Wednesday 1st February 2023

MATTHEW 21 Lots of exciting goings-on today in what seems to be one of those real-time 24-hour micro-documentaries of Jesus’ life.  It began at a village just outside Jerusalem called ‘House of Figs’ (Bethphage).  Nearby was also the village of Bethany – meaning ‘House of Affliction’ or ‘Poor House’ – where Jesus lodged during theContinue reading “Wednesday 1st February 2023”

Tuesday 31st January 2023

JOB 19, 20 and 21 Job’s words to his so-called friends are perhaps the most interesting and engaging of all the sections of this amazing book.  In the shock of hearing the terrible news about his children’s demise, he declares resolutely that the Lord is sovereign and good, and that His will is absolute (1:20-21; Continue reading “Tuesday 31st January 2023”

Monday 30th January 2023

MATTHEW 20 Jesus ends the previous chapter of Matthew with the rather cryptic statement: “…But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first”.  He then proceeds to illustrate this with the most infuriating parable in all the gospels (well, in the opinion of some people, anyway): ‘The WorkersContinue reading “Monday 30th January 2023”

Sunday 29th January 2023

JOB 11, 12, 13 and 14 Many years ago, I was rather careless with my iPad; I allowed some heavy object to fall on it and later discovered that the glass was cracked!!!  After that, most of the time it worked brilliantly, but every so often it went completely wild and irrational.  More about thisContinue reading “Sunday 29th January 2023”

Saturday 28th January 2023

MATTHEW 19 It’s a funny thing that in First Century Judea the hot topic was ‘Divorce’, when today it is ‘Marriage’!  The Pharisees were engaged in debate about whether a person could legitimately get divorced for just about any reason, or only in the case of sexual immorality by one of the parties.  This wasContinue reading “Saturday 28th January 2023”

Friday 27th January 2023

JOB 4, 5, 6 and 7 Let’s ask the question again: “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?”  No-one in the Book of Job fully answers this one, but chapters 1, 2, and 42 do introduce an important purpose:  to demonstrate that true believers in a Living God can be faithfulContinue reading “Friday 27th January 2023”

Thursday 26th January 2023

MATTHEW 18 After the Transfiguration, the rest of Matthew 17 continues with some examples of the power of faith.  Yet again, Jesus has cause to rebuke his disciples for failing to put into practice the teachings he has given them – rather than obeying him and trusting him for the power. True faith – theContinue reading “Thursday 26th January 2023”

Wednesday 25th January 2023

GENESIS 49 and 50 In Ch. 49, Jacob called all his sons to his deathbed and prophesied a blessing over them one by one.  The ‘blessings’ are mixed, showing God’s justice for a mis-spent life in some cases.  For example: Reuben had effectively forfeited his right of the firstborn, many years previously, by sleeping withContinue reading “Wednesday 25th January 2023”

Tuesday 24th January 2023

MATTHEW 17 The final verse of chapter 16 is said almost as an afterthought: “Truly, I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom” (16:28).  What did it mean?  Perhaps we should ask Peter again!  In his second letter he says:Continue reading “Tuesday 24th January 2023”

Monday 23rd January 2023

MATTHEW 16 “Who do the people say that the Son of Man is?” – asked Jesus to his disciples.  They took it in turns to list the different ideas that the crowds held about him:  John the Baptist, perhaps, or Elijah (nearly the same thing), or perhaps a reincarnation of Jeremiah or one of theContinue reading “Monday 23rd January 2023”

Sunday 22nd January 2023

GENESIS 43 and 44 We are in a stand-off situation.  Jacob refuses to risk letting Benjamin travel to Egypt and so they cannot obtain food from Egypt to survive a famine in which Benjamin would otherwise certainly die, along with the whole family.  Who blinks first?  Jacob!  Judah takes total responsibility for Benjamin’s safety and,Continue reading “Sunday 22nd January 2023”

Saturday 21st January 2023

MATTHEW 15 Watch out for hypocrisy!  God hates it!  “These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules” (Isaiah 29:130).  The longer a faith becomes entrenched within a society, the more it seems that an outward observation is allContinue reading “Saturday 21st January 2023”

Friday 20th January 2023

MATTHEW 14 Today we have a flashback, a miracle of catering and an apparent pause in the laws of physics.  The flashback was triggered by King Herod’s comments about Jesus: “It is obviously John the Baptist, risen from the dead doing these miracles” (v2).   Herod wanted to believe this because of the enormous weight ofContinue reading “Friday 20th January 2023”

Thursday 19th January 2023

GENESIS 38 and 39 Jacob’s problems continue today when his son Judah moves away from the family, falls into bad company and then marries a Canaanite woman, with whom he has three sons.  This episode probably occurred whilst Joseph was in captivity in Egypt, and the bible contrasts Joseph’s moral integrity with Judah’s distinct lackContinue reading “Thursday 19th January 2023”

Wednesday 18th January 2023

MATTHEW 13 What kind of soil are you?  Jesus told the famous parable of the Sower – which should really have been “The Parable of the Soil”, since that is what made all the difference.  The destiny of the four sets of seeds was:  (1) No root and no shoot;  (2) no root but plentyContinue reading “Wednesday 18th January 2023”

Tuesday 17th January 2023

GENESIS 34 and 35 As the old saying goes: ‘Insanity is hereditary – you get it from your kids!’  Certainly, the things our children get up to are often very stressful and, in Jacob’s time, it was exactly the same.  Having twelve sons and a daughter would have stretched parental wisdom to its limits, notContinue reading “Tuesday 17th January 2023”

Monday 16th January 2023

GENESIS 32 and 33 ‘Out of the frying pan and into the fire’, so Jacob must have been thinking after saying relieved ‘goodbyes’ to his father-in-law and now about to face an irate brother!  Just then he was met by a large number of God’s angels, the same ones he had seen in that dreamContinue reading “Monday 16th January 2023”

Sunday 15th January 2023

MATTHEW 12 In the Ten Commandments, the Sabbath was essentially a social safeguard against enforced over-working; it was clearly designed to ensure that the weakest and most powerless, in particular, found rest for at least one day a week.  It is strange that, today, we almost mock it as an anachronism.  It is possibly moreContinue reading “Sunday 15th January 2023”

Saturday 14th January 2023

MATTHEW 11 (Part 2) The pinnacle of this great chapter is the verse: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  ForContinue reading “Saturday 14th January 2023”

Friday 13th January 2023

MATTHEW 11 (Part 1) Early in this chapter, Matthew deals with the relationship between John the Baptist and Jesus, showing conclusively that John’s ministry was destined to diminish and Jesus’ ministry to expand.  John had sent his own disciples to check with Jesus that he was indeed the one that John had been signposting IsraelContinue reading “Friday 13th January 2023”

Thursday 12th January 2023

MATTHEW 10 Discipleship means watching, then doing – learning, then acting on that knowledge.  Jesus called his twelve main disciples and gave them genuine supernatural power to heal the sick and release people from demonic powers.  He himself had been demonstrating those powers already, and now it was time for his disciples to demonstrate themContinue reading “Thursday 12th January 2023”

Wednesday 11th January 2023

MATTHEW 9 Try this little test.  Say “Your sins are forgiven” and then “Get up and walk” (to a paralysed man).  Which was easier to say?  Well, both have four words in the sentence and are probably equally easy to say.  But, for ordinary men or women, both are equally impossible to do.  I thinkContinue reading “Wednesday 11th January 2023”

Tuesday 10th January 2023

GENESIS 21, 22, and 23 Today’s reading is all about Births, Deaths, and Marriages!  And about faith and failure too.  At the end of yesterday’s readings (Genesis 21) Abraham, out of fear, repeated the same lie about his wife (not being his wife) that he had made previously to Pharaoh (Ch. 12); again, amazingly GodContinue reading “Tuesday 10th January 2023”

Monday 9th January 2023

MATTHEW 8 All in a day’s work, it would seem!  Everything in a frenetic Chapter 8 seems to have occurred within 24 hours.  First a leper demonstrated the faith to ask for healing: “If you are willing, you can make me clean” (v2).  That is all that is needed for healing to happen: faith thatContinue reading “Monday 9th January 2023”

Sunday 8th January 2023

MATTHEW 7 Jesus was especially against hypocrisy.  He hated outward righteousness blended with inward corruption.  He was particularly offended by those who criticised others whilst doing even worse things themselves.  The hyperbole of attempting to remove a speck from someone else’s eye, whilst having a ‘plank’ in your own, was a case in point.  WeContinue reading “Sunday 8th January 2023”

Saturday 7th January 2023

MATTHEW 6 It is the curse of short-termism!  It is a sign of immaturity…  The need to have it all now!  We see it every day: the credit card that ‘takes the waiting out of wanting’; the relationship where instant sexual gratification is a necessity.  The political bribery that promises ‘jam today’, regardless of theContinue reading “Saturday 7th January 2023”

Friday 6th January 2023

GENESIS 11, 12, and 13 Abraham:  The Man of Faith and the Friend of God.  It is hard to overstate the importance of Abraham to the purposes of God in his redemption of mankind.  Missing out on the next few days’ bible readings will be a major setback in your understanding of the entire OldContinue reading “Friday 6th January 2023”

Thursday 5th January 2023

MATTHEW 5 Moses climbed up the mountainside and sat while God dictated the Ten Commandments and the law to him, for the benefit of his people.  Here in Matthew, the author is portraying Jesus as the Great King, giving his own teaching to those listening on the mountainside of Galilee.  “The Sermon on the Mount”Continue reading “Thursday 5th January 2023”

Wednesday 4th January 2023

MATTHEW 4 These days, after a baptism, everyone usually sits down to a relaxing celebratory meal with friends and family.  Not so for Jesus!  The very next thing was that the Spirit of God ‘drove him’ into the Judean wilderness to be tested or tempted by the devil.  ‘Devil’ (from the Greek) or ‘Satan’ (fromContinue reading “Wednesday 4th January 2023”

