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Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson


August 2017

Daily Bible thoughts 1489: Thursday 31st August 2017: Mark 6:1-6: Family matters.

Mark 6:1-6: Family matters.
Jesus left there and went to his home town, accompanied by his disciples. 2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. ‘Where did this man get these things?’ they asked. ‘What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph,[a] Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?’ And they took offence at him. 4 Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honour except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.’ 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few people who were ill and heal them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.” NIV UK

Here is a good reason to kick out unbelief. It seems that it hinders the work of Jesus (5,6). I don’t want to be a party to that. Do you?

This chapter seems to start well (2). It sounds impressive when you read that they were ‘’amazed’’ by the preacher. They certainly stayed awake during the sermon! But it wasn’t a good type of amazement. One verse later we read that they were offended by Jesus. (This is something that hasn’t changed, by the way. Although we shouldn’t try to be offensive, the real Jesus offends people. The gospel offends. There is an ‘’offence’’ in the Cross we should not seek to avoid. You can’t ‘preach’ Jesus and have everybody love you, or, at least, like what you’re saying).

Tom Wright says most preachers will remember the first time they spoke in front of their family. It’s like nothing else. If a child becomes a footballer, his folks will have stood on the touch line many times before he plays his first professional match; if she is a musician, they will have heard her practice on numerous occasions before her first big concert. But there is something about preaching which can make you feel so exposed, vulnerable, naked even. It can also be hard for the relatives to hear one of their own kin expressing such deep and serious truths. We don’t know that all Jesus’ family were in the synagogue on this particular day, but he was speaking to his home crowd. They certainly knew his family, and found it easy to dismiss Him.

‘’Isn’t this the carpenter?’’ This may be one of those occasions (like when Mary thought Jesus was the gardener: John 20:15) where we are meant to see a deeper truth, for Jesus truly does fix things!

We know that Jesus’ own family took time to come round. It was a while before they understood His true identity. But it happened (Acts 1:14). ‘’James’’ (3), for example, became the leader of the church in Jerusalem.

Don’t give up on your family – even though you may feel despair at times. Jesus never gave up on you, did He? You take my point!

PRAYER: Lord, increase our faith.

Daily Bible thoughts 1488: Wednesday 30th August 2017: Mark 5:35-43: Banish unbelief.

Mark 5:35-43: Banish unbelief.

35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. ‘Your daughter is dead,’ they said. ‘Why bother the teacher anymore?’ 36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’ 37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, ‘Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.’ 40 But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha koum!’ (which means ‘Little girl, I say to you, get up!’). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.”NIV UK

We should take all possible steps to free ourselves from the straightjacket of unbelief. Here are at least two things to do with it:

1. Ignore unbelieving statements (35). Many of them will rise up within. Give them the cold shoulder. Don’t give them the time of day. Refuse to have your actions determined by them. Discern them, and then dismiss them. Discernment will be needed because factual statements may nevertheless be unbelieving statements. It was true what they said (35). The girl was dead. However, they saw what was true in black and white; Jesus saw it in technicolor (39). He saw the full colour of truth, and it was brighter, deeper and more beautiful than it appeared in monochrome. It was much more nuanced.

2. Put unbelief out of the room (40): The people ‘’laughed’’ at the greater truth Jesus saw and taught (40), and Jesus then excluded from the room all the unbelieving, mocking cynics. Unbelief was removed, and the miracle took place. Evict unbelief in Jesus’ Name. Don’t allow any squatting cynicism to remain in your heart. Choose to be a believing believer.

It’s interesting that the actual Aramaic words spoken by Jesus are recorded here: ‘’Talitha Koum!’’ (41). Not only is it an eye-witness touch, yet again (and remember it is thought that Peter is the eye-witness behind Mark’s account); but the miracle must have made such a deep impression on those few still in the room. The words rang in their heads long afterwards. Apparently, it has in it the idea of ‘Little girl, it’s time to get up.’ After all, she was only sleeping (39)!

