A short verse and comment for each day of the month
A BAM Publication
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Written by Maurice Paine and Andy Paine
and published as a booklet
THE BY ALL MEANS GOSPEL TRUST
P O Box 7778 Solihull B92 7AG (UK)
“What shall we do then?” Luke 3:10
It is good preaching if it makes you ask this question.
Being a Christian means doing something. Filling out what the Bible says calls for dedication and determination.
Those who flocked to hear John the Baptist found that they needed to do something. It’s the same today.
And God speaks, His voice reaches us in one way or another. Stopping the ears is no excuse.
There is a special blessing in doing what God says. Jesus said He always did those things that pleased His Father and the same
blessing holds for His followers, too. Invest time in seeking God’s will for your life and then by His help to do it. Yes! There’s plenty to do and a job for which you are specially fitted. Seek it out today.
“your labour is not in vain in the Lord” I Corinthians 15:58
Many things that we do in life turn out a failure and there may be fear this will happen to you right now. Some areas in life have
roads that lead us nowhere. So we are tempted to think we are putting time and effort in what will be in vain.
This is never the case where the labour is in the Lord’s work. Things done in the Lord will be at His direction and not for self glory.
What we give must be acceptable to Him; then we can throw ourselves wholeheartedly in whatever our hands find to do.
The smallest job done by the least Christian is as important as any high flying front line activity. In fact it is probably more so.
“You are the light of the world” Matthew 5:14(RAV)
Jesus went on to say that a city set upon a hill cannot be hidden. The true Christian makes an impression.
The Spirit of the Lord shining through the children of the Lord is throwing light on what otherwise would be very dark areas.
This is not to embarrass or condemn but to illumine the way and prevent deterioration and loss. Without the influence of Christ
our world would have crumbled and gone. The Holy Spirit is like the fuel oil that lights up that eternal flame in the heart of every
believer in Jesus.
Jesus’ followers must be pointing in the right direction. No turning aside into any of many distractions.
The past is gone, so soon will be the present. Be sure your life spreads a godly influence around you today.
“I sat down under his shadow with great delight” Song of Solomon 2:3
This descriptive picture of the Shulamite maiden’s delight as she rested in the heat of the day beneath the shadow of her beloved,
is a picture of those who love the Lord Jesus enjoying the security and safety of His Presence. Christian experience centres around
Christ and depends upon the faith and love that exists between disciple and Master.
Only those who know and recognise the extent of God’s love in Christ can respond to that love. What is described as God loving
the world is like an announcement of what becomes a personal love for me by the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for
me. Even in a godless environment you can get away in spirit to sit at Jesus’ feet.
“But Daniel purposed in his heart” Daniel 1:8
Daniel decided beforehand that he would take a stand on the principles he had adopted before he and the others were taken
captive. It was not a case of seeing what would happen or making adjustments to suit his own needs.
Determination to follow the Lord built on a love and understanding of the relationship that exists will withstand the onslaught for
change that falls on us today.
Guarding the foundation truths of right and wrong and the revulsion of sin is taught us by the action of Daniel and by many like him
who have gone before.
Men change the rules but politic expediency does not replace the Word of God. We must be as the Psalmist who said that his heart
was fixed, trusting in the Lord.
“They feared the Lord, and served their own gods” II Kings 17:33
Their godly fear was very nominal and the Israelites put the Lord alongside the many other gods of the nations around them. If
safety was in numbers they would be well placed. They were deceived into thinking that other gods would be extra insurance and
The commandments of the Lord given to them were ignored and forgotten. God was not working with or for them and such religious
observance they had did nothing and they fell deeper into rebellion against the Lord who delivered them in time past and brought them
to the present.
Their behaviour is replicated in our nation today. Having a form of godliness, it is diluted with desires of their own. So we become party to a great deceit.
“He has put eternity in their hearts” Ecclesiastes 3:11(RAV)
This short sentence explains why we have an interest and desire to know about the after-life. God has put this there. Sadly, so many manage to ignore that desire for eternity.
Because God has put it there, attending to it is important. No-one is completely earth bound. All have to face eternity. It is appointed to man once to die. The Bible tells us enough about what lies beyond and the way we all have to pass.
