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)
“while it was still dark, Jesus got up” Mark 1:35(NIV)
Jesus did this in a solitary place and people did not know where He had gone. “Everyone is looking for you” they said when they found Him.
A characteristic of effective prayer is that much of it is done in secret before God. Prayer like this made in secret is rewarded openly. Prayer made before God not before men.
There is undoubtedly great blessing as we work in the day which we have begun by communion with and waiting before the Lord.
We come before the throne of grace while others are still sleeping. We find that the Lord who does not slumber is waiting to receive us and give us what we need to face the spiritual battles and challenges of the day ahead.
“Miriam sang to them” Exodus 15:21(NIV)
Miriam taught the ladies in her care and through them the world at large, the praise that can arise from hearts that will burst into song as they recognise what God has done.
In praise, the singer ascends to an high point of worship. The choir forms the heart in any convocation of praise. Our melody may ascend the scale when we sing praise to the Lord. Our high notes make us forget the melancholy notes of any earlier rendering.
The choir has held its place all down the centuries. Even the solo voice can imagine the great body of praise that it joins in the ranks of heaven. How shall we praise Him? Miriam’s ladies choir sets us the example as she calls us together.
Singing can be a stimulant; let’s be a song unto the Lord.
“how hard it is for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!” Mark 10:24
This world’s goods take some looking after and often trying to do so takes too much of our time. The cares of this world can take precedence over the care of our own soul.
Build a portfolio down here and your luggage will stop you getting through the narrow gate to life. Because of this we do well to see how much of our time will be taken up with riches today. Life can be spent hankering after riches, or once we have them, guarding and looking after them.
It is better to give away riches when you can, to give to the poor and set your affection, your faith and trust on Jesus.
This is something more of us could do and it is this that brings true joy and peace in a topsy-turvy world.
“Why do you tolerate wrong?” Habakkuk 1:3(NIV)
This question puzzled the prophet Habakkuk and it has puzzled many since. We could add many more things that puzzle us as Why has God allowed our world to continue in its present state? Why has not man learned from the mistakes of his history? Why allow injustice? Why do many seem to escape punishment?
We acknowledge that God is at work in our world. Did He not allow life to continue after the Fall so that the gospel of salvation through Jesus might be preached to every generation and that all who accept the invitation might make up the Body of Christ in a Kingdom of love and grace – something that far outshines anything that the Garden of Eden could have become.
“the victory that has overcome the world” I John 5:4(NIV)
Sometimes it does seem that the world is winning in the battle of good versus evil. This can happen when we lose our grip on the flag of faith.
Faith is the victory that overcomes the world. Nothing can move it when placed on the rock of Christ.
The devil does some attractive window dressing and it does take some away from the road that leads to life. There will always be a battle, so for some there will be victory. The world and its snares can be trampled underfoot by the followers of Jesus who will exercise the gift of faith.
Faith is there to be used by all, a God-given and God-blessed faith that exalts our Saviour Jesus. That faith is in the immutable Word of God.
“Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave” I Kings 8:56(NIV)
This was Solomon’s testimony at the dedication of the temple. We can find that His promises to us are the same.
God’s Word does not fail. We just need to discern what He is saying to us.
Solomon enjoyed blessings passed down to him; we do the same. Our life fits into God’s plan somewhere. God’s promises to us, when fulfilled will lift us into a heavenly realm of joy and satisfaction. We become locked into His eternal plan and purpose. There is no joy and peace to equal that known to the followers of Jesus. He calls us and in that call is a raft of promises that enable us to use our lives to be a blessing and help to those around us.
“whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he” Proverbs 16:20(RAV)
Everyone is born with a capacity for happiness. A baby can laugh before it can talk, indeed a smile can be given before it can recognise or know anyone.
Happiness can be developed so that it becomes an everyday delight, springing from trust in God’s love.
The happiness Jesus gives is a deep and lasting experience that is not lost even when it seems to have been smothered by the pains and sorrows of life.
This is not dependent on talent or ability it is not confined to those who have a particular zest for life. It is “whoever” and this is the word of the gospel invitation. Whoever will may come and take the water of life freely.
“they withered because they had no root” Mark 4:6(NIV)
It is through the root that we get support and strength.
The reason for much that does not succeed is failure to draw on the spiritual strength that is made available to us.
So instead of doing nothing about what seems to be dying we should attend to the root.
Cut out the dead wood and see to it that the root we have is feeding on the Word of God.
If you are not fruitful in your life as a follower of Jesus it is most likely a lack of prayer. On one hand we are told to be praying always, that is, talking to the Lord in prayer but a time comes when we need to come before the Lord, alone and without disruption. It does not have to be a long time but it does need to be quality time before the Lord.