PRAYER: Lord, the world on the outside is full of unbelief. But I also have to confess that great geysers of unbelieving messages regularly gurgle up inside me too. Please help me to ignore and banish them, in Jesus’ Name.

Daily Bible thoughts 1487: Tuesday 29th August 2017: Mark 5: 35-36: It’s not over until it’s over.

Mark 5: 35-36: It’s not over until it’s over.

“35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. ‘Your daughter is dead,’ they said. ‘Why bother the teacher anymore?’  36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’” NIV UK

In your praying, do you ever come to a point where you decide it’s hopeless? You stop praying; or you pray without heart any more; without faith, without fervour. We have probably all been there. Well, these words from Dr.F.B.Meyer are helpfully encouraging:

‘’We go to God in comparatively small trials, and think He can help us. But there are times when we say: It is no use troubling further; we must just bear our trial as well as we can, God Himself cannot help us…Can He restore the love that has died out? Can He undo this unhappy marriage? Can He deliver from that life-long paralysis? Life is extinct; hope is dead; the light has dipped below the horizon. It is no use to trouble God or man. We have no alternative but to suffer till eternity explain the mysteries of time. But Jesus knows the way out. He says in his sweet undertone, ‘’Fear not! Only believe.’’ He has the keys of death…He has purposely delayed till this, that He might have the better opportunity of showing you what God can do.’’ ‘Great verses through the Bible,’p.381.

A lovely man, an elder in our church for many years, would often pray along these lines, ‘’Lord, we believe it is your will to heal, and we are going to keep on praying for healing unless you tell us to stop.’’  I read that Dr. Vance Havner often said to his students, ‘’It is always too soon to quit.’’

Apparently, Sir Winston Churchill standing before his old school, gave the shortest speech of his political career. He said, ‘’Never give in. Never give in. Never give in!’’

Continue to believe. That’s the idea in (36). Keep on believing.

It’s not over until it’s over.

Daily Bible thoughts 1486: Monday 28th August 2017: Mark 4:24b-34: Touching Jesus.

Mark 4:24b-34: Touching Jesus.

“24 So Jesus went with him.  A large crowd followed and pressed round him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.’ 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.  30 At once Jesus realised that power had gone out from him. He turned round in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my clothes?’31 ‘You see the people crowding against you,’ his disciples answered, ‘and yet you can ask, “Who touched me?”’  32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.’” NIV UK

‘’What Mark has done is to place one tale inside the other, in what is sometimes called a Markan sandwich…The flavour of the outer story adds zest to the inner one; the taste of the inner one is meant in turn to permeate the outer one…Both stories are about fear and faith, and the power of Jesus to take people from one to the other.’’ Tom Wright: ‘Mark for everyone,’pp.58,59.  The ‘inner’ story adds suspense to the ‘outer’ one. What will happen to the desperately sick child?  We who are familiar with the gospels know, of course. Yet we are still aware of the tension in the story. The air is thick with it.

The anonymous ‘’woman’’ (25) – who, it seems, wanted to remain anonymous – had suffered from her condition ‘’for twelve years.’’ This was the same length as Jairus’ daughter’s life to this point (42). Neither females in the intertwining stories are named, but they were important. They mattered to Jesus. We still are ignorant of their names, but in the purposes of God they have become famous. Any woman with such a disease was regarded as unclean by the Jews (Leviticus 15:25). This would explain her furtive approach. However, Jesus would not allow her to remain a ‘private’ patient (32-34). This was not to embarrass her, but to help her. It’s important that we go public with our faith in Jesus.

