Grace to You Devotionals

Devotionals

September 17

Selecting the Proper Shoes

"Stand firm . . . having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace" (Eph. 6:14-15).

Standing firm while in the conflict requires the right kind of spiritual footwear.

I'll never forget a game that took place at the Rose Bowl during my college football days. Being winter time and late in the football season, the field was in bad shape from several days of rain and an entire season of wear and tear. However, the grounds crew painted the field green, so it looked much better than it actually was. I had two pairs of football shoes: one with long spikes for bad turf and one with short spikes for good turf. Thinking the field looked pretty good, I opted to wear the short spikes.

On the opening kick-off I caught the ball on the four- yard line, took two steps, and immediately landed on my backside. That's not unusual after a tackle, but in this case there wasn't an opponent in sight! I slipped in the mud—my shoes betrayed me.

Since proper shoes are important in athletics, how much more so are they when fighting for your life. Roman soldiers took great care in selecting just the right shoe. Typically they wore a thick-soled semi-boot with straps securing it to the leg. On the bottom of the soles were hobnails that protruded like the cleats of a track or baseball shoe. The thick soles protected the feet from injury; the hobnails provided traction when maneuvering on the soil.

The Christian's spiritual footwear is the "gospel of peace" (Eph. 6:15). Romans 5:1 says, "Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." God has reconciled you to Himself through the death of His Son (v. 10). Once you were His enemy; now you are His child. Once He opposed you; now He is on your side.

No matter how difficult your circumstances may be or how many opponents come against you, realize that the invincible God of the universe is on your side. He makes war against His enemies (Rev. 2:16), and against Him no one can stand. So stand firm in that confidence. Focus on your Great Ally rather than your feeble enemies.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for His peace, presence, and protection in your life.

For Further Study

Read Judges 7. How did Gideon demonstrate his confidence that God was on his side?

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.

September 17

Spirit-Filled Song

“Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19).

If we are Spirit-filled, we will have songs of praise in our hearts and on our lips.

Once a Christian knows about being Spirit-filled and walking by the Spirit, it is still fair for him or her to ask, “But how can I know if the Holy Spirit is really at work in my life?” Ephesians 5:19 answers this question by declaring one of the unmistakable evidences of the Spirit’s full operation in our lives—we will have a song in our hearts.

The Bible does not give us much detail about the practical use of music and song, but there are enough references so that its significance to God and His people is clear. The Israelites praised God after He rescued them from the Egyptians (Ex. 15). The Psalms are filled with songs and praise, epitomized by the final verse, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!” (150:6).

In the New Testament, Jesus and the disciples closed the Last Supper by singing a hymn (Matt. 26:30). Paul and Silas sang while they were imprisoned at Philippi (Acts 16:25). During his vision in Revelation 5, the apostle John sees this: “When He [Christ, the Lamb] had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song” (vv. 8-9).

That “new song” John was about to hear sung before God’s throne was not just new chronologically—it was new qualitatively. Here as elsewhere in the New Testament, “new” is used in relation to God’s salvation, which means it makes perfect sense for us to sing a new song—one that is far better than the world’s songs—if we are saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. Words of genuine praise should well up in our hearts often and at the appropriate times break forth from our lips as we reflect the joy of the Spirit-filled life.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God specifically for some of your favorite hymns.

For Further Study

Read Revelation 5:1-14 for the complete context of John’s new song.

  • What is the song’s theme?
  • How many eventually join in the praises?
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.

September 17

Reading for Today:

  • Isaiah 25:1–26:21
  • Psalm 107:23-32
  • Proverbs 25:18-19
  • 2 Corinthians 9:1-15

Notes:

Isaiah 25:8 swallow up death. God will swallow up death, which itself functions as a swallower of human beings (5:14; Prov. 1:12). Paul notes the fulfillment of this promise in the resurrection of believers (1 Cor. 15:54). wipe away tears. The Lord God will remove the sorrow associated with death (65:19).Revelation alludes to the tender action of this verse twice—once in 7:17 to describe the bliss of the redeemed in heaven, and once in 21:4 to describe ideal conditions in the New Jerusalem. rebuke…He will take away. Israel will be the head of the nations and no longer the tail (Deut. 28:13).

Isaiah 26:3 perfect peace,…trusts in You. A fixed disposition of trust in the Lord brings a peace that the wicked can never know (48:22; 57:21). Such reliance precludes double-mindedness (James 1:6–8) and serving two masters (Matt. 6:24).

Isaiah 26:15 have increased the nation. With prophetic certainty from the perspective of Israel’s future restoration, Isaiah saw the expansion of Israel’s borders as an accomplished fact.

