Monday, 16 July 2018

Announcing Burton Bibles!

Hi guys, just a quick post to let you know that something I have been working on for the past few weeks has now gone live! After years of frustration at not being able to find decent Bible shops in the UK I have decided to set up my own, yikes! 

In partnership with Cambridge University Press I have set up a webshop and I have also launched an accompanying YouTube channel with Bible overviews and other useful Bible related content, as well as an Instagram account with lots of lovely Bible pictures and overviews which can be found here

It is early days but I'm hoping that I can help fellow believers find their next lovely Bible that they will treasure, read and study, but moreover a Bible that is RIGHT for them in terms of size, print and binding.

Please give the channels and site a look, and I will appreciate your support and prayers over the coming months as we get things going.

Yours in Christ,


Saturday, 26 May 2018

Three Men at the Pool of Bethesda

Just some simple thoughts from John 5, the man healed at the pool of Bethesda. Bethesda means 'House of Mercy, or Kindness' and so is it not fitting and entirely appropriate that into this place steps the Saviour, the perfect embodiment of all kindness and mercy! Does Psalm 117:2 not say "For his merciful kindness is great toward us..."

In this scene we read of three men referred to:

  • "A certain man" - An infirmed man, impotent and helpless who had lay stricken for 38 years. It is interesting that this man had been in this state for longer than the Lord Jesus had been upon the earth as a man! I think it is lovely to think therefore that even before he came into this world, his eye was upon this man, knowing one day they would meet and he would be blessed as a result. Surely we think of ourselves in this regard; "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world..." Eph 1:4
  • "I have no man..." - This man had no man to help him in his despair, his situation was hopeless! His plight is touching; "While I am coming into it myself, somebody else steps down ahead of me..." How typical of men and of this world! This 'me first' attitude, the survival of the fittest, illustrating the selfish cruelty of men. How unfair, how this poor man was disadvantaged! Thank God that the Saviour steps in to redress the balance, here is mercy and compassion, here is one who will help! We thank God that our God is not the God who only blesses those who get there first, those who step ahead of others and cut in! Praise God that he looked on us in our helpless state - "For by grace are ye saved, through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works lest any man should boast." Eph 2:8-9
  • "...what man is that..." - The outraged Jews enquired of the healed man. Of course they discovered it was the blessed man of Galilee! Son of Man, yet Son of God, here we see the two met together beautifully, just as they did at the tomb of Lazarus, his compassion and care for his fellow man, and yet his omnipotence to heal and bless. Empowered after 38 years of weakness and wretchedness... "He healed me and gave me back my strength..." Christ put others first, despite the Sabbath, this was far from the Jewish way, they were outraged! He would later go to the cross of Calvary to die for others, and there they would mock him again - "He saved others, himself he cannot save." We notice that their cold-hearted hypocrisy would surface again even at Calvary, as it is John who records; "The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away." They would not even let him alone then, as he died on the cross! Well might we sing - "Hallelujah! What a Saviour!" We thank God that Christ put others first, he thought of us and came to our aid in our deep need.
We trust these simple thoughts will be a blessing to all.