Tuesday 3rd January 2023

MATTHEW 3 John the Baptist represents the ‘tipping point’ between Old and New Covenants.  He was the final Old Covenant prophet, whose job was to ‘close’ that covenant and open the new one, by introducing the Messiah.  In a sense, his whole ministry was an outworking of Jeremiah Chapter 31.  For further explanation about John’sContinue reading “Tuesday 3rd January 2023”

Monday 2nd January 2023

MATTHEW 2 He was the Saddam Hussein of Judea, ruling by appointment of the Roman Senate from 37–4 BC.  He wasn’t even a Jew!  King Herod the Great was a byword for ruthlessness, warming up for his slaughter of the Bethlehem Under-Two’s by murdering his wife, three sons, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, uncle and quite a fewContinue reading “Monday 2nd January 2023”

Sunday 1st January 2023

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE! MATTHEW 1 We begin the first gospel of the New Testament.  Matthew is many people’s favourite gospel.  It is wonderfully poetic and beautifully structured.  It quotes the Old Testament more than any other gospel.  Its job is to prove to all Jews that Jesus really is their long-awaited Messiah.  It hasContinue reading “Sunday 1st January 2023”

Read ‘THE BIG PICTURE’ in 2023

To all current subscribers: I hope you are enjoying / benefitting from the Biblica bible reading plan and the ‘Big Picture’ notes. Unless your memory is world-class, we all need to be constantly reading the Bible (ideally daily). So would encourage you all to stick with us for 2023. In addition, if you know ofContinue reading “Read ‘THE BIG PICTURE’ in 2023”

Saturday 31st December 2022

REVELATION 22 Every great city has a great river that sustains all life within it.  The New Jerusalem is no exception.  Just as the Garden of Eden had rivers flowing through it, so the New Jerusalem has “the river of the water of life” proceeding from its source, the throne of God and of theContinue reading “Saturday 31st December 2022”

Friday 30th December 2022

REVELATION 21 “Then I saw a New Heaven and a New Earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  AndContinue reading “Friday 30th December 2022”

Thursday 29th December 2022

REVELATION 20 The great story begins all over again, starting with Christ’s First Coming to earth and ending with his Second.  But the emphasis is very different this time.  Each of the seven ‘sections’ of between two and four chapters in Revelation – according to the commentator William Hendriksen – covers this gospel age inContinue reading “Thursday 29th December 2022”

Wednesday 28th December 2022

REVELATION 19 “When justice is done, the righteous rejoice”, says Proverbs 21:15.  We see, in Rev 19, that the great multitude of believers in heaven has raised a mighty shout of joy.  God has finally judged ‘The Great Prostitute’ and has avenged the blood of his faithful servants.  Justice has been done and God’s righteousnessContinue reading “Wednesday 28th December 2022”

Tuesday 27th December 2022

NEHEMIAH 7 and 8 “Please, please, please will you read us the bible and talk to us about what it means?” – so begged the people of Jerusalem to Ezra.  Now that is probably a ‘first’ for the people of God!  Sadly, it seems not to occur very much in the UK’s churches these daysContinue reading “Tuesday 27th December 2022”

Monday 26th December 2022

REVELATION 18 “Babylon is fallen – we told you so”.  This seems to be the theme of today’s reading.  The announcement is made as though it has already occurred, and it echoes the prophetic announcements made in Isaiah and Jeremiah.  But there is a future sense that the ‘Babylon of today’ will fall, even thoughContinue reading “Monday 26th December 2022”

Sunday 25th December 2022

“A HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL MY READERS!!!” REVELATION 17 “Babylon, the Prostitute on the Beast!”  This is an attention-catching title to chapter 17.  What is it referring to? We have seen that there are five main enemies of Christ – in the Book of Revelation: the Dragon, the Beast from the Sea, the Beast fromContinue reading “Sunday 25th December 2022”

Saturday 24th December 2022

REVELATION 16 We now come face to face with those seven bowls of wrath!  God himself orders that these be emptied out over the earth onto the ungodly.  Notice the striking resemblance to some of the plagues of Egypt here.  If anyone has failed to heed the warning of those previous trumpets of judgment, thenContinue reading “Saturday 24th December 2022”

Friday 23rd December 2022

REVELATION 15 Seven angels with seven plagues!  That’s an apt title of this next section of just two chapters in the Book of Revelation.  Previous sections have focussed successively on: Now the focus is firmly upon the fate of the wicked and unrepentant person and nation in the world (15-16) We must avoid thinking thatContinue reading “Friday 23rd December 2022”

Thursday 22nd December 2022

REVELATION 14 We now meet another group in heaven who have not been sealed with the ‘mark of the beast’, but instead have the name of the Lamb and of his Father on their foreheads.  (Verses 1-5).  Who are they?  Surely the same ‘sealed multitude’ as in chapter 7.  Both are called the 144,000 andContinue reading “Thursday 22nd December 2022”

Wednesday 21st December 2022

REVELATION 13 It is at this time of the year that we talk about “Santa’s little helpers”.  Well, in this next chapter, we read about Satan’s little helpers! Out of the sea thunders a beast of indescribable horror and viciousness.  Ten horns, seven heads, ten crowns with a body represented by leopard, bear, and lion. Continue reading “Wednesday 21st December 2022”

Tuesday 20th December 2022

REVELATION 12 “The Woman and the Dragon” is the title of this chapter (at least in the NIV).  According to Hendriksen, we begin a new 3-chapter section that again covers the entire time period from the first to the second coming of Christ.  Each section focuses on a new aspect of this crucial timespan.  InContinue reading “Tuesday 20th December 2022”

Monday 19th December 2022

REVELATION 11 In this next vision, before the seventh trumpet sounds, two “Witnesses” appeared.  Who or what are they?  Before we go there, what is happening when the apostle is commanded to measure the temple and altar of God  – excluding the outer court, the court of the Gentiles?  This is clearly symbolic – JohnContinue reading “Monday 19th December 2022”

Sunday 18th December 2022

REVELATION 9 We have had four trumpets sound already, and the previous chapter ends with a very severe warning that the last three trumpets will cause ‘woes’ or catastrophes that are far worse than the first four.  This time around, John describes spiritual attack… Trumpet 5: The first ‘woe’!  A ‘star’ falls to earth; clearlyContinue reading “Sunday 18th December 2022”

Saturday 17th December 2022

REVELATION 8 If Revelation were a great piece of music, then chapter 8 would be the start of a new ‘movement’ within it.  According to the commentator William Hendriksen, there would be seven such ‘movements’ and we are now in the third, chapters 8-10.  But similar to a great piece of music, there is aContinue reading “Saturday 17th December 2022”

Friday 16th December 2022

REVELATION 7 “Once the righteous have been removed to a safe place…” is the phrase I ended yesterday’s blog with.  The story seems to continue in chapter 7 with 144,000 from the ‘tribes of Israel’ – a very precise number indeed!  These people are ‘sealed’ on their foreheads by God’s angel to prevent them beingContinue reading “Friday 16th December 2022”

Thursday 15th December 2022

REVELATION 6 Dragons, locusts, fearsome mysterious beasts, seals, trumpets, and bowls – what on earth do they all mean?  How are we supposed to interpret all these details and apply them to our daily lives?  Who are the 144,000 who are sealed?  What about the great multitude that no-one can count?  The content of RevelationContinue reading “Thursday 15th December 2022”

Wednesday 14th December 2022

REVELATION 5 Almost the same vision appears in chapter 5, but this time the Lion of Judah, the Lamb, the Son of God appears and is accorded exactly the same degree of worship that the Father receives.  (Show that to the next Jehovah’s Witness that knocks on your door!).  But the Lamb has a furtherContinue reading “Wednesday 14th December 2022”

Tuesday 13th December 2022

REVELATION 4 Chapters 4 and 5 are a ‘webcam’ into heaven itself, showing the Great Throne of God (notice that God the Father is unseen and undescribed) and the powerful divine worship that continues day and night.  “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is and is to come”.  “Come upContinue reading “Tuesday 13th December 2022”

Monday 12th December 2022

REVELATION 3 Sardis: This city was built even higher than Pergamum: it rose 1,500 feet about its surrounding valley and was a natural fortress.  As a city it was wealthy and famous.  Like the city, its church had fame too.  But Jesus knew better: this lively church was, in fact, dead!  In spiritual terms, beingContinue reading “Monday 12th December 2022”

Sunday 11th December 2022

ESTHER 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 God is not mentioned once in the Book of Esther; neither is prayer or worship.  What are mentioned are a lot of feasting and fasting, Gentiles and genocide, jealousy, pride, and power.  The absence of any reference to God did cause some theologians to question whether Esther shouldContinue reading “Sunday 11th December 2022”

Saturday 10th December 2022

REVELATION 2 The Seven Churches of chapters 2 and 3 are symbolic of the worldwide church but highlight particular issues and sins that might appear in any local church today.  In each letter, Jesus greets them by emphasising some aspect of His character or glory.  Then he usually pinpoints some sin that offends him andContinue reading “Saturday 10th December 2022”

Friday 9th December 2022

THE BOOK OF REVELATION – “An Introduction” If you are complacent, comfortable, over-fed, and ‘fat’ as a Christian, then the Book of Revelation is not for you, and you won’t appreciate it nor understand it.  It was not written for ‘armchair theologians’ or fair-weather disciples who enjoy having a good time at church.  It isContinue reading “Friday 9th December 2022”

Thursday 8th December 2022

JUDE None of Jesus’ biological brothers labelled themselves as such – probably out of a sense of humility and perhaps a lingering shame for having rejected him for longer than his other disciples.  Jude calls himself a brother of James, but a ‘servant’ of Jesus Christ.  It is also possible that he realised that biologicalContinue reading “Thursday 8th December 2022”

