Thought for the week by pastor diana rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld

‘Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living in earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.’ Genesis 6:9

I was struck by the beauty and simplicity of this verse. Being a Christian is very straightforward if we simply follow Him obediently.

The secret to Noah’s blameless life was because he walked in close fellowship with God. If we choose to make this a rule in our lives we will make less mistakes and will be found righteous in God’s eyes.

Jesus said ‘Abide in Me.’ We know the theory of having close fellowship with God but accomplishing it can be quite another matter. It needs to become a lifelong ambition. Every day we rise, we make our choices to either walk quietly and peacefully with ourselves and with God, or to tear through life with no consideration for our spiritual wellbeing.

Take time out for yourself and for God. Sit quietly in the silence of His presence before you begin your day, and let His strength and calmness soak into every part of your mind, body, soul and spirit. Commit your day into His care asking for His wisdom in every tricky situation you meet. Pray for His calm in the midst of your busy day. Ask for a portion of the Bible to be given you in a special way so that the word may be a lamp to your feet. Learn the portion by heart, taking a note of it in your phone. Find a quiet moment, perhaps in your lunch hour, to look over it again and to remind yourself of the nearness of His presence. Let His peace steal over you again, even if you only have a few minutes and are surrounded by colleagues.

This is close fellowship with God. When we are in this place, we don’t miss the God-given opportunity that comes our way, or the inner warning not to say or react in certain situations that trouble us. We become trusted servants and reliable friends in whom others can trust. More importantly, we become good ambassadors for Christ.

Noah was God’s ambassador. His responsibilities were enormous. When we are faithful in little, then He will give us much. It all begins with ‘close fellowship with God.’

Thought for the week by pastor diana rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld

‘But his bow remained taut, and his arms were strengthened by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, by the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel.’ Genesis 49:24

To hold a bow taut for any length of time requires a certain amount of consistent strength. This could be a strain, the thought of holding one position for a long time, except for the second half of the verse: ‘his arms were strengthened by the hands of the Mighty One.’ What a lovely thought to think that His hands are laid on our arms to strengthen us to hold our position and to be ready at any moment for anything.

Does this thought make you feel tired? Then you must learn to draw strength from His hands because this must become a way of life if we are to grow in Christ. Our spiritual bow needs to remain taut for the rest of our life. We must always be ready, prepared for the difficulties that are round the corner, the temptations that trip us up and the hardship we must endure. This could be terribly difficult in our own strength, hence the reasons why we fail so many times. It is not until we begin to allow His strong hands to steady our weak arms that we begin to grow consistently strong. He is always there, we just need to learn to draw strength from Him. He is our Shepherd, the One who watches over us, who gathers us in His arms and keeps us safe from danger. He is our Rock, the One who steadies us, who holds us when we lose our confidence.

Let Him help you. Recognise your own weakness and like a child come humbly and sweetly asking for His help. Imagine His hands on your arms giving you strength to face into the wind without fear, knowing He will keep your bow taut.

‘The Lord continued, “Look, stand near me on this rock.”’

Exodus 33:21

Thought FOr the week by pastor dIAna rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld

‘In my Father’s house are many mansions.’ John 14:2

According to Amy Carmichael in her daily reading book, ‘Whispers of His Power’, ‘mansions’ does not mean big houses but resting places on the old Roman roads where a traveller was refreshed before setting forth again on his journey.

Life’s journey brings many joys and sorrows, trials and times of great happiness. Sometimes there is sunshine, whilst at other times grey days abound. It’s a lovely thought that, as we progress along in the multitude of our ways, there will be resting places for each one of us on the old Calvary road; times set apart for rest and refreshing.

On Sunday morning, I woke feeling particularly drained and tired. I had been awake during the night and then slept late. I was to be preaching that morning in our Neath church, South Wales and didn’t have a sermon. It had been a particularly busy week. My elderly mother of 91 had gone home to glory. I had had the privilege of sitting by her bedside for three days, supporting her, nursing her and praying with her. It was a most beautiful precious time together and the presence of Christ in the room was indescribable. God had spoken to me so many times over those few days. Afterwards, I had managed to keep a speaking engagement in Wales and had got on fairly well in our Saturday night service but by Sunday morning I was past my sell by date!

I went to church with a morsel and left with my basket full. As I walked the Calvary Road I found He provided a mansion for me along the way. His presence was enough. Before the end of the service there were two lovely baptisms in the Holy Spirit, and almost all were on their feet with hands raised and faces turned Godward in gratitude that ‘it is well with my soul’ in the midst of our communion service.

The fatigue had totally gone, and never returned, despite a nine hour journey home. He certainly gives us our resting places along the way.

