A short verse and comment for each day of the month
revisiting earlier editions
30th Anniversary Year
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)
“I make mention of you always in my prayers” Romans 1:9
Just a mention is invaluable when it is prayer you refer to. Your prayer list may be so long that there is not time to go into detail about each, though we do need to wrestle in prayer about specific needs.
What a list the Apostle Paul must have had! Yet how gratified each one on it could have felt knowing mention was made of them each day, or even several times a day!
The true spirit of prayer is an experience born of the Holy Spirit. He moves upon us to pray and when words fail He takes our requests and presents them acceptably before the Father.
Can they be true disciples who make no mention of others in prayer? They would be poor disciples! Resolve you will never be one of them. Pray always.
“Simon Peter having a sword drew it” John 18:10
Did all the disciples carry swords? Peter’s takes us rather by surprise. That he was the only one who used a sword suggests there were no others.
You do not need a sword when you are a follower of Jesus. Peter’s sword got in the way – though it did produce the miracle of Jesus healing the servant’s severed ear – and Jesus had to tell him to put it away.
Peter’s trust in his sword was quite futile. However it points to unnecessary things we sometimes carry as disciples to be used if we need them. What we genuinely think might help, the Lord tells us to put away.
No need for a survival kit when the Lord is with you. There will be many difficulties and some frightening experiences but if the Lord is with you, you have all you need.
“by his wounds we are healed” Isaiah 53:5(NIV)
The wounds of Jesus were inflicted as He took our sin and suffered on the cross. Though He committed no sin, He suffered as a sinner and in His death sacrificed His life for the sin of the world. He paid the price for our ransom and redeemed us to God by his blood.
When Jesus cried “It is finished”, He indicated the completion of His redeeming work. Nothing needed to be added. The only need is for those who hear to believe and to accept what has been accomplished for them.
This means turning from their own way and turning to God in repentance, reaching out in faith, calling upon God and receiving the healing of soul that His death provides.
“Simon Peter stood and warmed himself” John 18:25
Peter was alone and out in the cold as a disciple. He should have been as near Jesus as he could get, ready even to die with Him. Instead he warmed himself beside the servants’ fire.
It gave him little real warmth. Instead, some bystanders and servants thought they recognised him and this gave rise to his threefold denial.
There are a number of so-called fires of friendship at which the follower of Jesus does well not to stand. Better to sit in the shadows than stand beside that fire: better to stay at home than go out to the world’s playhouse. If you’re going to stand, do so clad in the Christian’s armour not beside the world’s fire.
“It is true!” Luke 24:34(NIV)
That is what the two disciples who came running back from Emmaus heard the assembled company saying about the news that Jesus was risen. The company listened with some doubt to the women and then more seriously to Peter and John. Then they heard from the two who met Jesus on the Emmaus Road. They said it was true because they believed the message they were told.
Just then Jesus Himself appeared and they saw Him for themselves. Their “it is true” took on a new dimension. It was true because they had met Him.
It is good to believe because another tells you that Jesus is alive. But don’t just stop there. Seek Him whom you believe to be alive until you meet Him for yourself.
“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain” Revelation 5:12
The Lamb of God that appeared to take away the sin of the world was different in two important respects from the lambs ceremonially sacrificed in the time of the Old Testament. Those animal creatures had no say or choice in the matter – the Lamb of God chose to come and redeem us and once here resolutely set His face to do so.
Once slain, the animal sacrifice was destroyed. The Lamb of God rose again the third day, victorious over death and leads His redeemed people in triumphant procession to the heavens where He is exalted to the highest place.
He is worthy to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and blessing. It is our delight and privilege to be among those who worship Him.
“devout and God-fearing” Acts 10:2(NIV)
So was Cornelius and all his family. The Book of Acts tells us that he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. Yet his faith was incomplete until, after the vision of an angel, he sent for Peter and then experienced an outpouring of the Holy Spirit similar to the Day of Pentecost.
It seems that Cornelius was not satisfied with his good works. He was thirsty for something more. So many are content with their good works, but not Cornelius. His knowledge of spiritual things was limited as we see from the way he fell before Peter in reverence. Yet his desire was so great the Lord revealed his salvation to him in a unique way.
Devout, God-fearing, generous of themselves are not enough – we need a personal encounter with Christ and an experience of the Holy Spirit’s new birth.
“we are his witnesses” Acts 5:32
This was Peter’s answer when asked why they had not kept quiet as they had been instructed. If Peter, Paul, all the other apostles and believers had kept quiet how would the message of the gospel spread as we know it did? They were commissioned by Christ to be His witnesses. Witnesses need to testify.
