Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Mt 4:4

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Daily Devotions - May

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May 1st

“And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.” (Acts 16:40).

Paul and Silas had just come through a great trial. They had been beaten and put in prison. It seems that the Christians at the house of Lydia should have comforted them. But, instead of being comforted, Paul and Silas comforted the ones at the house of Lydia. The ones who had been under great trial were stronger than the ones who had not undergone persecution. The lesson is this: The more we undergo persecution for the sake of the Lord the stronger we become.

May 2nd

“Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.” (Acts 5:15)

This verse implies that even the shadow of Peter falling on the sick would heal them.

How wonderful it would be if we would be so filled with the Holy Spirit that even those we came into casual and momentary contact with might be spiritually benefited and influenced by our mere presence. The Lord Jesus Christ had such an amazing effect on those in His presence that John the Baptist leaped for joy in his mother’s womb when he came into the presence of the Savior -- who had just been conceived in Mary’s womb. (Luke 1:41, 44).

May 3rd

“On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour....” (Acts 10:9).

Here it is recorded that Peter went on the housetop to pray. Even while he was praying, some servants from Cornelius’ household were nigh unto the city of Joppa, where Peter was praying. These servants were going to prove to be sent from God in response to Peter’s prayer. Peter had no idea that God, in His marvelous providence, was even at that moment speeding an answer to his prayer.

If we could keep this lesson in mind, there would never be a moment when our prayer life would become dull. Each experience at the throne of grace would be exciting with our never knowing how, or how rapidly, God would answer our prayers.

May 4th

“And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.” (Acts 23:12).

Paul was in prison at Jerusalem. More than forty Jews made an awful agreement to kill him. Paul’s nephew found out about it and warned him. Thus, this young man was used by God to save Paul’s life.

Paul’s nephew is a beautiful example of the very essential service that is rendered by even the seemingly insignificant child of God. The great apostle’s life was removed from danger because of this boy’s service. We can’t all be Pauls, but our service is vital, nevertheless.

May 5th

“Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas....” (Acts 9:36).

Dorcas, whose story is recorded in Acts 9:36-41, is a beautiful illustration of the Christian woman, whose characteristics are set down in Titus 2:5: "To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Dorcas may not have been a glamorous “career woman”, but the Holy Spirit thought her work of making coats and garments for others important enough to record it in Acts 9:39. As the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31:20, Dorcas “... stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.”

May 6th

“Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.” (Rom 16:13).

It is amazing what can be gotten out of a verse of scripture. There are many important truths contained in this verse.

First, “salute”: The saints are to salute or greet one another. This shows the love and friendship which should govern the relationship among Christians. Saints are told to greet one another with a “holy kiss” in Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:12; 1 Thess. 5:26 and 1 Pet. 5:14.

Second, “Rufus”: The great apostle Paul was not impersonal in his relationship with the saints. He often called them by name in his epistles. It is wonderfully said of the Lord Jesus Christ that “... he calleth his own sheep by name....” (John 10:3). Christians are individuals and we need to deal with one another as such.

Third, “chosen in the Lord”; This teaches the wonderful truth of the personal election of each of the saints in the Lord Jesus Christ. Each saint was “... chosen ... in him before the foundation of the world....” (Eph 1:4).

Fourth, “his mother and mine”: Saints compose one happy family and should think of themselves as such. Timothy was instructed to treat the older men as fathers, the younger men as brothers, the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters. (1 Timothy 5:1,2)

Many times Christians suffer the loss of the affections of their natural families as they follow the Lord. Paul, himself, “... suffered the loss of all things....” (Philippians 3:8). But they always find “... an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands....” (Mark 10:30). Paul lost his natural mother for following Christ, but he found a mother in Rufus’ mother.

May 7th

“And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.” (Gen 22:3).

God had told Abraham to take Isaac into the land of Moriah and there offer him for a burnt offering. This was, undoubtedly, the most difficult task Abraham was ever asked to perform. Notice how Abraham responded -- he “rose up early.”

