Verse of the Day

Daily Devotion 

By:  Bro. Bob Maynard
 

4 December 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 3:6 NASB  For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience,

In our VOTD, we are reminded again that it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31 NASB).  Every Christ-following Christian believes that God has the power and ability to do anything He so chooses.  We talk a lot about His love, goodness and mercy but there is the opposite site that we need to think about this morning.  And that is the wrath of God.  And just as there are no limits to His love and mercy as well as His grace, so also there is no ending and no limits to His wrath.  That is why the Bible talks about His wrath with terms like: “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever … (Revelation 14:11 NASB).  And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever (Revelation 20:10 NASB).

So the question comes to mind: Why?  Why does a loving, merciful and wonderful God pour out His wrath?  What motivates Him to torment forever and ever.  Well, it comes down to one basic fact in life.  One word means the difference between living eternally in bliss and love and living eternally in torment.  What is that one word?  It is stated very clearly in our VOTD when it says the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedienceYes, it is because of our disobedience that the wrath of God will come.  And it will come not just on the devil and his followers.  It will come on the sons of disobedience. 

So now the question is: What does the Bible mean when it uses the term disobedience?  Webster’s is our source: Neglect or refusal to obey; violation of a command or prohibition; the omission of that which is commanded to be done, or the doing of that which is forbid; breach of duty prescribed by authority.  Non-compliance.  In very simple terms, disobedience is the refusal to obey God’s will.  Plain and simple. 

Let’s read what Jesus said on the subject of how to get into heaven.  What is the key?  What is the secret?  How do we get to experience a life of eternal bliss?  Well, Jesus says to us: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ (Matthew 7:21-23 NASB).  Here it is again, those who DON’T PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS but does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter the kingdom of heaven.  And those who practice disobedience will be thrown into the lake of fire forever and ever.  And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15 NASB).

In the end, on the last day your salvation comes down to one question of: Did you obey or were you disobedient?  Disobedient to what, you ask.  Were you disobedient to the will of God as He states it so very clearly in His Holy Word, the Bible?  What is His will?  Here it is: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16 NASB).  He states it over and over, again and again in many ways so that we will get the point that God’s will is that we believe in His Son.  Anything that goes against faith in Him is disobedience.  Here are a few verses that talk about believing in Him: 

John 3:14-15 NASB
(14)  “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;
(15)  so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.

John 6:40 NASB
(40)  “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

Acts 10:43 NASB  “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”

Romans 10:11 NASB  For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”

When we DON’T believe in Him we are practicing disobedience.  We are doing the wrong thing. We are doing the very OPPOSITE thing that God wants for us.  We are believing that God doesn’t love us and care for us.  We all need to become convinced that God does love us by simply believing in Him.  And when we believe in Him then we obey Him.  And when we obey Him we are practicing the exact opposite of disobedience.  We are practicing obedience.  When we do believe in Him and obey the way God wants us to, then we can know and understand what Paul means when he says: For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39 NASB).

Lord, help me to believe in you and to be obedient to your will, your way and your word.  Lord, I want to be pleasing to you in all that I say and do.  Not only for just this one day but for every day henceforth.  I want to be obedient to all that you say in your Holy Word.  I want to please you so that you can smile when you think about me and the things I am doing.  Lord, please lead me in the path of righteousness.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


3 December 2016 Verse of the Day

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

                                                  More on Continuing in the Word of His Grace

I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance . . . receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. (Act_20:32 and Jas_1:21)

Paul’s exhortation to followers of Jesus Christ was to “continue in the faith” (Act_14:22). “The faith” (in which we are to continue) is the word of God. Paul later called it “the word of His grace.” Since God’s word is permeated with His grace, it is able to do glorious things in our lives.

James wrote of “the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” God wants to plant His word into human hearts that the word might bear fruit therein. This is how the Lord began His work in us: “having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1Pe_1:23). By communicating His word to us (through preaching, teaching, witness, or evangelism), God sowed the incorruptible, eternal seed of “the word of His grace” in our lives. As we believed on Him, the seed of the word germinated in our hearts unto everlasting life. Now, the Lord wants to continue sowing His life-giving seed into our lives that we might grow, mature, and abound in Him.

