Verse of the Day

Daily Devotion 

By:  Bro. Bob Maynard
 

21 June 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 1:23 NASB But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;
 
Let’s get the complete thought: Philippians 1:21-24 NASB
(21) For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
(22) But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose.
(23) But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;
(24) yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.
 
What does Paul mean that he is hard-pressed from both directions? Well, he has a desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better and yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. In other words, he has a strong desire to be with Christ because he knows that life is very much better with Christ in heaven. But he knows that he has a job to do on earth and that is to help people around him come to know Christ. For that is what Christ has commissioned him to do. It is like a person wanting to retire from their job because they want the good, easy retirement life (some retired people would question that statement) but they know they need to work for a while in order to be able to save enough so that they can enjoy their retirement. Paul has the desire to depart but he knows it is necessary to stay for your sake he tells the Philippians.
 
Which brings up the thought of the most important question we can ask ourselves is: What are God’s desires for us? Well, first and foremost is God’s desire for us to be saved: This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4 NASB). That first and foremost desire should not surprise you. You should expect that to be God’s first desire for us all because He says in His Holy Word that: “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:17 NASB). And that was Paul’s desire and mission in this life, to preach the good news everywhere he went. In fact, that was his commission from the Lord from the very start of his calling. When the Lord spoke to Ananias to go and lay his hands on Saul, the Lord said to Ananias about Saul: But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel (Acts 9:15 NASB).  Question: Are you doing what the Lord called you to do?
 
The second thing that God desires for us might surprise some of us. God desires fellowship with us. He wants an intimate relationship with us. How do I know that? Because it is clear through-out the whole Bible that He is instructing us on how to be Holy so that we might have fellowship with Him. Here is one of the clearest passages on His desire for fellowship with us: The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever (Psalms 23:1-6 NASB). Look at how close the Lord is to you. He makes me, He leads me, He guides me. And then He says: You are with me, You have anointed my and finally And I will dwell in the house of the LORD.  My friend that is intimate fellowship with the Lord God of heaven and earth.
 
Let’s read some verses that relate to fellowship with God or His Son Jesus Christ or with the Holy Spirit of the Living God: God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Corinthians 1:9 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 (Philippians 2:1 NASB).

that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death (Philippians 3:10 NASB).

what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1:3 NASB).
 
Is there any doubt that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit long to have fellowship with you and me, sinners that are saved by the grace of God? No, there can be no doubt in light of the verses above. But let me warn you: If we say that we have fellowship with God, we cannot have unconfessed sin in our lives because the Bible warns us: If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth (1 John 1:6 NASB). But the Bible goes on to tell us that: but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7 NASB).
 
Question is: What are we doing about God’s desires? Are we seeking to make His desires our desires? Are we talking to others about Jesus Christ the Savior of the world? Are we walking in fellowship with Him? Let a man examine himself.
 
Lord, please help me to talk to others about Jesus. Lord, help me to be strong and courageous and tell of your love for them. Also, Lord, I want to walk in fellowship with you. Help me to turn away from sin that I might walk in the light so that I can have fellowship with you. Lord, please enable me and strengthen me this day that I might say NO to sin and YES to your Spirit as He leads me this day. Lord, I love you.
 
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


20 June 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 1:22 NASB  But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose.

And what was yesterday’s VOTD?  What did it say?  What was it about?  Oh, I am sure you remember this famous verse: For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21 NASB).  You probably have it memorized but in case you don’t, you need to.  Go ahead and memorize it.  Burn it into your memory banks.  It will serve you well.  And in time I pray that you feel the same way Paul did about death.

Now we can start off on today’s VOTD because it starts off with a transition word But.  Which is to say “in contrast to my feelings about death, let me talk about life.”  What did life and living for Jesus mean to Paul?  Why did he want to live on in the flesh?  What was his reward for living for Jesus? 

I want you to understand what Paul is saying about his statement I am to live on in the flesh.  Paul did not say he was living according to the flesh.  No, no.  If he was living according to the flesh then he would be fulfilling the desires of the flesh.  And that would mean he was living the wrong way for the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21 NASB).  And we know that Paul was not living that way because he said: “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).

So what does Paul mean when he says: But if I am to live on in the flesh?  He simply means his physical body.  He is not talking about living according to the desires of the flesh but just that he is living in his physical body.  You and I and Paul are flesh and bones and when we talk about being in a physical body we simply refer to it as our flesh.  Which brings us to one of the points I want to make.  There is nothing sinful or wrong about your physical body.  Your body is created by God and it is good.  God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Genesis 1:27 NASB).  God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day (Genesis 1:31 NASB).

It is the “lust of the flesh” that is wrong and sinful.  It is wanting and desiring flesh that God says is wrong to want.  It is a desire for flesh that we should not desire: but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:28 NASB).  And let me say this here: Ladies, you also can look on a man for him with lust.  You can look on a man the way you should not look at him.  Because you can have “lust of the flesh” in your heart also. 

