Short comments on Bible verses (devotionals)

(English edition) for one month by Maurice Paine & Andrew Paine (35)

A short verse and comment for each day of the month
revisiting earlier editions

184 B

JANUARY 2016
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
PO Box 986 Bourn CAMBRIDGE CB23 2YX (UK)
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Break And Meditate 184 JANUARY 2016

WEEK ONE

JANUARY 1

«no idea» John 5:13 (NIV)

He did not know who had healed him. Sometimes God does things for us and we don’t recognise or know Him.
If you’ve no idea about God – read your Bible and get to know Him.
If you have no idea what God has for you to do – start praying that the Lord will show you.
If you’ve no idea when and where to begin – start right away with the next person you meet.
If you’ve no idea what to say, open your mouth and trust the Lord to give you the right words. It’s not beyond your grasp: let the
Holy Spirit fill you with His inspiration.

JANUARY 2

«Even on my servants, both men and women» Joel 2:29 (NIV)
Hundreds of years before feminism was spoken of, the Lord promised women an equal share in the blessing that the Holy Spirit
would bring. Now no-one needs to be left out; no-one needs to feel overlooked. The gift of the Holy Spirit, His enabling power and
His lasting fruit can be manifest in all who seek to serve the Lord. If the Lord does not discriminate, neither should we. If the Lord is
pleased to use whoever, whenever and however, then so should we. Whilst there are distinct roles there should be no superiority.
As Jesus made clear, whoever wants to be first must be the very last and the servant of all. This is true for both men and women.
AP
JANUARY 3

«happy is the man whom God corrects» Job 5:17 (RAV)

Correction is not usually pleasant. Yet when you can recognise that the One Who made you is trying to put you right, you should be
glad.
One recurring problem is that we never go right for long. Soon further correction is needed. Life is like any course of study whether
in science or in art – you cannot proceed to the second lesson until you have learned the first.
It is when we refuse to heed correction that the hardest rod of chastening begins. Even in this instance the second half of this verse
has good advice – «do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.»

JANUARY 4

«Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?» Job 14:4
A hypocrite tries, covering the unclean with an illusory garment of make-believe but anyone can see through the guise.
A magician may appear to do so but everyone knows it is a trick.
Modern detergents can remove most things but not the sin in the human heart.
Do you expect the page to be kept clean when you’re writing on it with grubby fingers? Are you trying to get a clean record without
attention to an unclean heart? The blood of Jesus cleanses hearts. Apply that unction to your heart and see how all that issues
from it suddenly becomes clean and wholesome.

JANUARY 5

«Bow down thine ear, O Lord, hear me» Psalm 86:1

When he wrote these words the Psalmist must have felt low and unable to rise to any heights of faith and assurance.
So he called upon the Lord to bow down. When you are low in spirit you may feel what a mighty gap there is between you and God.
The temptation is to think He is too preoccupied to bother with you!
So, take a leaf out of the Psalmist’s book! Call upon the Lord to come down to where you are.
You feel that if only He would come beside you and hear and see your condition! Cluttered with unanswered prayers, failures of all
sort on your part, misgivings and misunderstandings, call upon the Lord and find He will bow down and hear.
JANUARY 6
«If a man therefore purge himself» II Timothy 2:21

We cannot fault those who go to great pains to keep themselves physically fit. We can ask ourselves if we emulate them spiritually.
As soon as you detect something is wrong do something about it. Disease untreated can be deadly.
Better still, recognise there are grades of quality in service, likened to gold, silver, wood and clay in these verses in Paul’s Epistle to
Timothy. If you can see something better, get your sights on it: don’t rest until you attain to it.
Similarly, in the removal of unnecessary hindrances, purge yourself from them. Become a vessel unto honour.
JANUARY 7
«shew kindness» Joshua 2:12

You can be the wealthiest in your town, but if this is missing, no-one in their right mind would change places with you.
Education, achievement, fame, good health, peace and prosperity are meaningless without it. You haven’t begun to grasp the
meaning of life if you’ve no kindness.
The world is full of men and women in need. We all brought nothing into the world and we will take nothing out. But there is
something you can do to completely change the picture for somebody. Shew kindness.