Our role involves a humble receptivity of His word. “Receive with meekness the implanted word.” We are to continually take in the scriptures with a sense of urgent, personal need. Such an attitude would indicate agreement with the words of Jesus. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Mat_4:4). We cannot truly continue in grace without regularly partaking of “the word of His grace.” If we humbly take in God’s word consistently, the grace of God at work through the word will demonstrate the transforming power of the Bible: “which is able to save your souls.” This delivering work of the scriptures is not limited to justification (that is, saving us from the guilt and condemnation of sin). It also includes sanctification (that is, saving us from the tempting and controlling influence of sin in daily living). Jesus prayed for His followers concerning this sanctifying work of the word of God. “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (Joh_17:17). God’s word is able to make our lives all that He wants them to be: “the word of His grace, which is able.”

Prayer:

Lord God, giver of life, I thank You for planting in my heart the life-giving seed of Your word. I praise You for the changes Your word has already brought into my life. Now, I long to continue partaking of the word of Your grace, which is able to deliver my soul from all that is diminishing and destructive to all that is edifying and sanctifying, Amen.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


2 December 2016 Verse of the Day

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

                                                  Continuing in the Word of His Grace

And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith . . . And now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace. (Act_14:21-22; Act_20:32)

The Lord desires for us to continue in a growing relationship with Him, continuing to draw more and more upon His grace: “continue with the Lord . . . continue in the grace of God” (Act_11:23; Act_13:43). One vital aspect of this process is to be continuing in the word of His grace.

As Paul and his missionary team passed through Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch (in Pisidia), they urged the disciples there to “continue in the faith.” “The faith” is often used in the scriptures to refer to the revealed truth of God (in which we are to place our faith). Jude wrote in this manner. “I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jud_1:3). Thus, the word of God is “the faith.” Consequently, the call to “continue in the faith” was an exhortation to live by abiding in the word of God.

Later, when Paul was visiting the church leaders from Ephesus for the last time, he entrusted them unto the care of the Lord and His word. In doing this, he referred to the scriptures as “the word of His grace.” Grace characterizes the word of God. Grace permeates the word of God. Grace flows from the word of God. It is in the scriptures that we learn of God’s grace. There we learn of what it is (the Lord’s undeserved riches, poured out freely for our justification, sanctification, and glorification). There we learn of our great need for grace (a desperate, comprehensive, continual need). Also, in the word we learn of how we can access it (through humble dependence upon the Lord).
If we are going to continue in grace as the Lord desires, we must continue in the word of His grace. We will want to read it prayerfully day by day. We will want to study it regularly for increased understanding. We will want to meditate upon it often for growing implications and applications. Above all, we will want to be in the word consistently that we might get to know the Christ of the word. In knowing Him more, His mighty grace will properly impact our lives.

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, I thank you for the word of Your grace. Please forgive me for any times when I did not grant Your word the place that it deserves. I want to continue in it day by day. Please stir in my heart a growing hunger for Your word, in Your holy name, Amen.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


1 December 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 3:5 NASB  Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.

Before we can jump into our current VOTD, we need to see how we got to this point because the verse starts off with: Therefore. 
Colossians 3:1-4 NASB
(1)  Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
(2)  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
(3)  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
(4)  When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

Because you have been raised up with Christ and because you are constantly and consistently seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God and because you have set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth and because you know that you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God and due to the fact that when Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory, therefore because of all of these facts you can do the following: consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.

