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 are the salt of the earth” Matthew 5:13(RAV)
These are Jesus’ words taken from the Sermon He preached to those on the hillside. Salt is needed in our world today to arrest the steep slide into corruption and decay: to stop the heart of man set on destroying his fellows. What but the salt of the gospel will stop the spread of evil. Jesus came to seek and to save and He does so as those who hear this message from the mouths of His witnesses respond to the gospel.
His atoning sacrifice on the Cross cleanses the sin and disobedience of all who call upon Him. The blood that He shed cleanses from all sin; it washes white as snow and opens a door of admission to the blessings He has for all His children.
We need to scatter this message as far as we can.
“Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel” I Kings 19:18(NIV)
These words reminded Elijah that the Lord was in control, even when he felt downcast and rejected. Don’t depend on feelings; these change. It is in the eternal God that we must trust. The knowledge of Him and promises in His Word are more sure than anything else we find.
God’s reserve force of 7000 would have surprised Elijah that he had been so faithless. We are little better. We do not understand the thinking of the Almighty and must know that He can and does do all things well.
Our problem is not to work things out. None of us can do better than He. It is faith in Him that is our task. Believe and trust the Lord when we cannot understand what is happening today.
“they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy” Luke 24:52
They went back with a new outlook. In the Christian pathway there is no going back. There may be a return to a place visited before but it must be with a new vision and hope.
The Lord was to work through the disciples with a new hope as never before.
This has continued in every generation down to today. In the midst of the most distressing grief there can be great joy. Only those with a heavenly vision may see this. Then joy arises from worship when the heart is fixed trusting and joyful in God.
A dose of His power and peace will last you through many and all obstacles that may lie ahead.
“He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay” Psalm 40:2
There are pits into which you may fall unwittingly. You easily step into the miry clay and often only the Lord can lift you up from this.
The Lord has the day-to-day care of His children at heart.
Indeed there are many traps into which He prevents you from falling. You can know that His care still extends to you.
This is not a rescue to fall again. He cleanses you and you may keep clean. He places your feet upon a rock.
Fear of a repeat of what happened yesterday when you were caught out, need never happen again.
What the Lord has done for others He can do for you. Wait for the heavenly rescue service when something like this happens.
“Naomi asked, “How did it go, my daughter?” ” Ruth 3:16(NIV)
The love and care shown by Naomi to her daughter-in-law is exemplary. And any failing in her own life, added to Naomi’s going to Moab and losing all she had, then made her most careful to provide what she could by way of help to Ruth.
The whole story, which revolves around God being at work in the losses as well as the gains, recognises this.
Let us show interest in others today. The hours and minutes are not given just for our own indulgence. We contribute to the saga of life when we include others needs in our interest.
It went well with Ruth and Naomi rejoiced in this and she shared fully in the romance and the blessing of Ruth’s marriage to Boaz.
“the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors” Acts 5:19
When the officers came to get Paul and Silas from prison next day they had gone. An angel delivered them.
Angels do work for the deliverance of the servants of the Lord – not always, but often very miraculously.
While these miracles are rare, the Lord does deliver His servants in one way or another.
This always happens and can be your deliverance in the captivity you may be facing today.
Sometimes it is in no deliverance that the Lord is most glorified. Often the result of this is not seen until many
days or months later.
God will vindicate His children in one way or another.
“Those who trust in the multitude of their chariots” Isaiah 31:1(NIV)
It is not just chariots but the multitude of the godless and their charioteers in which we are tempted to put our trust. No shortage of things in which you can try to put your trust. The need is to find where you can do so safely.
A multitude of weapons and promises of assistance may seem attractive, but these are not to be relied upon. Our folly is in our reluctance to put our trust in the Lord, to lean hard on Him and know His power and peace in our lives.
Our neighbour can sometimes do a lot for us but if we do not look to the “Holy One of Israel” as the prophet calls the Lord, we build on an insecure foundation that will fail us at last.
“Zacchaeus, make haste” Luke 19:5
Zacchaeus was told to make haste. Are we keen and diligent to do the Lord’s work in our life?
Jesus was passing by and was not going to linger. Zacchaeus may have had many distractions but Jesus had much for him to do that day. He had family and friends before whom he was to make a good confession.
Some places you don’t want to linger. Zacchaeus’ time for hiding in the branches of a tree were at an end.
We commend him for running ahead and climbing a tree, but now having begun to seek the Lord he must continue. Be surprised, as Zacchaeus must have been. God knows all about you. And once discovered, get on with what you know you must do!
