God Be With You …

God be with you through the night-time, God be with you through the day, Angels guard and keep you always, As you journey on your way. God be with you, ever bless you, As the days and years go by; Till we meet at last in Glory, In the mansions of the sky. (Noel Grant; Tune – What a Friend we have in Jesus).

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A Wonderful Day!

It was a wonderful day. It was a day of resurrection. It was a day of revelation. It was a day or rejoicing. Jesus came to two of His followers. He spoke with them. He spoke about the things that really matter. It was a day they would never forget. They had met the risen Lord. His words had brought great blessing – “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32). They could not keep this to themselves. They had to tell others what had happened – “The Lord has risen.” (Luke 24:34).
It was another great day. It was a day of great blessing. Jesus came to His disciples. He spoke to them of His death and resurrection – “The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day” (Luke 24:46). This was not the end of the blessing. This was just the beginning. The blessing was to be shared – “repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations” (Luke 24:47).  What a great privilege was given to them – “You are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:48). What a great power was given to them – you will be “clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).
What a day it was! It was the beginning of something new. It was the start of something really special. It was the day of the Spirit. It was the day of His power. It was a day of salvation. Peter preached. This was more than Peter. This was the power of God – “I will pour out My Spirit” (Acts 2:17). The message was clear – “everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21). The blessing was tremendous – “about three thousand were added to their number that day” (Acts 2:41).
We read about the great days. We wonder, “Is there anything else? Is there something more? Do we have a future?” Don’t think of these great days as “long, long ago – when the world was very different.” Have we outgrown the need to listen to Peter’s earnest appeal: “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation” (Acts 2:40)? There is something better than “this corrupt generation.” There is a glorious future. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we have received the gift of “eternal life” (1 John 5:13).
Why do we look back to the past? We look. We learn. We remember what our Saviour has done for us. We have hope for the future. When the going gets tough, we must remember this: “everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
The Scriptures take us back to the past. They do not leave us there. We learn about “what will take place later” (Revelation 1:19). Jesus has come. This is the past. Jesus will come. This is the future. Some tell us that this world is all that there is. God’s Word tells us something very different. Jesus has risen from the dead. We look forward to “the Day when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:7). We look forward to “the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:11).
Look forward in faith. Believe that God has a great future for you. Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. Walk with Him in holiness of life. Encourage one another to keep on going, believing in the Lord, trusting in His Word and walking with Him day-by-day.
May God help each of us to grow in faith, love and hope as we keep our eyes fixed on our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

What does the future hold for us?

God’s Word encourages us to look forward to His future. Here’s a prayer which will help you to do this: We think, Lord about the future, and all we can say is this, “We don’t know what the future holds.” We turn to You. We ask You, “What does the future hold for us?” You give us Your answer to our question. It may not be the answer that we were looking for – but it is always the true answer, the best answer, the only answer. You say to us, “I know what the future holds.” Help us, Lord, to trust You. Help us to say more than “I know not what the future holds.” Help us to say something else – “I know who holds the future.”

“May God’s blessing surround you each day, as you trust Him and walk in His way. May His presence within guard and keep you from sin. Go in peace. Go in joy. Go in love.” (Cliff Barrows – Mission Praise, 460).

How Is Your Spiritual Temperature?

How is your spiritual temperature? Jesus had something to say about this – “most people’s love will grow cold’ (Matthew 24:12). Has the fire gone out? How long has it been since, in your heart, you said, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us … while He opened to us the Scriptures?” (Luke 24:32)? Must we get colder as we get older? Can we not be raised from the ashes? Must we be overwhelmed by the spirit of evil? Cannot God restore in us the spirit of praise – “I will sing of the Lord’s great love for ever” (Psalm 89:1)? Some of you may not have worshipped God in His House for many years. Is it not time to make a new beginning with God? Do you want to begin again with God? Over the years, God has been speaking to you – but you have not listened to Him. God is still speaking to you. Are you listening to Him? The Lord has come to us – “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). Now, He’s inviting us to come to Him: ”Listen now, My people, and come to Me; come to Me, and you will have life! … Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:3,6). This is your time for seeking the Lord. It’s the time of your salvation – if you will return to Him. Come to Jesus. Bring your sin to Him. He will come to you. He will forgive your sin. It’s time for a new beginning with God. Let it start now!

