Daily Archives: September 3, 2018

September 3: The Discomfort of Scripture

Hosea 6:1–7:16; Acts 2:42–3:26; Job 15:21–35

Most of the Western world operates in the spirit of individualism. Christianity does not, though we often attempt to adapt it and make it more comfortable. It’s much easier to think about “God’s role in my life” than to reflect on “my role in God’s plan” to help others and share the gospel.

When we attempt to shape our faith to fit our needs, we’re bound to run into Scripture that makes us squirm. Some people perform interpretive backflips to wriggle out of passages such as Acts 2:42–47. Verse 44 says, “And all who believed were in the same place, and had everything in common.” A fear of socialism serves as a convenient excuse to sidestep this verse, but it doesn’t speak to socialism. It speaks to voluntarily joining a movement of people who care more about the betterment of the group than they do about their individual gain.

The truth is that God’s Word should make us uncomfortable because we are the ones who need to conform. None of us wants to accept Acts 2:44 unless the Spirit has worked within us. Acting out our faith means we must be willing to donate what we have to help others: time, material goods, money—whatever God calls us to give. Self-sacrifice is not easy for anyone, but it becomes easier when the Spirit prompts our hearts to see the needs of others as more important than our wants.

Most people in the Western world choose the sin of selfishness over selfless service to others. Do we need to buy a coffee every morning, or could we make a cup at home? Do we need to live in a larger house, or could we downsize? Nearly all of us can find ways to give more by living with less. And we might find the motive we need when the Spirit speaks to us through the discomfort of Scripture.

How can you give what you have to help others? What sacrifice can you make today, this week, or this month? Who do you know who’s in need?

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.

September 3 Your Resources in Christ

“Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:10–11).

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In Christ you have every resource necessary for spiritual victory.

Satan opposes God and wants to prevent believers from glorifying Him. One way he does that is by convincing them that he is either so formidable they could never defeat him, or so weak they can fight him in their own strength.

Second Corinthians 10:4 says, “The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” Human resources alone can never defeat a spiritual enemy, but divine resources can. That’s why it’s crucial to understand the resources you have in Christ that ensure spiritual victory.

In Ephesians 1:3 Paul says you have received all the blessings of Heaven through Christ. That includes being forgiven and redeemed (vv. 6–7) and receiving knowledge, understanding, and wisdom (vv. 17–18). Within you resides the Holy Spirit (v. 13), who strengthens you and accomplishes more than you can ask or think (3:16, 20).

Believers represent the awesome power of God in this world—the same power that raised Christ from the dead, seated Him at the right hand of the Father, and subjected all things under His feet (Eph. 1:19–22). He is the Sovereign Lord against whom no one can successfully stand. That’s why Paul exhorted us to “be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might” (Eph. 6:10, emphasis added). We find this strength by putting on the armor He has supplied: truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and the Word, and using it all with prayer. Then, no matter what direction the enemy approaches from or how subtle his attacks may be, we’ll be able to stand firm.

Satan’s attacks are complex and subtle. His ways of working in this world are cunning and deceitful. Since it’s impossible to analyze and anticipate his every offense, focus on strengthening your defenses by understanding your spiritual resources and using them each day.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask God to increase your understanding of spiritual warfare. ✧ Seek wisdom in applying your resources in the most effective ways. ✧ When you face spiritual battles, confide in a Christian friend who will pray with you and encourage you.

For Further Study: According to Matthew 4:1–11, how did Jesus deal with Satan’s attacks?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 259). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

09/03/2018 — Wretched

WR2018-0903

•The best of Wretched Radio:
•What is happening to a soul when the brain fails?
•Will animals be in heaven? John MacArthur says no
•A pastoral answer to doubts of salvation
•How do I talk to my transgendered loved one?
•Signs of the World’s broken thinking

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via 09/03/2018 — Wretched

SEPTEMBER 3 HOLINESS NOT AN OPTION

He that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.

Romans 14:18

Many believers in our day seem to consider the expression of true Christian holiness to be just a matter of personal option: “I have looked it over and considered it, but I don’t buy it!”

But the Apostle Peter clearly exhorts every Christian to holiness of life and conversation: God’s children ought to be holy because God Himself is holy! I am of the opinion that New Testament Christians do not have the privilege of ignoring such apostolic injunctions.

There is something basically wrong with our Christianity and our spirituality if we can carelessly presume that if we do not like a biblical doctrine and choose to ignore it, there is no harm done. God has never instructed us that we should weigh His desires for us and His commandments to us in the balance of our own judgments—and then decide what we want to do about them.

We have the power within us to reject God’s instruction—but where else shall we go? If we turn away from the authority of God’s Word, to whose authority do we yield?

Dear Lord, I truly desire to obey all of Your commandments. Yet in my flesh I sometimes waver and fall short of Your holy standard. Forgive me, Lord. Empower me by Your Spirit to gain victory over my weak areas.[1]


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