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)
B&M 177 NOVEMBER 2014
“You know my sitting down and my rising up” Psalm 139:2(RAV)
The Psalmist reminds us that the Lord sees the smallest things in life. And He takes the regular and mundane things of everyday life and reminds us that He is there with us.
He knows the best time to sit down and to rise up. You cannot escape from His all-knowing eye if you would and so it is much better to take the Lord into everything you do.
This means there is no monotonous or unimportant day. Nothing happening today is an accident.
We should enjoy the blessing of the Lord with us. Walking with Jesus through the day points to peace and blessing in the most unexpected things.
We cannot flee from His Presence, so let us all make our peace and stay beside Him all the time.
“as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame” II Samuel 4:4
An accident like this can easily happen. The baby whom we know to be Mephibosheth grew up to be lame on both his feet. He was put to one side as a cripple until David came along and showed kindness to him for his father, Jonathan’s sake. Then he brought him into his palace and gave him a place at the table.
Can we say that the incident serves to show us that what seems at first to be a serious hindrance and disability, can find a place in God’s plan. God continues to care after an accident that loses us the help from others.
Patient waiting on the Lord will show us how He can turn our future into a blessing to us and to others.
“It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy” Romans 9:16(NIV)
We are deeply affected by circumstances of life around us; whether in our family or world events brought to us by a modern news media. As a result of these we are sometimes moved by desires that are natural and human in origin rather than Spirit inspired.
There will be many things we cannot understand that take place around us and that do not seem compatible with what we expect or request.
But everything depends on God’s mercy. This verse reminds us that it is only by God’s mercy that life continues anyway and His great heart of love for all men everywhere is far more vast than we can ever measure.
Remember our dependence is on Him.
“How the gold has lost its lustre” Lamentations 4:1(NIV)
Almost everything in this world loses its lustre even though you polish it often and do your best to keep it shining. Enthusiasm and inspiration lose their lustre, too.
It is when what you are holding has rays of heavenly light upon it, it continues to the end.
If your eye is on heaven it will actually shine more brightly as the day approaches. Heaven is that place prepared by God for laying up treasure. Once safely there we may enjoy its bliss forever.
Your treasure will not be losing its lustre if you continue active and unmoveable in the work of the Lord. What you have will shine more brightly until that eternal day.
“for she loved much” Luke 7:47(NIV)
Various facts emerge about this lady. She ‘had lived a sinful life’, but didn’t hide away. She had expensive perfume, but was willing to give it up. She was emotional, but not reserved. She was despised, but not by Jesus. He knew something that others didn’t know which made a difference to everything else. She expressed her devotion to Christ and her sorrow for her past life, not with words, but with unreserved actions. It embarrassed other people but pleased the Lord and brought forgiveness and peace. Maybe it encourages us to be more open, more ‘up-front’ in declaring our love for Christ, both through word and action. Let’s not let other people’s opinions stifle our expression of love and service for Christ. AP
“they ate and had some left over” II Kings 4:44(NIV)
A man came from Baal Shalishah bringing 20 barley loaves for Elisha and those with him. It was nothing like enough for 100 men until they began to distribute it around. Then all were fed and there were leftovers.
God is not hard put to meet any need presented to Him.
The rich bounty of God’s daily provision for us goes largely unnoticed. We need to exercise faith in our everyday needs being met by the Lord and not take this for granted.
There should never be scraping the bottom of God’s feeding trough.
When lean times fall upon us and heaven seems to have forgotten us, what we cannot understand God ordains and a night of weeping will give way to a morning of joy.
“when they were come to the place which is called Calvary, there they crucified him” Luke 23:33
We all get where we are going eventually. Jesus came a full thirty years before He reached that place for which He had come to our world.
It is so wonderful when you have been to that place and received the salvation that is found there.
We get an idea of the cost this was to Jesus from the prayer He uttered to His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane beforehand. He asked that if there was some other way He might be allowed to take it. But nothing was to detract from the need of our salvation and the recorded fact that they crucified Him, shows without any doubt that Christ died for our sins. It was an act of God’s eternal love that allowed them to crucify Him.
“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.” Psalm 92:1
Thanks to the Lord indicates to us that you see God’s goodness in life all around you. Drink deeply of the wells of salvation and know your heart to be filled with thanks.
When you come with your requests for what you think you need, begin with thanks. The new life experienced by the Christian is a cause for thanksgiving. Consideration of the promises left for you in the testimony of those who have gone before and the fact that God cannot fail should all add to a peal of thanks from His children.
