Verse of the Day

Daily Devotion 

By:  Bro. Bob Maynard
 

31 August 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 3:20 NASB  For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;

I don’t know about you my friend, but this verse expresses EXACTLY how I feel.  All of my hopes, dreams and desires are bound up in the concept of this verse.  I long for and dream of the day when this verse comes true… How about you?  I believe this verse can show us where we are at in our relationship with Christ.

First of all, this verse declares who we are when it says: For our citizenship is in heaven.  If you have ever traveled to a foreign country, Europe, Mexico, or even Canada you know you are not in the United States because of your surroundings.  Almost nothing looks the same.  The streets are different.  The people dress differently.  They might speak English but it is with an accent.  Even the advertising is different.  Everywhere you look you see differences.  If you are like me, in the beginning it is exciting.  Everything is new and strange.  You have a curiosity and you want to know more about this new environment you’re in.  But after a while, something starts to happen inside of you. You start to miss home. It is almost like the little boy that goes off to camp for the very first time and he is all excited and then something inside of him starts to miss home.  Pretty soon, he is in tears because he misses home so much and all he can talk about is the good things he misses at home.  He is just plain home sick.

My friend, if you know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, then it is a FACT: Your citizenship is in heaven.  And you have had a taste of that new life when you experienced your new birth in Jesus.  You felt how wonderful it can be to be free from sin and bound up in the love of the Lord Jesus.  But, in God’s infinite wisdom, He has chosen to leave you in a “foreign country.”  And just like the little boy at camp, you miss and long to be at “home.”  Paul says it this way: we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him (2 Corinthians 5:8-9 NASB).  And in another place, he says: But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better (Philippians 1:23 NASB).  When you realize how much better your heavenly home is over this earthly tent, you can’t help but long for that which is very much better.

But until the time that God choses to take us to our heavenly home, we will eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  My friend, I want you to notice one aspect of this phrase.  How is Paul waiting?  Is he just sitting back with a resolve, to wait?  Is he just resigned to the fact that he has to wait?  What word does he use to describe “how” he is waiting?  Paul uses the word eagerly.  What does that mean?  Webster’s defines this adverb as: With great ardor of desire; ardently; earnestly; warmly; with prompt zeal; as, he eagerly flew to the assistance of his friend.  So the question comes up: How do you eagerly wait for the Lord Jesus Christ to return? Well, let’s think about the parents of the little boy at camp for the very first time.  How are they doing while he is gone?  Are they saying to themselves: “Peace and quiet at last.”  Or are they anxiously talking to each other and asking questions like: I wonder what he is doing now?  I wonder if he is having fun.  I hope he is being safe and wearing his life jacket when he is in the boat.  I wonder why he hasn’t called.  Is he alright?  And all the time that they are talking to one another, they often glance at the calendar knowing when he is coming home.

Do you think the parents of the little boy were anxious for him to come home?  I do.  I believe they were eagerly waiting for him to come home.  Is it not the same for us Christians who are eagerly waiting for the Lord Jesus Christ to return?  Do we not talk to one another asking questions about the “sign of the times?”  Aren’t we wondering about individual events as well as major happenings and trying to figure out exactly when our Lord Jesus will come take us to our heavenly home?  Over and over again it is constantly in our minds and hearts: When Lord?  And now comes the:  Why?  It is because we are in a foreign land.  It is because we are not members of this country.  This is not our final resting place.  And that is why we, who truly know, are eagerly waiting for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I want you to examine your heart and mind.  What is it that you desire the most?  What do you want more than anything else in this world?  What is it that you think about the most often?  My friend, if you answer those questions honestly, they will disclose to you whether you are eagerly waiting for the Lord Jesus Christ or if you are just biding your time till He returns.  For those of you who are longing for His return, this verse is for you:  in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing (2 Timothy 4:8 NASB).

Lord, I long for your return.  Please come quickly Lord Jesus.  I want to be with you.  I want to be like you.  I want you to live in me.  I want to please you in all that I think, say and do.  Lord, please fill me this day with your Holy Spirit so that in everything you will be glorified.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


30 August 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 3:19 NASB  whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.

Who is Paul talking about in this verse?  It is the ones whom he is weeping for because they are enemies of the cross of Christ: For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ (Philippians 3:18 NASB). 

In our VOTD, the enemies of the cross of Christ are given four descriptive terms that we want to think about: 1. whose end is destruction.  2.  whose god is their appetite.  3.  and whose glory is in their shame.  4.  who set their minds on earthly things.

