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Word from Scotland

    by Sandy Shaw

What happened at Pentecost and how is this so highly relevant to the Church of Jesus Christ today? Why does this matter? It is much more important than many really realise.

These apostles and disciples were gathered together in one place. They were in the Temple in Jerusalem because when we read the record and account given to us by Dr Luke no one moved until the apostles arose and Peter spoke and explained the significance of what had just taken place.

They were gathered together in one place, at the one time and they were united. Someone had organised it and…  ( Click for more )

We turn to the Gospel of John and to Chapter 11 to consider God’s timing and what Jesus Christ offers in these verses – and how he wants to involve others.

There are always things we want – things we want fixed – things that have been broken and we want them repaired or restored – things we want to happen.

There are always prayers that we really want answered.

We face hurts and wounds and abandonment and betrayal.

Here in this passage – John Chapter 11 – is what happens when Jesus intervenes in a situation, which is desperate.…  ( Click for more )

I cannot imagine what it must have been like to see Jesus Christ go. These men were so different on that awesome occasion – they were able to take it in their stride.

We read the account of the Ascension in the opening section of ACTS and also in the concluding words of the Gospel of LUKE.

ACTS is the second book of a two part work by Gentile Luke. It is a history, illustrating the continuity of the work of God – presenting us with a unity of thought and purpose.

It is some six weeks after Passover - 40 days after God brought back Jesus Christ from the…  ( Click for more )

Romans 15 verse 29 – “I know that when I come to you I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.”

“See Rome and die” says the proverb.

It was the dream of Paul, the servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to visit Rome before he died. He was determined not only to see it but to win it for Christ.

There was a small Christian community in Rome – holding on grimly – in a time of severe persecution, but Paul was willing to fling himself into full attack – with the love of Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy…  ( Click for more )

As Jesus Christ approached Jerusalem and saw the city He wept over it. Luke Chapter 19 verse 41. There are different ways of looking at a city.

Some think of the city as the place of gateway to glamour and adventure and freedom and business and pleasure – a place to carve out your career.

To some born in the country, the city can appear like a prison with its towering buildings and noise and rushing around – and anonymity.

On this occasion, when Jesus came over the Mount of Olives what Jesus saw made Him weep.

Jesus saw the city as it really was –…  ( Click for more )

“Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come – the opening words of Ecclesiastes Chapter 12. This is a verse which has influenced my life, even when I did not know its significance - nor what was happening. This was the motto of the Boys' Brigade.

Read this Chapter.

Remember your Creator - when life might be easier - when there are not so many burdens or demands.

Remember means more than "not forget" - it means to renew our relationship - or have a relationship - with your Creator - with your God…  ( Click for more )

This message – this article - may be for only two people this week – Luke Chapter 24 verse 21 – “but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel”.

They had hoped in Christ – and it appears to have come to nothing.

He was dead. This was the most crushing of disappointments.

If even he could not be relied upon – where on earth are we to turn?

If His appearance and preaching and teaching and healing and miraculous gifts was all a mirage and a dream – then what are we to do?

These two men were…  ( Click for more )

A young boy was asked to read one of the lessons and he said – Let us turn to the Gospel according to Isaiah, to Chapter 52 reading from verse 13 and into Chapter 53. Some people cringed.

I did that a few years ago in a Holy Week Service and some people did raise their eyebrows – but did that boy not say something far truer than we realise?

This Chapter has had such an influence upon the New Testament writers – it is a most quoted passage.

The apostle used these sentences frequently.

Jesus must have used these words from Isaiah time and time…  ( Click for more )

“An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.” Luke Chapter 22 verse 43. In my preparations on these words of Jesus Christ on the cross, my eye rested on this verse.

On this journey through life – which at times can be most strange – there can arise a question about resources along the road.

Are we properly and fully equipped for this pilgrimage which at times is challenging and difficult – and some have it more difficult than others.

Can we be sure we will hold out to the end?

If there is an emergency – will…  ( Click for more )

We are reading Isaiah Chapter 49 – the second ‘Servant Song’ – and these are not among the best known verses in the Bible.

Isaiah is writing about the coming of Jesus Christ.

Verse 5 refers to being formed in the womb – there is not only a divine intervention but a divine intention – and God will not be thwarted.

When one considers the attempts to thwart the plans of God over the centuries, and to crush witnesses who would testify to the greatness of God – all these attempt have failed – from the pogrom in Egypt when Moses…  ( Click for more )

These words in Isaiah 49 are not among the best known verses in the Bible.

We need to remember that God wants to do more than deliver people from their suffering, but from their sin and sins. This is what Jesus did.

Yes – Jesus came ministering to the needs of people – delivering people from all kinds of suffering – but there came that point where He laid down His life to deliver people from their sin and sins.

Various prophecies found in Isaiah were fulfilled during the birth of Jesus

You shall call His name Jesus for he shall deliver…  ( Click for more )

We are reading in Isaiah Chapter 42, and at verse 4 there is this tremendous assurance that the work of this Servant will never fail. Jesus will not falter.

Jesus will not give up even when going through his own trials - even when crucified and lying in that tomb, Jesus was still right in the very centre of the Will of His Father.

Jesus will never be discouraged - even when people are betraying Him and denying Him three times in one night.

Jesus would go through with all that His Father had sent Him to do.

Jesus knows what it means to be a bruised reed –…  ( Click for more )

In Isaiah Chapter 42, we are reading what has becoming known as the first of four ‘Servant Songs’ – or ‘Servant Poems’ – or ‘Songs of the suffering Servant’ – where God addresses Israel and introduces the nature and character of the servant. We are reading of the coming of Jesus Christ.

One day Jesus will bring justice to the nations. No-one else can bring justice to the nations - we are very aware of that just now – no-one else can right the things that are wrong.

