Daily Readings by C H Spurgeon
From the ‘Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith’
Published by and with kind permission from
Christian Focus Publications
Geanies House, Fearn, Tain
Ross-shire, Scotland, UK, IV20 1TW
Sunday 1st December
“He that walketh uprightly walketh surely”
His walk may be slow, but it is sure. He that hasteth to be rich shall not be innocent nor sure; but steady perseverance in integrity, if it does not bring riches, will certainly bring peace. In doing that which is just and right we are like one walking upon a rock, for we have confidence that every step we take is upon solid and safe ground. On the other hand, the utmost success through questionable transactions must always be hollow and treacherous, and the man who has gained it must always be afraid that a day of reckoning will come, and then his gains will condemn him.
Let us stick to truth and righteousness. By God’s grace let us imitate our Lord and Master, in whose mouth no deceit was ever found. Let us not be afraid of being poor, nor of being treated with contempt. Never, on any account whatever, let us do that which our conscience cannot justify. If we lose inward peace, we lose more than a fortune can buy. If we keep in the Lord’s own way, and never sin against our conscience, our way is sure against all comers. Who is he that can harm us if we be followers of that which is good? We may be thought fools by fools if we are firm in our integrity; but in the place where judgement is infallible we shall be approved.
Give thanks for the faith the Lord has given us and the peace and joy we have in knowing Him.
Pray for our friends and family members who do not yet know the Lord. Remember Rev. John Tallach and Mr Hendry Robertson as they lead worship today.
Monday 2nd December
“I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved”
This is the way to live. With God always before us, we shall have the noblest companionship, the holiest example, the sweetest consolation, and the mightiest influence. This must be a resolute act of the mind, ‘I have set’, and it must be maintained as a set and settled thing. Always to have an eye to the Lord’s eye, and an ear for the Lord’s voice – this is the right state for the godly man. His God is near him, filling the horizon of his vision, leading the way of his life, and furnishing the theme of his mediation. What vanities we should avoid, what sins we should overcome, what virtues we should exhibit, what joys we should experience if we did indeed set the Lord always before us! Why not?
This is the way to be safe. The Lord being ever in our minds, we come to feel safety and certainty because of his being so near. He is at our right hand to guide and aid us; and hence we are not moved by fear, nor force, nor fraud, nor fickleness. When God stands at a man’s right hand, that man is himself sure to stand. Come on, then, ye foemen of the truth! Rush against me like a furious tempest, if ye will. God upholds me. God abides with me. Whom shall I fear?
Give thanks for education and employment.
Pray for each other, that we would reflect the character of Christ in our daily lives.
Tuesday 3rd December
“I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safety in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods”
It is the height of grace that Jehovah should be in covenant with man, a feeble, sinful and dying creature. Yet the Lord has solemnly entered into a faithful compact with us, and from that covenant he will never turn aside. In virtue of this covenant we are safe. As lions and wolves are driven off by shepherds, so shall all noxious influences be chased away. The Lord will give us rest from disturbers and destroyers; the evil beasts shall cease out of the land. O Lord, make this thy promise good even now!
The Lord’s people are to enjoy security in places of the greatest exposure: wildernesses and woods are to be as pastures and folds to the flock of Christ. If the Lord does not change the place for the better, he will make us the better in the place. The wilderness is not a place to dwell in, but the Lord can make it so; in the woods one feels bound to watch rather than to sleep, and yet the Lord giveth his beloved sleep even there. Nothing without or within should cause any fear to the child of God. By faith the wilderness can become the suburbs of heaven, and the woods the vestibule of glory.
Give thanks for the beautiful scenery and wildlife we enjoy in Scotland.
Pray for the many tourists who visit Inverness and the Highlands.
Wednesday 4th December
“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler”
A condescending simile indeed! Just as a hen protects her brood and allows them to nestle under her wings, so will the Lord defend his people, and permit them to hide away in him. Have we not seen the little chicks peeping out from under the mother’s feathers? Have we not heard their little cry of contented joy? In this way let us shelter ourselves in our God, and feel overflowing peace in knowing that he is guarding us.
While the Lord covers us we trust. It would be strange if we did not. How can we distrust when Jehovah himself becomes house and home, refuge and rest to us?
This done, we go out to war in his name and enjoy the same guardian care. We need shield and buckler, and when we implicitly trust God, even as the chick trusts the hen, we find his truth arming us from head to foot. The Lord cannot lie; he must be faithful to his people; his promise must stand. This sure truth is all the shield we need. Behind it we defy the fiery darts of the enemy.
Come, my soul, hide under those great wings, lose thyself among those soft feathers! How happy thou art!
Give thanks for the Lord’s loving protection over us.
Pray for courage and boldness to share the truth of the Gospel with others. Remember Ian Challinor leading both prayer meetings today.
Thursday 5th December
“He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure”
The man to whom God has given grace to be of blameless life dwells in perfect security. He dwells on high, above the world, out of gunshot of the enemy, and near to heaven. He has high aims and motives, and he finds high comforts and company. He rejoices in the mountains of eternal love, wherein he has his abode.
He is defended by munitions of stupendous rock. The firmest things in the universe are the promises and purposes of the unchanging God, and these are the safeguard of the obedient believer.
He is provided for by this great promise, ‘Bread shall be given him’. As the enemy cannot climb the fort, nor break down the rampart, so the fortress cannot be captured by siege and famine. The Lord, who rained manna in the wilderness, will keep his people in good store even when they are surrounded by those who would starve them.
But what if water should fail? That cannot be, ‘his waters shall be sure’. There is a never-failing well within the impregnable fortress. The Lord sees that nothing is wanting. None can touch the citizen of the true Zion. However fierce the enemy, the Lord will preserve his chosen.
Give thanks for every provision from the hand of the Lord.
Pray for continued protection from the evil one, and strength to overcome temptation.
Friday 6th December
“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee”
Bridge there is none: we must go through the waters, and feel the rush of the rivers. The presence of God in the flood is better than a ferry boat. Tried we must be, but triumphant we shall be; for Jehovah himself, who is mightier than many waters, shall be with us. Whenever else he may be away from his people, the Lord will surely be with them in difficulties and dangers. The sorrows of life may rise to and extraordinary height, but the Lord is equal to every occasion.
The enemies of God can put in our way dangers of their own making, namely, persecutions and cruel mocking, which are like a burning fiery furnace. What then? We shall walk through the fires. God being with us, we shall not be burned; any, not even the smell of fire shall remain upon us.
Oh, the wonderful security of the heaven-born and heaven-bound pilgrim! Floods cannot drown him, nor fires burn him. Thy presence, O Lord, is the protection of thy saints from the varied perils of the road. Behold, in faith I commit myself unto thee, and my spirit enters into rest.
Give thanks for God’s help and presence through all our troubles.
Pray for those going through difficult times.
Saturday 7th December
“The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace”
David had just heard the voice of the Lord in a thunderstorm, and had seen his power in the hurricane whose path he had described; and now, in the cool calm after the storm, that overwhelming power by which heaven and earth are shaken is promised to be the strength of the chosen. He who wings the unerring bolt will give to his redeemed the wings of eagles; he who shakes the earth with his voice will terrify the enemies of his saints, and give his children peace. Why are we weak when we have divine strength to flee to? Why are we troubled when the Lord’s own peace is ours? Jesus, the mighty God, is our strength; let us put him on and go forth to our service. Jesus, our blessed Lord, is also our peace; let us repose in him this day, and end our fears. What a blessing to have him for our strength and peace both now and forever!
That same God who rides upon the storm in days of tempest will also rule the hurricane of our tribulation, and send us, before long, days of peace. We shall have strength for storms, and songs for fair weather. Let us begin to sing at once unto God our strength and our peace. Away, dark thoughts! Up, faith and hope!
Give thanks for singers, choirs and musicians who make music to the Lord.
Pray for Jim Fraser, the Praise Band, Acclaim and the Highland Gospel Male Voice Choir. Remember children learning hymns at school for Nativity plays.
Sunday 8th December
“If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be; if any man serve me, him will my Father honour”
The highest service is imitation. If I would be Christ’s servant I must be his follower. To do as Jesus did is the surest way of bringing honour to his name. Let me mind this every day.
If I imitate Jesus I shall have his company: if I am like him I shall be with him. In due time he will take me up to dwell with him above, if, meanwhile, I have striven to follow him here below. After his suffering our Lord came to his throne, and even so, after we have suffered a while with him here below, we also shall arrive in glory. The issue of our Lord’s life shall be the issue of ours: if we are with him in his humiliation we shall be with him in his glory. Come, my soul, pluck up courage, and put down thy feet in the blood-marked footprints which thy Lord has left thee.