1. whose end is destruction. 
Have you ever thought about how you are going to spend eternity?  Of course you have.  But how about the lost.  How do you see them in the end?  Do you ever think about how they will end up? Let me share with you some of what God’s Holy Word says about those whose end is destruction.  They will be in eternal fire: “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41 NASB).  It is a place of eternal torment where the worm does not die and the fire is never quenched: where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED (Mark 9:48 NASB).   It is a place of eternal punishment: “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”  Matthew 25:46 NASB).  It is a place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth: and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:50 NASB). 

My friend, I am sure you don’t want to go there and if there is anyone you love, I am sure that you don’t want them to go there either.  That is why, you want to share with everyone you know, that Hell is a real place and ONLY Jesus can keep you from that horrible place: let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead–by this name this man stands here before you in good health. “He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:10-12 NASB).

2.  whose god is their appetite.  This is the first of three reasons why their end is destruction.  I want to remind you of the first commandment that God ever gave to man: “You shall have no other gods before Me (Exodus 20:3 NASB).  When we put our wants and our desires, which is our appetite before Gods desires for our lives, we have broken the first commandment.  We have a god that is our desire.  We have replaced God’s desire for our own desire.  We have dethroned God and made ourselves gods in His place.  Anytime and anyplace we do this it is SIN.  And the end result of sin is destruction.  That is why it is so very important to REPENT and change our mind about who we obey.  We as Christ followers, want to do exactly what this verse says: 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).

3.  and whose glory is in their shame.  Sin begets sin.  The more you sin and the deeper you get in sin, the more you want to see it and even crave it.  In the end, those who live and love in sin, their glory is in their shame.  They are proud of their sin and even brag about it.  They want to see others get involved in their sin: and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them (Romans 1:32 NASB).  My friend, all you can do is pray for those who are so steeped in sin that they cannot see the truth.  Even though you can’t penetrate their sin with your words or your preaching, God is not limited by human means.  That is why the Bible tells us that:  “For nothing will be impossible with God.”  (Luke 1:37 NASB).  He can penetrate the darkest, hardest, sin filled heart that ever was and make it into a glorious Christian.  Look at Saul who became Paul the Apostle….

4.  who set their minds on earthly things.  Here is where every Christian needs to be careful.  We need to be “setting our minds on things above” but we don’t need to be so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good.  You have to think about earthly things and matters of this life.  But here is the warning: Don’t let your mind crave earthly things.  There has been many a Christian that has gotten caught up in desires for earthly things.  Do you want to see the desire for earthly things from the scriptures?  Here it is: Jesus was sharing with the disciples how he was going to suffer at the hands of the Scribes and Peter rebuked Jesus for even such a thought as this: From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” (Matthew 16:21-23 NASB).  My friend, anytime we are not letting God influence our thinking and our desires, then we are setting our minds on earthly things.  We need to continually be careful on what we desire and why we desire it.  We need to constantly and continually take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

Lord, help me to be the man you want me to be.  Lord, I want to share with the lost the Good News about what a life of faith in Christ can do.  Lord, enable me to speak and say those things that please you.  Let me warn the lost of the dangers of hell.  Help me to see them as you see them and speak to them in love.  And Lord, please help me to always take every thought to your obedience.  Help me to not only be willing but to be doing that will in all that I say and do.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


29 August 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 3:18 NASB  For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ,

Our VOTD starts off with For many walk.  Which brings up a question already:  What is the percentage of Christians to non-Christian in the US?  According to Pew Research, 25.4% of the population is Evangelical Protestant.  That means that 74.6% are not Christians.  So, what Paul is saying for his day, is also true for our day: Many walk.  So if there are 319 million people in the United States as of 2014, that means 238 million people in the US do not walk in the ways of Christ.

So, the next question comes to mind: What does it mean when Paul uses the word walk?  Well, first we have to understand what the wrong way to walk means.  Here is what Paul says in Ephesians:  Ephesians 4:17-20 NASB
(17)  So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind,
(18)  being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;
(19)  and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.
(20)  But you did not learn Christ in this way,

So, what is the right way to walk?  That is what the whole New Testament is all about… Telling us how to walk in a manner that is pleasing to God.  Read what Paul continues to say to the Ephesians: Ephesians 4:20-24 NASB
(20)  But you did not learn Christ in this way,
(21)  if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,
(22)  that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,
(23)  and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
(24)  and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Then Paul goes on in Ephesians 4:25 through Ephesians 5:21 to give individual specifics of how we need to walk in Christ.  How you walk is determined by what is in the spirit of your mind.  If your mind is set on things above, then you are thinking and doing what God wants, but if not, then you are not walking in the truth: Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth (Colossians 3:1-2 NASB).

