Verse of the Day

Daily Devotion 

By:  Bro. Bob Maynard
 

14 December 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 3:12 NASB  So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;

In Paul’s letters, he follows a format.  First, he states the principles and then he states the practical application of those principles.  Today we will start to look at the practical application of the principle of laying aside the old self and being renewed, that he has been talking about in the three previous verses:

Colossians 3:9-11 NASB
(9)  Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,
(10)  and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—
(11)  a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.

Now I want you to notice that it starts off with as those who have been chosen of God.  It makes no difference what your denomination is nor does it make any difference what your personal convictions are, if you are a Christian, then it is because God chose you.  The Bible clearly states the fact that our salvation starts with God’s choice.  You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you (John 15:16 NASB).  In fact, He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love (Ephesians 1:3-4 NASB).  God’s choice is a deep subject that has been and probably always will be debated by theologians forever.  But one fact remains: just because He chose us, the Bible never negates the fact that YOU are responsible to BELIEVE in Christ.  Remember: Without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please Him.  God does the choosing and you do the believing.  Choosing is God’s part and faith is our part.

Now then, we get down to the facts of the Christian faith.  If you are going to lay aside the old self with its evil practices and put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him, then what are you supposed to do?  If you want to have Christ be all, and in all, how are you supposed to think and act and do?  How are you supposed to live your life so that it pleases Him?  Paul gives us some very practical ways to live so that we can please our Lord and Master.  We want to look at each of these terms and see how to apply them in our daily lives: put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Let’s define them and then apply them.  As usual, Webster’s will be the source for our definitions:

Compassion:  A suffering with another; painful sympathy; a sensation of sorrow excited by the distress or misfortunes of another; pity; commiseration.

Kindness:  Good will; benevolence; that temper or disposition which delights in contributing to the happiness of others, which is exercised cheerfully in gratifying their wishes, supplying their wants or alleviating their distresses; benignity of nature.

Humility: 
In ethics, freedom from pride and arrogance; humbleness of mind; a modest estimate of one’s own worth. In theology, humility consists in lowliness of mind; a deep sense of one’s own unworthiness in the sight of God, self-abasement, penitence for sin, and submission to the divine will.

Gentleness: 
Softness of manners; mildness of temper; sweetness of disposition; meekness.

Patience: 
The suffering of afflictions, pain, toil, calamity, provocation or other evil, with a calm, unruffled temper; endurance without murmuring or fretfulness.

Let me remind you what Peter says: For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:8 NASB).  When it comes to the above qualities of life, none of these facets come to us naturally.  They are all developed by the Spirit of the Living God in us as we submit to His Lordship and His Leadership.  But the neat part about each one of these qualities of life is that they may be applied and even developed as we grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord.  But make no mistake about it, in order to apply any one of these attributes to any given situation takes personal effort for its application.  You can’t show compassion or kindness without thinking about it, and striving to let it be a part of you and your situation.  You can show gentleness or patience without your personal effort.  Jesus said it this way: “Strive to enter through the narrow door … (Luke 13:24 NASB).  You can’t strive without personal effort and application.  It doesn’t happen automatically and the Lord wants each of us to put our own efforts into being all that He wants us to be.

So, the bottom line is: Who do you chose to be today.  Will you humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and beseech Him to empower you to be the kind of person that our VOTD states that He wants you to be…???  Or will you ignore the Holy Spirit’s prompting and leadership and let your sin nature control your actions and reactions?  The choice is yours.  I pray that as Christ is formed in you, you will realize that Christ is all, and in all and that He wants you to put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Lord, please forgive me for my past sins, for those times that I have let my sin nature control my actions and reactions instead of letting your Spirit lead me.  Lord, please help me in the future to stop and think about your will in each and every situation and circumstance.  Lord, I want to be pleasing in your sight.  So Lord, I give myself to you this day.  Do with me as you see fit.  Lord, help me to always be a blessing to those around me.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


13 December 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 3:11 NASB  a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.