Wednesday, 16 May 2018

King Saul - A Brief Devotional

I was thinking recently about Christ as the rejected king that the Jews didn't want - "we will not have this to reign over us!" It put me in mind of the king that God rejected, the man Saul. There is a lovely comparison between the two.
  • Saul was the king who was very much the people's choice, although God put him there. Our Lord Jesus Christ was ever God's choice - ('behold my Servant'... 'this is my beloved Son')
  • Saul was a man physically that the people desired, and would look up to (literally for he was head and shoulders above them). Think of the Lord; "There is no beauty that we should desire him" "He hath no form nor comeliness..." Although the Lord Jesus was head and shoulders above them all morally! Perfect and sinless He was.
  • Saul was marked by disobedience to the word of the LORD, his disobedience in 1 Sam 13 in acting as a priest and offering burnt offerings instead of waiting for Samuel to come, and his disobedience in ch 15 in not annihilating the Amalekites left God no option but to reject Saul from continuing and prospering as king of Israel. None of this could be said of our blessed Lord as his 'meat was to do the will of him that sent him'... ('I delight to do thy will'... 'I do always those things that please the Father')
  • Remember that there was a time when Saul showed an astonishing lack of compassion for his people, when he enforced a fast upon them. I can't help but think of the time our Saviour looked out upon the people and saw them as sheep not having a shepherd, and moved with compassion he fed them miraculously in the wilderness! He would not send them away faint and hungry.
  • Saul was also marked by a lack of self-control and often lost his temper. The Lord Jesus was always in control, and was marked by meekness and was gracious even in the face of extreme provocation - ('I am meek and lowly'... 'when he was reviled he reviled not again, and when he suffered he threatened not.')
  • Saul was an extremely jealous man, wanting something that was not his, and driven by bitter envy. Of our Lord Jesus it is said that the earth is His and the fullness thereof, there was nothing he desired that was not his already by right. Though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor - what a contrast! Our blessed Lord humbled himself, and made himself of no reputation, while Saul raged and clung onto power with everything he had.
  • We read that an evil spirit came upon Saul and tormented him, sent from God. I can't help but think of the Lord Jesus, who was full of the Holy Spirit, led by the Spirit, and driven by the Spirit.
  • Saul was the man who wouldn't go down into the valley to face the giant. Driven by self-preservation he would let a teenage David go down instead to claim the victory for God. Think of our Saviour who would say "Here am I, send me", who willingly went down into the depths, and of whom it could be said "I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me... all thy waves and billows have passed over me..."
  • Think of Saul's end - his death was one of shame, failure and defeat on Mt Gilboa. Now think of our blessed Saviour, who died on Mt Calvary. Yes it was a death of shame ('cursed is every man who hangeth upon a tree') but his death was one of victory, not defeat! He triumphed over death, hell and the grave, a death which brought many sons to glory!
  • Saul had his kingdom taken away from him, it would not endure forever. I am reminded of our Lord Jesus - "he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." 
"Jesus shall reign where'er the sun doth his successive journey's run, his kingdom spread from shore to shore, till moons shall wax and wane no more." 

Praise be to his name! Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
We trust that these simple thoughts and meditations will be a blessing to us.


Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Christ and the Judges

I was thinking about some contrasts and comparisons between our Lord Jesus and the Judges of the Old Testament, and I think there are some interesting points to note. This is very much a work in progress and I expect to add to this in the coming days as appropriate.

Remember that the the days when the Judges were raised up were dark days spiritually speaking for the people of God. Joshua had died and they had rebelled, doing evil in the sight of the Lord, and disobeying his voice (Judges 2:2, 11). Out of his love and compassion, God raised up Judges or Deliverers to save them (2:16) This certainly reminds us of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, as he came into the world at a time when the people had wandered far from God, saying the right things with their lips but their hearts were far from Him (Matt 15:8). Into the darkness came a Light, the Light of the world! "And the darkness comprehended it not" (John 1:5)

Just think of some of these 'saviours' and their characteristics in relation to the true and perfect Saviour!

  • Othniel - of him it is recorded that "the Spirit of God came upon him" - when we think of the Lord Jesus we remember that he was LED by the Spirit (Matt 4:1), he was DRIVEN by the Spirit (Mark 1:12) and he was FULL OF the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1) how lovely to think that the Saviour was ever guided and led by the Spirit, in sync with the Father's will. He was driven from within by the Spirit, ever moving with purpose and conviction. He was full of or 'full up' with the Holy Spirit, meaning he was controlled and directed by it!
  • Ehud - God;s left-handed right-hand man! The stand out feature of this Judge was his 'homemade' double-edged sword, surely speaking to us of that Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God (Eph 6:17, Heb 4:12).Surely we cannot help but think of the Lord Jesus of whom it is said "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us..." (John 1) He was the very Word of God, he embodied it and fully told it out!
  • Gideon - we are reminded of the few that fought against the many, described in that Midianite dream as - "a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it". I cannot help but think of one who took those humble small barley loaves, and multiplied them to the blessing of many! Remember they said on that occasion "but what are these among so many?" (John 6:9). Just as in Gideon's day, they were vastly outnumbered. But as is so often the case God uses "the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty" (1 Cor 1:27)
  • Think of Jepththah - Here was a man marked by speaking unwisely. He made a foolish and rash vow, to his great cost! Think of the Lord Jesus, a man who confounded and amazed men with the wisdom and grace of his speech! Satan was defeated by his words, men marvelled at wisdom, remember the words of the Proverb; "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." (25:11) surely an appropriate application to our Saviour.
  • Finally think of Samson - God's mighty but weak strong-man! Here was a Nazarite from birth, who failed and was defiled. We remember that the Lord Jesus was the perfect fulfilment of a Nazarite, he was wholly separated and consecrated to God! We also remember that he could not fail, or be defiled, he was "without sin", he did no sin, he knew no sin and in Him is no sin!
Samson had a triumphant end, and there are some lovely pictures of the Lord Jesus;
  • Remember he was betrayed by a close one
  • He was humiliated and suffered many things at the hands of wicked men
  • He was led out to the place of death, as our Lord was (Mark 15:20)
  • Both cried out to God, one was answered, but for the other the heavens remained silent (Matt 27:46)
  • We remember that their deaths fulfilled their life work, or purpose. Of Samson it is said "So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life." (Judges 16:30) When we think of the death of the Lord Jesus we are reminded that "...he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again." (2 Cor 5:15) He died that we might live! "Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him." (1 Thess 5:10)

