Monday 30 June 2014

TFTD - 30 June 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

30 June 2014

1 Samuel 11; 12
Isaiah 55
Revelation 19; 20


There can be no half measures in serving the LORD, either we are fully committed  - or not - there is the narrow way - or the broad way. Our first reading today describes the success of King Saul when he began his reign, he did serve the LORD - he began well, encouraged and guided by Samuel. We have no Samuel to guide us, but we have God’s word - all of it. Samuel exhorts the people and Saul, “Serve the LORD with all your heart…. do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit … Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you …. Fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart.” [1 Samuel 12:20,21,23,24] All around us people occupy their minds with ‘empty things.’  We are going to read in coming days , the failure of Saul to follow the LORD with all his heart - a lesson for us.

Next - what a wonderful vision Isaiah records for us, it is somewhat parallel to Samuel’s. He tells God’s people not to “labour for that which does not satisfy?  Listen diligently to me …” [Isaiah 55:2]  We can read - diligently - what God has caused to be written and preserved - “Seek the LORD while he may be found” [Isaiah 55:6] is an even more urgent call to us today.  “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and … water the earth, making it bring forth… so shall my word be that goes from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty , but it shall accomplish that which I purpose … for you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace” [Isaiah 55:10-12]

Chapter 20 in Revelation spells out that wondrous time to come, a time when those who are not ‘marked’ by the “beast” of humanity with fleshly attitudes and ambitions, but have served  “the LORD with all their heart” - not being distracted and turning “aside after fleshly things” - they will have experienced wonder far beyond our comprehension when they came “to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” [Revelation 20:4] Parts of the final chapters of Revelation look back over time - from the perspective of timelessness - what a perception of “heart” will then be achieved - may we develop clearness of vision and a dedicated sense of commitment with all our heart so that, by the grace of God, we will be there.
- DC

Thought for the Day

30 June 2014

"There is something profoundly moving in ... thinking about eternity, and it must be counted the greatest treasure and experience of our lives that prophets should have been inspired to write for our learning of things and visions which reveal horizons beyond the ken of natural man, and the more the pity that our age and our kind of civilization leaves us little time to sit still "to hear the word of the Lord".

- John Marshall
Reflections on the Way (1960)

TFTD - 29 June 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

29 June 2014

1 Samuel 10
Isaiah 54
Revelation 17; 18


Every time we read Revelation, especially chapters 16 to 20,  a multitude of thoughts threaten to overwhelm us.  We focus our attention most of all on the ‘picture’ they give of the climax of human history at the return of Christ: this is totally dramatic and sudden.  We perceive that this is the latter day counterpart to ancient Babylon - and we recall the head of gold of Nebuchadnezzar’s image and the dramatic end of his Empire.  We are also mindful of the fact that ‘Babylon’ is the way the Greeks translate the Hebrew word ‘Babel’ into their language causing us to think of what God did to Babel generations after the flood to demonstrate to ungodly men that he is in control in the earth.

Therefore Revelation is giving us a picture in symbolic language, of the final “hour” of human kingdoms. We read, “Alas! Alas! … you mighty city, Babylon! For in a single hour your judgment has come.” [Revelation 18:10]  The spiritual element in Babylon today is “clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet” [Revelation 18:16]; these are the dominant colours in Papal garments - but “in a single hour she has been laid waste.  Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints … for God has given judgement for you against her”  [Revelation 18:19-20]

A puzzling factor is the great wealth of this latter day Babylon that Revelation highlights. Can we see significance in the fact that the European Common Market was established by the ‘Treaty of Rome’ in 1957 and the countries that belong (and it seems significant that the U.K. did not sign), and that just about all of them are Roman Catholic.  The major reason for their unity is financial and for 50 years the E.U. has been very prosperous. But now the scene has changed and could become a disaster, so note the words, “for in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste” [Revelation 18:17]

Our Lord made a simple statement, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and money.” [Matthew 6:24]  What is it to “serve money”?  Money, and the things it can buy, dominate the thinking of just about every one! We see this all around us; it must not dominate our thinking.

Let us heed the voice which says, “Praise God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great … Let us rejoice … and give him glory”  [Revelation 19:5].  True believers are “his bride (who has) made herself ready” - make sure you are among them.
- DC

Thought for the Day

29 June 2014

"Walk humbly with thy God". This passage falls into perfect harmony with the idea of preparation by all things. If a man walks humbly with his God in all his progress through life, he is at all times under divine guidance and influence. Whether in sorrow or joy, at work or play, his experiences can thus help to prepare him for the more complete manifestation which is to come."

