March 15, 2017: Daily Devotional Guide Collection

March 15

All Authority

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

Matthew 28:18

 

Before Christ issued the Great Commission, to “make disciples of all the nations,” He had to establish His divine authority to give it. Otherwise, the command would have seemed impossible to fulfill.

As the disciples followed Jesus for three and a half years, they learned much about His authority. He showed them that He had authority over sickness (Matt. 4:23) and death (John 11:43–44). He gave His disciples the same power He had to overcome disease and demons (Matt. 10:1). He established that He had the authority to forgive sins (Matt. 9:6) and judge all men (John 5:25–29). And He proved that He had the authority to lay down His life and take it up again (John 10:18).

Submission to that absolute authority of Christ is not an option—it is your supreme obligation.[1]


March 15 Threats to Humility: Riches and Wealth

“Walk … with all humility.”

Ephesians 4:1–2

✧✧✧

Our possessions and positions in life are from God; we can’t take credit for them.

Many today take pride in their economic status. They boast about their riches and trust their money, thinking they must be great for acquiring all they have. But remember what Moses said to the Israelites before they entered the Promised Land: “You may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth” (Deut. 8:17–18). Everything you have, God gave to you. Don’t parade your possessions as if you obtained them through your self–created abilities.

A related area is pride in one’s class, which involves looking down on those in “lower” levels of society. Such people don’t want lower–class people in their neighborhoods and certainly wouldn’t invite them to dinner. If you are guilty of this sort of pride, keep in mind that God loves poor people. Jesus Himself was poor in this world and spent most of His time ministering to the poor.

Sometimes in moving up the social ladder, people may demand a certain kind of treatment. They expect the best of everything and get offended when they don’t receive it. One of the things Jesus criticized the scribes and Pharisees for was this: “They love the place of honor at banquets, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called by men, Rabbi” (Matt. 23:6–7). Resist the temptation to seek worldly honor, glamour, and privileges.

Advertisers today continually entice us to draw attention to ourselves by what we wear. But undue attention to appearance can make people haughty, boastful, and indulgent, trying to show themselves as better than others. God hates that sin (Isa. 3:16–26).

John said, “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world…. The world is passing away, and also its lusts” (1 John 2:15, 17). Don’t let the world tell you what you should seek or value. Remember instead that “the one who does the will of God abides forever” (v. 17).

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Ask the Lord to give you contentment with your present status and to help you reach out to those not so blessed.

For Further Study: Read Luke 14:8–10; 1 Timothy 2:9–10; and James 2:2–8 and see if you are guilty of materialism or social pride.[2]


MARCH 15

FULL COMPREHENSION IS YET TO COME

And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.

—Exodus 24:16

We know very well that the human mind cannot comprehend or encompass the person of God. We can know what God is not, but in this earthly life it is impossible for us to say, “I know what God is.” We never can know because God belongs to a realm entirely different from ours. The great God exists in awesome wonder. He is uncreated holiness, high above all the things that the hands of mankind have made….

There is neither preacher nor teacher anywhere in the world who can say, “Let me tell you all about God!” God told Moses and Israel, and He tells us: “Always there will be the cloud about Me. Always there will be a veil covering My person. While you are on My earth, you will sense this obscurity, for I Am who I Am!”…

And I can say this from personal experience: After you have known God and walked with Him by faith for fifty years, growing daily in His grace and the knowledge of Him, you will still see a cloud on Mount Sinai. You will still sense the obscurity. Your mind and your spirit will still bow before Him. Your day of full comprehension is yet to come. MMG082-083

I long for that day, Lord, when the cloud is completely removed and I shall know You completely. Amen. [3]


March 15

The Prize of Peace—Eternal Sonship

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

The result of peacemaking is eternal blessing as God’s children in God’s kingdom. Peacemakers “shall be called sons of God.”

Most of you are thankful for your heritage, your ancestors, your parents, and your family name. It is especially gratifying to have been influenced by godly grandparents, parents, or both. But even the greatest human heritage cannot match our heritage in Christ (Rom. 8:17). After all, what could compare to being a child of God?

Peacemaking is a hallmark of God’s children. Only God determines who His children are, and He has determined that we are to be humble, penitent over sin, gentle, seekers of righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, and ultimately peacemakers.

As the next beatitude makes abundantly clear, we often don’t have peace in the world; we have persecution instead. In Christ we have forsaken the false peace of the world, and consequently we won’t find much peace with it. But as God’s children we can always have peace within, even while we are in the world—the peace of God, which the world can’t give and the world can’t take away.