Wednesday 7th December 2022

3 JOHN “John the Elder” – who was he?  Clearly, from the context, it was John, the Apostle, the “Disciple that Jesus Loved”.  In both these short letters he styles himself as “The Elder”.  This one is probably to a church in western (modern-day) Turkey, in which John had a pastoral role, in addition toContinue reading “Wednesday 7th December 2022”

Tuesday 6th December 2022

2 JOHN John writes his shortest letter to: “…the lady chosen by God and to her children…”.  Who can he possibly mean?  And he signs off with: “The children of your sister, who is chosen by God, send their greetings”.  Of all the New Testament writers, John was probably the most comfortable with allegory andContinue reading “Tuesday 6th December 2022”

Monday 5th December 2022

1 JOHN 5 “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (5:1).  Do you believe this or not?  It determines your eternal destiny!  This statement by John was also aimed at being a ‘slap in the face’ for the Gnostic heretics in their midst.  “In fact, this is love for God:Continue reading “Monday 5th December 2022”

Sunday 4th December 2022

DANIEL 10, 11 and 12 Dull stuff today: regional demons, an archangel, perhaps an appearance by Christ himself to Daniel, some complicated earthly battles, the appearance of the Antichrist, and a sneak preview of the End of the Age! We are in the third year of Cyrus King of Persia’s reign.  Daniel was prompted toContinue reading “Sunday 4th December 2022”

Saturday 3rd December 2022

1 JOHN 4How do we know if a prophecy or body of teaching is genuinely from God?  How can we really know what is true?  How can we avoid being both gullible and cynical – both equally dangerous characteristics in a Christian?  (It is interesting that almost everyone would rather be known as cynical ratherContinue reading “Saturday 3rd December 2022”

Friday 2nd December 2022

1 JOHN 3“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (3:2).  What a wonderful hope!  It is a free gift that arises from knowingContinue reading “Friday 2nd December 2022”

Thursday 1st December 2022

1 JOHN 2“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.  But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.  He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins…” (2:1-2).  John makes it clear that Christians should quickly identify and acknowledge toContinue reading “Thursday 1st December 2022”

Wednesday 30th November 2022

1 JOHN 1John, son of Zebedee, was the ‘disciple whom Jesus loved’, one of the inner circle of Jesus’ three best friends, and possibly Jesus’ first cousin.  He almost certainly wrote John’s Gospel in about 85AD, the Book of Revelation in 95 AD, and the three anonymous letters 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John,Continue reading “Wednesday 30th November 2022”

Tuesday 29th November 2022

2 PETER 3Our thought life is very important.  Ultimately, it is a matter of life and death.  Consequently, we experience a ‘battle for the mind’ resulting – we hope – in progress and maturity as our mindset becomes transformed over time (Romans 1:2).  Rarely is this a smooth upward curve, though; more usually we fluctuateContinue reading “Tuesday 29th November 2022”

Monday 28th November 2022

2 PETER 2Both Peter and – as we will see in a few days – Jude warn their readers of the dangers of false prophets and false teachers, who introduce destructive heresies and manipulate the faithful for their own ends.  2 Peter 2 and Jude 1 have some very similar sentences, and most scholars reckonContinue reading “Monday 28th November 2022”

Sunday 27th November 2022

2 PETER 1We’ve said ‘goodbye’ to Paul, and now we say ‘goodbye’ to Peter.  Even if we count the Gospel of Mark as essentially Peter’s words, he did not write nearly as much as Paul, and only authored two letters in his own name.  Peter was a man of the spoken word and of action,Continue reading “Sunday 27th November 2022”

Saturday 26th November 2022

1 PETER 5 “Young men: submit yourselves to your elders” – have some respect!  “Elders” is simply a label for church leaders, and Peter counted himself amongst that crowd!  The metaphor of ‘shepherd’ is a very apt one for Peter: recall when, after the Resurrection, Jesus commanded Peter to “Feed my Sheep” and “Feed myContinue reading “Saturday 26th November 2022”

Friday 25th November 2022

1 PETER 4 If you suffer for being a Christian believer, then be proud that you are counted worthy of joining your Saviour in a precious elite group.  (Actually, this group is probably going to grow quite fast!).  But don’t be proud if you suffer for being a criminal, or just for being a ‘painContinue reading “Friday 25th November 2022”

Thursday 24th November 2022

1 PETER 3 Some wise words to husbands: “…in the same way, be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers” (3:7).  What does “in the same way” mean? Continue reading “Thursday 24th November 2022”

Wednesday 23rd November 2022

1 PETER 2 The next step from ‘New Birth’ leads us logically to new babies growing up, eagerly desiring the ‘milk’ of the word of God and a close relationship with the Lord.  For us, these are just as essential as milk is to a young child. Jesus is like the cornerstone, the keystone ofContinue reading “Wednesday 23rd November 2022”

Tuesday 22nd November 2022

1 PETER 1 It is pretty certain that the Apostle Peter wrote 1 Peter.  Just about the entire early church and the ‘Church Fathers’ agreed on this point.  It carries the weight of his authority but may not entirely be his own words: towards the end of the letter, he gives Silas credit for helpingContinue reading “Tuesday 22nd November 2022”

Monday 21st November 2022

JAMES 5 Who are these ‘rich people’ in verses 1-6?  Probably not Christians actually, since the promised judgments against them are extremely severe and show none of the grace that believers would obtain.  Many Old Testament prophets cried out God’s judgment upon the wealthy pagan nations.  And, in general, the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem, forContinue reading “Monday 21st November 2022”

Sunday 20th November 2022

JAMES 4 Greed is a strange thing!  It is wrong, not because what it is aimed at, but because of the way in which that aim is obtained.  “God… richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17), is a foundational biblical truth.  God is very generous and wants us, his beloved children,Continue reading “Sunday 20th November 2022”

Saturday 19th November 2022

JAMES 3 If yesterday was about faith in action, then today is about faith in words.  The human tongue – our speech – speaks volumes about our faith.  James ranks it as the most accurate and sensitive indicator of our spiritual condition: “Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, ableContinue reading “Saturday 19th November 2022”

Thursday 17th November 2022

JAMES 1 We now read an ‘epistle’ (letter) written by one of Jesus’ biological brothers, James.  In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 13, verses 55-56, we read: “When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there.  Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed.  “Where did thisContinue reading “Thursday 17th November 2022”

Wednesday 16th November 2022

HEBREWS 13 “Whatever you do to the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you do to me” – so Jesus said in Matthew 25.  Treat your fellow believers the very best way you can – and you may be in for some pleasant surprises!  One of the key aspects of Christian fellowship isContinue reading “Wednesday 16th November 2022”

Tuesday 15th November 2022

EZEKIEL 28, 29, 30 and 31 Who WERE the ruler (or ‘prince’) of Tyre and the King of Tyre?  The first sound like one of its kings, proud of heart, who claimed “I am a god; I sit on the throne of a god in the heart of the seas”.  The Lord replies:  “But youContinue reading “Tuesday 15th November 2022”

Monday 14th November 2022

HEBREWS 12 The time has come for our Olympic Games!  We are lined up on the running track, ready for the starter’s gun to sound.  The stadium is packed full of thousands upon thousands of people, all completely engrossed in the outcome of our great race!  Who are they?  Who are they supporting?  “Therefore, sinceContinue reading “Monday 14th November 2022”

Sunday 13th November 2022

EZEKIEL 24, 25, 26 and 27 The Lord is very precise in his timing.  “Make sure you record this date, Ezekiel”, he instructed in chapter 24.  On the tenth day of the tenth month of the ninth year of King Zedekiah’s reign in Jerusalem (January 15th 588 BC, in our calendar), the King of BabylonContinue reading “Sunday 13th November 2022”

Saturday 12th November 2022

HEBREWS 11 Today we learn about ‘blue-sky thinking’!  Hebrews 11 is one of the most critical chapters in the whole Bible.  We read in 6:19: “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.  It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf”. Continue reading “Saturday 12th November 2022”

Friday 11th November 2022

EZEKIEL 20 and 21 Today, God tells a story (via his prophet Ezekiel) to the exiled elders of Judah/Israel to illustrate the ‘problem’ that he has with them and with the majority of the nation.  “Let’s examine the facts of the matter”, God says, “I chose Israel and revealed myself to them first in Egypt…Continue reading “Friday 11th November 2022”

Thursday 10th November 2022

HEBREWS 10 Yesterday’s reading ended with the triumphant message that Christ’s sacrifice was once for all time, sufficient to do away with sin, at the culmination of the ages.  He ushered in the gospel age, which spans the entire period between his first and second comings. Today’s chapter continues to major on the ineffectiveness ofContinue reading “Thursday 10th November 2022”

Wednesday 9th November 2022

EZEKIEL 16 and 17 What would you do if you found a new-born baby girl abandoned in an open field?  God did once.  Ezekiel 16 is an allegory – a story with a deeper meaning, where each event translates into a teaching point.  (This is where a parable is different: a parable has generally onlyContinue reading “Wednesday 9th November 2022”

Tuesday 8th November 2022

HEBREWS 9 Worship under the Old Covenant was complicated and ‘gory’!  It involved much ornate furniture, gold and silver, curtains and veils, associated equipment and utensils, and a pair of very exclusive rooms.  Into one room, only the priests ‘on duty’ were permitted to go (v6) – that was the ‘Outer Room’ or the ‘HolyContinue reading “Tuesday 8th November 2022”

Monday 7th November 2022

HEBREWS 8 In the previous chapter, the Law of Moses was described as ‘weak and useless, making nothing perfect’.  (7:18-19).  Today, the Old Covenant is ditched as being ‘obsolete, outdated, and soon to disappear’!  (8:13).  First the rituals and ceremonies are described as mere ‘copies’ and ‘shadows’ of the reality that is found in heaven. Continue reading “Monday 7th November 2022”

