Verse of the Day

Daily Devotion 

By:  Bro. Bob Maynard
 

19 November 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 3:1 NASB  Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

What happens when you go into a dark room and turn on the light?  You can see.  You can understand what is in the room.  And you can find what you went into the room for.  All of that is just because there is now “light” in the room.  And conversely, if the room is still in the dark, none of that is possible.

So it is with spiritual things.  Once Christ comes into your life, you now have the “light of the world” in your life.  “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”  (John 9:5 NASB).  You have gone from spiritual darkness to having light in your life so that you can understand spiritual things.  You can find what you are seeking.  What is that you ask?  What every person on this planet is seeking: Peace with God the Father.  They might not know what they are seeking but they know that they need something.  Once you have the Peace that surpasses all comprehension, you will never want to go back to your old life.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7 NASB).

Now first I want us to see the transition from darkness to light in the verses we have been talking about to our current VOTD.  It starts off with therefore and you can think of therefore as the light switch that goes from darkness to light.  The darkness is the commandments of men that we have been talking about over the last few days:  Colossians 2:20-23 NASB
(20)  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,
(21)  “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!”
(22)  (which all refer to things destined to perish with use); in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men?
(23)  These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.

Light switch on: Therefore

Let us see what the spiritual light in Jesus reveals to us: if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  This verse and the verses following will reveal to us the way to maintain the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension

There is one thing that I really like about Paul’s teaching in the New Testament.  He never, ever assumes anything.  He always lets the reader fill in the blanks.  How does he do that?  With one little two letter word: if.  Paul doesn’t assume you are a Christ-follower.  He doesn’t assume that you are a Christian.  He lets you decide.  You have to answer the question of: if.  Now if you are NOT a Christ-following, born-again, believer in Jesus, then the rest of the verse is not for you.  You can ignore it.  Why?  Because you don’t have the capacity nor the POWER to do what the rest of the verse is saying.  But, if you are a born-again believer that is seeking to follow Jesus and have a desire to please Him in all that you say and do, then read on.  In other words: if you have been raised up with Christ here is what I want you to do.  Know this: just as it took a miracle of God the Father to have Christ raised up from the dead so it takes a miracle in your life to transform you from darkness to light.  Spiritual light is the Holy Spirit in your life that enables you to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.  He is the POWER in your life that enables you to do what God wants you do to.

Then here is the formula that Paul prescribes for you as a follower of Jesus and for every believer in Jesus: keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Just as you go into the dark room, turn on the light so that you can see, and then you go get what you went into the room for, so the same principles apply to the Spiritual Life in Jesus.  God the Father turned on your Spiritual Light by giving you the Holy Spirit so that you can keep seeking the things above.  What does that mean and how do I do that?  You go that in the room by physically going to where the item is that you want in that room.  You do that spiritually by going to where you know the spiritual item is at in your spiritual life.  Where is that?  Have you never heard of the scripture that says: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7 NASB).  The key secrets of God’s Holy and Perfect will are revealed to the SEEKERS.  What are the tools that we use to seek?  How about Prayer, fasting, Bible study, and a HOLY desire to do the same thing that Paul does when he says: that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death (Philippians 3:10 NASB).

You see the problem is that the world wants physical things to please their physical flesh.  That is why they seek physical things to gratify their flesh.  They go all the way from children seeking a thrill on a roller coaster to adults who seek money, power, and prestige.  They are all part of the physical things the world seeks.  Why do you think drugs are so popular these days?  They satisfy the physical thirst for temporary satisfaction of the flesh.  But what is a Christian seeking?  Spiritual hunger and Spiritual thirsting can only be satisfied with a spiritual drink of Living Water: Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”  (John 4:10 NASB).  And once Jesus is in your life, then this verse becomes true for you because He is in you: “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'”  (John 7:38 NASB).

Now here is the ONLY way to keep the rivers of living water flowing: keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Never rest.  Never be contented.  Never stop.  Always keep seeking the things above.  Once you reach the mountain top, start planning your next conquest.  Keep seeking because your job is never complete.  And once you have made a conquest, here is what you need to say: “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'”  (Luke 17:10 NASB).