Let me not fail to note that the Father will honour those who follow his Son. If he sees me true to Jesus he will put marks of favour and honour upon me for his Son’s sake. No honour can be like this. Princes and emperors bestow the mere shadows of honour; the substance of glory comes from the Father. Wherefore, my soul, cling thou to thy Lord Jesus more closely than ever.
Give thanks for Jesus, His life, example and for receiving the punishment for our sins on the cross.
Pray for the Church of Scotland. Remember Rev. Hugh Watt and Mr Hendry Robertson leading worship today and Rev. Donnie Macsween leading the afternoon Gaelic Service.
Monday 9th December
“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth”
Our unbelief is the greatest hindrance in our way; in fact, there is no other real difficulty as to our spiritual progress and prosperity. The Lord can do everything; but when he makes a rule that according to our faith so shall it be unto us, our unbelief ties the hands of his omnipotence.
Yes, the confederacies of evil shall be scattered if we can but believe. Despised truth shall lift its head if we will but have confidence in the God of truth. We can bear our load of trouble, or pass uninjured through the waves of distress, if we can gird our loins with the girdle of peace, that girdle which is buckled on by the hands of trust.
What can we not believe? Is everything possible except believing in God? Yet he is always true; why do we not believe him? He is always faithful to his word; why can we not trust him? When we are in a right state of heart faith costs no effort: it is then as natural for us to rely upon God as for a child to trust its father.
The worst of it is, that we can believe God about everything except the present pressing trial. This is folly. Come, my soul, shake off such sinfulness, and trust thy God with the load, the labour, the longing of this present. This done, all is done.
Give thanks for prayer and access to our Father through Christ our Lord.
Pray for those who struggle to believe God’s Word.
Tuesday 10th December
“But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries”
The Lord Christ in the midst of his people is to be acknowledged and obeyed. He is the vice-gerent of God, and speaks in the Father’s name, and it is ours implicitly and immediately to do as he commands. We shall lose the promise if we disregard the precept.
To full obedience how large the blessing! The Lord enters into a league with his people, offensive and defensive. He will bless those who bless us, and curse those who curse us. God will go heart and soul with his people, and enter in deepest sympathy into their position. What a protection this affords us! We need not concern ourselves about our adversaries, when we are assured that they have become the adversaries of God. If Jehovah has taken up our quarrel we may leave the foeman in his hands.
So far as our own interest is concerned we have no enemies; but for the cause of truth and righteousness we take up arms and go forth to conflict. In this sacred war we are allied with the eternal God, and if we carefully obey the law of our Lord Jesus, he is engaged to put forth all his power on our behalf. Wherefore we fear no man.
Give thanks for the Bible and for those who translate it into many different languages.
Pray for Gideons and the Bible Society.
Wednesday 11th December
“Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed”
Trust and do are words which go well together, in the order in which the Holy Spirit has placed them. We should have faith, and that faith should work. Trust in God sets us upon holy doing: we trust God for good, and then we do good. We do not sit still because we trust, but we arouse ourselves, and expect the Lord to work through us and by us. It is not ours to worry and do evil, but to trust and do good. We neither trust without doing, nor do without trusting.
Adversaries would root us out, if they could; but by trusting and doing we dwell in the land. We will not go into Egypt, but we will remain in Immanuel’s land – the providence of God, the Canaan of covenant love. We are not so easily to be got rid of as the Lord’s enemies suppose. They cannot thrust us out, not stamp us out: where God has given us a name and a place, there we abide.
But what about the supply of our necessities? The Lord has put a ‘verily’ into this promise. As sure as God is true, his people shall be fed. It is theirs to trust and to do, and it is the Lord’s to do according to their trust. If not fed by ravens, or fed by and Obadiah, or fed by a widow, yet they shall be fed somehow. Away, ye fears!
Give thanks for our food, clean water and warm homes.
Pray for the homeless and the Highland Foodbank. Remember Donald MacVicar leading both prayer meetings today.
Thursday 12th December
“In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength”
It is always weakness to be fretting and worrying, questioning and mistrusting. What can we do if we wear ourselves to skin and bone? Can we gain anything by fearing and fuming? Do we not unfit ourselves for action, and unhinge our minds for wise decision? We are sinking by our struggles when we might float by faith.
Oh for grace to be quiet! Why run from house to house to repeat the weary story which makes us more and more heart-sick as we tell it? Why even stay at home to cry out in agony because of wretched forebodings which may never be fulfilled? It would be well to keep a quiet tongue, but it would be far better if we had a quiet heart. Oh to be still and know that Jehovah is God!
Oh for grace to be confident in God! The Holy One of Israel must defend and deliver his own. He cannot run back from his solemn declarations. We may make sure that every word of his will stand though the mountains should depart. He deserves to be confided in; and if we would display confidence and quietness, we might be as happy as the spirits before the throne.
Come, my soul, return unto thy rest, and lean thy head upon the bosom of the Lord Jesus.
Give thanks for hospitals, doctors, nurses, surgeons, ambulance crews, coastguard and mountain rescue teams.
Pray for those in hospital and care homes.
Friday 13th December
“It shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light”
It is a surprise that it should be so; for all things threaten that at evening time it shall be dark. God is wont to work in a way so much above our fears and beyond our hopes, that we are greatly amazed, and are led to praise his sovereign grace. No, it shall not be with us as our hearts are prophesying: the dark will not deepen into midnight, but it will on a sudden brighten into day. Never let us despair. In the worst times let us trust in the Lord who turneth the darkness of the shadow of death into the morning. When the tale of bricks is doubled Moses appears, and when tribulation abounds it is nearest its end.
This promise should assist our patience. The light may not fully come till our hopes are quite spent by waiting all day to no purpose. To the wicked the sun goes down while it is yet day: to the righteous the sun rises when it is almost night. May we not with patience wait for that heavenly light, which may be long in coming, but is sure to prove itself well worth waiting for?
Come, my soul, take up thy parable and sing unto him who will bless thee in life and in death, in a manner surpassing all that nature has ever seen when at its best.
Give thanks for answered prayer.
Pray for those bound in slavery and for refugees.
Saturday 14th December
“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new”
Glory be to his name! All things need making new, for they are sadly battered and worn by sin. It is time that the old vesture was rolled up and laid aside, and that creation put on her Sabbath suit. But no one else can make all things new except the Lord who made them at the first; for it needs as much power to make out of evil as to make out of nothing. Our Lord Jesus has undertaken the task, and he is fully competent for the performance of it. Already he has commenced his labour, and for centuries he has persevered in making new the hearts of men, and the order of society. By-and-by he will make new the whole constitution of human government, and human nature shall be changed by his grace; and there shall come a day when even the body shall be made new, and raised like unto his glorious body.
What a joy to belong to a kingdom in which everything is being made new by the power of its King! We are not dying out: we are hastening on to a more glorious life. Despite the opposition of the powers of evil, our glorious Lord Jesus is accomplishing his purpose, and making us, and all things about us, ‘new’ and as full of beauty as when they first came from the hand of the Lord.
Give thanks for every promise contained in Scripture.
Pray for our ongoing sanctification.
Sunday 15th December
“And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more”
Oh, that these happy times were come! At present the nations are heavily armed, and are inventing weapons more and more terrible, as if the chief end of man could only be answered by destroying myriads of his fellows. Yet peace will prevail one day; yes, and so prevail that the instruments of destruction shall be beaten into other shapes and used for better purposes.
How will this come about? By trade? By civilization? By arbitration? We do not believe it. Past experience forbids our trusting to means so feeble. Peace will be established only by the reign of the Prince of Peace. He must teach the people by his Spirit, renew their hearts by his grace, and reign over them by his supreme power, and then will they cease to wound and kill. Man is a monster when once his blood is up, and only the Lord Jesus can turn this lion into a lamb. By changing man’s heart, his blood-thirsty passions are removed. Let every reader of this book of promises offer special prayer today to the Lord and Giver of Peace, that he would speedily put an end to war, and establish concord over the whole world.
Give thanks for cleansed and renewed hearts.
Pray for those in authority over us. Remember Rev. Douglas Horne as he leads worship today.
