Verse of the Day

Daily Devotion 

By:  Bro. Bob Maynard
 

24 December 2016 Verse of the Day

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

                                                    Another Call to Pray without Ceasing

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. (Eph_6:18)

Through His word, God calls us to lives of continual prayerfulness. “Pray without ceasing” (1Th_5:17). Jesus also calls us to this life of prayer, both by His teaching and His example. “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart . . . in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed” (Luk_18:1 and Mar_1:35). Our present verse is another call to praying without ceasing.

The context concerns appropriating by faith the powerful spiritual resources that are ours in the Lord. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph_6:10-11). These heavenly provisions are put on by looking to the Lord unceasingly in prayer: “praying always.” This constancy in prayer can be done with “all prayer and supplication.” God has arranged many appropriate ways for us to pray to Him: such as, confession, repentance, request, thanksgiving, rejoicing, praise, adoration, and more. Note however, that every type of praying is to be done “in the Spirit.” As in all areas of life, we must depend upon the Spirit. He will grant us guidance and wisdom for praying according to the will of God.

Godly praying also includes spiritual alertness: “being watchful to this end.” When prayer is especially needed, we can be tempted to slumber. In Gethsemane, the disciples were not alert to the great need to pray. “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation” (Mar_14:38). Again, this highlights our need to be led of the Spirit. Further, a part of our need for the Spirit pertains to perseverance: “with all perseverance.” Praying requires all kinds of spiritual persistence. Praying amounts to demanding spiritual labor. The Holy Spirit must sustain us in God’s strength, if we are to engage in prayer to the extent that our Lord often desires. Some of this call to persevering prayer involves the battles and needs that others are facing: “with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” It is not wrong for us to cry out to God concerning our own needs. Our Lord invites us to do such. “Let your requests be made known to God” (Php_4:6). Still, the Lord wants to use us in the lives of people near and far through the wonderful avenue of intercession. The vision for prayer given here is quite expansive: “Praying always . . . all prayer . . . all perseverance . . . all the saints.”

Prayer:

Dear Lord, this extensive call to prayer humbles my heart. I see much room to grow in my prayer life. Yet, it stirs my faith as well. By Your Spirit of grace at work in me, such praying is possible. O Lord, please make of me such a prayer warrior, Amen.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


23 December 2016 Verse of the Day

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

                                                     Jesus’ Call to Pray without Ceasing

Pray without ceasing . . . Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart . . . And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him? (1Th_5:17 and Luk_18:1, Luk_18:7)

Praying without ceasing is the way to relate rightly to the God of all grace. Jesus called His followers to live in this prayerful manner, when He told a parable that contrasted a godless human judge with God, our righteous judge.

Jesus’ primary message would be that men should persistently pray at all times. “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.” Jesus’ illustration involved a wronged widow who was appealing for help from an unjust judge. At first, the judge had no interest in assisting her. However, when she persisted, he relented and gave her relief. “Though I do not fear God nor regard man, because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me” (Luk_18:4-5). The ungodly judge granted her relief, although he was not motivated by fear of God nor by compassion for man. His action was merely self-serving. Jesus then contrasts the holy motivations of our loving God, who will certainly respond to the needs of His chosen ones, as they call upon His name ceaselessly. “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him?” (Luk_18:7). The Lord Jesus hereby encourages us to pray without ceasing.

Jesus’ call to a life of persistent prayer was commended to us by His own example. “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed” (Mar_1:35). Early in the inspired recordings of the ministry of Jesus, His habit of prayer is noted. At times, Jesus was up before dawn for extended prayer with the Father. On another occasion, He prayed the entire night through. “Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God” (Luk_6:12). In addition to His rich private prayer life, Jesus prayed regularly in public as well. “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes . . . Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them . . . Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me” (Mat_11:25; Luk_9:16; and Joh_11:41-42). If Jesus, the Son of God prayed habitually, how clearly we are to do the same.

