A Few Words
Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:21
Only 297 words are required to sum up in English all of God’s moral law in the Ten Commandments. God distilled it even more when He said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matt. 22:37–39). Only sixty–five words make up the definitive teaching on prayer—the Lord’s Prayer—in Matthew 6:9–13.
Man doesn’t have that capacity for essential brevity. There once was a governmental study to regulate the price of cabbage that ran over twenty–six thousand words!
Thank God for the provision of His profound Word.
|January 7||Divine Resources for Walking Worthy|
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.”
A worthy lifestyle is possible only by depending on God’s resources.
Walking is often used in Scripture as a symbol of the Christian life. It is simply a reference to your daily conduct or lifestyle—a day–by–day, step–by–step commitment to follow Christ. As Christians we “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). John wrote, “This is love, that we walk according to His commandments” (2 John 6). Paul said to walk in good works (Eph. 2:10) and to please God in our walk before Him (1 Thess. 4:1).
In Ephesians 4:1 Paul is saying, “Let your lifestyle be worthy of the calling to which you are called.”
You may ask, “Is it possible to walk this way?” Yes, but only on this basis: you must devote yourself to be strengthened with the power of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 3:16), Christ’s Word must dwell in your heart, His love must penetrate your life (vv. 17–19), and you must be “filled up to all the fulness of God” (v.19), who “is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think” (v. 20). We must live by the resources God has given us to walk the worthy walk. We’ll never do it by just knowing the theology and then trying really hard.
Are you trying to live as a Christian without prayer, without studying the Bible, or even without giving much thought to Christ except on Sunday? Are you trying to be righteous without relying on the Holy Spirit? If you are, you will be frustrated in your efforts. You must commit every day and every moment to the Lord, trusting in His strength. Besides, why would you want to live on your own power when you can live by the power of God?
Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for giving you the Holy Spirit, who gives you the power to walk worthy before Him and others. ✧ Pray each day that the Holy Spirit will strengthen you to live in a way that pleases God.
For Further Study: Read Galatians 5:16–25. From your understanding of today’s study, what does it mean to “walk by the Spirit”? ✧ What does walking by the Spirit protect you from?
HE WANTS US TO COME
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
God takes great pleasure in having a helpless soul come to Him simply and plainly and intimately. He takes pleasure in having us come to Him. This kind of Christianity doesn’t draw big crowds. It draws only those who have their hearts set on God, who want God more than they want anything else in the world. These people want the spiritual experience that comes from knowing God for Himself. They could have everything stripped away from them and still have God.
These people are not vastly numerous in any given locality. This kind of Christianity doesn’t draw big crowds, but it is likely to draw the hungriest ones, the thirstiest ones and some of the best ones. And so God takes great pleasure in having helpless people come to Him, simply and plainly and intimately. He wants us to come without all that great overlording of theology. He wants us to come as simply and as plainly as a little child. And if the Holy Spirit touches you, you’ll come like that. AOG030-031
Thank You, Lord, for this warm invitation. I come to You humbly, deeply grateful for Your compassionate desire to meet with me and fill me. Amen. 
Beloved Jesus—Superior to All Sacrifices
A voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”—Matt. 3:17
No Old Testament sacrifice, no matter how carefully selected, was genuinely and completely pleasing to God. The people could not possibly find an animal without some imperfection. Furthermore, the blood of the sacrificial animals was at best only symbolic, “for it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Heb. 10:4; cf. 9:12). But the Cross would effect a sacrifice that would be “with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:19).
It was this reality that rang out in the Father’s declaration of blessing at the Jordan that day—the day of Jesus’ baptism. His use of the word “beloved” connotes a rich, profound, ultimately satisfying relationship between the Father and the Son. Forms of this word occur elsewhere in the New Testament to denote God’s love for believers (Rom. 1:7) and to describe the ideal love they should have for one another (1 Cor. 4:14). But in God’s eyes the Lord Jesus ever remains the most beloved among any living being—past, present, or future.
This means that Christians, too, are a delight to their heavenly Father, because they are now “in Christ” and adopted into God’s eternal, spiritual family. If God can find no imperfection in His Son, He likewise by His grace finds no defect in His saints (cf. Rom. 3:26; Eph. 1:3–6).
|Is the Son “beloved” in your eyes as well? How does your love for Him express itself in your conversation, your interactions, your behavior, your worship? If you couldn’t say that He is your “first love” (Rev. 2:4), ask God to help you return Him to His rightful place of adoration.|
RICHES OF GRACE
God…hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…by whom also he made the worlds.