“a well of water springing up into everlasting life” John 4:14
Everlasting life of perfect peace and happiness is only found in Jesus. It begins in essence when a person accepts Christ – His Person and His message. The living water satisfies the longing of the thirsty soul, so the new life that Christ imparts springs up into a never-failing source of healing and blessing.
Now instead of returning daily to take more, the soul that has drunk of the water Jesus gives finds that from within there springs up this satisfying stream.
The source of this well may be hidden but its blessing is felt satisfying the new life in Christ. The source is from within where the Holy Spirit makes His abode. No need to look for more, just develop and feed upon the new life in Christ.
“let down the nets for a catch” Luke 5:4(NIV)
Go into every day looking for those opportunities to let down your nets. Time and talent and whatever is special and particular to you are given to be used. Don’t finish life’s way without ever having tried to use them.
Throw the net into the sea, see the Lord use it then to His glory. If you never speak a word the message will not be heard. Never take a stand and no-one will ever see it.
Peter had toiled all night without catching a fish. He recognised that Jesus’ command was all the authority he needed to try again.
Catch the listening ear, reach out to the seeking soul, pour comfort into the hopeless and put your arm around the helpless.
Let down your nets.
“For the battle is not yours, but God’s” ll Chronicles 20:15(NIV)
This is a real comfort for those of us who are in such a battle. It indicates that the Lord himself fights for us.
Like Jehoshaphat and his army, we may be vastly outnumbered but we need not fear or be discouraged – the battle belongs to the Lord. Paul made it clear that we don’t fight against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers.
The Lord’s way of fighting is very different from human ways. Our part is to exalt the Lord, just like the people of Judah did and declare that the Lord reigns. Don’t be put off by appearances but stand firm on God’s promises and “see the deliverance the Lord will give you”. AP
“Jesus is the Son of God” I John 5:5(NIV)
This is why Jesus is apart from everyone else. There is only one Son, one Lord, one Saviour, He gave Himself for us and there is none like Him. He is not to be compared, there is no comparison. The Shulamite maid said of her Beloved that He was altogether lovely.
Faith in the truth of this statement brings the victory of the Christian life into everyday experience. So John writes “Who is he that overcomes the world other than the one who believes Jesus is the Son of God”.
Faith is active when we see it turn the truth into an experience for the overcomer. Many things need to be overcome and knowing Jesus is the way to do this.
“when I see the blood” Exodus 12:13
No price can be put upon the blood of the Eternal Son of God that He shed when on the Cross.
The lesson that the Israelites had to learn on the Passover night centuries before, reached its fulfilment when Jesus hung upon the cross.
What a dramatic incident that was when an unnamed Roman soldier pierced the side of Jesus with a spear and water and blood came forth! The flow that then issued forth was an indication of the great sacrifice Jesus made.
And faith in that blood has cleansed all who have called upon Him for forgiveness. The blood of Jesus is the most precious item in the whole redemption story. Its power cleanses the soul, turns away the wrath of the avenging angel.
“In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name” Psalm 33:21(NIV)
Clean hands and a pure heart impart joy and rejoicing as we come before the Lord. The cleansing in the blood of Jesus reaches every part of our life each day as we trust in Him.
The name of Jesus conveys all the blessing that a beneficent God has for His children. Forgiveness applies to all that is past, we trust Him for everything in the present.
His name is as a strong tower into which we can run and be safe. Storms of life that threaten us, fears that might otherwise paralyse us and awareness of our own inadequacy cannot disturb the deep peace that He gives within.
True and lasting joy is only found in Jesus. Other disturbances are superficial measured against the rejoicing of the heart that is trusting in Jesus.
“they were willing to take him into the boat” John 6:21(NIV)
The disciples were terrified when they saw Jesus walking on the water towards them in the middle of the storm. It was the sound of His assuring voice that dispelled their fear. And it’s the same today. Many frightful things are happening in the storms of everyday life. Men have reason to be afraid.
When the voice of Jesus is recognised, you must be ready to take Jesus into your boat. Often unexpectedly and seemingly undeservedly Jesus does come to us. In the secret of our heart when we call upon Him a calm falls in the fiercest storm, sin is forgiven and cleansed and a new life in Christ begins. Life is lived to the full and to the glory of God when you take Jesus into the boat!
“give me this water, that I thirst not” John 4:15
This lady who came to draw water had a deep thirst and longing that she had never been able to satisfy. Many have a longing and thirst like this that they live with every day.
Those who have taken the water Jesus gives need to tell other thirsty souls. They will never ask for it until it is explained to them. Best of all is when thirsty souls can hear the testimony of those whose thirst has been satisfied.
