Thought for the Day
July 31


And here we are … already the 31st of July.

So, the daily thoughts stop and, in its place, will be a “Thought for the Week” on a Monday.

The Sunday Reflection has come to an end and in its place will be a “Mid- Week Reflection”, typically on a Wednesday.  

Our Sunday services begin this Sunday at Glenbervie Church (seats limited to 24) and the programme for Sunday worship is on our website

So, for the final “Thought” in this series.

It came to me a few days ago when I was reading an article about the rise in domestic violence during  lockdown. This led to reading about gender-based violence and the anti-rape campaign with the slogan “No means No”.

Do you remember the WWJD days? WWJD meaning “What would Jesus do”?

I think Jesus would have something to say to us. I think that given Jesus’ track record, he may confront us with a question, and I imagine it would be this one.

Do we really want a world where a woman has to say “no” to be safe?

Surely, it should not be necessary for a woman to have to say no in order to protect herself.

Surely a woman should feel safe anyway.

You cannot change the world!!

I know. I have never expected to.

So, next time someone disrespects a woman in our company, we can do something about that world.

“You may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you will join us and let the world be as one.”

God bless and let us keep everyone safe.


Thought for the Day

I found these on the internet, and it got me thinking…

Dear God, I bet it’s very hard for you to love all the whole world. There are only four people in our family, and I can never do it. —Nancy

Dear God, my brother told me how babies are born but it just doesn’t sound right. What do you say? —Marsha

Dear God, I read the bible. What does “beget” mean? Nobody will tell me. —Love, Alison

Dear God, please put another holiday between Christmas and Easter. There’s nothing good there now. —Amanda

Dear God, My Grandpa says you were around when he was a little boy. How far back do you go? —Love, Dennis

Dear God, Is Reverend Coe a friend of yours, or do you just know him through the business? —Donny

Dear God, is it true my father won’t get in Heaven if he uses his golf words in the house? —Anita


And these are the questions that came to mind.

            When was the last time I prayed and why was I praying?

            How do I see God? (The children seem so relaxed with God)

            If I prayed now, right now, what would my prayer be?

            Pray it.

Of course, I keep you in my prayers.

Blessings and stay safe.


Although this poem is often attributed to Mother Teresa, it only became connected to her because she had it up on the wall of a children’s home. 
It was written by Kent M. Keith, who called them “the Paradoxical Commandments.” Keith was a sophomore in college when he wrote the words for the book, The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council, published by Harvard Student Agencies in 1968

Words worth pondering over.



Our Thought for the Day


Resentment is like drinking poison


waiting for the other person to die.

Saint Augustine or maybe not


This quote seems to be attributed to many different people, so I have no way of knowing who really said it first. Nelson Mandela used a version which ended, “hoping your enemy will die”

But the point is still valid. Resentment only destroys the “resentor”. (apparently, the word exists)

During our extended period of lock-down with so much changing, one phrase that crops up over and over is, “I have managed to let some many things go.” Another version is “I realise I didn’t need to be doing everything I was doing, and I’ve learnt to take on more helpful things in my life.”

So, in this time of change. Dump “Resentment”, it has only been hurting you.

A scripture comes to mind.

“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.”

2 Timothy 2:24:

God bless and stay safe



I can only speak for myself, as a preacher, I am always on the lookout for a good illustration. And when I come across one, I “bank” it. At some stage, it will be helpful in a sermon.  Illustrations are gold.

Like this one.

A man gets a car as a birthday gift. A young boy who washes the cars for the business where this man works, comments on his new shiny car. So, the man says, “hop in I’ll take you for a quick spin”.

As they drive around the city block, the boy asks the man to go past where he and his brother stay. He says his brother loves cars but cannot get around much as he struggles to walk. On the way, the man tells the boy that his own brother was the one who gave him the car as a gift.

After a moments silence, the boy says to the man, “I wish I had a lot of money”. “So that you can buy a car like this?” responds the man.

“No, says the boy. “So, I can be a brother like yours.”
I think it speaks for itself. 



Thank goodness I like asparagus

Yesterday I was eating some roasted peanuts. I suddenly became aware that it was quite difficult to do. I did not have this challenge a few years ago!

But that is not my “panic”. South Africans love biltong!

Biltong is most often made from beef, spiced, and dried in a very specific way.