Now our current VOTD revolves around one basic fact and that is we as believers need to consider the members of your earthly body as dead to…  So what does it mean to consider?  How do we do it?  What does it involve?  How is it put into effect?  What are the ramifications of it?  Where does the power come from to do it?  All these questions revolve around this one little word.  So it is vital that we know what this word means.  Webster’s says of it: To fix the mind on, with a view to a careful examination; to think on with care; to ponder; to study; to meditate on.  And then it gives us some examples: Hast thou considered my servant Job? Job 1.  Consider the lilies of the field how they grow. Mat 6.  So, we can say that when we consider something we look on something or think about something with a purpose to apply the principles of it to our lives as Christians. 

When I consider Job, then I think about what happened to him and then I think about the end result.  What happened to Job?  He lost everything!  I mean EVERYTHING.  Disaster doesn’t even begin to describe what happened to him: He lost his sons and daughters, his crops destroyed and land was decimated.  His wealth and lively hood were gone.  And to top it off: His body was racked with pain from boils all over his body.  And to top it off: He had three “friends” trying to get him to admit that it was all due to sin in his life, which it wasn’t.  What happened to Job in the end?  The LORD restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the LORD increased all that Job had twofold.  (Job 42:10 NASB)

So why do we need to consider Job and his sufferings and his end result.  I believe that we need to consider him because of what the rest of our VOTD says: dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.  Job did the right thing as the Bible tells us that through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God (Job 1:22 NASB). 

Let’s face the facts of the Christian life.  God ALLOWS us to be tempted.  We all have temptations and some temptations are stronger than others.  Some are more tempted by immorality than they are by greed.  Some are more tempted by impurity than they are by passion.  But they are all temptations.  And if we consider what happened to Job and his outcome, it will help us to … be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might (Ephesians 6:10 NASB).  None of us can do what the Lord has called on us to do in our own strength.  We are not strong enough to fight the devil and his temptations alone.  We all need the Lord to enable us and strengthen us.  So as we consider who we are and who we belong to and what the Lord has called on us to do (resist ALL temptations) we come to the realization that we cannot do what the Lord wants us to do without His strength and enablement.

So the next time that you or I are tempted by immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed we need to consider:  Who we are: you have been raised up with Christ and what He wants us to do: keep seeking the things above by setting our minds on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.  And the only way we can do that is to depend on Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). 

Lord, please help me this day to turn away from the sin that so easily besets me.  Lord, I need your strength and your power.  I need to humble myself under your hand so that you can raise me up at the proper time.  Lord, I ask that you might use me this day for your good will and purpose.  Lord, please make me the man that you want me to be.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


30 November 2016 Verse of the Day

Today’s Verse of the Day is a continuation from yesterday’s VOTD and it comes from Day-By-Day By Grace from the pen of Bob Hoekstra.  I have added some of my thoughts at the end of his devotion.

                                         Jesus’ Example of Grace Developing Our Lives

And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him . . . And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. (Luk_2:40, Luk_2:52)

In our previous devotional, we looked at the suffering that prepares us for God’s grace to work in our lives, developing us spiritually. Jesus was given as the primary example of this truth. In our present verses, we see Jesus as the example of grace developing our lives comprehensively.

When the Son of God came into the world as a man, He laid aside the independent exercise of His deity: “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant” (Php_2:6-7). He then developed as any man should (except, He was without sin). “And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom.” Jesus grew in spiritual strength, as the Lord wants us to do: “strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy” (Col_1:11). The wisdom of the Father began to permeate His life, as He also desires for us: “that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Col_1:9). When Jesus was twelve years old, His spiritual maturity and wisdom were evident, as He discussed the faith with the leaders of Israel. His parents “found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers” (Luk_2:46-47).

Jesus continued to develop in spiritual maturity, pleasing His heavenly Father and impacting the people. “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased . . . Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught. And the Jews marveled, saying, ‘How does this Man know letters, having never studied?’ ” (Mat_17:5 and Joh_7:14-15). The Lord wants our walk with Him and our testimony before others to grow, just as in Jesus’ life. “Walk as children of light . . . proving what is acceptable to the Lord . . . that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Eph_5:8, Eph_5:10 and Php_2:15).

In Jesus’ life, this godly progress was accomplished by the grace of God at work: “and the grace of God was upon Him.” So it is to be in our lives.