Sunday 6th November 2022

HEBREWS 7 The Jews were completely wedded to their Levitical priesthood, so it was vital that Jesus was not seen as just another priest in Aaron’s long genealogy.  It was necessary to the Holy Spirit’s plan that the Old Covenant priesthood be undermined and quickly abolished.  The destruction by the Romans of the Jerusalem templeContinue reading “Sunday 6th November 2022”

Saturday 5th November 2022

EZEKIEL 5, 6, 7 and 8 First, a further thought about yesterday’s reading: (1:26) “…High above on the throne was a figure like that of a man”.  And the reason it was like a man is that it was a man.  Our God is not a passionless force or a robotic tyrant, he is alsoContinue reading “Saturday 5th November 2022”

Friday 4th November 2022

HEBREWS 6 These basic foundational doctrines mentioned in the previous chapter included repentance, faith in God, instruction about baptisms (that had been an original ‘sticking point’ for Apollos before Ananias and Saphira had sorted him out Acts 18:24-26), the laying on of hands (for baptism, appointing elders, healing or just imparting blessing), and doctrines ofContinue reading “Friday 4th November 2022”

Thursday 3rd November 2022

HEBREWS 5 We begin with a basic explanation of what a high priest’s role and necessary qualities were.  Israel required an empathic representative, appointed by God, who could offer the required forgiveness-sacrifices for the sins of the nation and – crucially – for his own sins too. The author then goes on to show howContinue reading “Thursday 3rd November 2022”

Wednesday 2nd November 2022

HEBREWS 4 No rest for the wicked!  So the old-fashioned saying goes!  It is actually a quote from the last verses of Isaiah chapters 48, 57, and 66.  But it is also a development of Psalm 95 that is referenced here.  The term ‘Rest’ might have meant the seventh day of creation, when God restedContinue reading “Wednesday 2nd November 2022”

Tuesday 1st November 2022

HEBREWS 3 The previous chapter ended with a reference to Jesus representing us as God’s true High Priest.  This theme continues in today’s chapter, telling us believers to “… fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.  He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as MosesContinue reading “Tuesday 1st November 2022”

Monday 31st October 2022

HEBREWS 2 You have been warned!  Rejection of God’s Messiah was, and is, spiritual suicide.  These Jewish believers and those Jews who were perhaps near to coming to faith needed to understand something fundamental:  there was no alternative route to salvation.  Jesus was and is the only way!  Our God is a great Judge asContinue reading “Monday 31st October 2022”

Sunday 30th October 2022

HEBREWS 1 The Letter to the Hebrews is anonymous.  For centuries people thought it was by Paul, but the writing styles are very different, and Paul always identified himself as the ‘shepherd’ with a message to his flock.  Some theologians ascribe the letter to Barnabas – who knew his Old Testament exceedingly well.  However, IContinue reading “Sunday 30th October 2022”

Saturday 29th October 2022

PHILEMON This is another of Paul’s so-called ‘Prison Letters’ – probably written in AD 60 whilst he was under house arrest in Rome, under appeal to the emperor (Acts 28).  It is likely that it was sent at exactly the same time as the letter to the Colossian church, since Philemon was a key memberContinue reading “Saturday 29th October 2022”

Friday 28th October 2022

TITUS 3 Are you obedient to your government, the police, and the local authorities?  (Romans 13:1 and 1 Peter 2:13-17 concur with this command).  There are no examples of civil disobedience encouraged in the New Testament!  We are expected to be model citizens of earth, on the basis that our true citizenship is elsewhere (PhilippiansContinue reading “Friday 28th October 2022”

Thursday 27th October 2022

TITUS 2 All theology is practical if it affects you thinking, your attitudes, your faith, or your lifestyle.  Today’s is very lifestyle orientated. Older women are not to be timewasters and gossips (as many with time on their hands are tempted to be) but models (in a mentoring sense!) and teachers of the younger women. Continue reading “Thursday 27th October 2022”

Wednesday 26th October 2022

TITUS 1 Today we intercept another spiritual ‘e-mail’ from Paul to one of his best mates – this time, Titus.  This young man was a Gentile (unlike Timothy) who again deputized for Paul when his mentor was off on his missionary travels.  Titus also carried the letters from Paul to the church in Corinth andContinue reading “Wednesday 26th October 2022”

Tuesday 25th October 2022

2 TIMOTHY 4 In this last chapter, we come to the core of Paul’s ‘will and testament’, his final instructions: preach the gospel in favourable situations and in tricky ones; teach and apply the scriptures even in times when Christian doctrine is ‘out of fashion’ amongst the Christians!  Avoid trying to be ‘popular’ in whatContinue reading “Tuesday 25th October 2022”

Monday 24th October 2022

2 TIMOTHY 3 “There will be terrible times in the last days!”  The term ‘last days’ means the entire period between Christ’s first coming – as a baby – and his return later as the Living God.  The entire ‘Christian’ era represents these days, and there will be no subsequent ‘phase’ of earthly life beforeContinue reading “Monday 24th October 2022”

Sunday 23rd October 2022

2 TIMOTHY 2 Discipleship is key to church growth: “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (v2).  In once sentence, four generations of believers are identified: Paul, Timothy, Timothy’s disciples, and the disciples of those disciples. Continue reading “Sunday 23rd October 2022”

Saturday 22nd October 2022

2 TIMOTHY 1 This was the Apostle Paul’s final letter ever – before his death!  It therefore reads like a last will and testament.  He had a parting legacy for his ‘son’ (in the faith) Timothy – in fact, an entire inheritance!  “Timothy, I’m handing over to you the Gospel; please look after it withContinue reading “Saturday 22nd October 2022”

Friday 21st October 2022

1 TIMOTHY 6 If you are a slave, then you may not be reading these notes!  But if you an ‘employee’ then you must give one hundred percent to your employer.  If they are a Christian too, then give them one hundred and fifty percent!  Treat your employment as though God were your employer.  AndContinue reading “Friday 21st October 2022”

Thursday 20th October 2022

1 TIMOTHY 5 Social action played a vital part in the First Century Church.  Children and grandchildren need to put their faith into action by caring for their own parents and grandparents, especially vulnerable widows; this is a way of repaying them in part for the many sacrifices they made for you earlier in life,Continue reading “Thursday 20th October 2022”

Wednesday 19th October 2022

1 TIMOTHY 4 Some false teachers had moved into the area.  “You must not marry”, “You must avoid certain foods” – these were some of the ascetic heresies that they tried to plant in the local church.  This was the beginning of Gnosticism, which included the belief that the material world was inherently evil andContinue reading “Wednesday 19th October 2022”

Tuesday 18th October 2022

1 TIMOTHY 3 It is OK to ‘aspire’ to be a church leader, since it is a ‘noble’, serving role in God’s church.  One of Timothy’s chief tasks was now to appoint a group of ‘Overseers’ or ‘Elders’ for each local church.  With Paul elsewhere and Timothy now moving from region to region, these appointmentsContinue reading “Tuesday 18th October 2022”

Monday 17th October 2022

1 TIMOTHY 2 We are urged to pray together.  Requests, prayers, intercession, thanksgiving – prayer in all its ‘flavours’.  Do it alone and do it together.  Surprisingly, Paul tells us to pray for all rulers, including the evil Emperor Nero, who was in power at the time that Paul wrote this letter.  Why?  Because theContinue reading “Monday 17th October 2022”

Sunday 16th October 2022

1 TIMOTHY 1 Discipleship is not the best way to grow the church… it is the only way!  Large worship meetings, slick Alpha courses, well-equipped buildings, powerful preaching, miracles, great youth work and a missional emphasis are all highly desirable, but they are not the core of our faith and not the ‘engine’ of ourContinue reading “Sunday 16th October 2022”

Saturday 15th October 2022

2 THESSALONIANS 3 “Deliver us from the Evil One” – this is a basic part of the prayer pattern that Jesus himself taught us.  Paul begins this chapter in that frame of mind too.  Pray that the gospel message he speaks will be honoured and obeyed.  Pray that he, and all God’s people, will beContinue reading “Saturday 15th October 2022”

Friday 14th October 2022

2 THESSALONIANS 2 God is not simply ‘love’, but ‘justice’ too.  Paul does not ‘pull any punches’ here.  The previous chapter paints a fearsome landscape of what will be done to those who are disobedient to the gospel and who have rejected Christ.  Those people are implicitly challenging the Lord to exercise justice in hisContinue reading “Friday 14th October 2022”

Thursday 13th October 2022

2 THESSALONIANS 1 This letter was sent for the same reason that 1 Thessalonians was written – and as a follow-up and reinforcement to it.  A church in the middle of persecution needs a great deal of encouragement, with reasons for enduring and persevering emphasised strongly. God will not let us be tested nor temptedContinue reading “Thursday 13th October 2022”

Wednesday 12th October 2022

1 THESSALONIANS 5 “Save the date!”  Now that’s something that God will never say to you.  Why should he tell you the date when Jesus will return – He didn’t even tell his own Son when on earth (see Mark 13:32).  Jesus, after his Resurrection also told his disciples directly: “It is not for youContinue reading “Wednesday 12th October 2022”

Tuesday 11th October 2022

1 THESSALONIANS 4 “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honourable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage ofContinue reading “Tuesday 11th October 2022”

Monday 10th October 2022

1 THESSALONIANS 2 (and 3) Today, Paul is talking about motives and perception.  There are few more powerful things on earth than these, in directing people’s will and actions.  If you believe that someone loves you, you will do almost anything they ask of you – trusting that their motives are pure and that theyContinue reading “Monday 10th October 2022”

Sunday 9th October 2022

1 THESSALONIANS 1 Both letters of this name were written from AD 51 to AD 52 by Paul to the mainly Gentile church of the Greek city of Thessalonica (now in North-Eastern Greece).  They were written to encourage new believers in trials and persecutions, and to give assurance over the future of believers who diedContinue reading “Sunday 9th October 2022”

