Friday 28 February 2014

"FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE ABIDE" Thoughts from the Bible readings for 28/2/14


     What a remarkably challenging letter Paul wrote to Corinth.  It is essential we keep it all in context.  Some of the early chapters show there was considerable disharmony among the believers there.  Today we saw how ch. 13 ends by telling us, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
     Human numbering has made 13 very significant here!  A verse to be remembered.  So there are 3 things that were to abide, while other things  would not, they “will pass away” [v.10] such as tongues, “they will cease” [v.8]
     Members had no Bibles to refer to, the gospels were only then being written and then hand copied for circulation. Early church records show the Psalms were especially valued and some memorized them all and could go around reciting them.   We do not have to memorize things today, or very little, and we are the poorer for this.  What fills the minds of people today – and therefore their hearts?  But make this question personal – my mind – my heart?
     Now consider the 3 things Paul said would not – or should not – pass away!  These are the 3 things it is essential for us to have – if they are lacking then our way of life in serving Christ is doomed.  The world around us lacks them, they have no faith in anyone, well, certainly not the politicians!  They live for the here and now more and more as any hope in the future is increasingly bleak – and - do not people really only love – themselves!
     Let us now focus our thoughts on the future. There is an important thing we may not fully realize.  “Faith and hope” will not abide!  Why?  Because they will no longer apply.  Faith is needed in that which is unseen: how tellingly Peter expresses this, look at 1 Peter 1 v.8,9.  But faith and hope will not abide then for the simple reason faith will be turned to sight and hope will be realized, the future will have become the present!
     So love will be the guiding principle for those blessed to be in God’s kingdom – truly – “the greatest of these is love” – may it rule in our hearts more and more each day. 
     And a final note: in a couple of weeks we will come to Psalm 136 which tells us – no less than 26 times that God’s “steadfast love endures for forever” so “give thanks to the God of heaven” (last verse) with all your heart. .   

Wednesday 26 February 2014

TFTD "AS THE LORD COMMANDED MOSES" Bible Reading Thoughts for Feb. 26th


     We realized as we read the last 2 chapters of Exodus this morning that the above phrase occurs in them no less than 18 times!    The chapters detail the erection of the tabernacle and the placement of the things that are to go into it.  Nothing is left to Moses’ initiative, the all-knowing and all seeing Creator directs every detail;  this includes all the items the priests are to wear, “their anointing shall admit them to a perpetual priesthood throughout their generations.” [ch.40 v.15]
     Tragically two of Aaron’s 4 sons were to fail to do “as the LORD commanded” as we will read next week in Leviticus 10 v.1  - and they lost their lives as a result.  Paul wrote in Hebrews 10 v.1, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”  Food for the deepest thought as we serve him and his Son – how essential that we really know his word – and it becomes part of our thinking – and doing.
     Today’s reading is a lesson for us in two ways, firstly that we must be faithful to what is written – and second – that God is involved in every detail of the way in which he is to be served and worshipped.  In our Corinthians reading we see how Paul spells this out to them. “I speak as to sensible peoplejudge for yourselves what I say.  The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in blood of Christ?  The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?  [1 Cor.10 v.15,16]  Beware lest we observe this in the wrong way, Paul warns, “Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy?” [v.22] 
     Verse 26 is most interesting especially when viewed from another perspective, he writes, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.”   It led us to reflect on the unending discoveries of human science over the last 100+ years.  Human knowledge of the smallest things, things unseen by the unaided human eye has grown and grown, they are utterly remarkable! 
     The atheist is increasingly desperate in keeping on saying – all that exists happened purely by chance – an endless series of ‘accidents’ !! But, as we have seen in the making and erection and operation of the Tabernacle God is involved right down to the smallest detail!  Finally – meditate very intently on what wonders the Creator has in store for us in the coming ages. Let us live for him and his Son today, so that we will be with him in the future.  

