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)
“you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God.” Psalm 86:15(NIV)
We never need fear that the Lord will not understand us. We need to confess our failings but the Lord knows already and more than
that He is ready to help us to our feet when we have fallen. When made aware of our failure, compassion is something we need.
We regret what has happened and look for a way out of the hole into which we have fallen. Then we find Him a gracious God.
The Lord applies the treatment we need graciously. He does not act vindictively or roughly. He can make us feel forgiven and loved;
more so because we know we don’t deserve it.
We give true praise when we recognise what a gracious and compassionate Lord we have.
“Having made known” Ephesians 1:9
These three words describe the key that opens what God did for us. Not only did Jesus die for us and rise again, but God made this blessing known.
The events surrounding Calvary were not lost and forgotten. By the witness of the Holy Spirit, by the written Word of God and by the testimony of the followers of Jesus in every generation, the message of the gospel has gone forth.
Redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace are the foundation of new life in Christ for all who will believe. The glory of heaven and the hope of eternal life have received wide publicity so that today more have drunk the water of life than ever before.
“led by the Spirit in the desert” Luke 4:1(NIV)
It’s not a popular holiday destination, but it can be God’s choice for us to spend some time there. Prior to beginning His earthly ministry, Jesus was ‘led by the Spirit into the desert’. It was a place of testing, but it was also a place for sorting things out in both
the heavenly and earthly realms.
Desert experiences come to us all, physically, spiritually or emotionally. Often when we are vulnerable, the Holy Spirit can be more real. When things that we rely on are removed and distractions are taken away, then our focus on the Lord becomes sharper. As one refugee who’d lost home and family in civil war once said, ‘I never knew Jesus is all I need, until Jesus is all I have.’ It might be
tough, but let’s not rebel when the Holy Spirit leads us into the desert. AP
“take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above” Deuteronomy 4:39(NIV)
These chapters in the Book of Deuteronomy describe the excitement of day after day as God led his people up to the time when Moses died. Give your life to the Lord and you may have the same excitement. The Lord is still God in heaven above and He is orchestrating all things to accomplish His will in the world today.
Take this truth to heart, not that you understand everything but that your trust is in the Lord. There is no greater or safer place for you. Pray and find what the Lord would have you do. Then get on and do it.
As a servant of the Lord behave like one who speaks on His behalf. Let your life become the King’s business and His invitation your
“she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives” I Timothy 5:6(RAV)
She may seem very much alive, but she may have ceased to play a part spiritually for things that matter.
Men and women can think that it is only amusement and pleasure seeking that will continue into retirement.
Timothy is shown that lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God have no place in the fellowship of believers. Rather, it is doing God’s will wherever the Lord has put you that becomes the pleasure.
Pleasure should be a positive thing; it is something that is shared and rubs off onto others. Choose what it is you take pleasure in and find in it the blessing of God that makes a person rich.
“five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten” Luke 12:6
Sparrows were cheap but chosen by Jesus to show us that God knows the smallest detail. He is interested in detail for us. He will not miss anything if we commit our way to Him.
There seems little doubt that Jesus is referring to those whose trust is in Him, those who can say that now in Christ, God is their Father.
If God had the capacity to create and uphold all that is in our universe, yours and my daily skirmishes in life will not be missed.
Once you’ve grasped that He knows the smallest and insignificant things, lift your head and move forward into the greater things in
the calling He has for you and walk through each day with Him.
“the Lord is our king; he will save us” Isaiah 33:22
In this chapter the prophet Isaiah looks forward to a day of brightness and glory that shall know no equal. A day when the King shall be seen in his beauty, when the environment shall be one of peace, a place of broad rivers and streams, the land be one of peace
and where the stammering tongue speaks plainly. The iniquity of the past shall be forgiven. All things may be in a mess now. No effort of ours will put them right. We plug one hole to open a dozen more.
If our trust is in the Lord, His arm will save us. The King will not neglect His people. None of today’s clouds can erase the hope and blessing of that eternal sky. When the Lord is King, that relationship and His promise to us cannot be broken.
“The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and he adds no sorrow with it” Proverbs 10:22(RAV)
Whatever the Lord does for us will leave us better off. None of the treatment He prescribes does not work. Other things may leave us sad when we’ve finished them, but God’s blessing is rich, leaving us better off and adding no sorrow to what we have. We may not
understand what He is doing to us at times but our need is to know Him and rest in His love.
The ministry of the Holy Spirit is uplifting, it will leave us better than when He found us.