But the thrust of our VOTD is not on how Christians walk, but on how the non-Christians don’t walk.  As you look at the world around you and see how people act and react, you can’t help but notice their lack of regard for the things of Christ.  Paul observed this too and it affected him.  That is why he goes on to say: of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping.  It is hard for us to picture Paul, the great apostle weeping but he did.  Why?  Because people were ignoring the Savior he loved so much.  And because they were doing the wrong things in life.  They were opposed to righteousness.  In fact: they are enemies of the cross of Christ.  My friend, as you see the stubborn and rebellious, does it break your heart?  Does it bring tears to your eyes, like it did for Paul: and now tell you even weeping?  Here is how he said it in Romans: I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart (Romans 9:1-2 NASB).

We need to examine ourselves in light of this scripture.  When is the last time you wept for your lost friends or neighbors?  When is the last time you shed a tear for someone who is the enemy of the cross of Christ?  Question: have you ever shed a tear over a lost person?  My friend, if you haven’t then you don’t love the lost enough.  Anything that you truly want and is your heart’s desire and you don’t have it, will affect you emotionally.  And sometimes it will bring you to tears, just as it did for Paul: and now tell you even weeping. 

If you realize that you don’t love the lost enough, then do yourself a favor: Ask the Lord to burden your heart for the lost.  Ask Him to help you to see their plight. Ask Him to give you a love for the unlovely.  Ask Him to help you to feel their pain.  Ask Him to give you a desire to see them come to a saving knowledge of Jesus.  And as a result: you will not only want to see them come to know Him, you will weep when they don’t.

Lord, burden my heart for the lost.  Lord, help me to feel their pain and lostness.  Lord, help me to be ready in season and out of season to share the good news with those who don’t know you.  Help me to see them as they are: lost, alone and afraid.  Give my heart a desire to not only share with them but to also feel their pain.  Lord, please make me into the man I should be.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard



20 August 2016 Verse of the Day

Mark 1:35 NASB  In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.

I am on vacation from work this next week and I have been praying about what the Lord would have me to do in relationship to the VOTD.  I would like to do what Jesus did in this verse.  Since He is our example and we need to follow His leadership, I would like to concentrate on my relationship with Him during this week.  So, I will spend my time focusing on Him during this week instead of writing the VOTD.  I will resume the normal VOTD on 29 August 2016.  Pray for me during this week.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


19 August 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 3:17 NASB  Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.

So, after Paul discloses his most intimate discussion in Chapter three of his walk in Christ, he addresses his brethren.  Who is that?  Webster’s tells us that: It is used almost exclusively in solemn and scriptural language, in the place of brothers.  So if we look up “brothers,” we find Webster’s tells us: In scripture, the term brother is applied to a kinsman by blood more remote that a son of the same parents; as in the case of Abraham and Lot, Jacob and Laban. Persons of the same profession call each other brother, as judges, clergymen, professors of religion, members of societies united in a common cause, monks and the like.  So, we are all “brothers” and “sisters” by faith in Christ Jesus.  We address each other on many occasions as brother or sister and it is a term of respect for their relationship to Christ Jesus.  I believe we should not be afraid to call one another “brother” or “sister” in public because it gives a witness of who we are and how we feel about other Christians that we know love the Lord Jesus.  To me, when we address one another as “brother” or “sister” we are in some small measure, fulfilling what this scripture tells us to do: Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person (Colossians 4:6 NASB).

Next, in the Holy Scriptures, Paul tells us to join in following my example.  Now, here is a tough question: How many of us can say the same thing to our brethren?  Can you actually say and mean it to your “brothers” and “sisters” in the Lord, to join in following my example?  Well, if you can’t, then the next question comes to mind:  Why not?  What is it in your mind that is stopping you from saying those words to any believer that you know?  Is there some “gross” sin in your life?  I pray that there is not.  Is there some pet sin in your life?  Is there some mental or spiritual blockage that keeps you from being able to use that phrase?  Well, only you can answer that question of why you can’t use that phrase to other believers around you.  But let me pose a more important question: What are you doing about the problem?  In other words, you know that you should be able to say to anyone join in following my example, but you can’t, so what are you doing to correct the problem?

Let’s look at the problem another way.  Let’s say you have a flat tire on your car.  You can’t drive it?  It is a problem and you recognize the problem.  You can see it.  You know it is stopping you from using the car for what it is meant to be used for.  But now the real question: How do you FIX the problem?  As long as you ignore the problem, the car is not useable.  You want to use it but you can’t.  So the BIG question is: How are you going to FIX the problem?  Ladies, how do you fix a flat tire?  Men, how do you fix a flat tire?  Back when we had bicycles, we could fix the flat tire ourselves.  But not a car tire.  Why?  Because we don’t have the: 1. Equipment to fix it.  2.  We don’t have the knowledge of how to fix it.  3.  We don’t want to get our clothes all dirty fixing it.  And the list goes on and on.  So what do we do?  We call on “the man who can FIX the flat tire.”