How blessed that God has provided us an escape and a way of Salvation through the merit of Jesus’ atoning death. It is salvation from sin and all that would condemn us. God is there for all who will seek. God works on eternity that He has put in the heart. Use what God has placed within you to reach out in faith.
“you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money” Acts 8:20(RAV)
This is an idea that many make: so many things in life can be obtained if you pay for them. Money keeps the wheels of life turning;
but not the things that really matter.
You can’t buy lasting happiness and true peace or even a gift from God that you see someone else has.
That is what happened to Simon. He had practised sorcery and thought it would be good if he could add to that the power to heal that the apostles had.
Good for him that the apostles told him he needed to repent and get right with God first, that the sin in his heart could be dealt with. He responded and this changed him from a charlatan to a radiant believer.
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith” I Corinthians 16:13(NIV)
We need to be on our guard against things undermining our faith. The Christian life is based upon faith and the Christian life is lived by faith. Satan makes destroying it a prime target.
If a disciple of Jesus can be made to question the Word and authority of Jesus or if the claims of the gospel can be put into doubt, our foundation begins to slip.
We need to watch for weakness in the structure of our faith. Know this happens and guard against it. The forces of darkness are strong but the Lord is stronger. Believe in Him and refuse to heed other voices. Sometimes we need faith to reach out into the darkness. Not because you understand it but because you believe it.
“there is a great gulf fixed” Luke 16:26
This is a gulf that opens wider after death.
The rich man had the trappings of the Jewish religion and was no doubt given an elaborate funeral that pointed to this. Lazarus the
beggar, had no funeral worth mentioning but angels were summoned to carry him to Abraham’s bosom. The nature of their lives in this life made for their state in the after-life. That state in which they found themselves was final. This parable of Jesus is a great help in understanding the plight of the many millions who are underfed and destitute for no fault oftheir own. We cannot find an answer to all questions that life poses, but we can see a day coming when the suffering innocent will be comforted.
“they besought him for her” Luke 4:38
It would seem that the fever so raged in Peter’s mother-in-law that she could do little for herself. What a blessing at such a time that
there are others who will intercede for you!
When prayer is made on behalf of others it becomes an effective ministry and one in which all believers should engage.
What we call prayer can be wishful thinking or asking for what we do not really need. It can be selfish, putting oneself before others, but when it is prompted by the Holy Spirit it becomes the greatest tool we have.
Walk in the Spirit and your prayer life becomes Spirit-directed and the blessing of God that makes a person rich becomes a daily experience.
“the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me” Daniel 10:13
The prophet Daniel had been pleading for three weeks before God but had no answer to his prayer. Then he had a vision of an angel who told him that the prince of Persia, a Satanic power, had prevented the answer reaching him.
Then followed the great prophetic visions recorded in the last two chapters of his book.
So we see that forces in the spirit world are engaged to thwart the plan of God and trying to refute our prayer requests. Prayer is more than asking and receiving. It is asking God to bind the devil.
In Christ we are promised the victory but it is often only after a prolonged struggle. Michael, one of the higher angels, had to be summoned to remove the blockage in Daniel’s prayer.
“The Lord has helped us all the way” I Samuel 7:12(GNB)
When you look back, sometimes after a very arduous past, you recognise the unseen hand of the Lord was upon you. Not properly appreciated at the time, you now know it was the Lord with you that got you through.
Memory cells from the past may be filling fast and none of us knows how many more will be given us, but help in the way will not cease until we reach the finishing post.
What blessing then to rest in the Lord and to wait patiently for Him! It is sometimes good to put, or do, something that will tell others your experience. Just like the Israelites long ago erected a memorial stone that no traveller might miss. Give God the praise and glory that is due. “Ebenezer”- hitherto has the Lord helped us!
“the time of the singing of birds is come” Song of Solomon 2:12
What a joyful omen the singing of birds is. The winter is past, the rain is over and gone and we look forward to Spring flowers, the evidence of a loving Creator who gives us all things to enjoy.