God wants every Christian to know what the new life in Christ is all about.  He wants each of us to understand where we stand in His kingdom.  He wants us all to know that He does not play favorites or have a “ranking” system in His kingdom.  There are no “slums” in His housing.  There are no ghettos.  There are no favorites.  That is why He says to us all that there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman.  We are all individual members in Christ and He says to us all that: Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it (1 Corinthians 12:27 NASB).

And just as we are individual members of Christ’s body, each of us need to realize that we all need to be renewed.  We need to put off the old self and put on the new man.  We need to understand that our … new self is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him (Colossians 3:10 NASB).  That is why our VOTD says that our renewal is all about Christ being all and in all.

When you drive some where you have a goal, you have a purpose, a plan and a destination.  You start out at point A and want to get to point B.  That is why you get into your car.  You want to change locations.  Well, the same principle holds true in Christ.  God has a goal, a purpose, and a plan for each individual, each member of Christ body.  He wants to transform them from what the sinful life has made them, into a new member in Christ.  Just as the car transports you to your new destination, so being in Christ transforms or renews a Christian into a new person.  New thoughts, new actions and new ways of living our lives.  And in this renewal there are no distinctions, no favorites or special groups that have greater privileges.  We are all on the same plane.  Because we are all sinners saved by grace of our Lord Jesus.

Now that we are all “one in Christ” we need to all see the point of what God is doing to us all.  We all need to come to the focal point that Christ is all, and in all.  It is all about Him and not about us.  He is the head of the body: He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything (Colossians 1:18 NASB).  It is His will that needs to be done and not ours.  It is His thoughts that are important and not ours.  It is His goals that need to become our goals.  Let’s face it: It is all about Christ.

So as we live our lives daily, we need to come to the realization that we need to be renewed in the very core of our being.  We need to start thinking the way Christ wants us to think so that we can start living the way He wants us to live.  That is why He gives us His Holy Word, to renew the way we think so that we can act and live the way He wants us to live.  Here is what His Holy Word says to each one of us about the renewal, the transformation of our sinful ways into our new person: Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:1-2 NASB).

God is working in every Christian’s life to transform or renew them into the individual that He wants them to be.  And as He does the transforming by the Word of God, we who are being transformed need to submit ourselves to His will by doing what His word says to each one of us.  We can’t do His will if we don’t know His will.  We need to come under His leadership by allowing His Holy Word to speak to us, to guide us and direct our thoughts and our actions.

So now comes the hard part: Will you take the time to allow God to transform or renew you into a new creature in which Christ is all and in all.  Will you take time to read your Bible and allow God to speak to you?  Will you allow Him to have the TIME to transform your thoughts into His thoughts?  You can only do that by taking time to read His Holy and Perfect Word.  If you will submit your will to His will, then He will transform you into that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Lord, I need you.  I want you.  I am nothing without you.  You are everything to me and I cannot live the Christian life without you.  Lord, please forgive me and change me into the individual you want me to be.  Lord, nothing is impossible with you.  You can do all things.  So Lord, I am beseeching you to make me into the man I should be.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


12 December 2016 Verse of the Day

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

                                       Courageous, Selfless Ministry by the Grace of God

But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Act_20:24)

Paul was given ministry by the grace of God. “I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me” (Eph_3:7). To put it another way, he received his ministry from the Lord: “the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus.” Paul’s bountiful ministry was developed by the grace of God. “I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1Co_15:10). Also, his ministry was to declare God’s grace: “to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Paul’s life demonstrates that such “grace saturated” service leads to courageous, selfless ministry.

Paul’s ministry was courageous. “But none of these things move me.” The things that Paul faced were formidable. “The Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me” (Act_20:23). Down through the centuries, matters less substantial than these have moved many a professing Christian from completing his calling. Yet, by leaning upon the sustaining grace of God, Paul courageously endured great hardship and danger in the service of the gospel of grace. “But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings” (2Co_6:4-5).

Related to this courageous service was Paul’s selflessness: “nor do I count my life dear to myself.” Soon, he would encounter another sober warning. It was given from a prophet of the Lord, who took Paul’s belt and bound his own hands and feet. “So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles” (Act_21:11). Those standing by, who loved Paul deeply, urged him not to proceed. Nevertheless, Paul confessed his willingness to even lose his life for the gospel, if necessary. “Then Paul answered, ‘What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus‘ ” (Act_21:13). Such renouncing of self allowed Paul to “finish [his] race with joy.” Thus his final testimony would become, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2Ti_4:7).