Prayer:

Jesus, my Lord, I want to heed Your radical call to a path of unceasing prayer. I want to follow Your wonderful example of a life of habitual prayer—in private and in public.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


22 December 2016 Verse of the Day

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

                                  Praying Without Ceasing to the God of All Grace

The God of all grace . . . pray without ceasing. (1Pe_5:10 and 1Th_5:17)

These two biblical phrases are ideal correlations. The only way that we can live as God intends is by grace. Our God is the source of all grace. God’s grace is to be drawn upon by humility and faith. Prayer is the most appropriate expression of humility and faith. We pray, because we need God’s help (thereby, expressing humility). We pray, because we believe God will help us (thereby, exercising faith). Consequently, praying without ceasing is a simple, yet profound, way to relate rightly to the God of all grace.

Pray without ceasing.” This command is not requiring the incessant reciting of prayers. Rather, it is a call to a way of living: “continuing steadfastly in prayer” (Rom_12:12). Praying without ceasing is an attitude of the heart, as well as an addressing of prayers consistently to the Lord. To pray without ceasing is to have the inner man focused in humble dependence upon the Lord, while consistently addressing actual prayers to the Lord.

Paul was such a man of prayer. The Lord was definitely the object of his expectations: “the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope” (1Ti_1:1). In addition, he consistently offered prayers unto the Lord: “without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers . . . do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers . . . without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day” (Rom_1:9; Eph_1:16; and 2Ti_1:3). Notice also, Paul’s prayers included recurring prayer for others. Those who live by grace develop hearts of intercession, praying that others might enjoy the grace of God as well.

It is common among the spiritual examples of scripture to find lives of prayer. David was clearly one who prayed without ceasing. A great portion of his Psalms are directed to the Lord in prayer. Some testify of his habit of prayer. “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice” (Psa_55:17). Jeremiah was a man of prayer. “O LORD, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in the day of affliction . . . Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved . . . Give heed to me, O LORD, and listen to the voice of those who contend with me!” (Jer_16:19; Jer_17:14; and Jer_18:19). Daniel was also a man of prayer. “He knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days” (Dan_6:10). Likewise, all who want to live by grace increasingly become people of prayer.

Prayer:

O God of all grace, I want to live in humble dependence upon Your abounding grace. Teach me to express humility and faith in a life of unceasing prayer. This I pray through Christ Jesus my Lord, Amen.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


21 December 2016 Verse of the Day

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

                                        Once More on Following Jesus as a Disciple

If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me . . . My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. (Luk_9:23 and Joh_10:27)

As we have been considering, following Jesus as a disciple is another way to relate rightly to the Lord in humility and faith. The terms of discipleship are renouncing the self-life and confessing death for the self-life. “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily.” Initially and continually, these humble and trusting responses to Jesus deal with self, which is the basic obstruction to following Him.

Three simple words express the very heart of discipleship: “and follow Me.” All of the Christian life can be summed up and fulfilled in this profound relationship of pursuing a humble and trusting walk with the Lord. It is the will of God that we grow in His all-sufficient grace. “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2Pe_3:18). Jesus came overflowing with that grace. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . full of grace and truth” (Joh_1:14). As we follow Him in humble dependence, He pours His grace into our lives.

Jesus has all that we need. In Him, the complete resources of the Godhead that we need for personal wholeness reside. “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him” (Col_2:9-10). In Him, all wisdom and knowledge are contained: “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col_2:3). Jesus is the very life that we are called to live: “Christ who is our life” (Col_3:4). He is our “all and in all” (Col_3:11).

We need the Lord Jesus like sheep need a shepherd. In fact, our discipleship walk with Christ is portrayed in scripture as sheep following a shepherd. Those who are in the world are like sheep without a shepherd. What a needy picture that is. “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd” (Mat_9:36). Jesus, our shepherd, is the ultimate shepherd. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (Joh_10:11). Having died for us, our shepherd wants to lead us throughout our lives. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (Joh_10:27). In humble dependence, we can hear His voice through His word and be led by His Spirit. Thereby, we enter into the fullness of the grace that God has for us during our pilgrimage here on this earth.