My thoughts on this devotion are this: What prevents us from developing as Christ-followers like God wants us to develop?  I believe there is only one thing that stops our development and that is the choices we make.  As the Bible says to us: “Walk as children of light . . . proving what is acceptable to the Lord . . . that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Eph_5:8, Eph_5:10 and Php_2:15) and when we don’t walk as children of light it is due to the choices we make.  Well, now the question is this: Why do we make the wrong choices?  It is because we are “tempted” to make the wrong choice.  There are only two choices: The right choice (God’s way) or the wrong choice (Satan’s way).  There are no other options.  There are no other choices.  There is no middle ground and there is no free zone.  There are no pull-outs or stopping places.  You have to keep living life.  It is either the “right” way or the “wrong” way for every decision you make.  It is just like driving your car on the road through a tunnel.  You are either going one way or you are going the other way.  And you are in traffic so you can’t stop.  But “U-Turns” are allowed. 

Why would you want to make a “U-Turn”?  What do you do when you look at a map and see that you are going the wrong way to get to your destination?  You simply do a U-Turn and go the correct direction.  What is your spiritual map?  Your spiritual map is the Holy Bible and God the Holy Spirit applies its principles to your heart and mind when you read it. He enables you to see the direction your life is going by applying God’s Holy Word to the decisions you have made in the past.  He tells your spirit whether you have been making the right decisions or if you have made some wrong decisions.

So how do I make the “right decisions”?  You simply “ask and you will receive.”  “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”  (Matthew 21:22 NASB).  You simply ask the Lord for His thoughts, His guidance on what you should do and then you step out in FAITH on what He wants you to do.  You trust Him to lead you and guide you.  You depend on Him.  He will never, EVER fail you.  You can ALWAYS count on Him.  He will always enable you to make the “right choice” so that you can grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen (2 Peter 3:18 NASB).

Prayer:

O God of all grace, work in my life, as You did with Your Son, Jesus. Strengthen me spiritually and fill me with Your wisdom. Deepen my walk with You and increase the spiritual impact that I have on others, for Your pleasure and glory.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


29 November 2016 Verse of the Day

Something new for the Verse of the Day.  From time to time when I feel that the Holy Spirit is leading me to do so, I will share with you a Daily Devotional that comes from another source.  And of course, I will share with you who that source is when I do.  I am doing this because I believe that I am being led to do so and because there are many Daily Devotionals out there that are not only free to quote but are excellent Spiritual ideas to share with you all. 

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

                           The Suffering that Prepares Us for Grace

But may the God of all grace . . . after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. (1Pe_5:10)

In our previous meditation, we saw that “the God of all grace” wants to develop our lives spiritually. He wants to use His exceedingly abundant grace to “perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle” us. Now, we will examine the useful (though often undesired) suffering that prepares us for this work of grace.

Yes, suffering is often the link between the work God wants to do in us and the abundant grace that He will use to effect the work: “after you have suffered a while.” Even as the perfect, sinless man, the Son of God learned valuable lessons through suffering. “Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered” (Heb_5:8). He experienced the agonies that can be involved in obeying God while dwelling in a rebellious, sinful world. He is the full example of godliness, and we are called to follow Him. “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1Pe_2:21). If we are willing to walk the path of godliness, we will suffer as well. “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2Ti_3:12). Such trials and sufferings are normal and purposeful. “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you” (1Pe_4:12). Painful trials seem strange, but they routinely come to test and exercise our faith.

God gives grace to the humble. Trials and suffering humble our hearts and stir us to cry out to the Lord for His necessary grace. This direct link between suffering and grace can be seen in Paul’s most persistent trial of suffering. “Lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me . . . Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me” (2Co_12:7-8). Paul’s difficulty moved him to earnestly plead with the Lord for His intervention. The Lord responded by His grace. “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me’ ” (2Co_12:9). Paul did not receive the healing grace that he sought. However, he experienced the sustaining grace that God often chooses to impart in times of suffering. Through His grace, God changed Paul’s heart, not his circumstances.

