Verse of the Day

Daily Devotion 

By:  Bro. Bob Maynard
 

1 July – 4 July 2016 Verse of the Day

I am sorry, but I am on vacation for four days.  I will post the VOTD again on 5 July 2016.
 
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


30 June 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 2:2 NASB  make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
 
Again, to get the complete thought, we need to read verses 1 and 2 together: Philippians 2:1-2 NASB  Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,  (2)  make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
 
As we saw yesterday in the VOTD, verse one is true in every sense of the word.  So Paul goes on to ask the Philippian Christians to make my joy complete.  Which brings up the first question that we want to answer: What is the difference between Joy and Happiness?  Or is there even a difference?  Yes, I believe there is a difference between joy and happiness.  Happiness is an emotion that depends on our situation and circumstances.  It is related to our physical surroundings and events that happen to us.  If the events that happen to us are good and we perceive them as good, then we are “happy.”  Joy does not depend on our situation and circumstances.  We can be full of joy in the middle of the most terrible situations and circumstances that we have ever encountered.  Why?  Because joy is not based on our emotions.  Joy is based on the Spirit of the Living God in us.  Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace… Gal 5:22.  We experience true joy when God is in control and directing our lives.  So, happiness is man driven and joy is God driven.    
 
I want you to notice what Paul says about joy: make my joy completeIn other words, Paul is requesting that they “fulfil” or “give him total” joy by doing some of the following actions.  Complete joy comes from complete commitment to the Lord, His will and His way.  What is His will for us and what is His desire on how we should live?  Here it is listed in this verse:
  1. by being of the same mind
  2. maintaining the same love
  3. united in spirit
  4. intent on one purpose
 
All of the above thoughts have but one common core: the same, or one.  This common core of “oneness” brings to mind the following verse: Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD (Mark 12:29 NASB).  Since THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD, then it only make sense that He has but one purpose and that is that we might all have the same mind, maintaining the same love. 
 
So what is that same mind and same love that we all share as Christians in Christ Jesus?  Here it is: We as a body of believers are united in spirit and are all intent on one purpose which is to glorify the God through our obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ whether in life or in death.  Here is how Paul said this principle to the Romans: Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 15:5-6 NASB).
 
Every truly born again Christian, once they are matured in Christ has the same goal: Glorify God through their faith.  The object of their faith is Him that has the name that is above every name.  The one to whom every knee shall bow.  The one who is exalted above every name that has ever been named.  For it is written, “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.”  (Romans 14:11 NASB).  For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11 NASB).
 
My friend, if you don’t have the goal of being united in spirit and intent on one purpose, then you need to examine yourself.  Ask yourself: What is the most important thing in my life?  If your answer is not to live for God and to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ in everything you say and do, then your goals in this life are too short and too selfish.  You need to ask the Lord to examine you and if you are falling short, ask Him to change you into the person that you need to be.  Trust me, He can do it and He will do it.  But realize this: The job of loving God with all your heart, mind, body and soul is never finished.  We all need to press on to the upward call that is found in Christ Jesus. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14 KJV).  To God be all the Glory.
 
Lord, I seek your forgiveness for those times that I have not been living in one accord with the purpose of glorifying you.  Lord, please forgive me for living with selfish motives and wrong motives.  Lord, renew my spirit that I might be united in one spirit with one purpose to glorify you in all that I say and do.  Lord, I love you.
 
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


29 June 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 2:1 NASB Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,
 
As always, Therefore makes us look back for the previous thought which comes from:
Philippians 1:27-30 NASB
(27) Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
(28) in no way alarmed by your opponents–which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.
(29) For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
(30) experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
 
Therefore also looks forward to see if there is any encouragement in Christ. I ask you: Do you find any encouragement in Christ? I hope and pray that your answer is yes because our Lord Jesus Christ encourages us all the time. He says things like: “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you (John 14:18 NASB). And: “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me (John 14:1 NASB). And: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful (John 14:27 NASB). So I ask you my friend, is there any encouragement in Christ? Only if you believe in Him. Only if you trust in Him. Only if His Spirit bears witness with your spirit that you are one of His children. My friend, our Lord Jesus Christ encourages us all the time, in every place and in everyway that He can… If we will only believe in Him and trust in Him. Question is: Do you trust Him with your life and your problems? If you do, then He is encouraging you.
 
