Search

Home thoughts from abroad.wordpress.com

Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson

Month

June 2016

Daily Bible thoughts 1156: Monday 6th June 2016: Luke 22:39-46: More about prayer.

Luke 22:39-46: More about prayer.(please click here for todays passage)

There are at least 3 lessons about prayer in this short passage:

  1. There is something about prayer and place (39): ‘as was his custom’. It seems that the Mount of Olives was a favourite spot frequented by Jesus for prayer. Although there is not one part of God’s world more sacred than another, and we can pray anywhere, there does seem to be something helpful about a familiar location for prayer. For me, it’s an armchair in a downstairs room, and when I sit there in the early morning I am almost instantly in a reflective and prayerful frame of mind.
  2. There is something about prayer and power (40, 46 cf. 31,32). As in the conversation with Peter earlier in the chapter, Jesus showed by His words that He believed in the potency, the efficacy of prayer – that certain things can change when people pray. We particularly see that our own prayers, and/or the prayers of others on our behalf can have a protective power.
  3. There is something about prayer and submission (41-44).Remember that prayer is not about getting man’s will done in heaven, but God’s will done on earth. Prayer is powerful, but it won’t remove every experience from your life that you might wish to avoid, if possible. But if prayer doesn’t move the mountain, there will always come the strengthening you need to climb it! (Or to tunnel through it.) And you will find the strength to return to your knees and pray on.

Daily Bible thoughts 1155: Friday 3rd June 2016: Luke 22:35-38: The Lord will provide.

Luke 22:35-38: The Lord will provide.(please click here for todays passage)

‘Everything written about me is now coming to a conclusion.’ (37) The Message.

The words of today’s reading were spoken under the shadow of the Cross. Jesus was about to die for the sins of the world. Everything was coming to a head. Jesus teaching here shows:

  • God’s provision is perfect (35). It is miraculous. It is ‘against the odds’ naturally speaking. Countless stories from the Bible and church history endorse this. Hudson Taylor’s dictum that ‘God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply’ remains true. Read a book such as A.T.Pierson’s biography of George Mueller, and it will stir your heart and encourage your faith. Mueller wanted to demonstrate to the world what could be achieved by prayer through faith, and so he was scrupulous in making the needs of the orphanages known only to God. Time and again there were remarkable, and timely, answers to prayer.
  • There are ‘seasons’/’chapters’ in a disciple’s walk with Jesus (36). ‘This is different.’ The Message. Some periods are more difficult (more dangerous even) than others. F.B. Meyer wrote that ‘the storm’ was about to burst on the disciples ‘with furious intensity’. The current phase of your life may look different to a previous one. The instructions you receive from above may not be the same. The gears can shift. So it is vital to keep in step with Jesus, listening for His voice and doing whatever He says.

‘Do whatever He tells you.’ (John 2:5)

Prayer: In each day, Lord, there are so many distracting sights and sounds to contend with. It is not always easy to keep my eyes fixed on you. But I want to. I know I need to. Please help me with this.

Daily Bible thoughts 1154: Thursday 2nd June 2016: Luke 22: 31-34: On Jesus’ prayer list!

Luke 22: 31-34: On Jesus’ prayer list!(please click here for todays passage)

Someone observed, ‘You’re on Jesus’ prayer list. That ought to make your whole day!’

Jesus knows your name, your circumstances, and your heart, better than you know yourself. He is aware of spiritual traps you face, and battles that being waged around you even when you are in ignorance. So listen to Him, count on His prayers and don’t try to contradict Him. Experience will prove Him right and you wrong. 

Here are three things to note:

 1.  Jesus’ individual dealings with each disciple. In (31) the word ‘you’, used twice, is a  plural, referring to all the disciples. But it’s fourfold use in the next verse is singular. From out of the larger group, the Lord has a personal word for ‘Simon’. ‘God does not call us to the same things. Do not be surprised if you are led in a way which others do not go. Be surprised if you are not!’ Dallas Willard: ‘The Spirit of the Disciplines’, p.253. On another occasion, Peter (‘Simon’) was given an insight into how he would die (John 21). He decided he would like to know if Jesus had any message for John on the subject. What of his destiny? In effect Christ said, ‘Mind your own business Peter. You keep your eyes on me.’ It’s a personal walk. There is a tailor-made purpose for each life.

  1. God wastes nothing. As you read the Bible you see how God, in His sovereignty, takes the sins and failures of His people and uses them to further His purposes in and through them. These are ‘ingredients’ God did not write in to the ‘recipe’, but He can use them all the same to do something tasty with a life. Even our flaws and faults can be productive. It doesn’t mean it’s good to sin, but it does show that even these ‘crumbs’ can be put to good use. Nothing gets wasted.
  1. It is possible to fail and fall in such a way that your faith crumbles. Jesus did not pray that Peter would escape temptation, but rather that he would not fall fatally – that he would be delivered from that particular evil.

 

It is merciful of God to let us see ourselves as we are; it is good of Him to jerk us out of our self-deluded self-confidence. Peter would get to look in the mirror. That’s an experience which can, and should, lead to alteration.

So here’s a question: ‘Now you are the right side of your mess up, what are you going to do with it? How are you going to put all that misery and heartache to good use?

‘And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.’

Daily Bible thoughts 1153: Wednesday 1st June 2016: Luke 22:24-30: ‘But not so with you…’

Luke 22:24-30: ‘But not so with you…'(please click here for todays passage)

In his book ‘Building below the waterline’, Gordon McDonald  writes honestly about a sobering experience which helped him get his life and motives sorted out. In the early 1980’s he was asked to speak at a conference on world evangelism, held in Thailand. He felt elated to think that he was one of a select few speakers invited to address this prestigious gathering. But then the pride balloon got pricked! A major evangelical leader at the congress chartered a boat, and took 40 of the speakers out to an island, to discuss the future of world evangelisation. Gordon was not one of the ‘chosen few’, and the air whooshed out of his punctured ego. He was now deflated – for a time. But it was a seminal moment in his ministry. He realised that however successful you are; however popular you may be now;however high you rise, there will always be a ’40’ (or it’s equivalent) that you are not part of. His experience caused him to look seriously about his motives.

Jesus valued the company of His disciples, who stuck with Him whilst in His storm-tossed boat, and He promised them a great reward for staying the course (28-30). BUT He saw it as necessary to challenge their worldly desire to sit a top the ‘pecking order’; to rise to the pinnacle of the ‘ladder’ (24-27). How incongruous their ‘dispute’ was, coming off the back of Jesus’ words about self-sacrifice (14-23). But, sadly, such attitudes are still to be found amongst disciples. Churches, and church leadership teams, are frequently riven with political manoeuvring. If we examine ourselves honestly, how many of us will have to admit that selfish ambition lurks, barely disguised, in the shadows of our hearts? So let Jesus’ words rebuke and correct:

‘But not so with you…’

He is ‘among’ us as ‘the one who serves’ (27).

Let’s join Him in ‘the race to the bottom’. According to God’s law of gravity, ‘what goes down must come up.’

Prayer: Help me to understand, Lord Jesus, that the highest position on offer in your Kingdom is that of a servant

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: