March 13, 2017: Daily Devotional Guide Collection

March 13

The Prerequisite
for Success

For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Luke 19:10

 

S. D. Gordon wrote a book entitled Quiet Talks with World Winners. In it, he tells the story of a group of people who were preparing to ascend Mount Blanc in the Swiss Alps. The guides explained that because of the extreme difficulty of the climb, each person should take only necessary climbing equipment, leaving behind all personal accessories.

A young Englishman ignored the advice and brought extra items, but on the way to the summit, he left them behind, one at a time. Finally, when he had reached the top, he had jettisoned everything except the essential equipment.

S. D. Gordon made this application to the Christian life: “Many of us, when we find we can’t make it to the top with our loads, let the top go, and pitch our tents in the plain, and settle down with our small plans and accessories. The plain seems to be quite full of tents” (55). The question we must all ask ourselves is, Are my personal accessories preventing me from fulfilling the mission God has given me? [1]


March 13 Understanding Who God Is

“Walk … with all humility.”

Ephesians 4:1–2

✧✧✧

The more we comprehend the greatness of God, the more humble we will become.

God is not given proper respect today. He is often flippantly referred to as “the man upstairs”—more of a buddy than the eternal God. Many see Him as nothing more than a cosmic Santa Claus or an absent–minded grandfather who winks at sin.

Unfortunately, even Christians can be affected by these views. Such sin dishonors God and undermines the next step to humility: God–awareness. Instead of getting our ideas of God from the world, let’s look at what the biblical writers say about Him.

David said, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Thy name in all the earth, who hast displayed Thy splendor above the heavens!” (Ps. 8:1). As he contemplated the exalted position of God, it was only natural for him to say, “What is man, that Thou dost take thought of him? And the son of man, that Thou dost care for him?” (v. 4). We are so minuscule by comparison, it’s a wonder He cares for us at all. But “though the Lord is exalted, yet He regards the lowly” (Ps. 138:6).

Isaiah 2:10 says, “Enter the rock and hide in the dust from the terror of the Lord and from the splendor of His majesty.” When you compare yourself with God, you’ll want to hide under a rock. Verse 11 gives the crux of the issue: “The proud look of man will be abased, and the loftiness of man will be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.” Pride is the sin of competing with God. It lifts self up and attempts to steal glory from Him. But God says, “My glory I will not give to another” (Isa. 48:11). God will judge those who exalt themselves. God alone is worthy of exaltation.

As you seek humility, remember that you won’t obtain it by sitting in a corner wishing for it. Rather, you’ll gain humility by sitting in that same corner and reciting before God your sins, failures, and inadequacies, then opening the Scriptures and seeing God in all His majesty.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Pray that you would see God for who He really is, not how the world sees Him.

For Further Study: Read Job 38–41. What aspects of His greatness does God emphasize to Job? Make a list of the most prominent ones.[2]


MARCH 13

JUST HUMBLE YOURSELF

LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him! Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.

—Psalm 144:3-4

Far better than the attempt to understand is the humility that admits its ignorance and waits quietly on God for His own light to appear in His own time. We will be better able to understand when we have accepted the humbling truth that there are many things in heaven and earth that we shall never be able to understand. It will be good for us to accept the universe and take our place in the mighty web of God’s creation, so perfectly known to Him and so slightly known to even the wisest of men….

Probably David lying on his back on the green meadow at night, brooding over the mystery of the moon and the stars and the littleness of man in the total scheme of things, worshiping the God who had made him only a little lower than the angels, was a truer man than the astronomer who in his high pride weighs and measures the heavenly bodies. Yet the astronomer need not despair. If he will humble himself and confess his deep inward need, the God of David will teach him how to worship, and by so doing will make him a greater man than he could ever have been otherwise. ROR088, 090

Lord, I can’t even begin to understand all the vastness of Your universe, but I see Your hand in it. I humble myself before You today, that I might learn to worship You better. Amen. [3]


March 13

Characteristics of Peacemakers, Part 1

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

The apostle tells us that “God has called us to peace” (1 Cor. 7:15), that He “reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18). The ministry of reconciliation is peacemaking. Those whom God has called to peace He also calls to make peace.

Today and tomorrow we’re going to look at four things that characterize a peacemaker. First, he is one who has made peace with God. Before we came to Christ, God was at war with us. Whatever we may have thought consciously about God, our hearts were against Him. But “while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son” (Rom. 5:10). God reconciled us to Himself through the work of Christ on the cross. Our battle with God ended and our peace with Him began. And because we have been given God’s peace, we are called to share God’s peace with others (Eph. 6:15).

