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)
“Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” Psalm 85:6(NIV)
Enthusiasm and devotion can wane in the best of us. At times our spiritual temperature dips very low and we cease to be radiant for the Lord.
It may be that we cannot put our finger on the trouble, or we just know we have lost our song of rejoicing. Whatever, it is something that needs attention.
The joy of the Lord extends to the most unlikely and uninviting environment in which we find ourselves.
If you have lost your joy, you can call on the Lord to revive you again. If you recognise that something is wrong you can be sure the Lord knows it too and is waiting for you to claim the promise that He will revive those who feel about to expire.
“as she wept” John 20:11
Tears must have a part in our life if we would know fellowship with the Saviour who wept while on earth.
John tells us that Mary stood at the sepulchre weeping, the other Mary having gone away. But her sorrow seemingly paralysed her and there she stood. What a blessed thing she did! Never hesitate to weep when your emotions are touched concerning Jesus.
While still weeping she stooped down and looked into the sepulchre and saw the angels and heard their words. Then she saw Jesus who had been standing behind her.
What a blessing those tears were! Mary joins the woman who wept uncontrollably at Jesus’ feet and bathed them with her tears. Tears have provided tokens of worship on many occasions since.
“yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour” Luke 13:21(NIV)
Yeast in the Bible usually represents evil.
But when Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is like yeast, He could not mean that the kingdom of heaven is like evil, for the kingdom of heaven is good.
Just as the woman mixing the dough kneads it thoroughly that its influence might reach every part, so the followers of Jesus are scattered throughout the earth that they may have that raising effort by contact.
Contact with a Christian should be an invigorating and blessed experience. By his or her prayer and manner of life the Christian should be as the salt of the earth or yeast in the dough mixture.
Is your influence on those around you something good?
“He sent … them … frogs which destroyed them” Psalm 78:45(RAV)
You would not have thought a frog brought destruction would you? You may not like the creatures, but can you imagine them destroying a city? You would if you saw the hoards that invaded the land in the second plague.
Frogs came into the house, into the bedroom and scores of them into the bed. They were in the servants’ houses, in their ovens and their mixing bowls. If the frogs had remained the people must leave: they were destroying the nation.
We are living in a day when God’s righteous judgment is withheld. He could easily bring destruction upon those who disobey and rebel. But in love He waits while the invitation to salvation is made to all men. Jesus came, not to condemn the world, but to save the world.
“Let us walk honestly, as in the day” Romans 13:13
Walking honestly or properly means we have nothing to hide. Rather, the disciple of Jesus has something to share, something he must share.
In the end, deceit and dishonesty are no gain. The pleasures of sin are but for a season. Often we need to walk through dark valleys yet we must not practise the works of darkness or have fellowship with those who live there.
Wherever they go, the believers should take the light. All do not appreciate this, yet without the light shining how can those in darkness see the way.
When corrupt practices are the order of the day the Christian must be out of order and when dishonesty the norm, the follower of Jesus is abnormal. But shine for Jesus and some will respond.
“Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness” Psalm 112:4(RAV)
The whole world lies in darkness in one form or another and the world is where we need to live. We know that darkness covered the deep before God called forth light.
The Lord is now bringing forth light in the lives of His followers. Darkness may stop us from working, but it is no hindrance to the Creator of light! In fact, darkness is the canvas upon which He works.
In His wisdom, the Lord sees we need the dark valley experience, for it is there that we best appreciate His light. In the darkest night you may confidently look for the dawn. The upright are those who follow the Lord and do His will. They live in the light of God’s love and grace. Open your heart to Him today and let the sunshine of God’s love stream in.
“forgive your brother from your heart” Matthew 18:35(RSV)
Forgiveness is more than words, more than trying to forget wrong done to you: it is a change of heart. It is a changed attitude that comes from the heart.
We need God’s forgiveness, the assurance that He covers our past and forgets it. Jesus says that the assurance of God’s forgiveness is invalid when we do not extend forgiveness to our brother.
It is an indication of your own forgiveness before God that you find yourself forgiving your brother. Don’t be surprised when you find someone has trespassed against you: recognise it as an opportunity to forgive. Think what God did when He forgave you! And when you forgive your brother you will feel the blessing of the Lord in a very real way.
“the one shall be taken, and the other left” Luke 17:35,36
This graphic description is repeated three times: first in connection with two in a bed, then two grinding at a mill and then two working in the field. When Jesus comes there will be a separation – some taken others left.
The distinction is not so obvious now. The two sleeping, or working in and out of doors may look alike and work alike. But one has made Jesus Lord, they have exalted the Saviour to the highest place. They live looking for His return.