God in Christ does satisfy the longing soul. The evangelist’s task is to put the needy in touch with the supplier.
See if you can use this day to tell someone what God has done for you. And if it is your own condition that needs satisfying first, you call upon the Lord. Reach out in faith and begin drawing from that limitless supply.
“I will build my church” Matthew 16:18
Firstly, it is Christ’s Church that is being built. When we forget this it leads to us wanting things done our way and having control. If it is Christ’s Church then things must be done His way and for His glory.
Secondly, the Church will be built. It will grow, it will stand firm. Opposition and persecution will be used to strengthen the Church and bring others to Christ. The Church will stand the test of hard times.
Thirdly, Christ himself will oversee the building. It is not dependent on man’s schemes or strategies but on divine plan and purpose. It’s not about propping up old buildings but about a living body of people from every tribe, language, people and nation.
“You have seen many things, but have paid no attention” Isaiah 42:20(NIV)
Sight is given us that we might see and understand and only when that is acted upon will more sight be given.
Every new thing that happens fits into God’s canvas of life. But we need to appreciate it and use it. Strange things seen today can produce a new hope and peace tomorrow.
What looks like a mess and without purpose we find to be a pathway to new life when we let the Spirit of the Lord breathe into everything that befalls us.
Drink deeply of the well of salvation if you would grow in grace and favour. The grace of God will lead you into a new experience as you pay attention to what the Lord is showing you and as daily you wait upon Him.
“if you continue in your faith, established and firm” Colossians 1:23(NIV)
To continue you must have started. Getting a good start is important in many areas of life but none more so than in following Christ. Time spent in bible study, in prayer and in fellowship with other believers will all help to make sure we are well established.
Your faith must have roots if you are to stand firm. In the parable of the sower, Jesus spoke of those who receive the gospel with joy but because of weak roots, they last only a short time. The wise builder set his house on the rock and withstood the assault of the storm. The disciple who is rooted in Christ and puts His teaching into practice will last the distance and receive the promised reward.
“he called his name Jedidiah, because of the Lord” II Samuel 12:25
Jedidiah means “beloved of the Lord”. It was given to the infant Solomon as God’s blessing to David whom he had forgiven and cleansed from his gross sin. Solomon meaning “peaceful” was the name given by his mother, Bathsheba, and the Lord added Jedidiah by the hand of Nathan, the prophet, as a sign to David that he was loved of the Lord. The stigma of past sin was now gone. The full sunshine of God’s forgiveness and love enveloped him and the giving of a new son Solomon or Jedidiah was a sign of His blessing that would rest upon the lad.
It heralded a new life to David and to the nation that God was restoring the joy of salvation that otherwise we might have thought had been lost.
“a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by” Psalm 90:4(NIV)
This statement shows us just how great God is. We know He is infinite but are helped to grasp it by one or two examples. This also shows, by comparison, how small we are.
We expect to get so much done in a day and wonder why God does not often exhibit the same urgency.
The thing we must remember is that in every day of a thousand years God is working and caring for His children.
With such a great God whose creation is so vast, we see that we can trust Him for the smallest detail.
This Psalm tells us to so number our days that we may, like God, get the wisdom to value our time in each day. Today is important for us to think and meditate upon Him.
“Surely this man was the Son of God!” Mark 15:39(NIV)
The centurion had this tremendous truth come to him when he witnessed Jesus on the Cross and heard His final loud cry before He died. Many have recognised this too. It is something that affects us all today.
The centurion was soon to see that Jesus had risen from the dead. He saw Him leading His disciples and friends into a mighty spiritual force that went out and preached Christ everywhere.
Calvary means next to nothing to you until you realise this, then it means everything and the revelation can make you cry out to Him, for forgiveness and renewal in a life in the Spirit. The four Gospels and the Epistles are full of this message.
“He told me all that ever I did” John 4:39
Whatever else Jesus told her when He met her at the well side, it was that he knew all about her and what she had done that attracted many Samaritans of that city to come to Jesus and believe for themselves. A testimony is only a step in the pathway. It will not save anybody but it can make them want to come and meet Jesus.
It is when folk whose needs have been met tell their story that others come and believe. In this case in Sychar many more believed because of this lady’s word.
Trust the Lord and get a testimony of your own; and then share it with other needy souls. Someone has said, evangelism is one beggar telling another where he or she can find bread!
“and when you have returned to me” Luke 22:32(RAV)
A note found in my wife’s Bible read, “Failure does not have to be final!” Peter’s denial that he knew Jesus should have lost him any chance of re-instatement when he repented. Yet Jesus predicted that He would restore him and that ultimately his faith would not fail.