We can all learn a good lesson from this. When we have a job to do, especially a very difficult task to perform, we are tempted to procrastinate, but this only makes the job harder. Satan likes for us the procrastinate; he likes to see God’s people “... halt between two opinions....” (1 Kings 18:21). But God wants us to obey him “immediately” or “straightway.” (See Matthew 4:20.).

Often we want God to bless us with great strength before we do a hard job, but God’s way is that we are usually blessed in the deed (James 1:25), not before it.

So, Christian friend, quit vacillating. “... Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” (Eph 6:10). What is that difficult task that God has called upon you to do? Go, begin to do it right now! As you face your responsibility, God will strengthen you.

May 8th

“Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” (Col 4:12).

We don’t know much about Epaphras, but we do know that he was a mighty warrior of God in prayer. Three words in this verse tell us something of the intensity of Epaphras’ prayer life.

“Always” - We know from this word that Epaphras prayed constantly. He, no doubt, went to God several times each day in prayer, making specific requests in behalf of the saints of Colosse. When he wasn’t actually what we might call “at prayer” he was in a prayerful attitude. He literally prayed without ceasing. (1 Th 5:17).

“Laboring fervently” - These two words are the translation of one Greek word AGONIZOMAI. This word means “to strive, wrestle.” It means to “endeavor with strenuous zeal.” We get our English word “agony” from this word.

So not only was Epaphras praying continually -- he was working hard at it when he prayed!

Christians often forget that real prayer is sometimes hard work. It is said that our Lord Jesus prayed with “... strong crying and tears....” (Hebrews 5:7).

Christian friend, how is your prayer life? Do you pray constantly? Do you work hard when you pray? Real prayer is not for the lazy Christian. But real prayer glorifies God and brings results.

May 9th

“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” (Prov 27:17).

To sharpen a piece of metal (like a hoe or an ax) a hard piece of metal (a file) must be rubbed against it. A piece of soft material (like wood) will only dull it.

The Lord has used this fact here to teach us how we can help our friends and how we, ourselves, can stay spiritually sharp. When we are in good spiritual condition, and we come in contact with our friends, we can help them to become spiritually stronger and more alert. When we speak of the excellencies of the Lord, it tends to stir up the souls of those to whom we speak to greater spiritual endeavors.

On the other hand, when we come in contact with one who is in better spiritual condition than we are, we are stimulated to become spiritually stronger.

Today, and everyday, determine that by the grace of God you will “sharpen” everyone with whom you come in contact. Before you utter a word in conversation, ask yourself, “Will what I say sharpen or dull this person?” "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” (Eph 4:29).

May 10th

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Mat 4:4).

The constant reading, study, and meditation of the word of God is as necessary for the Christian’s spiritual health as the constant, daily eating of good food is for the health of his body. Miss a few meals and you become physically weak; miss a day or two in neglect of God’s word and you suffer from spiritual malnutrition.

The words that “proceedeth out of the mouth of God” are contained in the Bible. Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16 says that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God....” The word “inspiration” is, literally, “God breathed”, hence, out of the mouth of God.

When Joshua was called to lead the people of Israel into Canaan, it was said to him "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Josh 1:8).

David said of the blessed man that “... his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (Psa 1:2).

Even when Job was in the midst of his afflictions, he said, “... I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” (Job 23:12).

We all know how eagerly infants gulp down their mothers’ milk. Peter said, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby....” (1 Pet 2:2).

Christian friend, if you are spiritually weak today, get your head in the word of God! It will revive your drooping soul. David said, "This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.” (Psa 119:50).

May 11th

“Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed.” (Jer 48:11).

The Lord is teaching a spiritual lesson here by referring to the process of wine-making. As wine is maturing, dregs or lees settle in the bottom of the bottle. If nothing is done, the wine has a strong taste and is not good. Good wine is produced by emptying the wine into another vessel and leaving the dregs behind. This process may have to be repeated several times before the wine is good and clear and ready to drink.