As you look through different stories in the Bible, isn’t it just the same? He gave the shadow of a Rock, He opened waters from the Rock for refreshing, He gave manna in the wilderness, He fed the five thousand and has given to us all the Living Bread from heaven. He said:

‘You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.’

John 16:24

Perhaps you are needing a refreshing place today. Come and ask Him, the giver of all life, and in the midst of all your busyness you will find a basketful of joy.

Thought for the week by pastor diana rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld

‘So He rested from all his work.’ Gen 2:2

I was stuck by the completeness of this word. I seldom feel like this about my work!

The previous chapter finishes with the words:

‘Then God looked over all He had made, and He saw that it was very good!’

Genesis 1:31

It made me realise that life so often robs us of the pleasure of finished work and therefore our rest, which should be a true rest, is only temporary until we begin again in a few hours.

Housework never seems completely finished. You tidy one room and walking into the next, you see several things that need sorted. Relaxing in the garden during this good weather, my husband can’t sit for more than 5 minutes without getting up to pull a few weeds out! I’m sure you know the feeling. Our rest and relaxation is incomplete. We stop because we are tired and need a short break before we start again.

In this passage there is something so perfect about God’s rest. He looked at the work of His hands and saw that it was very good. He was totally satisfied with the beauty He had created and, His rest was true rest, with no niggles about some things that weren’t finished properly.

This explains why perhaps so many people suffer from a sense of exhaustion, or frayed nerves, because they cannot ultimately switch off from their work and enjoy that sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. We are always aware that there is more to do. It’s why a two or three week holiday feels so good until you come back and feel you have never been away!

At Calvary, Christ had that same sense of completeness in His work on the Cross. ‘It is finished!’ was His cry. The work He came to do was done and now He could sit at the right hand of the Father on high and receive us into the kingdom.

I’ve come to the conclusion that our work on earth will never be finished. There will always be something else to do tomorrow. I don’t know that we can ever expect to find that sense of completeness and satisfaction in this lifetime but Heaven will be another story!

However, when we partake of the redemptive work of Christ, it is complete. Let us take time to appreciate its complete work in our lives. We cannot improve on God’s redemption plan. We cannot add to it, no matter how hard we may try, so why not sit back and ‘look over all He has made, and see that it is very good.’ He has made you, a new creation!

Let the true rest, the eternal rest of God enter your soul. Let us really appreciate the complete and perfect work of salvation in our very imperfect lives. We can ‘rest from all our work’ because He has done all things well and we can honestly say and enjoy the truth of these words:

‘It is well with my soul’.

Thought for the week by pastor diana rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld

“Didn’t I tell you not to go?” he asked.

2 Kings 2:18

Do we always seek the leading of the Spirit before we go somewhere? In this story, Elisha had advised the prophets from Jericho not to go and search for Elijah, but they insisted. They returned without finding him; it was a pointless exercise.

As Christians, we must learn to be careful about the places we go. The places we’ve frequented in the past may no longer be suitable or appropriate for us anymore. If our conversion is genuine then life is converted too! We change! We must listen to His voice and walk the road that He walked.

When I was first baptised in the Holy Spirit I was a happy person. Returning home from the youth camp where I had been filled with the Spirit, I went out with a friend one night. When I came home, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I felt flat, a bit low and the happy sparkle that I’d felt was gone. I remember as a teenager trying to puzzle out what had changed and eventually it dawned on me: it was the place I’d gone and the film I’d watched. It was tacky in comparison to the presence of God that had brought me such happiness. It had never crossed my mind that it was wrong for me to go certain places or to watch certain things. I learned to be much more careful after that.

What about you? Do you listen for the voice of the Spirit? Do you feel tacky after you’ve been certain places, watched certain things or hung about with a particular crowd? Do you ever hear the words inside:

‘Didn’t I tell you not to go?’

Have you lost your sparkle? Can you remember a day when you were in better form and closer to God than you are today? Perhaps this is your prayer:

‘Turn and answer me, O Lord my God! Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.’ Psalm 13:3

Remember we are in a spiritual warfare. Satan tries to allure us, trap us and lead us astray. If he can cause Christians worldwide to lose their sparkle then he will be laughing. A dull Christian isn’t attractive to anyone!

‘Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!” Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.’ Psalm 13:4

Turn to Christ again today. Ask Him to be a light to your feet, to guide you, no longer through pointless exercises but into Light, into the very sparkle of the Presence of God.

‘Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.’ Psalm 34:5

Thought for the week by pastor Diana RutherforD

by Struthers Cumbernauld

‘Suddenly, the glory of the God of Israel was there.’