“when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction” II Chronicles 26:16
Pride in the heart has been the destruction of too many over the years. Here it is described for us in the heart of King Uzziah. Doing that which was right in the sight of the Lord from 16 years of age when he began to reign, he eventually became so strong that he felt he could go into the Temple and burn incense upon the altar.
More than 80 priests withstood him and as he became angry the dreaded marks of leprosy appeared in his forehead and he was a leper until the day of his death.
His life should be a salient warning to us all. Wherever we are on the ascending ladder of life, spiritual heart failure can be a fatal affliction.
“There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire” Mark 14:54(NIV)
Peter sat in the courtyard of the High Priest as though resting at the trial of Jesus. His seat was with the guards – the enemies of Jesus and His Kingdom. He warmed himself at their fire. More than a fire was needed to comfort him in his state of denial.
Peter was the right person in the wrong place and was there by his own choosing. How many are like this today; belonging to the disciples but denying all they stood for?
Once you declare allegiance to the Lord you have a standard to keep, conduct to observe and a witness to bear.
Depart from the Lord and no seat will give you rest, no company bless you and none of earth’s fire warm you. Belong to the Lord and sit with His People.
“A man of perverse heart does not prosper” Proverbs 17:20(NIV)
Skill and diligence can get you so far. But if the heart is perverse that will be like rottenness in the heart of the apple. For a long time all may look well on the outside while intrigue and evil desires multiply within.
Everything of any value comes from the heart. Its decisions are unseen but not the effect of them.
It is no use attending to the outer veneer when the inner part is rotten. While an evil man is building his empire on lies and falsehood then for us to behold his fall we need only to wait and watch patiently.
Until the evil is eradicated, cleansed by the atoning blood of Jesus, no lasting improvement can be expected. True prosperity needs a good foundation and this only God gives.
“Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me” Luke 8:46(NIV)
This lady crept forward and touched the border of Jesus’ garment. She had not realised that He would know that healing virtue had gone from him.
Receiving from Jesus is a two way thing. Not only will we receive but He will receive, too. And what will we do with the blessing He gives?
This applies to everything we ask or pray for. When we receive are we going to be His witnesses? That is what He said His disciples would become. And it is so today.
If it is a blessing, you will only be quiet about it if you suppress it and we don’t want that.
“the Spirit himself makes intercession for us” Romans 8:26(RAV)
We all have experiences when we do not know what to say. In the case of prayer it is knowing what we should pray for.
How blessed to see the value of these words from the Apostle Paul.
This is not something deputed to a lower angel, but the Spirit Himself asking on our behalf. The Holy Spirit who indwells all who receive Christ knows all about us, what we have to face and all points of special need.
We look down from the dawn into each new day and wonder what it holds. As we commune with the Lord, so the Spirit pleads our case before the Father. That we do not know or understand what is taking place in no way reduces the value of this intercessory ministry.
“He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted” Isaiah 61:1(NIV)
This is taken from a Messianic prophecy given by the spirit of the Lord to Isaiah. It is a word needed in every generation, none more so than today.
Broken hearted has become the way of life for many millions of displaced persons and refugees. As media news brings us graphic pictures of the plight of many who have lost family, friends and all their possessions, what can we do?
Yet God is aware of all broken hearts. Surely the cries of those who will not be comforted reach unto Him!
One cannot hope to understand how the Spirit of the Lord works in the hearts of those who are starving and binds up the broken hearted and shows them their need met in Christ.
ÂÂ WEEK THREE
“ “what about you?” he asked” Luke 9:20(NIV)
As the disciples and Jesus were talking, Jesus brought this personal question to them.
Not so much everyone around you, but what about you? It is when you bring your experience into life that we see where you stand. The disciples could be described as bystanders until Jesus asked them this question.
You can see a lot and learn a lot from what is happening, but all this means nothing until you take that step of commitment and trust.
Folk are reaching out in faith, calling on the Lord to cleanse them and save them, and they have a living testimony to point to. The question is, What about you?
“He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy” II Kings 5:1(NIV)
Despite all his power and authority as commander in chief, Naaman could not sort out his leprosy. He could cover it up, get on with life as best as possible, but he could not get rid of what was gradually destroying him. To receive the healing that he so needed he had to humbly submit to the Lord’s way of dealing with his problem. The same is true for us. Whatever might be our ‘leprosy’, be it a bad habit, a broken relationship, a deep hurt from the past or big disappointment, we need the help of the Holy Spirit. We may have to put aside our pride, admit we can’t sort the problem ourselves and willingly submit to the healing work of the Holy Spirit. Having the help of a close friend, like Naaman’s servants, can help, but let’s not delay in getting things sorted.