Now, my friend, let’s apply the “tire fixing” principle to our NOT being able to say to our Christian brothers and sisters join in following my example.  What did you do to FIX the flat?  You called on the man who can fix the flat tire.  So, now that you know that you have a “flat” spiritual life and cannot say join in following my example, you need to call on the ONLY one who can FIX your spiritual problem in your life.  You see, the spiritual problem in your life is not a simple FIX.  It is a complex problem that takes an EXPERT to fix.  The expert is JESUS!!!  You and I, when we feel and believe that we cannot say those precious words to our brethren, join in following my example, we need to get Him involved so that the expert can fix the complex issue of why we can’t say a simple phrase to our “brothers” and “sisters” in life.

So, now the question becomes: How do I call on Jesus to FIX my spiritual problem?  Here is the answer from the Holy Scriptures:
Matthew 11:28-30 NASB
(28)  “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
(29)  “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
(30)  “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
If you want Jesus to FIX your spiritual problem, then you are going to have to go to HIM.  Go to Him in prayer and repentance.  Explain to Him the problem the way you see it.  Tell Him why you think and feel the way you do.  Let Him know what causes you to feel the way you do. 

Now, comes the tough part: Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me.  It is tough in the sense that you have to put some effort into it.  You can’t just sit back and watch Him work like you watch the “tire man” work.  Jesus expects you to do your part in “fixing” the problem.  What does He want you to do?  I can’t tell you that.  Only He can.  But He will tell you and He will tell you very clearly if you will only listen.  Here is the key secret in learning how to FIX spiritual issues and problems: learn from Me.  As you watch Jesus, as you see Him in the Holy Scriptures, He will instruct your heart and mind on how to apply the situations you read about to your own life and situations.  Trust Him to work and He will. 

Lord, I need you to FIX me.  There are so many, many areas in my life that I feel need your healing touch.  Lord, I depend on you to light my path and direct my energies so that I can do all things to please you.  Lord, help me to always walk in the light and be the kind of person that you can always say “in whom I am well pleased.”  Lord, please use me for your good will and purpose this day.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


18 August 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 3:16 NASB  however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.

Today I want us to only think about only one thought in our VOTD and that one thought is what is the meaning behind what Paul meant when he said that he wanted us keep living by that same standard.  What is the same standard?  What does he mean when he says keep living by it?  How do we do it?

Well, to get started, we need to define what a same standard is and what is its meaning?  How many of us have worked for an hourly pay at some point in our life?  I would say most of us.  And if you work for the standard 40 hours a week, what is one of the first things you do?  You figure out what your standard or regular pay check will be every week if you work the standard 40 hours.  So if your pay rate is $8.00 an hour, then you multiply $8.00 X 40 hours = $320.00.  So that is your standard pay for a normal 40 hour week, $320.00.  That is what you expect.  That is the norm.  That is what you always expect to make.  Bottom line: That is the same standard you expect every week.  It is what you base your expenses on.  It is what you base your budget on.  It is all you can count on and anything above and beyond it is gravy.

But we are not dealing with material things.  We are dealing with spiritual things.  So how do we apply the principle of the physical same standard to the spiritual?  Well, we have to look at God’s Holy Word and see what He expects from each Christian for a same standard.  Just as a company sets the pay rate (you remember the $8.00 pay rate from the example above) for the individual that works for the company, so God sets the spiritual level He expects every Christian to attain that will become the same standard for the individual.  Now here is where there is a difference between the physical world and the spiritual world.  In the physical world, each individual is payed a different rate, based on who they work for and how much the company thinks they are worth based on work experience, education and value to the company.  The executive is paid a different pay rate than the janitor.  But it is not this way in the spiritual world.  The spiritual same standard is applied across the board.  There is no difference between the greatest saint and the newest believer.  It is the same standard for each individual and each person.  And God sets the same standard for each believer.

So, BIG question: What is the same standard that God sets for each believer in Christ?  I know you are going to find this hard to believe but the same standard has many different names and many different faces and many different terms.  We will only deal with a few terms but they will be sufficient for you to get the idea.  The same standard that God wants every believer to keep living is called faith or trust, or belief.  How did you come to know Christ as your Savior?  By faith in Him as Savior.  How do you get to know Him as Lord of your life?  By faith in Him as Lord of the situation.  What is the common ground between Savior and Lord?  Faith and faith alone. 