Today begin to live as a peacemaking child of God—it is your calling.

ASK YOURSELF
Review the beatitude summaries mentioned in today’s reading—those qualities of life that distinguish the sons and daughters of God from others. Is anything worth keeping you from exemplifying these characteristics? Can anything rival being known as a child of God?[4]

MARCH 15

“TEARS OF JOY—AMEN!”

He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.

Luke 3:16

 

We need not be afraid of a genuine visitation of the Spirit of God!

Blaise Pascal, the famed seventeenth-century French scientist and philosopher, experienced in his lifetime a personal, overwhelming encounter with God that changed his life. Those who attended him at his death found a worn, creased paper in his clothing, close to his heart—apparently a reminder of what he had felt and sensed in God’s very presence.

In Pascal’s own hand it read:

From about half past ten at night, to about half after midnight—fire! O God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob—not the God of philosophers or the wise. The God of Jesus Christ who can be known only in the ways of the Gospel. Security. Feeling. Peace. Joy. Tears of joy—Amen!

Were these the expressions of a fanatic, an extremist? No; it was the ecstatic utterance of a yielded man during two awesome hours in the presence of God. The astonished Pascal could only describe the visitation in one word—“Fire!”

 

Dear Lord, I pray that I will experience the “fire” of Your holy presence in my life. Burn away all the dross by Your Spirit. I want to live for You and You only.[5]


March 15 Putting God First

“Hallowed be Thy name” (Matt. 6:9).

✧✧✧

Prayer should always exalt God.

The Disciples’ Prayer illustrates the priority that God should hold in our prayers. Jesus began by exalting the Father—“Hallowed be Thy name” (v. 9), then requested that the Father’s Kingdom come and His will be done (v. 10). He concluded with an anthem of praise: “For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen” (v. 13). His prayer literally begins and ends with God.

“Hallowed be Thy name” exalts the name of the Lord and sets a tone of worship and submission that is sustained throughout the prayer. Where God’s name is hallowed, He will be loved and revered, His Kingdom eagerly anticipated, and His will obeyed.

“Thy name” speaks of more than a title such as “God,” “Lord,” or “Jehovah.” It speaks of God Himself and is the composite of all His attributes. The Hebrews considered God’s name so sacred they wouldn’t even speak it, but they missed the point. While meticulously guarding the letters of His name, they slandered His character and disobeyed His Word. Because of them the name of God was blasphemed among the Gentiles (Rom. 2:24).

Psalm 102:15 says, “So the nations will fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth Thy glory.” It’s not the letters of God’s name that the nations fear; it’s the embodiment of all He is. As Jesus prayed, “I manifested Thy name to the men whom Thou gavest Me” (John 17:6). He did that by revealing who God is. John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus told Philip, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Jesus is the manifestation of all that God is.

Manifesting the priority of God in your prayers involves acknowledging who He is and approaching Him with a reverent, humble spirit that is yielded to His will. As you do that, He will hallow His name through you.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Praise God for His holiness. ✧ Ask Him to use you today to demonstrate His holiness to others.

For Further Study: Read Numbers 20. How did Moses show irreverence for God’s name?[6]


MARCH 15

GOD’S VOICE STILL ENTREATS LOST MANKIND

For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

ROMANS 8:19, 22

Why is it that the shining world of which men have dreamed, and that every man secretly believes is somewhere before him, is nevertheless lost to men?

It can only be because we are out of the way.

The world we inhabit is a lost world. It is a sick, fallen planet upon which we ride. The sacred revelation declares plainly that the inhabitants of the world are also lost, by a mighty, calamitous visitation of woe which is still upon them.

But with this, it also tells us a glorious fact—that this lost race has not been given up!

Thankfully, there is a voice that calls, a voice that entreats! If we were not lost, there would be no voice behind us saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it.”

I say again that we have not been given up. That is plain from the book of Genesis. Recall that the sound of God’s gentle voice was heard saying, “Adam, where art thou?”—and that voice has never died out!

All of His entreating calls blend into one, whether it be the voice of God’s love, or the voice of Jesus’ blood, or the voice of conscience, or the voice of the dead or of the living, or of the lost or of the saved!

So, the holy writer says the lost planet is full of vanity and has lost its meaning, crying like a woman in travail but waiting, as it were, to be born again into the liberty of the sons of God, and saved from decay and corruption![7]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 88). 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. 83). 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. 87). 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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