Would it startle you if I dared to say that the living God has never done anything in His universe apart from Jesus Christ?
Christians seem to be woefully unaware of the full meaning and measure of the grace of God. Why should we question God’s provision when the Holy Spirit tells us through the Apostle John that the Word who became flesh is “full of grace and truth”? Brethren, the stars in their courses, the frogs that croak beside the lake, the angels in heaven above and men and women on earth below—all came out of the channel we call the eternal Word!
In the book of Revelation, John bears record of the whole universe joining to give praise to the Lamb that was slain. Under the earth and on the earth and above the earth, John heard creatures praising Jesus Christ, all joining in a great chorus: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (5:12).
Yes, surely the entire universe is beneficiary of God’s rich grace in Jesus Christ!
Lord, I praise Your name. You alone are worthy of all my adoration. Help me to walk uprightly today as a testimony to Your presence in my life.
|January 7||Avoiding a Spiritual Identity Crisis|
God “chose us in [Christ] before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4).
A true sense of identity comes from knowing that God Himself personally selected you to be His child.
Many people in our society are on a seemingly endless and often frantic quest for personal identity and self-worth. Identity crises are common at almost every age level. Superficial love and fractured relationships are but symptoms of our failure to resolve the fundamental issues of who we are, why we exist, and where we’re going. Sadly, most people will live and die without ever understanding God’s purpose for their lives.
That is tragic, yet understandable. God created man to bear His image and enjoy His fellowship forever. But when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they violated that purpose and plunged the human race into sin. That created within man a spiritual void and an identity crisis of unimaginable proportions. Throughout the ages ungodly people have tried to fill that void with a myriad of substitutes, but ultimately all is lost to death and despair.
Despite that bleak picture, a true sense of identity is available to every Christian. It comes from knowing that God Himself personally selected you to be His child. Before the world began, God set His love upon you; it was according to His plan that Christ died for you (1 Peter 1:20). That’s why you responded in faith to the gospel (2 Thess. 2:13). Also, that’s why you can never lose your salvation. The same God who drew you to Himself will hold you there securely (John 10:29).
Don’t allow sin, Satan, or circumstances to rob you of your sense of identity in Christ. Make it the focus of everything you do. Remember who you are—God’s child; why you are here—to serve and glorify Him; and where you are going—Heaven, where you will spend eternity in His presence.
Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for choosing you to be His child and for drawing you to Himself in saving faith. ✧ Praise Him for His promise never to let you go.
For Further Study: Read John 6:35–44; 10:27–30; Romans 8:31–39. ✧ According to Jesus, how many believers will lose their salvation? What was His reasoning? ✧ What did Paul base his certainty on?
THE FLOCK OF GOD: SAFE IN JESUS CHRIST
Feed the flock of God which is among you… And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
1 PETER 5:2, 4
The people who want to know God and walk with God, those who have learned to recognize the voice of the good Shepherd, will always be at home in a Spirit-filled congregation.
It is sad indeed that some have never heard the voice of the Shepherd. His voice is as tender as a lullaby and as strong as the wind and as mighty as the sound of many waters. The people who have learned to hear and recognize the voice of Jesus—that healing, musical, solemn, beautiful voice of Jesus in His church—are always at home where everything centers around Him. The true Christian church can be a conglomeration of everything under the sun. That is, we may have Calvinists and Arminians and Methodists and Baptists and all sorts of others, and yet we are all together on one thing—Jesus Christ is wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption! He is All in all, and the people of the Lord who have learned to hear the voice of the Shepherd gravitate towards that kind of church!
They may not be so sure about who else is present, but they know the Lord is present and they are sensitive to that.
Do you find your own heart sensitive to the Lord’s presence or are you among those who are “samplers” and “nibblers”? God help you if you are, for the child of the King is a sheep who loves his Shepherd and he stays close to Him! That’s the only safe place for a sheep. Stay close to Jesus and all of the wolves in the world cannot get a tooth in you!
 MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 18). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.
 MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
 Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
 MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 15). Chicago: Moody Publishers.
 Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 19). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
 Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.