Ezekiel 8:4

In our Sunday morning service this week we had a wonderful touch of the Spirit of God. We were taking communion and were singing the words softly ‘It is well with my soul.’ We sang them over and over and as we finished taking the bread and wine we began to sing the verse:

‘My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!

My sin, not in part but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!’

It was as if ‘suddenly, the glory of God was there.’ The Spirit of God swept across us like a gentle breeze causing many to begin to weep as the realisation dawned on us, once again, that we bear our sin and guilt no more. It was one of those Holy Spirit moments when He breathes across a company of believers. It came upon us so suddenly and passed by almost as quickly but we were left with a joy in our hearts, a very precious memory in our spirits and a lightening of our spiritual footsteps on The Way. I had the privilege of leading the company at that point, and what others couldn’t see, but I could, was the softening on faces, the tears streaming down cheeks and hearts and faces lifted with joy and gratitude. It will remain with me for a long time. At the end of our service, the collection is normally taken to music whilst one or two folks begin to chat and gather up their belongings, but this Sunday we stood to sing another hymn with hands raised and hearts turned towards God our Father. What a softening in a moment of time. It was indeed ‘suddenly.’

And yet this is not the first time we have known the moving of the Holy Spirit and I certainly pray it won’t be the last! He has visited us many times before, just as Ezekiel says:

‘just as I had seen it before in the valley.’

He had seen the glory of God before in the valley. We have felt the moving of the Spirit before. Sometimes we have felt it on the mountain top, whilst other times, we have been in the valley, but wherever we have felt it, it wakens our spirits to the heavenly world of His beauty and glory. It transforms lives in a moment of time, in a a way we cannot manufacture, no matter how hard we work in the church.

Why these special visitations? We don’t know, but what we do know, it awakens a longing for more!

‘You have visited me in the night.’ Psalm 17:3

‘Remember me, O Lord, O visit me with Thy salvation.’

Psalm 106:4

Let this story, or perhaps the memory of this moment if you were there, awaken something within you that begins to silently cry out to heaven; visit us again soon dear Lord!

Thought For the week by pastor Diana rutHerford

by Struthers Cumbernauld

‘I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness.’ Psalm 40:10

This verse reminds me of my weekend! Having been at three church services and having spoken at two of them, I think I can say that these words are true for me. Are they for you?

I appreciate we can’t all be preachers but we can tell others of the Good News which should be hidden in our hearts. Or do you use the old argument, ‘I don’t know what to say’, when, in fact, we know fine well of His faithfulness and saving power in our lives? You don’t need to have a theology degree to tell everyone of His unfailing love. There’s nothing like personal experience to warm your story and give to it the feeling of authenticity.

So why should you and I put ourselves out there to tell others the Good News of His justice and unfailing love, in the person of Jesus Christ? The reason being it is His commandment to do so.

‘And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.”’

Mark 16:15

But most of all I like to do it because of what the next verse in Psalm 40 says:

‘Lord, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me. Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me.’ Verse 11

On Sunday afternoon, after I had preached my two sermons, I read these wonderful words and suddenly felt the comfort and protection of God. Just quietly sitting in my armchair I became aware of that wonderful divine presence that surrounds us at such occasions when we need a touch of His love upon us. It was enough. He didn’t need to say anything else or make me feel His presence forcibly, I just knew these words were true.

It was only for a moment but my heart was ready to receive them. Later, I began to think of the number of times God speaks to us but we are too busy or distracted to hear. It happened to Martha in the presence of Jesus (Luke 10:40).

Don’t miss His word to you today. It might not be when you expect it, or even when you feel you need it, but somewhere throughout the course of today He will speak some quiet word into your heart which will be perfect for you.

May God bless you this week in your witness and service for Him. May He strengthen you in every quiet moment and bring you peace.

Thought for the week by pastor diana rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld

‘Praise the Lord, who is my rock. He trains my hands for war and gives my fingers skill for battle.’ Psalm 144:1

Our Father teaches us to be strong against the enemy of our souls, the devil. He makes us skilful in battle if we are prepared to listen and learn and follow His instructions closely. It’s not our own thoughts and ideas that helps us to win the battle but as we learn to do exactly what He says and lean on His wisdom and not our own.

Sometimes we look at another who has been trained and we find ourselves wrongfully admiring them for their strength and tenacity in the battle. What we don’t understand is that what makes a soldier capable is not his own strength or wisdom but the fact he has learnt to lean on God. The second verse gives some indication of this:

‘He is my loving ally and my fortress, my tower of safety, my rescuer. He is my shield, and I take refuge in him.’ Verse 2.