Prayer:

O God of all grace, make me willing to endure the suffering that is necessary to prepare my heart for the transforming work of Your grace. Also, during sufferings and trials, please remind of the work You are doing, in Jesus name, Amen.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


28 November 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 3:4 NASB  When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

Before Thanksgiving we were looking at the meaning of dying to self and living in Christ as the previous verse states: (Colossians 3:3 NASB)  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  Today, we get to look at what your new life means when Christ is revealed. 

We all know that … it is written, “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.”  (Romans 14:11 NASB).  But what we often fail to remember or just plain neglect is what the next verse says: So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God (Romans 14:12 NASB).  Now for a lost person without Christ, that means that they will give an account of themselves to God for all the wrong things they have done.  But for a saved, born-again Christian, it means that they will give an account of themselves to God for all of the RIGHT things they have done by being led by the Spirit of God.  Why do I know that?  It is because our VOTD says just that when it says: When Christ, who is our life, is revealed… For a Christian, Christ is their life.  They want, no better yet… They NEED to please Him in all that they think, say and do.

Jesus made a statement that sometimes we forget about and many of us don’t understand it and therefore we don’t apply its meaning properly.  The verse of scripture is this: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father (John 14:12 NASB).  Many people have tried to apply this verse of scripture to the miracles that Jesus did and then we look for someone like Billy Graham to apply this verse to.  I grant you that Billy Graham has done many mighty and powerful miracles but I believe we are looking and thinking about the wrong things when we apply this verse to open and visual miracles.  The greater works that Jesus was talking about is not the “big events” that happen in a crusade, but the mustard seed events that happen because one of Christ’s children simply trusted the Holy Spirit in them in childlike faith to do what the Lord was leading them to do and then that “event” grew into a tree that even the birds of the air can build their nests in.  “It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR can NEST UNDER ITS SHADE.” (Mark 4:31-32 NASB).

None of us really know how much our lives in Christ affect other people.  When we trust in the Lord, and the Lord leads us in a new and unknown way, sometimes it is a scary event.  Satan likes to use these events to scare us so much that we will “turn away” from following the Lord as He seeks to use us in an unusual and marvelous way.   We need to stop and remind ourselves that “nothing is impossible for the Lord.”  And even though we “walk through the valley of the shadow of death” the Lord is always there to comfort us and sustain us.  And when we simply trust in the Lord, He brings about the greater works so that in the end when Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

Let me give you an example of a mustard seed event from the Bible.  You know the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who were thrown into the blazing furnace for refusing to bow down to the image of gold that king Nebuchadnezzar made.  You can find the story in Daniel 3.  Let me ask you: Do you like the story?  Does or has this story ever inspired you to “step out in faith and trust God” in a new and unusual way?  How many lives do you think this story has touched?  Maybe it has inspired a thousand, a million or even millions and millions of lives… Would you consider this an event that could be considered a greater works event that Jesus was talking about?

Where did this story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego start?  Did it start with the making of the golden image?  No.  Did it start when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow down to the image?  No.  Let me share with you where this story starts.  It started when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego gave their lives in quiet and humble submission to God.  It started when they said YES to Christ in their lives.  It started with a mustard seed of faith in the Living and Loving God who died on a cruel rugged cross and grew into a greater works than these event by walking out of the blazing furnace of fire with not even the hair of their heads singed: The satraps, the prefects, the governors and the king’s high officials gathered around and saw in regard to these men that the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men nor was the hair of their head singed, nor were their trousers damaged, nor had the smell of fire even come upon them (Daniel 3:27 NASB).  It started when they started saying YES to God and NO to sin.

