Verse of the Day

Daily Devotion 

By:  Bro. Bob Maynard
 

24 July 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 2:22 NASB  But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father.
 

 

We are still talking about Timothy and Paul has some glowing words to say about him as he always does.  What do we know about Timothy?  Well the Bible Knowledge Commentary says this about Timothy: 

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23 July 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 2:21 NASB  For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.
 
And who is this verse talking about?  Well, to get the correct answer we are going to have to read the previous verses and then make a decision.  Here are the previous verses:
Philippians 2:19-21 NASB
(19)  But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition.
(20)  For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare.
(21)  For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.
 
I like what the Bible Knowledge Commentary says about our VOTD: This verse appears to make a rather broad claim. Did Paul mean to include everybody he ever knew? Or did he mean that of all who were near him in Rome, none compared to Timothy? Did Paul mean all others whom he might have contacted to run the errand were more interested in their own interests than in those of Christ’s? The second suggestion seems correct. Timothy stood out as a rare gem in a world of self-seekers.  And then it gives us a couple of verses as cross reference: (Philippians 1:15 NASB)  Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will;  (Philippians 1:17 NASB)  the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.
 
In other words, Timothy was the only one who stood out in a sea of possible contacts that Paul might have used to send this letter to the Philippians.  Timothy was ready willing and able to be used by Paul to do the Lord’s will.  It meant Timothy had the right spirit, the right attitude and the willingness to expend his own personal time, strength and energy to do God’s will.
 
So what was the problem with all the rest of the “Christians” that Paul might have called on to do this important task?  Get ready, because this is going to hit some of you right between the eyes.  Here is their problem why they can’t be used by the spiritual leaders or by the Lord: they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.  So what does it mean to seek after your own interests, not those of Christ Jesus? 
 
It means that you have a mindset that has your own interests before the things of the Lord.  In other words, other things are more important to you than reading your Bible, going to church or just even plain “living for Jesus.”  Let me give you an example or two.  How many of you know what the fourth commandment is?  Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.  And on your way to church, how many pickups do you see towing a boat behind them?  Since when do you need a boat to worship at church on the holy day?  Is there anything wrong with a boat?  No.  But if you are putting it before worship on the Sabbath day, then you are putting your own interests before the things of the Lord.
 
Some of you are not going to like this one: Suppose you have company coming in from out of town on Sunday.  Why, no one will fault you for staying home because you have company coming in.  They will all understand.  Except for the LORD!  He is either Lord of all, every day of the week, or He is not Lord at all….!!! Bring your company with you.  And if they don’t want to come, then LEAVE them there and come yourself.  Why?  Because if you are making the excuse that you have to stay home, you are putting your own interests before the things of the Lord.
 
Now let’s get down to the bottom line why we CANNOT put our own interests before the things of the Lord.  First, it is a sin.  Anything that comes before the Lord’s holy and perfect will in our lives is a sin.  Second, we are creatures of habit.  Once you start putting other things before the Lord’s will, it will become easier and easier each time after that.  Pretty soon, you are way out in left field and you will be wondering “how did I get here?”  Thirdly, when you put other things before the Lord’s will, you suffer loss.  Loss of what?  Loss of the JOY of your salvation.  You don’t have as much peace as you used to have.  You don’t have as much joy or peace as you used to have.  In fact, you lose a little bit of all of the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Why do you lose them?  Because you are walking outside of the will of God. 
 
So what do you and I need to do to not get in the condition where it can be said of us that we are seeking after our own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.  First: Make a commitment to the Lord.  Ask Him to strengthen you to keep your commitment to put His will first in all things.  Second: When you feel you sin nature drawing you away, tell the Lord about the problem.  Ask Him to strengthen you and your resolve to be true to Him.  Thirdly: Regularly, go back to the Lord, and renew your commitment to Him in a prayer of faith to Him.  Tell Him over and over again that you love Him and want to put Him first in all things.  Worship Him in Spirit and Truth.
 
Lord, I can truly say: Except for your love and your grace, there go I.  My sin nature wants control every step of the way.  But your grace is greater than my sin nature.  And I am so thankful…  Lord, I want you to be first in all things.  Lord, help me to be the man you want me to be and say the things you want me to say.  Lord, I want to be a doer of the Word and not a forgetful hearer.  Lord, I love you.
 
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


22 July 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 2:20 NASB  For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare.
 
Who is this verse talking about?  Paul is talking about Timothy, his son in the faith.  And we learn that from the previous verse which says: But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition (Philippians 2:19 NASB).  Now it is nice to be recommended by your Christian friends to other Christian friends but to me to receive this kind of recommendation from the “least of all the saints” is a special recommendation.  Why do I say that?  Because that is what Paul says about himself:  To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8 NASB).  And why does he refer to himself that way, here is the scripture that tells you why: For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God (1 Corinthians 15:9 NASB).  To me, Paul was one of the Greatest Apostles who had a very, very humble opinion of himself.  And to receive the kind of recommendation that Timothy did from the Apostle Paul, was one of the highest recommendations that a man can receive.
 
Let’s think about what Paul says about Timothy.  First, Paul says: I have no one else of kindred spirit.  What is a kindred spirit?  The Cambridge Commentary says it is being likeminded Lit., “equal-souled;” Barnes Notes says: The meaning is, that there was no one with him who would feel so deep an interest in their welfare.  The MacArthur Bible Commentary says: Timothy was one in thought, feeling, and spirit with Paul in love for the church. He was unique in being Paul’s protégé.  Paul had no other like Timothy because, sadly, all the others were devoted to their own purposes rather than Christ’s.  In other words, Timothy and Paul thought alike and had the same goals in this life.  Timothy was Paul’s true Son in the Faith.  I want you to read how Paul referred to Timothy: To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord (1 Timothy 1:2 NASB).  For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church (1 Corinthians 4:17 NASB). 
 
Question is: How did Timothy and Paul hook up?  Here it is: Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. And a disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek, and he was well spoken of by the brethren who were in Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted this man to go with him; and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those parts, for they all knew that his father was a Greek (Acts 16:1-3 NASB).  But I want to point out something that Smith’s Bible Dictionary brings up: Timothy was the disciple thus named was the son of one of those mixed marriages which, though condemned by stricter Jewish opinion.  Timothy was an outcast but not to Paul.  Paul was looking at him on the inside.  I wonder how many of us would be “turned off” because Timothy was from a “mixed marriage” and we wouldn’t give him a chance.  But not Paul.  Paul saw him differently.  In fact if we read ahead, we can see how Paul saw Timothy: For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father. Therefore I hope to send him immediately, as soon as I see how things go with me (Philippians 2:20-23 NASB).
 
Why did Paul love Timothy so much?  Because Timothy was the ONLY one who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare.  Webster’s defines genuine as: Native; belonging to the original stock; hence, real; natural; true; pure; not spurious, false or adulterated.  And concerned as: Interested; engaged; having a connection with that which may affect the interest, welfare or happiness.  In other words, Paul wanted someone who was like-minded with real and pure motives in the welfare of the Philippian Christians spiritual conditions.  Paul and Timothy wanted them to “grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.”  My friend, might I add that is the same thing your pastor wants.  That is the same thing that your Sunday School teacher wants.  That is the same thing your deacons want.  It is the same for the true mature believers the worldwide.  They all want you to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord.
 
So the bottom line is: We know how Paul thought about Timothy, but how does your Pastor feel about you?  #1: Does he even know your name?  He does if you attend Church and Sunday School regularly?  #2:  What kind of a recommendation would your pastor give about you?  Would he have to make excuses about why he could not use you?  Would you even be willing to be used by your pastor to do something spiritual?  #3:  Can your pastor give you the kind of recommendation that Paul gave about Timothy when he said: I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare.  You be your own judge and jury.  But be honest with yourself.  Here is the bottom line question: If you need to change, what do you need to do to change?  I will give you a hint: It involves how close you are walking, talking and living for Jesus…
 
Lord, I want to walk as close to you as I can.  I want to talk to you as often as I can.  And Lord, I want to live for you all the time.  I want to do all things in the Spirit.  Lord, please motivate me, control me and use me for your purposes whatever you choose.   I need to be yours in every sense of the word.  Please keep me in your will and let me know of anything that displeases you.  Lord, I love you.
 
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


21 July 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 2:19 NASB  But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition.
 
Do you have hopes and dreams?  Of course you do.  Some hope for a better job.  Some hope for better things and stuff or living conditions.  Some even hope for a closer walk with God.  But very few place all of their hopes and dreams like Paul did: I hope in the Lord Jesus.  Now we want to see if we can understand what this phrase means and also to see the object of his hope and why it encouraged him.
 
First, let’s see if we can define hope.  Webster’s gives us an excellent definition of hope when it says: A desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable. Hope differs from wish and desire in this, that it implies some expectation of obtaining the good desired, or the possibility of possessing it. Hope therefore always gives pleasure or joy; whereas wish and desire may produce or be accompanied with pain and anxiety.  So hope is a desire, a longing, an expectation with a good outcome.  And Paul’s hope was a hope in the Lord Jesus.  So next, we need to understand that phrase means in order to understand how Paul thought. 
 