- Islip Collyer
Conviction and Conduct
1 Samuel 10:22
"Therefore they enquired of the Lord further, if the man (Saul) should yet come thither. And the Lord answered, Behold, he hath hid himself among the STUFF"

Saul had accepted the calling to be king and was anointed. But when he was to come forward to take on that responsibility he had hidden himself in amongst stuff.

STUFF, is used of material possessions, and often that which is important to the individual. We like Saul have accepted our calling (through baptism), to be bondservants to the Lord Jesus Christ, but do we come forward to take on our responsibilities within our ecclesia's, to serve our brothers and sisters needs, and our. Masters. For example, where are we, when the lecture is on, where are we when Bible class is taking place, or other ecclesial activities. Or can we not be found because we are hidden in all our STUFF, and giving our time and energy to what this world has to offer, and STUFF it promises, and persuades we need to have.

Our master has words of warning involving STUFF and our attitude towards it:
"In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his STUFF in the house, let him not come down to take it away:and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot's wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it" (Luke 17:31-33)

TFTD - 28 June 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

28 June 2014

1 Samuel 9
Isaiah 53
Revelation 15; 16


Today’s Revelation reading is the only place in the Bible where the word “Armageddon” occurs. Yet the word keeps cropping up in the world, especially in movies for mass mind consumption!  There is a fear among many, that is more than subconscious, that there is a great crisis ahead.    There is continuing chaos in the nations surrounding Israel, but not in Israel itself, it is now more than 40 years since any of their surrounding enemies dared to attack them, not counting troubles with the Gaza Strip.  We have seen a kind of animal savagery in the civil war conflicts in Syria - and now in Iraq.  There is no regard for human life.  No one sees any long term future for the world! The United Nations is impotent and the United States is no longer willing to try to act as a ‘policemen’ in trouble spots.  The European Union is impotent and could fall apart financially in the next year or two.

It is  understandable, if you do not believe in the Bible, that you see no future for the world.  Revelation 16 starts by saying there is “a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, ‘Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God’” [Revelation 16:1]  We see pictured in symbol, the ultimate outpouring of the Creator’s anger on those who do not obey him, but the greater number do not even believe he exists.  Some in past centuries have persecuted true believers - and today we read, “for they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink.  It is what they deserve. …They did not repent of their deeds.” [Revelation 16:6,11]

We read in Revelation 16:14 of “demonic spirits” (unreasoning, mad attitudes of mind?) … who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle … at the place that is called in Hebrew, Armageddon” [Revelation 16:14,16]  This is a place (valley?) spoken of by several Old Testament prophets without using the word Armageddon.  Joel calls it “the valley of decision” [Joel 3:14]

As the world today becomes more and more God-less we wonder how close we are to the bowls of God’s wrath being emptied?  Whether that time is close or not, if we really fear God, let us always be ready.  May it be our wondrous experience to sing “the song of the Lamb” we read in Revelation 15:3-4, “Great and amazing are your deeds … O king of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name?  … All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
- DC

Thought for the Day

28 June 2014

"When Jesus says “Have faith in God,” he is not asking the impossible. He is asking us to look at our lives and find out what things we trust. When we realise where we have put our faith, he asks us to transfer it. “Have faith IN GOD,” he says. God is more deserving of our confidence than anything or anyone else."

- John S. Roberts
The Bible, The Lord Jesus and You

Friday 27 June 2014

TFTD - 27 June 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

27 June 2014

1 Samuel 7; 8
Isaiah 52
Revelation 14


Our readings today are full of contrasts, but that is the nature of God’s word, on the one hand expressing his dismay and resultant anger at the godless behaviour of human beings - but on the other hand giving pictures of coming glory for those whose convictions and resultant behaviour are righteous.

Our chapter [14] in Revelation ends with a vision of the wrath of God when “the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God” [Revelation 14:19] The symbology is clear: today so few know - and show by the way they live - that there is a God - a Creator.

Isaiah is caused by the Creator [Isaiah 52] to first write that “continually all the day my name is despised” [Isaiah  52:5]: then, in contrast, “my people shall know my name. Therefore in that day they shall know that is I who speak; here I am” [Isaiah 52:6] Are we making God aware by our earnest prayers that we “know” his name, that we have heart felt confidence, that is so evident to others that they know something of the “good news” that is in our hearts.

