Search

Home thoughts from abroad.wordpress.com

Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson

Month

June 2016

Daily Bible thoughts 1174: Thursday 30th June 2016: John 1:19-28: Public Confession.

 John 1:19-28: Public Confession.(please click for todays passage)

‘He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely…’ (20).

These words dig into me because at times I have failed to confess. I have missed opportunities to identify myself with Jesus.

Help me Lord to confess you with my life. I can’t always be speaking about you verbally, but if I obey you I dare to believe that others will see you in me. If I walk in your steps, my life will silently speak volumes. Let me carry your fragrance Lord Jesus; may I ‘smell’ of you. I don’t want to put a ‘lid’ on my testimony; I don’t want to position my candle under a bucket.

Help me to confess with my lips. Forgive me for any sense of cowardice or embarrassment. Fill me with boldness. Enable me to give a reason for my hope in you, when I’m asked. I want to SAY that I am a Christian, and tell what that means, in appropriate ways and at the right time.

And help me please, dear Lord Jesus, to never fail to confess that you are the greatest, and it’s all about you.

This is my prayer today.

Daily Bible thoughts 1173: Wednesday 29th June 2016: John 1: 15-18: Lift Jesus higher.

 John 1: 15-18: Lift Jesus higher.(please click here for todays passage)

Jesus is the greatest (15). A certain well-known former boxer, who recently died, famously declared that he was ‘the greatest’, but no doubt his tongue was firmly in his cheek. Jesus is greater than the greatest of men and women. I guess we have no problems accepting that Jesus ‘surpasses’ us. We shouldn’t have.  He obviously does! We are mortal; He is eternal. We are men; He is God. But what about when we are surpassed by other human beings? When we are eclipsed in popularity and ability.? That supplies a real test of character. Can we be like John and determine to decrease so that another may increase? Richard Foster tells how his ministry colleague and elders sacrificially released him to write ‘Celebration of Discipline.’ They took on more work for a time to free him to serve the wider church. He is well-known in the Christian world because of this book. They are not. But they showed a humble, John the Baptist like spirit in order to make his work possible. They played a vital role.

Jesus is the Fountain Head (16, 17). Innumerable blessings flow from Him into our lives. ‘We all live off his generous bounty, gift after gift after gift.’ The Message. 

We have every spiritual blessing in Christ. All these gifts are expressions of grace, i.e. Undeserved favour:

‘…there is a grace in our lives because of his grace’ (J.B. Phillips).

‘We have all benefited from the rich blessings he brought to us – blessing upon blessing heaped upon us! For Moses gave us only the Law with its rigid demands and merciless justice, while Jesus Christ brought us loving forgiveness as well’ (Living Bible).

Jesus is the revealer (18): ‘It is true that no one has ever seen God at any time. Yet the divine and only Son, who lives in the closest intimacy with the Father, has made him known’ (J.B. Phillips). Someone translated this: ‘…has exegeted Him.’ Jesus shows us what the invisible God is like. As Michael Green wrote, He is ‘the window into God.’

Daily Bible thoughts 1172: Tuesday 28th June 2016: John 1:6-14: Don’t confuse roles.

John 1:6-14: Don’t confuse roles.(please click here for todays passage)

‘The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish’ (14, The Message).

We move quickly from the God who became man (1-5,14), to ‘a man sent from God’ (6). John Baptist was not God. He knew He was not God. But God gave him an important job to do. He was a signpost, pointing to Jesus. He didn’t stand in the spotlight. He never confused his role with the Lord’s. He consistently pointed away from himself to Christ. So he stands as an example to all Christian witnesses:

‘He came to show everyone where to look, who to believe in. John was not himself the Light; he was there to show the way to the Light’ (8, The Message).

Although Jesus made the world, when He came into it He was not, by and large, recognised.

When He came to His own people – the Jewish race – a people uniquely prepared by God for the coming of their Messiah – they showed Him the door. The put out the ‘unwelcome’ mat.