Paul never did things on impulse or just for the fun of it or even because he thought it was a good thing to do.  Everything he did, was under the express “spiritual consent” or “spiritual permission” of the Lord Jesus.  I like what Barne’s Notes says about this phrase when it says: His hope was that the Lord Jesus would so order affairs as to permit this – an expression that no man could use who did not regard the Lord Jesus as on the throne, and as more that human.  So, in other words, Paul thought it was a good idea but that alone did not motivate him to act on his ideas.  I believe that he took his “good ideas” to the throne of grace in prayer and petitions to the Lord Jesus and “asked for permission” to do what he did.   So when Paul says to us I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, what he is saying to us is that he wanted to and he hoped to but he was still in the “process” of praying through this decision to see if that is what the Lord Jesus wanted him to do.
 
Might I say, this is a good idea for you and me?  Especially, BIG decisions that we all need to make.  Prayer either confirms or denies our hopes.  But the final decision is not ours to make.  It is up to the Lord Jesus because we … have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:20 NASB).  In other words, we need to glorify God in our bodies by taking our hopes
to the throne of grace and letting the Spirit of God convict and convince us as to if it is right or the wrong thing to do.
 
But I want you to notice the outcome of what happens when we follow the Lord’s leading.  Paul tells us the outcome when we let the Lord lead in our lives when he says: so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition.  If Paul lets the Lord guide him in this decision, then he can be encouraged.  If he doesn’t allow the Lord to lead in it, then it can lead to disaster.  Timothy could be hurt along the way if the Lord doesn’t lead.  Or worse yet, he could be rejected by the church at Philippi.  So it was very important to Paul to “get the Lord’s permission” in order to send Timothy to Philippi.
 
So, what is good for the goose is good for the gander.  In other words, what Paul was doing in hoping in the Lord Jesus is good for us to do also.  We need to do what the Holy Scriptures tell us to do when it says: I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe … (Ephesians 1:18-19 NASB).  Additionally, we need to With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18 NASB).
 
Just remember that prayer is nothing more and nothing less than Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6 NASB).  And prayer for our hopes and dreams have as their outcome: And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7 NASB).
 
Lord, by your love and grace I can place my hopes and dreams in your hands.  Lord, I want to bring all of my decisions to you.  I want you to convict me as to what is right and wrong for my walk as I seek to stay on the straight and narrow path.  Lord, help me to always remember to take every decision to your throne of grace.  Lord, I love you.
 
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


20 July 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 2:18 NASB  You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.
 
Our VOTD starts off with you too, meaning you also.  This reflects back on what Paul said in the previous verse: … I rejoice and share my joy with you all (Philippians 2:17 NASB).  In other words, Paul was once again setting the example for the Philippian Christians to follow.  He wants to encourage them to rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.
 
Now Paul uses some strong language: I urge you.  Again, he was humbly begging them to be just like he was.  I see Paul FULL of joy in the Holy Spirit and he is urging them also to be like-minded.  So how do you get full of joy?  By being in complete and total submission to the Spirit of the Living God in you.  Why are you full of joy?  It is because you can’t be a vacuum.  You must be filled with something.  And either you are filled with “self” or you are filled with the Spirit of the Living God.  Now the scriptures tell us: Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Corinthians 3:17 NASB).  And if you have liberty you have to ask yourself, what do you have liberty from?  You have liberty from the anxiety and worry of life.  And you have the freedom of joy in your heart and your mind because you know in your heart and mind that God is in control working all things after the council of His will: also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11 NASB).  It doesn’t mean you are a puppet and not in control.  But it means that you are a person that has freely given themselves to the Living God and live under the counsel of His will.
 
Now I want you to notice two words that this verse and even the previous verse are centered around: Philippians 2:17-18 NASB
(17)  But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.
(18)  You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.
 
Question: What causes you to rejoice and have joy?  What events?  What situations?  What circumstances?  Cause you to rejoice and have joy?  I want you to name them in your mind?  Now that you have those events in mind, I want you to ask yourself, are they worldly or are they spiritual?  Do they promote the cause of Christ or are they events that the lost get excited about.  My friend, what makes you rejoice and have joy shows you where you are at spiritually.  It reveals what you love and desire.  It is a true test of the desires of your heart.  Paul rejoiced and had joy because the Philippian Christians were walking in faith in the Lord Jesus.  They brought him joy and he rejoiced in the sacrifice and service of their faith.
 
But Paul is not the only apostle that felt that way.  The apostle John wrote these words: I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth (3 John 1:4 NASB).  John was full of joy because of what he heard about one of his children in the faith walking in truth: 3 John 1:1-3 NASB
(1)  The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.
(2)  Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.
(3)  For I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth.
 