2 Corinthians 9:12 administration of this service. “Administration,” which may also be translated “service,” is a priestly word from which we get “liturgy.” Paul viewed the entire collection project as a spiritual, worshipful enterprise that was primarily being offered to God to glorify Him. supplies the needs of the saints. The Greek word for “supplies” is a doubly intense term that could be rendered “really, fully supplying.” This indicates the Jerusalem church had an extremely great need. Many residents of Jerusalem had undoubtedly lost their jobs in the waves of persecution that came after the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 8:1). However, the Corinthians were wealthy enough (they had not yet suffered persecution and deprivation like the Macedonians) to help meet the huge need with a generous monetary gift.

2 Corinthians 9:15 Paul summarized his discourse by comparing the believer’s act of giving with what God did in giving Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:32), “His indescribable gift.” God buried His Son and reaped a vast harvest of those who put their faith in the resurrected Christ (John 12:24). That makes it possible for believers to joyfully, sacrificially, and abundantly sow and reap. As they give in this manner, they show forth Christ’s likeness (John 12:25, 26; Eph. 5:1, 2).


DAY 17: What does God look for in our financial giving?

“He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Cor. 9:6). The simple, self-evident agrarian principle—which Paul applied to Christian giving—that the harvest is directly proportionate to the amount of seed sown (Prov. 11:24, 25; 19:17; Luke 6:38; Gal. 6:7). When a generous believer gives by faith and trust in God, with a desire to produce the greatest possible blessing, that person will receive that kind of a harvest of blessing (Prov. 3:9, 10; 28:27; Mal. 3:10). God gives a return on the amount one invests with Him (Luke 6:38).

“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart” (v. 7). The term translated “purposes” indicates a premeditated, predetermined plan of action that is done from the heart voluntarily, but not impulsively. “Grudgingly.” Literally, “with grief,” “sorrow,” or “sadness,” which indicates an attitude of depression, regret, and reluctance that accompanies something done strictly out of a sense of duty and obligation, but not joy. “Of necessity” or “compulsion.” This refers to external pressure and coercion, quite possibly accompanied by legalism. Believers are not to give based on the demands of others or according to any arbitrary standards or set amounts. “God loves a cheerful giver.” God has a unique, special love for those who are happily committed to generous giving. The Greek word for “cheerful” is the word from which we get “hilarious,” which suggests that God loves a heart that is enthusiastically thrilled with the pleasure of giving.

God possesses an infinite amount of grace, and He gives it lavishly, without holding back (v. 9). Here “grace” does not refer to spiritual graces but to money and material needs. When the believer generously—and wisely—gives of his material resources, God graciously replenishes them so he always has plenty and will not be in need (2 Chr. 31:10). “Always having all sufficiency.” In secular Greek philosophy, this was the proud contentment of self-sufficiency that supposedly led to true happiness. Paul sanctifies the secular term and says that God, not man, will supply everything needed for real happiness and contentment (Phil. 4:19). “May have an abundance for every good work.” God gives back lavishly to generous, cheerful givers, not so they may satisfy selfish, nonessential desires, but so they may meet the variety of needs others have (Deut. 15:10, 11).

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.

September 17 - A New Relationship Between Jesus and Mary

“When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Whatever He says to you, do it’” (John 2:3–5).

Returning to the wedding at Cana we come across a major crisis—the wine ran out because the supply was insufficient. This potential embarrassment for the couple and their families could have stigmatized them for the rest of their lives. Mary was apparently helping to oversee the catering of the celebration and became aware of this serious problem. She anxiously said to Jesus, “They have no wine.”

Jesus’ abrupt reply, “Woman, what does that have to do with us?” signaled a major change in their relationship. It was an idiomatic expression that asks rhetorically what the two parties in question have in common, and has the effect of distancing them. By calling Mary “Woman” (a polite, but not intimate, form of address) instead of “Mother,” Jesus politely but firmly informed her that their relationship was no longer to be what it had been while He was growing up. His public ministry had begun, and earthly relationships would not direct His actions. Mary was to relate to Him no longer as her son but as her Messiah, the Son of God, her Savior.

Undeterred by the mild rebuke, and aware that He was not saying no to the request, Mary said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Mary shows us how we should respond to the Lord.

Ask Yourself

Is your relationship with Jesus such that you can receive His rebuke without taking offense or crawling into a corner? Can you respond to His truth—even a hard truth—by adjusting your life to His right way of thinking and then continuing to serve Him as faithfully as before?

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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