Lord, I must admit that I see myself as an unworthy slave.  I have only done what I believe you have led me to do.  But Lord, I see so much that needs to be done.  Lord, I see things that only you can do because it will take a miracle to do them.  Lord, if you desire to use me all I can say is “Here am I, send me.”  Lord, I have so many faults and so many short comings.  I need you to change me.  I need you to mold me into the person that I should be.  So Lord, I ask you to change me by molding me into the person that I should be.  Lord, please use me this day for your Holy will and purpose.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


18 November 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 2:23 NASB  These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.

This verse states the heart of the problem when it comes to man’s commandments of: “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!”  (Colossians 2:21 NASB).  When man comes up with a way of worship that says do not handle, do not taste, do not touch, it always has the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body.  But then comes the real facts of the problem: self-made religion and self-abasement and sever treatment of the body are of no value against fleshly indulgenceWhy?  It is because it is just like the Bible tells us: the willingness is in me but the doing of the good is not.  For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want (Romans 7:18-19 NASB).  I hope to do the right thing.  I want to do the right thing.  I desire to do the right thing.  But the problem is that the POWER to do the right things that God’s wants me to do are not within me…!!! 

Why?  Here is man’s whole problem: SIN.  It is at the base of the whole human race’s problem.  We don’t have the power to lift ourselves up by our own boot straps.  It takes a power outside of ourselves to enable us to do what God wants us to do.  Here is the problem again as Paul states it: But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members (Romans 7:20-23 NASB).  What is the remedy that Paul subscribes?  How is man to get out of this dilemma?  What course of action does man need to take to enable him to be able to worship God in a manner that is pleasing unto God?  Here it is: Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin (Romans 7:24-25 NASB).

Now let’s see if we can apply the remedy to man’s commandments of “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” 
First: We have to have the power to recognize that it is a commandment of man.  And the only way we can get that knowledge is by being in Christ Jesus.  It is only when we are born-again by the Spirit of the living God do we get the enablement and the power to perceive and distinguish which are commandments of men and which are commandments of God.
Second: We have to stop and recognize that it is a commandment of men and not of God.  We do this by: Knowing what the Bible teaches us about what we should do and what we should not do.  It is the Bible that gives us clear and accurate instructions on how and what we should do in worship.  We need to let no one deceive us.  If it is not taught in the gospels and practiced in the epistles then we can bet that it is a commandment of men and not of God.  That is why it is so important for each of us to know the word of God.  That is why the Word of God, the Bible says to us:  All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NASB).
Thirdly:  We need to recognize that man’s commandments of “Do not handle, do not taste, and do not touch” are temptations to be avoided.  Superstition, rituals and spiritual habits are permeated by self-made religion.   They are permeated by “we have always done it that way.”  We need to stop and analyze why we are doing what we are doing in our worship.  Just because we have always done it that way doesn’t make it right.  No, no.  I will say it again: If it is not taught in the gospels and practiced in the epistles then it is a commandment of men.
Lastly:  The ONLY way to avoid the temptations of man or any temptation for that matter is that we MUST TOTALLY rely on the Spirit of God in each and every Christian and depend on Him. 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).  When we are tempted by man to follow man’s commandments and his rules of “Do not handle, do not taste, and do not touch” then each one of us need to call on the ONLY One who can guide us into the truth and enable us to resist the temptation to sin by following man’s rules.  Ask the Lord for wisdom and study His Holy Word and Seek His answers in the Bible and He will guide each believer into the truth.  He will enable every one of His true worshipers to see whether it is a commandment of man or a way to Worship in Spirit and Truth.

The bottom line is that the ONLY way to overcome fleshly indulgence is to be FILLED by the Spirit of the living God and to be enabled by Him to resist the temptation to sin by following the commandments of men.  He will fill us when we seek the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.  The Bible says it and I believe it and that settles it.  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).