The music of heaven refreshes us and strengthens our resolve to go forward. The path of the Christian ends in glory and honour.
With Christ, life gets better. He gives good things to those who ask Him.
“God knows” II Corinthians 12:2(RAV)
The Apostle Paul was referring to a spiritual experience he had some fourteen years before when he used these two words, but
they could be applied to any and every experience the follower of Jesus has.
They are especially poignant when we have something, in this case a blessing, that we cannot understand.
Sometimes the Spirit of the Lord comes upon you and your heart opens up in worship and praise; it’s like when Jesus said about
the crowd on that first Palm Sunday that if they did not praise Him the very stones would cry out.
Let the truth that God knows elicit praise and adoration from your heart even on the darkest of days.
“so that you may know the certainty” Luke 1:4(NIV)
There are many persuasive ideas and philosophies around these days. So how can we know what is truth? Luke states that hisrecord of Christ’s life, teaching and works is to provide us with what we need, to know for sure that Christ is the Truth. Christ lived
out what He taught, demonstrated His power over sin and sickness, over all creation and even over death. No-one else has ever done that. Man’s reasoning and clever arguments can easily baffle us and leave us feeling vulnerable, but that’s why we need to keep our eyes, heart and mind on Jesus. He is all the evidence we need to be certain about what we believe. That’s why ‘the world’
seeks to dismiss Him as just a good teacher or deny historical fact about what He said and did. AP
“all of them trained and skilled in music for the Lord” I Chronicles 25:7(NIV)
It is so good when all one’s talent can be dedicated to the Lord. This long list in Chronicles is of men who applied their music talent to the Lord.
Here David set apart some who could raise their voices in praise accompanying harps, lyres and cymbals. Music may be varied but its end product should be praise for the Lord.
In the New Testament we are told to have grace in our hearts making melody to the Lord. Music for the Lord lifts the spirit: it focuses on things above. It can lift us from the squalor and mire of life around us.
Music is a tool for us to use. We must not wait for another to lift our spirits. Songs that magnify and extol the love and grace of
Jesus can only do good. Break forth into song.
Hannah prayed “My heart rejoices in the Lord” I Samuel 2:1(RAV)
When the answer to her prayer came it made her heart rejoice. The long period of waiting produced a depth of rejoicing that a speedy answer might have missed.
Take Hannah’s experience as your encouragement if you are waiting long for the answer to prayer.
Hannah had been praying for so long. She was praying and weeping for the Lord to open her womb. Now she was praying and rejoicing. It is prayer in every changing circumstance we need.
We need to take great care that we do not stop praying when the answer is given. The answer is only the beginning of a new phase
of discipleship and trust.
Her prayer was one of thanks to the Lord. So should ours be.
“lend, hoping for nothing again” Luke 6:35
Jesus wanted His hearers to change their attitude about lending. The primary purpose of lending should be to help. It should not be
lending to get back and gain. Help when someone has lost what you can lend them.
Realise you are there to help others. The pleasure is in helping.
And if you don’t hope for something again you’ll not be concerned if your loan becomes a loss. If it was made in good faith it will
have helped someone.
The teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount is a collection of teachings to make the hearer’s life improve.
Lending because someone needs it, is the true give and take of life. And Jesus set us the greatest example.
“Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion” Isaiah 12:6(NIV)
The promise of Zion given to every redeemed sinner is something to shout about. Where else can you find cleansing from deeds of
the past, where else a fountain opened for sin and uncleanness other than the Cross of Calvary?
An event that took place two thousand years ago continues today because Jesus is alive, having risen from the dead and leading His
people in triumph to their eternal home.
Let these words from the prophet stimulate us to praise. When you shout you invoke the attention of others.
You praise the Lord when others are silent. Your shout of exultation sounds the death knell to the design of Satan. A shout of praise
drives away the despondency of the devil.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation” Psalm 27:1
This is a dark world; even on the brightest of days you will
find some dark corners. Connected with the Lord and the light of life will shine from within.
It is seeing and responding that brings His salvation to your heart. If you can’t see, put the light of faith switch down and when you
see and respond you’ll know His salvation.
You will not find true salvation other than in Jesus. The Lord says “Look unto me and be saved”. It is not in any new belief or
revelation you receive, not a sense of achievement by your own effort, but the Lord you want. Those in the dark need the light of
the gospel to shine in their darkened hearts. You’ll not get salvation until you’ve seen the light of life.