The next verse [Isaiah 52:7] has a wonderful poetic picture, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation …” The outcome is [Isaiah 52:8] “they see the return of the LORD to Zion.” At this time “the LORD has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” [Isaiah 52:10] as he brings to an end the terrible time when he executes “the wrath of God.”

The contrast of these events will add to the perception of “how beautiful” is the publishing of salvation and the total awareness it brings to the earth that there is a Creator and “the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God” “How beautiful” - indeed, utterly wonderful, will it be to experience that time. We make ‘the answer now’ as to whether it will be our experience.
- DC

Thought for the Day

27 June 2014

"... we have been called to an eternal inheritance; whilst the world and the fashion of it fades away and its attractions perish with the using, the true believer has lost his identity as a son of Adam and shares the life of One who is alive for evermore, and so he rests in the promise that “he that doeth the will of God abideth forever”. So, although the world may hate the disciple, even as it hates his Master, and although if he remains faithful he will be subjected to pressures of all kinds and suffer many things, he will rejoice in his conflict because his life is lived in the context of eternity and he will realise with Paul that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18).

- Melva Purkis
The Christian and the World

TFTD - 26 June 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

 26 June 2014

1 Samuel 5; 6
Isaiah 51
Revelation 12; 13


Our Isaiah chapter [51] starts, “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness …” [Isaiah 51:1] “Give attention to me my people … give ear to me …” [Isaiah 51:4] How many respond to God’s appeal - then - and now?  Our chapter takes a long range view - to our time, “My righteousness draws near, my salvation has gone out, and my arms will judge … for my arm they wait.” [Isaiah 51:5]  Back in Isaiah 33:2 the prophet’s prayer was, “… we wait for you.  Be our arm every morning”  Our thoughts go to John’s Gospel and the quotation from Isaiah, the unbelief Jesus encountered  “so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: ‘Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?’ " [John 12:38]  Jesus is the “arm” of the LORD.

God’s word, as we see in Isaiah, sometimes uses the word ‘heavens’ to indicate rulers and ‘earth’ to indicate those ruled over.  With that understanding we see Isaiah 51:6 as a graphic prophecy that will climax in our world now, it is a message for today. “lift your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner …”   But the verse ends, “but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed.”

The chapter started “Listen to me” and now it significantly occurs again, “Listen to me you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law, fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their revilings.”” [Isaiah 51:7]  How few are listening?  How ready are others to utter “revilings” about those who sincerely believe God’s word - and show that belief in the what they say and the way they live.

But what wonders of eternity await those who really listen!   Isaiah 51:11 says  they will “come to Zion with singing and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads, and they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

“Listen to me”  Are you really listening? Are you reacting in the right way to what you hear?  Today’s chapter [11] in Revelation describes the trouble the saints will experience - and the fate of “everyone whose name has not been written … in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain … Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints” [Revelation 12:8-11]  Are you listening?  Those who genuinely listen and develop real faith will endure.
- DC

Thought for the Day

26 June 2014

"In its diction nothing could be simpler than the statement 'He that hath the Son hath life'. It is a truth to ponder upon, to weigh in the mind, to return to again and again, to carry with one through all the perplexities and uncertainties of this mortal life, to call to remembrance in moments of crisis and decision, to rest upon in the less dramatic routine of daily living. It is as powerful in its positive assurance as it is ominous in its warning. It sets before us with luminous clarity and sharpness of definition the purpose and final meaning of our existence, the ultimate issues of life and death, of time and eternity: “He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."

- Neville Smart
The First Epistle of John

Wednesday 25 June 2014

TFTD - 25 June 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

25 June 2014

1 Samuel 4
Isaiah 50
Revelation 10; 11


We wrestle over understanding some of the symbolic language in the book of Revelation - but then come to clear and dramatic statements of the divine intentions for the future.  Revelation 11 which we read today is a particularly outstanding example; the vision of 24 elders “who fell on their faces and worshipping God saying, ‘We give thanks to you Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.  The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.” [Revelation 11:16-18]  Note how the “small” are mentioned first.

Let us “give thanks” that the all seeing all knowing Creator of all things is exercising the ultimate control and destiny of all things.   However, he allows human beings  to exercise their freewill - foreseeing what that will lead to - both short and long term - before it is time - his time - to exercise his “great power.”