So my Christian friend, what about you?  Do spiritual events make you rejoice and bring you joy?  If not, why not?  Could it be that you are not doing what the scriptures tell us one of the basic foundation stones of the Christian life is? Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5 KJV).  To let means to give permission.  Do you need to give the Lord your permission to guide and direct your life so that your life can be full of rejoicing and joy?
 
Lord, I come before your throne of grace, confessing that sometimes I get excited about the worldly things instead of the spiritual things of life.  Lord, please forgive me.  Lord, I want to set my mind on things above.  I want to let your mind be in me.  I want to please you in all things.  Lord, please help me to change.  Help me to become more like Jesus.  Lord, I need you in my life to direct and control my way of thinking and my actions.  Lord, I love you.
 
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


19 July 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 2:17 NASB  But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.
 
This VOTD is going to be difficult to explain because we have to get technical in order to explain it properly so that we may worship at the feet of Jesus, our Lord and Master.  Remember the goal of the VOTD is always to glorify God the Father by worshiping and being obedient to the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
So in order to get started, we need to define the word: sacrifice.  What does sacrifice mean?  Well, according to Webster’s dictionary, it has a lot of different meanings but the best one that applies to this verse is: An offering made to God by killing and burning some animal upon an altar, as an acknowledgment of his power and providence, or to make atonement for sin, appease his wrath or conciliate his favor, or to express thankfulness for his benefits. Sacrifices have been common to most nations, and have been offered to false gods, as well as by the Israelites to Jehovah.  In our VOTD, Paul is talking about the sacrifice and service of your faith, the Philippian Christians faith.
 
He is saying that the Philippian Christian’s gave their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as their sacrifice and service to God.  Just like in the Old Testament times, the Jews would give some animal as a sacrifice to God, now, the Philippian Christians were giving their faith as their sacrifice and service to God. 
Just remember: Faith without works is dead…. You say that it was not costing them very much like in the Old Testament times it cost them the value of the animal.  Oh yes it did cost them in Philippi.  It cost some of them their lives.
 
Now we can move on to what Paul was talking about as being poured out as a drink offering.  Again, this comes out of the Old Testament and we need to define what a drink offering is.  The Holman Christian Standard Study Bible gives us the following definition: drink offering( s) An offering of a specified amount of wine or beer given along with animal sacrifices; it was poured over the sacrifice before it was burned.  In other words, the drink offering was poured over the sacrifice as an addition to the offering of the animal to add flavor to the offering and to give it a sweet aroma unto God.  It was given freely and in love and devotion to God.  It is much like we marinate our meat as we cook it with some special family recipe sauce to enhance the flavor of the meat.
 
But the question comes up: Why did Paul use the comparison of a drink offering to himself?  I believe that Paul was using it as a comparison of his own life’s blood being poured out over the sacrifice and service of the Philippian Christians faith offering: even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith.  We don’t know how much Paul had been beaten or whipped while he was a prisoner for his faith.  And as he lost his blood he considered it his drink offering to the Lord God.
 
Which brings us to the final thought in our VOTD: What was Paul’s attitude in all of this?  Here it is: I rejoice and share my joy with you all.  It is hard for us to imagine that in all of Paul’s trials and tribulations he had rejoiced and had joy in it all.  Especially, when we get down in the mouth about the smallest problems and annoyances we have.  So the question is: How do we get our attitude to be like Paul’s attitude?  Well, I believe that IF we can look at situations and circumstances like Paul looked at them, then we can “maybe” start to have the same attitude about life’s problems like Paul did.  How did Paul look at his life?  Here it is straight from the Holy Word of God: “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24 NASB).  In other words, Paul did not consider his life as dear to himself.  All he ever considered is doing whatever God wanted Him to do.  Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31 NASB).
 
Now I know what you are thinking… I don’t know that I can have that kind of attitude.  Well, I never said that it was going to be easy but it is necessary if we are going to “let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”  There is another aspect of this attitude that Paul had I want to point out to you.  And that is that the same person that wrote the words “I do not consider my life of any account” also wrote the words: I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Galatians 2:20 NASB).  Let us never forget that Paul lived his life by the power and purpose of the Holy Spirit in him.  He could write, think and feel this way ONLY because the Holy Spirit of the Living God was in him, enabling him to think and live the way he was. 
 
It all comes down to the bottom line: What do you want?  Do you want your life to count for something?  Do you want your life to honor the Lord Jesus Christ?  Do you want the Creator of heaven and earth to smile when He thinks of your name?  Then there is only one thing you can do.  Pray to Him and let Him know: … “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.”  (Matthew 26:39 HCSB).
 