God’s Blessing

God’s blessing is not a ‘cheap’ thing, something that doesn’t matter very much. Remember Esau (Genesis 25:29-34). He couldn’t be bothered. He couldn’t care less. God’s blessing meant nothing to him. He didn’t want God’s blessing. What did God do? – He gave it to Jacob. ‘The Lord bless you…’ (Numbers 6:22-27): Do you want this? Or must God find somebody else?

Let Us Pray For More Of God’s Blessing.

What God did for His people, Israel, was very great. There is a striking contrast between their slavery in Egypt and their abundance in the promised land. God had multiplied His blessing upon them, just as Jesus did when He turned water into wine (John 2:1-11). If the blessing is to be maintained and increased, we must honour the Lord. We must cry to Him for blessing: “Hear my prayer, O God, listen to the words of my mouth.” We must call upon Him with faith: “Surely God is my help; the Lord is the One who sustains me” (Psalm 54:2,4).

The Rock and the River

The Rock and the River are still there – even when I can’t see them! We look out towards Dumbarton Rock and the River Clyde. There is, however, a problem! Straight ahead of us, there are some large trees. When the leaves are on the trees, we can’t see anything that’s behind the trees. We can’t see the Rock and the River – but they’re still there!
There is another Rock – Jesus Christ, the Rock of our salvation. There is another River – the Holy Spirit, the River of God’s blessing. When our faith is weak, we must remember this: Jesus is still the Rock of our salvation. When we don’t feel very blessed, we must remember this: the Holy Spirit is still the River of God’s blessing.
Jesus told a story about two builders. One was wise. He built his house on a rock. The other was foolish. He built his house on sand.  How are we to build our lives on Jesus Christ, the Rock of our salvation? We must hear His Word. We must obey His Word (Matthew 7:24). Hearing and obeying – this is the way of blessing. We read, in Ezekiel 47, about the River of God’s blessing: “The water came only to my ankles … the water came up to my knees … the water was up to my waist … the stream was so deep I could not wade through it. It was too deep to cross except by swimming” (verses 3-5). What an increase of blessing there is “when we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word” (Mission Praise, 760)!
 * There will be storms. There will be clouds. Beyond the storms and the clouds, there is the sunshine of God’s love. We must learn to lift up our eyes – and catch a glimpse of the glory of God. We walk about the streets of Bellsmyre. We hardly notice the beauty that’s all around us. Look to the north. Look to the south. Look to the west. Look to the east. What do you see? – “How clearly the sky reveals God’s glory! How plainly it shows what He has done!” (Psalm 19:1). When we see that our whole life is surrounded by the presence of God our Creator, we are encouraged. We look at our problems, and we say, “I look to the mountains; where will my help come from? My help will come from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2). 
 * We come to the Lord’s House. We gather together to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. We are called to remember Jesus and His love for us. We find it difficult to focus our attention on Him. We feel that His love is not really getting through to us. At the Lord’s Table, is there a word of encouragement for us? Yes! There is! The Lord’s Supper is not so much about our remembering Jesus. It’s about Jesus remembering us. When we forget Him, He never forgets us. What a wonderful message this is! We are loved with the greatest love of all. It’s the love that will never let us go. Jesus loves us with “an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). When we are assured of Christ’s love for us, we begin to say, in our hearts, “To God be the glory! Great things He hath done” (Mission Praise, 708).
 * As we come to the House of the Lord, we hear the words, “Let us worship God.” Jesus reminds us that “God is Spirit, and only by the power of His Spirit can people worship Him as He really is” (John 4:24). We hear about being “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day” (Revelation 1:10). All of this seems so far beyond us. We are “weak.” In our hearts, we say, “we do not know how we ought to pray.” Coming to the Lord in our weakness, we hear His Word of encouragement: “the Spirit comes to help us” (Romans 8:26). Jesus loves us. The Holy Spirit helps us. The Lord is with us. He wants to bless us: “He is here, He is here, He is moving among us; He is here, He is here, as we gather in His Name! He is here, He is here, and He wants to work a wonder; He is here as we gather in His Name” (Mission Praise, 218).
May the Lord bless each and every one of us as we gather together to worship Him. Let us look to Him in eager expectation of His abundant blessing.