A short verse and comment for each day of the month
revisiting earlier editions
2015 – 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)
“the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus” Acts 3:13(NIV)
This is what launched the Acts of the Apostles and sprang the Early Church into being – God the Father raised Jesus from the dead and exalted Him to the highest place at His right hand.
Jesus is described as a servant because this was the form He took in our world. He came to do His Father’s will. Once accomplished, the Father glorified His Son Jesus and miraculous signs bore testimony to this.
The crowd at Jerusalem handed Jesus over to be killed, they would not listen to Pilate’s reasoning with them. They disowned Him but God exalted Him and it is the glorified Lord Jesus who comes into the lives of His people the world over, today.
“he preached unto them Jesus and the resurrection” Acts 17:18
Jesus and the resurrection are inseparable. Without the resurrection Jesus may take His place among the great men of history. The effect of His life and ministry are evident everywhere. But the reality of Jesus, His Presence and Peace, can only be received because He is alive.
Preach a dead Christ if you want a dead faith. Emphasize the importance of the resurrection if you would see sinners converted, broken lives mended and grieving hearts consoled.
Jesus and the resurrection was different from all that the philosophers debated in Athens. It has made all the difference to men and women ever since. The Christian faith is alive because Jesus is alive!
“Whatsoever he says to you, do it” John 2:5(RAV)
Servants of the Lord can expect to be told to do some unusual things.
So, Joshua walked around Jericho once a day for six days. Gideon sent home most of his men when about to fight his greatest battle. Peter threw the net over the right side of the boat though he’d been fishing without success all night. The blind man allowed his eyes to be plastered with clay before he was healed and the disciples made the crowd of 5,000 sit down ready for a meal when they’d only enough for one person.
If you’re a servant of the Lord, expect some unusual commands. Obey them and see some miracles.
“But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask” John 11:22(NIV)
Martha is not alone in her logic – many share it. She thought that if Jesus had been at Bethany before Lazarus died, he would not have died. It is rather a big jump to say that calamity overtakes, an accident befalls or death occurs because God stops watching over you for a minute.
Martha’s faith is exemplary. Among many things she could not understand, particularly why Jesus had not come earlier, she knew that all things were possible to Him and that all would be well now He was there.
Is it the same with you?
“He still prays three times a day” Daniel 6:13(NIV)
Some take tablets three times a day. I wonder how many make it a practice of praying three times a day! That is, definite periods of prayer. Most of us eat three times a day, some wash their hands or make a call or take a break more than three times a day. So why not prayer?
On one hand we should be living in an atmosphere of prayer and communion with our heavenly Father. But Daniel seems to set us an example of concentrated and intense prayer three times a day. He would not be deterred from it.
It got him into a lions’ den but that became the door for a great deliverance. His evening prayer session would have been among the lions. Whatever lions you meet, let it be said of you, “He still prays”!
“the hope of his calling” Ephesians 1:18
The Apostle prayed for the believers in Ephesus that they might know what was their future prospect in the Lord.
In other areas of life some begin a course yet never finish it, they take a final examination but do not pass, they follow a calling but cannot be successful in it. This is never the case of those who respond positively to God’s call in their lives.
When Jesus said to His disciples “Follow me” there was no chance of them getting lost if they did just that, or of them missing the joy and reward at the end of the way.
This is the truth, but it is something that we need to be reminded of. The hope of the believer’s calling should be as a bright light that grows brighter as the day approaches.
Live in the hope of God’s calling today!
“Where is your brother Abel?” Genesis 4:9(NIV)
Social responsibility is found right at the beginning of the Bible and is second only to the call to worship.
This question has been asked in one form or another all down the years. No time has it been more pertinent than today when half the world’s population lives below the breadline and many of the rest live in absolute luxury.
We have not slain our brother, as Cain slew Abel, but we let him die a lingering death by denying needed medicine or aid.
