Handling God’s Word
These words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
Spiritual growth cannot occur without the regular intake of God’s Word, just as physical growth cannot occur without regular food intake—that’s why eating is a daily necessity! Going to church on Sunday to hear a message and then hoping that it is enough to last for the whole week is like eating dinner on Sunday and expecting it to sustain you until the following Sunday. You need to eat every day of the week. The same is true spiritually: there must be a daily feeding on the Word of God for optimum growth.
Mature Christians know that there is even greater glory in giving out the Word than in feeding on it. As you proclaim the Word, you cement it in your life. In this way, the saying “The more you give away, the more you keep” is true. I have found that I tend to remember the things I teach to others but forget the things I read and never pass on. So give a high priority to passing on to others what you’re learning from God’s Word each day.
|February 26||God Is Faithful to Keep Us|
“Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.”
1 Thessalonians 5:24
God is faithful in forgiving our sins and securing our salvation.
We have learned that God protects us from temptation, but what happens when we don’t rely on God and give in to sin? John has the answer: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). The Lord says in Jeremiah 31:34, “I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” God has promised to forgive, and He is faithful to do so.
God’s faithfulness stands out especially in His preserving His people for glory. He secures our salvation. Paul says, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). God will preserve us so that we may be “without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” because He is “faithful” (1 Thess. 5:23–24).
There was once a boy whose dad left him on a downtown street corner and told him to wait there until he returned in about half an hour. But the father’s car broke down, and he could not get to a phone. Five hours went by before the father managed to get back, and he thought his son would be in a state of panic. But when the father returned, the boy was standing in front of the corner dime store, looking in the window and rocking back and forth on his heels. The father threw his arms around him, apologized, and said, “Weren’t you worried? Did you think I was never coming back?” The boy replied, “No, Dad. I knew you were coming. You said you would.”
God is always faithful to His promises. The father in the story was unable to keep his promise because of circumstances out of his control. But God is able to overcome any circumstances to keep His word. With a simple faith like that boy’s, we can always say, “I knew you would do it, God. You said you would.”
Suggestions for Prayer: Ask God for simple faith to trust Him whatever the situation.
For Further Study: David rejoices in God’s faithfulness in Psalm 103. Make a list of all the ways God demonstrates His faithfulness in this psalm.
IF WE’VE LOST MAJESTY
They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.
If you want to pray strategically, in a way which would please God, pray that God might raise up men who would see the beauty of the Lord our God and would begin to preach it and hold it out to people, instead of offering peace of mind, deliverance from cigarettes, a better job and a nicer cottage….
What good is all our busy religion if God isn’t in it? What good is it if we’ve lost majesty, reverence, worship—an awareness of the divine? What good is it if we’ve lost a sense of the Presence and the ability to retreat within our own hearts and meet God in the garden? If we’ve lost that, why build another church? Why make more converts to an effete Christianity? Why bring people to follow after a Savior so far off that He doesn’t own them?
We need to improve the quality of our Christianity, and we never will until we raise our concept of God back to that held by apostle, sage, prophet, saint and reformer. When we put God back where He belongs, we will instinctively and automatically move up again; the whole spiral of our religious direction will be upward. AOG194-195
Lord, may I learn to see You not as a functional God who fulfills my requests but as a beautiful God of glorious majesty. May I hold that concept out for others to see, that they might also behold Your majesty. Amen. 
Spiritual Hunger’s First Object—Salvation
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.—Matt. 5:6
The first objective of spiritual hunger by the lost sinner is salvation. The righteousness the unbeliever begins to hunger for—after he or she sees their sin, mourns over it, and gently submits self to God—is the righteousness that repents of sin and submits to the lordship of Christ.
In the Old Testament, righteousness is often a synonym for salvation. Through Isaiah, God declared, “My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth” (Isa. 51:5). Daniel said, “Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” (Dan. 12:3).