But here and there were people who did receive Jesus. When they did so they became children of God. And that’s why John kept on pointing to Jesus, because only He can bring folks into God’s family. We are not all children of God by birth, but we become such by new birth, when we trust in Jesus.

Remember, ‘You cannot at one and the same time demonstrate that you are a great preacher and Jesus is a great Saviour.’

Take your cue from John. Lift up Jesus!

Daily Bible thoughts 1171: Monday 27th June 2016: John 1:1-5: Theology singing.

 John 1:1-5: Theology singing.(please click here for todays passage)

This is one of the best known parts of the Bible. It is so important; so significant.

It is theology.

It is (it seems to me) poetry.

It is theology set to music; theology singing.

Think what BIG things it says about Jesus:

He is God;

Yet He is distinct from God;

He is the creator of all things;

The ‘light’ in every person – the light of conscience – the light of spiritual understanding – is actually the ‘life’ of Jesus alive in them – whether they recognise Him or not. His life animates everyone and everything.

And how about this for a barnstorming statement of truth? ‘The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out’ (5, The Message).

Still today, in many ways, the darkness huffs and puffs at the light and tries to extinguish it. The fact is it will never succeed. Sometimes it will appear to, but in reality our ‘Good Friday’s’ will always be eclipsed by His ‘Easter Sundays’.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for the beauty of truth; for its poetic, melodic, rhapsodic quality. It makes my heart sing. I love you Lord Jesus Christ, and I worship you.

Daily Bible thoughts 1170: Friday 24th June 2016: Luke 24: 36-53: The end that is but a beginning.

 Luke 24: 36-53: The end that is but a beginning.(please click here for todays passage)

Lord Jesus, please will you lift up your Hands over us. Bless us with your Holy Spirit that we may play our full part in the great company of witnesses to your resurrection. Make us your true worshippers, who have hearts ‘bursting with joy’ (52, The Message).

We pray for that worshipful joy that leaps over all obstacles; that rises above all fear:

  • The joy of your resurrection – of knowing that you are really alive from the dead;
  • The joy of revelation – of seeing your Hands and Feet, and knowing that you died for me;
  • The joy of understanding the Scriptures, and being able to see you everywhere in the Bible;
  • The joy of your peace;
  • The joy of trouble – free, undoubting minds;
  • The joy of the Holy Spirit’s fullness;
  • The joy of being your ambassadors in the world.

  

We pray for that unique challenges joy that magnetises others, and makes the church so attractive.

Fill us with ‘joy unspeakable and full of glory’.

For Jesus’ sake and fame. Amen.

Daily Bible thoughts 1169: Thursday 23rd June 2016: Luke 24: 13-32: Burning hearts.

Luke 24: 13-35: Burning hearts.(Please click for todays passage)

This is just a great story, isn’t it? It is full of irony. It makes you smile to yourself at various points:

‘Are you the only one living in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that have happened there in these days’ (17).

‘And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place’ (21b).

‘…but him they did not see’ (24c).

That’s all quite amusing really. And are we not laughing at ourselves, for we can be ‘So thick-headed! So slow-hearted!’ (25, The Message)?

When we get to today’s reading, we find that the disciples had a deeper problem than not remembering. It was that they did not believe the Word they had in their possession (25-27). They didn’t remember because they did not believe. Like a surgeon, with a deft use of His scalpel, Jesus cut to the root of the problem.

If you want to experience the presence of Jesus and have a burning heart, talk about Him and His work. As you do so, He will surely come and join you in the conversation (15) and make it richer and fuller with His gracious revelation. He can clarify, bring understanding and expel confusion. But it is inappropriate for followers of Jesus to look ‘downcast’ (17); to just stand there ‘long-faced, like’ we have ‘lost’ our ‘best friend’ (The Message). However, only with appropriate understanding of truth can there be fullness of joy. The truth sets free.

One further thing: Jesus responds to earnest prayer (28,29). The Lord heard their urgent plea and acceded to their request. How good that they ‘prayed’, for they got more than they asked or thought. Christ not only ‘stayed’ with them, but revealed Himself to them (30-32; 35). When they returned to Jerusalem they found that Jesus had already been at work, in advance of their arrival (33, 34).