Monday 16th December
“Thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong”
It is a great encouragement to valour to be assured of victory, for then a man goes forth to war in confidence, and ventures where else he had been afraid to go. Our warfare is with evil within us and around us, and we ought to be persuaded that we are able to get the victory, and that we shall do so in the name of the Lord Jesus. We are not riding for a fall, but to win; and win we shall. The grace of God in its omnipotence is put forth for the overthrow of evil in every form: hence the certainty of triumph.
Certain of our sins find chariots of iron in our constitution, our former habits, our associations, and our occupations. Nevertheless we must overcome them. They are very strong, and in reference to them we are very weak; yet in the name of God we must master them, and we will. If one sin has dominion of us we are not the Lord’s free men. A man who is held by only on chain is still a captive. There is no going to heaven with one sin ruling within us, for of the saints it is said, ‘Sin shall not have dominion over you’. Up, then, and slay every Canaanite, and break to shivers every chariot of iron! The Lord of hosts is with us, and who shall resist his sin-destroying power?
Give thanks for the forgiveness of sins.
Pray for help and strength to forgive others.
Tuesday 17th December
1 Thessalonians 4:17
“So shall we ever be with the Lord”
While we are here the Lord is with us, and when we are called away we are with him. There is no dividing the saint from his Saviour. They are one, and they always must be one: Jesus cannot be without his own people, for he would be a head without a body. Whether caught up into the air, or resting in paradise, or sojourning here, we are with Jesus; and who shall separate us from him?
What a joy is this! Our supreme honour, rest, comfort, delight, is to be with the Lord. We cannot conceive of anything which can surpass or even equal this divine society. By holy fellowship we must be with him in his humiliation, rejection, and travail, and then we shall be with him in his glory. Before long we shall be with him in his rest and in his royalty, in his expectation and in his manifestation. We shall fare as he fares, and triumph as he triumphs.
O my Lord, if I am to be for ever with thee, I have a destiny incomparable. I will not envy an archangel. To be for ever with the Lord is my idea of heaven at its best. Not the harps of gold, nor the crowns unfading, nor the light unclouded, is glory to me; but Jesus, Jesus himself, and myself for ever with him in nearest and dearest fellowship.
Give thanks for the security we have in Christ.
Pray for a deepening faith as we continue to read the Scriptures.
Wednesday 18th December
“As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem”
With hurrying wing the mother bird hastens up to the protection of her young. She wastes no time upon the road when coming to supply them with food, or guard them from danger. Thus on eagle’s wings will the Lord come for the defence of his chosen; yea, he will ride upon the wings of the wind.
With outspread wing the mother covers her little ones in the nest. She hides them away by interposing her own body. The hen yields her own warmth to her chicks, and makes her wings a house, in which they dwell at home. Thus doth Jehovah himself become the protection of his elect. He himself is their refuge, their abode, their all.
As birds flying, and birds covering (for the word means both), so will the Lord be unto us: and this he will be repeatedly and successfully. We shall be defended and preserved from all evil: the Lord who likens himself to birds will not be like them in their feebleness, for he is Jehovah of hosts. Let this be our comfort, that almighty love will be swift to succour, and sure to cover. The wing of God is more quick and more tender than the wing of a bird, and we will put our trust under its shadow henceforth and for ever.
Give thanks for God’s protection over us.
Pray for persecuted Christians all over the world. Remember Alex Stephen leading both prayer meetings today.
Thursday 19th December
“He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken”
This promise by the context is referred to the much afflicted righteous man: ‘Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all’. He may suffer skin-wounds and flesh-wounds, but no great harm shall be done, ‘not a bone of him shall be broken’.
This is great comfort to a tried child of God, and comfort which I dare accept; for up to this hour I have suffered no real damage from my many afflictions. I have neither lost faith, nor hope, nor love. Nay, so far from losing these bones of character, they have gained in strength and energy. I have more knowledge, more experience, more patience, more stability than I had before the trials came. Not even my joy has been destroyed. Many a bruise have I had by sickness, bereavement, depression, slander, and opposition; but the bruise has healed, and there has been no compound fracture of a bone, nor even a simple one. The reason is not far to seek. If we trust in the Lord, he keeps all our bones; and if he keeps them, we may be sure that not one of them is broken.
Come, my heart, do not sorrow. Thou art smarting, but there are no bones broken. Endure hardness, and bid defiance to fear.
Give thanks for the presence of the Lord in all our troubles.
Pray for anyone undergoing trials of life.
Friday 20th December
“I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; and forgettest the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?”
Let the text itself be taken as the portion for today. There is no need to enlarge upon it. Trembling one, read it, believe it, feed on it, and plead it before the Lord. He whom you fear is only a man after all; while he who promises to comfort you is God, your Maker, and the Creator of heaven and earth. Infinite comfort more that covers a very limited danger.
‘Where is the fury of the oppressor?’ It is in the Lord’s hand. It is only the fury of a dying creature; fury which will end as soon as the breath is gone from the nostril. Why, then, should we stand in awe of one who is as frail as ourselves? Let us not dishonour our God by making a god of puny man. We can make an idol of a man by rendering to him excessive fear as well as by paying him inordinate love. Let us treat men as men, and God as God; and then we shall go calmly on in the path of duty, fearing the Lord, and fearing nobody else.
Give thanks for the Open Doors team.
Pray for the elders out in the cold street handing out tracts and inviting people in, for the team in the church, and the team in the kitchen. Pray for anyone who may be in need.
Tuesday 21st December
“He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the
depths of the sea”
God never turns from his love, but he soon turns from his wrath. His love to his chosen is according to his nature, his anger is only according to his office: he loves because he is love, he frowns because it is necessary for our good. He will come back to the place in which his heart rests, namely, his love to his own, and then he will take pity upon our griefs and end them.
What a choice promise is this – ‘He will subdue our iniquities!’ He will conquer them. They try to enslave us, but the Lord will give us victory over them by his own right hand. Like the Canaanites, they shall be beaten, put under the yoke, and ultimately slain.
As for the guilt of our sins, how gloriously is that removed! ‘All their sins’ – yes, the whole host of them; ‘thou wilt cast’ – only an almighty arm could perform such a wonder; ‘into the depths of the sea’ – where Pharaoh and his chariots went down. Not into the shallows out of which they might be washed up by the tide, but into the ‘depths’ shall our sins be hurled. They are all gone. They sank into the bottom like a stone. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Give thanks for our Session Clerk and Elders.
Pray for a continued spirit of love and unity.
Sunday 22nd December
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble”
A help that is not present when we need it is of small value. The anchor which is left at home is of no use to the seaman in the hour of storm; the money which he used to have is of no worth to the debtor when a writ is out against him. Very few earthly helps could be called ‘very present’: they are usually far in the seeking, far in the using, and farther still when once used. But as for the Lord our God, he is present when we seek him, present when we need him, and present when we have already enjoyed his aid.
He is more than ‘present’, he is very present. More present that the nearest friend can be, for he is in us in our trouble; more present than we are to ourselves, for sometimes we lack presence of mind. He is always present, effectually present, sympathetically present, altogether present. He is present now if this is a gloomy season. Let us rest ourselves upon him. He is our refuge, let us hide in him; he is our strength, let us array ourselves with him; he is our help, let us lean upon him; he is our very present help, let us repose in him now. We need not have a moment’s care, or an instant’s fear. ‘The Lord of hosts is with us: the God of Jacob is our refuge’.
Give thanks for the young families in our church.
Pray for Rev. Douglas Horne as he leads worship today at our Family service and evening service.
Monday 23rd December
“And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath”
We may be rich in such things as Joseph obtained, and we may have them in a higher sense. Oh for ‘the precious things of heaven’! Power with God, and the manifestation of power from God, are most precious. We would enjoy the peace of God, the joy of the Lord, the glory of our God. The benediction of the three divine Persons in love, and grace, and fellowship we prize beyond the most fine gold. The things of earth are as nothing in preciousness compared with the things of heaven.
‘The dew’. How precious is this! How we pray and praise, when we have the dew! What refreshing, what growth, what perfume, what life there is in us when the dew is about! Above all things else, as plants of the Lord’s own right hand planting, we need the dew of his Holy Spirit.
‘The deep that coucheth beneath’. Surely this refers to that unseen ocean underground which supplies all the fresh springs which make glad the earth. O to tap the eternal fountains! This is an unspeakable boon; let no believer rest till he possesses it. The all-sufficiency of Jehovah is ours for ever. Let us resort to it now.
Give thanks for our Treasurer, Fabric Convener, Clerk to the Deacons’ Court and Deacons.
Pray for united hearts in the working out of the finances and upkeep of the church building.