Monday 24 February 2014

TFTD Feb 25th"EVERY ATHLETE EXERCISES SELF CONTROL" Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings - Feb 25th

Exodus 38 - we read of the pillar "chapiters" (heads) which were "filleted" together.

The Heb for "filleted" means to cling, to join, to love. These chapiters were the connecting rods which linked each pillar to the next one to hold up the curtain which made the tabernacle court.

The Heb is also used:
"YAHWEH did not set his LOVE upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people" (Deut 7:7)

This reminds us that we have been chosen not because of what we have done, but by Gods love for what we can become under His hand.

Paul's words amplify our position, called out in love to be bound together in love a spiritual house:

"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God...In whom (Christ) all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit" (Eph 2:19-22)

"But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love" (Eph 4:15-16)

May we be speaking the truth in love, and growing to edify the body in love. Amen.


     We have caught glimpses of the Winter Olympics in Russia on TV.  We marveled at what incredible fitness the athletes obviously achieved as they skied twisting and turning up hills and then down them.  In the case of the 30 km marathon, they went non-stop for over an hour. What intensity of training was obviously involved; how intensely did they ‘push’ their bodies in striving to achieve a national honour.
     Our reading today in 1 Corinthians ch. 9 provoked these reflections.  Paul asks the question (v.24) “Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete ,but only one receives the prize?  So run that you may obtain it.  Every athlete exercises self-control in all things.  They do it to obtain a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.”
     How far beyond any present experience (or our imagining) is that which is “imperishable”!  Paul then describes his approach to this, a description of his attitude that should, no, must make us meditate within ourselves.
     Paul writes, “So I do not run aimlessly … But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (v.26)  Self-discipline is the ultimate challenge!  We usually can accept discipline when others are applying it to us for a good purpose that is clearly evident – but spiritual discipline requires clearness of vision in our minds – including a vision of what disqualification means!   Yet we must serve our Lord because our love for him is genuine – fully appreciating the spiritual joy that we hold in our hearts!   
     These days, with so few being willing to listen – or read – we might give up on being a light shining in a dark place!  But the darker it is – the more evident its’ light is going to be!  Or is the darkness so thick and intense it is smothering it?
     There is a marvelous Proverb we should hold up as a guiding principle for our thoughts.  “But the path of the righteous is like the light of the dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until the full day.” [4 v.18]    

TFTD - 24 February 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

24 February 2014

Exodus 37
Psalms 96; 97; 98; 99
1 Corinthians 7


The four Psalms included in our readings today appeal to us as being, in many parts, hymns to be sung in the kingdom age when “the LORD reigns,” and, as a result, “let the earth rejoice.” [Psalm 97:1]

Imagine the time ­ imagine the words of Psalm 95 (we read yesterday) being spoken, “Come, let us  sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!  Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving …” Then Psalm 96 starts, “O sing to the LORD a new song, sing to the LORD all the earth”  What a contrast this will be to the nature of many songs today!   “Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!” [Psalm 96:7]  ‘Ascribe’ is not a word we regularly use these days, it means to ‘attribute to as the source or cause of something.’

Psalm 96:9 says, “Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!” Of what value is it to be holy today?  This is not holiness in a sanctimonious sense!  Something “holy” is something set apart, genuine believers set their lives “apart” to God as much as they can ­ creating opportunities to do so.

We also meditated on the opening verses of Psalm 98, “O sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things!  His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The LORD has made known his salvation … in the sight of the nations.” [Psalm 98:1-2]  Jesus is the “right hand and holy arm” of the Creator ­ we will see this even more clearly when we come to Psalm 110, quoted several times in the New Testament as referring to the work of Jesus, “The Lord is at your right hand; he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.  He will execute judgment among the nations.” [Psalm 110:5-6] ­ How much is that judgment deserved!

Let us have a genuine relationship with Jesus now ­ and then, our experiences “when the earth rejoices” will  be wonderful; with what joy will we raise our renewed and immortal voices and sing and “rejoice in the Lord.”
- DC

Thought for the Day

24 February 2014

"Earth’s most searching need, the one thing above all others which shows the hopeless inadequacy of men, is how to be right with God. It is the one soaring need demanding an act, costly even to the Father of all. And He delivered him up for us all."

