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Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson


March 2013

Daily Prayer for March (from 14th March 2013)

Prayer for 29 March – Let your peace be always with me.

Prayer for 28 March – Lord, help me abide in you that I may bear fruit that will remain.

Prayer for 27 March – My Master and my God, I want to be at your feet where I can see you clearly and hear your voice distinctly and always know what you require from me.

Prayer for 26 March – Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, let me never forget all you are and my place before you. Thank you for the mercy and forgiveness Jesus brings to those who ask for it.

Prayer for 25 March – Lord Jesus, Captain of our salvation. Thank you for equipping me to serve in your army. Grant me also the courage to get up and fight every single day.

Prayer for 22 MarchLord, you know that at times I find this walk of faith gets ‘foggy’. The mist comes down on my soul, and I can hardly see to take the next step. But thank you that I always have the clarity to at least move my feet forward a little. Keep me singing in the gloom, and communing with you, even though my vision is cloudy.

Prayer for 21  March – Lord God may we in your church experience everything you have for us and miss out on no good thing you want to give us.

Prayer for 20 March: Thank you Lord for the many people who have been the means of bringing your help to me, and who still continue to do so. May I similarly be your ‘Hand extended’ to bring kindness and goodness to all those you want me to influence and support and help. Thank you indeed dear Lord that although at times you may subtract from our lives, you also wonderfully add. I am grateful for the mathematics of heaven.

Prayer for 19 March: Thank you Lord God for the sheer privilege of being part of a team. Help me to play my part to the full, thus enabling others to do the same. As we seek to serve whole-heartedly, may we look to you above all for that fruit only you can give.

Prayer for 18 March:  Lord Jesus, I am truly grateful for all that you have given me to know of life in the Holy Spirit. Yet I know I have been placed into an endless ‘Ocean’ of unfathomable length and depth. Help me to not stay still, but swim and explore the endless wonders of this realm of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer for 15 March:  I ask Lord that I will be anointed ‘with the Holy Spirit and power’ in order to be like Jesus and do the works He did.

Prayer for 14 March: Lord God, I know it is true that those who walk with the wise are more likely to become wise. Please help me to keep step with you throughout my life. Your wisdom is infinite and perfect. I ask that lots of it will ‘rub off’ on me!

Daily Bible Thoughts for March (from 14th March 2013).

29 March – Daily Bible thoughts 325

28 March – Daily Bible thoughts 324

27 March – Daily Bible thoughts 323

26 March – Daily Bible thoughts 322

25 March – Daily Bible thoughts 321

22 March – Daily Bible thoughts 320

21 March – Daily Bible thoughts 319

20 March – Daily Bible thoughts 318

19 March – Daily Bible thoughts 317

18 March – Daily Bible thoughts 316

15 March – Daily Bible thoughts 315

14 March – Daily Bible thoughts 314

Daily Bible Thoughts 313 March 13th 2013

Romans 14:13-23

Someone said something like this: Your brother/sister in Christ is so precious To God, that if they were to go on sale in the universe, you would have to put the cross of Calvary on the price tag!

Warren Wiersbe has written to the effect that our love may be more tested by Christians who disagree with us than with enemies of God who persecute us. He points out that it takes a diamond to cut a diamond. Our object must not be to get everyone to agree with us, but to pursue peace. Christians can be way too strident in declaiming their views on secondary issues. Some preach them as if they were cardinal things. Have we forgotten that Romans 14:22a is in the Bible? Or perhaps we have not noticed! Let’s not major on minors!!

We saw yesterday how Christians are free to disagree over secondary/tertiary issues. There are disputable matters where there is room for believers to differ and continue to love each other and still be genuine Christians. F.B. Meyer puts this well. He writes about that great border-land which lies between the dark and light, the clearly wrong and clearly right. We are all conscious of habits and tastes, of inclinations towards certain forms of amusement and recreation, of methods of life, which do not contravene any distinct law of God, but are certainly open to question. Great verses through the Bible, p.418

Where the Bible doesn’t clearly speak on a particular issue, there will be Christians who feel free to do that thing and others who in all conscience can’t. (Paul sees the person with the most scruples as the weaker brother: see 15:1. Jewish Christians, raised under the law of Moses, had a hard time adjusting to their new life of freedom in Christ. That is something of the background here.) Paul’s message is in essence, ‘Feel free to follow what your Lord is guiding you to do via your conscience. Jesus is your Master. He’s the One who will Judge you. No-one should set themselves up as the judge of another. It’s not the job description assigned to anyone in the church.’ Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don’t impose it on others. The Message.

