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)
“to each one of us grace has been given” Ephesians 4:7(NIV)
Others may not recognise your potential and it may be that you have a very low opinion of yourself, but God has given to each of us the grace to take and use whatever we need to fill out His purpose in our lives.
We do vary in ability and usefulness but everyone can reach their full potential.
It is important that each one of us does what God wants us to do. We must not look longingly at what others can and are doing. Your calling is unique: there is no-one exactly like you and no-one so qualified to do what God wants of you.
Grace is the bounteous gift of God to bless your own life and the lives of others around you.
“Direct my steps by your word” Psalm 119:133(RAV)
Life can seem like a trackless waste because we do not recognise the help and guidance to be found in the Bible; For God’s Word to order our lives we must listen to Him speaking to us in it and obey.
The Psalmist sets us an example by placing his life in the hand of the Lord. The Lord orders his steps, arranges and takes care of his way and does so through His revealed word.
The Bible is the greatest single revelation we have. It is detailed in its application of the things of today and it is personal as the Holy Spirit speaks to us.
Sometimes it is our prayer asking the Lord to order our steps day by day that is lacking.
“before him shall be gathered all nations” Matthew 25:32
There is no room in the Bible for any teaching that death is the end of it all. There will be an end to this life and the cessation of much that we hold dear.
This life is a preparation for something to come: it is something that affects us all. All nations will be gathered before Him: there will be none that can be exempt from this roll–call. It will be for His assessment of what we have done. It will take place before Him and it will be His judgment that counts.
This will be for the purpose of separation. How important it is that we come to Him now: that we respond to desires of goodness now: that we read and believe the Gospels. Receive Him now and let it be well with your soul then.
“the children of Israel cried unto the Lord” Judges 6:7
Would we cry to the Lord if difficulty and distress did not come our way? We would fall into a life without the need for prayer and communion with God. This is what happened to God’s People in the Old Testament and we see the same among His children today.
We need to walk with God on all occasions. If we take Him in the glad days it will be natural and easier for us to call upon Him when difficulties surround us.
Our cry reaches God and draws us near to Him and provokes us to reach out to Him in faith.
It was because of the distress and oppression that the Israelites were given Gideon to be chosen and to lead His people to a new experience of victory and deliverance.
“the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman redeemer” Ruth 4:14(NIV)
The provision of a Kinsman Redeemer who would take and marry Ruth is a picture of God providing a Saviour and Redeemer for us these many years later.
What a great price was needed to pay for our redemption! It needed nothing less than the atoning blood of Jesus.
The Devil held the whole world in his evil grip. He has pushed the world more deeply into sin.
God in His love and mercy gave us His Son.
The way He came and lived and died to redeem us should show us the great price paid for our redemption.
Ruth may have been surprised to hear she had a Kinsman Redeemer in Boaz but that’s nothing compared with the news that we shall hear when we see Jesus!
“Fear not, for I am with you” Isaiah 43:5(RAV)
The assurance that God is with you is the greatest comfort and support as you face the uncertainties of life. Around every corner, providing the needed strength for each new challenge, God is with you.
All this must depend first upon the experience of knowing Him, of hearing of Him through His Word, however that has been conveyed to you; of responding by repentance and a move towards Him; then reaching out in trust and faith. It is standing on His promises; drawing strength and the peace of the Lord in every new experience. His “fear not” makes fear melt into joy and contentment in His Presence.
The way may be difficult and hazardous but knowing He is there gives peace and His love that is strong and true.
“Truly this was the Son of God” Matthew 27:54
So exclaimed the Centurion as he witnessed the scene at Calvary! All who know this must ask questions that arise.
What is the Son of God doing on a Cross of Crucifixion? Why does He not seem to be interfering with their evil deed? What is the responsibility of all who hear about this?
This message of the gospel has gone around the earth and we have the Scriptures that record and explain what God is doing. Christ died for our sins; He died that we might live. We may embrace the truth and receive His salvation. These words of the centurion have become the clarion call for all men everywhere.
He did die but rose again and is our Living Saviour and Lord.
B&M 175 JUNE 2014 WEEK TWO
“take up the shield of faith” Ephesians 6:16(NIV)
A simple instruction but something that many of us miss! Many incidents we meet this day demand that we do this. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Yet we can miss seeing and seizing the opportunity presented to us.
The triumphs of this grace, the answers to prayer, the protection against an aggrieved adversary, the bread of life, the joy of heaven can never be taken from us if we display the shield of faith and shelter behind it.