This is the true secret of the Psalmist’s strength. He knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that his strength comes from his loving ally, God. His Heavenly Father is his true source of strength and confidence. He is his tower of strength, the shield that hides every part of him; and if perchance he was to get into difficulties, then his Heavenly Father would rescue him.

What confidence this gives to us! Our training begins when we realise how much our Heavenly Father loves us. He becomes the source of our strength. The depth of friendship we have with our Lord gives us a confidence to face all kinds of difficulties. A young man once said to me, after he had had some prayer, that he could have walked through the town centre in his Granny’s slippers and no one would have laughed at him because the Lion of Judah was at his side!

Christ does train our hands for war and makes our fingers skilful in battle by making us weak and vulnerable. Once we recognise our weaknesses and learn to hide nothing from Him, He truly takes us into His warm loving embrace and fills us with His own courage.

We face our foe not in our own strength or abilities but with His. The more we recognise our weaknesses the stronger we are. The more afraid and vulnerable we allow ourselves to become the more His courage and resilience rise within us. He is indeed the source of our strength.

Behind those great spiritual heroes we read about from years gone by is this one secret. They became as little children so they could enter the kingdom of heaven and participate in all its glories and victories.

And He said unto me, “My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly therefore will I glory rather in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 12:9

Thought for the week by pastor diana ruthErford

by Struthers Cumbernauld

‘They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them.’ Rev 20:9

In this descriptive passage, you get a very clear picture of the enemies of God marching towards and surrounding God’s chosen people.

Whosoever names the Name of Christ puts themselves in a vulnerable position of becoming a target of the enemy. This thought is enough to scare some folks off before they get started on the Christian path. It’s fair to say that none of us like the thought of having enemies or the thought of Satan’s hosts making us their target. None of us have any idea how difficult and fierce the battle can be at times to simply choose right and follow Christ wholeheartedly. Perhaps it is just as well we don’t in case we grow faint hearted.

So why are there Christians who will follow so wholeheartedly that they become that target? It’s because of those small words ‘the city he loves’. We become the child He loves, or the people He loves. To know we are loved of God is to reach the very state for which we were born. It can only be described as exquisitely beautiful to know you are safe in His arms, it is like coming home to the very place you belong. Knowing that you are precious in His sight is the most heavenly, contented and special feeling you will ever experience in this lifetime. Falling in love with another is but a shadow of the love God has for us and we for Him.

The enemies of God haven’t any knowledge of the power of this Love. In their relentless pursuit to destroy, they meet in our Heavenly Father the fierce protection of parenthood. The truth is we are totally safe in His arms. No matter what is said, accusations that are made or looks that are drawn, we are perfectly at rest and, more than this, we are the beloved of the Lord.

“The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between His shoulders.”

Deuteronomy 33:12

The greater the battle, the more intimate and precious our Lord becomes to us. The closer He will draw us, near to His heart, between His shoulders. Never be afraid of what is ahead of you. He will hold you close under the shelter of His wings.

THOUGHT for the week b pastor Diana rutherfoRd

by Struthers Cumbernauld

‘Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet and rest yourselves under the tree.’ Genesis 18:4

There is one place that Christians should return to again and again, the tree called Calvary, the place where Jesus died. We’re not expected to return to the actual geographical location but we are expected to go there in our thoughts and prayers.

It was an awful place for our Lord, a place of grief and death, of spiritual darkness and separation from His Father, but for us it should be a place where we find rest. Satan cannot go there. He hates the Cross of Christ with a vengeance. He would not dare go near the place called Calvary. It reminds him too much of his defeat! But for the follower of Christ it is a place where we can find forgiveness for our tormented soul, a place of peace where no offence can remain in our hearts and a place where a ‘little water can be fetched’ to cleanse our souls. A quiet, safe place where we can fully rest far from the fury of the oppressor.

Not only do we find the rest our hearts need but sustenance for the journey ahead:

‘...and I will fetch a morsel of bread and comfort ye your hearts.’ Verse 5a

A morsel of the Living Bread will be enough to sustain and satisfy for many a long hour. When you truly taste of it, even just a crumb, your deep inner soul is fed. Words can’t describe how delicious and satisfying it is. It’s quantity, texture, taste and nourishment are perfect. It will make you feel full without feeling as if you’ve eaten too much, it will give you boundless energy and not leave you feeling in any way sluggish . It will be exquisite, heavenly. It will be Christ Himself.

Oh come and rest awhile under the tree at the place called Calvary and there let Christ sustain you with a morsel of His living word. After that you shall pass on, strengthened.

‘After that ye shall pass on.’ Verse 5a

Thought for the week by pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld

‘The Cross of Christ alone can save.’ Galatians 6:12

Herein lies the whole truth of the gospel message. The Cross, the place of perfect rest and peace.