Lord, our worship is steeped in rituals and ways that we have always done it.  Lord, help me to study your word and know what you want me to do and how to do it so that I am worshiping you in a manner that is pleasing unto you.  Lord, I know that your Holy Word tells me to worship you in spirit and truth and that is exactly what I want to do.  Lord, please impress upon my heart, mind and soul how you want me to worship.  Lord, please instruct me in the truth and train my heart how to walk in the path of righteousness.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


17 November 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 2:22 NASB  (which all refer to things destined to perish with use); in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men?

First, we need to remember the context of this verse.  I comes on the heels of these two verses:
Colossians 2:20-21 NASB
(20)  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,
(21)  “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!”

Now the question that comes to mind and the one that I believe the Lord wants us to answer is: How do we treat the person who is trying to follow the commandments of men by doing the:  “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!”  In other words: How does the person who has knowledge of the “right way” to worship treat the person who has been worshiping “the wrong way”? 

Well the person, the Christian, who has knowledge knows two things: First he/she has knowledge that the things which the person is doing will perish:  which all refer to things destined to perish with use.  Secondly, he/she knows that these things are in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men.  Now here is the problem: Knowledge puffs up and we have to guard against it.  It can make us sin by looking down at our brother or sister and thinking less of them.  It can make us think of ourselves as more important and better than them.  We always need to be on guard against pride.  Why?  Because the Bible tells us: Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18 KJV).

So what does the Bible tell us about how a person with knowledge is supposed to treat a person who has been following the commandments and teachings of men?  Here is what God’s Holy Word says to a person with knowledge: 

Romans 14:1-8 NASB
(1)  Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.
(2)  One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only.
(3)  The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him.
(4)  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.
(5)  One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.
(6)  He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.
(7)  For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself;
(8)  for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

1 Corinthians 8:1-13 NASB
(1)  Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.
(2)  If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know;
(3)  but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.
(4)  Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one.
(5)  For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords,
(6)  yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.
(7)  However not all men have this knowledge; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.
(8)  But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat.
(9)  But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.
(10)  For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols?
(11)  For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died.
(12)  And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.
(13)  Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble.

Here is the bottom line: Paul says that he became all things to all people so that he might win all:

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 NASB
(19)  For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.
(20)  To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law;
(21)  to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law.
(22)  To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.
(23)  I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

Here is the final answer: Love your neighbor as yourself because love never fails: Love never fails … (1 Corinthians 13:8 NASB).

Lord, please help me to see that I need to love my neighbor as myself.  I also was once ignorant.  I also was once misguided.  I also was void of the truth.  But by your grace you enlightened me.  You gave me knowledge.  You helped me to see that I need to worship you in spirit and truth.  So Lord, help me not to look on my brothers with contempt but to love them as I do myself.  Help me to encourage them to see you as the only way, the only truth and the only way to have eternal life.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


16 November 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 2:21 NASB  “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!”

In almost everything there is a positive and a negative.  When we think about this VOTD we normally think about it in negative terms.  And “rightly so” because that is how it is meant when Paul wrote it because the previous verse and our VOTD says: Colossians 2:20-21 NASB  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, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!”  And when you think about these verses in the negative, you know that it is referring to something that man wants you to do so that they can control how you worship God.  In Jesus’ day, under the Jewish rules of worship, there were many, many rules and commandments of men that controlled how people worshiped and served God.  Jesus confronted the Scribes and Pharisees about their hypocrisy of work on the Sabbath: When Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your sickness.” And He laid His hands on her; and immediately she was made erect again and began glorifying God. But the synagogue official, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, began saying to the crowd in response, “There are six days in which work should be done; so come during them and get healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites, does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the stall and lead him away to water him? “And this woman, a daughter of Abraham as she is, whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years, should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day?” As He said this, all His opponents were being humiliated; and the entire crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious things being done by Him (Luke 13:12-17 NASB). 

Jesus said that the Jewish laws, rules and regulations that they had imposed on the way people worshiped God had invalidated the true meaning of worship: He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. “For Moses said, ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER’; and, ‘HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER, IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH’; but you say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God),’ you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother; thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.” (Mark 7:9-13 NASB).