 WEEK TWO

JANUARY 8
«my soul is full of troubles» Psalm 88:3

He did not tell us the details but there are times when we feel like the Psalmist did. But look at some of the good things that his
troubled soul did for him.
First it caused him to call on the Lord. And because deliverance was not immediate he continued in prayer and intercession.
It made him examine his ways in detail and record them in this psalm. The delay in God answering him caused some real heart
searching.
These words have been recorded for our comfort and help and to encourage us to trust the Lord when there is not a glimmer of light in
our path. It is an example of complete trust, there is no suggestion of doubt, just bewilderment. It takes another psalm to describe his
song of deliverance.
JANUARY 9
«a broken and a contrite heart» Psalm 51:17

This sort of heart comes out of knowing how we stand before the Lord. It results in an experience of Christ’s healing, forgiveness
and restoration, just like David all those years ago. Offerings and sacrifices can make a good impression, but the Lord is more
concerned by the state of our heart. A contrite heart has been fashioned by the struggles of life. Humility does not come from what
we achieve in the eyes of men but in facing up to how we are before the Lord. David, king of Israel, had tried to cover up his
adultery but was left exposed before the Lord. Covering up is no way to deal with issues; but coming to the Lord for His mercy can
lead to fresh opportunities of service.
AP
JANUARY 10
«Do you want to get well?» John 5:6 (NIV)

This is the question Jesus put to the man who for many years had lain paralysed at the health spa called Bethesda.
That Jesus asked this question, suggests that God does not work miracles for us against our will. The question then becomes «Do
you want God to work in your life today?»
The question goes deeper than the reasons and excuses we so often put forward. Jesus disregards the fact of this man’s having
no-one to help him and that someone else always beat him to it. «Do you want God to do something for you today?»
It’s a rare day when you cannot find the Lord in it somewhere. Look out for Him today. If you want him, you’ll find Him and finding
Him will meet your need.
JANUARY 11
«Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord» Jonah 3:3(NIV)

Nineveh was a hostile place. Going there at the best of times was hard enough but going to ‘preach against it’ because of its
wickedness was not attractive. So Jonah ran away. But thank the Lord for that «second time.» Jonah ran away but the Lord brought
him back and gave him another opportunity to obey. Our Nineveh can be in all sorts of places, with all sorts of people. When we
shy away from acknowledging Christ or living His way it can be the same as running away. But take heart from Jonah. Messing up
doesn’t mean missing out. Facing up to our weakness can allow Christ’s strength to be known. Be ready to obey, whatever the
challenge, and experience the power of the Spirit with you today.
AP
JANUARY 12
«behold the works of the Lord» Psalm 46:8

God is at work in our world today. The trouble is that our eye is not adept at seeing what He is doing.
A kingfisher patrols a length of river near where the writer lives, but apart from a fleeting glimpse he has never seen this dashing
bird. Truth is, he’s never leaned on the bridge and waited long enough for it to land on the branch near where its nest is known to
be.
Are you so busy that you’ve never beheld the works of the Lord? The Lord is passing by today: switch off the machines and lean on
the parapet of the bridge of life for a while and see if you can behold the works of the Lord. You’ll find the exercise most
exhilarating.
JANUARY 13
«thou numberest my steps» Job 14:16

When nobody appreciates what it is you’re trying to do – God understands fully.
When most of the work you do is back-stage and wins no public acclaim – God has noted and recorded it.
When the only ascent you know has been on a ladder of loneliness that you’ve climbed day after day – God has kept an account
and will one day put everything straight.
When life strikes you as a treadmill where all the effort you’ve put in has been benefiting someone else – remember God has let
nothing slip His attention.
When integrity and public morality have been branded out-of-date by some, the man or woman who decides to follow Christ can
take comfort in this verse – «Thou numberest my steps».
JANUARY 14
«Fear not, for I have redeemed you» Isaiah 43:1(RAV)

An Old Testament prophecy speaking to everyone today is redemption through the shed blood of Jesus: more precious than any
other, beyond price or comparison. The Lord Jesus gave His life’s blood as an atoning sacrifice for the sin of all who would believe.
The matter of a covering for sin is so settled and the price paid so great that none need ever be afraid their salvation is incomplete.
Enter into the fullness of salvation, dwell upon what Jesus did when He died on the cross.
See the resurrection morning and the ministry of the Holy Spirit all down the years in what we call the church age.
Cast yourself upon the Lord and do not be afraid. Come boldly. In two words, «Fear Not».

 WEEK THREE

JANUARY 15
«stir up the gift of God which is in you» II Timothy 1:6 (RAV)

How many gifts were given last Christmas and now lie in a drawer or cupboard still unused? How many china tea services sit in
cabinets never having felt the warmth of tea! And what God-given treasure do you have that is never put to use these days?
Spiritual spring cleaning is the answer. Move the clutter that covers it: don’t dust it and put it back. Get out that gift that you’ve
almost forgotten you had – to make friends, to write a letter, to teach a child. Let it see the light of day: use it and let it be a blessing
to somebody.
It may have lain idle for quite a time, so ask the Lord to give you a good stir.
JANUARY 16
«I am gathering a few sticks» I Kings 17:12(NIV)

