Daily Readings – April 2019

Daily Notes
I am indebted to the late Selwyn Hughes for his notes on biblical themes issued in his magazine ‘Every Day with Jesus’, and for his notes on the book of Revelations, from which I have gleaned these meditations for our guidance.

Monday 1st April.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is, and was and is to come. Rev 1: 8.
The revelation of John is a prophesy of things still to take place, but it really is not OF John, but the revelation of Jesus TO John. From the early chapters of the book of Genesis, when Jesus joined with his Father in the creation of the world, throughout the history of the tribes of Israel until the coming of Christ Jesus as our Saviour Redeemer, we are shown that God’s purpose has always been to call people to worship Him and to obey His commands. He would gather those who did so worship into His eternal Kingdom and be ever with them as He had planned in the first chapter of Genesis.

Give thanks that the long winter days are coming to an end and new life can be seen in nature. Pray for those unable to get out due to infirmity or long-term illness, and for those who care for the sick at home. Pray too for all who are mourning the loss of loved ones that they may know comfort from the Lord.

Tuesday 2nd April.
Blessed be the one who reads these words of prophesy. Rev 1: 3.
The aim of this book is to encourage Christians who are being persecuted because of their faith in Jesus, and as the writer of Revelations, the Apostle John, suffered when he was banished to the island of Patmos. On that barren island, while worshipping on the Lord’s Day, he had a vision of what would be the future of God’s Kingdom and how it would come about. He was told to write down all that he would see and to send it to the seven churches in Asia, and so we are blessed to have on record the history, which is also His Story.

Give thanks for the many folk who perform tasks in the church which enable its smooth running. Pray today for those attending the Women’s Bible study and Girls’ Brigade that they would be aware of God’s presence in all they do.

Wednesday 3rd April.
To the seven churches in Asia, ‘Grace and Peace to you’. Rev 1: 4-5.
Here we must note that John’s greeting is not from himself but from God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit but it is the Son who is given the fullest description, first as the Faithful and True Witness, next as the Firstborn from the Dead and then as the Ruler of the kings of the Earth. So, as we face opposition from those who would seek to quash our faith in Jesus, from those of other false faiths, rulers and politicians, we can be assured that this same Jesus is still Ruler of all His whole Earth. May we never forget that no matter how bleak things may appear, Jesus remains in charge of our destiny.

Give thanks for our NHS and those who work in it against many pressures to help patients. Pray for Donald MacVicar especially today at prayer meeting and the church’s Annual Stated meeting, that all will be done to God’s glory.

Thursday 4th April.
To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood. Rev 1: 5.
Having established that Jesus is to be viewed with Glory and worshiped for His ruling over all creation, John now tells how he is led to praise and worship Jesus, and soon realises that he is loved by God, as indeed we all are, if we do not spurn His offer of free Salvation which He secured on Calvary’s Cross for all who truly believe. ‘There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin,’ and we can rejoice that He is coming back to abide with us, in the Kingdom which He has gone to prepare for us.

Give thanks to God for the relative peace and prosperity of our land. Pray for the Mother and Toddler group that they would have a time of meaningful fellowship. Pray too for those struggling with addiction in our city,

Friday 5th April.
On the Lord’s day, I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet. Rev 1: 10.
What a special blessing was given to John, there he was banished on the island of Patmos, cut off from contact with his fellow Christians, but nothing could separate him from contacting his Lord and Saviour. He was even given sight of Jesus in His Heavenly splendour and this vision would transform, not only his own life but also countless others who, down through the centuries have read this book.

Give thanks for the whole Open Doors team and ask that everyone they come into contact with would see the reason for their hope and come to rely of God as their Saviour. Pray too for young people who meet in the Church at Elevate. We depend on God working in young hearts for the future of our church.

