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

Thought for the week by pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld

 ‘I will lead a life of integrity in my own home.’  Psalm 101:2

A lovely word of the Psalmist for our souls for a bank holiday weekend.

I don’t know if you enjoy being at home; for me it’s a real treat! I love being at home in the quietness, knowing I’ve got a whole day and evening to myself. Time, not to be selfish and self centred, but an opportunity to be filled with integrity and to dwell in His eternal presence.

What does integrity mean? It means being upright, honest, fair minded, truthful and having a good character. It means being at peace within yourself, content with what you have in whatever situation you find yourself. It means having a clear open attitude towards God with no hidden motives or secret thoughts. Having integrity means your conscience is completely clear before God. This leads to a happy spirit and an overwhelming joy in life itself. We don’t need adventures or parties or even social media to cheer us: we have the very presence of God in our own homes.

This is the kernel of our personal walk with Christ; let Him be central in every situation that presents itself to us. We are not always in control of these situations but we can be in control of our emotions, thoughts and feelings. We can have an honest and upright view up to heaven if we put all things right and make our peace with God.

Look for integrity right into the depths of your personality. Let there be no deceitfulness, no lies within you, even towards yourself. Let Truth flood you. Look at yourself and at life through Christ’s eyes and find integrity in every part of your being. Then you will have the joy of your salvation. Your cup will overflow and your head will be anointed with oil. Then we will not only live a life of integrity but of praise to Him who has helped us.

Thought for the week by 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; and I will fetch a morsel of bread and comfort ye your hearts.’ Genesis 18:4,5

These words were spoken by Abraham to three travellers as they passed by. Such lovely words spoken to those on a journey and we may well take them and apply them to ourselves on our journey through life.

Rest yourself under the tree of Calvary, the place where Jesus died. Let a little water wash you from all your weariness and sin. Eat the bread of life, comforting your hearts from every worry, fear and anxiety, allowing yourself to grow strong again for the next part of the journey.

Life is a journey, not a race. There must be moments of rest for us when we find new strength again. Rest is vitally important to the human mind and body. It needs rest to grow and function properly.

In the same way we need to rest spiritually. We need to stop, rest our minds on Christ, absorb His presence and experience His refreshing so we can go on functioning as a Christian and continue to grow.

When was the last time you came and sat at His feet like Mary? She had found what was important in life.

‘“There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”’

Luke 10:42

Come and rest. Come and find Christ at Calvary. Come and sit in the shade of that tree and let Him refresh you with the wonder of His presence as you surrender all your thoughts, desires and energies at the Cross. Then you will find the waters of refreshing, the bread of comfort and strength again for the journey that is ahead of you.

We have to make the journey whether we like it or not. We cannot stop ourselves growing older! The choice is given to us to travel the road in our own strength, growing old and weary, or come to that One who is the fountain of life and be refreshed. There, there is a joy for the journey!

Thought for the week by pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld

 ‘Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you.’  Genesis 13:17

When we are young and at the beginning of new ventures, life is exciting.

Abraham was a young man when he heard these words. He had left his own family, had begun a long journey and one day, looking out over far distant horizons, these are the words he heard. It was the beginning of a wonderful adventure for Abraham where the Lord caused him not only to be prosperous but to become a large and established community.

I’ve always loved this verse too. When I was younger it filled me with the same sense of adventure and excitement that I think Abraham would have known. God has not disappointed me in the fulfilment of these words and the ‘land’ I look at today is bigger now than the one I looked at as a late teenager. There are still some adventures ahead!

But I’m consciously aware this morning that this verse says ‘in every direction’. Sometimes we have to walk in directions we would rather not! When I’m out walking, I’d rather walk towards the sunshine with the wind behind me, but if we are going to walk ‘in every direction’ then there are times we need to go against the wind and face the darkness.

There were times in Abraham’s life when he had to battle with his own difficulties: enemies in the land, a selfish nephew, a barren wife and a God who demanded all were just some of the trials he had to face. I’m sure these were only some of the directions that he would rather not have gone in.

Are you walking in every direction in your Christian life or are you just choosing the sunlit paths?

To truly enter into our spiritual inheritance, we have to face all that God sends to us, both good and ill. We have to have the same courage, faith, love and perseverance in every situation. We must not waver when the going gets tough and think to ourselves, “I didn’t sign up for this!”