The second area that our VOTD makes us think about is: if there is any consolation of love. You know when we get down in the mouth and depressed, we question if anyone loves us. Well, you and I know that God loves us. He sent His son to die for us and the Bible tells us that by His stripes we are healed: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed (1 Peter 2:24 KJV). God shows us love at every turn. To show His love for us, He says to us: so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:45 NASB). When God says that to us, it shows His unequaled love for us. My friend, that is love in action.
 
But God especially loves us because we love the Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him (John 14:23 NASB). And: “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” (John 14:21 NASB). My friend, if you love Jesus, then the Father has a special love for you and a special relationship with you. But I want you to always remember that: We love, because He first loved us (1 John 4:19 NASB).
 
And because you have a special love relationship with the Father and with the Lord Jesus Christ, our VOTD can go on to say: if there is any fellowship of the Spirit. We know that we have fellowship in the Spirit because we are reminded that the Holy Scriptures tell us: God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Corinthians 1:9 NASB). God wants to remind us that the fellowship that we have with Him is because of our faith in Him: and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake (Philemon 1:6 NASB). God is faithful and He is always wanting fellowship with us by His Spirit that He placed in us.
 
 
Finally, our VOTD that asks us if there is any affection and compassion. So, I ask you my friend: Is there any affection and compassion that you see from God the Father or the Lord Jesus Christ in your life? Do you see His affection and compassion around you? Do you see it in the events that happen in your life? Do you hear His Spirit speak to you with affection and compassion? Does He treat you with affection and compassion? Let me share a secret with you: You can only see God’s affection and compassion through the spiritual eyes of faith. Because without faith, it is not only impossible to please Him, but you can’t see, know and experience His affection and compassion  without faith in Him.
 
Lord, please help me to place all of my faith in you. Lord, help me to trust you more and more and walk by faith in everything I say and do. Lord, I want to please you in all things. Lord, all I can do is ask and then trust you in all things. Lord, I do want to thank you for your goodness and mercy to me. Lord, you have been so wonderful to me and all I can say is Thank You!!! And tell you that: I Love You Lord.
 
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


28 June 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 1:30 NASB  experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
 
Our VOTD today centers around one word: conflict.  The Philippian Christians saw the conflict in Paul and now they were experiencing the same conflict.  So immediately some questions come to mind: What was the conflict in Paul?  What was the conflict that the Philippian Christians were experiencing?  Do we as Christians in this day and age experience the same conflicts?  What can we do if we are experiencing the same conflicts?
 
Isn’t it amazing how when you read the Word of God carefully, questions come to your mind?  And those questions are there for a good reason.  So that you and I might 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). Never fear your questions about the Bible, God’s Holy Word.  Just let the Spirit guide you in your search for the correct answer straight from the Word of God.  The Bible has the answer if you will just take the time to search it in prayer, relying on the Holy Spirit to guide you into the Truth.
 
First, we need to define the word conflict.  Webster’s gives us lots of definitions but the best one that fits this situation is: To strive or struggle to resist and overcome; as men conflicting with difficulties.  The Cambridge Bible Commentary gives a good definition of this word when it says: conflict] Greek agôn, a word suggestive of the athletic arena rather than the battle-field. See above on “striving together,” Php_1:27. It recurs Col_2:1 (perhaps for the “wrestlings” of prayer); 1Th_2:2; 1Ti_6:12; 2Ti_4:7; Heb_12:1. Our blessed Lord’s great “Wrestling” in Gethsemane, His sacred “Agony,” is called by the kindred word agônia, Luk_22:44.
 