In our Isaiah reading chapter [Isaiah 50] there are appropriate personal words of encouragement to put alongside this vision in Revelation.  “The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary.  Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught” [Isaiah 50:4]  Let us awaken each morning with words (resulting in our subsequent thoughts) from the word of God.

Finally, Isaiah 50:10 has a question for us to answer; “Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the voice of his servant?  (Isaiah 52:13-14 makes it clear “my servant” is Jesus)  Back to Isaiah 50:10, “Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.”  Our world is full of darkness, so we absolutely must do this.
- DC

Thought for the Day

25 June 2014

"The Truth calls men and women to express its ideals in all walks of life and conditions of environment. The apostle therefore lays down the rule that believers should look upon their environment chiefly as a means of perfecting character, and not be so anxious about changing it as using it to His glory who called them (1 Corinthians 7:17-28). “Let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.” The slave was the Lord’s “free-man”, and the master was the Lord’s slave; but what did it matter to either so long as they were heirs of everlasting life? The call of the gospel is a revolution not of circumstances but of outlook. “Nevertheless”, he says, “if thou mayest be made free, use it rather” (1 Corinthians 7:21). And again we have a word of wisdom for today."

- L.W. Richardson
The Time is Short (1954)
The first part of 1 Samuel 4:1 should be part of ch3:21, and therefore read:
"And the LORD appeared again in Shiloh:for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord.
And the word of Samuel came to all Israel"

This shows that the LORD revealed Himself through His word, and then Samuel taught the nation of Israel.

The same is for us, the wonderful message of the gospel of the Kingdom through the Lord Jesus Christ, has been revealed to us, we are to also give out that message to others.

Tuesday 24 June 2014

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

24 June 2014

1 Samuel 3
Isaiah 49
Revelation 7; 8; 9


Our first reading is the heart stirring account of young Samuel in the Temple/tabernacle at Shiloh and the LORD calling him, “Samuel, Samuel” ­ and the message he received about the failure of Eli to discipline his sons.  The ungodliness of their behaviour in appearing to serve the LORD makes sad reading ­ but it has had its parallels in every generation ­ especially today.

In contrast, the vision Isaiah records is fascinating, “Thus says the LORD, the redeemer of Israel …. In a time of favour I have answered you, in a day of salvation I have helped you … to establish the land”  [Isaiah 49:7-8] We recall what we read 2 days ago, “I am God … declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done … I will accomplish all my purpose” [Isaiah 46:9-10].  The Jews over the centuries have often felt abandoned, but how significant are Isaiah 49:13-15 in today’s chapter!   “… the LORD … will have compassion on his afflicted … But Zion said, ‘The LORD has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.’  Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion … Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”

As we reflect on the events of the 60 ­ 70 years ago ­ and since ­ we see how remarkable are Isaiah 49:23, 25 “… those who wait for me shall not be put to shame … for I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your children.”  We have seen this happen in our youth, the nations surrounding the new born nation of Israel contended with her in vain, the “time of favour” had begun.

Our chapters in Revelation are awesome in many ways, especially in the angels of God being “told … to harm …only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads,” [Revelation 9:4] What does the “seal” symbolise?  Ownership!  John, in his gospel, recorded Jesus as saying, “Do not labour for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life … on him (or her) God the Father has set his seal.” [John 6:27]

May we all increasingly live with minds saturated with godly thoughts ­ and then resultant actions ­ that show we are committed to God and His Son ­ and will therefore experience the wonder of the ultimate “time of favour.”
- DC

Thought for the Day

24 June 2014

"Surely there has been in human experience no reunion like that which will take place when all Christ’s servants are brought together and the Lord will show so movingly his appreciation of what his followers have done for him. Shall we be there? As this is the desire of our heart, let us ponder the meaning for us of Christ’s great resolve to worship God and to serve him alone. Let us think about him washing the disciples’ feet in the upper room and surrendering his life for others in the garden. This will put us in a fitting frame of mind to understand the amazing love which led God’s Suffering Servant to bear our sins in his own body on the tree."

- T.J. Barling
 An All-Embracing Fellowship (1979)
1 Samuel 3:1
"And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. And the WORD of the LORD was PRECIOUS in those days; there was no open vision"

We live in a time where there is no open vision, and the word of God is indeed precious to us.