Peter’s gross sin denying Jesus may have made him resolve never to wander again. We all oscillate in the intensity of our love and devotion. Some wander far away from their first love to follow Christ.
Wherever you are and whoever you are, today can be a good opportunity for you to return. You will find a heavenly Father waiting for you and His love and forgiveness extended to you.
“the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time” Jonah 3:1(RAV)
If we have missed the first call or rejected God’s revealed will to us, it is good to know that He calls again.
For Jonah a detour took him through the belly of a great fish, but it got him to change his mind. From the belly of the fish he said that if the Lord gave him another chance, he would obey. Better when you obey straight away.
Our puny desires cannot direct God’s will and when He speaks, as He graciously does to every one of us, we should get up and go.
God will not give up on us when He knows we will go. And we know that when the word of the Lord came again there was with it the enabling to do all that was asked of him.
“The answer of a good conscience towards God” I Peter 3:21
A good conscience is the blessing of a good life that is lived in the light of God’s Word. Peter asks “who is he that will harm you if you be followers of that which is good”. Obeying God’s voice and doing His will in all things makes for a good conscience. No trouble or dismay from what happens when we walk in His way.
We may cleanse our conscience in His Word. When we walk with Him and obey Him there will be no feeling or wondering what we ought to have done.
Jesus imparts life to His followers. Every detail in the life of the believer receives God’s attention, there is no throwback from what has been left undone. A good conscience shows us that all is well with our soul.
“Now bless the Lord your God” I Chronicles 29:20
The Lord Your God is more than a nominal title and we do not worship Him from afar off.
We bless the Lord when we receive Him and when forgiven and restored by Him we exalt Him to the Highest Place. He dwells upon the Throne of the heart of all His children.
Saved by His grace and washed in the blood shed for the remission of sin we live in newness of life.
We bless the Lord because it is all of grace, His grace freely bestowed upon us. We are living stones fitting into the building of God eternal in the heavens, claiming His promise and knowing His Presence and Peace day by day, we lift up our hearts to Him in adoration and praise.
“they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” Acts 2:42
A temptation to depart from the truth of their faith is ever present with the follower of Jesus. Any suggestion that we change what has been accepted by those going before us or accept something new and not satisfied by Scripture should be rejected or at least viewed with great suspicion.
We are in a conflict and therefore need to fight the good fight of faith. The Christian’s armour is provided for every follower of Christ to take and wear.
We should read the Word of God as our orders for the day and put on the Christian’s armour before going out into the world.
In an uncertain and changing world every believer can take comfort and refuge in God’s provision for them.
“At once they left their nets and followed him” Matthew 4:20(NIV)
There comes a time when you can no longer ignore the call of God on your life. Only for so long can you say it is for others. You can’t keep pretending not to hear. Just sitting in the ‘pew’ becomes uncomfortable. The fisher-men’s nets were their security, their way of life. But when Christ called them, they could not ignore Him. A decision had to be made and they chose to follow Him. From now on they were willing for Him to use their boats, for Him to fill their nets, for Him to lead and them to follow. They were not abdicating responsibility but recognising the Lordship of Christ over all of their lives. It can be easy to follow Christ during ‘church’ times but not so easy when at work or in the home. It’s a call we can’t ignore, so let’s respond.
“she was in bitterness of soul” I Samuel 1:10
This was sorrow of the deepest kind.
Hannah’s request seemed to have fallen on deaf ears. Others who had done little or nothing seemed to receive without asking. There was no reason for this. What she could do was discounted.
When this happens we should look to the Lord and look ahead. Hannah kept praying and fasting.
The sorrow in her soul spilled out onto the surface. Others could not help noticing. Private sorrow became a public topic for discussion.
God did intervene: the long period of deep sorrow broke out into a morning of joy. The son born to her became Samuel the prophet, an exemplary child in all Scripture.
“Love your neighbour as yourself” Mark 12:31(NIV)
Jesus said, this is the Second Commandment and it can only be properly obeyed when you give attention to the first, namely, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. When you love the Lord it is easier to love your neighbour as yourself.
Our world has been racked with war and suffering for centuries because men will not attend to the First Commandment. If we put our relationship with God right, acceptability with and love for our neighbour will follow.
The love of God shed abroad in the heart of the believer will pave the way for peaceful co-existence. Don’t try to do things in the wrong order. Love God first and let love fill your heart and life and let it spill out to others.
Quotations used in this document are from
the Authorised Version of the Bible unless
indicated by one of the following:
RAV – Revised Authorised Version
(Samuel Bagster 1982 Edition)
NIV – New International Version
(1984 edition NY Bible Society)
GNB – Good News Bible
RSV – Revised Standard Version