Daily Archives: April 17, 2018

April 17: It’s Actually Quite Simple

Deuteronomy 31:30–32:52; 2 Corinthians 8:8–15; Psalm 45:1–17

“May my teaching trickle like the dew, my words like rain showers on tender grass … For I will proclaim the name of Yahweh; ascribe greatness to our God! The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are just; he is a faithful God, and without injustice; righteous and upright is he” (Deut 32:2–4).

We all teach in some way. Some of us teach at church, others teach co-workers or employees. Some teach the children in their household, and others teach simply by doing (although we don’t always acknowledge these roles). If all of us lived by Moses’ prayer, things would be quite different. Imagine a world where we proclaimed Yahweh’s greatness in all we say and do.

Moses’ words also teach us something about God. If we’re looking for perfection in what we do, we should look to the one who actually manifests it. If we’re looking to be faithful, we should rely on the one who is faithful in all He does. If it’s right actions we desire in our lives and the world, we should seek the upright one.

There is no doubting that the problems in our lives and world are complicated. They can’t be undersold, and the difficult stories can’t be told too many times. But there is a place to look when we need guidance and revitalization. There is a rock to stabilize us; we have a firm foundation (compare Matt 7:24–27).

The first-century Corinthian church was tasked with carrying out Paul’s work of bringing many in Corinth to Jesus and listening to the Spirit so that they could be God’s hands and feet in the city. We, like the Corinthian church, have work to finish (2 Cor 8:10–12).

God has given us action steps as individuals and as communities. And if we doubt that, then it is our job to seek answers from Him. Often we are unsure because we aren’t listening to Him; we aren’t really seeking His will.

May we feel like Moses about our own teaching work—the work of proclaiming Jesus in what we do and say. May we make the same requests of God.

Then, may your words trickle down like rain showers on tender grass. May you find the words God wishes to speak through you, and may you find the people who you are meant to teach.

Who are you tasked with teaching? What work has God given you? How can you improve that work and make it more glorifying to Him?

John D. Barry[1]


[1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

April 17 Breaking the Bondage of Legalism

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8).

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Legalism can’t produce a pure heart.

By the time Jesus arrived, Israel was in a desperate condition spiritually. The Jewish people were in bondage to the oppressive legalism of the Pharisees, who had developed a system of laws that was impossible to keep. Consequently, the people lacked security and were longing for a Savior to free them from guilt and frustration. They knew God had promised a Redeemer who would forgive their sins and cleanse their hearts (Ezek. 36:25–27), but they weren’t sure when He was coming or how to identify Him when He arrived.

The enormous response to John the Baptist’s ministry illustrates the level of expectancy among the people. Matthew 3:5–6 says, “Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea, and all the district around the Jordan; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.” The uppermost question in everyone’s mind seemed to be, “How can I enter the Kingdom of Heaven?”

Jesus Himself was asked that question by many people in different ways. In Luke 10:25 a lawyer asks, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” In Luke 18:18 a rich young ruler asks exactly the same thing. In John 6:28 a multitude asks, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Nicodemus, a prominent Jewish religious leader, came to Jesus at night with the same question, but before he could ask it, Jesus read his thoughts and said, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

As devoutly religious as those people might have been, they would remain spiritually lost unless they placed their faith in Christ. That’s the only way to enter the Kingdom.

Still today many people look for relief from sin and guilt. God can use you to share Christ with some of them. Ask Him for that privilege, and be prepared when it comes.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Pray for those enslaved to legalistic religious systems. ✧ Be sure there is no sin in your life to hinder God’s work through you.

For Further Study: Read Galatians 3. ✧ Why did Paul rebuke the Galatians? ✧ What was the purpose of the Old Testament Law?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 120). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Redemption and depravity

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. Hebrews 9:15 (NASB) 

The Gospel is explained very well in the New Testament. The role of the Church in the World from the time of Christ’s Ascension until His return is very well defined for us there as well (to go and make disciples from all the earth, teaching them to observe all that He taught…) This Great Commission is not to ‘be the Gospel’ nor is it to ‘redeem the earth’ nor is it to ‘make the world a better place.’ No, it is to go and tell the Good News that we have a mediator of a new covenant and…

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Christian Denominations Set To Settle Disputes In Annual Hunger Games — The Babylon Bee

NEW MEXICO—Deep in the heart of the American Southwest, final preparations are being made for a highly anticipated annual tradition: The Christian Denominational Hunger Games, an event intended to ease tensions between various Christian traditions and satiate interdenominational bloodlust. One male and one female volunteer participates from each faith tradition, though if no one steps…

via Christian Denominations Set To Settle Disputes In Annual Hunger Games — The Babylon Bee

APRIL 17 NOT READY FOR HEAVEN?

My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord.

Psalm 104:34

I can safely say on the authority of all that is revealed in the Word of God, that any man or woman on this earth who is bored and turned off by worship is not ready for heaven!

Now, I can almost hear someone saying, “Is Tozer getting away from justification by faith?”

I assure you that Martin Luther never believed in justification by faith more strongly than I do. But nowadays there is a deadly, automatic quality about getting saved.

This bothers me greatly: “Sinner, just put a nickel’s worth of faith in the slot, pull down the lever and take out the little card of salvation.” Tuck it in your wallet and off you go—a justified believer!

But really, my brother or sister, we are brought to God and to faith and to salvation that we might worship. We do not come to God that we might be automatic Christians stamped out with a die!

God has provided His salvation that we might be, individually and personally, vibrant children of God, loving God with all our heart and worshiping Him in the beauty of holiness!

Lord, I bow before You this morning as my Lord and King. You are deserving of all my love and praise and worship.[1]


[1] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.