Life has its difficulties but nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ. There is no situation where with Christ you cannot succeed.
Put down lesser things, do the good thing and give thanks.
“they told Jesus about her” Mark 1:30(NIV)
Peter’s mother-in-law was probably out of sight, in another room of the house, but she was not forgotten. A fever had put her out of action so she was not able to be included in the visit of Jesus to their home. We can imagine how she felt, especially as she was a senior member of the host family. But other relatives told Jesus about her. He went into her sick room and brought healing. In response, the lady was able to get up and show hospitality. Family matters to Jesus and whatever the needs, we can tell Jesus about them, knowing that He cares and will help. Let’s not give up talking to Jesus about our loved ones – especially those who don’t yet know him. AP
“Behold, I am coming soon!” Revelation 22:12(NIV)
The heavens were not to know when His return would be. Enough for them and for everyone since to know His coming could be anytime, even before this day is out.
To accept the message of these words is the way to live. Believe them and exercise faith in the Word of God.
Twice this clause occurs in this chapter. First, there is blessing for us if we know and keep the words of the Bible (verse 7). Secondly when Jesus comes He will be rewarding all who have faithfully obeyed and followed Him.
Jesus is the first and the last; nothing will escape His all- seeing eye. The smallest token of service will be rewarded. Things long forgotten may be resurrected. We need to wear robes that are washed in the blood of the Lamb.
“I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live” Ezekiel 37:6(RAV)
No matter how dry things are, if God breathes upon them they can live! We need never give up on any matter if God is actively involved. Our need is to recognize that it is the breath of God, that is, the Spirit of God that imparts life.
The Spirit breathed on the waters in creation and the Spirit of God has breathed into lifeless forms all down the years. Dead in trespasses and sins but then made alive in Christ through forgiveness and resurrection.
‘Dead bones’, was an accurate description but made alive again is equally descriptive when the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus touches the soul.
Before you discard anything let the breath of the Lord touch it first.
“He who abides in me and I in him bears much fruit” John 15:5(RAV)
Today’s and every other day’s activities contribute to whether we have fruit-bearing lives. Fruit bearing is being a help to others as well as to ourselves. What we all need to realise is that without the Lord putting something directly into our lives we cannot produce anything of eternal value.
Doing our best is not enough. Diligence like enthusiasm will produce activity, but there needs to be a joint effort. We need to be living in Christ every day and then Christ living in us.
There is supreme joy in living for Jesus. He can rescue us when we get into difficulty, guide us when we lose the way and empower us when we lose our strength.
Fruit-bearing is a possibility for us all.
“you stay here awhile, so that I may give you a message from God” I Samuel 9:27(NIV)
It rather looks as though the youthful Saul was jumping up and down all the time and that is why Samuel told him to stay here and stand still a while.
God may not speak to you if you’re jumping around after all sorts of things. When He speaks to us He demands our attention. The Word says “he that has ears let him hear” because we have ears but either do not use them or hear the wrong thing.
Saul had to carefully consider what Samuel was saying to him when he said the Lord was to anoint him king.
God has and does great things for us but how many and how often do we miss them because we won’t stand still?
For all who will listen there’s a message from the Lord.
“And the people stood beholding” Luke 23:35
People have stood beholding ever since. The scene described at Calvary is the greatest published event in all history. The main players were the Governor, Roman Officials, Soldiers, a few women who were allowed to stay, at least one man pressed into service to carry Jesus’ Cross, and the two malefactors who were crucified.
Thank God for those on whom this crucifixion made an indelible impression! Time has moved on but two thousand years later as the story is retold there are those who do more than just stand there.
The remark of a centurion describes it accurately. He said “Surely this was the Son of God”. Millions have become disciples as they put these words into practice.
Â WEEK THREE
“Teach me your way, O Lord” Psalm 27:11(RAV)
What better instructor could anyone have than the Lord? Who would be more loving and caring in dealing with us?
The important thing to remember is that it is God’s way we are to seek. By nature our ways are not God’s way and we are prone to err if left alone. It is God’s way that is the best way, best for this day and best throughout this life.
We shall need to patiently apply ourselves to His instruction. We need take care not to turn away to the right or left but as our trust is in Jesus so must be our vision of Him.
We need to avail ourselves of all the instruction and counsel to be found in the way. By the counsel of others, by the reading of His Word and most of all, by the leading of the Spirit, our course of instruction is complete.