Spiritually, if we are at ease with no problems or persecutions, we tend to “settle on our lees”, and we don’t have the right taste or scent. When we are tried by trials or persecutions (emptied from vessel to vessel), the dregs of our lives (lack of prayer, neglect of the word of God, lukewarmness, various sins) are removed and we are better able to serve God. How merciful our Father is when he tries us!

If you feel to have been “emptied from vessel to vessel,” praise God for it. It is for your good and his glory. It is not good to be “... at ease in Zion....” (Amos 6:1). God prophesied against Judah, "And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.” (Zep 1:12).

May 12th

“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10).

Impurities, in the form of dross, are removed from metals, such as gold and silver, by the refining process. This process involves great heat. When the refining has been accomplished, the metal is pure, beautiful, and valuable.

In the scripture, the Lord draws an analogy between this refining process and the sufferings of the saints. When the Lord’s people are brought through sufferings, the impurities of their lives are purged away and they are better able to serve the Lord.

It was prophetically said of the Lord Jesus, "And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.” (Mal 3:3).

Don’t faint when under pressure. Don’t give up when the fire gets hot. The Master Refiner is working on you. You will shine like gold or silver for Him when the dross is gone.

May 13th

“As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings....” (Deu 32:11).

The Lord’s dealings with Israel are here described in a figure -- a mother eagle watching over her young and teaching them to fly. This figure was touched on in Exodus 19:4, where the Lord described his deliverance of Israel from Egypt by saying, “... I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.”

What is under consideration here is evidently the method by which the little eagles are taught to fly. When the mother perceives that they are ready, she “stirs” them, she shoves them out of the nest. When their little wings weaken, she spreads her wings, swoops down under them and bears them up.

So it was with Israel of old -- so it is with God’s people today. We often have to be “stirred”, to be shoved out of the nest. But this is for our good. Our wings of faith would never become stronger if we didn’t use them. When we do try them, find that we are not as strong as we think we are, and that we will surely perish, we suddenly feel the comforting presence of His “wings” beneath us, bearing us up.

May 14th

“... My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mat 27:46).

These words were uttered by the Savior on the cross as he was made to be sin (2 Cor. 5:21), made a curse (Gal. 3:13), gave his life a ransom for many (Matt. 20:28), gave his life for the sheep (John 10:11), was offered to bear the sins of many (Heb. 9:28), his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree (1 Pet. 2:24).

The anguish that Christ suffered as He paid for all the sins of all His people is beyond imagination. We can gain only a little knowledge of it. The more knowledge of this that we do gain, the more we will appreciate the Lord Jesus Christ and the more we will want to live for Him.

These same words were uttered by David some one thousand years before Christ uttered them. David, no doubt, uttered them about himself, as he was going through a great trial of affliction. But the Holy Spirit was also guiding him to speak prophetically of the sufferings of Christ which would occur approximately one thousand years later.

Examine Psa. 22, compare it with the Gospel accounts of the sufferings and death of the Lord Jesus, remember that one thousand years stand between the time of David and the time of Christ, and stand amazed at the providence of God in fulfilling prophecy.

Compare Psa. 22:7, 8 with Matt. 27:39-43; compare Psa. 22:17 with Matt. 27:36 and John 19:33-36; compare Psa. 22:18 with Matt. 27:35. Consider the expressions in Psa. 22:16 “... they pierced my hands and my feet.”

Remember that the Old Testament had been completed and commonly accepted by the Jews several hundred years before the birth of Christ. The amazing recording in the New Testament of the events predicted in the Old is miraculous and can be accounted for only by the fact that God is in complete control of all history.

Read Psa. 22 prayerfully and enter into the suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ.

May 15th

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” (Prov 28:13).

Often the reason behind our lack of spiritual prosperity is hidden and unconfessed sin. Actually, we only hide our sins from each other. We can not hide them from God. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb 4:12).

We often try to cover our sins from each other, because in our pride we wish to be thought better than we are. Often we try to cover our sins from ourselves by putting them out of mind, banishing serious thoughts, stifling conviction, and trying to persuade ourselves that we are happy. And, like Adam and Eve, who
“... hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.” (Gen 3:8), we foolishly try to cover our sins from God.

