Verse of the Day

Daily Devotion 

By:  Bro. Bob Maynard

1 June 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 1:3 NASB  I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,
Who are you thankful for?  What are you thankful for?  Why are you thankful?  I want us to think about thankfulness today because it is the heart our VOTD.  The very first words that Paul speaks to these Philippian Christians is that he is thankful to God for them: I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.  We need to try to understand why He was thankful to God for them.  I want you to also notice that he was thankful for all my remembrance of you.  It was not just some, or part or for a particular occasion that he remembered that he was thankful for but he was thankful for all his remembrance of you.
So how did Paul come to be at Philippi?  Have you heard of Paul’s Macedonian call?  Well he was on his second missionary journey and it was from that call that he came to be in Philippi.  Here let me let you read it for yourself: They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. So putting out to sea from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and on the day following to Neapolis; and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia, a Roman colony; and we were staying in this city for some days (Acts 16:6-12 NASB).
The thing I want to impress on your heart and mind is that they, Paul and his traveling companions, were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them.  In other words, they were trying to go the wrong direction.  But then we are told that the Spirit of Jesus did not permit.  Has that ever happened to you?  You were trying to go one way and circumstances prevented you.  Maybe a freak storm or maybe a bridge that was out or some other circumstance prevented you.  Most of the time we get mad and upset that we can’t do what we want to do.  We are crying to the Lord and saying “Why Lord.”  When all the while, He is saying to you “you’re going the wrong way.”  My friend we need to start being thankful for God’s prevention and intervention.  He keeps us from falling into harm and He keeps us on the straight and narrow by prevention and intervention.  Give Him all the thanks, praise and glory for His mercy and grace to us sinners.
The next thing I want you to notice is that right after the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them, Paul gets a vision: A vision appeared to Paul in the night.  The Spirit of the Living God spoke to Paul in a vision in the night.  Can God still do that today?  Yes!  Does He still do that today?  I believe He still does.  He can speak to you in many ways and especially through the Word of God: God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world (Hebrews 1:1-2 NASB).
Lastly, I want you to notice what God says when He speaks to us.  In Paul’s vision, a man said to him: Come over to Macedonia and help us.  My friend, the call that Paul received was a call for help.  The Macedonian call was a call for help.  When God gives you a call it is a call for help.  He, the God of this universe, wants you, a sinner, to help him.  He does not force you or coerce you.  He asks you.  He gives you the vision and the call to help Him.  What a privilege.  What a blessing.  What JOY should fill our hearts when God gives us a vision and a call.  Question is: Will you respond to His call to Come over to Macedonia and help us.
Now I want you to stop and think about people you have met in your life that have blessed you.  How did they come into your life?  Was it just an accident?  Or was it by Gods design?  What about unusual circumstances that happened to you?  Were they by coincidence or by God’s intervention in your life?  Now think about the blessings that you KNOW He has given you: Your family, your job, your home, your car, and your play toys. 
Paul was thankful to the Lord God of heaven and earth for all my remembrance of the Christians in Philippi.  What are you thankful to God for?  Can you see how He has intervened in your life at various times and various ways to prevent you from going the wrong way?  Are you thankful to Him for the visions He has given you?  Are you thankful for the people and the circumstances He has caused to be in your life?
Can you say this with me? 
Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting (Psalms 106:1 NASB). 
Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart, In the company of the upright and in the assembly (Psalms 111:1 NASB).
Praise the LORD! Praise the name of the LORD; Praise Him, O servants of the LORD (Psalms 135:1 NASB).
Why?  Because ALL blessings come from God.  Be thankful to Him!
Lord, what can I say but only you are holy, righteous and pure.  Lord, you are so good to me and I can’t understand why.  All I can say is thank you.  I can’t say it enough or even loud enough.  Lord, your grace and love and mercy to me is so great.  You watch care over me is so pure, righteous and good.  Lord, I want to yield my life to you so that you can use me, mold me and make me into the man you want me to be.  Lord, please use me this day to do your holy will.  Lord, I love you.
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

31 May 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 1:2 NASB  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now we come to the welcome verse that Paul passes onto the Philippian Christians.  It is much like we would say a greeting to one another.  This is Paul’s greeting to them.

Now I am sure that you remember just a couple of days ago that we covered Grace in the closing verse of Ephesians: Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love (Ephesians 6:24 NASB).  So we will not cover that here.  But I do want us to pick up on peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

First, the very greeting that Paul gives here, it is one of his favorite greetings: to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 1:7 NASB).  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:2 NASB).  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:3 NASB).  This greeting was used by others also: … May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure (1 Peter 1:2 NASB).  So what can we learn from this greeting?  I believe the Lord would have us to learn to greet one another as Christians should, with a word of encouragement.  We should ask the Lord, how He wants us to learn to greet our brothers and sisters in the Lord.  We should develop a special greeting to let them know you love them and want the best for them, just like Paul and the other apostles did.

Now if you are wondering what kind of a greeting that you might develop to give to your Christian brothers and sisters, let me give you a suggestion: How about Shalom?  What does it mean?  Well, the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says:  Shalom was the common friendly greeting, used in asking after the health of anyone; also in farewells Gen_29:6, “Is it well with him?” (“Is there peace to him?”); Gen_43:23, “Peace be to you”; Gen_43:27, “He asked them of their welfare (of their peace).”  Whatever you decide, let the Lord be your guide.