- Charles Mason
If God be for us ... (1967)

Sunday 23 February 2014

TFTD - 23 February 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

23 February 2014

Exodus 36
Psalms 94; 95
1 Corinthians 6


Psalm 94 contains many consoling and stimulating thoughts for us, especially for those who have to cope with the world and its unspiritual values most days of the week. This Psalm shows that our only sure strength of mind when life is difficult - is to have a real ‘living’ relationship with our God.

We read, “When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul” [Psalm 94:19] and “When I thought, ‘My foot slips,’ your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up.” [Psalm 94:18] What are God’s consolations? It has the sense of compassion and comfort. It reminds us of Paul’s words, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 4:6,7]

It starts, “O LORD, God of vengeance, O God of vengeance shine forth! Rise up, O judge of the earth … O LORD …how long shall the wicked exult? They pour out their arrogant words …” [Psalm 94:1-4]

The Psalm concludes, “But the LORD has become my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge. He will bring back on them their iniquity and will wipe them out for their wickedness …” [Psalm 94:22,23]

Psalm 95 is also our reading today. Let us meditate on Psalm 95:6-8, “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts …” We hear his voice by reading his word, let us make sure we “hear” what we are reading and sense the reality of being “the people of his pasture.”
- DC

Thought for the Day

23 February 2014

"... We see the supremacy of our Master in the conflicts of life, in the conventions of life, in the contradictions of life, and, above all, in the conclusion of life. In all spheres he was triumphant, and by his conquest we have the hope sure and steadfast that, though we may not achieve a success like his, yet our own small victories by his grace, will enable us to share in the full fruits of his work when he shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied. If we might sum up his glory in one sentence we should say, "This was the victory that overcame the world, even his faith." By putting all our faith in God and acting accordingly, we can attain with him to the resurrection of life.

Our final picture is that of a garden in which there was a weeping woman. In the same place was a man, but though she spoke to him, she did not take much notice of him, until he said, "Mary!" Then she said in glad amazement: "Rabboni!"

- F.E. Mitchell
Master (1942)

Saturday 22 February 2014

TFTD - 22 February 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

22 February 2014

Exodus 35
Psalms 92; 93
1 Corinthians 4; 5


The way the valuable things and material needed in the construction of the tabernacle in the wilderness were obtained is very instructive: much gold and silver and precious stones were required.

The Israelites had been told by the LORD through Moses before they left Egypt to “ask every man of his neighbour and every woman of her neighbour, for silver and gold jewellery. And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians.” [Exodus 11:2,3]

The reason for this now becomes clear; we read how all the gold, jewellery, precious stones, &c needed in the tabernacle - following the divine directions - were to be obtained. It was not by a levy or tax on those who possessed them! We read today [Exodus 35] that Moses said, “Whoever is of a generous heart, let him bring the LORD’s contribution: gold, silver and bronze; blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen …” [Exodus 35:4-6]

“Then all the congregation … departed from the presence of Moses. And they came, everyone whose heart stirred him, everyone whose spirit moved him (or her), and brought …” [Exodus 35:20,21] The result was quite dramatic, “so they came, both men and women, all who were of a willing heart …” [Exodus 35:22]

This was no tithe, not in any sense, tithing came later: the practise of tithing established under the law is often misunderstood by some ‘christian’ leaders. The tithe God instituted under Moses was really a tax on the nation for the running of the nation by the Levites. Their role was extensive; instituting and operating health laws and supervising them, being, in a sense, policemen, doctors, nurses and so on.