Voice your own peal of praise. Add to the joy of Spring, turn away from sin, sorrow and sadness. The birds’ song is in a God-given language. Know something of heaven’s song. Let the life of Jesus flow through your life and see the beauty that is around you. Hidden from Christ-less eyes but a song of praise that extols the name of Jesus. Heaven begins now within the soul. The singing of the redeemed is an anthem of joy and of new life unequalled by the birds, a lasting melody that shall not be silenced.
“Peter … walked on the water and came towards Jesus.” Matthew 14:29(NIV)
In the midst of the storm, Peter saw an opportunity and jumped in with both feet. In fact, instead of lifting Peter (and the other disciples) out of the storm, Jesus actually calls Peter to step out of the relative safety of the boat and onto the stormy waves. The storm didn’t stop but the same buffeting wind and tossing waves that overwhelmed the disciples were not affecting Jesus in the same way. He came walking through it all and invited Peter to do the same. Perhaps our troubles, tough as they are, give us an opportunity to experience something more in our relationship with Jesus that we otherwise might miss. It is when Jesus walks with
us through the valley of the shadow of darkness that He becomes so much more real. AP
“be men of courage; be strong” I Corinthians 16:13(NIV)
Courage is claiming the promise of God to be with you and helping you do what you know you cannot manage in your own strength.
Exercise courage: be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Courage will take hold when there seems nothing to hang on to. Let the testimony of others who have overcome become your testimony.
What seems an impossibility is accepted because you know God is in it.
Once courage is recognised and accepted be strong in it. Don’t bother too much about a safety clause. Commit your way to the Lord and do so completely.
“able to keep you from falling” Jude 24
Unless we are disabled we are expected to stand on our own two feet. There are all kinds of aids for followers of Jesus but we can easily miss them. Today’s verse is a promise to all who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ. It is an essential and
invaluable promise. No matter how hard we try or how strong is our resolve, slips still take place. We all need to claim this promise. The ground surface varies along life’s way; each new day brings different trials and temptations. We can never say we have left all
dangers behind. So the Christian life is one of trust in the Lord who will supply all we need. He is able to keep us from falling and this day and whatever our special circumstances, He will do so.
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them” Luke 18:16(NIV)
The disciples thought that blessing from Jesus was not for children. Their attitude received the displeasure of Jesus. It was the people who were bringing young children who had the greater appreciation.
The same mistake is made today, disregarding children until they are older. Start praying for a child when still full young; pray for the unborn child. Besides other preparation needed, let there be prayer.
Do you think anything happened to children whom Jesus took in His arms and blessed? God blessed them. And we depend so much on God’s hand on our lives that irrespective of age we must let the children come.
Don’t talk down to them: talk and act as Jesus did.
“the day the Lord gives you rest from your sorrow” Isaiah 14:3(RAV)
The many promises found throughout the Scriptures bring comfort and peace to all who will receive them.
This word of comfort is given by Isaiah before he launches into a description of the fall of Satan, known as Lucifer. No matter how long and deep the trough of sorrow that Satan has dug in your world and your life, the promise of the Lord to those who are His followers is that future rest is assured. Those who enter will never be wrested out of the eternal rest of that day and put back into
the sorrow that surrounds us today. Fear and hard bondage will be something of the past.
And just as day succeeds night and night day so the time of God’s fulfilled promise will come.
“Keep praying to the Lord our God” I Samuel 7:8(GNB)
The Israelites’ request to Samuel when they met at Mizpah reminds us of our need to continue in prayer.
When the five Philistine kings heard that the Israelites were gathering they prepared to attack. It was news of this that made the Israelites call on Samuel to keep praying.
One short prayer and then forgetting the need is not enough. In an hour of need we can live in an attitude of prayer. We need to keep the avenue of prayer open and our link to the throne of prayer strong.
On this occasion the Lord thundered from heaven and confused the attacking Philistines. The Israelites marched out from Mizpah and gained a great victory. Prayer is often the needed treatment preparing us for God’s blessing.
“man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward” Job 5:7(NIV)
The earlier verse says that hardship does not spring from the soil nor trouble sprout from the ground, but they come from somewhere and some seem to have more than their share. These are the words of Eliphaz one of Job’s comforters, and certainly trouble is never far away.
Trouble comes to us all. A few things to note about it may help. First trouble is not confined to one age or group. So be comforted that others are facing it, too.
