January 15, 2017: Daily Devotional Guide Collection

January 15

Grace from the King

Being justified freely by His grace throughthe redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Romans 3:24

Every believer receives the grace of God as a result of responding to the good news. And the good news is that salvation is by grace.

The apostle Paul said, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8–9). The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all people. It is offered totally apart from anything we could ever do to receive God’s favor. It is the unmerited favor of God, who in His mercy and loving–kindness grants us salvation as a gift. All we have to do is simply respond by believing in His Son.

We enter the kingdom of God only by the grace of God. There is no place for self–congratulations or human achievement. Remember to thank God for granting you such a gracious salvation.[1]


January 15 Contentment: The Opposite of Covetousness

“Let your way of life be free from the love of money, being content with what you have.”

Hebrews 13:5

✧✧✧

If you are content with what God has given you, you will not be a person who is covetous or a lover of money.

I once had a man come into my church office and confess the sin of gluttony. When I told him he did not look overweight, he answered, “I know. It is not that I eat too much but that I want to. I continually crave food. It’s an obsession.”

Covetousness is very similar to that man’s gluttonous attitude. You do not have to acquire a lot of things, or even anything at all, to be covetous. If you long to acquire things and are focusing all your attention on how you might get them, you are guilty of covetousness.

It is not wrong to earn or possess wealth. In the Old Testament, Abraham and Job had tremendous wealth. A number of faithful New Testament believers were also fairly wealthy. The problem comes when we have a greedy attitude that craves money above everything else. Paul warns us, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang” (1 Tim. 6:10). Loving money is perhaps the most common form of covetousness; it is akin to lusting after material riches in various forms.

No matter how it appears, this kind of covetousness breeds the same spiritual result—it displeases God and separates us from Him. More income, a bigger house, nicer clothes, a fancier car can tempt all of us.

But the Lord wants you to be free from the materialism that so easily controls your non–Christian neighbors. Your earthly possessions are only temporary anyway. You will lose them all one day soon enough. So God tells you and me to be “content with what you have” (Heb. 13:5), realizing that we have “a better possession and an abiding one” (10:34) in our salvation.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Is there any covetousness or materialism in your life today? Confess it to the Lord, and pray that He would give you a renewed desire to trust Him rather than uncertain wealth.

For Further Study: Read Luke 12:13–34. Make a list of the things that illustrate how God cares for our material needs. ✧ How does the rich fool’s attitude contrast with what Jesus teaches in verse 31?[2]


JANUARY 15

LESS THAN THE BEST

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

—Matthew 5:6

It is disheartening to those who care, and surely a great grief to the Spirit, to see how many Christians are content to settle for less than the best. Personally I have for years carried a burden of sorrow as I have moved among evangelical Christians who somewhere in their past have managed to strike a base compromise with their heart’s holier longings and have settled down to a lukewarm, mediocre kind of Christianity utterly unworthy of themselves and of the Lord they claim to serve. And such are found everywhere….

Every man is as close to God as he wants to be; he is as holy and as full of the Spirit as he wills to be. Our Lord said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” If there were but one man anywhere on earth who hungered and was not filled, the word of Christ would fall to the ground.

Yet we must distinguish wanting from wishing. By “want” I mean wholehearted desire. Certainly there are many who wish they were holy or victorious or joyful but are not willing to meet God’s conditions to obtain it. TIC064

Lord, may I settle for nothing less than the best when it comes to my relationship with You. Give me a wholehearted thirst for You, that I may partake of the incredible privilege of intimate fellowship with You. Amen [3]


January 15

Trusting Self Is Never Justified

He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’ ”—Matt. 4:4

Christians are never justified in trusting solely in themselves to meet their basic needs. No matter how worried we might become, if we turn to God in faith and obedience, He will meet all our essential needs in His own way, according to His sovereign schedule. Implicit in this understanding is that God will meet every need, both physical and spiritual, as Paul promises us, “My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19; cf. Matt. 6:8, 33).

It is always best to follow Jesus’ example, obeying God and trusting wholeheartedly in His gracious provision, than to impulsively and selfishly attempt to meet our own needs in ways that could disobey or compromise God’s Word.