Saturday 8th October 2022

COLOSSIANS 4 If you are like me, you will feel the ‘sting’ of the Holy Spirit in your heart when you read verse 2:  “Devote yourself to prayer, being watchful and thankful”.  Very few of us claim that we are prayerful enough (and I am not one of the ‘few’).  But rather than feeling condemned,Continue reading “Saturday 8th October 2022”

Friday 7th October 2022

COLOSSIANS 3 We are not called to live by rules but called to disciplined living.  What is the key to disciplined living?  A vision and a mindset that lead to a motivation, are what makes the difference.  We will do almost anything and endure almost any discomfort if we are sufficiently motivated towards the goal. Continue reading “Friday 7th October 2022”

Thursday 6th October 2022

COLOSSIANS 2 Paul is fighting hard for these Colossian believers – even those he has never actually met face to face!  How?  He does this by the power of prayer – a channel by which those physically absent can be entirely present in the spirit realm.  Paul prayed for his own disciples and for theContinue reading “Thursday 6th October 2022”

Wednesday 5th October 2022

JEREMIAH 7, 8 and 9 “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord…!”.  And they would go on and on and on like this.  The religious people of Jerusalem were superstitious and totally reliant on repetition and ritual.  They had convinced themselves that, however badly theyContinue reading “Wednesday 5th October 2022”

Monday 3rd October 2022

PHILIPPIANS 4 “Rejoice in the Lord always.  Rejoice!” (v4).  Paul echoes the voices of the Psalms in encouraging us to verbalise and harmonise our praise to the Lord.  Spoken and sung praise and thanksgiving is a vital part of our worship and devotion.  Do it corporately and individually; do it regularly – do it allContinue reading “Monday 3rd October 2022”

Sunday 2nd October 2022

PHILIPPIANS 3The chapter begins with Paul tearing up his Curriculum Vitae – his whole life before he met Christ on the road to Syria.  If anyone could have earned his way into the Kingdom of God, it was Paul!  But, on meeting the Lord face to face, he came to the great realisation that no-oneContinue reading “Sunday 2nd October 2022”

Saturday 1st October 2022

PHILIPPIANS 2 Paul had very few criticisms, if any at all, for his Philippian readers.  But he did issue several warnings and encouragements to Christ-like behaviour: 2:2-5  “…then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vainContinue reading “Saturday 1st October 2022”

Friday 30th September 2022

JEREMIAH 1, 2 and 3 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations”.  This was the word of the Lord to Jeremiah when he was called by God in the thirteenth year of King Josiah.  (JeremiahContinue reading “Friday 30th September 2022”

Thursday 29th September 2022

PHILIPPIANS 1 “From Rome with love”.  This is Paul’s email (using the technology of his day) to the household churches in the province of Philippi, a prosperous Roman colony in Macedonia.  Any citizen of Philippi was automatically given Roman citizenship and they were immensely proud of this.  They acted as more ‘Roman’ than the peopleContinue reading “Thursday 29th September 2022”

Wednesday 28th September 2022

EPHESIANS 6 Human relationships are the acid test of what goes on in our hearts.  At the end of chapter 5 we read about the relationship between husband and wife.  Now we learn about how to live out the gospel in other relationships that are perhaps more ‘hierarchical’, such as parents / children and mastersContinue reading “Wednesday 28th September 2022”

Tuesday 27th September 2022

EPHESIANS 5 Under the old covenant, the burnt offering was described as producing a ‘pleasing aroma’ to the Lord – an acceptable sacrifice (Genesis 8:21;  Exodus 29:18 etc.).  The death and resurrection of Christ later produced an offering to God that was completely acceptable for all time – this sacrifice was borne out of aContinue reading “Tuesday 27th September 2022”

Monday 26th September 2022

ISAIAH 64, 65 and 66 “Since ancient times, no-one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.  You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways” (Isaiah 64:4-5a).  Waiting for God is aContinue reading “Monday 26th September 2022”

Sunday 25th September 2022

EPHESIANS 4 (continued from yesterday)…Or else Paul might have continued his interrupted train of thought in verse one of this chapter.  “As a prisoner for the Lord…” he begins.  Remember that the first verse of chapter 3 was a reference to Paul as a prisoner too – and then Paul changed the subject!  Ephesians isContinue reading “Sunday 25th September 2022”

Saturday 24th September 2022

EPHESIANS 3 Verse one is rather like a false start in a sprint race: the runners seem to stop as soon as they have begun.  Or, more literally, Paul interrupts himself before he has completed half of one sentence!  “For this reason, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles…”Continue reading “Saturday 24th September 2022”

Friday 23rd September 2022

EPHESIANS 2 This is a chapter in two parts:  The first ten verses describe our personal reconciliation to God and our resulting unity with him, whilst the remainder of the chapter describes the reconciliation between Jews and Gentiles in Christ and the resulting unity of Christ’s Body on earth. The first ten verses, then, tellContinue reading “Friday 23rd September 2022”

Thursday 22nd September 2022

Sorry. A lot of words today! EPHESIANS 1 This letter contains more meat than a two-pound steak; don’t expect to digest it all at one sitting!  Ephesians contains 155 verses of high protein biblical truth.  In Paul’s time the city of Ephesus was the principal city of Asia Minor (modern Turkey) and a vast commercialContinue reading “Thursday 22nd September 2022”

Wednesday 21st September 2022

GALATIANS 6 “Carry each other’s burdens and, in this way, you will fulfil the law of Christ” (v2).  Now consider: “…for each one should carry their own load” (v5).  How do we explain these two potentially contradictory verses?  How does it explain a great deal of this chapter? The subtle balance between corporate and individualContinue reading “Wednesday 21st September 2022”

Tuesday 20th September 2022

GALATIANS 5 If you have waited many thousands of years – since the dawn of history – for freedom, then its arrival seems especially good!  Mankind, having been held captive by sin, by the Devil, and by religious legalism, has at long last found freedom in Christ.  So, it is with extra urgency that PaulContinue reading “Tuesday 20th September 2022”

Monday 19th September 2022

ISAIAH 44, 45, 46, 47 and 48 “I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.  They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams”.  (Isaiah 44:3-4).  This was spoken to a down-trodden captive nation in a pagan land, where no-one wanted toContinue reading “Monday 19th September 2022”

Sunday 18th September 2022

GALATIANS 4 “Are you still a slave or are you now free?”  Paul asks this question of the Galatian believers, and the Holy Spirit asks the same one of us today.  Up until then, the most god-fearing person in the world was an observant Jew, serving God and eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Messiah. Continue reading “Sunday 18th September 2022”

Saturday 17th September 2022

GALATIANS 3 “Believe the gospel and receive the Holy Spirit”.  “Believe the gospel and see miracles worked among us”.  That is the message that Paul sends to his churches and to us.  Perhaps our problem today is not that we expect to have to earn the presence and power of the Spirit, but that weContinue reading “Saturday 17th September 2022”

Friday 16th September 2022

ISAIAH 37, 38 and 39 When Hezekiah heard the Assyrian commander’s threat on behalf of the King of Assyria, he did the right thing: he humbled himself, dressed for mourning, fasted, and went to seek the Lord in his temple.  And he sent word to Isaiah to the effect that the King of Assyria hadContinue reading “Friday 16th September 2022”

Thursday 15th September 2022

GALATIANS 2 “Horses for courses” – as Paul sort-of said.  He was recognised as the chief apostle to the Gentiles (non-Jews), whilst Peter was the chief apostle to the Jews.  Paul’s qualifications for apostleship had been attacked by certain Judaistic elements in the Galatian churches, on the basis that he was not an ‘original’ andContinue reading “Thursday 15th September 2022”

Wednesday 14th September 2022

GALATIANS 1 TO:  The churches in the Roman province of Galatia (probably Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe).  These are the ones that Paul founded in his very first missionary journey.  This would make this letter Paul’s first letter, written perhaps in 48-49, between that journey and the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15). CC:  All ChristianContinue reading “Wednesday 14th September 2022”

Tuesday 13th September 2022

2 CORINTHIANS 13 Paul reminds us again that the ultimate example of God’s power being shown through human weakness is the Cross.  Jesus submitted himself to the most degrading torture and death that mankind could deliver – becoming as weak as it is possible to be – and then unleashed the full power of heavenContinue reading “Tuesday 13th September 2022”

Monday 12th September 2022

ISAIAH 28, 29 and 30 Isaiah prophesies a series of six ‘woes’ on various nations in the vicinity of Judah.  Firstly, he rounds on Samaria, the capital of the Northern kingdom and generally acknowledged to be beautiful, built on a hilltop and full of luxury and fine living.  Like a stunning bunch of flowers, itContinue reading “Monday 12th September 2022”

Sunday 11th September 2022

2 CORINTHIANS 12 And so to Paul’s much-debated ‘thorn in the flesh’; what was it?  We get around to that today.  But first, Paul is well into his stride boasting (a little sarcastically) about amazing visions and revelations of heaven and of Jesus himself.  Paul describes – actually in a tone of extreme modesty –Continue reading “Sunday 11th September 2022”

Saturday 10th September 2022

ISAIAH 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27 Tyre was the major seaport and trading centre on the Mediterranean coast of the Middle East. It was founded before 2000 BC and was a centre of colonisation that included Carthage in North Africa.  A substantial part of Tyre was originally built on two rocky outcrop islands halfContinue reading “Saturday 10th September 2022”

Friday 9th September 2022

2 CORINTHIANS 11 Some Christians are very perverse!  Their ‘bar’ of proof is raised very high when they listen to the true gospel and biblical teaching; they query it and take a great deal of persuasion to put it into practice.  Then along comes some more ‘trendy’ but unbalanced teaching from someone on the outside,Continue reading “Friday 9th September 2022”

