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Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson


June 2015

Daily Bible thoughts 912: Tuesday 30th June 2015: Jeremiah 9: 17-22: ‘A time to weep.’

Jeremiah 9: 17-22: ‘A time to weep.’(click here for todays passage)

In Ecclesiastes 3: 1a & 4, Solomon writes: ‘’There is…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…’’

As Jeremiah considered what he knew was going to happen to his people, he saw that it was a time for tears.

Tom Hale makes these interesting and perceptive comments: ‘’Since the Lord’s judgment on Judah has been determined, there is nothing left for the people to do but lament their fate. The Lord tells Jeremiah to call for the wailing women, professional mourners whose job it was to arouse the bereaved to weep and mourn (verses 17-18). In verse 19, the Lord gives the words the women are to say. In verse 20, Jeremiah tells the ‘’wailing women’’ to teach their daughters how to wail; otherwise there will not be sufficient wailers, given the terrible judgment that is about to fall! In verses 21-22, that judgment is vividly described.’’ He goes on to say, ‘’The people of Judah no doubt wept and mourned when Jerusalem fell and they were carried into exile; but they wept and mourned for their loss and not for their sin. If they had repented of their sin, they would not have had to weep for their loss.’’ ‘The applied Old Testament Commentary’’, pp.1090/1091.

It was a terrible and graphic scenario painted by Jeremiah: ‘’Death has climbed in through the window, broken into our bedrooms. Children on the playgrounds drop dead, and young men and women collapse at their games.’’ The Message.

‘’God called the nation to lament because they would soon be going to their own funeral. Death was coming, and the politicians and false prophets wouldn’t be able to hinder it. Death is pictured as a thief who comes unhindered through the windows to steal precious lives.’’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘The Wiersbe Bible Commentary (OT), P.1218.

Just imagine if such things were being said to us: ‘’The dead bodies of men will lie like refuse on the open field, like cut corn behind the reaper, with no-one to gather them.’’ (22).

Yet is our situation in any less serious? Do we not live in a nation that is shaking its fist at God? We have broken His laws. We have passed our own laws that are contrary to His. We reject Christ and the gospel. We do not want this Man to reign over us. Is this a time for frivolity in the church? Is it a day for apathy? Why are our prayer meetings so empty? Why are our eyes so dry? May God have mercy on us.

‘’Never in history has there been more ribald hilarity with less to be funny about.’’ Vance Havner.

‘’Look over the trouble we’re in and call for help.’’ The Message.

Prayer: Lord God, turn the heart of your church back to you. Help us to understand the seriousness of the times and the part you are calling us to play.

Daily Bible thoughts 911: Monday 29th June 2015: Jeremiah 9: 12-16: Two ways.

Jeremiah 9: 12-16: Two ways (click here for passage)

From beginning to end the Bible shows that there are two ways in life and we must choose which road we will travel. One way is ‘’narrow’’ having relatively few people on it. The other is ‘’broad’’ and thronged with crowds (Matthew 7: 13, 14). But this broad, popular route leads to ‘’destruction’’ while the other leads to ‘’life’’.

This was essentially Jeremiah’s message. Those who rejected God’s way for their own were going to suffer a terrible fate. Yes, God would be patient with them, and give them many opportunities to repent. He wanted to save them. But in the end, if they insisted on their own way, they surely would have it. Then they wouldn’t want it. It would lead to ruin and waste and the bitter experience of death, captivity in a foreign land, and scattering among the nations.

C.S. Lewis said that in the final analysis there are only two kinds of people in the world: those who say to God, ‘Your will be done’, and those to whom God says, ‘Your will be done.’

As Dorothy L. Sayers commented: ‘’The essence of Hell is the truth discovered too late.’’

The destiny of the people of Judah is a pale foreshadowing of the final judgment, which will surely come. Someone pointed out that Adam and Eve first chose to hide from God before they were removed from the Garden of Eden. He went on to say that ultimately, all that God does in judgment is to ratify the choices we have already made.

Prayer: Lord, I acknowledge that your way is best. Help me to choose it today and always.