The Cross of Christ alone can save: not our good works, nor the services we attend or perform, nor the monies and energy we give to help the poor, nor confession or rituals and traditions of men, ministers in black robes nor tall church spires or grand cathedral type buildings. Nothing other than the Cross of Christ.

How often we strive to be better and then get tied up in knots over what we ought to be doing or what we have done wrong. There is a sense in which none of these things matter: your past, your present or your future. Abandon them all at the Cross!

Imagine, if you can, a wide open space, with nothing in it apart from the Cross of our Lord. Imagine there was no church, no brothers and sisters in Christ around you, no minister or priest to help you, just the Cross on which Jesus was crucified.

Imagine, if you can, all the dark forces of hell surrounding you, manifesting in all sorts of lurid ways. Every wrong emotion rises in your heart, every fear and insecurity, bitterness and anger, jealousy and fearful loneliness . There is no one to help you: no church or chapel, no minister or priest, no friendly face or companion but in the starkness of that empty place, there is just the Cross.

There alone in the Cross is all the help you will ever need, Christ Himself. Every comfort, consolation, indescribable sweetness, kindness, perfect trust and total understanding are in His Cross. Peace that passes all understanding, an answer to every problem is in the Cross.

Then why do we carry around with us such awful problems? Why do so many need much continual help? Is it not because our horizon is cluttered with so many other things which hold too great an importance to us instead of that one great important, wonderful Cross?

Declutter your mind, your life and spirit and let the power of the Cross alone do it’s work within you. Bring all your difficulties to the Cross. Discover the fullness of the power that there is in Christ when we truly find the Cross of Christ alone can save. By discovering this greatest of truths we are set free.

The Cross of Christ ALONE can truly save.

Thought for the week by pastor diana rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld

‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.’ Revelation 19:9

I have noticed over the years that weddings seem to cause an awful lot of strife! They are meant to be very happy occasions but so often families fall out over invites, the bride gets stressed or the day is too long for the guests! People dress so differently it becomes difficult to recognise our own friends beneath the flounce, feathers and make up. My husband finds great amusement watching all the ladies trying to walk with great difficulty in their too-high heeled shoes!

The wedding of the Lamb will be so other-worldly. It will be the perfect wedding without any flaws. It won’t cause any family difficulties: instead it will bring a wonderful unity between us all.

It won’t be full of the stuffy traditions of men where we are afraid to do the wrong thing at the wrong time. There will be a simple purity, beauty and freedom in everything that is arranged. It won’t be too long even though it will last for all eternity. The guests, instead of wearing uncomfortable clothes and tight shoes that make their feet sore, will be clothed in fine white linen, the righteousness of the saints. They will be perfectly comfortable spiritually and unselfconscious about their appearance. There will be nobody there who is louder, making them feel inferior, or smarter, making them feel shabby. Nobody will be eyeing them up critically because every eye will be on the Lamb. No one will feel unwanted or insignificant because the Lamb Himself will be in the centre taking care of every guest, meeting their needs, having a quiet word with each and comforting them with His own presence. Everyone will see His face and He will shine upon them all bringing gladness to each guest.

It will be a wedding with a difference! The music will be perfectly harmonious, the choirs will be superb and the venue indescribably beautiful. It will truly be an awesome day. Every person present will be filled to overflowing with happiness, every cup filled with new wine that will never bring a shadow of inebriation and every plate continually filled with rich delicacies. Everyone will have all that they desire in that perfect eternal moment. In fact, it will not only be the happiest day for the bride and groom but it will be the happiest day for every person present.

Have you received your invitation yet? Make sure that you receive it in time! No one can invite you but the bride and groom. Who are they you may ask? Well the bride is the church and the groom is Christ. Only they can invite you and give to you a place with your name on it. The bride will never ask someone that the groom doesn’t want, and the truth is, He desires everyone to be at His wedding! We must please Christ if we desire to be there. How do we please Him? By putting on His righteousness, by following His way of purity and by finding forgiveness from Him for all our sins. Only then will we find an invitation is slipped quietly and wonderfully into our spirit and the words spoken to us:

‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.’

THOUGHT for the week by pastor Diana RuthErFoRd

by Struthers Cumbernauld

“You have comforted me by speaking so kindly to me, even though I am not one of your workers.”

Ruth 2:13

True comfort doesn’t increase our self pity but strengthens our inner man. It gives us courage to go on despite difficult circumstances.