Lord, so many, many times I have selfish motives and ambitions.  Lord, I know I need to change.  I need to set my mind on things above.  I need to set my mind on doing your will.  Please help me to remember to do all things to please you.  Lord, I want to make you smile.  Lord, I love you.
 
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


18 July 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 2:16 NASB  holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.
 
This verse is the result of the verses that have gone before it, namely the two previous verses: Philippians 2:14-15 NASB  (14)  Do all things without grumbling or disputing;  (15)  so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world.  Then as a result of these verses, Paul can say first, holding fast the word of life.  Now to understand what this phrase is saying we have to dig deep and depend on others to give us the Greek meaning here.  I like what the Bible Knowledge commentary says about this phrase: The Greek word epechontes, hold out (Php_2:16) means either “hold forth” or “hold firmly.”  So, in other words, this phrase can mean to “offer” or “extend” to others the word of life.  Or it means to “hold firmly” or “hold onto tightly” the word of life.
 
In the first sense, when you “offer” or “extend” to others the word of life, then you are inviting others to accept Christ as their own personal Savior and Lord.  You are inviting them to become Christians.  You have grown in Christ to the point that you can be used by Christ to offer the free gift of salvation to others.  You become like Paul who said: … for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day (2 Timothy 1:12 NASB).
 
In the second sense, when you “hold firmly” or “hold onto tightly” the word of life, then you will not detour from the simplicity of the gospel message.  You don’t add to it and you don’t subtract from it.  It is salvation by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB).
 
Paul says these words about the gospel: But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! (Galatians 1:8-9 NASB).  Paul believed very strongly about the simplicity of the gospel.  In fact he says Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them (Romans 16:17 NASB).  Why did Paul feel so strongly about the simplicity of the gospel?  It is because he knew that others would teach a different gospel after he left: “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them (Acts 20:29-30 NASB).
 
So the question might come to mind: How were they perverting the gospel or the good news of the gospel of Christ?  The answer is simple: They were adding to or subtracting from the gospel.  What is the gospel?  The gospel is nothing more and nothing less than faith in what Christ has done for us: For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4 NASB).  Nothing more and nothing less.  Those who would pervert the gospel would add something to it like: “and you must be baptized” or “you must be circumcised” or “you must join the church” or …..  You name it… it is a perverted gospel.
 
Well that is all good and fine you say, but how would you pervert the gospel by taking away from the gospel.  Paul dealt with this perversion when he dealt with those who said that Christ was not raised from the dead.  Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain (1 Corinthians 15:12-14 NASB).  And in order to correct this fallacy in the teaching of the simplicity of the gospel of Christ, Paul goes on later to state plainly that Christ has been raised from the dead when he says: But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep (1 Corinthians 15:20 NASB).
 
Now I want you to realize that there is a result from the phrase in our VOTD holding fast the word of life, and that is that Paul wanted the Philippian Christians to know so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory.  Why would Paul have reason to glory in the day of Christ?  Because the Philippian Christians were holding fast the word of life.  There is no greater joy to those who proclaim the gospel of Christ than when those to whom they preach the gospel, pick up the banner of Christ and proclaim it from pure motives.  They not only rejoice that it is being proclaimed but that it is being proclaimed in truth and simplicity.  The unadulterated word of Christ; that He died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried; and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.  They add nothing like baptism or church membership and they subtract nothing from the simple gospel that salvation has come to all men everywhere: “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 4:12 NASB).
 
In closing, I want to remind you what the Bible says about Jesus: He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him (John 1:11 NASB).  His own people turned away from Him.  They were His chosen nation. His chosen people.  He had called them and blessed them in every way imaginable.  But in the end, they denied that they knew Him, or even knew where He was from: … as for this man, we do not know where He is from.” (John 9:29 NASB).  But here is the good news for you and me: But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12-13 NASB).
 
Question is: Do you believe in Jesus?  The Bible says: You will know them by their fruit.  “So then, you will know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:20 NASB).  If I was a fruit inspector of your life, would I see any fruit from your life as a Christ believing Christian?  Would I see the fruit of the Spirit: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23 NASB).  Would I see you holding on tightly to the word of life so that it is not perverted in any way and offered freely to all that you come in contact with? If so, then I can rejoice with Paul when he says: so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.
 
Lord, help me to never ever pervert the simple gospel of Christ.  Help me to always be faithful to offer it freely to all everywhere.  Help me to state it factually and truthfully.  Lord, please forgive me the times that I have not offered it when your Spirit has prompted me to offer it.  Lord, help me to always be faithful to you and true to the simplicity of the gospel.  Lord, I don’t want to add to it or subtract from it.  Lord, please use me this day.  Lord, I love you.
 