So today, it is when we stop being His witnesses that the life dies. Any church or group goes into spiritual decline when its members stop witnessing and telling others about Jesus. Unless you are witnessing to your faith in some way or other, your Christianity is nominal. Disciples of Jesus have every reason to witness to their risen Lord Jesus. He commissioned and will empower them. They are His witnesses.
“when they heard of the resurrection of the dead” Acts 17:32
Mention of the resurrection caused a division among Paul’s hearers. He was telling those who gathered on Mars’ Hill about the one they described as “THE UNKNOWN GOD” on one of their altars.
Doctrine and philosophy is something they were glad to debate, but the resurrection was a contentious subject.
After all the ministry and miracles of the Gospels, Jesus was crucified and buried. But God raised Him from the dead: He is alive. Because Jesus lives we know that the Father has accepted Jesus’ atoning sacrifice. Jesus intercedes for His children at the Father’s right hand and Jesus will come again and raise them to Himself. All who love the Risen Lord rejoice when they hear of the resurrection.
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks” I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Look at these three excellent injunctions!
Rejoice: like the Psalmist who said that he would rejoice, or praise the Lord at all times, keep on doing the same.
Be instant in prayer. Praying only at set times is restrictive. Keep the lines open to heaven: the exchange does not close for there is no night there! Instant fervent prayer can bring some quite startling results.
Be grateful. Remember that all we have comes from God and recognise the Giver. Let “thank you” be the most repeated word in your vocabulary.
Rejoicing, praying and giving thanks are three legs to stand upon. Rest your weight upon them and the Devil is unlikely to knock you over!
“I hope that the Lord will forgive me” II Kings 5:18(GNB)
Naaman believed the word of Elisha and put his faith into practice when he dipped in Jordan seven times. He was then cured of his leprosy.
He took two mule-loads of earth back to Syria upon which he would erect an altar to the Lord, but he was worried about his duty which was to accompany the king into the pagan temple of Rimmon the god of Syria.
He was not the last to have such heart-searching. But he obviously had turned to worship Jehovah and we can assume that his conscience was at ease, because he concluded – “Surely the Lord will forgive me”.
All who face vexed questions like this can have the same assurance as they seek God today.
“his body did not rot in the grave” Acts 2:31(GNB)
Neither His body nor His work and ministry of salvation and reconciliation rotted in the grave. Jesus rose again from the dead and is alive today, never to die again.
It is the reality of His presence, conveyed to every true believer by the Holy Spirit, that is the life-blood of the Living Body of Christ.
The tomb was empty – there was nothing to rot. The third day Jesus rose again from the dead. Death could not hold Him. The price for our redemption was paid. Christ died for our sins. It did not end there: rather, we might say it began. New life in Christ began to be breathed by all who called upon the Lord for salvation. Whatever was left in the grave would soon be gone. As it is, the life of Christ is infused into every member of the true church – into you if you believe and are saved.
“his life a ransom for many” Mark 10:45
Since Adam’s disobedience, all are born in sin. God’s law demands that sin be rewarded with death: sinners cannot live for ever.
If man is to be saved help comes from outside.
It was for this reason that Jesus came. He did not come to show us what God was like, though He did that. Not to teach us or to perform miracles outside our scope, though He did that. He did not come to condemn the world but to save it. His life was the ransom that was paid for the many who would believe on Him and be saved.
None of us can present anything we have done that would help in our salvation: we can present the atoning death of Christ who because He was without sin could give Himself a ransom that we may go free.
“Let them arise . . . . If they can save you in the times of trouble» Jeremiah 2:28(RAV)
When the waters run deep or the cargo shifts and your vessel begins to list. When the tidal wave appears that you feared would one day wash you away.
When your friends can do nothing more for you and when no one offers to get you out of the mess in which you find yourself.
When all that you have hoped for has gone and the cable you have trusted lets you down. What will you do?
The gods man makes for himself in pleasure or sport or worldly achievement cannot arise and save him in times of trouble.
Man’s need is to trust the Lord now.
“no-one who believes in me should stay in darkness” John 12:46(NIV)
Walk in the light and know where you are going. See and be seen and let your light shine.
Christ calls you into His marvellous light and you must be mindful of the temptation to stray into the dark shadows from time to time and the need we all have to be alert.
Any who wander into darkness should get back quickly into the light. Salvation is a transformation and none should remain the same who repent and turn to the Lord. It is not a momentary thing or a passing phase.
Believing in the Lord involves moving into the light and truth of the gospel. It is leaving the darkness of sin and unbelief for ever.