The word (knowledge) of God reminds us of our wonderful position, where the application of the precious word and knowledge leads to the precious promises of our Heavenly Father that we pray will be soon:
"Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the KNOWLEDGE of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the KNOWLEDGE of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and PRECIOUS promises:that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Pet 1:2-4)

Monday 23 June 2014

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

23 June 2014

1 Samuel 2
Isaiah 48
Revelation 5; 6


Our readings today are particularly interesting.  Yesterday, our first reading, 1 Samuel 1, sees the birth of Samuel. We have read of the ups and downs of the era of the Judges ­ but now come to Samuel as the final all wise Judge, a type of Christ, that God works through to lay the foundation for the era of the Kings beginning with Saul and David.

Isaiah’s prophecies are bringing us toward the end of the era of the Kings, the LORD is frustrated with the attitudes of his people ­ as he must be with the ‘christian’ world today.  Today’s chapter [Isaiah 48] starts, “Hear this, O house of Jacob who are called by the name of Israel … who swear by the name of the LORD … but not in truth and right”.  God tells the prophet of “things I declared of old … then suddenly I did them and they came to pass” [Isaiah 48:3]

We think of the initial promises to Abraham, the deliverance from Egypt, the initial fulfilment of the promises to David ­ we will read in 1 Samuel in coming weeks; but this week in Isaiah we will read the detailed prophecies God gave him about the Messiah.   Although the Jewish scribes must have known these, they had ‘tunnel vision’ as to what they expected the Messiah to do, the message of the explicit prophecy in Isaiah 53 was ‘lost’ because of the pre-conceived notions in their minds. Is there a lesson in this for us? Have we pre-conceived notions?

Our readings in Revelation complete the dramas in today’s chapters.  While often  in symbolic language, they frequently included phrases, even sentences from Isaiah and other prophets, compare for example, today’s Revelation 6:15-16 with Isaiah 2:10,19, of events when “the great day of their wrath has come.”

Revelation is not all symbolic language, especially of how the time of God’s wrath is followed by a “new song”. “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created …. You ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” [Revelation 4:11; 5:9]

What a wonderful vision.   But first it is vital we acknowledge that our world today is in near total spiritual darkness ­ “then suddenly” God will act.  The increasing turmoil in all the nations surrounding God’s ‘Holy Land’ is ominous!  The last verse of our Revelation reading asks us a question “who can stand?” in “the great day of their wrath”? Are you effectively building up your faith ­ so you can? Read and reflect on God’s word every day.
- DC

Thought for the Day

23 June 2014

"Life in the truth must be contemplative. This does not mean that we must become either philosophers or monks, but if we are to develop character we must do some thinking and studying. The outstanding characteristic of the godly man is that "his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law does he meditate day and night." (Psalm 1:2)"

- Elwyn Humphreys
Meditation and Study (1951)
1 Samuel 2:18
"But Samuel ministered before the LORD, being a child, girded with a linen ephod"

This is in total sad contrast with the verses before which outline how that whilst being in the role of the priests instead of serving and ministering to God and the people, Eli's sons were serving themselves. There is huge exhortation in this for us, are we truly ministering and serving God in the ecclesia, or ourselves?  Who are we putting 1st in our lives?

It's interesting to note in this chapter and chapter 3, there is a contrast to these men (sons of Eli) who served self and the repeated phrase of Samuel being a child, ministering before the LORD, and grew in the LORD.

We are reminded of our Masters words:
"And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt 18:3)

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

22 June 2014

1 Samuel 1
Isaiah 46; 47
Revelation 3; 4


The messages that were sent to the 7 different communities of believers detailed in Chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation are remarkable. We conclude that these are representative of the various types of communities of believers that have existed ever since that era.

One particular message caught our attention today, the words that were written to Sardis [Revelation 3:1]. You “have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead” - what a message! But, the message also includes, “you still have a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments (of righteousness), and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.” [Revelation 3:5]. Of such, Jesus says, “I will confess his name before my father” [Revelation 3:5].

What will Jesus “confess”? What is a “name”? We recall the promise God made to King David, “I will make for you a great name, like the names of the great ones of the earth” [2 Samuel 7:9]. This is “name” in the sense of reputation or fame, as many modern versions translate it. Quite a number of Scriptures tell us how God made a name for himself, we will soon read an example of this in Isaiah Isaiah 63:12,14.