So let’s see if we can find the answer to our questions about this conflict.  First, what was the conflict which they saw in Paul?  Well, the conflict comes from the previous verse: For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake (Philippians 1:29 NASB).  Belief and suffering are the conflicts that we see in this verse.  No believer wants to suffer for their faith in Christ.  But the struggle or the conflict comes in that we cannot deny our Lord.  He is too wonderful to us to deny.  He is too loving for us to ignore.  His grace and blessings are too precious for us to keep quiet about.  So the conflict or struggle come in that we must praise Him.  We must seek His will in everything we say and do and that is where the world disagrees with us.  The world can’t stand the convicting power that the Spirit brings on them when you talk about Jesus, His love and His grace.  So what does the world want to do to you?  Make you suffer for your faith in Jesus.  That is the conflict.  The obedient, born-again Christian cannot be silent about their faith and the world wants to make them suffer for their faith.
 
Do we see this conflict in other verses in the Bible?  Yes, here are some: 
(Philippians 1:27 NASB)  Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
 
(Colossians 2:1 NASB)  For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face,
 
(1 Thessalonians 2:2 NASB)  but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition.
 
There are lots of other verses that talk about the conflict or struggle that a Christian who is seeking to follow the will of God will experience.  Which brings us to the next question: Do Christians today experience this same conflict?  The answer is yes in some degree, if you are going to live a life that is seeking to follow the Lord Jesus.  Realize this, we don’t live in the same environment that Paul and the early Christians did.  That world of yesterday was a violent and a brutal world.  And you can still see and experience that violence in some parts of our societies in other countries today.  But in America, “a Christian society” you will not experience death.  But you will suffer conflict and be persecuted for your faith.   And that is because the … natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised (1 Corinthians 2:14 NASB).  Realize this: The gospel has a convicting power in it.  I convicts the sinner that they need Jesus.  You stand for Jesus and your presence convicts them of their need to repent.  But the human nature resists repentance.  It doesn’t want to repent.  It does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, so it resists.  And because it doesn’t want it, it seeks to stop the pain that it causes.  So what does it do?  It seeks to stop the source of the pain that it is experiencing.  And that is you.  It lashes out and wants to cause you pain.  So it persecutes you.
 
Which brings us to our last question: What can I do about the conflict that I am experiencing?  You can do the same thing that Paul did and that he recommended to Timothy when he said: I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14 NASB).  You can’t do anything about the past.  You can’t change it.  All you can do is forget it: 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 (Philippians 3:13 NASB).
 
My friend, the bottom line is this: Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12 NASB).  If you desire to live godly in Christ Jesus you will experience conflict and persecution.  It is a fact.  It will happen.  All you can do is prepare your mind and heart now so that you will be ready when it comes.  How do you prepare?  By making up your mind to rejoice when it happens:  “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5:11-12 NASB).
 
Lord, I confess my desire to you: I want to live an obedient life for you.  I want to do all things to please you, to bless you and to praise you.  I want you to be able to say “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”  Lord, but I know that I am weak.  Lord, so many, many times I am tempted to keep quiet when your Spirit wants me to speak out.  Lord, please help me to have the courage to speak the truth of the Word of God to those around me.  Help me to ignore the hostility and the disapproval of men who don’t know you.  Lord, I love you.
 
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


27 June 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 1:29 NASB  For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
 
Let me start off with a simple question: How do you go from being a born-again, baptized believer to one who is willing to go through suffering for His sake?
 
Well to answer that question, first, we need to remind ourselves about what Jesus said about being persecuted: “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5:10-12 NASB).  And Paul reminds us that Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12 NASB).
 
In our present day and age, we don’t see a lot of persecution for our faith in Jesus because God has blessed this nation due to our past.  We started out as a Christian nation, founded on the principles of the Bible.  If we tell someone we believe in Jesus and the Bible, they don’t treat us much different than anyone else.  But as time goes on and as more people become convinced that the Bible is a story book and not real, things are going to get harder and harder to stand up for your faith.  One day, mark my words, you WILL Be persecuted for your faith in Jesus.
 
So as a born-again believer, how do I get to the point of being able to stand up for my faith even in the light of being persecuted?  My friend, it is a matter of growth.  Jesus said it like this: He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR come and NEST IN ITS BRANCHES.” (Matthew 13:31-32 NASB).  We all need to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18 NASB).  In order to grow, I need to live my faith in Jesus every day.  I need to practice the principles of my faith in Jesus by following His word in my everyday life.  I need to practice my obedience to Him in everything I say and do.
 