Some people say it is the equivalent of American jerky – not in a lifetime. I’ll gie ye a skelpit lug!

What will I do when biltong becomes a problem? Will it be the end of the world as I know it?

Thank goodness I like asparagus.

This highlights for me, again, that change is permanent. We live in constant change.


There is this voice that always tries to convince us not to change. Stay the same. Be what you are forever. But wit

h change comes the opportunity for new learnings and new experiences.

So, let us grab hold of tomorrow with both hands.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7

Dinna fash yersel’!


For the “Thought for the Day” I have one verse.

I rejoiced with those who said to me, 

“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

Psalm 122:1

One of the memes that did the rounds at the beginning of lockdown read: “The Church has left the building”.
Referring to the fact that our church buildings were required to close.
There were numerous responses celebrating the Church beyond church walls.
The creativity that flowed was wonderful.

And now it is time to return and locate some of our worship in our familiar Sanctuaries.

I say “some” of our worship because what we have been doing is worth holding on to. Our going back will be different and the way we connect now continues to be different and is quickly becoming the new normal.  For example, we have a time of Prayer and Reflection on zoom every Sunday at 7:00 pm. And it is great to be “separately together”. Zoom has become a verb.

Our Sunday reflection currently provided by video and an audio phone in line will now shift to a mid-week reflection and our prayer is that it will continue to be helpful.

Our “Thought for the Day” will be ending at the end of July. Let me say it has been a remarkably interesting exercise and a privilege to do.

In the Southern area of the Kinkardine and Deeside Presbytery (our Presbytery), there will be a service of worship each Sunday. The details are below.

God bless and now that we are starting to move around more freely, please stay safe.

For details of times please click on link:  NEW SERVICE TIMES


A visiting preacher steps off the train onto the station platform. He still has plenty of time to walk to the church where he will be the preacher that day.

Uncertain of the direction, he asks a young boy on a bicycle, if he knows the way to the local church. The young boy does and gives the preacher directions.

“Why are you going there?” the boy asks.

“I am going to preach” the preacher replied.

“What are you going to preach about?” the boy asks.

“Finding your way to the kingdom of God” the preacher replied.

“How are you going to do that?” the boy asks.

“Why do you ask that?” the preacher asks.

“Well, you can’t even find your way to the church,” replies the boy.

As the Churches reopen, we need to pray that our people will find their way back.

A further prayer must be for people who have not been to church for a long time, to come back.

Finally, we must pray those who have never been to church. To pray for those who during these lockdown days, have realised there is something more to who we are and would like to explore that.

See you soon.

Blessings and stay safe.                                                          





A place of pilgrimage for many centuries, a place of prayer and worship, a place of love for God, for people, and our planet.

“Where is this place?”, you may ask.

“Iona, a wee island off the island of Mull, which is a much larger island, off the west coast of Scotland”, I would answer.

A place of prayer, of song, and liturgy.

A thin place they call it.

It is difficult to visit the island and spend time in worship and to leave “untouched”.

And so, for the Thought of the Day, today, I offer a prayer from the Iona Abbey Worship Book.

Oh God,

lead us from death to life, from falsehood to truth.

Lead us from despair to hope, from fear to trust.

Lead us from hate to love, from war to peace.

Let peace fill our hearts, our world, our universe.

We ask it for your name’s sake.


Bless you and stay safe


“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil;

For You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”


Familiar words from Psalm 23.

“The valley of the shadow of death . . .This striking expression, to which the genius of Bunyan has given such reality, was probably on Hebrew lips nothing more than a forcible synonym for a dark, gloomy place.

Indeed, the probability is that instead of tsal-mâveth (shadow of death), should be read, tsalmûth (shadow, darkness), the general signification being all that is required in any one of the fifteen places where it occurs.

It is true it is used of the “grave” or “underworld” (Job 10:21-22). But it is also used of the “darkness of a dungeon” (Psalm 107:10), of “the pathless desert” (Jeremiah 2:6); or, possibly, since it is there parallel with drought, of “the blinding darkness of a sandstorm,” and metaphorically of “affliction” (Isaiah 9:2), and of the “dull heavy look” that grief wears (Job 16:16).”

Ellicott’s Commentary


So, we have walked, are walking through “The valley of the Shadow of Death” during these days of COVID 19. The extent of the shadow has been deeply dark for many and lingers over all of us still.