Saturday 6th April.
When I turned, I saw 7 golden lampstands and among them was someone like the Son of Man. Rev 1: 13.
The 7 lampstands represent the 7 churches in Asia, who had been planted by Paul after his conversion on the Damascus road and John was told by the voice to write what he saw and send each the message to the angel, or leader, of each church, imploring great attention to God’s Word and the understanding of our prayer life. We are given a full word picture of what Jesus looked like, in fact no better description of Jesus can be found in the whole of the Bible.

Give thanks for those who proclaim the Gospel by handing out tracts, talking to people in the town and for the Street Pastors’ work. Ask that they would be upheld as they face opposition and keep them safe from danger or persecution.

Sunday 7th April.

I am the living one, I was dead but now I am alive for ever. Rev 1: 18.
It is not surprising that John fainted at the sight of His Lord and the sound of His voice saying ‘Do not fear’ for that was the same sort of terrifying fear that Peter experienced as he was sinking in the lake when he ventured to meet Jesus walking on the water. May we be assured that when we find ourselves being lifted high by God’s assuring love, that our Saviour will stay close and never will depart from us. He has promised ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’, so let us always remain close to Him.

Give thanks that we are free and able to meet to worship God in this country. Pray for Mr Henry Robertson leading both services today, that he would be blessed as he prepares the Word for us. We ask that our hearts and minds would be freed for all distractions as we listen to him.

Monday 8th April.
To the angel of the church in Ephesus write. Rev 2: 1-7.
Having been introduced to Jesus and His majesty, the story now turns to hear what He has to say to these emergent churches. The first church to be addressed was Ephesus and they were commended for their zeal and love in worship of the wonderful works which Jesus had wrought to bring Salvation to all of creation but urged it to recover that enthusiasm for the worship of God which had been so evident when their church was first formed by Paul.

Give thanks for all our emergency services, for the work they perform often in difficult and traumatic circumstances. Pray for all who are in hospital or awaiting surgery that when they are frightened, they may be aware of God’s comfort and calm.

Tuesday 9th April.
Do not be afraid of what you may have to suffer but be faithful. Rev 2: 10.
The second church to be addressed is Smyrna and it was known as a suffering church. It was ridden with poverty, because the citizens of that city refused to do any trading with Christians. Jesus tells them to remain faithful to His Word and promises an eternal reward. Their crown of victory awaits them in eternity. Martyrdom is rife all over the modern world and we must keep striving to support those who are being persecuted. There was no fault found in this small church.

Give thanks to God for how He has sustained the Congregation here in the East over so many years, and for all the Ministers who have faithfully proclaimed the whole Gospel to many generations. Pray for the Women meeting for Bible study that your Word would speak clearly to their hearts.

Wednesday 10th April.
Repent then, else I will come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. Rev 2: 16.
Now we are introduced to the church of Pergamum, where the population of the city was known for worship of the Roman emperor and of idols. Jesus states that He will come against it with a double-edged sword, which indicated that He would fight to defeat false doctrines. These false doctrines were circulating through this church even although some held true to the truth of God’s inspired word. How we must strive in this present day to be true to the message of salvation, even though many would seek to deny the truths contained in it.

Give thanks for men and women who have obeyed your call and command to them to go and make disciples or all nations. We pray God’s protection of them wherever they serve. Pray too for Iain Macdonald taking the prayer meeting today that both preacher and listener would know God’s blessing as we worship even in small numbers. Pray that numbers attending would increase.

Thursday 11th April.
All the churches will know that am He who searches hearts and minds and I will repay each according to his deeds. Rev 2: 23.
Jesus now speaks to the church at Thyatira which seems to be flourishing in spirit, good works, love and faith but was harbouring and accepting the presence of a wicked woman in their midst, who encouraged the church to practise immorality and to eat food which had been sacrificed to idols. This was totally against God’s laws and Jesus is ever seeking to punish those churches who slip into immoral ways. Thus, He encourages churches today to ‘Hold on until He comes’.