It is not the quality of the work you do, but your acceptance of Christ that makes the difference. Sanctify the Lord in your heart, call upon Him to save you, receive God’s gift of eternal life. Then be sure that God’s word cannot fail: when Jesus comes He will take you to Himself.
“The Lord is my strength and song and is become my salvation” Psalm 118:14
The Psalmist relied upon the Lord’s strength and so experienced deliverance from all his enemies. He then sang his song of praise as he saw the way that the Lord had delivered him. He describes this as “my salvation”.
So it is with all who trust in the Lord today. His strength upholds them. They are saved because Christ died for their sins: they are delivered by His keeping power day by day. They sing of the triumphs of His grace in their lives and the lives of others.
Strength, song and salvation – a God-given tripod upon which the Christian experience operates. God gives us the strength, the song and the salvation.
“when her neighbours and relatives heard” Luke 1:58(RAV)
When the Lord blesses us our neighbours and relatives should hear about it! God’s blessing is not a secret thing; others may share it: they should do so. When our cup is overflowing, others enjoy the overspill.
Elizabeth’s blessing could not be hidden, anyway. Giving birth to a child at her age was special and obviously she was delighted.
If you are happy in the Lord, your life will show it. Sometimes to be bearing a burden that would crush others, or remaining calm when everyone else is disturbed is what the neighbours notice.
Share the news of the gospel to those around you; it becomes a challenge and invitation for them to trust Him too. Let the neighbours know what the Lord has done!
“you will be told what you must do” Acts 9:6(NIV)
Saul of Tarsus had to get up and take the first step if he was to discover God’s plan for his life.
It is unlikely that God will come to you while you laze in bed or recline on your couch. Your encounter with the Lord should make you get up and move to where God will show you what He would have you do.
The other important thing to note is that when you receive your instructions you must obey them. The Lord knows what He is about and His plan for your life and mine is perfect and the very best for us.
God’s call comes to us with compulsion. Saul’s subsequent life as the Apostle Paul was because he obeyed. We do well to emulate him.
“But you have not listened to me” Judges 6:10(NIV)
This was God’s message to the Israelites when they cried out to the Lord because the Midianites, Amalekites and others plundered their land and destroyed their crops.
God’s voice is heard by those who listen. When we fail to hear, it is our attention that is lacking, not God’s direction.
If the Israelites had listened much of the corrective treatment God needed to make would have been avoided.
Things move fast today, you will need to slow down if you’re going to listen. There are many loud voices demanding they be heard and they must be shut out if we are to hear what God is saying. In some cases we have allowed so much rubbish to accumulate in our heads that a good clear out is needed.
The wise will stop and listen and obey God’s voice.
“The woman … went her way into the city” John 4:28
She had trodden the path many times, perhaps once or twice daily for years but now it was different! She had met and talked with One whom she recognised to be her Messiah. She had a message to tell that even the religious leaders did not know. And she chose to convey this good news to the men in her own city.
Her manner was persuasive and she spoke with such conviction that it demanded investigation. She did not return with the waterpots, but with something infinitely more satisfying. She had asked for the water of life and had drunk deeply. Now she wanted everyone to know.
This is how it happens when you meet the Lord. It is not the path you tread but the message you carry that makes for a blessed journey.
“The disciples were filled with joy at seeing the Lord” John 20:20(GNB)
All true disciples must see the Lord, for it is a Person, not a creed they follow. Jesus reveals Himself to those who seek – not with a physical eye but with the eye of faith and understanding.
Not a memory or the vestige of something past, the Risen Lord Jesus has led the way into heaven. His promise that He will be with His disciples extends to today. He lightens the darkest corners of life and lifts the weakest spirit. See Him and be filled with joy. A vision of His Person will dispel any doubt and fear today as it did for the disciples in those early days after the resurrection.
The joy that is yours on seeing the Lord will be seen and shared by us all.
“repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” Acts 20:21
This was the heart of Paul’s testimony which he preached and it should be the centre of ours too.
Men need to repent from their evil ways. The conviction of the Holy Spirit brings a person to that state when he or she desires to repent. No lasting change for good until and unless we repent. We only reach God the Father through Jesus. He is the way and He shows us the Father.
When we see Jesus we see the One who loved us and gave His life for us. God made Him to be sin for us: His death is the price of our redemption from sin. The gift of God offered us through Jesus is eternal life. All who look to Jesus need faith to reach out and trust Him, to call upon God in true repentance and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
“believe the miracles” John 10:38(NIV)
This was Jesus’ advice to those who would not believe in Him. It is a timely word for today. Those who rejected Jesus ignored the miracles He performed which were clear evidence of God at work in their midst.
Every generation has had its miracles in one form or another – changed lives, healed bodies, mended relationships, answers to prayer. They bear testimony to God at work yet, often because they happen to someone else or another group, we dismiss them outright.
