Verse of the Day

Daily Devotion 

By:  Bro. Bob Maynard
 

22 February 2017 Verse of the Day

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.  (Psalms 119:11 KJV)

Focus and meditate on what this verse is saying to you.  Let the Word of God speak to you.  Memorize it and share it with others throughout the day.  Let the Holy Spirit guide you and direct your thoughts and actions by His infallible Holy Word.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard



21 February 2017 Verse of the Day

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.  (Psalms 51:10 KJV)

I believe the Lord wants us to take a new direction and focus for the Verse of the Day.  From this day forward, I will be printing out a verse of scripture from God’s Holy Word the Bible.  I want each of us to focus on this verse and let the Lord speak to us by the power of the Holy Spirit to meet the needs in our lives.  I encourage you to memorize it and share it throughout your day.  Let Him guide you and direct your thoughts and actions by being obedient to His infallible Word.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


20 February 2017 Verse of the Day

Today’s VOTD comes from Day-By-Day By Grace from the pen of Bob Hoekstra.

                                                The Grace of God and the Holy Spirit

This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the LORD of hosts. Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!” (Zec_4:6-7)

The scriptures reveal a profound connection between God’s grace and His Holy Spirit. Living by the grace of God and walking according to the Spirit are two different perspectives on the same reality. As we consider what walking in the Spirit comprises, we are also gaining insight regarding living day by day by grace.

Our passage from Zechariah confirms this correlation between grace and the Spirit. Here, the Lord gives a message to Zerubbabel, telling him how service is rendered unto God. “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” Human might and power will never be a sufficient resource for living life as God intended. Rather, the Holy Spirit must supply what we need for a life of service to the Lord.

In the next verse, this same truth is restated, using different terms. Now, the Lord is addressing the mountain of impossibility that stood before Zerubbabel. “Who are you, O great mountain? ” This leader of Israel was given the challenging mission of reestablishing the testimony of God in Jerusalem, as the people returned from captivity. The obstacles had the appearance of being a “great mountain.” Nevertheless, God declares that this mountain of obstructions would become a highway for advancement. “Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain!” Then, as God’s man attended to God’s assignment by the empowering of the Spirit, he would eventually place the final stone with an intriguing exclamation. “And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it! ” This summary testimony would declare that God’s gracewas the explanation for the completion of the task. The relationship between grace and the Spirit is clear: “by My Spirit . . . grace, grace to it!” When we depend upon the Spirit, He works God’s grace within our lives.

The early church also illustrated this “grace-Spirit” association. “They were all filled with the Holy Spirti, and they spoke the word of God with boldness . . . And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all” (Act_4:31, Act_4:33). The former statement indicates that their boldness came from the Holy Spirit. The latter statement, two verses later, reveals their boldness was a result of grace impacting them.

Prayer:

Almighty God, thank You for revealing this “grace-Spirit” association. In living by grace, I see that You must provide what I cannot produce or earn. In living by Your Spirit, I see that grace is not just a concept I apply, but rather it is a gift that must be imparted to me by the Spirit of God Himself. Lord, do Your work in me, I humbly pray, Amen.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


19 February 2017 Verse of the Day

Today’s VOTD comes from Day-By-Day By Grace from the pen of Bob Hoekstra.

                                     A Warning Against Changing God’s Grace

I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith . . . For certain men have crept in unnoticed . . . ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness. (Jud_1:3-4)

From the early days of the Lord’s church, a constant threat has been posed by those who want to change God’s grace into something it is not. The attempted changes always relate to either licentiousness or legalism.

Jude addressed this problem in his powerful letter of warning. He called all followers of Christ to engage in a zealous battle for the integrity of the word of God. “I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith,” Such contending is essential, because carnal religious people desire to alter grace, as they quietly operate within churches. “For certain men have crept in unnoticed . . . ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness.” Their intended modifications involved turning grace into license. Grace is God’s means of forgiving our sins, as well as transforming the sinner that he might sin less and less. Grace is not God’s sanction by which we plan and excuse our personal indulgence.

This issue also appears in Romans, as some took God’s grace in an unwarranted direction. They started with a glorious truth. “Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (Rom_5:20). What a grand actuality this is! No matter how atrocious the extent of our sins, the grace of God unto forgiveness and transformation is far greater. Yet, how heinous is the licentious thought that more indulgence in sin would be a good thing, since such would only present another opportunity for more abounding grace. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” (Rom_6:1). The answer is a resounding negation. “Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? ” (Rom_6:2). Anticipated grace is never an excuse for planning to sin.