We have many reasons for this, as no doubt Dives had about Lazarus the beggar in Jesus’ parable.
But what can one person do; he can’t put the world right. No, but he can help another person. One to one ministry soon spreads. Try it today!
ÂÂ WEEK TWO
“daily” Acts 16:5
Days are like bricks. With them we build the edifice of our life. An average life may have more than 25 thousand of them.
We may not see that much difference from one day to the next, but it is the way that each brick, or day, is put into place that gives character to the whole.
Everybody knows how one brick out of line can spoil a wall. So take care that today’s addition to the building of your life will be a good one.
“I want your constant love, not your animal sacrifices” Hosea 6:6(GNB)
The prophet Hosea accused the nation of Israel of saying “Come on, let’s return to the Lord. He’s sure to forgive us!” We read they thought He would do this “as surely as the day dawns” and “as the spring rains water the earth”.
But forgiveness is not to be obtained so lightly. God accused Israel of having love that disappeared as quickly as the morning mist. It is constant love and devotion that is needed.
Animal sacrifice, as it was then, along with the ritual of religion can be done without heart involvement. The same applies today. You cannot walk a path of repeated sinning and repenting. God sees the shallowness of those who are insincere.
Let us receive His love and give ours in return.
“happy?… Let him sing songs of praise” James 5:13(NIV)
A myriad of songs in the world today, but none to equal the song of a sinner forgiven and praising the Lord.
Some years ago there was a West Indian brother who did this in a very telling way. He operated one of the lifts that brought passengers on the underground transport to street level from the platform. At rush hour especially, those lifts were very full with twenty or more people. You walked in one end of the lift and out at the other: it seemed a long way down or up. Once the lift was full, the doors were closed, this brother sang a hymn of praise just long enough until the doors opened. He was happy and singing praise and we might say the prisoners heard him for they were a captive audience!
Has anyone heard you singing God’s praise today?
“one thing is needed” Luke 10:42(NIV)
Jesus is saying to Martha that there is one thing missing in her life. You may have many things – more than others your own age and with whom you grew up – but the grand total of what you have is meaningless if the most important thing is missing.
So it is with life today. Men are striving for so many things, yet all is in vain if they do not attend to the important thing.
Martha needed to put worshipping Jesus first. Mary did this.
There would be time for Martha to attend to other things but while Jesus was in the home it was an opportunity to worship and learn from Him. Let us not miss our opportunities as she nearly did.
“Felix left Paul bound” Acts 24:27
So who do you pity, Felix or Paul?
Paul’s body might have been manacled with chains, but his spirit was gloriously free. His life was one of victory and its influence extended far beyond the confines of his prison cell.
It is Felix for whom we must feel sorry. He heard the Gospel from the lips of one of the greatest men in the New Testament, but put off making life’s greatest step of commitment. He had opportunity to do good, but did not take it and left his prisoner in chains.
Of the two, who are you most like?
“be of good courage” Numbers 13:20
That means when you know the job to be done is good and right; when you know the Lord is telling you to do something; when the outcome if you’re successful will redound to someone’s good, be courageous and do it.
This is just what Moses tried to tell the 12 men sent to spy out the Promised Land. The Lord is trying to tell you and me the same as, at His command, we step into a new experience today.
“Woman, believe me” John 4:21
She once used to believe what they promised her – those men with whom she cohabited. But now she was hard and bitter.
She could argue her case though and give as good as she received, but after years of being deceived, this woman, whom Jesus met by the well side, was empty and dry inside.
With an earnestness she’d never heard before, Jesus said, “Believe me”. She did and never regretted it. You do the same.
“A word fitly spoken” Proverbs 25:11
Our world is teeming with the constant chatter of voices – angry words, sweet words, hasty words, peaceful words – all sorts.
Here and there you may meet one who carefully weighs and then places a word just where it is needed – like a gardener places his seedling in just the right place to grow.