Prayer:

Jesus, my Lord and Master, You know the things that threaten to move me away from Your calling for me. You know the times I am tempted to hold my life dear, wanting to shrink back in a self-serving manner. Please saturate my life with Your grace that I might serve courageously and selflessly, Amen.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


11 December 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 3:10 NASB  and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him;

This verse is a continuation of the thought from the previous verse which says: Colossians 3:9 NASB  Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices.  Both of these verses together echo what the Christian life is all about: Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come (2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB).

Have you ever gone shopping for new shirt or blouse?  Of course you have.  How about a new coat?  Even though the tag says it is your size, what do you have to do?  You have to go into the dressing room, take off your coat you are wearing and “try it on.”  Why?  To see if it “fits.”  How do you know if it fits?  Well, you look at yourself in the mirror.  You move around in it.  You stretch your arms and back to see if it is too tight or too lose.  If you have someone with you, you might go out and ask them “how you look.”  The new “look” is all about perception, feel and style. You not only want to be warm in your new coat, but you want to look good also.

Now let’s transfer those thoughts over to the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.  When you come to Christ and are born by the Spirit of the living God, the old self, your old way of doing things need to be laid aside just like the old coat.  Just as you can’t wear two coats, you can’t have two natures.  As you go outside into the cold, you are either wearing the old coat or you are wearing the new coat.  So it is also, when you go out into the cold sin filled world, you are either walking in your old ways of trusting yourself or you are trusting Christ.  You are either wearing the old self with its evil practices or you are putting on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.  Now here is a warning: Just as the old coat is comfortable because you have warn it for so long, so also is the old self is comfortable because you have lived that way for many years.  But remember: Your comfort DOES NOT equal spirituality nor does it necessarily please God the Father or the Lord Jesus Christ.  Learning is never easy and sometimes it is very difficult just like a new coat is sometimes difficult to get used to.  Jesus said it this way about putting on the new self: “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple (Luke 14:27 NASB).  Jesus never called us to a life of ease and comfort but to a life of carrying our own cross.  And sometimes that can get hard as well as uncomfortable.

So the question comes to mind: How are we supposed to put on the new self?  What is the process?  How do we do it?  What is the secret?  Well, to me there is no “secret.”  In fact, the answer to those questions is stated very clearly in our VOTD when it says that we put on the new self by simply understanding the fact that we are renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.  When you think about something being renewed, what do you think about?  When you put on a new coat, then you are renewed because it has new warmth capabilities.  It can block out the cold.  It can insulate you and keep you safe from the cold.  So it is with the person in Christ.  Just as you feel warm in your new coat even though it is cold outside, so in Christ you can feel the love and warmth because you know you are safe and secure in His arms as He protects you from the “evil one.”  You put on the new self by putting your FAITH in Him.

But my friend, you as a Christian need to fell more than just safe.  You need to understand that “in Christ” you are “kept safe” by the one who has all power in heaven and earth.  And to understand that we need to renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.  Just as you can’t know how warm a coat will keep you until you wear it in the cold, so you can’t know what Christ can do “in and through you” until you gain a true knowledge of how He works in and through you in the real “sin filled world.”  You have to “wear Him” by putting you faith in Him in the cold environment that you live in.  You have to “trust Him” and let Him live in you to gain a true knowledge and see how He works. Knowledge comes from experience and He needs your faith, trust and love in order to “work” in your life.  Without it, He can’t do His miracles in your life: And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief (Matthew 13:58 NASB).

Just as you “break in” your new coat by wearing it, so also you need to “get comfortable” with Jesus by allowing Him to lead in your life.  He needs the freedom to “do His own thing.”  As He leads and guides you by the power of the Holy Spirit in you, all you can do is TRUST AND OBEY, because there is NO OTHER WAY. 

When we walk with the Lord
  In the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way;
  While we do His good will,
  He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey,
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus,
But to trust and obey.

