Church of Scotland

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Thought for the Week

Sunday, 16 January 2022

We invite you to Pray through the Week with Dreghorn and Springside Parish Church.

Pray Through The Week

Change or Opportunity?

Jeremiah 42:3 – Pray that the Lord your God will show us what to do and where to go

There are changes ahead for those of us who worship in and around Irvine.  Our full-time ministers are going to be reduced to two!  That means that most of the churches who don’t at present have a permanent minister may be unlikely to get one – a sad day, but, we must stay positive.

We must pray sincerely about the situation, asking for God’s guidance for those who are involved in decision-making, take time out to listen for God’s word so that we are ready for the changes which will undoubtedly affect us all in some way.

If you ever watch any American Evangelism on TV (yes, I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea!), they have gatherings of thousands at the one event.  Can you imagine what the atmosphere must be like when everyone sings God’s praises – it gives me goose bumps just to think about it!

How good would it be if all the Christians from Irvine and surrounding area met in one place, say the Volunteer Rooms (or the Drill Hall as we Irvinites know it), what would it be like?  To join together in true Christian spirit, loving each other, showing a kindness and understanding towards each other and praying and praising together.  No matter where it took place, what a demonstration of faith it would be for all around us to see.

I pray that we can all put self behind us, really concentrate on the promises we have made, to love God and spread the Gospel, and pray for God’s guidance and the discernment of His will so that we go forward in faith and being able to support those who find any changes difficult.
Amen

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Week Commencing 09 January 2022

I was reading a Promise Journal and found these interesting pieces. In these early days of January when skies are often grey and the weather dull and dreary and Spring seems ages away, I found these pieces uplifting.

STEPS OF FAITH.

In the dark dreary nights when the storm is at its most fierce,

The lighthouse burns bright, so the sailors find their way home again.

In life the same light burns, this light is fueled with love, faith and hope,

And through life’s most fierce storms, these three burn the brightest.

So we also can find our way home again.

Why should we live halfway up the hill and swathed in the mists, when we might have an unclouded sky and a radiant sun over our heads if we would climb higher and walk in the light of His face? - Alexander Maclaren

Faith goes up the stairs that love has made and looks out the window which hope has opened. - Charles Spurgeon.

Let us draw near to God…. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10:22-23 NIV

Amen

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Week Commencing 02 January 2022

NEW YEAR THOUGHTS

As I was thinking about another New Year and what lies ahead of us, my thoughts turned to the Bible and what words of comfort God would speak to us.

These past two years have been hard for many people since the start of the Pandemic. Many people have lost loved ones, the lockdowns have been difficult, jobs have been lost, countless difficulties have been experienced, all have suffered one way or another. What lies ahead? Then I opened the Message Bible and in Isaiah 43 verses 1 to 4 and read;

Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you, I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you are in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place it won’t be a dead end -
Because I am God, your personal God, the Holy of Israel, your Saviour.
I paid a huge price for you….!
That’s how much you mean to me!
That’s how much I love you!

As it says in the King James Version of the Bible in Romans 8 verse 31
If God be for us, who can be against us?

So with these comforting words in mind let us step boldly into this New Year.

Amen.

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Week Commencing 26 December 2021

John 12:46 – I have come into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness

Christmas is NOT cancelled!

How many times have you heard that in the news recently, as people were afraid that social gatherings might be restricted like last year?  It riles me; the notion that Christmas could be cancelled.  I understand that for many, Christmas is the one and only time in the year when friends and family all gather together.  It’s a tradition.  However for many, Christmas has become a festival of excesses – gifts, food, alcohol, even Christmas lights!  Yes, all of that could be cancelled.  Gathering together to exchange gifts, consume copious amounts of food and drink could be restricted by the need to protect us all from COVID 19.  But, the real meaning and celebration of Christmas can never be cancelled, because that happens within our hearts.  No matter who we are with, where we are, how many presents are under the tree (or not, in some cases) we can rejoice in the birth of Jesus Christ, the greatest gift the world has ever known, which if we only accept it, can bring more joy, peace and contentment than the most expensive, beautifully wrapped material gift ever could. 

I pray that wherever you are this Christmas time, whoever you are with, or even if you are sitting quietly on your own, that you can feel the true spirit of Christmas in your heart – something that no-one or no thing – not even COVID 19 – can ever take from you.  Amen

I finish with this poem, written by Elizabeth Muir who is the mother of Clarke Muir, our Minister in training who is on placement with us.

May your Christmas be more than a Christmas Tree

By Elizabeth Muir

May your Christmas be more than a Christmas Tree

For the babe of Bethlehem is Christ the King

He came down to earth to give us second birth

That’s why He said you must be born again

He left the courts of glory, to do the Father’s will

This is the Christmas Story, and you can know its thrill

If you heed His word, receive Him as Your Lord

He will give you all your soul could long for

Open up your heart and give him, not a part

But give him all you have and all you are

May your Christmas be more than a Christmas tree

For this babe of Bethlehem is Jesus Christ, the King - Hallelujah

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Week Commencing 19 December 2021

Is you gas at a peep?

I’ve been having some trouble recently with my gas central heating boiler; pressure dropping, etc, and when switching my heating on recently, it occurred to me that I could maybe see a parallel with my boiler and my faith!

All summer long, my gas is at a peep with the boiler quietly sitting with only the pilot light quietly burning.  Our faith can be like that.  It’s comforting to have it sitting quietly within us; we know we can call on it when the cold reality of life’s events attack us, then we fire it up – fervent prayer, searching scripture for guidance, seeking reassurance from faith-bearing friends – just like our gas central heating boiler.  It sits quietly through the summer until the weather turns cold and then we fire it up to provide us with comfort and warmth – and that’s where the parallel between our faith and our boiler should end.