“he followed not us and we forbad him” Mark 9:38(RAV)
John told a man whom they met to stop preaching and casting out devils in the name of the Lord because he would not join them. Jesus used this incident to show them that there were others working in His Name. It’s the same today. We can easily think that anyone who does not do exactly as we do should be told to stop.
The work of the gospel is going forward in the Lord’s Name through many workers. Let anyone preaching in the name of the Lord have your blessing.
Jesus said “Forbid him not” and the same needs to be repeated today when we try to stop others preaching Christ from a slightly different platform than ours. Encourage all true servants of the Lord.
“Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel” Psalm 80:1(NIV)
We can resort to thinking that events around us are happening without God’s direction. If He is the Shepherd of Israel can we not expect Him to do more?
Thinking like this should throw us more heavily upon the Lord. It may be that we have decided the way things should go and now it looks as though God has a different plan.
So we must not think because our prayer is not answered as we want, God does not hear us. Our need is to know the Lord as the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls and to trust Him to remain with us and uphold us whatever befalls.
Three times in this Psalm we read the plea “Restore us” and this is just what God wants to do in our relationship with Him.
“hard questions” I Kings 10:1
They could have been questions on any subject. All around us are questions we cannot answer. The Queen of Sheba came to Solomon with her questions. We read that Solomon told her all her questions, whatever that meant.
There will always be many things to which we do not and cannot know the answer. We need to be careful that unanswered questions don’t put us off believing.
Faith and trust ride over hard questions, faith in God enables us to leave to Him what we cannot solve.
Don’t let this day’s hard questions in anyway deter you from following the Lord. Let the “whys” remain unanswered; you engage
in what you do know. The Christian has enough things of which we can be sure.
“declared with power to be the Son of God, by his resurrection from the dead” Romans 1:4(NIV)
The reality of the resurrection and its implication in every part of our Christian life must be the mainstay of our faith. This truth brings right into our faith today what happened when the tomb was opened and Jesus arose again.
The power of the resurrection has not diminished. Our hope and experience must be the same as when Jesus first re-appeared to His disciples. In the same way Jesus is alive and comes to us today. Faith in this word brings the blessed assurance of sin forgiven, peace with God and hope of heaven.
All down the years and in the midst of a decaying situation around us, the resurrection of Jesus is the power of God.
“while they are yet speaking, I will hear” Isaiah 65:24
God knows the details of your request before you have finished telling them to Him. Remember that He is more anxious to give than we are to receive. And the answer He has for us is more wonderful than we imagine.
So resist any temptation to think that your speaking to God in prayer gets no further than the roof. This promise describes fervent Spirit -inspired communion with God. This is something He does with the least of His children.
You may be inarticulate in some of life’s encounters but let it never be so when talking to the Lord. Come in the name of Jesus, newly cleansed from the defilement of the world by washing in Jesus’ blood. Come boldly claiming all and any promises you can find.
ÂÂ WEEK FOUR
“the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how” Mark 4.27(NIV)
You do not need to know how germination and growth takes place before you can enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables. And you will never understand the things of the Spirit or how God is working His purposes out, but we must not let this prevent us from enjoying the joy of the Lord working in our life.
What is needed is faith or trust in the things of God. Without that, life will continue to be a puzzle and like many, discourage you from stopping to think about it.
The truth is that the blessing of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus can become the most real and blessed experience you have today.
A small seed of faith can become a mighty pillar of blessing to you.
“you will not have to fight this battle” II Chronicles 20:17(NIV)
The reason for this statement is because a moment earlier the Lord had declared the battle to be His. Nevertheless, the people of Judah had their part to play. They had to still go out, take up their positions and stand firm, demonstrating their trust in the Lord. Then they experienced God’s deliverance from their enemies. It’s a challenge for us all, both in the big and smaller ‘battles’ that we face. Whilst the Lord will fight for us, we have to stand firm and declare our trust in the Lord in both word and deed. But when we do, we will know Christ’s deliverance – often in an unexpected way, just like the people of Judah did, long ago.
“just as Jesus had told them” Mark 14:16(NIV)
Don’t miss the detail; it’s important. The disciples were on an undercover operation and needed to get things right. All the contacts were in place and everything had been planned and sorted. Even with the forces of evil rising against Him, Jesus was in control. Something we all need to recognize. The Bible is full of detail about God’s bigger plan. If we miss it, we’ll worry that things in the world are out of control and we will become fearful of what men might do to us. But if we make a note of the detail, we’ll realize that everything is under God’s control, planned and in place and his timings are spot on. Jesus is coming back and the details of what will happen leading up to His return are there for us to know – not to make us fearful, but to keep us ready.