Prayer:

Jesus, my good shepherd, I need You like a sheep needs a shepherd. I humbly trust You to lead me through life, pouring out upon me the fullness of Your grace, in Your wonderful name, Amen.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


20 December 2016 Verse of the Day

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

                                                        More on Following Jesus as a Disciple

 
If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me . . . But God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Luk_9:23 and Gal_6:14)

Following Jesus as a disciple is one way to relate rightly to the Lord in humility and faith. The first aspect of following Jesus involves renouncing the self-life. “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself.” It is certainly humbling to admit that any life we would develop by our own natural resources is unacceptable to the Lord and must be repudiated. The next aspect of being a disciple is also humbling.

This second issue in discipleship is the cross: “and take up his cross.” When Jesus spoke of the cross, He was speaking of the ultimate instrument of execution in His day. Consequently, after renunciation of self, we are to confess death for self. The means of this death is the cross of Christ. Those who want to follow Jesus as disciples are to take the cross of Christ as their own personal cross. In doing so, they are admitting to God that they deserved to die upon that cross. “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom_6:23). Furthermore, they are agreeing with the word of God that Jesus died upon that cross on their behalf. “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures . . . who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree” (1Co_15:3 and 1Pe_2:24). This gospel (which brings forgiveness of sins to all who believe) includes the essential truth of the resurrection. “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1Co_15:1, 1Co_15:3-4).

Another wondrous benefit of the cross is that we who believe in Jesus also died there with Him. “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him” (Rom_6:6). The old self-life that we were developing while “in Adam” (1Co_15:22) was executed on the cross with Christ. Yes, the cross is the way out of this world of dead sinners, and we can rightly boast in that truth. “But God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Meanwhile, the attitudes and resources of the old man persist in our flesh (our natural humanity). Thus, we are to renounce self and confess death to self day by day: “let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily.”

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, I confess Your cross as my cross. I deserved to die there, but You died in my place. I boast in that cross, where I also died with You. Now, through the cross, I have escaped this dead, condemned world. I praise You that these truths both humble my heart and stir my faith!

                                                  
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


19 December 2016 Verse of the Day

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

                                                   Following Jesus as a Disciple
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations . . . Follow Me . . . If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. (Mat_28:19; Joh_1:43; and Luk_9:23)

Living daily by God’s grace depends upon getting to know Him and then walking in the humility and grace that are consequences of growing in fellowship with Him. We have reflected upon four ways to relate rightly to the Lord in humility and faith: living by the Spirit, living by resurrection power, living by the sufficiency of God, and living by the promises of God. Another example is following Jesus as a disciple.

When our Lord was about to leave His disciples, He gave them the marching orders that were to guide the lives of His people until He would return. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.” Jesus had been calling out people to follow Him as disciples. Now, they were to continue doing the same. A disciple is a follower of a master, who guides and shapes the lives of his followers. Jesus is the ultimate Master, who gives us a new life in him—life eternal. Jesus’ invitation to discipleship was “Follow Me.” Along with this invitation, Jesus often explained the terms of discipleship: “If anyone desires to come after Me.” This would inform the willing and interested about how to respond. These terms dramatically depict the necessity of relating to the Lord in humility and faith.

The first aspect of being a disciple of Jesus is renouncing the self-life. “Let him deny himself.” This amounts to a refusal to attempt to develop a life that can be produced by natural human resources (which everyone inherits from Adam through physical birth). This is a repudiation of self-righteousness, self-sufficiency, self-help, self-exaltation, and the like. Our willingness to embrace this term of discipleship will be seen by a humble agreement with similar biblical pronouncements. “Make no provision for the flesh” (Rom_13:14). Those denying self are not wanting the flesh to have opportunities to indulge itself. “The flesh profits nothing” (Joh_6:63). Those who renounce self confess its total spiritual bankruptcy. We “have no confidence in the flesh” (Php_3:3). Those who repudiate the self-life do not want to place any hope in the spiritual resources of the flesh. “That no flesh should glory in His presence” (1Co_1:29). Those denying the self-life agree that nothing of the flesh can ever boast in itself before the Lord God almighty.