Now I know we have covered peace in the past but peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ is so vast and so mind boggling that we could never cover every facet of it.  I want us to think about the peace that comes from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  I want us to think about its source and its benefits.

First, the source of the peace.  God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ are the source from whom all peace comes from: He makes peace in your borders; He satisfies you with the finest of the wheat (Psalms 147:14 NASB).  I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things (Isaiah 45:7 KJV).  The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace (Psalms 29:11 KJV).  for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints (1 Corinthians 14:33 NASB).

Not only is God the source of peace, the peace comes to His people for specific reasons.  When we obey Him, then He gives us peace: ‘If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out, then I shall give you rains in their season, … ‘I shall also grant peace in the land, so that you may lie down with no one making you tremble. I shall also eliminate harmful beasts from the land, and no sword will pass through your land (Leviticus 26:3-6 NASB). 

But the Lord tells us that we should seek peace:  Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it (Psalms 34:14 NASB).  “HE MUST TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD; HE MUST SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT (1 Peter 3:11 NASB).  We are to pursue the things that make for peace: So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another (Romans 14:19 NASB).  We are to live in peace and seek peace with one another: Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you (2 Corinthians 13:11 NASB).  “Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”  (Mark 9:50 NASB).  and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another (1 Thessalonians 5:13 NASB).

So, what is the bottom line that we can learn from today’s VOTD?  Here it is my friend:  Your only true peace comes from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  If we are obedient to Him, He will give us peace but if not, then we will not enjoy the peace that only comes from Him.  I don’t know about you but I want to be obedient to Him so that this verse will be true in my life: And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7 NASB).

Lord, I want to honor you and your will.  I want to be obedient.  I want to make you smile.  I want to hear those precious words “well done thou good and faithful servant.”  But Lord “I see a different law in the members of my body.”  That different law is the law of my sin nature.  Lord, only you can contain and control my sin nature.  Lord, I thank you for your work of grace in my life that gives me peace that I can know you are in control of my sin nature.  Lord, please use me this day.  Lord, l love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

30 May 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 1:1 NASB  Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons:

I believe the Lord wants us to continue on from Ephesians right into Philippians and then into Colossians.  So you will know where we will be for the next few weeks or months whatever the case may be.  Well let’s see there are 104 verses in Philippians and 95 verses in Colossians, so that means we will be in these two book for 199 days.  And if we divide 199 by 30 it comes out to about 6.63 months.  I am willing to make that commitment to the Lord and I hope you are also.

There is so much material in this verse that I hardly know where to begin.  We could look at Paul or Timothy.  Or we could look at what it means to be a bond-servant of Christ Jesus.  But I would like for us to look at the last phrase: To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons.  And why do I want us to look at it?  Because this phrase indicates the whole reason for the letter.  We want to understand “why” Paul wrote the letter and “what” the message is that he had for the saints in Christ Jesus in Philippi.

First, what do we know about the church at Philippi?  Due to the nature of our VOTD, I need to keep this short because there is a lot we could say about Paul’s first church in Europe.  This introduction comes from the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge:  The Church at Philippi in Macedonia was planted by the Apostle Paul about ad 53 (Acts 16:9-40); and it appears he visited them again, ad 60, though no particulars are recorded concerning that visit (Act_20:6).  The Philippians were greatly attached to St. Paul, and testified their affection by sending him supplies, even when laboring for other churches (Phi_4:15, Phi_4:16; 2Co_11:9); and when they heard that he was under confinement at Rome, they sent Epaphroditus, one of their pastors, to him with a present, lest he should want necessaries during his imprisonment (Phi_2:25; Phi_4:10, Phi_4:14-18).  The more immediate occasion of the Epistle was the return of Epaphroditus, by whom the apostle sent it as a grateful acknowledgment of their kindness; which occurred towards the close of his first imprisonment, about the end of ad 62, or the commencement of 63.

Paul loved the saints in Christ Jesus in Philippi and they loved Paul.  In fact that is the reason why the letter was written.  The Believer’s Bible Commentary tells us: The Philippian assembly was generous, sending support to Paul time and again. And that, humanly speaking, is the reason for this “thank you letter.”  Also we learn that: This, then, is Philippians, one of the most cheerful and attractive books in the whole word of God.  And we learn that: Philippians is one of the most personal and affectionate of Paul’s Epistles. It reveals clearly that this congregation held a very special place of esteem in his affection. As we read it, we detect the very tender bond that existed between the great apostle and this church which he had founded.

So because this is a letter of joy and thank you, I want us to think along those lines.  What are you joyful about?  What are you thankful for?  Do you understand that all the good that you enjoy comes from the living God who truly loves you and wants you to know that He and He alone is responsible for every blessing that you enjoy?  God tells us to: in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NASB).  We need to be thankful in all things.  We need to be thankful for our Christian brothers and sisters: We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater (2 Thessalonians 1:3 NASB).  But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:13 NASB).  Here is what God says to us in His Holy and True Word: Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name (Hebrews 13:15 NASB).