“to be spiritually minded is life and peace” Romans 8:6
If you don’t appreciate a life in the Spirit this verse may mean little to you. The things that are seen are temporal and must one day
pass away. Unseen things of the Spirit are those things that last: they never fade but rather grow out and up into something
Spiritually minded is born of the Spirit – something Jesus talked about to Nicodemus who came to Him at night seeking answers. If
the spirit is dead it needs the touch of the Lord. Only the Holy Spirit can make a person alive. And without that renewed spirit you
cannot know real life and peace. Until “born of the Spirit” you cannot live in the Spirit and appreciate the vast expanse of that life
that Jesus gives.
“He saved others” they said “but he can’t save himself” Matthew 27:42(NIV)
What ignorant folly was displayed by those who cried this!
The marvel at Calvary was that Jesus could have saved Himself but did not do so that He might save us. The important question is,
“Have we availed ourselves of this great gift?”
More than twelve legions of angels stood ready to snatch Him out of this cauldron into which He had stepped. He described the
awfulness of the Cross in His prayer to His Father, but was determined to suffer and die if there was no alternative for our salvation.
The salvation He had brought for others could only be affected by the shedding of His blood as He adopted the sin of the world and
atoned for us.
“Joseph of Arimathea … who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God” Mark 15:43(NIV)
Do we condemn Joseph for being a secret disciple? His timidity was forgotten when he took courage and went to Pilate and
begged for the body of Jesus.
He was in the shadows for so long by divine placement.
Each of us needs to acknowledge the Lordship of Christ and know we are where He has put us. And we should exercise courage
when it is needed to fulfil our part.
What an honour fell to him to lift the body of Jesus and place it in his tomb! He would be as mystified as the others at the events
taking place but it is recorded of him that he was waiting for the kingdom of God.
Thank God for the joyous call he was about to hear “Jesus is risen”.
“there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour” Matthew 27:45
It was as though God now wanted to curtail those hours upon the Cross. They must have seemed like an eternity. Their
significance was to last for eternity. The words Jesus cried of forgiveness for His persecutors, of care for His Mother, of dismay at
the experience of suffering alone and then that final cry “it is finished”, the short sentence that sealed the fate of the Satan-led
Darkness hid what was happening from our eyes but not from God’s all seeing eye. And as Jesus took His last breath and the
daylight returned, the veil in the Temple was torn in two. The light shone upon a world that now was to know salvation. Faith was
able to reach out and take the gift of eternal life and light in Jesus.
“They came to the tomb when the sun had risen” Mark 16:2(RAV)
There is something to be said for waiting until the sun has risen before going out into the busy day. This is what the women who
planned to visit the grave of Jesus did.
Spend the time beforehand preparing for the day ahead. Let praises ascend from your heart and prayer from your lips while it is still dark
around. When the sun is risen, go off and out into the day.
This was the day that Jesus rose from the dead and it is one that has never closed. He is alive for evermore and has been so nearly
2000 years. His followers have awakened to the truth of this fact and that it is the Son of God who has risen. The light of the gospel
daily illumines hearts that fall beneath its glory. Live and witness to it today.
“why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46(RAV)
Any amount of preparation does not convey the reality of what it is to be forsaken. So it was with Jesus’ death on the Cross. He
knew what it was like to be forsaken of His Father.
This was a path He had to walk alone.
His suffering on the Cross was the price He paid to save us. That cry makes us realise a little of what He did for us. Christ died for
our sins. This was surgery right at the very centre of the Godhead. The Father forsaking the Son for this period on the Cross was a
fracture that would never be reset. A broken body was to be the hall-mark of eternity.
We cannot appreciate what this forsaking meant to God the Father, but we praise, honour and worship our Saviour for dying for us.
“stay awake and you will have food to spare” Proverbs 20:13(NIV)
Mismanagement and greed usually are contributing factors to food shortage and so it is good when you can give to help those in
The writer of the Book of Proverbs says “stay awake and you will have food to spare.” And when you have a surplus, give it away to
those in need. We need to sleep but not to love sleep to the extent that we become lazy.
“Get to give” is a wise philosophy. Every true Christian has experienced the grace, or unmerited favour of God. You are given 24
hours daily to use in the help and supply of others.
Give to the needy what you have saved and find your reservoir soon fills up and you’re ready to give more.
“offer your bodies as living sacrifices holy and pleasing to God” Romans 12:1(NIV)
God wants to use you while you are alive. He wants no dead sacrifices. To be pleasing to God, give all to Him. Life, health, outlook, aims
and ambitions, all you have. Give them all to Him. He can do something with what others reject.