In the light of these examples we conclude that when Jesus says of those few in Sardis that he will “confess” their “name before my father” - he means he will confess the reputation that such have made for themselves. We meditate and imagine it will be names or reputations such as “patient endurance” [Revelation 2:2] “not grown weary” [Revelation 2:3] “hold fast” [Revelation 2:25] and many other particular qualities of a Christ-like character. Such, says Jesus, I will make a pillar in the temple of my God” [Revelation 3:12,21] adding, “… and I will write on him the name of my God … and my own new name…. I will grant him to sit with me on my throne.”

May we all, in true humility, so live that we make a worthy reputation for ourselves in the sight of our Saviour that he will lovingly confess before his Father when he returns to this earth. At that time with what overwhelming emotion will we join in the proclamation we read of this morning, “’Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’” [Revelation 4:8]
- DC

Thought for the Day

22 June 2014

"The garment that our Lord Jesus so willingly and lovingly has provided for us, the garment that covers our sins, the white linen robe for his saints, is so easily soiled. But it can be kept clean and spotless, as He wants us to do, if we are honest to confess our faults to our heavenly Father day by day. He will forgive us for Jesus’ sake, and the stains on this robe will be erased. This can only be if we humbly seek forgiveness, and equally humbly forgive."

- John V. Collyer
The Bride’s Trousseau (1984)
Revelation 3:21 wonderful words of promise and warning:
"To him that OVERCOMETH will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also OVERCAME, and am set down with my Father in his throne"

What are we to overcome?
Jesus says (Joh 16:33) our faith overcomes the world (1 Joh 5:4-5) which is 'kosmos', the arrangement of things, the system (social, political, religious).

Our Masters last message to his true servants who will listen to him, outlines what we are to overcome:
Rev 12:11 - they overcame the DRAGON (old serpent), by the blood of the Lamb and their word of testimony
Rev 13:7 - BEAST makes war with the saints. For what purpose? To overcome them.
Rev 15:2 - Those that had gotten (overcome) the victory over the BEAST, and over HIS IMAGE, and over HIS MARK, and over the NUMBER OF HIS NAME.

We cannot overcome these UNLESS we understand what they are. Revelation is the unveiling (uncovering) of what these are so we overcome and are not overcome by these.

Revelation 3:5
He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

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

21 June 2014

Ruth 3; 4
Isaiah 45
Revelation 1; 2


First, we read today of the climax to the life of Naomi and her Moabite daughter-in-law Ruth, an example of how tragedy can turn out, in the end, to be a blessing and become one of the building blocks, as it were, as part of God's overall plan and purpose - and so Ruth became the great grandmother of David.  God oversees human life and, "for those who love God all things work together for good" [Romans 8:28];  essentially this is for the good of his purpose.

In our Isaiah reading we see how the Almighty stresses he is the originator of all that exists - and has an ultimate purpose in view. "I am the LORD and there is no other.  I form the light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity.  I am the LORD who does all these things." [Isaiah 45:6-7]  We also noted that he says, "it was my hands that stretched out the heavens" [Isaiah 45:12] and nearly all scientists are now agreed that everything spread out, apparently to infinity, from a big bang! But most think it was by 'chance'!

We noted in particular Isaiah 45:15, "Truly you are a God who hides yourself"  We have to apply our minds to realize there must be a Creator, an utterly incredible designer.  The efforts over the last 150 years to prove beyond doubt that Darwinian evolution is true - have ended in dismal failure - although not all are honest enough to admit this - but a surprising number are.

The question in Isaiah 45:9 is so interesting, so appropriate for God to ask - "Woe to him (or her) who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots!  Does the clay say to him who forms it, 'What are you making?' or 'Your work has no handles'? " We know that God's work has "handles" - we mentally grasp them the more diligently we read the Bible!  How good is your grasp?  We all need to work at getting a really firm grip on the true meaning of life - and then to feel inspired by our heart-felt awareness of what God is making - and the utterly awesome wonders to come when his work is complete, described to us, largely in symbolic language, as we read on in the book of Revelation.
- DC

Thought for the Day

21 June 2014

"Without the word of God firmly implanted within us we have no weapon, no defence. Without it the Christian ideal is something we cannot reach. Not only would we fall to the outward temptations and adversaries, but we are unable to meet and understand the intents and desires of our own hearts. Too truly does the writer to the Hebrews describe it: "The word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)"

- W. Bury
The Risen Christ (1959)

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

20 June 2014            
Ruth 1; 2
Isaiah 44
Jude 1


The 25 verse epistle of Jude, the “brother of James” [Jude 1] and therefore understood to be another son of Mary and Joseph, is extremely interesting and challenging.   Jude is very succinct, first drawing lessons from the failures in the nations’ history [Jude 5-7] and then condemning the false ways that are developing among the believers.