So my friend, we need to do what God tells us in His Holy Word.  Not because it is a command or because it is right.  But just because it is the way our heart and mind feels and wants to express itself.  Here is how my heart and mind feels about you my friend:  I … give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in my … prayers (1 Thessalonians 1:2 NASB).  I pray that your heart and mind and soul will be strengthened as we look at this little book of Philippians.  I pray that you will be drawn to the foot of the cross to see the One who loved you more than you can imagine.  I pray that you will sense a closeness to Jesus and God the Father that you have never felt before.  And above all, I pray that your commitment to Him will be stronger than ever.  I want you to worship and serve Him and love Him because He is the Name that is above every name: For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name (Philippians 2:9 NASB).

Lord, please help me to love you more.  Lord, I want to give more of myself to you so that you can turn me into the person that you want me to be.  Lord, you have been so good, so wonderful to me.  You have blessed me over and over again and all I can say is thank you.  I want you to use me as I delve into this little book of Philippians.  Help me to see the nuggets and the gems that you have placed here so that all who read this book will have their lives enriched.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

29 May 2016 Verse of the Day

Ephesians 6:24 NASB  Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.
And so we come to the last verse in Ephesians.  This is Paul’s final words to his beloved church in Ephesus.  He had said these words to them in person the last time he saw them in person: From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church. And when they had come to him, he said to them, “You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. “And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God. “And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face (Acts 20:17-25 NASB).
Now you might be wondering how the elders from the church at Ephesus took the words that they would no longer see Paul’s face.  And a few verses later on we read these words: When he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. And they began to weep aloud and embraced Paul, and repeatedly kissed him, grieving especially over the word which he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they were accompanying him to the ship (Acts 20:36-38 NASB).

Now the most important thing Paul can say to these Christians at Ephesus in his final words to them is that he wants them to have God’s grace.  Webster’s defines it as: the free unmerited love and favor of God, the spring and source of all the benefits men receive from him.  We don’t need the justice of God on our lives, for then we would all perish.  We need the free unmerited love and favor of God to pull us, guide us and direct us to believe in the name that is above every name.  We need the free unmerited love and favor of God to say unto us: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28 NASB).  We need the free unmerited love and favor of God to say unto us:  “Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other (Isaiah 45:22 NASB).  We need the free unmerited love and favor of God to say unto us: “Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost. “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance. “Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to David (Isaiah 55:1-3 NASB).

Question is: Do you get the message?  Do you understand that God wants us to come to Him and to trust Him with our trials, our problems and our temptations?  He says to us that:  No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13 NASB).  He wants to help us.  He is willing to help us.  He can and will provide the way of escape.  But you must come to Him. He can’t help us if we will not come to Him.  His job is to provide the way of escape.  But your job is to come to Him.

Now you might be asking yourself: How can I come to Him if I can’t see Him?  If you need to come to Him here is what I want you to do.  I want you to do the same things that the Ephesian Christians did to Paul on the after he told them that they would see his face no more.  Here is what they did: knelt down and prayed with them all. And they began to weep aloud and embraced.  I want you to go into your prayer closet, kneel down and pray and confess every sin to Him that comes to your mind.  I want you to let Him know with your mouth every sin that you have ever committed.  I want you to tell Him and only Him what your deepest need is.  I want you to let Him hear it from your mouth.  And I want you to know that it is OK if you weep aloud.  Then I want you to embrace Him by faith and tell Him that you love Him and need Him.  I want you to let Him know with your own words how much you desire Him to direct and guide your life. 

My friend, there is no higher glory and no greater feeling than to have Him in your life directing it and guiding it.  He can fill it and guide it and direct it only when you recognize that it is only by His grace.  We can never command Him.  We can never bribe Him and we certainly can never coerce Him.  The ONLY WAY He will come into our lives is when we truly understand that we need His grace.

Lord, I come before your throne of grace, confessing my sins.  Lord, I need you.  I want you.  I can’t live without you.  If you are not directing my life, then I am simply existing.  But Lord, when you are filling me, molding me and making me into the person that I should be, then I can say the same thing that Paul says: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Lord, please use me this day to glorify you.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