But we can not prosper if we do so. Israel could not win the battle so long as Achan covered his sins. (Joshua 7). Not matter how hard the sailors rowed they could not make shore so long as they tried to ignore Jonah’s sin (Jonah 1). And David was miserable when he tried to keep his sin hidden. (Psalm 32:3).

But, praise the Lord, a sinner can be prosperous in soul again when he confesses and forsakes his sin. David said, "I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” (Psa 32:5).

The restored sinner is in a condition to serve the Lord. David said again, "Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” (Psa 51:13).

There is wonderful healing for lives, for homes, for churches in confession and repentance. James said, "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.” (James 5:16).

Brethren, don’t delay! Don’t try to hide your sins. Confess them and turn from them today.

"Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” (Luke 15:10).

May 16th

“Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt.” And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.” (Mat 15:28).

True faith is very powerful and very persistent. It just doesn’t give up. In the face of discouragements and obstacles it continues to persist. This Syrophoenician woman came to Jesus with a request that her daughter be healed. Jesus answered her not a word. This was a discouragement, but on top of that, His disciples asked Him to send her away. What a blow to her that must have been. But a further discouragement came when He said, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” This evidently left her out because she was a Gentile. But she still refused to be discouraged. She worshipped Him and said, “Lord, help me.” Then came the greatest trial of all to her faith. Jesus said, “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and cast it to dogs.” This seems like to have been a crushing blow from which she should have turned away in despair. But her great faith caused her to say, " Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”

This great faith brought a response from Jesus. Every child of God has this faith. See Eph. 2:8. It is a gift of God. We need to be aware of the great strength of our faith, and we need to learn to exercise this faith. As we exercise it, we will learn to ask great things of God. This pleases God. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb 11:6).

Christian friend, don’t underestimate the vast power of your God-given faith. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4)

May 17th

“And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.” (Mark 6:31).

When Jesus Christ walked this earth some 2000 years ago, He was the Son of God and He was also the Son of Man. As a man He was “... in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb 4:15). As man He hungered, thirsted, and became weary. He understood that in His busy life it was necessary to frequently retire to a place by Himself for physical rest and for intimate communication with His Father by prayer.

On one occasion “... he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” (Luke 6:12). As another reference puts it, "And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.” (Mat 14:23). Not only at night did He sometimes get off by Himself, but “... rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” (Mark 1:35).

If Jesus found it necessary to get off in solitude to rest and to pray, it behooves His disciples to do the same.

In this hectic world we must find “quiet times” to be with the Lord, to worship Him and to commune with Him. This is the secret to real spiritual strength and to ascertain God’s direction for our lives.

May 18th

“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.” (Psa 119:133).

One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is self-control or “temperance.” (Gal. 5:23). If a Christian does not exercise self-control over himself through the power of the Holy Spirit, his testimony before men and his communion with God will be greatly hindered.

Satan tempts us and tries to make us become slaves to our appetites and passions. Some people become addicted to drugs or alcohol. Others become slaves to sexual appetites, sports, or some particular hobby. Even legitimate pursuits become sinful when they gain control over us and distract us from the service of God.

Speaking of his determination to refuse to become a slave of his appetites or passions, Paul said, “... all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” (1 Cor 6:12).

Not only our physical habits but our passions such as anger must be kept under strict control. As the wise man put it, "He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” (Prov 25:28). Positively stated, "He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” (Prov 16:32).

The Roman epistle exhorts the saints to "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” (Rom 6:12).

Admittedly, self-control is very hard work. But the child of God must do this work with great determination and with absolute dependence on the power of the Holy Spirit. Notice the tremendous determination of Paul as he said, "I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” (1 Cor 9:26, 27).

The only alternative to lack of self-control is becoming a castaway -- to losing our usefulness in the service of God.

May 19th

“Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.” (Prov 8:18).

Almost everyone is interested in riches. People take great care to provide for the future with savings accounts, insurance policies, and retirement plans. The man is thought to be very prudent who provides for his needs in this way.