The lesson for us is that in all avenues of life God is looking for “everyone whose heart stirs them” to give from their possessions (and time) in serving Him and his Son. The New Testament makes this principle plain. What is your heart stirring you to do?
- DC

Thought for the Day

22 February 2014

"We may project our vision forward, and see the Son of Man as he "comes with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also who pierced him: and all tribes of the earth shall wail because of him." (Revelation 1:7) As we do, we may well consider that those whose citizenship is in heaven will not then wail; they will rejoice in the salvation then revealed. We may take our vision forward again, and once more stand beside John as he watches "the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven"; (Revelation 21:2) and hear the declaration, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God". (Revelation 21:3)"

- C.E. Hinde
Blessed Are Your Eyes (1984)

Friday 21 February 2014

TFTD - 21 February 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

21 February 2014

Exodus 33; 34
Psalms 90; 91
1 Corinthians 3


All three of today’s readings are intensely heart searching - and need to be read carefully and prayerfully.

First we have the extraordinary relationship Moses was privileged to have with God - and we ponder what lies in the future for those who will experience meeting their Lord; it will be comparable to some degree to that of Moses in his “face to face” encounter (see Exodus 33:11; 34:5, 6, 30, 35) in his exalted and exceptional relationship with God.

Psalm 90 is called, ‘A prayer of Moses’ and we ponder his perception of the endlessness of God “for a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past …” [Psalm 90:4]   Psalm 90:12 is a personal challenge, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”   Psalm 91 says, of those who develop this “heart” that ”you will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.  Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place … the Most High, (your) refuge - no evil shall be allowed to befall you …” [Psalm 91:8-10]

In 1 Corinthians 3  Paul tells them (and us) “we are God’s fellow workers.  You are God’s field, God’s building … Let each one take care how he (or she) builds upon it.  For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ … each one’s work will become manifest for the day will disclose it.” [1 Corinthians 3:9, 10, 13]

While “the day” that “will disclose it” is the day of resurrection, the signs are increasing that the climax of human life, as we know it, is fast approaching, bringing “that day” that “will disclose” it very near.  Paul awesomely describes this time from verses 13-15 as “the day” that “will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.  If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he (or she) will receive a reward” [1 Corinthians 3:13-15]

Let us make sure we are ready for “the day (that) will disclose” God’s approval (or disapproval) of the way we have lived our lives since we committed ourselves to build on the foundation that Jesus Christ laid: let us make sure we are ready with real strength of faith as the climax of today’s world approaches and “the day” is here that discloses the full reality of God and his purpose with the earth - and, by His grace, an utterly wondrous involvement by ourselves.
- DC

Thought for the Day

21 February 2014

"We have both to perceive and react; to understand and obey; to be hearers, but not to be hearers only; to love not only with the mind but with our whole being. "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."

- W. Guy
Thoughts on the Parable of the Sower (1976)

Thursday 20 February 2014

TFTD - 20 February 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

Exodus 31; 32
Psalms 89
1 Corinthians 1; 2

Exodus 31:
"And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship"

We read of the purpose of the spirit (Heb ruach = breath) of God, in wisdom, understanding and knowledge, TO BRING FORTH works (manner of workmanship) to the glory of the LORD.

When we think of the breath (spirit) of God, and wisdom, understanding and knowledge. Our minds are taken straight to words about Christ:

"And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of The Lord" (Isai 11)

With workmanship for the tabernacle, and the Lord Jesus Christ, we are reminded of our position:

"For we are HIS WORKMANSHIP, created in Christ Jesus UNTO good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them...And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit"


We have an overflow of challenging thoughts in our readings today. Paul's words particularly arrested our attention. "I appeal to you brothers by the name of our Lord that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment" [1 Corinthians 1:10-11]. This is an essential factor among those who follow Christ, but the believers in Corinth were in disarray because they were following leaders. Paul is stressing that the only way believers can be united is to follow Christ, and to do that they should aim to possess the "mind of Christ" [1 Corinthians 2:16] as Paul had.

"God is faithful," writes Paul, "by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord" [1 Corinthians 1:9] God is faithful to believers - and expects faithfulness in response. The failure to do this is the tragedy we read of today in Exodus 32, a very great tragedy after they had been given so much evidence of the Divine presence. There are many examples of how, after evidence of divine presence and power has been given that God puts people to the test to see if they are faithful.

