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)
BAM 171 OCTOBER 2013
“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage” Psalm 27:14
This waiting was more than doing nothing. When waiting becomes idling it is a mistake. Waiting exhibits patience and trust and in the God-fearing person is characterised by courage.
Courage stands ready to move when the time comes. It does not shrink from making decisions it knows to be right, but accepts the challenge that comes from the Lord.
Those who wait must expect to receive direction and then, when the opportunity comes, to go forward.
Godly courage takes the wind out of the devil’s sails! Courage takes the right path and enables the traveller to face what might deter others.
“devils also believe” James 2:19
So it is not enough to say you believe.
What kind of belief or faith is this that devils have? They believe there is one God and some demons whom Jesus met cried out as they recognised that He was the Son of God.
We need to examine our faith asking what it does to us. Our faith must be putting our trust in Jesus. Reaching out in faith must receive the reward of faith.
We need to ask more than, are you a believer? We all need to call on Jesus in faith that He will hear and give and we will receive His salvation.
Faith in an historical fact will not save you. Coming to Jesus in believing faith will.
“He trusted in the Lord God of Israel” II Kings 18:5
We cannot get far in life without trust but a legacy of the Fall makes us prone to making wrong decisions about who or what we should trust.
Hezekiah refused the trend in his generation. With long- suffering and graciousness God sought to make Israel His chosen people, yet they turned away from Him. It was as though they bit the hand that fed them.
Hezekiah clung to the Lord and did not depart from God’s commandment given to Moses. So the Lord was with him and he prospered wherever he went. The decisions he made were good ones.
He stands out as one we should emulate by his trust in the Lord for the difficulties he met.
“Blessed are the peacemakers” Matthew 5:9 There is a great need for peacemakers. Our world has never lost its affinity with war and strife. Men have never learned and think that conflict cannot be avoided.
Jesus was the Prince of Peace but He endured the affliction of the devil as much as anyone.
There is great reward for those who will seek peace, peace with God through Jesus and peace with our fellowmen out of a desire to lead them to Christ.
Be a peacemaker as you point others to Jesus. Let it be that eternal peace that Jesus promised.
Let us know blessing, seeing disputes settled, rifts healed and the peace of God ruling in men’s hearts.
“the angels ministered to him” Mark 1:13 (RAV)
This ministry came after Jesus’ forty-day temptation.
Theirs is an unseen ministry and one we do not often recognise, but angels are sent by God to minister to those who are heirs of salvation.
When nothing and no one seems to be able to help they are dispatched to lead the child of God into a large place of blessing. When overwhelmed by power of an evil world that could seem to extinguish the light of faith within us, an angelic ministry will come to our aid.
Perhaps if we looked for them we would recognise and enjoy them more often. The angels’ ministry points us to Jesus and will incite praise and gratitude in the hearts of those followers of Jesus whatever their need.
“God had caused the official to show favour and sympathy to Daniel” Daniel 1:9 (NIV)
It is so gratifying to know that the hand of God is operating in the affairs of men.
The outcome of events is not what men will achieve, but what God’s input is into any situation.
The Book of Daniel begins with favour being shown to these Hebrew boys when they appeared before Ashpenaz who was appointed to prepare young men of the captives brought into Babylon for training.
Our faith must then be in the Lord who works silently but surely to effect His purposes. And to know that this extends to the smallest detail in the life we lead. Nothing is too small for God to overlook.
“She looked closely at him” Mark 14:67 (NIV)
These words describe the attitude of the servant girl who saw Peter in the Judgment Hall. She wondered if this was the man she had seen with Jesus sometime, so she looked closely before she decided to speak out.
Do folk look closely at us? And when they do, is their enquiry confirmed, that we are a disciple or follower of Jesus.
We need a faith and a life that can stand true scrutiny. So often when folk look closely they are disappointed and at times put off altogether.
Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfil the lust of the flesh is good counsel and points to a life that is fitting for followers of Jesus.
“in the time of trouble he shall hide me” Psalm 27:5
Times of trouble will come no matter how much we try to avoid them. We can become skilful in dodging the spots but we do not have access to all that affects us. So while wishing we could have clear skies above us, it is a forlorn hope. What is true is that the Lord provides shelter for those whose trust is in Him.
We may fail Him but He does not neglect our need, not for a moment.
It is when the time of trouble is passed that we see how His sheltering hand has been over us.
So we with confidence face the future.
Our faith becomes exhibited in our confidence in God’s provision for the future.