That may seem all that many of us are doing. What are a few sticks among the forests of this world? Could this widow have known
that her few sticks were going to project her into the forefront of the prophet Elijah’s life?
The few sticks did so because she was obedient to the command of the prophet, God’s messenger in those days.
To most, if not all of us, God comes at some time in our life and wants to use what we’ve got or what we are doing. Jesus did this
with a fishing net, a boat, a packed lunch and a donkey. So it’s worth considering what you have and resolving you will act in faith
when He calls you.
In the Old Testament the Lord used a jawbone, an ox goad, a rod and a hammer and nail. It will be very unusual if he can’t use you!
JANUARY 17
«But they were unfaithful to the God of their fathers» I Chronicles 5:25(NIV)

Manasseh was one of the larger tribes of Israel and had heroic men as their leaders. They were brave and famous for their
victories. But their unfaithfulness to the Lord undermined all this and they were taken in shame into exile.
There is both a warning and an encouragement here for us today. All our achievements in this life are of little value if we are not
faithful to the Lord. Jesus stressed the importance of faithfulness in many of His parables and our eternal reward will not be
measured by success, status or qualifications but according to our faithfulness and perseverance. So, irrespective of how bright we
are or what we achieve, the reward of heaven is available to all who stay faithful to Jesus, come what may.
AP
JANUARY 18
«we will not fear» Psalm 46:2 (RAV)

Not when the Devil shakes our foundation? No!
Not when threatened from all sides? No!
Not when we seem powerless to stem a tide of evil? No!
Not if an atomic war breaks out? No!
Not when our life is in danger? No!
Not when this is our blackest day for months? No!
Only when God breaks His promise will we fear. Meanwhile, if and when all these things come upon us we’ll just take shelter in
God who is our refuge and let Him provide all that we need. He’s promised to do this.
JANUARY 19
«Jesus Christ is Lord» Philippians 2:11

Jesus is Lord and His Lordship known by those who confess Him. It is by confessing with the mouth the Lord Jesus and believing in
the heart that God has raised Him from the dead that a person is saved.
This verse in Philippians reminds us that God has highly exalted Jesus and given Him a name above every name, that every knee
should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. That day will be the consummation
of the great plan of salvation that has unfolded across the ages.
Then every knee will be forced to bow and confess: the awesome holiness of God will be compelling. Now those who confess do so
because they realise how much Jesus loved and loves them. They know the Lordship of Christ.
JANUARY 20
«Be on your guard» Matthew 16:6(NIV)

This isn’t the first or last time that Jesus gives such a warning. Here He warns against the teaching of religious leaders. At other
times He warned against false prophets, deception and persecution as well as all kinds of greed. Jesus knew that these threats
were very real. Being on guard means being ready, alert and attentive. Satan is on the prowl looking for opportunity to steal and
destroy. These threats are in the Church today, closer than many might think. The armour of God has been given to be worn, not to
look at! For many in the western Church things have been so relatively cosy that many have become sleepy. That’s when we can
be most vulnerable. Let’s take this as a timely warning and be on our guard.
AP
JANUARY 21
«Only do not rebel against the Lord» Numbers 14:9 (RAV)

Rebellion is the oldest crime on record and it still tops the list for things preventing God working in a man or woman’s life.
For everyone who will trust Him, God has a large place of blessing into which He will lead, a land flowing with milk and honey that
can be claimed as one’s own, and fruit, the like of which has never been seen before.
He has much good in store for you and me today. Listen to His voice and obey: see where He’s leading and follow. It’s yours if you
will take it. Only don’t rebel.

WEEK FOUR

JANUARY 22
«such great faith» Luke 7:9 (NIV)

Such faith is simple faith. Jesus sees what others could not see. It seems that the centurion’s faith had grown between sending his
servants and them arriving to speak with Jesus. The first request was for Jesus to come. The second request was just ‘say the
word’. He recognised authority in Jesus and Jesus recognised his simple, yet vast faith. Doubt weakens faith. It adds the «what if»
and the «maybe.» It offers alternatives, safety nets and get out clauses. No wonder Jesus encouraged us to «not doubt» when
exercising faith if we are to see the Lord at work. Such great faith is believing that the Lord is alive, active and able to manifest His
power in the world today. We simply offer Him the opportunity.
AP
JANUARY 23
«he found nothing but leaves» Mark 11:13

«Nothing but leaves» made this tree of no use when Jesus came to it looking for fruit on it. Many nominal Christians have the
trappings of the real thing but the fruit of the Spirit is absent because there has been no Spirit birth and no consequent life of the
Spirit.
Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith are just a few of the fruits of the Spirit. Once there is life in the Spirit
these appear naturally. They are not forced or produced for effect. Lives that bear them are most desirable to be with.
So what is the situation with you? Leaves or signs may be in place, but is there fruit. When the tree misses fruiting for a year it is
time to ask «Why?»
JANUARY 24
«when the sun was setting» Luke 4:40