It’s interesting that in Luke’s version (Luke 8:43), the slightly disparaging remark about doctors is omitted! The woman wasn’t dying, but her condition was also desperate.  With regard to (30,31) Tom Wright comments that it would be like someone in a rugby scrum asking who touched them!!  Maybe her belief about touching Jesus’s clothes was superstitious. Nevertheless, it was an expression of real faith (34). It was real power going out from Jesus that brought the healing and ended the suffering (29, 30). Nevertheless, her faith was the key to experiencing the power. ‘‘The healing power wasn’t in Jesus’ clothes; it was in Him…The woman was healed not by the contact with Jesus’ clothes, as if by magic; rather, she was healed by Jesus’ power working through her faith…Many people crowd around Jesus but receive no blessing or benefit. Only those who accept Jesus as Lord and put their faith in Him in a personal way can be healed and saved…Faith alone, without Jesus, is blind faith. On the other hand, without our faith Jesus cannot help us. Both Jesus’ power and our faith working together are necessary for us to be healed and saved.’’ Tom Hale: ‘The applied New Testament Commentary,’ p.232.


PRAYER: Lord, increase our faith.


Daily Bible thoughts 1485: Friday 25th August 2017:Mark 5: 21-24a:Desperately seeking Jesus.

Mark 5: 21-24a:Desperately seeking Jesus.

“21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered round him while he was by the lake. 22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded earnestly with him, ‘My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.’ 24 So Jesus went with him. ” NIV UK

There is a further lesson to learn from the previous story, and it is that Jesus did not stay in a place where He was not welcome. We can refuse Christ and reject His offer. We can push Him away (17, 18). In a sense, they ‘prayed’ to Jesus to leave – and He left! That’s a scary thought.

I love the juxtaposition of the ‘’large crowd’’ and ‘’Then one…’’ (21, 22). Amid the big number, Jesus never lost sight of the individual. (See again 24b, 25). This will always be a challenge for large churches. Don’t lose sight of the ‘one’s’ who make up the multitude.

‘’Legion’’ and ‘’Jairus’’ were so different. The former was a feared, and no doubt despised, outcast. The latter was a respectable man: ‘’one of the synagogue rulers’’ (22). It must have been a humbling thing for Jairus to fall at anyone’s feet (22). However, he and Legion were not so different after all. Both were in desperate need of Jesus (6). In Legion’s case, it was the demons in him throwing him down at Jesus’ feet. They knew their place (Philippians 2:9-11). Jairus, however, voluntarily put Himself at the feet of Jesus. He was driven there by a sense of desperation over his ‘’little’’ daughter’s plight (22b). How we love our children. How deeply we feel their pain. How anxious we are when they are sick. Yet it was not just anxiety and desperation that got Jairus to the feet of Jesus; it was also faith: ‘’Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.’’ (In the end, Jairus received more than he asked or thought. The situation was to get worse before it got better; but how much better it got! Jairus was to receive not just a healing but a resurrection and his daughter truly did ‘’live.’’

 The Lord Jesus answered prayer. Note the word ‘’So’’ (24a). This is a hinge word: it is the hinge between Jairus’ earnest ‘prayer’ and Jesus’ answer.

PRAYER: The only Jesus I know from the gospels is a prayer-answering Jesus. That doesn’t mean to say that there aren’t still mysteries. My every question is not answered. Yet I know that you are always the same Lord Jesus. You respond to my earnest prayers. Thank you – so much.

Daily Bible thoughts 1484: Thursday 24th August 2017: Mark 5:1-20: Where true sanity is found.

Mark 5:1-20: Where true sanity is found.

” They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!’ For Jesus had said to him, ‘Come out of this man, you impure spirit!’ Then Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ ‘My name is Legion,’ he replied, ‘for we are many.’ 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. 11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, ‘Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.’ 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. 14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man – and told about the pigs as well. 17 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region. 18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, ‘Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’ 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis  how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.  NIV UK

‘The evil spirit who inflicted torment was also in dread of torment from the gentle Saviour, as one whose eyes are inflamed dreads the light.’ F.B.Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary,’p.423.  What an encouraging story this is. There are no untameable people. There are no untameable demons – not to Jesus. ‘’No one was strong enough to subdue him’’ (4b). Nevertheless we are introduced to One who was.

‘Jesus is stronger than Satan and sin, Satan to Jesus must bow; Therefore, I triumph without and within, Jesus saves me now.’