Tuesday 24th December
“Thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee”
That arch-enemy, the devil, is a liar from the beginning; but he is so very plausible that, like mother Eve, we are led to believe him. Yet in our experience we shall prove him a liar.
He says that we shall fall from grace, dishonour our profession, and perish with the doom of the apostates; but, trusting in the Lord Jesus, we shall hold on our way and prove that Jesus loses none whom his Father gave him. He tells us that our bread will fail, and we shall starve with our children; yet the Feeder of the ravens has not forgotten us yet, and he will never do so, but will prepare us a table in the presence of our enemies.
He whispers that the Lord will not deliver us out of the trial which is looming in the distance, and he threathens that the last ounce will break the camel’s back. What a liar he is! For the Lord will never leave us, nor forsake us. Let him deliver him now!’ cries the false fiend: but the Lord will silence him by coming to our rescue.
He takes great delight in telling us that death will prove too much for us. ‘How wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?’ But there also he shall prove a liar unto us, and we shall pass through the river singing psalms of glory.
Give thanks for those who have told us and helped us see the truth of the Gospel.
Pray for Inverness Street Pastors out on the street, late at night, caring for people in various situations.
Wednesday 25th December
“This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven”
Many are celebrating our Lord’s first coming this day; let us turn our thoughts to the promise of his second coming. This is as sure as the first advent, and derives a great measure of its certainty from it. He who came as a lowly man to serve will assuredly come to take the reward of his service. He who came to suffer will not be slow in coming to reign.
This is our glorious hope, for we shall share his joy. Today we are in our concealment and humiliation, even as he was while here below; but when he cometh it will be our manifestation, even as it will be his revelation. Dead saints shall live at his appearing. The slandered and despised shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Then shall the saints appear as kings and priests, and the days of their mourning shall be ended. The long rest and inconceivable splendour of the Millennial reign will be an abundant recompense for the ages of witnessing and warring.
Oh that the Lord would come! He is coming! He is on the road and travelling quickly. The sound of his approach should be as music to our hearts! Ring out, ye bells of hope!
Give thanks for the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Pray for the Christmas lunch gathering in the Church today.
Thursday 26th December
“Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended”
‘Why’ cries one, ‘this is no promise of God’. Just so, but it was a promise of man, and therefore it came to nothing. Peter thought that he was saying what he should assuredly carry out; but a promise which has no better foundation than a human resolve will fall to the ground. No sooner did temptation arise than Peter denied his Master, and used oaths to confirm his denial.
What is a mans’s word? An earthen pot broken with a stroke. What is your resolve? A blossom, which, with God’s care, may come to fruit, but which, left to itself, will fall to the ground with the first wind that moves the bough.
On man’s word hang only what it will bear.
On thine own resolve depend not at all.
On the promise of thy God hang time and eternity, this world and the next, thine all and the all of all thy beloved ones.
This volume is a cheque-book for believers, and this page is meant as a warning as to what bank they draw upon, and whose signature they accept. Rely upon Jesus without limit. Trust not thyself nor any born of woman, beyond due bounds; but trust thou only and wholly in the Lord.
Give thanks for God’s faithfulness.
Pray for those having to work over Christmas, missing out on family time. Remember too those who are grieving.
Thursday 27th December
“For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee”
One of the most delightful qualities of divine love is its abiding character. The pillars of the earth may be moved out of their places, but the kindness and the covenant of our merciful Jehovah never depart from his people. How happy my soul feels in a firm belief of this inspired declaration! The year is almost over, and the years of my life are growing few, but time does not change my Lord. New lamps are taking the place of the old, perpetual change is on all things; but our Lord is the same. Force overturns the hills, but no conceivable power can affect the eternal God. Nothing in the past, the present, or the future can cause Jehovah to be unkind to me.
My soul, rest in the eternal kindness of the Lord, who treats thee as one near of kin. Remember also the everlasting covenant. God is ever mindful of it – see that thou art mindful of it too. In Christ Jesus the glorious God has pledged himself to thee to be thy God, and to hold thee as one of his people. Kindness and covenant – dwell on these words as sure and lasting things which eternity itself shall not take from thee.
Give thanks for God’s kindness to us.
Pray for a desire to show kindness to others.
Saturday 28th December
“He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”
Several times in the Scriptures the Lord hath said this. He has often repeated it, to make our assurance doubly sure. Let us never harbour a doubt of it. In itself the promise is specially emphatic. In the Greek it has five negatives, each one definitely shutting out the possibility of the Lord’s ever leaving one of his people so that he can justly feel forsaken of his God. This priceless Scripture does not promise us exemption from trouble, but it does secure us against desertion. We may be called to traverse strange ways, but we shall always have our Lord’s company, assistance, and provision. We need not cover money, for we shall always have our God, and God is better than gold, his favour is better than fortune.
We ought surely to be content with such things as we have, for he who has God has more than all the world besides. What can we have beyond the Infinite? What more can we desire than Almighty Goodness?
Come, my heart; if God says he will never leave thee, nor forsake thee, be thou much in prayer for grace, that thou mayest never leave thy Lord, nor even for a moment forsake his ways.
Give thanks for our Pastoral Care Team.
Pray for anyone who is in need.
Sunday 29th December
“And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you”
The year is very old, and here is a promise of our aged friends; yes, and for us all, as age creeps over us. Let us live long enough, and we shall all have hoar hairs; therefore we may as well enjoy this promise by the foresight of faith.
When we grow old our God will still be the I AM, abiding evermore the same. Hoar hairs tell of our decay, but he decayeth not. When we cannot carry a burden, and can hardly carry ourselves, the Lord will carry us. Even as in our young days he carried us like lambs in his bosom, so well he in our years of infirmity.
He made us, and he will care for us. When we become a burden to our friends, and a burden to ourselves, the Lord will not shake us off, but the rather he will take us up and carry and deliver us more full than ever. In many cases the Lord gives his servants a long and calm evening. They worked hard all day and wore themselves out in their Master’s service, and so he said to them, ‘Now rest in anticipation of that eternal Sabbath which I have prepared for you’. Let us not dread old age. Let us grow old graciously, since the Lord himself is with us in fulness of grace.
Give thanks for those who arrange and those who deliver the fresh flowers every week.
Pray for Rev. Douglas Horne as he leads worship today.
Monday 30th December
“Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end”
This fact is essentially a promise; for what our Lord was he is, and what he was to those with whom he lived on earth, he will be to all his beloved so long as the moon endureth.
‘Having loved’: here was the wonder! That he should ever have loved men at all is the marvel. What was there in his poor disciples that he should love them? What is there in me?
But when he has once begun to love, it is his nature to continue to do so. Love made the saints ‘his own’ – what a choice title! He purchased them with blood and they became his treasure. Being his own, he will not lose them. Being his beloved, he will not cease to love them. My soul, he will not cease to love thee!
The text is well as it stands: ‘to the end’, even till his death the ruling passion of love to his own reigned in his sacred bosom. It means also to the uttermost. He could not love them more: he gave himself for them. Some read it, to perfection. Truly he lavished upon them a perfect love, in which there was no flaw nor failure, no unwisdom, no unfaithfulness, and no reserve.
Such is the love of Jesus to each one of his people. Let us sing to our Well-beloved a song.
Give thanks for time off work and school with family and friends.
Pray for families affected by alcoholism or drug abuse.
Tuesday 31st December
“Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory”
From day to day and from year to year my faith believes in the wisdom and love of God, and I know that I shall not believe in vain. No good word of his has ever failed, and I am sure that none shall ever fall to the ground.
I put myself into his hand for guidance. I know not the way that I should chose: the Lord shall choose mine inheritance for me. I need counsel and advice; for my duties are intricate, and my condition is involved. I seek to the Lord, as the High Priest of old looked to his Urim and Thumin. The counsel of the infallible God I seek in preference to my own judgment or the advice of friends. Glorious Jehovah, thou shalt guide me!
Soon the end will come: a few more years, and I must depart out of this world unto the Father. My Lord will be near my bed. He will meet me at heaven’s gate: he will welcome me to the glory-land. I shall not be a stranger in heaven: my own God and Father will receive me to its endless bliss.
GLORY BE TO HIM WHO WILL GUIDE ME HERE, AND RECEIVE ME HEREAFTER. AMEN.
Give thanks for all the blessings of the past year, and for the trials which have drawn us closer to the Lord in prayer, and the circumstances which have helped refine our Christian character.
Pray for the coming year.