Taking the shield of faith should be a daily duty. Faith is God’s gift and it is there waiting for us to use.
The enemy’s darts and ploys are ineffective when we do this. This is a defence available to the Christian and one that should be used more often.
“Let those who love the Lord hate evil” Psalm 97:10(NIV)
Show your love for the Lord by your abhorrence of all that is evil. The conflict between good and bad is going on all around us. By nature we all are the children of wrath and until we repent we will not change. None can be neutral: you are on one side or the other.
We can love Jesus for giving His life for us and all who will may come to Him. We love Him because He loved us and now directs His care upon us.
We do need to know that we must renounce all evil. Don’t countenance it for a moment.
Fix your eyes on Jesus. Drink deeply of the satisfying water of salvation that He offers. Then it will not be difficult to refuse evil.
“But he who endures to the end will be saved” Matthew 10:22(RAV)
There are those who fall by the wayside before the end is reached. This should make us firmly resolve to keep going until we reach the end of the way.
We don’t know why they fall away but the more important thing is to acknowledge that it happens and to resolve that by God’s grace it will not happen to you.
There is power in the Lord to keep all who trust Him from falling. So stay under the canopy of grace, live and move in the Spirit: let your love for Jesus increase more and more. See the folly of secret sin and do not linger in temptation’s alley. Check your motives and your outlook. Fix your eyes on Jesus.
You’re in the race to win, stay to the end and be saved.
“why then is all this befallen us?” Judges 6:13
Gideon had misgivings about the way things in life had fallen out. While the visit of an angel did not immediately dispel these, God’s promise satisfied this question.
God’s promise to you today is that He has good for you and can bring you blessing if you will listen and respond.
The Lord knows us through and through and can administer just what we need. He will satisfy and bless us.
All this has befallen us to draw us near to God. If there were a life without problems we would never call out to Him in distress nor find Him a very present help in time of need.
So let this day do its duty in bringing you near to Jesus as a Living Saviour and Lord.
“I am a woman who is deeply troubled” I Samuel 1:15(NIV)
Hannah was so deeply distressed that she was mistaken for being drunk with wine; her lips moved but she uttered no speech. But while the priest rebuked her the Lord blessed her and gave her the promise of a son.
The deeper your trouble, the more likely that folk will not understand but this should not deter you from seeking the face of the Lord in prayer.
Don’t be deterred from pushing past whatever hindrances are in your way. Get through to the Lord. Sometimes we have to seek earnestly and repeatedly. We do not understand why in life we are often made to wait. But the depth of your distress is no obstacle to receiving from the Lord.
“Let us search and try our ways and turn again to the Lord” Lamentations 3:40
More than diagnosing the problem is the need to mend it. The wandering sheep needs the shepherd to rescue it.
Our great need is to turn again to the Lord. Too often we only do this as a last resort. We try everything and everyone else and then turn to the Lord while all the time it is in Him that we find true peace and contentment.
Let us lift up our heart and hand toward God is the cry of the prophet in this short lamentation. We wander aimlessly until we set our aim upon knowing God.
He is found of those that seek Him with their whole heart.
Let the disillusions and failures of yesterday give us a fresh impetus to seek and find Him afresh today.
“Who is this who even forgives sins?” Luke 7:49(NIV)
Jesus made a great claim when He told the woman she was forgiven. In addition to the miracles that Jesus was performing was that He forgave their sin. The greatest thing that the Lord does for the penitent who comes to Him is this unseen yet very real experience of forgiving sin. It is felt by those who receive it.
To whom can we go for forgiveness and receive the assurance we are forgiven? They called His name Jesus because He was to forgive sin. Missing God’s mark carries a penalty. That is paid by the atoning blood that Jesus shed for us on the Cross. This was a mighty flow and it covers past, present and future sin of all who come to God through Christ.
B&M 175 JUNE 2014 WEEK THREE
“if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently” Galatians 6:1(NIV)
Restoring gently is important. When we fall, as we all do at times, anything other than a gentle rebuke can be counter- productive. The snares of the Devil are sometimes very difficult to see beforehand. Like slipping on an icy path, you’ve fallen before you know what has happened.
Helping a fallen one to his or her feet needs spiritual attention. It calls for understanding and appreciation. Not condemnation. You don’t grab the fallen man and drag him to his feet or you may do more damage. You need to listen and observe what has happened and attempt to right any wrong sustained.
