March 14, 2017: Daily Devotional Guide Collection

March 14

Are You Available?

Here am I! Send me.

Isaiah 6:8

 

God desires a heart that is available at the appointed place and time to hear His orders. He also desires a heart full of true worship. The believer’s whole affection and mind is to be set on Christ. All his goals are directed toward Him. He is his all in all.

So are you available? Are you a worshiper? Is your intent and purpose in life focused on the Person of Christ? Having those attitudes means being controlled by the Holy Spirit, who is the only One who can cause you to call Jesus Lord (1 Cor. 12:3). All your possessions, time, energy, talent, and gifts are to be under His control.

That also means being centered on the Word because the Word is where Christ is seen. You gaze at His glory in the Word. As Christ came into the world to give His life to bring people to Himself, so you must do likewise.[1]


March 14 Threats to Humility: Strength and Boasting

“Walk … with all humility.”

Ephesians 4:1–2

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Satan will tempt us to be proud of our abilities and accomplishments, but we must remember that every good thing we have is from God.

We’ve just studied three steps to humility. Let’s look at the issue from another angle: What kinds of pride threaten to destroy our humility? Where will we struggle to be humble? There are several areas in which Satan will attack us.

The first area I call ability pride. We’re often tempted to be proud of our strong points, not our weak ones. I’ve never been tempted to boast of my fantastic mathematical ability because I have none. But I am tempted to be proud of my preaching because it is my spiritual gift. Thankfully, the Lord helps me deal with such thoughts. It might come in the form of a letter saying, “I was in your church Sunday, and I violently disagree with everything you said.” Or someone might tell me, “We came to hear you for the first time, but we like our pastor better.” Times like those help me keep the proper perspective.

The key to overcoming ability pride is remembering that every gift you have is from God. All the credit belongs to Him. As Paul said to the Corinthians, “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7).

Another temptation is verbal pride, or bragging. There is a tendency in human nature to tell people what good we have done or plan to do. People get into a conversation, and soon they’re trying to top each other with their accomplishments. In contrast, Hannah asserts, “Boast no more so very proudly, do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge; and with Him actions are weighed” (1 Sam. 2:3). God knows the truth about what you have done. Proverbs 27:2 instructs, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth.”

As a test, try to get through an entire week without talking about what you’ve done. Perhaps for a starter, try to last an afternoon. When people don’t talk about themselves, the absence of boasting tells volumes about their character.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Repent of any pride in your own abilities or accomplishments.

For Further Study: The apostle Paul had tremendous advantages and abilities but refused to boast about them. Read Philippians 3:4–11. What were Paul’s accomplishments? ✧ How did he consider them? ✧ What was most important to him?[2]


MARCH 14

THE STUDY OF THEOLOGY

And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

—1 John 5:20

That theology probably receives less attention than any other subject tells us nothing about its importance or lack of it. It indicates rather that men are still hiding from the presence of God among the trees of the garden and feel acutely uncomfortable when the matter of their relation to God is brought up….

It is precisely because God is, and because man is made in His image and is accountable to Him, that theology is so critically important. Christian revelation alone has the answer to life’s unanswered questions about God and human destiny. To let these authoritative answers lie neglected while we search everywhere else for answers and find none is, it seems to me, nothing less than folly.

No motorist would be excused if he neglected to consult his road map and tried instead to find his way across the country by looking for moss on logs, or by observing the flight of wild bees or watching the movement of the heavenly bodies. If there were no map a man might find his way by the stars; but for a traveler trying to get home the stars would be a poor substitute for a map. TIC093, 095

Lord, there are so many questions in this life that cry out for answers. Be my road map, Lord, that I might find You and know You more. Amen. [3]


March 14

Characteristics of Peacemakers, Part 2

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

Continuing from yesterday, let’s look at two more characteristics of peacemakers.

First, a peacemaker helps others make peace with others. Once you see your duty as a peacemaker in the world, you’ll be looking for ways to build bridges between people and God and then to build them between persons.

By definition, a bridge can’t be one-sided. It must extend between two sides or it can never function. And once built, it continues to need support on both sides or it will collapse. In any relationship our first responsibility is to see that our own side has a solid base. But we also have the responsibility to help the one on the other side build his base. Both must be built on righteousness and truth or the bridge will not stand.

Often the first step in the process is to confront others about their sin, which is the supreme barrier to peace (Matt. 18:15–17). Such confrontation usually causes turmoil, yet the way of righteousness is the only way to peace. Sin that is not dealt with is sin that will disrupt and destroy peace.

Finally, a peacemaker finds a point of agreement. God’s truth and righteousness must never be compromised or weakened. But we are to contend without being contentious, to disagree without being disagreeable, and to confront without being abusive. The peacemaker should speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15).