Now, let’s turn the microscope on ourselves.  Let’s ask ourselves some vital questions.  First: Are we truly a Christian?  Have we truly invited Christ into our lives to save us?  Secondly: Are we trusting Christ to lead and guide us every step of the way in our new lives in Christ?  Are we starting to put our mustard seed faith to work and are we seeing things happen to us that we never expected to happen?  Not because of something we did but because of something Christ did that surprised us because of our FAITH in Him.  When is the last time you saw your mustard seed of faith grow into a greater works than these event?  If you answer truthfully that you never have seen it, then let me share a secret with you…. It is never, EVER too late to start trusting Him to see a greater works than these event in your life.  And then this verse will become true in your life: When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

Lord, help me to trust you more.  Help me to remember to call on you and to allow your Holy Spirit in me to lead and guide me each step of the way.  Lord, I do want to thank you for the great events that you have caused in my life in the past.  But Lord, I don’t want to live on past victories.  I want to live in the present, here and now.  I want you to be the Lord of each and every situation so that you can receive all the praise and glory.  Lord, please use me this day.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


22-27 November 2016 Verse of the Day

Sorry, no Verse of the Day.  I am going to take a Thanksgiving break.  I will post again on 28 Nov 2016.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


21 November 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 3:3 NASB  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Let’s think about how we got to this verse.  The best way to do that is to look at the previous two verses:
Colossians 3:1-2 NASB
(1)  Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
(2)  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

Verse one starts off with Therefore and I want us to think of that word as “Since” or “Because.”  So the verse would start off with Because you have been raised up with Christ … It gives us the reason to keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  And because we have been raised up with Christ, we now have the ability to set our minds on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.  All of these facts are related to us being in Christ.  Now we come to our VOTD and we need to pick up a precious thought that is only true for the people of God.  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Life can only come out of death.  You can’t live unless you die.  The Holy Word of God says to each and every born-again believer: you have died.   And because you have died now your old life of sin is hidden with Christ in God.  In fact, the Bible says: As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us (Psalms 103:12 NASB).

Now I want us to think about this term you have died.  We want to know what it means and the best way to do that is to look at God’s Holy Word and try to understand how it is used and then apply those uses to ourselves.  Now we know that we are not talking about physical death.  No, no.  We are taking about our wills being bent towards sin.  Following our sin nature.  We are dead to our old way of life, following our wills and now we have a new will and a new desire to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.  We want to do what pleases Him.  We want to worship and serve Him.  Here let me give you some scriptures that say it a lot better than I can:

If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as,  (Colossians 2:20 NASB)

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? (Romans 6:1-3 NASB).

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Galatians 2:20 NASB).

All of us who are in Christ are dead to our old sin nature, our way, our will, and our ideas about how to live our lives to please God.  What does that mean?  For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace (Romans 6:14 NASB).  When the Holy Scriptures tell us that we are dead then it is saying that sin shall not be master over you.  It has NO power over you anymore.  You used to be under its control.  You used to be under its power.  But now that you have the Spirit of the Living God in you, you have the unique ability to “JUST SAY NO” to sin.  Why?  Because you have been crucified with Christ.  Because you have been baptized into His death.  Because you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world.  Because you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

I want you to understand this term you have died and the best way that I can do that is to give you an example that hopefully you can transfer the meaning to your life and understand it.  Let’s say that you got tickets to your favorite team’s football game on the 50 yard line.  Your favorite player is going to be there and you can watch him play, in person.  Would you go and sit in the seat?  You bet.  Would you watch the game?  You bet.  Would you cheer, yell and root for them?  You bet.  Now let’s just say that a pretty lady sits down next to you.  She is very attractive and dressed very nicely.  What are you going to do?  Are you going to watch the game and root for your team or are you going to try to talk to the lady next to you?  My friend, if you are a “true sports fan” then there is no choice… You will ignore the lady next to you (temptation to sin) and root for your team.  Why? Because you have died and you are now setting your mind on the things above.  Your mind, your will and your desires are set on your team and not on your sin nature.  You have NO desire to please your old sin nature.  You are dead to your old sin nature.  Your desire, your will, your goal is to encourage and root for your team and not your sin nature.