Wednesday 1st January
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel”
This is the first promise to fallen man. It contains the whole gospel, and essence of the covenant of grace. It has been in great measure fulfilled. The seed of the woman, even our Lord Jesus, was bruised in his heel, and a terrible bruising it was. How terrible will be the final bruising of the serpent’s head! This was virtually done when Jesus took away sin, vanquished death, and broke the power of Satan; but it awaits a still fuller accomplishment at our Lord’s Second Advent, and in the day of Judgment. To us the promise stands as a prophecy that we shall be afflicted by the powers of evil in our lower nature, and thus bruised in our heel: but we shall triumph in Christ, who sets his foot on the old serpent’s head. Throughout this year we may have to learn the first part of this promise by experience, through the temptations of the devil, and the unkindness of the ungodly who are his seed. They may so bruise us that we may limp with our sore heel; but let us grasp the second part of the text, and we shall not be dismayed. By faith let us rejoice that we shall still reign in Christ Jesus, the woman’s seed.
Give thanks for a new year.
Pray for a renewed commitment to obedience.
Thursday 2nd January
“And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly”
This promise follows well upon that of yesterday. We are evidently to be conformed to our covenant Head, not only in his being bruised in his heel, but in his conquest of the evil one. Even under our feet is the old dragon to be bruised. The Roman believers were grieved with strife in the church; but their God was ‘the God of peace’, and gave them rest of soul. The arch-enemy tripped up the feet of the unwary, and deceived the hearts of the simple; but he was to get the worst of it, and to be trodden down by those whom he had troubled. This victory would not come to the people of God through their own skill or power; but God himself would bruise Satan. Though it would be under their feet, yet the bruising would be of the Lord alone.
Let us bravely tread upon the tempter! Not only inferior spirits, but the prince of darkness himself must go down before us. In questioning confidence in God, let us look for speedy victory. ‘SHORTLY’. Happy word! Shortly we shall set our foot on the old serpent! What a joy to crush evil! What dishonour to Satan to have his head bruised by human feet! Let us by faith in Jesus tread the tempter down.
Give thanks for the victory that Christ won for us over death, hell and the grave.
Pray for a willing spirit to serve our Lord and Saviour.
Friday 3rd January
“The land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it”
No promise is of private interpretation: it belongs not to one saint, but to all believers. If, my brother, thou canst in faith lie down upon a promise, and take thy rest thereon, it is thine. Where Jacob ‘lighted’, and tarried, and rested, there he took possession. Stretching his weary length upon the ground, with the stones of that place for his pillows, he little fancied that he was thus entering into ownership of the land; and yet so it was. He saw in his dream that wondrous ladder which for all true believers unites earth and heaven; and surely where the foot of the ladder stood he must have a right to the soil, for otherwise he could not reach the divine stairway. All the promises of God are Yea and Amen in Christ Jesus; and as he is ours, every promise is ours if we will but lie down upon it in restful faith.
Come, weary one, use thy Lord’s words as thy pillows. Lie down in peace. Dream only of him. Jesus is thy ladder of light. See the angels coming and going upon him between thy soul and thy God; and be sure that the promise is thine own God-given portion, and that it will not be robbery for thee to take it to thyself, as spoken specially to thee.
Give thanks for Christian missionaries serving in other countries.
Pray for anyone who is being called to serve the Lord away from home.
Saturday 4th January
“I will make them to lie down safely”
Yes, the saints are to have peace. The passage from which this gracious word is taken speaks of peace ‘with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground’. This is peace with earthly enemies, with mysterious evils, and with little annoyances! Any of these might keep us from lying down, but none of them shall do so. The Lord will quite destroy those things which threaten his people: ‘I will break the bow and the sword, and the battle out of the earth’. Peace will be profound indeed when all the instruments of disquiet are broken to pieces.
With this peace will come rest. ‘So he giveth his beloved sleep’. Fully supplied and divinely quieted, believers lie down in calm repose.
This rest will be a safe one. It is one thing to lie down, but quite another ‘to lie down safely’. We are brought to the land of promise, the house of the Father, the chamber of love, and the bosom of Christ; surely we may now ‘lie down safely’. It is safer for a believer to lie down in peace than to sit up and worry. ‘He maketh me to lie down in green pastures’. We never rest till the Comforter makes us lie down.
Give thanks for Christian fellowship.
Pray for Christians in their workplace, that they may be salt and light.
Sunday 5th January
“I will strengthen thee”
When called to serve or to suffer, we take stock of our strength, and we find it to be less than we thought, and less than we need. But let not our heart sink within us while we have such a word as this to fall back upon, for it guarantees us all that we can possibly need. God has strength omnipotent; that strength he can communicate to us; and his promise is that he will do so. He will be the food of our souls, and the health of our hearts; and thus he will give us strength. There is no telling how much power God can put into a man. When divine strength comes, human weakness is no more a hindrance.
Do we not remember seasons of labour and trial in which we received such special strength that we wondered at ourselves? In the midst of danger we were calm, under bereavement we were resigned, in slander we were self-contained, and in sickness we were patient. The fact is, that God gives unexpected strength when unusual trials come upon us. We rise out of our feeble selves. Cowards play the man, foolish ones have wisdom given them, and the silent receive in the self-same hour what they shall speak. My own weakness makes me shrink, but God’s promise makes me brave. Lord, strengthen me ‘according to thy word’.
Give thanks for our multimedia teams.
Pray for Rev. Donald MacQuarrie and Rev. Fraser Turner leading worship today. Pray for anyone considering coming to Church for the first time.
Monday 6th January
“Yea, I will help thee”
Yesterday’s promise secured us strength for what we have to do, but this guarantees us aid in cases where we cannot act alone. The Lord says ‘I will help thee’. Strength within is supplemented by help without. God can raise us up allies in our warfare if so it seems good in his sight; and even if he does not send us human assistance, he himself will be at our side, and this is better still. ‘Our August Ally’ is better than legions of mortal helpers.
His help is timely: he is a very present help in time of trouble. His help is very wise: he knows how to give each man help meet and fit for him. His help is most effectual, though vain is the help of man. His help is more than help, for he bears all the burden, and supplies all the need. ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not fear what man can do unto me’.
Because he has already been our help, we feel confidence in him for the present and the future. Our prayer is ‘Lord, be thou my helper’; our experience is ‘The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities’; our expectation is ‘I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills whence cometh my help’; and our song soon will be ‘Thou, Lord, hast helped me’.
Give thanks for those willing to stand up for Christian beliefs.
Pray for the Christian Institute.
Tuesday 7th January
“Thou shalt see greater things than these”
This is spoken to a childlike believer, who was ready to accept Jesus as the Son of God, the King of Israel, upon one convincing piece of argument. Those who are willing to see shall see; it is because we shut our eyes that we become so sadly blind.
We have seen much already. Great things and unsearchable has the Lord showed unto us, for which we praise his name; but there are greater truths in his Word, greater depths of experience, greater heights of fellowship, greater works of usefulness, greater discoveries of power, and love, and wisdom. These we are yet to see if we are willing to believe our Lord. The faculty of inventing false doctrine is ruinous, but power to see the truth is a blessing. Heaven shall be opened to us, the way thither shall be made clear to us in the Son of man, and the angelic commerce which goes on between the upper and the lower kingdoms shall be made more manifest to us. Let us keep our eyes open towards spiritual objects, and expect to see more and more. Let us believe that our lives will not drivel down into nothing, but that we shall be always on the growing hand, seeing greater and still greater things, till we behold the Great God himself, and never again lose the sight of him.
Give thanks for the sound system and those who operate it.
Pray for more men, women, boys and girls to come in and hear the good news of Jesus.
Wednesday 8th January
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God”
Purity, even purity of heart, is the main thing to be aimed at. We need to be made clean within through the Spirit and the Word, and then we shall be clean without by consecration and obedience. There is a close connection between the affections and the understanding: if we love evil, we cannot understand that which is good. If the heart is foul, the eye will be dim. How can those men see a holy God who love unholy things?
What a privilege it is to see God here! A glimpse of him is heaven below! In Christ Jesus the pure in heart behold the Father. We see him, his truth, his love, his purpose, his sovereignty, his covenant character, yea, we see himself in Christ. But this in only apprehended as sin is kept out of the heart. Only those who aim at godliness can cry, ‘Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord’. The desire of Moses, ‘I beseech thee, show me thy glory’, can only be fulfilled in us as we purify ourselves from all iniquity. We ‘shall see him as he is’; and ‘everyone that hath this hope in him purifieth himself’. The enjoyment of present fellowship and the hope of the beatific vision are urgent motives for purity of heart and life. Lord, make us pure in heart, that we may see thee!