It might surprise you that men are still trying to control you today with Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!  Have you ever heard of “do not eat meat of Fridays”?  Or how about, Ladies must have their head covered.  Or even: You must be in Church on Sunday or you are sinning…?  There are all kinds of rules of man, even these days on how we MUST worship God.  But, you know what… The Bible tells us: “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36 NASB).  There is only one rule for worship that is valid today.  Do you want to know what that rule is?  Here is what Jesus told us about worship: “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24 NASB).  My friend, it is not so much what you do or don’t do in worship but “how” you worship that counts.  And the “how” is bound up in one thought in the phrase: God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

Now let me flip the coin over and say that there are some things that are valid today when we think about Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!  But they are valid not because of worship but because of practical necessity for our Christian walk and behavior.  There are some things that we should not do and there are some things that we should not allow into our bodies.  Just a few things to remember are:

1 Corinthians 6:12-13 NASB
(12)  All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.
(13)  Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.

1 Corinthians 10:23 NASB
(23)  All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.

Here are some of the things that are not profitable: And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,  (Ephesians 5:18 NASB)

But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;  (Ephesians 5:3 NASB)

and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.  (Ephesians 5:4 NASB)

Here is the bottom line when it comes to Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!  First we need to remember that All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable.  So if I am going to know which things are profitable for me then I need to First: know what God’s Holy Word says to me about what is right and wrong.
Second:  I need to take my questions to the Lord in Prayer, asking Him and seeking Him and His guidance on what I should do or not do in any situation.
Third: I need to be obedient to what I know the Lord wants me to do in the situation.
Lastly:  I need to give Him the credit for any good that comes from the situation.  He is the one who empowers and He is the one who gets the credit.

Lord, without you I can do nothing.  You are my strength.  You are my energy.  You and you alone are the one who guides me in the path of righteousness.  Lord, I want to do all things to please you.  Lord, please help me to know when I can and when I can’t do something.  And if I am doing something that displeases you, please convict me of my sin and enable me to stop sinning against you immediately.  Lord, you are my life and I want to please you and you alone.  I love you, Lord.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


15 November 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 2:20 NASB  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,

This verse and the next verse are one continuous thought: Colossians 2:21 NASB  “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!”  It is hard to separate them and I will try to deal with the complete thought in both of them at the same time both today and tomorrow.

First, I want you to notice the first phrase that is used: If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world.  Did you know that as a Christian you have died with Christ?  Paul talks about this principle several times in the New Testament.  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3 NASB).  May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?  (Romans 6:2 NASB).  Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God (Romans 7:4 NASB).

And the classic scripture that talks about death comes from: “For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. “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 2:19-20 NASB).  I want us all to see that in each and every case, when Paul mentions death or dying, he is talking about dying to the law or to your old way of life or to your sin nature so that you can understand the principle of the new life in Christ when he states: 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.  It is a life in which we put off the old sin nature and put on a new nature that is being renewed after the image of Christ.  Christ in you, the Hope of Glory.

Now our VOTD is trying to address the issue of what happens when we don’t do what God wants us to do.  It is addressing the issue of what happens when we don’t die to our old way of life and we don’t do what the Bible tells us to do.  He asks us a question:  If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, and then goes on to state what the problem is.  Here is the problem:  We who are supposed to be dead to the law, dead to sin and dead to our old life are still doing the things that we are not supposed to do.  What are we doing?  We are following the commandments of men and not of God.  We are doing what looks good on the outside but have no effect of fleshly indulgence.  These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence (Colossians 2:23 NASB).  We are doing the wrong things.

When we do the things of man and not the things of God, the Bible asks us that question: why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees?  In other words, why are you doing the wrong thing?  Why are you doing what man wants you to do instead of what God wants you to do?  What does man want you to do?  Here it is in the next verse: Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch! 

Question:  How do men of this day and time and generation try to control us by telling us things that we can’t do or even by things that we should do?  Well, here are some “rules of man” in the way we worship: You have to worship on a certain day in a certain way.  You have to worship at a certain place or a certain church.  You have to dress in a certain way or you have to pray in a certain way.  And here is a biggie: You have to give a BIG amount of money so that God can bless you in a BIG way…. It is called the prosperity gospel and it is a false gospel. Have you never read what Jesus said about the widow: And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:41-44 NASB).