This is unwise practice. If God is moving, let us call upon Him to move in our midst: healing, blessing, restoring; let Him graciously do these to us.
Believing the miracles of Jesus opens a floodgate of blessing and allows God to work in our midst.
“Have you forgotten …?” Jeremiah 44:9(NIV)
A remnant of the nation of Judah that had come back to live in their land decided to return to Egypt in defiance of God’s command. Once there, they began burning incense to the gods of Egypt. They had forgotten the disaster brought upon their nation by the idolatry of their fathers.
The same forgetfulness is evident in our world today. We forget the lessons of history and the promises of God as they relate to us. Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people. Yet we do our own thing and disregard God’s command. We act as though there will be no judgment, like a non-swimmer deciding there is no danger in the water because we put our toe in and nothing happens. Remembering God’s word today will save remorse tomorrow!
“When the enemy shall come in like a flood” Isaiah 59:19
Our concept of a flood is something that rises swiftly, comes upon us suddenly and at such a rate we can do little or nothing about it.
Sometimes the temptation and attacks of the Evil One seem to come upon us like a flood. The situation calls for emergency and drastic measures: we feel we cannot cope and will surely be swept away.
It is on such occasions that the promise given to us through Isaiah is of special comfort and assurance. What we cannot do, the Lord will. When it seems all will be carried away, the Lord will raise a standard or barrier to stem the tide and turn back the enemy.
The Spirit of the Lord, like a breath of wind from heaven will drive the flood waters away.
“The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack” II Timothy 4:18(NIV)
The committed Christian is a prime target for the devil’s attacks. The Apostle Paul knew this only too well. For us, as for him, some of the attacks seem to be too much for us to withstand and were it not for the keeping power of the Lord our feet would slip from the narrow pathway set for us.
The attacks of the Evil One may be subtle, but the Lord’s rescue service is ever on hand and though we get into extreme difficulty at times, the Divine rescue service has never been known to let down any of its members. It is fully aware of all the dangers and pitfalls into which unwary travellers may fall.
With Paul, we may confidently face the future and say “The Lord will rescue me from all that lies ahead”.
“How the mighty have fallen in battle!” II Samuel 1:25 (NIV)
The way that David lamented the deaths of Saul and Jonathan his son make fascinating reading.
In a day when most, if not all in David’s position would have been gratified that their enemy was killed, David was equally grieved and moved at their deaths.
We can understand David’s grief at the loss of Jonathan for the one was pledged to help the other but Saul was possessed of an evil spirit and the Lord no longer communicated with him. So David looked back to the days when Saul was anointed of God to lead Israel and the blessings he brought to the nation as its first king.
David’s example is for our admonition – he assesses two very different lives by the high attainments in each, not the low, and calls them “mighty”.
“putting on the breastplate of faith and love” I Thessalonians 5:8
These two qualities – faith and love – make up an important part of the Christian’s armour and protection against those powers that would bring him down. Faith in the Lord and His Word combined with love for the Lord and for the brethren provide a breastplate for the believer that will protect him from injury.
The need is to wear this breastplate. Apply the faith which God gives you as a gift to your own life. Believe and trust God at all times. Let the love of God fill your heart and overflow to others. We are exhorted to overcome evil with good. Strong in faith and fervent in love will be a partnership the devil cannot break. Faith and love glorify God and put the Christian gospel into practice.
“Nothing at all, except a small jar of olive oil” II Kings 4:2(GNB)
This was the widow’s answer when the prophet asked what she had in the house. We can just imagine how, one by one, all the items had been sold and rooms stripped bare until nothing was left. She was destitute.
But those who come to the Lord when they are destitute find that he can do something for them. He does not need a lot – just ourselves with obedience and trust.
These were qualities shown by this widow who gathered as many empty jars as she could find. The many empty jars on the floor waiting to be filled were a measure of her faith.
It is not the availability of God’s supply, but your faith in putting empty vessels beneath it, that determines how much you receive.
“Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly.” II Corinthians 9:6(NIV)
Sow one seed and you may get nothing: scatter a bagful and some is sure to come up and bear fruit.
Besides, while you are waiting to see what happens to the handful you have sown, you could be scattering seed across the whole plot. Our responsibility is to sow and perhaps keep watered: the Lord gives the increase.
When the Lord has shown you what your particular calling or ministry is, do it as much as possible and as often as you can. Once you have the seed and the soil, get ahead with sowing!
The good seed of the Word of God needs to be scattered everywhere; deeds of help and kindness done in His Name will not be forgotten. Sow generously then expect to reap a liberal harvest.
“I will send him unto you” John 16:7
Jesus promised that if He departed He would send the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit makes the presence of Jesus just as real as if they were one of the chosen twelve during the three years of Jesus’ ministry.
