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)
“Boast not thyself of tomorrow” Proverbs 27:1
You can only count on what is yours today. You might get all you’re going for tomorrow, but you might not.
Overwhelming evidence supports the belief that God is working today. Jesus told His disciples He must work now, never mind what happens tomorrow. He preached that one day was enough to contend with. Old and New Testaments remind us that today is the accepted time.
If God tells you to do something it’s likely it needs your attention today.
If all you have will take place tomorrow, you’re living on a pipe dream.
“for their sake he rebuked kings” Psalm 105:14(NIV)
Sihon and Balak were two kings who were made to respect the Children of Israel as they came into their land.
The history of the wanderings and entry of Israel to possess their promised land is one of seemingly insurmountable obstaclesovercome by divine intervention.
You may feel that the problems facing you are as difficult as they could be. Let the realisation that you cannot solve them by your own wisdom throw you upon the Lord. And as He cared for Israel, so He can and will act for you.
Recognise what a mighty God it is you serve and realise He cares for you and will not let your feetslip. Look to the One who rebukes kings when they stand in the way of the plan He has for His children.
“He that witholdeth corn, the people shall curse him” Proverbs 11:26
While you’re hanging on to it you might lose it. You don’t know whether or not you’ll have opportunity to help somebody tomorrow in this way. The one who stands in need of what you can give today, you might never see again.
That which is in your hand to give can bring you untold pleasure when you give it to another who needs it.
Keep it and it will grow mildew – let others share it and you will see it grow.
“We have heard” Joshua 2:10 (NIV)
Thank God for those who told Rahab. Who was it? We don’t know. Perhaps they were unaware that she was listening or maybe she’d heard several people speak about what God had done. We are not told. What we are told is that Rahab responded to what she heard. Throughout the Bible, there are certain women who make their mark because they take action when others around them don’t. Rahab is one of these women and, not only does she save her family, but she becomes an integral part of God’s biggerplan. We may not be aware of who is listening, but God can take what we say about him and make it count for his glory. What you may say today in passing, God may useto change a person’s life forever and fulfil another part of his plan. So speak of Jesus and all that he has done for you. AP
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” Psalm 33:12
Can any nation claim this distinction today?
Only if its people testify this to be true.
With many gods clamouring to be recognised, let there be no doubt where the Christian stands.
Reformation begins somewhere. An individual affects the family, a family a community and the community the nation.
Pray for such a nation and work towards that end.
“except a little oil” 2 Kings 4:2 (NIV)
Not a lot, just a little, but that is all that was needed. By giving the little they had, the widow and her son experienced the generosity of God. Time and again the Bible tells of the way God uses the small and insignificant things to achieve his purpose and bring much blessing. So different from the world and that is just how we should be. God does not despise the small things, does not push them to one side. Instead He asks us to offer what we have, for Him to use to His glory.
Do not focus on what you have not got. Rather search out the little you have and give it to the Lord. That way you’ll know His generosity and others will be blessed. AP
“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches” Proverbs 22:1
Great riches are not always gained honestly. Riches can depreciate or be stolen anyway, and most certainly will be left behind when death summons.
A good name cannot be acquired other than by fair trading. Its possession should be jealously guarded: once lost it will not easily be replaced.
Which is the more important in your life today, a good name or great riches?
“when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled and glorified God” Matthew 9:8
The scribes criticised and found fault because of unbelief: they would never give glory to God. As a result they missed the blessing the multitude received when Jesus healed the palsied man.
The soul that glorifies God and uplifts and exalts the Name of the Lord brings blessing and joy within that has no equal. The excitement of seeing the Lord working in the midst is greater blessing than anything else. Praising the Lord is the highest exercise in which the spirit can engage.
The Lord is at work today: if this is not so apparent in your area, then most certainly it is elsewhere. Get to know about it, join in praise to the Lord.
“But now…” Ephesians 2:13 (KJV)
Thank God for “but now”! It is one ‘but’ that we cannot do without. It is a declaration of being. It announces the difference Christ makes. It declares freedom and forgiveness from the past, new life and new relationships for the present and the hope of heaven for the future.
Each time it is used in the epistles, it underlines the comparison with the past. It emphasizes the reality of living in Christ rather than in sin.
Listen to God’s “but now”. It removes the doubts that come to us all, answers our questions and confirms our position before God. It banishes the old nature and welcomes the new. It lifts us out of despair and gives us hope to keep going. So come, leave the old behind, move on in Christ today and experience the “but now” of God. AP
“Woman, you have great faith” Matthew 15:28(NIV)
The greatness of her faith was not in how much she asked for but in how little was enough. ‘Crumbs’ from Jesus are enough to bring healing. On the face of things it seems that Jesus is somewhat dismissive. But his comments draw from the lady persistence and faith that are rewarded.
Despite the disciples wanting her to go, she stayed and kept going with her request. She believed that whatever she received from the Lord would be sufficient to meet her needs.
