away.' 2 Peter 1:10

 

I don't think the Christian should go round in life longing to die but I do think at the back of all our minds there should be that thought: one day I will be with Him. If I am victorious then I will be in Paradise. I will eat the most delicious ripe and juicy fruit from the tree of life. One day I will be on holiday forever and enjoy eternal rest! It's something we should look forward to. It can be the goal that drives us on when we are weary with well doing. It can be the joy we set before us when we battle with temptation. We work hard so that one day we can be at rest.

 

'So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.'  1 Peter 1:6


Thought for the week by Pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles... so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 

2 Corinth 1:3,4,5

These are lovely phrases and expressions, the 'Father of compassion' and the 'God of all comforts'. I would like to take each one in turn.

The Father of compassion explains something of the character of God. Compassion didn't exist before Him. It is one of the traits of His personality, it flows from His essential being. Compassion cannot exist without God because it was born from His own heart. It is a lovely quality within an individual: a kindness, sympathy, understanding, tenderness and love. When you find someone with that quality you instinctively trust them knowing that you won't meet harshness or unkindness. All compassion flows from within the Father. He will never run out of it. It is one of His eternal qualities. Therefore we can put our trust in Him knowing that whatever difficulty we meet He will surround us with His compassion when we reach out for His help.

The God of all comforts is also a beautiful phrase which describes our Father perfectly. Again from his essential being there overflows a warmth, a presence that brings absolute and total comfort in every situation. When we are comforted we feel safe and secure. Circumstances may not have changed on the outside, but within we feel at peace and rest because He has comforted us with His overwhelming presence. Have you ever felt surrounded by the comfort of God? I tell you, you won't forget it! It pervades your whole body, making you feel totally secure and loved. This is our God.

More than this, all this is true of Christ. For the Bible tells us in Colossians 2:9: 'For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.'

The fullness of God is in Christ, therefore all compassion and comfort is within Christ also. 

If that were not enough for us the last part of my verses this morning bring another amazing fact:

'so also through Christ our comfort overflows.'

It is not enough that God the Father and Christ the Son are full of comfort and compassion, but that we can be too. As we learn to experience the compassion and kindness of God so we discover it becomes part of our own nature and overflows from us. Sometimes in the most difficult of situations we find wonderful compassion or kindness overflowing from our hearts to others when we know full well our own human heart would have run out of love long ago!

Therefore it's important that you find this wonderful compassion and comfort for yourself - not simply for yourself but so that you might fill the world with it.

 


Thought for the week by Pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. Ecclesiastes 7:3

This seems a strange verse to use for Thought for the Week and an even stranger one to use for the front page of a website! Yet sometimes it's the unusual that catches our attention.

How can sadness be good for the heart? How can sorrow be better than laughter?

I suppose it depends on what we are laughing about doesn't it?

Life can be lived at all different levels. There are those who live only for today without thinking that the choices of today will affect their tomorrows. There are those who never get round to doing something about anything and they'll still be the same in 10 years time. There are those who spend their life worrying and there are those who just treat everything lightly and appear almost frivolous often leaving a trail of disaster or unhappiness behind them.

Sorrow often causes us to lean more heavily on God. It reveals unknown depths within us as we are forced to become more reliant on God than on our own strengths. It stops us living thoughtlessly or frivolously. It stops us living a shallow life. Instead sadness plumbs the depths within us, finding new abilities to depend on God therefore obtaining new resources and power in our lives.

During our time of sorrow we are often confused, upset and don't understand what God is doing but in later years we can look back with understanding and appreciate the changes that have come within us as a result of our sad times.

Whatever you're going through at the moment let us seek that our lives will not be shallow, worthless or meandering aimlessly as we try to serve God. Let God use your circumstances to plough your soul that there may be a richer harvest.


Thought for the week by Pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.  James 1:5 NLT

I have been trying to help a friend this week deal with a very tricky problem.

My friend has been a good Christian for many years and has been confronted with a major problem. She wasn't sure what to do and asked me. The truth was, I wasn't sure what she should do either, and we both decided on the 'lesser of two evils' after consulting a third wise friend. Even in the midst of this situation my friend isn't sure she is doing the right thing but is praying for guidance and wisdom.

As I said I've known this person for many years; she is a sister in Christ to me, and I have had a lot of respect for her over the years, but all of a sudden, because of her new situation she has come right into my spiritual orbit in a way she has never been before. It's as if something of the care, compassion and love of God for her has touched me. I find that very encouraging and I hope she will too when she reads this! It's not an easy situation to deal with and one that will no doubt have cost her a great deal, although she's not told me that!

This verse struck me so powerfully as I thought of her situation and the number of difficult situations we face as Christians. Whether you're dealing with a personal problem, a difficult child, a marriage that's gone wrong or some difficulty at work or home always remember that our God wants us to ask for His help.

This verse tells us He is a generous God. He is waiting for you and your problem to come to Him. His heart is full of wisdom to impart to His people and He longs to guide us through every difficulty that we face. This word says He will not rebuke you for asking. Isn't that a lovely thought? I don't think He would mind even in our anxiety if we asked Him several times, over and over again.

How many times as Christians do we try to solve difficult problems on our own and normally make a hash of it? How often we forget to come to the One who is brimming over with goodness and wisdom, ready to guide us in every anxious moment. How surprised we are when we do ask and He answers! Again and again we our amazed at the interest our Heavenly Father has in the minutest detail of our lives.

So, today as you face this new day, remember to ask our most generous God for His abundant wisdom and grace for each new situation you meet.