But while men plan for the future in this way, the vast majority neglect their own souls. They are so busy in material pursuits that they have no time to make provision for their spiritual needs.

But the above verse speaks of “durable riches.” The context plainly shows that these durable riches consist of the wisdom that comes with a close walk with God. Wisdom cries out: "Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.” (Prov 8:10, 11).

This wisdom of God is so much more durable than material wealth, no matter how great. Timothy was commanded to "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy....” (1 Tim 6:17). There is a great contrast between these “uncertain riches” and the “durable riches” of Prov. 8:18.

The Son of God said, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Mat 6:19-21)

May 20th

“Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.” (Prov 14:9).

Today it is very common for people to make jokes about things that the Lord calls sin. This is supposed to be an innocent pleasure but the Lord calls them fools who engage in such conduct.

For example, jokes about sex, about men looking at pretty women with lust in their hearts, are quite common-place. However, the Son of God has said, "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Mat 5:28). The Bible further says that “... whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” (Heb 13:4). So this is not a laughing matter. Satan knows that if he can get us to laughing about this and other sins, he can deceive us as to the seriousness of sin. Sin is deadly business. Sin caused the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ, "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree....” (1 Pet 2:24).

Jokes about Noah’s ark, about meeting Peter at the pearly gates, about hell and about other sacred subjects are extremely common today -- even among professing Christians. Such things should not be. We would do well to engage in "Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.” (Eph 5:4).

May 21st

“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” (Prov 13:20).

It is certain that those with whom we keep constant company have a great effect on us. We learn much -- both good and bad from those around us. Much of this knowledge and behavior just “rubs off” on us without our being consciously aware of what is taking place. No wonder the word of God warns us to be very careful to choose those with whom we walk in close association each day.

Negatively, we are not to have as close friends those who do not fear God and do not use the Bible as the guide for their lives. David said, "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly....” (Psa 1:1). Soloman said, "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.” (Prov 1:10). Paul said, “... evil communications corrupt good manners.” (1 Cor 15:33). It is impossible for anyone to keep bad company and not be corrupted by it.

Positively, our lives can be greatly enriched if we seek for and walk with noble men and women who love and fear the Lord. We can learn good habits and life patterns from those who have long walked with the Lord.

Not only will we learn how to live as we associate with these noble ones, but we will be challenged and encouraged to constantly grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

How wonderful that our dear Lord has prepared a way for us to become truly wise -- walking with His wise ones.

May 22nd

“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” (Heb 13:15).

This verse is loaded with truth which, put into practice, will glorify God and greatly strengthen the believer.

“By him” -- this expression tells us that we can’t even praise God except through Jesus Christ. How thankful we should be that one of the gifts that Christ purchased on the cross for His people was the gift of praise.

“Sacrifice” -- Believers in the New Testament period are all priests before God. (1 Peter 2:5). Priests are to offer sacrifices. One of the sacrifices that we are to offer is praise. We praise Him as we reflect on His blessed attributes and on His goodness toward us. As we thus reflect, our lips will be compelled to give thanks to His name.

“Continually” -- This giving of thanks should not be just an occasional exercise -- it should be a constant and habitual practice. David said, “... I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” (Psa 34:1). He said again, "From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised.” (Psa 113:3).

Try following this practice today. You’ll be surprised what a wonderful change will take place in your attitude. Even in the midst of death, trouble, and disappointment, the child of God can praise the Lord for His wonderful salvation.

May 23rd

“Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.” (Phil 1:24).

Paul stated that he had a “... desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better....” (Phil 1:23). But he was willing to abide in the flesh so long as he was needed by the Philippians and others.

We would do well to follow the great apostle in this attitude. He didn’t live to be served by others -- his life was devoted to serving his Lord and the Lord’s people. In this he was following the example of the Lord Who “... came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mat 20:28).

A Christian cannot be happy or fulfilled if he always expects others to serve him. True joy is found in a life of service. Try serving your Lord today -- see what you can find to do for His people. A life of contentment will be the result. Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, “... It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35).