You may not be the first in the queue or have seats on the front row but don’t let that stop you from coming to the Lord. Stir your faith, persist with the Lord and receive from him knowing that it will be enough for your needs. AP
“We have sinned, even as our fathers did”Psalm 106:6(NIV)
Men have changed little since these words were written. Man has clothed himself with a garment of education and respectability: the veneer is sometimes very polished yet like a volcano that burns beneath the earth’s crust, his true self breaks forth in times of strife.
Man has learnt many things about our world, yet he remains ignorant of our Creator and still rebels against His Word.
It is only as we acknowledge we have sinned that we realise we need a Saviour. And in His mercy, love and longsuffering He standsready to forgive and to receive all who will repent and believe the gospel. Today may have greater enlightenment but as great a need.
All sin may only be forgiven by Jesus.
“How many loaves have you?” Mark 6:38(RSV)
They really needed several bakeries working at full stretch to feed 5,000 plus.
They needed more help – 12 disciples running around trying to tend to everybody was ridiculous.
To say «Give them to eat» when you’ve nothing and no money to buy anything sounds stupid.
But wait. It is not how much you have but where it is. Five loaves and two fishes in the Master’s hands is ample when you want to feed 5,000.
Is what you have in God’s hand? If it is you’ve nothing to worry about.
“Why have you been standing here idle all day?” Matthew 20:6(RAV)
Because there’s nothing to do? Not if you’ve met the Lord Jesus who says the fields are ready for harvest and there is a shortage of labourers.
Because you can’t agree with the remuneration? This is hard to believe when the Son of God says «Whatsoever is right I will pay you».
Because nobody seems to want what you can do? Give what you have and see what the Lord who fed 5,000 with a boy’s sandwiches can do with what you have to give.
Because you’ve never been invited? O yes you have – «Whosoever will may come» Jesus said.
“he had great possessions” Mark 10:22
So great that they sent him away from Jesus with a heavy heart. His great possessions enslaved him and stopped him heeding Jesus’ advice. They prevented true discipleship and though rich by this world’s standard his investment in heaven was nil.
If your pursuit is to gain the whole world, or as much of it as you can, it is unlikely you will be satisfied, but you can easily lose your soul in the attempt.
In true value, they are richest who have suffered loss of all things for Christ.
“of such is the kingdom of God” Mark 10:14
Jesus was not saying that the Kingdom of God is made up of children though the happy sound of children’s voices must be one characteristic of heaven.
It is the child-like faith and trust in the parent or guardian that is needed. Sometimes a child’s faith in an adult can be quashed but never faith in a heavenly Father. He never fails but keeps His promise for ever and can be trusted implicitly.
In older persons, reason, pride, desire for independence and many other factors can interrupt faith.
Cynicism is an evil that would attack all who have been in life’s way for many years. So never lose that childlike faith in God if you would be His disciple.
“the shadow of death” Psalm 23:4
Quite a long shadow sometimes. It is ours alright, for it gives a perfect outline of what we know we are.
In reality, it probably affects us more than we think or care to admit. It is an appointment we must keep and anyone who looks to the future cannot help thinking about it. And if we are not thinking about it, somebody else is.
But wait a minute, the Psalmist who has made the Lord his Shepherd says it is only a shadow. That’s less than paper thin. Follow the Shepherd and you’ll fear no evil.
Who’s afraid of a shadow?
“while she was out in the field” Judges 13:9
Don’t be surprised if the Lord reveals himself to you in the ordinary routines of everyday life. The Bible is full of meetings between God and individuals in everyday situations. Abraham, Hagar, Moses, Gideon, Mary and the Shepherds, to name but a few.
The angel of the Lord met with Manoah’s wife, the mother of Samson, working in the fields. Too often we want to restrict God to meeting with us in church or at Christian events when actually He wants to meet with us at work, at home, in the street. As a result we fail to recognise the Lord’s presence in our daily lives and separate the spiritual from the secular. God is out there; He’s called us out there; let’s expect to meet Him today – out in the fields. AP
“judgment” John 9:39
Jesus used this word a lot but we use it little. We know that it is appointed that we should die, though most choose not to think about it. We should know that after death there is judgment though few make preparation to face it.
Jesus said that for judgment He was come into this world and He spoke of a day when God would judge and separate one from another.
When the Apostle Paul was called to speak before Felix he spoke of righteousness, temperance and judgment to come.
It is not a case of «never mind, God loves everyone and it will be alright!» We must all appear before God’s judgment seat. We need to do something – to receive Christ who has made atonement for us and then to live for Him.
“Salvation is of the Lord” Jonah 2:9
Salvation – extrication from the mess into which you’ve got yourself.
Salvation – a meaning and purpose in the morass of life.
Salvation – the removal of the cloud of fear of death and judgment.
Salvation – the best experience the soul of man can know.
Only obtainable from the Lord.
“The man took Jesus at his word” John 4:50(NIV)
What a statement! It gives us an insight into the character of this man. This royal official was away from home, possibly on business, yet the needs of his family were close to his heart. His request was for Jesus to come, but the Lord told him to go. Go, believing what Jesus had said.