Thought for the week by Pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


'Won’t you revive us again, so your people can rejoice in you?' Psalm 85:6

 

Reading recently about the Welsh Revival I read a quote that really struck me.

'Revival must be in your heart before it comes into the earth.'*

Many Christians would love to see revival. This is when the church comes alive with the power and presence of God; when routines are forgotten and people become God conscious rather than self conscious; when folks within the church are so affected by the presence of God it overflows into the community and there comes an awakening of souls and lives are added to the church. Sounds great doesn't it?

We read of it in Acts Chapter 2 when up to 3,000 souls were added to the church in one day!

Evan Roberts was a man deeply used of God in the Welsh Revival. He accomplished more in two years than any of us will do in a lifetime. The revival he led was based on 4 main points:

1. Confess all known sin

2. Search out all secret and doubtful things.

3. Confess the Lord Jesus openly.

4. Pledge your word that you will fully obey the Spirit.*

There is nothing new in this and yet it is constantly new as we use it to examine ourselves. So often within the church we talk about the move of God and yet we forget sometimes it's down to the basics if we want to make the heights.

The verse from Psalms asks for personal revival that we may rejoice in God. When we are backslidden our hearts grow cold and indifferent. When we are right with God our hearts rejoice; we come alive spiritually and feel the life of God throbbing within us.

This is what today's church needs! We need real life and energies not to plan great events or itineraries but to come alive and rejoice in Him.

Use these 4 points this week to examine your own spiritual life. Use them on a daily basis. If we do, we will be revived by the power and presence of God. Then, we will rejoice in Him and not only will we please our Lord but others will receive the overflow of blessing that is ours.

*God's Generals by Roberts Liardon.


Thought for the week by Pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


'Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.' Philippians 3:13-14

 

It's week 2 of 2017 and some of us who have been lucky enough to have had an extra few days off return to work today. The wind is howling outside and the rain battering off the window this morning and the whole idea of going outside isn't very appealing! It requires determination, as it speaks about in this verse, 'I press on...'

 

We were hearing about 'pressing on' last night at church. Graham was speaking about the choices we make and how they affect our lives. I concluded by telling a story of someone who recently got in touch with me who has lost her way spiritually and backslidden very badly. She was looking for the way back. I gave her some pointers. These might help all of us if we apply them. Here they are:

1. Spend 15-30 mins everyday reading the Bible and praying. By doing this we are 'pressing on.'

2. Confess all your past sin to God. Tell Him everything and ask for cleansing and forgiveness. That way you are 'forgetting the past.'

3. Turn away from everything you know is wrong. Stop committing sin! If in doubt don't do it. Change the way you live. By doing this you are 'looking forward to what lies ahead.'

4. Find a church to go to that helps you. Attend on a regular basis. I believe we all need church twice a week if not more. At least once at the weekend and once midweek to keep you topped up. That's all part of the 'pressing on.' There are times when all of us don't feel like going out, (even the minister!) especially after a hard days work and when the weather is bad!

5. Get yourself a good Christian book to read. There are hundreds of good books out there: teaching books, autobiographies and study guides. Find something that wets your appetite and helps to create a hunger for more of God. Hear how others have 'press(ed) on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize.'

 

These are all basic choices we can make on a regular basis throughout the course of a week. Each one of them will help to brighten our spirits and draw us nearer to God. Each one will help to keep us on the right road when we feel inclined to be lazy and wander off.

 

Last week in Thought For the Week I spoke about reaching higher, wider levels in our spiritual lives. Well, here are some of the ways we can achieve that. Try it and you'll discover it makes a big difference.

 

I pray that His blessing will be on you this week and you'll forget the past and look forward to what lies ahead, by pressing on in your new commitments for 2017. God bless.


Thought for the week by Pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld


'Each level was wider than the one below it ...  A stairway led up from the bottom level through the middle level to the top level. Ezekiel 41:7

 

It's the beginning of a New Year and with that comes the making of resolutions. Each year we try to better ourselves - lose a bit more weight, read a few more books, try some new recipes. It's good to have new goals or personal targets.

 

This verse from Ezekiel speaks of new levels. Each new level was wider than the one below it. It is a picture of spiritual growth. As we rise into higher levels of understanding or a fuller commitment to Christ, we come into a wider place. So often people think the Christian life is narrow and restrictive when in fact it's the complete opposite! The higher we climb the greater our freedom and confidence in Christ. In the Psalms David said:

 

'He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.' Psalm 18:19

 

David had found his way into that large place; a place of freedom and joy. He was no longer restricted by rules but God delighted in him.

 

The second part of the verse in Ezekiel speaks of a stairway that runs from the bottom level right to the top level. This is indicative of the Cross. The Cross of Christ is the stairway. It runs through all the levels of our faith; from the very beginner's level where we come to the Cross to find forgiveness for our sins and new life in Christ to the high peaks of spiritual revelation and mysticism in our later years. The Cross is in every level of our faith.

 

So, let's look at the picture this verse creates. Different levels are all connected by the stairway or Cross and each level grows wider the higher we climb.

 

Could we link our new year resolutions to these levels spiritually? Can we set ourselves to climb onto the next level of our faith; to enjoy the expanse and freedom of each new level in Christ and more importantly to maintain it throughout the year? Surely none of us want to go back or slide down to a narrower lower level but unfortunately we are sometimes foolish enough to do that. Let's be determined this year to climb higher and find ourselves enjoying our spiritual heritage in Christ more than we have ever done.


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.