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


17 July 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 2:15 NASB  so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,
 
Again, I want us to see how we got to this verse, so we need to read the previous verses so that we can continue the thoughts into this verse: 
Philippians 2:12-15 NASB
(12)  So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;
(13)  for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
(14)  Do all things without grumbling or disputing;
(15)  so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,
 
So the first question that comes to mind is: How do we prove ourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation?  Answer: By doing all things without grumbling or disputing.  But one of the questions that this verse does not answer is: Why do we want to prove ourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God? 
For the answer to that question, we will have to look at other scriptures and glean out the answer.
 
Your motives and reasons for doing things that you do make all the difference in the world to our Lord Jesus Christ and to God the Father.  He wants you to have pure, unadulterated motive of love for the Lord your God as your main motive and love of your neighbor as your second motive.  You and I know that this is true but sometimes we let our selfish sin nature get involved.  We start thinking like the Pharisees in that they loved “the approval of men” first rather than the “approval of God” first.  for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God (John 12:43 NASB).
 
So how do we keep our motives and reasons pure and holy so that we can be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation?  Well, to me we need to keep our thoughts and motives in the forefront of our minds and do some checks and balances on our reasons for why we do things, so that we can always know that our motives are pure and blameless. 
We need to ask ourselves some questions before we do things:
  1. Why do I want to do this?
  2. Is this a Bible based and supported thing to do?
  3. Does this honor God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ?
  4. Do I sense that the Holy Spirit of God is leading me to do this?
  5. Can I invite the Lord to get involved in this?
  6. Can I ask other people to do what I am about to do?
  7. Am I looking for praise from others because I have done this?
 
I want you to know that just because something is Bible based and God honoring, doesn’t mean that God wants you to get involved in it.  He needs to be the final authority for what you put your time and energy into.  The problem is: Many times we don’t’ pray about what we are planning on doing to see if that is the direction that God is leading us.  Remember the Holy Spirit is in your life to “guide you into the truth” but if you don’t let Him or call on Him then He can’t guide you.  “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth …  (John 16:13 NASB).  And when He guides you, He is not going to brow-beat you into doing what God wants you to do.
 
As a final thought, I want to share with you God’s motive for doing what He does in your life and the reason He wants you to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.  Here is God’s motive: He wants you to appear as lights in the world.  What does that mean?  He wants to use you to show the world what is the difference between light and darkness.  There are lots of scriptures that talk about light.  Here are just a few: You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16 NASB).  Is that not what God wants to use you for is to be light?  Isn’t His motive to show the world the difference between light and darkness?  But here is the problem: Men loved darkness rather than light: “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil (John 3:19 NASB).  That’s the whole reason why we need to be born-again, because we love darkness rather than light.  We need our love life changed.  Changed from loving ourselves and the world to loving God first and our neighbors second.
 
So the bottom line is this: If you and I are going to prove ourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation so that we can do what God wants by appearing as lights in the world, then we are going to have to do things God’s way.  First we are going to have to have this attitude in ourselves which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5 NASB).  Secondly, we are going to have to empty ourselves and take the form of a bond-servant …. (Philippians 2:7 NASB).  Thirdly, we are going to have to … humble ourselves by becoming obedient to the point of death … (Philippians 2:8 NASB).  Fourthly, we are going to have to … work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12 NASB) because we know and understand that it is God who is at work in us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13 NASB).  And that means fifthly, that we do all things without grumbling or disputing (Philippians 2:14 NASB).  Remember this: Salvation is a process called Sanctification.  And Sanctification doesn’t happen overnight.  It happens over a lifetime. 
 
Lord, what can I say but that I see so many, many areas that need to be changed from darkness to light.  Lord, I am so very thankful that you are in charge and that you know what to do.  Lord, I love you and I trust you to change me into the man that I should be.  Lord, only you are holy, righteous, pure and good.  I worship you and adore you.  Please come quickly Lord Jesus.  I Love you, Lord.
 
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


16 July 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 2:14 NASB  Do all things without grumbling or disputing;
 
First I need to share with you why this verse is here and is written the way it is… and then we will explore the meaning and the boundaries and finally the extent of this verse.  First, why is this verse here?  I believe it is here, written just the way it is because of the previous verse.  What did the previous verse say?  Don’t remember?  It’s OK because I can print it out right here: for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13 NASB).  Why do you NOT want to grumble or dispute your situation?  Because it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.  And if you are grumbling and disputing your situation, then you are grumbling and disputing against God who is at work in you.  I am sure you remember why He is at work in you but just in case you don’t remember, here it is written out in plain English so that you can understand what God is doing in your life: For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29 NASB).  God is in your life to conform you to the image of His Son.  And if you are grumbling and disputing then you are saying to God “I don’t want to be like Jesus!”  I know in my heart that as a TRUE Christian, you would never say that.  So the fact is we DON’T need to mutter it or even think it by grumbling and disputing our situation and circumstances in life.
 