28 May 2016 Verse of the Day

Ephesians 6:23 NASB  Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
And we come to the closing verses in Ephesians.  In these last two verses we find Paul’s heart’s desire for all of the readers of his letters.  He meant for his letters to be read in the churches as well as other letters that were being circulated in his day: When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea (Colossians 4:16 NASB).  I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brethren (1 Thessalonians 5:27 NASB).  Other apostles knew of Paul’s letters and even spoke of them as Peter did: and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:15-16 NASB).
What did Paul want for the Ephesians?  He tells us his heart’s desire for them in these closing words.  First, he says: Peace be to the brethren.  What is peace?  Is it just the absence of conflict?  Does it only happen when there is no war?  Yes, it is those but it is so very, very much more.  The kind of peace that Paul was talking about ONLY happens when a person is TOTALLY trusting in the Lord God Almighty through our Lord Jesus Christ.  For only then can a person say: … for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day (2 Timothy 1:12 NASB). It is the kind of peace that goes beyond anything man could ever understand.  It is the kind of peace that God’s Holy Word describes as the peace of God: And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7 NASB). 
The peace of God comes from having our very lives and hearts committed to Him, His will and His way.  It comes to all of His Children when they are being: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6 NASB).  It is called the peace of God because it comes from God the Holy Spirit in you: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. “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 14:26-27 NASB).  “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NASB).
I want you to realize that Paul’s first desire in these closing statements was that the brethren, his fellow believers in Jesus, would have peace.  This peace of God was also the same peace that Jesus first spoke to the disciples when He appeared to them in the upper room:  So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and *said to them, “Peace be with you.” (John 20:19 NASB).  So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” (John 20:21 NASB).  After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus *came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”  (John 20:26 NASB).
Now you might be asking yourself: Why don’t I have the kind of peace that Paul and Jesus are talking about?  Well, there is only one of two answers that will apply to you as to the reason why you don’t have the peace of God.  The first question you have to ask yourself: Is this verse applicable to me?  Paul said that he wanted this peace to be given to the brethren.  Is that you?  Are you a brother or sister of Paul’s in the sense that you are trusting in Jesus to save you from your sins?  If you are NOT his brother then I want you to realize this: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”  (Acts 4:12 NASB).  Here is the simple plan of salvation where-by you may have the peace of God in your life: 1. Admit that you are a sinner: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 NASB).  2.  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16 NASB).  3.  Confess Him as your Lord and Savior: that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation (Romans 10:9-10 NASB).
The second reason that you might not have the peace of God in your life is that you are not trusting the source where all of the peace of God comes from.  As I have said in the past, we can be Martha’s or Mary’s in our lives.  What do I mean by that?  We can be like Martha in the sense that we are worried and anxious about so many things: … Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things (Luke 10:41 NASB).   Or we can be like Mary in the sense that we are calm and seated at the Lord’s feet listening to Him: … Mary … seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word (Luke 10:39 NASB).  You see the choice is yours.  The devil, Satan, wants you to worry, fret and be anxious over everything.  He wants you to get ulcers.  He wants you to NOT have the peace of God in your life.
So what does a Christian, a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, need to do to get the peace of God
in their lives?  Here is is…. Are you ready for this?  Pay attention now… I want you to hear this and hear it good.  Drum roll please… Hear this NOW:


You decide who you are going to trust.  It is your decision. When you get ahold of your heart and mind and understand that GOD CAUSES ALL THINGS TO WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD then you can stop worrying.   When you worry and fret, you are giving the devil the victory and he has no power over you except the power you let him have.  When you say to yourself “I am not going to worry.  I am going to start trusting Jesus.”  Then the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  The peace of God will only come to the people of God who are trusting Him. 
Question is: Will you trust Him and Him alone?
Can you sing this song with me?

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long;
this is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long.

Lord, please forgive me for being a Martha too many times in my life.  Lord, I want to trust you in everything and in every way.  Help me to stop and remember each time I start to worry that I am giving the devil the victory by not trusting you.  Lord, I want to be pleasing unto you in all things.  So that means I have to trust you in all situations.  Lord, please help me to do that because you are my Lord and my Master.  Lord, I love you.
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

27 May 2016 Verse of the Day

Ephesians 6:22 NASB  I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know about us, and that he may comfort your hearts.
First question that comes to mind right off the bat is: Who is Paul talking about when he says I have sent him to you?  I am sure that you remember but just in case, his name is Tychicus.  He is the man that Paul refers to as a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord.  And I am sure that you remember that this all comes from the previous verse, which says: But that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make everything known to you (Ephesians 6:21 NASB).
And I am sure that you also remember that Tychicus was going to walk 1,257 miles from Rome to Ephesus over rugged terrain to deliver Paul’s letter to them and to answer any questions that they might have about Paul’s imprisonment in Rome. But the first thought that I want us to capitalize on is the statement that Paul says: for this very purpose.  Tychicus had a purpose for his labors and hardships.  I believe he felt that he had a calling to help Paul and to do whatever the Apostle asked him to do.  Because you find him doing this same thing not once or twice but many times in the New Testament.  In Colossians, we find these words about Tychicus: As to all my affairs, Tychicus, our beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord, will bring you information (Colossians 4:7 NASB).  In 2 Timothy, we find this verse: But Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus (2 Timothy 4:12 NASB).  Over and over and over again and again, we find that Paul is using his “mailman” Tychicus to deliver the letters that Paul wrote.  I believe Tychicus was called of God to be faithful for this very purpose.
So that brings up the next question: What about you?  What is your very purpose?  I have said it in the past and I will say it again, you are not saved to sit but you are saved to serve.  The Holy Scriptures tell us: Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”  (Ephesians 4:8 NASB).  Let’s be logical, why would God give gifts to men unless He expected to use those giftsGifts are not for our use or our pleasure but they are ALWAYS for others.  And gifts are not to be ignored but used repeatedly.  Now I want you to notice something about Tychicus.  I don’t believe he was well educated, most men in Paul’s day weren’t, and I don’t believe he necessarily had any outstanding traits of admirable quality like good looks or charming personality.  He was just an average, everyday Christian who loved the Lord and wanted to be obedient to his Lord.  In other words, Tychicus was just like you and me.   But my friend, Tychicus made a HUGH difference in the early Churches because he had a purpose.   Which brings us full circle.  What is your purpose in the Lord?  How has He gifted you?  Are you using your gift(s) for Him?  If you don’t know your purpose or gift(s) then ask the Lord to reveal them to you and He will do it in His time and in His way.
The next phrase I would like for us to think about is so that you may know about us.  Now Paul used this phrase in reference to Tychicus in telling the Ephesians about Paul’s circumstances, his living conditions and his health.  I am sure that the Christians at Ephesus had a go-zillion questions about Paul and he wanted them to be well informed about all facets that surrounded Paul and his circumstances.  But Paul was not so self-centered that he thought the people at Ephesus only wanted to know about him only.  No, no.  That is why he included the little phrase about us.  There were others with Paul.  Who could that have been?  We can’t be sure who any of the “us” is but we do know that Tychicus and Dr. Luke were there.  Here is a verse that lists some of Paul’s traveling companions and some of them could have been with Paul in Rome: And he was accompanied by Sopater of Berea, the son of Pyrrhus, and by Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia (Acts 20:4 NASB).  But the point I want to make is this: Paul wanted to keep others informed.  He sent Tychicus to Ephesus so that you may know about us.  His heart and mind was always thinking on how to ease the anxiety of others and to put them at ease.  What about you?  Do you care if others are worried about you?  Do you try to keep them informed?  Do you write to them? Call them?  Text them?  Ask the Lord who do you need to let them know about us.
The last phrase in this verse that I want us to think about is that he may comfort your hearts.  Now we know that this is referring to Tychicus telling the Christians at Ephesus about Paul’s circumstances.  But Paul’s goal was not only to inform them with facts but it was also to comfort their hearts.  I am sure that you know this to be true: The unknown brings worry and anxiety, but knowledge comforts.  Even as bad as Paul had it in the Mamertine Prison in Rome, and it was a horrible, wrenched, cold dark place, just having the knowledge about his living conditions and circumstances was better than no knowledge at all.  Having knowledge about his living conditions and circumstances would give them some comfort.  Therefore, Paul’s desire was to comfort their hearts with the facts of his imprisonment.  Paul could have Tychicus tell them “this is what Paul told me to tell you about my circumstances”: Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:11-13 NASB).  Which brings me to the question: What about you?  Do you complain about every situation you are in?  Are you a complainer or a conqueror?  Do you moan and groan or do you resolve and fix the issue?  My friend, are you causing grief to others with your moaning and groaning or are you resolving this issue by informing and comforting those around you?  Only the Holy Spirit in you can answer these questions.  Will you ask Him and let Him tell you if you are comforting others around you?
Lord, I have a heart’s desire, and that is to be the man that you want me to be.  But Lord, I know that I have a big, big problem.  I can’t be the man you want me to be without you making me into the man you want me to be.  Lord, just as a swimmer  can’t win the race without the proper training, so I can’t be the man you want me to be without your training.  Lord, please train me and mold me into the man you want me to be, so that I can please you in all that I say and do.  Lord, I love you.
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