If we don’t do right and live right then we don’t grow.  In fact, we don’t just not grow, we tend to become weak and sickly due to our not judging our bodies rightly.  This is the warning that Paul gave to us that we need to judge our bodies rightly before taking the Lord’s Supper: Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world (1 Corinthians 11:27-32 NASB).
 
So the result of growth in the Lord is this: You become convinced that the Lord is right, pure and holy.  You know that the Bible is the truth.  And you know that God’s ways are always the best.  You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:14-15 NASB).  My friend, once you have grown and become convinced that Jesus is who He said He was: Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me (John 14:6 NASB), then you will stand up and be willing to be persecuted.  You will endure the snide remarks.  You will tolerate being the outcast.  You will weather the harsh criticisms from those around you.  Why?  Because: You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4 NASB).  It is the Holy Spirit in you that makes you strong and able to stand up and endure the persecutions from the world.
 
My friend, do you know what comes next after being persecuted?  That’s right, suffering.  Here is what Jesus said: “It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household! “Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. “What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops. “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:25-28 NASB).
 
The disciples went from being persecuted to being beaten and thrown into jail and undergoing much suffering.  It is a progression that always happens in a Godless society.  It goes from snide remarks to outright hostility and then on to physical violence.   Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church in order to mistreat them. And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword (Acts 12:1-2 NASB).  But do you know what?  The disciples had an entirely different attitude about suffering than you and I do.  Here is what God’s Holy Word says about their spirit:  So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name (Acts 5:41 NASB).  You and I need to pray that we can have the same attitude as they did about suffering.
 
Finally, I personally believe we all need to have the attitude about being persecuted and suffering like Jesus said that we should have when He said: “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.   Question is: Do you fear man and those around you more than you fear God?
 
Lord, please help me to fear you and be obedient to you as you lead me in the path of righteousness.  Lord, I want to please you in all that I say and do.  Lord, help me and enable me to endure not only the persecutions the wicked but also to be strong in the strength of your might so that I might stand up to the sufferings to come.  Lord, I love you.
 
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


26 June 2016 Verse of the Day  

Philippians 1:28 NASB  in no way alarmed by your opponents–which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.
 
Let me share with you a couple of problems with the VOTD.  First, a problem that I see with the VOTD is that I only have enough time and energy to cover one main thought for each verse and some verses have lots and lots of thoughts.  And then another problem is the fact that some thoughts cover two or more verses.  Today’s VOTD falls into both of the above categories.  We need to read the previous verse to pick up the complete thought for today’s VOTD: Philippians 1:27-28 NASB  (27)  Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;  (28)  in no way alarmed by your opponents–which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.
 
So our VOTD, Paul says to the Philippians that he wants them to be in no way alarmed by your opponents … How could they not be alarmed?  It is because the previous verse says that they were standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.  What makes a rope strong?  A rope is strong because it has hundreds of individual strands of hemp fibers tightly wound together which make it stronger than just the individual fibers together.  The secret is in the “tightly wound together.”  My friend, I know that it is an old saying but the principle is true: no man is an island.  You are stronger and are able to resist more temptations by being tightly bound together with other believers than you are on your own.  That is why Paul was encouraging the Philippians to standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together.  He wanted them to be strong in the strength of one spirit so that they could be of one mind striving together and that way they would be in no way alarmed by their opponents.  In other words, Paul wanted the Philippians to be “tightly wound together” with other Christians so that they would be in no way alarmed by their opponents.
 
Well, that brings up the question: What would alarm the Philippian Christians?  That is an easy question to answer: The same things that would alarm you.  What would alarm you?  Lots and lots of things.  Fear from repercussions from living for Jesus and talking about Jesus.  Let’s face it.  Satan, the devil, hates Jesus.  And he wants to do anything and everything he can to destroy Christians.  It was true in Paul’s day and it is still true today.  So when the non-Christians of Paul’s day got mad at him, they threatened him with all kinds of threats and bodily pain.  And in many cases they carried out those threats.  So when you are threatened with pain, it brings an alarm into your mind.
 
