Our Defense Mechanism
If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.
According to today’s verse, you cannot even commune with God, let alone grow spiritually, if you are harboring sin. That’s why confession is so vital.
You must first be willing to accept God’s chastening for your sin. If you think He is being too rough, you should examine your life to see if you deserve it. For the same reason parents must provide consequences for a child’s misbehavior, God chastens you so that you don’t repeat your mistakes.
God also has placed a system of guilt in you for your own good. Spiritual life without guilt would be like physical life without pain. Guilt is a defense mechanism; it’s like an alarm that goes off to lead you to confession when you sin. That’s when you need to confront your sin and acknowledge to God that it is an affront to Him. That admission must be a part of your life before you can ever grow spiritually, because it eliminates the sin that holds you back.
|February 16||The Comfort of God’s Omniscience|
“And [Peter] said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ ”
Since God knows all things, He knows our struggles and will help us through them.
It’s comforting to know that in the vastness of the universe, I’m not lost in insignificance; God knows me personally. Have you ever wondered if He knows you’re there? Some godly people in Malachi’s time wondered that. Malachi spoke words of judgment against the wicked, but the faithful believers feared that God might forget them and that they too would be consumed by God’s wrath. “Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name. ‘And they will be Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him’ ” (Mal. 3:16–17). God has a book, and He doesn’t forget who belongs in it. I know that God knows me and that I belong to Him.
David, too, found comfort in God’s omniscience. He said, “Thou hast taken account of my wanderings; put my tears in Thy bottle; are they not in Thy book?” (Ps. 56:8). It was customary for hired mourners at funerals in David’s time to catch their tears in a bottle, perhaps to prove they earned their money. David knew that none of his trials went unnoticed by God. Not only does He know about them, He cares about them too.
You might be frustrated sometimes in your Christian walk as you see sin in your life. But happily for us, God knows that we still love Him in spite of our failings. In John 21, Peter kept trying to convince Christ that he loved Him, although his words and actions didn’t always prove it. Finally Peter said, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You” (v. 17). Peter appealed to the Lord’s omniscience. We can do the same thing when we stumble.
Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for knowing and caring about your struggles.
For Further Study: Read Job 42:1–6. What did Job acknowledge about God? ✧ What did that lead him to do?
MORE THAN TO KNOW ABOUT
All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
The inability of the human mind to know God in a true and final sense is taken for granted throughout the Bible…. God’s nature is of another kind from anything with which the mind is acquainted; hence when the mind attempts to find out God it is confronted by obscurity. It is surrounded with mystery and blinded by the light no man can approach unto….
The Spirit of God is able to make the spirit of man know and experience the awful mystery of God’s essential being. It should be noted that the Spirit reveals God to the spirit of man, not to his intellect merely. The intellect can know God’s attributes because these constitute that body of truth that can be known about God. The knowledge of God is for the spirit alone. Such knowledge comes not by intellection but by intuition.
To know God in the scriptural meaning of the term is to enter into experience of Him. It never means to know about. It is not a knowledge mediated by the intellect, but an unmediated awareness experienced by the soul on a plane too high for the mind to reach. SOS047-048
Thank You, Father, for the ministry of the Spirit in revealing You to Your children. May I no longer simply know about You, but come to know You personally. Amen. 
What Did Jesus Mean by Mourning?
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.—Matt. 5:4
If you have spiritual poverty and true humility, they will lead you to godly sorrow. That’s what Jesus meant by “mourn” here in this second beatitude. Paul told the Corinthians about this kind of sorrow: “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you” (2 Cor. 7:10–11).
Of the nine different New Testament words that indicate the commonness of human sorrow, the one Matthew used here is the most severe. Usually it was used only to denote the grieving over the death of a loved one (cf. Mark 16:10; Rev. 18:11, 15). It conveys the notion of deep, inner agony that is not necessarily expressed by outward weeping or wailing.
Yet genuine, biblical mourning produces results that are surprisingly wonderful because God does something tangible in response to it—the forgiveness of your sins—a holy infusion of real happiness that breathes into you a sigh of relief.