In Christ you are free from the commandments of men.  Men in the flesh want to control you, to direct you and to limit you in what you can do in Christ.  But Christ has set you free from the Law of Sin and Death. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death (Romans 8:2 NASB). That is why, in the previous verse the Bible tells you and me that: Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1 NASB).  And the Bible goes on to tell us that It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1 NASB).  And the Bible goes on to warn us when it says: For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another (Galatians 5:13 NASB). 

So what is the bottom line:  Here it is: When men try to limit your worship and service to Christ by telling you to do when they say: Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!  You can say to them: For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and of death and there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Lord, I love you and I want to worship you in Spirit and Truth.  Lord, I need to learn and grow and go do the things you want me to do.  Lord, please teach me how to know the difference between the “commandments of men” and the “commandments of God.”  I want to be obedient to your ways, your words and your ideas.  You are the way, the truth and the life.  I want to be yours in every way I can.  Lord, please enable me to walk in a manner that is pleasing unto you.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


14 November 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 2:19 NASB  and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.

So that we get a proper picture of this verse, we first need to define who it is that it is talking about when it uses the phrase not holding fast to the head.  Who is the head?  Actually, the answer comes to us back in verse 17, which says: Colossians 2:17 NASB  things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.  Christ is the head that Paul is talking about.  That is why the Bible talks so much about being in Christ, because He is the head.  The phrase in Christ is used 91 times in the New Testament.  So it only stands to reason that the entire body gets its growth through Him.  The body of Christ is the church.  We learn this from verses like: Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church … (1 Corinthians 12:27-28 NASB).  For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12 NASB).  For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another (Romans 12:4-5 NASB).

And the main point of our VOTD is that Christ is the head of the body, the church: 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).  Now that we know that Christ is the head of the entire body we want to understand what the purpose is for making that point.  What is the outcome of knowing that Christ is the head of the entire body, the church?  Here it is: The entire body, the church is being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.  The head, Christ supplies the body.  The head, Christ holds the body together.  Why does He do that?  Why does He supply everything the body needs?  Why does He hold everything together?  Here is the answer: so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

Every church and every member in every church should recognize that the Lord Jesus Christ should come to have first place in everything.  He is the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega:  “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”  (Revelation 22:13 NASB).  He and He alone should take priority in every decision that is made in every church.  He and He alone should be the prime reason that they exist, because He is the head from whom the entire body gets its growth.  But sadly this it is not so.  Sadly, it is a “should” and not a “does.”  And I need to point out the reason why that every “church” does not recognize that the Lord Jesus Christ should come to have first place in everything. 

The reason why every church does NOT do what this verse says is because the churches are made up of people.  Every member of every church has to make decisions that affect the body of the church.  When members of the body, don’t go to church, they are affecting the body.  When members of the body do NOT participate in the activities of the body, then they are affecting the body.  When members are not putting Christ first in everything they are in essence affecting the body, the church.  How, you ask?

When the members of the body, the church, do NOT put Christ first in everything, then they carryover that attitude and those thoughts into the church.  When it comes time to make decisions in the church, they are all about what they want to do and not about what Christ wants them to do.  They are worldly.  They are carnal.  They are not putting Christ first in everything.  Paul addressed this issue: And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, 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 3:1-3 NASB).

But praise God… There are some churches that put Christ first in everything.  There are churches that as our VOTD says: grows with a growth which is from God.  It is like the seven churches that are listed in Revelation.  Out of the seven churches, there are two good churches: The church at Philadelphia and the church at Smyrna.  It is like out of the 12 spies that went out to spy out the land.  There were two spies that came back and had a good report: Joshua and Kaleb.  Why do these, these in the minority, have a growth which is from God?  The answer is very simple: They put Christ first in everything.  Every thought is taken captive to the obedience of Christ: We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB).