So, I said earlier that we want to see from God’s Holy Word what He sets as the same standard for every believer.  I want you to look for the word or the term or the thought that is applied in these verses; look for faith, trust or belief:

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”  (Romans 1:17 NASB)

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).

They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31 NASB).

It makes no difference how long you have been saved nor how strong of a Christ-follower you are, the same standard is applied across the board to every believer.  Your faith, trust and belief in the Lord God, creator of heaven and earth is the same standard for everyone.  He wants each believer to keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.  The Bible tells us Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him (Colossians 2:6 NASB).  You received Christ Jesus your Lord by faith in Him.  So now, the same standard is to keep living by that same standard which is to keep walking by faith in Him.

And I might add, it makes no difference what the situation is.  It makes no difference what the circumstances are.  It makes no difference how difficult they seem or how easy they might be… No, no… It make no difference at all because we are to apply the same standard of faith in Him to each and every situation and each and every circumstance.  My friend, faith in Him is the same standard that God expects from the greatest saint to the youngest.  Because: without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6 NASB).

So the final question that we want to ask ourselves is: How do I keep living by the same standard of faith in Him?  This might surprise you, but I can’t tell you “how” to have faith in Him.  All I can say is DO IT.  Trust Him to work out your problems.  Tell Him how you feel about His working in your life.  Ask Him to let you see His work.  Place your faith, hope and trust in His ability to bring the best from the situation.  Follow His leadership and guidance as He motivates you to do what He wants.  And all of that I have said is “how” you keep living by the same standard of faith in Him.  And in the end, you can rejoice along with all of the other saints at the goodness and mercy of the Lord God of all creation.  Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NASB).

Lord, you are so good to me.  You have had mercy on me numerous times and in numerous ways.  Lord, I place ALL of my faith, hope and trust in you.  You have worked miracles in my life in the past and I know you will do the same in the future.  Lord, I do want to make a request: Please mold me into the man that I should be so that I can please you in every situation and every circumstance that I find myself in.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


17 August 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 3:15 NASB  Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;

Paul has a goal in his writing.  He wants to motivate.  He wants to inspire.  He wants people, especially Christ-following believers to be motivated to think and live the way God the Father wants all believers to live in Christ Jesus.  He wants us to know and understand that there is a way to live your life as a believer that is pleasing to God and there is a way to NOT live your life as pleasing to Him.  Just as those of us who have children know that our kids can live in a manner that pleases us and there is a way that they can live that vexes us, so it is with a Christian who knows Jesus as their Savior.  What we want to understand is “How to please Him!!!”

So he says Let us therefore.  In other words, he is referencing what he has said in the last few verses.  Specifically, you can live your life as having confidence even in the flesh (Philippians 3:4) or you can live your life through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith (Philippians 3:9).  Now the bottom line is: YOU DECIDE.  God is not going to force you.  God is not going to MAKE you.  He will convict you by His Holy Spirit in you when you are wrong and thinking the wrong way.  He will guide you into the Truth.  And the Truth is only found in Jesus.  But the whole matter is in your hands.  It is much as Joshua said many, many years ago: You choose.  You decide.  You are the only one who can make that decision: choose for yourselves today whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15). 

Then we find these words: as many as are perfect.  What does that mean?  Are Christians perfect?  No Way…!!!  I pray that you never think of yourself as perfect.  We are all sinners.  We are either “lost sinners” or we are “saved sinners.”  But one fact remains, we are all sinners…!!!  So, what does Paul mean when he says as many as are perfect?  Well, here is where another Bible translation can help us.  The Amplified Bible gives light into the meaning of this phrase: So let those [of us] who are spiritually mature and full-grown have this mind and hold these convictions; and if in any respect you have a different attitude of mind, God will make that clear to you also (Philippians 3:15 AMP).  So it means as many of us who are spiritually mature and full-grown.  The Christian life is a life of growth.  Hopefully, we are all growing and maturing.  Paul says it this way in another verse:  When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things (1 Corinthians 13:11 NASB).  Hopefully, as we seek to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are putting away childish things from our lives like putting confidence even in the flesh.

I want you to remember that the God the Father is writing to you through the hand of Paul.  God wants you to know what pleases Him.  So He says to you and me: have this attitude.  What attitude?  The attitude of mind that you are placing all of your faith, hope and trust in Christ.  It is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  It is Christ in you that is your righteousness.  It is Christ in you that does the good works.  It is Christ in you that enables you and motivates you.  It is all about Jesus and not about you or your will, or your wants or your desires.  It is all about Him.  Your attitude of mind about faith in Him is the most important thing.  Remember something: Your attitude of mind is the expression of your heart.  Your attitude of mind is how you really feel and what you really believe.  Your attitude of mind about living for Christ is the real expression of your faith in Him.