So all that Paul is saying in our VOTD is that He has a desire to depart and be with Christ for that is very much better, but to remain on in the flesh, the physical body this will mean fruitful labor for me.  How was it going to be fruitful?  It was going to be fruitful because Paul was living, moving and doing according to the Spirit.  He was building his rewards.  Here are some verses of scripture that talk about rewards: Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward (1 Corinthians 3:12-14 NASB).  Paul was living and working according to the Spirit of the living God that lived in him.  Therefore, he was building with gold, silver and precious stones.  How do I know that?  Because he says in the previous verse: For to me, to live is Christ.  My friend, you don’t get much more golden than that.  Now if he was building with wood, hay and straw then his work would be burned up and he would have no reward.  In other words, our motives for what we do make all the difference in the world.

Now my friend, I want you to think about yourself.  Why do you do what you do?  What is your motive?  Is it simply to please your flesh?  Is it simply to do what you want to do regardless of what God says to you in his Holy Word?  Is it simply to satisfy your desires and your longings and wants and wishes?  My friend, then you are building with wood, hay and straw.  You will have no rewards in heaven.  But if you are building with gold, silver and precious stones then you are walking, living and doing God’s will by living in the Spirit.  For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God (Romans 8:14 NASB).

Lord, help me to always be led by your Holy Spirit that is in me.  Help me to never do things for selfish motives or doing things that are desires of the flesh.  Lord, I want to be pleasing to you in all things.  I want to think like you want me to think.  I want to talk like you want me to talk.  And I want to do what you want me to do.  Lord, please lead and guide me this day.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


19 June 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 1:21 NASB  For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

When you read through God’s Holy Word there are some verses that have a powerful message in just a few short words.  God the Holy Spirit strikes a chord in your own heart with the words on the page because the message that Paul is preaching is the same message that you know and believe in your heart.  And for me, such is our verse today.  I want you to know that as you experience the “living word” the Bible, it will affect how you think, act and feel.  Why?  Because: 

… the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12 NASB).  Now I admit to you that not everyone is going to agree with this verse of the day, but it is the way I feel and I hope and pray that it is the way everyone will feel one day about their relationship with Christ and death.

What is the heart of Paul’s message in this verse?  Well in order to understand the complete thought, I need to print out the next few verses in order to reveal the complete message.  Now I am hoping and praying that over the next few days to elaborate on each of these verses, so please stay tuned.  First, I want us to read all of the verses then we will go back to our VOTD and see if we can explain how Paul felt and why He felt the way he did: 

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again (Philippians 1:21-26 NASB).

Now let’s examine our VOTD in three parts:  1. For to me.  2.  to live is Christ.  3.  and to die is gain.  

1.  For to me. With this little phrase, Paul is saying that the rest of the verse is his and his alone. He is not asking anyone anywhere to subscribe to what he is about to say.  He has this as one of His core values.  Do you know what a “core value” is?  To me it is a belief that you hold very dear to your heart.  It is a value that has become part of you.  You hold it close because you have grown to love it and cherish it.  It is so precious to you that you could not part with it for anything.  It is something that you do not because you are told to believe it.  It is something you believe because you have grown into it.  The closest thing that I can compare it to is the love of a parent has for a child.  Your children are so precious to you that you would lay down your life for them.  They are the most precious “gifts” that you have.  And you can only say to others For to me meaning that no one can love your children like you do.  You love them because they are a part of your life.  If something happens to your child, it “rips” your heart out.  You would never be the same.  And that is exactly what Paul was saying about his relationship with Christ.  For to me is only about how Paul felt about his relationship to Christ.  If anything ever happened to his relationship then it would “rip” his heart out and he would never ever be the same.  Praise God, nothing can separate us from the Love of God that is found in Christ Jesus.  That is why Paul could pen these words in Romans: Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35-39 NASB).  

2.  to live is Christ.  Paul could pen this phrase because to him it was true.  Everything he thought about, every hope he had, every dream he dreamed and especially everything he did, he did because Christ was leading and guiding him by the power of the Holy Spirit in him to think that way, or say what he said and do what he was doing.  My friend that should be the goal of every Christian everywhere.  But sadly it is not so.  Some are not setting their minds on heavenly things.  No, no.  They are setting their minds on earthly pleasures.  That is why you find Christians, believers involved in every sin known to man.  That is why the Bible tells us: So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh– for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God (Romans 8:12-14 NASB).