“faith without works is dead” James 2:20
If your faith is not doing something for you it may be dead! It is sad for those who think their dead faith will save them.
Living faith means you have done something as a result of faith. All need to exercise faith if they are to be saved. This believing is active, not passive. “New born” means “new life”. Faith in Christ extends to reaching out and receiving the assurance of salvation. Believe and you will be saved, you will be a new creation. Look for your new life in Christ to grow. It is the gift of God but you need to exercise it and guard it.
Faith has the potential to move mountains and all of us need to closely guard it, value it and take care of it.
“The Lord had allowed those nations to remain” Judges 2:23 (NIV)
Thorns in the side are never pleasant but they do a good job! There is a purpose in a thorn being left there.
The Israelites made a victorious entry into their Promised Land but because they could not be trusted, some Canaanites had to be left in the land they now inherited. They showed they were unreliable as children of the Lord and the remaining nations were the treatment He used.
Some things are left to keep us close to the Lord.
If God answered all our prayer we would soon forget about Him. Find a trouble-free patch and we think we can manage without Him. So use whatever things you have and cannot remove to keep you near to the Lord.
“Do not be afraid” Matthew 28:5 (RAV)
There is so much over which we have no control. Fear at what was happening gripped the disciples of Jesus on a number of occasions and continues today in the mind of those who seek to find God.
But all such fear is a product of ignorance because Jesus is victorious over all our natural fear of death.
As in this case, the fear was about the resurrection not death. Christ has triumphed over sin, death and the grave in the world and in our own heart and experience.
It is because we do not know what is happening that we can become fearful. So feed on the good word of God, walk closely to Him and know the triumph of the empty tomb over all the insinuations of the enemy.
“The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” Mark 15:38 (NIV)
The curtain or veil in the temple was several inches thick and effectively sealed the Holy Place from the Holiest Place in the Temple.
Through it the high priest passed only once a year and never without the blood of the atonement.
That the curtain was torn from the top to the bottom only indicates this was a miracle and the hand of God. It was of tremendous significance.
When Jesus died for our sins the way back to God was open. It is still open today and many the world over will this day be coming to God. They will be doing so confidently and believing that the blood shed by Christ on the Cross atones for their sin.
“apart from me there is no God” Isaiah 44:6 (NIV)
This reminder given us by the prophet is timely in our age when many say there is no God and immediately make many gods whom they ignorantly worship.
Man is created with a natural need for God and space to hold and develop this.
Our history is to go after other things that we erect as gods in our daily life. It does not need gods of wood and stone though these can still be found, but idols that take over our outlook and thinking are allowed to proliferate unhindered.
In thinking about their idols we need God’s stern reminder, that apart from Him there is no God and our energies need to be spent seeking and finding the Lord who loved us and gave Himself for us.
Jesus said “Someone touched me” Luke 8:46 (NIV)
This lady touched the edge of Jesus cloak and received her healing. Jesus knew that healing had gone from Him to her.
Furthermore the way that Jesus refused to go on until this lady came forward shows that we must recognise the gift that comes from God and give praise and thanks to Him.
The lady was not to slip away and enjoy this healing to herself. She was to become a personal evangelist with an amazing testimony. This could only begin with her confession and then falling in worship at Jesus’ feet.
She was not to go unnoticed into the Kingdom of heaven.
Entry is by a new birth; born of the spirit must be followed by life in the Spirit. Jesus waits for us to touch Him for our need.
“Say among the nations ‘The Lord reigns’ ” Psalm 96:10 (NIV)
This is a truth that needs bringing to the attention of those who think they hold the reins of power.
But it is obscured by the large number who conduct our affairs and lead us with no thought of God or reference to His declared will and intention.
The nations that forget God have spread the seeds of evil across our world for centuries and often go unchecked because no-one has told them. This is not a new concept we bring. The Lord reigns, is a truth from time immemorial.
This message needs to be made so clear that nations and their inhabitants will turn to God and trust in the Lord to guide and lead them.
“turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” I Thessalonians 1:9
The world is full of idols in one form or other. It is important that when we turn away from what we recognise as an idol and hindering our discipleship, we replace the space left with love and service for the living God.
It is quite surprising that godless images can have such a hold on us, but replacing good for evil is essential.
To serve the living God you do need to draw away from activities that fill the time with worthless engagements.
The great achievement of the believers in Thessalonica was that they had done this.
Don’t loiter near snares any longer, turn away from idols to serve the living Lord.