Thursday 8th September 2022

2 CORINTHIANS 10 What was the Apostle Paul’s so-called ‘thorn in the flesh’?  (2 Corinthians 12:7).  This has been debated extensively over the centuries, so I can’t resist adding my own interpretation on the verse.  But that’s for later!  (Just a ‘teaser’ for now). The context of today’s chapter is that Paul was being slanderedContinue reading “Thursday 8th September 2022”

Wednesday 7th September 2022

2 CORINTHIANS 9 ‘Generosity’ Part Two is today!  The background: for a year or two, the believers in Jerusalem and Judea had suffered disproportionally from famine and intense persecution and so were severely financially disadvantaged compared to the Christians in Macedonia and Greece, for example.  Therefore, a big gift of money to the Judean ChristiansContinue reading “Wednesday 7th September 2022”

Tuesday 6th September 2022

ISAIAH 9, 10, 11, 12 Some classic chapters in Isaiah that most people will have heard read aloud at a Christmas carol service…  “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light… For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  AndContinue reading “Tuesday 6th September 2022”

Monday 5th September 2022

2 CORINTHIANS 8 The next couple of days feature two great chapters on ‘Generosity’ (8 and 9); everything is based on the grace of God shown in the life of Jesus: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so thatContinue reading “Monday 5th September 2022”

Sunday 4th September 2022

2 CORINTHIANS 7 Paul had paid a visit to Corinth, which was evidently very unpleasant for him and for them (see chapter 2:1).  By way of follow-up, he had written the Corinthian church a harsh letter (now missing, but probably in between 1 and 2 Corinthians) – the contents of which ‘pulled no punches’.  PaulContinue reading “Sunday 4th September 2022”

Saturday 3rd September 2022

2 CORINTHIANS 6 “In the time of my favour, I heard you, and in the day of salvation, I helped you”  (Quote from Isaiah 49:8).  The Day of Salvation – the Time of Favour – alludes to the ‘Year of Jubilee’ and really represents the entire gospel age between the First- and Second- Comings ofContinue reading “Saturday 3rd September 2022”

Friday 2nd September 2022

2 CORINTHIANS 5 If you are a Christian – or indeed any kind of human being – then you are a seasoned camper!  So says the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:1-10.  He compares a person living in a tent to the human soul inhabiting its mortal body; and it is a very apt comparisonContinue reading “Friday 2nd September 2022”

Thursday 1st September 2022

MICAH 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 Today’s reading is the whole book of the prophet Micah – all seven chapters of it.  What does it say?  Well, the weekly notes from the Big Picture reading plan are a good background for us: https://1drv.ms/w/s!AqmXwc9NXEEFiGHuJ8JXPUgCu93C?e=cp9wmZ o The only mentions of the Prophet Micah areContinue reading “Thursday 1st September 2022”

Wednesday 31st August 2022

2 CORINTHIANS 4 How does your church attract people to the gospel?  How do you do it?  Is it your attractive personality?  Or is it: “Why not join our exciting community”?  We may well attract some like-minded people who are friendly with us – for a while- but later, they will drift away when circumstancesContinue reading “Wednesday 31st August 2022”

Tuesday 30th August 2022

2 CORINTHIANS 3 If you are a real believer in Christ, you won’t need a certificate that proves the fact, because your heart has His Name written all over it.  Your life will prove ownership and membership.  Paul’s disciples in Corinth were all the introduction he required to that church – they only existed becauseContinue reading “Tuesday 30th August 2022”

Monday 29th August 2022

2 CHRONICLES 34 and 35 It must have been a shock to Josiah: being made king of Judah at an age when most children have just started junior school!  The very last godly king of God’s people, at the age of eight he ascended the throne and then reigned in total 31 years.  At theContinue reading “Monday 29th August 2022”

Sunday 28th August 2022

2 CORINTHIANS 2 The people you love most bring out the strongest emotions in you.  In this next chapter, we read some thoughts about Paul’s love for his disciples and the grief they are causing him.  He had already visited Corinth the first time, to establish the church, and then he wrote the First LetterContinue reading “Sunday 28th August 2022”

Saturday 27th August 2022

2 CHRONICLES 29, 30 and 31 Hezekiah is the person in the Bible who really should have had a book named after him!  Born of a terrible father, King Ahaz, and born during the reign of the last king of Northern Israel, the pagan King Hoshea, Hezekiah might have been excused for making a completeContinue reading “Saturday 27th August 2022”

Friday 26th August 2022

2 CORINTHIANS 1 Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians is addressed to people who are ‘in trouble’.  God is the ‘God of Comfort’ – the first person to turn to when you are in a crisis and the one who is best able to meet your needs in that crisis.  He also uses other believersContinue reading “Friday 26th August 2022”

Thursday 25th August 2022

1 CORINTHIANS 16 This chapter of 1 Corinthians is right back down to earth – and it starts with money!  Generous giving frees us all from greed and materialism.  The Early Church gathered usually on the ‘First Day of the Week’ – i.e. on a Sunday – to break bread, to study, to share theContinue reading “Thursday 25th August 2022”

Wednesday 24th August 2022

2 CHRONICLES 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23 Up until now, the kings of Judah have generally been the ‘good guys’ and those of Northern Israel the ‘noisy neighbours’; from today’s readings, Judah starts to sink as low as Israel.  Jehoshaphat returns from the losing battle to the safety of Jerusalem – but he didContinue reading “Wednesday 24th August 2022”

Tuesday 23rd August 2022

2 CHRONICLES 18 “Do not be unequally yoked” is a common phrase or concept in both Old and New Testaments.  It means not to involve yourself in any relationship or enterprise that may risk you compromising your own beliefs and values.  Well, the godly Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, was invited to join forces with Ahab,Continue reading “Tuesday 23rd August 2022”

Monday 22nd August 2022

1 CORINTHIANS 15 It has been claimed that if the Resurrection of Christ could be disproven then Christianity would be finished as a faith.  I completely agree – and so did the apostle Paul!  His very gospel – outlined very briefly in 1 Corinthians 15 – is resting on this one historical fact: that ChristContinue reading “Monday 22nd August 2022”

Sunday 21st August 2022

2 CHRONICLES 13, 14, 15 and 16 It is interesting how two views of the same person and their actions can both be true and yet both read so differently.  Abijah, son of Rehoboam, received a rather negative ‘appraisal’ in 1 Kings 15:1-8 and a very positive one in 2 Chronicles chapter 13.  An yetContinue reading “Sunday 21st August 2022”

Saturday 20th August 2022

1 CORINTHIANS 14 If the message of 1 Cor 12 is that the Body of Christ has unity and power through diversity, and the message of 1 Cor 13 majors on the method and motivation of manifesting the gifts, then today’s chapter is about administering these powerful gifts. Paul explains in more depth how toContinue reading “Saturday 20th August 2022”

Friday 19th August 2022

1 CORINTHIANS 13 Because the Body of Christ is so united, any impact on a single individual member will have a knock-on effect, for good or for ill, on every individual member and on the entire body.  The point of everyone working at their specialist skills and giftings is to benefit the whole body andContinue reading “Friday 19th August 2022”

Thursday 18th August 2022

1 CORINTHIANS 12 Imagine a football team that fielded eleven goalkeepers; or an army where everyone drove tanks; or a building firm that employed only electricians; or a cricket team full of fast-bowlers; or a hospital of nothing but brain surgeons!  They’d all fail or lose or go bust or even die!  The composition ofContinue reading “Thursday 18th August 2022”

Wednesday 17th August 2022

1 CORINTHIANS 11 The ‘Covering Heads in Worship’ debate has gone on for many centuries.  I will not draw any firm conclusions in these notes, except to make some general points from 1 Corinthians 11: There is a play on words between a person’s physical head and their authority-head The principle is about honouring yourContinue reading “Wednesday 17th August 2022”

Tuesday 16th August 2022

2 CHRONICLES 5, 6 and 7 The Temple, having been completed, it was now time for the Ark to be transported and installed into the Holy of Holies that had been prepared for it.  It had been held in a tent at Zion, the old city of David, where the temple musicians had conducted theirContinue reading “Tuesday 16th August 2022”

Monday 15th August 2022

1 CORINTHIANS 10 Like the ominous reversing warning sounds of a heavy goods vehicle, the danger of sin is made very clear to us by the Lord.  His scriptures, his Spirit in us, our consciences, and our brothers and sisters in Christ are all suitable resources to warn us of sin’s stealthy approach.  And weContinue reading “Monday 15th August 2022”

Sunday 14th August 2022

1 CORINTHIANS 9 Rights, responsibilities, and self-control are the name of the game for Paul.  Responsibilities sometimes mean that you exercise self-control so as not to take advantage of your rights, in order to be more effective in your witness. Rights:  Paul worked hard among his churches and is clearly their ‘builder’ in Christ, ratherContinue reading “Sunday 14th August 2022”

Saturday 13th August 2022

1 CORINTHIANS 8 These ‘superior’ Corinthian Christians were so proud of their deep knowledge of the truth of the scriptures, which categorically say that there is only one God.  They lived in an idolatrous culture that worshiped many different gods and sacrificed all kinds of things to them, including food.  Probably their non-Christians friends kindlyContinue reading “Saturday 13th August 2022”

Friday 12th August 2022

ECCLESIASTES 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 The Book of Ecclesiastes.  What’s it all about?  Who wrote it?  Can we believe everything it says? The most likely author of Ecclesiastes is King Solomon, as 1:1 seems to indicate.  It was apparently written in his later life and possibly in a melancholy old age.  ItContinue reading “Friday 12th August 2022”

Thursday 11th August 2022

1 CORINTHIANS 7 The Corinthian leaders had already sent Paul a long list of questions or statements on all kinds of lifestyle issues.  For example: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman?”  (They seem to assume that Paul will agree with them unreservedly.)  But Paul always upholds theContinue reading “Thursday 11th August 2022”