Ask yourself a question: How did Paul get the way he was?  How did he get to the place where he could say

For to me, to live is Christ?  What was his secret?  How did he do that?  My friend there is only one way to get to the point that Paul was at.  He got to that place by being of the same mind as Christ.  Here read it for yourself: Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:5-8 NASB).  That is the only way that you can get to the point to where you can say For to me, to live is Christ.  Why?  Because only Christ living in you can produce the thoughts, words and actions that will be exactly what He wants.  That is why you have to empty yourself and humble you self and become obedient to the point of death.  As I said in the beginning, this VOTD is not for everyone because some are not ready to do that.  Some will balk at the thought of giving up the pleasures of the flesh for the life of the Spirit.  But, praise God, some who read this are well on their way to crucifying the flesh.  But I want you to realize that Paul, no matter how “Spiritual” he got always maintained a healthy relationship with Christ.  Here is what Paul says about his relationship with Christ: Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:12-14 NASB).  

3.  and to die is gain. Our spirits balk at death.  We fear death.  We have a desire to live as long as we can.  We want to enjoy ourselves and be happy in our old age.  It is like a Christian brother used to say in his old age:  “I am ready to go but just not quite yet.”  Death is often looked at as a dreaded event that will happen to us all.  But not for Paul.  Why?  Because He could say: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago–whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows–such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man–whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows– was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. On behalf of such a man I will boast; but on my own behalf I will not boast, except in regard to my weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:2-5 NASB).  I personally believed that the man in Christ that Paul was talking about was himself.  I believe that he saw things in Paradise.  I believe that he knew what was waiting for him when he died.  That is why he could say with confidence and to die is gain.  Why could he say that?  It is because the Bible teaches us that every true born-again Christian, when they die, goes to be with the Lord Jesus. Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord– for we walk by faith, not by sight– we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him (2 Corinthians 5:6-9 NASB).

The only question left for us to ask: Do you believe in your heart, mind and soul like Paul believed?  Do you believe that for you to live is Christ and to die is gain?  If not, the only way to get there is to empty yourself and humble you self and become obedient to the point of death.  If you are not willing, ask the Lord to show you the way to become obedient so that you might please Him.
 
Lord, please help me to always put you first in everything I think, say and do.  Lord I love you.
 
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


18 June 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 1:20 NASB  according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.

I want us to do things a little different today.  I want us to think about the phrase in our VOTD that says my earnest expectation and hope but I want to look at it not from Paul’s perspective. I want us to look at it from God’s perspective towards you and me.  In other words what is God’s earnest expectation and hope for us?

First, I do believe and I hope and pray that you believe this also, that God has hopes and desires for His children.  Let’s face it, Christ died so that we might have new life in Him: But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8 NASB).  So since God sent His only begotten Son to die for us, what are His hopes and desires for us?

If we think about that question in relation to our VOTD, we come up with some startling revelations about God’s desires for us:  God’s earnest expectation and hope, is that He will not be put to shame in anything about what we say or do.  In other words, we, His children won’t shame Him by our thoughts, words, deeds or actions.  Now I don’t know about you but that is a pretty tall order in my mind.  That means that every minute of every day from the moment that I become a Christ believing follower of Him, I will do everything right all the time.  WOW!!!  Can you say, it ain’t going to happen!!!  And why is that?  It is because we still have POWERFUL sin nature that seeks to pull us down and have us follow our sinful fleshly nature.  It is true, we have received a new nature when we became Christians, Christ followers, believers… Whatever you want to call it.  But it is also true that we still have a sin nature and it is still a STRONG influence in our lives even as Christ-followers.

So the question is: How are we to live so that we might meet God’s earnest expectation and hope, is that He will not be put to shame in anything that we say or do?   Well the very first step is to realize that we can NOT live the Christian life on our own.  You don’t have the power to resist the temptation to sin and you never will.  But there is someone in you that can.  Who is that?  It is the Holy Spirit of God Himself that lives in you and enables you to walk by the Spirit so that you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.  But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh (Galatians 5:16 NASB).  And: Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another (Galatians 5:24-26 NASB).  And:   For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God (Romans 8:14 NASB).

You ask me: How do I know if I am being led by the Spirit of God and not by my flesh?  Well, that is a good question.  And here is my answer:  When you are making a decision in your life, ask yourself these questions: 1. What’s its effect going to be on me?  2.  What’s its effect going to be on others around me?  3.  Would I want everyone to know about it?  4.  Can I ask God to get involved and bless what I am about to do?  And finally:  5. Do I sense that God’s Spirit is leading me in this direction?  Here is the bottom line for God’s leadership: He will never ever lead you into SIN.  God the Holy Spirit is given to you to guide you into the truth of the situation.  He will not lie to you or lead you astray.  He will ALWAYS lead you in the path of Truth: “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. “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you (John 16:13-14 NASB).  My friend, one of the litmus tests to see if the Holy Spirit is guiding you or your flesh is guiding you is He will glorify Me.  Ask yourself the question: Is what I am about to do going to glorify Jesus or myself?  If it is going to glorify you, then you are not being led by the Holy Spirit of God.

