Grace to You Devotionals

Devotionals

February 26

Enjoying a Bountiful Harvest

"Bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Col. 1:10).

Your fruitfulness is directly related to your knowledge of divine truth.

Every farmer who enjoys a plentiful harvest does so only after diligent effort on his part. He must cultivate the soil, plant the seed, then nurture it to maturity. Each step is thoughtful, disciplined, and orderly.

Similarly, bearing spiritual fruit is not an unthinking or haphazard process. It requires us to be diligent in pursuing the knowledge of God's will, which is revealed in His Word. That is Paul's prayer in Colossians 1:9, which he reiterates in verse 10.

The phrase "increasing in the knowledge of God" (v. 10) can be translated, "increasing by the knowledge of God." Both renderings are acceptable. The first emphasizes the need to grow; the second emphasizes the role that knowledge plays in your spiritual growth.

As your knowledge of God's Word increases, the Holy Spirit renews your mind and transforms your thinking. As you gaze into the glory of the Lord as revealed in Scripture, you "are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory" (2 Cor. 3:18). You have "put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him" (Col. 3:10).

One of Satan's ploys to retard spiritual productivity is getting Christians preoccupied with humanistic philosophy and other bankrupt substitutes for God's truth. That's why he planted false teachers at Colosse to teach that knowing God's will is inadequate for true spirituality. Paul refuted that claim by affirming that Christ is the fullness of deity in bodily form (Col. 2:9). In Him are "hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col. 2:3). He is all you need!

Scripture commands you to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18). Is that characteristic of your life? Are you looking forward to a bountiful spiritual harvest?

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for the privilege of knowing His will and studying His Word.
  • Prayerfully guard your mind from sinful influences. Saturate it with God's truth.

For Further Study

Read the following passages, noting the effects of God's Word: Psalms 119:9, 105; Acts 20:32; Romans 10:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 2:14.

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.

February 26

God Is Faithful to Keep Us

“Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

God is faithful in forgiving our sins and securing our salvation.

We have learned that God protects us from temptation, but what happens when we don’t rely on God and give in to sin? John has the answer: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). The Lord says in Jeremiah 31:34, “I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” God has promised to forgive, and He is faithful to do so.

God’s faithfulness stands out especially in His preserving His people for glory. He secures our salvation. Paul says, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). God will preserve us so that we may be “without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” because He is “faithful” (1 Thess. 5:23-24).

There was once a boy whose dad left him on a downtown street corner and told him to wait there until he returned in about half an hour. But the father’s car broke down, and he could not get to a phone. Five hours went by before the father managed to get back, and he thought his son would be in a state of panic. But when the father returned, the boy was standing in front of the corner dime store, looking in the window and rocking back and forth on his heels. The father threw his arms around him, apologized, and said, “Weren’t you worried? Did you think I was never coming back?” The boy replied, “No, Dad. I knew you were coming. You said you would.”

God is always faithful to His promises. The father in the story was unable to keep his promise because of circumstances out of his control. But God is able to overcome any circumstances to keep His word. With a simple faith like that boy’s, we can always say, “I knew you would do it, God. You said you would.”

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God for simple faith to trust Him whatever the situation.

For Further Study

David rejoices in God’s faithfulness in Psalm 103. Make a list of all the ways God demonstrates His faithfulness in this psalm.

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.

February 26

Reading for Today:

  • Leviticus 21:1–22:33
  • Psalm 27:11-14
  • Proverbs 10:13-16
  • Mark 5:21-43

Notes:

Leviticus 21:16–23 defect. Just as the sacrifice had to be without blemish, so did the one offering the sacrifice. As visible things exert strong impressions on the minds of people, any physical impurity or malformation tended to distract from the weight and authority of the sacred office, failed to externally exemplify the inward wholeness God sought, and failed to be a picture of Jesus Christ, the Perfect High Priest to come (see Heb. 7:26).

Proverbs 10:13 rod. This first reference to corporal punishment applied to the backside (see 19:29; 26:3) recommends it as the most effective way of dealing with children and fools. See also 13:24; 18:6; 19:29; 22:15; 23:13, 14; 26:3; 29:15.

Mark 5:26 suffered many things from many physicians. In New Testament times, it was common practice in difficult medical cases for people to consult many different doctors and receive a variety of treatments. The supposed cures were often conflicting, abusive, and many times made the ailment worse, not better. (Luke, the physician, in Luke 8:43 suggested the woman was not helped because her condition was incurable.)

Mark 5:38 wept and wailed. In that culture, a sure sign that a death had occurred. Because burial followed soon after death, it was the people’s only opportunity to mourn publicly. The wailing was especially loud and mostly from paid mourners.


DAY 26: What do the healings of Mark 5 teach us about faith?

Upon hearing about Jesus, the woman with the flow of blood said to herself, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well” (v. 28). Her faith in Jesus’ healing powers was so great that she believed even indirect contact with Him through His garments would be enough to produce a cure. Jesus’ response to her touch and healing was that “your faith has made you well” (v. 34). The form of the Greek verb translated “has made you well,” which can also be rendered “has made you whole,” indicates that her healing was complete. It is the same Greek word often translated “to save” and is the normal New Testament word for saving from sin, which strongly suggests that the woman’s faith also led to spiritual salvation.

Jesus’ response to the announced death of Jairus’s daughter was simply, “Do not be afraid; only believe” (v. 36). The verb is a command for present, continuous action urging Jairus to maintain the faith he had initially demonstrated in coming to Jesus. Christ knew there was no other proper response to Jairus’s helpless situation, and He was confident of faith’s outcome (Luke 8:50). Even in the face of ridicule, Jesus said, “The child is not dead, but sleeping” (v. 39).With this figurative expression, Jesus meant that the girl was not dead in the normal sense, because her condition was temporary and would be reversed (see note on Matt. 9:24; see John 11:11–14; Acts 7:60; 13:36; 1 Cor. 11:30; 15:6, 18, 20, 51; 1 Thess. 4:13, 14).

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.

February 26 - Spiritual Hunger's First Object—Salvation

“‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied’” (Matthew 5:6).

The first objective of spiritual hunger by the lost sinner is salvation. The righteousness the unbeliever begins to hunger for—after he or she sees their sin, mourns over it, and gently submits self to God—is the righteousness that repents of sin and submits to the lordship of Christ.

In the Old Testament, righteousness is often a synonym for salvation. Through Isaiah, God declared, “My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth” (Isa. 51:5). Daniel said, “Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” (Dan. 12:3).

In Jesus’ day, the great obstacle to receiving the gospel for so many members of His Jewish audience was self-righteousness—their confidence in their own works to achieve a self-styled holiness. They believed that as members of God’s chosen nation of Israel, they were assured of entrance into heaven. But Christ taught them that they would not find the path to salvation unless they hungered and thirsted for the Father’s righteousness instead of their own. And that is the case for everyone today, no matter what race, religion, or economic status.

Ask Yourself

It’s easy for the wonder and majesty of our salvation to be lost on us as time goes by. Let today be another opportunity to realize how empty you were before and how full He has made you in Christ. Put your worship into prayerful words.

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.
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