“Alas, my master! how shall we do?” II Kings 6:15
For many situations in life that come upon us unawares we have no answer. This was the case with Elisha’s servant when he drew back the curtains in the morning and saw a large company with horses and chariots invading the city.
“Alas” is a cry that might often be heard.
Then we need our “Elisha” to pray that the Lord will open our spiritual eyes and see the army of the Lord around us.
God will always come to our defence in time.
“What shall we do?” is a question with the answer “Look to the Lord.” We are in a spiritual warfare where things often happen outside our control but the Lord can open our eyes to see what He can and will do. See the Lord and the problem melts away!
“as was his custom” Luke 4:16 (NIV)
These words relate to Jesus who was a regular in the synagogue. Brought up within the Jewish customs, He would regularly attend its meetings. These meetings happened on other days as well as the Sabbath and were a time for public reading and teaching of the Torah and the Prophets. Christ’s regular attendance at synagogue provides an example for us to follow.
Times of regular Bible reading and teaching are an important part of a disciplined Christian life. We can be grateful for the many resources available to help us in this. But as on this occasion recorded by Luke, let us be ready for the challenges that God’s Word gives us and not simply go through the motions. AP(R)
“Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man” Luke 8:29 (NIV)
This was the demon–possessed man that confronted Jesus and His disciples when they stepped ashore after sailing across the lake.
It was Jesus’ initial command for the spirits to come out that resulted in a herd of pigs drowning in the sea and in Jesus being asked to leave.
Jesus came to set people free from the enslavement of evil. His purpose is to destroy the work of the devil.
The devil and his fallen angels will not go without a fight. If you are committed to stand for the right and to making an influence for good it will not be without a fight.
There is much blessing but only after the battle is won.
“The Lord Almighty will protect his people” Zechariah 9:15 (GNB)
Elsewhere in this chapter we read that the Lord will appear among His people and that the Lord will save His people.
The Old Testament is a history of God’s People as He prepared them to receive the Infant Jesus at the Incarnation. Jesus in his ministry spoke about His people, likening them to His sheep.
The sum of it all is that the Lord closely guards those who commit their lives to Him.
You’re safe in the hand of the Lord. He never slumbers or sleeps or is taken by surprise about events that happen. He extends absolute safety and security to those who put their trust in Him. Whatever happens takes place for their good. Thank Him for this provision today.
“the serpent said to the woman “You will not surely die” ” Genesis 3:4 (RAV)
The aim of all evil is unbelief in God and the object of all good is faith in God. The much evil there is in the world multiplies from generation to generation because men will not trust God: trust Him to tell them the truth and to only do for them what is good. God has given us His Word and preserved it from destruction all down the years. The work of the Holy Spirit is to bring it to our attention.
The devil’s aim is for it to be rejected and many reject it out of hand. What ground had the serpent (devil) to contradict the Word of God? Why should Eve believe the serpent? The aim of all evil is unbelief in God. Thank God for the salvation now found in Jesus when words “Believe me” bring hope to all who will hear.
“He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver” Ecclesiastes 5:10 (RAV)
This applies today and it is a truth that needs bringing to the attention of all who are driven by the desire for wealth, be it silver or whatever. If we are to be satisfied in what we do and with what we have, there must be a higher purpose that drives us forward.
Those whose aim is silver are never satisfied but are ever seeking to find and make more: those who spend their time building a life of integrity and usefulness have an inner satisfaction. If a man loves silver to the exclusion of all else he becomes sick and unbalanced in everyday life.
Love to help others in need with the silver you’re able to accumulate. Give away what you’ve got and be surprised when the space left soon fills with more.
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment” I Peter 3:3 (NIV)
Whilst Peter is specifically addressing the witness of wives to their husbands, this encouragement can be true for us all. Adding to the external appearance, either to cover up or to embellish can only ever be skin deep and superficial. But the beauty that comes from the ‘inner self’ is ‘unfading’ and will win over those close to us. It may not be evident to the passing glance but it will stand the test of time. Too often we are taken in by first impressions, but as experience shows, first impressions can flatter to deceive.
For the follower of Christ, whether male or female, husband or wife, our new nature must shine through. Let’s give more time to developing that inner beauty than touching up the outside appearance. AP(R)
“You shall not give false testimony” Deuteronomy 5:20 (NIV)
God hates false testimony. Jesus said that every idle word that men shall speak they will give account of in the Day of Judgment. Lying and false testimony can cause much sorrow and hurt now. And so this injunction is one of the Ten Commandments.
The Kingdom of God is founded on truth.