Look back over the day and count those words you’ve tried to sow in the right place and pray that after their sound is forgotten, their value will be appreciated – like apples of gold in settings of silver.
“the people be strong” Numbers 13:28
Some seem to specialise in spotting problems. They see them a long way off and can give you a minute by minute commentary as they get closer. Ten out of the 12 spies were like this.
Not that you should underestimate the strength of your adversary or you may become complacent.
Don’t forget your God is stronger than all and that His strength is available for you. Trust in Him at all times. The people may be strong but our God is stronger.
“But because you say so” Luke 5:5(NIV)
It’s not so much what is said, but who says it that makes the difference. Jesus’ suggestion seemed unreasonable in the light of the disciples’ experience. Sometimes Jesus asks us to go beyond past experiences in order to develop our trust in Him. He gave Peter the opportunity to discover a different dimension to life when trusting Him. Peter took it and it changed his life. It can be the same for us. The ordinary can become extraordinary as we obey Christ. He can use our everyday situations for His glory. What Jesus says in His Word is there for us to apply to our daily lives and discover this dimension to life that He alone can bring. Offer yourself afresh to Christ; let His Spirit have full control and discover the extraordinary ways He will use you today.
“Who can bear a wounded spirit?” Proverbs 18:14
Time heals – but it is very slow.
Modern drugs can relieve some unpleasantness, but these are at best palliatives or hypnotics.
Forgetting is easier said than done when you have to live with yourself and the wound.
There’s only one answer – the wounded spirit is unbearable so take it to Jesus.
He is the great wound specialist, having been wounded Himself time and again as He lived to help folk and notably when He was “wounded for our transgressions” at Golgotha.
“He followed Jesus” Mark 10:52
How did he get into this happy state?
Well, he was blind for years and could see no one to follow. He had to depend on what he could hear. Thank God somebody told him something about Jesus. Then when told that Jesus was passing by he shouted out to Him for help and no one could shut him up until he heard Jesus’ voice asking him what he wanted.
Then it was that Jesus restored his sight and he began the most blessed of all vocations – following Jesus.
Where do you fit into this picture?
“Revive me according to your word” Psalm 119:25(RAV)
The Word of God revives the faint-hearted. It imparts strength to the inner man and enables those who stumble to step forward with confidence.
The discouraged and the downcast need reviving. Looking out upon life can be quite depressing at times. Clouds obscure the sun and a vision that once shone brightly can fade. When this happens turn to the Lord. Dwell upon Him, receive His Word and know that uplift the Holy Spirit gives.
The fallen, the back-slidden, all who have lost their first love need reviving. Re-establishing contact with God through His Word is needed.
We all are like leaking vessels and need replenishing. Revive us today according to your Word as you have promised.
“they are stronger than we” Numbers 13:31
Not if you’re a true Christian.
Not if your faith is in the Lord.
Not if you’re holding the sword of the Spirit.
Not if you’re wearing the armour specially designed for you.
Look through faith’s eye glass and see the valley about you filled with the hosts of the Lord. Study a bit of true church history and note the great victories experienced by disciples in all ages.
You can do all things through Christ – what more do you need?
“Go home” Mark 5:19
That’s where you must get your basic training. Bear a good witness at home and you’ll do the same anywhere.
It’s our homes that need Jesus. If your testimony is worth anything it is there it is worth most.
This former madman wanted to join Jesus’ revival team. Anybody could see what a help his testimony would be. But Jesus said “Go home to your friends, tell them.” The Gospels graphically describe Jesus’ three-years’ public ministry: we forget it was preceded by holy, harmless and undefiled living in a home for 30 years.
“Come, see the place where the Lord lay” Matthew 28:6
It’s an invitation that still stands. Many have gone to the site of the tomb and looked in. Yet all they see is an empty tomb. But this is an invitation that needs faith, not a tour-guide. With faith, we don’t see an empty tomb but a risen Saviour! He is not here. He has risen, just like He said. Hallelujah!