Give thanks for the little children of our church family.
Pray for Christian parents in an increasingly secular society. Remember Bill Flett leading both prayer meetings today.
Thursday 9th January
“The liberal soul shall be made fat”
If I desire to flourish in soul, I must not hoard up my stores, but must distribute to the poor. To be close and niggardly is the world’s way to prosperity, but it is not God’s way, for he saith, ‘There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that with-holdeth more than is meet, and it tendeth to poverty’. Faith’s way of gaining is giving. I must try this again and again; and I may expect that as much of prosperity as will be good for me will come to me as a gracious reward for a liberal course of action.
Of course, I may not be sure of growing rich. I shall be fat, but not too fat. Too great riches might make me as unwieldy as corpulent persons usually are, and cause me the dyspepsia of worldliness, and perhaps bring on a fatty degeneration of the heart. No, if I am fat enough to be healthy, I may well be satisfied; and if the Lord grants me a competence, I may be thoroughly content.
But there is a mental and spiritual fatness which I would greatly covet; and these come as the result of generous thoughts towards my God, his church, and my fellow-men. Let me not stint, lest I starve my heart. Let me be bountiful, and liberal; for so shall I be like my Lord. He gave himself for me: shall I grudge him anything?
Give thanks for Elevate and The Way.
Pray for the leaders, helpers and all who attend these Christian events for the young, asking that God will bless the work.
Friday 10th January
“He that watereth shall be watered also himself”
If I carefully consider others, God will consider me; and in some way or other he will recompense me. Let me consider the poor, and the Lord will consider me. Let me look after his children, and the Lord will treat me as his child. Let me feed his flock, and he will feed me. Let me water his garden, and he will make a watered garden of my soul. This is the Lord’s own promise; be it mine to fulfil the condition and then to expect its fulfilment.
I may care about myself till I grow morbid; I may watch over my own feelings till I feel nothing; and I may lament my own weakness till I grow almost too weak to lament. It will be far more profitable for me to become unselfish, and out of love to my Lord Jesus begin to care for the souls of those around me. My tank is getting very low; no fresh rain comes to fill it; what shall I do? I will pull up the plug, and let its contents run out to water the withering plants around it. What do I see? My cistern seems to fill as it flows. A secret spring is at work. While all was stagnant, the fresh spring was sealed; but as my stock flows out to water others the Lord thinketh upon me. Hallelujah!
Give thanks for mature Christians who share their wisdom.
Pray for newly converted Christians.
Saturday 11th January
“And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud”
Just now clouds are plentiful enough, but we are not afraid that the world will be destroyed by a deluge. We see the rainbow often enough to prevent our having any such fears. The covenant which the Lord made with Noah stands fast, and we have no doubts about it. Why, then, should we think that the clouds of trouble, which now darken our sky, will end in our destruction? Let us dismiss such groundless and dishonouring fears.
Faith always sees the bow of covenant promise whenever sense sees the cloud of affliction. God has a bow with which he might shoot out his arrows of destruction; but see! it is turned upward. It is a bow without an arrow or a string; it is a bow hung out for show, no longer used for war. It is a bow of many colours, expressing joy and delight, and not a bow blood-red with slaughter, or black with anger. Let us be of good courage. Never does God so darken our sky as to leave his covenant without a witness; and even if he did, we would trust him, since he cannot change, or lie, or in any other way fail to keep his covenant of peace. Until the waters go over the earth again, we shall have no reason for doubting our God.
Give thanks for the Fellowship Groups and for those who open up their homes to host them.
Pray for a deepening understanding of the Word of God, and deepening friendships.
Sunday 12th January
“For the Lord will not cast off for ever”
He may cast away for a season, but not for ever. A woman may leave her ornaments for a few days, but she will not forget them, nor throw them upon the dunghill. It is not like the Lord to cast off those whom he loves: for, ‘having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end’. Some talk of our being in grace and out of it, as if we were like rabbits that run in and out of their burrows: but, indeed, it is not so. The Lord’s love is a far more serious and abiding matter than this.
He chose us from eternity, and he will love us throughout eternity. He loved us so as to die for us, and we may therefore be sure that his love will never die. His honour is so wrapt up in the salvation of the believer, that he can no more cast him off than he can cast off his own robes of office as King of glory. No, no! The Lord Jesus, as a Head, never casts off his members; as a Husband, he never casts off his bride.
Did you think you were cast off? Why do you think so evil of the Lord who has betrothed you to himself? Cast off such thoughts, and never let them lodge in your soul again. “The Lord hath not cast away his people which he foreknew” (Romans 11:2). “He hateth putting away” (Malachi 2:16).
Give thanks for our crèche helpers and for those who serve tea and coffee after the morning service.
Pray for Rev. Douglas Horne leading worship today and pray for the Gaelic Service in the afternoon.
Monday 13th January
“Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out”
Is there any instance of our Lord’s casting out a coming one? If there be so, we would like to know of it; but there has been none, and there never will be. Among the lost souls in hell there is not one that can say ‘I went to Jesus, and he refused me’. It is not possible that you or I should be the first to whom Jesus shall break his word. Let us not entertain so dark a suspicion.
Suppose we go to Jesus now about the evils of today. Of this we may be sure – he will not refuse us audience, or cast us out. Those of us who have often been, and those who have never gone before – let us go together, and we shall see that he will not shut the door of his grace in the face of any one of us.
This man receiveth sinners’, but he repulses none. We come to him in weakness and sin, with trembling faith, and small knowledge, and slender hope; but he does not cast us out. We come by prayer, and that prayer broken; with confession, and that confession faulty; with praise, and that praise far short of his merits; but yet he receives us. We come diseased, polluted, worn out, and worthless; but he doth in no wise cast us out. Let us come again today to him who never casts us out.
Give thanks for the Highland Theological College.
Pray for those studying to be Ministers, and for their lecturers.
Tuesday 14th January
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”
We who are saved find rest in Jesus. Those who are not saved will receive rest if they come to him, for here he promises to ‘give’ it. Nothing can be freer than a gift; let us gladly accept what he gladly gives. You are not to buy it, nor to borrow it; but to receive it as a gift. You labour under the lash of ambition, covetousness, lust or anxiety; he will set you free from this iron bondage, and give you rest. You are ‘laden’ – yes ‘heavy laden’ with sin, fear, care, remorse, fear of death; but if you come to him, he will unload you. He carried the crushing mass of our sin, that we might no longer carry it. He made himself that great Burden-bearer, that every heavy-laden one might cease from bowing down under the enormous pressure.
Jesus gives rest. It is so. Will you believe it? Will you put it to the test? Will you do so at once? Come to Jesus, by quitting every other hope, by thinking of him, believing God’s testimony about him, and trusting everything with him. If you thus come to him, the rest which he will give you will be deep, safe, holy, and everlasting. He gives a rest which develops into heaven, and he gives it this day to all who come to him.
Give thanks for the Girls’ Brigade.
Pray for Captains Sheena and Jennifer, for all the leaders and for all the girls.
Wednesday 15th January
“For the needy shall not alway be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever”
Poverty is a hard heritage; but those who trust in the Lord are made rich by faith. They know that they are not forgotten of God; and though it may seem that they are overlooked in his providential distribution of good things, they look for a time when all this shall be righted. Lazarus will not always lie among the dogs at the rich man’s gate, but he will have his recompense in Abraham’s bosom.
Even now the Lord remembers his poor but precious sons. ‘I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me’, said one of old; and it is even so. The godly poor have great expectations. They expect the Lord to provide them all things necessary for this life and godliness; they expect to see all things working for their good; they expect to have all the closer fellowship with their Lord, who had nowhere to lay his head; they expect his Second Advent, and to share its glory. This expectation cannot perish, for it is laid up in Christ Jesus, who liveth for ever; and because he lives, it shall live also. The poor saint singeth many a song which the rich sinner cannot understand. Wherefore, let us, when we have short commons below, think of the royal table above.
Give thanks for Christian charities dedicated to helping the poor.
Pray for Donald MacVicar leading both prayer meetings today.
Thursday 16th January
“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered”
Why do I not call on his name? Why do I run to this neighbour and that, when God is so near and will hear my faintest call? Why do I sit down, and devise schemes, and invent plans? Why not at once roll myself and my burden upon the Lord? Straightforward is the best runner – why do I not run at once to the living God? In vain shall I look for deliverance anywhere else; but with God I shall find it; for here I have his royal shall to make it sure.