But Paul goes on to say which is a sign of destruction for them.  Why?  Because Paul knew as you and I know: For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so (Romans 8:6-7 NASB).  Those people in Philippi who were threatening the Christians were doing wrong and it was a sure sign of destruction for them and that they were under the influence of the devil: You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44 NASB).
 
But there is a positive side to threats and bodily harm.  And that is for a Christian it is a sign of salvation for you, and that too, from God.  How can you know if you are a Christian?  One of the strongest ways that I know of is when the world hates you and warns you and threatens you. Why? Because when they hate you it is a sure sign that you are being filled by the Holy Spirit and God is using you to convict them of their sin.  In the end it authenticates you as a Christian and is a sure sign of salvation for you, and that too, from God.
 
Let me leave you with this thought: When is the last time someone threatened you for what you said or did as a Christian?  When is the last time someone even disagreed with you because of your Christian views?  When was the last time you spoke up and shared your Christian views and took a chance on others not agreeing with you?  My friend, if you can’t remember, then you are not living close enough to Jesus.  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).
 
Lord, I confess, I need to live closer to you.  I need to fill my mind and heart more with your word, your will and your way.  Lord, please enable me to have the courage to stand up and say what is right even in the face of threats and bodily harm.  Lord, I want to live for you but I need your strength to do that.  Help me Lord to be bound closely with other believers so that I might be stronger than I am all by myself.  Lord, I love you.
 
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


25 June 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 1:27 NASB  Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
 
From this VOTD forward, Paul concerns himself with their conduct in Christ.  He wants to insure that they conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.  Paul tells them later on to: Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves (Philippians 2:3 NASB).  He is concerned about their state of mind.  That is why he tells them to: Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5 NASB).  He wants them to be able to stand in the presence of Christ with a clear conscience and a pure heart.  And I must say, that is the same thing that I desire for everyone who reads these VOTDs.
 
So, if we are going to conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, then what are we going to have to do?  I know that I have said it in the past and I will say it in the future but there is no simpler way to say it than this: 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. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil (Proverbs 3:5-7 NASB).
 
One of the basic things that we all need to realize about our righteousness, even as Christians, is that … all our righteousness is as filthy rags … (Isaiah 64:6 KJV).  It is not our righteousness that gets us into heaven, but Christ’s righteousness in us that gets us into heaven.  His righteousness is imputed to us, pure, plain and simple.  What does imputed mean?  Webster’s says: Charged to the account of; attributed; ascribed.  In other words, when you became a Christian, a Christ follower, a born-again believer your sin debt (what you owed for your sins against God) got charged against Christ’s death, and Christ’s holiness, righteousness and purity got credited against your account.  You’re pure, holy and undefiled as God the Father looks at you through the shed blood of Christ.
 
So as a Christian, what am I supposed to do when it comes to following Christ?  If my righteousness is as filthy rags in His sight, what am I supposed to do?  How am I supposed to live a holy and pure life?  Here is the secret to living the life that Christ wants you to live: Let Christ live His life in you.  Here it is straight from the Word of God: that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me (Colossians 1:26-29 NASB).  It is not Paul’s power or might or his good works.  No, no.  It is the power of Christ in him that is doing the good works.  It is Christ in Paul doing what He wants to do, going where He wants to go, and saying what He wants to say.  That is the righteousness of Christ in Paul.
 
My friend, it is the same for us.  We have no righteousness on our own.  We don’t live the law or do things that we think is best.  No, no.  Our actions that please God are when we are walking by faith in Him.  It is when we are praying without ceasing.  It is when we are humbling ourselves before Him in all that we say and do.  When we are living by faith in Him is the only time that the Spirit of the living God can direct us to do the will of God.  It is no longer our spirit but His Spirit that we are walking in.  Let me see if I can explain it this way.  Two people get in the car.  One is the driver and one is in the passenger seat up front.  Now you are at point “X” and you want to go to point “Y.”  Let’s say you are the driver and for the sake of this illustration, we are going to say that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the passenger seat up front.  You know where you are and you know where point “Y” is and you head off to get there.   But about 5 miles down the road, you run into a problem: Traffic is backed up for as far as you can see.  You are just guessing but you suppose that there is an accident up ahead.  In the beginning, what mistake did you make?  Your mistake was: You assumed that you knew the way to get there and you took off to go the way you thought was best.  You didn’t ask the Lord, sitting right next to you what to do or how to get there…. No, you just took off.  Now look at the mess you are in.
 