Daily Bible thoughts Friday 26th June, Jeremiah 9:10-12: Are you ready?

Jeremiah 9:10-12: Are you ready?
Fulfilled prophecy is one of the reasons why I believe the Bible to be God’s Book (the technical term is ‘inspired’) and no ordinary book. A large percentage of the Bible is prophecy, in which future events are forecast in detail. The bulk of these prophecies have already come true to the letter. This should give us total confidence that the remainder of these, pertaining to the end of history as we know it: the second coming of Christ, will come to pass.
Take, for example, this prophecy of Jeremiah. Many people in his day thought he was talking through his hat! They could not envisage such a disaster. But what he predicted happened. Disaster befell the people of Judah because of their rebellion against God. It broke Jeremiah’s heart. He saw it all in vivid detail before it happened, and wept over it. But very few people got onto the same page as him.
So we may think that the contents of the book of ‘Revelation,’ for example, are far-fetched. We can dismiss these visions as eccentric and whacky and odd. But if you realistically assess what has already happened in terms of accurate Biblical prophecy, would you bet against the last book in the Bible coming true?
Many are asking, ‘What is the world coming to?’ The real question is, ‘Who is coming to this world?’ The answer is Jesus. Are you ready to meet Him? Or are you with all the mockers who dismissed Jeremiah? What happened to them?
Prayer: ‘’Into my heart, into my heart, come into my heart Lord Jesus. Come in today; come in to stay; come into my heart Lord Jesus.

Daily Bible thoughts 909: Thursday 25th June 2015: Jeremiah 9:3-9: The horizontal dimension.

Jeremiah 9:3-9: The horizontal dimension.(click here for passage)

‘’…any theology that minimizes personal holiness and excuses sinfulness is not biblical theology.’’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘The Wiersbe Bible Commentary (Old Testament) p.1218. Jeremiah would not excuse the sins of his people. His message was one of repentance and judgment. The people he lived among were far gone.

These verses paint a grotesque picture of society torn apart by sin; a world in which people do well (in the short term) by lying (3b). And there is a degenerative aspect to sin – a downhill spiral. Things go from bad to worse. What kind of culture is it, when a prophet has to say: ‘’Don’t even trust your grandmother!’’? The Message. This is a world turned in on itself.

The truth is that sin separates. It separates people from one another. But in the first place it separates them from God. Twice in this passage, virtually the identical thing is said:

‘’…they do not acknowledge me…they refuse to acknowledge me…’’ (3b, 6b).

That lay at the heart of the problem. Something had gone wrong at the vertical level that was being worked out in the horizontal dimension of life. People estranged from God became more and more estranged from one another. Your relationship with God will inevitably be exposed in your treatment of others. (Consider Matthew 25:31-46 and Hebrews 6:10). It will splash over into your behaviour towards people. We cannot get away with saying that we love God when we are treating people badly. God is not deceived by such talk. (1 John 4:20, 21).

Our daily news is filled with stories of violence and cruelty; abuse and barbarism. In various ways we see people hurting each other. Wounds can be inflicted by lying words, gossip, slander and the like. It’s not always by bombs, bullets and sharp pointy instruments. Much of our entertainment industry is based around stories of people at odds with each other. There seems to be more and more ‘gutter’ television, featuring men and women being mean and nasty to others. This all points to a people disconnected from their God. Because they are separated from Him, in different ways they move away from each other.

There is much to weep over (1, 2).

‘’Never in history has there been more ribald hilarity with less to be funny about.’’ Vance Havner.

Prayer: Help me to live consciously in your presence, dear Lord; to be so close to you that I detest sin and treat others well.

Daily Bible thoughts 908: Wednesday 24th June 2015: Proverbs 24:15-22: Resilience.

Proverbs 24:15-22: Resilience.(click here for passage)

‘’The destruction of evil men is sure (15, 16, 19, 20) but it is not to be received with vindictive delight by the righteous man.’’ A.E. Cundall.

As someone said, we should never speak of Hell except we have tears in our eyes.

The judgment to come on wicked people is a repeated theme in these verses. But at the heart of the passage there is a wonderful statement about the resilience of the righteous:

‘’…for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again.’’ (16a).

‘’No matter how many times you trip them up, God-loyal people don’t stay down long; Soon they’re up on their feet, while the wicked end up flat on their faces.’’ The Message.

It’s like God’s people are made of spiritual rubber. They bounce back. They persevere. They endure. They just keep going. This is a wonderful God-given quality. I am not saying that every believer proves to be equally resilient, but certainly everyone, in Christ, can be.

Recent scientific studies into resilience have shown the importance of having a core set of beliefs that help a person make sense of calamity. This is not the only factor, but it is vital. It’s not difficult to see how this point applies to ‘the righteous’. We believe in a sovereign God who overrules every detail of our lives for a higher purpose

In John Ortberg’s book, ‘Soul Keeping’, he writes about his high school friend’s mother called Betty:

‘’…she lived to be ninety years old. She never did anything extraordinary. She just raised four children. She just held her family together as her husband wrestled with manic- depressive disorder decade after decade, before there was medication, not knowing what she would come home to each day. She lived in the same small house in Rockford, Illinois, her whole life. She never travelled. She never bought an expensive dress or an upscale car. When she died, the chapel was packed. It was filled with lives that she had touched.’’ (p.60).

She could have felt sorry for herself. She could have hidden away under a shelter of self-pity. She could have retreated into depression. Instead she had an outward focus and was a blessing to many. She chose to serve and give. She followed the pathway of Jesus. She was resilient. (Hebrews 12:2-4)

Prayer: Lord Jesus you kept on going, even though it meant the way of the cross. Please give me your strength to glorify your Name by a life that endures.


Daily Bible thoughts 907: Tuesday 23rd June 2015: Colossians 3:18 -4:1: Heaven in the home.

Colossians 3:18 -4:1: Heaven in the home.(click here for passage)
It’s been said that ‘’Christianity is as practical as a pair of shoes; not just for putting on and showing, but for getting up and going!’’ It is so practical that it will affect your home and work life for good if you will allow it to.
Someone said that the secret of a happy marriage lies not in finding the right person, but in being the right person. There is profound truth in these words. Today’s passage says, in effect, that if we bring increasing Christ-likeness into our relationships at home and in the work place we will please God and follow His pattern. Verse 17 established an important principle and here are some concrete examples of how it works out. Doing everything ‘’in the name of the Lord Jesus’’ entails doing it all for Him, and through Him, in obedience to Him and like Him.
Notice especially these words:
‘’…as is fitting in the Lord.’’ (18);
‘’…for this pleases the Lord.’’ (20);
‘’…with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.’’ (22);
‘’…as working for the Lord, not for men…’’ (23);
‘’It is the Lord Christ you are serving.’’ (24);
‘’…you also have a Master in heaven.’’ (4:1).
We need to realise that marriage, home life and work life are essentially about Jesus. They are meant to be Christ-centred. He is to be Lord of who we are and what we do in these settings. They are arenas in which we are called to glorify Him. The more like Him we become, the more we will ‘oil the wheels’ in these relationships.
Throughout the passage Paul emphasises the responsibilities of each party: wives, husbands, children, Fathers, slaves and Masters. Now I have to fulfil my responsibility regardless of what you do (or don’t do) about yours. But obviously, everything works best when people reciprocate and pull their weight. Let’s do worship at home and at work. Worship is not to be confined, in thinking and practice, to church services. In real worship we offer everything we do to God, and if we can’t present it to Him we don’t do it. At least, that’s how it should be!
So when someone trusts Jesus to be their Saviour and Lord, He comes into their life and transforms everything, if allowed to. The cross comes into their relationships. (See the ‘sister’ passage in Ephesians 5:22 – 6:9; especially 5:25ff. It was written around the same time.) They seek to serve and to give rather than to be served and receive. ‘’For best results, follow the Maker’s Instructions!’’ When we do follow them we realise how wise they are.
Prayer: In every relationship of my life, make me the person you want me to be. I want to be more like you Lord Jesus.

Daily Bible thoughts 906: Monday 22nd June 2015: Colossians 3:15-17: A portrait of the church.