The only question to be answered: Is will you TRUST AND OBEY HIM?

Lord, I want to trust and obey you in all things.  But Lord, fear is a powerful motive in my life.  Lord, help me to not fear those who can kill the body.  But help me to fear you who has the power of life and death.  Lord, I want to be the man that I should be but Lord so many, many times I see how short I come from that goal.  Lord, help me to trust you in all things.  Help me to obey you in all that I think, say and do.  Lord, make me into the man I should be.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


10 December 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 3:9 NASB  Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,

This one sin is singled out from among the rest from the previous verse: Colossians 3:8 NASB  But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.  And to me, the reason that it is singled out is for no other reason than it is so easy for us to do.  Lying is part of our old self along with its evil practices that cause hurt, pain, sorrow and suffering.  Jesus says to all believers: So Jesus was saying … “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31-32 NASB).  So if we as believers are to know the truth so that the truth will make us free, what do we have to do?  We have to continue in the Word, the Bible.  Which brings the first question to mind:  What does God’s Holy Word say about lying?  Here are just some verses that condemn it:

‘You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another (Leviticus 19:11 NASB).

For He said, “Surely, they are My people, Sons who will not deal falsely.” So He became their Savior (Isaiah 63:8 NASB).

You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44 NASB).

Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another (Ephesians 4:25 NASB).

“But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”  (Revelation 21:8 NASB).

Based upon God’s pure and Holy Word, It is clear to me that lying is due to our submitting ourselves to our old self with its evil practices.  It is equally clear to me that we are to put on our new self which is created in purity and holiness.  In an effort to understand what our “new self” is to be like, I want us to think about it for a little bit.  The following thoughts come from the Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury: The Colossians are completely reconciled (Col_1:21); established and firm (Col_1:23); walking in Christ (Col_2:6); firmly established in the faith (Col_2:7); made complete (Col_2:10); complete removal of moral depravity (Col_2:11); buried with Christ (Col_2:12); made alive with Christ (Col_2:13); raised up with Christ (Col_3:1); did put to death sins (Col_3:5); used to live in sin, but not anymore (Col_3:7-8); having put off the old man with his practices (Col_3:9); having put on the new man (Col_3:10).

The bottom line is this: The choice is ours.  We either chose to lie or not to lie.  But in the end we need to remember one fact that Jesus told us: But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. “Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops (Luke 12:2-3 NASB).  And when we lie and do not speak the truth we are doing exactly what Satan wants us to do and not what Jesus wants us to do: … you want to do the desires of your father… Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

The only way NOT to lie, is to make a covenant with God to always by His grace and His enablement tell the truth.  Will you make the covenant?  Will you submit to His Lordship?  Will you allow Him to lead you in the path of Righteousness?

Lord, I know that lying is wrong and I do not want to do it either by word, deed or actions.  Lord, I don’t want to give false impressions nor be someone that I am not.  Lord, help me to always be true to you.  Lord, help me to always speak the truth in love.  Lord, help me to realize that the only way I can ever live the Christian life is to live in complete submission to your Spirit in me.  Lord, please enable me and use me this day.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


9 December 2016 Verse of the Day

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

                                                    More on the Boldness of Grace

I have written more boldly to you on some points . . . because of the grace given to me by God . . . Great is my boldness of speech toward you. (Rom_15:15 and 2Co_7:4)

When the grace of God is at work in the lives of His people, spiritual boldness is a common result. This was clearly the testimony of the early church. “They spoke the word of God with boldness . . . And great grace was upon them all” (Act_4:31, Act_4:33).

The Apostle Paul experienced this same boldness, as he ministered by the grace of God. “I have written more boldly to you on some points . . . because of the grace given to me by God.” Paul’s letters often displayed the boldness of grace. Romans was no exception. As he applied the radical truths of the gospel of grace (given in the earlier chapters of Romans), he spoke with characteristic boldness. His exhortation to lay our lives on God’s altar is a prime example. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom_12:1-2). His call to be clothed in Christ, leaving no room for fleshly tendencies, is another notable instance. “Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in licentiousness and lewdness, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Rom_13:13-14). His pronouncement concerning the Lord’s ownership of our lives is one more illustration. “For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s” (Rom_14:8).