So what is the bottom line for us?  It is simple thought but hard to do.  Why? Because we are creatures of habits.  We have developed the bad habit of “doing our own thing.”  We have a habit of doing what we think is best.  Well, here is a challenge for you: The next decision that you have to make, ask the Lord what His will is for you to do.  Ask Him and seek His guidance.  Let Him tell you what to do instead of going off “half-cocked” and doing your own thing.  Let Him guide you and direct you by the Holy Spirit that is in you.  Develop the good habit of asking Him what to do.  And then when you take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, then he can honor you and you will see in your Christian life a growth which is from God.

Lord, I am a sinner and I have a sin nature.  My inclination is to do the wrong thing.  I need you to guide me and direct me so that I am not doing my own thing but “your thing”.  I want to honor you.  I want to lift you up.  I want you to come to have first place in everything I say and do.  Lord, I want you to be Lord of my life.  Lord, please direct me and guide me so that I may be pleasing to you this very day.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


13 November 2016 Verse of the Day

I am sorry but there is no Verse of the day today.  I am not feeling well today.  Pray for me and hopefully I can get the VOTD done tomorrow.
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


12 November 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 2:18 NASB  Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind,

To understand what this verse is saying to us, first we have to understand what it means when it uses the phrase: your prize.  What does it mean when it says your prize?  Well, first of all, your prize that it is talking about is not your prize of your future heavenly home because this verse is talking about the present tense.  It is talking about the here and now.  The phrase: Let no one keep defrauding you of is present tense not future tense.  Secondly, the whole verse is talking about events in the here and now when it goes on to say delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen. 

So we need to understand what the verse means when it is talking about your prize in the here and now?  What does the term mean?  Well, let’s think about your life before you were born-again and then after you are born-again.  What did you NOT have before you became a truly born-again Christian that you now have as a born-again child of the King of kings and Lord of lords?  That’s right…. Say it with me….You now have the Holy Spirit of the Living God living in you.  You have the Comforter.  You have Christ living in you in the form of the Holy Ghost.  Christ in you, the hope of Glory.  to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27 NASB).

Second question: What is the Holy Spirit in you for?  He is in you to guide you and be your comforter.  “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come (John 16:13 NASB).  Let’s think about this term guide.  What does a guide do for you?  He helps you and steers you in the right direction.  He tells you the facts and informs you about things that you didn’t know.  He answers your questions and helps you understand the situation that you are in.  And most importantly He will disclose to you what is to come.  You are not left in the dark about the future.  No, no.  You know what is coming.  You know the future events that will unfold.  You know how to prepare yourself.  You know how to prevent situations from hurting you or even losing your life….like when a guide leads you down a steep canyon trail and warns you about a falling hazard.  Your guide becomes your best friend when you know and understand what he has helped you avoid.

Now take all of that guidance from the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit that is in you and when you apply that guidance to your life and your actions, what is the result?  Come on now, say it with me… You and I have PEACE.  And not just any peace, it is the kind of peace that goes beyond comprehension… And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7 NASB).  Why does it surpass all comprehension?  Because it is the peace of God.  God doesn’t do things in a little way.  He is a BIG GOD and He does things in a BIG WAY.  And so you can say He gives you SUPER PEACE because He is a SUPER GOD.

Now ask yourself one question: Why do you have the peace of God that surpasses all comprehension?  I mean, other than the fact that God gives it to you.  Why do you sense it?  Why do you know it?  Why is it a part of your everyday life?  It is because you know in your heart and mind that God is in control and that this verse is true: 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). 

Now what happens if you take away that knowledge?  What happens if you take away the knowledge that you have the Holy Spirit in you and that you are secure in His hands.  What happens if you take away the knowledge that your salvation is a done deal?  What happens if you take away all your knowledge about the Bible and the facts about your salvation and of the Holy Spirit guiding you and leading you?  In fact, let’s take it one step further.  Let’s say that you have some false teachers around you saying that your salvation is not secure.  Let’s say that these false teachers are telling you that you have to WORK for your salvation by DOING SOMETHING ELSE….!!!  What does that do for and to your peace?  What does that do for your assurance?  What does that do for you whole Christian walk?  I will tell you what it does.  It ROBS YOU.  It steals your peace, your assurance, and even your hope. 

