31 Jan 2019

Update from Ian

Ian Gillies, student under care of the Scottish Presbytery, is studying at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Here is an update from him:

Dear Brothers, Sisters, and Friends,

After a few weeks in Scotland over the holiday period, I have settled back into seminary life here in Pittsburgh. My time at home was busy and short yet sweet nonetheless. I hope to visit those of you I was unable to see at some point over the summer, Lord willing. I am thankful to now be back at RPTS, resuming my studies in the Word that is “sweeter than honey” (Psalm 119:103).

I continue to enjoy my classes. This quarter I am taking Ministry of Worship, Historical Writings (Joshua-Esther), Doctrine of Revelation, Greek, and Theological Research and Writing. I have also been visiting some of the residents at the RP Home on a weekly basis. The Home provides accommodation and nursing care for the elderly, many of whom are former missionaries and ministers. I have particularly enjoyed spending an hour or so each week with a retired RP minister; discussing the church, the ministry, and the Christian walk. I must confess I have received far more than I have given during these visits.

I really am thankful for your prayers, friends. I continue to pray that you would each know the help of the Lord as individuals, families, and churches. The day is dark but, for those in Christ, we have the Light of the world indwelling us. Below is an extract from Jeremiah Burroughs’ Gospel Worship which serves as a relatable reminder of how the Lord enlightens and empowers those who diligently seek Him,

“By coming into God’s presence in His worship, there will grow a sweet and blessed familiarity between God and your soul, for you will be speaking to God and God will be speaking to you too. We know many times that dear friends who are very nearly linked together grow estranged from one another if they are absent from each other for a long time. And so by degrees their friendship is deadened. But when they are together every day, and there is an intercourse of love and friendship, then their friendship is kept active and quick. But if they are absent long, indeed if they are absent in another country when they cannot come together, they are sure that it is not through any neglect. This will not dampen their friendship. But when they are near to each other and do not come to visit, then they think it is out of neglect, and they become estranged.

So it is with the soul. If there were no possibility of coming into God’s
presence, then it would not hinder the sweetness of the love of God to us. But when we have those duties of worship wherein we may draw night to God, if we neglect them, our familiarity with God will be quickly lost. “Acquaint thyself with God and be at peace.” God is willing to be acquainted with His servants. The Lord loves to be familiar with the poorest of His saints; and will you not maintain that sweet familiarity with God? Those who are most familiar with God are most potent with God.”

Before I leave you, I would not be a Scotsman if I did not mention the weather! There have been snow and ice storms sweeping across America in recent days but, apart from the freezing temperatures, we have been kept from the worst of it. Although it has been cold outside, I have continued to enjoy the warmth of the people here at the seminary. With only around forty students on-site there is very much of a familial spirit amongst the students, faculty, and staff.

With regards to my upcoming schedule, I will be sitting my final exams for this quarter mid-February, Lord willing, before beginning the spring quarter which runs through to mid-May. I hope to be in touch again long before then!

Every blessing,
Ian Gillies