“so shall we ever be with the Lord” I Thessalonians 4:17
In life’s way we all experience times of loneliness when we are no longer aware that God is with us. This will never happen once heaven’s shore is safely reached. We shall ever be with the Lord and Jesus told His disciples that He was going to prepare an eternal dwelling for them. The Apostle Paul wrote these words as a glorious goal and end of the way to which the believers in Thessalonica should be looking. You can more easily bear hardship and difficulty today when you know you are to enjoy blessing and honour tomorrow.
This is the case with every true child of God, born into God’s family by the Spirit. Glory, blessing and honour await them at the end of the race and best of all they will be for ever with the Lord.
“It is not right” Acts 6:2(RSV)
When it is not right, take the first opportunity to say so. The twelve apostles who were called to preach were spending much time serving at tables. Not that serving was a bad thing – Jesus set us an example of service when He washed the disciples’ feet – but they recognised that the preaching and exposition of the Scriptures was getting neglected. So they said it was not right.
The writer recalls a pastor in Greece who was a gifted personal worker: he talked easily and freely about the Lord to people whom he met. Yet he had become tied to administration and was not meeting people and witnessing to them. He recognised that the Enemy was immobilising him in this way and said it was not right. If you are not using the gift God has given you it is not right.
“she let them down by a cord through the window” Joshua 2:15
Rahab made a clear sign as she let the Israelite spies down the city wall by a scarlet rope. It speaks of the saving power of the blood of Jesus which was to be shed many years later.
She would not appreciate the significance of that rope that she was told to hang in her window. This speaks to all who read her story of the protecting power of the blood – not unlike the blood of the Passover lamb that was sprinkled on the lintel and doorposts when the angel of death passed through the land of Egypt.
The blood of Jesus Christ God’s son cleanses us from all sin: it is by the sacrifice of Jesus we are saved.
The same blood protects all who shelter beneath it. There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ.
“too many men” Judges 7:4(NIV)
Gideon may have been as surprised as we are to be told he had too many men to defeat the Midianites.
Too many men was a problem because they would be boasting in their numbers and in what they had done. God does not need a crowd to secure the victory: a handful of dedicated persons can accomplish much more than an army of those who trust in themselves.
Your concern about numbers can distract you from trusting the Lord. While you are looking for extra helpers, be sure that God’s choice for the job is not already met. God may be ready to use the few of you to extend His kingdom.
Gideon did not rebel against God’s voice. He reduced the number drastically and obeyed God’s instructions and witnessed an outstanding victory.
“Jesus stood on the shore” John 21:4
Sometimes Jesus came to the disciples walking on the water and after the resurrection He came through locked doors into the room where they were assembled.
On this occasion He stood on the shore and the disciples needed to put into action what He told them about their work. It is usually this way. The Lord directs and we need to carry out the directions. Sometimes His word defies reason, always it demands action. The active Christian must obey the Lord.
Throwing the net over the side called for strength and agility: throwing it over the right side when they had fished all night without success demanded faith and obedience. Neither of these are problems when you know it is Jesus standing on the shore.
“cumbered about much serving” Luke 10:40
Life is full of cumbrances: if you’re not careful they can take over. Doing chores, attending to this and that, settling one account and initiating another! But while doing these you might miss something important, just like Martha missed sitting at Jesus’ feet.
A life can be filled with trivia – little things that bring pleasure or satisfaction for a moment but do not last. You can be so fascinated with blowing bubbles that you do nothing of lasting value. Our main purpose in life should be to glorify the Lord. Everything we do should do this. Life can be lived to God’s glory, but only if we resist becoming obsessed with jobs that hinder rather than help this.
Don’t be a Martha, be a Mary and sit at Jesus’ feet when he comes into your home.
“called to belong to Jesus” Romans 1:6(NIV)
No greater vocation! No more wonderful invitation! Jesus of Nazareth who called twelve to be with Him in a short earthly ministry of a few years, is calling to men and women today.
Now exalted and glorified, seated at His Father’s right hand, the blessed gospel of God’s love and of invitation to come to the divine feast that is spread in the deserts of this life is extended to you.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart: lean not upon your own understanding. Come to Jesus, put your trust in Him and then know you belong to Jesus.
He is calling you. God’s invitation is repeated again and again and the Bible concludes with the words “whosoever will may come”.
“The woman was a Gentile” Mark 7:26(GNB)
She should have known that Jewish beliefs excluded her from the blessings of Israel and that though they did not accept Jesus, the Jews present would resent her coming and falling at the feet of Jesus.
