Praise for Answers
Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks.
1 Thessalonians 5:16–17
When God answers prayers about a particular situation, we have the privilege of being a part of His work and of praising Him for it. When we don’t participate through prayer, we miss the opportunity to give Him glory.
Suppose someone came to a prayer meeting and said, “I’ve had the most wonderful thing happen: the lady I’ve been witnessing to has opened her heart to Christ. She is now a believer and is here with us tonight. Thank you for praying for her these last few months.” The people present can praise the Lord, especially those who had been praying for this woman’s conversion.
But there would also be some who, while offering praise, would not have felt a sense of being involved because they had not prayed for the lady. You need to be in on what God is doing so you can offer heartfelt praise.
|February 25||God Is Faithful to Care for Us|
“God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:9
God is completely faithful to do what He has promised.
We live in a day of unfaithfulness, don’t we? Some husbands and wives are unfaithful to their marriage vows. Children are often unfaithful to the principles taught by their parents. Parents are often unfaithful to meet the needs of their children. And all too frequently we are unfaithful to God.
Only God is always faithful, a fact often celebrated in Scripture: “Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God” (Deut. 7:9). “Thy lovingkindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens, Thy faithfulness reaches to the skies” (Ps. 36:5). “Great is Thy faithfulness” (Lam. 3:23).
Let’s look at several areas in which God is faithful to us. First, He’s faithful in taking care of us. Peter says, “Let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right” (1 Peter 4:19). The word translated “entrust” is a banking term that speaks of a deposit for safekeeping. We’re to give our lives to our “faithful Creator,” who is best able to care for us because He created us. “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).
God is also faithful in helping us resist temptation: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it” (1Cor.10:13). No believer can legitimately claim that he was overwhelmed by temptation or that “the Devil made me do it.” When our faithfulness is tested, we have God’s own faithfulness as our resource. “The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one” (2 Thess. 3:3).
Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for His faithfulness in taking care of you and protecting you from temptation.
For Further Study: God had promised Abraham a son, and He finally gave him Isaac. But God made a strange request. Read Genesis 22:1–18 and Hebrews 11:17–19. How did Abraham demonstrate his trust? ✧ In what areas do you have trouble trusting God?
A RIGHT CONCEPTION OF GOD
For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods…. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.
—Psalm 95:3, 6
The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God….
A right conception of God is basic not only to systematic theology but to practical Christian living as well. It is to worship what the foundation is to the temple; where it is inadequate or out of plumb the whole structure must sooner or later collapse. I believe there is scarcely an error in doctrine or a failure in applying Christian ethics that cannot be traced finally to imperfect and ignoble thoughts about God.
It is my opinion that the Christian conception of God current in these middle years of the twentieth century is so decadent as to be utterly beneath the dignity of the Most High God and actually to constitute for professed believers something amounting to a moral calamity. KOH001, 003
Lord, establish in me a proper conception of You, our great King, that I will have a strong foundation for my life of faith. Amen. 
The Meaning and Necessity of Spiritual Hunger
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.—Matt. 5:6
The “hunger and thirst” Jesus speaks of here are far more intense than even strong physical pangs for food and drink, which come when we miss several meals. All true followers of Christ have a continuing hunger and thirst for righteousness—they will regularly long for holiness. Jesus’ analogy shows us that righteousness is necessary for spiritual life just as food and water are necessary for physical life.
But sadly, most people are by nature starved for spiritual life. The tendency of such unbelievers is to turn toward their physical appetites and the world’s ways rather than toward spiritual life (cf. Prov. 26:11; 2 Peter 2:22). Apart from divine revelation and the Spirit’s promptings, these people don’t recognize their spiritual needs or know what will truly satisfy them.
Seeking satisfaction for our spiritual hunger only in God and His gracious provision identifies us as members of His kingdom. Such people sincerely want their sin to be replaced with virtue and their disobedience with obedience.
The first three beatitudes are essentially negative and require costly and painful personal sacrifice to accomplish, even with the help of God’s Spirit. This fourth one, however, is more positive, coming about when we possess the other three. When we have put aside self and our enslavement to sin and turned to the Lord, we will have a genuine, growing desire for righteousness. The true Christian desires to obey God, even though he or she still struggles with unredeemed humanness (cf. Rom. 8:23).
|What spiritual hungers are growling the loudest in your heart right now? When you have sought to satisfy them in disobedience or in any way other than God intends, what has always been the result? How do you intend to see them fed now?|
“NOW IT IS THE LORD”
In Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us…sanctification.