In Galatians, the converse problem of legalism is confronted. “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ” (Gal_1:6-7). Here, some were trying to add law requirements to the good news of God’s grace. This attempt to turn grace into a performance standard is described as a perversion, a grievous twisting, of grace. Whether license or legalism, both change and undermine the grace of God.

Prayer:

Dear gracious Master, I repent of those times when I have used grace as an excuse for carnal indulgence or have treated Your grace as a call to religious performance. Thank You for Your forgiving and transforming grace. Grant me discernment and courage to earnestly contend for true grace, through Christ, my Lord, Amen.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


18 February 2017 Verse of the Day

Today’s VOTD comes from Day-By-Day By Grace from the pen of Bob Hoekstra.

                                     A Reminder Concerning the Word of God’s Grace

The word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance . . . The word of the truth of the gospel . . . is bringing forth fruit . . . faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Act_20:32, Col_1:5-6, and Rom_10:17)

These three scriptures, interspersed in our previous meditations, indicate how God wants to use His word to impact us with His grace. The first passage describes God’s word as “the word of His grace.” God explains His grace to us through His word. He offers his grace to us through His word. He works His grace within us as we are nurtured in His word, trusting in what the Lord has to say to us. As God’s word is taken into our lives, its capabilities are unleashed, demonstrating that it is “able to build you up and give you an inheritance.” Those who believed at Thessalonica had such an experience with the scriptures. “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe” (1Th_2:13).

The second passage declares that the word can produce fruitfulness in God’s people. “The word of the truth of the gospel . . . is bringing forth fruit.” Such fruit is the consequence of spiritual life maturing within us. Jesus taught that this life is brought to us by His word. “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (Joh_6:63). The word of the Lord brings this life to us initially: “Having been born again . . . through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1Pe_1:23).God’s word then nurtures the life it originally brought to us: “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1Pe_2:2).

The third passage gives insight on faith, which is a vital element of living by grace. As we have seen, faith accesses grace. “We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand.” (Rom_5:2). Here in the third scripture, we are told how faith develops in our lives. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” As we humbly receive God’s word into our lives, our faith in whatever He is proclaiming can be growing.

In light of these grand truths concerning the scriptures, we would be wise to cultivate the same perspective of essentiality that Job had toward God’s word. “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job_23:12).

Prayer:

O Lord of grace and truth, thank You for giving us Your word, which is grace and truth. Forgive me, Lord, for not cherishing Your word as highly as I should. Everything that Your word can do, I am unable to do on my own. I cry out earnestly to You. Please work in me a deepening hunger for Your living and eternal word, in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


17 February 2017 Verse of the Day

Today’s VOTD comes from Day-By-Day By Grace from the pen of Bob Hoekstra.

                                                              Once More on Grace and Good Works

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Eph_2:10)

In examining grace and good works we are again seeing God’s grace is not only His willingness to forgive us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, but it is also His resource for shaping and using our lives as believers.

God desires that we become amply engaged in good works, to glorify His name in the edifying of His people and the reaching of the lost. Although we are not saved by good works (“not of works, lest anyone should boast”—Eph_2:8-9), we are saved unto good works (“created in Christ Jesus for good works“).

Our hope of abounding in good works rests upon the gracious working of God on our behalf. First, He remakes us through new birth in His Son: “created in Christ Jesus.” Then, He continues to work on us. We do not shape ourselves into an instrument that the Lord can use. God willingly takes that responsibility upon Himself. “For we are His workmanship.” God wants to shape our lives like a work of art, thoroughly crafting us in relationship to His purposes for each of our lives.

God’s gracious work extends beyond new birth and subsequent fashioning. He even prepares the good works in which He wants us to eventually be engaged. “Created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand.” Think of it. The Lord has already arranged the acts of service in which He intends for us to be occupied! Then, why are we not always involved in such good works? The answer is related to this phrase: “that we should walk in them.” We do have a strategic responsibility in this process. We are to humbly and dependently walk with the Lord Jesus every day.

Jesus addressed this matter. “Then they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent'” (Joh_6:28-29). Exercising faith in the Lord is what brings us into the workings of God for our lives. This involves believing in His plan, as revealed in His word. This includes trusting that His will is best for us. This comprises walking in reliance upon Him, allowing Him to guide us each day into the appropriate good works. Such a response brings service empowered by grace, as seen in the early church. “And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all” (Act_4:33).

