Grace to You Devotionals

GTY Devotionals

January 22

Praying for Believers

"For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you, and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers" (Eph. 1:15-16).

Your love for other Christians is as much a mark of true faith as your love for God.

The Ephesian Christians demonstrated two important characteristics of genuine Christian faith: faith in the Lord Jesus and love for fellow believers.

"Faith in the Lord Jesus" implies both an affirmation of Christ's deity and submission to His sovereignty. Because He is God, He is the Sovereign Lord, so we must obey what He commands (John 14:15; 1 John 2:3-6).

Your "love for all the saints" is as much a mark of true faith as your love for God. John said, "The one who says he is in the light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now" (1 John 2:9). In that passage "light" is a metaphor for righteousness and truth, and "darkness" is a metaphor for sin and error. It is sinful and erroneous to claim you love God if you have no love for other believers. Those who love God will love fellow believers as well.

If you love others, you will pray for them and praise God for their spiritual progress—as Paul did for the Ephesians—and they will do the same for you. That's a wonderful dynamic within the Body of Christ, and one that you must diligently pursue.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • If you haven't done so already, start a prayer list of individuals for whom you will pray each day. List their names and some specific requests. Record answers to your prayers as you see God moving in their lives.
  • Remember to thank God for their spiritual progress as well as praying for their needs. Let them know you are praying for them. That could be a source of great encouragement for them.
  • If you are at odds with another believer, seek to reconcile immediately (Matt. 5:23-24) so your witness will be strong and the Lord's name won't suffer reproach.

For Further Study

Read Philippians 1:9-11 and Colossians 1:9-14.

  • What requests and concerns did Paul express in his prayers?
  • Do your prayers reflect Paul's priorities? If not, what adjustments must you make to have a more biblical pattern of prayer?
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

January 22

Christ's Patient Example

“Walk . . . with patience” (Ephesians 4:1-2).

Jesus is our greatest example of patience in all that He endured to purchase our redemption.

Paul tells us here that the worthy walk is one of patience, and once again we see that Jesus modeled it for us. Throughout the Gospels, He repeatedly demonstrated the three aspects of patience we explored in the last lesson.

First, He endured negative circumstances. Before He came into the world, He was with the Father in the glory of Heaven, where the angels praised and worshiped Him continually. He left a place of total perfection and love and went to a place where He was mocked, hated, rejected, blasphemed, and crucified. He “endured the cross” (Heb. 12:2) even though He had the power to escape it.

Jesus also coped with difficult people. The night before His crucifixion, after three years of teaching about love and servanthood, His disciples were arguing about which of them was the greatest (Luke 22:24). Jesus didn’t give up on them, however. More than that, He prayed for those who spit on Him and mocked Him at the cross: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (23:34). He wanted His murderers to be forgiven so they could be with Him in Heaven forever.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, just hours before He was nailed to the cross, Jesus showed His willingness to accept the Father’s plan. He prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39). He was able to endure unimaginable suffering because He knew it was God’s will.

We should be very thankful for Christ’s “perfect patience” (1 Tim. 1:16), because our sin has offended Him time and time again. He could have sent us to Hell the first moment we sinned, but His Spirit patiently drew us to repentance. Because of His patience, we must commit ourselves to follow His perfect example.

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray that God would daily give you strength to be patient in all things, just as Christ was.

For Further Study

Hebrews 12:3 tells us to “consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.” Christ’s example of patience encourages us to endure when we suffer. Find other demonstrations of His patience in the Gospels, and consider how His example can affect your attitude during trials.

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

January 22

Reading for Today:

  • Genesis 43:1–44:34
  • Psalm 11:1-7
  • Proverbs 4:10-13
  • Matthew 14:22-36

Notes:

Genesis 43:33 the firstborn…the youngest. To be seated at the table in birth order in the house of an Egyptian official was startling—how did he know this of Jacob’s sons? Enough clues had been given in Joseph’s previous questions about the family and his use of God’s name for them to wonder about him and his personal knowledge of them. Obviously, they simply did not believe Joseph was alive (44:20) and certainly not as a personage of such immense influence and authority. They had probably laughed through the years at the memory of Joseph’s dreams of superiority.

Genesis 44:13 tore their clothes. A well-known ancient Near Eastern custom of visibly portraying the pain of heart being experienced. Benjamin’s brothers were very upset that he might become a slave in Egypt (v. 10). Benjamin appears to have been speechless. They had passed a second test of devotion to Benjamin (the first in v. 34).

Genesis 44:18–34 An eloquent and contrite plea for mercy, replete with reference to the aged father’s delight in and doting upon the youngest son (vv. 20, 30) and the fatal shock should he be lost (vv. 22, 29, 31, 34). Judah’s evident compassion for Jacob and readiness to substitute himself for Benjamin in slavery finally overwhelmed Joseph—these were not the same brothers of yesteryear (45:1).


DAY 22: When the world seems to be falling apart, who can I trust?

In Psalm 11, the panic that launched its writing was not David’s but that of his apparently well-meaning counselors. Their mood in the face of wicked persecution is panic, the desire to flee, but David’s is peace. Their words are the expressions of committed but confused saints. Their philosophical problem is, “In view of the crumbling of the theocratic society, what can one righteous person, out of a shrinking remnant, do?”

David’s immediate response to panic is to say, “In the LORD I put my trust.” Literally, he said, “I take refuge in the LORD.” God is the exclusive refuge for His persecuted children (see Pss. 16:1; 36:7). After all, David adds, the Lord is “in His holy temple…in heaven.” This emphasizes the transcendent throne room of God, yet God has sovereign sway over all the affairs of earth (see Hab. 2:20). “His eyes behold...His eyelids test”—His transcendence previously depicted does not negate His eminence here presented from the perspective of the divine scrutiny of all men, including the righteous (see Jer. 6:27–30; 17:10).

David had made up his mind to trust only in the Lord, and for good reason. In view of David’s attitude, this psalm can be listed with the psalms of confidence (Pss. 4, 16, 23, 27, 62, 125, 131).

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

January 22 - Satan Revealed as a Liar

[The devil] said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me’” (Matthew 4:9).

Satan’s promises for better things, obtained more quickly and in a “preferred” manner to God’s plan, are actually counterfeit offers. He always wraps them in claims that seem easier, less expensive, and far less burdensome. After all, that’s the savvy way to success, he reasons. Our adversary’s argument is essentially just a form of the old “end justifies the means” concept.

But Satan has been a liar from the beginning of redemptive history. With his third temptation of Jesus he was actually just seeking to buy Christ’s soul and His permanent allegiance. The cost for the Lord, had He accepted the offer of the world’s kingdoms, would have been devastating beyond measure.

Similarly for us, Satan’s price is always far more than we are led to believe—and the goods always unfathomably fall short of what we had expected. Thankfully, Jesus in His omniscience and infinite wisdom recognized these truths and did not succumb to the final temptation in the wilderness. Had He accepted Satan’s sinister offer, Christ would have disqualified Himself as both Savior and King. Instead of redeeming the world, He would have joined it; instead of inheriting it, He would have lost both it and us.

Ask Yourself

If coming in the front door doesn’t work, our enemy has no qualms about executing the sneak attack, catching us off guard and by surprise. How seriously are you taking the call to be on the alert at all times, resisting Satan’s temptations and boldly obeying God’s will? Trust Christ for both radar and resistance.

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, www.moodypublishers.com.

Del libro La Verdad para Hoy de John MacArthur DERECHOS DE AUTOR © 2001 Utilizado con permiso de Editorial Portavoz, www.portavoz.com
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