Let’s see if we can better understand this verse by defining the terms involved and look at some other translations to give us a clearer picture of what God is saying to us.  First, Webster’s gives us the following definitions: grumbling = Murmuring through discontent; rumbling; growling.  And disputing = The act of contending by words or arguments; controversy; altercation.  When does a dog growl?  When it is warning someone or something that it doesn’t like and usually right before it tries to bite.  Can you see yourself in God’s eyes that you are growling at Him and that you want to bite Him?  Where is the “Love the Lord you God with all of your heart, mind and soul” in that?  That is NOT showing love.  That is showing hate.  Not only are you growling at Him, you are fixing to get into an altercation with Him.  WOW!  Do you actually want to “fight God?”  That is what you are saying when you dispute your situation and circumstances.  When I think about fighting with God, I think about what a Pharisee named Gamaliel said to the Council of Jews one time in the book of Acts when they were deciding what to do with the Apostles:  “So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.” (Acts 5:38-39 NASB).  No one in their right mind wants to fight against God.
 
So if we are going to understand our VOTD, we want to see it in some other translations so that we get the full impact of what God is saying to us:
Do all things without murmurings and disputings  (Philippians 2:14 KJV).
Do all things without complaining and disputing (Philippians 2:14 NKJV).
Do everything without grumbling or arguing (Philippians 2:14 NIV).
 
And the one translation that gives you the full picture is the Amplified Bible which says: Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining [against God] and questioning and doubting [among yourselves] (Philippians 2:14 AMP).
 
One of the facts that I want to point out is every verse has one concept or word and that is the word all or everything.  That means that this concept of never grumble or dispute your situation it is all inclusive.  It leaves nothing out.  There is no situation, circumstance or reason to ever be grumbling, complaining, or faultfinding, questioning or doubting that it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
 
How many ways can you slice a loaf of bread?  10, 20, 50, a hundred…..????  But it makes no difference how many different ways you slice it, it is still bread.  It makes no difference how large or how small the slices are, they are still bread.  It doesn’t even make any difference if they are crumbs, they are still “bread” crumbs.  So what’s the point?  It doesn’t make any difference how many different reasons you have for grumbling and disputing about your situation and circumstances, the bottom line is you are still grumbling and disputing against God .  It makes no difference if you are saying a string of expletives or one word, it is still against God.  You are doing exactly opposite of what you are supposed to be doing: loving the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, body and soul.
 
So, what am I supposed to do when I find myself even thinking about grumbling and disputing about my situation and circumstance?  How about doing what God tells you to do?  What does God tell you and me to do?  Here it is: in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NASB).  How about trying to develop a habit of giving God thanks for the problems and difficult situation because you don’t grow without the storms of life giving you rain.  Is it fun to be blown around by the wind storms of life?  NO!  But the windstorms are what bring in the change and that brings in the moisture.  Is it easy not to complain about your situation? NO… But you can choose not to complain.  You have that ability, that God given power to give thanks for all things.
  You just have to choose how you will respond.  And the more you respond correctly, the easier it will become.  And pretty soon, it will become a habit and you will find yourself saying “Thank you God… I don’t understand it, but I accept it as your will.”
 
Now that you have the correct attitude in Christ Jesus by NOT grumbling and disputing, you can go on to the next step…  Which is: Rejoice always; pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 NASB).  If you really want to change your situation and turn all of the problems of life around, start rejoicing always and then praying about everything without ceasing.  Remember: Prayer will either change you or your circumstances.  But the secret is: Let God decide what needs to change.
 
Lord, again I find that I need to ask for forgiveness for my past sins.  How many times have I complained or grumbled?  Lord, please forgive me.  Lord, help me to develop the habit of giving thanks for all things for I know that is your will for me in Christ Jesus.  Lord, help me to give thanks because I know you want me to learn from my mistakes and shortcomings.  Lord, I want to grow in grace and knowledge of how to please you in everything I say and do.  I love you, Lord.
 
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


15 July 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 2:13 NASB  for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
 
The very first question that comes to mind when I read this verse is: WHY?  Why is God at work in you and me?  What is it in us that makes us such a valuable resource that the God who could create anything, would take the time, energy and effort to work in us?  What is it in us that God desires to change?  Didn’t He give us life, breath and breathe into our nostrils the breath of life?  Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (Genesis 2:7 NASB).
 