Prayer:

Creator of heaven and earth, I thank You for creating me anew in Christ Jesus. I praise You for Your ongoing work in me. Please shape me into an instrument You can use. Lord, forgive me when I am irresponsible through self-will or self-sufficiency. Lord, I want to humbly and dependently follow You each day, in the light of Your word, Amen.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


16 February 2017 Verse of the Day

Today’s VOTD comes from Day-By-Day By Grace from the pen of Bob Hoekstra.

                                                  Even More on Grace and Good Works

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. (2Co_9:8)

When considering the connection between grace and good works, God’s ability is the priority issue. “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you.” The Lord intends for us to be the objects of His ever flowing grace. Our God is fully capable of accomplishing such an outpouring of His grace.

The Lord desires to “make all grace abound toward you.” He wants to impact our lives with every aspect of His grace (“all grace”). He has grace available in every category that we will ever need. He is ready to flood our lives with such grace (“abound toward you”). This term (“abound“) could be illustrated by compelling waves consistently rolling up on the seashore, leaving their inevitable imprint.

God’s grace impacts humble, trusting hearts in such a manner, imparting all that is needed for effective service. “That you, always having all sufficiency in all things.” Whenever we place our dependence in the Lord, He supplies everything that is necessary (“all sufficiency”) for everything He would have us to do (“in all things).

The immediate context relates this truth to financial provision; yet, the language goes far beyond any circumstantial limitation: “having all sufficiency in all things.” This speaks of any need in any situation. If we need grace for biblical family life, it is included here. If we need grace for running a godly business, it is offered here. If we need grace for witnessing, it is included here. If we need grace for church ministry, it is extended here. “That you, always having all sufficiency in all things.”

Our God is a bountiful Master, who loves to lavish His resources upon His servants. “That you . . . may have an abundance.” However, this bounty is not for personal whim or carnal indulgence. It is for “every good work.” God’s abundance is for the furthering of His will here on earth. So, we can be encouraged. If our desire is to serve our Lord, immeasurable spiritual treasures are available for our service.

This does not mean we are exempt from seasons of apparent lack. We have lessons to learn that must be taught during times of adversity as well as abundance. “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Php_4:12-13).

Prayer:

O Lord, giver of every good and perfect gift, remind me to look to You for abounding grace in every trial and in every opportunity. Lord, I know that I need You in the delightful times, just as much as in the agonizing times. Use me for implementing Your will in this rebellious world. I praise You that finding the grace I need for serving You depends on Your ability, not mine. Pour out Your grace, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


15 February 2017 Verse of the Day

Today’s VOTD comes from Day-By-Day By Grace from the pen of Bob Hoekstra.

                                                             More on Grace and Good Works

From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed. And when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. (Act_14:26-27)

When the Apostle and his team left their home church of Antioch, they were commended to the grace of God.” The believers at Antioch trusted in the Lord to impart sufficient grace for this demanding mission.

What an amazing journey it was. They encountered a false prophet early in the trip, as they attempted to reach a local official. Paul boldly confronted his opponent, by the power of the Spirit. “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? ” (Act_13:10). When the Lord struck this sorcerer blind, the civic leader believed.

Then, in Perga, Paul effectively preached the risen Christ in the synagogue. “And the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God” (Act_13:44). When Jewish opposition arose, the team offered the gospel to the Gentiles. “Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord . . . And the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region” (Act_13:48-49).

Next, in Iconium, much fruit ensued, in spite of substantial opposition. “A great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren. Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace” (Act_14:1-3).

Later, at Lystra, Paul was stoned by those who resisted the gospel. Yet, he would not be silent, continuing to Derbe and other towns. “And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned . . . strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith” (Act_14:21-22).

Now, the missionaries are back at their home church of Antioch. The work God intended was finished, because His grace brings His work to completion. “They had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed.” Then, when they brought their report, they spoke of what God did, not what they did. “They reported all that God had done with them.”

Prayer:

Dear Father, please teach me to rely upon Your grace for the tasks to which You are calling me. Lord, I too easily trust in myself, and end up with an unfinished job. Also when the responsibilities are completed, may all glory go to You, and not to me, Amen.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


14 February 2017 Verse of the Day

Today’s VOTD comes from Day-By-Day By Grace from the pen of Bob Hoekstra.