My friend, you might be the driver of your physical body, but there is someone else in your life that wants to tell you how and where to drive.  You guessed it: The Lord Jesus Christ wants to tell you how to live your life.  That is the purpose of the Holy Spirit in your life.  He wants to dictate to you what God wants you to know, where to go and how to get there.  He will even tell you of future events: “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come (John 16:13 NASB).
 
If you are a Christian, then Christ is in the car of your body.  Your body belongs to Him.  He has the right and the privilege to dictate to it.  But He will not do it unless you give Him permission to do it.  He does not grab the steering wheel of your life and turn it where He wants it to go.  You must ASK Him what He wants, how He wants it and where He wants you to go.  He is the one who has to tell you what road to take, how fast to drive and even what turns to make.  My friend then and only then can you say, I didn’t drive here, I just followed directions on how to get here.  Then Christ can get all of the Glory not you.  All you did is follow His directions and His guidance.  So I say to you, my friend: For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:20 NASB).
 
Lord, please forgive me for driving on my own.  You have been so kind and gracious to me.  Lord, I want to follow your directions and do things that you tell me to do.  Lord, help me to always remember to ask you and to seek you in everything I say and do.  Lord, I love you.
 
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


24 June 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 1:26 NASB  so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.
 
Wait a minute…. I thought it was wrong to have pride and in this verse Paul seems to be promoting pride when he says so that your proud confidence in me may abound …  What’s the deal here?  Is pride wrong or isn’t it? 
 
Well, let’s look at some verses that talk about pride and see if we can figure out the difference between the kind of pride that the Bible says is a no-no and the kind of pride that Paul is talking about in this verse. 
 
First, here are some verses that condemn pride in us: 
(Job 33:17 NASB)  That He may turn man aside from his conduct, And keep man from pride;
(Job 35:12 NASB)  “There they cry out, but He does not answer Because of the pride of evil men.
(Psalms 75:5 NASB)  Do not lift up your horn on high, Do not speak with insolent pride.'”
(Proverbs 8:13 NASB)  “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate.
(Proverbs 16:18 NASB)  Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.
(1 John 2:16 NASB)  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
 
It is very clear from the above verses that the boastful human, fleshly sinful pride is condemned in man.  God does not want us to have or promote sinful pride.  It leads us into an attitude of self-independence and arrogance that says we don’t need God or His Holy Spirit to guide us or help us.  The kind of pride that God hates is the kind that says: “I can do it myself.  Leave me alone.”
 
So what kind of pride do we find in our VOTD.  I believe it is the right kind of pride.  It is the kind of pride that God promotes and wants us to have.  Yes, that’s right.  I said that’s the kind of pride that God wants us to have.  Well, what kind of pride is it and what makes the difference to make it the right kind of pride?  It all comes down to three little words: in Christ Jesus.  Are you a Christian?  Are you a Christ-follower?  Are you proud of your Savior and what He has done?  Then you have pride in Christ Jesus.  Is it OK to be proud of your Savior???  You bet!!! 
 
The right kind of pride is the kind of pride that promotes others and not yourself.  It is the kind of pride that seeks to honor others and not bolster your own ego.  Are you proud of your children’s accomplishments….???  I hope so.  Are you proud of your pastor?  I pray so.  Are you proud of your mate’s hard work and accomplishments?  I sincerely pray that you are and tell them that you are proud of them.  This is exactly the kind of pride that our VOTD is speaking about.  Paul knew the Philippians were proud of him.  Why?  Because Paul stood up for the truth of the gospel.  He lived his life to please his Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.  Therefore, he knew that he could say so that your (the Philippian Christian’s) proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.  He knew that the pride of the Philippian Christians was not a self-promoting pride but a pride that was abounding in Christ Jesus.  And that kind and quality of pride is OK in God’s kingdom.  
 