Here Ruth faced a very difficult situation. She had no food and was gleaning where she wasn’t invited because she wasn’t one of the workers in the field. Instead of being shunned by the boss man he recognised her need, spoke comfortingly to her and encouraged her to carry on. In fact, he even arranged for his workers to leave behind some heads of barley on purpose for her. He said:

‘“Let her pick them up, and don’t give her a hard time!”’

Ruth 2:16

Isn’t this story so like our dear Lord who treats us with such kindness! Even though we don’t deserve to be one of His workers, He deliberately leaves us heads of barley to gather along the way. He comforts us with kindness and commands His other workers to do the same.

Our hearts are truly strengthened by His great kindness. The heads of barley left behind are like those precious moments when His presence draws near to us or when we are given a wonderful opportunity to share our faith with another. We so often, wrongfully, take the credit for these moments when in fact our Boss Man has deliberately left these heads of barley along the way for us to find to encourage our souls.

Every step we take along the way is guided by the Boss Man’s hand. We are under His care, in His field and therefore we are safe, just like Ruth. He will cause us to prosper too.

‘So Ruth gathered barley there all day, and when she beat out the grain that evening, it filled an entire basket.’

Ruth 2:17

Ruth had to work hard! Let it never be said the Lord blesses the lazy man but He does reward us when we try. Her basket was full. Our lives will be full too if we work hard in the right place at the right time. We will gather, and no matter our circumstances, our baskets and hearts will be full to overflowing with the kindness of our Lord to us even when we are not one of His workers.

ThouGht for the week by pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld

‘But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.’ Heb 5:14

I think most of us like to consider ourselves mature Christians, especially those of us who have been on the Christian path for a number of years. So what is a mature Christian?

In my mind a mature Christian is one who has gained understanding and knowledge of biblical principles but who has also grasped an insight into the moving of God in the spiritual world. More importantly than these though, is having a consistently steady walk with God. A mature Christian is someone who can be totally relied on no matter what difficulties surround them.

Sometimes we can’t see our way through problems. They just seem to surround us on every side, even to the point they overwhelm us. The maturing Christian learns to hold on. To me the secret in this passage are the words ‘constant use’. By constantly using the word of God, the faith and trust that Christ has given us we will be well trained. Our spiritual muscles will begin to grow strong as they are stretched again and again. We will learn that no matter what the enemy is shouting at us, what life throws at us, we remain consistent. Our love for Christ doesn’t waver, our actions are not affected by our feelings or our mood and the way we present ourselves and communicate with others remains consistently Christ-like. We may be churned up inside like a ploughed field, all ruffled with upsetting things but we remain in Christ and His peace that passes understanding holds us through the fiercest storms.

We learn to distinguish between good and evil. A mature Christian can hear what the enemy is saying but can distinguish it from the voice of their Heavenly Father. Despite the fact that Satan can undermine the mature believer he has little effect and they, like the true and loyal soldier, refuse to be moved from their post.

‘To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.’ Matt 25:29

Use well what you have. Use well your faith, your quiet strength, your time alone and you will begin to grow and mature. Do nothing with your faith, with your strength, with your time alone and even that which you have today will be gone tomorrow. The next verse goes on to speak about the useless servant. It’s a stark truth but there are Christians in the world today who are useless servants. But we don’t need to be! Put into practice the little faith you have today, each day. You will soon begin to grow and find new strength. The lovely thing about our Christian faith is that it’s never too late to learn and change. As long as you have breath you can begin to make these changes and begin to develop and mature in Christ.

Take new courage today and rise to the challenge. More is asked of you than before but by His grace you will not only survive but succeed and may God grant you will be one of those mature, highly trained soldiers of the King of Kings.

Thought for the week by pastor diana rutheRford

by Struthers Cumbernauld

‘From now on, don’t let anyone trouble me with these things. For I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus.’

Galatians 6:17

There are people who trouble us. We all have them in our lives! Sometimes it’s a colleague, or neighbour or worse still a close member of our family! They get under our skin one way or another. Sometimes we worry endlessly about them, or they upset us with hurtful comments or make us feel not good enough to be in their company.

Paul has reached a stage where he realises that what people think or do or say is no longer important to him. He has chosen to serve Christ therefore he no longer allows any to trouble him.

This would be a good place for us to be. Let us realise that the only thing that truly matters in life is what Christ Jesus thinks of us and says to us. Let no man trouble me!

We may not bear scars in the way Paul did but if we are true followers of Christ we will bear our cross. We choose to walk in His way, to think His thoughts and to do our utmost to win the favour of God. When we do this we find His presence accompanies us on life’s journey. He dwells with us. He makes His home within us. His peace and quiet strength are given to us so we have every right to let no man trouble us. We need to recognise that we are children of the Heavenly King and we must live as such. We bear His presence and carry His peace into the world. The Bible puts it like this:

‘But you have an anointing from the Holy One...’