                                                         Grace and Good Works

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. (1Co_15:10)

The grace of God is not only His dynamic for producing spiritual fruit in our lives, but it is also His means of developing good works in us as well. The Apostle Paul had a powerful testimony to this truth. Paul became an early church leader who was engaged in more good works than any other believer. “I labored more abundantly than they all.”
No one worked harder in ministry than Paul did. He traveled the known world preaching the gospel. He discipled those who put their trust in the Lord Jesus. He gathered those believers into churches, often functioning as their initial pastor. Then, he would appoint leaders and even visit them on occasion for further encouragement and training. Additionally, he wrote major portions of the New Testament, typically while locked up in prison.

Yes, Paul “labored . . . abundantly.” In another letter he wrote: “To this end I also labor, striving” (Col_1:29). Elsewhere he stated: “For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day . . . we preached to you the gospel of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:9). As he wrote the believers in Corinth he recalled: “Are they ministers of Christ . . . I am more: in labors more abundant . . . in journeys often . . . in weariness and toil” (2Co_11:23, 2Co_11:26-27).

How startling to learn that Paul was not the cause behind this wondrous effect. This seen in his confession: “yet not I.” Paul exerted himself for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. How can a man labor strenuously and yet not be the cause of it all? The answer is in the remainder of his testimony: “yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” God’s grace at work in Paul’s life was the effective dynamic that brought forth such godly labor here on earth. “But by the grace of God I am what I am.” If we put our hope in the Lord, His grace will prove effective in our lives as well, giving us a testimony similar to Paul’s: “and His grace toward me was not in vain.”

Access to this transforming grace is once more linked to the two relational realities of humility and faith. Paul humbly admitted this fact:” yet not I.” He also exercised faith in this corollary truth: “but the grace of God which was with me.”

Prayer:

O God of all grace, I cry out to You to work Your grace in my life, producing abundant good works in me, as You did in Paul. Lord, I desire to labor in Your service. I am encouraged to see that I do not need to measure up to Paul myself. I only need to trust in Your grace, the same grace that was not vain in Paul’s life. So, humbly confessing my inadequacy, I exercise faith in Your effective grace, in Jesus holy name, Amen.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


13 February 2017 Verse of the Day

Today’s VOTD comes from Day-By-Day By Grace from the pen of Bob Hoekstra.

                                               Once More on Grace and Spiritual Fruit

He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit . . . the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering . . . . (Gal_5:22-23 and Php_1:11)

As the Holy Spirit works the grace of God in our hearts, the various aspects of spiritual fruit are manifested through us. “The fruit of the Spirit is . . . kindness.” Kindness is moral goodness and integrity conveyed toward others. It includes showing concern and consideration to people, desiring not to offend them. “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another” (Eph_4:31-32).

“The fruit of the Spirit is . . . goodness.” Goodness is quite similar to the preceding term, kindness. The additional perspectives contained in goodness would be acts of generosity and beneficence. This somewhat repetitious concept indicates the high priority that God places upon our treatment of others.

“The fruit of the Spirit is . . . faithfulness.” Faithfulness embodies responsibility and loyalty. It also comprises reliability and consistency. “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful” (1Co_4:2).

“The fruit of the Spirit is . . . gentleness.” Gentleness is explained by such terms as meekness and lowliness. Such quality of character takes on special significance when we recall these words of Jesus. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Mat_11:29).

“The fruit of the Spirit is . . . self-control.” Self-control is a fascinating subject, because it is not what it seems to be at first. Natural human thinking would assume it refers to self keeping self under control. Such a description would have to be listed under the previous verses pertaining to “the works of the flesh” (Gal_5:19). Here, it describes the Spirit of God maintaining control over our lives.

When we reflect upon the fruit of the Spirit, the character of Christ typically comes to mind. This is appropriate, since godly fruit comes to us through the presence of Jesus in our lives. “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” When we depend upon the Holy Spirit, He imparts the life of Jesus, our true vine, into and through our experience. The character of Christ is then seen in us. Consequently, all glory and praise goes to God!

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, how I long to be more like You. I can easily be selfish, inconsistent, or out of control. I see that only Your Holy Spirit working in me can bring the necessary fruit. Lord, I pray, work deeply in me by Your irreplaceable grace, for Your glory and praise, Amen.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 



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