Our faith should never be a near-dormant light within us, comforting though that can be   It should be constantly fired up, providing necessary warmth and comfort, not just to ourselves, but to everyone we come into contact with.  Especially those whose pilot light has never been lit, or has gone out.

How do we achieve this constant warmth and comfort?  Well, it doesn’t happen without effort.  To keep our faith alive and burning bright, we need to constantly top up the fuel – by prayer, reading and contemplating scripture, surrounding ourselves with the right people, those whose fire burns brightly and who cast their warmth and comfort upon us.  Just as, if our pilot light went out, we’d need the right people or person to re-light it – no good calling on a joiner to fix our boiler – talented though he/she may be, that’s not the talent we would need – we’d need a boiler engineer.  Just as we need the faith-filled friends or leader to get us back on our faith journey.

It’s easy to live with our ‘gas at a peep’, topping up with just enough fuel to keep us going, but never really firing up to our full potential to infect others and set their faith on fire, and let them receive the everlasting benefit of God’s love, warmth and comfort.

I pray that this coming week, the celebration of our Blessed Saviour’s birth will re-ignite the fire of our faith so that it reaches far and wide, especially to those who live constantly in the cold.

Amen

Matthew 3:11 I baptize you with water to show that you have repented, but the one who will come after me will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

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Week Commencing 12 December 2021

HUMAN RIGHTS DAY

Friday 10th December was designated Human Rights Day.  This was established by the United Nations General Assembly and adopted in 1948. Its aim is to create equality for all.

The theme this year is to reduce inequality and advance human rights. Human Rights are a set of rights which every human is entitled to.  Every human being is inherited with these rights no matter what caste, creed, gender, the economic status they belong to.  Human rights are very important for making sure that all lives get treated equally. They are in fact essentially a good standard of living in the world.

There are so many examples every where you look - politically, economic, gender, religion, etc, - the list is sadly endless.

We cannot change the world ourselves but each of us can do our bit, and this is where we benefit from working together as a Church.  We must show we respect and care for our fellow man.  We are all too quick to make judgments and turn a blind eye or turn the other cheek, that is the easy way out.

Locally in our village we have bigotry perpetrated and yet we sit back, saying nothing, and allow others to impose their views on others.  This is a mere detail in the greater scheme of things, but it is an example in a simplified form of what is happening in many countries when things are upscaled and one side becomes too dominant and before you know where you are there is an uprising.

There are far too many examples of all kinds everywhere you look.  As Christians we should help in whatever way we can.  Start small in our own neighbourhood, see opportunities and give people their human rights in our society.  Life is not easy or rosy for those around us, especially at Christmas. Not everyone is equal and anything we can do to make life a little better is a human right.

Matthew 7:12 - Do for others what you would like them to do for you.

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Week Commencing 05 December 2021

SAINT ANDREW PATRON SAINT OF SCOTLAND

As we all know 30th November was Saint Andrew’s Day. Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, Greece, Russia, Italy’s Amalfi and Barbados. He is also the patron saint of singers, spinsters, maidens, fishermen, fishmongers, women wanting to be mothers, gout and sore throats. These are interesting facts to be found on the internet.

Saint Andrew has been celebrated in Scotland for over a thousand years, with feasts being held in his honour as far back as the year 1000 A.D. However it was not until 1320, when Scotland’s independence was declared with the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath, that he officially became Scotland’s patron saint.

Andrew was born in Galilee, Israel, to Jonah and Joanna, making his nationality Israeli Roman. His brother was Saint Peter. As a dedicated follower of Jesus, Andrew preached about Christ around the Black Sea and throughout Greece. He was asked to stop spreading the teachings of Christ by Governor Aegeus. When he refused he was sentenced to death by crucifixion. Andrew asked to be crucified on a diagonal cross as he felt he was not worthy to die on the same shape of cross as Jesus. This diagonal cross is now used on the Scottish flag - the Saltire.

He died in Patras, Greece on 30th November circa 60 A.D. He is buried in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Turkey.

Andrew was first a follower of John the Baptist before being called by Jesus to be a “fisher of men”. He is referred to in the Orthodox tradition as the First-Called. It was Andrew who brought the boy with the loaves and fishes to Jesus before the feeding of the five thousand.

This story can be found in the Gospel of John in the New Testament.
John chapter six verses 1-15.

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Week Commencing 28 November 2021

ADVENT

I have just finished a three week stint with Blythswood on the Shoebox Appeal.  To see the amazing contents of some (perhaps most) of the boxes is just wonderful.  The thought and generosity which has gone into each box is amazing.  The camaraderie cannot be described – it is a meeting of like-minded each in a practical way doing as Jesus bid us – caring for our neighbours.

This year the boxes are heading for Moldovia, one of the poorest European countries.  However it is not just the past few weeks we support these people as our work goes on all year round.

Can you imagine having to collect wood, light a fire, collect water from a central location, in freezing conditions, just to get a hot drink.  There are hundreds living in conditions like that all over Europe.  They flee persecution, conflict and end up displaced with nowhere to call home.  There are children born without protection from the elements.  Even Jesus 200 years ago when born had a roof over his head.

So next time you feel your feathers ruffled, stop, give a thought to these poor people, and start to count your blessings.

Just imagine the joy and pleasure to receive a present (sometimes the first ever) containing such an assortment of goodies.  I doubt our children would be overjoyed to receive a pencil or a rubber in a wrapped box!

As we approach the ADVENT Season let us keep in mind those so less fortunate than ourselves and give God our thanks for our lot in life and our daily bread.  Yes, whatever our circumstances, we are well off.