So the Holy Scriptures say to us that if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you.  The Bible tells us that the Spirit of the Living God convicts of sin, righteousness and judgement: “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me (John 16:8-9 NASB).  My friend, when we are being led by the Spirit of the Living God to do something and we don’t believe we can do it… then we are saying to God… He is not strong enough to empower us to do what He is calling us to do.  That is sin because they do not believe in Me.  All things are possible for him who believes in Jesus.  Why?  Because “nothing is impossible with God.”  “For nothing will be impossible with God.”  (Luke 1:37 NASB).  But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.”  (Luke 18:27 NASB).  And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  (Matthew 19:26 NASB). 

The bottom line is this: God wants you to have this attitude of faith in Him.  And if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you.  So be prepared that if God convicts you of sin it probably is due to the fact that you don’t have faith in Him that He is able to do what He has called you to do.  Trust Him because He is able to do all things and with Him nothing is impossible

Lord, I am so weak.  Lord, help me in my weak faith to grow stronger.  Lord, I need to lift the weights of faith every day in every situation so that I may grow stronger in you.  Lord, I want to be used by you and I know the only way you can use me is when my faith gets stronger.  So Lord, my goal this day is to place all of my hope, faith and trust in you.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


16 August 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 3:14 NASB  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

We need to read our current VOTD in light of our three previous verses:
Philippians 3:11-14 NASB
(11)  in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
(12)  Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
(13)  Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
(14)  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

All of these verses relate to one thought: in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.  We all want to have it.  We all want to obtain it.  We all seek to have it.  But the bottom line is that ONLY those who are in Christ Jesus will attain the resurrection from the dead.   Only those who are found in Him.  Just as Paul has said previously: and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith (Philippians 3:9 NASB).

So, once you are in Him, you do not relax.  You do not rest.  You do not quit.  You do what Paul says: Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press onNow we need to understand what it means to press on.  The thought of press on comes from the thought of a person in a race, a long race that is growing tired and weak and they want to quit because of the pain and the suffering that their body is experiencing.  The mind is telling them to stop but their heart longs for the prize at the finish line.  So what does the runner do?  They summon every last ounce of strength and they press on toward the finish line.  And what does a runner win for all of his sufferings: A perishable crown.  But the Bible tells us that our crown is imperishable: Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable (1 Corinthians 9:25 NASB).

So what do we learn from this?  When you are tired, weak, worn and weary…. Press on.  You keep pressing on because in there is a crown of righteousness laid up for you: in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing (2 Timothy 4:8 NASB).

Here is a fact that we all need to realize: We all need to press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  There is no point in a Christian’s life where they can sit back and say: I have made it.  I have reached my goal.  I have finally obtained it.  No, no.  We all keep pressing on toward the goal.  What is the goal?  We just said it earlier.  Our goal is to be found in Him.  Life is dynamic.  It is not static nor stale nor dormant.  It is always moving. It is a living, breathing organism.  Life changes.  Life has ups and it has downs.  And as believers in Christ, we all have but one goal:  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).  Our goal is to found in Him doing His good will.  It is to be found in Him pleasing Him, worshiping Him and being used by Him as He leads us by the Holy Spirit that He has given to each of us.

Our VOTD says that we do it for the prize.  What is the prize you get for all of your efforts and struggles?  Well the prize is twofold.  First, your prize here on this earth is: knowing Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings as well as experiencing all the fullness of Him by the Spirit that He gives us… We experience the Spirit by the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control that He gives us.  And second, we get the prize of an eternal reward of the resurrection from the dead to be with Him in heaven for eternity.  What better prize could anyone ask for?

But I want you to notice that as you press on toward the goal for the prize that it is an upward call.  Anytime you are going upward it is more difficult.  To climb a hill is more difficult than going downhill.  It is easy to go downhill, to regress, and not press on.  It is easier to relax than it is to maintain the high calling that is found in Christ Jesus.  It takes effort to press on.  There is a song called Higher Ground that goes like this:

I’m pressing on the upward way,
New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I’m onward bound,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”
Refrain:
Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on Heaven’s tableland,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where those abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.
I want to live above the world,
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground.
I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I’ll pray till heav’n I’ve found,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

I want you to notice that your upward call is of God because only God calls.  And your upward call of God is ONLY found in Christ Jesus.  May we all praise His Holy Name.