May 24th

“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mat 4:19).

Every believer is called to be a “fisher of men.” This means that he is to convert others to the truth as it is in Jesus Christ. There is only one way to become a fisher of men: that is to become a consistent follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. As one becomes a follower of the Lord, the change in him will become evident to those about him. This was evident in the case of Peter and John. It is written of them,

 "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13).

There is only one way to become a true follower of the Lord, one must carefully study the life of Christ as it is set forth in the scriptures, and then prayerfully imitate that life with the enabling of the Holy Spirit.

This must be done with real determination on a daily basis. Our Lord said, "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23).

Christian friend, do you want to experience the joy of becoming a fisher of men? Begin today! Make the life of Christ your diligent study and your constant pattern of living.

May 25th

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” (Eph 4:29).

The ability of speech is a wonderful gift of God, and we must be very careful how we use it. Each word that we speak should be spoken for a definite purpose. When we speak to others we should use our words to edify (build up) the person to whom we are speaking. Our words should “minister grace” to those who hear. Our words should be carefully designed to bring about good reactions, to bring the hearers closer to the Lord.

There is no place for idle words in the conversation of a child of God. In fact the Savior said, “... That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” (Mat 12:36). No wonder that David prayed, "Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.” (Psa 141:3). Again he prayed, "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Psa 19:14).

Christian reader, today and every day, use your words to bring glory to God and help to people.

May 26th

“... For the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Neh 8:10).

It is so important for a Christian to be strong. There are many battles to be fought against our own flesh. To fight, we must be strong. To be strong, we must be filled with the joy of the Lord.

The joy of the Lord is not dependent on circumstances. A person can be afflicted and persecuted and still be strong in the joy of the Lord. See Paul and Silas praying and singing praises at midnight, even though they were in prison, with their feet in stocks and stripes on their backs. (Acts 16:25). See the apostles “... rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.” (Acts 5:41). Hear Paul say that he was “... sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing....” (2 Cor 6:10).

The joy of the Lord comes from walking in fellowship with the dear Lord. Speaking of the Lord, David said, “... in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psa 16:11). Joy is given to us as a fruit of the blessed Holy Spirit. (Gal. 5:22).

Walk with the Lord today, dear one. Commune with Him in prayer. Follow Him in obedience. No matter the circumstances. You will be filled with joy and you will be strong. “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” (Phil 4:4).

May 27th

“Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.” (John 13:10).

This verse contains a glorious truth that, properly understood, will bring joy to the child of God. Jesus tells Peter that the one who has been washed (in the original language this is in the past or completed tense) is “clean every whit.” The expression “every whit” comes from a word which means “all, whole, complete.” Jesus is saying that the one who has been washed is wholly or completely clean. The word translated “clean” means “without blemish, spotless, blameless.”

He who has been washed in the blood of Christ, who has been regenerated by the Spirit of God is wholly and entirely clean in the sight of God! He has been justified by the righteousness of Christ. Because of justification all his sins have been pardoned, and he is perfectly righteous in Christ before God. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus....” (Rom 8:1). “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.” (Rom 8:33). When God has pronounced one “clean every whit” no one, including Satan, can bring a charge against him.

When Jesus said, “Ye are clean, but not all” He was referring to Judas Iscariot, who was not a blood-bought child of God.

Even though the child of God is completely clean in a legal sense and will never come under the wrath of God, he still sins and must confess and repent daily. This is the lesson taught in the washing of the feet (the feet of his life and conversation). Even though our relationship with God can never be broken our fellowship with Him can be temporarily broken by unconfessed sins. Then we need to wash our feet (confess and repent). One who is not already clean cannot confess and repent in the true sense of the word.

What does this mean to the child of God? Let us live like children of the king! Let us rejoice that when He sees us He sees us as clean and righteous in Jesus Christ. Let us go often to Him in prayer for only a cleansed one has the exalted privilege of coming into His glorious presence.

What good news it was to the Corinthian Christians when Paul told them that “... ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor 6:11). What good news it is to us today!

