Bible Readings and
Following the retirement of Rev. Prof. A.T.B. McGowan on 31st January 2019 and in the interim period prior to the successful ordination of a new minister to the Inverness East Church Parish, it was agreed that our existing elders would contribute to the monthly Bible Readings and Prayer Points. This month I will begin with the themes of ‘steadfastness’ and ‘patience’ which will be required of the congregation over the nomination period.
Friday 1st February
Job received news that his sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they were killed. At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. In chapter 10 verse 1-2 Job says “I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul”. Zophar the Naamathite replied “Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him, if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear”.
Pray for the Presbytery members who will be involved in meetings to advance the nomination of an East Church committee.
Saturday 2nd February
Daniel in the Den of Lions
“So the king gave the order and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of the nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.
At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions? Daniel answered, “O king, live for ever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.”
The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.”
Pray for all the Elders and Ministers who have agreed to ‘Pulpit Supply’ during the vacancy period.
Sunday 3rd February
2 Corinthians 1: 3-7
Paul’s letter to the church of God in Corinth refers to the “God of All Comfort” – “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”
Pray for the Ministers and Elders who have agreed to cover Prayer Meetings during the vacancy period.
Monday 4th February
“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets, of many times and in various ways but he has also spoken to us by his Son, Jesus Christ whom he appointed heir of all things and through whom he made the universe.”
Chapter 2 says “We must pay more careful attention therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”
Pray for all the elders and volunteers who selflessly contribute so much of their time to the Word at One cover.
Tuesday 5th February
In this chapter we read “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house and we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.”
In verses 12-14 we read “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.”
We pray for all those in charge of and attending the Deacons’ Court meetings that the Lord would focus their minds during their decision making.
Wednesday 6th February
“When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no-one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”
We pray for the East Church Pastoral Care Team as they carry out their duties in the Parish.
Thursday 7th February
1 Peter 5:5-9
We read about the message to Elders and Young Men.
“Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you clothe yourselves with humility towards one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble”. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s might hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
Pray for the Mother and Toddler Group in the hall today.
Friday 8th February
This is the story about Naomi whose two sons and husband had died leaving her with her two daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth. Naomi decided to go back to the land of Judah and pleaded with Orpah and Ruth to return to their mothers’ houses. Verse 15 says “Look,” said Naomi to Ruth, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.” But Ruth replied “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.” When Naomi realised that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.”
Pray for Open Doors today in the Church and hall.
Saturday 9th February
As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And, he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaratin village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them as Elijah did?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. And he said, “You do not know what kind of Spirit you are of, for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” and they went to another village.
Pray for Blythswood and the Highland Foodbank.
Sunday 10th February
The apostles met with Jesus and asked him “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Pray for the morning and evening services, taken by Rev. Douglas Horne, and for the Gaelic service. Pray also for the organist and music group.
Monday 11th February
The Fellowship of the Believers
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
Pray for our Elders and Deacons.
Tuesday 12th February
Seven men were chosen by the disciples to “give their attention to prayer and the ministry of the word”. One of these chosen was Stephen, a “man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit”. Verse 8 says “Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called) – Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. These men began to argue with Stephen, but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke. Then they secretly persuaded some men to say “We have heard Stephen speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God.” So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us”. All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.”
Pray for the Women’s Bible Study this morning.
Pray for the Girls’ Brigade meeting tonight.
Wednesday 13th February
The high priest asked Stephen “Are these charges true? To this Stephen made a long reply ending with verse 51 “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers. You always resist the Holy Spirit. Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute?” Verse 53 “You who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it. When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God”.
Pray for both prayer meetings held in the hall today.
Thursday 14th February
Paul and Barnabas went into the Jewish synagogue of Iconium and spent some considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders. The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles. There was a plot afoot among the Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, to ill-treat them and stone them. But they found out about it and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding country, where they continued to preach the good news. In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.
Pray for the Mother and Toddler Group in the hall today.
Friday 15th February
Paul in his prayer of thanksgiving to God for our Lord Jesus Christ says in verse 15 – “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
Pray for the EMMS fundraising meeting tonight in the hall. Pray for the Sunday School teachers who steadfastly impart God’s Word as they are found in the Scriptures to all of the children attending each Sunday.
Saturday 16th February
Rules for Holy Living
“Since then you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory”. In verse 12, we read “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
Pray for Mr James Fraser and all the organists who provide music to accompany the singing of hymns and songs of praise.
Sunday 17th February
Jesus tells about the Parable of the Sower.
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown. When he said this, he called out “He who has ears to hear, let him hear”. His disciples asked him what this meant. He said “The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are those who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the words from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rock are those who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell amongst thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way, they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop”.
Pray for all those who have recently had a bereavement in the family, that the Lord would sustain, uphold and comfort them in their time of need.
Monday 18th February
The Wise and Foolish Builders
Jesus said “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When the flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”
Pray that more Gaelic speakers would attend the Gaelic Services in the East Church and pray for the ministers and precentors who fervently attend to preach God’s Word.
Tuesday 19th February
Little Children and Jesus
“People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it”.
Pray for the Mothers and Toddlers Group and Sunday School children that the “seed would land on good soil” and that they would grow up and walk in the Lord’s footsteps.
Wednesday 20th February
Peace and Joy
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
Pray for all members of the data projection team who strive to record and project and highlight bullet points of sermons within the East Church.
Thursday 21st February
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.” Verse 22 – “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”
We pray for elderly members of the congregation who are in the twilight of their lives and unable to attend Church services that the Spirit of the Lord would pour over them and strengthen them in their time of need.
Friday 22nd February
Paul writes “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbour for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Pray for all those who suffer pain in their bodies and mind on a daily basis, that they would be comforted, soothed and healed by God’s grace and mercy.
Saturday 23rd February
1 Timothy 6:6-11
Love of Money
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith.”
Pray for those who provide transport and assistance to members of the congregation who find it a struggle to attend church due to age, infirmity or disability.
Sunday 24th February
2 Timothy 3: 10-17
Paul’s Charge to Timothy
“You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and imposters will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. Verse 16 – “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Pray for the Session Clerk, Dr MacVicar and his deputy during the vacancy period that the Lord will strengthen their resolve, guide and direct them in their various duties at this important time.
Monday 25th February
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil, cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” Verse 20 – “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Pray for the weak and low in spirit and for all those who are homeless and resort to sleeping rough on the streets of the city.
Tuesday 26th February
Do Not Worry
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important that clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labour or spin.” In verse 33 it is stated “But first seek his kingdom and righteousness and all things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Pray for the Fabric Committee of the church and for those involved in the cleaning of the interior so that they will remain steadfast on progressing all issues of maintenance and repairs.
Wednesday 27th February
Throughout the winter months, we experience shorter days and longer nights. Our attention is drawn to ‘The Beginning’ of the world as found in Genesis 1. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light”, and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness he called “night”. And there was morning – the first day. And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse “sky”. And there was evening, and there was morning – the second day”.
Pray for Rev. Prof. A.T.B. McGowan and his family as they prepare to vacate the East Church Manse and move to their new home in Alness. Pray that he will enjoy a long and healthy retirement whilst still becoming involved as Director of Rutherford House.
Thursday 28th February
The River of Life
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.”
Pray for the Nominating Committee members during the vacancy period, that the Spirit of the Lord will guide them, direct them and unite them to complete their mission.