There is a second area that I believe we need to think about in our relationship with God that comes from our VOTD.  And that is that God will see with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in our bodies.  Now I ask you: How is God going to see Christ exalted in our bodies?  Have you never thought about who is watching you?  Here it is my friend: Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us … (Hebrews 12:1 NASB).  My friend, everyone is watching you.  Not just the people on earth but the heavenly bodies also.  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua and all the rest of the saints are watching you.  Do you want to shame God?  NO!!!  Do you want to exalt Christ in your body?  YES!!! Then the only thing you can do is what the rest of Hebrews says:  Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (Hebrews 12:1-3 NASB).

Lord, I confess, I need you in my life every moment of every day.  I am tempted on all sides and I want to walk a straight and narrow path.  I don’t want to turn to the left or the right.  I want to please you in everything I say and do.  Lord, please lead me and guide me into the truth of every situation and circumstance that I find myself in.  Lord, I want to glorify you this day by being all that you want me to be.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


17 June 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 1:19 NASB  for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,
 
Have you ever been in a position or job that you didn’t want to be in?  Maybe it was a job that you had to put in a lot of overtime in and it was just more work that any one person could do.  Or maybe it was the work environment that was making you miserable.  There was a lot of fighting and bickering among your coworkers and constant unrest.  Or maybe it was a manager that was driving you crazy.  Whatever the reason, you wanted out.  You wanted a change.  You needed the money from the job but you were willing to change to just about anything to get out of the place you were in.  Have you been there?  What did you do?  How did you handle it?  If it happened to you again, would you do things differently?
 
Well, the truth is, most of us have been in that position.  We have been miserable and were hoping and praying for a change.  Now I want to put you in the worst situation you can imagine.  I want to put you in prison with Paul.  How would you like that?  I am sure that you wouldn’t like it and neither would I.  But you know what…. Paul didn’t like it either.  But I want you to see Paul’s mind-set.  Paul wanted to be out of prison.  That is why he said: for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers.  Paul had an expectation.  He expected that he would be released through the Philippians’s prayers.  He was looking forward to it.  He expected it.  Why?  Because he says that it will happen by the: provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.  In other words, Jesus has all power in heaven and earth.  And therefore, He has the power to deliver  Paul out of the hands of the Romans whenever He chooses.
 
The thing I want you to see about Paul is this:  He did not gripe, complain or moan and groan.  Here is how Paul looked at his situation: Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am (Philippians 4:11 NASB).  He was content in whatever circumstances.   He understood a principle that sometimes we as humans forget.  He understood that God loved him with an incorruptible love.  He knew that the Lord Jesus was in control and that nothing could overcome God’s purposes.  Therefore, every event, every happening and every circumstance, God was well aware of and in fact He was in charge of the outcome of every event.  So, when disaster struck, Paul was simply trusting in God for the outcome that God wanted to happen.
 
Think about how Paul got to prison.  Jesus had told him long ago: But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, “Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.” (Acts 23:11 NASB).  And then they got on a ship and it was in the worse storm that you can imagine.  Did Paul complain or moan and groan?  No, He was an encouragement to others:  “Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. “For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.’ “Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told (Acts 27:22-25 NASB).  He went on later to encourage them even further when he said: Until the day was about to dawn, Paul was encouraging them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have been constantly watching and going without eating, having taken nothing. “Therefore I encourage you to take some food, for this is for your preservation, for not a hair from the head of any of you will perish.” Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it and began to eat. All of them were encouraged and they themselves also took food (Acts 27:33-36 NASB). 
 
So what can we learn from Paul’s circumstances?  When we are miserable and weak and weary and worn, we need to trust in the Lord with all of our hearts and minds.  We need to understand that He is in control and that everything that happens to us is in God’s plans to work everything together for good.  We need to act in faith and be convinced in our own mind that everything will work out because God is in control.  Then we need to go the next step and encourage others around us to TRUST IN THE LORD.  Because my friend… That is what it is all about…Trusting in the Lord.
 
Lord, help me to trust in you.  Lord, I need to remember and learn that you are in control and you are working your will and purpose.  My job is to simply trust you.  I need to believe in you and your love for me.  Lord, help me to be an encouragement to others.  Help me to encourage them to lift their spirits and to trust in you.  Lord, I love you.
 
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


16 June 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 1:18 NASB What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,
 
Again, we want to pick up the complete thought, so here is the previous verses:
Philippians 1:15-17 NASB
(15) Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will;
(16) the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel;
(17) the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.

The question is:  What then? What is Paul supposed to do? How is he supposed to react to those who are preaching Christ even from envy and strife out of selfish ambition because they are thinking to cause him distress in his imprisonment? Here is how Paul reacted: Yes, and I will rejoice.