But then in the second half of this fourteenth chapter he goes on to say, ‘You may well feel free to do something another Christian doesn’t feel able to do. By all means do it if your conscience Okays it. But DON’T DO IT  if thereby you are going to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way…Do not…destroy your brother for whom Christ died…Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of….(13, 15b, 19). He says not to do anything to cause your brother to fall (21). As important as our freedom in Christ is, there is a higher principle that should not be sacrificed, i.e. love of others in the church. Here, then, is an ultra-important point to grasp: there are things that some Christians engage in that are not sinful in themselves, but if other Christians regard these practices as sinful, yet do them, they are sinning (14b, 23). So you don’t want to let your freedom push them in that direction. Don’t be a bad example even by doing what you see as a good thing.

The thing is that these are secondary issues and should not become matters of friction and destruction. There are far more important issues at stake (17: Remember what kingdom life is all about!), including the pursuit of congregational peace and building up of the body of Christ (19). God wants for there to always be righteousness, peace and joy filling His church.

Daily Prayer March 13th 2013

Prayer: Thank you Lord for the freedom I have in you; a freedom to follow my conscience where your Word does not directly speak to the matter. However, help me to so love my brothers and sisters for whom you died, that I don’t make my freedom an instrument to inadvertently lead them into sin.

Daily Bible Thoughts 312 March 12th 2013

Romans 14:1-12

Here are some vitally important principles for harmonious relationships with fellow-Christians who can be so different to us and see things so very differently:

Don’t judge (1-3): Don’t look down on or condemn a fellow Christian who takes a different view to you on a secondary/tertiary issue. We are not dealing here with cardinal doctrines of the faith that we must all cling to, but debatable matters where believers will (and do) differ. In the church in Rome there were pressing issues about eating meat versus vegetarianism and special holy days. Some Christians took one stance and some another. We have our modern equivalents of these. Paul’s words are still sparklingly relevant: Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with… The Message.

The reason (4): for non-judgmentalism is quite simply that your brothers and sisters don’t belong to you but to the Lord. They’re not your slaves but His. You don’t have any right to try to control them. Furthermore don’t worry about them. You’re scared they’re going to topple over because they don’t share your cherished opinions. But it’s God’s business to keep them upright, and He will. Jesus is their Lord and not you. (8-12)(It reminds me of where Jesus effectively says, ‘What’s it got to do with you, Peter, regarding what I do with John? It’s none of your business! You keep your eyes on me, not him!!’ See John 21:22.) I was brought up in a very strict (even legalistic at times) evangelical environment. As a younger person, I remember feeling shocked and disappointed when I heard how a good Christian friend (an older man I looked up to) had enjoyed a cigar and wine with a meal (and shared this experience with another Christian!!). I now know that although some Christians choose to be tee-total for good reasons, the Bible does not forbid wine. And although I can make a good argument for not smoking, the Bible does not expressly forbid it. So I should not judge a fellow-Christian who does. (We no doubt all abuse our bodies somewhat. It’s not right, but we can have big blind spots as the majority do this damage in more evangelically acceptable ways.) Since both are guests at Christ’s table, wouldn’t it be terribly rude if they fell to criticizing what the other ate or didn’t eat? God, after all, invited them both to the table. Do you have any business crossing people off the guest list or interfering with God’s welcome? If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help. The Message. So…

Respect the other person’s conscience where it comes to disputable things (5b): There are good reasons either way. So, each person is free to follow the convictions of conscience. The Message.

Christianity is about living and dying ‘to the Lord’: Look at the repetition of this phrase in (6-8). We don’t live and die to each other but to the Lord Jesus. At the end of the day we will give an account of ourselves to God and not someone else. It’s our own lives we need to focus on. Put away the binoculars and stop spending so much time looking over your neighbour’s garden fence! What’s important in all of this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God’s sake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you’re a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli…It’s God we’re answerable to-all the way from life to death and everything in between-not each other. That’s why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other. The Message. Remember this maxim: In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in everything, charity

Daily Prayer 12th March 2013

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me fix my eyes on you always

Daily Bible Thoughts 311 March 11th 2013

1 Chronicles 9:35-10:14

The church of Jesus Christ is composed of real people who bleed when they’re cut, and not ‘stained-glass window’ saints.

Saul was a real man (9:35-44): That’s one clear fact Saul’s genealogy tells us. Although the Chronicler chooses not to record the fact (after all, he had his own editorial purposes, and uses Saul to introduce the story of David’s reign), for a time Saul was a bit of a super-hero (well, a lot of one actually.) He had such a promising beginning. He was Israel’s first king and he got off to a flier. But the heroes of the Bible are real people. They have feet of clay.

There is no such thing (as great people)! The greatest man or woman is 99 per cent just like yourself. George Bernard Shaw.