“I am the Lord’s servant” Luke 1:38(NIV)
Twelve years later, Mary had to be reminded of her role in God’s plan. When Jesus stayed behind in the temple, Mary and Joseph felt unfairly treated. They had thought of Jesus as one of the family, expecting Him to fit in with their plans. Parenthood had become more important than servant-hood and a re-ordering had to take place. We can make the same mistake. We see our life as an entity in itself rather than a part of God’s bigger plan. Inadvertently, in our enthusiasm, we come to expect the Lord to fit in with us rather than us fitting in with Him. We can feel unfairly treated when, having put in years of hard work, someone else gets the benefit and blessing and not us. In a society that is all about ME, it is hard to be a servant, but that’s what we are called to be. AP
“God who comforts the downcast comforted us” II Corinthians 7:6(RAV)
Jesus gave The Third Person of the Trinity the title Comforter. Those who allow the Spirit free access in the heart and life will know the peace and comfort that Jesus gives.
He will not only bear your every burden but will lead you in paths of blessedness and peace.
The important thing is that the Comforter has comforted you. In differing measure we all get anxious and concerned about ourselves and what might happen and the storms of life that threaten us.
So let it not just be what God could and might do in your life. Let the blessing of God give you peace and comfort today.
“the glory of the Lord will be revealed” Isaiah 40:5(NIV)
The glory of the Lord is revealed today as news of God’s salvation through Jesus goes around the world.
From what could have been a hopeless mess at the Fall in Eden the Holy Spirit has been rebuilding His kingdom in spite of the continuing waywardness of man.
The greatest revelation has been at Calvary. That is a scene that has never lost its power.
And if the blackness that descended for three hours when Jesus was crucified was intense, the light and glory of the resurrection day far out shines that darkness.
The blessedness of faith in Jesus is only a foretaste of what it will be when the redeemed of all ages join around the throne of heaven and extol His glory.
“I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” Matthew 10:34(NIV)
The same person can bring conflicting results in a life that is affected. Jesus is the Prince of Peace and brings His peace to His disciples. At the same time in others there can arise evil, hatred and enmity. All do not accept His Person or His Message or receive the gift He brings.
We may be sad when the message of Jesus is rejected but not taken by surprise. Rather because this happens we should be thanking the Lord that He has given us the gift of faith. We need to be among those who know His peace. A sword cuts and divides and that is just what the gospel message does. All who hear it are affected in one of two ways. Those who do nothing reject its invitation. Hearers either accept or reject.
“consider what great things he has done for you” I Samuel 12:24(RAV)
My late wife marked this verse in her Bible. Did she just stumble across it when reading in The Old Testament? More important to us today, have we stopped to consider what great things the Lord has done for us? Rushing through every waking hour and then falling asleep without a moment’s reflection misses so much. The good hand of the Lord on us today carries memory of blessing into tomorrow.
Consideration, both for ourselves and for others is something lacking in many lives today. We miss the signs of God’s blessing left for us to see and so end the day without all He has for us. Stop for a moment, consider and find what great things it is that the Lord has done.
“He is going before you into Galilee” Matthew 28:7(RAV)
The word of the angel to the women was one of urgency. Jesus was on His way and we should all be up and following Him.
The fact of the resurrection made everything suddenly spring into life. It gave a momentum that has never been lost.
The new believer who knows that Jesus is alive and who reaches out for His salvation is suddenly charged with a desire to be up and following Jesus. It is a characteristic of life in the Spirit, that what we do is directed by the Lord. Every turn in life’s road is new to us but known fully to the Lord. And if we have pledged allegiance to Him we can be sure He is waiting for us and encouraging us to move forward.
“the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law” Nehemiah 8:3
We all have ears but only a few really listen and obey the word of the Lord. The Holy Spirit has preserved the Word of God and we have it in The Bible today.
Things will only become right when and where The Book is observed. Heeding God speaking to us opens the door to a living relationship with Jesus, the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself as an atoning sacrifice for us.
The book of the law is needed. God’s law demands the attention of all His creatures.
The Evil One will put everything he can in the way of sinners reading about their Saviour.
True worship ensues when we are attentive to God speaking to us through His Word.