Well, let me answer the above questions with another question and an example.  How many of you have watched a house remodel program on TV?  You know, the ones where they buy a house for dirt cheap, put a few thousand dollars into it and then sell it for a huge profit.  All the programs have some catchy title like “House flippers” Or “Love it or Leave it”…  You know the ones I am talking about.  Why do we like those kind of programs?  Why are they popular?  It is because we like to see the “junk” made into “gold.”  We love the accomplishments when they are done and the thought of  “Man that is a beautiful house.  I wish that was my house, NOW.”  We like the success stories that the beautiful homes have become that used to be the junk houses.  The problem is: We don’t have the money to buy the houses once they have been renovated.
 
Well, whether you believe it or not: When you come to Christ, your house, your life, your temple is junk.  You have been a sinner steeped in sin and doing everything wrong.  The reason God is at work in you is to turn your heart, mind, life, body, soul and desires into gold, just like the house flippers.  God wants to tear out the old vinyl flooring in your thoughts and put down beautiful, expensive ceramic tile.  He wants to destroy the old battered kitchen cabinets of your desires and put in beautiful oak cabinets.  He wants to completely gut the bathroom of your morality and put in all new sinks, counters and a huge shower that will be the amazing wonder of all who see it.  My friend, your whole life, thoughts, desires and way of thinking need to be changed.  That’s why the scriptures says to us: Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5 KJV).  We need a whole new way of thinking and acting and desires in our lives.  We MUST have a whole new renovation and only God can do it.
 
Well, that answers the question of “Why we need a renovation” but it doesn’t answer the question of “Why is God interested in renovating us?”  Let’s face it, If God wanted to, He could wipe us all out and start all over again, a fresh and anew…  Yep, that’s right.  You’re thinking right.  God already did that with the Flood.  Every man, woman and child was gone.  Why?  Because the Bible tells us that: Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5 NASB).  So what did God decide to do about their sin?  You know it: The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.”  (Genesis 6:7 NASB).  But something happened in one man.  One man changed God’s mind.  Who was that man?  Again, the name is on the tip of your tongue: Noah… But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD (Genesis 6:8 KJV).
 
Have you ever asked yourself:  Why did Noah find grace in the eyes of the Lord?  Here it is for you and me to know how to find grace in the eyes of the Lord because the Bible says: … Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God (Genesis 6:9 NASB).  Now I want you to notice how the Bible describes Noah, even before the flood.  First he was a righteous man.  A man that was living and doing the right things in the sight of God.  Second, Noah was a blameless man in his time.  In other words, I believe the Bible telling us that Noah was doing the best he could do to live for God.  He was a man that was striving to please God in all that he said and did.  Thirdly, Noah was a man who walked with God.  What does it mean to walk with God?  Well, think about it.  When you walk with someone, you talk to them, you ask them questions, you share experiences and you get involved with them.  In other words, you share your life with them.  So we can say that Noah walked with God it means he shared his life, hopes, dreams and goals with the Creator of the universe.  It also means that God gave Noah direction, meaning and purpose to his life. 
 
My friend, the reason that God is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure is so that He might change you into the person you should be.  He wants to renovate your heart, mind, body and soul into the image of Christ;  An exact reproduction of His only begotten Son: For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29 NASB). 
 
We need to realize something about the verse above.  When the scriptures say that He also predestined us, it doesn’t mean that we become His robots.  No, no.  You are not a puppet.  You are not a robot.  You are not just a THING.  You are a living, breathing being.  You have a mind, a heart, a will.  You have wants, needs and desires.  God is in the renovation business but realize this, He is not in the destruction business.  He doesn’t destroy your will.  He wants to “remodel” your will.  He wants to change your will.  He is in the building business.  He wants to change you from the inside out.  He can and He will but He will ONLY do it with your permission.  He wants willing subjects.  He wants men, women and children that will allow Him to will and to work for His good pleasure.   What is His good pleasure?  To mold you and change you into the image of Christ, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.
 
The bottom line is this, Question: Will you let Him change you into the image of Christ?  It is done, not by our good works but by His grace: who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity (2 Timothy 1:9 NASB).
 
Lord, I give you permission to change me into the person I should be.  In fact Lord, I beg you to forgive me and mold me into the person that you want me to be.  Lord, I desire you to change my desires into your desires.  Change my hopes into your hopes.  Change me totally into the person you want me to be.  For Lord, I know that without you I can do no good thing but with you I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Lord, I love you.
 
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard



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