26 May 2016 Verse of the Day

Ephesians 6:21 NASB  But that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make everything known to you.
You know, sometimes we come across a verse in God’s Holy Word that seems to have no impact or importance on our lives.  They are just informational verses and can be passed over quickly because they have no bearing on our walk or behavior in the Lord.  But wait a minute.  Let’s look at this verse more closely and see if the Lord wants us to learn anything specific from it.
Well, if we think about this verse for just a little bit, I believe we can learn a lot from it.  You see it is like the difference between driving down a road in your car and walking down the same road on the sidewalk.  When you are driving down the road, you don’t notice the little details because you can’t see them.  You are going too fast.  Your concentration is on the road ahead.  And the passenger doesn’t see them either because they can’t focus on them due to the quickness that they pass by.  But when you are walking, you can see lots of details.  You can find things too.  You might find a pretty agate or even a coin.  Did you hear about the couple who were walking and found a whole bag of money?  Sometimes it “pays” to walk instead of drive.  Think about the health benefits also but we don’t have time to go into that. 
So, as we are walking through this verse, one of the first things that pops up at me is Paul’s caring heart.  He was always thinking of others.  He knew that they were curious about his circumstances, his health and his living conditions as well as his chances of being freed from prison.  So he says to them: But that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing.  What can we learn from this?  Here it is: Think about others.  Other people love you and care about you.  You need to communicate with them.  Let them know how you are and what you are doing, how your health is and what is happening in your life.  They want to pray for you and your situation.  Some of us communicate with others and are very thoughtful of others.  While some of us struggle with communication with others.  No matter what the case or your tendencies, ask the Lord to help you in this area.  Here is what God’s word has to say to us: But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also. I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also (2 Corinthians 8:7-8 NASB).
The second thing that pops up on our walk through this verse is a man named Tychicus.  How many times have you heard that name?  Who is he?  What did he do for a living?  Where was he from?  We can have all kinds of questions about him? According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, the name is mentioned 5 times in the New Testament (Act 20:4; Eph 6:21; Col 4:7; 2Ti 4:12; Tit 3:12).  It is quite interesting reading about Tychicus and it is a lengthy passage.  I can only summarize it here by saying Tychicus was Paul’s traveling companion and close personal friend.  He was with Paul on numerous occasions and helped Paul in his ministry.  He not only ministered to Paul but he also ministered to others and to whole churches as he went about doing what Paul requested.  In the end, it can be said of him: Thus, all that is known regarding Tychicus fully bears out the description of his character given by the apostle himself, that he was a beloved brother, a faithful minister and fellow-servant in the Lord.  That is why our VOTD says: Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord.  Which brings me to my point about Tychicus and you.  What can be said about you?  Are you a faithful minister and fellow-servant in the Lord?  But a man must examine himself …  (1 Corinthians 11:28 NASB).  
The last little nugget that I want us to examine on our walk through this verse is: will make everything known to you.  Tychicus’ job was to carry the letter that Paul was writing to the Ephesians from Rome to Ephesus.  And to inform them all about Paul’s circumstances and situation as a prisoner in Rome.  We learn this not only from this phrase but also from the next verse which we will look at tomorrow: I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know about us, and that he may comfort your hearts (Ephesians 6:22 NASB).  Now, I ask you: What on earth can we learn from this insignificant detail that will help us in our walk with Christ?  Are you ready?  Hang on to your hat because we are fixing to travel. 
How far are you willing to walk for Christ?  If there was a contest for the longest walker for Christ today, who would win it?  How far would they have to walk?  My friend, think about this: Would you walk 1,257 miles just to do a friend a favor?  Would you travel over mountains and hills and all kinds or rugged terrain just to deliver a letter and answer some questions?  My friend, Tychicus puts us all to shame.  He not only did that once but I believe he was the “mail carrier” of Paul’s day. He did it several times and to and from several locations.  He endured heat, cold, rain and bad weather, as well as dangers such as robbers and lack of food. Why?  What was his motivation?  Was it just to do what Paul asked him to do?  Or was there some other form of motivation?  Why did he endure such hardships? I believe in his mind, he had the same motives that Paul had: I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it (1 Corinthians 9:23 NASB). 
Here is the bottom line for Tychicus’ driving force: For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died (2 Corinthians 5:14 NASB).  I believe my friend that the love of Christ was his motivator.  It was what motivated him to endure hardships and it was the love of Christ that controlled his actions and thought processes.  Tychicus had the same mind set as that of Paul when he said: The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen (2 Timothy 4:18 NASB).
What about you my friend?  Are you afraid of your shadow?  Or are you willing to step out in faith no matter what the cost because the love of Christ controls you? 
Lord, help me to be like Tychicus.  Help me to do whatever it takes to get the job done.   Help me Lord, to not be selfish and stingy with my time, efforts or money.  Lord, help me to always be willing to do whatever your Spirit is leading me to do.  And Lord, forgive me for not being a good communicator in the past.  Help me to do better in the future and help me to tell others about my circumstances and keep them informed.  Lord, I want to do all things well in your sight.  Lord, I love you.
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

