February 3, 2017: Daily Devotional Guide Collection

February 3

Responding to God’s Glory

We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the sameimage from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 3:18

 

As we glorify God, we begin to grow. Because of the great truths revealed in the New Testament, believers can now view God’s glory more clearly than those under the law could. As we do, we grow spiritually, moving from one level of glory to the next.

At the end of today’s verse, notice that Paul says the Holy Spirit is the one who energizes our growth. The Holy Spirit infuses our lives with His power, taking us through levels of glory toward the image of Christ.

Don’t become preoccupied with the intricacies of the Holy Spirit’s work or with the details of your own activity. Make sure you focus primarily on the glory of the Lord.[1]


February 3 God Is Spirit

“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

John 4:24

✧✧✧

God is a person, but He has no physical characteristics.

As we begin our study of God, we must understand first of all that He is a person, not some unknowable cosmic force. In His Word, God is called Father, Shepherd, Friend, Counselor, and many other personal names. God is always referred to as “He,” not “it.” He also has personal characteristics: He thinks, acts, feels, and speaks.

We will learn three aspects of God’s person in the next several days: God is spirit, God is one, and God is three. First, God has no physical body as we have: “God is spirit” (John 4:24), and “a spirit does not have flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39). Paul says He is “invisible” (1 Tim. 1:17). God represented Himself as light, fire, and cloud in the Old Testament and in the human form of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. But such visible revelations did not reveal the totality or fullness of God’s nature.

You may wonder about verses like Psalm 98:1, “His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him,” and Proverbs 15:3, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place.” These descriptions are called anthropomorphisms, from the Greek words for “man” and “form.” They picture God as though He were a man because God has chosen to describe Himself in a way we can comprehend. If He did not accommodate His revelation to our finite level, we would have no hope of understanding Him. You should not take anthropomorphisms literally, however. Otherwise you will have a false view of God that robs Him of His real nature and His true power. Look at Psalm 91:4: “Under His wings you may seek refuge.” God is certainly not a bird, and “God is not a man” (Num. 23:19). He is spirit.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God that He has enabled physical creatures like us to know Him.

For Further Study: Even though God is invisible, “since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made” (Rom. 1:20). Read the response of a godly man to God’s natural revelation in Psalm 104.[2]


FEBRUARY 3

WE ARE NOT ALONE

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

—Joshua 1:9

We are each like a little child lost in a crowded market, who has strayed but a few feet from his mother, yet because she cannot be seen the child is inconsolable. So we try by every method devised by religion to relieve our fears and heal our hidden sadness; but with all our efforts we remain unhappy still, with the settled despair of men alone in a vast and deserted universe.

But for all our fears we are not alone. Our trouble is that we think of ourselves as being alone. Let us correct the error by thinking of ourselves as standing by the bank of a full flowing river; then let us think of that river as being none else but God Himself. We glance to our left and see the river coming full out of our past; we look to the right and see it flowing on into our future. But we see also that it is flowing through our present. And in our today it is the same as it was in our yesterday, not less than, nor different from, but the very same river, one unbroken continuum, undiminished, active and strong as it moves sovereignly on into our tomorrow. POM006-007

Thank You, Lord, that I can have confidence in Your unchanging Presence. Yesterday, today and tomorrow, I know I am not alone. Amen. [3]


February 3

Qualities of Fishermen/Evangelists

He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”—Matt. 4:19

Our Lord did not merely command His new disciples to become “fishers of men,” He promised to help them catch people’s souls. He would remind them many times that they would never be effective disciplers—or successful disciples at all—if they didn’t rely on His power: “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Certain qualities that make a person a good fisherman also can make Christians good evangelists. Consider the following four fisherman traits and how they can apply to evangelism.

First, a fisherman knows he often must be patient to locate a school of catchable fish. Second, a good fisherman must have perseverance in going from place to place, sometimes repeatedly, until he finds the fish. Third, effective fishermen have good instincts about being in the right place at the right time for dropping their line or net. Poor timing has lost many catches, both of fish and people. Finally, a good fisherman stays out of sight as much as possible. Similarly, the effective evangelist does not get in the way of his or her witnessing, so as not to be a hindrance to sinners coming to Christ.

Following Christ’s example and realizing the qualities of good evangelists, our churches must not only call us to evangelism but continually encourage us in that calling (cf. Matt. 28:18–19).