Why did Paul react this way? Why was he not mad and angry with those who preached Christ from envy and strife? Well the best reason is because of what he says in this verse: Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice.  Why was Paul rejoicing even when Christ is proclaimed in envy and strife? Because when Christ is proclaimed the Spirit convicts of Sin, Righteousness and Judgment even when He is preached with the wrong motives.

John 16:8-11 NASB
(8) “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;(9) concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;
(10) and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me;
(11) and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

My friend, when people are convicted of their sin, some will repent and turn to the Lord. Most will not but some will.  “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14 NASB). And anytime someone turns to the Lord, there is rejoicing in heaven. Is that not what the Lord is teaching us with this parable: “What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? “If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. “So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish (Matthew 18:12-14 NASB). So Paul was saying that he rejoiced that whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed because He knew that where Christ is preached for whatever the reason, there would always be some who would respond.

I believe there is a second reason that Paul rejoiced instead of getting angry when Christ was preached even from envy and strife and that reason is found in this verse: for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God (James 1:20 NASB). Paul knew that the anger of man does not accomplish the things that God wants to accomplish. In fact, man’s anger makes things worse. That is why James teaches us: This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger (James 1:19 NASB).  Let’s read some verses about what the Bible has to say about the anger and wrath of man:
 
He who is slow to anger has great understanding, But he who is quick-tempered exalts folly (Proverbs 14:29 NASB).
A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, But the slow to anger calms a dispute (Proverbs 15:18 NASB).
He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city (Proverbs 16:32 NASB).
“But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell (Matthew 5:22 NASB).
BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity (Ephesians 4:26-27 NASB).
 
Let’s face it, the anger of man does achieve the righteousness of God.  So therefore, we need to be slow to anger. If you are quick tempered, then you need to go to the Lord and tell Him that you have a problem and you need Him to change it. He can and He will change it. You will see. Why? So that you can know:
 
I serve a risen Savior, He’s in the world today;
I know that He is living whatever men may say;
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him, He’s always near.
He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, Salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.

Lord, please help me to see and to rejoice that when Christ is proclaimed there are some who will respond. Lord, help me to keep my focus on you and your will and your kingdom. Lord, help me to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. Lord, help me to always remember that my anger does not achieve your goals. Help me Lord to always be submissive to you and your Spirit as He leads me through my daily tasks. Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


15 June 2016 Verse of the Day

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.
 
The complete thought for this verse starts a couple of verses back:
Philippians 1:15-17 NASB
(15) Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will;
(16) the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel;
(17) the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.

What is selfish ambition? What are pure motives?  Let’s think about these things.

So if I go to Webster’s and break these down, then selfish has a definition of: Regarding one’s own interest chiefly or soley; influenced in actions by a view to private advantage. And ambition is: A desire of preferment, or of honor; a desire of excellence or superiority. So we can say from these definitions that some were proclaiming Christ out of selfish ambition, in other words, they were hoping to use the gospel for their own private advantage and desired honor and excellence from it. Do we have any examples of this in the Bible? Well, I am glad you asked, because yes we do have examples of it. One good example is found here: But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this (Acts 19:13-14 NASB). Why were they doing this? I believe it was for selfish ambition because we find in the previous verse: God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out (Acts 19:11-12 NASB). You see, the seven sons of one Sceva were jealous of Paul because of all the miracles that God was performing through him. They wanted some of the glory and praise that Paul was receiving. So, what happened to them for doing this? Here it is: And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded (Acts 19:16 NASB).
 
My friend, I don’t know about you but it scares me to think about doing anything for the cause of Christ from selfish ambition. Anytime I think I might profit in any way from anything I do for the cause of Christ, whether it is personal gain, praise or any kind of profit or gain, then I know I need to repent of my thinking. I want you to know that you and I can do things for selfish ambition and be just like the Pharisees: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:43 KJV). To me it makes no difference if you are preaching the gospel or hanging up clothes to give away at a clothing give away, if you have selfish ambition on your heart and mind, then you are doing it for the wrong reason. If you are thinking of gaining any praise or recognition or anything else from your service to Christ, then you are doing it for the wrong reason. Your motive needs to be “because you love the Lord” and that is the only reason. If you ever find yourself thinking wrongly, then get down on your knees and ask for the Lord’s forgiveness and ask Him to change your way of thinking.
 
And that brings us to the second reason for preaching the gospel, the good news, and that is from pure motives. What are pure motives? Again, let’s break it down via Webster’s: Pure = Free from moral defilement; without spot; not sullied or tarnished; incorrupt; undebased by moral turpitude; holy. Motives = That which incites to action; that which determines the choice, or moves the will. So if you have pure motives, then we can say that you made no corrupt choices that moved you to action. You are doing things for the right reasons. You are doing them because you love Jesus and you want to honor God in all your doings. My friend, you are doing exactly opposite of what the selfish ambition people are because you are doing them for the praise of God rather than for the praise of man.
 