Paul writes about the challenge of "the cross" [1 Corinthians 1:18] The message of "the cross is folly to those who are perishing" What they could not understand they tried to ignore, Yet they were attracted by the dynamics of the Christian movement and the fact that they "are not lacking in any spiritual gift" [1 Corinthians 1:7]. So many in Corinth wanted the experiences the church offered but were unwilling to put their minds to understand that Paul "preached Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to the Gentiles" [1 Corinthians 1:23] As a result the believers in Corinth were far from UNITED.

God had an objective in all this testing; Paul puts it this way, "God chose what is low and despised in the world … so that no human being might boast in the presence of God." [1 Corinthians 1:28-29] Where there is boasting and human ego, believers will never be united. So often, those seeking leadership, or looking for leaders to follow, are elevating men: this attitude destroys unity, a unity that should be based, not on human wisdom, but on the wisdom that is from above. What does the word wisdom mean to us? There is no mystery about it. The Greek word for wisdom, Sophia, means more or less the same as in English.

There is a total lack of good wisdom in the world today and 'believers' have also been influenced by this, as a result we have so many churches and divisions among believers. And in the world around us, the lack of wisdom has led to all kinds of follies as the News Bulletins illustrate every day. This subject flows into tomorrows readings so we will comment further then.
- DC

Thought for the Day

20 February 2014

"Our faith in God provides us with motivation to go on to do more good works, as we are instructed in the scriptures. Faith and works come together and link hands ... They walk together in harmony in a life that is to be pleasing to God, just as they did in Jesus. And now, as we think again about his example, we marvel both at his unquenchable faith in his Father, and at the zest with which he went about doing his Father’s business. Both were absolutely right; they were always completely in balance."

- Mark Vincent
This is the Work of God (1993)

“Where is the one who is wise?”

(February 20)

Today we began reading Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. Corinth was a centre of Greek learning and Greek wisdom. Winning converts was a challenge –a quite different kind of challenge to winning converts among the Jews. Today’s world with its atheism and humanism is yet another kind of challenge –yet there are parallels –and what Paul wrote applies just as much. “The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God”(1:18) –this applies in every situation. The meaning of the cross, once grasped, creates the power of thought to change lives!
The sacrifice of Christ is senseless in the minds of those who are not seeking real spirituality in their outlook on life. In verse 19 Paul quotes God’s words through Isaiah (29:14) “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart”. Human wisdom has been thwarted by God, in every age and every culture, the 21st Century is not going to be any different.
Paul asks, “Where is the one who is wise?”and then makes the point, “Since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through (its’) wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but…”And what a vital ‘but’that little word is! butto those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God”(verse 24).
What wisdom we can read in Matthew’s gospel of the teaching of Christ –what a challenge to practice what he taught, as recorded in chapters 5 to 7 –generally called ‘The Sermon on the Mount.’No human author could have invented Christ as a fictional character and put such teaching in his mouth. Those who are “called”show their ‘calling’by whole heartedly responding to such teaching.
Paul tells the Corinthians “I decided to know nothing among you exceptJesus Christ and him crucified”(2:2). He then makes the point, “among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age …but we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory”(verses 6-8). The Old Testament is the repository of such wisdom.
Let us search out –more and more –the “wisdom of God”and develop more and more a genuine love for God, Paul says, “it is written, ‘…no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’”(verse 9). True wisdom is the outcome of a genuine love for God; may we be filled with wisdom –and daily feed on “the wisdom of God”. 

Wednesday 19 February 2014

TFTD - 19 February 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

19 February 2014

Exodus 30
Psalms 87; 88
Mark 15; 16

Exodus 30, we read of the specific washing that had to take place, before Aaron and his sons could do the work of the LORD. 

Aaron and his sons had been thoroughly washed at their consecration as priests (Exo. 29:4). But the washing had to be a continual process for their service and for them to be acceptable before the LORD. 