“there is a proper time and procedure for every matter” Ecclesiastes 8:6(NIV)
That’s why we often rightly say that it is not time yet. Especially when we are anxiously waiting for something, we need patience and fortitude in our present circumstances until difficulties clear like clouds from a threatening sky.
That the wise writer of these words says “a proper time” reminds us that we can force an issue, breaking a door down to get into the place we want. That does not lead to improvement or blessing and we then sometimes have to live with problems we had not expected.
We also see that we cannot say anything has no use. The time will come when we shall see it to be just what we need. At some time in life we need most things. Our need now is to be at peace with God and to patiently wait for Him.
“to see what would happen to him” Exodus 2:4(NIV)
An inquisitive big sister was part of God’s big plan. Seeing her baby brother being picked up from amongst the reeds by Pharaoh’s daughter, Miriam’s quick thinking was inspired as she came out of hiding to arrange for her mother to become Moses’ nurse. God had arranged protection for Moses amongst the family of the very man who wanted him, and all other Hebrew baby boys, dead. The Lord can use ingenuity! ‘Thinking outside the box’ is not just for those in industry, but also for those in the Church of Jesus. As the Church faces increased opposition and threats within our society and world, so there will be need for more and more of us to follow Miriam’s example and be ‘smart’ for the sake of Christ and His people.
“worship God” Revelation 19:10
Worship is the highest expression of exaltation we can know. And many objects, persons and ideas can occupy the throne of the heart and receive the worship and adulation of the owner.
Here at the end of The Bible John describes his feeling as the angel completes his description of scenes in heaven and earth that are more marvellous than can be conveyed by human language. And without thinking John fell at the feet of this heavenly angel to offer him the praise and adoration of his heart. He was rebuked for doing so. We wonder about the plethora of lesser creatures that we fall before in worship.
We need to jealously guard the throne of our heart as the place where God dwells.
“I myself will search for my sheep and look after them” Ezekiel 34:11(NIV)
The Israelites had deliberately walked away from the Lord and gone after other gods. They had been seduced by the nations around them and did what was detestable in God’s sight. Yet despite this provocation, the Lord made this promise and it still stands today. The Israelites brought suffering on themselves and spent many years under foreign rule and influence but in His mercy, the Lord went searching for them and brought them back to Himself. This is true today for those who have wandered away from following Jesus. Their choices and actions may cause pain for them and others, but the Lord has not forgotten them. Having paid for their salvation with His own life, we can trust Him to keep searching and bring them back to the fold.
“whatever you did for one of these … you did for me” Matthew 25:40(NIV)
In this parable, Jesus brings Christian service right down to earth. The everyday, ordinary actions of disciples of Christ make a difference, and matter. Setting our minds on things above impacts how we act as we clothe ourselves with ‘compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience’. Our attitudes and actions to the hungry, poor and outsider will change as the Holy Spirit works in and through us. Serving Jesus is not just about leading or preaching or going overseas or joining a mission team. Important as those are, Christ is looking for service in the everyday, simple but necessary aspects of life amongst those who are often ignored, overlooked or excluded. This means we all qualify and can make a difference today.
“Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures” I Corinthians 15:3
Where sin abounded grace did much more abound. Whenever anyone is conscious of the weight of their sin, the good news of the gospel is that the death of Jesus on the Cross atoned for all sin that would ever be brought to Him.
We find that if we confess our sin He is just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Sin need no longer have dominion over anyone. The fountain opened at Calvary for sin and uncleanness has never been stopped. The blood of Jesus cleanses white as snow.
The sinner saved by grace looks to God for forgiveness and enjoys the blessed assurance that He gives. The Bible becomes a living Book and a walk with God through the highways and byways of life a blessed reality.
“he stayed where he was two more days” John 11:6(NIV)
Jesus worked to His Father’s timings. There was a bigger purpose than simply helping Lazarus. The delay was not easy; two more days of Jesus waiting whilst His friends struggled with sickness and death. Accepting the Lord’s timing is not always easy and can, at times, be quite painful, but He can be trusted to bring hope instead of despair and glory instead of shame. All of us experience delays, often when we feel we need an immediate response from the Lord. It can seem as if things are getting worse rather than better, harder rather than easier. But our confidence can be in the One who ‘in all things works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose’. It’s His purpose and therefore His timing.
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