Second, a peacemaker leads others to make peace with God. Christians are a body of sinners cleansed by Jesus Christ and commissioned to carry His gospel to the rest of the world. Once freed from the shackles of sin, a Christian doesn’t look down on his fellow sinners; he or she realizes they are beggars who have been fed and are now called to help feed others. Our purpose is to preach “peace through Jesus Christ” (Acts 10:36). To lead a sinner to saving knowledge of Jesus Christ is the most peacemaking act a believer can perform. That’s your ministry as an ambassador of Christ.

ASK YOURSELF
Have you ever thought about this before—that you are “called” to the ministry of peacemaking? How does that change your responsibilities as you go through the day? How does it affect the obligation you feel when others continue in stirring up discord and disharmony?[4]

MARCH 13

THE IMAGE WE PROJECT

O come, let us worship and bow down…For he is our God.

Psalm 95:6–7

 

Are we presently missing important elements of worship in our churches? I speak of the genuine and sacred offering of ourselves as we worship the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We must ask the question, even though we are building great churches and large congregations. We are boasting about high standards and talking about revival. But as evangelical Christian believers, are we as concerned as we should be about the image we really project to the community around us? It cannot be denied that many who profess the name of Christ still fail to show forth His love and compassion!

It should say something to us that the often-quoted Jean Paul Sartre described his turning to philosophy and hopelessness as a turning away from a secularistic church.

His indictment: “I did not recognize in the fashionable God who was taught me, Him who was waiting for my soul. I needed a creator: I was given a big businessman!”

 

O Lord, convict me by Your Holy Spirit if I am projecting a false impression of You to others. Express Your love and compassion through me so that others will be attracted to You.[5]


March 13 Recognizing God’s Fatherhood

“Our Father who art in heaven” (Matt. 6:9).

✧✧✧

Prayer begins with the recognition that God is your Father and has the resources to meet your needs.

The term Father is one of the most commonly used terms in our prayers, and rightly so, because that’s how Jesus taught us to pray. But as common as that term is to us, it was very uncommon to the people of Christ’s day.

At that time, most of the people who worshiped false gods thought of them as distant, capricious, and immoral beings who were to be feared. Even the Jewish people, who should have understood the Fatherhood of God, had removed themselves from His Fatherly care through their sin and apostasy. Consequently He seemed remote to them. Even some who did claim God as their Father were rebuked by Christ, who called them children of the Devil because they rejected the Son (John 8:44).

Against that backdrop, Christ’s teaching was revolutionary. He proclaimed God as a caring and gracious Father who desires intimate fellowship with His children. That fellowship can come only through faith in the Son.

Beyond that, Jesus revealed the Father’s character in everything He said and did. When Philip asked Jesus to show him the Father, Jesus replied, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

Jesus also proclaimed God as a Father who has all the treasures of Heaven at His disposal and who makes them available to His children so they might glorify Him: “Your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him. … Do not be anxious. … But seek first His kingdom, and His righteousness; and all [you need] shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:8, 31, 33).

Your faith in Christ is what makes God your Heavenly Father. He loves you, listens to your prayers, and supplies your needs according to His abundant resources. Look to Him today, and live as a thankful, obedient child.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God that He is your gracious and loving Father. ✧ Praise Him for the abundant blessings He gives to you.

For Further Study: Read Proverbs 3:5–6 and Matthew 7:7–11. ✧ What are you exhorted to do? ✧ What specifically will God do for you? ✧ How should those passages affect your relationship with God?[6]


MARCH 13

CHRIST DIED EVEN FOR THOSE WHO HATED HIM

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

ACTS 4:12

Our Lord Jesus Christ came and demonstrated the vast difference between being charitable and being tolerant! He was so charitable that in His great heart He took in all the people in the world and was willing to die even for those who hated Him!

But even with that kind of love and charity crowning His being, Jesus was completely frank and open when He taught: “If you are not on My side, you are against Me!” There is no “twilight zone” in the teachings of Jesus—no place in between.

So, charity is one thing, but tolerance is quite another matter.

Suppose we take the position of compromise that many want us to take: “Everyone come, and be saved if you want to. But if you do not want to be saved, maybe there is some other way that we can find for you. We want you to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ if you will, but if you do not want to, there may be a possibility that God will find some other way for you because there are those who say that there are many ways to God.”

To take that position would not be a spirit of tolerance on our part—it would be downright cowardice! We would be guilty with so many others of a spirit of compromise that so easily becomes an anti-God attitude. Tolerance easily becomes a matter of cowardice if spiritual principles are involved, if the teachings of God’s Word are ignored and forgotten![7]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 86). 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. 81). 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. 85). 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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