We have "wash" repeated and also the washing of the hands and the feet, which represents hands = works, and feet = walk.

As we think on these things we are reminded of:

HOW do we cleanse ourselves each day to be ready for service?
"Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word" (Ps 119:9)

For WHAT purpose?
"...Christ also loved the ecclesia, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious ecclesia, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be Holy and without blemish" (Eph 5)

May we be daily washing ourselves with the ready, study and mediation of the word. So that it directs our works and our walk as we journey in the wilderness to the promised land. 


Today we completed reading the Gospel of Mark.  The tragic death of Jesus and all the dreadful events and attitudes that surrounded this are a challenge to every person - then and ever since. At the time most minds were firmly locked in unbelief: there is a parallel today with that mindset, in the sense of the conviction that there is no Creator, all that exists is the outcome of an incredible series of ‘accidents’!

We read in Mark’s gospel how, when Jesus rose, “he appeared first to Mary Magdalene … She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept.  But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.”

His resurrection was an absolute shock to his followers, one even declared “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe." [John 20:25]  It is highly interesting that there are Roman historians (e.g. Tacitus) who testify to the great  number of believers in Christ in Rome by AD 64, when hundreds were put to death as scapegoats, being blamed for the fire that had destroyed much of Rome.  It is suggested that Roman gods were angry at not being sufficiently worshipped!  It seems more and more people were turning to Christianity instead!  What provoked this?  We read today in Mark 15:39 “And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God.’”

Recall the encounters Jesus had with Centurions, one came seeking a healing for his servant and did not think it fitting that Jesus should visit his place, he believed Jesus did not need to!  Jesus said, "Go; let it be done for you as you have believed." And the servant was healed at that very moment.” [Matthew 8:13]  Recall Cornelius!

What causes belief?  What causes unbelief?  Human prejudices are very powerful!  Are you influenced by them?  The people would not believe their Temple would be destroyed.  Similarly today, there is no belief, except among dedicated Bible believers, that divine judgements are about to come on this increasingly godless world, a world that has turned its back on God just as, 2,000 years ago, it turned its back on his Son.  Let us believe - with full conviction! For we read today, Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” [Mark 16:16]  There is no middle way.
- DC

Thought for the Day

19 February 2014

"Ezekiel had seen the vision of the glory of the Lord leaving the city and ascending from the mount that lieth on the east of the city (Olives), and was heartened when he later saw it return. Our faith is his. We, too, wait in patience and conviction. His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives yielding to the force of a rending earthquake and sending forth a stream of living water. May we be granted the blessing of sharing in the inheritance Jesus has gained."

- Harry Tennant
The Mount of Olives (1959)

Tuesday 18 February 2014

TFTD - 18 February 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

Mark 14 we read of Judas, "sought how he might CONVENIENTLY betray Christ".

How often do i find it convenient to betray/deny my master, whose bondservant I am?

We have the gk translated "convenient" only x2, the other occ is +ve:

"Preach the word; be instant IN SEASON (lit = when it is convenient), out of season (lit = when it's not convenient)" (2 Tim 4:2)

The Gk root from which this word is from is again only used x2, again x1 -ve and x1 +ve:

Herod on a CONVENIENT day celebrated his birthday with a party and indulgence of the flesh, resulting in the murder of John.

And the +ve:
Speaking of the wonderful position we are in through Christ, "let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in TIME OF NEED" (Heb 4:16)

We fail our master, and as we see the contrast between Judas and Peter, let us never forget we can come to our Heavenly Father, through the saving name of our master, to ask for forgiveness, mercy and grace to help us to "hold fast", in times of need.