25 May 2016 Verse of the Day

Ephesians 6:20 NASB  for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
This is a very strange verse of scripture which I hope to show you why I make that statement.  And in order to do that we have to examine the facts and think about the cause and effect of the facts and then recognize the reason for the facts.
Here is fact number one: Paul was in prison.  It was during his first imprisonment in Rome that he wrote what the Biblical scholars call “The Prison Epistles” Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon.  But just because Paul was in prison doesn’t mean he was not effective in his ministry.  Much to the contrary, as he says, the word of God is not imprisoned: Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned (2 Timothy 2:8-9 NASB).  Even though Paul was imprisoned in chains, I want you to see how the word of God is not imprisoned.  When he was writing to the Philippians, he said these words: Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, 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 (Philippians 1:12-14 NASB).  My friend, this verse is very, very true when you think about how the word of God is not imprisoned: So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it (Isaiah 55:11 NASB).  Does that not give you courage to share God’s Holy Word everywhere you go?  I know it does for me.
Fact number 2: Paul was in chains.  Now let’s think about that for just a moment.  How would you feel if you were bound by a chain for telling the truth?  Would you be down, discouraged and disheartened?  I know I would.  But not Paul.  He was requesting prayer that he might speak boldly, as he says that he ought to speak.  My friend, I want you to ask yourself this question: If you were in prison, in chains, would you be requesting people to pray for you so that you could continue to speak boldly.  I venture to say, that you would be requesting prayer that you would be released not to speak boldly.  So, the question is: Why did Paul make such a request?  Here it is from his own words: For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory (2 Timothy 2:10 NASB).  Here is Paul’s motivator: I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it (1 Corinthians 9:23 NASB). Might I suggest that in light of this verse, we need to examine our priorities?  What do we do all things for?  What is our highest priority?
Fact number 3: Paul was put in prison for preaching the gospel.  We learn this from the previous verse which along with our current VOTD says: Ephesians 6:19-20 NASB  (19)  and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, (20)  for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.  Now it is this third fact that I want to point out something very strange.  Paul was in prison for preaching the mystery of the gospel.  In verse 19 he was requesting prayer to preach with boldness.  In verse 20, he states that he is in chains for his preaching with boldness.  Now in verse 20, he is requesting MORE boldness when he says that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.  Now my friend, if you or I were put in prison for speaking the gospel with boldness, would we be requesting more boldness to preach it more boldly?  I don’t think so.  We would be cowering and trying to think of ways to retreat in the face of the enemy.  We would NOT be requesting more fuel to be put on the fire.  But this is the way of God’s men that are empowered by the Power of the Holy Spirit.  Is this not what Elijah did on Mount Carmel when he requested more water before he requested the fire to come down from heaven and consume the offering? And he said, “Fill four pitchers with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.” And he said, “Do it a second time,” and they did it a second time. And he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it a third time. The water flowed around the altar and he also filled the trench with water. At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word (1 Kings 18:34-36 NASB).
Here is the bottom line:  If we are going to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to do things God’s way, then we are going to have to be willing to take chances on God by doing what He tells us and doing as He directs us.  We are going to have to go out on a limb, so to speak, and trust Him when He leads us because God wants to show the world that He is God and that there is no one like Him.  He is looking for men and women who will trust Him enough to risk their very lives and put their lives on the line to prove He is who He says He is.  Question is: Is that you?  Will you trust Him this day to stand up and ask for more in the face of pain sorrow and suffering because you want the world to know “I Serve a Risen Savior”