Why did you lose your peace?  Because a false teacher started telling you lies and they kept defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind.  They want you to do what they say and do.  They want to control you.  They want to make you their slaves.  And they steal your peace.

But Praise God.  You don’t have to listen to them.  You don’t have to pay them any attention.  Why?  Because you have the TRUTH.  Here is what Jesus says to us: So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “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).  I don’t have to worry.  I don’t have to let anyone steal my prize.  All I need to do is trust in my Lord and Master and believe in His Holy Word.  I am going to let the Holy Spirit in me be my guide and let Him guide me into the truth.  And the truth is that God loves me and is leading and guiding my life and He is causing all things to work together for good.  And all of that gives me PEACE!

My friend, I pray that you have the peace that surpasses all comprehension.  If you don’t, I pray that you will start trusting Jesus because He is the only way you will ever have the peace that your heart, mind, body and soul craves.  He is the only way, the only truth and the only life.  All praise be to His Holy Name.

Lord, I thank you so very much for the Holy Spirit that lives in me and guides me and empowers me to say and do your holy and perfect will.  Lord, I know that I mess up from time to time and I seek forgiveness for those times.  But Lord, I have a hope and it is a secure hope that you will use me this day for your good and perfect will.  Lord, empower me by the Holy Spirit to think, say and do the things that please you.  Lord, please bring people into my life that I can share your love with and tell them about Jesus.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


11 November 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 2:17 NASB  things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

Let’s think about this verse in what it is saying about what is to come.  The Bible tells us about the future. The Revelation to the Apostle John is all about the future and what is to come in the end days.  But I want us to think beyond even that.  I want us to think about what is after in terms of the New Heaven and the New Earth.  I want us to think about what we are doing when “all things are new.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”  (Revelation 21:5 NASB).  The Bible tells us: but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”  (1 Corinthians 2:9 NASB).  In other words, we can’t think in terms of what GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.  And that is exactly what our VOTD is saying when it says things which are a mere shadow of what is to come.

Now when you think of a shadow what do you think of?  It is merely a darkened outline of the object that is blocking the light.  Whether it be a shadow of a person, a tree or a building, it is darkened two dimensional image of the original object.  You can’t tell much about the original object that is making the shadow.  You can’t tell what color or the texture or even what the original object that is casting the shadow is made of.  You can’t tell how pretty it is or whether it glows or has a dull finish.  You can’t see the lines in the face or distinguish who it is if it is a shadow of a person.  You can’t tell if it is a certain kind of a tree if it is a shadow of a tree.  You can’t even tell how tall the building is if it is a shadow of a building because you don’t know how far the light is away from the building.  Let’s face the facts.  All you can tell from a shadow is that it is a shadow and sometimes you don’t even know what the original object is that is casting the shadow.  All you know is that it is a shadow.  And this is exactly what Webster’s is saying when it gives us the definition of shadow: Shade within defined limits; obscurity or deprivation of light, apparent on a plane and representing the form of the body which intercepts the rays of light; as the shadow of a man, of a tree or a tower. The shadow of the earth in in an eclipse of the moon is proof of its sphericity.

So with that definition of shadow, let’s think about what is to come in a new heaven and a new earth.  Are you ready for this?  Here it is: You and I “don’t have a clue what God has prepared for us!!!  I will print it again: THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.  But there is hope.  We can get a glimpse.  Why?  Because the next verse says: For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God (1 Corinthians 2:10 NASB).  In other words, God has chosen at various times and in various ways to gives us a glimpse of that He HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.  But know this He is the one who decides when, where and how to reveal what He has prepared for those who love Him.

There is also another problem that we have to deal with.  We are not only looking at a mere shadow of what is to come but we see through a glass darkly: For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known (1 Corinthians 13:12 KJV).  In other words, it is just like we are looking through a darkly tinted glass window at a shadow trying to understand what we are seeing that we have never seen beforeNow you talk about “not being able to get a clear picture”…  We not only don’t have a “clue.”  We don’t even have the slightest concept of what GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM. 