Your offering needs to be cleansed and that is readily done in the ever-flowing and cleansing stream of the blood of Christ opened
at Calvary. Whatever you give will be repaid many times over. True holiness results from dedication to God and this is true
Any inner and deep sorrow may be because you’ve missed the joy of offering yourself to God. Call upon Him to save you then offer
yourself to Him. The joy and purpose not to mention the truth and holiness in your life will amaze you.
“an angel … descended … rolled back the stone from the door and sat upon it” Matthew 28:2
The angel played no part in the resurrection but was honoured to roll away the stone placed to seal the entrance to the tomb.
Death could not hold our Saviour! Jesus rose from the dead. God was in control, an angel rolled the stone away like you may draw
back your curtains in the morning.
The angel completed the triumphant act by sitting on the stone. No-one was to move it. The stone rolled away was an order from
heaven. Death, hell, sin and the grave all lost their hold that day. Fear was gone. No-one needs ever fear a return of the stone
rolled against the entrance.
Heaven’s gate was opened and the angel sat upon the stone, the entrance never to be closed again.
“Let it be carried out with diligence” Ezra 6:12(NIV)
The rebuilding of Jerusalem was to be done with ‘diligence’. The Hebrew word speaks of both speed and care. There was to be no
hanging around or wasting time. It was to start immediately and to be done as quickly as possible.
But the work had to be done well and with care. No cutting corners or second-rate materials. King Darius recognised the
importance of doing the best for the Lord God and so should we. Jesus has invited us to be part of building His Church and He
deserves the very best from us. Time is short, so we need to act quickly in making disciples. Disciples of Christ must be well
prepared for the challenges that lie ahead, so care must be taken with teaching and nurturing. Diligence now will have lasting effect
in the New Jerusalem. AP
“intreat … the elder women as mothers” I Timothy 5:1,2
The Apostle Paul’s Letter to Timothy is something of a manual for enduring Christian family life. Here he is saying “Don’t push off
elder women as though you have done with them”. Perhaps there has always been this tendency. The way of the world may be to
do this, but not the Christian family.
As long as we have our faculties, all men and women must contribute and be listened to.
Our elders have much to give us. We sometimes need to take time to get this from them.
Encourage the older generation to play a vital role. Then those elders need to be faithful and instant in prayer. The godly home is
spread across several generations.
“he who lays up treasure for himself” Luke 12:21(RAV)
Many who do this do not think what they are doing. Placed here on earth for 70 years or so they don’t consider what they should
have to offer at the end of life.
Laying up treasure for oneself in a world that is groaning in need and crying out in pain is as selfish as we could get.
What will be done with whatever you have collected, it cannot be in your hand for more than a few years.
What comfort is it if it burns your hand or a hole in your pocket? There is much treasure of all kinds to be had and collected. It is not
the supply that is the problem but in its application that we fail.
This world and its ways are unfair. It should be the object of all who love the Lord to share and distribute.
“He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions” Daniel 6:27(NIV)
A lions’ den is only one of many hazards we may be called on to face. Our need is to know God will vindicate His promises, will
stand behind us and defend us.
Behind the muted lions and the deliverance of Daniel was his dedication and devotion to the Lord his God.
The world needs to see what God can do. He still gives deliverance from fear and persecution. Those who trust Him wholly find Him
wholly true. Exercise faith and devotion on the ordinary days and find deliverance in the testing hour.
Daniel knew why the lions did not attempt to attack him. He knew what he was doing when he knelt and prayed by his open window
in defiance of the king’s ignorant edict.
To the smallest of details, God rescues His children today.
“hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him” Psalm 42:5
Hope can transport you out of the present gloom into the brightness of tomorrow. And when your hope is in God you need have no
fear. He will not fail.
Time delay can sometimes make you wonder if anything is happening, but the Psalmist’s “I shall yet” reminds us of God silently
working and planning for us.
Where else can you find hope that will never confound you? The arm of man will fail, like a broken stick it will let you down as you
lean upon it. You may have realised your own frailty and rejected outright any self help.
Don’t listen to other voices, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own
“that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves” II Corinthians 5:15
When we become a new creation in Christ we find a desire to live for others. Regeneration brings a great “henceforth” and one
aspect of this is to live for others.
Others need us. Those of us who are well should help those who are sick, those who see and know the gospel to share its
message with others.
With new aims and new loves is it surprising that we seek to love our neighbour as ourself as the Commandment reads?
This change is brought about by our own encounter with Christ, knowing He is alive and that He stands ready to save you. Call upon Him: know the cleansing of the precious blood and go forth to live for Him.