Give thanks for the young people who have attended the East and are now at college, university or working away from home. Pray that they will be able to find a suitable place of worship where they are, and if they do not go to church any more, pray that they would be reminded of the truths taught to them in Sunday School, youth groups or at holiday clubs.

Friday 12th April.
I know your deeds. You have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Rev 3: 1.
Jesus now addresses the church in Sardis which had the outward appearance of being an active successful church, but Jesus viewed it as lacking in spirit and slowly dying, thus He did not find anything worthy of His commendation. If the Holy Spirit is not welcomed in the worship of a church, it is in the process of dying. However, Jesus knows that there are a few who remain true to God’s word and to them He promises eternal life with Him in Glory. So, for Sardis their greatest need was an awakening of the Spirit or as we might say -Revival.

Give thanks for the many people we know who have struggled with medical conditions and have regained or are regaining their strength. Pray for any who are awaiting test results or who face a difficult diagnosis. Help us to pray for them and their families and to help in any practical way we can.

Saturday 13th April.
I will keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on earth. Rev 3: 10.
We come now to hear what Jesus had to say to the church in Philadelphia. It was located at the junction of the roads to the regions of Mysia, Lydia, and Phrygia, and was not a big church. Nevertheless, although it faced a lot of opposition, the loyal folk would go out and bring others in, encouraging the church to grow in numbers. Jesus had opened a door of opportunity for them, a door that once He had opened it, no one could shut and that was to take the good news of the Gospel to all in the known world. The churches today must strive to spread that same good news to our needy world.

Give thanks for those who prepare the sanctuary for Sunday worship. For those who prepare and organise the flowers, those who keep the church clean, and for those who skilfully prepare the worship music. Pray for those who pass the church to shop, eat out or be entertained, that they might be reminded of a time in the past when God spoke to them and be compelled to change their life around.

Sunday 14th April.
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other. Rev 3: 15.
Laodicea was a wealthy town, famous for the manufacture of black woollen cloth, and special eye ointment and although the believers considered them to be rich, yet Christ tells them that they are poor and blind, pitiful and wretched and like drinking lukewarm water is horrible to drink, so their worship is unpalatable. Jesus begs them to return to Him in earnest repentance. Is there anything more tragic than the picture of Christ standing at the door and knocking but having to wait to be let in? Let us be ever eager to heed when the knock comes to our door.

Give thanks for all who have been willing to come and lead worship during this period of vacancy. Pray for the nominating committee as they undertake the task of finding our next Minister. Pray too for Rev Douglas Horne as he preaches God’s Word, that our ears would be open you God’s instructions for our life and that we would always be willing to obey.

Monday 15th April.
There before me was a door standing open in heaven and the Voice said to me ‘Come up here’. Rev 4:1.
Now we come to the theme of worship and again John is in the Spirit and again he hears the Voice calling him to climb up to heaven through an open door, and that is what is before us all – an open invitation into God’s Kingdom. As soon as he enters, he sees a jewelled throne with someone sitting on it. By giving a vision of His throne, Jesus seeks to reassure His people that no matter what happens on earth, the final authority of all that goes on is in Heaven and He has ultimate control.

Give thanks for all carers, paid and unpaid, as they look after sick and disabled folk at home or in care homes that they wouldn’t become overtired but be aware of the value of the service they provide. Pray that those who suffer with dementia would be very aware of God’s love for them even in their confused state of mind.

Tuesday 16th April.
Seated on the throne was someone dressed in jewels and surrounding the throne were 24 other thrones and seated on them were 24 elders. Rev 4:3-4.
In John’s vision not only the throne captivated his attention, but also the One who sat on it. We are told that God dwell’s in unapproachable light and since that is so, it explains why the description of heavenly beings is referred to as beautiful precious jewels and why in Genesis chapter 1 we read that it was from that same throne, the command rang out- ‘Let there be light, and there was light’. As we come to worship in truth, we will find that nothing brightens our souls more than being flooded with the knowledge of God’s holiness.