The Bible condemns sin on every hand but forgiveness extended to the penitent sinner is the pressing need.
“Light is sown for the righteous” Psalm 97:11
Darkness may still be around but know that all is well with your soul. Feed upon Him who loves you and gave His life for you. Do what is right and know that God has ordained a walk in light for you.
Don’t wander into dark corners from which an enemy may spring out at you. The path of the follower of Jesus is a developing and ever-brightening experience. One day’s experience adds to the next.
Love the Lord and walk in the sunlight of His love.
Respond to the attraction of His love for you. Repent from all evil, draw strength from Him day by day and trust in Him, knowing that light is sown for the righteous.
“Man shall not live by bread alone” Matthew 4:4
Yet too many try to live on this diet. When all effort goes into keeping body and soul together with bread alone and with no thought or concern about the unseen qualities of the spirit there can be no real satisfaction within.
If your only interest is about what you can see and gain of this world’s pleasures and achievements, any joy you have may be short lived.
What will this day achieve for us and we for it?
Some of us need a change of diet. Only then will we have peace within. Only when we seek the Lord who promises that He may be found will we see where we are going.
Let the word of God be our support and sustenance. Be mindful of it; feed on the bread of heaven today.
“when the people willingly offered themselves” Judges 5:2
Deborah began her song with the words “Praise ye the Lord”. It seems that ten thousand men rallied to the cause.
In an age when we are told what we must do, it is good to reflect on the value of volunteers. It must be those who give of time and talent today as well as monetary donations that can say Praise the Lord.
The Lord will help you to give what seems impossible and bless it beyond anything you could ever think. We say that volunteers do things for nothing whereas they have the greater reward, just like Jesus noted the poor woman who gave her small coins at the treasury offering in the temple.
Many do worthy deeds and are paid for it. We can all do something without remuneration yet receive blessing.
“dress … with good deeds” I Timothy 2:10(NIV)
Paul is reminding Timothy that we adorn our lives with what we do as well as our bodies with what we wear.
Indeed, jewellery, pearls, expensive clothes can be enjoyed by relatively few whereas good deeds are to be enjoyed by all. When there is a need those who receive as well as those who give are blessed. Good deeds often cost very little but bind a friendship that lasts a lifetime.
Expensive apparel attracts to oneself, deeds of love and kindness lift the status of others.
Put this into action today. Be ready with that helping hand, that word of encouragement, doing for others what they cannot do for themselves. Watch for and grasp opportunities as they pass by.
“his time will soon run out” Daniel 11:24(GNB)
The Book of Daniel prophesied conflict and war between kingdoms and dynasties for generations to come. Men would think themselves to be masters of their situation but each of them would rise only to fall.
These words apply to us all both in the present day and will continue to every future generation.
God will achieve all His purposes: His time will not run out.
Aligning our lives to the salvation found in Christ shows us the only true and lasting hand that will never let go and an experience of God that will never run out. God in Christ offers each one of us a plan and purpose found nowhere else.
“should we expect someone else?” Luke 7:19(NIV)
We do not know what had made John the Baptist ask this question of Jesus. He had announced Him as the Lamb of God who was to take away the sin of the world when he was baptizing in Jordan.
Things do not always fall out as we expect them to do and there are times when doubts arise. It is to John’s credit that he sent and asked the question directly to Jesus. So what is our answer? Do we feel the need for someone else?
Jesus asked John to consider the miraculous ministry and the blessing that he was witnessing and added that any who did not fall away or be offended because of this were blessed of God. Receive all that Jesus has for you and you’ll have no time or space to look for anyone else.
B&M 175 JUNE 2014 WEEK FOUR
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power” Ephesians 3:16(NIV)
God can give you all and more than you need out of His exhaustless supply. The strength the Lord gives will not fail or be found inadequate in any way. So our need is not to look at the problem but to the Lord who has the solution. It is when we look to Jesus and receive from Him that mountains become a pathway along which he will lead us.
From Paul’s words to the believers in Ephesus we see the important part that prayer plays as we pray the one for the other.
Prayer is more than bringing the matter to God’s attention. We recognise our need for His enabling and so must pray and trust Him to meet the need of others.
“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him” Psalm 37:7
That place is near to the heart of God and accessed only by those who have repented and donned the new robe of righteousness that God provides.