There is a reason why Luke includes this detail. The day was nearly over, darkness would soon be upon them and there were
many needing to be healed.
Jesus’ healing was not ended because the sun was setting. Right at the end of the day all those who had stayed waiting to be
healed received what they needed.
The end of the day can still be wonderful – the end of the life or the calling too. The best wine is still often left till last. Indeed,
because waiting upon the Lord is such a rewarding exercise, sunset can bring the blessing of untold glory into the soul of the
believer.
He is a prayer-answering, healing, delivering and blessed Lord and He often does so fully and completely just before sunset!
JANUARY 25
«all the women who were willing.» Exodus 35:26(NIV)

Being willing can make such a difference. The skill can be there but if it has to be dragged out of a person it can be more trouble
than it’s worth. The making of the materials for the tabernacle was a huge task and meant hours of painstaking work by hand. It
seems that no-one was made to work against their will so that all was done with a glad and grateful heart. Paul encourages the
Colossians to work ‘with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.’ Serving the Lord is not limited to church buildings or
Christian events. Everyday situations can be an opportunity to serve the Lord by serving others. At home, at work, wherever.
Be willing, be available and be used by the Lord today.
AP
JANUARY 26
«everyone heard them speak in his own language» Acts 2:6 (RAV)

Thank God for that! What a tragedy if a man found that God didn’t speak his language!
The development of civilisation has revealed great gulfs between groups and races, between East and West, rich and poor,
educated and ignorant, one ethnic section of the community and another. Misunderstanding flares up into hatred and war as ever it
did.
But the Day of Pentecost did not close in the second chapter of the Book of the Acts. When the Spirit of the Lord is upon a man he
has no difficulty in understanding what is said. God can and does speak to a man in his own language.
JANUARY 27
«the king appointed them a daily provision» Daniel 1:5

He did this because he was planning a course. It was to last three years, at the end of which the young men chosen for their
physical and intellectual excellence should be presented before King Nebuchadnezzar.
This daily appointment ensured a regular and adequate supply throughout the whole period. God who plans our lives does the
same. Why expect everything today when the average life contains more than 25,000 days?
You who are citizens of the kingdom of heaven, recognise and put to good use today’s provision as ordained by your King.
JANUARY 28
«it was not possible» Acts 2:24

It was possible for one of His own disciples to betray Him. Possible for the crowd that a few days earlier welcomed Him into their
city with cries of «Hosanna» to now shout «Away with Him, Crucify Him».
It was possible for the Roman guard to scourge and mock Him: possible for Pilate to dispense with any semblance of justice and
order Him to be crucified.
It was possible for twelve legions of angels to be restrained from effecting His rescue as He was cruelly nailed to the Cross. But it
was not possible for death to hold Him. He arose. And that resurrection is the guarantee of your victory in Christ today.

Last Page

JANUARY 29
«Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good» Romans 15:2

While care for the disabled plays a prominent part in the community in many countries today, it is not quite so advanced in some
Christian circles. The desire to reach the top can make us neglect our weaker brethren.
Your neighbour is not just whoever happens to live next door but whoever the Lord has put in your way.
And just as salt exerts a preserving influence by contact, so every true child of God who has the Lord directing their life should be a
contact for good to those around.
We need not wonder whose good is referred to here for when one helps another, both are blessed.
And the sort of action envisaged here is that of us being just what our neighbour in want needs. Try it out today.
JANUARY 30
«Daniel purposed in his heart» Daniel 1:8

That was the important thing – the purpose decided upon in his heart. His speaking to the official appointed to look after them telling
him he did not want the King’s diet and the subsequent events leading to his selection as a trusted counsellor are the spectacular
parts. But only because he purposed in his heart.
Today’s achievements are the fruit of yesterday’s declarations of intent. It’s the daring to be a Daniel that’s difficult, not the being
one.
JANUARY 31
«why stand ye gazing up into heaven?» Acts 1:11

Just looking never did accomplish much.
Jesus was the One Who lived nearest to heaven when He was on earth. He described its wonder and glory, its happiness and its
inhabitants. He defined its principles of government and its admission qualifications. Apart from when He prayed publicly He never
stood and gazed.
Instead, He mixed with the poor and the outcast. He was criticised for befriending tax collectors and for stooping to lift fallen
humanity out of its sin. Folk like beggars and prostitutes, who would not dare lift their eyes to heaven, loved to be with Jesus. Just to
be with Him was heaven for them.
Stand gazing into heaven and you’ll get neck-ache. Go out and scatter love and compassion to those you meet in need and it will
be heaven all around you.

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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