Thought for the Day

18 February 2014

" ... we may read many books and study the prophecies, we may increase our knowledge in these things, but if we are not careful it is possible to lose the simple spirit of the Truth as shown by Jesus. It is possible to make the Truth a profession, and not a confession of our own unworthiness. Isaiah expresses the right attitude in these words: "For all those things has my hand made, and all those things have been, says the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at my word." (Isaiah 66:2)"

- W.S. Smith
To Him That Is Weary (1950)

18 February 2014

Exodus 29
Psalms 85; 86
Mark 14


 We read today the heart searching account of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Can we even begin to imagine his feelings?  He knew what was about to happen!  He could “feel” the terrible experiences he was about to undergo.  Was there any alternative as there had been for Abraham (although he did not foreknow it), as Abraham agonizingly raised his knife to slay Isaac, the miraculous son of his old age?

Jesus would not have prayed as he did, saying, “Abba Father, all things are possible with you.  Remove this cup from me.  Yet, not what I will …” [Mark 14:36] - if he did not believe this was possible.

Another remarkable thing about this intense time of prayer in the garden is that Jesus’ mind was also focused on his disciples: after his prayers he returned and, after chiding them for falling asleep, he encourages them, “WATCH AND PRAY”, that you may not enter into temptation.” [Mark 14:38] He strengthens himself by thinking of them - and we can do the same!  Seeking to give guidance and encouragement to others - so often creates a sense of strength within ourselves - we realize this as we look back on situations.

The disciples were weak to the point of being helpless in what was about to happen, they did not know how to “watch and pray.”   The compassion of Jesus overflows, pushing his personal anguish of mind into the background for the moment.

The situation takes our thoughts forward to his message to the ecclesia in Philadelphia (in Revelation 3:7-13)  He says, “I know you have but little power … Because you have kept my word with patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.” [Revelation 3:10].

We have little or no power, we are helpless as the disciples were - and as the ecclesia at Philadelphia was. May we all “watch and pray” so that we will be kept, as only our Lord can, from “the hour of trial” that is most surely coming - and quite possibly very soon - on the whole world   “Hold fast what you have” Jesus told those at Philadelphia, “so that no one may seize your crown.”  May we do the same.
- DC

Monday 17 February 2014

TFTD - 17 February 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

17 February 2014

Exodus 28
Psalms 83; 84
Mark 13

Mark 13 we read the Olivet prophecy, words of warning by Jesus to his disciples.

Jesus emphasises his words of warning with the phrase "take heed" x4 times:
Against that which kills:
1. 'Take heed that you are not deceived, because MANY will be deceived by false teaching'.
2. 'Take heed when your life is threatened'.
Because you have been warned:
3. 'Take heed i have warned you before it happens', I have told you ALL you need to know so you can act and not lose your salvation.
4. 'Take heed watch AND pray'. Take action with the warning, physically 'watch' and spiritually 'pray'.

We are to watch even though we don't know the exact time of Christ's return, but we MUST understand Jesus' warning words which he has given us so that we do not lose our place in the Book of Life.

As these words of Jesus were to his servants the disciples as they came to the end of an age and of judgement, for them to listen to, understand and take the right action. So we also have been warned by Christ, and given ALL we need to know in his very last words recorded for his servants in Revelation. It's up to each one of us individually what we do with those words, like those at the end of the age of AD70, they are a matter of life, or death. Jesus' message in Revelation repeats warnings of who will and won't be in the Book of Life, and the vital information to protect his servants is contained in Revelation.

Jesus ends his warning, with the words "watch" x4 times.  Christ commands the 'porters' (those who keep the flock), but also he ends with very important words:

"And what I say unto you, I say unto ALL, watch"

We are thankful we do have those who work hard to be watchmen and help us to watch. But it is up to each one of us, to take the details Jesus and our Father has given us, and the warning by our doorkeepers (watchmen) and to take the right actions.

With this is mind, a reminder of the Rugby prophecy day this coming Saturday God willing. A powerful day with 450+ brothers and sisters, where the power of the hymns coupled with the talks given, powerfully move and invigorate discipleship.

If you can't be there, don't miss out, you can watch live online, just subscribe before the day and ask for details to view by contacting:


“Stay awake”  -  these are the last words in our Mark [Mark 13] reading today.  It is a dramatic chapter; Jesus foretells a time coming when “there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be.” [Mark 13:19] He then speaks of how, from God’s perspective, who, says Isaiah, is “declaring the end from the beginning”  [Isaiah 46:10) - how God then declares through this prophet, “My salvation will not delay, I will put salvation in Zion” [Isaiah 46:13].