1 John 2:20

Let us look up and recognise the privilege of carrying an anointing. If we allow ourselves to be troubled, angered, enraged, defeated, afraid, worried, anxious or violated in any way that anointing is disturbed. In the gospels the anointing is likened to a dove that comes and settles on a person: see Matthew 3:16. Carry the anointing He gives you like a dove that has settled peacefully on you. Let no man trouble you: who they are, what they say, do or think is never more important than what our Heavenly Father thinks of us.

‘As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you...’

1 John 2:26

Let no man disturb your peace or cause you to lose your confidence in God. Always, always consider Him when you are troubled by another and above all maintain and preserve the quiet strength you have found in Christ.

‘Cast not away therefore your confidence.’ Hebrews 10:35

Thought for the week by pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld

 ‘When you enter the home, give it your blessing.’

Matthew 10:12

When you enter a home, an office or place of work give it your blessing. Become the salt of the earth in every place you go. Bring the presence of Christ with you.

Let it not be said of any one of us who follow Christ that people dread our company. Let it not be said that others find us trying or that our continual moaning wears them down, or even worse that we continually push the gospel down the throats of those who don’t want to hear!

Instead, let our hearts be filled with His peace and contentment. Let joy be the fountain within us; happy that He has promised to be with us all the day long.

‘Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.’

1 Timothy 6:6

This is the blessing we should bring into our homes and work places. This should be our attitude when we are working or relaxed; true godliness with contentment! Others will be drawn to that which is true and genuine within us. Let them see from our attitudes, opinions and ethos that we are genuinely and sincerely content with what Christ has given us in life.

‘Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.’

Philippians 4:11

This should be the theme of our hearts. Be a blessing today. Let others feel better for having been in our company. Contentment is very attractive. We often look at others and wish we could have what they have or be like them. Contentment can have the same effect. Let others see the blessing we carry and feel the power of it, not by what we say, but by what we are in Christ.

Thought for the week by Pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld

‘I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul.’

Psalm 31:7

There is a choice we make to be in a happy mood. It’s not just a feeling that comes over us on a sunny day but a choice that we make even when things are grim. Here the Psalmist makes that choice despite an anguish in his soul. The happiness we choose is not false, like the plastic smiles you see on some unhappy faces, but a joy that comes from finding the comfort of God in a situation. Even the circumstances that bring us anguish.

The meaning of anguish is a deep sorrow, grief or heartbreak. Thankfully, most of us don’t experience that every day of our lives, but when we do there is the mercy and the comfort of our wonderful God. He sees all our troubles; He cares for each breath we breathe and would wrap His great arms around us bringing strength and comfort to our soul. He would bring us into the secret place, where we feel His heartbeat and the whisper of His breath upon our face, knowing His nearness and protection. Then our happiness is deep and real despite the anguish we feel. His comfort is greater and leaves a significant mark on us.

The Psalmist’s difficulties had pushed him into the refuge of His God. May our griefs, sorrows and heartbreaks help us find our way into the heart of our Father who truly cares for each small pain and joy we experience and is there to comfort us every moment of our journey. May you find His closeness with you this week.

‘There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.’

Proverbs 18:24b

Thought for the week by pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld

 ‘For he makes small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof.’

Job 36:27

I love considering and comparing the vastness and greatness of our God with His infinite detail of creation. It is truly remarkable to think He not only created the heavens and the earth, the sea and dry land but He creates each droplet of rain, every particle of moisture in the atmosphere.

How often we think our God doesn’t care or notice the difficulties we face in life. How often we blunder on regardless, seemingly on our own and in our own strength, without a thought for the One who has created the very air we breathe.

Take a moment to consider the everyday wonders of creation that are all around you: the fact the sun rises every morning; the clouds driven across the sky on a windy day; patches of blue between darkening clouds heavy with rain; the wind that gives you that dishevelled appearance before you get to the office!  Do I need to go on? The wonders of an amazing creation are all around us. Everyday facts that should cause us to marvel and worship the Creator of all things.

‘He makes small the drops of water.’

Each raindrop has been made by His hand, known intimately by God. Can you imagine Him taking each raindrop in His hand and making it smaller? Next time you’re out in our dreich Scottish weather, running from place to place, give thought to that loving hand that has cared for and lovingly made the beauty of our world.