When Paul wrote the saints at Corinth, the boldness of grace was again evident. “Great is my boldness of speech toward you.” Just prior to this confession of boldness, he had given a radical request concerning godly separation from the defilements of the world. “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God” (2Co_6:14-16).

Prayer:

Dear Father, I praise You for the radical nature of You and Your truth. I thank You for the boldness that Your grace can bring into lives. By Your grace at work in me, cause me to think, pray, speak, and act in godly boldness. For Your glory, grant me, I pray, a boldness that is confident, but not arrogant; daring, but not reckless; uncompromising, but not harsh; unrelenting, but not insensitive; fearless, but not unloving.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


8 December 2016 Verse of the Day

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

                                                              The Boldness of Grace

Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word . . . and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, 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_4:29, Act_4:31, Act_4:33)

Those who serve God acceptably, must do so by grace. “Let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably” (Heb_12:28). Those who serve by grace find that the boldness of grace develops in their lives.

The early church gave testimony to this reality. Soon after Jesus’ ascension and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the disciples were boldly proclaiming Jesus throughout Jerusalem. This was extremely aggravating to the religious leaders: “being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead” (Act_4:2). When they arrested the disciples, Peter boldly preached Jesus before the Jewish authorities. “This [Jesus] is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Act_4:11-12). This bold application of prophecy and proclamation of the gospel astonished the religious establishment. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John . . . they marveled” (Act_4:13). Yet, in their hardness of heart, they further threatened the disciples. Being released, they gathered the church to pray for continued boldness. “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word.” The answer to this prayer was another filling with the Spirit, resulting in further boldness. “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” This filling of the Holy Spirit brought great measures of God’s grace actively at work upon their lives, sustaining this powerful witness of the risen Christ. “And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.”

This is the boldness of the new covenant of grace. “Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech” (2Co_3:12). This hope is new covenant confidence, which is part of the abundant life that the God brings us by His Spirit of grace: “who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2Co_3:6).

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I need this same boldness in my life. Too often, I am hesitant and apprehensive concerning my testimony of You and Your truths. Please fill me afresh with Your Spirit that I might minister in the boldness of Your grace, Amen.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


7 December 2016 Verse of the Day

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

                                            Grace for Serving the Lord Acceptably

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. (Heb_12:28)

We who follow Jesus dwell in a unique kingdom, the kingdom of God. “For our citizenship is in heaven” (Php_3:20). In order to serve the Lord acceptably, we must learn to serve in a unique, heavenly manner—by grace.

We all began in a different kingdom than the Lord’s. We were under the powerful influence of spiritual darkness. We existed in a realm devoid of true love. Then, our great God rescued us, bringing us into a kingdom of light and love: “giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Col_1:12-13). Furthermore, in that former kingdom, we were easily threatened by every manner of instability. Our lives were built upon the sand of philosophical speculations and human inadequacies. Now, we are in “a kingdom which cannot be shaken.” We entered this kingdom by the rock solid provision of grace, and we stand in this same grace today: “justified freely by His grace . . . we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand” (Rom_3:24; Rom_5:2). When circumstances change, we need not be shaken. Our King and His grace are constantly available and always sufficient. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb_13:8).

When we received the King as our Lord and Savior (see Joh_1:12), the full resources of His kingdom became our portion forever. God “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph_1:3). Yet, in a profound sense, we are still receiving His kingdom. “We are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken.” This process of receiving is comprised of practical appropriation of His kingdom provisions, by faith. The provision of grace is especially strategic, since this is how we serve God acceptably. “Let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably.” We are called to serve our King. We cannot serve Him by merely attempting to do the best we can. That would be law performance, energized by the flesh. We need to have grace as our empowering resource, just as the early church had. “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). Desiring to minister by grace allows our service to flow forth acceptably as worship unto the Lord: “with reverence and godly fear.”

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, my King, I praise You for bringing me into Your unshakable kingdom. I want to serve You acceptably—having my service arise to You from a worshiping heart. So, I humbly look to You to fill my life with Your grace, in Your name, Amen.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


6 December 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 3:8 NASB  But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.