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, I want to relate rightly to You by following You as a disciple. I do not want my flesh to have any opportunity to indulge itself. I confess total spiritual bankruptcy in my flesh. I want to place no hope in my flesh. I agree that my flesh can never boast before You. I humbly renounce the self-life!

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


18 December 2016 Verse of the Day

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

                    Even More on Relating Rightly to the God of All Grace
The God of all grace . . . Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God . . . He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. (1Pe_5:10; 2Co_3:5; and Heb_8:6)

If we are going to live by grace as God intends, we must get to know “the God of all grace.” As we get to know Him, humility and faith develop in our lives. They are relational realities. They become real in our lives as a result of getting to know the Lord better and better. As we walk with the Lord in humble dependence, we are living by the grace of God. The Lord gives grace to the humble (1Pe_5:5 and Jas_4:6), and faith accesses grace (Rom_5:2; Rom_4:16). The scriptures indicate that there are many ways to relate rightly to the Lord in humility and faith. In our previous meditation, we saw that living by the Spirit and living by resurrection power are two examples of this truth. Now, we will consider two more examples.

Living by the sufficiency of God is a profound opportunity to relate to the Lord in humility and faith. This heavenly perspective begins with a declaration of our own inadequacy. “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves.” It is true that we disciples of Jesus Christ are so inadequate that we are unable to produce any of the Christian life ourselves. Jesus Himself taught this radical fact. “Without Me you can do nothing” (Joh_15:5). If we embrace this humbling truth, we are walking in humility before the Lord. The corresponding declaration points us to the source that we need. “But our sufficiency is from God.” Only God’s resources are sufficient to produce the kind of fruitful spiritual life that God calls us to live. Jesus taught this great truth as well. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit” (Joh_15:5). If we accept this encouraging truth, we are walking in faith toward the Lord.

Living by the promises of God offers another significant opportunity to relate to the Lord in humility and faith. “He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.” The promises of the old covenant of law (which are basically, “Do these commands, and you shall live”—see Lev_18:5) depend on man’s ability and faithfulness. The better promises of the new covenant of grace depend upon God’s ability and faithfulness. Abraham was “fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform” (Rom_4:21). Sarah “judged Him faithful who had promised” (Heb_11:11). It is humbling to know that we can’t perform well enough to enjoy the promises of the law. Contrariwise, it is faith building to know we can trust in the Lord to fulfill all His promises of grace.

Prayer:

Dear Lord of all grace, I humbly admit that I can only live by Your sufficiency and your promises. By faith, I look to You to do for me and in me what You alone can do, Amen.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


17 December 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 3:14 NASB  Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

The very first question that comes up is “what things” is this verse referring to?  So as we look at the previous verses, we find:
Colossians 3:12-13 NASB
(12)  So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;
(13)  bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

So, the Holy Word of God tells us to go beyond all these things.  In other words, He instructs us to go beyond compassion, go beyond kindness, go beyond humility, go beyond gentleness, go beyond patience, go beyond bearing with one another and go beyond forgiving each other and all of the rest. The Lord God of heaven and earth wants us to go beyond all of those things to reach the higher plane of love. 

Now I want you to notice the wording.  He says that He wants us to put on love.  Now we all know that when you put your clothes on, you wear them.  They become a part of you.  When you move they move.  They are a part of your every action and reaction.  But clothes do more than move with you.  They protect you.  They keep you warm.  They make you look good.  They even hide, to some extent, your defects and flaws.  Clothes come in many different styles, colors, shapes and sizes. 

