March 12, 2017: Daily Devotional Guide Collection

March 12

Our Mission

God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.

2 Corinthians 5:19

 

God loved a lost world and sought to win sinners to Himself for His own glory. Christ came into the world out of love and sought to win sinners for the Father’s glory. As believers we also are to go to the world in love and to seek to reach the lost for the glory of God. Thus our mission is the same as God’s.

We are an extension of the ministry of God the Father and Son in receiving glory by the salvation of lost sinners. Jesus said, “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world” (John 17:18). “As” conveys intention. As the Father sent the Son into the unredeemed world, so the Son has sent believers. Wonder of wonders, we have the privilege of participating in Jesus Christ’s mission to a lost world![1]


March 12

 

Understanding Who Christ Is

 

“Walk … with all humility.”

Ephesians 4:1–2

✧✧✧

We are to walk as Christ walked. Our lack of conformity to His standard ought to make us humble.

What was your most humiliating experience? Life is full of embarrassing moments, but the most truly humbling experience I ever had was preaching through the Gospel of John. For two years—eighty–eight sermons, about one hundred hours of preaching, between two and three thousand hours of study—I was constantly faced with the deity of Jesus Christ. Living with the deity of Christ day after day and comparing yourself continually to Him is one of the healthiest—and most humbling—things you can ever do.

That brings us to another step toward humility: Christ–awareness. When we compare ourselves with ourselves, we get proud. But “the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6). When you can say, “I’m happy to announce that I now walk as Jesus walked,” then you’ll have a right to be proud. But no one will believe you.

Jesus was the perfect man. He was without sin. He gave all the right answers and had the perfect attitude for every situation. He knew exactly how to help everyone who needed help. Reading the Gospels, we see time after time how Christ handled everything perfectly.

Even seeing His humanness, we realize how small we are. But when we look at His deity, we feel still smaller. He created everything (Col. 1:16). He turned water into wine, calmed storms, cast out demons, healed countless people, and brought the dead to life. After His crucifixion, He rose from the dead and sat at the Father’s right hand (Eph. 1:19–20). Someday He will come back, take His people home, and finally destroy all evil.

Despite Jesus’ perfect deity and perfect humanity, He came to serve (Mark 10:45). How can we be proud if Jesus Christ humbled Himself? What righteous thing have we done that compares to His perfect life?

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Pray that you might know Christ better and increasingly be more like Him.

For Further Study: Peter got a glimpse of Jesus’ power in Luke 5:1–7. How did Peter’s sudden awareness of who Christ is affect him (v. 8)? ✧ What did he do next (vv. 9–11)?[2]


MARCH 12

DIVINE PURPOSE

The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand.

—Isaiah 14:24

Now, I think that God first makes things orderly for utility. Whenever He made something in this universe it was because He had a purpose for it. I do not believe there is anything in the universe that just got here by accident. Everything in the universe has a meaning.

My father was philosophical about many things and I remember that he used to sit during the summertime and ponder why God made the mosquitoes. I still do not have the answer, but I am just a human being, and just because I do not have that answer, I am not going to accuse the Creator of making a cosmic blunder. I know the mosquito is not a blunder—it is just a pest. But God made it.

The same principle is true of a great many other things. I do not know why God does some things, but I am convinced that nothing is accidental in His universe. The fact that we do not know the reason behind some things is not basis enough for us to call them divine accidents. WPJ120-121

Lord, as I go about my day help me to remember that nothing happens by accident, but that everything is divinely controlled by Your eternal purpose. Amen. [3]


March 12

Peace: Its Ultimate Source and Manifestation

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.—Matt. 5:9

The apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace” (2:13–14). He also told the Colossians, “It was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross” (1:19–20).

How did the cross bring peace? At the cross all of man’s hatred and anger was vented against God. On the cross the Son of God was mocked, cursed, spit on, pierced, reviled, and killed. Jesus’ disciples fled in fear, the sky flashed lightning, the earth shook violently, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. Yet through that violence God brought peace. God’s greatest righteousness confronted man’s greatest wickedness, and righteousness won.

The one who does not belong to God through Jesus Christ can neither have peace nor be a peacemaker. God can work peace through us only if He has worked peace in us.