This is not the only place in God’s Holy and Pure Word that He says to us that we need to change from our old ways.  Here are some other verses that say basically the same thing, that we need to “put off the old self”:  that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth (Ephesians 4:22-24 NASB).  Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1 NASB).  Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls (James 1:21 NASB).  Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation (1 Peter 2:1-2 NASB).

Let’s define some terms that are in our current VOTD.  As usual, we will use Webster’s to define the terms:

Anger: A violent passion of the mind excited by a real or supposed injury; usually accompanied with a propensity to take vengeance, or to obtain satisfaction from the offending party. This passion however varies in degrees of violence, and in ingenuous minds, may be attended only with a desire to reprove or chide the offender.  Anger is also excited by an injury offered to a relation, friend or party to which one is attached; and some degrees of it may be excited by cruelty, injustice or oppression offered to those with whom one has no immediate connection, or even to the community of which one is a member. Nor is it unusual to see something of this passion roused by gross absurdities in others, especially in controversy or discussion. Anger may be inflamed till it rises to rage and a temporary delirium.

Wrath: Violent anger; vehement exasperation; indignation.

Malice:
Extreme enmity of heart, or malevolence; a disposition to injure others without cause, from mere personal gratification or from a spirit of revenge; unprovoked malignity or spite.

Slander: 
A false tale or report maliciously uttered. and tending to injure the reputation of another by lessening him in the esteem of his fellow citizens, by exposing min to impeachment and punishment, or by impairing his means of lining; defamation. Slander, that worst of poisons, ever finds an easy entrance to ignoble minds.

Abusive speech:  This definition comes from the Believer’s Bible Commentary: shameful speaking, and describes that which is lewd, indecent, or corrupt. It is disgraceful, impure language.

All of these terms are things that originate from our sin nature, the old man, the natural man, the person that you used to be without Christ.  But now that you are “in Christ” you now have the ability.  And Christ “in you” gives you the desire to “put them all aside.”  You have the desire and the capability to be a new creature in Christ Jesus.  But the question comes as to: How can I do what the Bible tells me to do?  How can I be the man or woman that God commands me to be?  How can I live a Holy and Pure life especially since I have a tendency to do the very opposite that God wants me to do?

There is only one way.  There is only one word that describes the way to a pure and holy life that Christ has enabled you to walk.  What is the word?  The word is: DEPENDENCE.  Faith in Christ is believing in Him that He can do it.  DEPENDENCE is faith in action.  It is the reliance on Him and the trusting in Him that He can do all that He has called you to do.  When you come to a narrow one lane bridge that goes across a canyon, you have to have faith that the bridge will hold you up.  But when you walk on that narrow one lane bridge across the canyon, you are depending on that bridge to hold you up.  You are putting your faith into action by your DEPENDENCE.  Remember: … faith without works is dead (James 2:26 NASB).

So here is the process, the way to be dependent on Christ to enable you to live a holy and pure life. 
1.  First, realize, know and understand that Christ does not want you to have anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech.
2.  Next, when you know in your spirit that anyone of those ways is starting to crop up in your life… Start praying, asking, seeking and even begging the Lord in prayer to enable you to NOT be that way.  Remember He says:  “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it (John 14:13-14 NASB).
3.  Thirdly, start looking for a way of escape so that you may be able to endure the temptation:  No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13 NASB).
4.  Next, when the Lord, through the power of the Holy Spirit in you, shows you the way of escape, then JUST DO IT.  He will not force you but you have to walk the way of PEACE.  It is up to you to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. 
5.  Finally, give Him the thanks and praise His Holy Name because He and He alone enabled you to be the person that He wants you to be.  He is the ONLY reason that you can do the things that you have been able to do.  Give Him all the praise and glory…!!!

Lord, help me to be the man you want me to be.  Lord, without you I can do nothing.  Lord, I don’t want to be angry or anything else that you don’t want me to be.  I want to be loving, kind and good just like you were when you walked this earth.  Lord, please use me this day to do your pure and holy will. Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


5 December 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 3:7 NASB  and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.