Your actions might seem strange to other people because they don’t see the pure motives and the thoughts and the intents of the heart like God does. When you have pure motives then you do things in secret rather than for the show of men. When you give to the poor, you do it in secret: “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you (Matthew 6:3-4 NASB). When you pray, you do it in secret: “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you (Matthew 6:6 NASB). And when you fast, you do it in secret: “But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you (Matthew 6:17-18 NASB). Pure motives come to those who have a pure heart that has been cleansed by the precious blood of Jesus.
 
What about you my friend? Are you doing things from selfish ambition or pure motives?
You are the only one that can answer that question. And the only real way you can get the correct answer is to go to the One who can give you the correct answer. He will tell you the correct answer if you will only ask Him. Question is: Will you ask Him what your motives are?
 
Lord, please forgive me for I know that in the past I have done things for the wrong reasons. But Lord, I don’t want to do them anymore for the wrong reasons. I always want my motives to be pure motives, honest motives and holy motives. Lord, I want to honor you in all that I say and do. Lord, I want to live for you and love you and serve you. Lord, I know from experience that only you can make me holy. Only you can make me pure. Only you can guide me in the paths of righteousness. Lord that is what I am asking you to do. Make me the person that I should be so that you can receive all of the glory this day. Lord. I love you.
 
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


14 June 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 1:16 NASB  the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel;

In order to get the full impact and meaning out of our current VOTD, we have to pick up the thought from the previous verse which says: Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will (Philippians 1:15 NASB).  So now we can say: Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ from good will and they do it out of love.

What do you do out of love?  Well, we say we do a lot of things out of love.  We say such things like: “I love this ice cream” and then we eat it to our heart’s content.   Or we say “I love this steak” and again we consume it down to gnawing on the bone.  To us as Americans, we love lots and lots of things… We love our car or our truck.  We love our dress or our shoes.  Maybe, we need to define love to get a proper sense of what love really is.  Webster’s as well as a lot of other dictionaries have long, long definitions of what love is.  Here is one definition: In a general sense to be pleased with; to regard with affection, on account of some qualities which excite pleasing sensations or desire of gratification. We love a friend, on account of some qualities which give us pleasure in his society. We love a man who has done us a favor; in which case, gratitude enters into the composition of our affection. We love our parents and our children, on account of their connection with us, and on account of many qualities which please us. We love to retire to a cool shade in summer. We love a warm room in winter. We love to hear an eloquent advocate. The Christian loves his Bible. In short, we love whatever gives us pleasure and delight, whether animal or intellectual; and if our hearts are right, we love God above all things, as the sum of all excellence and all the attributes which can communicate happiness to intelligent beings. In other words, the Christian loves God with the love of complacency in his attributes, the love of benevolence towards the interest of his kingdom, and the love of gratitude for favors received.

But our VOTD is talking about preaching Christ out of love.  In other words, they were talking to others because they loved the Lord.  Have you ever thought about the fact that you talk about what is most on your mind?  Do you remember when you first “fell in love” with your mate?  Do you remember that they were all you could think about and talk about?  Why?  Because you were “in LOVE.”  And other people around you, tolerated you because they knew you were “just in love” and couldn’t help yourself because that is all you ever wanted to talk about.

I want you to remember that when you are “in love” it motivates you to do things.  Here in our VOTD, these Christians, fell in love with Christ and that is what they wanted to talk about.  It is what consumed their hearts and minds.  It is what motivated them.  It is what they lived for.  It is what enveloped their everyday lives.  They were filled with the love of Christ and could not help themselves from talking about the most important thing in their lives.

Now I want to bring this point home:  If we are in love with the Lord, then we are going to WANT to talk about Him.  It is not something that someone tells us that we have to do. It is not a command that we have to follow. No, no.  It is something that we do because we WANT to do it.  It is something that we desire to do.  It is something that we can’t help but do.  Why?  BECAUSE WE ARE IN LOVE!!!

Now we all know that the Bible says the first commandment is: And He said to him, ” ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment (Matthew 22:37-38 NASB).  And let me ask you: Why did Jesus have to give us this commandment?  I believe it is because we need to do a self-checkup every once in a while.  We need to examine ourselves and see if our love has grown cold.  Jesus warns us and says to us: “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold (Matthew 24:12 NASB).  And let’s face it, this is a very lawless time that we live in.  And the Bible gives us a very specific warning if we have grown cold, He will spit us out of His mouth: ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth (Revelation 3:16 NASB).

I don’t know about you my friend, but I want to fall in love with Jesus afresh and a new each and every day.  I want to renew my love and my commitment to Him.  I not only want to tell Him that I love Him but I want to talk to everyone about all of His marvelous and wonderful, infinite and matchless grace.  I want to talk of all about His wonderful love and care to me.  I want to share Him with everyone I meet.  I want them to fall in love with my marvelous Savior.  He is wonderful!  He is marvelous!  He is so very, very good to me.