I want you to stop and think about yourself for a moment.  What are you proud of?  What comes to mind?  When you think about pride and things that you are proud of, are they about you and your accomplishments?  Or are they thoughts about others and what they have done or are doing?  Let me give you a warning… If your first thoughts about pride are about what you have done and are doing then you need to examine yourself.  That self-pride can and often does lead down a slippery slope and ends up in as self-promoting boastful pride that toots its own horn.  It says: Look at what I have done.  Look at what I have accomplished instead of “look at what Christ Jesus has done in me.”
 
My friend, be very careful about pride because it can lead you astray in a heartbeat.  If you see yourself headed down the wrong road of pride, stop and ask the Lord to change your thinking so that you can think as to have sound judgement and be prideful of others and not yourself.  For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith (Romans 12:3 NASB).
 
Lord, you know my heart.  Lord, I am like the publican who beat upon his breast and cried “be merciful to me the sinner.”  Lord, I need you.  I want you to make me into the man that I should be.  Lord, please help me not to be proud of my accomplishments but proud of others.  Help me to see them and complement them.  Help me to lift them up to your throne of grace.  Lord, I love you.
 
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


23 June 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 1:25 NASB  Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith,
 
Paul starts off with: Convinced of this.  What is he convinced of?  I believe he was convinced that he was going to be spared death and was going to remain on in the flesh just as he had said in the previous verse: yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake (Philippians 1:24 NASB).  That is why he goes on to say: I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith.
 
Now the thought that I would like for us to pick up on is Paul’s statement that he was convinced of this.  Why was Paul convinced of the outcome of his trial in Rome?  What made him think that he would be released and not be put to death?  What gave him that confidence?  What was it based on?
 
Can I give you one proof text that I hope and pray will convince you like it convinced Paul?  Here is the proof text: For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God (Romans 8:14 NASB).  Whether you know it or not, the Spirit of God is seeking to lead you and guide you.  He is given to you to guide you in the paths of righteousness.  He is there in you to disclose to you what is to come, future events, future happenings and things that God will do in your life: “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come (John 16:13 NASB).  Now I want you to know, that as a born-again believer, the Holy Spirit gives every Christian the ability to know the things that are freely given to them by God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words (1 Corinthians 2:12-13 NASB). 
 
Now here are the facts of the situation: When you start combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words and start speaking words not taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit the worldly people will not understand you.  They will say you are crazy because you can’t know the things that you are convinced of.  When Paul talked in terms of being released from prison, I am sure that those around him thought he was crazy.  Why?  Because they did not have his information source.  They were not being led by the Spirit of God as he was.  They did not know that it was the Spirit of the Living God in him that had disclosed to him what was to come.  They just thought he was having wishful thinking.  Now I say all of this to warn you.  When you speak spiritual words (future events) to those around you, they will not understand you and most won’t believe you.  But those Christians who have a similar mindset, one that is set on things above, will believe you.  They will understand and they can see the same things that you see.  Why?  Because the Spirit reveals the same things to them.
 
So the question now is: Why is it that the Holy Spirit in every believer doesn’t reveal the things that is to come to them?  Why is it that they are clueless?  Why don’t they know and understand what God has in store for them?  The simple answer is that “you have not because you ask not” and “you ask and don’t receive because you ask with the wrong motives.”  Let me share some verses from James: But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind (James 1:5-6 NASB).  And James goes on to say: You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures (James 4:2-3 NASB).
 
Here is the basic problem: You and I have a sin nature.  That sin nature ALWAYS gets us into trouble if we listen to it and follow it.  It is only when we let the Spirit of the Living God in us, put our sin nature to death that we can start following the Spirit’s leading and prompting and guiding.  We, as sinners, want what we think is the best for us.  We don’t want to yield to the Spirits leading so that God can be glorified.  When we pray, we pray “God’s will be done” but then we go on to state what that will is.  We need to stop it.  We need to stop stating what God’s will is and start listening to what His will is.  That is what it means to be led by the Spirit.  We don’t tell Him….. He tells us.  Then when we are submissive to His will and listening and willing to do whatever He wants, then and only then can He and will He disclose to us what is to come.
 