May 28th

“Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously....” (1 Pet 2:23).

The Savior is our perfect example in this as He is in everything else. He did not “fight back” when He was mistreated, but left His case in the hands of God the Father.

How hard it is for us to do this when we try to do it in our own power. Our natural tendency is for us to argue, to protest, to “fight back,” to defend ourselves when we have been wronged.

But we must follow the example of our Lord. His enemies said terrible things about and to him. To “revile” means to “reproach, vilify, or slander.” The enemies of Jesus constantly criticized Him, told lies about Him, and stirred the people up against Him. Perhaps the culmination of the hard things said against the Lord Jesus were those things said at His trial before the Jewish council. They even hired false witnesses against Him. Instead of defending Himself “... Jesus held his peace .... (Mat 26:63). As Isaiah said, “... as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” (Isa 53:7).

Why did Jesus remain silent? Because God was the righteous judge and Jesus was perfectly willing to trust His case in the hands of God. We, too, will quit trying to feverishly defend ourselves when we are willing to trust our case in the hands of the Lord. He will render the right verdict in His own time. In the meantime, we must humbly serve the Lord and silently suffer when we are blessed to suffer for His name.

When we can learn to trust our defense in the hands of the Righteous Judge, what peace will come to our souls.

May 29th

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psa 119:11).

One of the most powerful weapons that we have against Satan, sin, and the world is the word of God. In fact, we are to take the “... the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God....” (Eph 6:17). One of the most effective ways that we can use the word of God is by committing portions of the word to memory.

Evidently David had done this; he “hid” the word in his heart. This was not a mere intellectual exercise; he committed the word to memory for the purpose of not sinning against God. When Satan tempted David to commit a particular sin, David would call to mind a particular portion of scripture which forbade the commission of that very sin. This is truly using the word as the sword of the Spirit.

There are other benefits derived from committing the word to memory. Paul said "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Col 3:16). When the word has been committed to memory and dwells in our hearts we will be in a position to teach and to admonish each other. Our admonitions then will not come from our own opinions; they will come from God’s word. We will also be in a position to worship God more perfectly -- in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. The Holy Spirit will take the word which we have committed to memory and help us to worship God with it.

If you wish to be strong in the Lord commit verses to memory every day. One verse memorized each week would make about fifty a year. In ten years this would grow to five hundred verses. For the glory of God, begin today.

May 30th

“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” (Luke 22:31, 32).

The great enemy of our soul hates us and would like for us to completely and permanently deny our Lord. If we were left to ourselves this would be our sad case. But the Lord Jesus as our great Intercessor prays for us and, even though we may have temporary lapses, our faith will never be extinguished. The Lord will bring us to repentance and restoration. When we are restored or “converted” then we are once again useful in the service of our Lord. Then we are able to strengthen our brethren.

Peter denied his Lord, but the Lord brought him to repentance, restored him to a place of usefulness, and gave him the command to feed His sheep and lambs. (John 21:15-17). The Lord even permitted Peter to glorify Him in his death. (John 21:19).

What should this mean to us? When we fall into sin and our lives become cold and useless, we should seek repentance. We should not wallow in misery and in self-pity, but should pray for God to restore us to a place of service.

We can do this with great courage and hope, knowing that God always hears the prayers of Jesus, and that Jesus has prayed for all His children that their faith would not fail.

May 31st

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Gal 6:9).

The context indicates that this verse primarily applies to the giving of our material goods in the cause of Christ. But the principle applies to all areas of our Christian life. We need to persevere in Christian works lest we fail to reap.

The Christian life is a constant struggle against Satan, the world-system, and our own flesh. As we struggle and fail to see immediate results, we grow weary and discouraged and are tempted to give it all up. But we must not! God has promised that we will reap bountiful blessings in due time. To give up would be like a man drilling for oil who ceased drilling at 90 feet. If he had drilled to 100 feet, he would have struck a gushing oil well.

To keep from giving up, we must constantly encourage ourselves with the promises of God. “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.” (Is. 40:29-31).





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