CAN YOU SAY AMEN TO THAT?  Why not say it to the next person you meet?  Tell them about the marvelous Savior you serve. 

Lord, what can I say but that I love you?  I know I write it in my VOTD every day because it is on my heart and mind.  But Lord, I want to do more than just say it here.  I want to say it everywhere I go.  I want everyone everywhere to know that I love you and Lord, most of all I want them to come to know you also.  Lord, instruct my mind and my heart on what to say and how to say it so that everyone I talk to this day might know how much I love Jesus.  Lord, you have been so good to me and your love to me shows in everything you do in my life.  I want to share your love with all around me.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


13 June 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 1:15 NASB  Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will;

Do you know what this verse is saying?  It is saying that the same kind of people give the same kind of reactions in Paul’s day as they do in our day.  In other words, people and their reactions to the good news of God’s salvation through faith in His only begotten son, Jesus Christ the righteous is the same yesterday, today and forever.  There are just two reactions: envy and strife and good will.  Let’s look at each of these and see what we can learn about how people react to the gospel.

First, you have those people who are preaching Christ even from envy and strife.  What does that mean?  Well, here is what it means to me.  It means that there are some people who are saying things like: “Can you believe what the idiot Paul says about the only way to get to heaven.  He is preaching some baloney about a dead man that came back to life.  Have you ever heard of anything more ridiculous than that?  He must think we have our heads in the sand.  I have never heard of such a wild fabricated story in all my life.  And to think this guy used to be a Pharisee.  No wonder they kicked him out of the priesthood.”  In fact, they even said that Paul’s great learning was driving him mad:   While Paul was saying this in his defense, Festus *said in a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind! Your great learning is driving you mad.”  (Acts 26:24 NASB).

Now my friend you might be wondering how we as Christians are supposed to respond to such people.  What are you to do when people call you names and slander you and say you are out of your mind?  Well I can tell you what Paul did with Festus.  He simply responded with: But Paul *said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I utter words of sober truth. “For the king knows about these matters, and I speak to him also with confidence, since I am persuaded that none of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a corner. “King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets? I know that you do.” Agrippa replied to Paul, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.” And Paul said, “I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.” (Acts 26:25-29 NASB).  In other words, Paul responded with the truth and then went the next step and pressed his point to King Agrippa by asking him do you believe the Prophets?  Sometimes the best defense is a better offence.  Paul wanted all who hear him to become such as he is, except for his chains.

I want you to realize something, if you are living for Jesus, the world is going to think you are weird and strange.  They will give you strife because you make them feel guilty about their sin.  In fact Jesus says: “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).

But right in the middle of the strife, I want you to remember what Jesus also said: “But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also (Matthew 5:39 NASB).  In other words, when someone is saying something bad about you and causing you strife by what they are saying, then love your neighbor as yourself.  I am not saying it is easy, because it is not.  And the only way I know of to do what the Lord is asking us to do is to allow the Holy Spirit to strengthen you so that you can be empowered to do what He wants you to do.  He is able if you will simply surrender your heart and mind, your will and emotions to Him.  Pray in an instant and ask Him to take control of you.  Pray something like this: “Lord, please get ahold of me because I am going to respond in the wrong way unless you get ahold of me.  Lord, I love you and I want to respond as only you can empower me to respond.”  Then have faith that He will empower you to do what He wants you to do.  Then give Him all the glory afterward because you know your good response was only because He empowered you.

There is a second way that people of Paul’s day and our day respond to the good news of Jesus Christ.  And that is they respond in good will.  In fact, they are preaching Christ in good will.   They are saying things like: “Can you believe what Paul said about Jesus?  How He came, lived a perfect life, was crucified and was buried for three days.  But on the third day, just like the scriptures said He would, He came back to life.  Wow!!! And by faith in Him, I became a whole new person.  I want to follow Jesus.  I want to live for Him.  I want to worship Him.  He is so good to me.  I just love Jesus… Don’t you?”

My friend, how do you respond to the second person?  I don’t know about you but I say PRAISE GOD!!!  Here is what was going on in Paul’s day from preaching in good will: And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ (Acts 5:42 NASB).  Which brings us up to today: What about you?  Are you teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ in good will from house to house and everywhere you go?  Do you talk about Jesus?  Do you mention His name everywhere you go?  When you stop for coffee in the morning, do you talk about Jesus to strangers?  You say “Bob, I could never do that.”  My friend the only reason you can’t do that is because … ye have not, because ye ask not (James 4:2 KJV).   If you need courage and boldness to speak to a stranger about the love of Jesus, ask Him to give it to you.  And He will.  You will see if you will only take a step of faith.