When any child of the kingdom reverts to lies and misrep-resentation, that child brings shame on the testimony and introduces evil into what should be a good testimony.
The tongue and the mind and the resolve can unite to produce some unattractive situations. Sometimes they last and are believed by others for a long time.
Our resolve must be to never give false testimony
“Then their eyes were opened” Luke 24:31 (NIV)
What a wonderful moment this was. It was not that they had had their eyes shut, but they simply had not recognised Jesus. Though they had walked and talked with Jesus and had enjoyed the greatest Bible study ever, these two disciples were blinded by their grief and doubts.
The turning point came when Jesus, as the guest, broke the bread for the meal, a custom of that time. The wounds in his hands were revealed and their eyes were opened. The reality of Christ’s death and resurrection are there for all to see, but it’s the work of the Holy Spirit to reveal what it means for each one of us today. What a moment that is and how we should run to tell others the good news. AP(R)
“to turn them from darkness to light” Acts 26:18 (RAV)
This was part of the Apostle Paul’s commission where, as Saul of Tarsus, he met Jesus on the Damascus Road.
This is what happened wherever he went and preached Jesus and the resurrection, and it has continued ever since.
It is only when the light of the gospel breaks into darkened hearts that we realise just how dark and sinful we are in the sight of a holy God and how much we need the revelation of the Holy Spirit.
When a person has no thought for God and is entirely engaged in the things of this world they will never see the eternal truths of the new birth and new life in Christ.
Thank God if you know Him. Go through the day turning others from darkness to light as you have opportunity.
“prove me now in this says the Lord” Malachi 3:10(RAV)
Put your trust in the Lord and find Him never to fail. Obey His voice and trust Him to supply the need for the task he asks you to undertake.
Commit your way to the Lord and find you will never be lost again. Bring your gift to the Lord and leave it there.
Be bold in exercising faith in what might otherwise be deemed impossible. Expect an unseen God to lift you up.
Give and it shall be given you. Do this with time, skill and application.
Be sensitive to the voice of the Lord and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Become a fruit-bearing Christian.
Once you have tasted and been satisfied with what God gives, resolve that by His grace you will love Him for ever.
“a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife” Il Kings 5:2
“A little maid” who looked after the commandant’s wife was the best description that could be found.
But the lowly position did not prevent her from maintaining a godly witness upholding her own personal faith.
Her faith reached out to her master’s need and was the subject of discussion the maid had with his wife.
So convincing was the “little maid” that it made the commander Naaman arrive with his entourage at the house of the King of Israel to the consternation of everyone involved, with the exception of the “little maid” whose faith secured the healing of Naaman’s leprosy. Let her devotion encourage the least of us to trust in the Lord.
“He has heard the voice of my supplications” Psalm 28:6 (RAV)
The Psalmist was elated by the answer to prayer that he had experienced. We know from other Psalms that there were long periods where he could not understand why God did not answer his prayer, but he was not going to cease praising the Lord when the sun shone because he knew there would be times of cloud and doubt.
Do our answers to prayer produce an effusion of thanks and gratitude? To bless the Lord is our poor attempt to give God the praise and glory. And if we look and listen carefully there is always something somewhere for which we should be praising the Lord. Then this very praise and testimony becomes a witness to others.
“Surely, I come quickly” Revelation 22:20
That could mean in the next day or so, but in a promise given more than a thousand years ago, “quickly” must mean it will happen by surprise and all over and finished in no time at all. That is why we need to be ready. There will be no time to lay out the best carpet or remove and change our clothes. Speaking right at the end of the Bible, Jesus is telling all who look for this coming, that it could be any time. The fact that He came the first time as a newborn baby, miracle as that was, tells us that His Second Advent can be however and whenever He chooses. To some it will be as a thief in the night, to others it will be with the fanfare of heaven sounding.
What we can do is to join millions of others who have done and now do cry “even so, come Lord Jesus”.
“could sling a stone at a hair and not miss” Judges20:16 (NIV)
One can imagine the practice session for these left-handed slingshots. Hairs strung out at various distances tested their accuracy and competence. We are told that they did not miss. It reflected their dedication and practice.
Serving the Lord is not about choosing the easy option or having a casual attitude. It’s about putting Him first and giving, doing, the best we can. You and I may not be the smartest or the cleverest but we can still give the best of our abilities to the Lord. The quality of our service will reflect the quality of our love. Ephesians encourages us to ‘serve wholeheartedly’. The Letter to the Romans speaks of giving ourselves ‘fully to the work of the Lord’. Let’s give the Lord the very best we have. AP (R)