I need not ask whether I may call on him or not, for that word ‘Whosoever’ is a very wide and comprehensive one. Whosoever means me, for it means anybody and everybody who calls upon God. I will therefore follow the leading of the text, and at once call upon the glorious Lord who has made so large a promise.
My case is urgent, and I do not see how I am to be delivered; but this is no business of mine. He who makes the promise will find out ways and means of keeping it. It is mine to obey his commands; it is not mine to direct his counsels. I am his servant, not his solicitor. I call upon him, and he will deliver me.
Give thanks for The Gathering.
Pray for the leaders who organise speakers, and for those who serve in the kitchen.
Friday 17th January
“And he said, Certainly I will be with thee”
Of course, if the Lord sent Moses on an errand he would not let him go alone. The tremendous risk which it would involve, and the great power it would require, would render it ridiculous for God to send a poor lone Hebrew to confront the mightiest king in all the world, and then leave him to himself. It could not be imagined that a wise God would match poor Moses with Pharaoh and the enormous forces of Egypt. Hence he says, ‘Certainly I will be with thee’, as if it were out of the question that he would send him alone.
In my case, also, the same rule will hold good. If I go upon the Lord’s errand, with a simple reliance upon his power, and a single eye to his glory, it is certain that he will be with me. His sending me binds him to back me up. Is not this enough? What more can I want? If all the angels and archangels were with me, I might fail; but if he is with me, I must succeed. Only let me take care that I act worthily towards this promise. Let me not go timidly, half-heartedly, carelessly, presumptuously. What manner of person ought he to be who has God with him! In such company it behoveth me to play the man, and like Moses go in unto Pharaoh without fear.
Give thanks for the gracious willingness of ministers who so readily have helped in the vacancy.
Pray for all who preach the truth of the Gospel.
Saturday 18th January
“When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed”
Our Lord Jesus has not died in vain. His death was sacrificial: he died as our substitute, because death was the penalty of our sins; and because his substitution was accepted of God, he has saved those for whom he made his soul a sacrifice. By death he became like the corn of wheat which bringeth forth much fruit. There must be a succession of children unto Jesus; he is ‘the Father of the everlasting age’. He shall say, ‘Behold, I and the children whom thou hast given me’.
A man is honoured by his sons, and Jesus hath his quiver full of these arrows of the mighty. A man is represented in his children, and so is the Christ in Christians. In his seed a man’s life seems to be prolonged and extended; and so is the life of Jesus continued in believers.
Jesus lives, for he sees his seed. He fixes his eye on us, he delights in us, he recognizes us as the fruit of his soul’s travail. Let us be glad that our Lord does not fail to enjoy the result of his dread sacrifice, and that he will never cease to feast his eyes upon the harvest of his death. Those eyes which once wept for us, are now viewing us with pleasure. Yes, he looks upon those who are looking unto him. Our eyes meet! What a joy is this!
Give thanks for the church building and halls.
Pray for the various groups and organisations that hire the halls. Remember the Musical Evening and Giving Day in the hall tonight.
Sunday 19th January
“If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved”
There must be confession with thy mouth. Have I made it? Have I openly avowed my faith in Jesus as the Saviour whom God has raised from the dead, and have I done it in God’s way? Let me honestly answer this question.
There must also be belief with the heart. Do I sincerely believe in the risen Lord Jesus? Do I trust in him as my sole hope of salvation? Is this trust from my heart? Let me answer as before God.
If I can truly claim that I have both confessed Christ and believed in him, then I am saved. The text does not say it may be so, but it is plain as a pikestaff, and clear as the sun in the heavens: ‘Thou shalt be saved’. As a believer and a confessor, I may lay my hand on this promise, and plead it before the Lord God at this moment, and throughout life, and in the hour of death, and at the day of judgement.
I must be saved from the guilt of sin, the power of sin, the punishment of sin and ultimately from the very being of sin. God hath said it: ‘Thou shalt be saved’. I believe it. I shall be saved: I am saved. Glory be to God for ever and ever!
Give thanks for the freedom to worship the Lord in this country.
Pray for those who have not yet confessed Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Remember Dr Murdo Macdonald as he leads worship today.
Monday 20th January
“To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God”
No man may turn his back in the day of battle, or refuse to go to the holy war. We must fight if we would reign, and we must carry on the warfare till we overcome every enemy, or else this promise is not for us, since it is only for ‘him that overcometh’. We are to overcome the false prophets who have come into the world, and all the evils which accompany their teaching. We are to overcome our own faintness of heart, and tendency to decline from our first love. Read the whole of the Spirit’s word to the church at Ephesus.
If by grace we win the day, as we shall if we truly follow our conquering Leader, then we shall be admitted to the very centre of the paradise of God, and shall be permitted to pass by the cherub and his flaming sword, and come to that guarded tree, whereof if a man eat, he shall live for ever. We shall thus escape that endless death which is the doom of sin, and gain that everlasting life which is the seal of innocence, the outgrowth of immortal principles of God-like holiness. Come, my heart, pluck up courage! To flee the conflict will be to lose the joys of the new and better Eden; to fight unto victory is to walk with God in paradise.
Give thanks for every promise contained in Scripture.
Pray for anyone who is considering public profession of faith.
Tuesday 21st January
“The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord”
The ungodly world is hard to teach. Egypt does not know Jehovah, and therefore dares to set up its idols, and even ventures to ask – ‘Who is the Lord?’ Yet the Lord means to break proud hearts, whether they will or not. When his judgements thunder over their heads, darken their skies, destroy their harvests, and slay their sons, they begin to discern somewhat of Jehovah’s power. There will yet be such things done in the earth as shall bring sceptics to their knees. Let us not be dismayed because of their blasphemies, for the Lord can take care of his own name, and he will do so in a very effectual manner.
The salvation of his own people was another potent means of making Egypt know that the God of Israel was Jehovah, the living and true God. No Israelite died by any one of the ten plaques. None of the chosen seed were drowned in the Red Sea. Even so, the salvation of all true believers will make the most obstinate of God’s enemies acknowledge that Jehovah he is the God.
Oh, that his convincing power would go forth by his Holy Spirit in the preaching of the gospel till all nations shall bow at the name of Jesus, and call him Lord!
Give thanks for the young people connected with the church.
Pray for our young people who are away studying at University.
Wednesday 22nd January
“Blessed is he that considereth the poor, the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble”
To think about the poor and let them lie on our hearts is a Christian man’s duty; for Jesus put them with us and near us when he said, ‘The poor ye have always with you’.
Many give their money to the poor in a hurry, without thought; and many more give nothing at all. This precious promise belongs to those who ‘consider’ the poor, look into their case, devise plans for their benefit, and considerately carry them out. We can do more by care than by cash, and most with the two together. To those who consider the poor the Lord promises his own consideration in times of distress. He will bring us out of trouble if we help others when they are in trouble. We shall receive very singular providential help if the Lord sees that we try to provide for others. We shall have a time of trouble, however generous we may be; but if we are charitable, we may put in a claim for peculiar deliverance, and the Lord will not deny his own word and bond. Miserly curmudgeons may help themselves, but considerate and generous believers the Lord will help. As you have done unto others, so will the Lord do unto you. Empty your pockets.
Give thanks for charities committed to helping the poor.
Pray for the homeless and those struggling to feed their families. Remember Iain A Macdonald leading both prayer meetings today.
Thursday 23rd January
“And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him”
If by that laying on his hand the bullock became the offerer’s sacrifice, how much more shall Jesus become ours by the laying on of the hand of faith?
My faith doth lay her hand
On that dear head of thine,
While like a penitent I stand,
And there confess my sin.
If a bullock could be accepted for him to make atonement for him, how much more shall the Lord Jesus be our full and all-sufficient propitiation? Some quarrel with the great truth of substitution; but as for us, it is our hope, our joy, our boast, our all. Jesus is accepted for us to make atonement for us, and we are ‘accepted in the Beloved’.
Let the reader take care at once to lay his hand on the Lord’s completed sacrifice, that by accepting it he may obtain the benefit of it. If he had done so once, let him do it again. If he has never done so, let him put out his hand without a moment’s delay. Jesus is yours now if you will have him. Lean on him; lean hard on him; and he is yours beyond all question; you are reconciled to God, your sins are blotted out, and you are the Lord’s.
Give thanks for Inverness Presbytery.
Pray for for God’s wisdom in decision making.