Lord, please help me to be bold in my faith for Jesus.  Help me to talk about Jesus everywhere I go.  Help me to remember to love my neighbor as myself and that without Jesus, there is no salvation in anyone or anything else.  Lord, your Holy Scriptures say that there is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved except the name of Jesus.  Lord, I believe that and I want to let everyone know.  Lord, please empower me so that I might be bold and share with all around me.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


12 June 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 1:14 NASB and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.
 
This verse is the result of the previous two verses, so let’s read all three so that we get the complete thought for our VOTD:
Philippians 1:12-14 NASB
(12) Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel,
(13) so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else,
(14) and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.
 
Have you ever thought that your life, your actions and your words can encourage others in their walk with Christ? Most of us don’t think like that. We worry that our life or our actions will bring others down, not encourage them. Why is that? Could it be that we are not being like the Army saying goes: “Be all you can be.” Do you realize that you are in the Army? The Lord’s Army that is. He wants you to be all you can be. But the only way you can “be all that you can be” is to allow Him to be ALL He is in you. That is why Paul could say my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel because Paul was allowing Christ to be ALL He is in him. When Christ is ALL IN you and allowed to rule and reign, then it becomes well known throughout the whole of all of the people who are around you and to everyone else who it is that rules and reigns in your life. Then comes the result that: most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of your imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.
 
Now it is true, you aren’t in an imprisonment but it is true that you have people that are around you and know about your circumstances. You are someplace with people surrounding you. You have people that you interact with, talk to, work with and live with. Whether you believe it or not, you influence those around you for good or bad. What you say, how you say it, what you do and how you do it makes an impression on those around you. You ARE and influence on others whether you like it or not. So the question is: How can I start being a good influence on those around me instead of a bad influence?
 
Well in order to answer that question, let’s look at a real life example of good influence: a wood stove. You know the old pot-belly stove that used to be in the home. You know how good it felt to come out of the cold and to get next to it to warm up. You would take off your gloves and put your hands over it just to feel the heat radiating from it. You would rub your hands together and maybe even put them on your face once they got warmed up so that your face would feel the heat. Now question is: What would you do if the stove started to cool down? How would you make it heat up again? Of course, you would “stoke it” with some wood. You would open the door and put some wood in it. Why? So that it would have something to burn and get hot again. Pretty soon, it would be rip-roaring hot again and you could bask in it’s heat. You might even be saying something like: “Thank you Jesus for this good old stove…”
 
Do you see the point I am trying to make? The old pot-belly stove is NOTHING without some wood in it. It needs something to burn. The same is true in your life. You need something in you to burn. Your burning material is all used up. You need to stoke the stove in your life so that you have something to radiate the heat of Jesus. Now question is: How am I going to get some more Jesus in me? How am I going to start producing heat so others can bask in the warmth of His love? You can’t do it out in the cold… You need to get next to the source: Jesus. You need to be filled with His Spirit, His Love, and His will. That is the fuel that will make you GLOW. That is the fuel that will make you radiate. That is the fuel that will influence others for good. That will be the fuel that will give others far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.
 
Now here is the key secret to stoking yourself with the material so that you can be a good influence to others: Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28 NASB). Do you know who is talking in that verse? Of course you do: Jesus. So that is what you need to do. Go to Him. Talk to Him. Cry to Him. Tell Him your woes and worries. Isn’t that what He says: all who are weary and heavy-laden? Isn’t that what it means when you are worried and down and depressed and a bad influence on others around you. You want to stoke your stove… Then stoke it with Jesus. Get full of Him. Let Him radiate in your life. Let Him lead you, guide you, empower you. Get some Jesus in your life so that others can say the same thing about you that this verse says about Peter and John: Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus (Acts 4:13 NASB).
 
That’s the problem with people these days: They are “stoking their stove” with the wrong material. They think if they get some more “fun” or some more “entertainment” or maybe some more “recreation” in their lives, they will feel better. They go on vacations and do all kinds of stupid stuff trying to “stoke their stove” so that they won’t feel so miserable and bad. When all the time, what they really need is Jesus. If you and I as Christians don’t allow Him to fill us and lift us up and give us rest then shame on us. We need to stop and realize that without Jesus we are nothing and can do nothing: “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing (John 15:5 NASB). But when He is “stoking my stove” then I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13 EMTV).
 
Lord, please forgive me for being a bad influence on others around me. Lord, I come before your throne of grace confessing that I need more of you in my life. I want you to fill me. And the only way that is ever going to happen is if I confess all my sins to you. I not only need to confess them Lord, I need to forsake them and allow you to live in their place. Therefore Lord, I come to you asking your forgiveness and requesting that you make me the man that I should be. Lord, please fill me and mold me and guide me into the paths of righteousness for your name’s sake. Lord, I love you.
 
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard



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