The bottom line is this:  God’s Spirit in us is ready, willing and able to disclose to us what is to come.  We just need to get into the Spirits way of thinking and be submissive to His will so that He can disclose it to us.  “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42 NASB).
 
Lord, I beg your forgiveness for my past sins in this area.  Lord, I know on numerous occasions I have told you what to do instead of listening to you on what to do.  Lord, please forgive me.  Help me to be still so that I can know you are God.  Help me to listen to the Spirit and follow His guidance.  Lord, I know that you love me and you only want the best for me.  Please help me to be submissive to your will in all things.  Lord, I love you.
 
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


22 June 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 1:24 NASB  yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.
 
What is Paul saying in this verse?  He is saying that he is thinking of the Philippians and their need for mature teaching.  Paul is not thinking of himself but others.  He wants others to benefit from his life, his knowledge and his commitment to the Lord.  I like what the Believer’s Bible Commentary says about this verse: One cannot help but be impressed with the unselfishness of this great-hearted man. He does not think of his own comfort or ease, but rather of what will best advance the cause of Christ and the welfare of His people.  
 
Which brings us to the thought that I believe the Lord wants us to think about today.  What are we doing to benefit others around us?  Are we freely giving of our time, energy talents and material items to others?  Are we growing in our giving to others or are we pretty much the same as we always have been?
 
God wants us to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen (2 Peter 3:18 NASB).  Now most of us think that that verse means that we are to grow in head knowledge but actually this verse means much more than that.  It means as we grow in spiritual knowledge that the knowledge we have will translate into deeds and actions that will benefit not only the kingdom of God but be to the benefit of others all around us.  As you grow to love the Lord Jesus more and more, the more you want to be filled with His Spirit, the more you want to become like Him.  You want to think more like Him.  You want to be more like Him.  And you want to be more USED by Him. 
 
What did Jesus do while was here on this earth?  Peter said it very well when he said: “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him (Acts 10:38 NASB).  Here is God’s only begotten Son, who is anointed with the Holy Spirit and what do we find Him doing?  Is He washing His chariot?  Is He out fishing?  Is He out with the boys playing ball?  Of course not.  What is He doing?  He went about doing good and healing.  Now my friend, we have not been given the ability to heal like Jesus did but we can be doing good.  So if we are going to be like Paul and are going to be filled with the Holy Spirit like Jesus, we are going to have to be doing good.
 
Now I want you to remember something that is VERY important.  The motive makes all the difference in the world.  If you are doing good for the wrong reason or the wrong motive, then you need to change your way of thinking.  What am I saying?  If you motive for doing good is to be noticed by men and praised by men, then you are doing good for the wrong reason.  It is just like Jesus said about the Scribes and Pharisees: But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. “They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men (Matthew 23:5-7 NASB).  The Lord reminds us that: “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full (Matthew 6:2 NASB).  If you have even an inkling in your heart and mind that you will receive praise from anyone on this earth for what you are doing, then you are doing good for the wrong reason.  If that thought ever enters your mind, ask the Lord to first forgive you and second to take that thought away from you.
 
So here is the bottom line: As you and I grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, then we should be spending less and less time pleasing ourselves and start looking for ways to please our Lord and Master.  As He burdens our hearts and minds with things we can do for others, then we need to become submissive to those urgings and promptings that the Holy Spirit gives us.  Let us not think of what praise we can get from men but what praise we can give to our Lord and Master for all of His goodness and mercy to us by using sinners to do His work of grace on this earth.
 
Lord, please forgive me for being selfish and stingy in the past with my time, talents and energy.  Lord, please burden my heart to do your good will and help others around me to not only come to know you but also to grow in grace and knowledge of you so that you can use them in your service.  Lord, please use me this day for whatever you choose.  Lord, I love you.
 
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard



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