‘Didn’t we feel on fire as he conversed with us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us?’ (32, The Message).

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to think about you and talk about you. Come alongside me in your grace and mercy, please. Show me more of you and let me feel your fire burning in my heart.

Daily Bible thoughts 1168: Wednesday 22nd June 2016: Luke 24: 1-12: Remember and tell.

 Luke 24: 1-12: Remember and tell.(please click here for todays passage )

Here are two vital principles for living the Christian life. These two responsibilities will always be applicable to followers of Christ:

  1. Remember God’s Word (7, 8). In the recent past, Jesus had clearly, and repeatedly, spoken about His forthcoming rejection and resurrection. The confusion they experienced now was because they had forgotten – or failed to understand. It was the same for the apostles (11). They had been the recipients of Jesus’ words, but they did not remember. We need to ensure that we don’t settle for a casual and superficial relationship with Scripture. Learn to ‘hide’ God’s Word in your heart. Seek to abide in Christ and have His words abide in you.
  2. Tell others that Jesus is alive (9-12). And you may take heart that those who first heard the ladies’ Easter sermon were not impressed: ‘their words seemed to them like nonsense’ (11) – ‘thought they were making it all up’ (The Message). (It may be pertinent that In those days, women could not be witnesses in a law court. Their testimony was not regarded as being reliable. Yet Jesus called women to be the first witnesses of His resurrection.) There may well be the idea that the women ‘kept telling these things’ (The Message). Eventually there was a glimmer of light with Peter (12), but even though his heart was stirring into a response, it took time for him to understand. Those who first heard the women’s words pooh pooh’d the idea that Jesus was alive. But later on they preached it themselves. So don’t be disheartened by an initially negative response. It doesn’t have to be the final word.

  

Remember and tell!

Daily Bible thoughts 1167: Tuesday 21st June 2016: Luke 24:1-6a: Prepared spices (see also 23:55,56).

 Luke 24:1-6a: Prepared spices (see also 23:55,56).(please click for todays passage )

The women prepared their spices to anoint the body of a dead Jesus (or so they thought). But on the first day of each new week, the church gathers to meet with the risen Lord Jesus. What a privilege! But here’s my question: do we ‘prepare’ our ‘spices’; our perfumery of praise and worship? Or do we just roll out of bed, down the aisle and into a pew?! What we do at ‘home’ (23:56) can have a significant impact on the public worship of the gathered church.

We say we believe in every member ministry (‘the priesthood of all believers’, as it is sometimes called). We have a conviction that every member of the church is a minister.

Now if I expect the service leader to prepare…

…and if I expect the musicians to prepare…

…and if I expect that the preacher will be prepared…

Why would I then exempt myself from the need for heart preparation? Because I, too, am a minister of the church.

When we gather to meet with the living Lord Jesus we bring something. Our emphasis is not on getting but on giving. What will we bring? It can only be what we have (1 Corinthians 14:26).

Prayer: Lord, I pray that the public worship of the church will be enriched because of the contribution I bring. Help me to prepare my heart in private.

Daily Bible thoughts 1166: Monday 20th June 2016: Luke 23:50-56: A model disciple?

 Luke 23:50-56: A model disciple?(please click for todays passage)

How should we respond to Christ crucified? Perhaps Joseph of Arimathea shows the way. To some degree he is a model disciple:

He had courage: Joseph had the bravery to identify with Jesus at a time when it was no doubt tempting to maintain a low profile. The atmosphere must have felt full of danger and menace, but by Joseph lifted his head above the parapet;

He was prepared to sacrifice: Joseph gave his own prepared tomb to Jesus. We should not miss the loving generosity behind his action;

He demonstrated practicality: he used what he had to serve. Do we?

‘Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.’ 

Prayer: Thank you Jesus for dying in my place. May my whole life be a cross-shaped response to you and all you have done for me.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: