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Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson

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October 2015

Daily Bible thoughts 983: Tuesday 6th October 2015: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17: Stay focussed

2 Thessalonians 2:1-17: Stay focussed

When I was a teenager, there was a lot of speculation in the air about the Second Coming. There’s nothing new about that of course, and it’s interesting in the light of the fact that when the Bible speaks about Jesus’ return it is with a view to our sanctification, and not for speculation. Be that as it may, it was not uncommon back then to hear some Christians say, ‘’Keep your eyes on…’’ and then mention a leading American diplomat as a possible candidate for the role of antichrist. Again, there’s nothing particularly novel about such talk, and repeatedly Christian writers and preachers have got it wrong. While it is important to know that ‘’the man of lawlesslessness’’ will appear at the appointed time, it is much more important that we should keep our eyes on Jesus.

It is more important to think about the coming again of Christ, than it is to concentrate on the coming of antichrist. The second coming of Jesus is mentioned first in this chapter, and it should fill our minds and hearts more than any thoughts about the appearance of His arch-enemy. The simple thought that we are going to be ‘’gathered to him’’ (1; see 1 Thessalonians 4:17) is one of the most precious truths about the Second Advent. We will be ‘’with the Lord for ever.’’ What a comfort and encouragement that is. We are going to be drawn to Jesus like iron filings to a powerful magnet.

Nevertheless, it is important for us to know that the Christ will not come until the antichrist has first appeared. It seems that when Paul was in Thessalonica, he gave a lot of teaching about the return of Jesus. We know that this theme figures in his first letter. It seems that since he had left, the Thessalonian Christians had received messages, purporting to have come from Paul and his team, saying that Jesus had already returned. So he wrote his second letter predominantly to correct this false understanding (3).

If any of us should be alive when ‘’the man of lawlessness is revealed’’ it will be important to remember that he is ‘’the man doomed to destruction’’. For a little while he will be allowed to run riot on the world stage, and his reign will be bitter for all religious belief. But he will be no match for Jesus (8) and his day will be relatively and mercifully short.

I came across a comment in ‘The New Bible Commentary’’ pertaining to his rule: ‘’The principle of rebellion against God is already operating…but it is not openly enthroned in the world as it will be for the brief duration of antichrist’s domination…’’

Here are some other Biblical references to look at that probably refer to the same person: Daniel 7:25; 8:9ff; 11:36; Mark 13:14; Revelation 13. Although ‘’many antichrists have come’’ it remains true that ‘’the antichrist is coming.’’ (1 John 2:18).

Prayer: Lord keep me from wild speculation, as exciting as it may be. Help me to keep my eyes on Jesus.

Daily Bible thoughts 982: Monday 5th October 2015: Jeremiah 17:19-27: Single Issue.

Jeremiah 17:19-27: Single Issue.(please click here for todays Bible passage)

In ‘Search the Scriptures’ it is pointed out that the issue between God and His people turned on the question of obedience, and in these verses it is brought to a single test. ‘’In your Christian obedience are there test issues of this kind, which, although possibly not themselves the most important subject, are the heart of the question of obedience at the time?’’ p.351.

What Is God speaking to you about at the moment, and how will you respond?

Pray for grace to make right choices.

Daily Bible thoughts 981: Friday 2nd October 2015: Jeremiah 17: 14-18: ‘Where can I go but to the Lord?’

Jeremiah 17: 14-18: ‘Where can I go but to the Lord?’(please click here for todays Bible passage)

Here is Jeremiah up against it. It was tough being a prophet. Day after day you had to get up out of bed and deliver (and live) messages people did not want to hear. We have seen before that Jeremiah suffered for his calling. But:

  • He was conscious that he was God’s man (16a). He was a shepherd to the people, but primarily he belonged to the Lord. So he spoke and acted as one who was not his own. His life wasn’t about doing what he wanted but living under the Lordship of God. Someone said that the Lord is ready to take full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him. So, yes, Jeremiah took his orders and words from God, but he also knew that he could go to Him with his open, bleeding wounds (14). He knew where to take his pain. The Lord was his refuge (17b). Amidst all the heartache, he was a man of praise (14b). He is often characterised as ‘the weeping prophet’, but he was primarily a worshipping prophet;
  • He was committed to speaking God’s words (16b). Are we equally conscious of talking in the sight of God? What difference might it make to your speech if you remembered that God is the ‘silent listener to every conversation’? But sometimes He doesn’t just listen in silence. There are painful moments when you hear Him speak in the depths of your soul and you know you shouldn’t have said that!
  • He did not speak about Hell without tears in his eyes (16b): ‘’…you know I have not desired the day of despair.’’ Jeremiah had to suffer taunts from persecutors who arrogantly poured scorn on his prophecies (15). When was it going to happen? The implication in their question was that it never would. But they were wrong. And there was something of a ‘torn’ feeling in Jeremiah’s heart. No, he had never wanted the judgment he had forecast to fall on his people. It broke his heart to preach it. At the same time, he did want God’s Word (and his words) to be vindicated; he did want to see the Lord deal with his ‘’persecutors’’ (17, 18).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please put courage into my heart. I feel an inclination towards cowardice. Help me to ‘’not run away’’ from anything you ask of me.

Daily Bible thoughts 980: Thursday 1st October 2015: Jeremiah 17: 11: Money matters.

Jeremiah 17: 11: Money matters.(Please click here for todays Bible passage)

This verse has such resonance with our times. We hear so much in the news about financial malpractice and corruption. It is rife. Where there is money to be had, there will be those who try to lay their hands on it unjustly.

I once heard a preacher speak about how he had been working through some of the Minor Prophets with his congregation. ‘’We have discovered they are very political’, he said. God is concerned about issues of justice. This is something we see in all the prophetic books.

As we’ve seen before, sin is primarily vertical (Godward) in its impact; but it is also horizontal (man ward) in its implications. First of all, it separates people from God; but it also separates them from each other. One of the ways in which the people’s rebellion against God was worked out in those days was in unjust conduct in society. People were trodden down by the rich and powerful. Some people became (criminally) wealthy at the expense of others (see 6:13).

It is foolish to make wealth your goal. Riches are transient. If they are not taken from you, you will be taken from them. Two ladies were in conversation about a wealthy man who had died. ‘How much did he leave?’ asked one. ‘Everything!’ the other replied.

But it is especially foolish to try to get rich by corrupt means. This is self-destructive behaviour. There will be an ‘’in the end.’’ This is an example of how the deceitful heart can lead a person astray. Any gain can only be temporary. What good would their wealth do them when judgment fell?

Here are some things the Bible teaches about money, and if you observe them you will be kept safe:

  • Work honestly (Ephesians 4:28);
  • Give generously (Luke 6:38; 1 Timothy 6:17-19);
  • Live within your means (Romans 13:8);
  • Whatever God blesses you with, live prayerfully as a wise steward of God’s resources, always looking to Him to know how you should use His

Prayer: Thank you Lord God for your generous blessing on my life. Teach me to use your money as you please.

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