I hope that this provides some food for thought and encourages us to look closer at these things, this is just a start of what could be a nice study, given more time and application.

God bless!

Saturday, 13 January 2018

A New Beginning To A New Year!

Joshua 1:1-17

Joshua is facing a new beginning now that his predecessor Moses is gone. He faces a future full of uncertainties perhaps, but rather than dwell on this he is exhorted by God to look back and reflect. The same is true for us as we look forwards to 2018 with all it's uncertainties and potential problems and challenges for us as Christians, but we do well to reflect on God's goodness to us and be encouraged as we go forwards with Him!

Joshua could look back on a history of God's tremendous goodness. In fact God had reminded them previously "Ye have lacked nothing" (Deut 2:7).
Yes the way had been hard at times, but the Lord had always been there for his people - "I will not fail thee nor forsake thee" - Note that neither his ability nor his presence are in doubt here!

There are TWO exhortations from the LORD for Joshua:

  1. Be Strong and Courageous - this is repeated several times in these verses. God reminds us that the Christian pathway is not a cake-walk but requires us to respond to the challenge and be strong and of good courage! Paul offers similar words to Timothy to embolden him and encourage him to stand fast and be ready for the challenges and responsibilities ahead. As we enter a new year we need similar exhortation, God asks us to be strong and courageous in 2018!
  2. Love and Live God's Word - The encouragement is to meditate upon it night and day, to depart not from it... that God's Word should be upon our minds and our mouths continually! If we do this in 2018 we are assured of "good success wherever you go". We are reminded of the similar words of Psalm 1 -
"Blessed is the man... his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."

Surely as we look towards 2018, we can be encouraged by remembering and recalling God's goodness previously and rise to the challenge of a new year by being strong and courageous in our Christian lives, and loving and living God's Word.

I can't think of a better mindset with which to embark on another year! :0)

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Lovest thou me?

I was looking at John 21:15-17 recently at the end of the year and was challenged by looking at these verses slightly differently to how I normally have done.

Concentrating on the words spoken to Peter, there is a question ot be answered, followed by a 'call to action'. When viewed simply we can be challenged in the same way; Do we truly love Him? If so then we need to respond with action!

Three times over the question is posed to Peter, so this was clearly something the Lord wanted to hit home - If you love me, prove it and do something! In Peter's case it was to 'feed my sheep', but for us it could be any number of things that we can change in our lives, in order to manifest and evidence our sincere love for Him.

It may be that as we look back over 2017 we realise we have had a 'mixed' year, full of ups and downs, and it may be possible that we haven't been everything we could have been spiritually, I know this is certainly true of me! But I take heart as this was also true of Peter! He had recently denied his Lord three times, but nevertheless the Lord was still interested in Peter, his love for Him and his potential to serve him going forward. The same is true of us, so we should take heart and carry on!

It is very easy for us to pay 'lip-service' in the matter of our love for the Lord Jesus. We often quote verses such as "we love him because he first loved us" and "whom having not seen we love", but in reality, is this love for Him backed up by actions in our lives? Do we say we love him when we sporadically attend our local Church meetings, seldom read our Bibles, and make decisions in our lives that put the Lord low down our list of priorities and therefore show a lack of love for Him?

John will again revisit this challenge later on in his first epistle;

"Little children, let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth." (1 John 3:18)

The Lord is looking for actions and choices to be made if we say we love Him, not mere good intentions and well-meant statements! If we say we love Him then let us follow up in deed and in truth!

It would be a great start to the new year if we were to make a change in our lives, make a sacrifice, do something differently and demonstrate our love for Him!

"Lovest thou me? Feed my sheep."

1 Kings 19: Elijah and God

I was listening to a podcast the other day which was speaking about 1 Kings 19 and it reminded me of how very relevant this passage is to ou...