When you hunger and thirst for holiness in your own life, you’ll have a passionate desire to see those virtues in the lives of others. That’s a true peacemaker.

ASK YOURSELF
If the desire for peacemaking is missing from your heart, it points to a deeper problem—that your love for others is not what it should be. Would you say this might be true of you? What are the usual symptoms of a heart that’s grown at least somewhat cold toward others?[4]

MARCH 14

WORSHIP—AND WORD

And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men.

1 Thessalonians 3:12

 

I must take issue with those in the churches who insist that the worshiping saints do not get anything done but worship! Such an attitude reveals that they have not done their homework. The beautiful part of worship is that it prepares you and enables you to zero in on the important things that must be done for God.

Listen to me! Practically every great deed done in the church of Christ all the way back to the apostles was done by people blazing with the radiant worship of their God!

The great hospitals and the mental institutions have grown out of the hearts of worshiping and compassionate disciples. It is true, also, that wherever the church has come out of her lethargy and into the tides of revival and spiritual renewal, always the worshipers were back of it.

A survey of church history will prove that it was those who were the yearning worshipers who also became the great workers and the selfless servants. If we give ourselves to God’s call for worship, everyone will do more for the Savior than they are doing now!

 

Lord, I worship You this morning. I praise You for Your faithfulness and goodness. Glorify Yourself today in the lives of every true worshiper around the globe.[5]


March 14 Looking Beyond the Temporal

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

✧✧✧

With God as your Father, your life has eternal significance.

Author H. G. Wells wrote of a man who had been overcome by the pressure and stress of modern life. His doctor told him his only hope was to find fellowship with God. The man responded, “What? That—up there—having fellowship with me? I would as soon think of cooling my throat with the Milky Way or shaking hands with the stars.” Poet Thomas Hardy said prayer is useless because there’s no one to pray to except “that dreaming, dark, dumb thing that turns the handle of this idle show.” Voltaire described life as a bad joke. He added, “Bring down the curtain; the farce is done.” Such is the blasphemy and despair of all who insist that God is uninvolved in human affairs.

The Greek and Roman philosophers of Jesus’ day rejected the Fatherhood of God because it contradicted their philosophical systems. The Stoic philosophers taught that all of the gods were apathetic and experienced no emotions at all. The Epicurean philosophers taught that the supreme quality of the gods was complete calm or perfect peace. To maintain their serenity, they needed to remain totally isolated from the human condition.

Scripture refutes all such heresies by declaring that God is an intimate, caring Father. The significance of that truth is staggering. He conquers your fears and comforts you in times of distress. He forgives your sins and gives you eternal hope. He showers you with limitless resources and makes you the recipient of an imperishable inheritance. He grants you wisdom and direction through His Spirit and His Word. He will never leave or forsake you.

When you humbly approach God as your Father, you assume the role of a child who is eager to obey his Father’s will and receive all the benefits of His grace. Let that take you beyond your present circumstances and motivate you to dwell on what’s eternal.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the joy and purpose He gives you each day. ✧ Commit yourself to pursuing His will today.

For Further Study: Read Exodus 3:1–5 and Isaiah 6:1–5. What attitude should you have when you pray to God? ✧ What does Hebrews 4:16 say you can receive when you approach God in prayer?[6]


MARCH 14

MEN WILL NOT PRAISE YOU FOR GENUINE SPIRITUALITY

But as we are allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men but God….

1 THESSALONIANS 2:4

What we do for God must be done in the power of the Holy Spirit and we know and accept the fact that we may have little praise from men.

But what we do accomplish for Him as true spiritual work done with eternity in view will have His praise written across it!

Most of us have never heard, or do not remember, the name of the humble sixteen-year-old girl whose singing ministry brought such spiritual results in the Welsh revivals with Evan Roberts.

This quiet, humble girl would sing the gospel songs and much has been said about her spiritual gift—the Spirit-given ability to glorify Jesus Christ as Saviour when she sang. Not too much has ever been said about her voice, but the record is clear that she was a gifted soul—that the Holy Spirit seemed to be singing and moving through her yielded expression.

Evan Roberts would then rise to preach and there was little left for him to do. He said that he would quote from the Scriptures and add an exhortation and the people were ready to come to Christ. She had melted them with the warmth and the power of the Spirit!

Oh, what we would be tempted to do with her ministry in this day! We would put her on the coast-to-coast network and show off her talent—and spoil her! Thank God that they knew better than to start writing her life story.

She was a beautiful example of the humble use of our spiritual gifts for the glory of Jesus Christ—a simple Welsh girl willingly controlled by the Holy Spirit of God![7]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 87). 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. 82). 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. 86). 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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