And as we think about clothes, so we need to see that these same principles apply to love.  When love becomes a part of you, it becomes a part of your every action and reaction.  You don’t do things for spite or revenge.  You do them in love.  Everything you think about and do becomes loving actions…. Just like the clothes you wear.  Not only does love become a part of you but love also protects you.  When you put on love it is like putting on the armor of God: Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:11 NASB).  Not only does love protect you, it also makes you look good.  When you dress yourself in love, others love you in return, just like Tabitha: Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did (Acts 9:36 NASB).  She was loved by her friends.  That is why after she died, they sent for Peter to come lay his hands on her and she came back to life: But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up.  (Acts 9:40 NASB)
And he gave her his hand and raised her up; and calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive (Acts 9:41 NASB).

Love does a lot of things.  But to me, one of the greatest things it does is cover a multitude of sins: Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8 NASB).  In fact the Bible says: Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions (Proverbs 10:12 NASB).  I don’t know about you my friend, but I NEED ALL of my transgressions covered.

So let’s define love.  When I think of love, I think of God.  And when I go to Webster’s dictionary, of all the definitions and examples of love that it gives, only one stands out in my mind: Benevolence; good will. God is love. 1 John 4.  What does John 4 say about God’s love?
1 John 4:7-11 NASB
(7)  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
(8)  The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
(9)  By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
(10)  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
(11)  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

There is no way around it… If we are going to put on love, so that it shows the perfect bond of unity, then we are going to have to be doers of the Word.  Just as actions speak louder than words, our actions that are done in love will speak louder than anything we can say.  Let us be doers of the Word and not merely hearers.

Lord, please help me to put on the perfect bond of unity by showing love everywhere I go.  Help me to not only be kind to those about me but help me to be filled by your Spirit so that I can show love in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.  Lord, the only way I can ever show love all of the time is to be filled with your Spirit all of the time.  Lord, please help me and enable me to surrender my spirit to your Spirit.  Mold me, make me and use me for your holy and perfect will this day.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


16 December 2016 Verse of the Day

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

                                              Relating Rightly to the God of All Grace

The God of all grace . . . to the praise of the glory of His grace . . . the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . the Spirit of grace. (1Pe_5:10; Eph_1:6 and Heb_10:29)

Our Lord God is “the God of all grace.” God’s comprehensive and infinite grace is characteristic of all the Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). The Father will be honored forever for His grace, so we read: “to the praise of the glory of His grace.” The Son makes that grace available to all who believe, so it is called “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The Spirit applies that grace in the hearts of those who follow Jesus Christ, so He is called “the Spirit of grace.” Grace is found in God alone. Therefore, one must relate rightly to the God of all grace in order to receive all that He desires to give us in fulfilling His purposes and glorifying His name.

The fundamental manner for relating to the God of grace is the developing of a personal relationship. Getting to know God is what life with the Lord is all about. “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (Joh_17:3). In fact, knowing the Lord is man’s ultimate treasure in all of creation. Everything else that competes is to be considered as loss. “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Php_3:7-8). It is not surprising then that getting increasingly acquainted with the Lord is the way that His grace impacts our lives. “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (2Pe_1:2).

As we are getting to know the God of all grace more and more, He is developing in our lives two strategic relational realities: humility and faith. We have looked at these two spiritual qualities many times throughout our meditations. Repeated reflection on these two realities is appropriate, since they unfold the practical heart of living daily by God’s grace. “Be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble‘ ” (1Pe_5:5). God’s grace is given to those who “walk humbly with [their] God” (Micah 6:8). Likewise, faith accesses grace. “We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand” (Rom_5:2). Walking in humble dependence is the way to relate rightly to the God of all grace.