The absence of Christ’s physical presence may have caused others to linger. The day’s journey home may have weakened another’s faith; but not this man. How we need to follow his example. So often we doubt what God says. We reason with it, rationalise it, add to it, take away from it or even dismiss it as not for today. No wonder we lose out on experiencing the power of His Word. Copy this man and take Jesus at His word. AP
“Who am I?” II Samuel 7:18
Some question! Most of us ask it: very few answer it. It is particularly pertinent because someone else put us here. No-one decided this for himself.
I can’t answer it for you, but I can tell you who you can be – a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. You can be somebody who is doing what God wants you to do.
Enlist in His Service today.
“captive out of the land of Israel” II Kings 5:2
We might say this poor girl was snatched away from her home as judgment of God fell upon the erring Children of Israel. We may say she was an innocent victim of all that took place. Yet whatever her feelings she kept her strong faith in the prophet of the Lord she had known back home. She was so full of it that she could not refrain from talking about it, particularly when she met a need like her master Naaman had.
Most readers will know nothing of the slavery that this servant girl lived but are we so taken with what God can do in the lives of those who call upon Him that we talk about it?
Captive on a human level, this girl was gloriously free and able to speak about our Lord. God make more of us like her.
“a faithful Creator” I Peter 4:19
An appreciation of this will enable a man to pick his way contentedly through life. Because we didn’t do the creating we can be excused the understanding the purpose of it all.
An encounter with the Creator may not answer all the questions, but it will dispel all the doubts.
The Bible is a book full of promises the Creator has made to His creatures. Acquaint yourself with them and remember the Lord will keep every promise you find in His book.
“I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ”Romans 1:16(KJV)
Preaching about trials, nails, beatings and a cross is not appealing. To have the Saviour dying the death of a criminalis not something to shout about. But the apostle Paul knows that what seems foolish to man is wisdom from God. He takes that which is shameful and makes it glorious.
There is salvation in no-one but the crucified Jesus. You canchange the message to make it more appealing, but it won’t save you. Take out the bits that offend, but you will not know forgiveness from sin. Add things to do that make us feel we deserve to be saved, but you will never have peace with God.
Don’t dress it up, don’t smother it in pleasantries, don’t soften it to make it easier to swallow.Don’t be ashamed of the gospel Why not? Because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. That’s why not.
“the priests…and the Levites…took their places to praise the Lord” Ezra 3:10(NIV)
While the Levites had their places as leaders for the worship, everyone present had a place to occupy. Everyone who serves the Lord must worship the Lord.
In the opening verse of this chapter, describing the group that returned to rebuild the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, we read that they «assembled as one man».
There were no dissenters. They were there to rebuild the altar and temple that was broken down and the laying of the foundation was an opportunity for priests in their vestments and with trumpets and Levites with cymbals to take their places to praise the Lord. And when they sang, all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord.
Each one of us should be in the appointed place of praise.
“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved” John 10:9
Some doors in life lead into a new experience and are surprisingly easy to open. The door of success on the other hand is often sticking on its hinges and needs a good push. Most doors of temptation are enticingly ajar and ask you to peep inside. Many doors to sin and evil are wide open but strangely slam closed once you’ve gone through.
There is only one door to life – the Lord Jesus. «Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved» Acts 4:12. And the door of salvation is open for you today.
“Jesus who appeared to you … sent me” Acts 9:17(NIV)
What a happy experience to find that God has told someone else that you have heard from him too.
It must have been of utmost comfort to Saul of Tarsus as he lay temporarily blinded in Strait St., Damascus to hear these words from Ananias.
Do you think God might reveal something to you today that will enable you to bring such joy to another? It will be of great joy to you, too, if He does and you listen and obey.
“The Lord does not see us” Ezekiel 8:12(NIV)
Just because it is dark or behind closed doors does not mean the Lord cannot see what is going on. Out of sight of men is not out of sight of the Lord. The level of idolatry and wickedness was such that even the elders of Israel were affected. What a timely warning for the Church of Jesus today. Going along with what is acceptable to society does not mean that the Lord turns a blind eye.
The pressure on the Church is to be tolerant of changes in society, but where these changes are contrary to God’s laws, there can be no tolerance. The Lord does see and he will act in judgment, just as he did against Israel. Let the Church of Jesus stand firm to show and declare what is right before God. AP
“See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord” Colossians 4:17(NIV)
This is the instruction Paul wanted conveyed to a believer in Colosse named Archippus. We know little about him and the injunction might be addressed to any of us.
Give your life to the Lord and He will give you a commission and calling that you must fulfil. Your work, albeit small and insignificant in the eyes of others, is important to the Lord. It is chosen for you by Him and is something He will enable you to complete. Your application to duty is needed to do this.
Dedication seems to come more easily to some than others, but for us all it is necessary. We need to encourage one another.
«Seeing to it» is something we all need to do.
“Peter continued knocking” Acts 12:16
Keep on brother, they’ll hear you!
They are inside praying for something that was given hours ago. They don’t believe it’s you, Peter, they think it’s your ghost.
But wait a minute, Peter was there because they’d been praying. At this meeting prayers get answered.
Do they get answered at yours?
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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