Lord, what joy fills my heart, mind and soul when I think that one day I will get to bow at your feet and worship you.  You are my prize.  You are my goal.  Lord, I want to please you in all that I say and do.  I want to be found in you, pleasing you and doing your good will.  Lord, please make me the man that I should be.  For Lord, I know that no good thing dwelleth in me.  But You Lord, are holy, righteous and pure.  I want to be filled with you.  Please use me this day, Lord.  I love you, Lord.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


15 August 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 3:13 NASB  Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,

Question: What is the subject of this VOTD?  The answer comes from a previous verse and here it is: Philippians 3:11 NASB  in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the deadThis is the same subject that we have covered for the last couple of days.  And we will look at it again tomorrow.  This verse is almost an exact reiteration of the previous verse which says: Philippians 3:12 NASB  Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.  But our current VOTD gives us some very important differences on how Paul looked at the past and how he looks at the future.

So again, Paul reminds us that he does not regard himself as having laid hold of the resurrection from the dead yet.  This is twice he has said that.  Why?  To strengthen his point that at NO time do we ever think in terms of “we have made it” or we are complete.  No, no.  Our work in the Lord is never done not as long as we have life and breath in our mortal bodies.  Paul wants us to know this so that we will never ever quit pressing on toward the calling that is found in Christ Jesus.

Now I want us to focus on Paul’s mindset for doing the will of the Lord Jesus and how to please God the Father.  Paul tells us but one thing I do.  The human brain is a funny thing: We can really only focus on “one thing at a time.”  Now I do admit, we can switch our focus pretty quickly but the fact is we can still only focus on one thing at a time.  We are not like a CPU (in computer terms: Central Processing Unit) with two or four cores that can be processing four things at once.  No, no… we have in our brains only one “CPU” and it can only do one thing or focus on one thing at a time.  So God’s Holy Word tells us to put all of our energy and focus on that one thing.  He tells us: Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men (Colossians 3:23 NASB).  In other words, put your effort in to concentrating on your one thing, your one task.  Be a single minded person to focus all of your efforts on that one thing, so that you can do it well.

So now that I have stressed doing one thing and do it well, here is where it gets a little tricky for us: Paul lists two things that he does.  First he is forgetting what lies behind and second he is reaching forward to what lies ahead.  So what we want to see is that just as Paul prescribed this for himself, so we must do the same for ourselves.  And while we are at it, I want you to see that these are two separate steps and so we are really only focusing on one thing at a time.  We are either forgetting what lies behind or we are reaching forward to what lies ahead.

Now both of these processes bring up several questions but we will only deal with the most pressing.  First: Why do we need to forget what lies behind?  Simple answer: You cannot live in the past.  The past is gone.  You can’t use past victories to gain new victories.  The past is past.  You must press on for new victories.  You can learn from the past.  You can gain experience from the past but you can’t use the past as a key to open the doors of the future.  No, no.  Only as the Spirit enables you, in the here and now, can you press on.

There is a second reason that you need to forget what lies behind.  Spending too much time living in the past victories, makes you complacent for strengthening yourself for future events.  Just as those Olympians who have won gold medals in the past can’t stop training for the future events, so a Christian can’t linger on past victories.  We all need to press on because if we don’t we will grow stale and cold in our war against sin in our own lives.  We, one and all, need to do just as Paul says: We need to forget what lies behind because the past will never ever conquer the mountains we need to climb in the future.

You might be asking yourself: How do I forget what lies behind?  There is only one way that I know of to do just that.  When your past victories start hogging your thoughts, tell the Lord.  Ask Him to help you forget those things.  Ask Him to help you focus on the future events.  Ask Him to enable you to not focus your thoughts on the past victories but to enable you to build your thoughts around His will for the future events.  And He will.  If you “ask” then you will “receive.”

Which brings us to the second part of this two-step process of one thing that we need to do, and that is we need to start reaching forward to what lies ahead.  One simple question: How do we do that?  Well, let’s think in terms of the physical so that we can grasp the same principle for the spiritual.  When you are thirsty, what do you do?  The process might go something like this: When you are in the living room and get thirsty, you get up, walk into the kitchen, get a glass and get some water, whether it be from the tap or from a water bottle in the fridge.  It is all part of a coordinated effort to quench your thirst. 