It used to be, before you were in Christ, you didn’t have a choice.  You lived in sin because you were under its power and control.  But now, in Christ you have been freed from your sin nature.  Paul can say it much better than I can.  Here is what he says:  For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin (Romans 6:5-7 NASB).

My friend, because you have died to your old way of life, you can now walk in newness of life.  You now have the ability and the capability to worship in Spirit and Truth.  You now have the ability to do things that the natural man does not accept: But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised (1 Corinthians 2:14 NASB).

The only question that remains is: Will you cheer and root for your team, the Christians and follow your favorite player, the Lord Jesus Christ, or will you sin?  The choice is yours.  What will it be?

Lord, I chose you.  Lord, I want to be yours lock, stock and barrel.  I want to live for you.  I want to worship you.  I want to do ONLY those things that please you.  Lord, I want to be dead to my old life, my old sin nature and I want to walk in newness of life that is found in your Spirit that is in me.  Lord, lead me and guide me as only you can.  Make me into the man you want me to be.  Lord use me to do the things you want to get done.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


20 November 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 3:2 NASB  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

Our VOTD reinforces the previous verse which says … keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1 NASB). Both of these verses encourage and motivate a Christian to understand that since we now have a choice on what we can think about, we want to learn how to please our Lord in all that we think, say and do.  Here is the exact opposite of our VOTD:  For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things (Philippians 3:18-19 NASB).  So as a believer in Christ, we who are born-again of the Spirit of the Living God and want to walk in a manner that is pleasing to Him, need to understand the full impact of how to set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

Almost everything that we come in contact with has rules and regulations that govern them.  When we break the rules, then we have fear of the repercussion of breaking the rules.  But when we keep the rules and do what is expected, then we can have peace that all is well.  It is much like drying the dishes.  The rule is: hold onto the wet, slippery dish so that it doesn’t slip out of you hand and fall and break.  And if you hold on and pay attention to what you are doing and finish drying the dish, then you will accomplish your goal and put it away.  What is the result?  You will be at peace knowing that you have done a good job and accomplished your goal.  Here is God’s goal for you and me:  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.  So that we can have peace: For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace (Romans 8:6 NASB).  Just as there is gravity pulling on the dish as you dry it, so Satan has another goal for you and here is his goal: set their minds on earthly things.  Every one of us is in a constant and consistent struggle between these two opposite and opposing forces.   

Now here are the facts of life: Things happen.  We are constantly making decisions about how we are going to think and act and react to various situations around us.  Sometimes we make the right decisions instantly and sometimes we have to take time to pray about them.  And it is sad to say, sometimes we don’t think at all, but just react in the flesh and say or do the wrong thing.  That is why James says to us:  This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God (James 1:19-20 NASB).  That is why it is so very, very important to constantly and consistently set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

Peter encourages us to set our minds on the things above when he says: Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 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 1:5-8 NASB).

We all know that “bad things happen to good people.”  And if those bad things that happen to good people are Christians, then they have a choice on how to look at things.  They can look at things the way that Christ wants them to look at them.  They can set their minds on the things above by understanding that God is causing all things to work together for good just like the Bible tells them: And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28 NASB).  And then when they know these things, they can endure the tribulations and problems of this life.  These verses become true in their lives: And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:3-5 NASB).

What is the final result when you set your mind on the things above?  Here it is: Because you know that God is causing all things to work together for good then you can not only exalt in your tribulations but you can do what James tells us when he says: My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing (James 1:2-4 KJV).  And that is every Christian’s goal in this life, so that we may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

And that goal is only realized as we Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB).  And we can only trust in the Lord with all our heart when we are setting our minds on things above.

Lord, I want to set my mind on things above.  I want to think, say and do what you want me to do.  I want to act and react in a manner that is pleasing unto you.  And I know that is why you tell me to pray without ceasing.  Lord, I want you to not only be involved in all that I think, say and do but I want you to be in charge of all that I think, say and do.  I want you to be the LORD of it all.  And I want you to receive all the glory and credit for any good that may be seen or perceived.  Lord, I love you… Please use me this day.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 



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