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, I want to be that man.  I want to be different.  I want to be empowered.  I want to be used.  I want to trust you when others can’t.  I want to be the person on whom you can say “I am well pleased.”  Lord, the only way I know that will happen is if you will live in me this day and every day from this day forward.  Lord, please make me into the man that I should be and the man that you want me to be.  Lord, I want to be a fool for Christ sake.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

24 May 2016 Verse of the Day

Ephesians 6:19 NASB  and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,
Now we come to Paul’s personal desire.  Have you ever asked someone to pray for you?  Yes.  And more than likely it was due to some personal issue you were having, like sickness, or a job issue or a family crisis.  Well, we usually ask for prayer when we feel we need the Lord’s intervention into our situation and lives.  Here, in this one paragraph, we learn some very personal and intimate things about Paul the apostle.
Now, I want you to get a proper picture of Paul.  Here is the great apostle … who preaches to all men everywhere against our people and the Law and this place …  (Acts 21:28 NASB).  Paul was a man that had a burden to preach the gospel but he did not want to preach just anywhere.  He wanted to preach in places that had never heard the gospel: And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation (Romans 15:20 NASB).  But Paul had a problem and I believe he recognized his problem: … “His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible.”  (2 Corinthians 10:10 NASB).  But Paul could say this about himself: For I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles. But even if I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not so in knowledge; in fact, in every way we have made this evident to you in all things (2 Corinthians 11:5-6 NASB).
Thus you have a man that is called of God to preach the gospel where Christ has never been preached before but he is a man that is unskilled in speech and his speech is contemptible.  What is such a man to do?  Here it is: BE OBEDIENT TO YOUR CALLING.  But I believe that Paul was always conscious of his defects and weaknesses.  So, we come to our VOTD that says: pray on my behalf.  This my friend was no idle thought.  I believe his heart’s desire and longing was that all people everywhere might pray for him.  Because he knew and recognized that there is power in prayer and especially when groups of people prayed for him.
So question is: What did Paul want the Christians in Ephesus to pray for specifically?  Here again our VOTD tells us: pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth.  What does utterance mean?  Part of what Webster’s says is: pronunciation; manner of speaking, emission from the mouth; vocal expression; as the utterance of sounds.  In other words, here is a God called man that is unskilled in speech and his speech is contemptable that recognizes he needs God’s help to do what God has called him to do.  He knows he has a speech problem and ONLY God can help him and enable him to deliver the words to say so that the people might understand him and respond to the gospel.  Thus he asks: pray on my behalf.
My friend, it doesn’t make any difference what God has called you to do.  It makes no difference if he has called you to clean the bathrooms at church or preach the gospel from the tallest pulpit, you still need God’s HELP.  You need His power, His enablement, His grace, His thoughts, His words, His ways, His very presence in whatever He has called you to do.  He doesn’t call you and then send you out the door by yourself.  He leads you.  He guides you.  He enables you.  But He still expects you to invite Him into each and every situation.  It is so very, very true and so very, very important: pray on my behalf.
But Paul was very specific in his prayer request.  And I might add, that is a good idea for us also.  He was very specific in that he requested that they pray for him in this manner: to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel.  First, he says that he wants to make known … the mystery of the gospel.  Whether you realize it or not, there are things which are hidden that the human mind has not thought about or does not know or understand.  This is what the Old Testament said about what Jesus would speak: This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “I WILL OPEN MY MOUTH IN PARABLES; I WILL UTTER THINGS HIDDEN SINCE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.”  (Matthew 13:35 NASB).  Paul said it in another way when he said: but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”  (1 Corinthians 2:9 NASB).
Paul understood that the gospel, the good news was a mystery, and man could not understand it on their own without the revelation of the good news by the Spirit of the Living God.  “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him (Matthew 11:27 NASB).  Thus, he requested prayer that the mystery of the gospel might be made known.  Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:45 NASB).
My friend, Paul not only wanted to preach the gospel where Christ had never been named, and that he might preach it so that it might be understood, he also wanted to preach it with boldness.  In other words, as Webster’s says, he wanted to preach the gospel with courage, bravery, freedom from timidity, and confidence.  My friend, Paul wanted the gospel to be effective and the way he saw that it could be most effective is if he preached it with boldness.
Which brings us to the bottom line.  What about you, my friend.  What are your hopes?  What are your desires?  Do you want others to pray for you?  What are your prayer requests?  Can you be specific?  Have you requested others to pray for you?  Here are my prayer requests: I want you to pray for me
that I might write the VOTD in such a way as to make it clear what each verse is saying to us and that God the Holy Spirit might make it clear to each individual who reads it what He wants them to know.  I want Him to encourage each person by what they read and to strengthen each person to walk in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord.  I want them to draw closer to the Lord, and understand how much they need Him.  I want Him to fill their hearts and minds with His love, His words, His will and His way so that they may live their lives in dependence on Him.  For without Him we can do nothing.
Lord, you are the vine and we are the branches.  We get all of our life giving sap from you.  We cannot produce leaves or fruit without your life-giving flow.  Lord, I need you.  Lord, I want you.  Lord, please live in me this day to do your good will and purpose.  Lord, you have the knowledge of all things and the power to change anything you want.  My hope and my heart’s desire is that you might make me useable this day to do your good will and purpose.  Lord, I love you.
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