In His resurrection, just as before, Jesus invites all who have need to come to Him. It’s personal. ‘You’ is implied. You come, you see, because encountering the risen Jesus has to be personal. The place where He lay is no longer occupied. Not lying on cold stone, but now seated on the throne of heaven. From there He will come again to bring resurrection life for all who wait for Him.
“Riches are not for ever” Proverbs 27:24
Yet a man very easily makes gold his god.
Making money can be as addictive as alcoholism or drug-taking. How much of your time is devoted to chasing riches?
Riches work best for you when you give them away. Even if it’s only a little, do something useful with it.
Whether what you have can be described as a mountain or a molehill, make it bring happiness to somebody today. While riches won’t last for ever, true happiness will.
“I will be with him in trouble” Psalm 91:15
What a delightful promise!
If I’m not going to get my request to be excused trouble granted, thank God He promises to be with me in it.
He makes His bed with us in our sickness and is with us in the valley of the shadow of death. He stopped the mouths of the lions that roared at Daniel and stood by Paul in the sinking ship and promised him no harm would come to him.
The greatest asset a man can have today is to know the Lord is with him.
“How many loaves do you have?” Mark 8:5(NIV)
God works with what you have, not with what you wish you had or one day hope to have.
If a treasurer must count his receipts or a steward his offering, why does it come as a surprise when you’re asked to reckon up what you have in this business of life?
Jesus is only asking this because He wants to use it. Count it and give it to Him. When it’s all over and you recall what you started with you’ll be as amazed as the disciples were as they filled twelve baskets with the left-overs.
“Each day has enough trouble of its own” Matthew 6:34(NIV)
God does not promise a life free from trouble to the followers of Jesus. Distress and persecution can often be the order of the day. He does promise to keep them from falling and those who are His He will present perfect and complete before His Presence at the end of life.
What Jesus does warn us against is bringing tomorrow’s troubles into today. This easily happens.
You cannot tell what tomorrow will bring. You can imagine what might happen and build mountains of trouble out of that to add to your burdens today!
We need to make a definite commitment of our way to the Lord and that means casting our care upon Him. Look to Him to enable you to tackle the troubles one day at a time.
“You have set your glory” Psalm 8:1(NIV)
As the Psalmist considers the glory of God displayed in the heavens, he is humbled. ‘What is man that you are mindful of him?’ Even with powerful telescopes and space exploration, man is only touching the very edges of this glory. Yet what God allows us to see is there to help us to worship Him. But His glory is not limited to what we see or know. It is set in place for a wider audience. The heavenly hosts are aware of His glory. The demonic powers are aware of His glory. Even Satan is aware of His glory. It’s a glory that is set and cannot fade. When Jesus came the first time, His glory was veiled in flesh. When He comes again, His glory will be fully revealed and acknowledged by all. Until that day, let us worship Him as Lord of heaven and earth.
“God has poured out his love into our hearts” Romans 5:5(NIV)
Faith in Christ builds a direct connection to God. Unseen, yet giving a real assurance, this channel of faith becomes the conductor of God’s love.
Give yourself to the Lord: let Him empty you of self and know God’s love poured into your heart.
It is a love for others; a product of God’s love, in you it reaches out to the unlovely. It fills your heart to overflowing with the result that others are blessed.
This is but one blessing of justification by faith through the blood of Christ. We need to reach out in faith to connect to this divine supply and then take every precaution to ensure the channel does not get blocked or the flow stopped by our own selfishness and greed.
“Whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink” Ruth 2:9(NIV)
Such is the touching injunction given to Ruth by Boaz as she followed the reapers in the hot Eastern sun.
It is likely that some reading these lines will be thirsting for the water of life today. Well, it’s free. You are invited. It is eternally thirst quenching. “If any man thirst”, Jesus said, “let him come unto me and drink”.
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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