Not only does He know each sparrow that falls to the ground, and every hair of your head but every raindrop too. He is omnipotent and omnipresent. He is all knowing, all powerful, everywhere, all of the time. He is in the air you breath right now and in the thoughts you think. He is here to still your heart, quieten your spirit and to bring you to an understanding that you are deeply loved and known of Him. There is no place of hiding and, in fact, when you begin to understand these things, there is no desire to hide. Just let yourself become one with this great infinite God who takes care of each drop of water. He will take care not only of the big events in our lives but of the finite little details that make up our every day.

Take a moment to absorb this. Pause in the business of your life to realise He is not only with you, but within you and all around you. He is in the breath you breathe. He is in all your thinking. He is with you even to the end of the age.

Thought for the week by Pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld

 ‘Then the dragon took his stand on the shore beside the sea.’

Revelation 12:18

The dragon, who represents destruction and wrong, is taking his stand on the shore beside the sea. He has himself positioned and isn’t prepared to move.

Are we as Christians prepared to take our stand on the hill of Calvary beside the Cross? As the dragon represents destruction and wrong so we should stand for kindness and righteousness. Or does this thought make you feel afraid?

This is a spiritual battle and not a physical one. We are not called to fight the evil one in our own strength or take a stand against him on our own. In fact, it is impossible and foolish for anyone of us to take on the forces of darkness! We are not called to fight but to find ourselves hidden in the safety and security of the One who will fight for righteousness: The Lord of Hosts is His Name. Like a child who has a ride on their daddy’s back, who suddenly finds themselves taller, stronger and running faster than they could ever could do in their own strength, so the Lord of Hosts is to us. We can travel with Him, run with Him, catch the glory of His swiftness and power as we look on and feel courage because He is so close.

Our secret, then, is not to try and be big and brave in this warfare but to stay as close as we can to our Heavenly Father. Whether waking or sleeping He watches over us. The more we discover our weakness and limitations, the greater will be our ability to hide in Him. Others may look on and think we are brave, courageous Christians whilst in fact we feel the total opposite; like a small child who hides behind a strong parent.

‘I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me. I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side.’

Psalm 3:5-6

We will not be afraid of the dragon who has taken his stand on the shore beside the sea for we will lie down and sleep and be unafraid. We will trust in the One who watches over us during the night hours and in the day. Even though there be ten thousand dragons, we will still not be afraid for we choose to be that small child hidden behind and within our Father. He will deal with the dragon and the beast when it rises out of the sea!

‘Arise, O Lord! Rescue me, my God! Slap all my enemies in the face! Shatter the teeth of the wicked!’  Psalm 3:7

This is our God! He is unafraid and will deal with all who stand against us. As a true father would protect His own child, so the Lord of Heaven’s armies will defend and protect us. He will not allow our battles to go on too long. He will never allow things to get to breaking point. He will deal with the enemy quickly and effectively.

‘Victory comes from you, O Lord. May you bless your people.’

Psalm 3:7-8

Then we will be blessed. When the dragon takes his stand, let us be comforted that blessing will come quickly.

Thought for the week by Pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld

 ‘He will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armour and protection.’

Psalm 91:4

Last night at church, there came a delightful presence of God. We found ourselves waiting before Him in prayer and worship; all routines forgotten as we drew near to Him.  It’s so hard to describe His presence, but it was very comforting, reassuring and strengthening.

Towards the end of the service these words were used ‘He will cover you with His feathers.’  It felt like being in the very safety of God. All our troubles melted away and we were comforted by the softness and warmth of being hidden in Him.

Like many others, we’ve had our fair share of troubles. Life has been more than a little tempestuous at times, and there was a sense of drawing near to the One who protects His own.

This verse presents a lovely picture of being sheltered by His wing and covered with His feathers. Can you imagine being there? Absolutely protected from every unkind, cruel or nasty word or action. Totally close to the One who made you and understands you better than any other. Completely hidden from every stress factor and pressure. A place of utter delight.

The word says:

‘The Lord of Heaven’s Armies will hover over Jerusalem and protect it like a bird protecting its nest.’

Isaiah 31:5

Our God is very real. Just as His word says, He will protect us as a mother bird protects her young. The true comfort of God is strengthening!

Christians grow weak because they don’t find their way into this hidden place often enough. We know the theory, but it’s the waiting that’s difficult! No one can bring down the presence of God. No one can dictate these special moments but we can be available to receive them when they come. 

Be aware that there may come moments of divine visitation during your church services or quiet times or even sometimes in the middle of a busy stressful day, when suddenly He is there. It might only be a breath, a wave of peace that passes over you but be ready to receive it with both hands. In that moment just stop, look up, take a deep breath and find His comforting strength around you. The very fact He is with you is often enough. It fills us with joy knowing our Lord is watching over us all the day long. May you find many strengthening moments today.

‘He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.’

Zephaniah 3:17