ASK YOURSELF
How much “fishing” have you been doing lately? This is not a job for the trained and educated but for all who have been called by God into His service. You won’t always come away with a catch, but you can know you were faithful to drop your line into the water.[4]

FEBRUARY 3

GOD REVEALS HIMSELF

I saw also the Lord…Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone.

Isaiah 6:1, 5

 

I often wonder how so many people can live with a continuing hope that they will in some way be able to commune with God through their intellectual capacities. When will they realize that if they could possibly “discover” God they realize that with the intellect, they would be equal to God?

Isaiah is a dramatic example of God’s revelation of Himself to mankind. Isaiah could have tried for a million years to reach God by means of his intellect. But brainpower is not the means by which we find God!

Brethren, it is true that all of us would still be far from God if He had not graciously and in love revealed Himself to us. In the space of a short second of time, the Lord who loves us can reveal Himself to the willing spirit of a man or woman. It is only then that an Isaiah, or any one of us, can say with humble assurance, “I know Him!”

A committed Christian, then, should have upon him an element that is beyond psychology—beyond all natural laws and into spiritual laws!

 

Lord, thank You for what we can know about You through the various encounters we read in the Bible. Lord, I want to be prepared in my heart to hear Your voice when You speak.[5]


February 3 The Joy of Exalting Christ

“Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus . . .” (Phil. 1:1).

✧✧✧

If exalting Christ is your goal, anything that furthers the gospel will bring you joy.

Next to the Lord Himself, Paul is perhaps the greatest illustration that joy is not necessarily related to one’s circumstances.

Paul wrote to the Philippians from a prison cell, and yet he spoke of joy and contentment. His life was a series of difficulties and life-threatening situations (see 2 Cor. 11:23–33). In fact the Lord, shortly after confronting him on the road to Damascus, said, “[Paul] is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:15–16). Yet, in every situation Paul found cause for rejoicing.

His compelling desire to exalt Christ drove him to endure trial after trial. When Christ was exalted, Paul rejoiced. That was evident in Philippi where, after a brief ministry in which God redeemed a businesswoman named Lydia and expelled demons from a slave girl, Paul and Silas were falsely accused, unjustly beaten, and thrown into prison. Even that didn’t stifle their joy, for “about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them” (Acts 16:25).

That was such a powerful testimony to the joy of the Lord that soon afterward the jailer and his entire family believed the gospel and were saved.

Even when imprisonment prevented Paul from ministering as effectively as he desired, and when others usurped his apostleship and preached Christ out of envy and strife, he remained undaunted (Phil. 1:18). His circumstances were secondary to the priority of exalting Christ.

Is that your perspective? It can be! If your priority is to exalt Christ in every circumstance, whatever furthers that purpose will bring you joy.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask the Lord to help you maintain the priority of exalting Christ in every area of your life. ✧ If you feel envy or resentment toward others who proclaim the gospel (Phil. 1:15–17), confess that, and learn to rejoice whenever Christ is exalted.

For Further Study: Read Exodus 15:1–21 and Psalm 99. How did Moses, Miriam, and the psalmist exalt the Lord?[6]


FEBRUARY 3

TO BE CHRISTLIKE: WALK IN THE SPIRIT

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come…He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

JOHN 16:13, 14

If we are going to reproduce Christ on earth and be Christlike and show forth Christ, what is our greatest need?

We must have the Spirit of Christ!

If we are going to be the children of God, we must have the Spirit of the Father to breathe in our hearts and breathe through us. That is why we must have the Spirit of God! That is why the church must have the Spirit of Christ!

The Christian church is called to live above her own ability. She is called to live on a plane so high that no human being can live like that of his own ability and power. The humblest Christian is called to live a miracle, a life that is a moral and spiritual life with such intensity and such purity that no human being can do it—only Jesus Christ can do it. He wants the Spirit of Christ to come to His people—an invasion from above affecting us mentally, morally and spiritually!

The Holy Spirit brings the wonderful mystery that is God to us, and presents Him to the human spirit. The Spirit is our Teacher, and if He does not teach us, we never can know. He is our Illuminator, and if He does not turn on the light, we never can see. He is the Healer of our deaf ears, and if He does not touch our ears, we never can hear!

The Holy Ghost bestows upon us a beatitude beyond compare. He asks nothing except that we be willing to listen, willing to obey![7]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 46). 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. 42). 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. 46). 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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