Another old hymn begins, ‘’It was down at the feet of Jesus…’’ Everything important that needs to happen in a person’s life begins here (6).                                                                      At the feet of Jesus, life begins (2, 3). Like ‘’Legion’’ we too lived ‘’in the tombs’’ at one time (see Ephesians 2:1, 3 and 5). We were spiritually dead before God raised us with Christ. Death was our domain, you might say. Before we carried the aroma of Christ, the stench of death clung to us.

At the feet of Jesus, peace is given (5). I confess that this made me think about the many disturbed and troubled people who self-harm. A young youth worker spoke at our church a few years ago. He was working in an affluent area, with young people from, in the main, ‘very good homes.’ He said his greatest challenge at that time was the number of youngsters who were cutting themselves in their pain.

At the feet of Jesus, sanity is restored (15). He was ‘’seated, clothed and stone-cold sober’’ (Tom Wright translation).

At the feet of Jesus, ministry begins (18-20). This was a predominantly Gentile area, and maybe there is a true sense in which we can say that this formerly demonised man became the very first apostle to the Gentiles.

There’s a whole lot of begging going on in this passage (10, 17 and 18). Don’t you find it strange that the people would want this Jesus to leave (17)? However, the truth is some people are more concerned about money than they are the state of their souls. Vested financial interests took a hit with this miracle.

Daily Bible thoughts 1483: Wednesday 23rd August 2017: Mark 4:35-41: More on stormy weather.

Mark 4:35-41: More on stormy weather.

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side.’36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’  39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.  40 He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’  41 They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!’

 I believe most Christians find this to be an encouraging story, and rightly so. Yet it also contains a number of challenges. Here are some of them:


  • Are we listening to Jesus? Will we follow Him wherever He goes? (35);
  • Are we prepared to follow the real Jesus, and not some figment of our fertile imaginations? (36) Will we take Him just as He is? Gordon Bailey, the Christian poet, wrote a piece with the shocking title, ‘Will the real Jesus please get lost?’ He was making the point that this is the attitude of many. The authentic Jesus is a threat to much we value and want to cling to;
  • Are we aware that ‘’furious’’ squalls lie ahead on the discipleship journey? There are storms we run into because we are Christ-followers. Jesus did say, ‘’In this world you will have trouble’’ (John 16:33);
  • Do we realise how great Jesus is? (39) One preacher said Jesus spoke to the storm like it was a disobedient puppy. In effect He said, ‘Get down. Stop jumping up at my disciples.’ That note of command – of giving a ticking off even – comes across in the Tom Wright translation: ‘’He got up, scolded the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Silence! Shut up!’ The wind died, and there was a flat calm.’’ Here is God Himself in human form. That is surely the implication? (See e.g. Psalms 65:7; 89:9; 93:3,4; 107:23-30). The Kingdom of God in Jesus may not look like the majority thought it would, but it’s here. This is the real thing;
  • In the storms of life, will we respond with fear or faith? (40) It seems that throughout Mark’s gospel we are being presented with these alternatives, fear or faith. Which one is it to be? The one will inevitably kick the other out of bed. ‘Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered, and there was nobody there.’
  • Are we prepared to become a part of this story? ‘Imagine this as a blockbuster movie – it would need a big screen to do it justice – and audition for a part. Make it your Actually, if you sign on with Jesus for the kingdom of God, it will become your story whether you realise it, whether you like it, or not. Wind and storms will come your way. The power of evil was broken on the cross and in the empty tomb, but like people who have lost their cause and are now angry, that power has a shrill malevolence about it. Christians – the church as a whole, local churches here and there, individual Christians – can get hurt or even killed as a result. Mark’s first readers probably knew that better than most of us. They would have identified easily with the frightened men in the boat. That’s Mark’s invitation to all of us…’ Tom Wright: ‘Mark for everyone,’ p.53.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord that ‘we have an Anchor that keeps the soul…’


Daily Bible thoughts 1482: Tuesday 22nd August 2017: Mark 4:22-41: ‘Nearly swamped.’