The law today can punish, but the law cannot…  ( Click for more )

February 24, 2020

Not only does Isaiah see the people of God coming back from imprisonment and exile in Babylon - not only does he give them tremendous words of comfort - words to put strength into these men and women - but he sees a very special servant being sent into the world – and we read of that In Isaiah Chapter 42..

We know who that servant was and is - Jesus Christ.

These passages may not be all that clear to begin with, but when we reach Chapters 52,53 it becomes most clear – it is Jesus Christ, the Son of God – our Saviour and Lord and King.

Isaiah sees…  ( Click for more )

As the people of Israel return from exile and imprisonment in Babylon, God sees a little lamb who cannot walk - and who needs to be carried. It is all there in Isaiah Chapter 40.

God lifts those who are weak, but wanting to go back to Jerusalem - and He carries them close to His heart. He sees those who are with young - ewes with lambs - and leads them gently.

Such tender personal intervention – out of where you are, to where Almighty God wants you to be.

When Jesus Christ performed these miracles, he was not seeking to impress the onlookers, or to prove…  ( Click for more )

Isaiah Chapter 40 is not solely a word of comfort, but a revelation of the grace of God. God’s people need divine intervention as they are languishing in exile in Babylon.

How many are languishing and imprisoned in spiritual exile?

There are four voices in this passage crying in the darkness and in the suffering.

These are verses to read when you are going through it - when you are being persecuted - when times are difficult.

They begin with a whisper and end with a shout.

God is wooing His people. This was preached 2,700 years ago and yet is…  ( Click for more )

Isaiah Chapter 40 proclaims a word of comfort – a much needed word in these present times – a word to encourage and fortify and fortress the people of God.

These verses are often read during what is called the season of Advent –referring to the Glory of the Coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ – it means the breaking in of the divine into human history – at Bethlehem – and also when Christ returns.

This world is blundering on in a morass of sin and sorrow.

There are brave faces hiding sore hearts – and secret wounds that ache.…  ( Click for more )

It was away back in November 2019, when I wanted to look at what are called “The Servant Songs”, in Isaiah, that as I read these Chapters, it was Isaiah Chapter 40 which first attracted my attention afresh.

When that happens there is very often a reason, of which I may never know.

The people of Israel have been captives - prisoners - exiles - in Babylon - modern day Iraq - for around 50 years – disciplined because of disobedience. That is the scenario.

They had been disobedient to God - the Father of our Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ. They…  ( Click for more )

We are reading in Acts Chapter 27 – Paul is a prisoner and he is being sent by ship from Caesarea to Rome. Seriously bad decisions have been made by the owner and pilot of the ship to sail on – and they are soon confronted by a violent Mediterranean storm.

What can we learn about storms and from storms? We all face storms of one kind or another as we sail through life.

Storms can cause me to drift – to drift from my goal.

Acts 27 verse 15 - “The ship was caught in the storm and the wind was so strong that they could not sail against it.…  ( Click for more )

Have there been many disappointments and setbacks during 2019?

Most of us, if not each of us, will have been confronted with more than one – but how do we handle these, and can we learn important lessons that may help us in 2020?

It is often easier to face a setback or problem when it is your mistake – but what do we do when it is not our fault? Sometimes other people make foolish decisions – which can affect us seriously.

Paul always wanted to go to Rome – and he got to Rome – but as a prisoner of the Roman Empire – and in ACTS…  ( Click for more )

We have been reading the opening words of Psalm 90 – a prayer of Moses, the man of God. Do you wish to be a man of God – a woman of God? What are your hopes and prayers and longings for this New Year?

As we come before our Creator God, and our loving Saviour, Jesus Christ, what is uppermost in our hearts and minds?

When God created man He made us perfect and placed us in a perfect garden – or parkland. "I have put you in there to enjoy it - do not spoil it - do not ruin the world I created." Have you ever seen someone's garden which…  ( Click for more )

As we come to the end of another year I turn to a Psalm to Psalm 90. In Scotland we have appreciated and loved the Psalms. We sing the Psalms regularly - as did Israel - and as Israel continues to sing the Psalms. God has not changed over the years.

The God Who heard the Psalmist's Prayers hears ours. What are you saying to our gracious God as this year draws to a close?

God's nature has not changed - and human nature has not changed.

So much is changing – governments – leaderships – fashions change regularly - but God looks at our…  ( Click for more )

Matthew 1 verses 18 to 25 – These must be among the best known verses in the Bible – and most loved verses.

It is a beautiful story –and it is a true story. It is the account of our gracious God at work – giving us, and the world Jesus Christ, the Saviour and Lord.

This is how it begins – and all is not well to begin with – that is often the case when God is at work.

Our God wants to work in our hearts and lives and through these lives into the dark world out there with light and love and mercy and grace – to minister to…  ( Click for more )

We have been reading in Nehemiah of the challenges he faced when leading that team of workers as they rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem.

Nehemiah made a few changes. He reorganised what was not working well.

Nehemiah 4 verse 13 - “So I stationed armed guards at the most vulnerable places of the wall and assigned people by families with their swords, lances, and bows.”

He did not give up on the goal – he simply reorganised how they were working.

That can apply to being out of shape – budget – being over-committed and we need to…  ( Click for more )

When Nehemiah and his construction team were busy rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem they were faced with various challenges.

All of us have to face real challenging circumstances when we serve Jesus Christ, the King of Kings.

When the walls were half way up the workers were confronted by criticism and sarcasm.

It did not become any easier when they came to see that the task was much bigger than they first realised – there was a lot of rubble lying around that needed to be dealt with if they were to move around more easily.

But some began to doubt their own…  ( Click for more )

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