We are fascinated by the parabolic language used from Jude 12 on.  Jude does not write a complete parable as such, but uses words and phrases to describe the serious attitudes and behaviour that was developing among believers.  We read, “these are blemishes on your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, looking after themselves, waterless clouds, swept along by the winds, fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.”

This is a tragic testimony to human nature, but history testifies to its truth at several stages of history, such as the development to establish the dictatorial church at Rome and its rituals ­ and then again ­ after the inspiring flood of renewed faith in the Middle Ages that began with the work of Wickliffe and Tyndale and the printing of the Bible!  But that was followed by a renewal of those “who pervert the grace of God into sensuality …” [Jude 4] And so today there is a lot of talk (and written material) about “grace” ­ but little or no substance about what God’s word says is to be believed.

Jude builds up his message to include words that clearly apply to our generation, referring to the letters of the Apostles that “in the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions…” [Jude18] Others can talk about “grace”, perverting the wonder of it - as though believers have the benefit of grace whatever they do!  But the message for us now, especially in Jude 20,21 is, “But you beloved build yourself up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit (holiness of spirit); keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.”
- DC

Thought for the Day

20 June 2014

"Not everything written is profitable; not everything is needful. The writings of God are ample and adequate to make us wise unto salvation. It was the wise man who said that there was no end to the making of books, and John quaintly ends up his gospel with these words about writing: “There are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” (John 21:25)"

- D.N. Wood
So I write ... (1954)

Friday 20 June 2014

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

19 June 2014

Judges 21
Isaiah 43
2 John 1; 3 John 1


We have another thought provoking chapter in Isaiah today.  The lessons of God’s dealings with Israel because of their unfaithfulness in the days of the prophet have their lessons for us.  Through the prophet God tells the people, “you have burdened me with your sins, you have wearied me with your iniquities” [Isaiah 43:24]

Then the next verse jumps out at us!  ”I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake and I will not remember your sins.” [Isaiah 43:25]  The people have been told “‘you are my witnesses,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I am God.  Also, henceforth I am he; there is none who can deliver from my hand; I work, and who can turn it back?’” [Isaiah 43:12-13]  And so the continued existence of the people in the work of God.  Although scattered, their miraculous rebirth as a nation and ‘strong’ existence over the last 70 years is one of the main witnesses to us of God’s purpose, and that these are indeed “the last days.”

It is folly for any so-called ‘christian’ movement to call themselves God’s ‘witnesses.’  But we can be sure of this, the other ‘witness’ to the works and wisdom of God, apart from his chosen nation, is his word - and those who carefully and thoughtfully read it - discover more and more  how it comes ‘alive’ in their minds as the years pass.

We read the final 2 short letters of John, penned it is believed in his old age when false teachings were beginning to emerge, he makes points that are very appropriate to our days. His final letter is written; “To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth “  He tells him [3 John 3-4] how “I rejoiced greatly” when I heard “you are walking in the truth,” adding, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”

God’s word unfolds his purposes before us in a way that invites our diligent reading - leading us to the real truth of what we should understand and believe - and the Lord’s mercy to sinners - and then to live and to walk with the conviction in our hearts - of that belief.   How challenging to us are Paul’s words about “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for his sake I have suffered the loss of all things … in order than I may gain Christ.” [Philippians 3:8]  What are we doing to “gain Christ” - even if it means suffering loss?
- DC

Thought for the Day

19 June 2014

"Living the truth means that everything that we do is accepted as an opportunity of serving God and it is done as unto the Lord. What a thought that is! And here we have the yardstick to apply to all our ways, for what cannot be done unto the Lord ought not to be done at all. Thus it does not matter what our circumstances are, how menial the daily tasks appear; in the diligence with which we apply ourselves to them we show the measure of our devotion to God. It is in the tensions and frustrations of the day as much as in the great things of life that God tests and develops our characters."

- Dudley Fifield
Who Then Is Willing to Consecrate His Service? (1978)