First off, we need to see and remind ourselves what this verse is referring to when it says in them you also once walked.  Here is what it is referring to: Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience (Colossians 3:5-6 NASB).  Our current VOTD is referring to our old life, our old habits and our old practices.  What is the opposite of OLD life?  Why, NEW life obviously.  Which brings to mind a verse that says it all: Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB).  Here is the way the Old Testament says the same principle: “Behold, the former things have come to pass, Now I declare new things; Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you.”  (Isaiah 42:9 NASB).

Now the first question that comes to mind is: How has my life changed since I became a Christian?  As we look at ourselves in the mirror of our past life and compare our present actions, the question that we need to ask ourselves is: How am I different?  Maybe a better question is: Am I different?  If I am different, how am I different?  Now let’s take it a step farther.  How much, if any, have I changed to become more Christ-like in the past year?  Wow…!!! What a sobering thought!  Am I becoming more Christ-like?  Am I growing in grace and knowledge of my Lord and Master?  Am I progressing forward in my faith or am I stagnated?  Or worse yet, am I falling back into my old ways and habits of sin and shame?

Here is a principle that we can NOT do: Compare ourselves with others.  You cannot look at the speck in your brother’s eye and think of yourself as better than them.  Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand (Romans 14:4 NASB).  We each must judge ourselves.  But a man must examine himself …  (1 Corinthians 11:28 NASB).

So there is only one of two outcomes when we look at ourselves and reflect on our past and compare it with our present to see if we are growing in grace and knowledge of our Lord.  We can either see ourselves growing closer to the Lord or we can see ourselves as NOT growing and maybe even digressing.  Now if you see yourself as growing, PRAISE GOD.  Give thanks to His Holy Name for He is the One who has blessed and enabled you: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3 NASB).

But if for some reason, as you look back and think about your life and your actions in the recent past and feel that they are not what they should be, what are we to do?  How do you get from the place where you are to the place where you need to be to please your Lord and Master?  Well first of all, we need to remember and recognize that it is IMPOSSIBLE for me to live the Christ-filled life without Christ as my Lord and Master.  I am the vine, you are the branches: he who is in me at all times as I am in him, gives much fruit, because without me you are able to do nothing (John 15:5 BBE).  Now you might be asking yourself: Why?  Why can I not do anything to please God?  Here it is stated in plain English: Because the mind of the flesh is opposite to God; it is not under the law of God, and is not able to be: So that those who are in the flesh are not able to give pleasure to God (Romans 8:7-8 BBE).  In is a simple fact of life:  You can’t please God if you are living outside of Christ and not obedient to His will because you don’t have the ability to understand or do what God wants.  It is like trying to go across the lake and a rowboat without any oars.  There is nothing there to get the job done the way it should be done.

So if my life is like the rowboat without the oars, how do I get it to where it should be?  What do I need to do?  Here it is from Holy Scriptures: ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13 NASB).  So the very first step in getting our lives back on tract, is to seek for the Lord with all of our hearts.  Again, you ask: How do we do that?  How do we seek the Lord with all of our hearts?  The only place I know to start is the same place the Bible tells us to start.  ‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you (Jeremiah 29:12 NASB).  Repentance and prayer is the very first step.

I believe that there is many, many Christians out there that need “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:19 NASB).  And until we do, we will continue down the wrong path.  We need to see ourselves like the prodigal son.  We need to come to our senses and do just like he did: “But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!  (Luke 15:17 NASB).  We need to realize that our heavenly Father is longing for us to come have fellowship with Him.  He will run and embrace us when we repent and return to Him: … But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him (Luke 15:20 NASB).

Question is: If you need to get closer to Christ, will you repent and return to the master of your soul?  … Our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (Jude 1:4 NASB).

Lord, I will be the first to admit that I am not what I want to be.  I want to be closer.  I want to be cleaner.  I want to be holy in your sight.  I want to be doing only those things that are pleasing in your sight.  Lord, so many, many times I fail you.  But Lord, I am hopeful that in the future, as I submit to you that I may grow closer and closer to you.  I want you to be pleased to do your good will through me.  Lord, please change me into the man that I should be.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 



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