“in prayer and supplication, with the women” Acts 1:14
When the disciples returned they joined with the women as they prayed about all the amazing things that were going on. Prayer and supplication by the women of the company has always played an important part. A prayer ministry is still an essential today. Prayer and supplication breaks the ground for God to pour out His Spirit upon seeking souls. A woman’s ministry is not just making sandwiches, though this ministry had been appreciated by Jesus and the disciples. These ladies were bathing in prayer all that was happening. And God heard and answered. They were chosen of God to do this work.
So today; both men and women are called to pray. Let no-one despise intercession made at home before the Lord.
“be not faithless, but believing” John 20:27
Thomas had to learn that he needed to be believing.
Many of us need the same rebuke today. Though we put forward many reasons why we do not believe, we need to be shown that our unbelief deprives us of many things. In this case Thomas missed a visit from Jesus.
Thomas did not accept the united voice of all the other disciples. He set himself up as only accepting Jesus was alive if he could touch Him. He was given this opportunity but in the meantime had shown us what you can miss by being so stubborn.
He probably thought he was sensible whereas in fact he was senseless. We need to watch for evidence of Jesus and be not faithless but believing.
“What doest thou here?” I Kings 19:9
We don’t know how surprised Elijah was to be asked this question and that the Lord was with him and had followed him every step he took as he fled from Jezebel’s evil threat.
We may say that Elijah should not have been there, exhausted in his long flight for his life but he must have been no little encouraged to hear this question.
God took care of the frightened and faithless prophet. He thought his time was up, yet found there was more to do. He was told to get up and go and find Elisha and anoint him as his successor. If you are not doing anything, consider your location.
Is God asking you what you are doing? There is no unemployment in discipleship!
“This sickness is not unto death” John 11:4
These words of Jesus should have stopped His disciples from praying for healing of Lazarus.
Can we ask God to prevent us from praying for something that will not happen?
In the case of Lazarus, nobody really believed these words when they saw and heard he had been dead for four days. It will always be like this, there will be some unbelievable thing happening that we need to publicize to the glory of God.
When we know something is not unto death we must live to the full, the days we have. This was something that all in that little home in Bethany would remember.
And in the realm of the Spirit, we can enjoy the anticipation of eternal life and praise to the Lord now.
“the journey is too great for you” I Kings 19:7(RAV)
God knows what the future holds for each one of us too. The angel that met and ministered to Elijah as he sat dejected in the desert provided food for him to sustain him in that journey. We see in this a picture of God’s provision for us.
We just need to spend time before Him in prayer and worship. This is not a quick drive-in and pick-up exercise. Elijah was to go in the strength of this for many days.
The journey may be too great for us but not if the Lord goes with us. If there is active communion and fellowship the strength and joy imparted by the Presence of Jesus make all the difference.
Opposition and hindrance no longer matter when His power and strength impart peace.
“repent and believe the gospel” Mark 1:15(RAV)
This is the opening message of Jesus recorded in Mark’s Gospel. We need to note the order: Repent first and then believe, because we can imagine that if we first believe we will be able to repent.
Repentance shows that we have reached a true opinion about our own selves; that we are going away from God. We need to turn to Him. Repentance is turning around. It is no longer looking at those things that may have attracted us for years. It is only when we turn around that the full attraction of God’s great salvation will be revealed to us.
Our need is to repent with the express purpose of believing the gospel. Repentance without believing just degenerates into a worse state than the first.
Â Last Page
“Solomon king of Israel sinned” Nehemiah 13:26(NIV)
You’d have thought that Solomon, with all the blessings that God had given him, would have been committed to living God’s way. ‘But even he was led into sin…’ The more we have, the more we want (or feel we can have) and the more vulnerable we become to being led astray by our desires – just like Solomon was. When the Lord blesses us let’s make sure we find a way to share that blessing with others. One Christian philanthropist described himself as ‘a water pipe – it goes in at one end and comes out the other’ Whether it is money, time, possessions, skills, qualifications or whatever, let’s remember that we are custodians on behalf of the Lord and so we need to use them for the good of his Kingdom and in blessing for others.
“a certain maid … earnestly looked upon him” Luke 22:56
She was only a servant girl but she was observant and looked intently on Peter as he sat warming himself before the fire they had lit. Her status may have been low but she became an important person in the Calvary story.
Peter seemed to have escaped recognition by anyone else in the hall that day.
Once you have gone public with your testimony you don’t know who has been affected. Some about whom you know little or nothing may have seen and heard you.
Take a stand and bear a testimony. A silent witness can make a lasting impression that will be seen later.
Folk look very carefully or earnestly. We need to be exemplary at all times in what we do.
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