Mark 4:22-41: ‘Nearly swamped.’

“22 For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.’  24 ‘Consider carefully what you hear,’ he continued. ‘With the measure you use, it will be measured to you – and even more. 25 Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.’  26 He also said, ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground.27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces corn – first the stalk, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 As soon as the corn is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.’  30 Again he said, ‘What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. 32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.’  33 With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. 34 He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.  35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side.’36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’  39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.  40 He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’  41 They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!’” NIV UK

‘Don’t Christ-followers enjoy a calendar full of Caribbean cruises? No.

Disciples can expect rough seas and stout winds. ‘’In the world you will (not might, may or could) have tribulation’’ (John 16:33, brackets mine).

Christ-followers contract malaria, bury children, battle addictions, and, as a result, face fears. It’s not the absence of storms that sets us apart. It’s whom we discover in the storm: an unstirred Christ.’’ Max Lucado, in ‘Fearless.’

‘’ ’Teacher!’ They said to him, ‘We’re going down! Don’t you care?’ ‘ (Tom Wright translation).

Tom Wright explains that to this day, the car parks on the western shore of Lake Galilee have signs warning drivers of what happens in high winds. The sea can get rough very quickly, and huge waves can overwhelm cars parked on what looks like a safe beach. ‘A boat on the lake suddenly gets tossed around like a child’s toy.’ Tom Wright: ‘Mark for everyone,’ p.51.  This is a picture most people can identify with. It isn’t necessarily to do with water, but we know the feeling of being ‘’nearly swamped’’ (27); about to go under, if one more wave breaks over us. Desperate times call forth desperate prayers, and desperate prayers may not be overly lengthy (38). In our own weighty problems, or when considering those of others, we may be tempted to wonder if Jesus cares. We will hear the devil’s loud whispers insinuating that He doesn’t; but He surely does. By and by He will show that He does, even if we don’t feel it to be the case just now.

In every storm we encounter there is the potential for a fresh revelation of the Lord (41). Disciples who come through ‘’furious’’ storms are invariably grateful for encountering Jesus, and seeing more of Him, in their crisis.  It isn’t the storms we run into that matter, so much as the Jesus we run into in those storms.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord that you have promised to never leave or forsake us. We recognise this is not fundamentally a matter of feeling but of fact, and it calls forth our faith. Help us to trust you always.

Daily Bible thoughts 1481: Monday 21st August 2017: Mark 4:30-34: Don’t judge by appearances.

Mark 4:30-34: Don’t judge by appearances.

“30 Again he said, ‘What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. 32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.’  33 With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. 34 He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.”NIV UK

Don’t judge by appearances. Just because a Christian work is small this does not mean it is insignificant. If it is truly Christian, it has life and growth latent within it. Watch this space, as they say!

The Kingdom of God on earth in Jesus had infinitesimally small beginnings. Christ was born in obscurity. One of his twelve disciples betrayed Him. Although He had a wider circle of followers, the majority of people rejected Him and He was crucified (Isaiah 53:3).Yet the Kingdom has filled the earth and ‘’…the birds of the air…perch in its shade’’ (34). This is believed to be a reference to the nations of the world coming into it. Within just a few decades of the death and resurrection of Jesus, the church had spread to every part of the then known world. The tiniest of seeds became the biggest of garden plants. It’s growth was miraculous and spectacular.

So, don’t despise the day of small things. A great, effective missionary was described as ‘a man small enough for God to use.’

Also, if you find yourself part of a small church, perhaps in a remote setting, do not allow yourself (yourselves even) to become parochial. Lift up your eyes on the fields. Cultivate a world vision if you don’t have one; nurture and feed the global outlook if you do. The birds of the air are still looking for branches to perch in; so spiritual ornithology should be a matter of great interest and concern to us.

PRAYER: Again Lord, help us to live on a world map. Thank you, too, for the encouragement that though our work may be small, it is not irrelevant or powerless

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