But being a Gentile had not prevented her from seeing what Jesus could do and believing there was a chance that he would heal her demon-possessed daughter.
She was right. Her persistent faith gained her the miracle she desired and she was used to show the world that what might be called a mighty miracle of healing is as but a crumb falling from the Master’s table.
There are times when the very thing that you might think is an obstacle becomes a doorway for blessing into your life. God would teach us from every experience.
“and immediately she was made straight” Luke 13:13
Once healed, this lady who had suffered curvature of the spine for 18 years may have wondered why she had been crippled for so long.
The answer is that this was the first time she had met Jesus. She had been eighteen years in the synagogue without experiencing God’s healing power. So today, you can frequent God’s house yet never meet Him personally.
She may have become content with her restricted movement and infirmity. They say you can get used to anything – even going to church without meeting Jesus or worshipping without seeing the Lord.
This woman had never met Jesus, never heard His voice or felt His touch. Meeting Jesus still makes the difference and the crooked straight.
“My help comes from the Lord” Psalm 121:2(RAV)
Every one of us needs help and where we turn for that help is most important. Many there are who say they need no help from the Lord. And if they don’t say it, their lives display the fact.
The Lord our Maker has given us lives that need His help. He has given us the avenue of prayer whereby we may communicate with him. The gift of faith enables us to believe and receive the promises.
Furthermore, the Lord knows our need: because He made us, He knows what we can best do. He knows what is in store in the future, too, and plans accordingly.
Be among those whom the Lord helps. Call upon Him for your need today and testify that your help comes from the Lord.
“The idols speak deceit” Zechariah 10:2(NIV)
But idols of wood and stone cannot speak! They have mouths but cannot communicate, legs and cannot walk, hands that cannot feel and so on. Modern idols are not wood or stone, but of man’s making and worshipped just the same. Yet the prophet’s statement is valid. Whatever it is that men worship gives them a sense of pleasure and security in life. It is in this that they deceive. Whether a man-made image, as in some parts of the world, or a figment of the imagination or a celebrity or star in the entertainment world, it is the same.
The First Commandment is that we worship the Lord our God and serve Him. Anyone or anything else that attracts our worship deceives us into thinking it is good for us to do this.
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities” Romans 13:1(RAV)
Christians should live both God-fearing and law-abiding lives. Those who rule should recognise Christians as peaceful and law-abiding citizens.
It is not without reason that the Apostle issues this call to every soul. In many of us there is a natural tendency, even desire, to cast off restraint placed upon us. This becomes particularly intense when those set to rule over us do not behave responsibly as we would like or hold views different from our own.
There are, of course, areas over which others have no right to dictate to us or lead us astray, but these are not in mind here. If you are a committed Christian, your town or city council should wish all were as peace-loving as you.
“you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship” John 4:20(RAV)
This was the Samaritan woman’s idea of Jewish worship, just as today people think you need to go to “a place of worship” or do it this way or that.
Jesus gave an answer that went right to the point. It is not in this mountain or that, neither is it in Jerusalem or any other “holy” place. Worship arises in the heart and links the worshipper with the Lord Himself. He is seeking those who will worship in spirit and in truth.
There is blessing in church and chapel, but it is not the stained glass windows but the Saviour we want to see. When the heart is filled with gratitude for God’s great gift of salvation the heart overflows with love and devotion to the Lord.
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“My tongue is the pen of a ready writer” Psalm 45:1
The pen of a ready writer moves quickly across the page conveying the thought and feeling to the reader. The tongue of the disciple of Jesus extolling His Lord should have the same effect on the hearer.
All who love the Lord should be ready to speak in praise of the Lord and bear testimony to His great goodness.
Unless your tongue speaks, who will bear testimony to those around you today?
It is when your cup runs over that those near you get some of its blessing and when your heart is full of the Lord your tongue will not be able to keep silent.
Tell of your experience concerning the Lord and King of all. Let your speech be always with grace.
“God is able to graft them in again” Romans 11:23(RAV)
Paul’s desire and prayer to God for Israel was that they might be saved. He did not know that many centuries would roll by before that happened. He did know that God who rejected them in favour of the church would accept them again in His own good time.
It may be difficult for us to isolate the various streams of Judaism in our world today, but God knows. He also knows those that are His and in this day when spiritual blindness has befallen Israel as a whole, God has called many out of sin’s darkness. All who recognise and love the word of the Lord must watch world events with interest. The clock seems to tick louder and faster as the twelfth hour approaches. God’s promises are sure: the words of prophecy will not fail!
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
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