Give thanks for the opportunities that women have in this country. Pray for women all over the world who are abused and are in despair that they will ever escape persecution. Pray that the hearts of those who take advantage of vulnerable people would be changed.

Wednesday 17th April.
Around the throne were 4 living creatures. The first creature was like a lion, the second like an ox, the third had the face of a man and the fourth was like a flying eagle Rev 4:7.
John sees before the throne what he describes as a sea of crystal, which indicates that worshippers will be cleansed and purified as they draw near in true worship, as is said in scripture, ‘Without holiness, no-one will see God’. The 4 creatures which are now introduced represent all of creation and are present to worship God their creator, who desires that each thing and being that He has made, pay Him the honour He is due. How what he now sees in heaven contrasts with the dismal sight of the 7 churches down on earth. But what a glorious prospect awaits all who believe.

Give thanks for all the utility services available to us in the country like clean water, and power. Pray that we would never take these for granted and that we would be generous to charities trying to provide these basic services in areas on this world where they do not exist. Pray that both prayer meetings would be well attended, and that Bill Flett would be blessed with a message from God for all.

Thursday 18th April.
Whenever the 4 living creatures give glory honour and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, the 24 elders fall down and worship. Rev 4: 9 – 10.
The scene which is now shown to us is probably the most moving in all scripture. Here we see that as all creation and the 24 elders are giving glory and worship to God who lives forever, the elders lay down their crowns before Him and acknowledge that God alone is worthy of ultimate praise and worship. It is clear that true and sincere worship is required if we are to offer true praise to our God. If we fail to attend services of worship, we will get no guiding direction. We will have no clear path to follow and if we don’t know how to worship, we won’t know how to live.

Give thanks for those who prepare the PowerPoint presentations for Sunday worship and to those who run the sound desk and all the accompanying equipment. Pray that those learning to use the new sound desk will not be overwhelmed and that more people will be encouraged to help with this aspect of worship. Pray too for the Gathering that a real spirit of friendship and fellowship would be apparent.

Friday 19thApril.
And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice ‘Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?’ Rev 5:2.
In the midst of the glory around the throne, John sees in the hand of Him who sits on the throne, a scroll closed with 7 seals. A mighty angel shouts ‘Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll’. When no one came forward, John is overcome with emotion but is cheered when one of the elders exclaims ‘Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, He has triumphed and is able to break the 7 seals and open the scroll’. Nowadays we often hear prayers such as ‘Why, Lord do you allow evil to be successful?’. The answer to that we will never know until we get to heaven, but because of all we learn from John’s vision, we can be sure that evil will one day be defeated.

Coming up to Easter let us give thanks that Jesus was willing to come to earth, live as one of us, but was obedient to that awful death on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven. Pray for anyone who has yet to accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour that they would be compelled to take that step now. Pray for the Kirk Session as they meet before the Preparatory Service and that many folks would be encouraged to attend not just the Sunday service but this service also.

Saturday 20th April.
They sang a new song ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because You have been slain’. Rev 5:9.
All through the bible we read of singing. From the time of creation, to the time of Moses and the days of King David and even at the birth of Jesus angels sang a mighty chorus, but no song could compare with this one, for it told of God’s great plan of Salvation. By it, God sent His dear Son to earth and ordained that He would pay the ransom for all our sins and all we had to do was believe, that He was God’s eternal Son and that He died to take away our sins. So, we can rejoice to sing such wonderful words as the old hymn, ‘Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow’.

Give thanks for the Music group and the way that they have helped to introduce wonderful new praise items to our worship. We also should give thanks for all who have been inspired to pen the words that we sing. Pray for Donald MacVicar taking the pre-Communion prayer meeting that this would be attended well, and that Donald would be upheld and encouraged in all the work he is undertaking as our Session Clerk.

Sunday 21st April.
I heard every creature in heaven and on earth singing ‘to Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power for ever and ever’. Rev 5:13.
We are told that the number of singers was so great that they could not be counted. What a prospect awaits us. Instead of being amazed to sing with over 300 other choirmen at an all Britain festival of Male Voice Praise, we can look forward to being among God’s choir in the Sky, which we are told is numberless. The last verse of Chapter 5 ends ‘Amen’ which proclaims agreement with all that has been declared- Yes- So be it. It is good to know that there is total agreement in Heaven.

He Is risen Hallelujah! let us rejoice and give thanks to our God that death was defeated as Jesus arose from the tomb. Help us Lord to never forget the sacrifice of Jesus and to look forward to the day when we can be in His nearer presence. Pray for Rev Douglas Horne as he leads worship today, that as the bread is broken and the wine poured out that God’s Spirit would be evident in our worship. Pray too for those unable to attend due to health or work commitments.

Monday 22nd April.
I watched as the Lamb opened the first seal and I heard one of the living creatures loudly say, ’Come’ and I saw before me a rider on a white horse. Rev 6:1.
This section of Revelation tells that as each seal is broken by Jesus, a rider on a different coloured horse appears on the vision. The first rider holds a bow and rides a white horse. There is some dispute as to the identity of this rider, as He is either a representative of Christ, or on the other hand the antichrist, but either way he appears to take part in the battle against sin and evil. Note that the word evil is live when spelt backwards and that sin has destroyed life as God planned it should be and has become the source of evil.

Continue to give thanks for the Easter Story, for the facts that Jesus death has brought hope of eternal life for all who believe in Him. Pray that the whole land of Israel will come to accept Jesus as the Messiah. Pray too for peace in the Middle East, that people might put aside their differences.

Tuesday 23rd April.
When the Lamb opened the second seal and another horse came out, it was fiery red, and its rider was given power and a sword to destroy peace on the earth. Rev 6:3-4.
This second rider was clearly engaged in waging war, which is evil and is in opposition to the peace which God has planned for us. When the third seal was opened a black horse appears and its rider carries a set of scales. They are said to be symbolic of scarcity and famine which are terrible evils. Then the forth seal is opened a pale horse appears and its rider is given the name of Death. This forth horse and rider are symbolic of sickness and disease. These 3 horsemen stand for greatest evils in the world- war, sickness and famine.

Give thanks for the Girls’ Brigade and for the many girls who have come to know Jesus as their Lord through the work of this organisation. Give thanks too for the Girls’ Brigade leaders who have worked tirelessly to encourage the girls, and for the loyalty of parents to bring the girls week by week.

Wednesday 24th April.
When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God. Rev 6:9.
So, when the fifth seal is opened another kind of evil is introduced and it is the evil of religious persecution. We are assured that since Jesus was first on the scene in this book, in the battle to come, evil will be overcome and so we have that sure hope. Now the souls of the martyrs plead ‘How long have they to wait before their suffering is avenged?’ They are asked to wait a little longer, perhaps because there are more martyrs yet to be counted and given white robes which stands for purity and blessedness.

Give thanks for those who can not longer attend church due to old age or illness that they would be aware of the contribution they have made in the past. Pray that they would still feel part of our fellowship. Pray too for Ian Challinor as he leads the prayer meetings today.

Thursday 25th April.
As the sixth seal was opened there was a great earthquake and the sun turned black, the moon turned blood red and the stars fell to earth. Rev 6:13.
Everything in heaven and earth falls apart and the world is in chaos. Many regard this as depicting how the world will end but others will say it is a picture of how those who do not believe that God is in overall control of the future, will topple into despair because they have nothing sure to rely on. The great day of God’s wrath has come and who shall stand. For those who live by evil will perish by evil. Who therefore can stand against the terror of Satan and God’s wrath to defeat his evil schemes?

Give thanks for those willing to help look after children in the creche and for those willing to serve refreshments after the morning service. Pray that more young families would be able to attend worship in the East and that we would make them welcome into the church family.