There is no “delay” from God’s perspective, only from ours. So it is from God’s perspective that Jesus next says, “if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved.  But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days.” [Mark 13:20]  So there will still be those whom God counts as “elect” (that is, those he has elected (or selected) to serve him and his son - just as the 12 disciples were (s)elected.

Only God and our Lord know who he has elected in the final traumatic days when God’s judgments are made evident in an utterly awesome way -  for at the climax of that time, our days, says Jesus, “the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.  And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect … from the ends of the earth …” [Mark 13:25-27]

Now note the verses that immediately follow!   Jesus then says, “from the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as the branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves , you know that summer is near.  So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates…. This generation will not pass away until all these things take place …” [Mark 13:28-30]     Israel is God’s fig tree, see Hosea 9:10; Joel 1:7 ­ it is a clear sign that God is about to act.

The point is made in Psalm 90:10 that the normal human lifespan is 70 years. God’s fig tree came to life again as a nation in 1948 … and we should anticipate that “the generation” that was alive then will see it all! Many of these, that is, those who know their Bible’s, are wide awake to the awesome trauma’s in the Middle East - noting also, the other extreme events, such as the weather, that are causing great anxieties in many places.

All those who know God and truly love him and love their Saviour, His son, will heed the final verse of today’s chapter, “And what I say to you, I say to all, stay awake.”  Only God’s word enables us to do that properly.
- DC

Thought for the Day

17 February 2014

"It is our privilege and joy to be committed to the call of Christ, for thereby are our lives transformed, and we become part of the Israel of God, called out and sanctified, looking always for the Kingdom which we believe most surely will be established in the sight of all men: "But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he has prepared for them a city." (Hebrews 11:16)"

- D. M. Elliott
The Call of Christ (1966)

TFTD - 15 February 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

15 February 2014

Exodus 26
Psalms 79; 80
Mark 11


It is necessary for the orderly functioning of life for there to be those in authority to approve and oversee what is to be done. This is essential for the proper functioning of life, but is it so in every case? In particular, is it so with Christianity?

Jesus was the authority until he ascended to heaven. Then the Apostles were given special Holy Spirit powers to exercise authority. An outstanding example was the drama with Ananias and Sapphira [Acts 5:1-11] who told lies to the Apostles, but Peter said, "You have not lied to men but to God." [Acts 5:4]

Our thoughts on this question arose from today's reading in Mark 11 where we read, "as he (Jesus) was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and elders came to him and they said to him, 'By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?" [Mark 11:27-28] These men were the bosses, no one was supposed to teach unless they gave them authority, this is one reason why John the Baptist went into the wilderness to preach. It was this exercise of authority that saw the disciples thrown into prison when they taught in the temple [Acts 4:1-3] although later, such was the prestige of the Apostles, created by their miracles, that dramatic scenes unfolded. [Acts 5:12,13; 5:17-20), but "none of the rest dared join them."

History shows that as the early believers evolved into large established churches these churches too began to exercise an attitude of authority climaxing in the power of the Pope and the cardinal system. In the Middle Ages, if you were not appointment by church authorities to minister in a church, you had no authority to preach. Some, such as John Bunyan, were put in prison for doing so. But as we will read at the end of Mark's Gospel, Jesus said, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved …" [Mark 16:15,16]. That authority is given to everyone the responsibility to share their faith; it is summed up by Paul when he wrote, "Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel" [1 Corinthians 9:16]
- DC

Thought for the Day

15 February 2014

"There is something very beautiful and hopeful in that expression,-“the God of peace,” ... God will bring peace upon earth, but of course in harmony with His own divine principle of glory to Him in the highest first, then peace on earth, and good will toward men."

- C.C. Walker
The God of Peace (1909)