And we all need the guidance and the comfort of the rod and staff.




                         May you know the presence of the Shepherd.

                        May you experience the Shepherd’s love.

                        May your spirit be comforted.

                        May your mind be settled.


                        May the shadows lift.


Be blessed and be safe




Thought for the Day

I pray that there is someone out there that really needs to pray these words today.

And if it is you,

May God grant you the peace,

the settledness and the quiet,

your soul needs today.


 Pray these words …

“God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can, and

The wisdom to know the difference.”

Reinhold Niebuhr



God bless and stay safe


It is YOUR tune!

On a trip to New York, I, along with a colleague, did a guided walk around the city.
Central Park was one of the highlights and we found ourselves standing at the memorial of John Lennon in an area now named Strawberry Fields.

I noticed an interesting looking chap sitting nearby playing his guitar and playing the song Imagine. His voice had its own agenda and his guitar was in an unrecognisable detuned setting which produced some random notes neither anticipated not recognisable.

Something in me said, “go offer to tune his guitar. It will only take a few minutes.” And I almost did.


Another voice in me said, “It’s his tune.”

I watched him as he sang his tribute to his hero. Singing with love and affection, with determination and commitment. It was his tune and he was playing it.

What makes us want people to sing their tunes our way.

Even worse.

What in us makes us feel we need to be singing our tunes someone else’s way.

It is YOUR tune.

Now the gift is, if we place our tunes alongside each other, at the same time, they may sound awful. But as we learn to sing our tune, and then adjust, only in so much as it harmonises and blends with the rest, we will together, create a wonderful sound.

So, we sing our tunes but to not sing alone, we adjust, we adapt, we accommodate, to find that sweet spot where the beauty happens.  

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

Psalm 139:14


I had a flashback memory the other day.

I remembered standing in line, with my hands behind my back. We were getting ready to go into class at the school I attended.

The Head Teacher / Principal stood in front and made the usual announcements.

Then we did what is no longer done, we all said the Lord’s Prayer and sang this hymn…

O God, our help in ages past,

Our hope for years to come,

Our shelter from the stormy blast,

And our eternal home.


Inspired by Psalm 90, this song was written by Isaac Watts in 1708.


Those four lines hold so much for us.


O God, our help in ages past,

God has made a difference to those generations that came before us.

God has done it.


Our hope for years to come,

God will be there for generations in the future.

God will do it again.


Our shelter from the stormy blast,

God is here, right now, not a storm remover, but a storm shelter.

God is doing it now.


And our eternal home.

And when it is all said and done, we get to be with the One who has been there all along.

Be blessed and be safe.


Today 96 years ago, the 400m race started in the Paris Olympics at 5:30 pm.

47.6 seconds later, Eric Liddell won the Olympic 400 metre race setting a new Olympic record. This after he had rejected an opportunity to run in the 100-metre race because its heats were on a Sunday:

He believed that it was a violation of God’s Sabbath command to run on Sunday.

The 1981 film Chariots of Fire is based on his story and interestingly the beach scenes were filmed on the beaches at St Andrews.

There was another athlete featured in the film, who was fighting the battle against prejudice. The Jewish athlete Harold Maurice Abrahams who went on to win the 100-metre race.


Stories like this challenge us to reflect:

What are the sacred values in our lives today?   

Where are these sacred spaces when living in a 24/7 world?

It is encouraging when someone dares to say “no” and then goes on to be a champion.

Whilst the Coronavirus Covid19 pandemic has kept us in our homes, and there have been a few positive elements to that, it has also had a negative effect on how we manage our boundaries.

I wonder how many people have felt more vulnerable, more exposed, more accessible than when they were commuting to work during the week and weekend was the time at home?

God bless as we now navigate being freer in the weeks and months ahead.

Still, be incredibly careful and stay safe.


What’s in a name

I have two names. Other than my surname.  Brian and Douglas.

Apparently, Brian means high or noble. Unfortunately, “high” can mean all sorts of things today. Douglas means “from the dark river”.

What does your name mean?

I have always been intrigued that Mary did not get to choose the name for her child. The angel declared “you are to give him the name Jesus”, meaning “to deliver; to rescue”.

We know that Peter was known as Simon (mentioned 75 times in Scripture), as Cephas (9 times) and Peter (154 times).