Real men get hurt (10:1-3): They know the heat of the battle. Pain registers with them. They get wounded in the fight. They become aware of the enemy pressing hard after them (2). They experience the fighting growing fierce around them (3). In the ranks of the church we need to ensure that we erect a ‘Prayer Shield’ around our leaders. Pray earnestly for them. This won’t mean that they will escape the ferocity of the battle; that they won’t carry scars. But it can prevent them  from becoming unnecessary casualties. As the Message puts it, the enemy will ‘zero in’ on leaders and their families. Let’s do all we can to protect them with our prayers. (However, as we will see, Saul did not die because the battle was tough, but because he was unfaithful to God. If church leaders are to know the Lord’s full protection, it will take more than our prayers. They also have to remain loyal to their Lord and Master.)

Real men die. The dreadful reality of the death of Saul and three of his sons (see 9:39/10:6) is hammered home in (10:5-8; 11, 12). These men were buried because they died. (The inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead are mentioned out of respect for their honourable treatment of these beloved bodies. You can contrast this with what the Philistines did in verses 9 and 10. They celebrated this as a spiritual victory, as if their god Dagon had triumphed over Israel’s God. Of course he hadn’t and couldn’t. See 1 Samuel 5. But this is what can happen when believers live in a way that is contrary to our profession. We can cause the heathen to blaspheme.) Pete Scazzero, in his book ‘Emotionally healthy spirituality’ quotes Roger Rohr who has written about five fundamental truths men must awaken to if they are to grow up into their God-given masculinity and spirituality. These are: a.) Life is hard; b.) You are not that important; c.) Your life is not about you; d.) You are not in control; e.) You are going to die. But, although all of this is true, and we have to honestly and courageously face the unavoidable reality of our mortality, not all people have to die in disgrace. Saul did (13/14). Don’t agree to follow his script! Don’t let his story be yours!! (As F.B. Meyer has commented, men who have dismissed God will deal with the devil rather than go it alone. Surprising, but true! Saul died in disobedience, disobedient to GOD. He didn’t obey GOD’s words. Instead of praying, he went to a witch to seek guidance. Because he didn’t go to GOD for help, GOD took his life and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse. The Message.

Oh, the grievous shipwrecks of some great ships! We see some boards and planks lying in the mud at low water, but that is all! Thomas Shepard  

Daily Prayer March 11th 2013

Prayer: Lord, you have blessed and kept me all this way. Keep me from going into a nose dive and crashing like Saul did. Please help me to stay faithful to you all my days. I want to finish well, for your glory. This is my desire.

Daily Bible Thoughts 310 March 8th 2013

1 Chronicles 9:14-34

Continuing with the list we began to look at yesterday, a list starting  at verse 3, we come to the Levites from verse 14 onwards. See here that if someone is to be made responsible in the church:

They must be able: Looking back to the thirteenth verse, you see that responsibility (a key theme repeated in verse 19) should be linked to ability. You don’t put someone in charge of the choir who hates music and can’t sing a note! You don’t appoint a church treasurer who can’t count (any more than you would ask your dustbin man to perform brain surgery!!). A vital matter in giving responsibilities to people is to try to discern who God has chosen(22)  and for which tasks.

They should show a willingness to collaborate (24, 25): We are the body of Christ and the different ‘parts’ need each other. There is ‘division of labour’ in the church. No-one should try to take on everything.

They should honour the past (19):just as their fathers had been responsible… It is fitting and proper that we should honour the memories of those who have gone before us in the faith; that we should have due respect for good and godly tradition. At its worst, tradition can imprison us in the past and force us to live there (if you can call imprisonment living.) But let’s not be reactionary. Not all traditions are bad. At its best, tradition preserves the best of the past and carries it into the present.

They are to be protective towards the church (19, 22, 23, 27): There can (and should) be a healthy desire to guard the church from everything that would defile it and displease God; to protect it from every influence that might cause it to drift from its firm moorings in Scripture. But beware! This can go badly wrong. Be careful that you don’t become a professional spiritual ‘bloodhound’, walking through this world with your nose perpetually to the ground, trying to sniff out heresy. If that becomes your obsessive preoccupation, you will find it where it isn’t. You will be in danger of becoming unbalanced and hard and cold towards good brothers and sisters in Christ. Some people so set themselves up as ‘watch dogs’ that they can’t see anything good in anything that has life in it. They seem suspicious of just about everyone except the vetted few in their little clique.

They must be trustworthy (22, 26, and 31): They are to carry a sense of sacred trust, aware that the church belongs to God and not them.

They have to be committed (27, 33b): They must not be mere time servers. Their hearts and souls; their days and nights even are to be in the great work they do.

They need to be humble: Not everyone in this long list is named. You get expressions like Some of them (28), Others (29), But some (30), Some (32), and Those who were musicians (33). Not every job carried equal prominence, and some tasks may have seemed more menial and mundane than others. Are you happy to not have your name ‘up in lights’? Are you prepared to faithfully get on with what you sense God has given you to do, regardless of human acknowledgement and applause?

They must be anointed (20b): …the LORD was with him. Whatever we may do in the church, may this be true of each one of us. It is the indispensable requirement for ministry.

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