Wednesday 10th August 2022

1 CORINTHIANS 6 Before resuming his teaching on sexual sins, Paul continues where yesterday’s chapter ended: ‘You are judging the wrong people in the wrong places’, he basically says!  The Corinthian believers were both judging the ungodly and also taking one another to court to be judged by the ungodly.  Paul points out that weContinue reading “Wednesday 10th August 2022”

Tuesday 9th August 2022

1 CORINTHIANS 5 “Hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 5:5).  Sex is the main topic in today’s reading.  There are sexual unions that God blesses and encourages, and sexual unions that he regards asContinue reading “Tuesday 9th August 2022”

Monday 8th August 2022

1 CORINTHIANS 4 “For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena.  We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings.  We are fools for Christ, but you are so wiseContinue reading “Monday 8th August 2022”

Sunday 7th August 2022

1 CORINTHIANS 3 Tribalism is the curse of the church!  “I follow Paul”; “I follow Apollos” – what a ridiculous line to take!  They are both the servants of Christ and are just doing a job for him.  The real root of tribalism is the misplaced need to be exclusive: “I follow Apollos and notContinue reading “Sunday 7th August 2022”

Saturday 6th August 2022

1 CORINTHIANS 2 “When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified…  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but withContinue reading “Saturday 6th August 2022”

Friday 5th August 2022

1 CHRONICLES 19, 20, 21 and 22 What started as a kindness ended in a full-scale war.  Such is the power of misunderstanding!  David simply wanted to express his sympathy to the new king of the Ammonites, over the death of the previous king – all this is almost identically in 2 Samuel 10 andContinue reading “Friday 5th August 2022”

Thursday 4th August 2022

1 CORINTHIANS 1 Corinth in AD 55 was a thriving city, the main commercial centre of Greece and a port with two separate harbours, on opposite oceans.  Rather than sail all around Southern Greece, smaller ships would be hauled full loaded across a stone road from one harbour to the other.  Corinth was therefore aContinue reading “Thursday 4th August 2022”

Wednesday 3rd August 2022

ROMANS 16At the end of this letter, in chapter 16, there is a long roll of honour: believers whom Paul wishes to commend for their service in the gospel – including Priscilla and Aquila who had done so much to bless the churches Paul had established.  It seems that, by then, they were living backContinue reading “Wednesday 3rd August 2022”

Tuesday 2nd August 2022

1 CHRONICLES 13,14,15 and 16 Two main events occur in today’s readings:  The battles against the Philistines and the bringing of the Ark into Jerusalem.  The Books of Samuel and Chronicles deal with them in a different order, because of the different emphases of each book.  The Chronicles account is not chronological! The Philistines hearContinue reading “Tuesday 2nd August 2022”

Monday 1st August 2022

ROMANS 15 “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God”  (15:7).  We were accepted by Christ ‘just as we were’ – i.e. warts and all!  We therefore have no right to reject other believers at all – assuming that they are believers.  This is perhaps the keyContinue reading “Monday 1st August 2022”

Sunday 31st July 2022

ROMANS 14 So why are you a vegetarian (if indeed you are)?  As part of Paul’s efforts to bring the gospel to life, he raises some ‘lifestyle’ issues that affected not only the First Century Romans but also affects the 21st Century Western world.  We have a huge amount of freedom under the gospel: howContinue reading “Sunday 31st July 2022”

Saturday 30th July 2022

ROMANS 13 We read yesterday, in chapter 12, that personal revenge is not permitted for God’s people.  One of the reasons given was so that God could have room for vengeance instead.  It is much better to wait for the Judge of All The Earth to execute his judgments, with the full facts and motivesContinue reading “Saturday 30th July 2022”

Friday 29th July 2022

ROMANS 12 Having established eleven chapters of closely argued doctrine, Paul now shows us how we should live in the light of that doctrine.  This combination of doctrine plus lifestyle in us is both essential and irresistible.  The eleven chapters of doctrine are difficult because they challenge our understanding, but the following chapters on lifestyleContinue reading “Friday 29th July 2022”

Thursday 28th July 2022

ROMANS 11 Today we reach Romans 11, which continues to discuss the question of the Jews in more depth.  “Did God reject his people?” is the first question.  Paul’s answer is: “It depends on what you mean by ‘His People’”.  He has already stated in 9:6-7 that: “Not all who are descended from Israel areContinue reading “Thursday 28th July 2022”

Wednesday 27th July 2022

ROMANS 10 Paul again begins by declaring that his heart’s desire and prayer is for Israel to be saved.  He acknowledges that they have zeal for righteousness but not the knowledge of how to get it.  For many of us today, we often have ample knowledge but little zeal for others to gain that righteousness! Continue reading “Wednesday 27th July 2022”

Tuesday 26th July 2022

1 CHRONICLES 1 and 2 In today’s readings the unsuspecting reader finds himself/herself whizzed back to the beginning of creation (did you blink!).  1 Chronicles starts with a raft of genealogies that begin at Adam.  The purpose of the Books of 1 and 2 Chronicles is not to duplicate the Books of Samuel and ofContinue reading “Tuesday 26th July 2022”

Monday 25th July 2022

ROMANS 9 The controversial topic of predestination is now addressed more fully, starting with Israel as an example, but applying it comprehensively to Jew and Gentile alike.  Many Christians find this doctrine unacceptable because they think it reflects badly upon God – rather than because the opposite view is supported by scripture – which itContinue reading “Monday 25th July 2022”

Sunday 24th July 2022

HOSEA 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 God continues in the book of Hosea, alternately reminding Israel of the times that he rescued them and led them through danger to a place of rest – and then giving them analogies of what they are like as a rebellious people.  Some significant verses standContinue reading “Sunday 24th July 2022”

Saturday 23rd July 2022

ROMANS 8 “No Condemnation!”  What a wonderful couple of words!  If there is ever a message that humans need to hear it is that one.  The Apostle Paul has already shown the futility of Christians trying to please God by obedience to the Law (in chapter 7); now he explains how simple it is toContinue reading “Saturday 23rd July 2022”

Friday 22nd July 2022

ROMANS 7 Romans 7 is one of the more controversial chapters in the New Testament.  The first six verses are vital to grasp the full meaning of the chapter.  It is a tale of two metaphorical marriages, both involving us as sinful people.  In the first marriage, our husband was ‘Mr Law’ – the LawContinue reading “Friday 22nd July 2022”

Thursday 21st July 2022

HOSEA 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 In God’s book, the worship of false gods or idols is spiritual adultery.  Israel had been joined by covenant to the Lord – analogous to marriage – since they had crossed the Red Sea, but they had begun a series of ‘affairs’ with the foreign godsContinue reading “Thursday 21st July 2022”

Wednesday 20th July 2022

ROMANS 6 Paul, the great teacher, anticipates his readers’ important questions – particularly when faced with a gospel of grace and freedom on offer.  Here’s one: “If grace gets larger when sin gets larger, perhaps we should sin even more!”  This comes from chapter 5:20 “The law was brought in so that the trespass mightContinue reading “Wednesday 20th July 2022”

Tuesday 19th July 2022

ROMANS 5 Romans chapter 5 really takes up the thread from chapter 3 – meaning that chapter 4 was in ‘parentheses’.  Paul uses this literary tool a great deal, particularly in the book of Romans.  We left the thread in Romans 3 with the vital doctrine of Justification by Faith alone.  In chapter 5, PaulContinue reading “Tuesday 19th July 2022”

Monday 18th July 2022

AMOS 6, 7, 8 and 9 “Do horses run on the rocky crags?  Does one plow the sea with oxen?  But you have turned justice into poison and the fruit of righteousness into bitterness…”.  God is now rebuking both Israel and Judah for their complacency, since they worship the Lord in a ritualistic fashion, butContinue reading “Monday 18th July 2022”

Sunday 17th July 2022

ROMANS 4 “What Would Abraham Do?”  This was the perpetual thought that circulated around an orthodox Jew’s head as he went about his daily religious duties.  Abraham, their forefather was, from their perspective, almost a ‘god’ and he carried enormous influence over the Jewish people, more two thousand years after he had died.  Paul, knowingContinue reading “Sunday 17th July 2022”

Saturday 16th July 2022

ROMANS 3 Chapter 3 is the big one!  Everyone is the same: all under the power of sin, all falling short of God’s glory and his standards of holiness.  And, left to his own human devices, “…there is no-one who seeks God” (3:11).  No-one will be declared acceptable to God by obeying the Law; theContinue reading “Saturday 16th July 2022”

Friday 15th July 2022

AMOS 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Amos was not a ‘professional’ prophet, but a shepherd who prophesied ‘on the side’.  He lived about 10 miles south of Jerusalem and yet his ministry was directed at the Northern kingdom (Israel); this is rather like having a job in Guildford and spending your ministry time inContinue reading “Friday 15th July 2022”

Thursday 14th July 2022

ROMANS 2 Chapter 2 speaks to different kinds of person: the self-congratulatory ‘moral’ person and the ‘religious’ person.  Both are different examples of the sin of pride in action! The average quality newspaper journalist might be a typical example of Type 1: he or she appears to ooze moral superiority and looks down upon mostContinue reading “Thursday 14th July 2022”

Wednesday 13th July 2022

2 KINGS 22, 23, 24 and 25 It must have been a shock to Josiah: being made king of Judah at an age when most children have just started junior school!  The very last godly king of God’s people, at the age of eight he ascended the throne and then reigned a total 31 years. Continue reading “Wednesday 13th July 2022”

Tuesday 12th July 2022

ROMANS 1 Romans: my favourite book of the Bible.  It took the great bible teacher Martin Lloyd-Jones nearly 700 consecutive weekly sermons to exposit its teachings – on Friday evenings from 1955 to 1968.  My task is to cover it in just sixteen daily posts!  An introduction to the book is found in the weeklyContinue reading “Tuesday 12th July 2022”