In Jesus’ day, the great obstacle to receiving the gospel for so many members of His Jewish audience was self-righteousness—their confidence in their own works to achieve a self-styled holiness. They believed that as members of God’s chosen nation of Israel, they were assured of entrance into heaven. But Christ taught them that they would not find the path to salvation unless they hungered and thirsted for the Father’s righteousness instead of their own. And that is the case for everyone today, no matter what race, religion, or economic status.
|It’s easy for the wonder and majesty of our salvation to be lost on us as time goes by. Let today be another opportunity to realize how empty you were before and how full He has made you in Christ. Put your worship into prayerful words.|
“BE STILL AND KNOW”
Be still, and know that I am God.
Prayer among evangelical Christians is always in danger of degenerating into a glorified “gold rush.” Almost every book on prayer deals mainly with the “get” element. How to get things we want from God occupies most of our space.
Christians should never forget that the highest kind of prayer is never the making of requests.
Prayer at its holiest moment is the entering into God to a place of such blessed union as makes miracles seem tame and remarkable answers to prayer appear something very far short of wonderful, by comparison.
We should be aware that there is a kind of school where the soul must go to learn its best eternal lessons. It is the school of silence. “Be still and know,” said the psalmist (46:10).
It might well be a revelation to some Christians if they were to get completely quiet for a time—a time to listen in the silence for the deep voice of the Eternal God!
Heavenly Father, I desire my prayer time to be more than a “wish list.” Help me to spend more time listening for Your voice than making personal requests.
|February 26||Enjoying a Bountiful Harvest|
“… bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col. 1:10).
Your fruitfulness is directly related to your knowledge of divine truth.
Every farmer who enjoys a plentiful harvest does so only after diligent effort on his part. He must cultivate the soil, plant the seed, and then nurture it to maturity. Each step is thoughtful, disciplined, and orderly.
Similarly, bearing spiritual fruit is not an unthinking or haphazard process. It requires us to be diligent in pursuing the knowledge of God’s will, which is revealed in His Word. That is Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1:9, which he reiterates in verse 10.
The phrase “increasing in the knowledge of God” (v. 10) can be translated “increasing by the knowledge of God.” Both renderings are acceptable. The first emphasizes the need to grow; the second emphasizes the role that knowledge plays in your spiritual growth.
As your knowledge of God’s Word increases, the Holy Spirit renews your mind and transforms your thinking. As you gaze into the glory of the Lord as revealed in Scripture, you “are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18). You “have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him” (Col. 3:10).
One of Satan’s ploys to retard spiritual productivity is to get Christians preoccupied with humanistic philosophy and other bankrupt substitutes for God’s truth. That’s why he planted false teachers at Colosse to teach that knowing God’s will is inadequate for true spirituality. Paul refuted that claim by affirming that Christ is the fullness of Deity in bodily form (Col. 2:9). In Him “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). He is all you need!
Scripture commands you to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). Is that characteristic of your life? Are you looking forward to a bountiful spiritual harvest?
Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for the privilege of knowing His will and studying His Word. ✧ Prayerfully guard your mind from sinful influences. Saturate it with God’s truth.
For Further Study: Read the following passages, noting the effects of God’s Word: Psalms 119:9, 105; Acts 20:32; Romans 10:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:14–17; Hebrews 4:12–13; 1 John 2:14.
THE IMPORTANCE OF RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our Spirit, that we are children of God.
Many men and women are seeking counsellors to aid them with their confessed feelings of emptiness and inadequacy. Each seems to have a plea about becoming a “whole person.”
The importance of coming back into right relationship with God cannot be overestimated as we seriously think and study and pray.
By the mysterious operation of the Spirit of God in the new birth, that which is called by Peter “the divine nature” enters the deep-in core of the believer’s heart and establishes residence there. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his,” for “the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Rom. 8:9, 16).
Such a one is a true Christian, and only such. Baptism, confirmation, the receiving of the sacraments, church membership—these mean nothing unless the supreme act of God in regeneration also takes place!
Religious externals may have a meaning for the God-inhabited soul; for any others they are not only useless but may actually become snares, deceiving them into a false and perilous sense of security.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence” is more than a wise saying; it is a solemn charge laid upon us by the One who cares most about us!
 MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 69). 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. 65). 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. 69). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
 Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.