The heart can be at peace when all around is war and strife, but it needs to be a God-given heart cleansed by the atoning blood of Jesus. Dwell behind the wall of God’s grace and then you can rest in peace and safety.
One blessing that accompanies this rest is patience. The ways of time demand that we have this. Patience is needed if we are not to be disturbed or fear that we are losing what life should offer us.
Don’t rest and be idle, but wait patiently. God is working His purposes out for the eternal good of His children.
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth” Matthew 6:19
This one of the easier to understand instructions Jesus gave in what we call the Sermon on the Mount. Easier because we need to realise that our time here is limited and whatever we collect must be left behind when this life ends.
But life does give us all opportunity to lay up treasure in heaven and there is a judgment or assessment that we all need to face.
So to be told what we must not do points clearly to what we must do, for we all must do something.
All around us there is need for help to be made, kindness shown, forgiveness to be given, love to be expressed. These and many others are the contributions that can be treasures laid up in heaven.
“Then the Lord called Samuel” I Samuel 3:4(NIV)
The call of God is repeated throughout the pages of the Old Testament right until Jesus began His earthly ministry and called His disciples around Him. Then that call blossomed into a world-wide call to men and women to carry forward the message and plan of the gospel.
The danger is to think that God calls others but not you. Yet at sometime in every life there should be a day when a God consciousness becomes a definite call. Responding to it enables you to find Jesus in a new and living way.
God’s call carries responsibility in obedience and promises a great reward.
It took three attempts to reach Samuel, but he heard and followed. He sets us an example we all need to emulate.
“Your mother and brothers are standing outside” Luke 8:20(NIV)
Why did the close relatives of Jesus get left outside? We do know that they were missing the blessing that accompanies being with Jesus. Standing outside is not near enough.
Not only a crowd of people, but events and interests and other loves can leave us standing outside. It’s not enough to be there when we are standing outside.
Once things get started and you are left outside it is often difficult to get back in straight away.
Perhaps the lesson we must learn from what took place on that occasion is not to be left standing outside.
God is at work today in lives that are devoted and dedicated to Him. He is meeting needs and blessing lives: don’t be left standing outside.
“God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid” Isaiah 12:2
Because it is God who saves us we must dwell in Him. Know His Word because you read it, hear His voice because He speaks to you through prayer. When Christ is your hiding place you dwell in safety. Trust dispels fear.
Trust is something we must do. Fear will not stay when trust is in place because it is in the Lord of All, the eternal One that our hope is founded.
Your trust and confidence could be in no better person or place. Fear is a natural protection stimulating us to take evasive action, but when we see and know that the Lord understands and knows, that He cares for us and will not forsake us, He becomes a very real Saviour and imparts a peace found nowhere else.
“Lord, teach us to pray” Luke 11:1
Prayer should be more than making a request and hoping that God hears it and will look favourably upon us. We need to know what will be acceptable.
No use praying for something not available to us. We need to be in a fit state of heart and mind to come before God and make our requests known to Him in prayer.
Then we need the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit knowing that He will present our requests in a proper manner before the Lord.
Jesus’ reply was to give what we call the Lord’s Prayer. Today it is recited so readily and lightly that we usually miss this prayer. We need to consider carefully this prayer that Jesus taught.
B&M 175 JUNE 2014 Last Page
“In whom we have redemption through his blood” Colossians 1:14
It is the atoning blood of Jesus given us on the Cross that pays the price for the redemption of all who by faith shelter beneath its protection from the wrath of God’s judgment. The repeated teaching in the Old Testament is that the shedding of blood is needed to atone for sin.
The soul that sins must die unless atonement can be found. All the blood of sacrifice in the Old Testament only spoke of One who should come to die for us.
The blood of Jesus, God’s Son, holy, harmless and undefiled, is the only price that can cleanse us from sin. Now all who will see and believe may know redemption through the blood of Jesus. Trust in no-one else.
“The earth is the Lord’s” Psalm 24:1
The Lord has made the earth and upholds all things by the word of His power. Sin can only affect earth as much as God allows. You enjoy the beauty with which the Lord has adorned the earth, the changing seasons and every aspect of nature. Sow your seeds of help and goodness. In the place God has put you, use your gifts and talents.
The earth is the Lord’s and He has put you here to tend and keep it.
Time and devotion to duty will yield a rich harvest. The cold of winter contributes to the rich reward of harvest. You are not trespassing when you work in the place God has put you. Develop a relationship of love and trust in the Lord today.