Monday 11th July 2022

2 KINGS 20 and 21 The finest and most faithful king since the days of David was given a death sentence by God.  “Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover”.  (2 Kings 20:1).  When a highly qualified medical consultant gives you an unfavourable prognosis, it is badContinue reading “Monday 11th July 2022”

Friday 8th July 2022

ACTS 27 And so to the journey to Rome!  In late summer, the prevailing wind in the Mediterranean is from the West.  For Paul to be taken to Rome from Caesarea would be almost due West and therefore impossible.  (See Map of Journey ).  The usual route was to hug the South coast of TurkeyContinue reading “Friday 8th July 2022”

Thursday 7th July 2022

ACTS 26 The gospel has three ‘tangible’ strands that make it so compelling to its hearers, and one ‘intangible’ strand.  These all feature in this chapter of Acts.  1) Truth and Reasonableness (v25):  It is hard to commit yourself to a message that is either meaningless or non-sensical, so the mind needs to be convincedContinue reading “Thursday 7th July 2022”

Wednesday 6th July 2022

ACTS 25 It is easy to ‘gloss over’ the human consequences and emotions of the last verse of Acts 24: “When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favour to the Jews, he left Paul in prison”.    Imagine how Paul must have felt!  He hadContinue reading “Wednesday 6th July 2022”

Tuesday 5th July 2022

ACTS 24 Paul found himself caught up in politics: Governor Felix was an ineffective ruler who was later to be recalled to Rome to answer for his incompetence.  He had recently married the 16-year-old daughter of Herod, Drusilla, who became his third wife – she herself having been induced to leave her previous husband ofContinue reading “Tuesday 5th July 2022”

Monday 4th July 2022

ACTS 23 “You must be on your guard.  You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues.  On account of me, you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them.  And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.  Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do notContinue reading “Monday 4th July 2022”

Sunday 3rd July 2022

2 KINGS 5, 6, 7 and 8 The supreme commander of Syria’s armed forces becomes very ill with an incurable disease; he hears that a Christian believer has a strong prophetic healing ministry, and he travels to meet him, in the hope of being healed.  The healing is fast and simple, and the commander isContinue reading “Sunday 3rd July 2022”

Friday 1st July 2022

ACTS 21 The journey of Paul and his companions continued by sea until they reached the Judean coastal city of Caesarea.  After that long and difficult trip, they rested for a few days at Philip the Evangelist’s home.  Philip may have been at Caesarea for nearly 25 years by then, which gives us an ideaContinue reading “Friday 1st July 2022”

Thursday 30th June 2022

ACTS 20 After the riot, two separate groups of disciples travelled with Paul to the Troas, but not at the same time.  Eventually they met up with the local disciples and stayed a week, culminating in a meeting of the whole church to break bread – that is, to celebrate the Lord’s Supper – onContinue reading “Thursday 30th June 2022”

Wednesday 29th June 2022

ACTS 19 Today is also about discipleship, and what happens if it goes slightly wrong.  It also demonstrates that you cannot help but reproduce what you are in your disciples.  Paul had begun his third so-called ‘Missionary Journey’ and decided to take the inland route through Turkey to get to Ephesus on its west coast. Continue reading “Wednesday 29th June 2022”

Tuesday 28th June 2022

ACTS 18 Today is about discipleship and its importance.  Corinth was a Greek city of two seas and two major ports, with an innovative way of getting ships from one side to the other across dry land.  As such it was a huge mixture of cultures and faiths, and with a well-deserved reputation for sexualContinue reading “Tuesday 28th June 2022”

Monday 27th June 2022

1 KINGS 17, 18 and 19 Today’s the day of the big showdown:  Elijah’s God versus Ahab’s god!  The arrival of Elijah on the scene is a bit mysterious – in 1 Kings 17 he just appears and starts speaking.  His name means ‘The Lord is my God’ and the essence of his message wasContinue reading “Monday 27th June 2022”

Sunday 26th June 2022

ACTS 17 Paul knew that the heart will not warm to what the mind cannot accept.  On the other hand, a purely intellectual grasp of the gospel is insufficient for salvation.  Both elements of a person’s character are required to empower the will to submit to Christ and follow his commands. In Thessalonica, a cityContinue reading “Sunday 26th June 2022”

Saturday 25th June 2022

1 KINGS 15, 16 It is interesting how two views of the same person and their actions can both be true and yet both read so differently.  Abijah, son of Rehoboam, received a rather negative ‘appraisal’ in 1 Kings 15:1-8 and a very positive one in 2 Chronicles chapter 13.  An yet the passages doContinue reading “Saturday 25th June 2022”

Friday 24th June 2022

ACTS 16 Paul: “Some good news, Timothy: you are accompanying me on my next mission trip”.  Timothy: “Great!  When do we leave?”  Paul: “As soon as you can walk again after being circumcised!”  This is how Paul’s Second Missionary Journey might have started.  Actually, if you read the end of yesterday’s chapter (15), you willContinue reading “Friday 24th June 2022”

Wednesday 22nd June 2022

ACTS 15 Today we witness a master-class in high-powered talks and negotiations over the future direction of God’s church on earth; talks which could so easily have resulted in schism, complete disunity, and huge recriminations.  The critical issue was nothing to do with ‘brand’, methodology, style, or leadership – things that we get so upsetContinue reading “Wednesday 22nd June 2022”

Tuesday 21st June 2022

1 KINGS 9 It is now 24 years into Solomon’s reign and the two gigantic building projects are completed (4 years before the temple was begun + 7 years building the temple + 13 years building Solomon’s palace).  Just as he did at the beginning of Solomon’s reign, The Lord appears again to him andContinue reading “Tuesday 21st June 2022”

Monday 20th June 2022

ACTS 14 If you stir up a hornets’ nest, you had better expect some retaliation!  Paul and Barnabas, by proclaiming the good news about Jesus, had effectively ‘invaded’ the enemy territory.  Having had some tremendous success in Pisidian Antioch, they incurred the backlash of persecution and fled to Iconium, a major agricultural region in theContinue reading “Monday 20th June 2022”

Sunday 19th June 2022

1 KINGS 5, 6 and 7 Solomon begins the greatest construction project that he will ever undertake: the Temple of The Lord in Jerusalem.  1 Kings chapters 5 and 6 are roughly paralleled by 2 Chronicles chapters 2 and 3, although there are some subtle differences of emphasis. First, he wrote to Hiram, king ofContinue reading “Sunday 19th June 2022”

Saturday 18th June 2022

ACTS 13 Today’s and tomorrow’s readings describe Paul’s First Missionary Journey, which lasted about two years, from AD 46-48.  This was a whole eleven years after Paul had been converted (AD 35).  The Book of Acts covers a long time period of intense activity and does not have room for the extended ‘pauses’ between keyContinue reading “Saturday 18th June 2022”

Friday 17th June 2022

ACTS 12 Meanwhile, back in Jerusalem, not everything was wonderful for the church there.  King Herod Agrippa I had taken over the role of persecutor-in-chief and also wanted to strengthen his own position by making himself more popular with the Jewish Authorities.  The obvious strategy was to attack the Jews’ prime enemies, the Christians!  HeContinue reading “Friday 17th June 2022”

Thursday 16th June 2022

ACTS 11 Back in Jerusalem, there was some serious explaining to do!  The church there had only known the concept of being born a Jew, or converted to Judaism, as a prerequisite to accepting Jesus as the true Messiah.  These Gentiles had apparently entered ‘via the back door’ and the Jewish Christians wanted to knowContinue reading “Thursday 16th June 2022”

Wednesday 15th June 2022

ACTS 10 The raising of Tabitha from the dead had also strategically placed Peter in Joppa – part of modern-day Tel Aviv.   The stream of new disciples that resulted from her spectacular resurrection needed leading and wielding together into a local church, so Peter planned to stay quite a while there, at the home ofContinue reading “Wednesday 15th June 2022”

Tuesday 14th June 2022

ACTS 9 “Those who attack you will surrender to you” – or so said the prophet Isaiah in 54:15.  In Saul’s case, it could not have been more vivid.  One moment he was the chief persecutor of Christ’s church; the next, he was the most effective apostle the world has ever known. The light fromContinue reading “Tuesday 14th June 2022”

Monday 13th June 2022

ACTS 8 God’s sovereignty is shown in the graphic contrasts between the lives of Stephen and Philip; both were saved at about the same time, and both served faithfully on the same ministry team, the ‘Seven’.  As disciples of Jesus, they were equally powerful and effective.  Yet the Lord chose to cut short Stephen’s lifeContinue reading “Monday 13th June 2022”

Sunday 12th June 2022

2 SAMUEL 19 and 20 That scheming Joab was right this time: David was so preoccupied with his own grief for his dead son, Absalom, that he was totally neglecting his duties as king.  You would have thought it was a military defeat rather than a great victory!  Joab, who was never afraid to confrontContinue reading “Sunday 12th June 2022”

Saturday 11th June 2022

2 SAMUEL 16, 17 and 18 Now David was running for his life and, to make matters worse, the disgruntled members of Saul’s household were taking the opportunity to get their revenge.  Ziba, the not-so-faithful steward of Mephibosheth, had decided to curry favour with the King at his master’s expense.  By slandering Mephibosheth and makingContinue reading “Saturday 11th June 2022”

Thursday 9th June 2022

2 SAMUEL 13, 14 and 15 Nathan’s prophecy of the punishment imposed by God on King David starts to be fulfilled in the next three chapters.  First, Amnon, David’s eldest son, became obsessed with his half-sister, Tamar who was stunningly beautiful.  We see later that it was a lustful obsession, rather than real love.  ThisContinue reading “Thursday 9th June 2022”