March 24, 2017: Daily Devotional Guide Collection

March 24

Feeding Your Passion

He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.

Matthew 9:36

 

How can you enhance your passion for the lost? First, study Christ’s great love, compassion, and tender mercy. You can study great men and women in church history, but ultimately you must understand the heart of Jesus. As 1 John 2:6 says, “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”

Second, study sin: its guilt, power, and penalty. That will make you aware of how we have all fallen prey to the subtleties of the world. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Let it remind you to be preoccupied not with worldly things, but with evangelizing the lost.

Third, study sinners. Try to cultivate love and sympathy for them, not bitterness. Note that the most zealous evangelists are often new converts.

Fourth, study Scripture. See what it says about hell, death, judgment, and salvation.

And finally, pray for God to give you a passion for evangelism.[1]


March 24 Jesus’ Humility in Death

“He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Philippians 2:8

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In His suffering and death, Jesus is our supreme example of humility.

We naturally react to injustice with deep hurt and an assertion of our rights. But Jesus’ response to His accusers did not include one word of angry defensiveness. Matthew 27:12–14 tells us: “And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He made no answer. Then Pilate said to Him, ‘Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?’ And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so that the governor was quite amazed.”

Later on, during His sham trial, Jesus continued to humble Himself. He accepted sinful men’s abuse when they whipped Him, stripped off His robe, planted a crown of thorns on His head, mocked Him, spat on Him, and beat on Him with a reed. Christ did not even demand His rights when He was condemned to death and forced to walk to Calvary half–naked with a cross on His back.

Today’s verse underscores the most shocking aspect of Christ’s humiliation: the kind of death He died. He endured crucifixion, the cruelest form of death ever devised. The Romans used it to execute rebellious slaves and the worst criminals. Because He was King of the Jews, Jesus’ death on the cross was seen as especially horrible by His people. The Jews had long known what the Law of Moses said: “He who is hanged [on a tree] is accursed of God” (Deut. 21:23). From everyone’s standpoint, the Son of God suffered the ultimate in human degradation.

But in spite of the detestable treatment He suffered, Christ graciously and lovingly died for sinners like you and me. Such an example of selfless humility ought to motivate us, His followers, as we minister to others, “since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Give thanks that Jesus’ example of humility extended all the way to His willingness to redeem you.

For Further Study: Read one of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ suffering and death (Matt. 26–27; Mark 14–15; Luke 22–23; John 18–19). Record some observations about His general attitude during the ordeal. ✧ In what situations and ways does He show humility? ✧ If you have time, compare and contrast two of the accounts.[2]


MARCH 24

THE DIVINE ATTRIBUTES

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.

—Romans 1:20

The doctrine of the divine unity means not only that there is but one God; it means also that God is simple, uncomplex, one with Himself. The harmony of His being is the result not of a perfect balance of parts but of the absence of parts. Between His attributes no contradiction can exist. He need not suspend one to exercise another, for in Him all His attributes are one. All of God does all that God does; He does not divide Himself to perform a work, but works in the total unity of His being.

An attribute, then, is not a part of God. It is how God is, and as far as the reasoning mind can go, we may say that it is what God is, though, as I have tried to explain, exactly what He is He cannot tell us…. “The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:11). Only to an equal could God communicate the mystery of His Godhead; and to think of God as having an equal is to fall into an intellectual absurdity.

The divine attributes are what we know to be true of God. He does not possess them as qualities; they are how God is as He reveals Himself to His creatures. KOH025

I can’t comprehend You entirely, God, but I thank You for what You have revealed. Help me to learn all I can about You through an understanding of Your attributes. Amen. [3]


March 24

Salt and Light—the Nature of Believers

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.—Matt. 5:13–16

In these four verses the Lord summarizes the function of believers in the world—influence. This is a mandate for Christians to influence the world. The Beatitudes are not to be lived in isolation or only among fellow believers, but everywhere we go.

In verses 13 and 14, the pronoun “you” is emphatic. The idea is, “You are the only salt the earth knows and the only light the world sees.” The world’s corruption won’t be retarded and its darkness won’t be illumined unless God’s people are its salt and light. “You” in both verses is plural; that means the whole body, the church, is called to be the world’s salt and light.

By definition, an influence must be different from that which it influences, and Christians must be different from the world they are called to influence. We cannot influence the world for God if we are worldly ourselves, nor can we give light to it if we retreat to places and ways of darkness ourselves.