23 May 2016 Verse of the Day

Ephesians 6:18 NASB With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,
And now we come to our last piece of armor: prayer. But first, let’s review our other six pieces of the full armor of God so that we can remember them: 1. Always have you’re your Loins girded with Truth. 2. Put on the Breastplate of Righteousness. 3. Always be prepared to share of the Gospel of Peace. 4. Take up the Shield of Faith. 5. Put on the Helmut of Salvation. 6. Always have the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.
Let’s ask ourselves one question: Why is prayer last on the list? I thought prayer was one of the most important things in our lives. I thought prayer was our communication tool with God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. Why did He leave it till the last? Well, let’s see if we can understand why. When you look at a BIG brick building, what do you see? Something that is sturdy, rugged and strong as well as beautiful. When you look at that building you see lots and lots of individual bricks. Hundreds and hundreds of them. The bigger the building, the more bricks you see. What you usually don’t see is what holds them all together. You don’t see the mortar between the bricks until you start getting up close and start to examine the individual bricks. My friend, what makes the bricks strong is the mortar that binds all the bricks together. If you didn’t have mortar, the building would fall over in a heap. The bricks are useless without the mortar. So it is with our six pieces of armor. They are useless without the mortar of prayer.
Now let’s continue our thoughts into what makes mortar strong so that we can see if the same principles apply to prayer. Mortar has to have: 1. the right ingredients. 2. in the right amounts. 3. with the right amount of moisture. 4. for the right amount of time. Here is what Google says that mortar is made up of: Masonry mortar is composed of one or more cementitious materials, fine mason sand and sufficient water to produce a workable mixture. The cementitious material may be a portland cement/lime mixture or masonry cement. A typical mortar consists of 1 part cementitious material to 2 ¼ – 3 ½ parts sand by volume.  So you can’t put anything else in mortar and expect it to be strong. And you have to mix it with the right amounts of each ingredient so that it will have the right consistency. You can’t add too much or too little water. It has to be just right. And you can’t let it sit to long or it will dry out. So you have to be time conscious to use it before it dries out.
Now, what about prayer. What are the ingredients in prayer? Well, how did the Lord teach His disciples to pray?  Matthew 6:9-13 NASB
(9) “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
(10) ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
(11) ‘Give us this day our daily bread.(12) ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
(13) ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]’
Here are the ingredients to prayer: 1. Adoration and Praise. 2. Confession and Forgiveness. 3. Meditation. 4. Listening. 5. Petition. 6. Intercession. 7. Thanksgiving, Praise and Worship.
Now I want you to notice, there are seven pieces of the full armor of God and there are seven ingredients to prayer. Is this a coincidence? I think not. My friend, all of the parts of prayer need to be applied in the right amounts in the right time to bind all of the full armor of God together for it to become effective for each individual.
Our VOTD says: With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit. To me that says every time I pray… in other words, all prayer, and every petition of prayer needs to be at all times in the Spirit. The Bible says to me: pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NASB). It also says to me: in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NASB). And then our VOTD says that we need to pray at all times in the Spirit. My friend it is clear that we need to do this so that we might be obedient to what this verse says: Do not quench the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19 NASB). So my question to you is: How is your prayer life? Are you praying at all times in the Spirit? Or are you just saying words.
The last part of our VOTD says: with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints. In order for our prayers to have the strength and power of mortar, we need to pray for one another: be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints. Pray for your Pastor, your Sunday School teacher, your Deacons, your fellow saints in the pews around you. Pray for your church staff and volunteers and especially your nursery workers. Pray for your greeters, your people who work behind the scenes like those who take care of the sound system and the lighting systems, and the janitors. Pray for your church’s ministries like your outreach ministry, your food drive and your clothing give-away and your special events. In James 5:16 the Bible tells us to pray for one another so that we may be healed. It also tells us to Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NASB).
Here is the bottom line on how to put on the full armor of God. Each piece needs to be put on with all prayer and petition praying at all times in the Spirit. You and I need to declare our dependence on our Lord and Master, the creator of the universe. We need to call on Him, depend on Him and trust Him in all that we say and do. We need to be obedient to Him by doing what He says. We need to tell the truth in every situation. We need to do His will by being righteous in our dealings with others. We need to be obedient to share the gospel of peace with those around us. We need to walk in faith and trust Him in all that happens to us. We need to understand that nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is found in Christ Jesus, for that is our salvation. We need to always have God’s Holy Word hid in our hearts and minds so that we can know how to think, act and respond to every situation we encounter. And finally we need to pray at all times in the Spirit about all things so that we can be the children of the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Lord, so many times I find myself in Romans 7 when I want to be in Romans 8. I have to ask myself, why is that? It is because I need to always keep my mind on things above and not things on the earth. Lord, I want to pray about everything so that you can instruct my mind and heart on what to do and how to do it. Lord, you are so good to me and I can’t say thank you enough. Lord, I love you.
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

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