For our “Thought for the Day,” I invite to consider the name Barnabas.

Barnabas, a native of Cyprus and a Levite, is first mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles as a member of the early Christian community in Jerusalem, who sold some land that he owned and gave the proceeds to the community found the Acts.

Interestingly Barnabas was not born with that name, he was named Joseph. Barnabas was a nickname “Son of encouragement”. (Acts 4:36). Because he was, he was an encourager.

Sometimes we are tempted to see ourselves through an unhelpful lens. Almost as if it is wrong to feel good about ourselves! But not today!

What would like your nickname to be?

What do you think people appreciate about you the most? If in doubt, ask someone.What is the best thing about you?
Thank you, Lord, for the gifts we receive through the lives of others. Amen

God bless and stay safe



Who is Korah?

There are three mentioned in Scripture.

            The first Korah was the son of a woman named Oholibamah in Genesis 36:5.

            The second is from 1 Chronicles 2:34, a son of a man named Hebron.

The third and the one I am interested in is from Numbers 16.

This is the Korah who raises up a mob of Israelites to oppose Moses’ leadership and questioned the idea that he (Moses) was God’s only spokesperson. The story does not end well for them.


Now here is what is interesting.

We know that Kind David did not write all the Psalms. There are several authors and often the author’s name is at the beginning of the Psalm. David wrote most of the Psalms, many of the Psalms are unattributed but at least eleven psalms are attributed to the Sons of Korah, the Korah who turned against Moses.

So here is a thought.

We can all judge the past,

but it is what we are doing in the present

that really matters.

Another day of opportunity.



As the Ruin Falls
C. S. Lewis

(One of the few undated poems by Lewis)


All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you.
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through:
I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.


Peace, re-assurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek,
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin:
I talk of love –a scholar’s parrot may talk Greek–
But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.

Only that now you have taught me (but how late) my lack.
I see the chasm. And everything you are was making
My heart into a bridge by which I might get back
From exile, and grow man. And now the bridge is breaking.


For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains
You give me are more precious than all other gains.


We can pray or sing these words…

Search me, O God, and know my heart today

Try me, O Saviour, know my thoughts, I pray

See if there be some wicked way in me

Cleanse me from every sin, and set me free

(The 1st verse of a popular hymn based on Psalm 139: 23,24)


Meet Him at the Well

A visitor at a church I served several years ago was decidedly uncomfortable with the number of people in the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary was full, and it was considered to be one of the larger sanctuaries in the area.

She felt there were far too many people for her to feel she was in an intimate sacred space with her Lord. Voicing her discomfort, a colleague of mine said to her, “I guess He will need to meet you at the well.”

If anything, during these days of the pandemic, a closed church building, has challenged us to find other ways to engage with our spiritual journeys.

For those who worship regularly, not gathering, has caused a deep sense of loss of community fellowship and corporate gathering for worship.

For those who maybe for the first time, or maybe not for a long time, feel the tug for something deeper. A need for comfort, peace, wisdom, a realisation of our own frailty, there is much online now, and this has gone some way in reaching out and connecting.

However, the meeting of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4) gives us a wonderful insight into the love and ministry of Jesus. In fact, the vast majority of what Jesus did, was outside the buildings.

Jesus meets us in our time of loneliness, our time of isolation, our time of forced separateness.

So, if you feel disconnected from your normal community, if you feel the need for a significantly deeper moment during this time of isolation, then consider sharing in the prayer that I have prayed today. Take your time and dwell in the moment.

Lord Jesus Christ

You meet with me at the well

May I experience the comfort of your presence

The wisdom of your words

The gift of your peace


Consider reading the Gospel according to John found in the New Testament section of the Christian Bible.

John Chapter 4 from verse 1 – 42

The Sight of the Heart

Frances Jane van Alstyne (née Crosby; March 24, 1820 – February 12, 1915), more commonly known as Fanny Crosby, was an American mission worker, poet, lyricist, and composer. She was one of the most prolific hymnists in history, writing more than 8,000 hymns and gospel songs, with more than 100 million copies printed, despite being blind from shortly after birth.

At six weeks old, Crosby caught a cold and developed inflammation of the eyes. Mustard poultices were applied to treat the discharges. According to Crosby, this procedure damaged her optic nerves and blinded her, but modern physicians think that her blindness was more likely congenital and, given her age, may simply not have been noticed by her parents.