Therefore, this is not simply a psychological or an emotional experience that makes you feel better. No, this mourning is met by blessedness. Genuine spiritual mourning invites communion with the true God, to which He responds with an objective reality—the reality of forgiveness that David knew: “How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit!” (Ps. 32:1–2).
|When was the last time the gravity of your sins fell around you, burying you under its full weight? If it’s been awhile, you’re missing out on the sweet awareness of God’s forgiveness.|
WE SEE GOD’S PURPOSE
That…he might gather together in one all things in Christ…in heaven, and…on earth.
We trust the Word of God—and the inspired revelation makes it plain to the believing Christian that all things in the universe have derived their form from Christ, the eternal Son!
We are assured that even as an architect builder gathers the necessary materials needed to fashion the structure he has designed, so God will ultimately gather all things together under one head, even Christ (see Ephesians 1:9–10).
Everything in the universe has received its meaning by the power of His Word; each has maintained its place and order through Him.
Jesus Christ is God creating!
Jesus Christ is God redeeming!
Jesus Christ is God completing and harmonizing!
Jesus Christ is God bringing together all things after the counsel of His own will!
I can only hope that as we grow and mature and delight in our faith, we are beginning to gain a new appreciation of God’s great eternal purpose!
Your master design of the universe is perfect even though mankind has neglected Your creation and Your desire for fellowship. I pray that by Your Spirit our churches will become “like a mighty army” and help lead many people in the world to faith in Christ.
|February 16||The Joy of Pleasing God|
“The blameless in their walk are [God’s] delight” (Prov. 11:20).
Your love for God brings Him joy.
Our focus so far this month has been on the joy we experience in knowing and serving Christ. Before we turn our attention to the theme of godliness, I want you to consider two additional aspects of joy: the joy of pleasing God, and how to lose your joy. Pleasing God is our topic for today.
Perhaps you haven’t given much thought to how you can bring joy to God, but Scripture mentions several ways. Luke 15:7, for example, says, “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Verse 10 adds, “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Repentance brings joy to God.
Faith is another source of joy for God. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.” That’s the negative side of a positive principle: when you trust God, He is pleased.
In addition to repentance and faith, prayer also brings God joy. Proverbs 15:8 says, “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is His delight.”
Righteous living is another source of joy to God, as David acknowledges in 1 Chronicles 29:17: “I know, O my God, that Thou triest the heart and delightest in uprightness.” Solomon added that those who walk blamelessly are God’s delight (Prov. 11:20).
Repentance, faith, prayer, and righteous living all please God because they are expressions of love. That’s the overarching principle. Whenever you express your love to Him—whether by words of praise or by acts of obedience—you bring Him joy.
Doesn’t it thrill you to know that the God of the universe delights in you? It should! Let that realization motivate you to find as many ways as possible to bring Him joy today.
Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for the privilege of bringing Him joy. ✧ Thank Him for His grace, which enables you to love Him and to express your love in repentance, faith, prayer, and righteous living (cf. 1 John 4:19).
For Further Study: Read 1 Kings 3:3–15. ✧ What did Solomon request of God? ✧ What was God’s response?
SECULAR MEN CONFUSE TRUTHS WITH “TRUTH”
The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.
The celebrated prayer of the great German astronomer, Kepler, has been a benediction to many: “O God, I thank Thee that Thou has permitted me to think Thy thoughts after Thee!”
This prayer is theologically sound because it acknowledges the priority of God in the universe. Whatever new thing anyone discovers is already old, for it is but the present expression of a previous thought of God. The idea of the thing precedes the thing itself; and when things raise thoughts in the thinker’s mind these are the ancient thoughts of God, however imperfectly understood.
Should an atheist, for instance, state that two times two equals four, he would be stating a truth and thinking God’s thoughts after Him, even though he might deny that God exists.
In their search for facts, men have confused truths with truth. The words of Christ, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free,” have been wrenched from their context and used to stir people to the expectation of being made “free” by knowledge. Certainly this is not what Christ had in mind when He uttered the words.
It is the Son who is the Truth that makes men free. Not facts, not scientific knowledge, but eternal Truth delivers men, and that eternal Truth became flesh to dwell among us!
 MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 59). 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. 55). 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. 59). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
 Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.