Now let’s apply those principles to reaching forward to what lies ahead.  First, I want you to know and understand that the Lord, if you are seeking His will, will burden your heart for what lies ahead.  He will “make you thirsty” for His will and it is your JOB to prepare for that future.  You prepare yourself as He enables you to have His thoughts on what you need to do to prepare.  Just as you “hunger and thirst” after righteousness, He gives you His desires so that you might prepare yourself to do His will.  His will might be to prepare yourself by going to school, a college or a trade school.  He might burden your heart to reach forward by learning a new skill or get involved in a new activity, something that you have never done.  Or He might burden your heart to reach forward by strengthening your current skill-set.  But in all of these things, the secret is to let HIM decide on how and what way you need to start reaching forward to what lies ahead.

Only the Lord God knows the future.  And Only He can direct you so that you are reaching forward to what lies ahead correctly.  And the only way He will direct us in His will is when we “submit ourselves” to His will.  There are no victories in balking at His will.  We are either in submission to His will or we are not.  There is no middle ground.  Jesus said it this way: “For he who is not against us is for us (Mark 9:40 NASB).  The question is: Will we walk in a manner that is pleasing to Him?

Lord, please help me to do exactly what this verse says: forget the past victories and even the past failures and reach forward to the burdens you place on my heart.  Lord, please help me to always press on toward the high call that is found in Christ Jesus.  Lord, I want to be pleasing unto you in all things.  Please use me this day.  I love you, Lord.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


14 August 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 3:12 NASB  Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.

OK, first question: What had Paul not that I have already obtained.  The previous verse sets the subject for our current VOTD: Philippians 3:11 NASB  in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the deadSo now that we know what the subject is, let’s think about what Paul is saying in our current VOTD. 

So Paul is saying that he has not already obtained the resurrection from the dead.  The next question comes to mind: Why would He or anyone else think that they have already obtained the resurrection from the dead?  Well, if any one could lay that claim, Paul certainly could.  Why?  Because he had the background, the right attitude, the right motivation and the right heart.  Listen to what Paul says about himself: But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death (Philippians 3:7-10 NASB).

So, if anyone could lay claim to having already obtained the resurrection from the dead, then it was Paul.  But since Paul says he has Not already obtained it, then neither can anyone else.  But, again: Why would anyone want to make that kind of claim?  I believe this is the reason: The sinful nature in each one of us wants to be lazy.  We want to sit back, eat, drink and be merry.  Isn’t that exactly what the Israelites did when they sinned with the golden calf? Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY.”  (1 Corinthians 10:7 NASB).  Let’s face it, it is hard WORK to be a Christian.  You constantly have to be on guard against all manner of sin in your life.  You have to watch what you say, think and feel.  You constantly and consistently have to monitor your thought processes to see if you are in alignment with God’s Holy Word, His will and His way of doing things.  It takes time, energy and effort to monitor your walk as a Christian.  And we as sinful human beings get lazy after a while.  We want to take it easy.  So our sin nature says to our spirit: Take it easy, you have already obtained eternal life.  ‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”‘  (Luke 12:19 NASB). 

Do you know what the Bible says to a person that thinks like this?  Here it is: Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”  (Luke 12:15 NASB).  My friend, it is not only that we have to be on guard against greed, we have to be on guard against every form of evil.  And wrong thinking is one of the easiest traps to fall into.  When we get to thinking we can slack off or take it easy or not do as we have in the past, then we are walking on thin ice because and any moment we can slip back into our old sinful life.  We all remember the verse that says Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8 NASB).  What we don’t know is how many, many ways the devil may devour us.  I believe one of the easiest ways he can devour us is to get us to thinking we can rest, relax and take life easy because we have already obtained the resurrection from the dead. 

I want you to notice what Paul does to keep from thinking wrongly about how he thinks.  He says that: I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.  So, the next question comes to mind: How do you press on?  Quite simply: You keep doing those things that you know that you need to do.  When you get tired or weary, you call on the Lord for strength.  When you become weak, you ask the Lord for His strength.  When you are tempted to stop, you do what Paul says in the next verse, the verse that we will cover tomorrow in our VOTD: I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14 NASB).

In closing, I want to remind each Christian that reads this VOTD that there are none righteous, no not one, just as the Holy Scriptures say: as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE (Romans 3:10 NASB).  And this is especially true when we think that we have obtained the resurrection, or are perfect.  We need to always remember, that until our last day or our last moment, we are always to be about the Lord’s work.  I believe this verse sums up how we are to live our lives in light of our resurrection: Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58 NASB).

Lord, help me to never ever think that I have obtained the resurrection.  Help me to always press on toward the upward call that is found in Christ Jesus.  Help me to always properly evaluate good things that have been done through me by your Spirit.  Help me to always give You the credit.  Help me to focus on the future and what your will is in it.  Lord, keep me directly in the center of your will so that I might please you in all things.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 



Leave a Reply