Her father died in November 1820 when Fanny was only six months old, so she was raised by her mother and maternal grandmother Eunice Paddock Crosby (born about 1778; died about 1831). These women grounded her in Christian principles, helping her memorize long passages from the Bible, and she became an active member of the John Street Methodist Episcopal Church in Manhattan.    (Thank you Wikipedia)

One of my favourite hymns (written by Fanny Crosby), and one Phil Smith sang for us this past Sunday, is the hymn “Blessed Assurance”.

Notice these words from her hymn:

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Fanny Crosby could see with her heart! In her surrender to God, she could see with her heart.

Today, as we go about, let us try not to only look with our eyes, but also our hearts. Just maybe we may see more than our eyes do.

Blessings and stay safe


Perfect submission, all is at rest,

I in my Saviour am happy and blest;

Watching and waiting, looking above,

Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.


I truly miss our Sunday Gatherings.

Our Thought for the day – is a Night Prayer.
(You may recognise the words)

“Now I lay me down to sleep;

I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

May God guard me through the night,

And wake me with the morning light.”


For a Celtic Evening Liturgy please click on Celtic-Night-Prayer

Sleep tight.
God bless you

Forgive and forget is a load of rubbish.

Butterflies Remember

I read a document that explains how Butterflies remember.

They do not remember being a caterpillar, but they do remember the lessons they learnt as a caterpillar and those lessons still inform them as a butterfly.

Got me thinking.

Forgive and forget is a load of rubbish.

I do not understand why we always say “forgive and forget”.
Forgive yes, absolutely.

But forget? Why?

Here is the danger. If we forgive, we are actually the ones set free.

The transformation is like from a caterpillar to a butterfly.

I do not have anything against caterpillars and some of them can be exquisitely beautiful.

But let us face it, there are no ugly butterflies.


But if we forget, then, we run the real risk of repeating the experience. So, like the butterfly, we need to take the lessons learnt from the “pre-forgiveness” time into the “life lived in forgiveness” time. That is a good way to forgive.


Gerald G. Jampolsky in “Love is Letting Go of Fear” (Bantam, 1979) says,

“Inner peace can be reached only when we practise forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the past and is, therefore, the means for correcting our misperceptions.”

Colossians 3:13 – Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Matthew 6:12 “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

But hang on to the lessons learnt.

Blessings, stay safe and be free.




“Meaninglessness does not come from being weary of pain.

Meaninglessness comes from being weary of pleasure.”

                                                                                                          Gilbert K. Chesterton

Although the above quote is attributed to G K Chesterton, it is also attributed to the author and Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias.

If you expect me to say something profound to follow on from this quote, I am afraid I must disappoint.

However, I find it interesting that in the last few months, in the pain of the current pandemic, we have found much meaningfulness.

We have experienced deeper appreciation for the simpler things.

We have recognised that at least some of the trappings we consider essential to life are, in fact, unnecessary.

We have found that some of what we thought to be meaningful and important, has been exposed as meaningless.

We have found more moments of sacred in stillness.

Even parents who have been stretched beyond their patience, with the never-ceasing demands of constant supervision of their children, have discovered moments that they will always cherish. The forced togetherness has brought insights and wonders in conversations and observations they would never have had been “away” at work.

We have found meaning in our moments of crises.

Maybe we must be wary of rushing back into that which is all-consuming, with the promise of “pleasure”. It may lead us to deeper meaninglessness.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Hebrews 13:5

God bless and stay safe


For the evening and the morning

Our Thought for the Day is, in fact, a “Thought for the Evening and tomorrow morning”.

As you end your day, I invite you to reflect:  

  • Have I done everything I needed to do?

If yes, congratulate yourself.

If no, then how will what I still need to do impact tomorrow?

  • What were the moments that I feel I did well?

What were the moments that I should have done differently?

Note that for next time!

  • Finally, what were the special moments, the beautiful moments, the moments that you are glad happened and that you were there to       see it, hear it, smell it, touch it, even taste it?
Experience that sense of gratitude and welcome it.


And for the morning, start with these words from the Psalmist:


          “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,

for I have put my trust in you.

Show me the way I should go,

for to you, I entrust my life.”

Psalm 143:8

Sleep well and have a great day tomorrow.

Blessings and stay safe.