Then secondly, look around and see that others survive and realise that with God’s help you will, too.
Thirdly, it is our troubles and problems that throw us upon the Lord. Answers to prayer are real because trouble is real too and the deliverance is found in the Lord.
“Do you understand what you are reading?” Acts 8:30(RAV)
Reading can easily become a matter of repeating words or going through a routine without understanding what you are doing. This eunuch read from the Word of Life devotedly but did not find Jesus in what he read.
Others might be fascinated or amused by what they read yet never come to a full knowledge of the gospel. Let all who seek, yet do not understand the message of the gospel, find or be sent someone who might explain the way to them. Thank God for Philip who left his revival in Samaria to run beside the eunuch and then to get into the chariot and preach Christ from the pages of Scripture he was reading.
God will be revealing Himself to seeking souls today.
“live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you” II Corinthians 13:11
Live in peace, the God of peace will dwell with you. This is no fragile or temporary peace.
In a world characterised by upset and war this is the deep and lasting peace that is the possession of every true disciple of Jesus.
It is not a peace waiting for the next conflict to break out. It is experienced and enjoyed by the heart that knows the cleansing from sin and defilement made by receiving the atoning blood of Jesus. If your peace is founded on human resolve, it is likely to be broken anytime.
When conviction and a sense of sin become a cry for forgiveness, this peace is something Jesus gives. It is peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
“neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead ” Luke 16:31
Unwillingness to believe prevents many from salvation today.
In His parable about the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus said that if those with hardened hearts had it proven to them that heaven and hell were very real, they still would not repent and believe. That is a serious state to be in. To decide you are right and that all else can be discounted leads to a stony heart of unbelief.
All need to seek the Lord while He may be found. Repeated rejection of God’s voice will lead to that voice becoming no longer heard. Better to tease out any hardness and bitterness and enter fully into the good things God has for you.
“join with me in suffering for the gospel” II Timothy 1:8(NIV)
Paul was recruiting Timothy to join with him in the front line. If you must suffer let it be for the gospel’s sake. If your life is dedicated to God, any suffering you experience will be for the gospel.
Life is not easy. But if we suffer, let it be for a good cause. Suffering wrongfully is something that disciples have had to do all down the years. Satan has been trying to hinder and extinguish the light of the gospel since that great light first shone on the Resurrection Morning. He has failed because it is God working in the lives of believers. Enlist in His glad service and get a posting to the front line. Be strong in the Lord. Join the warriors of the Cross and stand firm in the strength He gives.
“And he could not sleep” Daniel 6:18(NIV)
The words in this verse describe King Darius who had been tricked into signing a decree that confined Daniel to the den of lions.
One wonders what is worse, not able to sleep because of your mistake and folly or not able to keep awake as the disciples who were supposed to watch with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
King Darius’ sleepless night was relieved by the mighty deliverance by the angel who shut the mouths of the lions and no wound was found on Daniel because he trusted in his God.
It was worth a sleepless night if the king was to fear and reverence God. Rest in the Lord and see His Name glorified.
“the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right” II Kings 17:9
Their secret behaviour indicated they knew they were doing wrong. The children of Israel maintained an appearance of loyalty to the Lord while they increasingly became godless. It has ever been the same.
The eye of God beholds all that takes place. Door and walls do not hide from Him.
Nothing can escape the attention of the Lord. Don’t turn to secrecy but to the Lord for cleansing and forgiveness. There is power in the Blood of Jesus to cleanse from all sin. God the Father has made this cleansing in the blood of His Son shed on the Cross of Calvary.
It has never run dry or lost any of its cleansing power. It is as fresh and free as ever.
“as he thinks in his heart so is he” Proverbs 23:7(RAV)
One of many wise sayings that is as true today as when it was written more than 3000 years ago. We make an impression by what we do but it can differ widely from reality. An examination of the spiritual heart reveals our true state. Only God can make an accurate heart examination and He does that. He asks that we give Him our heart that with the new heart
He gives us, we can live in the way that glorifies Him.
The hypocrite makes out he is what he knows he is not. Christian life becomes a reality when we experience the cleansing of the heart from sin and defilement and admit the love and peace of God. Then folk can say “so is he”!