Friday 26th April.
After this I saw 4 angels standing at the 4 corners of the Earth, holding back the 4 winds of the Earth, to delay any wind from blowing on the land or the sea. Rev 7:1.
Yesterday we asked the question ‘Who can stand’ and today we find that the angels in Heaven can stand because they are not afraid of evil. They are called to stem the winds of earth causing damage to the earth and another angel declares that no more can be done to harm the sea and the land until a seal is placed on the foreheads of all Christians, and they are identified as servants of God. From the people of Old and New Testament days and including every believer in the word and witness of our Lord and Redeemer, it is no wonder those gathered cannot be counted.

Give thanks for the way that matters concerning the vacancy and sale of the manse have gone thus far. Pray for young Christians as they grow up in an increasing difficult world that they would be strong and fearless in their faith.

Saturday 27th April.
I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could number and they cried in a loud voice ‘Salvation belong to our God, who sits on the throne’. Rev 7:9-10.
John hears the number of those who are sealed and understands that they are all servants of God and that though evil may harm their bodies, it cannot harm their souls. It is truly wonderful to know that the people of God can sing in the face of evil, for we are told that music and song are the very best we can declare when evil is abroad. It is also heartening to hear that all those in the multitude are robed in white because their clothes have been washed in blood of the Lamb.

Give thanks for the weekend and time to rest from the weeks work. Pray for those who still have to work outside these hours. Pray for all who are preparing the Word to be preached on Sunday that they will be led by the Holy Spirit.

Sunday 28th April.
When He opened the 7th seal there was silence in Heaven for half an hour, then the angel took the censer filled with fire and hurled it on the earth. Rev 8:1.
Now we are brought to hear of the next theme of Revelations, and that is the power of prevailing prayer. The prayers of God’s people are gathered and heard, then mixed with incense and the fire of God’s spirit and thrown from Heaven to earth where they cause an earthquake, lightning and thunder. This would confirm that our prayers, however feeble they may seem to be, are heard in Heaven, and will be answered in God’s plan of the final way of the end of this world. Never be afraid that your prayers for the needs of the world are not being heard.

Give thanks for those who teach the children in Sunday school that they may be encouraged in the vital work they undertake. Pray what those who no longer attend Sunday School or the Ark that they would always remember their Creator in the days of their youth. Pray for both services today and for fruit from the sermons published every week on our website.

Monday 29th April.
Then the 7 angels who had been given the 7 trumpets prepared to sound them. Rev 8:6.
We are now introduced to 7 angels who stand before God. They were each given a trumpet and as each angel blew its trumpet, great disasters came on the earth. The blowing of the trumpets seems to indicate that God is answering our prayers which all seek to play our part in the defeat of evil. The first four angels blow their trumpets and initiate great disasters on the earth, a third of the earth is burned up, a huge fiery mountain in thrown into the sea, a great star falls from the sky and the sun and moon loose some of their light. These are warnings to us that God will not ignore the sins of this wicked world forever.

Give thanks for the many years of loyal service of the Queen. Pray for those who lead the country that there would be a revival in Christian standards in all areas of parliament. Pray for unity in the matter of Brexit.

Tuesday 30th April.
As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying high, call loudly, ‘Woe! Woe! Woe! to the inhabitants of the Earth’. Rev 8:13.
It is well to be reminded that all we are told in these chapters has been recorded by John who faithfully wrote down what was revealed to him, so that now we can have the record of what must take place before the world comes to an end. The fifth trumpet sounds, and the earth is plagued with terrifying gigantic locusts who attack mankind. This is intended to show the terrible consequences when we resist accepting God’s mercy and encourage us to seek the Lord while He may be found.

Give thanks for all who play a part in the Word at one service and the refreshments afterwards. Pray for Alex Stephen as he Leads worship today and also pray for the Girls’ Brigade annual display and awards presentation tonight that all would be to the glory of God.
I hope to be able to conclude thoughts on the Book of Revelations next month.