Jesus’ promise did not mean that the Holy Spirit would be in some central location or church headquarters. He said that the Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity would take up His abode in the disciple. Just as the kingdom of God is within you, that is within the hearts of those who make up the kingdom, so the Holy Spirit takes up His abode in the hearts and lives of those who are born of the Spirit.
Since Jesus has sent Him, we need to receive the Holy Spirit for only He can lead us into all truth.
“sanctify the Lord God in your hearts” I Peter 3:15
It was Peter’s desire that the believers to whom he was writing should have the Lord set apart and exalted in their hearts. It is God’s desire today, too.
The Lord cannot be equated with other people and things that fill our interest. His word and work cannot be placed beside others if your life is to know blessing.
The Lord who is high and lifted up in the midst of His Father’s glory comes down to where we are and by His Spirit dwells in our hearts. But we need to clear the throne room of our hearts and make Jesus Lord.
When Jesus is Lord at the centre of our lives, His blessing can flow to every part of our being. All that will not stand the light of His holiness must be removed. “Set apart” must be an accurate description.
“not grieved for the affliction of Joseph” Amos 6:6
Spiritual declension and departure from the Lord should be a source of grief to those who belong to Christ.
The prophet Amos describes in detail the careless ways of those who are at ease in Zion. They should be pleading to God on behalf of the Children of Israel rather than lazing upon ivory beds and indulging in pleasure.
Our world today is in a sad state. More than just saying “O, dear” or doing what we can, important though it is, the Christian should be calling upon God for His intervention, His forgiveness and restoration of peace.
The Saviour wept over Jerusalem and our grief at the state of things today should be channelled into prayer and supplication to God.
“I have commanded a widow who lives there to feed you” I Kings 17:9(GNB)
We do not know how clear this woman was about her commission when Elijah met her. She obeyed the voice of the Lord that came to her by the prophet and responded to his unusual request.
She did not let her widowhood mark the end of her usefulness. Probably it had drawn her nearer the Lord.
With a handful of flour and a drop of olive oil enough only for one meal, she saw the miraculous provision of the Lord as day after day the flour in the bowl did not run out or the oil in the jar run dry.
It was not by chance that she met Elijah as she was gathering sticks in the gate of the city and it is likely to be in the course of duty that you hear the Lord speaking to you.
“a backsliding heifer” Hosea 4:16
Such was the prophet’s description of Israel – she slid back like a backsliding heifer, or calf. When a yoke is placed upon her she struggles to get out of it: when prodded to go forward she pulls back. Like a perverse and stubborn animal there seems little anyone can do with her. God would have engaged her in useful service and led her to new pasture, but rather than move forward she slid back.
Many are of the same mind today. Though the Lord seeks to reach them by kindness or correction, restriction or freedom they will have none of the yoke that Jesus calls His disciples to take upon them. Hosea’s words were less than flattering. The truth is that they need never apply: all who will do so may take Christ’s yoke and know His glad service.
“you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good” Genesis 50:20(RAV)
What men may hope to achieve by their evil deeds against the followers of the Lord, God can turn for their good. In all his setbacks and disappointments, Joseph lost neither his faith in God nor his personal integrity. He rewarded good for evil to his brothers. They had difficulty in believing that Joseph was sincere and came to him for an assurance on this.
Joseph told them he was in the place of God and as such we have a picture of God’s dealing with us. He does not give us what we deserve but extends His love and mercy to us. We crucified the Only Son who came to us and that very evil act He turned to our good.
Remember that what may seem unpleasant for you today, God can turn for your good.
“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3
For two to walk together they must agree that they want to be together and want to go to the same place.
This verse was uttered in relation to God and Israel. It applies today to the Lord and His disciples.
The Christian life is not abiding by a set of rules but walking with a Person. To do this we must willingly and completely submit ourselves to Him. It is His way, His word, His work that we follow. We are agreed that He is our Lord and Master, we neither want nor need another.
The agreement is sweet accord: there is no dissension. Time spent arguing or debating would be wasted when the Lord is our Companion. He walks with direction and purpose. He is both Guide and Companion. Walk with Him and each step of the journey is blessed.
“Lydia … whose heart the Lord opened” Acts 16:14
She worshipped God but that was not enough: Lydia needed a revelation of Jesus whom Paul preached. The Lord opened her heart to the gospel. She was a seeker and the Lord found her and she became Europe’s first convert.
Paul and his companions recognised a true work of grace in her heart and she opened her home to the disciples.
She was the first of many to believe the gospel in this way. You might have thought this seller of purple, a business lady of her day, was too preoccupied to turn to the Lord. But she had a longing for God that her religious observance could not satisfy and because it was the Lord who opened her heart she took the all important step of faith. The Lord still opens hearts when the gospel is preached.
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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