ASK YOURSELF
Is there anything that’s currently taking the bite out of your saltiness, or dimming the brightness of your light? Deal openly with the Lord about these things, asking Him to rid you of their influence so that you can be used of God to influence others.[4]

MARCH 24

“BORN OF GOD!”

By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place.

Hebrews 9:12

 

I think most of us remember with assurance the words of the Charles Wesley hymn which was his own personal testimony:

His Spirit answers to the blood,

And tells me I am born of God!

Wesley testified here and in many other hymns to an inner illumination!

When I became a Christian, no one had to come to me and tell me what Wesley meant. That is why Jesus taught that whosoever is willing to do His will shall have a revelation in his own heart. He shall have an inward revelation that tells him he is a child of God.

Too many persons try to make Jesus Christ a convenience. They reduce Him simply to a Big Friend who will help us when we are in trouble.

That is not biblical Christianity! Jesus Christ is Lord, and when an individual comes in repentance and faith, the truth flashes in. For the first time he finds himself saying, “I will do the will of the Lord, even if I die for it!”

 

Lord, I pray today for friends and family who may be questioning their relationship with You. Draw them to Yourself, Heavenly Father.[5]


March 24 Receiving God’s Provisions

“Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11).

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God is glorified when He meets your needs.

In America, praying for our daily bread hardly seems necessary. Most people need to pray for self-control to avoid overeating! But Matthew 6:11 isn’t talking about food only. It is a statement of dependency on God and an acknowledgment that He alone provides all of life’s basic necessities.

Sad to say, however, many people today have reduced prayer to a means of self-fulfillment. Recently a woman sent me a booklet and wrote, “I don’t think you understand the true resource we have in prayer. You should read this booklet.” The booklet repeatedly emphasized our right as Christians to demand things from God. But that misses the point of prayer altogether, which is to glorify God (John 14:13). We are to give God the privilege of revealing His glory by meeting our needs in whatever way He chooses. If we demand things of Him, we are likely to become frustrated or to question Him when we don’t get what we want. That’s a serious sin!

David G. Myers, in his book The Human Puzzle (New York: Harper and Row, 1978), said: “Some petitionary prayers seem not only to lack faith in the inherent goodness of God but also to elevate humankind to a position of control over God. God, the Scriptures remind us, is omniscient and omnipotent, the sovereign ruler of the universe. For Christians to pray as if God were a puppet whose strings they yank with their prayers seems not only potentially superstitious but blasphemous as well. When prayer is sold as a device for eliciting health, success, and other favors from a celestial vending machine, we may wonder what is really being merchandised. Is this faith or is it faith’s counterfeit, a glib caricature of true Christianity?”

Guard your prayers! Always be aware of the enormous privilege you have to approach the infinite God and to receive His gracious provisions. Yet, always do so with His glory as your highest goal.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Read Proverbs 30:8–9. What attitude toward God do those verses convey? Is that your attitude in prayer?

For Further Study: Read Matthew 6:19–34 and James 4:3. How might you respond to someone who says Christians have the right to demand favors from God?[6]


MARCH 24

GOD IS NOT DEPENDENT ON OUR HUMAN SUCCESS

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.

1 PETER 5:6

Why is it that the professed Christian church seems to have learned so little from our Lord’s plain teaching and example concerning human failure and success?

We are still seeing as men see and judging after the manner of man’s judgment. How much eager beaver religious work is done out of a carnal desire to make good? How many hours of prayer are wasted beseeching God to bless projects that are geared to the glorification of little men? How much sacred money is poured out upon men who, in spite of their tear-in-the-voice appeals, nevertheless seek only to make a fair show in the flesh?

The true Christian should turn away from all this. No man is worthy to succeed until he is willing to fail. No man is morally worthy of success in religious activities until he is willing that the honor of succeeding should go to another if God so wills.

God may allow His servant to succeed when He has disciplined him to a point where he does not need to succeed to be happy. The man who is elated by success and cast down by failure is still a carnal man.

God will allow His servant to succeed when he has learned that success does not make him dearer to God or more valuable in the total scheme of things.

Our great honor lies in being just what Jesus was and is. To be accepted by those who accept Him, rejected by all who reject Him, loved by those who love Him. What greater glory could come to any man?[7]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 96). 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. 92). 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. 96). 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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