1 Corinthians 1:30
Is it possible to become so enamored of God’s good gifts that we fail to worship Him, the Giver?
Dr. Albert B. Simpson, the founder of The Christian and Missionary Alliance, invited to preach in a Bible conference in England, discovered on his arrival that he was to follow two other Bible teachers. All three had been given the same topic, “Sanctification.”
From the pulpit, the first speaker made clear his position that sanctification means eradication—the old carnal nature is removed. The second, a suppressionist, advised: “Sit on the lid and keep the old nature down!”
Dr. Simpson in his turn quietly told his audience that he could only present Jesus Christ Himself as God’s answer.
“Jesus Christ is your Sanctifier, your all and in all! God wants you to get your eyes away from the gifts. He wants your gaze to be on the Giver—Christ Himself,” he said.
This is a wonderful word for those who would worship rightly:
Once it was the blessing;
Now it is the Lord!
Father, this morning I praise You for Your holy presence in my life. Glorify Yourself through me today.
|February 25||Living in a Worthy Manner|
“… so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects” (Col. 1:10).
Your manner of life should be consistent with Christ’s.
In Colossians 1:9 Paul speaks of being controlled by the knowledge of God’s will. In verse 10 he speaks of walking in a manner worthy of the Lord. There is a direct cause-and-effect relationship between those verses. When you are controlled by the knowledge of God’s will, you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.
The Greek word translated “walk” means “to order one’s behavior.” It’s a common New Testament metaphor for one’s lifestyle. Paul made a similar plea to the Thessalonians: “so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory” (1 Thess. 2:12).
The thought of being worthy of the Lord might raise some eyebrows, because we usually relate worthiness to merit or something deserved. But that isn’t Paul’s point at all. The Greek word translated “worthy” in Colossians 1:10 speaks of something that weighs as much or carries the same value as something else. He isn’t saying we deserve Christ, but that our conduct should be consistent with His.
That is also Peter’s point in 1 Peter 2:21: “You have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.” John said, “The one who says he abides in [Christ] ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6). He added in 2 John 6, “Walk according to His commandments.” That’s how you demonstrate your love for Christ (John 14:15) and please Him in every respect.
As a word of encouragement, a worthy walk is not a walk of sinless perfection. That won’t happen until you are fully glorified. But each day you are growing in godliness as a result of the Spirit’s transforming work in you (2 Cor. 3:18). Be faithful to that process. Set your affections on Christ, look to His Word, and rejoice in the privilege of becoming more like Him today.
Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for the power and guidance of His Spirit in your life. ✧ Be diligent to confess your sin when you stray from a worthy walk.
For Further Study: Read Ephesians 4:1–3 and Philippians 1:27–30. ✧ What specific attitudes are involved in a worthy walk? ✧ Does a worthy walk eliminate the possibility of suffering or persecution? Explain.
THE EARLY DISCIPLES BURNED WITH AN INWARD FIRE
…In whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
1 PETER 1:8
If there is any reality within the whole sphere of human experience that is by its very nature worthy to challenge the mind, charm the heart and bring the total life to a burning focus, it is the reality that revolves around the Person of Christ!
If He is who and what the Christian message declares Him to be, then the thought of Him should be the most stimulating to enter the human mind.
God dwells in a state of perpetual enthusiasm. He is delighted with all that is good and lovingly concerned about all that is wrong. No wonder the Spirit came at Pentecost as the sound of a rushing mighty wind and sat in tongues of fire on every forehead. In so doing, He was acting as one of the Persons of the blessed Godhead.
Whatever else happened at Pentecost, one thing that cannot be missed was the sudden upsurging of moral enthusiasm. Those first disciples burned with a steady, inward fire. They were enthusiastic to the point of complete abandon!
But what do we find in our day? We find the contradictory situation of noisy, headlong religious activity carried on without moral energy or spiritual fervor! In the churches it is hard to find a believer whose blood count is normal and whose temperature is up to standard. We look in vain among the professed followers of Christ for the flush and excitement of the soul in love with God.
The low level of moral enthusiasm among us may have a significance far deeper than we are willing to believe!
 MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 68). 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. 64). 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. 68). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
 Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.