But you know what???  In all of this “unknown” about what God has prepared for those who love him produces more hope.  … Hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it (Romans 8:24-25 NASB).  Because I see a shadow through a glass darkly and I can’t really know or understand or even grasp all the things that God has prepared for those that love Him, it produces more hope in me.  It makes me eagerly wait for it.  It gives me more hope because I am waiting for My God who has all power in heaven and earth to reveal all the things that He has prepared for me.  WOW is not going to be able to even start to describe how I will feel or think or live for eternity with the LOVE of my God.  Since He had so much love for me to DIE a horrible death for me even while I was a sinner and hating Him, how much more will His love show me when He prepares a new heaven and a new earth for me.  I am going to get to see what ALL POWER IN HEAVEN AND EARTH can do in love when it prepares a new heaven and a new earth.  And it is going to be beyond my wildest imagination…..  I pray that it is going to be beyond your wildest imagination too.

Lord, what can I say to all these things except: Please come quickly, Lord Jesus.  You are Lord of both heaven and earth.  Nothing happens without your express will.  You know all things.  And all things are in your control.  Lord, I know that you have gone to prepare a place for not only me but for all that love you.  Lord, I do love you and I want to be directly in the center of your will this day.  Lord, please use me and guide me to do your perfect holy will this very day.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


10 November 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 2:16 NASB  Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day

The very first question to ask for our VOTD is: Why?  Why is no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day?  And to get the answer, we have to look back at the previous verses which say: Colossians 2:13-15 NASB
(13)  When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,
(14)  having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
(15)  When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.

Four reasons are given:
                   1.  He made you alive together with Him.
                   2.  He has forgiven us all our transgressions.
                   3.  He has canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us.
                   4.  He has disarmed the rulers and authorities.

There is actually a fifth reason and it is a summation of all four of the reasons above.  God’s Holy Infallible Word tells us:  For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace (Romans 6:14 NASB).  The law says: “Thou shall not…”  But grace says: “Keep the intent of the law by doing what God wants…”  I want to remind you what the very next verses say about being under grace:    
Romans 6:15-18 NASB
(15)  What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!
(16)  Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?
(17)  But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,
(18)  and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

You see the Law always wants to condemn you.  It wants to make you guilty of sin in some manner, form or fashion.  Jesus dealt with this problem every time the Scribes and Pharisees wanted to condemn Him or His disciples:
Mark 2:23-28 NASB
(23)  And it happened that He was passing through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples began to make their way along while picking the heads of grain.
(24)  The Pharisees were saying to Him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”
(25)  And He *said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions became hungry;
(26)  how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the consecrated bread, which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests, and he also gave it to those who were with him?”
(27)  Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.
(28)  “So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

My friend that is grace in action.  That is God allowing the needs of man to outweigh the requirements of the law.   Jesus even goes so far as to say: “Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent?  (Matthew 12:5 NASB).  Grace triumphs over the Law. 

But before you go off the deep end, I want you to know that the requirements and the intents of the law, the 10 Commandments are still valid.  Here they are in their abbreviated form.  You can read them in their full context in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5:  

1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
2. You shall make no idols.
3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
4. Keep the Sabbath day holy.
5. Honor your father and your mother.
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
10. You shall not covet.

My friend, our VOTD says that you should let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day.  So, you are free to worship in the manner and way that you show your love and respect to God the Father and your Lord and Master, the Lord Jesus Christ.  You are free to worship and pray as you see fit.  But know this, He wants you to worship Him and Only Him.  You shall have no other gods before Me is still valid and so are all the rest.  And they  always will be.

Lord, please help me to always worship You in Spirit and Truth.  Lord, I adore you and I want you to be not only my Lord but also my Master.  I want you to lead, guide and direct my life as you see fit.  Lord, please mold me into the man you want me to be.  Please use me this day for your purpose.  Speak through me so that others might know that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and that He wants to be their Savior also.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 



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