Colossians 3:15-17: A portrait of the church.(click here for passage)
The church is meant to be:
A peaceful community (15a). If day by day we choose to wear the clothes Jesus has freely put in our wardrobe (12-14) the Christian community will be at peace. We’ll be unitedly fighting a spiritual war with the powers of darkness, but we won’t be training our guns on each other. However, a peaceful group will be made up of individuals who are allowing the ‘’peace of Christ’’ to ‘’rule’’ in their hearts. Whatever our outward circumstances, this is to be our dominant emotion. Other feelings/attitudes will fight to control our ‘’hearts’’, so we have a part to play in ‘letting’ Christ’s peace rule. The ‘’peace of Christ’’ may refer to the peace Jesus gives or the peace He possesses. Probably it’s about both (John 14:27.) Somebody observed that as Christ lived in the world, outwardly He ran into many a violent storm, but inwardly He was a ‘’sea of glass’’. He was always at rest In His heart. This is a peace that goes beyond human comprehension (Philippians 4:7). This is the peace which the Lord wants us to carry into the world each day. It is also to be the ethos, the culture, the atmosphere of the church as we gather together. People should be able to ‘feel it in the air’ as they join us. Let’s not allow anything of sin to ruin this peace between the ‘’members of one body’’. Those who belong to Jesus can live at peace if they choose to.
A thankful community (15b). One way that will help you to live at peace with everyone is to be thankful for each person in your world. Take that individual you like the least; the one who can just wind you up at the drop of a hat. You can feel yourself becoming agitated at the mere thought of them. I guarantee you that if you look for things to be thankful for, even in them, you will find them! And if you make it a habit to look for reasons to thank God for them, you will see those reasons, and gradually your heart will soften and change More generally, if you cultivate a thankful mind-set, where you regularly ‘count your blessings’, you will find that this leads to a more peaceful and contented outlook. (Look at how the thread of thanksgiving runs through this short section: verses 15b, 16b, 17b.) Recently I heard someone say that each morning he thinks of five things to be thankful for from the previous day, and he starts the new day by thanking God for them, before he starts to ask for anything else. That helped me and I’m endeavouring to bed in this habit. You will never run dry of reasons for thanksgiving. There are always many more than five reasons!
A Bible-centred community (16). By the way, here’s the primary way you can ‘’Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart’’. It’s by ‘letting’ ‘’the word of Christ dwell in you richly’’. A life soaked in Scripture is likely to be peaceful. If you are saturated in the Bible, like a sponge, when you are ‘squeezed’ in the pressures of life, what is likely to come out? Notice how God’s Word is to be at the heart of our teaching, (whether this is from a pulpit or in groups or one to one), our counselling, and our singing. We should no more sing heresy than preach it! It’s not okay to sing the words anyway just because we like the tune.
A worshipping community (17). David Pawson reputedly said: ‘’For the Christian the whole of life is sacred and the only thing that is secular is sin.’’ If we can’t do what we’re doing ‘’in the name of the Lord Jesus’’ we probably shouldn’t be doing it.

Daily Bible thoughts 905: Friday 19th June 2015: Colossians 3:12-14: A Christian’s Wardrobe.

Colossians 3:12-14: A Christian’s Wardrobe.(please click here for todays passage)

Your clothes say a lot about you. What do your ‘clothes’ say about you?

This morning I looked in my wardrobe and I saw a couple of dirty shirts hanging there. One was called ‘’anger’’ and the other was labelled ‘’rage’’. I also clapped eyes on a pair of trousers bearing the label ‘’malice’’, and there was a suit hanging up that said ‘’slander’’. Then my eyes fastened on a familiar jumper – ‘’filthy language.’’ I confess that I was tempted to put on these old clothes. I’ve had them for so long, and have become comfortable with the feel of them. They are like old friends in a way. I have a kind of love-hate relationship with them. Even though I know they look terrible, and do nothing good for my appearance, they are just so easy to slip into.

