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Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson


September 2022

Psalm 90: A prayer for the day of the Royal funeral

Lord, you have been our dwelling place

    throughout all generations.

2 Before the mountains were born

    or you brought forth the whole world,

    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

3 You turn people back to dust,

    saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”

4 A thousand years in your sight

    are like a day that has just gone by,

    or like a watch in the night.

5 Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death—

    they are like the new grass of the morning:

6 In the morning it springs up new,

    but by evening it is dry and withered.

7 We are consumed by your anger

    and terrified by your indignation.

8 You have set our iniquities before you,

    our secret sins in the light of your presence.

9 All our days pass away under your wrath;

    we finish our years with a moan.

10 Our days may come to seventy years,

    or eighty, if our strength endures;

yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,

    for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

11 If only we knew the power of your anger!

    Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.

12 Teach us to number our days,

    that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

13 Relent, Lord! How long will it be?

    Have compassion on your servants.

14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,

    that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,

    for as many years as we have seen trouble.

16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,

    your splendour to their children.

17 May the favour of the Lord our God rest on us;

    establish the work of our hands for us—

    yes, establish the work of our hands.

Lord God,

On this sad and solemn day, we thank you for the life and reign of our gracious Queen, Elizabeth. We are grateful for her Christian faith, witness and service, and for the remarkable impact of her example.

We pray for her family who mourn today – especially for her children, grandchildren and great- grandchildren – who have suffered two significant losses in the last eighteen months. Like other families they grieve. But they have to do their grieving before billions of watching eyes. Strengthen them to face the demands of the day (and the days to come). We pray that the service will be full of the power of the Holy Spirit, bringing comfort, peace and joy, and creating faith in Jesus, who is our only true hope in this short life, and for the life to come.

We pray you will anoint our new King Charles, that He may follow you as his mother and grandmother did. May he rule in your wisdom and strength, and we ask that his reign will be a beacon of light for our nation, the commonwealth, and the whole world. Lord, in your mercy, grant that this may be a new day of spiritual renewal in our land.

God save the King.

A thought for Friday

As we come towards the end of an emotional and momentous week, and prepare for the solemn days ahead, I want to share a thought from Frederick Beuchner, who also passed away recently at the great age of 96:

To Truly Live


Have you wept at anything during the past year? Has your heart beat faster at the sight of young beauty? Have you thought seriously about the fact that someday you are going to die? More often than not, do you really listen when people are speaking to you, instead of just waiting for your turn to speak? Is there anybody you know in whose place, if one of you had to suffer great pain, you would volunteer yourself? If your answer to all or most of these questions is no, the chances are that you’re dead.

Source: Listen to Your Life

Prayer: Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom

1 Corinthians 1:9: Transforming Friendship

God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

In January 2020, just before the pandemic took hold, Jilly and I spent a couple of nights in a hotel overlooking the Royal Mews in London. It was tantalising to be so close to the mystique of royalty, and yet so far away.

During this past, sad, week, I have regularly found myself feeling sorry that I never saw or met Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. As far as I am aware, she never knew of my existence – and this would be true of multitudes of her subjects. How could she? She was, after all, mortal. It is remarkable how many lives she did touch personally. But not mine – although like so many others I felt I did know her, and I grieve her loss.

Hearing stories from those who got to be with the Queen and her family at Balmoral, I have to admit to feeling a twinge of envy for their proximity to them. However, even that ‘nearness’ was limited and temporary. But we have been called into a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, who is King of kings and Lord of lords. He knows His own people fully, and we are getting to know Him more and more. We can talk to Him any time in the day or the night. We don’t just get to pay an occasional visit. May we never lose the wonder – the sense of sheer privilege – that it should be so. We have been brought, by grace and mercy, into what Leslie Wetherhead called ‘the Transforming Friendship.’

Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons (Mark 3:13-15).

1 Corinthians 1:8: Kept!

He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

His name was Ernie, and I knew him many years ago when I was first in the ministry. I tended to make the same mistake with Ernie. When I saw him I asked him how he was keeping. His rather dour reply, in a thick Liverpudlian accent was, ‘I’m not keeping brother, I’m being kept!’

We have seen in the opening verses that we are set apart to belong to Jesus and called to live holy lives. Thankfully, we don’t have to do this in our own strength or we would fail. We rely on the keeping power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:4-6: The power of the gospel

I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5 For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— 6 God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile (Romans 1:16).

For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction (1Thess.1:4,5a).