As a Christian, you might be enduring great turmoil and strife. But in your deepest being you have peace that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:8). Many live in favorable circumstances, but without God they will never find peace, while those who cling to God in the worst of circumstances need never lack peace.

ASK YOURSELF
This peace that “passes all understanding”—when have you experienced that before? Recall a time when God’s peace was every bit as real as the circumstance was dire. The next time you find yourself over your head in strife and conflict, call out for His incomprehensible peace, and expect to receive it.[4]

MARCH 12

WISDOM FROM GOD

Things which are seen are temporal…things which are not seen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:18

 

The thinking of our generation often reflects a willingness to exchange a high view of God’s eternity for a short-term concept called “here and now.” Technology is presumed to be paramount, but the answers science gives us are short-term answers.

The scientists may be able to keep us alive for a few extra years, but believing Christians know some things that Einstein did not know!

For instance, we know why we are here. We can say why we were born. We also know what we believe about the value of things eternal.

We are thankful that we have found the promise from the God of all grace that deals with the long term and the eternal. We belong to a company of the plain people who believe the truth revealed in the Bible.

Actually, the wisest person in the world is the person who knows the most about God—the person who realizes that the answer to creation and life and eternity is a theological answer not a scientific answer!

 

Dear Lord, I pray that You will reveal Yourself in some small way to this unbelieving generation, resulting in many people turning their hearts to You.[5]


March 12 Praying as Jesus Prayed

Jesus told us to “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen’” (Matt. 6:9–15).

✧✧✧

Jesus gave six elements that constitute true prayer.

Many people have memorized the Disciples’ Prayer so they can recite it often, but as beautiful as it is, it wasn’t given for that purpose. In fact, after Jesus gave it, no one in the New Testament recited it—not even Jesus Himself (cf. John 17)!

The disciples didn’t ask Jesus to teach them a prayer, but to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1). There is a significant difference. Jesus preceded His prayer by saying, “Pray, then, in this way” (Matt. 6:9), which literally means, “Pray along these lines.” His prayer was a general pattern for all prayer, and although it wasn’t recited, its principles are evident in all New Testament prayers.

Christ’s model prayer teaches us to ask God for six things: 1. that His name be honored, 2. that He bring His Kingdom to earth, 3. that He do His will, 4. that He provide our daily needs, 5. that He pardon our sins, and 6. that He protect us from temptation. Each request contributes to the ultimate goal of all prayer, which is to bring glory to God. The last three are the means by which the first three are achieved. As God provides our daily bread, pardons our sins, and protects us when we are tempted, He is exalted in His name, Kingdom, and will.

If you understand and follow Christ’s pattern for prayer, you can be assured that you are praying as He instructed and that whatever you ask in His name, He will do, so “that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13).

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Do your prayers reflect the six elements outlined in the Disciples’ Prayer? If not, work on making them a regular part of your prayers.

For Further Study: Read Matthew 6:1–8, where Jesus discusses some of the practices of the Jewish religious leaders. ✧ What practices and motives did He mention? ✧ How did He feel about their spiritual leadership?[6]


MARCH 12

THE DELUSIVE GLORY OF THIS WORLD’S KINGDOMS

Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the LORD thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

MATTHEW 4:10

The delusive quality of all human glory is taught throughout the Bible, and with bold emphasis in the New Testament. It has been taught also with great clarity by the saints and faithful brethren since the days of the apostles.

Satan once tried to bring about the downfall of Christ by offering Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory in them.

In presenting to the Man Jesus the glory of the world he was shrewdly taking advantage of a known weakness in the human race. The trick should have worked, and it would have worked but for one thing: This was no fallen man Satan was attempting to seduce. It was a sinless Man full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whose penetrating glance pierced the world’s attractive exterior.

Beneath its gaudy allurements He saw the corruption and the decay. He knew its glory was but bait to catch foolish victims. He knew its bright promises were all lies. Our Lord saw what other men could not see. He saw not beauty but death, a garish death that must be purchased at the price of the soul. What He saw revolted Him—He would have no part of it!

All this Jesus knew; and Satan for all his wisdom did not know that He knew it. The devil is familiar with the Bible, but still he did not know or he would not have attempted the impossible, and that to his own confusion and permanent loss of face!

Here is sufficient proof that the devil is wise—but not wise enough![7]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 85). 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. 80). 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. 84). 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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