But then I realised that there were other clothes hanging in the wardrobe, just waiting to be used. They carried lovely ‘Designer’ labels: ‘’compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.’’ And there were other garments saying, ‘Bear with other people’ and ‘forgive’. This was a brand new set of clothes, provided for me free of charge by a very dear friend. It cost Him so much to make them available. So although I felt a tug towards my old familiar clothes; even though I was drawn in the direction of putting the old, shabby stuff on once again, the awareness of His deep love for me helped me to reach for the new clothing. It was even like I could hear Him speaking to me; a voice that seemed to be inside me saying, ‘Go on and wear them. You know you want to. And always remember how very much I love you.’ In fact, I was aware of Him in the room with me, and I could sense how strongly He wanted me to choose correctly.

So I’ve decided that I’m done with the old gear. I was inclined to put them in the wash, but I’ve now decided to be radical. They’re going out. I’m getting rid. I choose not to wear them anymore!

As I walked down the street in my new set of clothes, many people seemed to notice. They smiled admiringly, and paid me lovely compliments. That never happened before. I get the impression that they prefer this new me, and I’m certainly happier with what I see in the mirror.

So I’m determined to keep the new look and not return to the old slovenly and scruffy ways. And with the assurance of my Friend’s love, and the encouragement of His companionship, I believe I will be able to stick with this resolve. But even if I do slip every now and then, and dig out an old cardigan or something still lurking in the back of the wardrobe, I know He will be there to gently but firmly get me back on track. So, with His constant Friendship I am always hopeful, and endlessly thankful.

Prayer: Thank you Jesus for my lovely new clothes. Thank you for the price you paid.

Daily Bible thoughts 904: Thursday 18th June 2015: Colossians 3:5-11: Pursue Holiness.

 Colossians 3:5-11: Pursue Holiness.(click here for todays passage)

In the pagan religions of Paul’s day, little or nothing was said about personal morality. A worshipper could offer his/her gift on the altar and return home to live the same old way. But it is not like that in Christianity. A Christian is someone who will become more and more like Jesus.

You may quickly notice the paradox suggested by (3) and (5): ‘’For you died…Put to death…’’ It’s what commentators call the tension between the indicative and the imperative; between what has happened, and what must happen in the light of what has happened. We have ‘died’, therefore we must ‘put to death’.

Verse five speaks about definite action; decisive action. This is not something you drift into. These words agree with those of Jesus in Matthew 5:27-30, where He called for radical (you might even say ruthless) action to deal with temptation and sin. You can’t make a truce with these implacable enemies of your soul.

What do you know needs to change in your life? It may have to do with the sins listed in verses five and eight. But we do not have an exhaustive catalogue here. It’s just a sample. Your ‘’earthly nature’’ is capable of other wrongs. But wishing won’t change anything. Definite steps have to be taken against indwelling evil. It is important to realise how much God hates all sin (6). We have to hate it also, and declare war on it. There are things which belong to our old life and not to the new resurrected life in Christ. That previous life is now dead; it is in the past tense. We have to recognise this fact and not go back. There is a picture in this chapter of changing clothes; taking off dirty ones and putting on clean garments. As someone said, we must ‘’take off the grave clothes and put on the grace clothes.’’

As in (5), there is in (8) reference to decisive action. It is also urgent.(N.B. ‘’you must’’). We can’t afford to sit around waiting to change or be changed, but have to get on with making the necessary changes. It is important to see that if you are a Christian you can do this, because you are alive with Christ (1); you are dead to your old life (2), and you have a new godly nature (9, 10). Paul is asking for the possible (to those who are in Christ) and not the impossible. Once you trust Christ for salvation and the Holy Spirit comes to live in you, you have a new endless power supply to live differently. ‘Turbo-charged’ behaviour is now possible! You can pursue holiness because the HOLY Spirit lives inside you.

The church is a new community made up of new people who are enabled to live a new life. In the church all the old distinctions mean nothing (11). Jesus is ‘’in’’ everyone. He is ‘’all’’ we need. He is our ‘’life’’.

It’s been said that we were each formed in the image of God. We were deformed from that image through sin. But now we are being transformed into that image through Christ.

Prayer: Thank you Lord that remarkable change is possible because of your work in me.

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