Friday 24th January
1 Samuel 2:9
“He will keep the feet of his saints”
The way is slippery, and our feet are feeble, but the Lord will keep our feet. If we give ourselves up by obedient faith to be his holy ones, he will himself be our guardian. Not only will he charge his angels to keep us, but he himself will preserve our goings.
He will keep our feet from falling, so that we do not defile our garments, wound our souls, and cause the enemy to blaspheme.
He will keep our feet from wandering, so that we do not go into paths of error, or ways of folly, or courses of the world’s custom.
He will keep our feet from swelling through weariness, or blistering because of the roughness and length of the way.
He will keep our feet from wounding: our shoes shall be iron and brass, so that even though we tread on the edge of the sword, or on deadly serpents, we shall not bleed, or be poisoned.
He will also pluck our feet out of the net. We shall not be entangled by the deceit of our malicious and crafty foes.
With such a promise as this, let us run without weariness, and walk without fear. He who keeps our feet will do it effectually.
Give thanks for Ministers and our preaching Elders who lead our worship during the vacancy.
Pray for the Kirk Session meeting and for Rev. Fraser Turner leading our Preparatory Service tonight.
Saturday 25th January
“He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; he will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light”.
This is a word of truth, gathered from the experience of a man of God, and it is tantamount to a promise. What the Lord has done, and is doing, he will continue to do while the world standeth. The Lord will receive into his bosom all who come to him with a sincere confession of their sin; in fact, he is always on the look-out to discover any that are in trouble because of their faults.
Can we not endorse the language there used? Have we not sinned, sinned personally so as to say, so as to say, ‘I have sinned’? Sinned wilfully, having perverted that which is right? Sinned so as to discover that there is no profit in it, but an eternal loss? Let us then go to God with this honest acknowledgement. He asks no more. We can do no less.
Let us plead his promise in the name of Jesus. He will deliver us from the pit of hell which yawns for us; he will grant us life and light. Why should we despair? Why should we even doubt? The Lord does not mock humble souls. He means what he says. The guilty can be forgiven. Those who deserve execution can receive free pardon. Lord, we confess, and we pray thee to forgive!
Give thanks those who prepare the Church ready for Communion.
Pray for the Communion prayer meeting tonight.
Sunday 26th January
“Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel”
How this should cut up root and branch all silly, superstitious fears! Even if there were any truth in witchcraft and omens, they could not affect the people of the Lord. Those whom God blesses devils cannot curse.
Ungodly men, like Balaam, may cunningly plot the overthrow of the Lord’s Israel; but with all their secrecy and policy they are doomed to fail. Their powder is damp, the edge of their sword is blunted. They gather together; but as the Lord is not with them, they gather in vain. We may sit still, and let them weave their nets, for we shall not be taken in them. Though they call in the aid of Beelzebub, and employ all his serpentine craft, it will avail them nothing: the spells will not work, the divinations will deceive them. What a blessing this is! How it quiets the heart! God’s Jacobs wrestle with God, but none shall wrestle with them and prevail. God’s Israels have power with God and prevail, but none shall have power to prevail against them. We need not fear the fiend himself, nor any of those secret enemies whose words are full of deceit, and whose plans are deep and unfathomable. They cannot hurt those who trust in the living God. We defy the devil and all his legions.
Give thanks for the sacrifice of our Lord and Saviour Jesus.
Pray for Rev. Douglas Horne as he leads the Communion and Thanksgiving Services.
Monday 27th January
“And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed”
When we are accepted of the Lord, and are standing in the place of favour, and peace, and safety, then we are led to repent of all our failures and miscarriages towards our gracious God. So precious is repentance, that we call it a diamond of the first water, and this is sweetly promised to the people of God as one most sanctifying result of salvation. He who accepts repentance, also gives repentance; and he gives it not out of the ‘bitter box’, but from among those ‘wafers made with honey’ on which he feeds his people. A sense of blood-bought pardon and of undeserved mercy, is the best means of dissolving a heart of stone. Are we feeling hard? Let us think of covenant love, and then we shall leave sin, lament sin, and loathe sin; yea, we shall loathe ourselves for sinning against such infinite love. Let us come to God with this promise of penitence, and ask him to help us to remember, and repent, and regret, and return. Oh, that we could enjoy the meltings of holy sorrow! What a relief would a flood of tears be! Lord, smite the rock, or speak to the rock, and cause the waters to flow!
Give thanks for prayer.
Pray for a more disciplined and committed prayer life.
Tuesday 28th January
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes”
Yes, we shall come to this if we are believers. Sorrow shall cease, and tears shall be wiped away. This is the world of weeping, but it passes away. There shall be a new heaven, and a new earth, so says the first verse of this chapter; and therefore there will be nothing to weep over concerning the Fall and its consequent miseries. Read the second verse, and note how it speaks of the bride and her marriage. The Lamb’s wedding is a time for boundless pleasure, and tears would be out of place. The third verse says that God himself will dwell among men; and surely at his right hand there are pleasures for evermore, and tears can no longer flow.
What will our state be when there will be no more sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain? This will be more glorious than we can as yet imagine. O eyes that are red with weeping, cease your scalding flow, for in a little while ye shall know no more tears! None can wipe tears away like the God of love, but he is coming to do it. ‘Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning’. Come, Lord, and tarry not; for now both men and women must weep!
Give thanks for those who set up the hall, make soup, sandwiches, baking, and for those who serve in the kitchen for the Word at One lunch.
Pray for Ian Challinor as he leads the Word at One Service.
Wednesday 29th January
“Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the Lord thy God”
Though salvation is not by the works of the Law, yet the blessings which are promised to obedience are not denied to the faithful servants of God. The curses our Lord took away when he was made a curse for us, but no clause of blessing has been abrogated.
We are to note and listen to the revealed will of the Lord, giving our attention not to portions of it, but to ‘all these words’. There must be no picking and choosing but an impartial respect to all that God has commanded. This is the road of blessedness for the father and for his children. The Lord’s blessing is upon his chosen to the third and fourth generation. If they walk uprightly before him, he will make all men know that they are a seed which the Lord has blessed.
No blessing can come to us or ours through dishonesty or double dealing. The ways of worldly conformity and unholiness cannot bring good to us or ours. It will go well with us when we go well before God. If integrity does not make us prosper, knavery will not. That which gives pleasure to God will bring pleasure to us.
Give thanks for Sunday school teachers.
Pray for the Toddler group, crèche and Sunday School children. Remember Alex Stephen leading both prayer meetings today.
Thursday 30th January
“And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest”
Do we need journeying mercies? Here are choice ones – God’s presence and preservation. In all places we need both of these, and in all places we shall have them if we go at the call of duty, and not merely according to our own fancy. Why should we look upon removal to another country as a sorrowful necessity when it is laid upon us by the divine will? In all lands the believer is equally a pilgrim and a stranger; and yet in every region the Lord is his dwelling place, even as he has been to his saints in all generations. We may miss the protection of an earthly monarch, but when God says, ‘I will keep thee’, we are in no real danger. This is a blessed passport for a traveller, and a heavenly escort for an emigrant.
Jacob had never left his father’s room before: he had been a mother’s boy, and not an adventurer like his brother. Yet he went abroad, and God went with him. He had little luggage, and no attendants; yet no prince ever journeyed with nobler bodyguard. Even while he slept in the open field, angels watched over him, and the Lord God spoke to him. If the Lord bids us go, let us say with our Lord Jesus, ‘Arise, let us go hence’.
Give thanks for our Interim Moderator Rev. Dr. Hugh Watt.
Pray for the congregation in Drumnadrochit.
Friday 31st January
“My God will hear me”
Friends may be unfaithful, but the Lord will not turn away from the gracious soul; on the contrary, he will hear all its desires. The prophet says, ‘Keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. A man’s enemies are the men of his own house’. This is a wretched state of affairs; but even in such a case the Best Friend remains true, and we may tell him all our grief.
Our wisdom is to look unto the Lord, and not to quarrel with men or women. If our loving appeals are disregarded by our own relatives, let us wait upon the God of our salvation, for he will hear us. He will hear us all the more because of the unkindness and oppression of others, and we shall soon have reason to cry, ‘Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy!’
Because God is the living God, he can hear; because he is a loving God, he will hear, because he is our covenant God, he has bound himself to hear us. If we can each one speak of him as ‘My God’, we may with absolute certainty say ‘My God will hear me.’ Come, then, O bleeding heart, and let thy sorrows tell themselves out to the Lord thy God! I will bow the knee in secret, and inwardly whisper, ‘My God will hear me.’
Give thanks for the Nominating Committee.
Pray for the leading of the Holy Spirit to our new Minister.