An encouraging and challenging time was experienced by those who gathered for the second Southern Presbytery Family Conference on 25th November 2023. Around 90-100 were present over the day at Partick when Pastor Pooyan Mehrshahi, Cheltenham, preached. As well as enjoying fellowship over coffee and lunch, there was a Psalmody class in between the two addresses led by Rev. James Gracie.
In his first address Mr Mehrshahi spoke on the theme of The Godly Family from Psalms 144, 128 and 127 showing that illustrations were used to provide us with a vision of a godly home. Psalm 144 speaks of a war situation where David is longing for peace, that there may be the blessings of home life as it should be v7-12. Though his prayer was not answered in his own day, during Solomon’s reign much peace and blessing was experienced (though as was noted at the following Q&A session, there were attacks on the family through other means at that time). Parents were reminded that even if they do not see obvious fruit for their attempts to raise their children for the Lord, the blessing may come after they pass this scene of time or in future generations. Like Israel, our families are to be different from others, that people may know through the blessings enjoyed that God is truly amongst us. This was an encouragement to pray and patiently wait for God’s blessing.
In looking briefly at Psalm 128, it was pointed out that it was young olive plants, not mature trees which were around the family table. They are precious and need to be tended well that they may grow and be fruitful. As we fear the Lord, live for God’s glory, and see him blessing us through the Church, we will live lives encouraging their godly nurture. Alluding to Psalm 127 we were reminded that is the Lord who must build our homes. We must, however, have a plan and aim for a godly home if one is to be built (haphazard building is disastrous) and we must use God’s tools and methods, relying on him. Reference was made to the need for prayer, Bible study, catechising and a godly example. Continual stress was given to having the right vision of what we are aiming at and being encouraged in the Lord, with lessons applicable to many situations in Church and family life.
After lunch Mr Mehrshahi continued with the family theme of Serving Together from 1 Samuel 1. We were encouraged to leave a legacy for the glory of God which is the purpose of our service and worship. Hannah did so by investing in her family. Despite the difficulties brought on by a divided household, she did not walk away from problems or discouragements. She persevered in prayer, aware that God works all things for good to his people. We were encouraged not to focus on problems but to patiently serve God. The closer we walk with God, the more profitable we will be as parents, children, employees etc. Our faith should be practical and also look to God to do the impossible as we lay hold of his promises. The result was that Hannah was blessed with a child, Samuel, and gave him back to the Lord forever. He grew to be a great and godly man and a deliverer in Israel. Thus we were encouraged to persevere in prayer and service.
Both addresses are available on the Partick FCC SermonAudio page. Next year’s Southern Presbytery Family Conference is scheduled DV for Saturday 30th November in Partick.