To trust first of all in ourselves to meet our needs—circumventing or modifying God’s will in the process—not only demonstrates a lack of faith but rests on the false assumption that our earthly well-being is our most crucial need. Jesus contradicts such thinking, which is so natural to fallen humanity, both to unbelievers as well as believers who slip into carnal mind-sets. Therefore our Lord quoted Deuteronomy 8:3, “ ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’ ” The all-sufficient and sustaining power of God is the only true source that meets our every need.

ASK YOURSELF
Where does your dependence lie? Are you trusting in your paycheck? Your insurance policies? Your physical strength and smarts? Or have you finally realized that everything hinges on God, His Word, and His sovereign plan for your life? Find your sense of security in Him alone.[4]

JANUARY 15

OUR LIFE IS IN CHRIST

Thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ.

2 Corinthians 2:14

Certainly not all of the mystery of the Godhead can be known by man—but just as certainly, all that men can know of God in this life is revealed in Jesus Christ!

When the Apostle Paul said with yearning, “That I may know him” (Philippians 3:10), he was not speaking of intellectual knowledge. Paul was speaking of the reality of an experience of knowing God personally and consciously, spirit touching spirit and heart touching heart.

We know that people spend a lot of time talking about a deeper Christian life—but few seem to want to know and love God for Himself.

The precious fact is that God is the deeper life! Jesus Christ Himself is the deeper life, and as I plunge on into the knowledge of the triune God, my heart moves on into the blessedness of His fellowship. This means that there is less of me and more of God—thus my spiritual life deepens and I am strengthened in the knowledge of His will!

Dear Lord, this morning and throughout this day, may there be more and more of You and less and less of me.[5]


January 15 Resting in God’s Sovereignty

“[God] made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in [Christ] with a view to an administration suitable to the fulness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth” (Eph. 1:9–10).

✧✧✧

God is intimately involved in the flow of human history and is directing its course toward a specific, predetermined climax.

For centuries men of various philosophical schools have debated the cause, course, and climax of human history. Some deny God and therefore deny any divine involvement in history. Others believe that God set everything in motion, then withdrew to let it progress on its own. Still others believe that God is intimately involved in the flow of human history and is directing its course toward a specific, predetermined climax.

In Ephesians 1:9–10 Paul settles that debate by reminding us that Jesus Himself is the goal of human history. In Him all things will be summed up; all human history will be resolved and united to the Father through the work of the Son.

As Paul said elsewhere, “It was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fulness [of deity] to dwell in [Christ], and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:19–20). The culmination of Christ’s reconciling work will come during His millennial Kingdom (Rev. 20). Following that, He will usher in the eternal state with a new heaven and new earth (Rev. 21).

Despite the political uncertainty and military unrest in the world today, be assured that God is in control. He governs the world (Isa. 40:22–24), the nations (Isa. 40:15–17), and individuals as well (Prov. 16:9). God’s timetable is right on schedule. Nothing takes Him by surprise, and nothing thwarts His purposes. Ultimately He will vanquish evil and will make everything right in Christ.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the wisdom and insight He gives you to see beyond your temporal circumstances to His eternal purposes. ✧ Live today with that perspective in mind.

For Further Study: Read Revelation 20. ✧ What happens to Satan prior to the millennial Kingdom? ✧ How does Satan meet his final doom? ✧ What happens at the Great White Throne Judgment?[6]


JANUARY 15

THE WORLD CHANGES—BUT NOT THE HUMAN RACE

…That ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind.

EPHESIANS 4:17

To a Christian, conditioned as he is to observing life from above and judging all things in the light of eternal values, the modern feverish devotion to the newest invention and the latest happening seems more than a little ridiculous!

One thing seems to be quite forgotten: the world moves and times change but people remain the same always. Just as a pendulum remains fixed at the top while it swings back and forth from one extreme to another, so the human race remains basically unchanged while it moves through its limited arc.

No responsible person will deny that some changes made by the race over the years have been improvements and so may have represented progress and advance. However, just what we are supposed to be advancing toward has not been made very clear by our leaders!

It would seem humanly difficult, indeed, to show that we are moving toward an end when we do not know what or where that end is, or even if such an end exists at all.

The only parallel we can think of at the moment is that of a deadly-serious and fanatically determined dachshund chasing breathlessly after its tail—a tail, incidentally, which is not there because it has previously been removed. Add a large number of other dachshunds, bespectacled and solemn, writing books to prove that the frustrated puppy’s activity is progress, and you have the picture![7]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 26). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[2] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[3] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[4] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 23). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[5] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[6] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 27). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[7] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

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