Grace to You Devotionals

Devotionals

January 16

Anticipating Your Inheritance

"In [Christ] also we have obtained an inheritance" (Eph. 1:10-11).

As a member of God’s family, you have obtained a future inheritance that has many present benefits.

An inheritance is something received by an heir as a result of a will or legal process. It's a legacy one receives from family connections.

As a member of God's family, you are an heir of God and fellow heir with Christ (Rom. 8:17). As such you have obtained an inheritance that Peter called "imperishable and undefiled . . . reserved in heaven for you" (1 Pet. 1:4). It cannot perish, fade away, or be defiled because heaven is timeless and sinless. It is a secure inheritance.

In Ephesians 1:11 Paul refers to it in the past tense ("have obtained"). That's significant because the fullness of your inheritance won't be revealed until you are glorified in God's presence (1 John 3:2). But your inheritance is so sure, Paul refers to it as if it was already in hand.

Although its fullness is yet future, your inheritance has present benefits as well. In addition to inheriting Christ and the Holy Spirit, you also inherit peace, love, grace, wisdom, joy, victory, strength, guidance, mercy, forgiveness, righteousness, discernment, and every other spiritual benefit. Paul sums it all up in 1 Corinthians 3:22-23: "All things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God."

Nowadays many Christians are so preoccupied with acquiring material goods that they miss many of the present benefits of their spiritual inheritance and the joy of anticipating its future fulfillment. Don't fall into that trap!

Looking forward to your eternal inheritance will help you maintain a proper perspective on temporal things and motivate you to praise and adore God.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Praise the Lord for the incredible inheritance that awaits you in heaven.
  • Thank Him for the present benefits of your inheritance, which are yours to enjoy daily.

For Further Study

One precious aspect of your eternal inheritance is God's mercy. Psalm 136 reflects on the mercy God demonstrated toward Israel. Read that psalm, noting the manifestations of mercy that relate to your life.

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 16

Contentment: How to Enjoy it

“Let your way of life be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,’ so that we confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6).

Your relationship with God allows you to enjoy genuine contentment.

In view of yesterday’s lesson, you may be asking, “But how can I enjoy contentment and be satisfied with what I have?” You can begin by realizing God’s goodness and believing that He will take care of you since you are one of His children. You can claim again the promise in Romans 8: “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (v. 28).

Second, you should truly realize that God is omniscient—He knows all things and all your personal needs. He recognizes your individual needs long before you do and even before you pray about them. Jesus affirms, “Your Father knows that you need these things” (Luke 12:30).

You can also enjoy contentment by remembering that what you want or need is one thing; what you deserve is another. The patriarch Jacob confessed, “I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which Thou hast shown to Thy servant” (Gen. 32:10). Contentment will more likely be yours if you consider that God’s smallest favor or blessing to you is more than you deserve.

Ultimately, however, real contentment will be yours if you have vital communion with God through Jesus Christ. Then, like the apostle Paul, temporal things will not matter so much: “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:8).

Suggestions for Prayer

God may or may not grant you some new blessing today or this week. In any case, pray that you would be content.

For Further Study

  • What do Ecclesiastes 2:24; 3:12-13; and 8:15 all say about contentment?
  • What does Psalm 37:7 say our everyday attitude should be?
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 16

Reading for Today:

  • Genesis 31:1–32:32
  • Psalm 8:6-9
  • Proverbs 3:19-20
  • Matthew 11:1-30

Notes:

Genesis 31:19 household idols. Literally, teraphim (see 2 Kin. 23:24; Ezek. 21:21). These images or figurines of varying sizes, usually of nude goddesses with accentuated sexual features, either signaled special protection for, inheritance rights for, or guaranteed fertility for the bearer. Or, perhaps possession by Rachel would call for Jacob to be recognized as head of the household at Laban’s death.

Matthew 11:12 the kingdom of heaven suffers violence. From the time he began his preaching ministry, John the Baptist evoked a strong reaction. Having been imprisoned already, John ultimately fell victim to Herod’s savagery. But the kingdom can never be subdued or opposed by human violence. Notice that where Matthew says, “the violent take it by force,” Luke has, “everyone is pressing into it” (Luke 16:16). So the sense of this verse may be rendered this way: “The kingdom presses ahead relentlessly, and only the relentless press their way into it.” Thus again Christ is magnifying the difficulty of entering the kingdom.

Matthew 11:28–30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden. There is an echo of the first beatitude (5:3) in this passage. Note that this is an open invitation to all who hear—but phrased in such a way that the only ones who will respond to the invitation are those who are burdened by their own spiritual bankruptcy and the weight of trying to save themselves by keeping the law. The stubbornness of humanity’s sinful rebellion is such that without a sovereignly bestowed spiritual awakening, all sinners refuse to acknowledge the depth of their spiritual poverty. That is why, as Jesus says in v. 27, our salvation is the sovereign work of God. But the truth of divine election in v. 27 is not incompatible with the free offer to all in vv. 28–30.


DAY 16: List the false gods in the Old Testament.

  1. Rachel’s household gods (Gen. 31:19)
  2. The golden calf at Sinai (Ex. 32)
  3. Nanna, the moon god of Ur, worshiped by Abraham before his salvation (Josh. 24:2)
  4. Asherah, or Ashtaroth, the chief goddess of Tyre, referred to as the lady of the sea (Judg. 6:24–32)
  5. Dagon, the chief Philistine agriculture and sea god and father of Baal (Judg. 16:23–30)
  6. Ashtoreth, a Canaanite goddess, another consort of Baal (1 Sam. 7:3, 4)
  7. Molech, the god of the Ammonites and the most horrible idol in the Scriptures (1 Kin. 11:7)
  8. The two golden images made by King Jeroboam, set up at the shrines of Dan and Bethel (1 Kin. 12:28–31)
  9. Baal, the chief deity of Canaan (1 Kin. 18:17–40; 2 Kin. 10:28; 11:18)
  10. Rimmon, the Syrian god of Naaman the leper (2 Kin. 5:15–19)
  11. Nishroch, the Assyrian god of Sennacherib (2 Kin. 19:37)
  12. Nebo, the Babylonian god of wisdom and literature (Is. 46:1)
  13. Merodach, also called Marduk, the chief god of the Babylonian pantheon (Jer. 50:2)
  14. Tammuz, the husband and brother of Ishtar (Asherah), goddess of fertility (Ezek. 8:14)
  15. The golden image in the plain of Dura (Dan. 2)
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 16 - Trust in God Transcends the Temporal

“He answered and said, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God”’” (Matthew 4:4).

James, the Lord’s earthly half-brother, reminds us that this life is very temporary and uncertain—it is not even guaranteed that we will have an earthly future. James’s practical letter teaches us: “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that’” (James 4:14–15).

Like Jesus, what we are all about and the ultimate goals of our lives should focus on the eternal, not the temporary. The guiding principle and central motive of our lives must be to please God and trust Him for absolutely everything (cf. Matt. 6:33).

Jesus posed some searching questions in the Sermon on the Mount:

Why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!” (Matt. 6:28–30)

We always suffer and miss out to some extent on spiritual blessings when we shortsightedly worry about the temporal instead of focusing on the eternal. Jesus’ response to the devil’s temptations is again our model.

Ask Yourself

How much time do you spend listening to the nagging complaints of worry? How much is fretting a part of your thought process? When are you most susceptible to letting anxiety rise up within you, stealing your joy and perspective? Pray for freedom from anxiety—and the faith to replace it.

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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