We agreed to follow and if that means walking in directions we would rather not choose then there will be times when we must do it. We aren’t given the option of pulling out or even following at a distance with a reluctant hardened attitude making it difficult for others.

Lot, Abraham’s nephew, could have shared the adventure with Abraham. He could have entered into the same promise that God gave to Abraham but instead he became a rival spirit and in the end the two men parted company. He had the wrong attitude. He was selfish and greedy. He wanted his own way.

Have you become part of a work that started with the blessing of God? Perhaps a work that has grown up and developed around about you. Unless we maintain the right attitude, live selfless surrendered lives, we will end up parting ways and the inheritance and blessing we could have shared will slip through our fingers and we’ll watch whilst others find what might have been ours. We’ve become like Lot, separated and distant from the blessing. It’s all in the attitude. Face into the direction God is pointing you even if it’s not sunny! It’s there that you will find Him and be at peace.

Abraham was tested and found wonderful reward. Turn again to the only One who is able to give to you the reward that is peculiar to you and the blessing that bears your name.

‘Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.”’  Genesis 15:1

Thought for the week by pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld

 ‘The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.’  Psalm 9:9

When things go wrong in our lives we tend to react in one of three ways. We either want to run away and hide, give up trying or become frustrated and often angry. There is a place for the Christian where, instead of reacting in any of these ways, we can choose to hide ourselves in the presence of the Almighty. To do this means to turn to God instead of to our own reaction and find His strength and peace to cope with whatever difficulties are before us. We let Christ become our focus rather than the way we feel.

There are many reasons we need to hide. Sometimes, it’s because of what others say about us:

‘You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from those who conspire against them. You shelter them in your presence, far from accusing tongues.’

Psalm 31:20

It’s not running away to turn and find His quiet strength when others speak against you. He is the only One who truly understands your motives, reactions and the situation. Find quiet strength in His shelter. If you have behaved badly or spoken out of turn He is able to gently correct you and show you how to sort things. Facing an army of angry people won’t help but finding the presence of God will quieten your spirit and bring you strength.

The Bible also says:

‘Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.’ Psalm 91:1

It’s important to find a place where your spirit can rest. If you are continuously afraid, anxious or even angry and annoyed, you will never find a resting place in God. You’ll become the anxious, fearful or angry person. Come into His shelter, away from all your troubles and tempestuous feelings. Come and rest. Don’t listen to any other voice. Let the quietness of His presence wash over you and through you as you lean on Him. Train yourself to come into this place each day, where the very person of our Lord Jesus lives. Let Him become your refuge, your help and your companion. Let His quiet voice still the storms that rise bringing peace and quietness.

The one who finds their way into this place will not only find a refuge in times of trouble but will become a trusted servant of God. We will be trusted with the Master’s business. He will share with us His plans for our tomorrows and we will learn His thoughts for His work. How much better is this place than coping with our own reactions on our own!

‘I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.’ John 15:15

Thought for the week by pastor Diana Rutherford

by Struthers Cumbernauld

 ‘My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.’

Isaiah 32:18

Sounds idyllic doesn’t it? There’s no place like home we say and it’s true. It’s fabulous to go on holiday but it’s even better to come home, at least it is for me.

We’ve recently had some extensive renovations done to our home. After talking about it for years and planning for months, it’s finally all come together and we moved back home again this weekend after being out of home for a month.

I’d like to say it’s pristine, but now begins the fun, first of all cleaning and then unpacking things, finding new homes for everything and then trying to remember where you’ve put them!

It’s a nice thought that the Lord God Almighty wants us to have a home. As the verse says home should be peaceful, secure and undisturbed. Sounds nice doesn’t it? A place of safety where you can totally relax and be yourself. For the Christian, a place filled with His peace and presence. We read:

‘Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God.’

Psalm 84:3

All of God’s creatures have found a home. We see it in all of creation especially at this time of year in Spring when so many birds and animals are preparing a home for their young.

It is a reflection of what will one day be in eternity for us if we choose to follow Christ. One day we will have a perfect home which won’t need tidied, cleaned or any renovations done! A place of perfect peace, total safety and where there will never again be any disturbances.  Best of all you will have the most perfect companion you could ever want. Now that is idyllic!

‘In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.’

John 14:2-3