Prayer:

Dear God of all grace, I want to relate to You rightly that I might live daily by Your grace. Help me to know You more and more that humility and faith might develop in my life. I long to walk before You in humble dependence, in Jesus name, Amen.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


15 December 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 3:13 NASB  bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

Do people ever get on your nerves?  Do you sometimes wish that they would just leave you alone and let you do what you need to do?  Do you sometimes get upset because you just need to “think” and people keep interrupting you and asking you questions?  Well, my friend, if you feel that way sometimes, you are not alone…. Question is: Why do we feel that way and what are we to do about it?

Answer: We are human and we ALL feel that way from time to time.  Especially when we are trying to make important decisions and we keep getting interrupted by people around us and even loved ones who want to help us.  But the answer to the solution to “what we are to do about it” takes one of two roads.  One road, the low road, is the human way or the worldly way.  The other road, the high road, is the spiritual way or the Godly way.  Let’s think about these two roads.

How you act or react to various stimuli is a direct reflection of your spiritual state.  If you are worldly and have no spiritual spirit in you, then you become hostile when you are provoked.  You lash out at people and say things that maybe you don’t truly mean but you say them anyway.  Here is the unspiritual man from the scriptures: For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you (1 Corinthians 1:11 NASB).  for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?  (1 Corinthians 3:3 NASB).  For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you to be not what I wish and may be found by you to be not what you wish; that perhaps there will be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances (2 Corinthians 12:20 NASB).  The truth of the matter is this: Even though we may be Christians, we can sometimes be “walking in the flesh.”  We can be serving ourselves and not our Lord and Master.

But we who name the name of Jesus and have been born by the Spirit of the Living God, have another nature.  We have the “mind of Christ”  For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16 NASB).  We have the capability and the capacity to think and act differently than the world.  We have the ability to think, live and be just like our Lord and Master, the Lord Jesus Christ.  We have the ability to love when we aren’t loved.  We have the ability to give even though no one has given to us.  We have the ability to “live above our circumstances.”  And that is what our VOTD is all about.  It is about living above the wrongs that we have been wrong.  It is about living beyond the short sided revenge of the moment and looking to the future because we want to please our Lord.  It is all about living in the Spirit of Love your neighbor as yourself.

Now comes the hard part: How do we do what this verse is telling us to do when it says: bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you?  How do we NOT lash out in anger when we are provoked?  How do we NOT become worldly when we are put in a painful situation?  How do we just be like we should be as Christians and not worldly like so many people? 

Let me tell you a little secret: You can’t do battle if you haven’t prepared for the battle.  You and I need to realize that we are in a WAR.  Satan is doing his best to win each battle that we face.  He is strong and powerful.  He wants to conquer our spirits by putting us down and beating us up in every battle that we face.  But the scriptures tell us to: … because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4 NASB).  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts (Romans 13:14 NASB). 

Just as a warrior does not wait until the battle to prepare for the battle, so we who name the name of Christ MUST NOT wait until we are in the battle with Satan to overcome our emotions and feelings of anger and worldliness. There is only one way to be the victor in each and every battle that we face and that is to put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh.  How you ask?  Here it is: Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5 KJV).  Just as the warrior prepares for battle by stocking up on his war tools, you and I must “stock up” with our spiritual tools before the battles we face. 

How do we “stock up” and “prepare” for the battles that we will face?  There is only one way: We need to spend time with the Lord.  We need to let Him instruct us and influence our mind, our hearts, our will and our thinking.  Only when we are “filled with the Spirit” can we expect to overcome the flesh.  Only when we are walking by the Spirit of the Living God in us can we expect to be the victors in the battles of life.  Here is what we need:  And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:52 NASB).

The only way we are filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit is by becoming submissive to His Holy and Pure will.  It is only what we, who are His sheep, do when we hear His voice: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me (John 10:27 NASB).  Submission to Him is the only way to victory over the flesh.

 
Lord, I desperately need you in my life.  I need you to fill me with your spirit so that I may do battle with Satan and his demons and be the victor.  Lord, I am counting on you to fill me so that you can use me.  Lord, please make me into the man you want me to be so that you can do with me as you see best.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 



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