The gospel works. It is powerful. We tell people they will find true riches in Christ – that “in him” they will be “enriched in every way”- and lo and behold it happens. We not only speak words; God actually does something in their lives. He confirms our testimony in them. He works not only through our speaking, but also in their hearing and understanding; in their experience. He gives us conviction in the message and He convinces in their hearts.

I am not saying that everyone who hears the good news about Jesus will be saved. But the elect will be, at the time of God’s choosing. So may God help us to be brave in broadcasting this message.

Prayer: Help me to never be ashamed of the gospel, but believe in its power.

1 Timothy 2:1-7: The priority of prayer

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.

Since I last wrote one of these Bible thoughts, most of us in the U.K. have experienced a collective sense of bereavement. We knew that our Queen, who was 96, could not go on forever, and the signs of increasing frailty were clearly there to be seen. Still, it was hard to believe that she was  impermanent, even though we knew she had to be. Now we are living with shock and sadness, and we can’t believe she has gone. For many of us, she was always there.

In the days after her passing, I felt it important to leave aside our Corinthian devotions for a day and turn to 1 Timothy 2:1-7. When Paul says “first of all”  in verse 1, he is emphasising the priority of prayer in public worship, and in particular intercession for our leaders. He wants us to understand that God’s heart is for them to be saved, and that Jesus came into the world for this very purpose. He wants everyone to be saved, and this includes our leaders. Furthermore, these prayers can help to shape a culture in which the gospel can continue to be freely preached.

So at this time, I’m sure we recognise the need for renewed commitment to pray for our new King, Charles 111, and our new Prime Minister, Liz Truss – “and all those in authority”.

God save the King!

1 Corinthians 1:4: Sniff, don’t swallow

I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.

There must be a godly way to encourage others – to acknowledge their giftedness; a way which glorifies God while at the same time honouring and affirming the individual concerned. It seems to me that Paul points the way in his letters. We have much to learn from him.

Alistair Begg told a lovely story. He said when he was a young boy in Scotland, he was in the local sweet shop one day when a lady came in and complimented him about something. (It may have been a comment about how he looked). When she left the shop, the owner looked at him and said, “Flattery is like perfume sonny. You can sniff the bottle, but you mustn’t swallow the contents.”

1 Corinthians 1:2: The positional and the practical

…to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people…

Throughout the New Testament we see the interplay between what we might call the positional and the practical. It is found in the above expression:

‘Those sanctified in Christ Jesus’ points to the positional aspect. We are separated to belong to Jesus. This is our position;

‘Called to be his holy people’: is the practical outworking of the positional. We have to be who we are; live up to our privileges.

As we read this letter we can easily see that the Corinthians did not. Neither do we. We are not what we were, but neither are we what we want to be, or what we are one day going to be. We can be encouraged that God did not write them off because of their failures , and we count on His mercy towards ourselves also. However, we cannot read the Corinthian correspondence without seeing that holiness matters. We cannot live any longer for ourselves. The Lordship of Christ has serious implications. One of them is that we seek to do whatever He says. We are not our own. We have been bought at a great price, and we are to glorify God in our bodies (6:19,20).

“And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (2 Corinthians 5:15).

The positional and the practical are sometimes referred to as the indicative and the imperative. As someone observed: “Every imperative of Scripture (what we are to do for God) rests on the indicative (who we are in our relationship with God), and the order is not reversible.”

We can only become holy in life because in the first place we have been set apart to belong to Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:2b,3: Family matters

…together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ – their Lord and ours:

3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Satan always hates Christian fellowship; it is his policy to keep Christians apart. Anything which can divide saints from one another he delights in.”C.H. Spurgeon.

How beautiful is the story of the disciple, Ananias, going to visit the newly converted Saul of Tarsus and calling him, “Brother…” (Acts 9:17). There is a kinship between all those who own Jesus as Lord. You don’t have to agree with them on every single point. Their churchmanship may differ from yours. You may not particularly like their style of worship. But you have a common experience of “Grace” and so there can be “peace” between you.

The truth is this: the church of God is found not only “in Corinth”, but it is “everywhere” there are people who confess Jesus as Lord. The church is much bigger and wider than my local expression of it. When you go somewhere else and bump into a fellow-Christian, doesn’t it make your heart jump with excitement? You don’t particularly obsess over the denomination they are linked to. (At least, I hope you don’t). You are just thrilled to meet a brother and sister in Christ; and that is exactly how it should be. You share much more in common than any trifling differences there may be.

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